Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Rodionov - a private soldier of the Russian army – was killed in captivity in the Chechen Republic for refusal to convert into Islam and take the enemy’s side. Numbered with martyrs as a locally venerated saint in Astrakhan Eparchy of Russian Orthodox Church.
Yevgeny Rodionov was born on May, 23rd 1977 in Chibirlei Settlement, (Kuznetsky District of Penza Region). At the age of 18 (in 1995) he was summoned to the army and served in frontier troops. After military training in Unit 2631 in Ozersk town of Chernyakhovsky District, Kaliningrad Region Private Rodionov was sent to serve on a frontier post on the border of Ingushetia and the Chechen Republic.
On February, 13th, 1996, only a month after their arrival there, he went on post together with private soldiers Andrey Trusov, Igor Yakovlev and Alexander Zheleznov. During the watch they stopped an ambulance car, in which the brigade general of “Chechen Republic of Ichkeria” Ruslan Khaikhoroev and a dozen of enforcers were transporting weapons. During their attempt to examine the car the young soldiers were taken prisoners. When their disappearance from the post was discovered, the soldiers were initially announced as deserters. Militiamen came home to Yevgeny Rodionov’s mother to search for her lost son. Only later, after detailed survey of the place and detection of traces of blood and fight the military recognized that the vanished soldiers had been taken prisoners.
Yevgeny Rodionov was brutally beheaded in Chechen captivity in the Settlement of Bamut on his 19th birthday - May, 23rd, 1996. Incidentally or not, it happened to be the Ascension Day. On the next day Bamut was seized by Russian troops, but it was too late…
Ruslan Khaikhoroev later admitted the murder. In the presence of a foreign representative of OSCE he confessed: «… he had a choice to survive. He could have changed his faith, but he refused to take off his cross. He tried to escape…». On May, 23rd, after 100 days of imprisonment and cruel tortures, Yevgeny Rodionov and his fellow servicemen were again ordered to remove the crosses they were wearing and accept Islam. After their refusal Andrey Trusov, Igor Yakovlev and Alexander Zheleznov were shot down, whereas Yevgeny Rodionov was beheaded, when still alive.
Soon after Yevgeny’s capture his mother Lyubov Vasilievna arrived in the Chechen Republic in search of her son, who had been labeled as a deserter. While nobody in the Russian army seemed to care about four missing soldier boys the elderly woman risking her own life spent nine months in Chechnya before she finally found traces of her son. She was made to pay a huge amount of money for his body to the man who had supposedly murdered him. The mother dug out her son’s body with her own hands and the help of sappers and identified it by his underwear cross. Later expertise confirmed his identity.
Yevgeny Rodionov was laid to rest by the Church of Ascension of Christ in the vicinity of Satino-Russkoe Villages of Podolsk District, Moscow Region.
He was posthumously awarded the Order of Courage and the Glory of Russia order. In 2009 School 4 of Kuznetsk town in the Penza Region was named after him.
September, 25th, 2010 saw unveiling of the monument to Yevgeny Rodionov in the form of a bronze candle with its flame embracing a soldier who is holding a cross. The sculpture Memory Candle was created by sculptor Sergey Georgievich Mardar.
The cross once worn on Yevgeny Rodionov’s neck was handed over by his mother to St. Nicholas Church in Pyzhi and is kept in the altar there.
In late 2003 Yevgeny Rodionov was suggested to be canonized. One of the initiators was Chairman of Committee «For moral revival of Fatherland», archpriest Alexander Shargunov from St. Nicholas Church in Pyzhi. In the beginning of 2004 the Synod Commission on Russian Orthodox Church Canonization rejected the proposal on the grounds of absence of authentic data on martyr death in the canonic sense and showing that Yevgeny Rodionov lived a conscious church life.
On October, 21st, 2008 soldier Yevgeny Rodionov was numbered with martyrs as a locally venerated saint of Astrakhan Eparchy of Russian Orthodox Church. Warrior Yevgeny is also a locally venerated saint in Serbia. Some priests suggest his glorification as "Warrior Martyr Yevgeny Rodionov and other sufferers with him - soldiers Andrey, Igor and Alexander".
Church of Saint Martyr Yevgeny was opened in Altai on August, 10th, 2002 in memory of Yevgeny Rodionov and his patron saint. A church in honour of martyr Yevgeny Rodionov was founded in Khankala Settlement of Chechen Republic. Dozens of churches in Russia have icons depicting Soldier Yevgeny, Martyr of Christ. Lots of Christians believe that they are wonder-working icons; there are legends that Soldier Yevgeny appears before some people at war and helps them out.