If My People had
heard Me, if
quickly would I have humbled their enemies,
and upon their oppressors would I have laid My hand.
Psalm 80. 12-13
He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant;
but the people who know their God shall stand firm.
beginning of the Second World War, the Orthodox Church, having suffered the
most terrible and sustained onslaught from the powers of evil in her history,
was a shadow of her former self. The sergianist Moscow Patriarchate, on the one
hand, and the newcalendarist Churches of Constantinople,
Could the outbreak of world war bring relief to the Orthodox Church? Or would it consolidate the power of the antichristian powers ranged against her? That was the question in the early months of 1941…
On April 6, the
week later, on Lazarus Saturday, the Germans entered the completely destroyed
and deserted city, and difficult years began for the Russian emigration in
the occupation of
Deserted by the Croats, the Serbian resistance was soon crushed. The Germans arrested Patriarch Gabriel and Bishop Nicholas Velimirovich. But although the two hierarchs were to spend the whole war in prisons and concentration camps, they refused the Nazis’ suggestion that they collaborate with them.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The Church suffered terribly throughout the
But by far the worst atrocities were committed against the Serbs in
On December 4, the Croatians passed a law ordering all Church feasts to
be celebrated according to the new calendar. The Russian émigrés
were informed of this, and were threatened with punishment if they did not
obey. Metropolitan Anastasy, however, immediately petitioned for an exception
to be made for the Russian parishes, and with the help of the German
Evangelical Bishop Hackel, on
Joachim Wertz writes: “In many villages the massacres followed a certain pattern. The Ustashi would arrive and assemble all the Serbs. They would then order them to convert to Catholicism. Those who refused, as the majority did, were told to assemble in their local Orthodox parish church. They would then lock them in the church and set it ablaze. In this manner many Orthodox men, women and children perished in scores of Serbian settlements.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
to Archbishop Stepinac’s report to the Pope on
One of those martyred in Jasenovac was an old man called Vukashin. He was standing “in an aura of peace and joy, softly praying to Christ. The executioner was greatly angered by the old man’s peacefulness and saintly composure, and he ordered that he be dragged to the place of execution.
“St. Vukashin was given the usual charge, ‘Accept the Pope or die a most terrible death’.
“The old man signed himself with the honourable Cross and peacefully intoned, ‘Just do your job, my son’.
“The executioner trembled with anger. He brutally slashed off one of the saint’s ears, repeating his charge. The Holy Martyr again peacefully replied, ‘Just continue to do your job, my son.’ And so the irrational persecutor continued: first the other ear, then the nose, and the fingers one by one. Like a new James of Persia, St. Vukashin was ‘pruned as a sacred grapevine of God.’ With each grisly and bloody cut, the noble Vukashin, filled with peace and joy by the Holy Spirit, calmly replied, ‘Just continue to do your job, my son.’
“At length, the vicious torturer gouged out the eyes of the martyr, and the saint once more replied, ‘Just continue to do your job, my son.’ With that, the executioner flew into a rage and slew the holy martyr. Almost immediately, the executioner lost his mind and went completely mad.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In February, 1942, Dr. Privislav Grisogno, a Croatian Catholic member of
the former Yugoslav cabinet, wrote in protest to Archbishop Stepinac: “I am
writing to you as a man to a man, as a Christian to a Christian. I have been
meaning to do this for months hoping that the dreadful news from
“For the last ten months Serbs have been killed and destroyed in
“The slaughter of Serbs began from the very first day of the
establishment of the
“Their rivers Sava, Drav, the
“Horrifying is the case of Mileva Bozinic
from Stanbandza whose child was removed from her womb. There was also the case
of the roasted heads in
“The horrors of the camps in which
thousands of Serbs were killed or were left to die from exposure, hunger and
cold weather, are too terrible to mention. The Germans have been talking about
a camp in Lika where there were thousands of Serbs; but when the Germans got there
they found the camp empty, drenched in blood and bloody clothing. In that camp
it has been said a Serbian bishop also lost his life. Thousands upon thousands
of Serbs in the camp of Jasenovac are still being tortured as they are spending
fierce winter in wooden Gypsy shacks with no straw or covering and with a
ration of two potatoes per day. In the history of
“Secondly, the Catholic Church made us of all this to convert the surviving Serbs. And while the soil was still steaming from the innocent victims’ blood, while groans shuddered from the chests of the surviving victims, the priests, friars, nuns carried in one hand the Ustashi daggers and in the other their prayer books and rosaries. The whole of Srem is inundated with leaflets written by Bishop Aksamovic and printed in his printing shop in Djakovo, calling upon Serbs to save their lives and property by converting to Catholicism. It was as if our church wanted to show that it could destroy souls just as the Ustashi authorities destroy bodies. It is an even greater blot on the Catholic church, since at the same time many Orthodox churches and all the Orthodox monasteries have been confiscated, their property plundered as well as many historical treasures. Even the Patriarchal church in Sremski Karlovci has not been spared. All this violence against conscience and the spirit has brought even greater disgrace to the Croat nation and name…
“I write this to save my soul and leave it to you (Archbishop Stepinac) to find a way to save your soul.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Although some have claimed that Stepinac tried to restrain the
murderers, there can be no doubt about his fanatical hatred of Orthodoxy. Thus
on March 27 and 28, 1941, he wrote in his diary: “The spirit of
In 1946 Stepinac was tried by the communist government, found guilty of
treason to the State and the murder of Serbs, and imprisoned for five years. On
coming out of prison he was awarded a cardinal’s hat by the
Another creation of the Ustashi was the so-called “Croatian Orthodox
In 1940 the holy Catacomb Elder Theodosius (Kashin) of Minvody said: “There’s going to be a war, such a terrible war, like the Terrible Judgement: people will perish, they have departed from the Lord, they have forgotten God, and the wind of war will carry them away like ashes, and there will be no sign of them. But if anyone will call on God, the Lord will save him from trouble.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The war compelled the Soviets to try and reactivate an ethnically
Russian patriotism. Thus “Vyacheslav Molotov, the Foreign Minister, gave a
radio address in which he spoke of the impending ‘patriotic war for homeland,
honour and freedom’. The next day the main Soviet army newspaper, Krasnaia zvezda,
referred to it as a ‘holy war’. Communism was conspicuously absent from Soviet
propaganda in the war. It was fought in the name of
patriotic appeals were necessary because, as Overy writes, “by 1942 it was
evident that the Communist Party alone could not raise the energies of the
people for a struggle of this depth and intensity. The war with
However, there was no genuine revival of Russian patriotism. Nor could there be, in spite of the modern peddling of the myth of “the Great Fatherland War” as a great victory for Russian patriotism over a foreign invader. For, as Anton Kuznetsov writes, “from the very beginning the Bolsheviks showed themselves to be an anti-Russian power, for which the concepts of Homeland, Fatherland, honour and duty do not exist; in whom the holy things of the Russian people elicit hatred; which replaced the word ‘Russia’ with the word ‘Internationale’, and the Russian flag with the red banner; which even in its national composition was not Russian: it was dominated by Jews (they constituted a huge percentage, and at first it seemed as if it was a question of a purely ‘Jewish power’) and foreigners.
“During the 24 years of its domination the Bolshevik (‘Soviet’) power
had had enormous successes in the annihilation of historical
“One has no right to call such a regime a national power. It must be defined as an anti-national, occupying power, the overthrow of which every honourable patriot can only welcome.
“… The antinational and antipopular essence of the Red (Soviet) army is clear to every who has come into more or less close contact with this army.
Russian who has preserved his national memory will agree that the Workers and
Peasants Red Army (RKKA) never was either the continuer of the traditions,
nor the successor by right, of the Russian Imperial Army (that is what the
White army was and remains to this day). The Red army was created by the
Bolsheviks in the place of the Russian Army that they had destroyed. Moreover,
the creators, leaders and backbone of the personal make-up of this army were
either open betrayers of the Homeland, or breakers of their oath and deserters
from the Russian Army. This army dishonoured itself in the Civil war by
pillaging and the killing of our Russian officers and generals and by
unheard-of violence against the Russian people. At its creation it was filled
with a criminal rabble, village riff-raff, red guards, sailors, and also with
Chinese, Hungarians, Latvians and other ‘internationalists’. In the make-up of
the Red army the communists constituted: in 1920 – 10.5%, in 1925 – 40.8%, in
1930 – 52%, and from the end of the 30s all the command posts were occupied by
communists and members of the komsomol. This army was stuffed with NKVD
informants and political guides, its destinies were determined by commissars,
the majority of whom were Jews; it represented, not a national Army, but the
party army of the Bolshevik Communist Party (B) – the Communist Party of the
“But of course the
most terrible blow at this myth is delivered by the Russian Liberation Army
[ROA] in the Second World War, which is called ‘the Vlasovites’ by Soviet
patriots. The very fact that at various times 1,000,000 (one million!) Soviet
citizens served in the German Wermacht must cut off all talk of a ‘great fatherland’
war, for in fact: where, when and in what Fatherland war do people in such
numbers voluntarily pass over to the side of the opponent and fight in
his ranks? Soviet patriots find nothing cleverer to say than to declare these
people innate traitors, self-seekers and cowards. This is a blatant lie, but
even if it were true, it remains complete incomprehensible why
As the Bolsheviks
retreated, “the NKVD carried out a programme of liquidation of all the
prisoners sitting in their jails. In the huge Lukyanov prison in
The Germans were in general greeted with
ecstatic joy. Thus Solzhenitsyn writes: “
“That is what the popular mood was like – the mood of peoples some of whom had lived through twenty-four years of communism and others but a single year. For them the whole point of this latest war was to cast off the scourge of communism. Naturally enough, each people was primarily bent not on resolving any European problem but on its own national task – liberation from communism…”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
“In the years of the war,” writes Anatoly Krasikov, “with the agreement
of the German occupying authorities, 7547 Orthodox churches were opened (as
against 1270 opened in 1944-1947 with the permission of the Council for the
Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church).”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Even in
fully Sovietized regions such as
There was also a revival in Transnistria, the formerly Soviet region
between the Dniestr and Bug rivers that had come under the control of the
Germans’ allies, the Romanians. In September, 1941 the Romanian newcalendarist
church sent a mission there under Archimandrite Julius (Skriban) which opened
many churches and monasteries. However, it also introduced the new calendar and
the Romanian language even in mainly Ukrainian areas. The Ukrainian
In the Baltic region, the Germans were quite happy to deal with the MP’s
exarch, Metropolitan Sergius (Voskresensky), who quickly showed his loyalty to
them.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> He
immediatedly proceeded to bless the formation of an “Orthodox mission in the
liberated regions of
Its third head was Protopriest Cyril Zaits, whose activity, according to
Vasilyeva, “suited both the exarch and the occupation authorities. The mission
supplied its own material needs, supplementing its resources from the profits
of its economic section (which included a candle factory, a shop for church
utensils and an icon studio) and from 10% of the deductions coming from the
parishes. Its monthly profits of 3-5000 marks covered the expenses of the
administration, while the remaining money of the mission went on providing for
theological courses in
“Priests were needed to restore church life in a number of parishes. And as he accompanied the missionaries [who were graduates of a theological seminary in Western Europe], … the exarch said: ‘Don’t forget that you have come to a country where in the course of more than twenty years religion has been poisoned and persecuted in the most pitiless manner, where the people are frightened, humiliated, harried and depersonalised. You will have not only to restore church life, but also to arouse the people to new life from its hibernation of many years, explaining and pointing out to them the advantages and merits of the new life which is opening up for them.’”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
At the beginning the mission had only two
open churches, one in
Josephite parishes continued to exist in
whole,” writes M.V. Shkvarovsky, “the
“The well-known historian of the Catacomb Church I. Andreyev
(Andreyevsky) wrote that in spite of the insistent demands of the exarch of the
Baltic, Metropolitan Sergius (Voskresensky), the True Orthodox priests, who
began to serve in some of the opened churches, refused to commemorate the
patriarchal locum tenens. ‘Thus, for example, in the city of
“The fact that most of the communities of the True Orthodox Christians
“In a series of other regions of the country the German High Command was more favourably disposed to the Catacomb Christians: in Bryansk, Orel and Voronezh districts, and also in Belorussia, the Crimea and on the Don.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Perhaps for this reason, on
As Bishop Irinarchus of Tula and Briansk (Russian Orthodox Autonomous
Church) witnesses: “In 1943, according to the personal order of Stalin, several
hundred Catacomb Orthodox Christians were removed from Tula and Ryazan regions
and sent to Siberia. Many of them perished, but not all, glory to God. In
“Before the war only a few Catacomb priests were surviving in
In Belorussia, the Germans tried to create an autocephalous Belorussian
Church that would be independent of both Great Russian and Polish influence
(Catholic Poles were doing a lot of missionary work in the region). To this
end, on October 3, 1941 Metropolitan Panteleimon (Rozhnevsky) and Bishop
Benedict of Brest were allowed them to create an independent Belorussian Church
(to be called “Autocephalous”) whose internal life would be free from
interference from the German authorities and in which services would be in
Church Slavonic, but whose preaching and ecclesiastical correspondence would be
in Belorussian. The two bishops accepted these conditions and on October 6
officially published “Act ¹ 1 of the proceedings of the Council of the
Belorussian Orthodox Church”. Archbishop Panteleimon was to move from the
Zhirovitsky monastery to
However, according to one source, neither the metropolitan nor the
majority of the Orthodox in Belorussia were willing to break ties with the MP,
and at a Council in Minsk in 1942 the Synod of what we may call the Belorussian
Autonomous Church insisted that the autocephaly of their Church would have to
be approved by the other Autocephalous Churches. This displeased the Germans;
they appointed Bishop Philotheus of Slutsk in the place of Metropolitan
Panteleimon, who was exiled to the monastery of Lyade.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
According to another source, however, Metropolitan Panteleimon at first refused
to accept the idea of a
“In August-September 1942,” writes Michael Woerl, “under pressure from
both the Germans and their Belorussian nationalist cohorts, Archbishop
Philotheus summoned a council of the
“Archbishop Philotheus and his fellow hierarchs persistently sought the
return of Metropolitan Panteleimon, who finally was allowed by the Germans to
Throughout this period, the
Andrew Psarev writes: “The
On March 30, 1942 the Autonomous Church sent an Archpastoral Epistle to
its children, declaring that the newly formed autocephalists were to be
considered as “the Lipkovtsy sect”, and all the clergy ordained by them –
graceless. In consequence, and because the Autonomous Church did not go along
with the extreme nationalist politics of the autocephalists, it suffered
persecution in the German-occupied regions both from the autocephalists and the
Ukrainian nationalist “Benderite” partisans, who had formed an alliance. Thus
S. Raevsky writes: “The autocephalist bishop in
“The Benderites also killed another hierarch of the Autonomous Church,
Manuel (Tarnavsky), who was taken from his flat in Vladimir in Volhynia at
night and hanged in the wood [on July 9/22]. The Benderites mercilessly
liquidated the older priests who did not want to betray their oath and enter into
the Ukrainian Autocephaly, while the younger ones were beaten almost to death
and expelled from their parishes. So many older priests perished, receiving
martyric deaths for standing on guard for Orthodoxy. As an example we may speak
about the martyric death of the elder and protopriest Meletius Ryzhkovsky in
Although the period of revival of ecclesiastical life in these regions
was brief, it had important consequences for the future. First, many of the
churches reopened in this period were not again closed by the Soviets when they
returned. Secondly, some of those bishops and priests who could not, or chose
not to, escape westwards after the war went underground and helped to keep the
Catacomb Church alive in the post-war period. And thirdly, ROCOR received an
injection of new bishops and priests from those who fled westwards to
It was natural for ROCOR to welcome the resurrection of Orthodoxy in the
German-occupied territories. Thus in his paschal epistle for 1942 Metropolitan
Anastasy wrote: “The day that they (the Russian people) expected has come, and
it is now truly rising from the dead in those places where the courageous
German sword has succeeded in severing its fetters… Both ancient
In June, the ROCOR Synod made some suggestions to the German authorities
on the organization of the Church in
However, the attitude of the Germans to the Orthodox Faith was
ambiguous. Hitler was “utterly irreligious”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, but
feigned religious tolerance for political reasons. Thus “the heaviest blow that
ever struck humanity,” he said, “was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is
Christianity's illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The
deliberate lie in religion was introduced into the world by Christianity.
Bolshevism practises a lie of the same nature, when it claims to bring liberty
to men, only to enslave them."<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> But at
the same time he recognized that Christianity "can't be broken so simply.
It must rot and die off like a gangrened limb." And on
The Germans wanted to prepare new priestly cadres who would conform to
their views on the Jews. On
One thing the Germans did not want was the resurrection of the
Great Russian people through the Church. On May 16, 1942 A. Rosenburg, the head
of the ministry of the East, said in Riga to a meeting of General and Security
Commissars: “The Russian Orthodox Church was a political instrument of the
power of tsarism, and now our political task consists in creating other
ecclesiastical forms where the Russian Church used to exist. In any case we
will hinder the Great Russian Orthodox Church from lording it over all the
nationalitie… We should think more about introducing the Latin script instead
of the Russian. Therefore it is also appropriate that some churches should remain as far as possible restricted
to the province of one General Commissar… It is also appropriate for
On August 12, Archbishop Seraphim (Lyade) wrote from Vienna to
Metropolitan Anastasy: “With regard to the question of sending priests to
Russia: unfortunately, according to all available data, the higher government
authorities are so far not well-disposed towards a positive solution of this
question. I made several petitions, but without success. In all probability,
the authorities suspect that the clergy from abroad are bearers of a political
ideology that is unacceptable for the German authorities at the present time. I
did not even succeed in getting permission to transfer several priests to
As the war progressed and the behaviour of
the Germans became steadily more cruel, the attitude of the Russian Orthodox to
them changed. This is reflected in the words of Metropolitan Anastasy in
October, 1945, in response to Patriarch Alexis’ charge that ROCOR sympathised
with the Nazis: “… The Patriarch is not right to declare that ‘the leaders of
the ecclesiastical life of the Russian emigration’ performed public prayers for
the victories of Hitler’. The Hierarchical Synod never prescribed such prayers
and even forbade them, demanding that Russian people prayed at that time only for
the salvation of
G.M. Soldatov writes: “It was suggested to
the metropolitan [by the Germans] that he issue an appeal to the Russian people
calling on them to cooperate with the German army, which was going on a crusade
to liberate Russia from the Bolsheviks. If he were to refuse to make the
address, Vladyka was threatened with internment. However, the metropolitan
refused, saying that German policy and the purpose of the crusade was unclear
to him. In 1945 his Holiness Patriarch Gabriel of Serbia witnessed to
Metropolitan Anastasy’s loyalty to
”Referring to documents of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other departments of the German government, the historian M.V. Shkarovsky pointed out that Metropolitan Anastasy and the clergy of ROCOR were trying to go to Russia to begin organizing missionary and charitable work there, but this activity did not correspond to the plans of Germany, which wanted to see Russia weak and divided in the future.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Nevertheless, of the two alternatives –
the Germans or the Soviets – ROCOR considered the latter the more dangerous
enemy. For Soviet power had been anathematized at the Russian Local Council in
1918, and had subjected the
Thus in November, 1944 Metropolitan
Anastasy addressed the Russian Liberation Movement as follows: “In the name of
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit! From ancient times there has
existed such a custom in the Russian land; before undertaking any good work,
especially a collective work, they used to ask the blessing of God on it. And
you have gathered here, dear brothers and fellow-countrymen, you workers and
inspirer of the Russian national movement, thereby demonstrating the historical
link of the great work of the liberation of
The Stalin-Sergius Pact
Not only all patriotic and cultural forces, but also the Church was enrolled in defence of the Soviet “motherland”. Thus on the very first day of the invasion, Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) made an appeal to the nation to support the Soviets.
