Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.

Isaiah 5.20.


Then shall be tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, nor ever shall be.

Matthew 24.21.


The Repose of Patriarch Tikhon


     The ecclesiastical situation in Russia in the first months of 1925 was very serious. Archbishop Seraphim (Lukyanov) wrote to Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky): “”His Holiness Tikhon is getting better after a third bold attempt on his life, but he has become very weak and is terribly exhausted. He frequently serves and receives people every day. They come to him from all corners of Russia. He has the following rule: every day he receives not more than 50 people; he speaks with no more than 10 hierarchs, and not longer than 5 minutes with the others. Sometimes in consequence of his weakness he receives people lying on a sofa. He has become much older and looks like a very old man. He has neither a Synod nor a chancellery around him. He avoids issuing written decrees so as to escape complications with the authorities. He has weakened not only physically, but also in his will – he has begun to make more concessions than he should, and is not firm. Therefore hierarchs often rebel openly against his decrees, and then he revokes his decisions.


     “In Moscow there are now around 60 hierarchs who have been appointed to various dioceses by his Holiness, but who have been detained by the authorities. These hierarchs are free and have no work. Their only occupation is to serve in various churches and thereby earn their bread, living somewhere and somehow…


     “His Holiness Tikhon enjoys enormous authority and love. It is forbidden to commemorate his name, in some places people are even persecuted for commemorating it. He himself does not force anyone to commemorate his name, and now in Russia they usually pray thus: ‘For their Holinesses the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Moscow”…


     “People in Russia are very unhappy with the political statements of the Carlovtsy Council; they consider that at this time hierarchs should wall themselves off from any political actions, since all this is blamed on the Patriarch. The attitude to those who have fled is in general negative. They are very much waiting for an Ecumenical Council, thinking for some reason that the union of the Anglicans and even of the Catholics will take place at it. Professor Dmitrievsky is even intending to go to the East for this. They are hoping that the foreign powers will force the Bolsheviks to let the Patriarch and the hierarchs go to the Council. They do not always have a good understanding of the situation of the autocephalous Churches and their attitude to our Church.


     “The question of the new calendar has not died down and it has many supporters, especially in view of the fact that the Bolsheviks do not recognize the old feasts and the believers are very constrained when they go to services. It seems that the Bolshevisk again want to put pressure on the Patriarch to introduce the new style…”[1]


     Shortly before his death, on the Feast of the Annunciation, 1925, the Patriarch confided to his personal physician and friend, Michael Zhizhilenko, that he felt that the unceasing pressure of the government would one day force the leadership of the Church to concede more than was right, and that the true Church would then have to descend into the catacombs like the Roman Christians of old. And he counselled his friend, who was a widower, that when that time came, he should seek the monastic tonsure and episcopal consecration.[2]


     That time came in 1927 with the notorious declaration of Metropolitan Sergius; and Michael Zhizhilenko, following the advice of his mentor, was consecrated as the first bishop of the anti-sergianist Catacomb Church in 1928, for which he paid with his life in Solovki in 1931. Thus was the concept and even the name of the Catacomb Church foreseen by the Martyr-Patriarch himself; it was, and is the “Tikhonite” Church.


     The concept of “the Catacomb Church brings to mind the situation of the Christians in Roman times, and again during the iconoclast persecutions, when the Church was forced to live in a semi-legal or illegal position vis-à-vis the State. Such a move was to prove still more necessary under the militant atheists of the Soviet anti-State, whose enmity towards religion was much fiercer than that of the pagan Roman and heretical Greek emperors.


     The idea that the Russian Church might have to descend into the catacombs, in imitation of the Christians in early Rome, was suggested as early as 1909 by the future head of that Catacomb Church, Metropolitan Joseph (Petrovykh) of Petrograd: “Now many are complaining about the hard times for the Church… Remembering the words of the Saviour with complete accuracy, we must expect still worse times for the Church… Without any exaggeration, she must truly live through a condition close to complete destruction and her being overcome by the gates of hell. Perhaps with us, exactly as in the land of freedom, America, they will drive the Name of Christ out of the schools. They will adapt prayer assemblies into ordinary meetings permitted by the police, as in that other land of freedom, France, and will convert the heritage of the Church, together with the very right of faith, into the property of the state. Perhaps the faith of Christ will again hide in the woods, the deserts, the catacombs, and the confession of the faith will be only in secret, while immoral and blasphemous presentations will come out into the open. All this may happen! The struggle against Christ will be waged with desperation, with the exertion of the last drop of human and hellish energy, and only then, perhaps, will it be given to hell and to mankind to assure us with complete obviousness of the unfailing power and might of the priceless promise of Christ: ‘I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against her’ (Matthew 16.18).”[3]


     The first Catacomb hieromartyr was probably the married priest Timothy Strelkov. He was beheaded by the Bolsheviks in June, 1918. But then his severed head was miraculously restored to his body. He was forced to go into hiding for twelve years until he was caught and executed for the second time in 1930.[4]


     In 1918, Patriarch Tikhon himself had called on the faithful to form unofficial, quasi-catacomb brotherhoods to defend the Orthodox Faith. Shemetov writes: “The brotherhoods which arose with the blessing of the Patriarch did not make the parishes obsolete where they continued to exist. The brotherhoods only made up for the deficiencies of the parishes.”[5]


     In fact, the organization of unofficial, catacomb bodies like the brotherhoods became inevitable once it became clear that the God-hating State was bent on destroying the Orthodox Church. Thus according to Archbishop Lazarus (Zhurbenko), “the catacombs began in 1922, when renovationism began. The Optina elders blessed the Christians to go into the catacombs...”[6] Meanwhile, the “Danilovites” in Moscow and the “Andrewites” in the Urals were already preparing for a descent into the catacombs. They clearly saw that the Church could no longer at the same time serve openly and have a pure confession of faith, untainted by compromise with the communists or renovationists. The history of the Church in the late 1920s and 1930s was to prove them right…


     On April 7, 1925, his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon reposed in the Lord (there are strong suspicions that he was poisoned[7]). According to his cell-attendant, Constantine Pashkovich, his next to last words, uttered with an unusual severity, were: “Now I shall go to sleep… deeply and for a long time. The night will be long, and very dark…”[8]


Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa


     On April 12, the deceased Patriarch’s will of January 7, 1925[9] was discovered and read out. It said that in the event of the Patriarch’s death and the absence of the first two candidates for the post of patriarchal locum tenens, Metropolitans Cyril of Kazan and Agathangelus of Yaroslavl, “our patriarchal rights and duties, until the lawful election of a new patriarch,… pass to his Eminence Peter, metropolitan of Krutitsa.” At the moment of the Patriarch’s death, Metropolitans Cyril and Agathangelus were in exile and unable to rule the Church. Therefore the 59 assembled hierarchs decided that “Metropolitan Peter cannot decline from the obedience given him and… must enter upon the duties of the patriarchal locum tenens.”[10]


     However, not all even of the Orthodox bishops accepted Metropolitan Peter’s leadership.[11] Thus Archbishop Andrew of Ufa, who had already proclaimed his diocese autocephalous on the basis of Patriarch Tikhon’s ukaz ¹ 362 of November 7/20, 1920, declared: “I cannot recognize any leadership over myself, as a diocesan bishop, until a canonical Council. I am very firmly aware of my canonical duties, so as not to forget my rights to protect my flock from every unworthy ‘episcopate’ and from all dark powers plundering our spiritual sheep. Besides these considerations, I, on the basis of the 76th Apostolic Canon and the 23rd Canon of the Antiochian Council, cannot recognize the transfer of the administration of the whole Church by any secret spiritual testaments. This game with testaments is completely uncanonical.”[12]


     The transfer of ecclesiastical power by testaments was indeed unprecedented; but it had received the approval of the Council of 1917-18, so it could hardly be said to have violated the conciliar conscience of the Church. There would, however, come a time when “this game with testaments” would come to end, and the ukaz of 1920 would indeed become the basis of the Church’s structure. But for two more years at least the patriarch’s testament enabled the Russian Church to maintain a visible as well as a sacramental unity under the leadership of Metropolitan Peter. 


     At the same time, there is no doubt that Metropolitan Peter, like Patriarch Tikhon before him, was distrusted by many churchmen, who suspected that he was too close to the communists.[13] According to A. Smirnov, “priests and monks in opposition to Patriarch Tikhon and Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa founded the first wave of underground communities and secret sketes and founded their own Hierarchy. Sergianism arose much later [in 1927]; the first catacombniks entered into conflict already with Patriarch Tikhon and Metropolitan Peter on the grounds that they were collaborators…”[14]


     The first need of the Church at that time was the convocation of a Council to elect a new Patriarch. But, of course, the GPU had no intention of allowing this. Their aim was a tamed Church – that is, a Church that accepted legalization from the government on the government’s terms. Or, failing that, another schism. And that only as a stage towards the Church’s final destruction; for, as the Central Committee member and leading party ideologist, I.I. Skvortsov-Stepanov, had said in 1922, although the schisms in the Church were in the party’s interests, in principle the party remained the enemy of all religion and would eventually struggle against all of them.[15]


     Encouraged by the Patriarch’s death, the renovationists energetically tried to obtain union with the Patriarchal Church in time for their second council, which was due to take place in the autumn of 1925. Their attempts were aided by the Soviet authorities, who put all kinds of pressures on the hierarchs to enter into union with the renovationists. Metropolitan Peter, however, proved to be, in the communists’ phrase, “a tough nut”, a rock against which the gates of hell surged in vain.


     He rejected all overtures towards union with the renovationists. And in a public proclamation dated July 28, 1925, after protesting against the propaganda of the uniates and sectarians, which was diverting attention away from the main battle against atheism, he turned his attention to the renovationists:-


     “At the present time the so-called new-churchmen more and more discuss the matter of reunion with us. They call meetings in cities and villages, and invite Orthodox clerics and laymen to a common adjudication of the question of reunion with us, and to prepare for their pseudo-council which they are convening for the autumn of this year. But it must be clearly recalled that according to the canonical rules of the Ecumenical Church such arbitrarily gathered councils as were the meetings of the ‘Living Church’ in 1923, are illegal.


     “Thus the canonical rules forbid Orthodox Christians to take part in them and still more to elect representatives for such gatherings. In accordance with the 20th rule of the Council of Antioch, ‘no one is permitted to convene a Council alone, without those bishops who are in charge of the metropolitanates.’ In the holy Church of God only that is lawful which is approved by the God-ordained ecclesiastical government, preserved by succession since the time of the Apostles. All arbitrary acts, everything that has been done by the new-church party without the approval of the most holy Patriarch now at rest with God, everything that is now done without our approval – all this has no validity in accordance with the canons of the holy Church (Apostolic canon 34; Council of Antioch, canon 9), for the true Church is one, and the grace of the most Holy Spirit residing in her is one, for there can be no two Churches or two graces. ‘There is one Body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all’ (Ephesians. 4.4-6).


     “The so-called new-churchmen should talk of no reunion with the Orthodox Church until they show a sincere repentance for their errors. The chief of these is that they arbitrarily renounced the lawful hierarchy and its head, the most holy Patriarch, and attempted to reform the Church of Christ by self-invented teaching (The Living Church, ¹¹. 1-11); they transgressed the ecclesiastical rules which were established by the Ecumenical Councils (the pronouncements of the pseudo-council of May 4, 1923); they rejected the government of the Patriarch, which was established by the Council and acknowledged by all the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs, i.e. they rejected that which the whole of Orthodoxy accepted, and besides, they even condemned him at their pseudo-council. Contrary to the rules of the holy Apostles, the Ecumenical Councils and the holy Fathers (Apostolic canons 17, 18; Sixth Ecumenical Council, canons 3, 13, 48; St. Basil the Great, canon 12), they permit bishops to marry and clerics to contract a second marriage, i.e. they transgress that which the entire Ecumenical Church acknowledges to be a law, and which can be changed only by an Ecumenical Council.


     “The reunion of the so-called new-churchmen with the holy Orthodox Church is possible only on condition that each of them recants his errors and submits to a public repentance for his apostasy from the Church. We pray the Lord God without ceasing that He may restore the erring into the bosom of the holy Orthodox Church.”[16]


     The epistle had a sobering effect on many wavering clerics. As the renovationist Vestnik Sviashchennago Sinoda (Herald of the Holy Synod) was forced to admit: “Immediately Peter’s appeal came out, the courage of the ‘leftist’ Tikhonites disappeared.” So at their renovationist ‘council’ “Metropolitan-Evangelist” Vvedensky publicly accused Metropolitan Peter of involvement with an émigré monarchist plot, producing a patently forged denunciation by the renovationist “bishop” Nicholas of Latin America.[17]


     The Bolsheviks gave ready support to the renovationists in their battle against Peter. Thus Savelev writes: “On November 11, 1925, Yaroslavsky, Skvortsov-Stepanov and Menzhinsky [members of the commission for carrying out the decree on the separation of the Church from the State] were discussing Tuchkov’s report ‘On the future policy in connection with the death of Tikhon’. A general order was given to the OGPU to accelerate the implementation of the schism that had been planned amidst the supporters of Tikhon. Concrete measures were indicated with great frankness: ‘In order to support the group in opposition to Peter (the patriarchal locum tenens…) it is resolved to publish in Izvestia a series of articles compromising Peter, and to use towards this end materials from the recently ended renovationist council.’… The censorship and editing of the articles was entrusted to the party philosopher Skvortsov-Stepanov. He was helped by Krasikov (Narkomyust) and Tuchkov (OGPU). This trio was given the task of censuring the declaration against Peter which was being prepared by the anti-Tikhonite group. Simultaneously with the publication in Izvestia of provocative articles against the patriarchal locum tenens, the Anti-Religious commission ordered the OGPU ‘to initiate an investigation against Peter’.”[18]


     Meanwhile, Tuchkov initiated discussions with Peter with regard to “legalizing” the Church. This “legalization” promised to relieve the Church’s rightless position, but on the following conditions:


1)      the issuing of a declaration of a pre-determined content;

     2) the exclusion from the ranks of the bishops of those who were displeasing to the authorities;

     3) the condemnation of the émigré bishops; and

     4) the participation of the government, in the person of Tuchkov, in the future activities of the Church.[19]


     However, Metropolitan Peter refused to accept these conditions or sign the text of the declaration Tuchkov offered him, thereby continuing to be a rock in the path of the atheists’ plans to seize control of the Church. For, as he once said to Tuchkov: “You’re all liars. You give nothing, except promises. And now please leave the room, we are about to have a meeting.”


     On December 5, 1925 Metropolitan Peter composed a will in the event of his death. And on the next day he wrote another in the event of his arrest, indicating three deputies: Metropolitan Sergius of Nizhni-Novgorod, Metropolitan Michael of the Ukraine, and Archbishop Joseph of Rostov.[20] On December 9, the Anti-Religious Commission (more precisely: “the Central Committee Commission for carrying out the decree on the separation of Church and State”) met and approved of the activities of the OGPU in inciting the Church groupings against each other. They also determined the timing of Metropolitan Peter’s arrest. And the next day, December 10, Metropolitan Peter was placed under house-arrest…[21]


     On December 12, Metropolitan Peter was imprisoned in the Lubyanka. The other possible locum tenentes, Metropolitans Cyril and Agathangel, had already been exiled. And nearly a month earlier, on November 19, a group of bishops living in Moscow and of like mind with him were also arrested: Archbishops Nicholas of Vladimir, Pachomius of Chernigov, Procopius of the Chersonese and Gurias of Irkutsk, and Bishops Parthenius of Ananievsk, Damascene of Glukhov, Tikhon of Gomel, Barsanuphius of Kargopol, Ioasaph of Chistopol and others.[22] The communists had removed the last canonical leaders of the Russian Church, and they were ready now to place their own candidate on the throne of all the Russias


The Miracle of the Cross in the Sky


     A critical turning-point in the history of the Greek Church was the appearance of the sign of the Cross in the sky over the Old Calendarist monastery of St. John the Theologian near Athens. This greatly strengthened the faith of the people that God was with them in the struggle. Bishop Lazarus (Puhalo) writes: “In 1925, on the eve of the Exaltation of the All-Honourable and Life-giving Cross of our Saviour, September 14 according to the Orthodox Church calendar [27 according to the new], the all-night vigil was served in the church of St. John the Theologian in suburban Athens. By 9 o’clock that evening, more than 2000 true Orthodox faithful had gathered in and around the church for the service, since very few true Orthodox churches had been accidentally left open by the civil authorities. Such a large gathering of people could not, however, go unnoticed by the authorities. Around eleven p.m. the authorities despatched a battalion of police to the church ‘to prevent any disorders which might arise from such a large gathering.’ The gathering was too large for the police to take any direct action or to arrest the priest at that time and so they mingled with the crowd of worshippers in the already over-flowing courtyard of the church.


     “Then, regardless of the true motives for their presence, against their own will, but according to the Will which exceeds all human power, they became participants in the miraculous experience of the crowd of believers.


     “At 11.30 [during the procession of the Litya] there began to appear in the heavens above the church, in the direction of the North-East, a bright, radiant Cross of light. The light not only illuminated the church and the faithful but, in its rays, the stars of the clear, cloudless sky became dim and the church-yard was filled with an almost tangible light. The form of the Cross itself was an especially dense light and it could be clearly seen as a Byzantine cross with an angular cross bar towards the bottom. This heavenly miracle lasted for half an hour, until midnight, and then the Cross began slowly to rise up vertically, as the cross in the hands of the priests does in the ceremony of the Exaltation of the Cross in church. Having come straight up, the Cross began gradually to fade away.


     “Human language is not adequate to convey what took place during the apparition. The entire crowd fell prostrate upon the ground with tears and began to sing hymns, praising the Lord with one heart and one mouth. The police were among those who wept, suddenly discovering, in the depths of their hearts, a childlike faith. The crowd of believers and battalion of police were transformed into one, unified flock of faithful. All were seized with a holy ecstasy.


     “The vigil continued until four a.m., when all this human torrent streamed back into the city, carrying the news of the miracle because of which they were still trembling and weeping.


     “Many of the unbelievers, sophists and renovationists, realizing their sin and guilt, but unwilling to repent, tried by every means to explain away or deny this miracle. The fact that the form of the cross had been so sharply and clearly that of the Byzantine Cross (sometimes called the Russian Cross), with three cross-bars, the bottom one at an angle, completely negated any arguments of accidental physical phenomena.


     “The fact that such an apparition of the cross also occurred during the height of the first great heresy[23] must strike the Orthodox with an especial sense of the magnitude of the calendar question and of all that is connected with it. No sensible person can discuss this question lightly, with secular reasoning or with worldly arguments. Renovationists, like the Arians in 351, are left without extenuation or mitigation.”[24]


     There were many eyewitness accounts. Thus John Glymis, a retired police officer, witnesses: “I was one of the men from the Police Institute who were sent to stop the vigil that night, some fifty years ago, at the country Church of St. John the Theologian. The Old Calendarists were keeping vigil there, because it was the eve of the feast of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross [according to the Old Calendar]. Since many people had gathered – more than two thousand individuals – we did not attempt to seize the priest as we had been ordered, but we sat down quietly in the nearby court and waited for them to finish. At about 11.30 at night, we heard a loud and strange uproar coming from the shouts of the multitude. Without any delay, we ran to see what was happening – and we saw. The whole multitude of the faithful was in a state of excitement. Some were weeping and others, crying out ‘Lord, have mercy!’, were kneeling and had turned their eyes toward heaven, and yet others were fainting, overwhelmed with great emotion. Then we too looked and beheld the marvel: an enormous radiant Cross, very high above the church, was illumining the whole area. At first, we were seized with fear, but immediately we came to ourselves and, forgetting the purpose for which we had been sent, we fell to our knees and wept like little children. Of course, it is superfluous for me to tell you that, filled with emotion, we attended the rest of the vigil to the end – not as persecutors but as faithful Christians. In the morning when we returned to the Institute, we told everyone about the great marvel we had been deemed worthy to see. Afterwards there was an investigation and all of us swore under oath that we had seen the Precious Cross clearly, high in the sky.”


     Another eye-witness, Athanasios Primalis, was driving a tram around Omonoia square. “Immediately I stepped on the brakes and stopped the vehicle. I stuck my head out of the tram door and I, the unworthy one, also saw the Precious Cross of our Lord – may His Name be glorified. It was shining over Mount Hymettus. I don’t remember how long this lasted. I know only one thing: the Precious Cross which I saw that night turned me into a different man. Since then, everyone in my family has become a faithful child of the Church of the True Orthodox Christians…”[25]


     However, on hearing of the miracle, the new calendarist bishops declared: “What appeared before the Old Calendarists, if it really appeared, was God's testimony that they are in great spiritual deception. The sign was telling them: 'Oh, unreasonable ones, do you not know that the Exaltation of the Holy Cross has passed? So many hundreds of thousands of people agree on the fact that today is September 26, and you are still thinking it is September 13 and the eve of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross! Why, unfaithful ones, do you celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the 27th, when it is to be done on September 14?' So, that is what this could mean, if there was any appearance at all."[26]


     But this was a desperate attempt by the new calendarists: the heavens spoke against them…


The Struggle on Mount Athos


     The centre of the struggle against the new calendar in the Greek-speaking lands was Mount Athos. In 1924, all the monasteries except Vatopedi stopped commemorating the Ecumenical Patriarch. On Great Thursday, 1926, 450 hieromonks and monks on Mount Athos led by the Romanian Fr. Arsenius Kotteas signed “The Sacred League of the Zealot Monks” for the defence of Orthodoxy against the new calendar. The League published its Constitutional Charter under the heading “The Anchor of Orthodoxy” until it was banned by a new Charter for Mount Athos ratified by the Greek government in 1927. This did not stop the zealot monks, however, who initiated a vigorous campaign against the new calendar throughout Greece. This led to the expulsion of nineteen zealots from the sketes of Vatopedi and Koutloumousiou in 1927. Some were allowed to circulate freely through Greece, while others were confined to a monastery in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos.


     In 1926 the Athonite “Sacred League” was joined by the “Greek Religious Community of the True Orthodox Christians” in Athens in the struggle for the return of the Orthodox Calendar. On October 1, 1926, Hieromonk Matthew (Karpathakis), the confessor of three of the Athonite monasteries, went to Athens to help the True Orthodox there, and in 1929 the Sacred League sent two more hieromonks.[27]


     In 1927 a patriarchal committee succeeded in negotiating a compromise that was accepted under pressure by all the monasteries but not by all the monks. The committee assured the Athonites that the calendar reform was not final in that it had not been accepted by all the Orthodox Churches. Moreover, the issue was to be reconsidered at an impending Pan-Orthodox Council that would resolve the matter. In this way, the committee persuaded the Athonites to continue following the Old Calendar while commemorating the Ecumenical Patriarch, pending the resolution of the question by a Pan-Orthodox Council. The compromise was accepted by all the Athonite monasteries, but only partially by Esphigmenou, which did not resume the commemoration of the Patriarch but did continue to receive his representatives and to commune with other monasteries that commemorated him. Moreover, they continued to concelebrate at the cathedral of the Protatou in Karyes, where the Patriarch was commemorated. Later, in the 1970s, Esphigmenou would break completely with the Patriarchate.[28]


     However, many of the monks refused to accept the compromise – which turned out to be a deception in that the new calendar had not been abolished by any competent Council. And to this day Mount Athos has remained a citadel of resistance to newcalendarism and ecumenism. Even if most of the monks now commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch, Esphigmenou, with its 117 zealot monks, remains defiant.


     The spirit of these zealot monks is well caught in the following excerpt from the life of the zealot monk Habbakuk “the barefoot”: “After the adoption of the new calendar, a large number of Athonite Fathers decided to stop commemorating their bishop, who was subject to the Patriarch, and to break communion with the latter and with every church that accepted the innovation of the new calendar or even continued to be in communion with the innovators. But the majority of the monks did not dare to subscribe to this decision; whence the schism which continues to this day and whose effects are felt more and more acutely. At the beginning, twenty-four monks from the monastery of the Great Lavra rebelled, among whom was the peaceable Habbakuk.


     “The quarrel was so intense that shouting could be heard even in the courtyard of the monastery. For a place in which a tranquil calm had reigned only shortly before, it was a harsh trial that suddenly flared up. Father Habbakuk shut himself in his cell. Prayer-rope in his hand, he prayed without ceasing that God bring back peace to sorely tried Athos. The monks who were faithful to Tradition continued, as before, to work in the monastery, but since they could no longer accept the commemoration of the patriarch they were not in communion of prayer with the other Fathers and celebrated separately, in a large chapel which had been granted them. Soon Fr. Habbakuk was exiled for a certain period to Vigla, to the cave of St. Athanasius. But very quickly the Fathers, seeing how noble his cause was and how much they loved him, could not stand it any longer and asked for his recall to the monastery. This time he was given the service of nurse; he was attached to the great hospital which the Lavra had for the numerous old or sick members of the community…


     “However, the evil one again lay in wait. Soon his position as an old calendarist brought the elder a second exile to the cave of St. Athanasius. It was not long, however, before the sick complained: the nurse who had replaced Fr. Habbakuk did not have the strength to follow the routine of his predecessor in the very testing service of helping the sick. For Fr. Habbakuk was known to have a very strong constitution, he was the most dedicated worker of them all and never felt tired. So the sick very quickly got him back through their supplications! And one should have seen the enthusiasm with which the monks and the sick, who all loved him, reserved for his return.


     “At the beginning of 1927 the community wanted to put an end, once and for all, to the pitiless quarrel which would end by destroying the monastery. And to assure them of a better success, they sent a written invitation to the governor, asking him to come and preside over the synaxis of the elders which would debate the question of the zealots faithful to the calendar of the Fathers for the last time. At the suggestion of a brother doctor, Fr. Athanasius Kambanaou, who was himself a zealot, they had elected Fr. Habbakuk to represent these Fathers. All the elders were present with the governor in the chair.


     “He immediately asked Habbakuk: ‘Father, how do you explain your deserting a community in the heart of which you had previously sown anarchy? And tell me: why are you not in communion with the other Fathers?’ Fr. Habbakuk replied with meekness and humility: ‘Has your Excellency the Governor read the holy canons of the Rudder?’ ‘And what does the Rudder say, Father?’ asked the other. Fr. Habbakuk replied promptly: ‘If you don’t know it, Sir, go and read it first. Then you can come and judge us.’


     “Judging that this reply constituted a grave insult to authority, the synaxis immediately exiled its author to the holy monastery of Xeropotamou. Poor Habbakuk was driven out of his place of repentance for the third time.


     “About two months later, he was recalled from his exile. That day, which was March 9, they even asked him to be present at an all-night vigil with the governor. And in the morning, immediately after the service which had lasted all night, the governor mounted his mule and hurried back in haste to Karyes. Then Fr. Habbakuk, seeing an opportunity to make him hear the voice of reason, took the animal by the halter and set off on the path with him. And as they were going along he spoke to him as he knew how. He explained to him in a gentle way which had its effect on the hearer why the Fathers of the Holy Mountain were opposed to the change in the calendar, and he made him see how the ecclesiastical texts formed a good basis and justification for such an opposition. Very soon the governor was moved by the simplicity and childlike enthusiasm which Habbakuk put in his words, as well as by his admirable mastery of Holy Scripture. And it did not take him long to come to the conclusion that he was dealing with a virtuous man who was in love with an ideal. So immediately he arrived at Karyes he asked for the zealot to be returned without delay to his home monastery. Some days later, the Great Lavra received Habbakuk into its bosom again.


     “However, his return did not take place without disappointment. Of the zealot fathers who had been his companions in the struggle, almost all had fled, some of their own free will and others constrained by force. And the few who remained had hastened to rejoin the Catholicon. From then on, Fr. Habbakuk had no peace until the day when, with one of the brothers who also loved the virtues, he left the monastery…


     “Thus it was his love for the apostolic Tradition of the Church, a pure and disinterested love which was proof against tribulations and penalties, that always made him struggle to discern the will of God in everything. It was this love that had merited him exile to Vigla. But he had his reward: for it was also there, in the solitude of Vigla, that he was granted a multitude of spiritual goods, goods which were clearly not earned without sweat and grief, but which were great gifts for all that.


     “… One day a monk whom he loved very much, Fr. Ephraim who was from the Great Lavra like himself, asked why he had become a zealot. He was given a reply full of a frank realism: ‘Because God will call me to account; he will say: “Habbakuk, you knew the law of the Church, how did you come to trample it underfoot?’ And he added that the new calendar was a ‘sacrifice of Cain’.”[29]


The Struggle on Valaam


     Only in one part of the Russian Church outside Moscow was the new calendar ever introduced – in Finland, whose Church, as we have seen, had been taken away from the Russian Church by Patriarch Meletius of Constantinople. Already on July 19, 1923 he moved to force the great Russian monastery of Valaam, which was now within the bounds of the Finnish State, to accept the new calendar, writing mendaciously to Archbishop Seraphim (Lukyanov) that the new calendar had been accepted “with the agreement and by means of a decision of all the Orthodox Churches”.[30] Moreover, since the Finnish Church had accepted the western paschalion, that, too, would be imposed on the Valaam monks…


     At a general assembly of the 600 brothers, writes Nun Angelina (Zhavoronkova), “Abbot Paulinus read out an epistle from Bishop Seraphim in which he said that both Patriarchs Meletius of Constantinople and Tikhon of Moscow blessed Valaam to change to the new style from October 4. Two days later Vladyka Seraphim arrived. He was met by the objections of the brotherhood and the request that they remain with the old style. This was refused to them, and less than two weeks later five of the protesting brothers were forcibly expelled from Valaam and deprived of the mantia.


     “… On June 25, 1924 the new Bishop of Karelia visited Valaam. In November the Valaam monks presented him with a petition asking him to allow them to keep the celebration at any rate of Pascha according to the old style, but this, too, was refused them, and those who refused to obey the decrees of the Finnish Church were threatened with exile from Valaam.


     “ Fr. Michael [Popov] was the spiritual father of the brotherhood at this exceptionally difficult time for Valaam. He encouraged everyone to remain faithful to the traditions of the Holy Orthodox Church. He often served in distant sketes and deserts and encouraged other Fathers to follow him. His nearest disciple and follower, Elder Michael the Younger, at that time Fr. Timon, was one of the most zealous defenders of the Orthodox calendar right until 1939, when the Valaam brotherhood was forced to leave their beloved monastery.


     “Secret resistance increased especially in 1925. Fr. Michael sent his spiritual children by night with prosphoras to Gethsemane skete for Fr. Timon and they unfailing fulfilled their obedience, covering six kilometres every night. From the first days of the resistance the Gethsemane skete had become the place where people gathered for services according to the Old Church Calendar.


     “On the question of the calendar, the Valaam monks entered into correspondence with the Athonite zealots of Holy Orthodoxy, the so-called zealots, the elders of Karoulia, especially the learned monk Theodosius, who even wrote a whole composition about the importance of the calendar question. On Valaam Hieromonk Justinian, the main correspondent in this correspondence, was a disciple of Elder Michael. While Elder Theodosius was the last spiritual disciple by correspondence with Elder Theophanes the Recluse.


     “In the evening on the eve of the monastery’s feast day of SS. Sergius and Herman of Valaam, September 10, 1925, Metropolitan Germanus of Thyateira, the representative of the Patriarch of Constantinople, arrived [from London]. Having gathered together the brethren, he declared that the new calendar was being introduced from now. On September 16 the brotherhood sent to Sortavala their own representatives in the persons of Fr. Michael, Fr. Joasaph the deputy, Fr. Jerome and the other older priests of the monastery to talk with Metropolitan Germanus. With tears they besought him to keep the old style in the monastery. In reply the metropolitan irritably shouted at them. On September 20 Metropolitan Germanus accompanied by Bishop Germanus arrived on the island to celebrate the all-night vigil. Half of the brotherhood did not come to the service. He called the brotherhood to peace and love.


    “Immediately after this repressions began. The antimins were taken from all the skete churches. Fr. Timon was transferred from the Gethsemane skete to the main monastery. A little later Hieromonk Polycarp was exiled to Russia to almost certain death in the concentration camps for his published articles against the leadership of the monastery.”[31]


     “On September 25, 1925,” writes Schema-Monk Nicholas of Valaam, “there was a division of people in Valaam as to the ‘old’ and ‘new’ style. Many of the brothers remained true to the old style. Legal proceedings began. The church administration arrived; there was a court with Abbot Paulinus in charge. They began to summon the brothers one by one, and many were expelled from the monastery. Then my turn also came. I went into the room, and there sat Abbot Paulinus with others from the church administration. Father Abbot said, ‘Here is a slave of God; ask him.’ One of them said that he would speak and that everything should be recorded. They asked, ‘Do you accept Fr. Paulinus as Abbot?’ ‘Will you go to church services according to the new calendar?’ I could not answer this question; it was as if my tongue had become paralysed. They hesitated and said, ‘Well, why aren’t you answering?’ I couldn’t say anything. Then they said: ‘Well, go on, slave of God, and think this over.’


     “I began to pray to the Mother of God, my ‘Surety’, in my heart. ‘Tell me and indicate my life’s path: Which side should I go to, the new or old style? Should I go to the cathedral or somewhere else?’ And I, the sinful one, prayed to the Mother of God during my obedience in the kitchen. When I finished my evening obedience, I went to my cell and thought in the simplicity of my heart, ‘Why don’t you answer me, Mother of God?’ But the grace of God did not abandon me, a sinner. He wants salvation for all. Suddenly the cathedral appeared before me, the same as it is: the same height, length and width. I was amazed at this miraculous apparition – how could it enter my small cell? But my inner voice said to me: ‘Everything is possible with God. There is nothing impossible for Him.’ ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘one must go to church in the cathedral according to the new style.’ Then, as I was thinking thus, a blue curtain came down from above, in the middle of which was a golden cross. The cathedral became invisible to me, and the inner voice said to me: ‘Go to the old style and hold to it.’ And I heard a woman’s voice coming from above the corner: ‘If you want to be saved, hold fast to the traditions of the Holy Apostles and the Holy Fathers.’ And then the same thing was repeated a second time, and the third time the voice said: ‘If you want to be saved, keep fast to the tradition of the Holy Apostles and Holy Fathers, but not these “wise” men.’ After this miracle, everything disappeared and I remained alone in my cell. My heart began to rejoice that the Lord had indicated the path of salvation to me, according to the prayers of the Mother of God.”[32]


     “On September 12, 1926,” continues Nun Angelina, “the former cathedral elders of Valaam, who had remained faithful to patristic Orthodoxy, were summoned to a new trial in Serdobol. The trial was pro forma, and 35 monks were condemned to exile, while the abbot was to deal with the rest, dispersing them among all the sketes.


     “On October 9 the sentence was carried out. One of those exiled from Valaam, Hieromonk Nicander, the former spiritual father of the famed Lesna monastery, remembers:


     “’We shall never forget that… sad day… Our own Abbot Paulinus and our own monastic brothers handed us over to the police… For the sake of temporary comfort, out of fear of men, they drowned out the voice of their conscience and transgressed the holy canons of the Church… The day of our exile that autumn was exceptionally quiet, Lake Ladoga was calm and the first powdery snow covered Valaam… By eight o’clock in the morning we had all gathered on the ferry… the Old Calendarist monks who remained, together with some unwilling new calendarists, came to say goodbye to us; not a few tears were shed on both sides. (Even the gendarme wept, remembered Fr. Philemon.)… How bitter it was for us to leave our native nest, but our souls were at peace, for we felt that we were suffering for the sake of righteousness and that God was with us.’


     “On November 15 an Investigative Commission arrived at the monastery, and in the course of four days interrogated each of the brothers on their own, asking whether they recognised Bishop Germanus and whether they would serve with him. Fr. Michael was defrocked by a church court, removed from his obedience as Spiritual Father and exiled on December 15 to the distant St. Herman skete. (According to the words of Fr. Athanasius, who left memoirs of his elder, Fr. Michael was first exiled to Tikhvin island.) Thence he was transferred to the Skete of St. John the Forerunner in 1926, where he spent the following eight years [until his death on May 8, 1934], suffering from a weakness of the heart in the severe conditions of the strictest skete on Valaam. In that year 44 of the brothers were exiled and 48 left Valaam…”[33]


     In 1939, when the Soviets captured Old Valaam, the spiritual life of the great monastery came to an end…[34]


The Albanian Orthodox Church


     On November 21, 1923 Archimandrite Theophan (Noli) was consecrated to the episcopate. Until 1924 he was also Prime Minister of Albania. In the same year, the supporters of Albanian autocephaly began official negotiations with the patriarchate of Constantinople. At first they restricted themselves to demanding only Church autonomy. The patriarchate did not object to this in principle, but demanded that the language of Divine services in the Albanian Church should remain only Greek. The Albanians categorically refused this, and relations with Constantinople worsened.[35]


     In 1924 the newly-consecrated Bishop Theophan, imitating the revolutionary deeds of Meletius, led a successful insurrection against the Mohammedan King Ahmet Zog, who fled the country. However, the new government remained in power only for eight months, from May to December. King Zog returned, and Bishop Theophan was forced to flee to America, where he became the leader of the Albanian Orthodox Church.[36]


     In 1925, the Albanian Archimandrite Vissarion (Govanni), who had been elected in 1922 during a “Great Albanian Orthodox Church Council”, was consecrated as the first national bishop of Albania by two hierarchs of the ROCOR, Michael of Stavropol and Germogen of Ekaterinoslav and Herzegovina in the monastery of St. Savvas. This probably took place with the knowledge of the Serbian Church authorities.[37]


     In February, 1929, Bishop Vissarion together with Bishop Victor of the Serbian Orthodox Church, who had been living in Albania for several years, without any prior agreement with Constantinople, consecrated three bishops, all Albanians. These four bishops then formed a Synod of the Albanian Orthodox Church, which immediately elected Bishop Vissarion as its president and the archbishop of All Albania.


     Immediately after receiving confirmation from King Zog, the Synod proclaimed the Albanian Church autocephalous, of which event its first-hierarch promptly informed the other Orthodox Churches. The Albanian Synod then accepted a constitution according to which “the official language of the Albanian Church is Albanian… The archbishop, bishops, regional hierarchal representatives, the great mitre-bearing econom, the chief secretary of the Holyt Synod, and also the clergy that are the assistants and deputies of the Archbishop and bishops must be Albanians by blood and language and also Albanian subjects… All clergy mentioned in article 16 who are now in service with the Autocephalous Church of Albania, if they do not have the properties mentioned in the above-mentioned article, are deprived of their Church rank immediately the present Constitution comes into force.”[38]


     In April, 1937, the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized the autocephaly of the Albanian Church, with certain qualifications.[39]


     Quite apart from its illegal autocephaly and introduction of the new calendar, the blatant phyletism (nationalism) of this new Albanian Church would be sufficient to demonstrate its heterodoxy…    


The Rise of Metropolitan Sergius


     The events that followed the arrest and imprisonment of Metropolitan Peter in December, 1925 are not at all clear. We know that a struggle for power took place between a group of bishops led by Archbishop Gregory of Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk), on the one hand, and Metropolitan Sergius of Nizhni-Novgorod (Gorky), on the other, a struggle which Sergius eventually won. It is usually considered that the Gregorians were the agents of the atheist authorities, whose plot was foiled by Sergius, and this may well have been the case. However, it may be closer to the truth to say that the authorities were playing the two groups off against each other, and would have been happy with either outcome provided it gave them a more malleable church leader than Metropolitan Peter.


     According to the more generally accepted version of events, on December 14, although unable to leave Nizhni-Novgorod at the time, Metropolitan Sergius announced that he was taking over the Church’s administration in accordance with Metropolitan Peter’s instruction. However, he was prevented by the OGPU from coming to Moscow, and on December 22, 1925, a group of nine bishops led by Archbishop Gregory gathered at the Donskoy monastery.


     The Gregorians, as they came to be called, gave a brief description of the succession of first-hierarchal power since 1917, and then declared concerning Metropolitan Peter: “It was not pleasing to the Lord to bless the labours of this hierarch. During his rule disorders and woes only deepened in the Holy Church… In view of this we… have decided to elected a Higher Temporary Church Council for the carrying out of the everyday affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church and for the preparation of a canonically correct Council… Moreover, we have firmly decided not to enter into any relationship or communion with the renovationists and renovationism in all its forms… Instead, we consider it our duty to witness to our complete legal obedience to the powers that be of the Government of the USSR and our faith in its good will and the purity of its intentions in serving the good of the people. We in turn ask them to believe in our loyalty and readiness to serve the good of the same people…”[40] These words clearly revealed the pro-Soviet inspiration of the group. The next day they sought legalisation from the GPU, and ten days later, on January 2, 1926, they received it. On January 7, Izvestia published an interview with Archbishop Gregory thanking the authorities.


     On January 14, Metropolitan Sergius wrote to Archbishop Gregory demanding an explanation for his usurpation of power. Gregory replied on January 22, saying that while they recognized the rights of the three locum tenentes, “we know no conciliar decision concerning you, and we do not consider the transfer of administration and power by personal letter to correspond to the spirit and letter of the holy canons.”[41] This was a valid point which was later to be made by several catacomb bishops. But Sergius wrote again on January 29, impeaching Gregory and his fellow bishops, banning them from serving and declaring all their ordinations, appointments, awards, etc., since December 22 to be invalid.


