Saint Martyr Andronik (Nikolsky), Archbishop of Perm.
Commemorated on July 7
Vladyka Andronik (Nikolsky) ascent up the Urals Golgotha began on July 30, 1914 with hisappointment as Bishop of Perm and Solikamsk (renamed Perm and Kunguron July 1, 1916). On July 19/August 1, 1914, the feast of St. Seraphim of Sarov, World War I began.
In August Perm heard the voice of Bishop Andronicus: “Amidst today’sterrible events the Lord has decreed that I should occupy the see of theenlightener of Perm, St. Stephen. There, in the west, blood-red clouds have already gathered… Yes, this war is terrible, it will demand muchblood, manyvictims. But truly it is allowed by the Providence of God…
“This is a great mercy of God after all the heavy trials and humiliations which our Homeland has undergone in recent times. And it is all our fault, because we have willingly given our souls into captivity to every kind offoreign import, as if we even rejoiced to become complete Europeans andwere leaving behind our so-called Russian backwardness. Now we see from bitter experience that this foreign forwardness is in fact complete barbarism, moral bankruptcy and spiritual perversion.“
»Modern wars with the perfect war means, held by the peoples, are terrible. More terrible is such a great war. For us, however, it is sacred because we are called upon to defend our Orthodox faith and our national identity. Of course, it is also important for other peoples as it carries a deep dividing line between the past and the future. When this war is over, the map of Europe will have radically changed. Spontaneously, one thinks that this is a revealing war, one of the wars that will precede the second presence of the Lord, as the Prophet Himself said: “One nation will rise against each other and one kingdom against each other will come hunger, sickness and earthquakes in various places “(Matthew 24: 7).
That is why, my beloved spiritual children, we must gather all our strengths to prevent the enemy triumph. First and foremost, let’s all admit, like the ancient Nineautes. how we are worthy of such a terrible test, which was given by the Lord for our sins. Indeed, our malice is so blatant, which has ascended to the heavens (cf. John 1: 2).
“People have always been wrong and sinned, but never as they are now. Today’s people not only sin, they not only abdicate God but also boast of their sinfulness and rejection, pointing them as right and reasonable. Instead of the true God they bow to the gods of corruption. of drunkenness, of glory, of wealth, of pleasure. With this idolatry they are glad, like the ancient Jews, who were punished by the Lord and scattered throughout the world.
“There was always sin, there always was apostasy from God, there was always a violation of His law both in our own country and in other countries. But the current situation is worse than any previous one. The saintly traditions of our fathers, our virtuous life, our beloved faith …
“Let’s confess, then, how we have sinned heavily before God. Let us renounce the sinful pleasures and let us escape from the shallowness of our everyday life. Let us armed with spiritual courage in front of the great events taking place according to divine providence. Let the centers of entertainment and corruption empty. There is no time for such. No feast when the plague is reaping! We can not sin sinfully when our own brothers and siblings shed their blood on us at the borders of our homeland! For their bloody sacrifices, let us be strict with ourselves. Let us live faithfully with fasting, prayer, temperance, charity, fear of God … ». (Translation Google)
“And so, beloved,” said Vladyka to his flock, “do not complain aboutsorrows as if they were a terrible misfortune. They wash away our sins, while giving extra holiness to virtue. It is not sorrows that are terrible, but carelessness, which destroys the man even while he remains at rest.”
He would say the following about the events in Russia: “It is a question… of a struggle between faith and faithlessness, between Christianity and Antichristianity… Masonry… will openly drive out Christianity… and pour into one man of iniquity, the son of perdition, the Antichrist. This is the clue to our most recent liberties: their aim is the destruction of Christianity in Rus’.”
