Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/64

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53
LEBEDEFF AND COMPANIONS

which was contrary to their principles. For this they sorely reproached themselves, the more so because when some of their brethren in prison with them were transferred from the prison to Siberia, these three who thus gave way in weakness were left behind and treated as soldiers. They still remain in the Ekaterinograd penal battalion. They feel their position keenly, but endure with patience, though very weak and ill, and manifest much tenderness of spirit. A visit paid to them in December '96 is thus described by a correspondent:—


"January 1897.

"Anthony Fofanoff from Elisavetpol went to see the brethren who were left behind in the penal battalion—Matthew Lebedeff, Nicholas Fofanoff, and Kalmikoff. He went there on the 25th December 1896. He visited them, and talked with Lebedeff, who, in reply to Anthony's question, why he stayed there in that murderous place, said that he had been the object of a severe attack on the part of the authorities.

" His story was as follows:—'They sent letters addressed to me from the brethren, the purport of which was to beg me to fortify the brethren who were in the battalion. The colonel was furious with me, and had me repeatedly flogged for it, for such letters always pass through his hands.'

"He begged me to give this message to all the brethren and his mother.:—

" 'Please God, I shall recover. My heart is very sore that I could not hold out against the whole of the punishment'; and again, 'I shall get over it, I am very grieved myself about it.'

"When Anthony gave them bread and provisions, Lebedeff