The Martyrs Hilarion (Tsurikov) and Ioan (Laba)
The commemoration date is 22 August / 4 September
Included in the Cathedral of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia
The martyr monk Ioan (Philip Ivanovich Laba) was a former peasant of the village Serebri of the Gaisinsky district of Kamenetz-Podolsk province. He was born in 1869.
In 1895, at the age of 26, Philip came to the Mount Athos with the desire to devote his life to God. He entered the skit of Russian monastery of St. Panteleimon named the New Thebaid, where on 20 March, 1896 he was tonsured a rassophore monk with the name of Philip, and on 4 February, 1898 in the mantle with the name Flavius. July 16, 1901, father Flavius was ordained in hierodeacon, and on 25 January, 1910, in the priestmonk. His obedience was at first performed in the refectory, later - in the hospital, caring of the sick monks. After ordination, he headed the skit's library. In December 1912, hieromonk Flavius was mentioned as a Spiritual Father.
At that time, the conflict about the name of God flared up on the Mount Athos.  Most of the adherents of the nameprasing did not understand the dogmatic features of that doctrine. They considered it a doctrine of Jesus prayer. And since Jesus prayer was the main prayerful work of all the monks, many zealous prayers joined it. Father Flavius was among them.
Martyr Hillarion (Herodion Fedorovich Tsurikov) was born on 8 April, 1856  in the village of Krivopolyany of Ostrogsky district in Voronezh province, and was descended from a peasant family. The family was very religious, both sisters of the future Martyr became nuns, and he went to the Athos, where he arrived on October 27, 1887. For five years, Herodion Fedorovich lived alone as a hermit. On March 15, 1892 he was admitted to the Russian Panteleimon monastery. A year later, on March 27, he was tonsured into a rassophore monk with the name Herodion, and on March 3, 1898 - in the mantle with the name Irenaeus. Father Irenaeus held his obedience in the fire brigade of the monastery, as well as in the metocions in Moscow and Odessa. He had a good voice and was a cantor.
Father Hillarion is in the center of the picture
Since 1910, father Irenaeus returned to the Athos, where he played a leading role in the unfolding dispute about the name of God. Since the time of his ascetic life, father Irenaeus had been a zealous doer of Jesus prayer and had gained an extensive experience at that question, so many brothers consulted him about the methods of the prayer. That is why, perhaps, when a dispute broke out on the Mount Athos about the name of God, father Irenaeus became the head of the defenders of the new doctrine. He did not write any dogmatic justifications for the protection of his teaching, but only guided others and himself by his personal experience of doing the Jesus prayer. And since he was its zealous doer, he gradually became the leader of the namepraisers and headed all the unpleasant processes in the monastery associated with the case.
How could it be that the prayer and the devotee turned out to be the leader of the split? There is only one explanation – the fascination had misled him. But how could the doer of the Jesus prayer fall into fascination? We, monks, can easily fall into fascination; if during our asceticism we allow the idea that the source of the blessing is not a merciful God, but our own efforts or certain forms of our asceticism.
The grace is so powerful, that the memory about it remains for the whole life, even if it lasts only for a few seconds. Moreover, unfortunately, being under the influence of such a strong impression, we often make a disastrous conclusion, that there is also our merit or that some form of prayer, which we are engaged in, provided the inflow of this grace. This idea, this statement is the basis of fascination, because it is fundamentally wrong. The only source of grace is God alone! The fact that we constantly repeat the name of God will not provide us with grace, unless we do so in full consciousness and in perfect obedience to the Confessor. Moreover, God alone knows when and why he will send his grace to comfort us. That is why any form of prayer between them and Jesus is not a goal, so they fell into fascination.
How do we know that we were fascinated? When we are in the spirit of opposition, it is a sure sign that we are in delights. Whatever good intentions we may be guided by, but when we speak out against the Mother Church, we are in delights! The behavior of the namepraisers clearly shows that. Some of them for the sake of the idea resisted everything, others were not so persisted in their opinion. And if father Irenaeus was among the first ones, the father Flavius belonged to the others.