Then the Germans asked the MP’s exarch in the Baltic, Metropolitan Sergius (Voskresensky), who had refused to be evacuated eastwards with the Red Army, to react to it. His response was: “Soviet power has subjected the Orthodox Church to an unheard of persecution. Now the punishment of God has fallen on this power… Above the signature of Metropolitan Sergius of Moscow and Kolomna, the patriarchal locum tenens, the Bolsheviks have distributed an absurd appeal, calling on the Russian people to resist the German liberators. We now that the blessed Sergius, a man of great learning and zealous faith, could not himself compose such an illiterate and shameless appeal. Either he did not sign it at all, or he signed it under terrible threats…”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Sergius Shumilo writes: “The hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate on the territories that remained under the Soviets officially declared a ‘holy war’ and unambiguously called on the people to fight on the side of the God-hating regime of Stalin. Thus Metropolitan Sergius, who had usurped for himself the title ‘patriarchal locum tenens’, already on the first day of the war, June 22, 1941, appealed to ‘the Soviet people’, not only calling on them to ‘the defence of the Soviet Homeland’, but also declaring ‘a direct betrayal of pastoral duty’ even the very thought that the clergy might have of ‘possible advantages to be gained on the other side of the front’. With the cooperation of the NKVD this appeal was sent to all the parishes in the country, where it was read after services as a matter of obligation.
“Not having succeeded in starting the war first, and fearing to lose the support of the people, Stalin’s regime in desperation decided to use a German propaganda trick – the cultivation of national-patriotic and religious feelings in the people. As E.I. Lisavtsev affirms, already in July, 1941 unofficial negotiations took place for the first time between Stalin’s government and Metropolitan Sergius. In the course of a programme of anti-Hitlerite propaganda that was worked out in October, 1941, when the German armies had come right up to Moscow, Metropolitan Sergius issued an Epistle in which he discussed the Orthodox hierarchs and clergy who had made contact on the occupied territories with the local German administration. De facto all the hierarchs and clergy on the territories occupied by the Germans, including those who remained in the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, came under Metropolitan Sergius’ excommunication.
“Having issued the Epistle, Metropolitan Sergius and all the members of
the chancellery of the MP, together with the Soviet government and the
leadership of the Soviet army and the NKVD, were evacuated from Moscow to
Ulyanovsk (formerly Simbirsk), where on November 24 Metropolitan Sergius
delivered a new appeal to the people, in which he called them to ‘a holy war
for Christian civilization, for freedom of conscience and faith’. In all during
the years of the war S. Stragorodsky delivered more than 23 similar addresses.
Metropolitan Nicholas (Yarushevich) also repeatedly called to a ‘holy war’; his
appeals to the partisans and the people in the form of leaflets were scattered
in enormous quantities by Soviet military aviation onto the territories
occupied by the German armies. However, such epistles only provoked the German
command, and elicited reprisals against the local clergy and population.
Besides this, Metropolitan Nicholas repeatedly appealed to the ‘erring’
“It was for the same propagandistic aims that in 1942, in the
printing-house of the Union of Militant Atheists, which had temporarily been
handed over for the use of the MP, there appeared in several foreign languages
a solidly produced book, The Truth about Religion in Russia, the
foreword to which was composed by
“The text of the telegram of Metropolitan Sergius of Moscow on November 7, 1942 addressed to Stalin on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Bolshevik coup sounds like an evil joke, a mockery of the memory of hundreds of thousands of martyrs for the faith who perished during the years of the Stalinist repressions: ‘In your person I ardently and prayerfully greet the God-chosen leader of our military and cultural forces, leading us to victory over the barbarian invasion…’
“However, besides propagandistic and ideological support for the Soviet regime, the clergy and parishioners of the MP also provided serious financial help to the army in the field. Thus in a telegram of Metropolitan Sergius to I. Stalin on February 25, 1943 we are formed: ‘On the day of the jubilee of our victorious Red Army I greet you as its Supreme Commander in the name of the clergy and believers of the Russian Orthodox Church, I prayerfully desire that you experience the joy of complete victory over the enemy… The believers in their desire to help the Red Army have willingly responded to my appeal: they have collected money to build a tank column in the name Demetrius Donskoy. In all about 6,000,000 roubles have been collected, and, besides, a large quantity of gold and silver things…’”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In fact, all parishes in Soviet Russia were required to make
contributions to the Soviet war effort. Sergius – the “compatriarch” or
communist patriarch, as the Germans called him - announced huge contributions
towards the outfitting of a tank unit.
From November, 1941 even the last open church of the Josephites in
Shumilo continues: “Taking into consideration this loyal position of the
leadership of the MP, and relying on the successful experiment of Nazi Germany
on the occupied territories, Stalin, after long hesitations, finally decided on
a more broadly-based use of religion in order to attain his own political ends.
The more so in that this would help the new imposition of communist tyranny on
the ‘liberated’ territories and in the countries of
“’The forcible disbanding of the officially recognized leadership of the patriarchate would inevitably call into existence a secret leadership, which would significantly increase the difficulties of police supervision… In general there has existed in Russia a very lively secret religious life (secret priests and monks; secret places for prayer; secret Divine services; christenings; confessions; communions; marriages; secret theological studies; secret possession of the Sacred Scriptures, liturgical vessels, icons, sacred books; secret relations between communities).
“’In order to destroy the catacomb patriarchate also, they would have to execute all the bishops, including the secret ones that would undoubtedly be consecrated in case of need. And if we imagine the impossible, that the whole ecclesiastical organization would be annihilated, then faith would still remain, and atheism would not make a single step forward. The Soviet government understood this, and preferred to allow the existence of a patriarchal administration.’<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
“But there were other more substantial reasons: already at the end of
September, 1941 William Everell, the authorized representative of President
Franklin Roosevelt of the USA in Moscow, during negotiations with Molotov and
Stalin with regard to drawing the USA onto the side of the USSR in the war with
Nazi Germany, raised the question of politics in relation to religion in the
“Cardinal changes in the internal politics of Stalin in relation to the
“Besides Hewitt Johnson, other hierarchs of the Anglican church were
actively involved into the movement for the speediest provision of help to the
“In connection with the above-mentioned political perspectives,
Metropolitan Sergius (from
“Here we must note that Karpov’s report<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> sins
through obvious exaggerations, which create the deceptive impression that the
initiative in these ‘negotiations’ came from the hierarchs, while Stalin spoke
only in the role of a ‘kind magician’ who carried out all their demands. In
actual fact the subject of the so-called ‘negotiations’, and the decisions
taken during them, had been worked out long before the meeting. Stalin,
Malenkov and Beria had examined this question in their dacha already before the
middle of the day on September 4. Confirmation of this is given by the speedy
transport of Sergius and Alexis to
“Reviewing the question of the convening of the council, it was decided
that Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) should, for political reasons, be
proclaimed ‘patriarch of all Rus’’ and not ‘of
“At the end of the meeting Stalin declared that he was intending to
create a special organ for control of the Church – the Council for the Affairs
of the Russian Orthodox Church (SD RPTs). ‘… In reply the metropolitans thanked
the government and Stalin personally for the reception he had given them, his
enormous help to, and respect for, the Church, and assured the president of the
Sovnarkom of their patriotic position, noting that they looked very favourably
on the creation of a new state organ for the affairs of the Orthodox Church and
on the appointment of [NKVD Major-General] G. Karpov to the post of its
president… Turning to Metropolitan Sergius, Molotov asked him when it would be
better, in his opinion, to receive the delegation of the Anglican church in
The three hierarchs also raised the question of opening more churches. Stalin replied that he no obstacles to this from the side of the government. Then Metropolitan Alexis raised the question of releasing certain hierarchs who were in the camps. Stalin said: “Give me a list, and we shall look at it.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The meeting lasted until According to Archimandrite Ioann (Razumov), Sergius was enchanted by Stalin. “How kind he is!… How kind he is!” he said in a hushed voice.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
To summarise the results of this critical meeting, the Soviet church acquired a precarious, semi-legal existence – the right to open a bank account, to publish The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate and a few booklets, to reopen some seminaries and churches, and, most important, to “elect” a new patriarch after the release from prison of some of the most malleable bishops. In return, it had to accept censorship and control of every aspect of its affairs by the newly constituted Council for Russian Orthodox Affairs, which came to be nicknamed "Narkombog" (People's Commissar for God) and "Narkomopium" (People's Commissar for Opium).
Stalin’s new ecclesiastical policy was effective. Donald Rayfield
writes: “Promoting Orthodoxy had been more effective in galvanizing the nation
than reiterating the slogans of Stalinism. Stalin may also have listened to an
American envoy, who had pointed out that Congress would not hesitate to send
At first, the Council for Religious Affairs exerted its control
downwards via the bishops in accordance with the Church’s rigidly centralized
structure. From 1961, however, its control came to be exercised also from
below, through the so-called dvadsatky, or parish councils of twenty
laypeople, who could hire and fire priests at will, regardless of the bishops.
Thus for all its increased size and external power, the MP remained as much a
puppet of Soviet power as ever. As Vasilyeva and Knyshevsky write: “There is no
doubt that Stalin’s ‘special organ’ and the government (to be more precise, the
Stalin-Molotov duet) kept the patriarch under ‘eternal check’. Sergius
understood this. And how could he not understand when, on
Shumilo continues: “The so-called ‘hierarchical council’… took place on
At the 1943 council, contrary to the rules laid down by the 1917-18 Council, only one candidate for the patriarchy was put forward. “I think that this will be made infinitely easier for us by the fact that we already have someone bearing the patriarchal privileges, and so I suppose that an election with all the details that usually accompany such events is not necessary for us,” declared Metropolitan Alexis (Simansky), who put forward the candidacy of Sergius. There was nothing for the delegates to do but submit to the will of “the father of the peoples, Joseph Stalin”, and to the question of Metropolitan Sergius: “Is nobody of another opinion?”, reply: “No, agreed”.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
“At the end of the session the council accepted a resolution read out by Sergius that was unprecedented in its amorality and uncanonicity. It said that ‘every person who is guilty of betraying the common work of the Church and of passing over to the side of fascism is to be counted as excommunicated as being an enemy of the Cross of the Lord, and if he is a bishop or cleric is deprived of his rank.’ Thus practically the whole of the population and clergy of the occupied territories – except, of course, the red partisans – fell under the anathema of the Soviet church, including 7.5 million Soviet prisoners of war, who had become prisoners of the Germans. According to Stalin’s ukaz ¹ 260 of September, 1941, all of them were declared traitors to their Homeland. ‘There are no captives, there are only deserters,’ declared Molotov, commenting on this ukaz.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Sergius was enthroned as “patriarch” on
1940 the Japanese passed a new law forbidding foreigners to lead religious
organizations. Metropolitan Sergius (Tikhomirov) was forced to retire. However,
in March, 1941 Protopriest Ioann (Ono) was consecrated by ROCOR bishops in
In May, 1943, the Japanese placed a statue of their goddess Amateras, who according to Japanese tradition was the foundress of the imperial race, directly opposite the Orthodox cathedral of St. Nicholas, and demanded that Russians going to church in the cathedral should first make a “reverential bow” towards the goddess. They also required that on certain days Japanese temples should be venerated, while a statue of the goddess was to be put in Orthodox churches.
The question of the admissibility of participating in such ritual venerations was discussed at the diocesan assemblies of the Harbin diocese on September 8 and October 2, 1943, in the presence of the hierarchs of the Harbin diocese: Metropolitan Meletius, Bishop Demetrius and Bishop Juvenal (Archbishop Nestor was not present). According to the witness of the secretary of the Episcopal conference, Fr. Leonid Upshinsky, “the session was stormy, since some objected that… Amateras was not a goddess but the Ancestress.” It was decided “to accept completely and direct to the authorities” the reports of Bishop Demetrius of Hailar and Professor K.I. Zaitsev (the future Archimandrite Constantine), which expressed the official view of the episcopate that participation in the ritual venerations was inadmissible.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
On May 2, an Episcopal Convention took place (Archbishop Nestor, as usual, was not present), at which this position was confirmed. Several days later, Metropolitan Meletius presented the text of the Episcopal Convention to Mr. Kobayasi. Kobayasi demanded that he give a written promise not to raise the question of venerations until the end of the war. Metropolitan Meletius asked that the words “if there will be no compulsion to venerations” should be added to the text. Vladyka’s demand again elicited a quarrel. However, in the end Kobayasi gave in.
On August 31 the
An important influence on the Japanese in their eventual climb-down was the courageous confession of Archimandrite Philaret (Voznesensky), the future first-hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad and the son of Bishop Demetrius. The Japanese seized him and subjected him to torture. His cheek was torn and his eyes were almost torn out, but he suffered this patiently. Then they told him: “We have a red-hot electrical instrument here. Everybody who has had it applied to them has agreed to our requests. And you will also agree.” The torturer brought the instrument forward. Then Fr. Philaret prayed to St. Nicholas: “Holy Hierarch Nicholas, help me, otherwise there may be a betrayal.” The torturer commenced his work. He stripped the confessor to his waist and started to burn his spine with the burning iron. Then a miracle took place. Fr. Philaret could smell his burning flesh, but felt no pain. He felt joyful in his soul. The torturer could not understand why he was silent, and did not cry out or writhe from the unbearable pain. Then he turned and looked at his face. Amazed, he waved his hand, muttered something in Japanese and fled, conquered by the superhuman power of the confessor’s endurance. Fr. Philaret was brought, almost dead, to his relatives. There he passed out. When he came to he said: “I was in hell itself.” Gradually his wounds healed. Only his eyes were a bit distorted. And the Japanese no longer tried to compel the Orthodox to bow down to their idol.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
“A week after the enthronement,” writes Shumilo, “on the orders of the
Sovnarkom, Sergius accepted the long-awaited delegation of the Anglican church
led by Archbishop Cyril Garbett in
Shortly after being elected Patriarch, in an encyclical dated
On October 31, after the Georgians congratulated Sergius on his
election, Sergius’ representative, Archbishop Anthony of
In the period from the Stalin-Sergius pact of September, 1943 to the enthronement of the new “patriarch” Alexis in January, 1945, the 19 bishops of the MP (they had been only four at the beginning of the war) were more than doubled to 41. The Catacomb Bishop “A.” (probably the great confessor Anthony Galynsky-Mikhailovsky) wrote: “Very little time passed between September, 1943 and January, 1945. Therefore it is difficult to understand where 41 bishops came from instead of 19. In this respect our curiosity is satisfied by the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate for 1944. Looking through it, we see that the 19 bishops who existed in 1943, in 1944 rapidly gave birth to the rest, who became the members of the 1945 council.
“From the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate we learn that these hasty consecrations were carried out, in the overwhelming majority of cases, on renovationist protopriests.
“From September, 1943 to January, 1945,
with a wave of a magic wand, all the renovationists suddenly repented before
Metropolitan Sergius. The penitence was simplified, without the imposition of
any demands on those who caused so much evil to the
“As the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate informs us, the ‘episcopal’ consecrations before the ‘council’ of 1945 took place thus: the protopriest who had been recommended (undoubtedly by the civil authorities), and who was almost always from the ‘reunited’ renovationists or gregorians, was immediately tonsured into monasticism with a change in name and then, two or three days later, made a ‘hierarch of the Russian Church’.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
This acceptance of the renovationists was dictated in the first place by the will of the Bolsheviks, who now saw the Sergianists as more useful to them than the renovationists.
On October 16 Karpov sent secret instructions to the regions not to hinder the transfer of renovationists to the Sergianist church.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Since Karpov wanted the renovationists to join the state church, the rules for their reception were relaxed. Thus in 1944 Metropolitan Alexis (Simansky) severely upbraided Bishop Manuel (Lemeshevsky) for forcing “venerable” renovationist protopriests to “turn somersaults”, i.e. repent, before the people, in accordance with Patriarch Tikhon’s rules.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
As Roslof writes: “The relaxation of rules by the patriarchate reflected the needs of both church and state. The patriarchal synod had full backing from the government and expected to emerge as the sole central authority for the Orthodox Church. So it could afford to show mercy. At the same time, the patriarchate faced a scarcity of clergy to staff reopened parishes and to run the dioceses. Sergii’s bishops had problems finding priests for churches that had never closed. This shortage of clergy was compounded by the age and poor education of the candidates who were available. The patriarchate saw properly supervised red priests as part of the solution to the problem of filling vacant posts.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
However, the penetration of the patriarchate by these “red priests” meant that the new, post-war generation of clergy was quite different from the pre-war generation in that they had already proved their heretical, renovationist cast of mind, and now returned to the neo-renovationist MP like a dog to his vomit (II Peter 2.22), forming a heretical core that controlled the patriarchate while being in complete obedience to the atheists. The way in which the renovationist-sergianist hierarchs sharply turned course at a nod from the higher-ups was illustrated, in the coming years, by the MP’s sharp change in attitude towards ecumenism, from strictly anti-ecumenist in 1948 to pro-ecumenist only ten years later.
Sergius did more than place the MP in unconditional submission to the God-hating authorities. As Archimandrite Nectarius (Yashunsky) writes, he introduced a heretical understanding of the Church and salvation: “Metropolitan Sergius’ understanding of the Church (and therefore, of salvation) was heretical. He sincerely, it seems to us, believed that the Church was first of all an organization, an apparatus which could not function without administrative unity. Hence the striving to preserve her administrative unity at all costs, even at the cost of harming the truth contained in her.
“And this can be seen not only in the church politics he conducted, but also in the theology [he evolved] corresponding to it. In this context two of his works are especially indicative: ‘Is There a Vicar of Christ in the Church?’ (The Spiritual Heritage of Patriarch Sergius, Moscow, 1948) and ‘The Relationship of the Church to the Communities that have Separated from Her’ (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate).
In the first, although Metropolitan Sergius gives a negative answer to
the question (first of all in relation to the Pope), this negative answer is
not so much a matter of principle as of empiricism. The Pope is not the head of
In the second cited article, Metropolitan Sergius explained the differences in the reception of heretics and schismatics, not on the basis of their objective confession of faith, but on the subjective (and therefore changeable) relationship of the Church’s first-hierarch to them. Thus “we receive the Latins into the Church through repentance, but those from the Karlovtsy schism through chrismation”. And so for Sergius, concludes Fr. Nectarius, “the truth of Holy Orthodoxy is not necessary for salvation, but it is belonging to a legal church-administrative organization that is necessary”!<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
This heretical transformation of the patriarchate into an “eastern
papacy” was described by Fr. Vyacheslav Polosin: “If Metropolitan Sergius was
ruled, not by personal avarice, but by a mistaken understanding of what was for
the benefit of the Church, then it was evident that the theological foundation
of such an understanding was mistaken, and even constituted a heresy concerning
the Church herself and her activity in the world. We may suppose that these
ideas were very close to the idea of the Filioque: since the Spirit
proceeds not only from the Father, but also from the Son, that means that the
vicar of the Son… can dispose of the Spirit, so that the Spirit acts through
Him ex opere operato.. It follows necessarily that he who performs the
sacraments of the Church, ‘the minister of the sacrament’, must automatically
be ‘infallible’, for it is the infallible Spirit of God Who works through him
and is inseparable from him… However, this Latin schema of the Church is
significantly inferior to the schema and structure created by Metropolitan
Sergius. In his schema there is no Council, or it is replaced by a formal
assembly for the confirmation of decisions that have already been taken – on
the model of the congresses of the Communist Party of the
“The place of the Council in his Church structure is taken by something lacking in the Latins’ scheme – Soviet power, loyalty to which becomes in the nature of a dogma… This scheme became possible because it was prepared by Russian history. But if the Orthodox tsar and the Orthodox procurator to some extent constituted a ‘small Council’, which in its general direction did not contradict… the mind-set of the majority of believers, with the change in world-view of those came to the helm of Soviet power this scheme acquired a heretical character, since the decisions of the central ecclesiastical authorities, which were associated in the minds of the people with the will of the Spirit of God, came to be determined neither by a large nor by a small Council, but by the will of those who wanted to annihilate the very idea of God (the official aim of the second ‘godless’ five-year-plan was to make the people forget even the word ‘God’). Thus at the source of the Truth, instead of the revelation of the will of the Holy Spirit, a deadly poison was substituted… The Moscow Patriarchate, in entrusting itself to the evil, God-fighting will of the Bolsheviks instead of the conciliar will of the Spirit, showed itself to be an image of the terrible deception of unbelief in the omnipotence and Divinity of Christ, Who alone can save and preserve the Church and Who gave the unlying promise that ‘the gates of hell will not overcome her’… The substitution of this faith by vain hope in one’s own human powers as being able to save the Church in that the Spirit works through them, is not in accord with the canons and Tradition of the Church, but ex opere operato proceeds from the ‘infallible’ top of the hierarchical structure.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Sergius died on
“It was expected that Stalin would reply to such protestations of
loyalty by allowing the convening of a council and the election of a new
patriarch. However, Stalin, in spite of the fact that, eight months before, on
the eve of the Teheran conference, he had hastily convened a council, now
seemed not to be aiming for it. But such suspicions were mistaken. The talented
scenarist was acting, according to the expression of V. Alexeyev, ‘in
accordance with a previously worked out plan’, and was by no means planning to
stop using the Church for his criminal aims. As became clear later, he resorted
to convening the council at the beginning of 1945, that is, in time for the official
meeting of the heads of the governments of the
Some have seen in the behaviour of Archbishop Luke proof that the MP was not completely sovietized at this time, and that its hierarchy still contained some true bishops. Unfortunately, however, there is clear evidence that Archbishop Luke, like the other hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate, was infected by the Soviet bacillus to such an extent that he deviated from Orthodox teaching. Thus he wrote that Christ’s commandment to love one’s neighbour did not apply “to the German murderers… it is absolutely impossible to love them.” And again: “How shall we now preach the Gospel of love and brotherhood to those who do not know Christ, but who have seen the satanic face of the German who claims to be a Christian?”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Such sentiments from one who knew from his own experience how “Christian” his own government was, were possible only for one who allowed revolutionary morality to obscure the light of Christian truth. Indeed, Archbishop Luke (who has recently been canonized by the MP) is known to have said that if he had not been a priest he would have been a communist.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In January, 1945, another council assembled in
”A significant amount of money,” writes Shumilo, “was set apart by
Stalin for its preparation. The best hotels of the capital, the “Metropole” and
“National” were placed at the disposal of the participants of the council gratis,
as well as Kremlin government food reserves, government “ZIS” automobiles, a
large government house with all modern conveniences and much else. Stalin was
also concerned about the arrival in the
“The council opened on
“In its turn the council did not miss the opportunity yet again to express its gratitude and assure the communist party, the government and Stalin personally of its sincere devotion. As the address put it: ‘The Council profoundly appreciates the trusting, and to the highest degree benevolent and attentive attitude towards all church undertakings on the part of the state authorities… and expresses to our Government our sincerely grateful feelings’.
