Orthodox Estonia

Saint Plato, bishop and holy martyr of Revel (Tallinn) and those with him:

Bishop Plato, in the world Pavel Petrovich Kuldbush, was born on July 13, 1869 in the province of Riga, in the family of a church reader. In 1893 he graduated from the St. Petersburg Theological Academy with a master’s degree and became a priest. In 1894 (according to other sources, 1904) he was appointed trustee of the Estonian Orthodox Church “St. Isidore ”in St. Petersburg. In 1917-18 he was a participant in the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. On Dec. 31. In 1917, at the request of the clergy and parishioners in Riga, he was ordained bishop of Revel (now Tallinn), by the Vicar of the Diocese of Riga, Metropolitan Benjamin of Petrograd and Bishop Artemiy Luga, having been tonsured and elevated to the rank of Archimandrite seven days earlier. Then, on Jan. 10. In 1918 he was appointed bishop of Riga.

Bishop Plato eagerly began to restore order in his diocese, which had been disturbed during the revolutionary clashes of 1917, a terrible time: theft, violence and murder abounded. No one was sure what the next day would bring, and everyone was in need of spiritual encouragement and reassurance. During the short period of his episcopate, Bishop Plato personally visited 71 parishes to restore church life and soothe perplexity in the souls of his flock with words of love and faith.

This did not last long. On Dec. 19. In 1918, the German troops occupying Estonia left the city of Tartu (Yuriev). Three days later, the Bolsheviks recaptured the city and their second terror began there. In just 24 days, more than 500 people were arrested and more than 300 were shot. On Jan. 2. In 1919, when Bishop Plato was recovering from a serious illness, he was arrested on the streets of Tartu by the Bolsheviks and imprisoned with several others in the Credit Bank building, which had been turned into a dungeon. On Jan. 14. In 1919, at 10:30 a.m., about 20 of the prisoners were taken down to the dungeon and executed. After the retreat of the Bolsheviks, about 20 bodies were removed from the bank’s dungeon, some of which were disfigured beyond recognition. On the body of ep. Plato found traces of seven bayonet injuries and four gunshot wounds, one of which was from a dum-dum bullet in his right eye. The thumbs of his right hand were frozen in the sign of the cross …

Two priests were shot dead by Bishop Plato – Archpriest Nikolai Bezhanitsky and Father Michael (Blave). Father Nikolai was born on December 14. 1859 and graduated from the Riga Theological Seminary. On Jan. 16. In 1883 he married the daughter of a candle. Ioan Kazarinov, Maria Ivanovna Kazarinova, and in turn had two daughters. He served in Pernov County, and later in Vira, Viland and Tartu – as chairman of the Estonian Orthodox Church “St. Georgi ”. During his service in Wieland, Fr. Nikolai saved eight innocent people from death at the risk of himself. His popularity among the people was extremely high because he was ready to save everyone – Lutheran or Orthodox, Estonian or Russian. When he served in Tartu, he became especially popular with students because they had a holy wedding with him free of charge. He also helped needy families, and was generally a model of Christian love. In the last hours in the prison in Tartu, Fr. Nicholas behaved with incredible calm and dignity, for which he was called the patriarch of all prisoners.

On February 9. 1919 the body of the Most Reverend Ep. Plato was solemnly buried in Tallinn and on the left choir of the Transfiguration Cathedral. The date of the death of the bishop and his victims was proclaimed a day of general mourning in free Estonia. The bodies of the two priests shot with him were buried in the Assumption Cathedral in Tartu; and annually on January 14 for many years thereafter, a solemn memorial service for them was held in the presence of all the city’s clergy, both Orthodox and Lutheran.

In the Church of the Transfiguration in Tallinn (Issanda Muutmise kirik, “Suur-Kloostri” 14) a bust of St. Plato of Estonia was erected in 1931, made by the famous Estonian sculptor and painter Amandus Adamson (born in Paldiski in 1855 – early . In Paldiski, 1929).

In Estonia, the memory of All Estonian Saints is celebrated on November 18/1. Among them, in addition to the Bolsheviks martyred by the God-fighting martyrs in Tartu described above, are:

1.Holy martyr Isidore of Tartu (Yuriev) and 72 martyrs who suffered with him in 1472, whose memory is celebrated on November 23./Dec. 6.

2.St. Rev. John and Rev. Vasa from the Pskov Cave Monastery (15th century), whose memory is commemorated on the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost (the day of All Venerable Monks from the Pskov Cave Monastery), as well as separately for St. John (March 29 / April 11). ) and for St. Vasa (March 19 / April 1).

3. St. Venerable Serapion of Pskov (1482), – on 15/28 May and 7/20 Sept.

4.St. Venerable Martyr Cornelius of the Pskov Cave Monastery (1570), February 20 / March 5.

5.St. Arseniy (Matsevevich), Metropolitan Rsotovsky (1772), February 28/13

6.St. John of Kronstadt (1908), Dec. 20 / Jan. 2.

7.Martyrs of Ivangorod: Dimitri (Chistoserdov) and Alexander (Volkov) (1918), Dec. 26 / Jan. 8.

8.Martyr John (Koshurov) (1917), Oct. 31/13.

9.Martyr Sergius (Florinski) of Rakvere (1918), December 17/30, June 19 / July 2 (discovery of the relics).

10. St. Agatangel (Transfiguration), Confessor of the Faith, Metropolitan of Yaroslavl (1923), 3/16 Oct.

11. St. torment. Nicholas (Siimo), priest from Kronstadt (1931), 5/18 April.

12. Martyr Carp (Elb) (1937), 11/24 Sept.

(Sources: Akty Svyateishego Patriarkha Tikhona, St. Tikhon Theological Institute, 1994, pp. 886-87, 988; Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1949-57, part 1, pp. 82-83; Russkiye Pravoslavnye Ierarkhi , Paris: YMCA Press, 1986; T. Milyuntina, “Protoierej Nikolai Bezhanitsky”, Vestnik Russkogo Khristianskogo Dvizheniya, N 168, II-III 1993, pp. 181-196).