1.The Monk Martyr Methodiy (Ivanov)
The commemoration date is 27 August / 9 September,
Included in the Cathedral of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia
And in the Cathedral of the New Martyrs of Butovo
The Monk Martyr Methodiy (secular name Nikolai Ivanov) was born on February 24, 1899 in Simbirsk in the family of priest Mikhail Ivanov and was named Nikolai. The family had 9 children: 3 sons and 6 daughters.
Family of priest Mikhail Ivanov. Kolya Ivanov is on the far risgh.
Nikolay graduated from the Church school in the village of Chamzinka Ardatovsky district, where his father was a priest. In 1909, Nicholai entered the theological school of the city of Alatyr. He graduated in 1913 in the second category.
Fragment of the same photo. Nikolai Ivanov – student of Alatyr Theolpgical College
Nikolai was transferred to the 1st class of the Simbirsk Theological Seminary, which he did not finish because of the revolution in Russia; and he has completed his education in the Soviet school. In 1920 Nikolai Mikhailovich began working as a teacher in Saransk, sang in the choir in the temple, worked as a deacon; from 1921 he worked in Penza Art and Technical College.
Alatyr Theological school. The beginning of the ХХth century
The same year he moved to Moscow and worked as a teacher in one of the high schools.
In the Soviet school, one of the main and compulsory subjects was atheism. Therefore, it was incompatible with the religious beliefs of a deeply religious man. In 1923, he left school and entered the the Intersession monastery in Moscow as a novice. He was admitted to monastic mantle with the name of Methodiy and ordained as monk-deacon the same year.
Here he met Bishop Alatyrsky, vicar of the Simbirsk diocese, Guriy (Stepanov), who used to be the father superior of the monastery, and now lived there, as it was forbidden for him to leave Moscow. Father Methodiy maintained close relations with him through his life.
In 1925, monk-deacon Methodiy was ordinated to the monk-priest.
At the end of October 1929 the last «Church of Pokrovsky monastery was officially closed», that meant a complete cessation of the monastery existence. The last abbot of the monastery, Archimandrite Benjamin (Milov), was arrested on the night of 28 October 1929.
On October 29, 1929 father Methodiy had to perform the sad duty. He had to sign the act of transfer «all the property of the cult of the Church in cash» to the state. At the same time, the monks sent to the Moscow city Council a statement requesting «to equip 14 with Church <…> things needed in the Liturgy from the monastery of inventory». Soon a few more monks were arrested, and others, including father Methodiy, went to serve in the temple of the Jerusalem icon of the Mother of God behind the Pokrovskaya Zastava.
On 28 December 1930, the authorities arrested hieromonk Methodiy, accused him of counter-revolutionary activities. On the investigator’s question about his attitude to the Soviet power father Methodiy said, «I am dissatisfied with the Soviet government due to its decision to close the spiritual educational institutions, the prohibition of religious literature, the closing of churches and even its harsh attitude to the clergy and faith».
January 3, 1931 Special meeting of the Board of the OGPU sentenced father Methodiy under for three years «to the exile to the Northern territories». He was send to the Pinega district of the Arkhangelsk region. There he met the old widow priest, Archpriest Peter, with whom he developed a deep spiritual friendship. Archpriest Peter and father Methodiy served secretly from the authorities.