     It was a moot question whether Sergius had the power to act in this way. On February 26, Archbishop Hilarion of Verey wrote to Sergius from prison: “The temporary ecclesiastical organ must unite, and not divide the episcopate, it is not a judge or punisher of dissidents – that will be the Council.”[42] However, on March 18 Sergius wrote to Metropolitan Peter attempting to justify his “rights” as “first bishop”, able to ban bishops even before the Council. And he gave the similar actions of Patriarch Tikhon and Metropolitan Peter himself as precedents.[43] But here he “forgot”, as he was to “forget” again later, that his own position was much weaker than that of the Patriarch or Metropolitan Peter, each of whom were recognized in their time by the majority of the episcopate as the true head of the Russian Church.


     On January 29, three Gregorian bishops wrote to Metropolitan Peter claiming that they had not known, in their December meeting, that he had transferred his rights to Sergius, and asking him to bless their administration. The free access the Gregorians had to Peter during this period, and the fact that Sergius was at first prevented from coming to Moscow, suggests that the GPU, while not opposing Sergius, at first favoured the Gregorians as their best hope for dividing the Church.[44]


    On February 1 the Gregorians obtained an interview with Metropolitan Peter in prison, in which they asked him to annul Sergius’ rights as his deputy and, in view of Sergius’ inability to come to Moscow from Nizhny and the refusal of the other deputies, Michael of Kiev and Joseph of Rostov, to accept the deputyship, to hand over the administration of the Church to them. Fearing anarchy in the Church, Metropolitan Peter went part of the way to blessing the Gregorians’ undertaking. However, instead of the Gregorian Synod, he created a temporary “college” to administer the Church’s everyday affairs consisting of Archbishop Gregory, Archbishop Nicholas (Dobronravov) of Vladimir and Archbishop Demetrius (Belikov) of Tomsk, who were well-known for their firmness. The Gregorians and Tuchkov, who was present at the meeting, were silent about the fact that Nicholas was in prison and that Demetrius could not come to Moscow.


     Tuchkov proceeded to a further deception: he agreed to summon Demetrius from Tomsk, and even showed Peter the telegram – but never sent it. When Peter, feeling something was wrong, asked for the inclusion of Metropolitan Arsenius (Stadnitsky) in the college of bishops, Tuchkov again agreed and promised to sign Peter’s telegram to him. Again, the telegram was not sent.


     It has been argued by Regelson[45] that Metropolitan Peter’s action in appointing deputies was not canonical, and created misunderstandings that were to be ruthlessly exploited later by Metropolitan Sergius. A chief hierarch does not have the right to transfer the fullness of his power to another hierarch as if it were a personal inheritance: only a Council representing the whole Local Church can elect a leader to replace him. Patriarch Tikhon’s appointment of three locum tenentes was an exceptional measure, but one which was nevertheless entrusted to him by – and therefore could claim the authority of – the Council of 1917-18. However, the Council made no provision for what might happen in the event of the death or removal of these three. In such an event, therefore, patriarchal authority ceased, temporarily, in the Church; and there was no canonical alternative, until the convocation of another Council, but for each bishop to govern his diocese independently while maintaining links with neighbouring dioceses, in accordance with the Patriarch’s ukaz no. 362 of November 7/20, 1920.


     In defence of Metropolitan Peter it may be said that it is unlikely that he intended to transfer the fullness of his power to Metropolitan Sergius, but only the day-to-day running of the administrative machine. In fact he explicitly said this later, in his letter to Sergius dated January 2, 1930.[46] Moreover, in his declaration of December 6, 1925, he had given instructions on what should be done in the event of his arrest, saying that “the raising of my name, as patriarchal locum tenens, remains obligatory during Divine services.”[47] This was something that Patriarch Tikhon had not insisted upon when he transferred the fullness of his power to Metropolitan Agathangelus in 1922. It suggests that Metropolitan Peter did not exclude the possibility that his deputy might attempt to seize power from him just as the renovationists had seized power from the patriarch and his locum tenens in 1922, and was taking precautions against just such a possibility.


     The critical distinction here is that whereas the patriarchal locum tenens has, de jure, all the power of a canonically elected Patriarch and need relinquish his power only to a canonically convoked Council of the whole local Church, the deputy of the locum tenens has no such fullness of power and must relinquish such rights as he has at any time that the Council or the locum tenens requires it.


     Nevertheless, the important question remains: why did Metropolitan Peter not invoke ukaz no. 362 and announce the decentralization of the Church’s administration at the time of his arrest? Probably for two important reasons:


(1)    The restoration of the patriarchate was one of the main achievements of the Moscow Council of 1917-18, and had proved enormously popular. Its dissolution might well have dealt a major psychological blow to the masses, who were not always educated enough to understand that the Church could continue to exist either in a centralized (though not papist) form, as it had in the East from 312 to 1917, or in a decentralized form, as in the catacombal period before Constantine the Great and during the iconoclast persecution of the eighth and ninth centuries.

(2)    The renovationists – who still constituted the major threat to the Church in Metropolitan Peter’s eyes – did not have a patriarch, and their organization was, as we have seen, closer to the synodical, state-dependent structure of the pre-revolutionary Church. The presence or absence of a patriarch or his substitute was therefore a major sign of the difference between the true Church and the false for the uneducated believer.


     On February 4, 1926, Metropolitan Peter fell ill and was admitted to the prison hospital. A war for control of the Church now developed between the Gregorians and Sergius. The Gregorians pointed to Sergius’ links with Rasputin and the “Living Church”: “On recognizing the Living Church, Metropolitan Sergius took part in the sessions of the HCA, recognized the lawfulness of married bishops and twice-married priests, and blessed this lawlessness. Besides, Metropolitan Sergius sympathized with the living church council of 1923, did not object against its decisions, and therefore confessed our All-Russian Archpastor and father, his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, to be ‘an apostate from the true ordinances of Christ and a betrayer of the Church’, depriving him of his patriarchal rank and monastic calling. True, Metropolitan Sergius later repented of these terrible crimes and was forgiven by the Church, but that does not mean that he should stand at the head of the Church’s administration.”[48]


     All this was true; but these arguments were not strong enough to maintain the Gregorians’ position, which deteriorated as several bishops declared their support for Sergius. In particular, Archbishop Hilarion of Verey, who had been released from prison for talks with the GPU, refused to recognise the Gregorians – for which he received an extension of his sentence. Another bishop who strongly rejected the Gregorians was Basil of Priluki.


     Yaroslavsky, Tuchkov and the OGPU had already succeeded in creating a schism between Metropolitan Sergius and the Gregorians. They now tried to fan the flames of schism still higher by releasing Metropolitan Agathangelus, the second candidate for the post of patriarchal locum tenens, from exile and persuading him to declare his assumption of the post of locum tenens, which he did officially from Perm on April 18. They also decided, at a meeting in the Kremlin on April 24, to “strengthen the third Tikhonite hierarchy – the Temporary Higher Ecclesiastical Council headed by Archbishop Gregory, as an independent unit.”[49]


     Only two days before this, on April 22, Metropolitan Sergius wrote to Metropolitan Peter at the Moscow GPU, as a result of which Peter withdrew his support from the Gregorians, signing his letter to Sergius: “the penitent Peter”. It would be interesting to know whether Sergius knew of Metropolitan Agathangelus’ declaration four days earlier when he wrote to Peter. Hieromonk Damascene (Orlovsky) claims that Agathangelus did not tell Sergius until several days later.[50] But the evidence is ambiguous; for Gubonin gives two different dates for the letter from Agathangelus to Sergius telling the latter of his assumption of the rights of the patriarchal locum tenens: April 18 and 25.[51] If the later date is correct, then Sergius cannot be accused of hiding this critical information from Metropolitan Peter. If, however, the earlier date is correct, then Sergius already knew of Agathangelus’ assumption of the rights of locum tenens, and his keeping quiet about this very important fact in his letter to Metropolitan Peter was highly suspicious. For he must have realized that Metropolitan Agathangelus, having returned from exile (he actually arrived in his see of Yaroslavl on April 27), had every right to assume power as the eldest hierarch and the only patriarchal locum tenens named by Patriarch Tikhon who was in freedom at that time. In view of the very ruthless behaviour now displayed by Metropolitan Sergius, it seems likely that he deliberately decided to hide the information about Metropolitan Agathangelus’ return from Metropolitan Peter – and Tuchkov, quickly reassessing the situation, fell in behind Sergius’ ambitions.


     In fact, with the appearance of Metropolitan Agathangelus the claims of both the Gregorians and Sergius to supreme power in the Church collapsed. But Sergius, having tasted of power, was not about to relinquish it so quickly. And just as Metropolitan Agathangelus’ rights as locum tenens were swept aside by the renovationists in 1922, so now the same hierarch was swept aside again by the former renovationist Sergius.


     The chronology of events reveals how the leadership of the Russian Church was usurped for the second time.


     On April 30, Sergius wrote to Agathangelus rejecting his claim to the rights of the patriarchal locum tenens on the grounds that Peter had not resigned his post. In this letter Sergius claims that he and Peter had exchanged opinions on Agathangelus’ letter in Moscow on April 22 – but neither Sergius nor Peter mention Agathangelus in the letters they exchanged on that day and which are published by Gubonin.[52] Therefore it seems probable that Peter’s decision not to resign his post was based on ignorance of Agathangelus’ appearance on the scene. Indeed, there can be little doubt that if he had known he would have immediately handed over the administration of the Church to Agathangelus.


     On May 13, Agathangelus met Sergius in Moscow, where, according to Sergius, they agreed that if Peter’s trial (for unlawfully handing over his authority to the Gregorians} ended in his condemnation, Sergius would hand over his authority to Agathangelus. However, Sergius was simply playing for time, in order to win as many bishops as possible to his side. And on May 16, he again wrote to Agathangelus, in effect reneging on his agreement of three days before: “If the affair ends with Metropolitan Peter being acquitted or freed, I will hand over to him my authority, while your eminence will then have to conduct discussions with Metropolitan Peter himself. But if the affair ends with his condemnation, you will be given the opportunity to take upon yourself the initiative of raising the question of bringing Metropolitan Peter to a church trial. When Metropolitan Peter will be given over to a trial, you can present your rights, as the eldest [hierarch] to the post of Deputy of Metropolitan Peter, and when the court will declare the latter deprived of his post, you will be the second candidate to the locum tenancy of the patriarchal throne after Metropolitan Cyril.”[53]


     In other words, Sergius in a cunning and complicated way rejected Agathangelus’ claim to be the lawful head of the Russian Church, although this claim was now stronger than Metropolitan Peter’s (because he was in prison and unable to rule the Church) and much stronger than Sergius’.


     On May 20, Agathangelus sent a telegram to Sergius: “You promised to send a project to the Bishops concerning the transfer to me of the authorizations of ecclesiastical power. Be so kind as to hurry up.” On the same day Sergius replied: “Having checked your information, I am convinced that you have no rights; [I will send you] the details by letter. I ardently beseech you: do not take the decisive step.” On May 21, Agathangelus sent another telegram threatening to publish the agreement he had made with Sergius and which he, Sergius, had broken. On May 22, Sergius wrote to Peter warning him not to recognize Agathangelus’ claims (the letter, according to Hieromonk Damascene (Orlovsky), was delivered personally by Tuchkov, which shows which side the OGPU was on!). However, Peter ignored Sergius’ warning and wrote to Agathangelus on May 22 (and again on May 23), congratulating him on his assumption of the rights of patriarchal locum tenens and assuring him of his loyalty.


     At this point Sergius’ last real canonical grounds for holding on to power – the support of Metropolitan Peter – collapsed.[54] But Agathangelus only received this letter on May 31, a (OGPU-engineered?) delay that proved to be decisive for the fortunes of the Russian Church. For on May 24, after Sergius had again written rejecting Agathangelus’ claims, the latter wrote: “Continue to rule the Church… For the sake of the peace of the Church I propose to resign the office of locum tenens.”[55]


     On the same day Sergius, savagely pressing home his advantage, wrote to the administration of the Moscow diocese demanding that Agathangelus be tried by the hierarchs then in Moscow.


     When Agathangelus eventually received Peter’s letter (which was confirmed by a third one dated June 9), he wrote to Sergius saying that he would send him a copy of the original and informing him that he had accepted the chancellery of the patriarchal locum tenens. And he asked him to come to Moscow so that he could take over power from him. But it was too late; Sergius was already in control of the Church’s administration and refused to come to Moscow saying that he had signed a promise not to leave Nizhni-Novogorod (although he had gone to Moscow only two weeks before!). And on May 30 / June 12, in a letter to Metropolitan Peter, Agathangelus finally renounced all claims to the locum tenancy. 


     Why did Metropolitan Agathangelus renounce the post of locum tenens at this point? The reason he gave to Sergius was his poor health; but some further light is shed on this question by Schema-Bishop Peter (Ladygin), who wrote that when Metropolitan Agathangelus returned from exile, “everyone began to come to him. Then Tuchkov with some archimandrite came to Agathangelus and began to demand from him that he hand over his administration to Sergius. Metropolitan Agathangelus did not agree to this. Then Tuchkov told him that he would now go back into exile. Then Agathangelus, because of his health and since he had already been three years in exile, resigned from the administration [the post of locum tenens] and left it to Peter of Krutitsa as the lawful [locum tenens] until the second candidate, Metropolitan Cyril, should return from exile. I heard about this when I personally went to him in Yaroslavl and he himself explained his situation to me. And he said that the canonical administration was now really in the hands of Cyril, and temporarily, until the return of Cyril, with Metropolitan Peter. He did not recognize Sergius or Gregory…”[56]


     The astonishing extent of Sergius’ usurpation of power is revealed in his fifth letter to Agathangelus, dated June 13, in which he refused to submit even to Metropolitan Peter insofar as the latter, “having transferred to me, albeit temporarily, nevertheless in full, the rights and obligations of the locum tenens, and himself being deprived of the possibility of being reliably informed of the state of ecclesiastical affairs, can neither bear responsibility for the course of the latter, nor, a fortiori, meddle in their administration… I cannot look on the instructions of Metropolitan Peter that have come out of prison as other than instructions or, rather, as the advice of a person without responsibility [italics mine – V.M.].”


     A sergianist has commented on this letter: “It turns out that, once having appointed a deputy for himself, Metropolitan Peter no longer had the right to substitute another for him, whatever he declared. This ‘supple’ logic, capable of overturning even common sense, witnessed to the fact that Metropolitan Sergius was not going to depart from power under any circumstances.”[57]


     Sergius also said that Agathangelus was given over to a hierarchical trial for his anticanonical act, for greeting which Metropolitan Peter “himself becomes a participant in it and is also subject to punishment”.[58] In other words, Sergius, though only Metropolitan Peter’s deputy as locum tenens for as long as the latter recognized him as such, was not only usurping the rights of the full (and not simply deputy) locum tenens, but was also threatening to bring to trial, on the charge of attempting to usurp the locum tenancy, two out of the only three men who could canonically lay claim to the post! [59]


     At this point, while consolidating his relationship with the authorities, the wolf cunningly decided to put on sheep’s clothing, pretending to defend the spiritual independence of the Church in a way that lulled the suspicions of the other bishops. On June 10, he petitioned the NKVD for legalisation of the patriarchate. Then he distributed an “Address to the all-Russian flock”: “… On receiving the right to a legal existence, we clearly take account of the fact that, together with rights, obligations are also laid upon us in relation to those authorities that give us these rights. And I have now taken upon myself, in the name of the whole of our Orthodox Old-Church hierarchy and flock, to witness before Soviet power to our sincere readiness to be completely law-abiding citizens of the Soviet Union, loyal to its government and decisively setting ourselves apart from all political parties and undertakings directed to the harm of the Union. But let us be sincere to the end. We cannot pass over in silence the contradictions which exist between us Orthodox people and the Bolshevik-Communists who govern our Union. They see their task to be the struggle against God and His authority in the hearts of the people, while we see the significance and aim of our entire existence in the confession of faith in God as well as in the widest dissemination and affirmation of that faith in the hearts of the people. They accept only the materialistic conception of history, while we believe in Divine Providence, in miracles, etc. Far from promising reconciliation of that which is irreconcilable and from pretending to adapt our Faith to Communism, we will remain from the religious point of view what we are, that is, Old Churchmen or, as they call us, Tikhonites…”[60]


     This epistle was close in spirit to another written at about the same time (on June 7) by several bishops imprisoned on Solovki, the main concentration camp for clergy in the early Soviet period, in which the relationship of the Church to the State and Communism was expressed as follows:-


     “In spite of the fundamental law of the Soviet constitution guaranteeing believers full freedom of conscience, religious assemblies and preaching, the Orthodox Russian Church has until now experienced very substantial restraints on Her activity and religious life. She has not received permission to open correctly functioning organs of central and diocesan administration; She cannot transfer Her activity to Her historical centre – Moscow; Her bishops are either not allowed to enter their dioceses at all, or, while allowed there, are forced to abstain from the most essential duties of their service – preaching in church, the visitation of communities recognizing their spiritual authority, sometimes even blessing services. The locum tenens of the patriarchal throne and about half the Orthodox bishops languish in prisons, in exile or in forced labour. Without denying the veracity of the facts, the government organs explain them on political grounds, accusing the Orthodox episcopate and clergy of counter-revolutionary activity in their secret thoughts, directed to the overthrow of Soviet power and the re-establishment of the old order. Already many times the Orthodox Church, beginning with the person of the reposed Patriarch Tikhon, and then in the person of his deputies, has tried in official declarations to the government to dispel the atmosphere of distrust that envelops Her.


     “Their lack of success and sincere desire to put an end to the grievous misunderstandings between the Church and Soviet power, which is burdensome for the Church and needlessly complicates the State’s execution of its tasks, arouses the governing organ of the Orthodox Church, once more and with complete justification, to lay before the government the principles defining Her relationship to the State.


     “The signatories of the present declaration are fully aware of how difficult the establishment of mutually reliable relations between the Church and the State in the conditions of present-day actuality are, and they do not consider it possible to be silent about it. It would not be right, it would not correspond to the dignity of the Church, and would therefore be pointless and unpersuasive, if they began to assert that between the Orthodox Church and the State power of the Soviet republics there were no discrepancies of any kind. But this discrepancy does not consist in what political suspicion wishes to see or the slander of the enemies of the Church points to. The Church is not concerned with the redistribution of wealth or in its collectivization, since She has always recognized that to be the right of the State, for whose actions She is not responsible. The Church is not concerned, either, with the political organization of power, for She is loyal with regard to the government of all the countries within whose frontiers She has members. She gets on with all forms of State structure from the eastern despotism of old Turkey to the republics of the North-American States. This discrepancy lies in the irreconcilability of the religious teaching of the Church with materialism, the official philosophy of the Communist Party and of the government of the Soviet republics which is led by it.


     “The Church recognizes spiritual principles of existence; Communism rejects them. The Church believes in the living God, the Creator of the world, the Leader of Her life and destinies; Communism denies His existence, believing in the spontaneity of the world’s existence and in the absence of rational, ultimate causes of its history. The Church assumes that the purpose of human life is in the heavenly fatherland, even if She lives in conditions of the highest development of material culture and general well-being; Communism refuses to recognize any other purpose of mankind’s existence than terrestrial welfare. The ideological differences between the Church and the State descend from the apex of philosophical observations to the region of immediately practical significance, the sphere of ethics, justice and law, which Communism considers the conditional result of class struggle, assessing phenomena in the moral sphere exclusively in terms of utility. The Church preaches love and mercy; Communism – camaraderie and merciless struggle. The Church instils in believers humility, which elevates the person; Communism debases man by pride. The Church preserves chastity of the body and the sacredness of reproduction; Communism sees nothing else in marital relations than the satisfaction of the instincts. The Church sees in religion a life-bearing force which does not only guarantee for men his eternal, foreordained destiny, but also serves as the source of all the greatness of man’s creativity, as the basis of his earthly happiness, sanity and welfare; Communism sees religion as opium, inebriating the people and relaxing their energies, as the source of their suffering and poverty. The Church wants to see religion flourish; Communism wants its death. Such a deep contradiction in the very basis of their Weltanschauungen precludes any intrinsic approximation or reconciliation between the Church and the State, as there cannot be any between affirmation and negation, between yes and no, because the very soul of the Church, the condition of Her existence and the sense of Her being, is that which is categorically denied by Communism.


     “The Church cannot attain such an approximation by any compromises or concessions, by any partial changes in Her teaching or reinterpretation of it in the spirit of Communism. Pitiful attempts of this kind were made by the renovationists: one of them declared it his task to instil into the consciousness of believers the idea that Communism is in its essence indistinguishable from Christianity, and that the Communist State strives for the attainment of the same aims as the Gospel, but by its own means, that is, not by the power of religious conviction, but by the path of compulsion. Others recommended a review of Christian dogmatics in such a way that its teaching about the relationship of God to the world would not remind one of the relationship of a monarch to his subjects and would rather correspond to republican conceptions. Yet others demanded the exclusion from the calendar of saints ‘of bourgeois origin’ and their removal from church veneration. These attempts, which were obviously insincere, produced a profound feeling of indignation among believing people.


     “The Orthodox Church will never stand upon this unworthy path and will never, either in whole or in part, renounce her teaching of the Faith that has been winnowed through the holiness of past centuries, for one of the eternally shifting moods of society…”[61]


“The Dogma of Redemption”


     In 1926, sharp differences of opinion began to emerge between the first two members of the ROCOR Synod, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev and Archbishop Theophanes (Bystrov) of Poltava and Pereyaslavl. One of these, as we have seen, concerned the new calendar, on which Archbishop Theophanes took an uncompromising position, considering the new calendarists to be schismatics. Another, still more important dispute concerned the Church’s teaching on redemption…


     In 1926 there was published in Sremski Karlovtsy in Serbia the second edition of Metropolitan Anthony’s Dogma of Redemption, an attempt to conceptualise the mystery of Christ’s redemption of mankind by means of a sharp contrast between redemption understood as an act of supremely compassionate love, on the one hand, and redemption understood as the satisfaction of God’s justice, the so-called “juridical theory”, on the other. The “juridical theory” was rejected by Metropolitan Anthony as “scholastic”, although it was expressed by many of the Holy Fathers. According to him, the justice of God in our redemption as a “secondary, incidental aspect” of it, and sought, in a rationalist and pietistic manner, to disengage it, as it were, from His love, assigning to love the primary role in the work of redemption. In fact, our salvation, according to Metropolitan Anthony, was not accomplished by a restoration of justice between God and man, but by an outpouring of Christ’s compassionate love for man, as shown particularly in the Garden of Gethsemane, onto the whole of mankind.


     Archbishop Theophanes of Poltava, supported by his vicar, Bishop Seraphim (Sobolev) of Lubny, disagreed with the metropolitan.[62] He considered the so-called “juridical theory” to be Orthodox, and Metropolitan Anthony’s controversial views on redemption and original sin, as expressed not only in his Dogma of Redemption but also in his Catechism, to be not Orthodoxy. While agreeing that God’s motivation was always, and supremely, love, Archbishop Theophanes could not agree that the aspect of justice was secondary and incidental, insofar as our salvation consists in the destruction of the sin that separates us from God, which was achieved through the restoration of justice between God and man through the Sacrifice on the Cross. Nor could he agree with the attempt to reduce the importance of Golgotha by comparison with Gethsemane.


     The issue first came to a head in a session of the Synod held in Yugoslavia in April, 1926. On the one hand, the Synod expressed its approval of Metropolitan Anthony’s Catechism. On the other hand, no decision was made to replace the Catechism of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, the standard Catechism of the Russian Church, which Metropolitan Anthony criticised as “scholastic” but which Archbishop Theophanes considered completely Orthodox.


     Metropolitan Anthony’s views were also condemned by an official representative of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Protopriest Milosh Parenta, who wrote in that Church’s official organ: “When Metropolitan Anthony approaches a scientific-theological review and explanation of the dogmas, then either he insufficiently comprehends them, or he cannot avoid the temptation of, and enthusiasm for, modernism. The explanation of the dogma of Redemption offered by the author in his work openly destroys the teaching on this truth faithfully preserved by the Orthodox Church, and with it the Christian Religion itself, because the truth of the redemption together with the truth of Christ’s incarnation is its base and essence”. To which the editor added: “However, it is necessary to recognize that it is very difficult to analyse this work of the author, because in it there are often no definite and clear concepts, although there are many extended speeches which hide the concepts or say nothing, and because in part there are no logical connections in it, nor any strictly scientific exposition, nor systematic unity[63]


     The dispute rumbled on. Thus in letters to Hieroschemamonk Theodosius of Mount Athos, who took the side of Archbishop Theophanes, Metropolitan Anthony expressed the suspicion that Archbishop Theophanes was in “spiritual delusion” and continued to show himself in fundamental disagreement “with the juridical theory of Anselm and Aquinas, completely accepted by P[eter] Moghila and Metropolitan Philaret”. And again he wrote: “We must not quickly return to Peter Moghila, Philaret and Macarius: they will remain subjects for historians”.


     For his part, Archbishop Theophanes was unhappy that Metropolitan Anthony did not abandon what he considered to be his heretical views on redemption, but only refrained from pressing for their official acceptance by the Synod. As he wrote on February 16/29, 1932: “Under the influence of the objections made [against his work], Metropolitan Anthony was about to take back his Catechism, which had been introduced by him into use in the schools in place of Metropolitan Philaret’s Catechism. But, as became clear later, he did this insincerely, and with exceptional persistence continued to spread his incorrect teaching On Redemption and many other incorrect teachings contained in his Catechism.


     In the course of later decades several ROCOR hierarchs expressed their disagreement with Metropolitan Anthony’s Dogma of Redemption. However, the general approach was not to dispute it openly, and in any case not to call it a heresy.[64] An attempt to have it published again in Canada in the early 1970s was successfully foiled.[65]


The Eulogian Schism


     Another dogmatic issue on which Archbishop Theophanes and Bishop Seraphim cooperated fruitfully was their attack on the masonically inspired and financed YMCA, with which the West European diocese of ROCOR under Metropolitan Eulogius and the St. Sergius Theological Institute in Paris were closely linked, and on the heresies preached in that Institute, particularly the Sophianist heresy of Fr. Sergius Bulgakov. This heresy was based, according to Archbishop Theophanes in a letter he wrote in 1930, “on the book of Fr. [Paul] Florensky, The Pillar and Ground of the Truth. But Florensky borrowed the idea of Sophia from V.S. Soloviev. And V.S. Soloviev borrowed it from the medieval mystics.


     “In V.S. Soloviev Sophia is the feminine principle of God, His ‘other’. Florensky tries to prove that Sophia, as the feminine principle of God, is a special substance. He tries to find this teaching in St. Athanasius the Great and in Russian iconography. Protopriest Bulgakov accepts on faith the basic conclusions of Florensky, but partly changes the form of this teaching, and partly gives it a new foundation. In Bulgakov this teaching has two variants: a) originally it is a special Hypostasis, although not of one essence with the Holy Trinity (in the book The Unwaning Light), b) later it is not a Hypostasis but ‘hypostasisness’. In this latter form it is an energy of God coming from the essence of God through the Hypostases of the Divinity into the world and finding for itself its highest ‘created union’ in the Mother of God. Consequently, according to this variant, Sophia is not a special substance, but the Mother of God.


     “According to the Church teaching, which is especially clearly revealed in St. Athanasius the Great, the Sophia-Wisdom of God is the Lord Jesus Christ.


     “Here, in the most general terms, is the essence of Protopriest Bulgakov’s teaching on Sophia! To expound any philosophical teaching shortly is very difficult, and so it is difficult to expound shortly the teaching of the ‘sophianists’ on Sophia. This teaching of theirs becomes clear only in connection the whole of their philosophical system. But to expound the latter shortly is also impossible. One can say only: their philosophy is the philosophy of ‘panentheism’, that is, a moderate form of ‘pantheism’. The originator of this ‘panentheism’ in Russia is V.S. Soloviev.”


     Bulgakov was only one of a series of heretical teachers who were teaching in the 1920s and 30s in the Theological Institute of St. Sergius in Paris, such as Nicholas Berdyaev, Lev Zander and Nicholas Zernov. By no means all the Paris theologians supported him. Fr. Georges Florovsky, for example, strongly criticized him. However, Metropolitan Eulogius of Paris supported them, and was in turn supported by them, which, combined with the intrigues of the communists, laid the basis for the schism of the “Paris exarchate” from the Russian Church Abroad that took place in 1927.


     The beginning of the schism was discernible in the session of ROCOR’s Hierarchical Council of June 30, 1926. Archbishop Theophanes read a report linking the YMCA with Masonry, and the St. Sergius Theological Institute with the YMCA. In the same report Vladyka exposed the ecumenist teachings of several teachers at the Institute, including Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, Kartashev, Berdyaev and Zenkovsky. Then the question arose of separating the German diocese into a separate diocese from Metropolitan Eulogius’ West European diocese. Eulogius rebelled, insisting that either he was given autonomous rights in Western Europe or he would separate from the Synod. Not receiving the agreement of the other bishops, he went into schism, taking all his vicar-bishops and parishes with him.[66]


     Archbishop Averky writes: “Archbishop Theophanes was the first to expose and document the anti-Christian nature of certain so-called Christian organizations, some of which were eager to extend their influence to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and even to subjugate it to themselves somewhat by rendering financial assistance much needed by our refugees who had no stable sources of their own to draw from in exile. Vladyka Theophanes himself categorically refused to accept the monthly allowance offered to him by these organizations, and did not approve of those who did, for he believed that this caused them to lose their spiritual freedom, and that in one way or another they would consequently be forced to do the will of their sponsors. Vladyka Theophanes guarded his independence and spiritual freedom, preferring a beggarly existence to a secure situation. This discloses the most characteristic trait of our great pastor, a trait that he shared with the great Fathers of Christian antiquity: any compromise of conscience, no matter how small, was for him altogether inconceivable. In all of his actions and conduct, in his private life as well as in his service to the Church and society, he was utterly constant, never departing in any way from what his convictions dictated. Absolute incorruptibility, uncompromising honesty and straightforwardness, demand for unconditional loyalty to the true Church, to the Word of God, and to Patristic tradition – these were his hallmarks, ideals which guided his life and which he liked to see in other servants of the Church as well.”


     In August, 1926, Archbishop Theophanes wrote: “The real causes of the division are deeper than it seems at first glance. Two of them are especially significant. ‘They’ consider the Soviet authorities as ‘ordained by God’, but we consider them antichristian. On the basis of overwhelming documentary evidence, we recognized that the YMCA is a masonic organization. They consider it a Christian organization.”


     And he predicted: “Metropolitan Eulogius will not give in. Those around him are pushing him toward schism. We could let him have his way, but we cannot entrust the fate of Orthodoxy to him. He is ensnared in the nets of the YMCA. The YMCA in turn is having a demoralizing effect on student groups. In the magazine The Way ¹ 5, Professor Berdyaev stated openly that the schism in the church is unavoidable and necessary. Metropolitan Eulogius is the only hierarch who ‘has raised his consciousness to the realization that it is necessary to reform Orthodoxy’, and he is therefore ‘a tool of God’s Providence’ in our days!”[67]


     However, Archbishop Theophanes was not finding the support that he might have expected from Metropolitan Anthony. Archbishop Theophanes protested against the publication of the following epistle of Metropolitan Anthony dated July 22, 1926 to the secretary of the Russian Student Christian Movement, L. Liperovsky: “… A regional Orthodox Council, uniting personally and through letters 32 hierarchs in three parts of the world, cannot officially give its blessing to any institution other than those which call themselves Orthodox; but it has not forbidden its flock to be members of the YMCA society, and has not approved only of their remaining under its spiritual leadership as being an institution which, although Christian, is inter-confessional; but the Council has not forbidden serving in this society in the capacity of its officials, nor has it forbidden participation in its publishing houses, in which I have taken part, since in the last four or five years I have not found any anti-Orthodox propaganda either in the publications of the Society or in the Paris Theological institute that is subsidised by it, or in its relationship to Russian young people… As regards the attitude of the Council to the YMCA itself, that was, naturally, a repetition of the attitude of the Council of 1921; since then a significant evolution has taken place in the Society, but this was so little known to the Council that I, while knowing about it, could not impose my convictions on my brother hierarchs, to whose Council you wrote requesting its blessing; I hope that your activity, growing and entering into the life of the Orthodox Church will, by the time of later Councils, dispose them to complete trust and sympathy towards your movement.” (Vozrozhdenie (Regeneration), September 10, 1926, p. 2)[68]


     On February 29, Archbishop Theophanes wrote a report to the ROCOR Synod to which he attached two reports of the “Russian Patriotic Society” and a report of four laymen protesting against the letter of Metropolitan Anthony published in Vozrozhdenie: “The clear and categorical resolution of the Council of 1926 on the YMCA was violated soon after the end of this Council not only by Metropolitan Eulogius together with the bishops subject to him (Archbishop Vladimir, Archbishop Seraphim and Bishop Benjamin), but also by the president of the Council himself, Metropolitan Anthony, as also by Archbishop Anastasius who followed his example. Believing Orthodox people were particularly disturbed by the written declarations on this question by the president of the Council Metropolitan Anthony which were published in the newspaper Vozrozhdenie (22 July, 1926 and 10 September, 1926) and in ¹ 10 of the Vestnik Russkogo Studencheskogo Khristianskogo Dvizhenia, in which he calls the resolution of the Council of 1926 with regard to the YMCA a simple ‘repetition of the response of the Council of 1921’ and based on the Council member’s ‘small knowledge’ of this question (letter of June 22, 1926 printed in the newspaper Vozrozhdenie. According to the witness of the composers of the Paris report, this kind of declaration of the president of the Council with regard to the resolution of the Council of 1926 on the question of the YMCA ‘is now interpreted by everyone as nothing other than a juridical annulment of their meaning and significance’ (pp. 9-10). On their side, the composers of the reports find that the president of the Council does not have the right to make declarations in the press annulling the meaning and significance of conciliar resolutions, both in general and in particular with regard to this question, and ask the Synod to confirm and, if possible, clarify the true meaning of the conciliar resolutions on the given question. Moreover, they declare that if they find no support in their struggle for the purity of Orthodoxy in the Synod, they will be forced ‘to seek, with the pastors faithful to Orthodoxy, ways of saving the Russian Church without the Synod and even in spite of it (Paris report, p. 16), following the example of the brotherhoods of the South-West of Russia in the 16th and 17th centuries…”[69]


     Archbishop Averky says that Vladyka Theophanes “warned and admonished, but his warnings were not heeded in time and the subsequent reproach of those who broke away [Eulogius of Paris and Plato of America] not only had no positive results, but even deepened the division, as Vladyka had also foreseen. Such ecclesiastical schisms and divisions caused Vladyka to sorrow in his heart, to suffer in his soul and to grieve. Although he had at the very beginning identified the root of the problem, he did not always approve of the measures taken to stop the schisms and establish unity in the Church, and he indicated the errors sometimes made in so doing.”[70]


     Archbishop Seraphim of Finland, through whom the correspondence of the ROCOR hierarchs with the Moscow Patriarchate took place, wrote concerning Eulogius: “… If relations with Russia are impossible, then the dioceses abroad are canonically bound to have a temporary ecclesiastical authority, which was indicated by the Synod and Patriarch of Moscow in 1920 [in ukaz ¹ 362]. In addition, I cannot understand why Metropolitan Eulogius, alone of all the diocesan hierarchs abroad, should continually have bad relations with the [ROCOR] Synod and threatens to make a schism (he has written about this to me many times). All the other hierarchs – of Japan, of China and of Harbin, and I, who rule the Finnish Church, have all voluntarily and peacefully submitted to the Councils and the Synod, although I, for example, am not bound to do this. After all, Metropolitan Eulogius is the same as all the other diocesan hierarchs, and the whole of the Church Abroad has never been subject to him. He was given to rule only the abroad part of the Petrograd diocese, and nothing more, and he can in no way be considered the head of the Church Abroad. I, for example, have occupied a more lofty see than all the other hierarchs, but I have never striven towards disunity or disobedience to the Synod…”[71]


     On January 26, 1927 the ROCOR Synod suspended Metropolitan Eulogius and his vicar bishops pending an ecclesiastical trial that was to take place at the next Council. On February 4, the Synod sent a circular letter to all the parishes in the Diocese of Western Europe in which it announced its decision of January 26 and exhorted the faithful not to commune with the suspended Metropolitan, bearing in mind that the validity of the Mysteries received might be placed in doubt. On September 8, the Council of Bishops convened an Episcopal Tribunal comprising twelve bishops to judge the case of Eulogius. He was condemned, and the Act of Sentence read, in part: “Every liturgical function performed by him is devoid of grace, the Mysteries administered by him are not Mysteries, and the ordinations he performs are anticanonical.” The Council again appealed to the clergy of the Western European diocese, threatening them with canonical penalties, and Archbishop Seraphim, in the name of the Council, wrote a declaration to all the faithful of the Western European diocese that “it is absolutely forbidden, under pain of excommunication for schism, to remain in prayerful communion with Metropolitan Eulogius, Archbishop Vladimir, Bishop Sergius and their clergy, since the Mysteries administered by them are devoid of benefit.”[72]


The Church Decentralised


     At this time some bishops of ROCOR asked Metropolitan Sergius to mediate in the dispute between their Synod and Metropolitan Eulogius of Paris, who refused to recognize the Synod’s authority. In his reply of September 12, 1926, Sergius refused “to be a judge in a case of which I know absolutely nothing… And in general, can the Moscow Patriarchate be the leader of the life of Orthodox émigrés?” No, he replied. And he called on the émigré bishops to create a single “central organ of Church administration which would be sufficiently authoritative to resolve all misunderstandings and differences, and which would have the power to cut off all disobedience, without recourse to our support. For grounds will always be found to suspect the authenticity of our instructions.”[73]


     This same position was stated both earlier and later by Sergius. Thus on June 10, 1926, in an address entitled “To the Orthodox Archpastors and the Flock of the Moscow Patriarchate” he said: “To inflict ecclesiastical punishment upon the émigré clergy for their disloyalty to the Soviet Union would be wholly inappropriate and would give unnecessary occasion for people to speak of the Soviet regime compelling us to do so.” And again in its letter of April, 1927, Sergius’ Synod said that to govern the Orthodox dioceses which have arisen abroad “from Moscow is in the ecclesiastical sense impossible due to the lack of legal forms of relations with them”, demonstrating in detail that the Moscow Ecclesiastical Authorities were unable to judge the hierarchs abroad because the canons did not permit an ecclesiastical trial for political crimes, and also because it was impossible formally to organize a correct canonical court.”[74]


     This letter is important as it constitutes a de facto recognition of ROCOR by the Moscow Patriarchate. That recognition was withdrawn only when ROCOR refused to accept Sergius’ demand, in 1927, that her hierarchs swear loyalty to the Soviet Union


      At this point, however, Sergius committed a serious blunder. On the initiative of Archbishop Cornelius (Sobolev) and Bishop Paulinus (Kroshechkin), Metropolitan Sergius and other bishops close to him wrote a secret letter to the other bishops concerning the election of a Patriarch by means of a collection of signatures. By November, 1926, seventy-two signatures had been obtained for Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan, the first patriarchal locum tenens mentioned in Patriarch Tikhon’s list. Somehow the GPU learned about this, Bishop Paulinus’ messengers were arrested, and there were immediate massive arrests of the bishops who had signed – including Metropolitans Cyril and Sergius.[75]


     However, according to the author of an anonymous work, the initiative for the election of Metropolitan Cyril came from Archbishop Hilarion (Troitsky), who was at that time in prison on Solovki. And, according to this version, it was Metropolitan Sergius who informed the authorities. [76]


     On December 8 Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd took over as Peter’s deputy, in accordance with the latter’s will of one year before.[77] But Joseph was prevented from leaving Yaroslavl by the authorities, so he handed the leadership of the Church to his deputies: Archbishop Cornelius (Sobolev), Archbishop Thaddeus (Uspensky) and Archbishop Seraphim (Samoilovich) of Uglich. On December 29, Metropolitan Joseph was arrested, and on the same day Archbishop Seraphim wrote that he was taking upon himself the duties of the deputy of the patriarchal locum tenens.[78]


     In the same month of December, 1926, Tuchkov proposed to Metropolitan Peter, who was in prison in Suzdal, that he renounce his locum tenancy. Peter refused, and then sent a message to everyone through a fellow prisoner that he would “never under any circumstances leave his post and would remain faithful to the Orthodox Church to death itself”.[79]


     Then, on January 1, 1927, while he was in Perm on his way to exile on the island of Khe in Siberia, Metropolitan Peter confirmed Sergius as his deputy, being apparently unaware of the recent changes in the leadership of the Church.[80] Though he came to regret this decision, Metropolitan Peter was not able to revoke it officially from his remote exile. And Metropolitan Sergius now acted as if he did not exist…


     At the beginning of March, Archbishop Seraphim was summoned from Uglich to Moscow and interrogated for three days by the GPU. He was offered a Synod, and indicated who should be its members. Seraphim refused, and put forward his own list of names, which included Metropolitan Cyril.


     “But he’s in prison,” they said.


     “Then free him,” said the archbishop.


     The GPU then presented him with the familiar conditions for legalization.


