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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Judith, Martyred Missionary of Russia 's (Book Review and Author's Biography)

Over a year ago on of my most dearest sisters in faith, Kinuko, introduced me to the bookJudith, Martyred Missionary of Russia A True Story by Nikita Ignatievich Saloff-Astakhoff. The book describes the story of  a Jewish girl who became a Christian. Her faith had a very high cost: family, fiance, cultural identity, and ultimately her own life. The Russian name of the book is Невеста Христа (Юдифь)—Bride of Christ (Judith). You can get free version in Russian by clicking on the title.
The book consists of six different chapters: happy days of childhood, refugees, seek and you shall find, persecuted for Christ's sake, dedicated to the Lord, the youthful martyr. Each chapter has it's own style.

Happy Days of Childhood

Judith was the oldest child. Her parents didn't have any sons. 
From the early age the girl was inquisitive about God. She would always asked her father about  
the Scriptures. One summer night, during a stay at her grandfather's summer residence,  Judith overheard the argument between her grandfather and another rabbi. The guest suggested that Jesus "Yeshua" was the promised Messiah. That statement caused great commotion.
Judith's grandfather became livid when Judith asked him about "Yeshua" and yelled at her. Judith dropped the subject.


After WWI started, the family left everything behind. The family moved far away from the German border. During their journey to a new home Judith reminded her family about the Exodus.They have to start from the scratch.
The life becomes better.Judith falls in love with Solomon—the son of her parents friends. Her father resumes his business. Everything looks well for the family. It seems like Judith stopped her religious inquiries and became satisfied with what her nation had to offer.

Seek and You Shall Find

Judith keeps questioning the meaning of life. She cannot reconcile the idea that there is no God. She is also wondering if God is unknown and did not reveal himself to people. The quest reignites the interest for religion. She doesn't tell her parents that, but instead opens up to Solomon, who professes to be an atheist/agnostic.
The young couple decides to visit churches. One day Judith have noticed an invitation for Jews to visit a church meeting. Solomon goes with her. 
At the end of the meeting Judith fell on her knees and gives her life to Jesus Christ. That action infuriates Solomon. The man realizes that he is not an atheist. He drags Judith out of the building.

Persecuted for Christ's Sake

Judith conversion outrages the entire family. Solomon want old Judith back. He and her family try everything To get Judith back. They try to convince Judith to go to dance halls and theaters. She refuses. Her parents confine Judith to her room. She embroiders  and prays for those who cause her sorrows. Every sorrow she takes to Jesus. Whenever possible, she attends the church.                           Eventually her family invites a local rabbi to talk some sense into her. Judith doesn't waver in her faith. She tries to share the knowledge with the rabbi, who becomes furious. The engagement between Solomon and Judith is broken. Her family denounces Judith. She leaves the city.                     God did not forsake Judith. She found new church and got a job to support herself. Judith still keeps in touch with her other and sisters. They still hope that Judith will return. Her mother has hope because Judith was not baptized yet.                                                                                                         Judith decided to get baptized. At that point she has been involved in every church's activity. When Judith comes visit her family.She tells her sisters about Jesus. Her parents give her another chance to "return to her nation" Judith refuses to renounce her faith in Christ. She tells them that she was baptized. At this point the mother curses Judith. Judith is banished from her home. She cannot hug her sisters.                                                                                                                                                   With the help of her pastor Judith leaves the city. Judith only took her Bible from the parent's home: church people supplied other  things and money for the trip.

Dedicated to the Lord

One day a missionary was speaking in the church. He was talking about the blood bath of civil war and how the entire country was in it. The man asked i anyone was ready to volunteer to become a missionary. He warned his listeners about many dangers they will encounter. 
Judith volunteered to become a missionary. Her health was frail. She joined the group. The were going from village to village preaching the saving knowledge of  Jesus Christ. Judith was always busy with the work. 
They came across a house wherein she saw typhoid children. Judith, along with other missionaries, took care of them. She contacted typhus. The girl almost died. During her delirium she spoke in old Hebrew language. Nobody could understand the words she was saying. Eventually Judith recovered from the disease. After her illness, she became a different person. The group leader suggested that Judith need to take time time to recover in one of the missionary hoses. She refused to do so. 
Judith was not focused on her earthly life at all.She stopped grieving separation from her nation and family. She knew that her end was approaching. Judith also thought that Jesus would be coming soon, in her lifetime. 

The Youthful Martyr

The soldiers became more ruthless as Judith preached the Gospel more fervently. She was not deterred by the weather or the army. She wanted to go and visit people right away without any rest or food. During her last days she was more fervent than ever. 
One day she went to a nearby village by herself. After reading the Bible and talking about God to a group of local people, she was confronted by Makhnovists soldiers. Judith was praying before her death. As she finished praying, the soldiers attacked her with sables. 
The group could not bury her themselves, it was too dangerous. They paid locals to do it. Judith was buried with her Bible.    
"Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor's crown." Revelation 2:10
Nikita Ignatievich Saloff-Astakhoff (1893-?) was born in a Russian Orthodox family. He studied at a university. He was the member of Youth Christian Union. During World War One he was serving in engineering troops. In 1917 became believer. He joined Baptist Evangelical Christian Church. He joined Russian Tent Mission and after Russian Revolution worked in Kharkiv Province. Nikita Ignatievich was the head of the mission (1919-1923). Soon after he emigrated to the USA. He founded the Youth Christian Union in New-York. Nikita Ignatievich participated in the Mennonite Bible Course. Until 1936 he was the elder of Baptist Society of New-York.

Sorry for the short author's autobiography. That's all I was able to find. The excerpt was in Russian.

At the time f her death Judith was between age of 21-25.
The book (published by Zondervan 



  1. Thank you for introducing the story of Judith.When I read the article introducing the book on KInuko's blog,I had interest in it,But hard to find the book in Japan.

    I heard that in Israel,Messianic Jews/Jewish christians are not still accepted by Jew community.There are also persecutions like violence attack,refusing from families.
    I hope this beautiful testimony of Judith read by many readers,hopefully also by Jewish christians.

    May God bless Russian christians and all people who love Jesus.


    PS Yesterday,big earthquake occured in Kumamoto,Japan.Please
    pray for Japan.May we christians ask God truly,and may our country people know Him.Thanks.

    1. I keep Japan in my prayers. I have met few Jewish Christians. They are from different continents. May your light shine forward.

  2. Dear Irina,
    Thank you for your wonderful introduction and review. It is good to know that it is available online in Russin. Her life is a strong testimony that Jesus is the Savior and the Lord. with love and thanks, Kinuko

    1. Dear Kinuko,
      Thank you for your comment. Judith's life is such an amazing example of great Christian testimony.