Moscow, December 29, 2017
Much of the session was dedicated to this year’s many events commemorating the 1917-1918 Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the restoration of the patriarchate to the Russian Church and the enthronement of St. Tikhon as patriarch.
Among the decisions taken by the Synod was to approve the inclusion of two more names into the Synaxis of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Orthodox Church, reports the site of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“Having heard the report of His Grace Bishop Pankraty of Troitsk, Chairman of the Synodal commission on the canonization of saints, the members of the Holy Synod decided to approve the decision to include the names of Archpriest Christopher Varfolomeev and Fr. Pavel Kushnikov in the Synaxis of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, and to place the given matter on the agenda of the upcoming Council of Bishops,” said Vladimir Legoida, the head of the Synodal Department for Church, Society, and Media Relations.
The Synod also approved a number hymnographic texts. In particular, the bishops approved and recommended for Church-wide use the liturgical services to Hieromartyrs Nikolai and Innocent, priests of Novosibirsk; Hieromartyr Peter, Archbishop of Voronezh; and the New Martyrs of Evdokia Daria, Daria, and Maria of Puzovsk. They also approved the Akathists to the “Nurturer of Children” Icon of the Mother of God, St. Luke of Crimea, and St. Innocent of Penza and Saratov for liturgical and home usage. It was also resolved to send the texts to the publishing house of the Moscow Patriarchate to be included in liturgical collections.
The Synod also decided to add St. Fomar (Mardzhanova), who was canonized by the Georgian Orthodox Church in December 2016, to the calendar of the Russian Orthodox Church. The great schema-abbess of the 19th and 20th centuries had also labored in Russia.
Archpriest Christopher Varfolomeev was born into a priest family in 1883 in the Vyborg Province. He graduated from both the St. Petersburgh Theological Seminary and St. Petersburgh University, with a law degree. He participated in the 1917-1918 Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church as a delegate of the Finnish Orthodox Church. He later served as a priest in various Leningrad churches from 1921 to 1934. He was arrested on January 17, 1934 for supposed counterrevolutionary activity, but staunchly refused to testify. He was condemned to five years in a labor camp, dying on September 8, 1938 in a camp hospital. His place of burial is unknown.
Fr. Pavel Kushnikov was born into a priest family in 1880 in the Novgorod Province. He graduated from the Novgorod Seminary in 1905 and was ordained 1913, serving for five years until his martyrdom. During the First World War, he established a food distribution center for his suffering parishioners. Some of his parishioners officially accused him of disobedience to the new government in 1917, though he was then acquitted. However, on February 22, 1918, he was unexpectedly arrested and charged with concealing weapons for the White Guard. Fr. Pavel was taken to a swamp and shot the next day.