      Gustavson writes: “He refused outrightly without entering into discussions, pointing out that he was not entitled to decide such questions without the advice of his imprisoned superiors. When he was asked whom he would appoint as his executive deputy he is said to have answered that he would turn over the Church to the Lord Himself. The examining magistrate was said to have looked at him full of wonder and to have replied:


     “’All the others have appointed deputies…’


     “To this Seraphim countered: ‘But I lay the Church in the hands of God, our Lord. I am doing this, so that the whole world may know what freedom Orthodox Christianity is enjoying in our free State.’”[81]


     Another account of this important dialogue was given by Archbishop Seraphim’s senior subdeacon, Michael Nikolaevich Yaroslavsky: “For 100 days Vladyka Seraphim happened to rule the whole of the Russian Orthodox Church. This was in 1926. Metropolitan Sergius was in prison, everybody was in prison…


     “And so, as he had been put in charge, Vladyka told me that at that time the authorities offered him, as the Primate of the Church, a Synod of bishops. He did not agree and immediately received three years in Solovki camp. He did not betray the Church, but… declared the autocephaly of each diocese, since the Primate of the Church was another candidate for prison… Soon after, Metropolitan Sergius was released. He created the Synod out of all those members which the authorities suggested to Vladyka Seraphim.”[82]


     This was a decisive moment, for the central hierarch of the Church was effectively declaring the Church’s decentralization. And not before time. For with the imprisonment of the last of the three possible locum tenentes there was really no canonical basis for establishing a central administration for the Church before the convocation of a Local Council, which was prevented by the communists. The system of deputies of the deputy of the locum tenens had no basis in Canon Law or precedent in the history of the Church. And if it was really the case that the Church could not exist without a first hierarch and central administration, then the awful possibility existed that with the fall of the first hierarch the whole Church would fall, too…[83]


    The communists also wanted a centralized administration; so Tuchkov now turned to Metropolitan Agathangelus with the proposal that he lead the Church. He refused. Then he turned to Metropolitan Cyril with the same proposal. He, too, refused. The conversation between Tuchkov and Metropolitan Cyril is reported to have gone something like this:-


     “If we have to remove some hierarch, will you help us in this?”


     “Yes, if the hierarch appears to be guilty of some ecclesiastical transgression… In the contrary case, I shall tell him directly, ‘The authorities are demanding this of me, but I have nothing against you.’”


     “No!” replied Tuchkov. “You must try to find an appropriate reason and remove him as if on your own initiative.”


     To this the hierarch replied: “Eugene Nikolayevich! You are not the cannon, and I am not the shot, with which you want to blow up our Church from within!”[84]


The Fall of Metropolitan Sergius


     The battle between the Church and the State had now reached a complete impasse. On the one hand, 117 bishops were in prison or in exile, and the administration of the Church was in ruins. On the other hand, the spiritual authority of the Church had never been higher, church attendance was up, and church activities of all kinds were on the increase.


     In the words of E. Lopeshanskaia: “The Church was becoming a state within the state… The prestige and authority of the imprisoned and persecuted clergy was immeasurably higher than that of the clergy under the tsars.”[85] Only betrayal on the part of the first hierarch could threaten the Church – and that only if the rest of the Church, the other bishops, clergy and laity, continued to recognize his authority…


     On March 20, 1927, Metropolitan Sergius was released from prison and was given back the reins of the Church by Archbishop Seraphim.[86]


     We have seen Sergius’ leading role in the first Church revolution in 1917. In the second Church revolution of 1922 he played a hardly less important role, officially declaring the renovationists’ Higher Church Authority to be “the only canonical, lawful supreme ecclesiastical authority, and we consider all the decrees issuing from it to be completely lawful and binding”[87].


     In 1923 Metropolitan Sergius had supported the renovationists’ defrocking of Patriarch Tikhon as “a traitor to Orthodoxy”. True, on August 27, 1923, he was forced to offer public repentance for his betrayal of Orthodoxy in renovationism. But as Hieromartyr Damascene later pointed out, he had not been in a hurry to offer repentance…


     According to the Catholic writer Deinber, “the fact of the liberation of Metropolitan Sergius at this moment, when the repressions against the Church throughout Russia were all the time increasing, when his participation in the affair of the election of Metropolitan Cyril (Smirnov), for which a whole series of bishops had paid with exile, was undoubted, immediately aroused anxiety, which was strengthened when, on April 9/22, 1927, Bishop Paulinus [Kroshechkin] was freed, and when, on April 25 / May 8, a Synod was unexpectedly convoked in Moscow. It became certain that between Metropolitan Sergius, during his imprisonment, and the Soviet government, i.e. the GPU, some sort of agreement had been established, which placed both him and the bishops close to him in a quite exceptional position relative to the others. Metropolitan Sergius received the right to live in Moscow, which right he had not enjoyed even before his arrest. When the names of the bishops invited to join the Synod were made known, then there could be no further doubts concerning the capitulation of Metropolitan Sergius before Soviet power. The following joined the Synod: Archbishop Sylvester (Bratanovsky) – a former renovationist; Archbishop Alexis Simansky – a former renovationist, appointed to the Petrograd see by the Living Church after the execution of Metropolitan Benjamin [Kazansky]; Archbishop Philip [Gumilevsky] – a former beglopopovets, i.e. one who had left the Orthodox Church for the sect of the beglopopovtsi; Metropolitan Seraphim [Alexandrov] of Tver, a man whose connections with the OGPU were known to all Russia and whom no-one trusted…”[88]


     On May 20, the OGPU officially recognized this Synod[89], which suggested that Metropolitan Sergius had agreed to the terms of legalization which Patriarch Tikhon and Metropolitan Peter had rejected. One of Sergius’ closest supporters, Bishop Metrophanes of Aksaisk, had once declared that “the legalisation of the church administration is a sign of heterodoxy.” If so, then Metropolitan Sergius fell away from Orthodoxy at this point.


     In any case, Metropolitan Sergius and his “Patriarchal Holy Synod” now wrote to the bishops enclosing the OGPU document and telling them that their diocesan councils should now seek registration from the local organs of Soviet power. Then, in June, Sergius wrote to Metropolitan Eulogius of Paris directing him to sign a declaration of loyalty to the Soviet power. He agreed…


     On July 14, in ukaz ¹ 93, Sergius demanded that all clergy abroad should sign a formal pledge to cease criticizing the Soviet government. It also stated that any clergyman abroad who refused to sign such would no longer be considered to be a part of the Moscow Patriarchate. This ukaz, which completely contradicted his previous ukaz of September 12, 1926, which blessed the hierarchs abroad to form their own independent administration, even included the actual text of the pledge that was to be signed: “I, the undersigned, promise that because of my actual dependence upon the Moscow Patriarchate, I will not permit myself in either my social activities nor especially in my Church work, any expression that could in the least way be considered as being disloyal with regard to the Soviet government.”[90]


     The clergy abroad were given until October 15 to sign this pledge. The ROCOR Council of Bishops, in their encyclical dated August 26, 1927, refused this demand and declared: "The free portion of the Church of Russia must terminate relations with the ecclesiastical administration in Moscow [i.e., with Metropolitan Sergius and his synod], in view of the fact that normal relations with it are impossible and because of its enslavement by the atheist regime, which is depriving it of freedom to act according to its own will and of freedom to govern the Church in accordance with the canons."[91]


     However, Metropolitan Eulogius of Paris, who had by this time separated from the Russian Church in exile, agreed to sign, “but on condition that the term ‘loyalty’ means for us the apoliticisation of the émigré Church, that is, we are obliged not to make the ambon a political arena, if this will relieve the difficult situation of our native Mother Church; but we cannot be ‘loyal’ to Soviet power: we are not citizens of the USSR, and the USSR does not recognise us as such, and therefore the political demand is from the canonical point of view non-obligatory for us…”[92]


     On July 5, 1928, the Hierarchical Synod of ROCOR decreed: “The present ukaz [of Sergius] introduces nothing new into the position of the Church Abroad. It repeats the same notorious ukaz of his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon in 1922, which was decisively rejected by the whole Church Abroad in its time.”[93] In response to this refusal, Metropolitan Sergius expelled the hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad from membership of the Moscow Patriarchate. So the first schism between the Russian Church inside and outside Russia took place as a result of the purely political demands of Sergius’ Moscow Patriarchate.


     The refusal of ROCOR was supported by the Solovki bishops: “The epistle threatens those church-servers who have emigrated with exclusion from the Moscow Patriarchate on the grounds of their political activity, that is, it lays an ecclesiastical punishment upon them for political statements, which contradicts the resolution of the All-Russian Council of 1917-18 of August 3/16, 1918, which made clear the canonical impermissibility of such punishments, and rehabilitated all those people who were deprived of their orders for political crimes in the past.”[94]


     Meanwhile, ominous events were taking place in Georgia. “Between June 21 and 27, 1927,” writes Fr. Elijah Melia, “a Council elected as Catholicos Christopher Tsitskichvili. On August 6 he wrote to the Ecumenical Patriarch Basil III who replied addressing him as Catholicos. The new Catholicos entirely changed the attitude of the ecclesiastical hierarchy towards the Soviet power, officially declared militant atheist, in favour of submission and collaboration with the Government.”[95]


     During a synodal session under the presidency of the new Catholicos, it was decided to introduce the new style into the Georgian Church. However, the reform was rejected by the people and the majority of the priests. So it fell through and was repealed within a few months.


     All this, according to Boris Sokolov, took place under the influence of the head of the Georgian KGB, Laurence Pavlovich Beria, who wrote in 1929: “By our lengthy labours we succeeded in creating an opposition to Catholicos Ambrose and the then leading group in the Georgian Church, and… in January, 1927 we succeeded in completely wresting the reins of the government of the Georgian Church from the hands of Ambrose, and in removing him and his supporters from a leading role in the Georgian Church. In April, after the death of Catholicos Ambrose, Metropolitan Christopher was elected Catholicos. He is completely loyal to Soviet power, and already the Council that elected Christopher has declared its loyalty to the power and has condemned the politics and activity of Ambrose, and in particular, the Georgian emigration.”[96]


     There followed, as Fr. Samson Zateishvili writes, “the persecution of clergy and believers, the dissolution of monasteries, the destruction of churches and their transformation into warehouses and cattle-sheds… The situation of the Church in Georgia was, perhaps, still more tragic and hopeless [than in the Russian Church], insofar as the new trials were imposed on old, unhealed wounds which remained from previous epochs.”[97]


     In October, 1930, the future Archbishop Leontius of Chile was sent to Tbilisi by his spiritual father, Schema-Archbishop Anthony (Abashidze). “I arrived in Tbilisi in the evening,” he wrote in his Memoirs, and went straight with my letter to the cathedral church of Sion… The clergy of the cathedral were so terrified of the Bolsheviks that they were afraid to give me shelter in their houses and gave me a place to sleep in the cathedral itself.”[98]


     As if taking his cue from the Georgians, on July 16/29, Metropolitan Sergius issued the infamous Declaration that has been the basis of the existence of the Sovietized Moscow Patriarchate ever since, and which was to cause the greatest and most destructive schism in the history of the Orthodox Church since the fall of the Papacy in the eleventh century.


     First he pretended that Patriarch Tikhon had always been aiming to have the Church legalized by the State, but had been frustrated by the émigré hierarchs and by his own death. Then he went on: “At my proposal and with permission from the State, a blessed Patriarchal Synod has been formed by those whose signatures are affixed to this document at its conclusion. Missing are the Metropolitan of Novgorod, Arsenius, who has not arrived yet, and Archbishop Sebastian of Kostroma, who is ill. Our application that this Synod be permitted to take up the administration of the Orthodox All-Russian Church has been granted. Now our Orthodox Church has not only a canonically legal central administration but a central administration that is legal also according to the law of the State of the Soviet Union. We hope that this legalization will be gradually extended to the lower administrative units, to the dioceses and the districts. It is hardly necessary to explain the significance and the consequences of this change for our Orthodox Church, her clergy and her ecclesiastical activity. Let us therefore thank the Lord, Who has thus favoured our Church. Let us also give thanks before the whole people to the Soviet Government for its understanding of the religious needs of the Orthodox population. At the same time let us assure the Government that we will not misuse the confidence it has shown us.


     “In undertaking now, with the blessings of the Lord, the work of this Synod, we clearly realize the greatness of our task and that of all the representatives of the Church. We must show not only with words but with deeds, that not only people indifferent to the Orthodox Faith or traitors to the Orthodox Church can be loyal citizens of the Soviet Union and loyal subjects of the Soviet power, but also the most zealous supporters of the Orthodox Church, to whom the Church with all her dogmas and traditions, with all her laws and prescriptions, is as dear as Truth and Life.


     “We want to be Orthodox, and at the same time to see the Soviet Union as our civil Fatherland, whose triumphs and successes are also our triumphs and successes, whose failures are our failures. Every attack, boycott, public catastrophe or an ordinary case of assassination, as the recent one in Warsaw, will be regarded as an attack against ourselves.[99] Even if we remain Orthodox, we shall yet do our duties as citizens of the Soviet Union ‘not only for wrath but also for conscience’s sake’ (Romans. 13.5), and we hope that with the help of God and through working together and giving support to one another we shall be able to fulfil this task.


     “We can be hindered only by that which hindered the construction of Church life on the bases of loyalty in the first years of Soviet power. This is an inadequate consciousness of the whole seriousness of what has happened in our country. The establishment of Soviet power has seemed to many like some kind of misunderstanding, something coincidental and therefore not long lasting. People have forgotten that there are no coincidences for the Christian and that in what has happened with us, as in all places and at all times, the same right hand of God is acting, that hand which inexorably leads every nation to the end predetermined for it. To such people who do not want to understand ‘the signs of the times’, it may also seem that it is wrong to break with the former regime and even with the monarchy, without breaking with Orthodoxy… Only ivory-tower dreamers can think that such an enormous society as our Orthodox Church, with the whole of its organisation, can have a peaceful existence in the State while hiding itself from the authorities. Now, when our Patriarchate, fulfilling the will of the reposed Patriarch, has decisively and without turning back stepped on the path of loyalty, the people who think like this have to either break themselves and, leaving their political sympathies at home, offer to the Church only their faith and work with us only in the name of faith, or (if they cannot immediately break themselves) at least not hinder us, and temporarily leave the scene. We are sure that they will again, and very soon, return to work with us, being convinced that only the relationship to the authorities has changed, while faith and Orthodox Christian life remain unshaken… ”[100]


     The radical error that lay at the root of this declaration lay in the last sentence quoted, in the idea that, in an antichristian state whose aim was the extirpation of all religion, it was possible to preserve loyalty to the State while “faith and Orthodox Christian life remained unshaken”. This attitude presupposed that it was possible, in the Soviet Union as in Ancient Rome, to draw a clear line between politics and religion. But in practice, even more than in theory, this line proved impossible to draw.


     For the Bolsheviks, there was no such dividing line; for them, everything was ideological, everything had to be in accordance with their ideology, there could be no room for disagreement, no private spheres into which the state and its ideology did not pry. Unlike most of the Roman emperors, who allowed the Christians to order their own lives in their own way so long as they showed loyalty to the state, the Bolsheviks insisted in imposing their own ways upon the Christians in every sphere: in family life (civil marriage only, divorce on demand, children spying on parents), in education (compulsory Marxism), in economics (dekulakization, collectivization), in military service (the oath of allegiance to Lenin), in science (Darwinism, Lysenkoism), in art (socialist realism), and in religion (the requisitioning of valuables, registration, commemoration of the authorities at the Liturgy, reporting of confessions by the priests). Resistance to any one of these demands was counted as "anti-Soviet behaviour", i.e. political disloyalty. Therefore it was no use protesting one's political loyalty to the regime if one refused to accept just one of these demands. According to the Soviet interpretation of the word: "Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one has become guilty of all of it" (James 2.10), such a person was an enemy of the people.


     On July 28, 1927, one day before Sergius signed the Declaration, an earthquake shook the city of Jerusalem, the church of the Holy Sepulchre was damaged and the church of St. John the Forerunner at the Jordan was destroyed. Many were killed or injured. This may have been a sign specifically for Patriarch Damian of Jerusalem, who on March 29 had sent paschal greetings to the heretical renovationist synod in Russia.[101] But the timing, on the very eve of Sergius’ declaration, suggests that a reference to that earth-shaking event was intended. For the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Church of Christ on earth, had indeed been shaken to its foundations by Sergius’ declaration…


     The next day, July 29, a solar eclipse was observed above the European part of the USSR. A thick dark spot shut out the sun, which “looked like narrow yellow sickle”.  On August 1, Vesuvius erupted….


The Sacred Struggle in Greece


     Led by the Athonite confessors, the Old Calendarists continued to defy the innovators on the mainland and islands of Greece. At this time it remained a largely lay movement, with no bishops and only a few priests. But this did not lessen the zeal of the confessing Christians, and in response to their zeal the Lord continued to add more and more people to them.


     On October 25, 1925, four nuns from the monastery of St. Pelagia on the island of Tinos were sent for trial before an ecclesiastical court for breaking communion with the new calendarists. The court decreed that they should be exiled, but they ignored this order and continued to carry out missionary work among the pilgrims who came to venerate the wonder-working icon of the Mother of God on Tinos. On April 14, 1926, three of them were sent for trial in Athens. During the trial, Bishop Sinesius of Thebes said to one of the nuns, Abbess Eupraxia, who was also his cousin: “If you do not repent and accept the decision of the Holy Synod concerning the calendar, I personally will take off your cassock.” “I grieve,” replied the abbess, “that kindred blood flows in our veins, and that you have broken your hierarchical oath. I will say just one thing to you: ‘I prefer to go to Paradise in coloured clothes but Orthodox, than to be in hell in my cassock but together with schismatics!’ Seven hierarchs under the presidency of Chrysostom Papadopoulos sentenced the nuns to be deprived of their monastic schema and excommunicated. Then the ten leading zealots in the monastery were expelled. But the rest continued the struggle.[102]


     In 1926, in the village of Nikiti in Khalkidiki, the True Orthodox priest, Archimandrite Hilarion Ouzounopoulos, was arrested and given three months in prison in spite of the resistance of his parishioners. Fr. Hilarion was called a “counter-revolutionary”. From this it is evident that the True Orthodox in Greece shared not only their name and their faith but even the form of their accusation with the True Orthodox of Russia.[103]


     At Christmas in the year 1926, Chrysostom Papadopoulos ordered the closing of the True Orthodox church of St. Parasceva, Aiantios on the island of Salamis. So the priest, Fr. Christopher Psillides, decided to celebrate the Divine Liturgy outside, opposite the doors of the church, in spite of the December cold. The ecclesiastical authorities on the island sent some sailors to the church to seize the priest, but after arriving and surrounding the worshippers they decided to disobey orders and go back.[104]


     In Thessalonica on the Sunday of the Samaritan woman, 1927, Fr. Stergius Liouras, the married priest of the True Orthodox Church of the Three Hierarchs, was arrested after the Liturgy on the orders of the new calendarist metropolitan. In 1935 he was again seized on the order of the same metropolitan and beaten by the police. He died a few days later.[105]


     On November 21, 1927, the local authorities moved to arrest the priest of the True Church in Mandra, Attica. However, the parishioners formed a wall to defend their pastor, and in the ensuing scuffle a young married woman, Catherine Routti, was fatally wounded. She died on November 28, the first martyr of the Old Calendarist movement in Greece.[106]


     On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, 1928, on the orders of Chrysostom Papadopoulos, police came to seize the priest of the True Orthodox church of St. Marina, Liopesi, Attica. The priest escaped, but several parishioners were taken to Koropi prison.[107]


     On April 22, 1928, Hieromonk Arsenius Sakellarios was taken to Lamia police station. Then the local new calendarist metropolitan put him on public trial, at which he was officially defrocked and the hair of his beard and head cut off. Then he was released.[108]


     On April 7, 1929, the Annunciation Liturgy at the True Orthodox church of the Annunciation, Kertezi, Kalavryta, was forbidden by the police because the priest did not have the permission of the local new calendarist metropolitan. The church was besieged, and the chief of police on horseback threatened to shoot the whole congregation. But the people refused to hand over their priest, saying, “We’ll all die with him”. The policeman took out his revolver, but the people stood firm. Eventually he had to give in.[109]


     In 1929, on the feast of St. George according to the new calendar, Fr. Nicholas, the new calendarist priest of the church of the Forerunner, Mesoropi, Pangaion was struck by the incongruity of celebrating the feast of St. George during the period of the Great Fast (something that never happens according to the Orthodox Calendar). He went to his local bishop and asked him for permission to celebrate the feast of St. George according to the Orthodox Calendar. The bishop gave permission.


     However, when Fr. Nicholas continued to celebrate according to the old calendar, a persecution was stirred up against him. And as he felt the approach of death, he told his parishioners: “When I die and they stop you from burying me in the cemetery, bury me in my garden. But if they come and take my body away by force, I adjure you not to follow my funeral procession!”


     The new calendarists set the date of Fr. Nicholas’ trial for November, but he died on October 19. The new calendarists came to bury him, but his widow refused to hand over his body. Then the new calendarist bishop came to the town, and sent a priest to the widow. He, too, was rebuffed.


     Then the True Orthodox laypeople began to bury their pastor in his garden, as he had ordered. But then the bishop came with police and forbade the burial, ordering the police to seize the body. The parishioners at first resisted, but then, not wanting bloodshed, they kissed the body, threw some earth on it and then allowed it to be taken away.[110]


     Meanwhile, the Eastern Patriarchs were entering into communion with Metropolitan Sergius in Russia. After his church organisation was legalised by the authorities in August, 1927, first Damian of Jerusalem, then Gregory of Antioch and then, in December, Basil III of Constantinople wrote to Sergius recognising him – although Basil did not immediately break relations with the renovationists, who were not in communion with Sergius.[111] Thus did the traitors of Orthodoxy in the Greek- and Russian-speaking Churches join hands over the tortured minds and bodies of the True Orthodox Christians.


The Birth of the Catacomb Church


     The publication of Metropolitan Sergius’ declaration was greeted with a storm of criticism, for which he must have been prepared. The opponents of the declaration saw in it a more subtle version of renovationism. Even its supporters and neutral commentators from the West have recognized that it marked a radical change in the relationship of the Church to the State.


     Thus the American scholar Professor William Fletcher comments: “This was a profound and important change in the position of the Russian Orthodox Church, one which evoked a storm of protest.”[112] According to the Soviet scholar Titov, “after the Patriarchal church changed its relationship to the Soviet State, undertaking a position of loyalty, in the eyes of the believers any substantial difference whatsoever between the Orthodox Church and the renovationists disappeared.”[113] According to Archimandrite (later Metropolitan) John (Snychev), quoting from a renovationist source, in some dioceses in the Urals up to 90% of parishes sent back Sergius’ declaration as a sign of protest.”[114] Again, Donald Rayfield writes: “In 1927… Metropolitan Sergi formally surrendered the Orthodox Church to the Bolshevik party and state.”[115]


     Vladimir Rusak writes: “The Church was divided. The majority of clergy and laymen, preserving the purity of ecclesiological consciousness, did not recognize the Declaration… On this soil fresh arrests were made. All those who did not recognize the Declaration were arrested and exiled to distant regions or confined in prisons and camps. [In 1929] about 15 hierarchs who did not share the position of Metropolitan Sergius were arrested. Metropolitan Cyril, the main ‘opponent’ of Metropolitan Sergius, was exiled to Turukhansk in June-July. The arrest procedure looked something like this: an agent of the GPU appeared before a bishop and put him a direct question: what is your attitude to the Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius? If the bishop replied that he did not recognize it, the agent drew the conclusion: that means that you are a counter-revolutionary. The bishop was arrested.”[116]


     The first recorded verbal reaction of the anti-sergianists (or, as they now came to be called, the “True Orthodox Christians”) came from the bishops imprisoned on Solovki. On the initiative of Bishop Basil of Priluki, in a letter dated September 14/27, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, they wrote: “The subjection of the Church to the State’s decrees is expressed [in Sergius’ declaration] in such a categorical and sweeping form that it could easily be understood in the sense of a complete entanglement of Church and State… The Church cannot declare all the triumphs and successes of the State to be Her own triumphs and successes. Every government can occasionally make unwarranted, unjust and cruel decisions which become obligatory to the Church by way of coercion, but which the Church cannot rejoice in or approve of. One of the tasks of the present government is the elimination of all religion. The government’s successes in this direction cannot be recognized by the Church as Her own successes… The epistle renders to the government ‘thanks before the whole people to the Soviet government for its understanding of the religious needs of the Orthodox population’. An expression of gratitude of such a kind on the lips of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church cannot be sincere and therefore does not correspond to the dignity of the Church… The epistle of the patriarchate sweepingly accepts the official version and lays all the blame for the grievous clashes between the Church and the State on the Church… In 1926 Metropolitan Sergius said that he saw himself only as a temporary deputy of the patriarchal locum tenens and in this capacity as not empowered to address pastoral messages to the entire Russian Church. If then he thought himself empowered only to issue circular letters, why has he changed his mind now? The pastoral message of Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod leads the Church into a pact with the State. It was considered as such by its authors as well as by the government. Sergius’ action resembles the political activities of the ‘Living Church’ and differs from them not in nature but only in form and scope…”[117]


     According to different sources, 17 or 20 or 26 bishops signed this epistle. However, the majority of the bishops on Solovki did not consider Sergius’ declaration a reason for immediately breaking communion with him. Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan wrote to an unknown person that the Solovki bishops wanted to wait for the repentance of Sergius “until the convening of a canonical Council… in the assurance that the Council could not fail to demand that of him”.[118]


     On October 21, Sergius directed all the clergy in Russia to commemorate the Soviet authorities, and not the bishops who were in exile. This measure greatly increased the anxiety of the faithful. The commemoration of the Soviet authorities was seen by many as the boundary beyond which the Church would fall away from Orthodoxy. And the refusal to commemorate the exiled hierarchs implied that the hierarchs themselves were not Orthodox and constituted a break with the tradition of commemorating exiled hierarchs that extended back to the time of the Roman catacombs. Sergius was in effect cutting the faithful off from their canonical hierarchs.


     On October 25, Bishop Nicholas (Yarushevich) proclaimed in the cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Petrograd the decision of the Provisional Synod, taken on September 13, to transfer Metropolitan Joseph (Petrovykh) from Petrograd to Odessa (the secular authorities had already forbidden Metropolitan Joseph to return to the city). This caused major disturbances in Petrograd, henceforth one of the major centres of the True Orthodox Church.


     Joseph himself refused to obey Sergius, regarding his transfer as “anti-canonical, ill-advised and pleasing to an evil intrigue in which I will have no part”.[119] He saw in it the hand of the OGPU. Certainly, the fact that more than 40 bishops were transferred by Sergius in this period was one of the main complaints of the confessing bishops against him.


     On October 30 Metropolitan Joseph wrote to Sergius: “You made me metropolitan of Leningrad without the slightest striving for it on my part. It was not without disturbance and distress that I accepted this dangerous obedience, which others, perhaps wisely (otherwise it would have been criminal) decisively declined… Vladyko! Your firmness is yet able to correct everything and urgently put an end to every disturbance and indeterminateness. It is true, I am not free and cannot now serve my flock, but after all everybody understands this ‘secret’… Now anyone who is to any degree firm and needed is unfree (and will hardly be free in the future)… You say: this is what the authorities want; they are giving back their freedom to exiled hierarchs on the condition that they change their former place of serving and residence. But what sense or benefit can we derive from the leap-frogging and shuffling of hierarchs that this has elicited, when according to the spirit of the Church canons they are in an indissoluble union with their flock as with a bride? Would it not be better to say: let it be, this false human mercy, which is simply a mockery of our human dignity, which strives for a cheap effect, a spectre of clemency. Let it be as it was before; it will be better like that. Somehow we’ll get to the time when they finally understand that the eternal, universal Truth cannot be conquered by exiles and vain torments… One compromise might be permissible in the given case… Let them (the hierarchs) settle in other places as temporarily governing them, but let them unfailingly retain their former title…  I cannot be reconciled in my conscience with any other scheme, I am absolutely unable to recognize as correct my disgustingly tsarist-rasputinite transfer to the Odessa diocese, which took place without any fault on my part or any agreement of mine, and even without my knowledge. And I demand that my case be immediately transferred from the competence of your Synod, in whose competence I am not the only one to doubt, for discussion by a larger Council of bishops, to which alone I consider myself bound to display my unquestioning obedience.”[120]


     However, Metropolitan Sergius paid no attention to the disturbances in Petrograd. Taking upon himself the administration of the diocese, he sent in his place Bishop Alexis (Simansky), who was distrusted by the people because of his role in the betrayal of Metropolitan Benjamin in 1922. So already, only three months after the declaration, the new revolutionary cadres were being put in place… Then, on October 31, Archimandrite Sergius (Zenkevich) was consecrated Bishop of Detskoe Selo, although the canonical bishop, Gregory (Lebedev), was still alive but languishing in a GPU prison. From that moment many parishioners stopped going to churches where Metropolitan Sergius’ name was commemorated, and Bishop Nicholas was not invited to serve.[121]


     Meanwhile, antisergianist groups were forming in different parts of the country. Thus between October 3 and 6 an antisergianist diocesan assembly took place in Ufa, and on November 8 Archbishop Andrew of Ufa issued an encyclical from Kzyl-Orda in which he said that “even if the lying Sergius repents, as he repented three times before of renovationism, under no circumstances must he be received into communion”. This encyclical quickly circulated throughout Eastern Russia and Siberia.      


     In November, Bishop Victor of Glazov departed. He had especially noted the phrase in the declaration that “only ivory-tower dreamers can think that such an enormous society as our Orthodox Church, with the whole of its organisation, can have a peaceful existence in the State while hiding itself from the authorities.” To Sergius himself Bishop Victor wrote: “The enemy has lured and seduced you a second time with the idea of an organization of the Church. But if this organization is bought for the price of the Church of Christ Herself no longer remaining the house of Grace-giving salvation for men, and he who received the organization ceases to be what he was – for it is written, ‘Let his habitation be made desolate, and his bishopric let another take’ (Acts 1.20) – then it were better for us never to have any kind of organization. What is the benefit if we, having become by God’s Grace temples of the Holy Spirit, become ourselves suddenly worthless, while at the same time receiving an organization for ourselves? No. Let the whole visible material world perish; let there be more important in our eyes the certain perdition of the soul to which he who presents such pretexts for sin will be subjected.” And he concluded that Sergius’ pact with the atheists was “not less than any heresy or schism, but is rather incomparably greater, for it plunges a man immediately into the abyss of destruction, according to the unlying word: ‘Whosoever shall deny Me before men…’ (Matthew 10.33).”[122]


     At the same time antisergianism began to develop in the Ukraine with the publication of the “Kievan appeal” by Schema-Archbishop Anthony (Abashidze), Bishop Damascene of Glukhov and Fr. Anatolius Zhurakovsky. They wrote concerning Sergius’ declaration: “Insofar as the deputy of the patriarchal locum tenens makes declarations in the person of the whole Church and undertakes responsible decisions without the agreement of the locum tenens and an array of bishops, he is clearly going beyond the bounds of his prerogatives…”[123] In December the Kievans were joined by two brother bishops – Archbishops Averky and Pachomius (Kedrov).[124]


     In Petrograd, meanwhile, probably the largest antisergianist group was being organized by Bishop Demetrius of Gdov with the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd. The “Josephites” were later to assume the leadership of the antisergianists in Petrograd, Tver, Moscow, Voronezh and still further afield. On December 12, they sent a delegation led by Bishop Demetrius and representing eight Petrograd bishops, clergy and academics to Moscow to meet Sergius.


     Here the conversation centred, not on Sergius’ canonical transgressions, but on the central issue of his relationship to Soviet power. At one point Sergius said: “By my new church policy I am saving the Church.” To which Archpriest Victorinus Dobronravov replied: “The Church does not have need of salvation; the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. You, yourself, Vladyka, have need of salvation through the Church.”[125]


     On December 15 Tuchkov, having received a secret report from Leningrad on this meeting with Sergius, wrote the following in his own handwriting: “To Comrade Polyansky. 1. Tell Leningrad that Sergius had a delegation with such-and-such suggestions. 2. Suggest that the most active laymen be arrest under some other pretenses. 3. Tell them that we will influence Sergius that he ban certain of the oppositional bishops from serving, and let Erushevich then ban some of the priests.”[126]


     After further delegations and dialogues in this vein, Bishops Demetrius of Gdov and Sergius of Narva separated from Sergius on December 26: “for the sake of the peace of our conscience we reject the person and the works of our former leader [predstoiatelia – Sergius was meant], who has unlawfully and beyond measure exceeded his rights”. This was approved by Metropolitan Joseph (who had been prevented from coming to Petrograd) on January 7.


     In a letter to a Soviet archimandrite, Metropolitan Joseph rejected the charge of being a schismatic and accused Sergius of being a schismatic. He went on: “The defenders of Sergius say that the canons allow one to separate oneself from a bishop only for heresy which has been condemned by a Council. Against this one may reply that the deeds of Metropolitan Sergius may be sufficiently placed in this category as well, if one has in mind such an open violation by him of the freedom and dignity of the Church, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. But beyond this, the canons themselves could not foresee many things, and can one dispute that it is even worse and more harmful than any heresy when one plunges a knife into the Church’s very heart – Her freedom and dignity?… ‘Lest imperceptibly and little by little we lose the freedom which our Lord Jesus Christ, the Liberator of all men, has given us as a free gift by His Own Blood’ (8th Canon of the Third Ecumenical Council)… Perhaps I do not dispute that ‘there are more of you at present than of us’. And let it be said that ‘the great mass is not for me’, as you say. But I will never consider myself a schismatic, even if I were to remain absolutely alone, as one of the holy confessors once was. The matter is not at all one of quantity, do not forget that for a minute: ‘The Son of God when He cometh shall He find faith on the earth?’ (Luke 18.8). And perhaps the last ‘rebels’ against the betrayers of the Church and the accomplices of Her ruin will be not only bishops and not protopriests, but the simplest mortals, just as at the Cross of Christ His last gasp of suffering was heard by a few simple souls who were close to Him…”[127]


The Catacomb Council of 1928


     It remained now to unite these scattered groups under a common leadership, or, at any rate, under a common confession, through the convening of a Council of the Catacomb Church.


     Now we can infer from a remark of Hieromartyr Maximus, Bishop of Serpukhov, that there was some Catacomb Council in 1928 that anathematized the Sergianists.[128] Another source has described a so-called “Nomadic Council” attended at different times by over 70 bishops in 1928 which likewise anathematized the Sergianists. But hard evidence for the existence of this council has proved hard to obtain,[129] and there are some reasons for suspecting the authenticity of the description of the proceedings.[130]


     If we can believe the meagre source material, the “Nomadic Council” was so called because it did not convene in a single place, but in four – Syzran, Yeltz, Vyshny Volochok and one other, from March 9 to August 8, 1928 (new style). Almost all the antisergianist bishops took part in one or more of its sessions, although, for reasons of conspiracy, probably no more than 15 people took part in any one session. Its president was the Moscow “Danilovite” Bishop Mark (Novoselov), who maintained contacts with almost all the leading antisergianists, and the other members of the working group were: Bishop Job (Grechischkin), representing Archbishop Andrew of Ufa and the “Andrewites”; Bishop Alexis (Buj), representing Bishop Demetrius (Lyubimov) and the “Josephites”; Bishop Basil (Preobrazhensky), representing, probably, the “Yaroslavlites” and some other “non-commemorators”; Protopriest Peter Pervushin, representing Archbishop Theodore (Pozdeyevsky) and the “Danilovites”; Hieromonk George (Terekhov?), representing the followers of Bishop Victor; and Hieromonk Obadiah (Ovsyannikov?), who probably represented the yedinovertsy.


     The Council passed 22 canons, of which the most important, and the most obligatory on its participants, were the first six:


     “1. The sergianists are heretics, equal in dishonour to the renovationists, but exceed the latter in the savagery of their bestial behaviour.


     “2. The sergianists have no grace, sacraments are not performed amongst them, and instead of performing sacred things, they perform profanities.


     “3. The reception of renovationists and sergianists by repentance [only] is to cease. From now on laity and clergy are to be received through chrismation (if baptism has not been by immersion, but by pouring or sprinkling, then they must be baptized).


     “4. The clergy ordained by the renovationists and sergianists are simple peasants, and not performers of the mysteries.


     “5. The anathema of December 6, 1922 laid upon the renovationists by Patriarch Tikhon is confirmed. They are heretics who have perverted the whole of the Church’s teaching, destroyed the Church’s order and were the first to establish the veneration of the godless authorities.


     “6. To the sergianists and their teacher Sergius Stragorodsky, who teach that the blasphemous, godless and lawless ‘authorities’ are authorities given by God, according to the word of the Apostle, and who cut up the body of Christ through this impious teaching: Anathema.”


     This completely uncompromising attitude towards the sergianists appears to have been adopted by the majority of the antisergianist bishops. However, there were two important exceptions: Metropolitan Peter and Metropolitan Cyril.


     Metropolitan Peter’s reply to the first six canons (through a certain layman Popov) was: “Categorically – no. I do not agree. Metropolitan Peter does not consider the sergianist Synod to be heretical.”


     Several leading participants in the Council expressed distrust of Metropolitan Peter, considering that he was protecting Metropolitan Sergius. However, Peter did later harden in his attitude towards Sergius.


     Before leaving the Nomadic Council, it is worth noting the position of Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd. He supposedly signed the decisions of the Council, but he did not share its distrust of Metropolitan Peter, and remained subject to Peter to his last day. Moreover, in a reply to a pre-conciliar question given to him by Fr. Nicholas Prozorov on February 9/22, 1928, he commented as follows on a draft of canon 3: “The renovationists – yes, they must be chrismated with Holy Chrism, but the sergianists – no, for the time being!, for they are ‘sergianists’ through misunderstanding.”[131]


     A “Little Council” of Catacomb bishops took place in Archangelsk in 1935. They met in order to approve an epistle issued in the previous year by Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich placing Metropolitan Sergius under ban for the anti-church actions he had committed since 1927. One of those participating in this Council was Archbishop Theodore of Volokolamsk.[132]


The Martyrdom of the Catacomb Church


     Whether or not the Catacomb Church formally anathematized the Sergianists at this time, Metropolitan Sergius considered her graceless. On August 6, 1929 his synod declared: “The sacraments performed in separation from Church unity… by the followers of the former Metropolitan Joseph (Petrovykh) of Leningrad, the former Bishop Demetrius (Lyubimov) of Gdov, the former Bishop Alexis (Buj) of Urazov, as also of those who are under ban, are also invalid, and those who are converted from these schisms, if they have been baptized in schism, are to be received through Holy Chrismation.”


     And yet, as the sergianist Bishop Manuel (Lemeshevsky) testified, these “schismatics” were among the finest hierarchs of the Russian Church: “There have fallen away and cut themselves off the best pastors, who by their purity in the struggle with renovationism stood much higher than the others.”[133]


     In 1929, the Bolsheviks began to imprison the True Orthodox on the basis of membership of a “church monarchist organization” called “True Orthodoxy”. Osipov notes that the numbers of True Orthodox Christians arrested between 1929 and 1933 exceeded by seven times the numbers of clergy repressed from 1924 to 1928.[134] It is hardly a coincidence that this took place against the background of the collectivisation of agriculture and a general attack on religion[135] spearheaded by Yaroslavsky’s League of Militant Godless (who numbered 17 million by 1933).


     Vladimir Rusak writes: “1928, the beginning of collectivisation. Stalin could no longer ‘leave the Church in the countryside’. In one interview he gave at that time he directly complained against ‘the reactionary clergy’ who were poisoning the souls of the masses.


     “’The only thing I can complain about is that the clergy was not liquidated root and branch,’ he said.


     “At the 15th Congress of the party he demanded that all weariness in the anti-religious struggle be overcome.”[136]


     Also in 1928, economic cooperatives and all philanthropic organizations were banned.[137] But this was only the beginning: the real killer was collectivization, which, together with the artificial famine that followed, claimed as many as 14 million lives. Collectivization can be seen as an attempt to destroy religion in its stronghold, the countryside, by destroying the economic base of village life and forcing all the villagers into communes completely dependent on the State.


     Husband writes: “On 8 April 1929, the VtsIK and Sovnarkom declaration ‘On Religious Associations’ largely superseded the 1918 separation of church and state and redefined freedom of conscience. Though reiterating central aspects of the 1918 separation decree, the new law introduced important limitations. Religious associations of twenty or more adults were allowed, but only if registered and approved in advance by government authorities. They retained their previous right to the free use of buildings for worship but still could not exist as a judicial person. Most important, the new regulations rescinded the previously guaranteed [!] right to conduct religious propaganda, and it reaffirmed the ban on religious instructions in state educational institutions. In effect, proselytising and instruction outside the home were illegal except in officially sanctioned classes, and religious rights of assembly and property were now more circumscribed.”[138]


     “Henceforth,” writes Nicholas Werth, “any activity ‘going beyond the limits of the simple satisfaction of religious aspirations’ fell under the law. Notably, section 10 of the much-feared Article 58 of the penal code stipulated that ‘any use of the religious prejudices of the masses… for destabilizing the state’ was punishable ‘by anything from a minimum three-year sentence up to and including the death penalty’. On 26 August 1929 the government instituted the new five-day work week – five days of work, and one day of rest – which made it impossible to observe Sunday as a day of rest. This measure deliberately introduced ‘to facilitate the struggle to eliminate religion’.


