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Русский перевод в

My good wife ( has trained her shotgun (Kalashnikov?) in the direction of Paris, towards St Maria Skobtsova and her promoters. 

My first comment is that before my death I will destroy all paintings, drawings or doodles or the like done beyond age 10.

I admit that the canonization of Mother Maria has never sat easy with me. In any canonization, there are two players: the candidate saint and those who seek to have him/her canonized.

It is the latter group I feel unsure of. I cannot avoid the feeling, right or wrong, that there was a group of people in Paris who were very keen to have Mother Maria canonized as much as to have a figurehead for their own clique (the Paris Russian exile group, threatened by the 1990s with a loss of their specific identity) than for the good of the church as a whole. This was a determined group who absolutely wanted her canonized, and they moved heaven and earth to get it done.

For me a heroic death in a wartime situation warrants a medal, not canonization. Would, I ask, have Mother Mary have been canonized if she had been run over by a truck, been left to die of hunger in an isolated cell or simply survived the war?

If I had to create a shortlist of canonizable persons from the Russian exile group in France, I would not have put her at the top. Why her and not Fr Alexander Elchaninov, Fr Serguei Schevitsch or the members of the Zernov family?  

Is it accidental that the effort to canonize her took place right at the time when the living memory of her was dying out? I note, and again, if I am unfair, I stand to be corrected: 

- one piece of verbal tradition I got was from a priest who occasionally served at Rue Lormel in Paris, where Mother Maria’s was based, who said that ‘if the woman had known how to keep her mouth shut, knowing that her phone was tapped, she and others would not have ended up in Ravensbrück’: 

- another was from the man who was my sponsor in entering in Orthodoxy in 1993, now dead, who knew her second ex-husband from before the war and said that the latter suffered from being 'dumped' so that Bishop Evlogi could make her a nun;

- it is well known that her name is expressly not honoured, nor is her icon permitted to be displayed, in one of the key churches of the Paris emigration, in my view the most spiritually solid, which has a collective memory going back to when Mother Maria was alive.


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October 2015

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