Archbishop Nikon (Rozhdestvensky), on behalf of the Holy Synod was sent in 1913 to the Holy Mountain to clarify the circumstances of the conflict, he recalled: "Some, more sincere persons came to me and I could see how hard it was for them to give up the misconception, which had already managed to grow into their soul, poison it. Thus, hieromonk Flavius, the Spiritual Father from Fivaida desert, came to me five times, first repenting, then again renouncing the Orthodox teaching. Finally, I asked Sergey Viktorovich Troitsky to talk to the monk. Even after that conversation, where the false teaching was thoroughly dismantled, only then he finally renounced the false doctrines, when put a few bows and took the one: to believe or not to believe the Synod? Moreover, by the grace of God, he took out the "believe" twice. Then he came to me and said with visible emotion, «Now I believe as the Synod said" Three days later he came again, but did not touch the question of the names of God.
Nevertheless, father Flavius and father Irinaeus with hundreds of other monks-adherents of the monastic teachings, were sent to Russia: father Irinaeus on July 3, 1913 on the ship "Kherson", and father Flavius on July 17, 1913 on the ship "Chikhachev". In the archival criminal case of father Irinaeus, in the questionnaire of the arrested there is a record: "Which repressions was subjected to: in 1913, was condemned by the military court to death for the God’s Name, released for the lack of evidence."
Many namepraisers, like father Flavius and father Irenaeus, repented and returned to the Mother Church, as evidenced by the huge correspondence they had with the elders of the monastery after their expulsion from the Mount Athos. Probably, most of them would have returned to the Athos, if the war hadn’t block all the roads to the Holy Mountain. However, the Merciful Lord did not leave his children without the possibility of salvation. Еhe repentants blotted out their guilt with martyrdom. Father Flavius and father Irenaeus were among them. The monks entered the Moscow Intercession monastery, Bishop Modest was the Abbot. Largely due to his tact and patience, it was possible to reconcile the official Church leaders and the namepraisers. The monks were astonished by the fatherly attitude of Bishop Modest and the whole brethren of the Intercession monastery, which he headed. "Only in Moscow, we have recognized that we are people who have the right to compassion and mercy," they said. - In Odessa they treated us as the most hardened villains".
In the Intercession monastery, the monks were tonsured into the schema – father Flavius with the name Ioan , and the father Irenaeus with the name Hilarion. The exact date of their vows and consecration to the father Irenaeus is unknown. In 1921, he was mentioned in the monastery documents as "monk Irinej". During the well-known campaign of seizing Church valuables by authorities, Father Irenaeus was present during the inspection of the monastery chapel on the Upper Taganskaya Square:
On May 17, 1921, the chapel of the Intercession monastery on the Upper Taganskaya square was inspected on the subject of artistic and historical values, according to the Legal Department of the Moscow Council on December 28, 1918 for the number 3351 Church Department of the Commission on the protection of monuments of art and antiquities. The chapel existed in the XVIII century, was rebuilt in 1814.
On the subject of accounting and protection by the Commission, the icon of the merciful Saviour of the 2nd half of the XVII century in the middle of the iconostasis is assumed, its size was 3/4 I x I 1/2 arches. During the inspection, the monk Irinej Tsurikov, authorized by the Committee of the Intercession monastery, was present ".
Father Hilarion and Father Ioan became inseparable co-prayers and shared the hardness of the Bolshevik persecutions on the Church. It was hard time, abbots and brothers of the Intercession monastery as "servants of cult" were constantly risking to be arrested. The parishioners saved the monastery from the final closure: in 1923, they collected more than 1,000 signatures, and the authorities were unable to close the last temple
Nevertheless, in 1924 Father Hilarion and Father Ioan moved to the Solyonij Hutor of Armavir district in Kuban region. On June 29, 1924 both of them were arrested on charges of "going against the Soviet power and holding on to the old". By a special meeting Father.Hilarion was sentenced to 3 years exile in the Narym region, he was sentenced to the city of Obdorsk (Salekhard). Monk Ioan was exiled to the village of Great Podyelnik in Karagasotsky Region.