     “These decrees were no more than a prelude to a second, much larger phase of the antireligious campaign. In October 1929 the seizure of all church bells was ordered because ‘the sound of bells disturbs the right to peace of the vast majority of atheists in the towns and the countryside’. Anyone closely associated with the church was treated like a kulak and forced to pay special taxes. The taxes paid by religious leaders increased tenfold from 1928 to 1930, and the leaders were stripped of their civil rights, which meant that they lost their ration cards and their right to medical care. Many were arrested, exiled, or deported. According to the incomplete records, more than 13,000 priests were ‘dekulakised’ in 1930. In many villages and towns, collectivisation began symbolically with the closure of the church, and dekulakization began with the removal of the local religious leaders. Significantly, nearly 14 percent of riots and peasant uprisings in 1930 were sparked by the closure of a church or the removal of its bells. The antireligious campaign reached its height in the winter of 1929-30; by 1 March 1930, 6,715 churches had been closed or destroyed. In the aftermath of Stalin’s famous article ‘Dizzy with Success’ on 2 March 1930, a resolution from the Central Committee cynically condemned ‘inadmissible deviations in the struggle against religious prejudices, particularly the administrative closure of churches without the consent of the local inhabitants’. This formal condemnation had no effect on the fate of the people deported on religious grounds.


     “Over the next few years these great offensives against the church were replaced by daily administrative harassment of priests and religious organizations. Freely interpreting the sixty-eight articles of the government decree of 8 April 1929, and going considerably beyond their mandate when it came to the closure of churches, local authorities continued their guerrilla war with a series of justifications: ‘unsanitary condition or extreme age’ of the buildings in question, ‘unpaid insurance’, and non-payment of taxes or other of the innumerable contributions imposed on the members of religious communities. Stripped of their civil rights and their right to teach, and without the possibility of taking up other paid employment – a status that left them arbitrarily classified as ‘parasitic elements living on unearned wages’ – a number of priests had no option but to become peripatetic and to lead a secret life on the edges of society. Hence, despite Metropolitan Sergi’s pledge of allegiance to the Soviet regime, schisms developed within the church, particularly in the provinces of Voronezh and Tambov.


     “The followers of [Hieromartyr] Aleksei Bui, a bishop of Voronezh who had been arrested in 1929 for his unflagging hostility to any compromise between the church and the regime, set up their own autonomous church, the ‘True Orthodox Church’, which had its own clergy of wandering priests who had been expelled from the church headed by the patriarch. This ‘Desert Church’ had no buildings of its own; the faithful would meet to pray in any number of places, such as private homes, hermitages, or even caves. These ‘True Orthodox Christians’, as they called themselves, were persecuted with particular severity; several thousand of them were arrested and deported as ‘specially displaced’ or simply sent to camps…”[139]


     This persecution did not prevent Sergius and four other bishops from saying, in an interview with TASS on February 15, 1930, that “in the Soviet Union there was not and is not now any religious persecution”, that “churches are closed not on the orders of the authorities, but at the wish of the population, and in many cases even at the request of the believers”, that “the priests themselves are to blame, because they do not use the opportunities presented to them by the freedom to preach” and that “the Church herself does not want to have any theological-educational institutions”.[140]


     This interview, writes Fr. Stefan Krasovitsky, “was especially absurd and scandalous in the eyes of the simple people in that the universally venerated chapel of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God had just been destroyed. As N. Talberg writes, ‘the Russian people, fearing not even the chekists, demonstrated their attitude to him (Metropolitan Sergius)… When Metropolitan Sergius went to serve in one of the large churches of Moscow, the crowd whistled at him in the streets, which had never happened before in spite of the most desperate agitation of the atheists. Bishop Pitirim, one of those who had signed the declaration in the press, was also whistled at and met in the same way. Paris-Midi for March 5 (¹ 1392) informed its readers of the insults Metropolitan Sergius had been subjected to by his flock in Moscow. Vozrozhdenie for March 6 (¹ 178) printed the report of the Berlin Lokale Anzeiger to the effect that when Metropolitan Sergius ‘came out of the altar to serve the Liturgy, the crowd began to whistle and showered him with brickbats: “traitor”, “Judas”, “coward”, etc. The noise was so great that Metropolitan Sergius was not able to serve and went into the crowd to pacify them. But the aroused parishioners tried to tear his vestments from him, spat at him and wanted to take off his patriarchal cross. Metropolitan Sergius had to leave the church. He tried to serve the Liturgy in another church, but the believers boycotted his service.’ The Roman newspaper Today (¹ 64), reporting the same incident, added that ‘not one person’ appeared at the service arranged by Metropolitan Sergius for the other church.”[141]


     Commenting on the interview, Archbishop Andrew of Ufa wrote: “Such is the opinion of the false-head of the false-patriarchal church of Metropolitan Sergius… But who is going to recognize this head after all this? For whom does this lying head remain a head, in spite of his betrayal of Christ?… All the followers of the lying Metropolitan Sergius… have fallen away from the Church of Christ. The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is somewhere else, not near Metropolitan Sergius and not near ‘his Synod’.”[142]


     How many bishops supported Sergius? In 1930 Sergius claimed that he had 70% of the Orthodox bishops (not including the renovationists and Gregorians), which implies that about 30% of the Russian episcopate joined the Catacomb Church.[143] But this 30%, if it was only that, included most of the senior and most respected bishops. According to another calculation, out of the approximately 150 Russian bishops in 1927, 80 declared themselves definitely against the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius, 17 separated from him without making their position clear (to modern investigators, at any rate), and another 9 at first did not support Sergius but later changed their mind.[144]


     Religious life did not cease but rather intensified in the underground. Wandering bishops and priests served the faithful in secret locations around the country. Particular areas buzzed with underground activity. Thus Professor Ivan Andreyevsky testified that during the war he personally knew some 200 places of worship of the Catacomb Church in the Leningrad area alone. Popovsky writes that the Catacomb Church “arose in our midst at the end of the 20s. First one, then another priest disappeared from his parish, settled in a secret place and began the dangerous life of exiles. In decrepit little houses on the outskirts of towns chapels appeared. There they served the Liturgy, heard confessions, gave communion, baptized, married and even ordained new priests. Believers from distant towns and regions poured there in secret, passing on to each other the agreed knock on the door.”[145]


     In the birth of the Catacomb Church in 1927-28 we can see the rebirth of the spirit of the 1917-18 Council. In the previous decade, first under Patriarch Tikhon and then under Metropolitan Peter, the original fierce tone of reproach and rejection of the God-hating authorities, epitomized above all by the anathematization of Soviet power, had gradually softened under the twin pressures of the Bolsheviks from without and the renovationists from within. Although the apocalyptic spirit of the Council remained alive in the masses, and prevented the Church leaders from actually commemorating the antichristian power, compromises continued to be made – compromises that were never repaid by compromises on the part of the Bolsheviks.


     However, these acts did not cross the line separating compromise from apostasy. That line was passed by Metropolitan Sergius when he recognized the God-cursed power to be God-established, and ordered it to be commemorated while banning the commemoration of the confessing bishops. At this point the spirit of the Council flared up again in all its original strength. For, as a “Letter from Russia” put it many years later: “It’s no use our manoeuvring; there’s nothing for us to preserve except the things that are God’s. For the things that are Caesar’s (if one should really consider it to be Caesar and not Pharaoh) are always associated with the quenching of the Spirit.”[146]


ROCOR and Metropolitan Sergius


     Probably late in 1927, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) wrote: "Now everywhere two epistles are being published in the newspapers and are being read in many churches which until recently were Orthodox – epistles of two, alas, former beloved pupils of mine with whom I was once in agreement, Metropolitans Sergius and Eulogius, who have now fallen away from the saving unity of the Church and have bound themselves to the enemies of Christ and the Holy Church – the disgusting blaspheming Bolsheviks, who have submitted themselves in everything to the representatives of the Jewish false teaching which everywhere goes under the name of communism or materialism… Let these new deceivers not justify themselves by declaring that they are not the friends of the Bolsheviks and Jews who stand at the head of the Bolshevik kingdom: in their souls they may not be their friends, but they have submitted, albeit unwillingly, to these enemies of Christ, and they are trying to increase their power not only over the hapless inhabitants of Holy Russia, but also over all Russian people."


     On September 1, 1927, Archbishop Theophanes of Poltava wrote: “It is impossible to recognize the epistle of Metropolitan Sergius as obligatory for ourselves. The just-completed Council of Bishops rejected this epistle. It was necessary to act in this way on the basis of the teaching of the Holy Fathers on what should be recognized as a canonical power to which Christians must submit. St. Isidore of Pelusium, having pointed to the presence of the God-established order of the submission of some to others everywhere in the life of rational and irrational beings, draws the conclusion:


     “’Therefore we are right to say that the thing in itself, I mean power, that is, authority and royal power, have been established by God. But if a lawless evildoer seizes this power, we do not affirm that he has been sent by God, but we say that he, like Pharaoh, has been permitted to spew out this cunning and thereby inflict extreme punishment on and bring to their senses those for whom cruelty was necessary, just as the King of Babylon brought the Jews to their senses.’ (Works, part II, letter 6).


     “Bolshevik power in its essence is an antichristian power and there is no way that it can recognized as God-established.”[147]


     On May 9, 1928 Metropolitan Sergius threatened to ban the ROCOR hierarchs if they did not dissolve their Administration.[148] On June 20, his Synod issued another ukaz to the Church Abroad declaring that any clergyman who recognized the Moscow Synod but did not accept Soviet citizenship would be removed from his post.[149] Nobody obeyed this ukaz


     On August 28, 1928, Metropolitan Anthony issued “the completely definitive declaration of our Synod of Bishops that the Moscow Synod has deprived itself of all authority, since it has entered into agreement with the atheists, and without offering any resistance it has tolerated the closing and destruction of the holy churches, and the other innumerable crimes of the Soviet government… That illegally formed organization which has entered into union with God’s enemies, which Metropolitan Sergius calls an Orthodox Synod – but which the best Russian hierarchs, clergy and laymen have refused to recognize - … must not be recognized by our Orthodox Churches, nor by our Synod of Bishops with its flock here abroad. Furthermore, the organization of the Moscow Synod must be recognized to be exactly the same sort of apostates from the Faith as the ancient libellatici, that is, Christians who although they refused to blaspheme openly against Christ and offer sacrifices to the idols, nevertheless still received from the priests of the idols false documents verifying that they were in complete accord with the adherents of pagan religion…”[150]


     Metropolitan Anthony secretly distributed this encyclical with an appeal to all the faithful archpastors to join the ROCOR; it was widely read among the Josephites.[151]


     Early in 1930, just after Metropolitan Sergius had given his interview denying that there had ever been persecutions against the faith in Soviet Russia, the archbishop of Cantebury invited Metropolitan Eulogius of Paris to go to London for one day of prayers for the suffering Church of Russia. “I decided to go,” he wrote. “The whole of England will pray for us, and I will remain in Paris as a witness of the unanimous sympathy of all the Churches for our suffering Church, but not take part? Impossible! My conscience ordered me to take part in these prayers; and my flock undoubtedly felt the same way.


     “I spent about a week in England. It is a long time since I experienced such a radiant feeling of brotherly Christian love between the Churches as I experienced in those unforgettable days, when the whole of ecclesiastical and believing England prayed on her knees for a cessation of the terrible sufferings of our Russian Orthodox Church… I pursued no political aims in England, and nowhere gave political speeches. Everywhere that I had to give speeches I only gave thanks for their sympathy and asked them to support our suffering Mother Church by their prayers. And now these speeches have served as an excuse for a strict inquiry from Metropolitan Sergius in Moscow: on what basis could I allow myself to go round England calling people to protest against the USSR? Then it was demanded that I condemn my journey and give an undertaking not to repeat such speeches… It was bitter for me to read these unjust reproaches, which were dictated by Soviet power, and I replied sharply to Metropolitan Sergius that my prayers in England did not have a political, but only a religious character: it was a protest of the religious and in general the human conscience against the terrible persecutions against the Church in Soviet Russia…”[152]


     On June 10, Metropolitan Sergius and his synod retired Metropoligan Eulogius from his post administering the Russian parishes in Western Europe because of his prayers in defence of the Russian Church. On July 10 Eulogius broke communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, and in February was received into the Ecumenical Patriarchate…[153]


     On May 6, 1933 Metropolitan Anthony wrote to Sergius, who had reproached the ROCOR bishops for abandoning their sees: “… It is not from you and not for us to hear an exhortation to martyrdom, which we would not have avoided if we had stayed in the South of Russia. We are ready to listen to it and to many such reproaches, if we deserve them, from those who even now display an example of confession, and have not, like you, sold the purity of the faith for a mess of pottage of seeming freedom, which is in fact the most heavy and shameful slavery…


     “What divides you from us is the fact that you, in your desire to guarantee a secure existence for your ecclesiastical centre, have tried to unite light with darkness. You have fallen into the temptation whose essence was revealed in the holy Gospel. Once the spirit of evil tried to draw even the Son of God Himself by a picture of external easy success, placing as a condition His worship of him, the son of destruction. You have not followed the example of Christ, the holy martyrs and confessors, who rejected such a compromise, but have bowed down to the age-old enemy of our salvation, when, for the sake of an illusory success, for the sake of the preservation of an external organization, you declared that the joys of the godless authorities are your joys and its enemies your enemies. You even tried to remove the crowns from the recent martyrs and confessors (including yourself, for I know that once you showed firmness and were in prison), affirming that they are suffering imprisonment, exile and torments not for the name of Christ, but as counter-revolutionaries. In this way you blasphemed against them. You denigrated their exploit, and dampened the enthusiasm of those who could have been numbered to the ranks of the martyrs for the faith. You excommunicated them from the flower and adornment of the Russian church. In this neither I nor my brothers abroad will ever follow you… We have no intercourse with the Orthodox archpastors, pastors and laymen who are imprisoned in Russia, except that we pray for them and know that they suffer only for the faith, though the persecutors charge them with State crimes which are alien to them, as the enemies of the Christians loved to do in ancient times… For you the way of the cross is now madness like it was to the Greeks contemporary with the Apostles (I Corinthians 1.23). I implore you, as a pupil and friend, free yourself from this temptation, renounce publicly every lie which Tuchkov and other enemies of the Church have put into your mouth, do not yield in the face of probably tortures. If you are counted worthy of a martyr’s crown, the earthly and heavenly Churches will combine in glorification of your courage and of the Lord Who strengthened you; but if you stay on this wide path leading you to perdition (Matthew 7.13), on which you stand now, you will be ignominiously led to the pit of hell and until the end of its earthly existence the Church will not forget your betrayal. I always think of this when I look at the panagia of the Vladimir Mother of God with the engraved inscription which you presented to me twenty years ago: ‘To a dear teacher and friend.’ Your further words in this inscription are: ‘give us some of your oil, for our lamps are fading.’ Here we offer you the salutary oil of faith and loyalty in the Holy Church. Do not refuse it, but reunite with it as in 1922 when you solemnly declared to Patriarch Tikhon your repentance for your former wavering loyalty. Do not refuse the friendly appeal of one who tenderly loved you and continues to love you. Metropolitan Anthony.”[154]


     On July 8, 1933 the Hierarchical Council of ROCOR issued an encyclical to the Russian Orthodox flock with regard to Sergius’ epistle of March 23: “His appeal in its essence remains the same as it was in 1927 and can be formulated in the words: he who is with Soviet power is with the Russian Church; he who is against the former cannot be with the latter. In this way the link with the Mother Church can be realized for us in no other way than by accepting the God-fighting authorities that now rule in Russia. Before stretching out the hand of communion with Metropolitan Sergius, we must stretch it out first to the Bolsheviks and receive from them attestation of our political reliability, which which the deputy of the locum tenens cannot re-establish fraternal and canonical union with us…”[155]


     At the same time, this encyclical, - penned, according to Archbishop Nicon of Washington, by Metropolitan Anastasy, - declared: “As regards relations toward the Mother Church, the Russian ecclesial organization abroad has considered itself no more than a branch of the latter, bound organically to the whole body of the Church of Russia, even though temporarily deprived only of outward unity with the latter in ecclesiastical administration.”


     “To the present day the entire Church organization abroad has considered and still considers itself an extraordinary and temporary institution, which must be abolished without delay after the restoration of normal social and ecclesiastical life in Russia.

     “We are taking fully into account the extraordinary difficulties of the position of Metropolitan Sergius, who is now the de facto head of the Church of Russia, and are aware of the heavy burden of responsibility for the fate of the latter, which lies upon him. No one, therefore, has the audacity to accuse him for the mere attempt to enter into dialogue with the Soviet regime so as to obtain legal standing for the Church of Russia. Not without foundation does the deputy locum tenens of the Patriarchal Throne say in his aforementioned Declaration that only ‘armchair dreamers can think that such a vast community as our Orthodox Church, with all its organization, can exist peacefully in a country while walling itself off from the authorities.’ While the church exists on earth, it remains closely bound up with the fates of human society and cannot be imagined outside time and space. It is impossible for it to refrain from all contact with a powerful societal organization such as the government; otherwise it would have to leave the world.”[156]


     However, in his 1934 Paschal encyclical Metropolitan Anthony was stricter: “The present age is rich not in ascetical feats of piety and confession of faith, but in cheating, lies, and deceits. It is noteworthy that several hierarchs and their flocks, for the most part Russians, have already fallen away from Ecumenical unity, and to the question: ‘What do you believe?’, reply with references to self-proclaimed heads of all sorts of schisms in Moscow, America, and Western Europe. It is clear that, without admitting it, they have ceased to believe in the unity of the Church throughout the world. They try to bear calmly the refusal of the true Church to have relations with them, and imagine that one can save one’s soul even without communion with Her… Unfortunately, some Orthodox laymen, even, alas, many priests (and hierarchs) have subjected themselves to this state of gracelessness, although still retaining the outward appearance of the church services and the apparent performance of the Mysteries…”[157]


     On June 22, 1934 (o.s.), Metropolitan Sergius banned several ROCOR hierarchs. On August 7, Metropolitan Anthony wrote to Metropolitan Eleutherius of Lithuania explaining why he could not accept this ban. Among the reasons he gave was the fact that “a hierarch cannot be removed from his see except through a trial”.[158] On September 10, the Hierarchical Council of ROCOR officially rejected Sergius’ bans.


Archbishop Andrew and the Old Ritualists


     As we have seen, Archbishop Andrew was a thorn in the side both of Metropolitan Peter and of Metropolitan Sergius. In 1922 he had made his Ufa diocese autonomous on the basis of the Patriarch’s ukaz ¹ 362, and by the end of his life he had consecrated as many as 40 secret bishops, whose successors, it is claimed, have survived to the present day. Of hardly less importance were his controversial relations with the Old Ritualists, which, if successful, would have ended the 250-year-old schism in the Russian Church.


     Just after the February revolution, Archbishop Andrew presided over the All-Russian Congress of Yedinovertsy (that is, converts to Orthodoxy from the Old Ritualists who were allowed to retain the Old Rite) in Nizhni-Novgorod. In May, 1917, together with the future hieromartyr-bishop Joseph (Petrovykh) and the yedinoverets Protopriest (later bishop and hieromartyr) Simon (Sheev), he visited the Rogozhskoe cemetery in Moscow, the spiritual centre of the Belokrinitsky Old Ritualist hierarchy, and handed over a letter from the Congress expressing a desire for union. However, the reply of the Old Ritualist bishops was negative.


     But Vladyka’s sympathy for the Old Ritualists went further than these early actions would suggest, and further than the opinion, which was generally accepted in his time, that the anathemas on the Old Rite were unjust and should be removed. Influenced by one of his teachers at the Academy, Professor N. Kapterev, he adopted a still more “liberal” attitude towards the Old Ritualists that has been a subject of controversy to this day. While continuing to recognize the pre-revolutionary Church, he considered that it had fallen into caesaropapism, or the “Niconian heresy” as he called it, and that it was “Niconianism” that had led to the Russian revolution and to the renovationist and sergianist submission of the Church to Soviet power. He often referred to the Orthodox as “Niconians”, while calling the Old Ritualists “Ancient Orthodox”, whose schism was not a schism, but precisely a protest against this unlawful encroachment on the freedom of the Church. Therefore Vladyka Andrew's attempted rapprochement with the Old Believers must be seen in the context of the main struggle of the times - the struggle of the Church against Soviet power and renovationist and sergianist caesaropapism.


     Let us turn to Archbishop Andrew’s own account of his dealings with the Old Believers:- “In September, 1917 the so-called beglopopovtsi [i.e. those Old Ritualists who accepted runaway priests from the official Russian Church, but had no hierarchy of their own] approached me with the request that I become their bishop. At this time I was in Moscow at the 1917 Council. I agreed in principle, but on condition that my flock in Ufa should remain in my jurisdiction. It was Lev Alexeevich Molekhonov who was conducting negotiations with me on the side of the beglopopovtsi. He assembled in Moscow a small convention of representatives of other communities of theirs. At this convention, after long discussions, they agreed that my union with this group of Old Ritualists should take place in the following manner: I would come without vestments to the church of the beglopopovtsi in Moscow (on M. Andronievskaia street). They would meet me with the question: ‘Who are you?’ I would reply at first that I was a bishop of the Orthodox, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and them I would read the Symbol of Faith and a lengthy confession of faith, which everyone ordained to the episcopate would read. Then I, at the request of the beglopopovtsi, would anoint myself with the same chrism which they in 1917 called and considered to be patriarchal, which remained [to them] from Patriarch Joseph [(1642-1652), the last Moscow Patriarch recognized by both the Orthodox and the Old Ritualists]. With this my ‘rite of reception’ would come to an end.


     “My spiritual father, Archbishop Anthony of Kharkov, knew about all these negotiations, and Patriarch Tikhon was informed about everything. They approved my intentions.


     “Thus from both sides everything was measured, calculated, thought out and humanly speaking worked out in a manner completely acceptable for all. After this I went to Ufa.


     “But then the events of 1918 and 1919 took place. The beglopopovtsi lost me for a long time. I was in Siberia and then in a difficult incarceration… But in 1925, when I was in exile in Askhabad [in 1923 Archbishop Andrew had again been arrested and sentenced to three years exile in Central Asia, first in Ashkhabad, and then in Tashkent], the beglopopovets Archimandrite Clement came to me and began to ask me again that I should become bishop for the beglopopovtsi


     “I agreed to do everything that I had promised to L.A. Molekhonov… Moreover, I agreed to become bishop for the beglopopovtsi only on condition that Archimandrite Clement should himself receive consecration to the episcopate and would become de facto an active bishop, for I myself was chained to Askhabad or some other place for a long time.


     “Clement accepted all my conditions and on August 28, 1925 we for the first time prayed together with him to God in a truly Orthodox, that is, not caesaropapist church [!]; I on my side had fulfilled everything that I had been blessed to do by Patriarch Tikhon. On September 3, 1925 I (together with Bishop Rufinus) consecrated Clement to the episcopate, giving him the authority to be my deputy, as it were, as long as I did not enjoy freedom of movement…


     “After this we parted on the same day of September 3.


     “But soon I received news from Bishop Clement that the beglopopovtsi recognised neither me nor him as their bishops and that he, Clement, had been received in his existing rank into the number of the bishops of the Belokrinitsky hierarchy.”


     The renovationist Vestnik Sviashchennago Sinoda (Herald of the Holy Synod) reported: "According to the report of Archimandrite Clement, Bishop Andrew did not agree to the second rite (i.e. chrismation) for a long time, and agreed only after sustained discussions with, or demands from Clement, based on the 95th canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (which orders that heretics should be united to Orthodoxy only through chrismation).


     "Archbishop Andrew said the following to Clement before the chrismation: 'It is not your hand that is being lain upon me, but the hand of that patriarch who consecrated your ancient chrism: when you read the proclamation, and when I recite the heresies and confession of faith before chrismation, then I immediately become your bishop and can commune with you. But since I am your bishop, that means that a priest cannot anoint a bishop.'


     "After this, Archbishop Andrew anointed himself with the Old Ritualist chrism [more exactly: the chrism consecrated by the Orthodox Patriarch Joseph] and read out the following confession of faith: 'I, Bishop Andrew, of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, who was consecrated to the rank of bishop on October 4, 1907 in front of the holy relics of the Kazan hierarchs Gurias and Barsanuphius and on the day of their commemoration, and who am now suffering persecution from the ruling hierarchy for the freedom of the Church of Christ, confess before the Holy Church that Patriarch Nicon in his wisdom disrupted the life and love of the Catholic Church, thereby laying the beginnings of the schism in the Russian Church. On the basis of Patriarch Nicon's mistake was established that caesaropapism which has, since the time of Patriarch Nicon, undermined all the roots of Russian Church life and was finally expressed in the formation of the so-called 'Living Church', which is at present the ruling hierarchy and which has transgressed all the church canons... But I, although I am a sinful and unworthy bishop, by the mercy of God ascribe myself to no ruling hierarchy and have always remembered the command of the holy Apostle Peter: 'Pasture the flock of God without lording it over God's inheritance'."


     Hearing about the events in Askhabad, Metropolitan Peter, the patriarchal locum tenens, banned Archbishop Andrew from serving, although a later search in the Synodal offices revealed no such decree, as witnessed by a Spravka by the Chancellor of the Patriarchal Synod, Archbishop Pitirim of Dmitrov on October 27, 1927 1799).


     However, Archbishop Andrew was not inclined to obey such a decree, whether genuine or not; for he considered Metropolitan Peter to be “an autocrat in clerical guise” who had ascended the ecclesiastical ladder by means of an intrigue, and the whole system of the succession of power in the Church by means of secret wills to be uncanonical. Thus he continued to “ascribe myself to no ruling hierarchy”, and to rule the Ufa diocese on an autonomous basis until the convening of a Council of the whole Russian Church, consecrating no less than 40 bishops for the Catacomb Church – about 30 already by the beginning of 1927.


     As regards the supposed ban on Archbishop Andrew by Metropolitan Peter, we must conclude either, if we are to believe Metropolitan Sergius, that "it may have been lost on the road", or, much more likely, that it never existed.


     Unfortunately, this supposed ban by Metropolitan Peter caused him to be distrusted for a time by Archbishop Andrew. Fortunately, however, this distrust did not last, as we shall see…


     Archbishop Andrew returned from exile to Ufa in 1926, and the people visited their Vladyka in unending streams. However, the Ufa clergy led by the newly appointed Bishop John met him with hostility and coldness.


     One of his parishioners wrote in her diary: "The people search him out and revere him, and all the parishioners of various churches invite him to them, while the clergy does not accept him. There are many rumours, and no one knows what to believe... Bishop Andrew took up his residence in the workers' quarter on Samara street not far from the Simeonov church. He served in the Simeonov church, and in such a way, according to another eyewitness, that "we ascended to heaven and did not want to come down."


     In July, 1926, Metropolitan Peter’s deputy, Metropolitan Sergius, renewed the attack on Archbishop Andrew, and banned him from serving. However, even if we assume that the charges against him were justified, this ban was invalid, since it transgressed the 74th Apostolic canon. According to this, a bishop must be first be summoned to trial by bishops, and if he does not obey, he must be summoned again through two bishops who are sent to bring him, and then a third time through two bishops, and only when he does not appear the third time will the Council pronounce its decisions about him. In the case of Archbishop Andrew, he was not only not invited to a trial, but the sentence against him was passed, not by a Council, but by a single bishop like himself. From this it follows that his ban was invalid.


     Archbishop Andrew wrote: “This Sergius, knowing that I was in Ufa, wrote to my flock a letter, filled with slander against me, as if I had fallen away from Orthodoxy, as if I by the second rite had united myself to the beglopopovtsi, etc. I had no difficulty in proving that this was a lie and that the deputy of the locum tenens was simply a liar!…


     “And so Metropolitan Sergius slandered me, traveling along this well-trodden path of slander and lies. But in Ufa amidst the ‘Niconians’ there were some thinking people and they did not believe Sergius’ slander, as they did not believe Peter’s. Moreover, two things took place which served to help me personally and help the Church in general.


     “At that time I had two vicar-bishops with me – Anthony [Milovidov, of Ust-Katavsky] and Pitirim [of Nizhegorod, later Schema-Bishop Peter (Ladygin)]. Both of them wanted to check out everything that related to me in the matter of the reunion with Old Ritualism. Anthony set off to check things out in Moscow, obtained the trust of people in the chancellery of the Patriarchal Synod and personally got into the Synodal archive, so as to study the documents relating to me.


     “You can imagine his surprise when in the spring of 1927 he became convinced that there were absolutely no documents about me in the Synodal archives, neither about my ‘departure into schism’, nor about my ‘ban’, etc. He asked in the Synod what this meant, and received the exceptionally characteristic reply: ‘Metropolitan Peter was probably only wanting to frighten Bishop Andrew’!…


     “Bishop Pitirim, a 70-year-old monk who used to be on Old Athos, a clever man, although unlettered, went not to the sergianist Synod, which he did not recognize, but to Yaroslavl to Metropolitan Agathangelus, so as to tell him everything concerning Church life in Ufa in detail and to hear his opinion. Metropolitan Agathangel heard Bishop Pitirim out very attentively for several hours (two days) and told my vicar-bishop Pitirim (whom I had consecrated to the episcopate during my first exile in Tedzhent in June, 1925), that he should not be upset, that my ecclesiastical behaviour was irreproachable and that only in the interests of ecclesiastical peace he, Metropolitan Agathangel, advised me not to carry out any hierarchical consecrations but in the interests of the enlightenment of the flock in Ufa and other faithful sons of the Church, he, Metropolitan Agathangel, advised me to present my whole ‘case’ before the judgement of the nearest – at least three – bishops.


     “’But this is only my advice, and it will be clearer how to act on the spot,” said Metropolitan Agathangel to Bishop Pitirim.


     “Bishop Pitirim, on returning to Ufa, told me about all this, and Bishop Habbakuk of Old Ufa decided immediately to carry out the advice of Metropolitan Agathangel and on February 3, 1927 he invited Bishop Pitirim and Anthony to a convention in Ufa, while he asked me for all the materials that would explain my ecclesiastical behaviour.


     “On February 3, 1927 these three bishops issued under their signatures an ‘Act with regard to the Affair of Archbishop Andrew’, in which they laid out the circumstances of the affair and came to the conclusion that I had not ‘departed’ anywhere, and that Metropolitan Sergius’ slander was in essence a light-minded and shameful intrusion into a holy affair.”


     From October 3-6, 1927 a diocesan Congress took place in Ufa at which the “Act” was approved, Archbishop Andrew vindicated “as their true Ufa archpastor" and Metropolitan Sergius accused of lying. Vladyka Andrew's own view of his episcopal authority is contained in his reply to the Address of the clergy-lay assembly of March 26, 1926: "I remain a bishop for those who recognize me as their bishop, who fed me for the six years I was in prison, and who need me. I don't impose my episcopate on anyone."


     However, Archbishop Andrew’s relations with the Old Ritualists did not end there. When Vladyka was released from prison in 1931, he began to visit the Rogozhskoe cemetery again, reasoning “that I am for them not a stranger, but their own, and I am for them not a hostile and harmful ‘Niconian’, but a true bishop of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”. It seems that he then entered into communion with Archbishop Meletius (Kartushin) of Moscow, the first-hierarch of the Belokrinitsky hierarchy, and together with him consecrated a secret bishop, Basil Guslinsky.


     Soon, however, he was again exiled. During this period, on April 1, 1932, priests of the Belokrinitsky hierarchy sent him the Holy Gifts and an omophorion.


     Archbishop Andrew now considered himself to be in full communion with Archbishop Meletius “in the holy ecclesiastical dogmas, and in prayer, and in ecclesiastical discipline (that is, in the holy rites)”. At the same time, he rejected the idea that he had “transferred” to the Belokrinitsky hierarchy, and insisted on remaining Bishop of Ufa, retaining “full freedom of Church action, arousing the suspicions of nobody”. Archbishop Meletius appears to have accepted this condition.


     In reviewing the relations between Archbishop Andrew and the Old Ritualists, it is difficult to resist the conclusion that the latter used the good intentions and missionary zeal of the Orthodox bishop to deceive him into making errors that have cast a shadow over his reputation ever since. He considered that, as a result of his actions, “the schism, as a schism, has ideologically speaking come to an end”. But he was tricked by the beglopopovtsi, who rejected both him and the bishop he had consecrated for them, Clement. There was not then, and has not been since then, any union between the Orthodox Church and the Old Ritualists of the Belokrinitsky hierarchy. Nor can there be without the repentance of the latter, because, apart from the fact that the Belokrinitsky hierarchy has no apostolic succession, it, as the “Andrewites” themselves admit, followed the sergianists in becoming a tool of Soviet propaganda.


     In striving, like the Apostle Paul, to be "all things to all men", Archbishop Andrew sometimes expressed extreme statements concerning the pre-revolutionary Church and the Romanov dynasty which were accepted neither by the Church nor by his spiritual father, Metropolitan Anthony. This gave the opportunity to lesser, evil-intentioned men, such as Metropolitan Sergius, to cast doubt on Archbishop Andrew's Orthodoxy, whereas in fact Vladyka maintained his good confession to the extent of giving his blood for Christ...[159]


Not Bowing the Knee to Baal


    Although the True Orthodox laity of the Church of Greece with their few priests were essentially alone in openly opposing the calendar change, there were still some who had not “bowed the knee to Baal” in “the king’s palace” – the hierarchy headed by Chrysostom Papadopoulos. Thus Metropolitan Germanus of Demetrias protested against the introduction of the new calendar and held it in abeyance in his diocese until February 15, 1928.[160] Again, “on July 2, 1929, in the presence of forty-four metropolitans, Chrysostom suddenly demanded the immediate signature of the hierarchs present to a report he had prepared approving the calendar change and condemning those who stayed with the old. This satanic plan of Chrysostom’s was opposed by the metropolitans of Kassandreia, Maronia, Ioannina, Druinopolis, Florina, Demetrias, Samos and Khalkis. When the archbishop insisted, thirteen hierarchs left, while of the fifty-one who remained twenty-seven against four signed Chrysostom’s report.”[161]


     Indeed, it was the hope that the State Church would eventually return to the Julian Calendar, that persuaded those bishops who later joined the True Orthodox to stay where they were for the time being.


     Bishop Ephraim writes that at a “Pre-Council” held at the monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos in 1930, “the representatives of the Serbian and Polish Churches (the Churches of Russia, Georgia, and Bulgaria were not represented at the council; Russia and Georgia were not present because, at the time, they were weathering the third wave of persecutions under Stalin, Bulgaria was not present because the ‘Bulgarian schism’ was still in effect) asked for a separate chapel. When the Greeks insisted that they all celebrate together the Slavs refused, excusing themselves by saying that the language was different, as well as the typicon, and that there would be confusion. The Greeks kept insisting and the Slavs kept refusing, and in fact, to the end of the council, the two did not concelebrate, and it became clear that the Slavs considered the calendar issue important enough at the time to separate themselves from the Greeks. When they said that their typicon was different, the calendar obviously weighed heavily as a part of that difference…


     “In fact the Serbian Church even supported the Old Calendarist movement in Greece by sending them Chrism across the border secretly.”[162]


     During this council the Serbian Bishop Nicholas (Velimirovich) of Ochrid vehemently defended the Orthodox Calendar, declaring that the 1923 Congress which approved the new calendar had created a schism. “Does the present assembly,” he said, “have any relation to the Pan-Orthodox Congress of Constantinople, from which the anomalies known to us all proceeded? The Church of Serbia was stunned when she saw the decisions of that Congress put into practice.”[163]


     Again, in 1929 the Russian Metropolitan Innocent of Peking wrote an open letter on the calendar question in which he said: “In the Church of Christ there is nothing of little value, nothing unimportant, for in every custom there is incarnate the Spirit of God, by Whom the Church lives and breathes. Does not everyone who dares to rise up against the customs and laws of the Church, which are based on sacred Tradition and Scripture, rise up against the Spirit of God and thereby show to all who have eyes to see of what spirit he is? Worthily and rightly does the Holy Church consign such people to anathema.”[164]


     But these were foreign bishops; in Greece there was no bishop serving according to the Julian calendar.


     However, the number of True Orthodox parishes in Greece had multiplied (800 were founded in the years 1926-30 alone), and, helped by a parliamentary decree of 1931 granting freedom of worship to the Old Calendarists, the numbers of the faithful had swelled to over 200,000 by October, 1934. Moreover, by that time it was becoming clear even to many new calendarist hierarchs and theologians that the introduction of the new calendar had been an unmitigated disaster.


     The disastrous consequences of the innovation have been summarized by Nicetas Anagnostopoulos as follows: “The Greek Church infringed on the dogma of the spiritual unity of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, for which the Divine Founder had prayed, because it separated itself in the simultaneous celebration of the feasts and observance of the fasts from the other Orthodox Churches and the Orthodox world, 8/10ths of which follows the Old Calendar (the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Holy Mountain, Russia, Serbia and others).


     “In Divine worship it has divided the pious Greek people into two worshipping camps, and has divided families and introduced the simultaneous feasts of Orthodox and heretics (Catholics, Protestants and others) as well as confusion and disorder into the divine Orthodox Worship handed down by the Fathers.


     “It has transferred the immovable religious feasts and the great fasts, handed down from ages past, of Christmas, the Mother of God and the Holy Apostles, reducing the fast of the Apostles until it disappears when it coincides with the feast of All Saints; and has removed the readings from the Gospel and Apostle from the Sunday cycle.


     “From this it becomes evident that the Calendar is not an astronomical question, as the innovators of the Church of Greece claim in their defence, but quite clearly a religious question, given that it is indissolubly bound up with the worshipping, and in general with the religious life of the Orthodox Christian.


     “Through the calendar innovation the new calendarist Church has transgressed, not only the perennial Ecclesiastical Tradition of the Patristic and Orthodox Calendar, and not only the above-mentioned Apostolic command [II Thessalonians 2.15; Galatians 1.8-9] and the decision of the Seventh Ecumenical Council concerning the anathematisation of those who violate the Sacred Tradition [“If anyone violates any ecclesiastical tradition, written or unwritten, let him be anathema”], but also the decisions of the Pan-Orthodox Patriarchal Councils of the years 1583, 1587 and 1593 under the Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II and of 1848 under the Ecumenical Patriarch Anthimus, which condemned and anathematized the Gregorian calendar.


     “It has also transgressed the Sacred Canons which order the keeping and observance of the Sacred Traditions, which are: a) the Third of the Council of Carthage, b) the Twenty-First of the Council of Gangra, and c) the Ninety-First and Ninety-Second of St. Basil the Great, as well as the Forty-Seventh canon of the Council of Laodicea, which forbids the concelebration with heretics, which is what the Latins and the Protestants are, and the First of the Seventh Ecumenical Council concerning the steadfast observance of the complete array of the divine Canons.”[165]


     Nor did the new calendarists lack direct warnings from the Heavenly Church that the path they had embarked on was false.


     One such warning was given to the new calendarist Bishop Arsenius of Larissa on December 12/25, 1934, the feast of St. Spyridon according to the Old Calendar, but Christmas according to the new calendar.


     “In the morning the bishop went by car to celebrate the Liturgy in his holy church. When he arrived there, he saw a humble, aged, gracious Bishop with a panagia on his breast. Arsenius said to him: ‘Brother, come, let’s proclaim the joyful letters of Christmas and then I will give you hospitality.’


     “The humble Bishop replied: ‘You must not proclaim those letters but mine, St. Spyridon’s!’ Then Arsenius got angry and said: ‘I’m inviting you and you’re despising me. Go away then.’


     “Arsenius went into the church, venerated the icons and sat in his throne. When the time for the katavasias came, he sang the first katavasia, and then told the choir to sing the second. Arsenius began to say the third, but suddenly felt anxious and unwell. He motioned to the choir to continue and went into the altar, where they asked him: ‘What’s the matter, master?’ He replied: ‘I don’t feel well.’


     “When Arsenius’ indisposition increased, they carried him to his house, where his condition worsened, and the next day he died. He had been punished by God for his impious disobedience to St. Spyridon. This miracle is known by the older Orthodox faithful of Larissa.”[166]


     During this early period of the struggle against the new calendar, many people sympathized with the True Orthodox but did not join them because they did not yet have bishops. Others continued to worship according to the Orthodox Calendar without openly breaking communion with the new calendarists.


     Among the latter was Fr. Nicholas Planas of Athens. Fr. Nicholas was the priest who was called to conduct a service of Holy Water to bless the “Society of the Orthodox”, which effectively marked the beginning of the Old Calendarist struggle. At that service he said: “Whatever has been done uncanonically cannot stand – it will fall.”