“As was planned, the sole candidate as the new Soviet patriarch was unanimously confirmed at the council – Metropolitan Alexis (Simansky). Besides this, a new ‘Temporary Statute for the Administration of the Russian Orthodox Church’, composed by workers at the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the chancellor of the MP, Protopriest Nicholas Kolchitsky, was accepted at the council. This Statute radically contradicted the canonical principles of Orthodoxy. ‘This Statute turned the Moscow patriarchate into a certain likeness of a totalitarian structure, in which three people at the head with the so-called “patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’” received greater power than a local council, and the right to administer the Church in a still more dictatorial fashion than Peter’s synod. But if the emperors up to 1917 were nevertheless considered to be Orthodox Christians, now the official structures of the Church were absolutely subject to the will of the leaders of the God-fighting regime. Church history has not seen such a fall in 2000 years of Christianity!’ By accepting in 1945 the new Statute on the administration of the Russian Orthodox Church that contradicted from the first to the last letter the conciliar-canonical principles of the administration of the Church confirmed at the All-Russian Local Church Council of 1917-1918, the Moscow patriarchate once more confirmed its own Soviet path of origin and development, and also the absence of any kind of link or descent from the canonical ‘Tikhonite’ Church, which legally existed in the country until 1927.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The MP, having meekly submitted to the rule of the totalitarian dictator
Stalin, was now in effect a totalitarian organization itself. All decisions in
the Church depended effectively on the single will of the patriarch, and
through him, of Stalin. For, as Fr. Sergius Gordun has written: “For decades
the position of the Church was such that the voice of the clergy and laity
could not be heard. In accordance with the document accepted by the Local
Council of 1945, in questions requiring the agreement of the government of the
The power over the Church that the 1945 council gave to the atheists was revealed in the secret 1974 Furov report of the Council for Religious Affairs to the Central Committee: “The Synod is under the control of the Council for Religious Affairs. The question of the selection and placing of its permanent members was and remains completely in the hands of the Council, and the candidature of the non-permanent members is also agreed beforehand with responsible members of the Council. All issues which are to be discussed at the Synod are first discussed by Patriarch Pimen and the permanent members of the Synod with the leaders of the Council and in its departments, and the final ‘Decisions of the Holy Synod’ are also agreed.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
After the enthronement of Alexis (on February 4), writes V. Alexeyev, Stalin
ordered the Council to congratulate Alexis on his election and to give him “a
commemorative present. The value of the gift was determined at 25-30,000
rubles. Stalin loved to give valuable presents. It was also decided to ‘show
gratitude’ to the foreign bishops for their participation in the Council. The
commissariat was told to hand over 42 objects from the depositories of the
As was to be expected, the Eastern Patriarchs recognised the canonicity of the election, “hastening,” as Shumilo says, “to assure themselves of the support of the head of the biggest and wealthiest patriarchate, which now, moreover, had acquired ‘the clemency [appropriate to] a great power’”.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
price the Eastern Patriarchs paid for the favour of this “great power” was an
agreement to break communion with ROCOR. As Karpov reported: “The Council was a
clear proof of the absence of religion in the
After the victory of the Soviets in the
Second World War, many Russian émigrés were swept up by a feeling of
nostalgia for what they thought was their homeland, and, in the words of the
writer Vladimir Nabokov, began to “fraternize with the Soviets because they
sense in the
Tragic as the fate of the voluntary
returnees was, it was not to be compared with that of those who were forcibly
returned by the western allied governments, who felt compelled to carry out the
agreements they had signed with Stalin in
largest category of those forcibly repatriated was composed of those who had
fought in the Soviet army. Protopriest
Michael Ardov describes their fate: “I am already a rather elderly person. I
remember quite well the years right after the war, 1945, 1946, and how
Another category was composed of the
soldiers who fought on the German side in General A.A. Vlasov’s
“Russian Liberation Army”. In May, 1945, in Lienz in
A similar tragedy took place in
As a result of their attendance at the false council of 1945, the
official Orthodox Churches of
After his liberation from
The other Serbian hierarchs had already shown their submission to
However, the patriarch’s fellow prisoner in
Bishop Nicholas’ decision was shown to have been prudent in 1947, when Tito placed a Catholic at the head of the Commission for religious confessions. Many priests then began to be imprisoned…<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
“A report dated
Meanwhile, those who had resisted the communists during the war were
purged. Thus “it has been estimated that up to 250,000 people [of all the
Among these was the leader of the royalist Chetnik resistance to the Partisans, Draza Mikhailovič, who was executed by the communists on July 4/17, 1946, and was venerated as a new martyr by the Free Serbs of America (who have now returned to the patriarchate).<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> For while the Chetniks and Partisans had originally been united in their opposition to the Germans, they ended the war fighting each other…
During the war, King Boris III of
Professor Ya.Ya. Etinger tells the story as follows: “Hitler demanded
from his ally
After the death of Tsar Boris, his brother, Prince Cyril, became regent
and continued the same policy. But after the Soviet troops entered
So-called associations of priests controlled by the communists were
infiltrated into the
In August, 1948, Metropolitan Dionysius, head of the
reason may have been his participation in the creation of the
In 1948 the head of the Albanian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Christopher of Tirana, was deposed and imprisoned by the communist government for “hostile activity in relation to the Albanian people”.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
On March 5 the new head of the Albanian Church, Archbishop Paisius, gave a speech in front of the All-Albanian conference in defence of peace in which he said: “In agreement with the great ideals of love, brotherhood and peace throughout the world on which the Church is based, we will struggle for the holy affair of the liberation of the whole of mankind from hostile encroachments on its peaceful life. This task must be unanimously accomplished by all our clergy, as preachers of peace who are bound to direct the will of the flock to the struggle for peace… We preach peace, but we know that peace is not given gratis, therefore we bless the struggle for the final victory over those who are stirring up war…”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Archbishop Averky writes: “In September, 1944, when the Soviet armies
were already approaching
“From Vienna Vladyka Metropolitan and the whole Synod moved first to
Karlsbad [on November 10], and then – already after the end of the war – in the
summer of 1945 to the city of Munich, which for a time became a major centre of
Russian ecclesiastical and public life. In
“Wishing to restore the links between the separate parts of the Russian Church Abroad with the Hierarchical Synod after the disruption caused by the war, Vladyka Metropolitan succeeded in obtaining permission to go to Switzerland, and from Geneva he quickly established contact by writing with all the countries containing church communities subject to our Russian Church Abroad, which strengthened the organization of our Church Abroad that was about to collapse.
“In Switzerland Vladyka Metropolitan remained for about 7 months, and in
this period he, together with Bishop Jerome who arrived from
“By Pascha, 1946 he had returned to Munich, where he soon, on April 23, he convened a Council of Bishops Abroad, in which the bishops of the Autonomous Ukrainian and Belorussian Churches took part with identical rights to those of the representatives of other districts.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> 15 hierarchs participated personally in this Council, while the rest, from distant countries, sent their wishes and written opinions on the questions on the agenda…
“After the end of the war Vladyka Metropolitan’s attention was mainly
concentrated on helping Orthodox Russians to leave devastated
“In September, 1950 Metropolitan Anastasy undertook a journey to the
West European diocese, where he carried out two important acts: in Geneva on
September 11/24 he consecrated Archimandrite Leonty (Bartoshevich) as Bishop
for the Geneva vicariate, and in Brussels on September 18 / October 1 he
consecrated the newly constructed memorial church to the Tsar-Martyr and all
the Russian people killed during the troubles. On returning to
“From 1948 a vigorous migration of Russian to the United States of North
America had begun, and many began to ask Vladyka Metropolitan to move there
also together with the Hierarchical Synod. People in
“Vladyka Metropolitan Anastasy’s departure for
“The next day after his arrival, on November 12/25, Vladyka Metropolitan went to the Holy Trinity monastery in Jordanville, where he carried out a triumphant consecration of the just completed stone monastery church in honour of the Holy Trinity, after which a Hierarchical Council took place in which 11 hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad took part.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
At this Council holy myrrh was sanctified for the first time in ROCOR’s
history. Previously, myrrh had been received from the
The ROCOR Synod’s move to
“On October 26-27  the hierarchs of the Church Abroad in North
America Archbishop Vitaly, Bishop Jerome and Bishop Joasaph took part in the
Hierarchical Council of North America, in which the election of Metropolitan
Sergius to the Russian patriarchal throne was discussed. A resolution was
passed recognizing the election and indicating that the Patriarch Sergius of
Moscow should be commemorated at Divine services – without, however, removing
the commemoration of Metropolitans Anastasy and Metropolitan Theophilus of
North America. Following this conciliar decision, Metropolitan Theophilus
issued an ukaz on the commemoration of all three hierarchs in all the
On May 31, after the death of Sergius, a Council of the Bishops of North America under the presidency of Metropolitan Theophilus and with the participation of Archbishop Vitaly issued an ukaz on the commemoration of the patriarchal locum tenens, Metropolitan Alexis, in all the churches.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In the same month, at a clergy-laity council in
“In preparation for the council,” writes Andreyev, “it was very
interesting and characteristic that the same persons who fought for the Moscow
jurisdiction and the split from the [ROCOR] Synod and ‘helped’ Metropolitan
Eulogius in Europe, moved from Paris to America and began to ‘help’
Metropolitan Theophilus [the leader of the American Metropolia]. With unusual
knowledge of church matters, these professors of engineering and other fine
arts began to state authoritatively that ‘the Moscow Patriarchate has not
deviated from the dogmas, canons and rites of Orthodoxy in any way, and the
politics conducted by its head, even though it is condemned today by many,
cannot have a decisive influence on its canonical position.’ In this way the
Cleveland council prepared itself by only a formal cooperation with the Synod
Abroad, and then, completely backing down from its position, pronounced this
resolution: ‘We are passing the resolution to request His Holiness, the
Patriarch of Moscow, to reunite us to his bosom and be our spiritual father,
under the stipulation that we preserve our full autonomy, which exists at the
present time. Since the hierarchical authority of the patriarchate is
incompatible with the hierarchical authority of the Synod Abroad of the Russian
Orthodox Church, the
In spite of the defection of the American Metropolia, ROCOR in
In 1949 Bishop Leonty of
The 1930s and 40s were a time of great distress and physical hardship for the Greek people caused by the economic depression and the European conflict between the communists and the fascists.
George Lardas writes: “The Communist party made a small but significant
showing in Parliament for the first time in 1935. That same year the monarchy
was restored and King George II returned to
The Italian invasion of 1939 was repelled, only to be followed in April,
1941 by the German occupation.
In March, 1944 the German SS General Jorgen Strupp demanded from Grand
Rabbi Barzilayu a list of names and addresses of all representatives of the
Jewish community in
War against the German invaders immediately passed into the Greek civil
war between the royalists and the communists. On
It was at this time that the two major
struggles of the Orthodox Church in this century – against Communism in
Among the hieromartyrs of this period was Hieromonk Joseph Antoniou,
whose biography as a True Orthodox priest is very illustrative of the
sufferings of that period. Fr. Joseph joined the True Orthodox Church from the
During the German occupation, communist guerillas entered the area and occupied several of the villages. Fr. Joseph fearlessly denounced their false teaching and terrible cruelties against the people. Two or three times they warned Fr. Joseph to stop speaking against them. But he replied: “You are waging the anti-Christian communist struggle, but I am waging the opposite struggle, the Christian struggle.” Soon the decision was taken by the communists to execute the troublesome priest.
Shortly after Pascha, 1944, an unknown old
man entered the church where Fr. Joseph was serving, and told him that
throughout the service he had seen blood flowing from under this cassock. From
that time, Fr. Joseph prepared himself for martyrdom. Attacks on priests were
increasing at this time. Only three months before Fr. Joseph was killed, he
invited Bishop Germanus of the
On July 20 Fr. Joseph celebrated the Liturgy in the
He was allowed to sing his own funeral service. Then one thrust a knife into his back, but the blade broke. While another knife was being fetched, the executioners smoked and watched Fr. Joseph’s death agony. He said: “I will be the last victim of this knife, but the one who kills me will be the first to die from this knife.” After killing the martyr, as the executioners were returning, they quarrelled and the one who had killed Fr. Joseph was killed by his comrades, while the first one was later executed by the Germans…
In September, 1945, Fr. Joseph’s father and brother, with the help of his donkey, found and exhumed his body. It was fragrant. A heavenly light was often seen over the tomb of the hieromartyr during the evenings.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The divisions among the Greek Old Calendarists remained unhealed. In 1942 Metropolitans Germanus and Chrysostom invited Bishops Matthew and Germanus to talks in order to heal their division. On January 27, 1942 Bishops Matthew and Germanus replied, refusing to meet unless the metropolitans agreed beforehand: “that the Church of Greece has become schismatic through the acceptance of the papist calendar; that its sacraments cannot be valid; that its chrism does not have sanctifying grace; and that the children of the heterodox, on coming to the Orthodox church, must be chrismated again”. If the metropolitans agreed to these conditions, they said, “then our unity will follow automatically without sessions or discussions”. But the two metropolitans rejected this suggestion.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
To make things worse, in 1942 Metropolitan Germanus retired from leadership of the Sacred Struggle, and then, according to one version of events, applied for a review of the newcalendarists’ decision to defrock him from their synodical court. Since no document proving Metropolitan Germanus’ application to the newcalendarists has been found, some Florinites believe that it was a newcalendarist forgery designed to create further divisions in the Old Calendarist ranks.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> In any case, he died in 1944 before any decision was made. So he died as an Old Calendarist bishop. Nevertheless, the new calendarists buried him with episcopal honours.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
To add to the distress of the True Orthodox, a division took place between Bishops Germanus and Matthew in 1943.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
However, in 1945 Bishops Christopher of Megara and Polycarp of Diauleia
again broke communion with the
“The Underground or
Towards the end of the war the NKVD GULAG administration made the following decisions: “1. To enrol qualified agents from among the prisoners who are churchmen and sectarians, ordering them to uncover the facts concerning the anti-Soviet activity of these prisoners. 2. In the process of the agents’ work on the prisoners, to uncover their illegal links with those in freedom and coordinate the work of these links with the corresponding organs of the NKVD.” As a result of these instructions, many catacomb organizations among the prisoners were liquidated. For example, “in the Ukhtoizhemsky ITL an anti-Soviet group of churchmen prisoners was liquidated. One of the leaders of this group, the priest Ushakov, composed prayers and distributed them among the prisoners. It turned out that he had illegal links with a Bishop Galynsky [a Catacomb hierarch].”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
“An internal result of the Moscow council of 1945 that was positive for the Soviet regime was the fact that, thanks to the participation in it of the Eastern Patriarchs, the appearance of ‘legitimacy’ and ‘canonicity’ had been given to this Stalin-inspired undertaking, which led into error not only a part of the Orthodox clergy and hierarchy in the emigration [about which, more below], but also many of the True Orthodox Catacomb pastors in the USSR, who naively did not suspect that there might have been any anti-canonical crimes at [the council].”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Another leading catacombnik who returned to the patriarchate was
Protopriest Basil Veriuzhsky. But he continued to act as if his sympathies were
The Catacomb pastors who remained faithful to Orthodoxy were in a still
more difficult position after than before the war. Those pastors who come into
the open during the German occupation, were again deprived of their churches
and forced to go underground. “And again, as in the 30s, repressions were
renewed against the clergy who did not accept the ‘Soviet church’. Thus in
“In the struggle with alternative underground Orthodox communities in
the U.S.S.R. special commissions were created by the NKVD and the Council for
the Affairs of the ROC in the middle of the 40s. They were occupied in
observing, ferreting out and liquidating such groups. The special 5th
department created by the NKVD to administer church questions was called just
that ‘liquidatory’. A report of the president of the Council for the Affairs of
the ROC, G. Karpov, to the deputy president of the Sovnarkom of the
“Having a vivid example in Nazi Germany, which obtained loyal attitudes and a lowering of the resistance of the local population on the occupied territories, the Soviet regime, besides convening a council and electing a patriarch, decided on a temporary weakening of repressions and offered significant freedom to religious (external-ritual) activity. Striving, as has already been noted, to keep under its control the activity of believers and to weaken the activity of the alternative underground Orthodox communities that had grown in number by the middle of the 40s, in many regions of the country they began again to open churches, whose clergy were obliged to inform the local departments of the Council for the Affairs of the ROC or the NKVD, which had been transformed in March, 1946 into the MGB, about all the details of church-parish life.
“Only in this context can we explain the sharp rise across the country
in the opening of churches that had been recently closed by the Soviets.
Therefore, if in the first years of its existence (1943-1944) the Council for
the Affairs of the ROC unwillingly permitted the opening of churches – which we
can see in the one example of Gorky (Nizhni-Novgorod) province, where out of
212 petitions by 1945 only 14 had been satisfied (moreover, in January, 1945
only 22 churches were functioning in the whole of the province, while 1011 were
not functioning) – then already in 1946-1948 the picture changes sharply. As is
noted in the protocols of the Council for the Affairs of the ROC on
“As was to be expected, thanks to the massive arrests of priest and
active parishioners of the Catacomb Church and the opening of churches for the
MP, the government succeeded in obtaining a reduction in the number of
‘headless underground groups’, the passive members of which began to turn to
the legal clergy, while the ‘stubborn fanatics’ ‘isolated themselves’ from the
external world. Besides this, for the more successful ferreting out of the
illegal communities of the
Only in the central regions of
The sufferings of the Catacomb priests and believers is illustrated by
the life of a Catacomb priest from
“Among those arrested was Matushka Catherine Golovanova. She was arrested twice. The first time they came and tried to torture her to reveal where Fr. Nicetas was; two policemen dressed in civil clothes took her to the house which they had under surveillance – an elderly man and his wife were living there. On seeing matushka, they rejoiced, and the wife, thinking that matushka was accompanied by her own people, started to talk joyfully. Matushka couldn’t stop her because the police were careful that she not give her any sign. The woman gave away the secret of Fr. Nicetas’ whereabouts: ‘O Matushka, dear one, how are you? You know, we accompanied Fr. Nicetas like this: we hung a bag full of shoes on him and he went…’ Matushka finally succeeded in winking at her, the woman stopped short. ‘Well, why have you stopped?’ asked the searchers. ‘I remember nothing…’ ‘We’ll lean on you now – you’ll remember.’ They took off their outer clothing, under which, as under a sheep skin, was the inner wolf – policeman’s uniforms and guns. But it was already late, and the exhausted police wanted to go to sleep. One was dozing at the table, the other was at the threshold – he was evidently guarding the door to prevent matushka running away. Matushka waited and waited, then she opened a window and ran away. She was on the run for half a year, and then they arrested her again. ‘Well, then,” they said, “how did you run away?’ ‘How? Well, they were sleeping and I thought: why should I simply sit here, I opened the window and left.’ ‘You did well,’ they said. But now they didn’t doze. They condemned all forty at one go (according to another source – thirty at the beginning). Matushka Golovanova was the chief culprit. They really gave it to her at the interrogation: many years later Matushka S. saw scars from the interrogations on her back.
