Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/18

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7
THE SPIRIT-WRESTLERS

war is a great sin, and they exhorted their sons taken as recruits, though they submitted to the various regulations of the service, never to make actual use of their arms. Nevertheless, the introduction of the conscription among people who considered every murder and act of violence against their fellow-men to be a sin, greatly alarmed them, and caused them to think over the degree to which they had departed from their belief.

At the same time, in consequence of an illegal decision of the Government departments and officials, the right to the possession of the public property of the Spirit-Wrestlers (valued at half a million roubles) passed from the community to one of their members, who, for his own personal advantage, had betrayed the public interest. This called forth the protest of the majority of the Spirit-Wrestlers against this individual and his party, who had thus become possessed of the public property, and against the corrupt local administration, which had been bribed to give an unjust decision in the case.

When, besides this, several representatives of the majority, and among them the manager elected to administer the communal property, were banished to the government of Archangel, this awakening assumed a very definite character.

The majority of the Spirit-Wrestlers (about twelve thousand in number) resolved to hold fast