July 24, 2014
American Orthodox Institute
HT: Isa Almisry
Are you listening The New York Times?
Vechnaya Pamyat. My mother is Ukrainian; I am first generation born in the United States. I grew up hearing the stories of the horror inflicted upon so many innocents, particularly from my maternal grandparents. It was the example of incredible strength and faith present in my grandmother which set the tone and direction for my life as a man and as a priest in the Orthodox Church. Where to turn; pinched between godless communism on the left and godless facism to the right – I cannot even begin to imagine the incredible, demonic horror experienced by so many.
And yet, my maternal grandmother was the most devout, holy, righteous person I have ever known in my life; she was pregnant and miscarried during the starvation among other things. When many within the immigrant community within which I grew up encouraged downright hate for the “Russian” I never heard my grandmother say a disparaging word about anyone; only a recurring reminder – never forget.
Because of the providential goodness of God I live in a country in which I worship without fear of retribution or persecution and wear the uniform of a chaplain in the United States Armed Forces. Are we perfect in America; have we arrived to a place for other countries to emulate – No; not when we under the “rule of law” permit 1.3 million children to be murdered through abortion as an elective surgical procedure. So the words of my grandmother still sound in my ears – never forget. Let’s take this one step further – let others know, so they will never forget.
Dear Fr. Peter,
i could not agree more…to honor their memories we need to make sure that people hear these stories…particularly young Americans who are notoriously ignorant of history.
Last Sunday, at the parish I attend in Michigan, we had a visiting retired Romanian priest. He wanted to do a memorial for all of the communist martyrs. Earlier the priest had told me of some of the hardships he had faced in Romania, due to the communists.
At the conclusion of the service, a young (recently converted) black man came back into the vestry to say “hi” to the altar servers…a normal ritual for us.
While he was there, I asked the priest, “Father…how many priests would you guess the communists killed?” Then I encouraged him, “Tell Athanasios (the young black kid) about the communists.”
So here was this old Romanian man, in broken English, telling his story in vivid detail to this young, wide eyed, black kid – explaining what the communists were really like – not the CNN version.
This is powerful stuff…and we, who know about it, have a responsibility to tell the story.
Thanks for sharing yours…and NEVER stop!
well said, Fr.
More important reminders about the anti-human and anti-God nightmare created by the deadliest ideology in the history of the world, communism.
I wonder what it is this silence surrounding Communist Holocaust. At least one order of magnitude larger in severity than what we all know to be the Holocaust and so little publicity. Embarrassment or conspiracy?
Or lack of film footage. (How shallow we are. If we don’t “see” it, it didn’t really happen.) Remember, our GI’s liberated the Nazi camps, which permitted both living witness of them and filming. No one, unfortunately, liberated any of those who suffered under the Soviet holocaust. (That would have required doing what Patton advised at the end of WWII and going into Soviet territory.) Any horror without footage is merely an historical artifact for the TV generation.
More than embarrassment or conspiracy. The American intelligentsia was taken with the promise of Communism in the 30′s and 40′s. The American media was largely compliant with Soviet propaganda and the academy, as is so often the case, was very slow in recognizing situations that did not fit their biases. Walter Durranty, the chief correspondent for the New York Times (little more than a Stalinist stooge as it turns out) set the narrative for the American press. When access to Russia was completely cut off, the narrative held.
There were exceptions of course. Malcolm Muggeridge reported the truth early on and lost his job at the Guardian for it. Robert Conquest, Soviet historian, was also clear-headed and honest. The writer George Orwell saw the evil and wrote about it. There were others who were part of the Communist party in America who broke from it and told the truth too, such as Whittaker Chambers (his book Witness is a masterpiece).
The dam didn’t really break however until the 60′s when Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulags” were published in the West. It decimated the Marxist establishment of Europe and then Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II rose to power and worked to bring down the Evil Empire.
There was a very strong resistance to the truth because the myth of utopian society had taken hold in the West too (it’s still here). What made Solzhenitsyn so powerful was that it was a quantified first hand history. The facts could not be ignored.
Now the history books and the popular imagination have to catch up with those facts.
It is neither easy nor acceptable for the left to acknowledge the devastation wrought by the implementation of its fellows in various Communist states. Some did, of course, but many just changed the topic – often trying to focus on conversation to their advantage (blacklisting, etc. – even though it is Conservatives today who have the better claim to it). Robert Conquest wrote a definitive work on the Holocaust in the 80′s and, for a while, all but the most stalwart leftists were silent. An outstanding and thorough scholar, his more recent work, Reflections on a Ravaged Century, traced out the very same sympathies among the intelligentsia in the West that you have succinctly described here. Muggeridge and Chambers were both heroic and paid the price, yet somehow I doubt a movie will be made about ether in the near future, though their stories are compelling. (Why Witness is not a movie is beyond me.) Good summary, Father – and a powerful (and very widespread) warning of how our passions can so easily blind us.
I hope it will happen in due time, and that time is now. The true history of the materialist Communism and the collapse of this ideology must be known. The rejection of God, the rejection of Orthodoxy, led to the sacrifices of the Church’s millions of faithful. They are now the New Martyrs and Confessors.
The West does not want to learn from Russia. I believe that ignorance, the naive mind are being deliberately cultivated. Fr Seraphim’s warning ‘Today in Russia, tomorrow in America’ is about to become ‘Yesterday in Russia, today in in America’.
Besides Duranty, Hollywood was filled with Stalinist stooges. Despicable people like Dalton Trumbo, Lillian Hellman, and the other infamous “Hollywood Ten.” These people were completely without principle. They hated Hitler until the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and under orders form the CP-USA, they changed their allegiances on a dime. That’s one of the myriad reasons I have no sympathy for “The Hollywood Ten.” It reminds me of what Goehrring said, when he heard about “art” he wanted to “reach for his Luger.”
Dalton Trumbo wrote the screen play the communists written novel by Howard Fast,Sparticus, of course about the famous slave that took on the Roman army around 73 to 70 A.D. As I mention Stalin also had has admirers among the left in Europe like Sidney and Beatrice Webb. A good book about 20 years ago that deals with the religous left mainly the Evangelcials like Ron Sider, and Jim Wallis is Called the Generation that knew not Joseph. It also talks about religous leaders like Hewlett Johnson of the Anglican church that supported Joseph Stalin and Lousia Strong-another supporter, and the evangelical left support for Castro and Daniel Ortega 25 years ago.
Don’t forget the National Council of Churches. See: United Churches of Castro.
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