“They tortured them so much that some of them couldn’t stand it and revealed the addresses where they could find Fr. Nicetas; but it seems that the pursuers had so despaired of catching Fr. Nicetas that they didn’t believe them even when they told them the truth.
“At the trial one woman in her simplicity said: ‘If you let me go, I’ll go to Fr. Nicetas again the same day.’ Not believing her, they said: ‘We’ve been looking for him for so many years without finding him, and you’ll find where he is in one day?!’
“They gave Fr. Nicetas’ parishioners sentences of many years in length. Matushka Golovanova was given twelve years, two of them in a lock-up…
“While Fr. Nicetas’ spiritual children were going to suffer, he himself
had another thirty years of suffering and wanderings ahead of him. And he was
surrounded by the sufferings of the people; the war tormented
Many Catacomb Christians were thrown out of their homes and forced to live in dug-outs eating grass and roots. Heavy extra taxes were imposed on them and they worked on dangerous sites. In the war they had refused to join the Red Army, and after the war they sometimes refused even to use electricity and radio, considering it to be “a gift of the Antichrist”. For refusing to allow their children to be taught Marxism or join the pioneer and komsomol movements, they often had them taken away from them.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
During his trip to the Middle East, Patriarch Alexis intervened
in the Greek civil war by calling on the Greek people to support the Communists
and reject the Royalists and British Imperialists (Stalin adopted a more
neutral stance). In
Three years later, the Soviets, supported by the new Israeli government, forcibly seized some ROCOR churches, injuring some monastics. On December 1, 1948, the military governor of Jerusalem presented to Hierodeacon Methodius, the representative of Archimandrite Anthony, a demand that he hand over the keys of the Mission’s properties to the representatives of the MP who had arrived from Moscow. “This note was presented to Fr. Methodius by the representatives of the MP, who were accompanied by a group of strong young men in uniform from the Soviet embassy and several observers from the Israeli government. Fr. Methodius refused outright to hand over the keys of the church that had been entrusted to him. Then the young men in uniform surrounded the clergyman and began to beat him. The Israeli observers did not take part in the beating, but did not defend him either. Might took its toll: beaten to the point of unconsciousness, Fr. Methodius was thrown into a ditch, the keys were taken from his belt, and the ‘transfer of property’ took place. It should be noted that a significant part of the property handed over by the Israeli authorities supposedly into the possession of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1948 was later sold to the Israeli government by the Soviet authorities in 1964.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Metropolitan Nicholas “sounded out the ground for the
organization of parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in
Nicholas then went to
September, 1945 ROCOR’s Metropolitan Seraphim (Lukyanov) of
And so Shumilo is quite justified in writing: “It was precisely thanks to the lying pro-Soviet propaganda of the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate that tens of thousands of émigrés, among whom were quite a few clergy and even bishops, believing in the spectre of freedom, began to return to the U.S.S.R. at the end of the Second World War, where the Soviet concentration camps and prisons were waiting for them... These tragic pages of the history of our Fatherland have been sealed by rivers of innocent blood on all succeeding generations. And to a great degree the blame for this, for the tens of thousands of destroyed lives and crippled destinies, lies on the first Soviet patriarch Sergius Stragorodsky and his church, who by deed and word served the God-fighting Soviet totalitarian system…”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Other successes of the Soviet church included the defection of the ROCOR
Bishop John of Urmia (
This tug-of-war between the Soviet and American spheres of influence was
felt everywhere. Even in
One of the few defeats suffered by the Soviets in the ecclesiastical
arena at this time was in
American influence was also discernible in the decision of the Antiochian patriarchate, under pressure from its rich American benefactors, to change to the new calendar in 1948.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Archbishop John of
“Not having any communication with the Synod Abroad beyond the bounds of China because of the military actions, and not knowing the true situation of things in Europe, Bishop John wrote about the letter he had received from the hierarchs in Harbin to his superior, Archbishop Victor in Peking, advising him to do nothing with regard to recognizing the Patriarch before the re-establishment of links with the Synod Abroad, while for the sake of clarifying the question of the legality and canonical correctness or incorrectness of the choices of Patriarch Alexis Bishop John advised Archbishop Victor to send him a short greeting on the occasion of his consecration and wait to see what the result would be. In this way he aimed to clarify whether the new Patriarch was a successor in God of the reposed and always recognized by the Church Abroad Patriarch Tikhon and the locum tenens of the Patriarchal Throne Metropolitan Peter (of Krutitsa), or simply a continuer of the politics of the dead Soviet Patriarch Sergius.
“In expectation of a clarification of this question and for the sake of calming that part of the Russian colony in Shanghai that had become pro-Soviet and demanded the recognition of the Moscow Patriarch, Bishop John issued a resolution (Decree ¹ 630 dated September 6 / August 24, 1945) on the temporary commemoration of Patriarch Alexis during the Divine services instead of the until-then-existing commemoration of ‘the Orthodox Episcopate of the Russian Church’.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
According to Bishop John’s own account, he wrote to Archbishop Victor that he considered that “the raising of the name of the President of the Synod Abroad should be kept for the time being, since according to the 14th canon of the First-and-Second Canon of the Local Council [of Constantinople in 861] it is wrong wilfully to cease commemorating the name of one’s metropolitan. But the raising of the name of the Patriarch… should necessarily, according to your ukaz, be introduced throughout the diocese… At the given time no conditions of an ideological character have yet been imposed that would serve as a reason for any change in our ecclesiastical administration abroad. If unacceptable conditions are again imposed in the future, the preservation of the present order of ecclesiastical administration will become the task of that ecclesiastical authority which will manage to be created in dependence on external conditions.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
This form of expression indicated that Bishop John was “hedging his bets”, ready to revoke his commemoration of the Moscow Patriarch if “unacceptable conditions of an ideological character” were to be imposed. In any case, in August Archbishop Victor sent a telegram to Patriarch Alexis asking for him and Bishop John to be received into his jurisdiction. And from that time Bishop John and his priests started to commemorate the patriarch.
However, Bishop John now began to be opposed by his flock. Thus when his
priest, Fr. Peter tried to introduce the commemoration of the patriarch in the
convent ruled by Abbess Adriana (later of
One of Bishop John’s spiritual children tells how he repented of his
brief commemoration of the Soviet patriarch every time he met another bishop,
even down to the time he lived in the
“The next telegram came in the month of November from the
“This was all that Bishop John had to know, and when, at the beginning of December, 1945 there arrived a letter from Archbishop Victor informing him that he recognized Patriarch Alexis, Bishop John categorically refused to accept the new Patriarch, in spite of terrible pressure, exhortations and threats.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
“On the evening of
“Archbishop Victor in vain tried to persuade, demanded and ordered Bishop John to submit and recognize the Patriarch. Finally he came to the regular weekly meeting of the clergy, where he officially informed them of his move to the Soviet church, and demanded that the church servers follow his example, and, having left Bishop John to preside, left the session. After a word from Bishop John calling on the clergy to remain faithful to the Russian Church Abroad, the meeting passed a resolution suggested by him: to report to Metropolitan Anastasy on the faithfulness of the clergy to the Synod Abroad and ask for instructions.
“There was no reply from the Synod for a very long time, and in this period of about seven weeks terrible pressure was exerted on Bishop John from the Soviet authorities, Archbishop Victor, Metropolitan Nestor from Manchuria, from a large part of Russian society which had applied for Soviet passports, from clergy who had moved to that side, and from others. In writing and orally, in the press, in clubs and at meetings the Soviet side tried to prove that the election of the patriarch had been completely legal, in accordance with all the ecclesiastical canons, and suggested as proof the showing of a documentary film on the election of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
“Bishop John agreed to see this film, so as personally to see and check the whole procedure of the election, on condition that the film would be shown, not in the Soviet club, where all the Soviet pictures were being shown at the time, but in the hall of a certain theatre.
“Most of the
“Before the beginning of the film, and without any warning, the orchestra began to play the Soviet hymn, and Bishop John immediately left the hall. The arrangers of the showing immediately rushed after the hierarch, and, having stopped him in the foyer, began to apologise and tried to persuade him to stay. Bishop John returned to the hall after the end of the hymn, and, having seen the film, declared that in the so-called election of the Patriarch that had been shown there was absolutely no legality, that the election had been conducted in accordance with the classic Soviet model, in which only one candidate was put forward, for whom the representative of every diocese without exception voted identically, reading out a stereotyped phrase, and in which there was nothing spiritual or canonical.
“This declaration by Bishop John still more enraged the Bolshevized circles, and the persecution of Vladyka and the clergy faithful to him intensified still more.
“On March 20, on the day of the patronal feast, Vladyka John was brought a telegram during the Liturgy. Since he never paid attention to anything extraneous whatsoever during the Divine services, Bishop John hid the telegram in his pocket without reading it, and opened it only after the service. In the telegram, which was signed by Metropolitan Anastasy, was written:
“’I recognize the resolution of the clergy under your presidency as correct.’
“This moral support received from the head of the Russian Church Abroad gave fresh strength to the clergy that remained faithful in order to continue their defence of the Orthodox churches from the claims and encroachment of the Bolsheviks.
“In the struggle Vladyka John had no rest, he literally flew from church to church, visiting schools and social organizations and giving sermons in defence of the Synod Abroad, calling on Russian people to be faithful, driving out Soviet agitators from the Orthodox churches and White Russian organizations.
“In this period Vladyka John was subjected to especially strong pressure
and threats from both Archbishop Victor and from Metropolitan Nestor, who was
to be appointed Exarch of Patriarch Alexis in the
“Finally, on May 15, there arrived a telegram from Metropolitan Anastasy
“The next day,
“The new ruling archbishop told Archbishop Victor of his appointment and
suggested that he leave the Cathedral House and leave the bounds of the
“Archbishop Victor, in his turn, gave Archbishop John on June 15 a decree of the Moscow Patriarchate (¹ 15 of June 13, 1946) on the appointment of Bishop Juvenal from Manchuria at the disposal of Archbishop Victor ‘to take the place of the see of Bishop John of Shanghai, who does not recognize the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.’
On June 16 Archbishop John declared the worshippers that he had received the ukaz removing him from administration of the Shanghai diocese, but would not be obeying it: “I will submit to this ukaz only if they prove to me from the Holy Scriptures and the law of any country that the breaking of oaths is a virtue while faithfulness to one’s oath is a serious sin.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
“Feeling that the balance was all the time shifting towards Archbishop John [four Shanghai priests join the MP, but 12 remained with Archbishop John], the Soviet side began to resort to threats, bringing in komsomol members and debauchees, and once there was a serious threat that Archbishop John and other anti-communist leaders of the White Russian colony would be kidnapped and taken away by them onto a Soviet ship. The representatives of our youth, without the knowledge of Vladyka, organized a guard which always followed in his footsteps without him knowing it and guarded him.
“When Archbishop Victor ‘removed’ Archbishop John with his decree and banned him from serving, Vladyka John, instead of leaving the cathedral, went onto the ambon and told the worshippers that he was being removed by Archbishop Victor because he remained faithful to the oath he had given to the Synod Abroad, which they had both sworn. And he went on to serve the whole Liturgy in full!…
“In August, 1946 the Soviet clergy and Soviet citizens ceased to frequent the cathedral church, and the Chinese National Government and the city authorities recognized Archbishop John as the head of the Shanghai Diocese of the Orthodox Church Abroad.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In 1948 the MP celebrated the 450th
anniversary of its foundation. The celebrations were attended by representatives of the
Ecumenical, Antiochian, Alexandrian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian,
Czechoslovak, Polish and
Immediately after the celebrations, a Church Council took place. Only
The timing of the Council was clearly aimed at upstaging the First
General Assembly of the World Council of Churches which was taking place in
Within a month a
clearly Soviet-inspired “initiative movement” for unification with the MP
headed by Protopresbyter G. Kostelnikov appeared.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> By the
spring of 1946 997 out of 1270 uniate priests in
In October, 1948 the
1,250,000 uniates of
Metropolitan Tikhon of Omsk writes, the merger of the uniates into the MP
harmed both the uniates and the MP. It infected the MP, which drew a large
proportion of its clergy from the
It is now known that all the decisions of the
The most theological contribution to this council came from Archbishop
Seraphim (Sobolev) of Boguchar (
Protopriest G. Razumovsky also spoke well: "The Russian Orthodox Church," he said, "had always taught and still teaches that Pentecost, or the descent of the Holy Spirit, has already taken place and that the Christians do not have to wait for a new appearance of the Holy Spirit, but the glorious Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The diminution of the significance of the single sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the prophecy of a future 'third hour', in which the expected Kingdom of the Holy Spirit will be revealed is characteristic of the teaching of the Masons and the heretics; while the newly revealed prophecy of the expected Ecumenical Pentecost can be nothing other than an old echo of the false teaching of these deceived heretics." <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In July, 1951 the heads of the Churches of Antioch, Russia,
In July, 1948, in
Being the only Orthodox Church that had not participated in the council
In view of this, it is not surprising that ROCOR was not invited. She would in any case have declined because “we do not participate in the ecumenical movement”.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> This decision was in line with a gradual disillusion with the ecumenical movement experienced in the inter-war years, culminating in the words of the Second All-Diaspora Council in 1938: “Resolutions of ecumenical conferences often suffer from vagueness, diffusiveness, reticence and a nuance of compromise. Sometimes they develop formulas in which the same expressions may be interpreted differently.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
A.V. Soldatov has chronicled the progressive weakening in the Orthodox
position: “At the conference [of Faith and Order] in
“After the Second World War, the World Council of Churches was created.
It is necessary to point out that the movements ‘Faith and Order’ and ‘the
Christian Council of Life and Work’ were viewed by their organizers as
preparatory stages in the seeking of possible modes of integration of ‘the
Christian world’. The World Council of Churches differed from them in
principle. It set out on the path of ‘practical Ecumenism’ for the first time
in world history, declaring that it was the embryo of a new type of universal
church. The first, so to speak founding conference of the WCC in
According to the rules agreed in
Acceptance of these terms clearly entailed a heretical Protestant
ecclesiology. In fact, as time went on, the WCC became the home of almost every
heresy, earning its home city of
Staple of Sects and Mint of Schism grew;
That Bank of Conscience, where not one so strange
Opinion but finds Credit, and Exchange
In vain for Catholicks ourselves we bear;
The universal church is onely there.
During this period, while the Old
At the same time, they issued two
encyclicals – on March 11 and
At about this time some Matthewites
conceived the idea of persuading Bishop Matthew to ordain bishops on his own.
Metropolitan Calliopius of Pentapolis writes: “The ‘consecrations’ by a single
bishop were decided upon for the beginning of November, 1944. Eugene Tombros [a
married priest and the chancellor of the
“In 1947,” writes Jelena Petrovic, Metropolitan Chrysostom “published his ‘Memorandum for the Future Pan-Orthodox Council’, [in which] he wrote: ‘The triumph of Christ's Church [in the USSR] has been achieved by the almighty power of Christ, Who as his means and organ used the eminent leader Stalin and his glorious collaborators, politicians and generals. This is “a change wrought by the right hand of the Most High”.’ This was written in the middle of the Greek civil war - as Bishop Matthew put it, "at a time when the accursed and godless Communist Party of Greece (KKE) was shedding Greek blood. It is a panegyric to the arch-slaughterer of mankind. During the period of 14 years [in which,] as they claim, they have partaken in the holy struggle, they haven't written even a single tiny article or booklet, nor have they even said in the church anything about godless communism; while we, foreseeing the danger from the beginning, have been writing and confessing and preaching against traitorous and anti-patriotic communism."<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
This criticism was just. And yet Matthew was guilty of similar errors. Thus the Matthewite organ Kirix Gnision Orthodoxon (Herald of the True Orthodox Christians) for July, 1949 reported that he had sent his fervent prayers to the newly-created antichristian State of Israel - which, to please its patron, the Soviet Union, promptly expelled the ROCOR monastics from the Goritsky convent in Jerusalem and handed it over to the Moscow Patriarchate.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The reliance of the Matthewites on Fr. Eugene Tombros was, to say the
least, unfortunate. This married priest had joined the sacred struggle from the
new calendarists in 1936, and was defrocked by them in February, 1938. But
then, in July, 1938, after one month in prison, he repented in a letter to the
new calendarist Bishop of Corfu, Alexander, and asked for the grace of the
priesthood to be restored to him, thereby recognizing the authority and the
mysteries of the new calendarist church. On his release from prison, however,
he did not return to Bishop Alexander, but went to
In September, Bishop Matthew, after warning Metropolitan Chrysostom and Bishop Germanus of what he was about to do, consecrated the following bishops: Spyridon of Trimithun (Cyprus), and then, with Spyridon, Demetrius of Thessalonica, Callistus of Corinth and Andrew of Patras.
In December Archbishop Matthew replied as follows: “We have not proceeded to any coup d’état whatsoever, as the ordination of the new bishops has been maliciously characterised, but have only done our duty as a Hierarch of our bleeding Mother Orthodox Church. That action is what has been dictated to us by the Divine and Holy Canons and the many necessities of our Holy Struggle. We made that decision after persistent appeals of the Holy Clergy around us and the Genuine Orthodox Christian People, from Greece and abroad, who have addressed me over a long period in many appeals, petitions and personal please, and whom I have obeyed for the sole purpose of not wanting to deprive Christ’s Church of Her canonical shepherds, and in order not to be judged by God and the people as a cunning servant who has hidden his talent.”
Now the consecration of a bishop by one bishop only is contrary to the First Apostolic Canon, which decrees a minimum of two or three consecrators, as well as to other sacred Canons. However, St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite writes in his commentary on this canon: “The Apostolic Constitutions (Book 8, chapter 27), on the other hand, commands that anyone ordained by a single bishops be deposed from office along with the one who ordained him, except only in case of persecution or some other impediment by reason whereof a number of bishops cannot get together and he has to be ordained by one alone, just as Siderius was ordained bishop of Palaebisca, according to Synesius.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> And the same holy father writes: “In times of heresy, according to necessity, not everything is to occur in accordance with the canons which are established in times of peace.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Again, V.K. writes that consecration of a bishop by one bishop only “is allowed by the canons in exceptional circumstances”, “and we have numerous witnesses to this from the history of the Orthodox Church.” <![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The question is: were the circumstances exceptional enough in the case of Bishop Matthew? In this case it was possible to argue that a dispensation could be invoked on the grounds that: (a) Bishop Matthew had tried and failed to obtain co-consecrators from abroad, and (b) he was the only true bishop in Greece at the time, or (c) no other bishop was able, or would agree, to consecrate bishops with him.
