(See my earlier post here. And, for a rich and edifying life of Fr Igor, I highly recommend issue 291 of The Orthodox Word.)
Above all, this is a rare, astonishing glimpse into the making of a saint. Heed the words of Archimandrite Lev Akhidov in his sermon reported at the end of the article:
Who killed Fr. Igor? Satan himself. He is the adversary: the adversary of Christ and the adversary of faith. He is the adversary of truth. But the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church. Here, on an empty place, Fr. Igor began his ministry. He was successful, for which reason the envier of the human race could not stand it and decided to eliminate him, so that Christian singing and the preaching of the Gospel would die down here… A beautiful church has been erected on this place. I repeat Tertullian’s maxim: "The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity."I sense that a new 'cloud of witnesses' is being assembled in the early years of the 21st century. This calls for faith, vigilance, and patient endurance from us all. May the adversary of Christ and His Church, the adversary of Truth, not find us unprepared.
|Fr. Igor serving a Moleben|
May 13, 2013, marks the twelfth anniversary of the martyric death of Priest Igor Rozin on the feast day of St. Ignatius, Bishop of the Caucasus, in the city of Tyrnyauz in the North Caucasus.
One cannot drive to the foot of Mount Elbrus except through Tyrnyauz. The road from the city takes a rapid turn upwards until it reaches Terskol. There it ends: above that, one can proceed only by cable or on foot.
There is, however, one more way: from the north, from Kislovodsk, on a mountain road. That is the way that stubborn mountain climbers took when the road through Tyrnyauz was closed for nearly an entire year, from February to November 2011, when a counter-terrorist operation was underway here. Today this operation is often still declared, but not for long: usually for a day or two, during which the news shows stories of how a cache of explosives was located or an apartment in which militants were entrenched was stormed. Few people outside of Tyrnyauz pay attention to this news: today television shows too much of it. But it is another story when you live here. People entering the city encounter roadblocks. Resting his elbow on the butt of a machinegun hanging from his chest, a solider in body armor smokes next to an armored personnel carrier. A black mask covers his face. Other gunmen beside him check the Soviet-era cars parked at the roadside.
In the distance one can see the empty-eyed skeletons of buildings belonging to the Tyrnyauz Mining and Ore-Dressing Integrated Plant, which was once famous throughout the entire Soviet Union. In the beginning of the 1930s tungsten-molybdenum ore was discovered and the city was built, but the plant began to fade in the early 1990s and has since completely shut down. This once flourishing garden city has been plunged into poverty and desolate chaos. But what has not been taken away from this place is the beauty of God’s world, which shows through the distorted features of modernity.
The unusual, almost radiant air gives the landscape a certain unreality – perhaps this is a quality of the mountain, or perhaps of this place. The velvet sides of the mountain, the ragged cliffs, the grey peak of Totur, looking down on Tyrnyauz, the eagles pumping their wings in the air currents – everything is so beautiful that it is as if you were in one of the fabulous countries you read about as a child.
To the right, on the mountain slope, one can see the city cemetery. Over one of the graves is a tall canopy topped by a cross. It was installed recently, a couple of years ago, as was the black marble cross, now hugged by a viburnum bush. Before this, the grave of Priest Igor Rozin looked like almost all the others, with the exception that beyond its fence, both then as now, one could often see people praying.