     Once “he wanted to serve according to the traditional Calendar on the feast of the Prophet Elisseus [Elisha]. But since he feared that obstacles might arise, he agreed with his assistant priest the night before to go and serve at Saint Spyridon’s in Mantouka. In the morning his chantress went to Saint Spyridon’s and waited for him. Time passed and it looked as though the priest was not going to come to serve. She despaired. She supposed that something serious had happened to him, and that was why he hadn’t come. She left and went to Prophet Elisseus’ (because the ‘information center’ was there), to ask what had happened to the priest, and there, she saw him in the church preparing to celebrate the Liturgy! She chided him for breaking the agreement which they had made, and asked furthermore why he was not afraid, but came there in the center, right in the midst of the seething persecution. He said to her, ‘Don’t scold me, because this morning I saw the Prophet and he told me to come here to serve and not to fear anything, because he will watch over me.’ His helper was left with her argument unfinished! ‘But, how did you see him?’ she asked him. He told her, ‘I got up this morning and got ready for Saint Spyridon’s. I was sitting in an armchair while they brought me a carriage. At that moment I saw Prophet Elisseus before me, and he told me to go to his church to celebrate the Liturgy!’…


     “Another example similar to that of Papa-Nicholas is that of the priestmonk Jerome of Aegina, who followed the same path. Shortly after his ordination to the priesthood, a year or so before the calendar change, Fr. Jerome ceased from serving because of a vision that was granted him during the Liturgy. According to some accounts this occurred within forty days of his ordination. He continued to preach, however, at a hospital chapel where he lived, and which he himself had built there on the island of Aegina. Although this chapel officially was under the new calendar diocese of Aegina, Fr. Jerome always celebrated the feast days according to the traditional ecclesiastical calendar…


     “Although he himself did not serve as a priest, nevertheless, because of his saintliness and his popularity among the people and because of the obvious gifts of the Holy Spirit which he possessed, he had great influence among the faithful who looked to him for direction and guidance. This came to the ears of Procopius, the Bishop of Hydra and Aegina. As a result, the bishop sent word to Fr. Jerome that he was going to come and impose on him to concelebrate with him. Up to this time, Fr. Jerome had sought to remain faithful to the Church’s tradition and to his conscience without making an issue of it publicly or in street demonstrations. He saw, however, that the bishop was determined to create an issue now and force him into communion with him. As a result, Fr. Jerome sent the bishop a short note and resigned from the diocese, saying among other things: ‘I ask you to accept my resignation from the Hospital, because from 1924 and thence, my longing, as well as my zeal, has been for the Orthodox Church and Faith. From my childhood I revered Her, and dedicated all my life to Her, in obedience to the traditions of the Godbearing Fathers. I confess and proclaim the calendar of the Fathers to be the correct one, even as You Yourself acknowledge…’”[167]


     An especially active role in the struggle was played by Hieromonk Matthew (Karpathakis), who in 1927, in response to a Divine vision, founded the women’s Monastery of the Mother of God at Keratea, Attica, which soon became the largest monastery in Greece.[168]


     In 1934 he wrote: “For every Christian there is nothing more honourable in this fleeting life than devout faith in the Master of all things, our Lord Jesus Christ. For what else can save the soul from death, that is, from the condemnation of eternal punishment, than this faultless Orthodox Christian Faith of ours, about which the Lord speaks clearly, saying: ‘He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned’ (Mark 16.16). This Faith was compared by the Lord to a valuable treasure which a man found hidden in a field and to buy which he sold all his possessions (Matthew 13.13).


     “Therefore the blessed Apostle Jude exhorts everyone ‘to contend for the Faith which was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Catholic epistle, v. 3). And the divine Apostle made such an exhortation because there were appearing at that time men of deceit, the vessels of Satan, guileful workers, who sow tares in the field of the Lord, and who attempt to overturn the holy Faith in Christ. Concerning the men of impiety and perdition, the holy Apostle went on to write: ‘For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.’ Because of these innovators and despisers of the Faith in the Holy Church of God which has been handed down to us, the Apostle of the Gentiles and Walker in heavenly places Paul hurled a terrible anathema, saying: ‘If any one preaches to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed’ (Galatians 1.9).


     “Therefore our Lord in the Holy Gospel cries to all His faithful servants: ‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits… Take heed that no one leads you astray… And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.’ (Matthew 7.15,16, 24.4,11)


     “Against these innovating false-bishops and their followers the synodical decrees of the Church through the Most Holy Patriarchs declare that ‘whoever has wished to add or take away one iota – let him be seven times anathema’…


     “Thus with what great attention should every Orthodox Christian care for the valuable treasures of the Faith, so as to keep it undefiled, as the divine Apostles and Godbearing Fathers handed it down to us, and that he should struggle to preserve the state which is fitting for Christians of penitence, the fear of God, good works; for we live in an age in which, as the Evangelist John says, so many antichrists have appeared. He writes: ‘Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.’ (I John 2.18-19)


     “… Those who govern the Church of Greece today have, together with the clergy who follow them, persisted in error, kakodoxy, schism, the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the heresy of the Papist calendar! And they have led the people into error and become ‘heresiarch’ hierarchs according to the divine Fathers!


     “… What great wealth of the grace of God is brought into the soul of the Christian by a little patience in afflictions! Although the holy martyrs, confessors and righteous ones passed their lives in persecutions and afflictions, nevertheless they endured and triumphed over this world which ‘lies in evil’ and found the unfading glory of the Kingdom of the Heavens, because they hoped in the Lord. Our Fathers hoped and were not ashamed, for the unlying mouth of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ confirmed: ‘Behold, I am with you all the days of your life until the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28.20) That is why the Church of Christ, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, although furiously persecuted by the Jews, the idolators, the pseudo-wise, the atheist heretics and in general by the organs of the devil, emerged always victorious and resplendent. ‘In truth nothing is stronger than the Church’; for Her Founder and Head is the God Who became man for our sakes, He Who together with the Father and the Holy Spirit is worshipped and glorified in heaven and on earth, He Who is blessed to the ages. As every Christian can see, Orthodoxy is passing through a terrible winter. Piety is persecuted, virtue is derided, Church tradition is scorned. It is frightful that Shepherds of the Church should turn into Her persecutors.


     “St. Basil the Great once wrote: ‘The one crime that is severely avenged is the strict keeping of the patristic traditions… No white hair is venerable to the judges of injustice, no pious asceticism, no state according to the Gospel from youth to old age… To our grief we see our feasts upturned, our houses of prayer closed, our altars of spiritual worship unused.’ All this has now come upon us. Many and clearly to be seen by all are the great evils that the anticanonical renovationists introduced into the menologion and calendar of the Orthodox Church. Schisms, divisions, the overthrow of good order and complete confusion, violation of the most ancient laws of the Church, a great scandal for the conscience of the faithful were the consequences, though anathemas on those who violate ‘any ecclesiastical tradition, whether written or unwritten’ had been sounded by the Holy Ecumenical Councils. On the basis of the apostolic maxim, ‘Obey those who have the rule over you and submit to them’ (Hebrews. 13.7), the Shepherds of the Church who support this anticanonical innovation expect absolute obedience from the fullness of the Church. But how can the true children of the Church obey those who at the same moment disobey the holy Fathers, of whom the prophet says: ‘The Lord chose them to love them’, and do not venerate the Church’s established order that has been handed down and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, while the Lord says concerning them: ‘He who hears you hears Me, and he who despises you despises Me. And he who despises Me despises Him Who sent Me’? How can pious Christians shut their ears to the voices and work of such great Saints of God, and so be deprived of the praise and blessing of the Holy Trinity, which we hear in the mouth of the Apostle Paul himself: ‘I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you’ (I Corinthians 11.2); thereby receiving diverse and strange teachings ‘according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ’ (Colossians 2.8), inventions of men in which there lurks a special danger for the soul? The faithful children of the Church, with fear of God in regard to the commandment of the Holy Spirit: ‘Stand firm and hold to the traditions’ (II Thessalonians 2.15), and in conformity with the other commandment: ‘Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it’ (II Timothy. 3.14), have a reverent and Godpleasing answer to give to the unproved claims of today’s innovating shepherds with regard to obedience: ‘We must obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5.29).[169]


The Return of the Three Bishops


     Now the True Orthodox Christians both in Greece and in Romania conducted the first phase of their struggle against the innovating State Churches without bishops. This is not to say that there were not bishops who supported them, but they were outside Greece and Romania. Thus Bishop Nicholas (Velimirovich) supported the Greek Old Calendarists from Serbia. And Metropolitan Anastasy of Kishinev supported the Romanian Old Calendarists from Jerusalem. Thus in 1925 he wrote to Protopriest Vladimir Polyakov saying that he still considered himself head of the Bessarabian Church and was waiting for the opportunity to return there. And in 1930 he concelebrated with Fr. Glycerius in Jerusalem.[170] But in Greece and Romania there were no bishops of the Old Calendar. This was a severe handicap, for while it is better to have no bishop than a heretical or schismatic one, the absence of bishops endangers the long-term survival of a Church for the simple reason that without a bishop it is impossible to ordain priests. Moreover, those in the camp of the innovators who secretly sympathize with the confessors are less likely to cross over to the latter if they have no bishops.


     On October 11, 1934 the Administrative Council of the Old Calendarists appealed to ROCOR to consecrate bishops for them, and Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky is reported to have been favourable to their request. But nothing came of their appeal.[171] However, it may be doubted whether Metropolitan Anthony was really so favourable - as we have seen, in 1926 he was against breaking all ties with the new calendarists until they had been condemned at an Ecumenical Council.[172]


     But pressure for a return to the Julian Calendar continued to build up within the State Church; and in May, 1935 eleven bishops decided to return to the Julian calendar. However, pressure was exerted on them, and eight withdrew at the last moment.


     This left three: Metropolitan Germanus of Demetrias, the retired Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina (who had already distinguished himself in the early 1920s by refusing to recognize the election of Meletius Metaxakis) and Metropolitan Chrysostom of Zakynthos, who, according to one source, was accepted by the first two by the laying-on of hands, since he had been consecrated after the calendar change.[173]


     On May 25, 1935, the Community of the True Orthodox Christians invited the three metropolitans to break communion with the State Church and take up the leadership of the True Church. They agreed, and on Sunday, May 26, in the Community’s little church of the Dormition at Colonus, Athens, and in the presence of 25,000 faithful, they formally announced their adherence to the True Orthodox Church – that is, the Church that followed the patristic calendar. Metropolitan Germanus was elected president of the new Synod. This joyful event was the people’s reward for their steadfast confession of the Faith and the necessary condition for the further success of the sacred struggle of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece.


     The three metropolitans then issued a Confession of Faith in which they declared, among other things: “Those who now administer the Church of Greece have divided the unity of Orthodoxy through the calendar innovation, and have split the Greek Orthodox People into two opposing calendar parts. They have not only violated an Ecclesiastical Tradition which was consecrated by the Seven Ecumenical Councils and sanctioned by the age-old practice of the Eastern Orthodox Church, but have also touched the Dogma of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Therefore those who now administer the Greek Church have, by their unilateral, anticanonical and unthinking introduction of the Gregorian calendar, cut themselves off completely from the trunk of Orthodoxy, and have declared themselves to be in essence schismatics in relation to the Orthodox Churches which stand on the foundation of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the Orthodox laws and Traditions, the Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Serbia, Poland, the Holy Mountain and the God-trodden Mountain of Sinai, etc.


     “That this is so was confirmed by the Commission made up of the best jurists and theologian-professors of the National University which was appointed to study the calendar question, and one of whose members happened to be his Blessedness the Archbishop of Athens in his then capacity as professor of Church History in the National University.


     “Let us see what was the opinion given by this Commission on the new calendar: ‘Although all the Orthodox Churches are autocephalous in their internal administration, nevertheless, in that they are united to each other through the Dogmas and the Synodical decrees and Canons, none of them can separate itself off as an individual Orthodox Church and accept the new Church calendar without being considered Schismatic in relation to the others.’


     “Since his Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens has by his own signature declared himself to be a Schismatic, what need do we have of witnesses to demonstrate that he and the hierarchs who think like him have become Schismatics, in that they have split the unity of Orthodoxy through the calendar innovation and divided the Ecclesiastical and ethnic soul of the Greek Orthodox People?”[174]


     This very important document was confirmed as expressing the Faith of the Church in several subsequent Confessions (notably the “Florinite” Confessions of 1950, 1974 and 1991). It declares that the new calendarists are not only schismatics but also, by clear implication, heretics in that they “touched the Dogma of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”.


     But by “schismatic”, did the three metropolitans mean “deprived of the grace of sacraments”? The answer to this question is to be found in their encyclical issued on June 8/21, 1935: “We recommend to all those who follow the Orthodox Calendar that they have no spiritual communion with the schismatic church of the schismatic ministers, from whom the grace of the All-Holy Spirit has fled, because they have violated the decisions of the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and the Pan-Orthodox Councils which condemned the Gregorian calendar. That the schismatic Church does not have Grace and the Holy Spirit is affirmed by St. Basil the Great, who says the following: ‘Even if the Schismatics have erred about things which are not Dogmas, since the head of the Church is Christ, according to the divine Apostle, from Whom all the members live and receive spiritual increase, they have torn themselves away from the harmony of the members of the Body and no longer are members [of that Body] or have the grace of the Holy Spirit. Therefore he who does not have it cannot transfer it to others.’”[175]


     By a “coincidence” rich in symbolical meaning, it was precisely at this time – June, 1935 – that the Turkish law banning Orthodox clergy from wearing cassocks came into effect. Although this regulation was strongly resented by Patriarch Photius, the lower clergy greeted it with delight, shouting: “Long live Ataturk!” And indeed, deprived now of the inner vestment of grace, and governed by “human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2.8), it was only fitting that the Patriarchate should lose even the outer sign of its former glory.[176]


     On May 23, 24, 25 and 26, 1935, the three metropolitans consecrated four new bishops: Germanus (Varykopoulos) of the Cyclades, Christopher (Hatzi) of Megara, Polycarp (Liosi) of Diauleia, and Matthew (Karpathakis) of Bresthena. For this in June all seven bishops were arrested and tried in an ecclesiastical court by the State Church. On June 15 they were defrocked; Metropolitans Germanus Chrysostom and Bishop Germanos were exiled to distant newcalendarist monasteires, while Bishop Matthew was allowed to stay confined in his monastery in Keratea on account of his poor health. The remaining three bishops repented, and were received back into the State Church in their existing orders.[177] However, in October the two other metropolitans were freed before time by the government (the new prime-minister, George Kondyles, sympathized with the True Orthodox).


More Signs from Heaven


      In December, Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina set off for Jerusalem and Damascus in order to discuss the possibility of convening a Council to resolve the calendar question. The two Patriarchs received him kindly and promised to help towards this goal. However, as he prepared to return to Greece, the Greek consul in Jerusalem, acting under orders from Athens, refused to stamp a visa into his passport. For several months Metropolitan Chrysostom languished in Jerusalem as a virtual prisoner of the Greek consul. But Divine Providence, through the intercessions of “the liberator of captives”, St. George, found a way out for him.


     This miracle was recounted by Chrysostom himself as follows: “I was depressed by my captivity since I had no information about how the Sacred Struggle was going and did not know what would be the outcome of my arbitrary detention in Jerusalem.


     “With this serious problem weighing on me, I went, the next day, which was April 23, to the Divine Liturgy. With pain and faith I called on St. George to help me:


     “’Holy Great-Martyr of Christ George, you who are the liberator of captives and defender of the poor, perform your miracle and deliver me from this captivity.’


     “That evening, when I was in my house and before going to bed, I heard a knock on the door of my house:


     “’Come in.’


     “Immediately the door opened and there entered a good-looking young man, who said:


     “’You are free to leave. No-one will give you the news.’


     “’Go and look at my passport.’


     “The young men promptly left and, returning soon after, said:


     “’Everything is ready.’”


     The bishop was about to give the young man a tip when, to his amazement, he vanished. He pondered what this could mean. However, his heart was full of peace and joy.


     The next day he again went to the church. On glancing at the icon of St. George, he remembered the previous day’s incident and noticed that the face of the saint on the icon looked exactly like the young man he had seen. With great enthusiasm he chanted the troparion to the saint: “Liberator of captives and defender of the poor”, and then turned to him as if to a close friend:


     “St. George, I, too, am a prisoner. But since you promised that no-one would give me the news, I’m going. Protect me.”


     Immediately after church he went to the house where he was staying and said to the landlady:


     “I’m going to Piraeus.”


     “But, your Grace, where will you go? Your passport doesn’t have a visa.”


     “St. George will help me.”


     When he got to Haifa, from where the boats left for Piraeus, he began to worry again, because he did not know the language and had no-one he knew to talk to.


     As he was setting foot in a boat, he saw a monk whom he did not know, who approached him, bowed and said to him in Greek:


     “Your Grace, how can I be of service to you?”


     “How can you be of service to me? I want to leave, but my passport has not had a visa stamped in it by the Greek consul.”


     The monk took the passport, went to a travel agency, and although the passport did not have the seal of the Greek consul, obtained a ticket.[178]


     The two metropolitans continued to be harrassed by the State Church. Thus in 1937 a magistrate’s court tried Chrysostom on the charge of having served in the church of the Three Hierarchs in Thessalonica. He was declared innocent; but further trials followed in 1938 and 1940.[179]


     But the Lord also continued to give signs from heaven to His faithful. Thus the True Orthodox Christians of Crete were going to celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross with an all-night vigil in the church of the same name on the peak of Mount Kophinas. “On the eve of the feast, which was a Sunday (13/9/1937), when it began to grow dark, the faithful were arriving in groups from the various villages in the area, some on foot, some riding on animals… The old men together with the priests Fr. Demetrius from Krousona and Fr. Charalampus from Kapetaniana were waiting for them at the little church of the Nativity of the Mother of God, which was on the foothills of Kophinas. That evening, above the peak of the Cross, there was a lot of mist and thick fog, and climbing was very difficult. The faithful numbered more than 500, and according to others – more than 1000.


     “At ten o’clock a detachment of police arrived led by a sub-lieutenant. They justified their presence by saying that ‘they came to maintain… order!’ Of course, their motive was quite different. However, when they saw the numbers of the faithful they were forced to change their minds.


     “At midnight the priests began to chant the Akathist to the Honoured Cross. In spite of the fog and the cold, strong wind, the faithful prayed on their knees, and they all together repeated the ‘Rejoice, blessed wood’ or the ‘Alleluia’.


     “At the end of the Rejoices the wind suddenly stopped blowing and the mist began to disperse. The peak of Kophinas and the little church of the Honoured Cross came clearly into view.


     “Before they realized what was happening, the whole area began to be illumined by a light and a sweet peace spread everywhere. Then, with fear but also with ineffable joy, they saw a cross of light shining on the peak of Kophinas and casting its rays over the whole area. The night suddenly became day! Nothing could be heard except the ‘Kyrie eleisons’ and the mute weeping of the Faithful. None of the eyewitnesses could say how long the miracle lasted.


     “Finally, after quite a long time, as it had appeared, so it gradually disappeared again… And again, as at the beginning, the wind began to blow and a thick fog covered the area.


     “The faithful continued with renewed zeal and compunction to pray the whole night. The priests celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the little church of the All Holy.


     “At dawn the Divine Liturgy came to an end, whereupon the whole crowd of the faithful began to move, returning to their villages and houses, discussing amongst themselves and the police the wonderful miracle of the divine appearance of the Honoured Cross…”[180]


The Vatican and Russia


     Russia’s age-old enemy, the Vatican, at first appeared to condemn the revolution in Russia, and support the Orthodox. On March 12, 1919 Pope Benedict XV sent Lenin a protest against the persecutions of the Orthodox clergy, while Archbishop Ropp sent Patriarch Tikhon a letter of sympathy. The Commissar for Foreign Affairs Chicherin noted with dissatisfaction this “solidarity with the servers of the Orthodox Church”.[181]


     In general, however, the attitude of the Vatican to Orthodoxy was hostile to the Orthodox.


     Deacon Herman Ivanov-Trinadtsaty writes: “Pope Pius X (who was canonized in 1954) pronounced on the very eve of World War I, ‘Russia is the greatest enemy of the [Roman] Church.’ Therefore it is not surprising that the Roman Catholic world greeted the Bolshevik Revolution with joy. ‘After the Jews the Catholics did probably more than anyone else to organize the overthrow of tsarist power. At least they did nothing to stop it.’ Shamelessly and with great candour they wrote in Rome as soon as the Bolshevik ‘victory’ became evident: ‘there has been uncontainable pleasure over the fall of the tsarist government and Rome has not wasted any time in entering into negotiations with the Soviet government.’ When a leading Vatican dignitary was asked why the Vatican was against France during World War II, he exclaimed: ‘The victory of the Entente allied with Russia would have been as great a catastrophe for the Roman Catholic Church as the Reformation was.’ Pope Pius conveyed this feeling in his typically abrupt manner: ‘If Russia is victorious, then the schism is victorious.’…


     “Even though the Vatican had long prepared for it, the collapse of the Orthodox Russian Empire caught it unawares. It very quickly came to its senses. The collapse of Russia did not yet mean that Russia could turn Roman Catholic. For this, a new plan of attack was needed. Realizing that would be as difficult for a Pole to proselytise in Russia as for an Englishman in Ireland, the Vatican understood the necessity of finding a totally different method of battle with Orthodoxy, which would painlessly and without raising the slightest suspicion, ensnare and subordinate the Russian people to the Roman Pope. This Machiavellian scheme was the appearance of the so-called ‘Eastern Rite’, which its defenders understood as ‘the bridge by which Rome will enter Russia’, to quote an apt expression of K.N. Nikolaiev.


     “This treacherous plot, which can be likened to a ship sailing under a false flag, had very rapid success in the first years after the establishment of Soviet power. This too place in blood-drenched Russia and abroad, where feverish activity was begun amongst the hapless émigrés, such as finding them work, putting their immigration status in order, and opening Russian-language schools for them and their children.


     “It cannot be denied that there were cases of unmercenary help, but in the overwhelming majority of cases, this charitable work had a thinly disguised confessional goal, to lure by various means the unfortunate refugees into what seemed at first glance to be true Orthodox churches, but which at the same time commemorated the pope…


     “In Russia the experiment with the ‘Eastern Rite’ lasted more than ten years…[182] The heart and soul of the papal ‘Ostpolitik’, its eastern policies, was a Jesuit, the French Bishop d’Erbigny, who was specially authorized by the pope to conduct negotiations with the Kremlin for the wide dissemination of Roman Catholicism in the Soviet Union and by the same token the supplanting of Orthodoxy in Russia and in Russian souls.


     “With this in mind, d’Erbigny travelled three times to the Soviet Union on a French diplomatic passport. He consecrated several Roman Catholic hierarchs with the aim of building up a group of Russian Catholic clergymen who would be acceptable to the Soviet authorities. Let us listen to the degree of open amorality that these clerics were capable of: “Bolshevism is liquidating priests, desecrating churches and holy places, and destroying monasteries. Is this not where the religious mission of irreligious Bolshevism lies, in the disappearance of the carriers of schismatic thought, as it were presenting a “clean table”, a tabula rasa, which gives us the possibility of spiritual recreation.’ For those to whom it is not clear just what kind of spiritual reconstruction the Benedictine monk Chrysostom Bayer is referring to, his thoughts can be amplified by the official …Catholic journal, Bayrischer Kurier: ‘Bolshevism is creating the possibility of the conversion of stagnant Russia to Catholicism.’


     “No one less than the exarch of the Russian Catholics, Leonid Fyodorov, when on trial in March of 1923 along with fourteen other clergymen and one layman, pathetically testified to the sincerity of his feelings in relation to the Soviet authorities, who, Fyodorov thought later, did not fully understand what could be expected from Roman Catholicism. He explained: ‘From the time that I gave myself to the Roman Catholic Church, my cherished dream has been to reconcile my homeland with this church, which for me is the only true one. But we were not understood by the government. All Latin Catholics heaved a sigh of relief when the October Revolution took place. I myself greeted with enthusiasm the decree on the separation of Church and State… Only under Soviet rule, when Church and State are separated, could we breathe freely. As a religious believer, I saw in this liberation the hand of God.


     “Let us not lose sight of the fact that all these declarations by Roman Catholics, who were quite friendly with the Soviets, were pronounced during the nightmarish period when the Soviets were trying to eradicate the Orthodox Church. Keeping in mind that Vatican diplomacy adheres to the principle that the end justifies the means, which is illustrated throughout its centuries-old history, the game which the Vatican has been playing with Moscow should be clearly understood. The essence of the matter is that Russia has become a sacrifice to two principles hostile to it, Catholicism and godless communism, which are drawn together by a curious concurrence of interests. Moscow realizes that the eradication of faith from the Russian soul is a hopeless task. As long as the Russian Church remained faithful to itself, and uncompromising towards the godless power, courageously witnessing to the fundamental incompatibility between Christian and communist principles, the Soviet leaders were ready for two reasons to graciously study the variant of Roman Catholicism offered to them. By this means they hoped to manipulate the religiousness of the Russian soul.


     “The first reason was Rome’s consistent, impeccable loyalty to the communist regime, both in the U.S.S.R. and outside it [until 1930]. Secondly, it was advantageous to the Kremlin, or simply entertaining, that the religious needs of the Russians should be satisfied by this centuries-old enemy of Orthodoxy. For their part, the Catholics were ready to close their eyes to all the atrocities of Bolshevism, including the shooting of the Roman Catholic Bishop Butkevich in April of 1923 and the imprisonment of Bishops Tseplyak, Malyetsky and Fyodorov. Six weeks later, the Vatican expressed its sorrow over the assassination of the Soviet agent Vorovsky in Lausanne! The People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs told the German Ambassador, ‘Pius XI was amiable to me in Genoa, expressing the hope that we [the Bolsheviks] would break the monopoly of the Orthodox Church in Russia, thus clearing a path for him.’


     “We have discovered information of the greatest importance in the archives of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A secret telegram ¹ 266 of February 6, 1925 from Berlin, stated that the Soviet ambassador, Krestinsky, told Cardinal Pacelli (the future Pius XII) that Moscow would not oppose the existence of Roman Catholic bishops and a metropolitan on Russian territory. Furthermore, the Roman clergy were offered the very best conditions. Six days later, secret telegram ¹ 284 spoke of permission being granted for the opening of a Roman Catholic seminary. Thus, while our holy New Martyrs were being annihilated with incredible cruelty, the Vatican was conducting secret negotiations with Moscow. In short, Rome attempted to gain permission to appoint the necessary bishops and even permission to open a seminary. Our evidence shows that this question was discussed once more in high circles in the autumn of 1926. In all likelihood, it had not been satisfactorily settled earlier. This might be viewed as the culmination of the unnaturally close relations between the Vatican and the Soviet government.”


     In July, 1927 Metropolitan Sergius wrote his notorious declaration. Having broken Sergius, the Bolsheviks no longer needed the Catholics. And so, as an “unexpected and indirect result” of the declaration, writes Ivanov-Trinadtsaty, “Moscow put an end to the negotiations and the attention it was devoting to Vatican offers… The restitution of the traditional [in appearance] Russian Orthodox Church, neutralized as it were, seemed more useful to the Soviet authorities than, the Vatican. From then on, the Soviets lost interest in the Vatican. Only at the end of 1929 and the beginning of 1930 did the Vatican finally admit that it had suffered a political defeat and began vociferously to condemn the Bolshevik crimes. It had somehow not noticed them until 1930. Only in 1937 did Pope Pius XI release the encyclical Divine Redemptori (Divine Redeemer), which denounced communism…”[183]


     In the 1930s the Vatican made inroads into the Sovietised Moscow Patriarchate. Thus Archbishop Bartholomew (Remov) secretly adopted Eastern Rite Catholicism, as he acknowledged under interrogation. Also, Bishop Nicholas (Yarushevich), the second person in the Sergianist hierarchy, told the Catholic Bishop Névé that “the current state of the Orthodox Church is so grievous that it can only save itself by making an alliance with the Catholic centre. Otherwise, nothing will ever be straightened out again… At least one diocese should do it first, and others would follow suit later.”[184]


Three Holy Hieromartyrs


     In May, 1932, Stalin declared an anti-religious five-year plan. By 1936 the last church was to be closed, and that by 1937 the name of God would no longer be pronounced in the Soviet Union. By the beginning of 1933 half the churches in the land had been closed or destroyed.[185] But the census of 1937 established that two-thirds of the peasantry and one-third of the city-dwellers still maintained their faith in God. This impressive figure, considering the conditions in which it was obtained, owed nothing to Sergius’ pact with the State, which rather divided the faithful and gave the atheists an extra and extremely effective weapon against them.


     In 1933 Metropolitan Sergius stated officially in the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate (whose first issue appeared in 1931) that he “as the deputy of Metropolitan Peter, had not only the temporary authority of the First Hierarch but the Patriarchal Power as well”. He also declared that Metropolitan Peter, the lawful First Hierarch, did not have the right “to interfere in the administration of the Church or even correct the mistakes of his deputy.” As a result of this statement, Bishop Athanasius (Sakharov) of Kovrov broke communion with Sergius, as he stated in a letter to him on his return from exile in December, 1933.[186]


     In April, 1934 Sergius’ Synod gave him the title of Metropolitan of Kolomna – Metropolitan Peter’s see – thereby making him in effect an “adulterer bishop”. In August, 1936, the NKVD spread the rumour that Metropolitan Peter had died. The Sergianist Synod promptly – and completely uncanonically – passed a resolution transferring the rights and duties of the patriarchal locum tenency to Metropolitan Sergius.


     In view of this further departure of Metropolitan Sergius from Orthodoxy, it may be asked what was the reaction of the leading hierarchs of the Catacomb Church – Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa, the patriarchal locum tenens and de jure leader of the Church, Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd, her de facto leader, and Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan, the first locum tenens appointed by Patriarch Tikhon and the favoured candidate of the Russian episcopate for the role of patriarch.


     Metropolitan Peter’s attitude was particularly important to ascertain in view of the fact that both the True Orthodox and the sergianists formally acknowledged him as the Church’s first hierarch. Earlier, Bishop Damascene of Glukhov had claimed to have made contact with him through his cell-attendant, who reported that Metropolitan Peter expressed disapproval of Sergius’ policies. Thus on January 22, 1928 he wrote to a certain N. “For a first-hierarch such an appeal [as Sergius’ declaration] is inadmissible. Moreover, I don’t understand why a Synod was formed from (as I can see from the signatures under the appeal) unreliable people. Thus, for example, Bishop Philip is a heretic… In this appeal a shadow is cast upon me and the patriarch, as if we had political relations with abroad, whereas the only relations were ecclesiastical. I do not belong to the irreconcilables, I allowed everything that could be allowed, and it was suggested to me in a more polite manner that I sign the appeal. I refused, for which I was exiled. I trusted Metropolitan Sergius, and I see that I was mistaken.”


     On September 17, 1929, the priest Gregory Seletsky wrote to Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd on behalf of Archbishop Demetrius (Lyubimov): “I am fulfilling the request of his Eminence Archbishop Demetrius and set out before you in written form that information which the exiled Bishop Damascene has communicated to me. He succeeded in making contact with Metropolitan Peter, and in sending him, via a trusted person, full information about everything that has been taking place in the Russian Church. Through this emissary Metropolitan Peter said the following to him: ’1. You Bishops must yourselves remove Metropolitan Sergius. ’2. I do not bless you to commemorate Metropolitan Sergius during Divine services…”[187]


     In December, 1929 Metropolitan Peter wrote to Sergius: “Your Eminence, forgive me magnanimously if by the present letter I disturb the peace of your Eminence’s soul. People inform me about the difficult circumstances that have formed for the Church in connection with the exceeding of the limits of the ecclesiastical authority entrusted to you. I am very sorry that you have not taken the trouble to initiate me into your plans for the administration of the Church. You know that I have not renounced the locum tenancy, and consequently, I have retained for myself the Higher Church Administration and the general leadership of Church life. At the same time I make bold to declare that your remit as deputy was only for the management of everyday affairs; you are only to preserve the status quo. I am profoundly convinced that without prior contact with me you will not make any responsible decision. I have not accorded you any constituent right as long as I retain the locum tenancy and as long as Metropolitan Cyril is alive and as long as Metropolitan Agathangelus was alive. Therefore I did not consider it necessary in my decree concerning the appointment of candidates for the deputyship to mention the limitation of their duties; I had no doubt that the deputy would not alter the established rights, but would only deputize, or represent, so to speak, the central organ through which the locum tenens could communicate with his flock. But the system of administration you have introduced not only excludes this: it also excludes the very need for the existence of the locum tenens. Such major steps cannot, of course, be approved by the consciousness of the Church. I did not admit any qualifications limiting the duties of the deputy, both from a feeling of deep reverence and trust for the appointed candidates, and first of all for you, having in mind at this point your wisdom. It is burdensome for me to number all the details of negative evaluations of your administration: the resounding protests and cries from believers, from hierarchs and laypeople. The picture of ecclesiastical division that has been painted is shocking. My duty and conscience do not allow me to remain indifferent to such a sorrowful phenomenon; they urge me to address your Eminence with a most insistent demand that you correct the mistake you have made, which has placed the Church in a humiliating position, and which has caused quarrels and divisions in her and a blackening of the reputation of her leaders. In the same way I ask you to suspend the other measures that have increased your prerogatives. Such a decision of yours will, I hope, create a good atmosphere in the Church and will calm the troubled souls of her children, while with regard to you it will preserve that disposition towards you which you deservedly enjoyed both as a Church figure and as a man. Place all your hope on the Lord, and His help will always be with you. On my part, I as the first-hierarch of the Church, call on all clergy and church activists to display, in everything that touches on the civil legislation and administration, complete loyalty. They are obliged to submit unfailingly to the governmental decrees as long as they do not violate the holy faith and in general are not contrary to Christian conscience; and they must not engage in any anti-governmental activity, and they are allowed to express neither approval nor disapproval of their actions in the churches or in private conversations, and in general they must not interfere in matters having nothing to do with the Church...”[188]


     On February 13/26, 1930, after receiving news from Deacon K. about the true state of affairs in the Church, Metropolitan Peter wrote to Sergius: "Of all the distressing news I have had to receive, the most distressing was the news that many believers remain outside the walls of the churches in which your name is commemorated. I am filled with spiritual pain both about the disputes that have arisen with regard to your administration and about other sad phenomena. Perhaps this information is biassed, perhaps I am not sufficiently acquainted with the character and aims of the people writing to me. But the news of disturbances in the Church come to me from various quarters and mainly from clerics and laymen who have made a great impression on me. In my opinion, in view of the exceptional circumstances of Church life, when normal rules of administration have been subject to all kinds of distortion, it is necessary to put Church life on that path on which it stood during your first period as deputy. So be so good as to return to that course of action that was respected by everybody. I repeat that I am very sad that you have not written to me or confided your plans to me. Since letters come from other people, yours would undoubtedly have reached me..."


     On August 17, 1930, after again refusing to renounce the locum tenancy and become a GPU agent, Metropolitan Peter was imprisoned in the Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg prisons in solitary confinement with no right to receive parcels or visitors.


     On March 11, 1931, after describing the sufferings of his life in Khe (which included the enmity of three renovationist priests), he posed the following question in a letter to J.B. Polyansky: "Will not a change in locum tenens bring with it a change also in his deputy? Of course, it is possible that my successor, if he were to find himself incapable of carrying out his responsibilities directly, would leave the same person as his deputy - that is his right. But it is certain, in my opinion, that the carrying out of his duties by this deputy would have to come to an end at the same time as the departure of the person for whom he is deputizing, just as, according to the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius, with his departure the synod created by him would cease to exist. All this and other questions require thorough and authoritative discussion and canonical underpinning... Be so kind as to bow to Metropolitan Sergius on my behalf, since I am unable to do this myself, and send him my fervent plea that he, together with Metropolitan Seraphim and Archbishop Philip, to whom I also bow, work together for my liberation. I beseech them to defend, an old man who can hardly walk. I was always filled with a feeling of deep veneration and gratitude to Metropolitan Sergius, and the thought of some kind of worsening of our relations would give me indescribable sorrow."


     On March 27, Metropolitan Peter wrote to B.P. Menzhinsky: "I was given a five-year exile which I served in the far north in the midst of the cruellest frosts, constant storms, extreme poverty and destitution in everything. (I was constantly on the edge of the grave.) But years passed, and there remained four months to the end of my exile when the same thing began all over again - I was again arrested and imprisoned by the Urals OGPU. After some time I was visited by comrade J.V. Polyansky, who suggested that I renounce the locum tenancy. But I could not accept such a suggestion for the following reasons which have a decisive significance for me. First of all I would be transgressing the established order according to which the locum tenens  must remain at his post until the convening of a council. A council convened without the sanction of the locum tenens would be considered uncanonical and its decisions invalid. But in the case of my death the prerogatives of the locum tenens will pass to another person who will complete that which was not done by his predecessor. Moreover, my removal would bring in its wake the departure also of my deputy, Metropolitan Sergius, just as, according to his declaration, with his departure from the position of deputy the Synod created by him would cease to exist. I cannot be indifferent to such a circumstance. Our simultaneous departure does not guarantee church life from various possible frictions, and, of course, the guilt would be mine. Therefore in the given case it is necessary that we discuss this matter together, just as we discussed together the questions relating to my letter to Metropolitan Sergius dated December, 1929. Finally, my decree, coming from prison, would undoubtedly be interpreted as made under pressure, with various undesirable consequences."


     In spite of this strong criticism, it is not known that Metropolitan Peter declared that Metropolitan Sergius had fallen from grace; and according to one (possibly dubious) source, he, together with Metropolitan Cyril, refused to sign the sixth canon of the so-called “Nomadic Council” in 1928, which anathematised the sergianists.[189]  Nevertheless, he continued not only to resist pressure from the OGPU to give up the locum tenancy himself, but also rejected the right of Metropolitan Sergius to take it over after his death. Thus on March 11, 1931, he posed the following question to I.B. Polyansky: “Will not a change in locum tenens bring with it a change also in his deputy? Of course, it is possible that my successor, if he were to find himself incapable of carrying out his responsibilities directly, would leave the same person as his deputy – that is his right. But it is certain, in my opinion, that the carrying out of his duties by this deputy would have to come to an end at the same time as the departure of the person for whom he is deputizing, just as, according to the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius, with his departure the synod created by him would cease to exist. All this and other questions require thorough and authoritative discussion and canonical underpinning…” He repeated the same argument in a letter to Menzhinsky later that month.[190]


     We have no direct evidence for Metropolitan Peter’s views after 1931. Indirectly, however, we can infer that his attitude towards Metropolitan Sergius hardened. For, as the Confessor Professor Ivan Andreyev witnesses, “approval of the position of Metropolitan Joseph [whose views on Sergius are known to have been uncompromisingly severe] was received from the exiled Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa and from Metropolitan Cyril”.[191] Moreover, “from the fact that in the last years secret relations were established between Metropolitan Peter and Metropolitan Joseph, we may conjecture that Metropolitan Peter gave his blessing, in the event of his death, to Metropolitan Joseph’s heading the Russian Church in his capacity as Extraordinary Locum Tenens. This right was accorded to Metropolitan Joseph, as is known only to a few, by a Decision of the Local Council of 1917-18 dated January 25, 1918.”[192]


     Metropolitan Cyril, like Metropolitan Peter, at first took a relatively “lenient” attitude towards the sergianists. Thus in 1934 he wrote: “If we reproach them for not resisting, and, therefore, of belonging to heresy, we risk depriving them of the psychological opportunity to reunite with us and losing them forever for Orthodoxy.” This relative leniency has been exploited by those who wish to make out that the MP is a true Church even now, nearly eighty years after Sergius’ declaration. However, there are several reasons for thinking that Cyril was less “moderate” than he has been made out.


     First, as his correspondent, another Catacomb hierarch said, he was being “excessively cautious” because of his insufficient knowledge of the Church situation from his position in exile. Secondly, he was in the unique position of being the only legal locum tenens that was able to correspond and reason with Sergius. He therefore naturally steered the dialogue to the theme of the canonical rights of the locum tenentes and their deputies, convicting Sergius of usurpation of the power of the First Hierarch. Concentrating on the canonical-administrative aspect of the matter, without entering into the dogmatic aspect of Sergius’ subordination to the atheists, was bound to lead to a less serious estimate of his sin. Nevertheless, in 1934 he wrote that while the Sergianist priests administered valid sacraments, Christians who partook of them knowing of Sergius’ usurpation of power and the illegality of his Synod would receive them to their condemnation.


    Several points made by Metropolitan Cyril in his correspondence with Metropolitan Sergius are of vital importance in evaluating the significance of the various schisms that have taken place in the Orthodox Church in this century. The first is the priority of “the conciliar hierarchical conscience of the Church”. As he wrote in 1929: “Church discipline is able to retain its validity only as long as it is a true reflection of the hierarchical conscience of the Conciliar [Sobornoj] Church; discipline can never take the place of this conscience”. Sergius violated the hierarchical, conciliar conscience of the Church by his disregard of the views of bishops equal to him in rank.


     The second is that a hierarch is justified in breaking communion with a fellow hierarch, not only for heresy, but also in order not to partake in his brother’s sin. Thus while Metropolitan Cyril did not consider Sergius to have sinned in matters of faith, he was forced to break communion with him because “I have no other means of rebuking my sinning brother”. If clergy have mutually opposing opinions within the Church, then their concelebration is for both “to judgement and condemnation”.[193] Again, in November, 1929, Metropolitan Cyril refused to condemn Metropolitan Joseph and his supporters, who had broken communion with Sergius; and he did not agree with the bishops in exile in Tashkent – Arsenius (Stadnitsky), Nicodemus (Krotkov), Nicander (Fenomenov) and others – who condemned Joseph, considering their hopes of convening a canonical Council to be “naivety or cunning”.[194]


     Thirdly, while Metropolitan Cyril did not deny the sacraments of the sergianists, he did so only in respect of those clergy who had been correctly ordained, i.e. by non-sergianist hierarchs.


