A Soldier-Martyr in Chechnya

An interesting story about Evgeny Rodionov (or Yevgeny Rodionov), a youthful and pious Russian soldier captured by Chechens and supposedly put to death after refusing to convert to Islam, has been doing the rounds. A martyrology has been written up in a pamphlet, “The New Warrior of Christ, Evgeny Rodionov”, by a colourful Orthodox Priest named Alexander Shargunov. Fr Shargunov manages to combine being an arch-nationalist, wanting an Orthodox monarchy, with being a supporter of the Communist party, which he believes could give the country strong government and would kick out the missionaries (I don’t read Russian, so I’m relying on this source for this). He is also responsible for a compilation called Tsar, By God Glorified, the Miracles of the Royal Martyrs III (scroll down) which contains some good old-fashioned anti-Semitism:

Even if many will become silent out of fear of the Jews about the murder of the Royal passion-bearers, the rocks will cry out: for the blood oozes out of the walls of Ipative house…

Rodionov is on fast-track to popular canonisation, despite some church resistance, and his icon has become popular among soldiers.

Perhaps the story of Rodionov’s murder is just as Fr Shargunov tells it, and a Chechen is quoted supporting the account. However, one wonders if the story has been embellished on stereotypical lines. The Brothers Karamazov contains an account of exactly the same story (Book III, Chapter 7, “Disputation”), set somewhere in Central Asia. The notes to my edition (Pevear and Volokhonsky 1991) state this was based on a true event which Dostoevsky mentions in his 1877 Diary of a Writer.

Of course, a Holy Martyr in Chechnya is just what’s needed now to stop Russians questioning what Russia is actually doing there in the frst place.

UPDATE (18 June): Shargunov reappears today.

More Satanic Panic in the UK

A news item from the British Sunday Mercury (serving Birmingham) reports that serial killer Fred West was involved with the occult. The source for this revelation? “Renowned Irish author Jim Cairns”, according to the hack concerned.

Renowned? Unlike the hack, who gets paid to do this sort of stuff, I spent about ten minutes on-line to find out who this distinguished source really is. Alarm bells went off very quickly. According to Cairns, just about every missing person in Ireland has been abducted by secret Satanic coverns for sacrifice. And who are the Satanists? Among others, the prime movers are, er, Evangelical and Charismatic Christians, whom he insists on calling “Born Agains”, and who he seems to think of as one controlled movement. And who are their leaders? Er, George W. Bush, apparently. Cairns, who is a great fan of David “Queen Elizabeth is a giant lizard” Icke, also goes on at rambling length about the CIA, paramiliataries and people he has fallen out with over the years (including his ex-wife).

The report then goes on to back Cairns up with mention of Valerie Sinason, a psychotherapist advocate of the existence of Satanic Ritual Abuse, without noting the many critiques of her methods and ideas, such as Jean La Fontaine’s work.

Although, about 20 paragraphs down, there is a mildly sceptical response from Dr Peter Maxwell-Stuart of St Andrew’s University, the newspaper raises Cairns to a level of respectability. Never mind that Cairns preys on our natural bewilderment of West’s evil to spread unnecessary fear and suspicion. Never mind that he puts the families of missing people through unnecessary torments. Never mind the damage done to serious efforts to counter child abuse and other crimes.

Who I am Not

Just in case people wonder, there are at least four people I am not. I am not Richard Bartholomew the JFK and 9/11 conspiracy theorist from Texas. I am not Richard Bartholomew the political cartoonist. And I am not Richard Bartholomew, author of books on India. I am also not Brother Bartholomew, the Satanic Catholic leader in Salem Kirban’s apocalyptic novel 666.