After his release from the first exile in October 1928, Father Hilarion united with Father Ioan (Laba) and settled near the town of Frunze (Bishkek) in the mountains.
On 2 February, 1929, the monks were rearrested and accused again. The verdict was: 3 years of exile in the city of Kzyl-Orda. After the release from the second exile, Father Hilarion settled in the city of Mirzoyan, where his sisters - nuns Magdalene and Gabriele came later. Father Ioan also joined them later on. The priests regularly performed divine services.
A witness in the case of hieromonk Hilarion said, that met him in 1936. He told, "he was a monk from the Athos, lived in Mirzoyan and, he left the Athos and was wandering for 20 years and was persecuted for the "Name of God." When they were on the Mount Athos, they became split in “namepraisers” and “namefighters” and he was a namepraiser. He gave me a book about that cult and other religious trends. After that, I came to him two more times, talked about religious trends. Tsurikov defended Patriarch Tikhon in his conversations. That the Orthodox faith must be restored by itself, regardless of religious trends, that faith had weakened and now it is chasing after money only... I used to bring him bread. He asked me how things were going in the updated community, I told him that OK, and then he told me: "Well, pray. It is time to tame people, the true power reins
Hieromonks Hilarion and Ioan are still honored by the Orthodox in Taraz (former Mirzoyan). Here is one of the memories: "There were many exiles in Mirzoyan in the 1930s, who had no roof, and my parents - Ioan and Tatiana, being deeply religious people and wanting to please God, invited them in their house. Mom asked God for the monks to come to her house. Once somebody knocked, she opened the door and saw two monks. They told her: "Tatianushka, you called us, here we are." They were the Athos monks Hilarion and Ioan, exiled to Mirzoyan, and they stopped at our house. It was in 1936. Father Hilarion and Father Ioan had an antimins, and they secretly served Liturgy. Then dad built a cell for Fr. Hilarion in the yard, where he spent the Great Lent, eating one prosphora a day with water. He slept on the floor on the deerskin. Dad wanted to make the bed with the mattress for him, but Fr. Hilarion said, "If I sleep on the soft, I’ll oversleep the prayer". Sometimes sister Natalia came to Fr. Hilarion... Soon many citizens learned about the elders, and came for prayer and advice, but they did not accept everyone.
After serving the Liturgy for the Trinity (June 20, 1937), they said: "We served the last time. Soon we will be arrested and shot." My mother said, "Father Hilarion, we will hide you or take away somewhere." "No," he said, "We want to receive the crowns of martyrdom..."»
On June 23, 1937, was the last arrest. Father Hilarion was accused of "Participation in the revolution organization and agitation", that he was "the head of the secret Monastery". During the investigation, he did not plead guilty in participating the counter-revolutionary organization.
23 August, 1937, in case No. 723, on the charge of Metropolitan Kirill (Smirnov), Mitropolit Joseph (Petrovyh), Archbishop Alexy (Orlov) and others, an indictment was issued, where there was an accusation: "Tsurikov Hilarion and Laba Ivan - the leaders of the secret monastery in Mirzoyan, were under the leadership of Kobranov and Kirill Smirnov. They were leading an agitation against Soviet power, made a secret tonsure in monasticism. Did not plead guilty, were sentenced to death. Executed on September 4, 1937 in South Kazakhstan region. Buried in an unknown grave. July 5, 1958 rehabilitated by the Presidium of the South Kazakhstan regional court.
In August 2000, at the Jubilee Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, hieromonk Ilarion (Tsurikov) and hieromonk Ioan (Laba) were glorified in the Assembly of new martyrs and Confessors of Russia for General Church worship.
The Martyrs Hillarion (Tsurikov) and Ioan (Laba)
The commemoration date is - 22 August / 4 September
in the Cathedral of new martyrs and Confessors of Russia