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Spiritual healing in the Stalinist era

From the May 1999 issue of The Christian Science Journal

In 1918, as a dark whirlwind of change was sweeping Russia into what would be a seventy-year chapter of communism, a young Russian woman, Olga Alexandrovna Barteneva, was experiencing a revolution in her own thought. Her new study of Christian Science would be a rock of rest and support in the face of state atheism and Stalinist terror.

Ms. Barteneva's embrace of this religion would grow so strong that she could not hide her belief in its message of spiritual healing even after she was arrested and sentenced to the gulag where, minus her Bible and Science and Health, she would spend a decade with nothing but God's thoughts and her own prayer to sustain her through cold, hunger, and fear.

Barteneva is believed to be the only Christian Scientist out of those arrested on "espionage" charges in the 1930s to survive the Soviet gulag. What stands out most to those who knew her before she passed away in 1974 was that she had no bitterness about her ordeal.

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