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Father Dudko's funeral has nationalist flavor


The funeral for Archpriest Dimitry Dudko was held on 30 June in the church of the Life-giving Trinity which is in the Piatnitsa Cemetery of Moscow. As a correspondent for "" reports, the ritual of burial was led by Bishop of Vidnoe Tikhon Nedosekin, vicar bishop of the Moscow diocese of RPTsMP. Around 25 priests and seven deacons concelebrated with him, including the son of the deceased, Fr Mikhail Dudko, an employee of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow patriarchate, the dean of the Trinity district of Moscow, Archpriest Sergii Kiselev, dean of the Kolomna district of Moscow diocese, priest Vladimir Pakhachev, rector of the church of the Life-giving Trinity in Piatnitsa Cemetery, Archpriest Sviatoslav Yurimsky, and rectors of the churches of All-Saints in Krasnoe Selo, Archpriest Artemy Vladimiriv, St. Nicholas in Bersenevko Hegumen Kirill Sakharov, and others. The funeral service in the church lasted around two and a half hours.

The service was attended by Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, vice-chairman of OVTsSMP. Metropolitan of Krutitsy and Kolomna Yuvenali sent a wreath that was placed on the porch to the left of the door of the church, alongside a wreath "from relatives." The clergy of the church expected the arrival of G. Ziuganov, V. Zhirinovsky, and A. Prokhanov; however they did not appear. Among the worshippers were the head of the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods and Union of Orthodox Standardbearers, L.D. Simonovich-Hikshich and other representatives of Orthodox patriotic circles.

Upon the completion of the funeral service burial of the late Fr Dimitry Dudko was conducted in a remote corner of Piatnitsa Cemetery, after which Bishop Tikhon invited those present, of which there were around 150, "to a memorial dinner." The meal for clergy was served in a building adjacent to the church and for the laity outside on the grounds of the church. (tr. by PDS, posted 1 July 2004)

by Andrei Riumin
Russkaia liniia, 30 June 2004

As Russkaia liniia reported yesterday, on 28 June, at five in the morning, after a prolonged illness, the famous spiritual counsellor and hero of the faith, the priest Dimitry Dudko, went to the Lord in his eighty-third year of life. He was well known to many Russian people for his numerous books, conversations, and labors for the welfare of the Orthodox church in Russia.

One's attention is drawn by the following words contained in the official obituary of the deceased pastor with regard to his arrest in 1980:  "I have never fought against the state. I fought against atheism, which for both people and for the state was evil. But the state at that time professed atheism. And the interrogators told me: if you are against atheism, it means you are against the state. Not only the interrogators but also many parishioners confused my religious convictions with politics. For them it was not Christ in my sermons that was important but, they thought, their antisovietism. But I was never an antisoviet. I always considered that in fighting for Christian morality I would save the state, too."

But he was vigorously made into an "antisoviet," and a political figure.  He was flattered; his sermons, prose, and poetry were published in the millions in the West; and a third of the publications of NTS [National Labor Union] were filled with appeals in his support written by Gleb Yakunin and his associates. Western radio was interested in the personality of Fr Dimitry only to the extent that he was considered as opposition to the former regime. But he was a man who generally had a childlike simplicity and contradictoriness. He considered it his duty to preach the word of God. He delivered public sermons in his church and worked with the youth. But his public sermons were banned. Consider how long the old priests who were installed under the soviet regime talk with those coming to confession. They are accustomed to this because for them, in their time, it was the only way to deliver the word of God to the flock.

He was not any kind of "antisoviet," although in his sermons he cursed the "atheists" and even talked about the "camps" and "informers." He once even called President Carter to "expose the criminals." He expressed himself, that is, not always successfully, but he never said anything especially reprehensible from the point of view of the state. But nevertheless people said of him what was pleasing. And he felt that the uproar was helpful.

Here is a scene from the life of the deceased. A young person "with an intelligent face" is wandering around. He asked: "What do you think about an interview? I am soon going to have a meeting with a foreign representative. Father Dmitry, would you agree to give such an interview on the basis of which President Carter himself would defend you?" Father Dmitry thought a minute and then suddenly answered clearly and distinctly: "I am prepared to meet with whomever. But if God does not defend me, nobody will defend me."

