Murdered Clergymen & Monastics

 AN INTERFAX report, dated 25th August claims that since 1990, 24 Orthodox priests and two monks have been murdered in Russia.  The most widely known of these and the first to suffer, in this post-Soviet period was the Archpriest Alexander Men.  One, Archpriest Alexander Zharkov was murdered shortly after leaving the Moscow Patriarchate to place himself under the then separate Russian Church Abroad in 1997.  The last listed is Hegoumen Avenir Smolin, the rector of the church of the Ascension of Our Lord in the town of Furmanov, who was killed during the night of 21st/22nd August this year.  The Interfax report makes no comment on the reasons for these frightful crimes, which indeed might have been various.
-From the Shepherd Magazine Oct 2007

Our community recently learnt that His Grace, Bishop AMVROSII of Habarovsk (Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church) and the priest DIMITRY accompanying him were savagely attacked and beaten on 26 March 2001. They had just celebrated the Divine Liturgy and the attackers were ready and waiting for them. It does not appera to be a random incident. The unknown young men who attacked the clergymen handled police batons very skillfully. Vladyka AMVROSII was placed in intensive care and remained unconscious for several hours. The motive of the attack was not theft, nothing was stolen. The criminals demanded that he immediately leave town.

On 11 June 1997 Archpriest Alexander Zharkov of St. Petersburg was accepted into the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad from the Moscow Patriarchate. He became the Rector of the Church of the Holy-Nun-Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth. The militia stormed the chapel of the Holy-Nun-Martyr Elizabeth, abusing the clergymen during the Liturgy and forcibly searching the fully vested Father ALEXEI Tarkhov. The militia demanded the keys and the state authorities confiscated the parish finances. The parish was charged with being "unregistered". However, they had been seeking registration for seven years. Fr. Alexander ZHARKOV’s body was found near Tsarskoye-Selo on 1/14 September 1997. His murderers were never found. This puts us in mind of another dissident: Fr. Alexander MEN. His murderers were also never found.

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