Please Remember Kristina and her Child

If anyone is still in favor of the West arming Ukraine, please sit down and read further. As the title says, her name was Kristina. I don’t know the name of her child that she is seen still clutching in the photos. (Update: I’ve since learned her baby was Kira) They both died together on Sunday, 27 July, 2014 in Gorlovka (Horlivka), Ukraine. Gorlovka is located in the Donetsk region, a Russian speaking area of eastern Ukraine. From the nature of her wounds, it appears they were killed by a shrapnel burst from an artillery shell fired into a residential neighborhood. The Ukrainian army presently has Gorlovka surrounded, and is firing indiscriminately into the city. For anyone wanting to pray so that God may remember Kristina and her child, 29 July is their 3rd day, 4 August is their 9th day, and 4 September is their 40th day.


UPDATE: I have removed the photos of Kristina and Kira which have been circulating on the Internet showing them at the scene of their death.  For the reason why, you may click on this link to find an updated entry:   A few more words about Kristina and Kira.


I received a private e-mail asking me to explain the significance of the 3rd, 9th, and 40th days. While many Protestant groups in the West believe that the soul sleeps or even dies until final judgment, in Orthodox Christianity some believe that there are two judgments. The numbers 3, 9, and 40 have particular significance in Christianity. Christ rose from the dead after three days. Many Orthodox believe that a soul dwells on Earth for three days after its transition, where it may visit places and people to which it had a connection. The 9th day is important, because that is when the journey begins. There are nine classes of angels, and it is the angels who conduct a soul into the hereafter and protect it from demons on its journey. From the 9th to the 40th day the soul is shown the torments of hell. The 40th day is the most important because Orthodox theology holds that a soul undergoes its first or particular judgment on this day which decides where the soul will dwell until the final or dread judgment at the end of time. Ukraine is an Orthodox country, and has a very strong historical connection to Orthodox Christianity. While I don’t know if Kristina herself was a believer, it is appropriate to remember her and her child this way. To paraphrase something once written by St. John Maximovitch of San Francisco, Kristina and the child may be gone, but they are still in desperate need of our assistance. +++


8 thoughts on “Please Remember Kristina and her Child

  1. Quite interesting what you have written, I have never heard of that – about the days – before (not being Orthodox).
    I think her daughter’s name was Kira (I can’t say for sure).

  2. I need to offer some clarifications though. The journey I described is part of what is sometimes called, “the toll house theory”, the theological opinion of some Orthodox and Eastern Catholic scholars, and not a church dogma as defined in any of the Ecumenical Councils. The late Fr. Seraphim Rose of California wrote and lectured extensively on this topic to counter criticisms that Christianity offered little in the way to explain what happens to a soul immediately after death. Although heavily researched, and citing early church fathers, the theory he described remains quite controversial. Most of Fr. Seraphim’s research found its way into his book called “The Soul After Death” (Platina, CA: 1980, St. Herman of Alaska Press) which was published shortly before his death.

    On the substance of the prayers offered on these days, on the third day we pray that Christ, who rose from the dead, may resurrect our brother or sister into a life of eternal blessedness. On the ninth we pray that the Lord may number he or she with the nine ranks of angels in praising God in His throne on high. Then on the 40th day, that as Christ endured temptation in the desert after 40-days, He may save our brother or sister at the just judgement, and as Christ ascended into heaven 40-days after His resurrection, He may receive he or she up to the “highest heaven”. In any case, my original point was that people consider putting in a good word by bending God’s ear and praying!

    In the Ukrainian tradition, I understand there was sometimes a service for the repose of the departed soul offered every day of the 40-days, although it is not often practiced these days outside of monasteries.

  3. Thanks for your reply James.
    Hebrews 9:27 says: ‘And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement’ – nothing else to explain what happens after death i.e. in the intervening period, namely the 40 days afterwards.

    • Hello again, Ralph. I did say that the toll house theory is controversial. Let’s just agree to separate the matter of 3rd, 9th, and 40-day prayers from the toll houses.

      In the case of Fr. Seraphim, his research built upon older written works, and specifically the extensive writings of the desert fathers, those early desert dwelling monks, and our early saints which describe “toll houses”. I’m not sure what faith tradition you hail from, but Eastern Orthodoxy has always rejected the doctrine of sola scriptura, “by scripture alone” or that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. I’ve written on that topic here before. All the eastern churches, and even the Roman Catholics, reject sola scriptura. Orthodoxy does so because we wrote the Bible, it’s our book, and it took a long time to complete. Christ’s church predates the Holy Bible and all written scripture. The Apostles, our first bishops, did not have the New Testament when they began spreading the Word in the first century. It was their faith and our Holy Tradition that spread the Word. The Orthodox Church later convened the councils that vetted and compiled all the books that make up the Holy Bible which is the same Bible still used by the entire Christian world. It was almost four centuries before the last council (Carthage) put to rest the now established canon of the New Testament. That task was completed when there was only one Christian church, and it was Orthodox. So, much weight is placed on our Holy Tradition received down through the centuries, and the collected wisdom inherited from those early church fathers, and for that matter, several mothers too.

  4. James, by the way, can you read the Ukrainian and/or Russian languages, and if so, have you got the URL(s) to Kristina’s facebook and/or twitter page please? If you know it of course. Many thanks.
    Regarding what you wrote above, I believe differently, as God would make sure that His Word is as it is in the KJV. I do realise that your viewpoint and mine could result in a long discussion.

  5. Ralph, welcome back to my little blog. I can read bits of Ukrainian, but I seem to have lost the URL to her Facebook page. In any case, it had already been taken offline when I visited there. Yes, indeed, the debate has and will continue to fill books!

    • OK James, still many thanks for letting me know about Kristina.
      As to the various Bible versions/traditions, I think the simple/simplest answer is to ask Jesus for guidance regarding His Word, what’s true and what’s not, and which version is best. A short cut, if you like.

      • I have never been to any church council where God’s guidance was not asked for, but asking for Divine guidance is often not enough. That’s why I was writing earlier about the importance of tradition. St. Paul says as much in 1 Corinthians, and his letters to the faithful there give us a very good sense of what a mess the church in Corinth must have become with everybody setting themselves up as an authority and claiming Divine guidance. As for the various scholarly translations, there are many substandard and even heretical translations out there. I prefer the RKJV because I find the older English of the KJV to be very difficult to wade through. Many of the older words have obscure or very different meanings in the present day and age which is why reading the Bible by itself is not enough. Much of what I have been writing about is summarized very well by Metropolitan Kallistos (Timothy) Ware in his book “The Orthodox Church”. Met. Kallistos, whom I have had the privilege of meeting, is an Anglican convert to Greek Orthodoxy and has lectured for years at Oxford University. He is a prolific writer and very well traveled public lecturer. I also drew from the book, “The Sayings of the Desert Fathers”, translated by Benedicta Ward. Then, of course, Fr. Seraphim Rose and his book, “The Soul After Death”, which is also well worth reading.

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