May 01, 2001

Working Through History

There is an interesting history behind the picture (taken by Valery Bliznyuk, who we profile on page 18) on the cover of this issue. Local lore has it that, in the early 1700s, the Virgin Mary appeared to local residents of Solovetsky Island near where this structure now stands. In the vision, she told them that they should build a monastery and church here and call it the Second Golgotha, because one day this site would be glorified by martyrs.

The monastery and church were built and functioned for two hundred years. But in 1922 they were closed when Solovetsky became one of the first Soviet camps for political prisoners. Subsequently, many victims of the camps—martyrs all—were buried near the site of this 200 year old prophecy.

Russian history is rich with such unexpected touchpoints.

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