“It is necessary to work in such a way as to organize the whole people intoone family, firmly and consciously standing for the holy, historical heritage ofthe people-the Christian Faith and the autocratic Tsar. It is necessaryobstinately and assiduously to steer clear of all parties, and to preserve the people precisely as a people, foreign to all party spirit, for wherever there is party spirit, there is division, there is struggle, there order is not to be looked for, and the whole is bound to disintegrate. And for that reason, when they say that amongst the partiesthere is a Russian party, this is either a lie or amisunderstanding. No, it is the Russian people itself, plucking up courage, consciously looking round on all sides and deciding firmly to stand for itstreasure and not give in to the cunning schemes of its enemies…
A contemporary remembered: “Already at first sight his thin figure, assiduous prayer and cordial words made a most pleasantimpression… Vladyka mixed his zealous, tireless service with heartfelt sermons, his lofty position-with simple, close relations with the Orthodox worshippers. Fear of society’s displeasure did not embarrass the bishop-preacher. In his sermons Vladyka often reproved the frenzy of worldly spectacles with great boldness.“
On the national question Vladyka wrote: “We [the Russians] have notviolated and do not violate any of the peoples which are subject to us; we giveto all, as before, freedom in all affairs of life on the basis of a common law thatis equal for everyone, as also freedom of confession of his native faith for everyone. But we are the masters of the country and we wish to be such infact, and therefore nobody must dare to mock us, or acquire power over us, orencroach on our higher rights. Still less shall we allow the dignity of our spiritual wealth and most important heritage-the Orthodox Faith and the Autocratic Tsar-to be mocked… In past times the Georgians themselves asked to be received into submission to Russia; for they saw that other wisethey would perish in intestinal warfare in the Caucasus or would be seized by their neighbours, the Turks or the Persians. And let the other nationalities of our great Kingdom remember that if they separate from Russia they willperish, being seized by their very strong neighbours, who are just waiting forthis. And what kind of power these neighbours have let the Poles sincerelydescribe, remembering their brethren in Germany. A special word concerning the Jews: we did not accept them in our land and did not even conquer them. We cannot and will not give them equal rights, in accordance with the prophetic word of warning of the great writer of the Russian land, F.M.Dostoyevsky: ‘The Jews will destroy Russia.’ They do not wantto use ourtolerating them in our midst-so let them go wherever they want: we will notdetain them at the gates; and we can live freely and prosperously without them. But if they remain among us, they will be as foreigners for us, nothaving the right to participate in the building of the people and the state.”Shortly before his arrest, on May 5, 1918, a priest tried to dissuade Vladyka from his martyric course: “How can you save the flock from the wolves who are destroying it and yourself not fall into despondency from the brutality in the people and the coming defilement of the holy things?” Vladyka replied: “Believe me, Father, all this atheism and robbery is an assault of the enemy, a foul abuse of the good and God-fearing Russian soul. For the time being, because of their violation of their oath [to the tsar], God has removed the people’s reason and will, until they repent… It will be slow, but they will repent, at first gradually, but then they will completely recover their spiritual sight, they will feel strength and, like Ilya Muromets, will cast off this horror which has wrapped round the whole of our country… Perhaps I will no longer be in this world, but I am not deprived of the hope and certainty that Russia will be resurrected and return to God. Exhort everyone and reconcile the embittered with life, pour into them the principles of the radiant life according to the Gospel of Christ. Our work is to gather the flock of Christ… so that those who have become disillusioned with every kind of party here might find a living haven and good repose in the Church and amidst believers. The soul of the people will be resurrected-and its body, our healthy statehood, will also be resurrected. May the Lord help us. Forgive and pray for the sinful Archbishop Andronicus who invokes the blessing of God upon you…”.”
1,500 Red Army soldiers were summoned by the Bolsheviks for the arrestof Vladyka Andronicus. At three o’clock in the morning on June 4/17 he was arrested and put into a droshky taking him to the police in Motovilikhi. Allthose in the hierarchical house were also arrested.
On the next day, June 5/18, he was taken tothe Perm Cheka, where hespent the night. In reply the superiors of all the churches of Perm andMotovilikhi carried out the order of their archpastor: “I am closing down forDivine services all the churches of Perm and Motovilikhi, and I forbid thecarrying out of any Divine services except baptism and the last rites for the dying.” From the night of Vladyka’s arrest the Perm clergy went on strike. Thecity was in turmoil. Orthodox Christians gathered on the streets, demandingthe release of Archbishop Andronicus and cursing the Bolsheviks.
Meetings organized by the Bolsheviks blamed the clergy for everything,and the Bolshevik press claimed that Vladyka had called on the worshippersto shoot the Bolsheviks, and that he was only trying to save his own skin.
Vladyka had been arrested by an armed detachment of Bolsheviks underthe leadership of the former convict Myasnikov, who surrounded the home ofthe archpastor. “On the third night [June 6 to 7],” recalled Myasnikov, “wewent for five versts along the Siberian highway, turned left into the forest,went on for about a hundred metres and stopped the horses. I gaveAndronicus a spade and ordered him to dig a grave. Andronicus dug out asmuch as was required-we helped him. Then I said: ‘Go on, lie down.’ Thegrave turned out to be short, he dug out a bit more at his feet and lay down asecond time. It was still too short, he dug some more-the grave was ready. Iallowed him to pray. Andronicus prayed in all directions for about tenminutes. Thenhe said he was ready. I said that I would not shoot him, butbury him alive unless he repealed his decrees, but he said that he would notdo this and would not refrain from attacking the Bolsheviks. Then we coveredhim with earth and I shot a few times.”
Myasnikov’s account more or less accords with the testimony of two Permchekists Dobelas and Padernis, both of them Latvians, and was corroboratedby a baptized Jew, a former communist party member who became a priestand was shot by the Bolsheviks. According to them, Vladyka Andronicus wasburied alive and shot near the road from Perm to Motoviliha (the workmen’ssuburbs) on June 7/20. According to another account, he had his cheekshollowed, his ears and nose cut off, and his eyes gouged out, and wasthenthrown into the river to drown.
One of the archbishop’s executioners, Lashevich, was once dying in ahospital in Harbin, China. As he turned restlessly on his bed, he was heardshouting: “Why are you standing here, Andronicus, what do you want?Ididn’t bury you, I was ordered to do it. You’ve come for me, don’t oppress me.You know, I’m not guilty.” And again he would say: “Andronicus, blood,Perm… Don’t. Go away! Don’t torment me!”