     A fourth point made by the metropolitan was that even when such a break in communion occurs between two parties, both sides remain in the Church so long as dogmatic unanimity is preserved. But this immediately raised the question: had Sergius only sinned “administratively”, by transgressing against the canons, as Metropolitan Cyril claimed (until 1934, at any rate), or had he sinned also “dogmatically”, by transgressing against the dogma of the One Church, as Archbishop Demetrius of Gdov, among others, claimed?[195]


     In about the middle of the 1930s Metropolitan Cyril issued an epistle in which he called on the Catacomb hierarchs to confirm his candidacy as the lawful patriarchal locum tenens in the case of the death of Metropolitan Peter. We know the reaction of one hierarch, Archbishop Theodore of Volokolamsk, to this epistle. He was not enthusiastic, because he considered that in times of persecution a centralized administration was not obligatory for the Church.[196] In any case, at some time in the 1930s, as we have seen, both Metropolitan Peter and Metropolitan Cyril came to accept that Metropolitan Joseph should lead the Russian Church in the event of Metropolitan Peter’s death.


     Metropolitan Cyril’s position hardened towards the end of his life. Thus in March, 1937 he wrote: “With regard to your perplexities concerning Sergianism, I can say that the very same questions in almost the same form were addressed to me from Kazan ten years ago, and then I replied affirmatively to them, because I considered everything that Metropolitan Sergius had done as a mistake which he himself was conscious of and wished to correct. Moreover, among our ordinary flock there were many people who had not investigated what had happened, and it was impossible to demand from them a decisive and active condemnation of the events. Since then much water has flowed under the bridge. The expectations that Metropolitan Sergius would correct himself have not been justified, but there has been enough time for the formerly ignorant members of the Church, enough incentive and enough opportunity to investigate what has happened; and very many have both investigated and understood that Metropolitan Sergius is departing from that Orthodox Church which the Holy Patriarch Tikhon entrusted to us to guard, and consequently there can be no part or lot with him for the Orthodox. The recent events have finally made clear the renovationist nature of Sergianism. We cannot know whether those believers who remain in Sergianism will be saved, because the work of eternal Salvation is a work of the mercy and grace of God. But for those who see and feel the unrighteousness of Sergianism (those are your questions) it would be unforgiveable craftiness to close one’s eyes to this unrighteousness and seek there for the satisfaction of one’s spiritual needs when one’s conscience doubts in the possibility of receiving such satisfaction. Everything which is not of faith is sin…”[197]


     This is an important document, for it shows that by 1937 Metropolitan Cyril considered that enough time had passed for the ordinary believer to come to a correct conclusion concerning the true, “renovationist” – that is, heretical – nature of Sergianism. So from 1937, in Metropolitan Cyril’s opinion, “the excuse of ignorance” was no longer valid. What had been involuntary ignorance in the early days of the schism was now (except in exceptional circumstances caused by, for example, extreme youth or mental deficiency) witting ignorance – that is, indifference to the truth or refusal to face the truth.


     This view is confirmed by Schema-Monk Epiphanius, who writes that during their imprisonment together in Chimkent, “when they let Metropolitans Cyril and Joseph go out for a walk, they stuck together: the tall Metropolitan Joseph and the stocky, short Metropolitan Cyril. And these two figures, as it seemed, merged into one, symbolising ‘the unity of two in one’. The metropolitans walked in a circle and were continually engaged in conversation – after all, it was impossible to overhear them there. And during their walk they were constantly watched from a hill by some Catacomb nuns to whom the metropolitans, at the end of their walk, gave their blessing – it was necessary to disguise this, so that the guards should not notice their secret signalling.”[198]


     “And this signalling, as was later made known by these same Catacomb nuns, consisted further in the following sign: that when Metropolitan Cyril several times bowed beneath the elbow of Metropolitan Joseph, this meant that he completely recognized the authority and leadership of the latter for himself.”[199]


Divisions among the Greek Old Calendarists


     Returning to Greece, we come to the tragic division that took place in 1937 between Metropolitans Germanus of Demetrias and Chrysostom of Florina, on the one hand, and Bishops Germanus of the Cyclades and Matthew of Bresthena, on the other. This division between the so-called “Florinites” and “Matthewites” greatly weakened the struggle of the True Orthodox and has continued (with further splinterings) to the present day.


     On June 30 Bishop Matthew wrote to the Synod requesting an official declaration by Metropolitan Germanus that the new calendarists were schismatics and deprived of the grace of sacraments, and that it was necessary to chrismate children baptised in the schism.


     There was no reply to this letter, but in the same month Metropolitans Germanus and Chrysostom wrote to the Monk Mark (Khaniotes): “When a Church falls into what St. Basil the Great calls a curable error, as is the error of the Calendar, the hierarchs as individuals can wall themselves off and break their spiritual communion with the Church, so as not to become partakers of their error. However, they do not have the right to declare the Church schismatic. That is the right of a Pan-Orthodox or Great Local Council alone. In this case those who break communion with the erring Church before Synodical clarification appeal against it to a Pan-Orthodox or Great Local Council, so as to lead it back onto the Orthodox way, or, if it remains in its error, to have it proclaimed as heretical or schismatic by the Pan-Orthodox Council after the first and second admonition – heretical, if its error affects Dogma, and schismatic if it affects the Typicon and the administrative side of the Church. This is what we have done in a rigorous manner, breaking spiritual communion with the Hierarchy of the Great Church because of the error of the calendar innovation, and appealing against it to a Pan-Orthodox or Great Local Council, which is the only competent authority having the right to judge it for its error and either persuade it to forsake its error, or if it remains in it, to declare it schismatic. Thus insofar as it is one error of one Church which does not directly affect a dogma of the faith but is related to ecclesiastical anticanonicities and irregularities that are curable, in St. Basil the Great’s words, it makes the erring Church potentially schismatic, but not actually so, until it is condemned and declared actually schismatic by a Pan-Orthodox Council…


     “But let your holiness know that the Holy Chrism which is celebrated and sanctified by the Church of the Ecumenical Patriarchate retains all its grace and sanctifying energy, even if this was done by the Patriarchate after the introduction of the calendar.”[200]


     This statement clearly contradicted the three bishops’ Confession of 1935, which both declared that the State Church was fully schismatic and deprived of the grace of sacraments, and indicated that the dogma of the One Church had been affected by the introduction of the new calendar.


     On July 18, Bishop Matthew again wrote to Metropolitan Germanus: “… Insofar in the course of our discussion on the conditions of this suggestion of mine, two members of the Sacred Synod lost their composure and attacked me, and insofar as threats and insults cannot diminish the seriousness of my suggestion, I have the honour to ask you kindly to convene a Synod as quickly as possible and give a reply to the above-mentioned suggestion.


     “If, contrary to every hope, the Sacred Synod does not want to accept the conditions of my suggestion in accordance with the prescriptions of the divine and sacred canons, but will continue to be stubborn, then… I consider myself bound as an Orthodox Hierarch to break all spiritual communion with you, so as not to be found guilty at the terrible day of Judgement for having despised the divine and sacred canons… I will await your written reply to my suggestion until next Monday, the 13th.


     “If the Holy and Sacred Synod will not accept the conditions of this suggestion of mine before this date, I will consider silence to be a rejection of my suggestion and in connection with this will break all relations with you and will determine my further position…”[201]


     On September 18 Bishop Matthew wrote to Metropolitan Germanus: “Insofar as up to this time I have received no reply, and in view of the 15th canon of the so-called First-and-Second Council, according to which: ‘He who separates from communion with his president because of some heresy condemned by the Holy Councils or Fathers, when, that is, he preaches heresy publicly and teaches it openly in church, if such people guard themselves from communion with the so-called bishop before a conciliar investigation, not only are they not subject to the epitimia decreed by the canons, but are even worthy of the honour fitting to the Orthodox. For they have condemned, not bishops, but false bishops and false teachers, and have not sundered the unity of the Church by schism, but have striven to protect the Church from schisms and divisions’, and (2) insofar as in the recent letter which you gave to the Reverend Monk Mark Khaniotes, you have completely clearly declared that the sacraments accomplished by the new calendarists are valid and have Divine Grace, and that in the future you will continue to maintain spiritual communion with the innovating schismatic church of Greece… Therefore we decide: (1) to express our deepest sorrow to you and all those who follow you at your completely unexpected sudden apostasy from your original confessions and declarations; (2) to break with you and all those who follow you all spiritual communion until the Lord God wishes to enlighten you to return to your original Confession of Faith and preserve the exactness of the Sacred Canons and Traditions of the Church, not following so-called kindness, economy and condescension, as not being able to bear the burden of one such decision of yours, and so as not to be found guilty at the terrible day of Judgement of having despised the divine and sacred canons, drawing on yourselves the curses and anathemas of our Holy and Godbearing Fathers; (3) I take back all the signatures which until today I placed under the acts and remaining documents in the sessions of the Synod with you, and also ask you to annul my participation in newspaper The Voice of Orthodoxy.[202]


     It was strange that Bishop Mattew should withdraw his signature from all previous decisions of the Synod – which he undoubtedly recognized as Orthodox… Another disturbing feature of this encyclical was the way in which it was addressed to “the former Metropolitan of Demetrias Germanus, until now president of the Sacred Synod”[203], as if the latter were already defrocked. Presumably he felt that the reference to “false bishops” in the 15th canon he quoted was sufficient justification. And yet he nowhere demonstrates that the two metropolitans had uttered heresy. The heresy of newcalendarism? But the metropolitans rejected it.


     In any case, if they were being accused of heresy, they should have been summoned to a trial, according to the canons. And yet Matthew does not speak of a trial. And he himself could not possibly have tried them in absentia… Canonical due process requires that a bishop must be tried by at least twelve bishops, that he must be summoned to present his case, and that he can be defrocked in absentia only if he has refused to appear after three summonses by two bishops. If canonical procedure could not be exactly fulfilled in such a small Synod, at any rate some reference to it was surely obligatory…


     A little later, on September 9, the two metropolitans, alarmed by the confusion which their statement had created, seemed to backtrack, writing: “As regards the validity or invalidity of the sacraments performed by the new calendarists, we abide by what we proclaimed in June, 1935, that the sanctifying grace of the sacraments is found in and works through those ecclesiastical ministers who keep to the sacred traditions and canons without making any innovation, but not through those who have distanced themselves from the sacred canons and remain under the curses of the Fathers.”[204]


     This clarification appeared to avert the danger of a schism among the Old Calendarists – which would, of course, halt the growth of the True Orthodox Church its tracks. However, on October 17 Metropolitan Chrysostom wrote to Metropolitan Germanus: “You should ignore the encylicals of the bishops of Bresthena [Matthew] and the Cyclades [Germanus] who have fallen away, insofar as they have condemned us for reasons of avarice, since they cannot abide our criticism of their unlawful ordinations and other crimes, and have taken the side of the old Administrative Council of Manesis and Gounaris, whom until yesterday they were calling profiteers and usurpers. As an excuse for condemning us they have found the reason that we have refused to allow a repeat chrismation of children baptised by newcalendarist priests, following the ban by the divine and sacred canons, and that we have refused to declare the newcalendarist Church heretical and schismatical, and their sacraments invalid. But the main reason for their condemnation for the holy one of Bresthena is the fact that we have hindered him from using our sacred struggle for his own enrichment, while for the holy one of the Cyclades it is the fact that we have forbidden him from carrying out unlawful ordinations of priests and deacons, not for the sake of serving our Sacred Struggle, but for the sake of creating his own party and seizing the leadership of our struggle. Both of them, casting off every restraint of conscience and fear of God, have proceeded to publish an encyclical to the True Orthodox Christians and are trying by means of lies and disgusting slanders to present us as deserters and traitors to the struggle because we did not want to despise the divine and sacred canons and proclaim the Greek Church to be schismatical and its sacraments invalid, and to condemn to spiritual death five million Greek brothers who in purity of heart follow the new calendar, and to enter into contradiction with the remaining Orthodox Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Russia, Serbia, etc., which not only have not broken communion with the newcalendarist churches, but even serve together with their clergy. And this because the newcalendarist Churches have not been proclaimed to be schismatic by a Pan-Orthodox Council, which alone has the right according to the sacred canons to condemn and declare them schismatical if they do not depart from the error of the new calendar. The divine and God-bearing Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils gave the right to proclaim individual people and churches schismatical netiher to individual people nor to local churches, but [only] to an Ecumenical Council, which expresses the Catholic Orthodox Church and whose decisions are made through the inspiration of the All-Holy Spirit. For this reason we, honouring the canons and decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, have refused to proclaim the Greek Church schismatical, and have confined ourselves only to breaking ecclesiastical communion with the Archbishop of Athens and the hierarchs who think like him, so as not to be participants in the calendar innovation. And we have done this in accordance with the 15th canon of the First-and-Second Ecumenical Council, which gives the right only to break ecclesiastical communion with him who violates tradition until a conciliar decision, by which alone individual people and churches are declared schismatical and their sacraments invalid. The above-mentioned bishops have taken this refusal of ours based on the canons and apostolic decrees as an excuse, and unfortunately they have fallen morally to such a degree that they place the authority of the Society of the True Orthodox Christians under the presidency of Manesis and Gounaris above our authority – we who in the course of 35 years have done nothing other than declare the dogmas of Orthodoxy and rightly divide the word of divine truth. But the main motive inciting them to condemn us is a striving to be free from any control on our part, and freely and ignorantly to use our sacred struggle on the excuse of feigned piety. A proof of the fact that they are employing demagogy and fishing for glory and honours at the expense of the struggle is the fact that they have both accepted the titles of metropolitans, although we at their consecration gave them the title of bishops, which only adventurers and intellectually and morally unstable people could do without shame. It is also a shameless lie that, as they say, the protosyncellus beat up the bishop of the Cyclades at one session of the Synod, which has not assembled already for two months because of the obstruction of the bishops…”[205]


     Again on November 9, in a letter to Bishop Germanus, Metropolitan Chrysostom wrote that the State Church of Greece was potentially, and not actually schismatic and deprived of the grace of sacraments, and declared that it could be said to be actually schismatic and graceless only on the basis of a decision of an Ecumenical or Pan-Orthodox Council.[206] In fact, it seems that Metropolitan Chrysostom was hopeful that such a Pan-Orthodox Council was about to be convened. In December he and Metropolitan Germanus wrote to the ministry of religion suggesting that a “Pre-Council” be convened on Mount Athos with representatives from both the old and the new calendar to decide the calendar question. However, if for any reason this “Pre-Council” should not be convened before Pascha, then the royal decree of 1923 ordering the retention of the Julian calendar should be enforced. If these conditions are accepted, then the two metropolitans agreed not to proceed to any new ordinations or ecclesiastical actions until Pascha.[207]


     However, by 1940 the metropolitans appear to have reverted to the stricter position. Thus on August 30 they, together with Metropolitan Chrysostom of Zacynthus, who had returned to the Old Calendar, declared in encyclical ¹ 1844: “Concerning the validity or invalidity of the sacraments performed by the newcalendarists, we remain with everything that we declared in June, 1935, according to which ‘the sanctifying grace of the mysteries, according to the spirit of the divine and sacred canons and our opinion, exist and act through those Church servers who keep the sacred traditions and canons fo the Orthodox Church, without accepting any innovation, and not through those who have separated from the sacred traditions and violated the divine and sacred canons, and who, consequently, are under the curses of the Holy Fathers. In order that a new calendarist should be received into our Old Calendar Church, he must through a petition declare his sacred intention to us, the hierarchs, to whom alone it behoves to to evaluate the method of their reception, either through a written declaration, as the First Ecumenical Council (canon eight) and the early Church received heretics and schismatics by ecclesiastical economy, or by a second chrismation, in accordance with the fifth canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council. With regard to the fact that we bishops alone, as representatives of the Church, are competent to be treasure-houses of Grace, we off the thirty-ninth Apostolic canon, which so decrees. Priests and deacons can do nothing without the will of the bishop. For the people of the Lord are entrusted to him, and he will give an account for their souls.”[208]


ROCOR’s Second All-Diaspora Council


     On October 30, 1935 Fr. Sergius Bulgakov’s teaching on Sophia was condemned as heretical by the Hierarchical Council of ROCOR. This latter decision would seem to have precluded any reconciliation between ROCOR and Metropolitan Eulogius, who continued to shelter the heretic in Paris. However, in November, 1935 Patriarch Barnabas of Serbia succeeded in bringing together the separated parts of the Russian Church in a special meeting in Belgrade. Metropolitan Eulogius took part, together with Metropolitan Theophilus of the North American diocese, which had also separated from ROCOR.[209] Reconciliation was achieved and when Metropolitan Eulogius signed the new Temporary Statute of ROCOR, which allowed the Synod to place bishops in the autonomous regions, one of which was Western Europe, all the sanctions against him were removed. Moreover, in a special resolution the ROCOR Council of Bishops declared that all the Mysteries performed by Metropolitan Eulogius in the period of his separation had been valid, as if the previous declarations of lack of grace had never taken place (yako ne byvshii).[210]


     However, Metropolitan Eulogius said that “as before, I did not feel genuine, sincere peace between us, and did not believe that the ‘Temporary Statute’ hastily and with great difficulty composed by us could unite us all…”[211]


     But he had retracted neither his sophianist heresy nor his Masonic contacts. Nor was he asked to break his links with the Ecumenical Patriarch, whose exarch in Western Europe he now was (and who had blessed his trip to Yugoslavia[212]). And so Eulogius soon repudiated his signature. In the same year he wrote to the Ecumenical Patriarch: “Our bishops for some reason want to tear me away from the jurisdiction of Your Holiness, but I and my flock did not agree to that, for we see in your fatherly protection the only strong defence of our canonical existence.[213]


     In June, 1936 a diocesan assembly convened by Metropolitan Eulogius rejected the “Temporary Statute” agreed on in Yugoslavia.[214]


     On July 10, 1936, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) died. Metropolitan Eulogius was invited to the Hierarchical Council that took place in September, at which Archbishop Anastasy was elected metropolitan, but declined. The Council recognized that the new order for the administration of ROCOR could not be realized because of Metropolitan Eulogius’ rejection of it. But it rejected Eulogius’ reference to “the will of the people”, saying that the will of the people in Paris had undoubtedly been influenced by the report of the diocesan council and the prior speech of Eulogius himself. The Council voted to continue to seek for ways of reconciliation with Eulogius, but declared that the unity of ROCOR could be achieved only if Metropolitan Eulogius came out of the orbit of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Temporary Statute was confirmed, and concerning Fr. Sergius Bulgakov it was resolved that the Autocephalous Churches should be informed that his teaching of Sophia had been recognized to be a heresy.[215]


     On August 14, 1938 an All-Diaspora Council of ROCOR consisting of 13 bishops, 26 priests and 58 laymen was convened.


     Bishop John (Maximovich) of Shanghai said, in his report “The Situation of the Orthodox Church after the War”: “We (the faithful of the Russian Church Abroad) must firmly stand on the ground of the Church canons and not be with those who depart from them. Formerly, in order to reproach canonical irregularities in a Local Church, canonical communion with her was broken. The Russian Church Abroad cannot act in this way since her position has not been completely determined. For that reason she must not break communion with other Churches if they do not take this step first. But, while maintaining communion, she must not be silent about violations of Church truth…”[216]


     This “liberal” position was followed by a still more liberal declaration. Protocol number 8 for August 16 stated: “Judgement was made concerning concelebrations with clergy belonging to the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod. Metropolitan Anastasy pointed out that clergy coming from Russia from the named jurisdiction were immediately admitted to communion in prayer, and cited the opinion of Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan in his epistle published in Church Life to the effect that the sin of Metropolitan Sergius did not extend to the clergy subject to him. It was decreed: to recognize that there is no obstacle to communion in prayer and concelebration with the clergy of Metropolitan Sergius.”[217]


     Nun Vassa comments on this: “In this section, Metropolitan Anastasy gives little argument for his position, referring only to the opinion of Holy Martyr Metropolitan Kirill… The very fact of Metropolitan Anastasy's unity of mind with Metropolitan Kirill in this ecclesiastical question is very interesting for us. For the foundation of his ecclesiastical position of St Kirill was not the letter of the law, but the real meaning of the Holy Canons constructive for the Church, opposing his understanding to the formalism of Metropolitan Sergius.”[218]


     However, there are several problems with Nun Vassa’s interpretation here. First, as we have seen, Metropolitan Cyril never expressed the view that “there are no obstacles to prayerful communion and concelebration with clergymen of Metropolitan Sergius”. On the contrary, in his earliest epistle, that of 1929, he wrote: “I acknowledge it as a fulfillment of our archpastoral duty for those Archpastors and all who consider the establishment of the so-called ‘Temporary Patriarchal Synod’ as wrong, to refrain from communion with Metropolitan Sergius and those Archpastors who are of one mind with him.” Nor did he ever declare that while it was wrong to have communion with the Sergianist bishops, it was alright to have communion with their priests – which would have been canonical nonsense in any case. True, he refrained – at that time – from declaring the Sergianists to be graceless. However, he did say, in his epistle of 1934, that Christians who partook of the Sergianist sacraments knowing of Sergius’ usurpation of power and the illegality of his Synod would receive them to their condemnation – a point for all those contemplating union with the MP today to consider very carefully…


     Moreover, we now know (as Metropolitan Anastasy did not know, but Nun Vassa surely does) that by 1937 Metropolitan Cyril’s position had hardened considerably: “The expectations that Metropolitan Sergius would correct himself have not been justified, but there has been enough time for the formerly ignorant members of the Church, enough incentive and enough opportunity to investigate what has happened; and very many have both investigated and understood that Metropolitan Sergius is departing from that Orthodox Church which the Holy Patriarch Tikhon entrusted to us to guard, and consequently there can be no part or lot with him for the Orthodox. The recent events have finally made clear the renovationist [that is, heretical] nature of Sergianism…”


     Thus Metropolitan Anastasy’s position rested on a misunderstanding or ignorance of the true position of Metropolitan Cyril, not to mention the position of a whole series of other Catacomb hierarchs and martyrs, which indicated a growing difference in outlook between the True Russian Church inside and outside Russia.


     The 1938 Council also discussed the Church’s participation in the ecumenical movement, and here for the first time doubts began to be expressed about this participation. ROCOR had sent representatives to ecumenical conferences in Lausanne, Edinburgh and Oxford, and in his report Bishop Seraphim (Lyade) defending this position, saying that the Orthodox had always expounded and defended the sacred dogmas. “Therefore the Orthodox delegates both in Lausanne and in Edinburgh considered it their duty to give and publish special declarations; in this way they clearly marked the Orthodox Church off from other confessions calling themselves ‘churches’… We must disperse all perplexities and ideas about Orthodoxy that are often simply caricatures… To be reconciled with the existing situation of alienation of the larger part of the Christian world from the Orthodox Church, and an indifferent attitude towards the ecumenical seeking of the unity of the Church, would be an unforgiveable sin, for we must bear responsibility for the destiny of thoese who still remain beyond the boundaries of the Church and for the future destiny of the whole of the Christian world… But while participating in the ecumenical movement, we must beward of concessions and condescension, for this is extremely harmful and dangerous, and confirms the heterodox in the conviction that they are membes of the true Church. In the sphere of dogmatics and other essential and basic questions we cannot diminish our demands…”


     However, others took a more “rightist” position. Thus N.F. Stefanov read a report on the influence of Masonry on the Oxford conference (which, to Bishop Seraphim’s dismay, had refused to issue a condemnation of communism). And Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) said: “Extra-ecclesiastical unity brings nothing but harm. Orthodox Truth is expressed in the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is precisely what the ecumenical movement does not want to know… Unity can take place only on the ground of grace-filled life. The aims of the ecumenical movement are unattainable. ‘Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the council of the ungodly.’”


     Metropolitan Anastasy said: “We have to waver between two dangers – a temptation or a refusal to engage in missionary work in the confession of Orthodoxy. Which danger is greater? We shall proceed from position premises. The grace-filled Church must carry out missionary work, for in this way it is possible to save some of those who waver. Beside the leaders who want to disfigure Orthodoxy, there are others, for example the young, who come to conferences with true seeking. Comparing that which they see and hear from their own pastors and from the Orthodox pastor, they will understand the truth. Otherwise they will remain alone. I have heard positive reviews from heterodox of Bishop Seraphim’s speeches at conferences. We must also take into account that the Anglo-Saxon world is in crisis, and is seeking the truth. Protestantism is also seeking support for itself. Moreover, we have a tradition of participating in such conferences that was established by the reposed Metropolitan Anthony. To avoid temptation we must clarify the essence of the matter.”


     A resolution was passed that ROCOR should forbid its children to take part in the ecumenical movement. However, for the sake of missionary aims, as entrusted by ecclesiastical authority, representatives of ROCOR could attend conferences and explain without compromise the teaching of the Orthodox Church, without allowing the slightest deviation from the Orthodox point of view.[219]


     In 1938 Archbishop Nestor of Kamchatka, who was at the ROCOR mission in Ceylon, asked Metropolitan Anastasy whether he could receive Anglican clergy and laity through confession (13 clergy expressed the desire to join Orthodoxy), which would make their joining must easier. An ukaz of the Synod dated January 4, 1939 was sent to the archbishop, which said that in view of the fact “that there is no definite resolution of the whole Orthodox Church with regard to the question of receiving Anglican clergy in their existing orders, it should be recognized that allowing this in a positive sense would exceed the competency of the Hierarchical Synod”. So Anglican clergy were to continue to be received as before, through ordination.[220]


Persecution in Yugoslavia


     The kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes had been formed after the First World War. In accordance with the plan of the major world powers, it was a centralized State ruled by a Serbian Orthodox king and a parliament. The Catholic Croats resented the power of the Serbs, and tension between the two communities was high throughout the inter-war period.


     T.V. writes: “In both public and private life King Alexander was a convinced supporter of Yugoslav unity. Once while the king was in Zagreb [the Croat capital], there was a reception and a ball. At the ball they introduced to the king a lady who, after curtseying, said:


     “’I am a Serb from Zagreb.’


     “’And I,’ replied the king with a gentle smile, ‘am a Croat from Belgrade…’”[221]


     But the Croats did not feel the same towards the Serbian King and the Orthdoox Church.  In 1932 Metropolitan Dositheus (Vasič) was appointed to see of Zagreb in Croatia, where the Orthodox were in a minority. Alexis Gerovsky, the Carpatho-Russian political and religious activist, wrote: “Dositheus’ appointment to Zagreb elicited great discontent among the Catholics. The name of Bishop Dositheus was already blacklisted because he ‘by his propaganda has converted the Carpatho-Russians to Orthodoxy’… When some years before the Second World War Bishop Dositheus told me that he had been appointed as metropolitan in Zagreb, I besought him not to accept this appointment, since he had never been there and did not know the religious fanaticism of the Zagreb Croats… I mentioned to him [the Catholic Archbishop] Stepinac, who was already famous for his religious intolerance, and I warned him that he would suffer many unpleasantnesses from him. ‘Stepinac, who was educated for seven years in a Jesuit seminary in Rome,’ I said, ‘will feel offended that an Orthodox metropolitan should be implanted in his capital’… I advised him to convince the members of the Synod to send to Zagreb a bishop from those who had been born before the First World War and raised in Austro-Hungary, and who was already familiar with types like Stepinac. But Vladyka told me that it was his duty to obey the will of the patriarch, and he went to Zagreb. When, several months later, I again met him in Belgrade, he told me that I had been right. He was often insulted in the street. Sometime the windows of his house were broken at night. Stones even fell into his bedroom. I asked Vladyka whether he had spoken to the police. He replied that it was not fitting for a bishop to call the police. But when I told him that in such a case his enemies would think that he feared them, and would be still more brazen, Vladyka replied: ‘No, they know that I am not afraid of them. When they revile me or spit at me, I simply raise my hands and bless them with the sign of the cross.’”[222]


     In 1934 King Alexander was assassinated in Marseilles by the Croat Ustashi terrorists.[223] In 1937 a concordat was signed between the Yugoslav government and the Vatican, which was passed by parliament but opposed by the Orthodox Church because it offered the Catholic Church greater privileges than the Orthodox Church. On July 19, 1937, a demonstration led by bishops and priests was roughly dispersed by the police (the interior minister was a Slovenian Catholic). On July 23 Patriarch Barnabas died. Although the prime minister refrained from sending the concordat to the Senate for ratification, and although an agreement reached in 1939 established an autonomous region of Croatia with Zagreb as its capital, the situation was still very grave at the time of the German invasion in April, 1941.


Persecution in Romania


     In 1920, Carol, the heir to the Romanian throne, having been obliged to leave his first wife, Zisi Lambrino, was married to Princess Helen of Greece, who bore to him the present king, Mihail.[224] In 1922, however, he took as his mistress the Jewess Magda Lupescu. This was a public scandal, and in 1925 he was obliged both to resign his right of succession (in favour of his son) and leave the country. From the death of King Ferdinand in 1927 until 1930, as the king was a small boy, the country was ruled by a regency council which included Patriarch Miron and Carol’s younger brother Nicolae. Carol was recalled in 1930, and his former wife was forced into exile, while the king lived openly with Lupescu (he only married her after his exile from Romania in 1940). During this period, Patriarch Miron used his power as temporary prime minister to persecute the True Orthodox Christians of Romania.


     The leader of the True Orthodox, Hieromonk Glycerius, made two trips to Greece. During the first he was made a monk of the Great Schema at the Romanian Skete of St. John the Baptist on Mount Athos. During the second, in 1936, he arrived in Athens with Fr. Gymnasius and a certain Romanian monk from Mount Athos and “asked the Old Calendar Greek bishop to consecrate Fr. Gymnasius to the episcopate, but the bishops could do nothing without their first-hierarch, Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina, who, at the insistence of the newcalendarist Metropolitan of Athens, had been detained by the English authorities in Palestine...


     “St. Glycerius set off for Yugoslavia. He visited the church of the Russian Church Abroad in Belgrade, where Metropolitan Anastasy was serving. Metropolitan Anastasy advised Fr. Glycerius to to turn to Bishop Seraphim (Lyade) of the Russian Church Abroad, and ask him to go to Romania to order Old Calendar priests. Bishop Seraphim at that time was in Vienna. St. Glycerius set off there, but Vladyka Seraphim did not decide to go to Romania, knowing how dangerous it was.”[225]


     After returning to Romania, on September 1, 1936 Fr. Glycerius came to the consecration of a church in the village of Bukhalnitsa-Neamţ. He was accompanied by 4000 peasants on 500 waggons. When the procession was passing through the twon of Piatra Neamţ, the road was blocked by soldiers with machine guns. St. Glycerius and many other monks and laypeople were arrested. Many were killed. Glycerius was savagely beaten on the head with various clubs. Deacon David Bidascu was also beaten, and suffered from his wounds for the rest of his days.[226]


     Metropolitan Cyprian writes: “Hieromonk Glycerius… was taken under guard to Bucharest and there condemned to death. He was, however, miraculously saved, in that the Theotokos appeared to the wife of the Minister of Justice and gave her an order to intercede with her husband on Father Glycerius’ behalf. Her husband did not react in the manner of Pilate, but rather commuted Father Glycerius’ death sentence and ordered him imprisoned in a distant monastery…


     “[Patriarch Miron] ordered all of the churches of the True Orthodox Christians razed, and imprisoned any cleric or monastic who refused to submit to his authority. The monks and nuns were incarcerated in two monasteries, where they were treated with unheard of barbarity. Some of them, such as Hieromonk Pambo, founder of the Monastery of Dobru (which was demolished and rebuilt three times), met with a martyr’s end. During the destruction of the Monastery of Cucova, five lay people were thrown into the monastery well and drowned. By such tactics the Patriarch wished to rid himself of the Old Calendarist problem!”[227]


     There were other Old Calendarists in Romania besides Fr. Glycerius’ Church. Thus in Bessarabia, there was Fr. Gamail Papil. After the war, his spiritual children joined Bishop Vasily-Victor (Leu), who had been consecrated by Metropolitan Seraphim (Lyade) of the ROCOR.[228] Also, writes Glazkov, “the priests Fathers Boris Binetsky, Demetrius Stitskevich and Vladimir Polyakov were put on trial for serving according to the old style.”[229]


     In February, 1938 Patriarch Miron became prime minister in the cabinet of the “royal dictatorship” of King Charles II. He died in March, 1939, and was succeeded in office by Armand Calinescu, who was shortly murdered by the Iron Legion, a rabidly anti-semitic, militarist and quasi-fascist organisation.[230]


     “One of the accusation laid at the door of the Old Calendarists, including Fr. Glycerius, was their links with the ‘Iron Guard’ (or legionaires) organisation, which had been forbidden by the king. In the autumn of 1938 many arrests, trails and shootings of prominent legionaries took place round the country…, as a result of which the leaders of the movement (for example, Corneliu Codreaunu) were shot, while ordinary members, including adolescents, were imprisoned in prisons and camps, in which many died from unbearable labours and humiliations, while many spent decades in them. …


     “In 1939 Fr. Glycerius found himself, as the result of the denunciation of a new calendarist priest, in a special camp for legionaires in Miercurea Ciuc. In November of the same year there came an order to divide all the prisoners into two parts and shoot one part and then the other. When the first group had been shot, Fr. Glycerius and several legionaires in the second group prayed a thanksgiving moleben to the Lord God and the Mother of God for counting them worthy of death in the Orthodox faith. The Lord worked a miracle – suddenly there arrived a governmental order decreeing clemency.


     “A few months later Bessarabia was occupied by the Red army, and a year after that Romania entered into war with the USSR. The Old Calendarists, in order to preserve Orthodoxy unharmed, were forced literally to enter the deep catacombs, founding secret sketes in the woods and the mountains…”[231]


     Among these was Fr. Glycerius. “With the outbreak of World War II in 1939,” continues Metropolitan Cyprian, “Father Glycerius was set free and, along with his beloved co-struggler, Deacon David Bidascu, fled into the forest. There the two lived in indescribable deprivation and hardship, especially during the winter. In the midst of heavy snows, when their few secret supporters could not get frugal provisions to them, the Fathers were obliged to eat worms! However, Divine Providence protected them from their persecutors and, directed by that same Providence, the birds of the sky would erase traces of the Fathers’ footprints in the snow by flying about and flapping their wings in the snow. And despite the harsh cold, not once did they light a fire, lest the smoke might betray their refuge. (We might note that the cold often approaches thirty degrees below zero during the winter in Romania.) Other ascetics were also hidden in the deserts, among them Father Damascene, Father Paisius, et al.”[232]


Secret Catacomb Councils


     On November 20, 1937, Metropolitans Joseph and Cyril were shot together in Chimkent. Following on the shooting of Metropolitan Peter on October 10 in the same year, this meant that all of the holy patriarch’s locum tenentes, both “ordinary” and “extraordinary”, were now dead…


     The martyrdom of the last de jure and de facto leaders of the Catacomb Church placed the Russian Church in an unprecedented situation. Nun Vassa writes: “In connection with the death of the locum tenens of the patriarchal throne, Hieromartyr Peter of Krutitsa, an ‘Act on the lawful succession of the title of locum tenens of the Moscow patriarchal throne and the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church after the death of Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa’ was drawn up at the Hierarchical Council of ROCOR in December, 1937. Recognizing the claims of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) to be unlawful, the Hierarchical Council recognized Metropolitan Cyril as the lawful locum tenens, not knowing that Hieromartyr Cyril had been shot on November 20, 1937. However, in view of the persecutions the Council admitted that it was impossible openly to commemorate Metropolitan Cyril, and decreed: ‘To commemorate Metropolitan Cyril as locum tenens of the Moscow patriarchal throne and head of the Russian Church at the proskomedia and in private prayers, but to refrain from proclaiming his name during the Divine services, so as not to draw upon him heavy persecutions on the part of the atheist power of the Bolsheviks. The present act is to be preserved without publication, as a witness to future times concerning the lawful succession of the leadership of the Russian Church.’ Instead of openly commemorating Metropolitan Cyril’s name, the Council decreed that ‘the Orthodox Episcopate of the Russian [Rossijskia] Church’ should be commemorated. However, there is no more detailed explanation of this formula in the protocols of 1937.


     “From what has been said we may conclude that at first ‘the Orthodox Episcopate of the Russian Church’ signified a concrete person, the patriarchal locum tenens Metropolitan Cyril, since his name could not be raised openly. This formula signified at the same time also that the Hierarchical Council did not recognize Metropolitan Sergius to be the head of the Russian Church.”[233]


     And so by the end of 1937, the Church’s descent into the catacombs, which had begun in the early 20s, was completed. From now on, with the external administrative machinery of the Church destroyed, it was up to each bishop – sometimes each believer – individually to preserve the fire of faith, being linked with his fellow Christians only through the inner, mystical bonds of the life in Christ. Thus was the premonition of Hieromartyr Bishop Damascene fulfilled: “Perhaps the time has come when the Lord does not wish that the Church should stand as an intermediary between Himself and the believers, but that everyone is called to stand directly before the Lord and himself answer for himself as it was with the forefathers!”[234]


     This judgement was supported by ROCOR at its Second All-Emigration Council in 1938: “Since the epoch we have lived through was without doubt an epoch of apostasy, it goes without saying that for the true Church of Christ a period of life in the wilderness, of which the twelfth chapter of the Revelation of St. John speaks, is not, as some may believe, an episode connected exclusively with the last period in the history of mankind. History show us that the Orthodox Church has withdrawn into the wilderness repeatedly, from whence the will of God called her back to the stage of history, where she once again assumed her role under more favourable circumstances. At the end of history the Church of God will go into the wilderness for the last time to receive Him, Who comes to judge the quick and the dead. Thus the twelfth chapter of Revelation must be understood not only in an eschatological sense, but in a historical and educational sense as well: it shows up the general and typical forms of Church life. If the Church of God is destined to live in the wilderness through the Providence of the Almighty Creator, the judgement of history, and the legislation of the proletarian state, it follows clearly that she must forego all attempts to reach a legalization, for every attempt to arrive at a legalization during the epoch of apostasy inescapably turns the Church into the great Babylonian whore of blasphemous atheism. The near future will confirm our opinion and prove that the time has come in which the welfare of the Church demands giving up all legalizations, even those of the parishes. We must follow the example of the Church prior to the Council of Nicaea, when the Christian communities were united not on the basis of the administrative institutions of the State, but through the Holy Spirit alone.”[235]


     Perhaps the most striking and literal example of the Church’s fleeing into the wilderness is provided by Bishop Amphilochius of Yenisei and Krasnoyarsk, who in 1930 departed into the Siberian forests, from whence he did not emerge until his death in 1946.[236]


     However, the catacomb situation of the Church did not mean that it could no longer make decisions and judgements. Thus in this period the following anathema attached to the Order for the Triumph of Orthodoxy in Josephite parishes was composed: “To those who maintain the mindless renovationist heresy of sergianism; to those who teach that the earthly existence of the Church of God can be established by denying the truth of Christ; and to those who affirm that serving the God-fighting authorities and fulfilling their godless commands, which trample on the sacred canons, the patristic traditions and the Divine dogmas, and destroy the whole of Christianity, saves the Church of Christ; and to those who revere the Antichrist and his servants and forerunners, and all his minions, as a lawful power established by God; and to all those… who blaspheme against the new confessors and martyrs (Sergius of Nizhni-Novgorod, Nicholas of Kiev and Alexis of Khutyn), and to… the renovationists and the other heretics – anathema.”[237]


     Again, Divine Providence convened a Council of the Catacomb Church in July, 1937, in the depths of Siberia:- “In the last days of July, 1937, in the Siberian town of Ust-Kut, on the River Lena (at its juncture with the River Kut), in the re-grouping section of the house of arrest, there met by chance: two Metropolitans, four Bishops, two Priests and six laymen of the secret Catacomb Church, who were on a stage of their journey from Vitim to Irkutsk, being sent from Irkutsk to the north.


     “It was difficult to anticipate a similarly full and representative gathering of same-minded members of the Church in the near future. Therefore those who had gathered decided immediately to open a ‘Sacred Council’, in order to make canonical regulations concerning vital questions of the Catacomb Church. The time of the Council was, as it seemed, limited to four hours, after which the participants in the Council were sent in different directions.


     “The president was Metropolitan John (in one version: “Bishop John”), and the Council chose the layman A.Z. to be secretary. The resolutions of the Council were not signed: A.Z. gave an oath to memorize the decisions of the Council and to pass on to whom it was necessary whatever he remembered exactly, but not to speak at all about what he confused or could not remember exactly. A.Z. in his time succeeded in passing on the memorised decisions of the Church. His words were written down and became Canons of the Church. Among these Canons were some that are especially necessary for the Church:


     “1. The Sacred Council forbids the faithful to receive communion from the clergy legalized by the anti-Christian State.


     “2. It has been revealed to the Sacred Council by the Spirit that the anathema-curse hurled by his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon is valid, and all priests and Church-servers who have dared to consider it as an ecclesiastical mistake or political tactic are placed under its power and bound by it.


     “3. To all those who discredit and separate themselves from the Sacred Council of 1917-18 – Anathema!


