Tuesday, August 04, 2009

News From the Past - August 4, 1929

This is an interesting one, from the Lima Sunday News, Lima Ohio.

Six Russians Convicted of
Practicing Mystic Rites
That Kill Girl
Samara, U.S.S.R., Aug. 3 (AP) - Six monks have been sentenced to death for practicing mystic rites in which a poor girl named Neschadina was killed and with maintaining at Vavilova Doia, an anti-Soviet commune. Ten others were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.
In 1909 several monks went into the Samara Steppe and far from other human habitations dug several cells. The fame and alleged cures spread rapidly and many peasants walked to the monastery from distant villages to hear the peal of mysterious bells and to see the "flaming tongues of heaven" which were simply rockets.
Witnesses testified that a favorite form of cure with the monks was to stretch the patient across the threshold and lash him with rods to drive out the devil of disease. They were also accused of practicing vice under the guise of confession and counsel to young women.
One of those sentenced to death was said to have preached that "the present government emanates from the devil and the heavenly signs predict its hasty end. Believers should not heed its laws."
What's interesting is how they just repeat this news at face value, but, with historical perspective, I find myself wondering how evil these Monks really were. I mean this is the beginning of Stalins reign, when he was pretty well clamping down. So it's entirely possible that these monks were not quite as horrible as they are portrayed here.

Still you can't entirely blame the Lima Sunday News here; I don't think many in the west had much of an idea of what Stalin was all about.

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