In my post on the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, I mentioned my particular devotion to the New Martyr Benjamin, Metropolitan of Petrograd, who was executed on the night of 12/25 to 13/26 August 1922. At the time I didn’t have my copy of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, in which I first learned of this holy Martyr, but I have recently recovered it. There, Solzhenitsyn points out that St Benjamin was the first elected Metropolitan ‘since the days of ancient Novgorod the Great’, and describes him briefly, ‘A gentle, simple, easily accessible man, a frequent visitor in factories and mills, popular with the people and with the lower clergy’ (Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956, An Experiment in Literary Investigation: I-II, trans. Thomas P. Whitney [NY: Harper, 1974], p. 349). Solzhenitsyn recounts some of the show trial St Benjamin received on pp. 350-2, but it is recounted in more detail here. According to this account, when told that the tribunal wanted to hear about himself, St Benjamin replied:
About myself? But what else can I tell you about myself? One more thing perhaps: regardless of what my sentence will be, no matter what you decide, life or death, I will lift up my eyes reverently to God, cross myself and affirm: 'Glory to Thee, my Lord; glory to Thee for everything.'