When in 1980 just before the Olympics a "strange thing happened" and Father Dmitry spoke on TV in the "Vremia" program, condemning his, as he expressed it, "antisoviet activity," and explaining his actions as pride, the love of the religious intellectual "youth" for him changed to hatred. Mindless girls with hysterical sobs tore up the "Pravda" newspaper that published in a prominent place the text of his television speech, they burned the NTS publications and the imported books with his sermons and the tape recordings of his addresses at the "seminars." In the best case they said that he had been "brainwashed" in prison and they added: "He will die soon." But he lived out the entire lifetime destined for him by the Lord on which a person of his fate and advanced years can count. Father Dmitry was morally destroyed. When he heard the denunciations he tried then to justify himself and to take back his statement, but he understood that they are not going to forgive him. Father Dmitry said with grief: "They needed for me to die." They were making a martyr out of him, but he did not justify their confidence and hopes placed on him. The issue is not the freedom of the church. Fr Dmitry was right when he refused to suffer to satisfy the crowd and foreign "benefactors" who really were "thirsting for blood."

May the Lord give rest to the late Father Dimitry.  [tr. by PDS, posted 1 July 2004; tr. note: in the original the writer uses two spellings of Dudko's name, the modern Russian "Dmitry" and the church Slavonic "Dimitry," which is reflected in the translation.]

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Prominent soviet religious dissident dies

Gazeta, 28 June 2004

On Monday the life of a most significant priest of the Russian Orthodox church, Dmitry Dudko, came to an end at 83 years. Born into a peasant family, he went through the war and belonged to the "postwar draft," entering the church after Alexis I was elected patriarch. In the fifties Father Dmitry was sentenced to eight years in the camps because of religious poetry written while in the academy.

After the GULAG, the priest was driven from parish to parish, but gradually a multi-thousand community grew up around him. People came from all of Russia. in the middle of the seventies from his hands came the significant book "Our Hope," and bags of letters were sent to him from the West where the book was published and produced an enormous effect on people. In contrast with Father Alexander Men, who conducted his own evangelistic work in a deeply conspiratorial manner and wrote under a pseudonym, Dmitry Dudko's sermons resounded every week from western radio stations beamed into USSR. His house at the Rechnoi Station was a mobile church. People always flocked there, prayer meetings were conducted, and information about the persecution of believers was collected.

At the church on Preobrazhensky square in Moscow his spiritual children began to assemble "Answers to Questions," sermons which talked about the contemporary world and the meaning of being a Christian. These collections of answers were distributed throughout the country, and to the church flocked not only Russians, but leading western journalists and diplomats, many of whom were even baptized by Fr Dmitry.

The KGB often went "hunting"  for Dudko. Alexander Ogorodnikov, the organizer of a significant underground Christian seminar, recalled how once Dudko was hit by an ambulance, which took him with two broken legs to a remote hospital where they began to "treat" the priest while the doors of his room were guarded by people in civilian clothing. With great difficulty Ogorodnikov and other "seminarists" sought out Fr Dmitry and "gave real battle to the KGB agents and stole him away."

Soon the priest was transferred to a village church in Grebnevo (along the Shchelkovsky highway) where in 1980 he was arrested during a service in front of parishioners. Metropolitan Yuvenaly, in whose jurisdiction the parish was located, not only refused to strip him of his clerical rank but would not retire him--such was the authority of the simple village priest. However the pressure on the sixty-year-old Fr Dmitry was so subtle and strong that he, who had endured the stalinist GULAG with honor, publicly repented on soviet television and signed a penitential article in Izvestiia. Ogorodnikov, who at this time was already under arrest, recalls that this repentance was a blow for believing people and was turned into a most difficult experience, new tortures, and punishment cells for thousands of Christians in the camps.

The interrogation was brought to an end and Fr Dmitry returned to parish work. But as people close to him said the priest's radiant visage was dimmed. Fr Dmitry Dudko spent about twenty difficult years in attempts to justify morally his repentance before the atheistic state, but the meaning of his preaching of the Russian Golgotha was somewhat besmirched by this. (tr. by PDS, posted 29 June 2004)

Posted on site, 28 June 2004

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Eastern sect active in south Russia

Drug dlia druga (Kursk), 15 June 2004

Recently the "Sant Mat" sect, which translates as "Sacred Path," began vigorous activity in Kursk. At the Directorate of Justice for Kursk province it is registered under the offenseless name "Yoga for all-round development of the person."