     “4. All branches of the Church which are on the common trunk – the trunk is our pre-revolutionary Church – are living branches of the Church of Christ. We give our blessing to common prayer and the serving of the Divine Liturgy to all priests of these branches. The Sacred Council forbids all those who do not consider themselves to be branches, but independent from the tree of the Church, to serve the Divine Liturgy. The Sacred Council does not consider it necessary to have administrative unity of the branches of the Church, but unity of mind concerning the Church is binding on all.”[238]


     Thus Sergius was to be condemned, not only because he was a usurper of ecclesiastical authority (although he was that), nor because he violated the sacred canons (although he did that), but because he imposed on the Church an heretical attitude towards the antichristian authorities. As Hieromartyr Bishop Mark (Novoselov) said during his interrogation: “I am an enemy of Soviet power – and what is more, by dint of my religious convictions, insofar as Soviet power is an atheist power and even anti-theist. I believe that as a true Christian I cannot strengthen this power by any means… [There is] a petition which the Church has commanded to be used everyday in certain well-known conditions… The purpose of this formula is to request the overthrow of the infidel power by God… But this formula does not amount to a summons to believers to take active measures, but only calls them to pray for the overthrow of the power that has fallen away from God.”[239]


     Again, in another catacomb document dating from the 1960s we read: “Authority is given by God in order to preserve and fulfill the law… But how should one look on the Soviet authority, following the Apostolic teaching on authorities [Romans 13]? In accordance with the Apostolic teaching which we have set forth, one must acknowledge that the Soviet authority is not an authority. It is an anti-authority. It is not an authority because it is not established by God, but insolently created by an aggregation of the evil actions of men, and it is consolidated and supported by these actions. If the evil actions weaken, the Soviet authority, representing a condensation of evil, likewise weakens… This authority consolidates itself in order to destroy all religions, simply to eradicate faith in God. Its essence is warfare with God, because its root is from Satan. The Soviet authority is not authority, because by its nature it cannot fulfill the law, for the essence of its life is evil.


     “It may be said that the Soviet authority, in condemning various crimes of men, can still be considered an authority. We do not say that a ruling authority is totally lacking. We only affirm that it is an anti-authority. One must know that the affirmation of real power is bound up with certain actions of men, to whom the instinct of preservation is natural. And they must take into consideration the laws of morality which have been inherent in mankind from ages past. But in essence this authority systematically commits murder physically and spiritually. In reality a hostile power acts, which is called Soviet authority. The enemy strives by cunning to compel humanity to acknowledge this power as an authority. But the Apostolic teaching on authority is inapplicable to it, just as evil is inapplicable to God and the good, because evil is outside God; but the enemies with hypocrisy can take refuge in the well-known saying that everything is from God. This Soviet anti-authority is precisely the collective Antichrist, warfare against God…”[240]


     The Ust-Kut Council may be seen as confirming the sixth canon of the “Nomadic Council” of 1928, which defined the essence of Sergianism as its recognition of Soviet power as a true, God-established power. It also harks back to the seventh canon of that Council, which declared: “The anathema of January 19, 1918 laid by Patriarch Tikhon and the Holy Council on the former Christians who became blasphemers, is confirmed. Since Soviet power is a blaspheming and Christ-persecuting power, the action of the anathema very much applies to the God-fighting power, and one must pray not for it, but for the deliverance of people from the bitter torment of the godless authorities and for the suffering land of Russia. We establish the reading of a special prayer for the persecuted and much-suffering Church after the service.”[241]


Archbishop Theophanes of Poltava


     In 1931, Archbishop Theophanes, perhaps the greatest theologian of the Russian Church in recent times, had departed from active service in ROCOR to live as a hermit in France. His departure was probably caused by his disagreements with Metropolitan Anthony on a number of issues.[242] However, this did not lead to his formally breaking relations with the Church Abroad, for the newspapers reported that he concelebrated with Archbishop Seraphim (Lukianov) of Paris, and gave sermons.


     Certainly he was unhappy about the state of the Churches, and perhaps felt that he with his uncompromising views could make no further contribution to public Church life. Thus on September 12, 1931 he wrote from Clamart: “You complain about developments in ecclesiastical affairs in your country. I do not know the details of your situation, but I think that the religious and moral state of other Orthodox countries is no better, perhaps even worse. I can at least state with assurance that this is true both of Russia under the yoke and of Russia in the Diaspora. Regarding ecclesiastical matters there, I have an enormous amount of material at my disposal: approximately 700 pages in all. I have at my disposal materials about ecclesiastical affairs here as well which are no less important or voluminous. The overall conclusion that can be drawn from these materials is horrifying. Yet there is, of course, amid this general darkness a ‘grace-filled remnant’ that still perpetuates the Orthodox faith both here and there. ‘Our times seem to be apocalyptic. The salt is losing its savour. Among the Church’s highest pastors there remains a weak, dim, contradictory and incorrect understanding of the written word. This is subverting spiritual life in Christian society and destroying Christianity, which consists of actions, not words. It grieves me to see to whom Christ’s sheep have been entrusted, to see who it is that oversees their guidance and salvation. But this is tolerated by God. Let those in Judaea flee to the mountains!’ With these words the great Russian hierarchs Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow and Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov characterized the state of ecclesiastical affairs in their own times, sixty years ago. Do we not have even greater reason to repeat these threatening words at the present time?”


     The great archbishop’s letters were becoming increasingly apocalyptic in tone. Already in 1931 he predicted a new war in Europe. And “Czechoslovakia will be the first to succumb to this threat!”, he added…


     On April 31, 1936 he wrote: “Have you noticed what is happening in the world today? The leaders of the world’s governments are all doing the same thing: they all speak about world peace. The leaders of France and of states friendly to her are also very insistent in speaking about ways to guarantee security, as if this were the essential precondition of this ‘peace’. One cannot help but recall the words of the Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Thessalonians: ‘The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say peace and security, then sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape’ (I Thessalonians 5.3). Everybody who loves the Truth must not only take note of the signs of the times, but also follow these observations to their logical conclusion.


     “Regarding the affairs of the Church, in the words of the Saviour, one of the most awesome phenomena of the last days is that at that time ‘the stars shall fall from heaven’ (Matthew 24.29). According to the Saviour’s own explanation, these ‘stars’ are the Angels of the Churches, in other words, the Bishops (Revelation 1.20). The religious and moral fall of the Bishops is, therefore, one of the most characteristic signs of the last days. The fall of the Bishops is particularly horrifying when they deviate from the doctrines of the faith, or, as the Apostle put it, when they ‘would pervert the Gospel of Christ’ (Galatians 1.7). The Apostle orders that such people be pronounced ‘anathema’. He said, ‘If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which ye have received, let him be accursed (anathema)’ (Galatians 1.9). And one must not be slow about this, for he continues, ‘A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition reject, knowing that he that is such is subverted, being condemned of himself’ (Titus 3.10-11). Moreover, you may be subject to God’s judgement if you are indifferent to deviation from the truth: ‘So them because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold not hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth’ (Revelation 3.6).


     “Clouds are gathering on the world’s horizon. God’s judgement of its peoples and of hypocritical Christians, beginning with heretics and lukewarm hierarchs, is approaching.”


     Archbishop Theophanes reposed peacefully on February 19, 1940, in a cave where he spent the last years of his life in hesychastic prayer. According to one of those present, there were no more than four people present at the funeral of the great and holy hierarch, who was vested in his hierarchical vestments with the mitre and panagia that the Tsar had presented him with at his consecration. The funeral of the great theologian, ascetic and wonderworker was celebrated by Hieromonk Barnabas, his confessor, who lived in the same village.  


ROCOR in Germany


     The 1935 ROCOR’s Hierarchical Council also approved a “Statute on the Orthodox Diocese of Berlin and Germany” which had been worked out in the ministry of ecclesiastical affairs of the Third Reich. This Statute envisaged the following demands: the agreement of the government on appointing the head of the diocese of Berlin and Germany; the agreement of the local State organs in the appointment to a parish a priest “who is a foreigner or without citizenship”, which affected almost all the clergy of ROCOR in Germany; and in the appointment by a bishop of members of the diocesan council and when forming new parishes or accepting old ones into the diocese.[243]


     On February 14, 1936 the German government began to help ROCOR, seeing it was now a State-recognized institution: the German clergy of ROCOR began to receive regular salaries; subsidies were granted for various needs of the German diocese and its parishes; and the clergy and the diocese received various privileges.[244]


     On February 25, 1938 Hitler signed a law “On the land-ownership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Germany”, according to which “the State in the person of the minister of ecclesiastical affairs received the right to dispose of the Russian ecclesiastical property in the country and in the territories joined to it.” On the basis of this law the German State handed over all the pre-revolutionary property of the Russian Church in Germany into the possession of ROCOR, besides the church in Dresden.[245]


     The German government did not hand over all the property to ROCOR immediately. As Metropolitan Eulogius of Paris writes in his memoirs (p. 648), for some time it still retained parishes in Berlin, in Eastern Prussia and in Dresden.[246] However, on May 5, 1939 the law was extended to Dresden and the Sudetenland.


     It may be asked why the German government was so favourably disposed to ROCOR. Part of the answer may lie in the fact that the authorities had a negative opinion of the Paris jurisdiction of Metropolitan Eulogius because of its links with the YMCA and other internationalist organizations, and were therefore more favourably disposed to ROCOR, which had broken links with the Eulogians. Also, some of the churches in their possession had been built with the participation of German royalty who had family links with the House of the Romanovs, and ROCOR was, of course, the Orthodox jurisdiction with the closest links with the Romanovs. Perhaps also they were counting in this way to elicit the sympathy of the Balkan Slavic peoples towards Germany.[247]


     In 1938 Hitler gave ROCOR a plot of land in Berlin to build a church, for which Metropolitan Anastasy thanked him. This formed the basis for “Patriarch” Alexis of Moscow to accuse him of sympathy for fascism, an accusation which has been repeated many times since then.


     The truth of the matter was explained by Metropolitan Anastasy himself in October, 1945 as follows: “Soon after his coming to power Hitler learned that the Russian Orthdoox people in Berlin did not have a church of their own after the church built by them had been removed from the parish because they could not pay the debts they had incurred for it. This led immediately to order the release of considerable sums of money for the building of a new Orthodox church on a beautiful plot of land set aside for this in the German capital. We should note that Hitler took this step without any deliberate request on the part of the Russian Orthodox community and did not attach any conditions to his offering that might have been compensation for it. The Hierarchical Synod as well as the whole of Russia Abroad could not fail to value this magnanimous act, which came at a time when Orthodox churches and monasteries were being mercilessly closed, destroyed or used for completely unsuitable purposes (they were being turned into clubs, cinemas, atheist museums, food warehouses, etc.), and other holy things in Russia were being mocked or defiled. This fact was noted in the address [given by the metropolitan], but the Synod of course gave no ‘blessing to destroy and conquer Russia’.”[248]


     In fact, according to Bishop Gregory Grabbe, the address that was sent to Hitler was not composed by Metropolitan Anastasy, but by the president of the Russian colony in Berlin, General V. Biskupsky. When it was shown to the metropolitan, he found it too “flowery”. But it had already been sent to the ministry of internal affairs, and it was too late to compose a new, more moderate variant.[249]


     After the German annexation of Czechia and Moravia in March, 1939, the German authorities tried to place all the Orthodox in those territories under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Seraphim (Lyade). On November 3, Seraphim concluded an agreement with the Eulogian Bishop Sergius of Prague whereby his parishes were transferred, from a purely juridical point of view, into the jurisdiction of Archbishop Seraphim, but retained their intra-ecclesiastical independence and submission to Metropolitan Eulogius.[250] The parishes of the Serbian Bishop Vladimir (Raich) in Transcarpathia and Slovakia also passed into Seraphim’s jurisdiction after Bishop Vladimir was placed under guard by the Hungarian authorities.[251]


     The influence of Archbishop (later Metropolitan) Seraphim in the German government was to prove useful again.  On November 4, 1940 the Eulogian Archbishop Alexander (Nemolovsky) of Brussels was arrested after the liturgy and imprisoned as “enemy ¹ 2” in Aachen. From there he was transferred to a prison in Berlin. It was Archbishop Seraphim who rescued Archbishop Alexander from prison and settled him at the Russian church in Tegel, where he remained until the end of the war.[252]


The Russian Borderlands


     In spite of the Great Purge of 1937-38 with its unprecedented roll-call of martyrs, there were signs of a certain slackening in the Bolshevik onslaught on Orthodox Russia from the mid-thirties. Thus the 1936 Constitution restored to the clergy and their families equal “rights” with the rest of the population, so that, for example, after five years of “productive and socially useful work” a former priest could receive the right to vote – though this was dependent, of course, on his demonstrating loyalty to the regime, and the vote could only be for communist candidates! (In 1937, however, the Politburo ordered the raising of “all taxes on priests as persons receiving unearned income”, and the churches and monasteries were in addition taxed in kind – grain, potatoes – as though they were private farms.[253])


     These concessions may have been caused by the perceived failure of the anti-religious campaign to wipe out faith in God – in 1937 a poll established that one-third of city-dwellers and two-thirds of country-dwellers still confessed that they believed. Or they may have been linked to the rise of Hitler’s National Socialism, persuading Stalin, who greatly admired Hitler, to permit a little more nationalism in his “socialism in one country”.


     In any case, the first real alleviation given, if not to religion in general, at any rate to the Moscow Patriarchate, was certainly linked to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939 and the events that followed it.


     Thus Alexeyev and Stavrou write: “To the Soviet Union [in accordance with the pact] went significant portions of the Western Ukraine and Belorussia, and soon after them the three Baltic republics – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. From what used to be Poland alone there passed to the U.S.S.R. territories inhabited by a population of 4 million, with 1200 Orthodox churches, a theological seminary in Kremenets and 4 bishops. This immediately doubled the number of ruling bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate, increased the number of open churches by about 40% and again raised the question of the relationship of the authorities to religious education.


     “Usually Soviet border zones were very thoroughly communised. The churches there were closed. When a part of Poland became Soviet territory and a border zone, Soviet power was forced to review its usual policy. It was too risky to start large-scale religious persecutions and arouse the displeasure of the populace in the presence of the German army on the other side of the border. It was necessary to take into account the fact – which was beneficial in the given circumstances for Soviet power – of the Polish authorities’ discrimination against the Orthodox Church. Before the beginning of the Second World War the Poles had closed hundreds of Orthodox churches on their territory on the grounds that the Tsarist government had in 1875 returned theses churches from the unia to Orthodoxy. The Polish government considered the return of the uniates to Orthodoxy an act of violence, and they in their own way restored justice by means of violence, which, needless to say, elicited protests even from the Catholic and Uniate churches.


     “The results of these measures of the Polish government were such that, for example, in the region of Kholm out of 393 Orthodox churches existing in 1914, by 1938 there remained 227, by 1939 – 176, and by the beginning of the war – 53 in all.[254] Particularly disturbing was the fact that, of the cult buildings taken away from the Orthodox, 130 churches, 10 houses of prayer and 2 monasteries were simply destroyed.    


     “Naturally, such measures elicited the displeasure of the Orthodox population of Poland and created good soil for Communist propaganda and the growth of sympathy towards the USSR. In these conditions it was particularly difficult for the Soviet government in 1939 to begin large-scale persecutions and close the churches which had not yet been closed by the Poles. It preferred a more cautious policy: the submission of the Orthodox hierarchy and the Orthodox parishes of what used to be Poland to the Moscow Patriarchate, which was well controlled by the government. In other words, this was the first occasion on which the Soviet government used the Moscow Patriarchate for the spread of its influence over newly acquired territory. Thus it did not suit Stalin to snuff out the Moscow Patriarchate at this time!”[255]  


     However, it was difficult for the wolf to look like a sheep for long; so while it suited Stalin temporarily to play the part of defender of Orthodoxy against Catholicism, it was not long before the familiar pattern re-emerged. Thus all church property in the newly-occupied territories was nationalized in October, 1939; heavy taxes were laid on the clergy, the seminary in Kremenets was closed, and Archbishop Alexis (Gromadsky) of Kremenets was arrested. By June, 1941, 53 priests had been arrested, of whom 37 disappeared and 6 were shot; and the monks at the famous Pochaev Lavra had been reduced from 300 to 80. Two Soviet monks were imported into the monastery to see that the remainder stayed loyal to Soviet power.


     The acceptance of the bishops in these areas into the MP took place in Moscow “through reading the corresponding prayer for unification, confession and joint participation in the Divine Liturgy”.[256] Archbishop Theodosius (Theodosiev) of Lithuania and Vilnius for the Polish Autocephaly repented before the MP, and was accepted in his existing orders but in retirement. His Lithuanian see was transferred to Metropolitan Eleutherius (Bogoyavlensky).[257] Archbishop Alexis was received in June, 1940, but was given only a few parishes in the Kremenets area. Bishops Anthony (Martsenko) of Kamen-Kashira and Simon of Ostrog were received on August 21, 1940.


     Archbishop Panteleimon (Rozhnevsky), formerly of Pinsk, was living in exile in the Zhirovitsky monastery for refusing to accept the Polish autocephaly. After the Soviet takeover, he petitioned the MP for him and his clergy to received into the MP and for him to be appointed ruling bishop of Pinsk and Novogrud. At the same time he petitioned for the Grodno diocese to be given into his care since Bishop Sabbas (Sovetov) of Grodno had fled to the west. On October 17, 1939 the MP granted his petition and appointed him exarch of Belorussia.[258] However, in June, 1940 Archbishop Nicholas (Yarushevich) of Novgorod was sent from Moscow as exarch, while Panteleimon, after being officially received into the MP on July 10, was appointed head of the new Grodno-Vilnius diocese with more than 300 parishes.[259]


     As for the Orthodox in German-occupied Poland, on September 1, 1939 the Hierarchical Council of ROCOR decided to give Archbishop Seraphim (Lyade) the instruction: (a) if necessary, to help the Orthodox hierarchy in Poland (since, as being loyal to the former Polish government, it might be subjected to repressions), (b) but if there will turn out to be no hierarchy in Poland (that is, if it will be repressed), to take upon himself the care of the flock deprived of archpastoral care.[260]


     As it turned out, there was a considerable movement of the parishes of the Polish autocephaly in German-occupied Poland to ROCOR, and Archbishop Seraphim was invited to Warsaw to take control of the Warsaw diocese. He arrived on November 10, but Metropolitan Dionysius was not yet ready to conceded defeat, so Seraphim returned to Berlin.


     However, on December 23 Dionysius wrote to Seraphim: “The collapse of the independent Polish State on whose existence the independence and autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Poland was dependent, deprives the Church of the possibility of an autocephalous existence in the future. The new State order established on the former Polish territory, which now belongs to the sphere of German imperial interests, makes it necessary for the former Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Poland to be united with the ecclesiastical organizations which you, Your Eminence, represent. In consequence of this I ask Your Eminence to come soon to Warsaw and take upon yourself the administration of this part of the former Autocephalous Church in Poland, which has entered into the sphere of German imperial interests. In connection with the considerations expounded above, I inform you that from the day of your taking upon yourself the administration of the Church I will renounce the further care of the above-mentioned Church.”


     Dionysius left Warsaw and went again to his dacha in Otvotsk. Seraphim then again went to Warsaw and entered on the administration of the Warsaw-Kholm diocese. However, this was rather a temporary administration, since the official annulment of the autocephaly did not take place and the name of Metropolitan Dionysius continued as before to be commemorated in all services as the head of the Church.


     Nevertheless, Archbishop Seraphim, as locum tenens of the Autocephalous Church in the German province, did manage to remove the new style and forbid other innovations, such as the shaving of priests. Moreover, he was able to restore over 75 churches taken from the Orthodox as well as the Turkovitsky monastery.


     However, Bishop Savva (Sovetov) of Grodno, filed a complaint against Seraphim’s activities to the Ecumenical Patriarch, who declared them uncanonical.[261] And on September 23, 1940 in Krakow the General-Governor Frank told Dionysius that he was being restored to the administration of the Orthodox Church in the province. The next day Dionysius informed Seraphim of this change. This was followed by a wave of Ukrainianization in the so-called “Autocephalous Orthodox Church in the General-Governorship”.[262]


     Further north, the communists were extending their tentacles. Although they were repulsed from Finland with the loss of 250,000 lives, they took control of the Baltic States without any trouble.


     In 1939 the Moscow Patriarchate sent Archbishop Sergius (Voskresensky) of Dmitrov to Riga as the patriarchal exarch in the occupied Baltic States. In December, 1940 he received the Churches of Latvia and Estonia, which had been granted autocephaly by Constantinople, into the patriarchate. Metropolitan Augustine (Peterson) of Riga went into retirement.[263] Then, in March, 1941, after the death of Metropolitan Eleutherius in December, he took control of the see of Vilnius and Lithuania.


     In the same month Metropolitans Alexander of Tallin and Augustine of Riga travelled to Moscow, repented publicly of the sin of schism and were received into communion.[264] No repentance was required from the Patriarch of Constantinople, who had caused the schism…


     “Rule over the new diocesan provinces,” writes Volkogonov, “was established, naturally, by means of the secret services. As an illustration of the process, the following report was received by Stalin in March, 1941 from B. Merkulov, People’s Commissar for State Security of the USSR:


     “’There are at present in the territories of the Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian republics autocephalous [autonomous] Orthodox churches, headed by local metropolitans who are placemen of the bourgeois governments.


     “’In the Latvian SSR there are 175,000 Orthodox parishioners. Anti-Soviet elements, former members of the Fascist organization ‘Perkanirust’, are grouped around the head of the Synod, Augustin.


     “’In the Estonian SSR there are 40,000 Orthodox. The head of the eparchy has died. Archbishop Fedosi Fedoseev, who heads an anti-Soviet group of churchmen, is trying to grab the job.


     “’The NKVD has prepared the following measures:


     “’1) Through an NKVD agency we will get the Moscow patriarchate to issue a resolution on the subordination of the Orthodox churches of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania to itself, using a declaration from local rank and file clergy and believers for the purpose.


     “’2) By a decision of the Moscow patriarchate we shall appoint as eparch Archbishop Dmitri Nikolayevich Voskresensky (an agent of the NKGB of the USSR), using for the purpose appropriate requests from the local clergy, which are to be found in the Moscow patriarchate.”[265]


     It is striking how openly Merkulov talks about using the Moscow patriarchate for purely political purposes here. “Archbishop Dmitri Voskresensky” is probably a mistake for “Archbishop Sergius Voskresensky of Dmitrov”.


     The fact that Sergius (Voskresensky) was an agent of the NKGB makes it highly probable that his three fellow metropolitans who were still in freedom – Sergius (Stragorodsky), Nicholas and Alexis – were also agents.[266] According to the apostate professor-priest A. Osipov, Patriarch Alexis feared that Nicholas was an agent of the Bolsheviks.[267]


     This also demonstrates, continues Volkogonov, “the reasons behind Lenin’s confident assertion that ‘our victory over the clergy is fully assured’. So complete, indeed, was that victory that even Stalin and his accomplices were at times at a loss to know if someone was a priest or an NKGB agent in a cassock. While boasting loudly of freedom of conscience and quoting copiously from Lenin’s hypocritical statements on how humanely socialism treated religion, the Bolshevik regime, through the widespread use of violence, had turned the dwelling-place of the spirit and faith into a den of the thought-police.”[268]


The Cost of Sergianism


     If Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) sincerely thought that his betrayal of the True Orthodox Christians would “save the Church” from persecution and death, the years 1937-38 would prove him terribly wrong. For by 1939 there were only four bishops even of the sergianist church at liberty, and only a tiny handful of churches open, in the whole of the country. By 1938, according to T. Martynov, most of the 180,000 priests from before the revolution had been killed, and most of the 55,000 churches destroyed.[269] According to figures released by the Russian government, in 1937 alone 136,900 clergy were arrested, of whom 106,800 were killed; while between 1917 and 1980, 200,000 clergy were executed and 500,000 others were imprisoned or sent to the camps.[270] In the period 1917 to 1940 205 Russian hierarchs “disappeared without trace”, of whom 59 disappeared in 1937 alone.


     But what of the future? What hopes did the Christians of the Catacomb Church nurture with regard to a deliverance from their terrible sufferings? If some, like Bishop Maximus of Serpukhov, were pessimistic about the future, thinking that the very last days of the world had been reached[271], others prophesied the resurrection of Holy Russia before the end, such as Bishop Victor of Glazov. Eldress Agatha of Belorussia, who was starved to death by the authorities in 1939 at the age of 119, told her spiritual children concerning the Soviet Church: “This is not a true church. It has signed a contract to serve the Antichrist. Do not go to it. Do not receive any Mysteries from its servants. Do not participate in prayer with them.” And then she said: “There will come a time when churches will be opened in Russia, and the true Orthodox Faith will triumph. Then people will become baptized, as at one time they were baptized under St. Vladimir. When the churches are opened for the first time, do not go to them because these will not be true churches; but when they are opened the second time, then go – these will be the true churches. I will not live to see this time, but many of you will live to this time. The atheist Soviet authority will vanish, and all its servants will perish…”[272]


     However, the immediate outlook at the end of the thirties was bleak indeed. E.L., writing about Hieromartyr Bishop Damascene, comments: “He warmed the hearts of many, but the masses remained… passive and inert, moving in any direction in accordance with an external push, and not their inner convictions… The long isolation of Bishop Damascene from Soviet life, his remoteness from the gradual process of sovietization led him to an unrealistic assessment of the real relations of forces in the reality that surrounded him. Although he remained unshaken himself, he did not see… the desolation of the human soul in the masses. This soul had been diverted onto another path – a slippery, opportunistic path which led people where the leaders of Soviet power – bold men who stopped at nothing in their attacks on all moral and material values – wanted them to go… Between the hierarchs and priests who had languished in the concentration camps and prisons, and the mass of the believers, however firmly they tried to stand in the faith, there grew an abyss of mutual incomprehension. The confessors strove to raise the believers onto a higher plane and bring their spiritual level closer to their own. The mass of believers, weighed down by the cares of life and family, blinded by propaganda, involuntarily went in the opposite direction, downwards. Visions of a future golden age of satiety, of complete liberty from all external and internal restrictions, of the submission of the forces of nature to man, deceitful perspectives in which fantasy passed for science.. were used by the Bolsheviks to draw the overwhelming majority of the people into their nets. Only a few individuals were able to preserve a loftiness of spirit. This situation was exploited very well by Metropolitan Sergius…”[273]


     Sergius has had many apologists. Some have claimed that he “saved the Church” for a future generation, when the whirlwind of the persecution had passed. This claim cannot be justified, as we have seen. It was rather the Catacomb Church, which, as Alexeyev writes, “in a sense saved the official Church from complete destruction because the Soviet authorities were afraid to force the entire Russian Church underground through ruthless suppression and so to lose control over it.”[274] As St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco wrote: “The Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius brought no benefit to the Church. The persecutions not only did not cease, but also sharply increased. To the number of other accusations brought by the Soviet regime against clergy and laymen, one more was added – non-recognition of the Declaration. At the same time, a wave of church closings rolled over all Russia… Concentration camps and places of forced labor held thousands of clergymen, a significant part of whom never saw freedom again, being executed there or dying from excessive labors and deprivations.”[275] Even a recent biography of Sergius by an MP author accepts this fact: “If Metropolitan Sergius, in agreeing in his name to publish the Declaration of 1927 composed by the authorities, hoping to buy some relief for the Church and the clergy, then his hopes not only were not fulfilled, but the persecutions after 1927 became still fiercer, reaching truly hurricane-force in 1937-38.”[276]


     Others have tried to justify Sergius by claiming that there are two paths to salvation, one through open confession or the descent into the catacombs, and the other through compromise. Sergius, according to this view, was no less a martyr than the Catacomb martyrs, only he suffered the martyrdom of losing his good name. [277] However, this view comes close to the “Rasputinite” heresy that there can be salvation through sin – in this case, the most brazen lying, the sacrifice of the freedom and dignity of the Church and Orthodoxy, and the betrayal to torments and death of one’s fellow Christians![278]


     Sergius made the basic mistake of forgetting that it is God, not man, Who saves the Church. This mistake almost amounts to a loss of faith in God Himself – not so much in His existence, as in His Providence and Omnipotence. The faith that saves is the faith that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19.26). It is the faith that cries: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will call upon the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 19.7). This was and is the faith of the Catacomb Church, which, being founded on “the Rock, which is Christ” (I Corinthians 10.7), has prevailed against the gates of hell.


     But Sergius’ “faith” was of a different, more “supple” kind, the kind of which the Prophet spoke: “Because you have said, ‘We have made a covenant with death, and with hell we have an agreement; when the overwhelming scourge passes through it will not come to us; for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter’; therefore thus says the Lord God,… hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter. Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with hell will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through you will be beaten down by it…” (Isaiah 28.15, 17-19)     


     Even patriarchal sources have spoken about the falsity of Sergius’ declaration, the true confession of those who opposed him, and the invalidity of the measures he took to punish them. Thus: “Amidst the opponents of Metropolitan Sergius were a multitude of remarkable martyrs and confessors, bishops, monks, priests… The ‘canonical’ bans of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) and his Synod were taken seriously by no one, neither at that time [the 1930s] nor later by dint of the uncanonicity of the situation of Metropolitan Sergius himself…”[279]


     And again: “The particular tragedy of the Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius consists in its principled rejection of the podvig of martyrdom and confession, without which witnessing to the truth is inconceivable. In this way Metropolitan Sergius took as his foundation not hope on the Providence of God, but a purely human approach to the resolution of church problems… The courage of the ‘catacombniks’ and their firmness of faith cannot be doubted, and it is our duty to preserve the memory of those whose names we shall probably learn only in eternity…”[280]


     Let the last word on this most catastrophic, but at the same time glorious period in Church history come from a Catacomb Appeal of the period:- “May this article drop a word that will be as a burning spark in the heart of every person who has Divinity in himself and faith in the our One Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Beloved brethren! Orthodox Christians, peace-makers! Do not forget your brothers who are suffering in cells and prisons for the word of God and for the faith, the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, for they are in terrible dark bonds which have been built as tombs for all innocent people. Thousands and thousands of peace-loving brothers are languishing, buried alive in these tombs, these cemeteries; their bodies are wasting away and their souls are in pain every day and every hour, nor is there one minute of consolation, they are doomed to death and a hopeless life. These are the little brothers of Christ, they bear that cross which the Lord bore. Jesus Christ received suffering and death and was buried in the tomb, sealed by a stone and guarded by a watch. The hour came when death could not hold in its bonds the body of Christ that had suffered, for an Angel of the Lord coming down from the heavens rolled away the stone from the tomb and the soldiers who had been on guard fled in great fear. The Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead. But the thunder will also strike these castles where the brothers languish for the word of God, and will smash the bolts where death threatens men..."[281]

[1] Monk Benjamin, “Letopis’ Tserkovnykh Sobytij Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi nachinaia s 1917 goda” (A Chronicle of Church Events of the Orthodox Church beginning from 1917), http://www.zlatoust.ws/letopis.htm, pp. 135-136 ®.

[2] I.M. Andreyev, Russia's Catacomb Saints, Platina, Ca.: St. Herman Brotherhood Press, 1982, p. 56.

[3] Archimandrite Joseph, Kormchij, 23 May, 1909; quoted in Sergius and Tamara Fomin, Rossia pered vtorym prishestviem (Russia before the Second Coming), Moscow: Rodnik, 1994, vol. I, p. 413 (in Russian).

[4] Schemamonk Epiphanius Chernov, Tserkov’ Katakombnaia na Zemlie Rossijskoj (The Catacomb Church in the Russian Land) (MS), Woking, 1980 ®.

[5] N. Shemetov, "Khristos sredi nas" (Christ is in our midst), Moskovskij tserkovnij vestnik (Moscow Ecclesiastical Herald), ¹ 11 (29), May, 1990, p. 3 ®

[6]  “Vladyka Lazar otvechaiet na voprosy redaktsii" (Vladyka Lazar replies to the questions of the editorial board), Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 22, 15/28 November, 1991, p. 5 ®.

[7] For evidence that he was in fact poisoned, see Chernov, op. cit., Lebedev, Velikorossia (Great Russia), St. Petersburg, 1997, p. 582; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 137. D. Volkogonov (Lenin, London: Harper Collins, 1994, p. 384) hints at the same outcome, writing: “Lenin’s instructions had been clear: ‘the more reactionary clergy and reactionary bourgeoisie are shot… the better’, and ‘the priests must be sentenced to death’. Since it had proved impractical to execute Tikhon, the Cheka had had to find other ways of ensuring that the sixty-year-old Patriarch should not long survive his sojourn in their company.” “The rector of Prophet Elias Church on Obydenny Street in Moscow, Fr. Alex­ander Tolgsky, who died in 1962, told one of the authors: ‘After the acknowledgement, made to me during confession by one of the doctors of the Bakunin Hospital, I do not have the least doubt that Patriarch Tikhon was poisoned.’” (Levitin, A., Shavrov, V., Ocherki po istorii Russkoj Tserkvi (Sketches on the History of the Russian Church), Kusnacht, 1997; A. Paraev, “Istinnoe Pravoslavie i Sergianstvo”, (True Orthodoxy and Sergianism), Eparkhialnie Vedomosti (The Diocesan Register), September, 1997 http://catacomb.org.ua/modules.php?name=Pages&go=page&pid=544 ®.

[8] Quoted in M.B. Danilushkin (ed.), Istoria Russkoj Tserkvi ot Vosstanovlenia Patriarshestva do nashikh dnej (A History of the Russian Church from the Reestablishment of the Patriarchate to our Days), vol. I, St. Petersburg, 1997, p. 201 ®.

[9] Another will dated the day of the Patriarch’s death and published in Izvestia was almost certainly a forgery. See Chernov, op. cit., Lebedev, op. cit., p. 582, Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 137, Protopresbyter George (later Bishop Gregory) Grabbe, Pravda o Russkoj Tserkvi na rodine i na rubezhom (The Truth about the Russian Church in the Homeland and Abroad), Jordanville, 1961, 1989; Protopriest Alexander Lebedev, Plod lukavij. Proiskhozhdenie i suschnost’ Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (A Bad Fruit. The Origin and Essence of the Moscow Patriarchate), Los-Angeles, 1994 ®.

[10] M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyateishego Patriarkha Tikhona (The Acts of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon), Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994, p. 413 ®.

[11] And some important groups delayed their recognition. Thus the Synod of the ROCOR decreed that Metropolitan Peter should be recognised as the lawful locum tenens and the head of the Russian Church, with the introduction of his commemoration in all churches abroad, on November 12 (Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 145).

[12] Cited by Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Ekkleziologia Andrea Ufimskogo (kn. Ukhtomskogo)" (The Ecclesiology of Andrew of Ufa (Prince Ukhtomsky), Vestnik Germanskoj Eparkhii (Herald of the German Diocese), ¹ 1, 1993, p. 20 ®.

[13] This is confirmed by Metropolitan Peter himself, who wrote to Tuchkov on January 14, 1926: “Forgive me for my frankness - the people does not trust a person who often has dealings with the GPU. For example, the frequent visits that I and Metropolitan Seraphim of Tver made to the GPU in Patriarch Tikhon’s time were far from being interpreted in our favour, while Metropolitan Seraphim was even nicknamed ‘the Lubyanka metropolitan’ by the people. And I noticed that at the beginning of my administration of the Church many people kept away from me” (quoted in Hieromonk Damascene (Orlovsky), Mucheniki, Ispovedniki i Podvizhniki Blagochestia Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi XX Stoletia (Martyrs, Confessors and Ascetics of Piety of the Russian Orthodox Church in the 20th Century), volume II, Tver: Bulat, 1995, p. 489 ®).

[14] A. Smirnov, “Ugasshie nepominaiushchie v bege vremeni” (Died out non-commemorators in the course of time), Simvol (Symbol), ¹ 40, 1998, p. 175 ®.

[15] D. Pospielovsky, The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime, 1917-1982, Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1982, p. 91, note.

[16] Gubonin, op. cit., pp. 418-421.

[17] Gubonin, op. cit., pp. 744-745.

[18] S. Savelev, "Bog i komissary" (God and the Commissars), in Bessmertny A.R. and Filatov, S.B., Religia i Demokratia (Religion and Democracy), Moscow: Progress, 1993, pp. 199-200 ®.

[19] Gubonin, op. cit., p. 402.

[20] According to the anonymous author of V Ob'iatiakh Semiglavago Zmia (In the Embrace of the Seven-Headed Serpent) (Montreal, 1984, p. 47), Metropolitan Peter made two wills regarding his deputies. In the first were three names, as indicated here. In the second were four: Metropolitans Cyril, Agathangelus, Arsenius and Sergius. Since Sergius was only fourth in order in the second will, he kept quiet about it.

[21] Savelev, op. cit., p. 200.

[22] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 145.

[23] Arianism – the reference is to the appearance of the sign of the Cross over Jerusalem in 351.

[24] Orthodox Life, vol. 22, ¹. 2, March-April, 1972; reprinted in Fr. Basile Sakkas, The Calendar Question, Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1973. For further witnesses and photographs, see Metropolitan Calliopius, Deinopathimata G.O.Kh. (The Sufferings of the True Orthodox Christians), Piraeus, 1990, vol. I, pp. 81-92 (G), and Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Papa-Nicholas Planas, Boston, 1961, pp. 117-119.

[25] “Miraculous Appearance of Cross over Athens, Greece”, Smyrna1922@aol.com, May 20, 2004.

[26] Quoted in “Re[2]: [paradosis] (unknown)”, 1 January, 2003, orthodox-tradition@yahoogroups.com.

[27] The Zealot Monks of Mount Athos, Syntomos Istoriki Perigraphi tis Ekklesias ton Gnision Orthodoxon Khristianon Ellados (Brief Historical Description of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece), Mount Athos, 1973, pp. 8-11 (G); Metropolitan Calliopius, op. cit., pp. 101-111.

[28] “A Rejoinder to a Challenge of the Legitimacy of the Orthodox Monastic Brotherhood of the Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou”, orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, January 29, 2003.

[29] Hieromonk Theodoritus (Mavros), Avvakoum, Le Zélote aux Pieds Nus (Habbakuk, the Bare-Footed Zealot), a translation from the Greek by the Fraternité Orthodoxe de St. Grégoire Palamas, Paris, 1986, pp. 37-42 (F).

[30] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 106.

[31] Nun Angelina, “Starets Mikhail Starshij, ispovednik strazhduschego pravoslavia”, Russkij Palomnik, ¹ 17, 1998, p. 64 ®.

[32] The Orthodox Word, ¹¹. 160-161, September-December, 1991, pp. 268-270.

[33] Nun Angelina, op. cit., pp. 64-66. There was a nationalist, Russophobic element to the introduction of the new calendar in Finland. Bishop Germanus (Aav) forbade his priests to wear pectoral crosses of Russian make, and would even paint over Slavonic inscriptions on old icons. His successor, Paul (Gusev), was a Russian who pretended to be a Finn. He, according to one source, “showed an indefatigable concern for one thing alone: how to make services in his Church completely unlike those in the Russian Church (“Demons in cassocks”, orthodox-tradition@yahoogroups.com, December 22, 2003).

[34] In New Valaam in Finland, according to the witness of a True Orthodox Christian who spent a year there before his conversion, there continued to be Russian monks who confessed the Old Calendar – an abbot named Symphorian and another monk over one hundred years old. They lived in separate quarters and refused all communion with the new calendarists and visiting Soviet hierarchs. Abbot Symphorian died in the 1980s; nothing is known about the other monk.

[35] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., pp. 118, 119.

[36] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 123.

[37] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 140.

[38] Monk Benjamin, Letopis’ Tserkovnykh Sobytij (1928-1938), (Chronicle of Church Events, 1928-1938), part. 2, http://www.zlatoust.ws/letopis2.htm, p. 6 ®.

[39] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, p. 59.

[40] Protopriest Vladislav Tsypin, Istoria Russkoj Tserkvi 1925-1938 (A History of the Russian Church, 1925-1938) Moscow: Monastery of the Meeting of the Lord, 1999, p. 33 ®.

[41] Gubonin, op. cit., p. 429.

[42] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 147.

[43] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 148.

[44] Grabbe, Russkaia Tserkov’ pered litsom gospodstvuiushchego zla (The Russian Church before the face of Dominant Evil), Jordanville, 1991, pp. 57-58. The Gregorian Bishop Boris of Mozhaisk also said that his Synod "received the rights to assemble, and to have publications and educational institutions." (Grabbe, op. cit., p. 61)

[45] Regelson, Tragedia Russkoj Tserkvi, 1917-1945 (The Tragedy of the Russian Church, 1917-1945), Paris: YMCA Press, 1977 ®.

[46] Gubonin, op. cit., p. 677.

[47] Gubonin, op. cit., p. 422.

[48] Grabbe, op. cit., p. 61.

[49] Savelev, op. cit., p. 200.

[50] Hieromonk Damascene (Orlovsky), "Zhizneopisanie patriarshego mestobliustitelia mitropolita Petra Krutitskago (Polianskogo)" (Biography of the patriarchal locum tenens, Metropolitan Peter (Poliansky) of Krutitsa), Vestnik Russkogo Khristianskogo Dvizhenia (Herald of the Russian Christian Movement), ¹ 166, III-1992, pp. 213-242 ®.

[51] Gubonin, op. cit., p. 454.

[52] Gubonin, op. cit., pp. 454-57.

[53] Gubonin, op. cit., p. 461 (italics mine).

[54] Gubonin, op. cit., pp. 462-64.

[55] Regelson, op. cit., pp. 404, 469.

[56] "Vospominania katakombnago Skhiepiskopa Petra (Ladygina)", op. cit. p. 200 ®. Bishop Peter goes on to write: “I asked him: 'What must we do in the future if neither Cyril nor Peter will be around? Who must we then commemorate?' He said: 'There is still the canonical Metropolitan Joseph, formerly of Uglich, who is now in Leningrad. He was appointed by his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon as a candidate in case the Patriarch, I, Cyril and Anthony [Khrapovitsky] died.'“ Bishop Peter for a time commemorated Metropolitan Agathangelus as locum tenens (Tsypin, op. cit., p. 56).

[57] Za Khrista Postradavshie (Those Who Suffered for Christ), Moscow: St. Tikhon’s Theological Institute, 1997, p. 36 ®.

[58] Gubonin, op. cit., pp. 477-478.

