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The Commemoration of St. Peter of Krutitsa & Learning from the New Russian Martyrs

The first time Toby and I attended a Russian Orthodox service was the Saturday evening Vigil at our now-home parish of St. Nicholas. (I have written of that experience here .) There are icons all over the walls and on stands to be venerated, as you find in all Orthodox parishes. One caught my attention in particular and I was quite drawn to it. It was this one you see above. We did not know who it was, but I could not stop looking at it. It brought me peace. I noticed initially the birch trees (that look like aspens which I love), the birds, the rabbits, the train, the snowy, wintry environment, and the clergy there. The icon in our church is old and dark. I actually did not initially see the bear! Toby asked our archpriest who it was and it took a bit for him to know which icon we were talking about because neither of us had noticed the bear. We learned that it was St. Peter of Krutitsa, a Metropolitan, who was martyred for not falling in line with the Soviet state. He's huddled u

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