After the exile, the priests wrote many letters to each other, shared news, discussed the current problems, and requested mutual prayers for their loved ones. Here is an excerpt from the letter of Archpriest Peter to father Methodiy on January 1, 1937: “My dear friend and fellow Father Methodiy, rejoice in the Lord! I congratulate you on the great Christian holidays. I wish you all the best from the Lord God, both spiritual and physical strength, I wish you many years of well-being! I often remember you with prayer and I hope to see you some day. The last one is hardly possible. However, I remember the stories when hermits met each other 401 and 50 years after their first meeting. I was so happy to receive your letter on 18 December 1936. It felt as if seen you. I am sorry for you, that you have to go to Moscow to see your friends, because I am not used to the noise of the city. Moreover, I think that I am closer to God in my cell-hut. My loneliness and the cell-hut saved me from many troubles and evils. If I have not done it, the name of God in the Pinegskiy, Mezenskiy, Pechorskiy regions would have been forgotten completely. I am the only one survived and remind everyone that faith in God has not completely disappeared in our area. Ask you, father Methodiy for His holy prayers. With respect and love. Peter.” The text of the letter tells us about their warm relationship. Father Peter secretly warns the abbot Methodiy against his travels to Moscow, and says that he could be arrested. Father Methodiy returned from the exile in 1933, he settled in the Kashira city, it was forbidden for him to live in Moscow. Father Methodiy visited his relatives in Alatyr sometimes. His father-priest, his mother and the sister lived here. He did not stay long in Kashira. He was appointed a father superior of the Kazan church of the village of Sukovo, Ozersky district in the same year. People began to gather around father Methodiy seeking for spiritual endeavor. Several nuns surrounded him. They had been exiled like him. At that time, it was impossible to join the monastic path openly, and father Methodiy secretly made monastic tonsures. One of the sisters who were tonsured by him was Euphrosyne Timofeeva, in the monastic life named Antonina.
In 1936, hieromonk Mefodiy was elevated to the rank of hegumen. The confessor of father Methodiy Bishop Guriy (Stepanov) congratulated him and wrote: “Dear Father, I am very glad for your upcoming exaltation… But, since there is no monastic brotherhood, it seems that you will have to take on an increased abbess over yourself. You should look in to your own heart and all your life. I sincerely pray for you from all my heart. God bless you. I ask for your holy prayers. With love in the Lord. Bishop Guriy.”
Judging from the above correspondence, father Methodiy was decided to ordain a Bishop. However, increased persecution of the Church did not allow this to happen.
July 3, 1937 Stalin ordered make a list and arrest all heads of the regions on five days.
On July 19, 1937 the Deputy chief of UNKVD of the Moscow region major Yakubovich sent to the chief of Kashirsky RO UNKVD the following instruction: “Immediately arrest hieromonk Methodiy Ivanov and bring him to responsibility under Art. 58-10 of the Criminal Code. Agree the arrest with the district attorney. During the investigation it is necessary to reveal the counter-revolutionary activity of Ivanov, his connections with the anti-Soviet element among the churchment living in Moscow area. All compromising materials you would receive during the investigation on the churchmen living in Moscow, should be send immediately to the 7th Department of the 4th Department of the UGB for instructions.” On July 26, the document came to Kashira, and on July 28, father Methodiy was arrested and imprisoned in Kashira prison.
The next day the Abbot was questioned:
“ - Were you in Pokrovsky monastery? – the investigator began the interrogation.
-Yes, I was in Pokrovsky monastery in the dignity of hieromonk, I had the monastic name Methodiy. In 1936 I was ordained to the dignity of hegumen by Bishop Alexei
- When did you arrive to Kashira?
- I arrived to Kashira from the exile in 1933 because I was not allowed to live in Moscow. In Kashira on Streletskaya Sloboda I found the apartment where I temporary lived while searching a job, then I moved to the village of Sukovo. Where I have been working until now.
- Who do you know in Kashira?
- In the apartment on Streletskaya Sloboda I met the nuns who came back from exile: Matrene (she lives in Kashira now), her sister Evdokia, Ivanova Praskovya (moved to me to Sukovo, with her aunt Timofeeva Eufrosinya). In addition, I met Deacon Dmitry, hegumen Seraphim Kruten, Archpriest Nikolai in Kashira.
- You in the company of these nuns conducted anti-Soviet conversations. You expressed hostile attitudes to the Soviet regime. Clarify.
- I didn’t conduct any anti-Soviet conversations with the nuns, and I didn’t express hostile views, and no one spoke to me either.”
Meanwhile the NKVD gathered evidence against the arrested Abbot. One of the false witnesses was a clergyman who lived in Kashira. Here is a transcript of his testimony:
- Do you know Nikolai Mikhailovich Ivanov?