[59] Schema-Bishop Peter (Ladygin), who later became one of the leaders of the Catacomb Church, had a different account of these events, which still more clearly incriminated Sergius. See "Kratkoe opisanie biografii menia nedostojnago skhiepiskopa Petra Ladygina" (Short Description of the Biography of me, the unworthy Schema-Bishop Peter Ladygin). Tserkovnaia Zhizn' (Church Life), ¹¹ 7-8, July-August, 1985, pp. 152-53 ®.

[60] Tsypin, op. cit., p. 59; Gubonin, op. cit., p. 474.

[61] Regelson, op. cit., pp. 417-20.

[62] Another Russian hierarch who disagreed with Metropolitan Anthony’s views in this period was Archbishop Eleutherius of Lithuania. His eight letters were published together in his book, Ob Iskuplenii (On the Redemption), Paris, 1937 ®.

[63] Herald of the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate, 1926, ¹ II (1/14 June), pp. 168-174 (10-34) (S).

[64] For example, Abbot Herman of Platina writes that Archbishop John (Maximovich) “differed theologically [from Metropolitan Anthony] although he personally loved and was devoted to him. In the early part of this century, Metropolitan Anthony had formulated a false ‘Dogma of Redemption’ based on the notion that our redemption was possible without the Cross. This teaching was promulgated by Metropolitan Anthony's followers more strongly than by the Metropolitan himself, but Archbishop John, in spite of all his love for his Abba and his Abba's love for him, did not share it. For this, the followers of Metropolitan Anthony among the hierarchs could not forgive Archbishop John, just as they could not forgive him for commemorating the Patriarch of Moscow along with their own chief hierarch, and for serving with the Patriarchate's clergy. I remember once, when Archbishop John came to our store, we asked him what this teaching of the Dogma of Redemption was all about and whether it was an outright heresy. To this Archbishop John shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘No, not really,’ and began all of a sudden to talk about Blessed Augustine of Hippo, whose writings, like those of Metropolitan Anthony, contained theological imprecisions. After this discussion which Fr. Seraphim and I had with Archbishop John, Fr. Seraphim concluded that if you can forgive the theological imprecisions of Blessed Augustine, then you can forgive Metropolitan Anthony. But if you do not forgive Blessed Augustine and dismiss him as a heretic, you must do the same with Metropolitan Anthony.” (http://saintjohnwonderworker.org/sanc05.htm).

[65] “Bishop Andrew [Rymarenko] was a loud, albeit delicate opponent of the false teaching of Metr. Anthony (Khrapovitsky) on the ‘Dogma of Redemption’… When this teaching surfaced again in the Church Abroad, under Metropolitan Philaret, a whole group of the best hierarchs, not wishing to offend the first-hierarch, asked Archbishop Andrew, as the spiritual father of the metropolitan himself, to remove this subject from the agenda of the 1972 Council, so as to prevent a schism. When the danger had passed through the efforts of Bishops Nectarius, Athanasius and Averky, Bishop Andrew crossed himself, thanking God that Orthodoxy had been preserved for the Americans.” (“Batiushka O. Adrian” (Batiushka Fr. Adrian), Russkij Palomnik (The Russian Pilgrim), ¹ 18, 1998, p. 105 ®)

[66] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 154.

[67] Helen Kontzevich relates, “in Paris, Archpriest Sergius Chetverikov asked to come and see Archbishop Theophanes, to converse with him on the theme of the Jesus Prayer. But he was presented with the condition that he cease all contact with the YMCA. The Archpriest did not agree to it.”

[68] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 156.

[69] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 162.

[70] Archbishop Averky (Taushev), Vysokopreosviaschennij Feofan, Arkhiepiskop Poltavskij i Pereiaslavskij (His Eminence Theophanes, Archbishop of Poltava and Pereiaslavl), Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1974 ®.

[71] Tserkovnie Vedomosti, 1927, ¹¹ 5-6, pp. 5,6, 10; in G.M. Soldatov, Arkhierejskie Sobory Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi Zagranitsej 1938-1939 g. (Hierarchical Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, 1938-1939), Minneapolis: AARDM Press, 2003, pp. 10-11 ®.

[72] Archpriest Alexander Lebedev, “Re: the debate on grace”, orthodox_synod@indiana.edu, May 5, 1998.

[73] Grabbe, op. cit., p. 154; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, A History of the Russian Church Abroad, pp. 61-62; Pospielovksy, "Mitropolit Sergij i raskoly sprava" (Metropolitan Sergius and the schisms from the right), Vestnik Russkogo Khristianskogo Dvizhenia (Herald of the Russian Christian Movement), ¹ 158, I-1990, p. 65.

[74] Bishop Gregory Grabbe, “Toward a History of the Ecclesiastical Divisions within the Russian Diaspora”, chapter IV, Living Orthodoxy, #83, vol. XIV, ¹ 5, September-October, 1992, p. 27; quoting from S.V. Troitsky, Pravda o Russkoj Tserkvi na Rodinu i Za Rubezhom (The Truth about the Russian Church in the Homeland and in the Diaspora).

[75] Tsypin, op. cit., p. 85.

[76] “The way of the cross of his Eminence Athanasius Sakharov”, in Regelson, op. cit., p. 406.

[77] Gubonin, op. cit., p. 422. Peter’s choice of deputies was: Sergius of Nizhni-Novgorod, Michael of the Ukraine, and Joseph of Rostov, in that order.

[78] If Archbishop Seraphim had not been in freedom, then, according to Metropolitan Joseph’s epistle, the bishops were to govern their dioceses independently (Tsypin, op. cit., p. 86).

[79] Regelson, op. cit., p. 408.

[80] Gubonin, op. cit., pp. 492-493.

[81] Gustavson, The Catacomb Church, Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1960; see N.A., op. cit., p. 18.

[82] Tape recorded conversation with Protopriest Michael Ardov in 1983, Church News, vol. 13, ¹ 11 (112), p. 6.

[83] This was a point made in the sixth century by St. Gregory the Great, Pope of Rome, in his correspondence with the Patriarch of Alexandria concerning the title of "ecumenical", that is, "universal" bishop. Cf. Abbé Guettée, The Papacy, New York: Minos, 1866, p. 223.

[84] Regelson, op. cit., p. 413.

[85] E.L., Episkopy-Ispovedniki (Bishop-Confessors), San Francisco, 1971, p. 70 ®. See Rusak, Svidetel'stvo Obvinenia (Witness for the Prosecution), Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1988, vol. II, pp. 167-191; D. Pospielovksy, "Podvig Very v Ateisticheskom Gosudarstve" (The Exploit of Faith in the Atheist State), Grani (Edges), ¹ 147, 1988, pp. 227-265 ®.

[86] In later years, after Sergius’ betrayal of the Church, Archbishop Seraphim is reported to have reasserted his rights as patriarchal locum tenens. See Michael Khlebnikov, “O tserkovnoj situatsii v Kostrome v 20-30-e gody” (On the Church Situation in Kostroma in the 20s and 30s), Pravoslavnaia Zhizn’ (Orthodox Life), 49, ¹ 5 (569), May, 1997, p. 19 ®.

[87] The Living Church, ¹¹ 4-5, 14 July, 1922; Gubonin, op. cit., pp. 218-19.

[88] Regelson, op. cit., p. 415; Gubonin, op. cit., p. 407.

[89] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., pp. 163-164.

[90] Quoted in Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, “Is the Moscow Patriarchate the ‘Mother Church’ of the ROCOR”, Orthodox@ListServ. Indiana.Edu, 24 December, 1997.

[91] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 171.

[92] Tsypin, op. cit., p. 383. Monk Benjamin (op. cit., p. 172) writes that on September 13, Metropolitan Eulogius wrote to Sergius asking that he be given autonomy. On September 24 Sergius replied with a refusal.

[93] Tsypin, op. cit., p. 384.

[94] Regelson, op. cit., p. 436; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 173.

[95] Melia, "The Orthodox Church of Georgia", A Sign of God: Orthodoxy 1964, Athens: Zoe, 1964, p. 113.

[96] Monk Benjamin (Gomarteli), Letopis’ Tserkovnykh Sobytij (1928-1938) (Chronicle of Church Events (1928-1938), vol. 2, pp. 5-6 ®.

[97] Zateishvili, "Gruzinskaia Tserkov' i polnota pravoslavia" (The Georgian Church and the Fullness of Orthodoxy), in Bessmertny, A.R. and Filatov, S.B. Religia i demokratia, Moscow: Progress, 1993, p. 422 ®.

[98] A.B. Psarev, "Zhizneopisanie Arkhiepiskopa Leontia Chilijskogo (1904-1971 gg.)" (A Life of Archbishop Leontius of Chile (1904-1971), Pravoslavnaia Zhizn' (Orthodox Life), ¹ 3 (555), March, 1996, p. 20 ®.

[99] Protopriest Lev Lebedev comments on this: “This murder in Warsaw was the murder by B. Koverdaya of the Bolshevik Voikoff (also known as Weiner), who was one of the principal organizers of the murder of the Imperial Family, which fact was well known then, in 1927. So Sergius let the Bolsheviks clearly understand that he and his entourage were at one with them in all their evil deeds up to and including regicide” (“Dialogue between the ROCA and the MP: How and Why?”, Great Lent, 1998, report to be given to the Sobor of Bishops of the Russian Church Outside Russia. Translated by Protodeacon Christopher Birchall and released on the internet).

[100] Regelson, op. cit., pp. 431-32.

[101] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 163.

[102] Metropolitan Calliopius, op. cit., pp. 64-80.

[103] Metropolitan Calliopius, op. cit., pp. 93-100.

[104] Metropolitan Calliopius, op. cit., pp. 112-115.

[105] Metropolitan Calliopius, op. cit., pp. 116-119.

[106] Metropolitan Calliopius, op. cit., pp. 120-137.

[107] Metropolitan Calliopius, op. cit., pp. 143-149.

[108] Metropolitan Calliopius, op. cit., pp. 150-157.

[109] Metropolitan Calliopius, op. cit., pp. 166-172.

[110] Metropolitan Calliopius, op. cit., pp. 173-186.

[111] Tsypin, op. cit., p. 109.

[112] Cited in Fletcher, The Russian Orthodox Church Underground, 1917-1971, Oxford University Press, 1971, p. 57.

[113] Cited in Fletcher, op. cit., p. 59.

[114] Regelson, op. cit., p. 434.

[115] Rayfield, Stalin and his Hangmen, London: Viking, 2004, p. 123.

[116] Rusak, op. cit., p. 175 ®; Gubonin, op. cit., p. 409.

[117] Regelson, op. cit., p. 440.

[118] Nicholas Balashov, “Esche raz o ‘deklaratsii’ i o ‘solidarnosti’ solovchan” (Again on the ‘declaration’ and on ‘the solidarity of the Solovkans’), Vestnik Russkogo Khristianskogo Dvizhenia (Herald of the Russian Christian Movement), 157, III-1989, pp. 197-198 ®.

[119] Gubonin, op. cit., pp. 516, 524.

[120] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., pp. 173-174.

[121] V.V.Antonov, “Otvet na Deklaratsiu” (Reply to the Declaration), Russkij Pastyr’ (Russian Pastor), ¹ 24, 1996, p. 73 ®.

[122] Cited in Andreyev, Russia's Catacomb Saints, Platina, Ca.: St. Herman of Alaska Press, 1982, pp. 141-43.

[123] Regelson, op. cit., p. 435.

[124] Archbishop Ambrose (von Sievers), “Katakombnaia Tserkov’: ‘Kochuiuschij’ Sobor 1928 g.” (The Catacomb Church: The ‘Nomadic’ Council of 1928), Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 3 (7), 1997, p. 3 ®.

[125] Andreyev, op. cit., p. 100.

[126] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 175.

[127] Andreyev, op. cit., p. 100.

[128] His words, as reported by Protopresbyter Michael Polsky (op. cit., vol. II, p. 30), were: “The secret, desert, Catacomb Church has anathematized the ‘Sergianists’ and all those with them.”

[129] Our information about this Council is based exclusively on Archbishop Ambrose (von Sievers), “Katakombnaia Tserkov’: Kochuiushchij Sobor 1928 g.” (“The Catacomb Church: The ‘Nomadic’ Council of 1928”), Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 3 (7), 1997 ®, whose main source is claimed to be the archives of the president of the Council, Bishop Mark (Novoselov), as researched by the Andrewite Bishop Evagrius. Historians such as Osipova (“V otvet na statiu ‘Mif ob “Istinnoj Tserkvi”’” (In Reply to the Article, “The Myth of ‘the True Church’”), Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 3 (7), 1997, pp. 18-19) and Danilushkin (op. cit., p. 534) appear to accept the existence of this Council; but it is very difficult to find anything other than oblique supporting evidence for it, and von Sievers has refused to allow the present writer to see the archives. A Smirnov writes that the “non-commemorating” branch of the Catacomb Church, whose leading priest was Fr. Sergius Mechev, had bishops who “united in a constantly active Preconciliar Convention” and who were linked with each other by special people called ‘svyazniki’” (“Ugasshie nepominaiushchie v bege vremeni” (The Extinguished Non-Commemorators in the Passing of Time), Simvol (Symbol), ¹ 40, 1998, p. 174 ®).

[130] “We cannot believe that in the Act of that Council, which was allegedly undersigned by 70 hierarchs of the Greco-Russian Church, the Savior’s name was written as Isus, the way Old Rite Believers wrote it, and the way Ambrosius himself does. Furthermore, the hierarchs could not have unanimously excommunicated the Council of 166-1667 as ‘an assembly of rogues’. The Council could not have agreed to recognize all Onomatodox believers as ‘true believers’, thus easily ending the stalemate unresolved by the Council of 1917-1918. The procedure of assignment by hierarchs of casting vote powers to their proxies, which violated the provisions of the 1917-1918 Local Council, could not have been adopted without any deliberation or objections at all. The seventy attending hierarchs could not have been unaware of the fact that only the First Hierarch, Metropolitan Peter, had the power to convene a Local Council…” (Vertograd (English edition), December, 1998, p. 31).

[131] Vozvrashchenie (Return), ¹ 1 (9), 1996, p. 20 ®.

[132] “Novie dannia k zhizneopisaniu sviashchennomuchenika Fyodora, arkhiepiskopa Volokolamskogo, osnovannia na protokolakh doprosov 1937 g.” (New Date towards a Biography of Hieromartyr Theodore, Archbishop of Volokolamsk), Pravoslavnaia Zhizn’ (Orthodox Life), 48, ¹ 8 (584), August, 1998, pp. 6-7 ®.

[133] Michael Shkarovsky, “Iosiflianskoe Dvizhenie i Oppozitsia v SSSR (1927-1943)” (The Josephite Movement and Opposition in the USSR (1927-1943)), Minuvshee (The Past), ¹ 15, 1994, p. 450 ®.

[134] I.I. Osipov, “Istoria Istinno Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi po Materialam Sledstvennago Dela” (The History of the True Orthodox Church according to Materials from the Interrogation Process), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 14 (1587), July 15/28, 1997, p. 2 ®.

[135] Although the Protestants had welcomed the revolution and thus escaped the earlier persecutions, they were now subjected to the same torments as the Orthodox (Pospielovsky, "Podvig very", op. cit., pp. 233-34).

[136] Rusak, Svidetel’stvo Obvinenia, op. cit., part I, p. 176 ®.

[137] M.I. Odintsev, “Put’ dlinoiu v sem’ deciatiletij; ot konfrontatsii k sotrudnichestvu” (A Path Seven Decades Long: from Confrontation to Cooperation), in Na puti k svobode sovesti (n the Path to Freedom of Conscience), op. cit., p. 41.

[138] W. Husband, “Godless Communists”, Northern University of Illinois Press, 2000, p. 66.

[139] Nicholas Werth, “A State against its People”, in Stéphane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panné, Andrzej Packowski, Karel Bartošek, Jean-Louis Margoin, The Black Book of Communism, London: Harvard University Press, 1999, pp. 172-173.

     The area occupied by the “Buevtsy” in Tambov, Voronezh and Lipetsk provinces had been the focus of a major peasant rebellion against Soviet power in 1921. It continued to be a major stronghold of True Orthodoxy for many decades to come. See A.I. Demianov, Istinno Pravoslavnoe Khristianstvo, 1977, Voronezh University Press ®); "New Information on the True Orthodox Christians", Radio Liberty Research, March 15, 1978, pp. 1-4; Christel Lane, Christian Religion in the Soviet Union, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1978. ch. 4; "Registered and unregistered churches in Voronezh region", Keston News Service, 3 March, 1988, p. 8.

[140] Grabbe, op. cit., p. 78; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 2, pp. 10-11.

[141] Krasovitsky, Sergianskij raskol v perspective preodolenia (The Sergianist Schism in the Perspective of Its Overcoming), Moscow, samizdat, p. 25 ®.

[142] Zelenogorsky, M. Zhizn’ i deiatel’nost’ Arkhiepiskopa Andrea (Kniazia Ukhtomskogo) (The Life and Activity of Archbishop Andrew (Prince Ukhtomsky), Moscow, 1991, p. 216 ®. According to Archbishop Bartholomew (Remov), who never joined the Catacomb Church, the whole activity of Metropolitan Sergius was carried out in accordance with the instructions of the Bolsheviks (Za Khrista Postradavshie (Suffered for Christ), Moscow: St. Tikhon’s Theological Institute, 1997, p. 220 ®).

[143] Pospielovsky, "Mitropolit Sergij i raskoly sprava", op. cit., p. 70.

[144] Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 14  (1587), July 15/28, 1997, p. 7 ®. These figures probably do not take into account all the secret bishops consecrated by the Ufa Autocephaly.

[145] Grabbe, op. cit., p. 79.

[146] Russkaia Mysl’ (Orthodox Thought), ¹ 3143, March 17, 1977 ®.

[147] Archbishop Theophanes, Pis’ma (Letters), Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, 1976; translated in Selected Letters, Liberty, TN: St. John of Kronstadt Press, 1989.

[148] Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate), 1934; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 4 ®.

[149] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 4 ®.

[150] Pis’ma Blazhenneishago Mitropolita Antonia (Khrapovitskogo) (The Letters of his Beatitude Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), op. cit., pp. 105-106 ®, quoted in the Archpastoral Epistle of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, 1969 and translated in Orthodox Christian Witness, March 8/21, 1982.

[151] Shkarovsky, M.B. “Iosiflianskoe dvizhenie i ‘Sviataia Rus’” (The Josephite Movement and ‘Holy Russia’), Mera (Measure), 1995, # 3, p. 101 ®.

[152] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, p. 13. On May 16, 1935, on the initiative of the Russian Clergy and Church Aid Fund, a prayer service was arranged in London for the cessation of the persecutions against the faith in Soviet Russia. Metropolitan Eulogius came again, together with ROCOR’s Archbishops Anastasy and Seraphim. During the service in the Anglican church the Orthodox hierarchs stood with their mantias on. Then, at a liturgy and moleben in the Russian church many Anglican clergy stood and prayed in their vestments (Tserkovnaia Zhizn’ (Church Life), 6, 1935, pp. 100-101; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, p. 47).

[153] Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate), ¹ 2, 1931; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, p. 14.

[154] Tserkovnaia Zhizn’ (Church Life), ¹ 8, 1933; in Orthodox Life, vol. 27 (2), March-April, 1977; Arcbhishop Nicon, Zhizneopisanie Blazhenneishago Antonia, Mitropolita Kievsago I Galitskago (Biography of His Beatitude Anthony, Metropolitan of Kiev and Galich), New York, 1960, vol. 6, pp. 263-269; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, pp. 24-27 ®.

[155] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, p. 27.

[157] On November 26 / December 9, 1979, writing to Abbess Magdalina of Lesna convent, Metropolitan Philaret of New York wrote: “Ponder these last words of the great Abba: the apparent performance of the Mysteries… What horror! But these his words concur totally with my own conviction regarding the gracelessness and inefficacy of schismatic Mysteries” – and he went on to make clear that he regarded the sacraments of the Moscow Patriarchate, and of the American and Parisian jurisdictions, to be graceless.”

[158] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, p. 40.

[159] On Archbishop Andrew’s highly controversial life, see Paul Boiarschinov, Sviashchennomuchenik Arkhiepiskop Andrei Ufimsky (v miru Kniaz' Ukhtomsky) - Izsledovanie Zhiznedeiatel'nosti (Hieromartyr Archbishop Andrew of Ufa (in the world Prince Ukhtomsky), Diploma thesis, Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1995; Chernov, op. cit; I.M. Andreyev, Russia's Catacomb Saints, Platina, 1982, chapter 19; Archbishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Ekkleziologia arkhiepiskopa Andrea, Ufimskogo (kn. Ukhtomskogo)" (The Ecclesiology of Archbishop Andrew of Ufa (Prince Ukhtomsky), Vestnik Germanskoj Eparkhii Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi za Granitsei (Herald of the German Diocese of the Russian Church Abroad), ¹ 2, 1993, pp. 20-24; "Gosudarstvo i 'katakomby'", in Filatov, S.B., op. cit., pp. 108-109, 111; “Katakombnaia Tserkov’: Kochuiushchij Sobor 1928 g.” (The Catacomb Church: the ‘Nomadic Council’ of 1928), Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 3 (7), 1997; “Sviaschennomuchenik Andrej, Arkhiepiskop Ufimskij” (Hieromartyr Andrew, Archbishop of Ufa), Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 5 (14), 1998, 1-30; Michael Podgornov, “Otpal li Arkhiepiskop Andrej (Ukhtomsky) v Staroobriadcheskij Raskol?” (Did Archbishop Andrew (Ukhtomsky) Fall Away into the Old Ritualist Schism?), Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy) ¹ 2 (11), 1998, 1-22; Staroobriadchestvo (Old Ritualism), Moscow: "Tserkov", 1996, pp. 25-26, 141-142; Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 14 (1587), July 15/28, 1997, p. 6 ®.

[160] George Lardas, The Old Calendar Movement in the Greek Church: An Historical Survey, B.Th. Thesis, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, 1983, p. 12.

[161] Monk Anthony Georgantas, Atheologites "Theologies" Atheologitou "Theologou" (Atheist ‘Theologies’ of an Atheist ‘Theologian’), Gortynia: Monastery of St. Nikodemos, 1992, pp. 7-8 (G).

[162] Monk (now Bishop) Ephraim, Letter on the Calendar issue, op. cit.

[163] Monk Paul, Neoimerologitismos Oikoumenismos (Newcalendarism Ecumenism), Athens: “Kirix Gnision Orthodoxon”,  1982, p. 78.

[164] St. Elijah skete, Mount Athos, Uchenie Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi o Sviashchennom Predanii i otnoshenie ee k novomu stiliu (The Teaching of the Orthodox Church on Holy Tradition and its Relation to the New Calendar), Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1989, p. 25 ®.

[165] I Phoni tis Orthodoxias (The Voice of Orthodoxy), ¹ 844, November-December, 1991, pp. 26-27 (G).

[166] I Agia Skepe (The Holy Protection), ¹ 122, October-December, 1991, p. 109 (G).

[167] Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston, Papa-Nicholas Planas, op. cit., pp. 54-55, 108-110.

[168] Bishop Andrew of Patras, Matthaios (Matthew), Athens, 1963, pp. 50-66 (G).

[169] Hieromonk Matthew (Karpathakes) (later Bishop of Bresthena), preface to the third edition of Theion Prosevkhytarion (Divine Prayer Book), Athens, 1934 (G).

[170] Glazkov, op. cit., p. 55.

[171] Lardas, op. cit., p. 17.

[172] Psarev, op. cit., p 9.

[173] Holy Transfiguration Monastery, The Struggle against Ecumenism, Boston, 1998, p. 46. However, it should be emphasised that this cheirothesia is not mentioned in any of the early sources.

[174] Metropolitan Calliopius (Giannakoulopoulos) of Pentapolis, Ta Patria (Fatherland Matters), volume 7, Piraeus, 1987, p. 43 (G).

[175] Metropolitan Calliopius op. cit., pp. 277-278.

[176] A. Alexandris, The Greek Minority of Istanbul and Greek-Turkish Relations, 1918-1974, Athens: Centre for Asia Minor Studies, 1983, p. 200.

[177] Hieromonk Nectarius (Yashunsky), Kratkaia istoria sviaschennoj bor’by starostil’nikov Gretsii protiv vseeresi ekumenizma (A Short History of the Sacred Struggle of the Old Calendarists of Greece against the Pan-Heresy of Ecumenism) ®.

[178] Elijah Angelopoulos, Dionysius Batistates, Chrysostomos Kavourides, Athens, 1981, pp. 21-25 (G).

[179] The Zealots of the Holy Mountain, Syntomos Istorike Perigraphe, op. cit., pp. 23-24 (G).

[180] Metropolitan Calliopius, Ta Patria (Fatherland Matters), volume 6, Piraeus, 1984, pp. 67-74 (G).

[181] Peter Sokolov, “Put’ Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi v Rossii-SSSR (1917-1961)” (The Path of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia-USSR (1917-1961)), in Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov’ v SSSR: Sbornik (The Russian Orthodox Church in the USSR: A Collection), Munich, 1962, p. 16 ®.

[182] In 1922 Hieromartyr Benjamin of Petrograd said to Fyodorov: “You offer us unification… and all the while your Latin priests, behind our backs, are sowing ruin amongst our flock.” Nicholas Boyeikov writes: “In his epistle of 25 June, 1925, the locum tenens of the All-Russian Patriarchal Throne, Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa, who suffered torture in Soviet exile, expressed himself on the ‘Eastern Rite’ as follows: ‘the Orthodox Christian Church has many enemies. Now they have increased their activity against Orthodoxy. The Catholics, by introducing the rites of our divine services, are seducing the believing people – especially those among the western churches which have been Orthodox since antiquity – into accepting the unia, and by this means they are distracting the forces of the Orthodox Church from the more urgent struggle against unbelief’ (Tserkovnie Vedomosti (Church Gazette), 1925, ¹¹ 21-22).” (Tserkov’, Rus’ i Rim (The Church, Russia and Rome), Jordanville, N.Y.: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1983, p. 13 ®). (V.M.)

[183] Ivanov-Trinadtsaty, “The Vatican and Russia”, http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/new.htm. See also Oleg Platonov, Ternovij Venets Rossii (Russia’s Crown of Thorns), Moscow: Rodnik, 1998, pp. 464-465 (in Russian).

[184] Osipova, op. cit., p. 133.

[185] Radzinsky, however, claims that by the end of 1930 “80 per cent of village churches were closed” (Stalin, New York: Doubleday, 1996, p. 249).

[186] Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate), 1933, ¹ 1, p. 3; Letter of Bishop Athanasius, May 9/22, 1955 ®.

[187] V.V. Antonov, "Lozh' i Pravda" (Lies and Truth), Russkij Pastyr' (Russian Pastor), II, 1994, pp. 79-80 ®.

[188] Gubonin, op. cit., pp. 681-682, 691-692. Protopresbyter Michael Polsky (Novie Mucheniki Rossijskie (The New Martyrs of Russia), op. cit., p. 133 ®) reported that Metropolitan Peter had written to Sergius: “If you yourself do not have the strength to protect the Church, you should step down and hand over your office to a stronger person.”

[189] Metropolitan Peter’s representative, “the layman Popov” noted on canon 6: “Categorically not. He does not agree. Metr. Peter does not consider the sergianist Synod to be heretical.” And Metropolitan Cyril’s representative, the monk Paul (Burtsev) said: “I protest. Vladyka metropolitan does not bless the signing of this.” (Archbishop Ambrose (von Sievers), “Katakombnaia Tserkov’: ‘Kochuiuschij’ Sobor 1928 g.” (The Catacomb Church: the ‘Nomadic Council’ of 1928), Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 3 (7), 1997, p. 7 ®.

[190] Gubonin, op. cit., pp. 880-881, 883.

[191] Andreyev, “Vospominania o Katakombnoj Tserkvi v SSSR” (Reminiscences of the Catacomb Church in the USSR), in Archimandrite Panteleimon, Luch Sveta v Zaschitu Pravoslavnoj Very, v oblichenie ateizma i v oproverzhenie doktrin neveria (A Ray of Light in Defence of the Orthodox Faith, to the Rebuking of Atheism and the Rebuttal of the Doctrines of Unbelief), Jordanville, 1970, part 2, p. 123 ®.

[192] Uchenie o Tserkvi Sviatykh Novomuchenikov i Ispovednikov Rossijskikh (The Teaching on the Church of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia), attachment to Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 3 (7), 1997, p. 7 ®; Regelson, op. cit., p. 590.

[193] “Ekkleziologia sv. Kirilla (Smirnova), mitropolita Kazanskogo" (The Ecclesiology of St. Cyril (Smirnov), Metropolitan of Kazan), Vestnik Germanskoj Eparkhii Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi za Granitsei (Herald of the German Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad), ¹ 1, 1991, pp. 12-14 ®.

[194] V.V. Antonov, "Vazhnoe Pis'mo Mitropolita Kirilla" (An Important Letter of Metropolitan Cyril), Russkij Pastyr' (Russian Pastor), II, 1994, p. 76 ®.

[195] Andreyev, op. cit., pp. 102-103.

[196] “Novie dannia k zhizneopisaniu sviashchennomuchenika Fyodora, arkhiepiskopa Volokolamskogo, osnovannia na protokolakh doprosov 1937 g.” (New Date towards a Biography of Hieromartyr Theodore, Archbishop of Volokolamsk, Based on the Protocols of Interrogations in 1937), Pravoslavnaia Zhizn’ (Orthodox Life), 48, # 8 (584), August, 1998, pp. 4-5 ®.

[197] Letter of Metropolitan Cyril to Hieromonk Leonid, February 23 / March 8, 1937, Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 16, August 15/28, 1997, p. 7 ®. Italics mine (V.M.).

[198] Chernov, op. cit.

[199] Uchenie o Tserkvi Sviatykh Novomuchenikov i Ispovednikov Rossijskikh (The Teaching on the Church of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia), op. cit., p. 7.

[200] Quoted in Hieromonk Amphilochius, Gnosesthe tin Alitheian (Know the Truth), Athens, 1984, pp. 17-18 (G).

[201] Fr. Andrew Sidniev, Florinskij raskol v Tserkvi IPKh Gretsii (The Florinite Schism in the Chuch of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, pp. 62-63.

[202] Sidniev, op. cit; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., pp. 64-65.

[203] Bishop Andrew, op. cit., pp. 68-74.

[204] Metropolitan Calliopius, Ta Patria, op. cit., p. 282.

[205] Sidniev, op. cit; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., pp. 65-67.

[206] Stavros Karamitsos, O Synkhronos Omologitis tis Orthodoxias (The Contemporary Confessor of Orthodoxy), Athens, 1990, pp. 123-35 (G).

[207] Sidniev, op. cit; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., pp. 68-70.

[208] Bishop Matthew of Bresthena, epistle of September 21, 1944; in Monk Benjamin, Letopis’ Tserkovnykh Sobytij (1939-1949) (Chronicle of Church Events (1939-1949)), part 3, http://www.zlatoust.ws/letopis3.htm, pp. 10-11 ®.

[209] See G.M. Soldatov, “Soveschanie Glav RPTsZ pod predsed. Sviat. Patriarkha Varvary, 1935 g. Arkhiv Dokumentov” (The Conference of the Heads of the ROCOR under the presidency of Patriarch Barnabas, 1935. Archive of Documents), http://www.catacomb.org.ua/modules.php?name=Pages&go=print_page&pid=737 ®.

[210] Archpriest Alexander Lebedev, “Re: the debate on grace – a bit more historical perspective”, orthodox_synod@indiana.edu, May 5, 1998.

[211] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, p. 53.

[212] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, pp. 49-51.

[213] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, p. 53.

[214] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, pp. 56-57.

[215] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, pp. 57-58.

[216] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, p. 75.

[217] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, p. 75.

[218] Nun Vassa, op. cit.

[219] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, pp. 75-77.

[220] Andrew Psarev, RPTsZ i ekumenicheskoe dvizhenie 1920-1948 gg. (The ROCOR and the ecumenical movement, 1920-1948); in Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, pp. 77-78.

[221] T.V., “Svetloj pamiati nezabvennago ego velichestva korolia vitiazia Aleksandra I Yugoslavianskago” (To the Radiant Memory of his Majesty, the Unforgettable Knight, Alexander I of Yugoslavia), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 24 (1765), December 15/28, 2004, p. 7 ®.

[222] Andrew Shestakov, Kogda terror stanovitsa zakonom, iz istorii gonenij na Pravoslavnuiu Tserkov’ v Khorvatii v seredine XX v. (When terror becomes the law: from the history of the persecutions on the Orthodox Church in Croatia in the middle of the 20th century); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, pp. 22-23 ®.

[223] According to Monk Benjamin (op. cit., part 2, p. 43), the terrorists were under the direction of the SS, “Teutonic sword”.

[224] Since King George of Greece, Helen’s brother, wished to marry Carol’s sister Elizabeth, and this is forbidden by the canons, it was arranged that the two marriages took place exactly simultaneously in Bucharest and Athens, so that the one should not be an impediment to the other!

[225] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, p. 52.

[226] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, p. 57.

[227] Metropolitan Cyprian, "The True Orthodox Christians of Romania", The Orthodox Word, January-February, 1982, vol. 18, ¹ 1 (102). Over ten priests were killed or died in prison, including Fathers Pambo, Gideon and Theophanes. See Victor Boldewskul, "The Old Calendar Church of Romania", Orthodox Life, vol. 42, ¹ 5, October-November, 1992, pp. 11-17. Metropolitan Blaise writes: “Take, for example, Fr. Euthymius – he was in a concentration camp for 3 years with Fr. Pambo, and he told us how they tortured him: they threw him into a stream and forced other prisoners to walk over him as over a bridge: he was at that time about 27 years old.” (Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 2 (1479), 15/28 January, 1993 ®)

[228] For more on this bishop, see the next chapter.

[229] Glazkov, op. cit., p. 57.

[230] Bishop Ambrose of Methone, private communication, November 3, 2005.

[231] Glazkov, op. cit., pp. 57-59.

[232] Metropolitan Cyprian, op. cit.

[233] Nun Vassa, “Ot Vserossijskago Tserkovnago Sobora k Vserossijskomu Tserkovnomu Soboru, ili: Chto takoe ‘Pravoslavnoe Episkopstvo Tserkve Rossijskia’?” (From the All-Russian Church Council to the All-Russian Church Council, or : What is ‘The Orthodox Episcopate of the Church of Russia’ ?), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 13 (1754), July 1/14, 2004, p. 13 ®. She continues: “A somewhat less concrete interpretation of ‘the Orthodox Episcopate’ can be heard a year later, at the Hierarchical Council in August, 1938. At this Council the question ‘of the commemoration of the bishops of the Russian [Rossijskoj] Church’ was again raised. In the protocols there is no new decision on the given question, but there is only a remark of Metropolitan Anastasy: ‘[Concerning] how the bishops of the Russian Church are to be commemorated, [Metropolitan Anastasy] pointed out that in the Eastern Churches during the widowhood of the patriarchal see the ‘episcopate’ of this Church was commemorated.’ It should be pointed out that the Hierarchical Council at this time still did not know about the death of Hieromartyr Cyril. From one letter of Metropolitan Anastasy from October, 1941 it is evident that even by the end of 1941 he did not have reliable information about the fate of Metropolitan Cyril.”

[234] E.L., op. cit., p. 92.

[235] Cited by Gustavson, op. cit., p. 102.

[236] Regelson, op. cit., p. 501. According to Metropolitan John (Snychev), (Tserkovnie raskoly v Russkoj Tserkvi 20-kh i 30-kh godov XX stoletia (Church Schisms in the Russian Church in the 20s and 30s of the 20th Century) (MS), Kuibyshev, 1966, p. 374 ®), he did this on the advice of Metropolitan Cyril; However, Archbishop Ambrose (von Sievers) considers that he was martyred in 1937 (Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 3 (17), 1999, p. 35 ®.

[237] S. Verin, "Svidetel'stvo russkikh katakomb" (A Witness of the Russian Catacombs), Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 14 (1563), July 1/14, 1996, pp. 11-12 ®.

[238] Schema-Monk Epiphanius (Chernov), personal communication; B. Zakharov, Russkaia Mysl’ (Russian Thought), September 7, 1949; "Vazhnoe postanovlenie katakombnoj tserkvi" (An Important Decree of the Catacomb Church), Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 18, 1949 ®. According to one version, there is a fifth canon: “To all those who support the renovationist and sergianist heresy – Anathema”. See Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), “Katakombnaia Tserkov’: Ust’-Kutskij Sobor 1937g.” (The Catacomb Church: the Ust-Kut Council of 1937), Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 4 (8), 1997, pp. 20-24 ®.

[239] Novoselov, quoted in Osipov, op. cit., p. 3.

[240] Andreyev, Russia's Catacomb Saints, pp. 541-42. Cf. Archbishop Averky, "Mir nevidimij - sily bezplotnie" (The Invisible World – the Bodiless Powers), Slova i rechi (Sermons and Speeches), Jordanville, N.Y.: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1975, vol. 2, pp. 593-95; Metropolitan Innocent, "O Sovietskoj Vlasti" (On Soviet Power), in Archbishop Nikon, op. cit., pp. 168-172.

[241] Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), “Katakombnaia Tserkov’: Kochuiushchij Sobor”, op. cit., pp. 7-8.

[242] Thus in his handwritten note dated February 16/29, 1932 he listed the following “uncanonical actions of Metropolitan Anthony”:

     “1. Patriarch Tikhon and the Councils abroad [zagranichnie sobory] did not recognize and do not recognize the autocephaly of the Polish Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Anthony recognizes it.

     “2. The Councils abroad condemned the introduction of the new style in the Finnish Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Anthony at first blessed the introduction of the new style here, but then condemned it. By this behaviour he greatly contributed to the arising of the disturbances in the Finnish Orthodox Church.

     “3. Both the previous Russian ecclesiastical authority and the Councils abroad did not recognize the ‘schism’ of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in relation to the Greek. Metropolitan Anthony stubbornly recognizes it.

     “4. The Councils abroad decreed that no intervention should be made in the affairs of the Orthodox Carpatho-Russian and Czech Churches in Czechoslovakia, but that the ordering of the affairs of those Churches should be given over to the Serbian ecclesiastical authorities until the restoration of normal life in Russia. Metropolitan Anthony has often interfered in these affairs, crudely violating the decisions of the councils, thereby inciting the Czech government against him and in part also the Serbian ecclesiastical authorities.

     “5. The Councils condemned the so-called ‘Young Men’s Christian Association’ (YMCA) as being harmful for Russian youth. Metropolitan Anthony often blessed this movement as being in the highest degree useful.

     “6. The Councils also condemned the ‘theological institute’ in Paris, which was founded by Metropolitan Eulogius on his own initiative. Metropolitan Anthony blessed the founding of this institute and even read lectures there.

     “7. The Councils decreed that there should be an administrative separation from Metropolitan Sergius for his agreement with Soviet power and that all communion with him should be cut off. Metropolitan Anthony, paying no attention to this decree, is in communion with Metropolitan Sergius.

     “8. Under the influence of objections made, Metropolitan Anthony was about to take back his Catechism, which had been introduced by him into school use instead of the Catechism of Metropolitan Philaret. But, as was revealed shortly, he did this insincerely and insistently continues to distribute his incorrect teaching On Redemption and many other incorrect teachings included in his Catechism.

     “9. At one of the Councils he tried to prove the complete admissibility for a Christian and for a hierarch of becoming a member of a masonic organization as far as the 18th degree of Masonry!”

[243] A.K. Nikitin, Polozhenie russkoj pravoslavnoj obschiny v Germanii v period natsistskogo rezhima (1933-1945) (The Position of the Russian Orthodox Community in Germany in the Nazi Period (1933-1945), annual theological conference PSTBI, Moscow, 1998, pp. 321-322; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, pp. 52-53.,

[244] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 2, p. 55.

[245] A.K. Nikitin, Polozhenie russkoj pravoslavnoj obschiny v Germanii v period natsistskogo rezhima (1933-1945) (The Position of the Russian Orthodox Community in Germany in the Nazi Period (1933-1945), annual theological conference PSTBI, Moscow, 1998; Monk Benjamin, Letopis’ Tserkovnykh Sobytij (1928-1938) (Chronicle of Church Events (1939-1949)), part 3, http://www.zlatoust.ws/letopis2.htm, part 2, p.71.

[246] G.M. Soldatov, personal communication, March 19, 2006.

[247] G.M. Soldatov, personal communication, March 19, 2006.

[248] Poslanie k russkim pravoslavnym liudiam po povodu ‘Obraschenia patriarkha Aleksia k arkipastyriam i kliru tak nazyvaemoj Karlovatskoj orientatsii’ (Epistle to the Russian Orthodox people on the ‘Address of Patriarch Alexis to the archpastors and clergy of the so-called Karlovtsy orientation), in G.M. Soldatov, Arkhierejskij Sobor Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi Zagranitsej, Miunkhen (Germania) 1946 g. (The Hierarchical Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad at Munich in 1946), Minneapolis, 2003, p. 13 ®.

[249] Soldatov, op. cit., pp. 12-13.

[250] M. Nazarov, Missia russkoj emigratsii (The Mission of the Russian Emigration), Moscow, 1994, vol. 1, p. 266; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 5.

[251] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 1.

[252] M.V. Shkarovsky, in Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 14-15.

[253] Volkogonov, D. Lenin, London: Harper Collins, 1994, p. 386.