With regard to (a), Archbishop Andrew (one of the priests consecrated by Bishop Matthew) writes that three archimandrites and Fr. Eugene Tombros asked Matthew to go ahead with the consecrations as early as November 28, 1945 (just after Metropolitan Chrysostom’s statement in Eleutheria), and that requests for assistance in the consecration of bishops were made to various bishops (presumably foreign ones), but without success.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
But was Bishop Matthew really the only true bishop in
According to many, Bishop Matthew was pushed into making the consecrations by the protosynkellos of his Synod, Fr. Eugene Tombros, and Abbess Miriam of Keratea. Certainly, Fr. Eugene had a mistaken ecclesiology according to which any break in communion between groups of bishops inevitably entails the loss of the grace of sacraments in one group. Evidently he was unaware of the many times in Church history in which divisions have taken place that did not constitute full schisms.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
With regard to the third condition (c), there is indisputable evidence (quoted above) that Metropolitan Chrysostom did not want to consecrate bishops for the Old Calendarists. While this can hardly be called “betrayal” – after all, there is no canon which compels a bishop to consecrate other bishops, - it was certainly not the act of a man who believed in the real autocephaly of the Old Calendar Church of Greece.
As for the other bishop who might have assisted in the consecrations,
Bishop Germanus of the Cyclades, he was in prison for ordaining priests – but
would hardly have assisted Matthew in any case, since even before his release
from prison he had come to believe that Metropolitan Chrysostom had returned to
the Orthodox confession of 1935. For, in a pastoral letter dated
“Although Bishop Matthew’s integrity, personal virtue and asceticism were admitted by all,” write the monks Holy Transfiguration Monastery, “his course of action only widened the division between the ‘Matthewites’ and ‘Florinites’.
“The ‘Florinites’ and the ‘Matthewites’ made many attempts at reconciliation, but all were unsuccessful. Stavros Karamitsos, a theologian and author of the book, The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, describes as an eye-witness the two instances in which Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina personally attempted to meet with Bishop Matthew. Unfortunately, on both occasions – the first, which had been planned to take place on January 19, 1950, at the Matthewite Convent in Keratea at the invitation of [the Matthewite] Bishop Spirydon of Trimythus, and the second, which actually did take place at the Athens Metochion of the Keratea Convent – the abbess and senior nuns of that convent, at the prompting of the Matthewite protopresbyter Eugene Tombros, intervened and would not allow Metropolitan Chrysostom to speak with Bishop Matthew. On the second occasion, in May of 1950, when Bishop Matthew was on his deathbed and had been unconscious for three days, Metropolitan Chrysostom arrived at Bishop Matthew’s quarters and approached his bedside. Standing at his side, Metropolitan Chrysostom bowed down and quietly asked him, ‘My holy brother, how are you feeling?’ To the astonishment of all present, Bishop Matthew regained consciousness and opened his eyes. When he saw the Metropolitan, he sought to sit up out of deference and began to whisper something faintly. At that very moment, the Abbess Mariam of the Convent of Keratea entered the room with several other sisters and demanded that all the visitors leave. Only a few days later, on May 14[/27], 1950, Bishop Matthew died.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
“Therefore no new calendarist must be received into the bosom of our
“We take this opportunity to address a last appeal to all the True Orthodox Christians, calling on them in a paternal manner to come into union with us, which would further our sacred struggle for patristic piety and would satisfy our fervent desire.
“In calling on you, we remove the scandals which have been created by us through our fault, and to that end recall and retract everything written and said by us since 1937, whether in announcements, clarifications, publications or encyclicals, which was contrary and opposed to the Principles of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ and the sacred struggle for Orthodoxy conducted by us, as proclaimed in the encyclical published by the Holy Synod in 1935, without any addition or subtraction, and including the scientific definition ‘Potentiality and Actuality’.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
This humble and thoroughly Orthodox
statement persuaded a large number of Matthewites to rejoin Metropolitan
Chrysostom. However, it did not satisfy the Matthewite hardliners. What
disappointed them was that while Chrysostom returned to the 1935 Confession and
admitted his guilt in the intervening years, he did not also confess that he
was a schismatic and turn to the Matthewites to be readmitted into the Church,
but rather called on them to be reunited with him. In any case, they did not
want to be subject to a hierarch who refused to act as the head of an
However, Chrysostom was not a schismatic. He had not returned to the new
calendarists, nor had he been tried or defrocked by any canonical Synod. And he
still retained the support of the majority of the bishops and clergy, 850
parishes and about a million laypeople.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Although he had wavered on the question of grace, this was neither heresy nor
schism, and certainly not automatic apostasy. For, as Metropolitan Macarius
Not every division in the Church constitutes a full-blown schism leading to the loss of sacramental grace of one of the parties. The Apostle Paul speaks of “quarrels” and “differences of opinion” within the one Church of the Corinthians (I Corinthians 1.10-14, 11.19). St. John Chrysostom says that these quarrels took place “not because of difference in faith, but from disagreement in spirit out of human vanity”.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Blessed Theodoretus of Cyr agrees with this.
Again, Protopriest Michael Pomazansky writes: “The unity of the Church is not violated because of temporary divisions of a non-dogmatic nature. Differences between Churches arise frequently out of insufficient or incorrect information. Also, sometimes a temporary breaking of communion is caused by the personal errors of individual hierarchs who stand at the head of one or another local Church; or it is caused by their violation of the canons of the Church, of by the violation of the submission of one territorial ecclesiastical group to another in accordance with anciently established tradition. Moreover, life shows us the possibility of disturbances within a local Church which hinder the normal communion of other Churches with the given local Church until the outward manifestation and triumph of the defenders of authentic Orthodox truth. Finally, the bond between Churches can sometimes be violated for a long time by political conditions, as has often happened in history. In such cases, the division touches only outward relations, but does not touch or violate inward spiritual unity.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The extreme Matthewite position leads to the following reductio ad
absurdum. Let us suppose that Chrysostom was automatically defrocked in 1937
for calling schismatics Orthodox. It follows that all the bishops in the
history of the Orthodox Church who transgressed in the same way were also
automatically defrocked. Therefore Metropolitan Dorotheus and the Synod of the
Ecumenical Patriarchate were also automatically defrocked in 1920 for embracing
the western heretics. Moreover, all those who remained in communion with
Dorotheus were also automatically defrocked. But that included the Eastern
Patriarchs, the Patriarchs of
In any case, the new calendarists made no distinction between “Florinites” and “Matthewites” in their determination to wipe out the True Orthodox. In June, 1950 Archbishop Spyridon Vlachos wrote to the Greek government that the Old Calendar movement was a form of pan-Slavism more dangerous to the nation even than communism! This was followed by a fierce persecution of the Old Calendarists, both Florinites and Matthewites.
This community in persecution for the sake of the truth is a powerful
argument in favour of the belief that both factions communed of the True Body
and Blood of Christ. Thus on being asked which faction he belonged to,
Hieromonk Jerome of
The renewal of persecution against the
“The above plan was put into immediate effect. In a short while, the
basement of the Archdiocese in
“The eighty-one-year-old Metropolitan Chrysostom was arrested in
February, 1951, and after repeated attempts to change his views, was exiled to
the Monastery of St. John in
“Passion Week of 1952 saw fearful scenes of impiety perpetrated on the
TOC, but it was rapidly becoming clear to all that the persecution was
producing merely public disorder and complaint, and was achieving nothing in
the way of ‘re-uniting’ the Faithful to the State Church; indeed, rather the
opposite. Finally, in June, 1952, through the intervention of the new Prime
Minister, Plastiras, Metropolitan Chrysostom and the other Bishops were
released. Slowly the pressure was relaxed, much aided by the constant protests
of Patriarch Christopher of Alexandria, a supporter of the Old Calendarists
from the beginning, and eventually two Churches were permitted to function in
the city of
It is perhaps no accident that the persecutions against the True
By 1949, however, the communist threat had receded and
In this period, unfortunately, Metropolitan Chrysostom again wavered in relation to the new calendarists. On December 11, 1950 he declared in the newspaper Vradini (Evening) that the Old Calendarists were “a living artery through which clean Orthodox blood flowed into the heart of the Church”, and that the Old Calendarists had condemned the State Church as schismatic only because the State Church had done the same to them (in 1926). And in the same month he declared in the official organ of the Church, I Foni Orthodoxias (The Voice of Orthodoxy): “In spite of the cruel persecution that the innovating Church has organized against us, we avoided, at the beginning out of respect for the significance of the Church, to pronounce her schismatic in an ecclesiastical encyclical, at the same time that she declared us to be schismatics in court, condemning our bishops of Megara and Diauleia, in order to justify their decision to depose them. But when we saw that the ruling Synod had decided, contrary to all the holy canons and the age-old practice of the Church, to consider the sacraments of us, the true Orthodox, to be invalid, then we, too, in defence issued this encyclical, so as to calm the troubled conscience of our flock, and not for the sake of acquiring the property of the monastery in Keratea…”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In March, 1951 the Greek Minister of Internal Affairs Bakopoulos issued
the following statement concerning the negotiations between Metropolitan
Chrysostom and the newcalendarist Archbishop Spirydon: “The negotiations… are
going well and have reached the point that the former Bishop of Florina has
completely recognized his error… The official Church has exceeded all limits in
the concessions it has made. In time it would have rehabilitated the Old
Calendar bishops, and ordained their priests… and recognized the sacraments
accomplished by them as valid, and churches would have been offered for those
who would want to celebrate according to the old calendar. Both the former
Bishop of Florina and the other bishops (Germanos of the
One of the conditions of union with the official Church was the commemoration of the newcalendarist Archbishop Spirydon, on which Metropolitan Chrysostom commented: ‘Oldcalendarism in its essence is an invincibly strengthened protest… The only power which could review this protest and bring a final decision for or against the calendar innovation is a Pan-Orthodox Council… Our movement is not being stubborn… Our opinions differ from those of the leadership of the Autocephalous Church of Greece… The second reason for the failure is the strange and imprudent hastiness of the competent people to force any kind of decision on us. Thus they suggested that within three or six days the Old Calendarists should agree to commemorate the new calendarist metropolitan in their churches. We, for brevity’s sake, will omit all the other reasons which the making of this suggestion made unacceptable, and ask the Greek people: how is it possible for an Old Calendarist to change his psychological presuppositions so quickly as to consider as his president the metropolitan whom to this day he has considered to be his real enemy and persecutor, and from whom he has suffered much? We, at any rate, have not found this magic wand…”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Metropolitan Chrysostom’s inconsistencies could not fail to undermine
the determination of his fellow bishops; and although Bishop Germanos of the
“As a result of this, Chrysostom of Florina remained alone as the head
of the larger group of the True Orthodox Church until his death. Several
candidates for the episcopacy were presented to him. Bishop Nikolaj
(Velimirovič) of the
“The death of the Metropolitan, which occurred on the Feast of the
Nativity of the Mother of God, September 7, 1955 (old style), again permits us
to glimpse his sanctity behind the veil of great modesty and privacy which he
always maintained in his contacts even with his closest assistants. The Bishop,
foreseeing his death, summoned his confessor, the Athonite Archimandrite John,
on the night before, and made an hour-long general confession. Returning home
that evening, he instructed his attendant to spread his bed with new white
sheets and coverings. In the morning he was found with his hands crossed on his
chest, reposed in the Lord, with no sign of illness. His will reveals that he
had no money or possessions to dispose of. The funeral, held in the Church of
the Transfiguration at Kypselli, Athens, was attended by tens of thousands who
came in grief to venerate the body of their leader, which according to
Byzantine tradition was seated in the center of the Church during the funeral;
afterwards, the police had to drive back the crowds to permit the body to be
taken to the place of burial, the Dormition Convent on Mount Parnes. By a
curious coincidence, the bells of all the Churches in
In spite of his inconsistencies Metropolitan Chrysostom never entered into communion with the new calendarists. And there are other proofs of his Orthodoxy. Thus Abbess Euthymia of the Dormition Convent writes: “When we buried the ever-memorable hierarch Chrysostom, since he was buried in our Monastery, the whole place was fragrant and the builders who were building the foundation of the church came down from there and asked our elder: ‘Father, what is this fragrance which we can smell where we’re working?’ And they saw the exhumation and understood. I was the one who washed the bones of his Beatitude, and my hands were fragrant the whole night. And this fragrance was perceptible in our Monastery for forty days.
“One nun who had been in the Monastery since the age of seven… said that she had not been baptized… When the Bishop of Florina fell asleep, she sat for forty days at his tomb and besought him to enlighten the elder to baptize her. Then in her sleep she saw him sitting on a throne, and he told her that she was unbaptized and that the elder should look at the holy Rudder. And indeed they found that when there are doubts people should be baptized. And there was a consumptive girl who came and took some oil from the lamp of the tomb and smeared her breast with it and was healed.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
If asked to summarise the discords between the bishops in this period, we could do no better than turn to the words of the Athonite Elder Damascene, who shared a cell with Bishop Matthew in the 1920s but joined the “Florinites” in 1982: “The three ever-memorable Hierarchs Chrysostom of Florina, Germanus of the Cyclades and Matthew of Bresthena struggled for the traditions of the Fathers. But as men wearing flesh and living in the world they fell into error while in this life. However, the three finished their lives in the good Confession and passed away in repentance. And if someone wishes to represent one or other of the three as having been quite without reproach, and that he alone held the truth without any deviation, that man is, in the words of the divine Chrysostom, an erring scoffer, a deceiver and a base flatterer. That is, when he praises everything, both the good and the bad.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Some words are appropriate here on the Church in
The centre of resistance to the innovation was the ancient monastery of
Stavrovouni, where Hieromonk Cyprian and a few disciples continued to follow
the Orthodox Calendar even after the abbot accepted the innovation. In 1944,
these monks were expelled from Stavrovouni, scattered round the island and
founded some hermitages which later became monasteries. In 1946 Bishop Matthew
sent five monks to
Galactotrophousa monastery, near Larnaka, was the first monastery of the True Orthodox and had been built at the direct command of the Mother of God. Monk Paul of Cyprus tells the story: “When the monastery was being built – in a poor way, like all the monasteries of the True Orthodox Christians, with mud bricks and straw – one of the monk-builders, a pious and very simple man, but ‘a bird of passage’, was thinking of going elsewhere. While he was relaxing under a tree at , the All Holy [Mother of God] appeared to him in majesty, as he told the story, and said: ‘Don’t go.’ He said to her: ‘Why are you standing in the sun? Go into the shade.’ But she said to him again: ‘Stay and build a church and cells for me, and I will bring my treasures here and will live here because they are persecuting me from all sides with their new calendar.’ And then she disappeared.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Spyridon, after only nine months on
As regards the new
In 1950 the new metropolitan became Archbishop Macarius III, who also became the head of the Cypriot government. In September, 1952 began a struggle for national liberation from the British. In 1959 independence for the island was achieved, although the British remained in possession of some military bases.
The Cult of Stalin
While chastising the West for its political sins, the Moscow
Patriarchate continued to glorify Stalin in the most shameful way, having truly
And yet Stalin never changed his basic hostility to the Church. In 1947 he wrote to Suslov: “Do not forget about atheistic propaganda among the people”. And the bloodletting in the camps continued…<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Together with the cult of Stalin went the enthusiastic acceptance of communist ideology and studied refusal to contemplate the vast scale of its blasphemies and cruelties. Thus just after the war the MP expressed itself as follows concerning the elections to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR: “On this day in all the cathedrals, churches and monasteries of our country there will be offered the bloodless Sacrifice, whose beginning was laid by Him Who brought into the world the ideas of love, justice and equality. Deeply moved church-servers will come out onto the ambons and bless their children to hurry from the churches to the voting urns. They will bless them to cast their votes for the candidates of the bloc of communists… They themselves will cast their votes… The ideal of such a person is – Stalin…”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
However, the apotheosis of the Moscow Patriarchate’s cult of Stalin came
on the occasion of his birthday in 1949, when a “Greeting to the Leader of the
peoples of the
In response to the MP’s description of Stalin as “the chosen one of the Lord, who leads our fatherland to prosperity and glory”, Metropolitan Anastasy, first-hierarch of ROCOR, wrote that this was the point “where the subservience of man borders already on blasphemy. Really – can one tolerate that a person stained with blood from head to foot, covered with crimes like leprosy and poisoned deeply with the poison of godlessness, should be named ‘the chosen of the Lord’, could be destined to lead our homeland ‘to prosperity and glory’? Does this not amount to casting slander and abuse on God the Most High Himself, Who, in such a case, would be responsible for all the evil that has been going on already for many years in our land ruled by the Bolsheviks headed by Stalin? The atom bomb, and all the other destructive means invented by modern technology, are indeed less dangerous than the moral disintegration which the highest representatives of the civil and church authorities have put into the Russian soul by their example. The breaking of the atom brings with it only physical devastation and destruction, whereas the corruption of the mind, heart and will entails the spiritual death of a whole nation, after which there is no resurrection.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Although the evidence is very meagre, and needs confirmation from other
sources, it appears that the
Patriarch Athenagoras of
In 1949 there flew into Constantinople – on President Truman’s personal
plane, “Air Force One” – the second Meletius Metaxakis, the former Archbishop
of North and South America Athenagoras, who in 1919 had been appointed
secretary of the Holy Synod of the
In his enthronement speech he went far beyond the bounds of the impious masonic encyclical of 1920 and proclaimed the dogma of ‘Pan-religion’, declaring: “We are in error and sin if we think that the Orthodox Faith came down from heaven and that the other dogmas [i.e. religions] are unworthy. Three hundred million men have chosen Mohammedanism as the way to God and further hundreds of millions are Protestants, Catholics and Buddhists. The aim of every religion is to make man better.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
This astonishing apostasy from the Orthodox Faith roused hardly a murmur of protest from the autocephalous Orthodox Churches…
On February 6, 1952 Patriarch Athenagoras wrote to all the Local Churches, mendaciously trying to convince them that membership of the WCC was not incompatible with Orthodoxy: “In accordance with its constitution, the WCC is trying only to unite the common actions of the churches, so as to develop cooperation in the study of the faith in a Christian spirit, in order to strengthen ecumenical thinking among the members of all the churches, and support a wider spreading of the Gospel, and finally to preserve, raise and regenerate spiritual values for humanity within the limits of general Christian standards… We, the members of the Orthodox Church, must take part in this common-Christian movement because it is our duty to share with our heterodox brothers the wealth of our faith, Divine services and Typicon, and our spiritual and ascetic experience…”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In accordance with this instruction, the Orthodox delegates to the Faith and Order conference in Lund in 1952 declared: “We have come here not in order to condemn the other Churches, but to help them see the truth, in a fraternal way to enlighten their thoughts and explain to them the teaching of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, that is, the Greek Orthodox Church, which has been preserved without change since apostolic times.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
This supposed justification of the ecumenical movement – missionary work
among the heterodox – has been repeated many times to the present day. But
participation in such ecumenical organizations as the WCC not only has not
helped Orthodox missionary work: it has quenched it. A clear proof of this was
the statement of all the heads of the Local Orthodox Churches in
The Orthodox ecumenists seemed to forget that one cannot hold the fire of heresy in one’s bosom and not be burned, and that the Protestants could use the ecumenical movement for their own missionary work among the Orthodox … Thus 1955 the Faith and Order Working Committee of the WCC proposed an Orthodox consultation with the ultimate aim that, as Dr. M. Spinka put it, “at some future time of the hoped-for spiritual ‘Big Thaw’, when these communions have had a chance to think it over in a repentant or chastened mood, they might perhaps join us!”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> In other words, the Orthodox had to “repent” of their insistence that the Orthodox Church is the Church, in order to become worthy of entering the new pseudo-Church with the Protestants!
Nevertheless, until the late 1950s, the
participation of the Orthodox Churches in the ecumenical movement was hesitant
and strained. Athenagoras himself, contrary to his later practice, put
restrictions on Orthodox participation in his 1952 encyclical: “Orthodox clergy
must refrain from joint concelebrations with non-Orthodox, since this is
contrary to the canons, and blunts consciousness of the Orthodox confession of
Again, at the Second General Assembly at
The Orthodox Churches were restrained especially by the fear that the Western Christians would use the ecumenical movement to achieve by peaceful means what they had failed to achieve by force (for example, in Serbia in 1941). In the case of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the fear of losing the holy places to the Catholics and Protestants played an important role. And so widespread and whole-hearted participation of the Orthodox in the ecumenical movement had to wait until, on the one hand, the KGB masters of the East European Churches decided that their vassals’ participation in the movement was in the interests of world communism, and on the other, the Catholics themselves began to recognize the Orthodox as “equal partners” in the Second Vatican Council (1959-1964).<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Towards the end of the 1950s Athenagoras
began to make feelers towards
In April, 1961, Archbishop James began to develop a new theology of ecumenism, declaring: “We have tried to rend the seamless robe of the Lord – and then we cast ‘arguments’ and ‘pseudo-documents’ to prove – that ours is the Christ, and ours is the Church… Living together and praying together without any walls of partition raised, either by racial or religious prejudices, is the only way that can lead surely to unity.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> What could these “pseudo-documents” and “religious prejudices” have been if not the sacred Canons which forbid the Orthodox from praying together with heretics?
