Only Three Words

In the course of its long history, the Russian Orthodox Church has not been on, so to speak, the side of the angels quite as often as perhaps it should have been, but this account (extracted from a recent Spectator review of the memoirs of a Russian émigré) of priestly courage is too fine not to be retold here:

An account of an anti-religious rally in 1918 is particularly striking. The chairman innocently grants a village priest’s request to say ‘only three words’:

The priest climbed up to the podium … and called out in a loud voice, ‘Christ is arisen!’ And as if with one voice came the response, ‘Truly, He is arisen!’ The old man was immediately arrested.

It is not, I suppose, too difficult to guess his eventual fate.

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