Son promised to avenge father

Around a year ago Valdimir Svetlov arrived by chance at a "Sant Mat" lecture. Why the classes so interested the forty-five-year-old bus driver is difficult to say. Nevertheless, he began giving them not only his free time but also his entire salary. His wife, Nina, saw that things were going bad for her husband; he became morose and seemed to forget entirely that he had children. Once nina went to the classes along with her husband, after which she understood that it was there that the reasons for the changes taking place in Vladimir were contained. "I felt that our family was falling apart," Nina says, "and I tried to persuade my husband that he should get away from these people, but my talk provoked him to aggression." The Svetlov home was turned into a theater of military operations, in a literal sense. While he never had raised his hand against his relatives, Vladimir began regularly to beat his wife and children so that they would "not interfere with his living as he wanted." Looking at the bruises on his mother's body, her son ivan promised to avenge his father. Nina got to the point where she began thinking about ending her life. She said that only the children kept her from suicide. Nevertheless she wanted to preserve her family under any circumstances. Under the pretext that a psychiatrist might help them restore their relationship Nina persuaded her husband to go to the provincial hospital. The outcome that the physician then promised her was disturbing: the changes in Vladimir's psyche were irreversible and it was impossible to return him to normal. Soon the spouses separated. "It is a shame that we do not have a law that people who join a sect would be forced to go to the psychiatric hospital for treatment," Nina says. "The defects of their conduct can represent a threat to those around them."

Our own experience

We decided to go to one of the classes conducted by members of "Sant Mat." It turned out that they met in a home. All the walls of the home were decorated with portraints of Sant Thakar Singh, a man-god. When everybody arrived we approached the woman leading the classes, Valentina, in order to pose several questions. Valentina is a small elderly woman, about seventy years old, and she did not seem like one we associate with the fearsome word "sect." Bud after thirty minutes of conversation our eyes were wide opened and the idea dawned: just what are we doing among these people? They all piously believe that the person who face adorned the walls of the home is a god who came to earth in order to save humanity. After his death a new God will be born, and so on. He will help only those who go through the ritual of consecration. The others go directly to hell. We wanted to find out what the "consecrated one" did. The collection of requirements are "ordinary sectarianism": missionary activity, drawing new people to the sect, attending classes and lectures, and, naturally, material support. "We must selflessly serve the master," Valentina said, "and reject all that is worldly."

--How did your relatives take your new attitude toward life?"

--Af first my husband ws opposed, but I broke him.

We listened to the entire half-hour lecture. We tried to pose several question, but we were not allowed to, and it was necessary to view still a video tape with an interview with Sant Thakar Singh. This was a real ordeal. The empty faces fixed in dumb rapture in front of the television produced unpleasant feelings.They all seemed somehow like zombies. And the Master at that time urged them from the screen:  "Turn your problems over to me and live in eternal happiness." It was confusing just how this "eternal happiness" was reflected on relatives and neighbors when it is necessary to "break" them.

A girl of about 16 or 17 left the house along with us. We wanted to know what got her to come here. It turned out that the reason was her mother, who had recently gone through the ritual of "consecration." Now she was trying to get the daughter to go along the "sacred way."

Here are the comments of Psychiatrist Albina Tatarenko: "There is no doubt that there is a zombie-making process, which is used within the sect on new converts and which can lead to psychological breakdown. in the sect there can be no talk about some kind of free choice. There are specific rules and norms whose fulfillment is obligatory. People subjected to hypnosis eventually become suspicious and indecisive and they are beset by phobias. As a rule, relations with the family and associates deteriorate. Such a person cannot exist in society as a healthy personality. Help can be given in this case at a Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Organizations with Nontraditional Religious Orientations. To sent a person for treatment to a psychiatric hospital is possible only on his own wishes."  (tr. by PDS, posted 27 June 2004)

Posted on site, 27 June 2004

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