Sunday school students and their parents from the Lutheran Congregation of Kem, Karelia, visited Bolshoy Zayatsky Island of Solovetsky Archipelago in the White Sea. The boat trip was kindly offered by Fr. Simeon from the Russian Orthodox Church who is a skipper, the superior of two Orthodox monasteries (one of which is on that island) and a friend of Rev. Vladimir Yakushov, the pastor of the ELCIR Lutheran church in Kem. According to Pastor Vladimir, such trips are necessary: “It’s absolutely important for the upbringing of the younger generation that they often visit a place which reminds of both glorious and infamous pages of our history and where the blood of the martyrs was shed on literally every square meter. As church fathers testify, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
After the October 1917 Revolution, the Solovetsky Islands attained notoriety as the site of the first Soviet prison camp. The camp was inaugurated in 1921 and closed in 1939. Many of its inmates were Christian ministers.