Moscow (AsiaNews) – Orthodox Churches and monasteries across Moscow will join in prayer on August 8th to remember the victims of the Great Terror the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the mass executions of 1937-38 in the Butovo shooting range, close to the Russian capital. Here under the Stalinist regime, the NKVD secret police shot and buried “enemies of the state”, in this case above all priests, religious and lay of all: above all the Orthodox, but also Catholics, Jews, Muslims and Armenians.
The public foundation St. Andrew’s Flag, has initiated an international religious education project called ‘Under the Star of the Mother of God’. Under this project, a river cross-procession from Solovki to Butovo started with a blessing of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia. It is devoted to the victims of the political repression of the 1930s. The Solovki archipelago was the deportation centre for all opposes of the communist ideologies, and where in 1923 the first nucleus of what was to become infamous as the Gulag, the Stalinist concentration camps.
In the Moscow Churches – refers the Interfax religion agency – a funeral rite or panikhida, will be held commemorating the victims of the mass killings of 1937-1938. According to some of the data which has emerged from the Lubjanka archives, in Butovo, in the space of 14 months over 20,675 people were killed. In all, according to official estimates, the Great Terror provoked over 700 thousand deaths.