Posted by: davidlarkin | February 1, 2022

Prayer of a Soviet Prisoner

Soviet Gulag Prison Camp

Photo: Solovki Prison Camp, Soviet Union

Location: Solovetsky Islands (1,400 km north of Moscow)

Period of existence: 1923-1933

Max. number of prisoners: 71,800

The “grandfather” of all Soviet camps, strictly speaking, Solovki existed long before the Gulag. It was essentially a testing ground for the use of mass prison labor. “The use of prison labor arose from there,” Leonid Borodkin, head of the Center for Economic History at Moscow State University, told radio station Echo of Moscow.

On the icy islands in the White Sea, tens of thousands of prisoners felled trees, built roads, and drained swamps. At first, the regime was relatively “soft” — but by the late 1920s it had become a genuine hellhole. Uncooperative prisoners were beaten with sticks, drowned, and tortured. Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his exposé work The Gulag Archipelago described Solovki as a “polar Auschwitz.”

In the early 1930s, Solovki was disbanded, and the prisoners were moved to other camps. The test had proven successful — and the time had come to expand the system across the entire gigantic country.

from “8 of the Most Evil Gulag Camps of the Soviet Union”


Here is a prayer I read today from a Soviet Prisoner. It is inspiring and clearly shows how the Holy Spirit comforted him a gave him a gift of true prayer.

Prayer in a Soviet Prison

The greatest miracle of all is prayer. I have only to turn my thoughts to God and I suddenly feel a force bursting into me; there is new strength in my soul, in my entire being . . . The basis of my whole spiritual life is the Orthodox liturgy, so while I was I was in prison I attended it every day in my imagination . . . At the central point of the liturgy . . . I felt myself standing before the face of the Lord, sensing almost physically his wounded, bleeding body. I would begin praying in my own words, remembering all those near to me, those in prison and those who were free, those still alive and those who had died. More and more names welled up from my memory . . . the prison walls moved apart and the whole universe became my residence, visible and invisible, the universe for which that wounded, pierced body offered itself as a sacrifice . . . After this, I experienced an exaltation of spirit all day — I felt purified within. Not only my own prayer helped me, but even more the prayer of many other faithful Christians. I felt it continually, working from a distance, lifting me up as though on wings, giving me living water and the bread of life, peace of soul, rest and love.

Anatoli Levitin, USSR

—- from The Lion Prayer Collection edited by Mary Batchelor, at p. 191


  1. Wow. So helpful to me! I’ve been sick ten years. V.e.r.y. Lonely. If has been do or die for me. I love it. And hate it. The death of my flesh. I bless my lonely life. 💐

    • I pray that the Lord will comfort you in your loneliness. Here is a prayer for the lonely.

      Prayer for the Lonely People

    • The prayer for the lonely is also guidance for the lonely.

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