The testimony of Valentina Solovyova

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Klimenty Petrenko (1889 – 1975)

Participant of the First World War. He was called to the front in 1914. He was captured in Germany. He was in captivity for 7 years.

All the prisoners worked in a coal mine. The work was hard, the food was poor. Klimenty escaped from the captivity on the second attempt. The first time he ran with his friend, but they were caught on one of the guarded bridges, brought back, and severely beaten. For the second time, Clementy decided to act on his own.

He faked seizures of epilepsy in front of a non-commissioned officer, that is why he was released from hard work. Everyone who could not work at the mine collected sap in the forest. One day, during lunch, the prisoners of war lit a bonfire. The guard dozed off at this time. Clementy decided that the hour of escape had come.

Seeing that the guard was napping, he began to imitate that he really wanted to go to the toilet and began to retreat into the bushes. The prisoners of war remained silent. The second escape was successful.

Klimenty went around the cities. He walked only at night, tried to hide during the day. He asked people for food, matches. In total, the journey home took a whole month. In Bessarabka he met a fellow villager. It was more fun to go further. In Glinka they went to the vineyard to eat. They were detained by a German patrol. Due to the fact that Clementy knew the language, they were released.

His wife was waiting for him at home. But before they went to war, they were married for only 2 years. During their captivity, they were visited by evangelical stundists. It was there that Clementy first really learned about God.

When he came from captivity, he saw the Gospel from Anastasia Evdokimovna, his wife's own sister. Anastasia received this Gospel from the priest as a gift for her good studies. Clementy began to study the Holy Scriptures, to search for believers in the spirit. In Strumok, Spassky there were believers who came to visit. Clementy began to explain to people the essence of the Gospel.

The Romanians summoned Clementy, forbade spreading the Gospel, and beat him. One day the priest sent the headman to Anastasia Evdokimovna, asking her to take the Gospel from Clementy. But the seed was sown, people began to turn to God.

In 1933, the construction of the House of Prayer at 59, Gagarin St. began in Tashlyk. In 1934, its opening took place. In 1943, the authorities closed the House of Prayer. During the year, the building of the Prayer House was used as a warehouse, then as a club. In 1944, the House of Prayer was returned to the church.

PS: Anastasia Evdokimovna (1900-1957) is my grandmother. Klimenty's wife – Maria Petrenko (maiden Voloshchuk) (1891-1970). Anastasia and Maria are sisters.