In April, 1963, Archbishop James said: “It would be utterly foolish for the true believer to pretend or to insist that the whole truth has been revealed only to them, and they alone possess it. Such a claim would be both unbiblical and untheological… Christ did not specify the date nor the place that the Church would suddenly take full possession of the truth.”
This statement, which more or less denied that the Church is, as the
Apostle Paul said, “the pillar and ground of the Truth” (I Timothy.
3.15), caused uproar in
From this time on, the two Masons went steadily ahead making ever more flagrantly anti-Orthodox statements. As we shall see, there was some opposition from more conservative elements in the autocephalous Churches. But the opposition was never large or determined enough to stop them…
At a meeting of the Faith and Order movement in
At the Second Pan-Orthodox Conference in
By this time the Orthodox had ceased to issue separate statements at ecumenical meetings outlining the ways in which the Orthodox disagreed with the majority Protestant view. “As Father Georges [Florovsky] put it, American Protestants were not alone in seeking within the World Council to stress common elements and to discount the issues that divide. There were also respected Orthodox leaders under the sway of the spirit of adjustment. Certainly on the Russian side there were roots for another approach. As Alexander Schmemann has said of the development of Russian theology in the emigration, in the 1920s and 1930s there had arisen
“‘Two different approaches to the very phenomenon of the Ecumenical Movement and to the nature of Orthodox participation in it. On the one hand we find theologians who acknowledge the Ecumenical Movement as, in a way, an ontologically new phenomenon in Christian history requiring a deep rethinking and re-examination of Orthodox ecclesiology as shaped during the “non-ecumenical” era. Representative names here are those of Sergius Bulgakov, Leo Zander, Nicholas Zernov, and Pavel Evdokimov. This tendency is opposed by those who, without denying the need for ecumenical dialogue and defending the necessity of Orthodox participation in the Ecumenical Movement, reject the very possibility of any ecclesiastical revision or adjustment and who view the Ecumenical Movement mainly as a possibility for an Orthodox witness to the West. This tendency finds its most articulate expression in the writing of Florovsky.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Vatican II opened the floodgates to Ecumenism in the western world in a
way that was to influence the Orthodox, too, and was to carry them beyond
questions of strictly inter-Christian reunification and into the realm of “super-ecumenism”.
Thus Malachi Martin writes: “Before the end of the fourth and final session of
Vatican II – presided over by Pope John’s successor, Paul VI – some bishops and
far it had been the Ecumenical Patriarchate that had made the running in
ecumenism among the Orthodox. However, in 1959 the MP sent its representative,
Metropolitan Nicholas of Krutitsa, to the Orthodox consultation proposed by the
Faith and Order Committee near
change of mind was partly the result of the fact that, as Fr. Georges Florovsky
lamented, from the time of the
We have seen that, as late as the
so on May 13 Metropolitan Nicholas asserted that “in the last ten years, thanks
to the participation of some Orthodox Churches and the non-participation of
others in the ecumenical movement, significant changes have taken place
witnessing to its evolution towards churchness [tserkovnosti]. Very
indicative in this respect have been huge movements in the sphere of German
Protestant theology revealing the mystical depths of Orthodoxy and overcoming
its traditional rationalism… On coming into contact with our ecclesiastical
life, many actors in the ecumenical movement have completely changed their idea
of Orthodoxy… Evidently approving of the declaration of the Orthodox
participants in the
In 1959, as a sign of the changing times, the MP joined the European
Conference of Churches as a founding member… Then, on
The “suggestion” was accepted, and Metropolitan Nicholas was retired on
June 21. In July, he asked Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein) of
Some believe that Metropolitan Nicholas was removed because in 1959 KGB defector Major Peter Deriabin had exposed him before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee as a KGB agent<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, and so he had to be replaced. There is no doubt that he was an agent, as we have seen; but it also appears likely that he sincerely wanted to protect the Church. In any case, his career is yet another illustration of the Lord’s words that one cannot serve two masters, God and Mammon…
The new foreign relations supremo turned out to be Bishop Nicodemus (Rotov), who was born in 1929, made priest at the extraordinarily young age of 20, and Bishop of Podolsk on July 10, 1960, at the age of 31.
Fr. Sergius continues: “The personality of Archimandrite Nicodemus
(Rotov), later Metropolitan of
Certainly, a new anti-ecclesiastical policy, the so-called “Khruschev persecution” was in the making (see next section), and therefore needed masking.
In November-December, 1960 Patriarchs Alexis and Athenagoras met in Constantinople, and discussed questions related to the Second Vatican Council After their meeting Bishop Nicodemus, now president of the MP’s Department of External Relations, gave a press conference at which he said: “The Russian Church has no intention to take part in the Council, since the union between Orthodoxy and Catholicism cannot take place unless the Vatican renounces from the beginning certain principles – for example, the infallibility of the Pope; and unless it accepts the dogmatic reforms accomplished in the Orthodox Church.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
On March 30, 1961 the MP Synod resolved “to consider the entry of the Russian Orthodox Church into the World Council of Churches to be timely, and to ask his Holiness the Patriarch to send a letter to the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches declaring the desire of the Russian Orthodox Church to become a member of the World Council of Churches.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
From September 24 to October 1 the Orthodox Churches in the WCC met on
Also discussed was a catalogue of topics for a future Pan-Orthodox Council. The MP tried hard to ensure that no topic that might prove embarrassing to the Soviet government was included. For, as Gordienko and Novikov write, “in the course of the debate on the catalogue, the Moscow Patriarchate’s delegation [led by Nicodemus] suggested the removal of some of the subjects (The Development of Internal and External Missionary Work, The Methods of Fighting Atheism and False Doctrines Like Theosophy, Spiritism, Freemasonry, etc.) and the addition of some others (Cooperation between the Local Orthodox Churches in the Realisation of the Christian Ideas of Peace, Fraternity and Love among Peoples, Orthodoxy and Racial Discrimination, Orthodoxy and the Tasks of Christians in Regions of Rapid Social Change)… Besides working out the topics for the future Pre-Council, the First Conference passed the decision ‘On the Study of Ways for Achieving Closer Contacts and Unity of Churches in a Pan-Orthodox Perspective’, envisaging the search for contacts with Ancient Eastern (non-Chalcedonian) Churches (Monophysites), the Old Catholic, Anglican, Catholic, and Protestant Churches, as well as the World Council of Churches.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In other words, the Orthodox were to abandon the struggle against Atheism, Freemasonry and other false religions, and were to engage in dialogue towards union with all the Christian heretics – while at the same time persecuting the True Orthodox and using ecumenical forums to further the ends of Soviet foreign policy in its struggle with the Capitalist West!<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The argument used by Nicodemus for removing atheism from the agenda was
that discussion of this question might elicit persecution against the Church in
In November, 1961 Archbishop Nicodemus, accompanied by Bishop Anthony
(Bloom) of Sourozh, the future Patriarch Alexis (Ridiger) and “a Russian
government courier who is responsible for their comfort and all their expenses”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, went
The KGB-enforced entry of the MP into the
WCC, which was followed by the entry of the
Orthodox delegates at
During this Congress, Nicodemus announced that the
However, in September-October, at the Second Pan-Orthodox Conference on
The arrival of Russian Orthodox observers at the Council produced
consternation in French Catholic circles, which accused the
Why did the
This at first sight unlikely hypothesis gains credibility from the
career of Fr. Michael Havryliv, a Russian priest who was secretly received into
the Catholic Church in 1973. Fr. Serge Keleher writes: “The Capuchin priest
told Havryliv that Metropolitan Nicodemus [of
“In 1977 Havryliv was reassigned to the Moscow Patriarchate’s
archdiocese of L’viv and Ternopil… In Havryliv’s final interview with Kyr
Nicodemus, the Metropolitan of Leningrad ‘blessed me and gave me instructions
to keep my Catholic convictions and do everything possible for the growth of the
Catholic cause, not only in
This proved that beneath the “eirenic” ecumenical activities of the
we have seen, one of the aims of the MP’s entry into the WCC was to mask a new
persecution against the MP inside the
Until the death of Stalin, while True Orthodoxy was persecuted as
violently as ever, “Soviet Orthodoxy” enjoyed a comparatively peaceful period.
However, in November the Central Committee began to change course again,
in 1955 the number of registered churches began to rise, and in 1956 a
print-run of 50,000 Bibles was permitted.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Then
came Khruschev’s famous speech to the 20th Congress of the Communist
Party in 1956, at which the cult of the personality of Stalin was condemned.
Soon thousands of people who had been condemned for their religious or
political beliefs were returning from the camps, including 293 clergy of the MP
and unknown number from the
In November and December a massive purge of Church libraries was carried out; many books were removed, and all foreign literature was placed under censorship. On November 28, the Central Committee accepted a resolution “On Measures to stop pilgrimages to so-called ‘holy places’.” Various methods were used to stop pilgrims visiting 700 such places. In 1958 91 church communities were deprived of registration; the tolling of bells was forbidden; hierarchs were deprived of their telephones, churches were cut off from the water system, repairs were forbidden.
In January, 1959, at a closed session of the Council for the Affairs of the
Russian Orthodox Church, the president, G. Karpov was attacked by I. Sivenkov
for having been “too soft” in relation to the Church. In March Karpov, having
recovered from illness, counter-attacked. He declared: “Out of the 14
autocephalous Orthodox Churches in the world 9 completely support the
initiatives of the
Nevertheless, by November, thirteen monasteries had been closed, and another seventeen by January, 1960. In spite of a prior agreement between the patriarch and the Council for Religious Affairs, some communities were closed, not gradually, but almost immediately – sometimes within 24 hours. In this period about 200 clergy were compelled by various means to renounce their rank.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Another aspect of the Khruschev persecution (so called because he was the chief inspirer and strategist of it) was the infiltration of agents into the ranks of the Church. Anatoly Golitsyn, who defected from the KGB in 1961, writes: “As part of the programme to destroy religion from within, the KGB, in the late 1950s, started sending dedicated young Communists to ecclesiastical academies and seminaries to train them as future church leaders. These young Communists joined the Church, not at the call of their consciences to serve God, but at the call of the Communist Party in order to serve that Party and to implement its general in the struggle against religion.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> As regards the ordinary priests, Fr. Alexander Borisov writes: “Almost everyone was recruited into the KGB. I myself was recruited, and I know that our other priest, Fr. Vladimir, was also recruited. I think those who say they were not recruited are deceiving us… After all, in earlier times one could not become a bishop without making some compromise, it was simply impossible…”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Schema-Monk Epiphanius (Chernov) recounts the following story about a
communist party member and his wife, who was secretly a member of the
“’So you have firmly decided to baptise the child?’
“’Yes, of course!’
“Well, that’s your affair. Only I would like to introduce into this matter a certain correction or rationalisation.’
“’Please, I’m listening.’
“’Well, here it is. Tell me, please, have you saved an extra seven rubles which you’re intending to give our ‘pope’ or ‘priest’? If they are extra, give them to me, and I will drink them away, and I’ll baptise the child for you… Tell me, what’s the difference: either he’ll drink them away, or I will. He and I are absolutely the same. And we sit next to each other at party gatherings…. Whether you give the child to him to be baptised or to me, we are both atheists. So it would be better and more humane for you to give the seven rubles to your atheist husband that to an atheist stranger. And listen: your husband is more righteous and decent that that atheist. After all, he pretends to be a believer. But he’s an atheist! Moreover, he pretends so much that he’s even become a priest! While I, honourably and in the sight of all, am an atheist! But I can baptise our child with the same effect as he… Well, tell me, have I convinced you?’”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
While Patriarch Alexis and Metropolitan Nicholas protested against the persecution, they remained completely loyal to Soviet power. Thus in January, 1960, Karpov wrote to the Central Committee: “The patriarch is completely loyal with regards to the authorities, always and not only in official declarations, but also in his entourage he speaks sincerely and with exaltation about the government and Comrade Khruschev. The patriarch does not pay enough attention to work abroad, but even here he accepts all our recommendations…”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Meanwhile, the pressure on the MP was
As Victor Aksyuchits writes, this “reform” “presented them with new possibilities for destroying the organism of the Church from within. The priests were completely separated from the economic and financial administration of the parishes, and were only hired by agreement as ‘servants of the cult’ for ‘the satisfaction of religious needs’. The diocesan organs of administration of the life of the parishes were suspended… Now the atheist authorities not only carried out the ‘registration’ of the priests and ‘the executive organs’, but also took complete control of the economy and finances of the parishes, appointing the wardens and treasurers, and using all their rights, naturally, to promote the atheists’ aim of destroying the Church.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
that the July Council might oppose this “reform”, the authorities did not
invite to the Council three hierarchs who had expressed themselves against it.
Most of the hierarchs were invited, not to a Council, but to a celebration in
honour of St. Sergius, and were amazed to learn that a Council was about to be
Archbishop Hermogen of
Meanwhile, in the single year of 1961,
1500 churches were closed in the
The Passportless Movement
By the beginning of the 1960s, the pressure on the
The relaxation of pressure from the patriarchate was almost certainly a
result of the fact that the patriarchate was now the object of persecution
itself. Although the numbers of believers killed and imprisoned was only a
fraction of the numbers in earlier persecutions, the Khrushchev persecution of
1959-64 closed some thousands of patriarchal churches and forced many
patriarchal priests to serve illegally. These “pseudo-catacombs” did not merge
However, another government measure of this period served to
swell the numbers of the True Orthodox Church considerably. In 1961 new
legislation against secret Christians was passed, of which the most important
was the legislation on passports. Now passportisation had been introduced into
Catacomb hierarchs did not bless their spiritual children to take passports because in filling in the forms the social origins and record of Christians was revealed, making them liable to persecution.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Some Catacomb leaders, such as Schema-Abbess Michaela of the underground Kiev Stavropegial monastery, sent her nuns out to convince people that the passport was the seal of the Antichrist. Many Catacomb Christians refused passports and lived illegally without passports of registration, not wishing to declare themselves citizens of the antichristian kingdom.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In the 1930s the peasants had not been given passports but were chained
to the land which they worked. They were herded into the collective farms and
forced to do various things against their conscience, such as vote for the
communist officials who had destroyed their way of life and their churches.
Those who refused to do this – refusals were particularly common in the
E.A. Petrova writes: “Protests against general passportisation arose
among Christians throughout the vast country. A huge number of secret
Christians who had passports began to reject, destroy and burn them and loudly,
for all to hear, renounce Soviet citizenship. Many Christians from the patriarchal
church also gave in their passports. There were cases in which as many as 200
people at one time went up to the local soviet and gave in their passports. In
one day the whole of a Christian community near
“Christians who renounced their Soviet passports began to be seized,
imprisoned and exiled. But in spite of these repressions the movement of the
passportless Christians grew and became stronger. It was precisely in these
years that the
In the 1970s the detailed questionnaires required in order to receive
passports were abandoned, but in 1974 it was made obligatory for all Soviet
citizens to have a passport, and a new, red passport differing significantly
from the old, green one was issued for everyone except prisoners and the
hospitalized. Its cover had the words: “Passport of a citizen of the
The issue of passports is of greater theological and practical
importance than might at first appear. In essence it comes down to the question
After the repose of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina, on
The Florinites finally succeeded in re-establishing their hierarchy
through ROCOR. The story was as follows. The first approach to the Russians was
made by Archimandrites Acacius Pappas (the nephew of Acacius the elder) and
Chrysostom Kiousis. They travelled to
Nun Vassa writes that “at the Council of 1959, following the opinion of Metropolitan
Anastasy, the Council decided to once again decline the request of the Old
Calendarists. While considering this matter, the opinion was expressed that
through the principle of oikonomia, they
could help their Greek brethren. Metropolitan Anastasy rejected this oikonomia,
finding that the ordination of a bishop in this instance would not be
constructive but destructive for the Church, first of all because of the
condemnations such an act would invoke among the other
So vital brotherly help to the persecuted Greeks was refused on the grounds that it would irritate the heretics of World Orthodoxy…
In December, 1960 Archimandrite Acacius again arrived at the ROCOR Synod with his nephew, Archimandrite Acacius (the younger), and was again refused. According to the account given to the present author by Acacius the younger, Metropolitan Anastasy refused to participate himself in the consecration of Acacius the elder for fear of upsetting the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but did not discourage the consecration in another city and at the hands of other bishops. According to other sources, however, the metropolitan had insisted that no ROCOR bishop take part in such a consecration.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In any case, on
On returning to
“Archbishop Leontius’ involvement with the Old Calendarists did not end
there. Together with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad’s Bishop Seraphim of
“Later Archbishop Leontius ordained Acacius Douskos a priest in
For some years the ROCOR Synod did not recognize the consecrations
carried out by Archbishops Seraphim and Leontius… But during the ROCOR
Hierarchical Council on November 17/30, 1962, Archbishop Averky of
“We emphasize that we do not recognize Patriarch Alexis, while all the
patriarchs recognize him. We talk about communion with these patriarchs, and
thereby we turn out paradoxically to be in communion with
“He [Vladyka Leontius] carried out a courageous act of assistance to a
fraternal Church, which is now the closest to us in spirit. The Greek Church is
now attacked and persecuted. It was a great mistake that we in our time were
too condescending to the introduction of the new style, for its aim was to
introduce schism into the Orthodox Church. It was the work of the enemies of
At the same session Archbishop John Maximovich noted: “… The Old
Calendarists have been knocking on our doors for six years. The Hierarchical
Council cannot take the decision upon itself, since it recognizes that this is
an internal matter of the Greeks. We must accept Archbishop Leontius’
explanation [that the Greek Church is persecuted in the same way that the
Vladyka John also recalled that in the past century there had been
similar disturbances in the
The Council expressed its regret to Archbishop Leontius with regard to his participation in the consecrations of the bishops for the Greek Old Calendarists. Archbishop Leontius, in his turn, expressed his regret that he had not been able to ask Metropolitan Anastasy.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
After the war, the Romanian Old Calendarists led by Hieromonk Glycerius continued to be fiercely persecuted. Nevertheless, as Metropolitan Cyprian writes, “the work of building churches was begun anew, since all of those formerly built had been demolished. In as short an interval of time, between the end of the war and 1950, almost all of the razed churches, as well as the ruins of the Monastery of Dobru, had been rebuilt. Between 1947 and 1948, the large Monastery of Slatioara (for men) was constructed, along with the monasteries of Bradatel Neamt and Bradatel Suceava (both for women).”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Metropolitan Blaise writes: “In 1947 some people from our village went to Archimandrite Glycerius and said: something like freedom has come. The point was that the communists at first tried to win over the people to their side. They told them that they could come out of the woods and build a monastery. And in 1947 they built the monastery of Slatioara – the spiritual centre of our Church.
“It is difficult to say whether our position got worse under the communists or not. But essentially things remained the same – the persecutions continued. The communists destroyed only eight of our churches – not all of them. They were comparatively moderate.
“Before the war the Church was almost completely annihilated. Before the coming of the communists in 1944 we were accused of being Bolsheviks because we had the same calendar as the ‘Russians’. Under the communists, after 1944, they called us followers of Antonescu, Iron Guardists, fascists, enemies of the people. In fact we took part in no political movements or parties. We entered into agreements neither with the civil authorities, nor with the monarchy, nor with the Iron Guardists, nor with the communists, nor with the Masons…
“1947-52 was a period of comparative freedom. The communist authorities even compelled the official church to return to us the icons, iconostases, bells and church utensils which they had removed. But in 1952, at in the night of February 1st to 2nd, two lorries loaded with security police came to the monastery and arrested almost all the young monks together with the igumen, sparing only the very aged. They were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. Four of them died in camp.
