Three years ago in the parish of the Annunciation Church the Orthodox Medical Center "Zhizn" ("Life") was established. The goals of the Center are: to provide people with reliable information about the murder of innocent unborn babies, about abortions, about contraceptives, about the concequences of these things, of these sins. Unfortunately, the activity developed by Lenin and other Bolsheviks (who were the first to legalize abortion) is still being developed in our post-socialist society. Having been the first to overwhelm the world with Communist terror, our country has also been the first to legalize abortion. Today pressure from physicians on a pregnant woman to have an abortion, even if she is against it, is usual. Such physicians just follow the famous words of Stalin: "When there's a man, there's a problem; no man - no problem." This cynical and demonic policy caused about 100 million deaths during the Communist terror in our country. But the number of victims of the terror against the most innocent - against the unborn babies is greater. Last (1994) year alone, according to official statistical data, 3,060,000 abortions were performed in Russia. In fact, this number is higher.
Here is a true life story: Mrs M. was a patient in a hospital, 31 years old, a Commercial Director of a firm. Her three first pregnancies were aborted. Her fourth pregnancy resulted in a premature childbirth in the 28th week. The weight of the new-born boy was 1060 g, the length - 35 cm. His neck was wrapped with the umbilical cord. He was immediately taken to the intensive therapy unit, because of a brain hemorrage and breathing difficulties. Three hours later they began mechanical artificial respiration. Within a month the baby suffered severe pneumonia, within 4 months he was being treated with antibiotics. Within this period he had some breath arrests. Because of the brain hemorrage hydroencephalia (brain dropsy) set in, so he had to be treated with antibiotics, also he had required punctures of the brain verticles. At the age of 4 months he was transferred to the department of neurosurgery.
It's a quite typical example of abortion side-effects. One can find many hundreds of them. There are statistical data of such after-effects of abortions influencing the health of women and their children. Among these there are sepsis, inflammations, uterus rupture, cancer etc. But these physical and medical after-effects of abortions are only one, even though the most evident, side of coin. Abortion is not only a risky operation, it's the murder of an innocent baby as it is proven exactly that a human embryo is a human baby possessing its own individual personality. So, this murder, this very serious sin, influences not only the body of a woman but also her soul as well as the souls of those who perform the abortion. This sin also influences the life of the family and the life of any future children.
Any priest who regularly hears confessions can give numerous examples of how this sin of murder influences the life of a family, the life of children. One time a very upset old lady came into Church, approached a priest who was hearing confessions. She said that all her children (she had three) died within a month, such a bitter sorrow. Why was it? The priest asked her whether she had abortions. She confessed that she had had three... So, she had refused to bear three of her children, and killed them as she didn't want them, but many years later the three other children she did want were taken from her. She repented, then she became a pious Christian (she had not come to Church before the tragedy).
This example illustrates that the sin of abortion results in many severe consequences:
1. The break-up of families (even though one of the arguments of the pro-abortion position is that abortions can make a family happier or keep it stable. A good, healthy family cannot be built upon the foundation of innocent blood).
2. This sin also influences the life and personality of other children in the family who usually are very naughty. It is a rule that those parents who wanted to make their life easier, to have only two children and to kill the rest, say three, these parents usually have many more problems with their two than they might have had with five.
3. Having influenced the life of the family, abortions also influence the life of the whole society causing an increase of criminality, violence, terrorism etc.- the efforts to build a happy life on innocent blood results in more bloodshed. In Russia we see and feel it very strongly. Our history in the 20th century proves it indisputably. In the 19th century Theodor Dostoevsky said that he would not approve any revolution which would result in the death even of one child. These were prophetic words. The Russian revolution started with some thousand victims, soon abortions were legalized by Lenin, then the red terror followed...- all these things have been done to build paradise on earth (communism) but this led to a hundred million adult victims (and how many babies?) and hell on earth as we witness today. Holy Scripture teaches about these things (so, the only new thing in the repression of the Bolsheviks and the Nazis and in the pro-abortionists' activity is the scale): "They (Israelites) shed the innocent blood of their sons and of their daughters whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan" (the idols of today are earthly happiness, egoism and many others which call us to give up Christ's Cross and to serve our own desires and passions), "and the earth was polluted [in Septuagint - killed] with their blood" (Ps 106.38) - these things we can see today as well.
