“At the time of the cruel persecution in the Soviet Union under Stalin, public meetings were regularly held in order to ridicule religion, the church and the priests. On one occasion the inhabitants of a town were summoned to the main square. From a platform on the square, a fluent ‘scholarly’ atheist, who seemed to have many proofs against the Bible, God and the clergy addressed the public.
The crowd had listened silently. But when the local priest was called to the front to answer this brilliant oration, an uneasy muttering rippled through the crowd. The man went and stood close to the microphone and everyone held his breath. The tension could be cut with a knife, and you could hear a pin drop. What would his answer be?
We shall never know what went on in the heart of this man – his fear, his prayer – but at last his voice could be heard, resounding through the loudspeakers, not only to the crowd, but also to a large part of the city: “Khristos voskrese!” Christ is risen!
For one split second there was silence. A shudder went through the crowd and then, as a blazing testimony to the priest and to the atheist opponent, the cry broke out, unanimous and powerful: “Voistinu voskrese!” The Lord is risen indeed!”
Standing Strong Through the Storm
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