(“Pis’mo k Redaktoru ‘Russkago Invalida’.” Russkii Invalid, 24 July 1856, No. 163, page 702.)


Father Yevgenii and the Russian Prisoners at Lewes.


Letter to the editor of Russkii Invalid – In the bloody affair at Balaklava on 13 October 1854 [25 October N.S.], I received five bad saber wounds of which two to my head—injuring the skull—rendered me unconscious. On coming to my senses the following day, I found myself in Balaklava in the hands of our enemy the English. As a prisoner of war, they transported me along with other Russian officers and soldiers, at first to Turkey where we were kept for more than half a year, and then to England where we arrived in the middle of August of 1855. The place designated for our stay was the town of Lewes, where we unexpectedly found the society of Russian officers taken prisoner after the Bomarsund affair. Here we recovered from our wounds and, receiving a sufficient allowance from the English government, were able to live quite well. Within the circle of our comrades patiently bearing the heavy burden of captivity, we accustomed ourselves to our situation and rarely complained of our sorry fate. The soul of our society, our preserver who comforted us in sorrow and was able to inspire cheer and energy was the archpriest [protoierei] of our embassy in London, Yevgenii Nikolaevich Popov. As soon as time and circumstances permitted, he was constantly visiting us in Lewes. His sensible direction and advice raised our morale and strengthened our patience. He made every possible effort to satisfy our material requirements, inquired after each of our individual needs, and never stopped caring for us until we were actually out of England. Whenever there was dissatisfaction between any of our officers due to some misunderstanding and relations grew cold, Father Yevgenii acted as mediator and peacemaker, and his irresistible influence put an end to unpleasantness between comrades. But that is insignificant. While cheering up his countrymen through his paternal love, Father Yevgenii took it upon himself to care for our family affairs with a zeal worthy of a true son of the Fatherland, and he was noticeably hurt and crushed if his efforts were not crowned with success. At all times he proved to be a person with a great understanding of honor, a true servant of the Church, and a patriot fervent with love for the glory and honor of the great Fatherland.


For me, returned to my beloved country from one and half years of captivity, it is now a pleasure to recall the tender fatherly care and warm sympathy given to us by Archpriest Yevgenii Nikolaevich Popov. In a feeling of deep and unbounded gratitude to this healer of wounds, I ask you, in the name of all my comrades who shared with me the sad fate of imprisonment, to find a place in your gazette for these few lines that too feebly express those heartfelt emotions that fill our souls in remembering the unforgettable Father Yevgenii.


                                                                                                                                              Georgii Belyavskii

Cornet, The Grand-Duke of Saxe-Weimar’s Hussar Regiment.
St. Petersburg, 10 July 1856.


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Translated by Mark Conrad, 2006.


Translator’s Notes:


On 20 August 1855, Father Yevgenii, “Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in London,” had been awarded the order of St. Anne 2nd class for his work in helping the prisoners of war.

Georgii (sometimes Grigorii) Ivanovich Belyavskii was promoted from an officer candidate yunker to cornet on 5 March 1854. After returning to Russia, on 30 June 1856 he was granted six months convalescent leave to be spent in St. Petersburg and Zmiëv District of Kharkov Province. In 1866, still an officer in what was now styled the 10th Grand-Duke of Saxe-Weimar’s Ingermanland Hussar Regiment, he retired to the reserves.