May 31, 2015

Holy New Hieromartyr Philosophus and His Sons Boris and Nicholas (+ 1918)

St. Philosophus and His Sons (Feast Day - May 31)

The Holy Hieromartyr Archpriest Philosophus (Ornatsky) was born in the village of Erga in the province of Novgorod. His father was a priest. In 1885 Philosophus completed the theologial academy of St. Petersburg and married a woman named Helen. After being ordained a presbyter he worked pastorally in developing a huge philanthropic and missionary ministry.

He became spiritually associated with with Patriarch Tikhon and during World War I he stood by the soldiers and their families. His son Nicholas served in a higher office in the 9th Russian Battalion and his son Boris was appointed chief of the 23rd Artillery Brigade and fought heroically in the Austro-Hungarian front.

One of his brothers, Fr. John Ornatsky, married the niece of Saint John of Kronstadt and he served in St. Petersburg. Saint John of Kronstadt loved Fr. Philosophus very much and would visit him often in his home.

After the revolution of 1917, Fr. Philosophus continued with greater zeal to preach and liturgize, and would do so in dangerous places. Among the victims of the Bolsheviks was his son-in-law, Fr. Peter Skipetrov. Fr. Philosphus was an eye-witness of the martyrdom of his son-in-law.

All this violence was unable to bend this priest's heroic and martyric mindset. The editor of "Novoie Vremia", Souvorin, wrote to him: "Fr. Philosophus, you are our only hope. Everyone else around us is silent."

The Holy Hieromartyr and Archpriest Philosophus was arrested on 20 July 1918 together with his sons by the state security, and they were taken to the prisons of Kronstadt. They were executed by being shot to death, and in this way they gave the testimony of their faith in our Lord and God.