So, we see the dangerous consequences of abortion - many problems of women who had abortions and their children too, the break up of families, moral and social problems (the increase in criminality, in violence, in terrorism - if the murder of innocent is allowed - so...). Why do these consequences follow? There are some reasons: 1) the moral and spiritual condition of human beings, because as we commit such murders we become increasingly hardened, insensitive, cruel, and 2) the justice of God who punishes both parents and children for the sins of the former. Why does He do it? God loves us, His creatures, doesn't He? Why does He punish us? Such questions remind us of complaints of spoilt children. He punishes and convicts those whom He loves - all of us. He does it to convert us to the way of salvation and repentance as He wants for every person to be saved. And the above story about the old lady illustrates this. She came to Church, repented and, we believe, was forgiven. Today we celebrate the memory of the first martyrs for Christ - of the innocent babies of Bethlehem. In the Church hymns the Church's view of this event is reflected. Herod's loathsome act is called "the struggle against God", Who gave life to the babies - the same is the nature of abortion:
Today we hear Rachel's lamentation and weeping and great mourning. She is weeping and would not be comforted. Why? As we just now heard, the murdered innocent babies are in the place where there's no lamentation nor sorrow. What and for whom does she mourn? She mourns for us who like Herod murder innocent babies and in this way struggle against God, against Christ (some people who commit abortion even call themselves Christians - nonsence? but the way of repentance is open for everybody). Rachel would not be comforted because she sees that the number of the murdered babies is multiplying, that the land is polluted with their blood and this blood is calling for God's justice. So, she is mourning for us who are provoking God's wrath, who do not want to repent, to stop the murder of innocent.
All the Holy Fathers, all the Ecumenical Councils, the witness of the Holy Scripture, the entire doctrinal, moral and Spiritual Tradition of the ancient Church condemns abortion. There is absolutely no question that abortion is totally forbidden by Christ and His Church. It has always been so. Our task is to awaken our people to this sacred Truth to save the lives and the souls of millions.
Maxim, Bishop of Serpukhov (a town near Moscow), as a layman Michail Alexandrovich Zhizhilenko, was born on May 2, 1885. There were 9 children in his family. While a student of the Medical Department of Moscow University, he married a student. Their family life was very brief: being pregnant his wife left Moscow for her parents, for the town of Eisk. In Eisk she died as it was impossible for her to bear her first pregnancy. BOTH HUSBAND AND WIFE REFUSED FLATLY TO HAVE AN ABORTION WHILE THEY BOTH KNEW THAT HER PREGNANCY MIGHT CAUSE DEATH. Having graduated the University, Michail Alexandrovich worked in the hospital of Sokolniki (Moscow) as a psychiatrist. Later on he became the chief doctor of the prison "Taganskaya" (Moscow). His life was pious, even ascetic: people knew him to sleep on uncovered planks, to eat prison meals, to distribute all his salary among the prisoners. He used to do so both under the Bolsheviks and under the Tsar. Being ordained bishop he couldn't help to draw the Bolsheviks' attention. He was arrested in 1929. On July 6, 1931 he was murdered. So, God by His inscrutable but always loving beneficial means led both wife and husband to the greatest Christian feat, to martyrdom. Both did have a choice: to kill the baby in the womb and save her own life or not, to deny Christ and the bishop's ministry and save his own life or not. But both kept their commitment to Christ even to their death, so, they fullfilled the vocation of any Christian: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life". We believe, they acquired these.
An official statement from the embryology department of the biological faculty of Moscow State University condemned abortion in these terms: "From the point of view of modern biology (genetics, embryology) a human being's life begins from the moment of the merging of masculine and feminine sexual cells when a new nucleus is established, the one containing unique genetic data...
During the entire prenatal period a new human being can not be considered as a part of mother's body: it must not be dealt with as an organ or a part of the body of mother... So it is obvious that abortion accomplished at any term of pregnancy is a deliberate ending of human life (the life of a human being as a biological individuum)."
The Dean of the Embryological Department, Biological Faculty, Moscow State University Proffessor, Dr. of Biology, V.A. Golichenkov
There are different dreams. Some of them are meaningless, but some are very special, prophetic. In my early years I had one of the latter kind.
I dreamed: I was standing in absolute darkness and hear a voice, it exclaimed to me: "A mother is going to kill her own child!" I was horrified. Then I woke up terror-striken.
My room was full of bright sunlight, sparrows were chirping in the street. I checked the time: it was 8 o'clock. My mother-in-law who slept in the same room woke up.
"What horrible dream I've had!" - I exclaimed, then I retold her my dream. My mother-in-law sat in the bed, very agitated, and looked at me very attentively.
"You've had this dream just now?"- she asked.
"Yes," - I replied. She cried.
"Why, Mama?"- I was amazed. She wiped eyes and said very sorrowfully: "We know that you are a religious person, that's why we've decided not to inform you that today your sister-in-law, Ksana, is going to the hospital for the abortion. Now I told you."
I was terror striken.
"Mama, why didn't you prevent it?"
"What can we do? They, she and Arkadij, already have three children. He can't feed such a big family. Ksana has to work too, but if she has a baby, she'll have to nurse."