“The next important date in the history of our Church is
Thus was fulfilled a prophetic vision that Hieromonk Glycerius had had during the war, while in a forest being pursued by enemies: “It was night. Before him, he saw a beautiful Church. Metropolitan Galacteon (Cordun)… appeared. Vladyka was holding Icons and a Cross in his hands, and he was giving each believer in the Church an Icon. When he reached the pious Father Glycherie, he gave him the Cross.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
On April 13, Metropolitan Galacteon made a public confession of his
return to the Old Calendar, whereupon he was forcibly detained in the monastery
of St. Callinus of Cernica near
“In November, 1955,” writes Metropolitan Blaise, “Metropolitan Galaction was arrested together with Hieromonk Glycerius. Fr. Glycerius was sentenced to 10 years in the camps, while Metropolitan Galaction was sent to a new calendarist monastery [Caldaruseni], where he was confined in prison. He was abducted from there. My brother – he is now the parish priest Fr. Paul Mogarzan] – came there with another of our believers [George Hincu]. They called themselves agents of the security police and took the metropolitan with them. When, two or three hours later, the patriarch phoned to find out what the metropolitan was doing, they told him that two officers of the security police had taken him. The patriarch shouted: I didn’t send any officers! But the metropolitan was already far away.
“When he had consecrated Bishop Eulogius [Ota] and then with him –
Bishop Methodius, he was again arrested and again abducted.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> After
this, during the night of
After being abducted from captivity, Metropolitan Galaction “returned to Slatioara, where he was so weighed down with his sufferings that he was unable to serve the Divine Liturgy, and died in 1957.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The majority of the clergy who had been ordained were however arrested, and were not finally liberated until the amnesty of 1963, when Ceaucescu came to power. In 1958, the Romanian authorities ordered that all the monks under 60 and all the nuns under 55 should leave their monasteries, but, as always in these cases, the order had to be given through the local Metropolitans. Those of the new calendar complied (with one exception) and thousands of monks and nuns found themselves on the streets after a lifelong in their monasteries; the authorities, however, met with an absolute refusal from Saint Glicherie, who declared himself happy to return to prison rather than betray those under his care. Before this, the authorities bowed, though harassment of the monasteries continued, and several monasteries were closed by force…”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
One of those who suffered at this time was Father (now Bishop)
Demosthenes (Ionita): “In 1957 Metropolitan Glycerius ordained him to the
priesthood. Within a month after his ordination, Fr. Demosthenes went to
“Interrogator: What activity does Glycherius have in this country? What measures does he plan against the Communists?
“Fr. Demosthenes: The Metropolitan teaches us to work, pray, and obey the laws of the state.
“Interrogator: Where are you hiding your guns?
“Fr. Demosthenes: Our guns are our church books.
“Chief Interrogator: Why doesn’t he tell us where the guns are? Hang him!
“At this point Fr. Demosthenes lost consciousness and fell to the floor. When he awoke, he found himself in his cell with a doctor. The doctor asked where he hurt and why he had fallen. Fr. Demosthenes responded, ‘I don’t remember.’ The doctor kicked him and responded, ‘This is our medicine for Old Calendarists who want to kill Communists.’
“Fr. Demosthenes spent the next seven years in concentration camps. His experience could comprise a chapter of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. The prisoners were starved, tortured, and denied any form of comfort. At one point Fr. Demosthenes was so exhausted that he could not even remember the Lord’s Prayer. In 1959 the authorities promised all religious prisoners from his camp freedom if they signed a declaration of apostasy. Out of 2,000 prisoners only 90 agreed to sign. In the prison camp in Salcia, Fr. Demosthenes saw prisoners being trampled by horses as he and others worked on building canals and other projects in the freezing winter. Many years later, Fr. Demosthenes met one of the prison guards of Salcia, who informed him that it was indeed a miracle he had survived, for the guards had orders that no one was to leave that camp alive.
“In 1964 Fr. Demosthenes was freed from prison. When his mother saw him for the first time in seven years, she asked, ‘Why did they release you, did you compromise the faith?’ His mother was relieved to hear that her son had not betrayed the Church; this was her main concern. After three weeks he was again under house arrest. Fr. Demosthenes fled to the forests and lived in hiding for five more years.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
years 1959-64 were years of persecution throughout
Although information is sketchy and hard to verify, it appears that
there was another Old Calendar hierarchy in
ROCOR had already given some help to the
The new bishop immediately set about founding Romanian Orthodox parishes
and uniting the Romanian diaspora on the basis of a strong anti-communist
position. He met King Michael in
After his release, Bishop Victor-Vasile
refused to join the Romanian patriarchate, but instead set off for the
monastery of the Old Calendarists at Slatioara in
Bishop Victor-Vasile now set about
ordaining priests and hierarchs on his own. One of them was called Clement and
another - Cassian. However, his activity was confined to his flat in
ROCOR at the Crossroads
After the war, ROCOR had to face a
difficult problem of self-definition. In her founding Statute or Polozhenie
she had defined herself as that part of the
In this statement there was no official clarification of what ROCOR’s relations with other Local Orthodox Churches in the West were to be, nor precisely who or what constituted the “Mother Church” of Russia, nor who was to be admitted to this All-Russian Council or in what capacity. Nor did any of the ROCOR Councils of the next ten years clarify these matters<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, in spite of the fact that clarification was becoming more and more necessary in view of the ever-increasing deviation of the Local Churches from Orthodoxy.
In view of these ambiguities, it is not surprising that some Catacomb
Christians who had fled to the West felt that a different spirit was reigning in
ROCOR. Thus Professor I.M. Andreyev wrote: “Not only were we ready to die, but
many did die, confident that somewhere there, outside the reach of the
Soviet authorities, where there is freedom – there the Truth was shining
in all its purity. There people were living by it and submitting to it. There
people did not bow down to Antichrist. And what terror overwhelmed me when,
fairly recently, I managed to come abroad and found out that some people here
‘spiritually’ recognise the
Such ambiguities had not created particular problems before the war.
Only with the Ecumenical Patriarchate was there conflict, not so much over the
question of the new calendar as over the EP’s relations with the Russian renovationists
and its “annexation” of large territories formerly belonging to the
However, the triumph of the Soviets in the war dashed the hopes of an
early return to
But in any case, ROCOR showed no sign of wanting to disband its organization and merge with the Local Churches. Thus in 1947 Archbishop Tikhon, the head of the Paris Exarchate, suggested to Metropolitan Anastasy that his Synod come under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, after which he, Tikhon, would enter into submission to ROCOR. Anastasy refused…<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
However, this suspension of normal canonical rules could not continue forever. In fact, there was only one completely canonical way for ROCOR to re-establish her canonical status while preserving the integrity of her flock under Russian bishops: to declare herself the only truly Orthodox jurisdiction in the West in view of the falling away of the Local Churches into the heresies of ecumenism and sergianism. However, the bishops of ROCOR were not prepared to make such a bold step.
The first reason for this was that they did not appreciate how far the
new calendarist churches had departed from True Orthodoxy (they had no contact
with the Greek Old Calendarists, who could have told them), and they still
hoped for support from them and cooperation with them in matters that were of
common concern. And secondly, they feared to repel the tide of Orthodox
Christians fleeing from the communist nightmare in
This was not a dishonourable position, but it did not resolve the
canonical status of ROCOR, and it bore the not inconsiderable danger of
exposing its flock to the winds of false doctrine. Anti-communism was part of a
truly viable Orthodox ideology, but only a part. If it was allowed to assume a
more important role than the struggle against heresy, then ROCOR could well
find herself dissolving into the modernist jurisdictions around it, and even,
eventually, into the MP if the fall of communism in
This problem of self-definition was only partly eased by the transfer of
the administration of ROCOR from
It was at the Hierarchical Council of
October, 1953 that the beginning of a real debate on this subject began to
surface. Metropolitan Anastasy said: “Archbishop John [Maximovich] says that we
have not deviated from the right path pointed out to us by Metropolitan
Anthony. We are a part of the
However, Archbishop Averky, supported by Archbishop Leonty, suggested a sharper, more aggressive posture towards the MP, relating to them as to renovationists. Archbishop John replied that the Synod had recently decided to accept Archimandrite Anthony (Bartoshevich) from the MP in his existing rank. And he recalled, according to protocol ¹ 5 for October 3/16, “that the question of concelebrating with clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate had been discussed at the 1938 Council, and it had been accepted that only Metropolitan Sergius was out of communion.” When Archbishop Averky called the MP “the church of the evil-doers”, Archbishop John replied “that it was important to clarify whether this concerns all those in this Church. Among the rank-and-file hierarchs there are very good men, while a strict examination must be applied to those at the head.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
It has been the argument of this book that
in this point Archbishop Averky was right and Archbishop John, great saint
though he was, was wrong. By 1953 – in fact, by 1945 – the great majority of
the MP hierarchs were ex-renovationists, and “very good” hierarchs must have
been very few and far between. Moreover, the great majority of the confessing
hierarchs of the
As for the necessity of applying a strict examination to those coming
from the MP, this had been dramatically proved by the large number of traitors
who had infiltrated ROCOR since the war. Already during the war, the renovationist
“Bishops” Ignatius (Zhebrovsky) and Nicholas (Avtonomov) had been received, it
appears, with the minimum of formalities, and appointed to the sees of Vienna
and Munich, respectively, before being removed at the insistence of zealous
Again, the former renovationist and leading ROCOR hierarch in Western Europe
during the war, Metropolitan Seraphim (Lyade) of Berlin, secretly petitioned to
be received into the MP “in his existing rank” before his death in 1950 – but
was refused.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Another senior bishop, Metropolitan Seraphim (Lukyanov) of
Stung by these betrayals, on October 14/27, 1953, the Hierarchical Council decreed that “in cases where it is revealed that those who have received their rank from the hierarchy of the MP by the Communists with the intention of preaching in holy orders the Communist principles of atheism, such an ordination is recognized as neither grace-bearing nor legal.”
Again, on November 9, 1959 the Council decreed that “from now on, if clergy of the MP want to enter into the ranks of our Church Abroad: (1) They must be carefully checked to see whether they are conscious agents of the atheist authorities, and if this is discovered, the Hierarchical Synod must be informed. It may not recognize the validity of the ordination of such a person to the sacred rank; (2) In cases where no such doubts arise, he who is petitioning to be received into the clergy of the Church Abroad is to be received through public repentance. Moreover, a penance may be imposed on him as the Diocesan Hierarch sees fit; (3) Such clergy must give a written declaration on their reception in accordance with the form established by the Hierarchical Synod; (4) When laypeople from the flock of the MP are received into the Russian Church Abroad, spiritual fathers must try their conscience with regard to the manner of their actions while they were under the atheist authorities.
The Council confirmed the following text to be signed by those clergy being received into the communion: “I, the undersigned, a former clergyman of the Moscow Patriarchate, ordained to the rank of deacon (by such-and-such a bishop in such-and-such a place at such-and-such a time) and ordained to the rank of presbyter (by such-and-such a bishop bishop in such-and-such a place at such-and-such a time) and having passed through my service (in such-and-such parishes), petition that I be received into the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
“I am sincerely sorry that I was among the clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is in union with the God-fighting authorities.
“I sweep aside all the lawless acts of the
In general, however, the 1953 Council adopted a distinctly liberal attitude towards other Church jurisdiction. Thus in relation to the American Metropolia Metropolitan Anastasy said: “They do not have the fullness of truth, they deviate, but this does not mean that they are without grace. We must maintain objective calm with regard to them. We must strive for such unity on the same fundamental concepts of the Temporary Regulations upon which we stand today. Yet it is fair to say that all unity begins with personal contact: Let us love one another that with one mind we may confess. But we seem to regret that the keenness of jurisdictional quarreling has been dulled. But our goal is unity. Certain boundaries were needed as for disciplinary purposes. Now, when many extremes were abandoned in the American Metropolia, we still sharpen the question and speak of them as heretics with whom we can have no contact. Bishop Nicon said that we are very weak. This is not quite true. But externally, we are weaker than our opponents, who have money and the press on their side. The battlefield is not even. If we elevate the conflict, a very difficult situation will arise."<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
So the metropolitan was advocating retaining contacts and not “elevating the conflict” because the position of ROCOR from an external point of view was weak. This policy could be justified at the time in view of the fact that the Metropolia had not yet been absorbed into the MP. However, ROCOR later abandoned it – when the Metropolia was absorbed into the MP in 1970.
With regard to the Eulogians, Metropolitan Anastasy was also lenient.
Metropolitan Anastasy also said: “Metropolitan Anthony [Khrapovitsky] was guided by this rule of St Basil the Great when he said that he was prepared to accept through the third rite both Catholics and Anglicans. He was of the view that as soon as organic ties to heresy are torn and Orthodoxy is accepted, grace is received, as if an empty vessel were filled with grace. We hold to the principle that we can accept those through the third rite whose thread of succession had not been torn. Even the Armenians, who confess a definite heresy, are accepted in their existing rank. Concerning the Anglicans, the question arose because they themselves are not certain that they have succession. If we accept those who depart from heresy, how can we not accept our own [emphasis mine—NV]? They say that Patriarch Alexy sinned more than his predecessor. Whether he sinned more or less, we cannot deny his ordination. Much is said of their apostasy. But we must be cautious. We can hardly make an outright accusation of apostasy. In no place do they affirm atheism. In their published sermons they attempt to hold to the Orthodox line. They took and continue to take very strict measures with regard to the obnovlentsy, and did not tear their ties with Patriarch Tikhon. The false policy belongs to the church authority and the responsibility for it falls on its leaders. Only heresy adopted by the whole Church tarnishes the whole Church. In this case, the people are not responsible for the behavior of the leaders, and the Church, as such, remains unblemished. No one has the audacity to say that the whole Church is without grace, but insofar as priests had contact with the devious hierarchy, acted against their conscience, repentance is necessary. There can be no discussion of ‘chekists in cassocks.’ They are worse than Simon the Sorcerer. In this regard, in every individual case, one must make a special determination, and, if there is suspicion that a chekist is asking to come to us, we must not accept him.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Anastasy’s extremely liberal attitude towards the reception of Catholics,
Anglicans and Armenians is perhaps excusable in that it reflects the extremely
liberal attitude of the
As regards the
Metropolitan Anastasy’s assertion that the MP took “very strict measures with
regard to the obnovlentsy”, this, unfortunately, was not true. As is
well-known, both the first “patriarchs” of the MP, Sergius and Alexis, were
former renovationists (obnovlentsy), and, far from repenting of their
renovationism, they transformed the MP into an institution that was
“renovationist in essence” (St. Cyril of
In his assertion that “the
false policy [of the MP] belongs to the church authority and the responsibility
for it falls [only] on its leaders”, Metropolitan Anastasy was unfortunately
contradicting the teaching of the Orthodox Church, which considers that lay
Christians are rational sheep who can and must separate from heretical leaders.
Similarly, his assertion that “only heresy adopted by the whole Church
tarnishes the whole Church” would not have been accepted by the hierarchs of
the Ecumenical Councils. If the hierarchy of a Church adopts a heretical or
antichristian policy, then it is the responsibility of all the lower ranks to
rebuke their leaders, and if the rebukes fail, to separate from them because
they are no longer true bishops (15th canon of the First-and-Second
The Metropolia Archbishop John (Shahovskoj) argued that the position of
ROCOR towards the MP in this period was hypocritical insofar as it simultaneously
called the MP apostate and sorrowed over the persecutions in the
In reply, the secretary of the ROCOR Synod, Fr. George Grabbe, replied that while calling the MP “apostate” and even, in some cases, using the word “gracelessness”, ROCOR never, at any of its Synodal sessions, expressed any doubt that the pastors and laymen belonging to the MP who were faithful to God were true pastors. Then, citing examples of the infiltration of agents into the hierarchy of the MP, Fr. George continued: “That is the gracelessness we are talking about! We are talking about those Judases, and not about the few suffering people who are vainly trying to save something, the unfortunate, truly believing pastors”.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Of course, this answer raised more questions than it answered. If all or most of the hierarchy were KGB agents (and this was established beyond doubt in 1992), and therefore graceless, how could the priests whom they ordained and who commemorated them be true priests? And how could the laymen be true laymen if they communicated from false bishops and priests? Is it possible in general to speak about faithful priests and laity commemorating a faithless and apostate bishop?
These questions never received satisfactory answers and continued to give ROCOR’s witness in relation to the MP an ambiguous character for decades to come. Only on one question was ROCOR clear: that it had no communion with the MP Synod. And so it left SCOBA (the Council of Orthodox Bishops of America) in 1956 when the MP became one of its members.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
With regard to the other Churches of World Orthodoxy, a liberal policy
was pursued until the retirement of Metropolitan Anastasy in 1964. Thus ROCOR
hierarchs continued to concelebrate intermittently with both the Greek new
calendarists and with the Serbian and
Thus ROCOR was neither in official communion with World Orthodoxy nor
clearly separated from it: it existed in a kind of canonical limbo, a Church
that consecrated her own chrism but did not claim to be autocephalous, a Church
of almost global jurisdiction but claiming to be part of the
The answer to this question was left deliberately vague. On the one
hand, there was clearly no communion with the hierarchy of the MP, which
was seen to have compromised itself with communism. On the other hand,
communion was said never to have been broken with the suffering people of
In spite of his lack of communion with the MP, Metropolitan Anastasy
appears to have considered it to be the “
In 1957, however, in his last will and testament, Metropolitan Anastasy clearly drew the boundaries as follows: “As regards the Moscow Patriarchate and its hierarchs, then, so long as they continue in close, active and benevolent cooperation with the Soviet Government, which openly professes its complete godlessness and strives to implant atheism in the entire Russian nation, then the Church Abroad, maintaining her purity, must not have any canonical, liturgical, or even simply external communion with them whatsoever, leaving each one of them at the same time to the final judgement of the Sobor of the future free Russian Church…”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
In 1961, moreover, he showed that he had not forgotten the
However, the Epistle of the Hierarchical Council of 1962, while rebuking the atheists, expressed sympathy for the simple believers and even for the simple priests, while the Great-Martyr Great Russian Church was identified with the whole of the church people, including those in the Moscow Patriarchate, but excluding “the small group of clergy having the right to a legal existence”.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> But how could the priests be inside the Church and the people they served outside it? This was ecclesiological nonsense!
This kind of ambiguity in relation to the Church in
Again, he wrote, fully in the spirit of the
This was an inspired definition: dogmatized apostasy. Not simply apostasy in the face of overwhelming external force, “for fear of the Jews”, but dogmatized apostasy – that is, apostasy raised to the level of a dogma. When apostasy is justified in this way, it becomes deeper, more serious and more difficult to cure. It becomes an error of the mind as well as a disease of the will. For it is one thing for a churchman out of weakness to submit himself and his church to the power of the world and of the Antichrist. That is his personal tragedy, and the tragedy of those who follow him, but it is not heresy. It is quite another thing for the same churchman to make the same submission “not for wrath, but for conscience’s sake” (Romans 13.5) – to use the words of the apostle as perverted by Sergius in his declaration. For this shows that the churchman has in fact suppressed his conscience, both his personal conscience and his Church consciousness. This is both heresy and apostasy.
