Tuesday, June 11, 2019

When St. Luke the Surgeon Was Asked in Court About Believing in a God He Couldn't See

St. Luke the Surgeon performing surgery.

In the summer of 1921, wounded and burned Red Army men were brought from Bukhara to Tashkent. Within a few days of travel, in hot weather, many of them had colonies of fly larvae under their uniforms. They were delivered to the hospital at the end of the working day, when only the doctor on duty remained in the hospital. He examined only a few patients whose condition was causing concern. The rest were left to be.

By morning among the patients of the clinic, there was a rumor that doctors allowed wounded soldiers to be infected with worms. The Emergency Investigation Commission arrested all the doctors. A quick revolutionary court began, to which experts from other medical institutions in Tashkent were invited, including Professor Voyno-Yasenetsky (St. Luke).

The Latvian Y.H. Peters, who was at the head of the Tashkent Cheka, decided to make the court indicative and acted as a public prosecutor on it. When Professor Voyno-Yasenetsky received the floor, he resolutely rejected the accusation's arguments: “There were no worms there. There were larvae of flies. Surgeons are not afraid of such cases and are not in a hurry to clean the wounds from the larvae, since it has long been observed that the larvae act to heal wounds beneficially."

Then Peters asked: "Tell me, Father and Professor Voyno-Yasenetsky, how do you pray at night, and during the day you cut people?"

Professor Voyno-Yasenetsky replied: "I cut people to save them, citizen public prosecutor."

Then the Professor was asked: "How do you believe in God, Father and Professor Voyno-Yasenetsky? Have you seen him, your God?"

"I really have not seen God, citizen public prosecutor. But I have operated a lot on the brain and, opening the skull, I never saw the mind there either. And I did not find conscience there either."

The charge fell through. Instead of being shot, the dean of the medical faculty, Peter Sitkovsky, and his colleagues were sentenced to 16 years in prison. But a month later, they began to be released to work at the clinic, and after two they were completely released.