33 – Feb. 02 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


They were given four days to prepare for trial
 The trial of Veniamin Markevich, the pastor of the independent Baptist church in Ordzhonikidze, Russia took began Jan. 24, 1983 and ended on Feb. 2nd.  The other two pastors on trial with him were Veniamin Chistyakov, and Vasily Mikhin.  They were given four days to prepare for trial.  The testimony of witnesses made it clear why the KGB had to silence them.  One teacher said, “Our school has a great atheistic program, but because of the activities of the defendants, practically nothing comes from it.”  Of course as these cases went in the past, the outcome was already determined and the sentences pre-set, and the elderly judge ready to rubber stamp the verdict.  Politically, an important change had just taken place in Russia.  Leonid Brezhnev, leader for 18 years had just died, and the central committee had just appointed Yuri Andropov as General Secretary.  He had been the head of the KGB, and in speeches had lashed out at the Western powers, and he had called for a stronger show of force and this was a part of this effort internally.  Pastor Mikhin received three years, Pastor Chistyakov four, and Pastor Markevich received five.  It took one-hundred days to transport Pastor Markevich from the Caucasus to Yakutia in Siberia.  Somehow his wife was able to find his location and traveled 600 miles to see him.  She was allowed thirty minutes with him.  However their families learned to trust God and continue with their lives under these trying circumstances.  He learned that his daughter was to wed Pastor Chistyakov’s son.  He was moved from time to time to different prisons, but by the grace of God he was released eight months early in Feb. 1987.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 67-68.

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