New Martyr Evgeny Rodionov the Warrior Icon

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Materials: lime board, levkas, egg tempera, gold leaf 23K

Evgeny (Yevgeny or Eugene) Rodionov was born in western Russia in 1977. He was conscripted into the Russian army in 1995 and deployed to Chechnya in the midst of the First Chechen War.

While guarding a checkpoint, Evgeny and two other soldiers were taken prisoner by a group of Islamic rebels and held for 100 days, during which they were tortured. The captors offered to release Evgeny if he would deny Christ and throw away his baptismal cross. He had worn the cross since age 10, never taking it off, and he adamantly refused. Finally, on May 23, 1996 (which was his 19th birthday), he was beheaded, and his comrades were shot.

When Evgeny and the others turned up missing, the military police initially thought they had deserted; but his mother, Lyubov Vasiliyevna, could not accept this and went to search for him. By divine providence, she found the men who murdered her son. They extorted her to sell her apartment and give them the money, and in return they revealed the place where he was buried. She found his baptismal cross, which was still with his body, and gave it to the Church of St. Nicholas in Ordinka, Moscow, where it is kept as a relic.

Evgeny has not yet been formally glorified as a saint, although the Church of Russia has blessed the account of his life and martyrdom. Popular devotion to him as a saint and martyr has grown in Russia since the early 2000s, and many icons have been painted of him—a number of which have streamed myrrh. Miracles have been attributed to his intercession, and many soldiers invoke his prayers.

8"x10", recessed.