- I know Nikolai Ivanov- monastic Methodiy, a monk, was in exile for counter-revolutionary activities, returned to Kashira, where he tried to organize a monastic element around him, but apparently, he did not succeed. Then he moved to the village of Sukovo, where he dragged two nuns Ivanova and Timofeeva.
- What do you know about Ivanov’s behavior and about his attitude to the Soviet power?
- On July 2, Ivanov Methodiy rode with me by train to Moscow. To my question how he lives, Methodiy replied that he had settled well. He stayed in a quiet place, and has a very good relationship with the Chairwoman of the village Council. At first, she fret about danger that he was “red”, but he proved to her that he was not. She is pious, although he told her not to go to church in order not to blow her cover. She does not like the Authorities herself, but so far she has to play their role. Then I asked him how the people feel in the kolkhoz. Methodiy said to me: “In my parish it is very well know that absolutely nobody likes the Soviet power and everyone dreams when they get rid of Boslshevik bondage.” Then he added: “As soon as the war begins, local Communists will be destroyed on the ground”… In conclusion, Methodiy Ivanov told me: «In order to bring the country down, we must destroy only three people: Stalin, Kaganovich and Yezhov, then you can hope for the peace.”
The officers received the following testimony from another false witness: “I know Ivanov as a great religious fanatic who took monasticism in 1923. At the apartment where we lived he arranged monastic orders. I also know that Methodiy is secretly tonsuring at nuns…. It should be noted that Ivanov is a sly and hostile person, he did not obey us in Kashira, so he moved to Sukovo, where he dragged Ivanova and Timofeeva with him.”
Upon learning that Father Methodiy was performing monastic tonsures, and interested in seized correspondence, the investigator interrogated the hegumen on August 8 for second time.
“- Whom did you tonsured at nuns?
- In 1935, in the village of Sukovo, I tonsured a monk Euphrosinia, 60 y. o., named Antonina in the monk. Initiation took place in church.
- When did you meet each other?
- Praskovia and Euphrosinia I met in exile, where we were departed together, I got acquainted with the others in Kashira.
- What anti-Soviet activities were carried out by this group of nuns?
- I do not know anything.
- We have found a letter with anti-Soviet content from Peter during the search, who is he?
- He is archpriest old widower, he serves in Penzensky district, where I was in exile, and where I met him; after his departure he corresponded me.
-Did you write letters to him with anti-Soviet content?
-I just wrote to him that the taxes are big; I wrote about my deeds and congratulated him.
- What did you write to the Dean about the bells?
- I told him that the bells have been removed.
- We withdrawn your manuscripts were. Where did you use them?
- I did not use my diaries anywhere, I wrote only for myself.
- We took a letter written with purple ink. Who owns it?
- This letter was written to me by Bishop Guriy, he lives in the city of Arzamasi in exile. When I was with him in the monastery, he was my confessor.
- Who wanted to make you a bishop?
- I do not know.
- How did you help the exiled ones?
- Once I sent 50 rubles in order to help Bishop Guriy”.
The last time father Methodiy was interrogated on August 31. This time the asked just a couple of questions: “Do you confirm the words you said previously?”
- Yes, I confirm.
- You are accused of harbouring anti-Soviet feelings towards the leaders of the CPSU(b) and the members of the Soviet government. Do you plead guilty?
- No, I don’t.
- Do you admit that you were terrorist?
- No, I also do not confirm this”.
Immediately after the last interrogation, the case was reffered to the NKVD troika.
On September 8 the troika dealt with the case and sentenced the hegumen Methodiy to be shot. The record of the meeting of the troika reads as follows:
“(Ivanov)…Accused for counter-revolutionary agitation, expressing terrorist sentiments by organizing illegal assemblies of anti-Soviet monastic elements. After he returned from exile, he started writing the letters with counterrevolutionary content, supported financially the exiled ones, secretly admitted women to the veil …”
The next day, September 9, 1937 hieromonk Methodiy (Ivanov) was shot and buried in an unknown common grave on the Butovo near Moscow. The new martyr was glorified at the Jubilee Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.
The MonkMartyr Methodius (Ivanov) is commemorated on August 27 / September 9, at the Cathedral of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia and at the Cathedral of Butovo New Martyrs