Gillespie Writes Allegory Depicting Separation of Church and State in Bolshevik Russia

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Donald S. Gillespie’s “Kashtanovka” is an Historic Allegory Depicting the Conflicting Church-State Relations in Bolshevik Russia.

Holy Fire Publishing ( releases “Kashtanovka: Let the Tocsins Ring” (Paperback, $13.99, ISBN# 978-1-60383-510-7). Donald S. Gillespie’s allegory depicts the calamitous consequences that followed the Bolshevik novel concept of separating Church and State.

“Kastanovka’s” narrative portrays the discordant relations between Church and State in revolutionary Russia: all Church figures depicted are real. The plot involves a young peasant girl, Masha, and Egor Vasilievich, an aspiring Bolshevik banker, whose relationship, like the concept of “separation” of the Church and modern state, is one of ambivalence, concealment and indifference, with disastrous consequences.

Masha, the principle character, seeks personal holiness despite the militant and troubled times threatening to overwhelm her. Both she and Egor represent the two fundamental realities of Church and State, of the good and ever-present potency of evil. In her attempt to save the integrity of her soul, Masha is portrayed not just as a mother but as one pursuing the narrow way of true judgement, a path attained only by sacrifice of what is finest of self. The story is “historic” fiction, concerned with the facts and real characters that frame its schematic theme of sanctification through suffering. Its appeal in ethics touches on the Church’s concept of law as an essential constituent for humanising society.

“To my knowledge, the human aspects of this story remains terra incognito to historians; the sham of Lenin’s soviet trial of 16 Polish priests in Moscow 1921–2 has never been told. While sectarian churches fled the Bolshevik state in 1919, over 7000 Catholic priests were murdered and Orthodoxy under Tikon capitulated to Bolshevism. Meanwhile, Germany, suffering under the burden of the Treaty of Versailles, was ripe for revolution when the Polish army stopped Lenin’s Red Army at the Battle of Warsaw in 1920. Lenin, in response, rounded up the Polish Catholic hierarchy and priests and made a spectacle of their executions. That is the historical background of the novel.The facts contained in the broad narrative were learned first-hand in 1973–4 from Russians in Montreal and the Dukhobor community in Springfield, CT, some of whom had intimate experience of the Ural lead mines and the harsh treatment of inmates; others told of their escape southward to Odessa, thence to Canada.”

Donald S. Gillespie was born and educated in Scotland. Having completed his mechanical engineering studies in Glasgow, he attended London Bible College, thence to Glasgow University, where he was trained in the ministry for the Church of Scotland. Years of aggressive liberalism compelled him to immigrate with his family to Canada, where he converted to Catholicism. His non-fiction and historic writings reflect his deeply held Christian beliefs. He continues to write and enjoys travelling on spiritual “caminos” in the footsteps of St Paul. He lost his late wife, a medical doctor, to pancreatic cancer but enjoys visiting family in the UK and USA. His three adult children are professionals in education, medicine and psychology. His personal charity for autistic children receives all royalties from his writings.

Holy Fire Publishing (, publisher of hundreds of Christian books, helps Christian authors reach the world through the printed word.

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