April 23, 2014

Patriarch Kirill wants monastery that was Gulag to be spiritual center

The towers of Solovki Monastery in the winter of about 1930, when it was a concentration camp

From Ecumenical News International (26 August 2009): By Sophia Kishkovsky Moscow, 26 August (ENI)--The Solovetsky Islands off the coast of Russia's northern Arkhangelsk region – settled by monks in the 15th century – became in the 20th century a center for the Soviet Gulag system of prison camps. Now the monastery archipelago should become a spiritual center not only for Russia but for all of Europe, said Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church when he visited the area in August. The Patriarch's grandfather, a priest, was a prisoner in the island camp, whose cruelty was immortalized in dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn's book, "The Gulag Archipelago". Kirill said it was a miracle that his grandfather, Vasily Gundyayev, had survived, and at a 22 August memorial service, the Patriarch spoke of the spiritual strength that was demonstrated on the islands during the Soviet era. "We believe that these sufferings and torments have strengthened the power of the Church as … [Read more...]