"If God grants a baby, He'll also provide the parents all they need to bring him up. Nothing can happen against God's will. I'm going to Ksana, I'll try to change her mind.
"My morther-in-law shook her head: "You can't do it, she is about to go to the hospital." But I didn't listen to her. As I had on only a night-gown, I threw on my coat, put on my shoes, took beret and ran out of the house.
We lived far from Ksana. To make my way shorter I switched from a tram to a bus, then to another tram. However, my watch indicated 9 o'clock...
"O Mother of God, help me!" - I prayed. I and Ksana ran into each other in the hall of her house. She was sad and distressed, she had a small case in her hands. I embraced her and murmured: "Dear! I know the matter! Last night I had a horrible dream, it was about you. A voice in the dream told me: "A mother is going to kill her own child!" Do not go to the hospital!"
She stood in silence for a while, then she caught me by the hand and began to pull me towards the escalator.
"I won't go there," - she said crying,- "I won't! Let my baby live!"
So, she gave birth to her son. He's grown up. He is the kindest of her children, and the favorite of the family. Glory be to the All-Merciful God!
The Medical Educational Center "Life" was established in Moscow in April 19, 1993 by the Orthodox community of the Annunciation Church. The goals of the center are: to provide people with the reliable information about abortions, contraceptives and their consequences, to offer a Christian witness to this and to coordinate the efforts of those who oppose abortions in order to form Pro-Life movement in Russia. The Center has a paid staff of 10 people, and several hundred volunteers. Our activities include the following: to publish and distribute educational and informational materials, to deliver lectures at schools and hospitals, to teach the staff of medical institutions, to keep in touch with the mass media. The publishing team of the Center has translated and published the book "Abortions" by Metropolitan Meleti (Greece). The Center has also printed a leaflet "Thou Shalt Do no Murder"; more than 900,000 copies of the leaflet were distributed in many cities and towns of Russia. Booklets "On Family Planning" and "The Sermon at The Feastday Of Innocent Babies of Bethlehem" were published, as well as the collected articles "Save and Guard". Lecturers of our Center have delivered more than 1300 lectures at schools and hospitals. Our materials were distributed at about 700 medical institutions in Moscow. Information concerning the activities of the Center "Life" and its materials were distributed in many dioceses and parishes of Russian Orthodox Church. Many addressees in the territory of the former USSR regularly receive our booklets and other Pro-Life materials. 16 articles have been published in different local newspapers on the basis of our materials. 13 active local branches of the Center have been organised. The Center has conducted 8 tutorials and seminars for the staff. A handbook for lecturers was written. Special broadcast talks were arranged on the radio and TV, a series of articles was published in newspapers and magazines. We supply methodical aid, free distribution of our materials to all who are eager to participate in the Pro-Life movement.
When I was young, I was very self-confident. I wasn't afraid of any difficulties. I gave birth to my son. When it was discovered that he was paralysed I wasn't able to accept it. For three years we visited the best physicians in the best clinics. They told us that my son would never see and hear, he wouldn't be able to understand, he would contribute nothing to society. My husband insisted on our placing the baby to the children's home. I did so and worked there as a nurse. I was on duty every second day but all free days I spent near my son. Even when I worked I used to go to see him. Whenever I entered his room he was looking at the door and waiting for me... The little boy felt keenly, it was a hard time for us both. I got divorced from my husband and took my son home. For some time he seemed to be a heavy burden for me. Many questions tormented me: what then? "What is this punishment for? How will I nurse him when he'll be 5, 10, 20?" Many years passed. Now he's 22. He's a disabled person (of the 1st grade). But our life was transformed! 9 years ago we were baptized. One may say that our situation is very hard: we get a small disability pension, but the Lord helps us. I know undoubtedly: one should accept all things granted by God. One mustn't refuse one's cross lest it be harder. Many difficulties happen to those who refuse their cross, they usually get distressed. One should endure all the difficulties, then the Lord grants consolation. Year after year I love my son more and more, he grants me more joy. I learnt a lot from him: he loves all our visitors, he can show it in spite of the fact that he knows only five words. He prevents anybody from saying anything bad about any person. He is glad to meet every person, he gives thanks very cordially, he easily forgives any offences. He is very nice in contacts. His soul is very kind and lovely as those who nurse him can learn. Now I give sincere thanks to our Lord for granting me my son.
Our Pro-Life activity faces strong opposition from different organisations. Most powerful of them are the PP Associations and the firms producing contraceptives. These organisations are much richer and more poweruful than the Center (comparatively young, whose income consists of donations only). Nevertheless, the Center succeeded in bringing the Pro-Life witness to the masses in Moscow and other Russian cities and towns.
Those who want to join pro-life movement in Russia should contact us.
Our address: Russia, Moscow, 125414, ul. Krasnoarmeiskaya, d. 2/2
tel. (095) 211-1636
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