August 7, 2007, 11:30
Commemoration cross erected in Moscow
A cross to commemorate the victims of the Great Purge orchestrated by
Joseph Stalin during the late 1930s is being erected in Butovo in
It's the site of mass executions where around 100,000 people are
thought to be buried.
The cross arrived in Moscow on Tuesday with a religious procession.
It started two weeks ago from the Solovetsky Islands in northwestern
Russia, where some of the Gulag prison camps were located.
Around one thousand victims of the Butovo executions were Russian
Orthodox believers and priests.
"The procession from the Solovetsky Islands to Butovo, along the
waterways that prisoners dug, symbolises the heavy price Russian
Orthodox believers had to pay. This kind of cross is to remember the
dead and pray to God to forgive their sins. They were usually mounted
in places of battles, wars and mass graves. They could be encountered
all over Russia and even in the West. Memorial services were held
near them," says Bishop Mikhail of the Russian Orthodox Church.
In 1937 and 1938, mass executions of political prisoners from the
Solovetsky concentration camp took place in Karelia. Nowadays,
relatives of the victims gather every year near the memorial to
commemorate the 12,000 people whose bodies were found there ten years ago.
Bishop Mikhail also said the communists wanted to destroy all believers.
"The communists persecuted the faithful by charging them with some
criminal offence. However, the real reason behind these persecutions
was that this godless regime wanted to destroy all believers.
Orthodox believers were made outcasts, sent to forced labour camps
and even executed. Those of them who had to face the ultimate trial
are referred to by the Church as martyrs and confessors, as they
testified and confessed their faith to the end," he said.
Post this story to del.icio.us