However, at another time Archbishop Vitaly said that the Providence of God had placed before ROCOR the duty “of not tearing herself away from the basic massif, the body, the root of the Mother Church: in the depths of this massif, which is now only suffocated by the weight of Bolshevism, the spiritual treasures of Her millennial exploit are even now preserved. But we must not recognise Her contemporary official leaders, who have become the obedient instrument of the godless authorities.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
As V.K. justly comments: “In these words is contained a manifest incongruity. How did Archbishop Vitaly want, without recognising the official leadership of the MP, at the same time not to be torn away from its body? Is it possible ‘to preserve the spiritual treasures’ in a body whose head has become ‘the obedient instrument of the godless authorities’ (that is, the servants of satan and the antichrist), as he justly writes of the sergianist leaders?... The Holy Scriptures say: ‘If the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches’ (Romans 11.16). And on the other hand: ‘A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit’ (Matthew 7.18).”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
similar ambiguity in relation to the MP can be found in the following words of Archbishop
John (Maximovich) in a letter dated
In 1963, Archbishop John became involved in a major quarrel which
threatened to tear apart the Russian Church Abroad in
Archbishop Tikhon of
Upon arriving, he took the side of his former
In his report to the Synod about the schism, Archbishop Anthony began,
according to Archbishop Averky, “by justifying himself against the accusations
that he was lacking in love and declared that there could not be love in such
people as Lev Tolstoy, Stalin and Khruschev. This comparison can in no way be
recognized as successful. Lev Tolstoy, Stalin and Khruschev, each in his own
way, were open and evidently for all fighters against God and enemies of the
In May, 1963 Vladyka John was summoned to a session of the Synod in
which his supporters among the bishops did participate. The discussions went on
for four hours behind closed doors. Finally, it was decided by a majority of
votes to remove him from San Franciscow. When Vladyka returned with this news
On August 13, the Hierarchical Council of ROCOR decided to confirm
Archbishop John in the see of
Although Vladyka John was acquitted at his trial, and he remained
archbishop of San Francisco until his death in 1966, the bitterness caused by
the affair lingered on, and in 1966 one of Archbishop John’s supporters,
Archbishop Averky of
Moreover, when Archbishop John came to be canonized in July, 1994,
Archbishop Anthony of
Whatever the truth about this particular
affair, there can be no doubt that Archbishop John is a saint, as is witnessed by his incorrupt relics and the
extraordinary abundance of miracles worked in answer to the prayers of
believers around the world. His tomb, which is located in the crypt of the
cathedral he was finally able to build, to the Mother of God “The Joy of All
Who Sorrow”, in San Francisco, has become a major place of pilgrimage for
Orthodox Christians of all nationalities. Archbishop John remains probably the
best-known and most universally loved personality in the whole history of the
Russian Church Abroad. But the quarrel in
The Theology of Peace
Parallel to the development of ecumenism, and promoted by almost the
same actors, was the so-called “movement for peace” and “theology of peace”,
whose origins can be traced to the founding of NATO to defend
Cooperating, as usual, with its political masters, the MP organized a series of ecumenical conferences “in defence of peace” with representatives not only of the Christian confessions, but also of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Shintoism and Sikhism. Insofar as these religious “fighters for peace” worshipped completely different gods or (in the case of Buddhism) no god at all, there was no place at these conferences for the specifically Christian understanding of peace. Thus there was no mention of the fact that peace on earth is possible only if there is peace with God, which is obtained only through faith in the redeeming work of Christ, Who “is our peace” (Ephesians 2.14), and through a constant struggle with evil in all its forms, including atheism and communism. Moreover, as Kurochkin writes, “on the pages of the ecclesiastical press and on the lips of those speaking before the believers, the similarity and closeness of the communist and Christian social and moral ideals was proclaimed more and more often.” And so the cult of Stalin was transformed into the cult of communism; for “the patriarchal church, having conquered the renovationists, was forced to assimilate the heritage of the conquered not only in the field of political re-orientation, but also in the sphere of ideological reconstruction.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The gospel of “Communist Christianity” appeared in an encyclical of the patriarchate “in connection with the Great October Socialist Revolution”, which supposedly “turned into reality the dreams of many generations of people. It made all the natural riches of the land and means of production into the inheritance of the people. It changed the very essence of human relations, making all our citizens equal and excluding from our society any possibility of enmity between peoples of difference races and nationalities, of different persuasions, faiths and social conditions.”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
Insofar as the MP confessed that the revolution “changed the very essence of human relations” for the better, it confessed another faith than the faith of Christ – specifically, the faith of the Antichrist. This aspect of the MP’s apostasy is often forgotten. And of course now, since the fall of communism, the MP no longer talks about its enthusiasm for the anti-christian creed of communism. But by any normal definition of words, the hierarchs of the MP ceased to be, not only Orthodox in any meaningful sense, but also Christian at this time…
“The so-called ‘theology of peace’,” wrote Protopresbyter George Grabbe,
“is in essence the chiliastic preaching of the
“The peace which the
“That is why, in his report ‘Peace and
Freedom’ at the local conference of the movement for peace in
“What is Metropolitan Nicodemus renouncing
in these words? He is renouncing the patristic and ascetic past, he is trying
to turn the Church from striving for heaven to the path of earthly social
“He is echoed by Protopriest V.M. Borovoj, who expressed himself still more vividly: ‘Systematic theology and the historical churches have never been on the side of the revolution for the simple reason that they were prisoners of the cosmo-centric understanding of reality, prisoners of the static understanding of an order established once and for all on earth. Only in the last decades, when profound changes, a kind of revolution, have taken place in philosophical, theological and scientific thought as the result of an anthropocentric view of the cosmos, an evolutionary conception of the universe and a new rethinking of the whole history of humanity – only after all this has there appeared the possibility of working out a theology of development and revolution’ (J.M.P., 1966, ¹ 9, p. 78)…
“By moving in this apostatic direction the
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> On the
day the Germans invaded the
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Averky, Zhizneopisanie Blazhennejshago Mitropolita Anastasia (A Life of his Beatitude Metropolitan Anastasy), in Troitskij Pravoslavnij Russkij Kalendar’ na 1998 g. (Trinity Orthodox Russian Calendar for 1998), Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, pp. x-xi ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, Letopis’
Tserkovnykh Sobytij (1939-1949) (Chronicle of Church Events (1939-1949)),
part 3, http://www.zlatoust.ws/letopis3.htm,
p. 20 ®. St. Nicholas was interned in
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Andrew Shestakov, Serbskaia Tserkov’: kratkij istoricheskij ekskurs (The Serbian Church: a short digression); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., pp. 21-25.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Stella Alexander, Church and State in Yugoslavia since 1945, Cambridge University Press, 1979, chapter 1, 3; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 22.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Gorazd,
"Sviashchenomuchenik Gorazd" (Hieromartyr Gorazd), Pravoslavnaia
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> M.V. Shkarovsky; in Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 35.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Wertz, "On the Serbian Orthodox Martyrs of the Second World War", Orthodox Life, vol. 33, ¹ 1, January-February, 1983, pp. 15-26.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The Germans knew what was going
on. Thus on
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> However, more recent scholarship
gives generally lower figures for those killed. The
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> "Holy New Martyr
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Quoted from Liudmilla
Perepiolkina, Ecumenism – A Path to Perdition, St. Petersburg, 1999, pp.
230-233, and "Stepinac's Hat is Blood-Red", The Christian Century,
January 14, 1953, pp. 42-43. See also the article by the Catholic writer
Richard West, "The War in
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 43-44, 44-45; Bishop Gregory Grabbe, Zavet Sviatogo Patriarkha (The Testament of the Holy Patriarch), Moscow, 1996, p. 33 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> However, according to another version, he was arrested and condemned together with the Catholic Cardinal Stepinač. But while Stepinač received sixteen years in prison, being released after only two years, Metropolitan Germogen was executed (Ilya Goriachev, in Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, pp. 89-90).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Quoted in Fomin, Rossia pered
Vtorym Prishestviem (
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Chernov, Tserkov' Katakombnaia na Zemle Rossijskoj (The Catacomb Church in the Russian Land), MS, Woking, 1980 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Oliver Figes, Natasha’s Dance,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Overy, op. cit., pp. 161-162.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Kuznetsov, “O Sovietsko-Germanskoj Vojne” (On the Soviet-German War), http://catacomb.org.ua/modules.php?name=Pages&go=print page&pid=570, pp. 3-4, 7-8 ®. A. Soldatov writes: “The memory of the ‘Vlasovtsy’ is dear to many children of the Russian Church Abroad (ROCOR)… In the memorial cemetery of the ROCOR in Novo Diveyevo near New York there stands an obelisk which perpetuates the memory of all the officers and soldiers of the Russian Army of Liberation, who perished ‘in the name of the idea of a Russia free from communism and fascism” (“Radosti Paskhi i Skorb’ Pobedy” (The Joys of Pascha and the Sorrow of Victory), Moskovskie Novosti (Moscow News)and Vertograd, ¹520, May 14, 2005 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Chernov, op. cit.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Solzhenitsyn, The Mortal
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Krasikov, “’Tretij Rim’ i
Bol’sheviki” (The Third
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 31-32.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> In
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> O. Vasilieva, "Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov' v 1927-1943 godakh" (The Russian Orthodox Church from 1927 to 1943), Voprosy Istorii (Questions of History), 1994, ¹ 4, p. 44 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 46.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> According to another source, the mission had 221 churches and 84 priests to serve in them.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 32.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Chernov, op. cit.; A. Smirnov, “Ugasshie nepominaiushchie v bege vremeni” (Extinguished Non-Commemorators in the Flow of Time), Simvol (Symbol), ¹ 40, 1998, pp. 250-267 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> M.V. Shkvarovsky, “Iosiflyane v
Severo-Zapade Rossii v period nemetskoj okkupatsii” (The Josephites in
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shkvarovsky, Iosiflianstvo: techenie v Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi (Josephitism: a tendency in the Russian Orthodox Church), St. Petersburg: Memorial, 1999, pp. 187-188; Archbishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Istoki i sviazi Katakombnoj Tserkvi v Leningrade i obl. (1922-1992)" (Sources and Links of the Catacomb Church in Leningrad and district (1922-1992), report read at the conference "The Historical Path of Orthodoxy in Russia after 1917", Saint Petersburg, 1-3 June, 1993; “Episkopat Istinno-Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi 1922-1997gg.” (The Episcopate of the True Orthodox Church, 1922-1997), Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 4 (8), 1997, pp. 12-13 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> I.F. Bugayem, "Varvarskaia aktsia" (A Barbaric Action), Otechestvo (Fatherland), ¹ 3, 1992, pp. 53-73 ®; text in Shkvarovsky, Iosiflyanstvo, op. cit., pp. 262-263.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> “Interviu s episkopom Irinarkhom
Tul’skim i Brianskim (RPATs)” (Interview with Bishop Irinarch of
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Archbishop Athanasius (Martos); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 33.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See Mikhail Woerl, “Dobrij Pastyr’” (A Good Pastor), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 24 (1597), December 15/28, 1997, p. 7; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 43 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Archbishop Ambrose (von Sievers), “Bezobrazniki: K sobytiam v RPTsZ 1945-55gg.” (Hooligans: on the events in the ROCA, 1945-55), Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 2 (16), 1999, p. 18 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Woerl, “A Brief Biography of Archbishop Filofei (Narko)”, Orthodox Life, vol. 50, ¹ 6, November-December, 2000, pp. 25-26.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Woerl, “Dobrij Pastyr’”, op.
cit., p. 8. George later became bishop of
According to Reader Gregory Mukhortov (personal communication, 1990), the Belorussian synod consecrated another bishop, Theodosius (Bakhmetev), just before the arrival of the Soviets late in 1944. However, according to the anonymous author of Kto est’ kto v rossijskikh katakombakh (Who’s Who in the Russian Catacombs), (St. Petersburg, 1999, pp. 36-37 ®), Theodosius was consecrated in 1942 or 1943 as vicar-bishop of Pinsk, which at that time entered the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Autonomous Church, in the Kiev Caves Lavra by Schema-Archbishop Anthony (Abashidze), Archbishop Panteleimon (Rudyk) and the Catacomb Bishops Elias and Macarius.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> “Good, albeit also not
unambiguous relations were established between the True Orthodox Christians and
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The whole of the
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 35.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Alexeyev & Stavrou, The Great Revival, op. cit., chapter 5; Friedrich Heyer, Die Orthodoxe Kirche in der Ukraine (The Orthodox Church in the Ukraine), Koln: Rudolf Muller, 1953 (in German); "Archbishop Leonty of Chile", The Orthodox Word, 1981, vol. 17, ¹ 4 (99), pp. 148-154; Bishop John and Igumen Elijah, Taynij Skhimitropolit (The Secret Schema-Metropolitan), Moscow: Bogorodichij Tsentr, 1991 ®; Andrei Psarev, "Zhizneopisanie Arkhiepiskopa Leontia Chilijskij (1901-1971 gg.)" (A Life of Archbishop Leontius of Chile (1901-1971)), Pravoslavnaia Zhizn' (Orthodox Life), ¹ 4 (556), April, 1996, pp. 9-14 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Psarev, op. cit., p. 10.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Raevsky, Ukrainskaia
Avtokephalnaia Tserkov’ (The
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Tserkovnaia Zhizn’ (Church Life), 1942, ¹ 4; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 41.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Synodal Archive of the ROCOR in
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Richard
Overy, Russia’s War,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Cited in
Alan Bullock, Hitler and Stalin,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Cited by
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> I. Altman, Kholokost i
evrejskoe soprotivlenie na okkupirovannoj territorii SSSR (The Holocaust
and Jewish resistance in the occupied territories of the
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shkarovsky, Pravoslavie i
Rossia (Orthodoxy and
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Archbishop Athanasius (Martos); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 45.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Synodal
Archive of the ROCOR in
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 63-64.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 64-65; M.V. Shkarovsky, RPTsZ na Balkanakh v gody Vtoroj Mirovoj Vojny [ROCOR in the Balkans in the years of the Second World War]; Bishop Gregory (Grabbe), Arkhierejskij Synod vo II Mirovuiu Vojnu [The Hierarchical Synod in World War II].
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> 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 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Soldatov, op. cit., pp. 12, 13.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> I.L. Solonevich, “Rossia v
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> M.V. Shkarovsky, Pravoslavie
i Rossia (Orthodoxy and
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Sergius wrote: “With complete objectivity we must declare that the Constitution, which guarantees complete freedom for the carrying out of religious worship, in no way constrains the religious life of believers and the Church in general…” Concerning the trials of clergy and believers, he said: “These were purely political trials which had nothing to do with the purely ecclesiastical life of religious organizations and the purely ecclesiastical work of individual clergy. No, the Church cannot complain about the authorities.”
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, “Sovietskij Rezhim i
‘Sovietskaia Tserkov’’ v 40-e-50-e gody XX stoletia” (The Soviet Regime and the
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> “Iosiflianskie obschiny v
blokadnom Leningrade” (Josephite Communities in Blockaded Leningrad), Pravoslavnaia
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See also Fomin, op. cit., p. 125; Wassilij Alexeev and Keith Armes, "German Intelligence: Religious Revival in Soviet Territory", Religion in Communist Lands, vol. 5, ¹ 1, Spring, 1977, pp. 27-30 (V.M.).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See D. Volkogonov, Triumf i
Tragedia (Triumph and Tragedy),
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> According to Karpov’s report, Metropolitan Sergius brought up the question of electing a patriarch right at the beginning of the meeting as being “the most important and most pressing question” (Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 53). This report was published in full in Russian in Monk Benjamin, op. cit., pp. 53-60, and in English in Felix Corbey (ed.), Religion in the Soviet Union: an archival reader, New York: New York University Press, 1996. (V.M.)
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> This was an important symbolic
change. The pre-revolutionary Russian Church was rossijskaia, that is,
the Church of the whole of the Russian empire and of all the Orthodox in it,
whether they were Russian by race or not. By changing the title to russkaia,
Stalin emphasised that it was the Church exclusively of the ethnically Russian
people – that is, of the russkikh. Over half a century later, the ROAC –
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit.,
part 3, p. 56. According to Anatolius Levitin-Krasnov, Molotov at one point
“said that the Soviet government and Stalin personally would like to know the
needs of the Church. While the other metropolitans remained silent,
Metropolitan Sergius suddenly spoke up… The metropolitan pointed out the need
for the mass re-opening of churches… for the convocation of a church council
and the election of a patriarch… for the general opening of seminaries, because
there was a complete lack of clergy. Here Stalin suddenly broke his silence.
‘And why don’t you have cadres? Where have they disappeared?’ he said… looking
at the bishops point blank… Everybody knew that ‘the cadres’ had perished in
the camps. But Metropolitan Sergius… replied: ‘There are all sorts of reasons
why we have no cadres. One of the reasons is that we train a person for the
priesthood, and he becomes the Marshal of the
Razumov, in Sergius Fomin, Strazh Doma Gospodnia. Patriarkh Moskovskij i
vseia Rusi Sergij Stragorodskij, (Guardian over the House of the Lord:
Patriarch Sergius Stragorodsky of
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Rayfield, op. cit., p. 405.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Rayfield, op. cit., p. 405.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Vasilieva, O., Kniashevsky, P.
"Tainaia Vecheria" (The Last Supper), Liternaturnaia Rossia
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> According to Monk Benjamin (op. cit., p. 60): head of the third department of the Fifth Administration.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Radzinsky, Stalin, p. 508.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 13-14, 19.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 49.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 67-69.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Protopriest Alexis Mikrikov, “Unia s MP privedet k dukhovnoj karastrofe” (The Unia with the MP will lead to a spiritual catastrophe), http://metanthonymemorial.org/VernostNo34.html (R).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit. Of course, not all of the Russian emigration – only that (large) part that believed in the good intentions of the Soviet government.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Vasilieva, op. cit.;
Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco (OCA), “Truth/Consequences”, ORTHODOX@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> GARF, f. 6991, op. 1, d. 5, l. 1; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 66.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 61-63.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> "Pis'mo 2-oe Katakombnogo Episkopa A. k F.M." (The Second Letter of Catacomb Bishop A. to F.M.), Russkij Pastyr' (Russian Pastor), ¹ 14, III-1992; Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), 1996, ¹ 2 (2), pp. 10, 11 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Karpov, in Edward E. Roslof, Red
Priests: Renovationism, Russian Orthodoxy, and Revolution, 1905-1946,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Roslof, op. cit., p. 195.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> See Metropolitan John (Snychev)
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Roslof, op. cit., p. 196.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Hierodeacon Jonah (now
Archimandrite Nectarius) (Yashunsky), "Sergianstvo: Politika ili
Dogmatika?" (Sergianism: Politics or Dogmatics?), 29 April /
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Polosin (Sergius Ventsel),
"Razmyshlenia o Teokratii v Rossii" (Thoughts on Theocracy in
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> “They say that not long before his death Sergius had a vision of Christ, after which he sobbed for a long time over the crimes he had committed” (Shumilo, op. cit.).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit.; Fr. Sergius Gordun, "Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov' pri Svyateishikh Patriarkhakh Sergii i Aleksii" (The Russian Orthodox Church under their Holinesses Patriarchs Sergius and Alexis), Vestnik Russkogo Khristianskogo Dvizhenia (Herald of the Russian Christian Movement), vol. 158, I-1990, p. 92 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate), ¹ 2, 1944, pp. 26-28; ¹ 4, 1943, p. 25 ®; cited in Pospielovsky, The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime, op. cit., vol. 1, pp. 208-209. In 1941 Metropolitan Sergius said something similar: “The heart of the Christian is closed for the fascist beasts; it oozes out only an annihilating deadly hatred for the enemy…” (Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 34).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Protopriest Valerius Lapkovsky,
“Kto Vozdvigal Pamiatnik Arkhiepiskopu Luke?” (Who Raised the Monument to
Archbishop Luke?), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Gordun, op. cit., p. 94.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Jane Ellis, The Russian
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Alexeyev, "Marshal Stalin doveriaet Tserkvi" (Marshal Stalin trusts the Church), Agitator, ¹ 10, 1989, pp. 27-28 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> RTsKhIDNI.F.17.Op.132.D.111.L.27; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 81.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Nabokov, in B. Boyd, Nabokov: The American Years,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Eulogius, Puti moej zhizni (The Ways of My Life), p. 613; in Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 81. Eulogius did not return in the end, as we shall see below.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> On these “Vlasovites”, see Joachim Goffman, Vlasov protiv Stalina (Vlasov against Stalin), Moscow, 2005 ® (V.M.).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Soldatov, op. cit., p. 11, footnote 6. However, Shumilo (op. cit.) gives a still higher figure: “at the end of the war, with the cooperation of the governments of the western allied countries, more than 6 million ‘Soviet’ prisoners of war, ‘Osty’ workers, refugees and émigrés were forcibly repatriated to the U.S.S.R. up to 1948. The majority of them perished within the walls of Stalin’s NKVD.”
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Ardov,
“Avoiding participation in the Great Victory Services”, sermon given on
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Soldatov, op. cit.; Archbishop
Savva (Raevsky), “Lienz”, Orthodox Life, vol. 56, ¹ 4,
2005, pp. 2-8. Soldatov continues: “In the
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Prot. A. Kiselev, Oblik gen. A.A. Vlasova (The Face of General A.A. Vlasov), appendix VI; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, pp. 90-93.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> RTsKhIDNI, f. 17, op. 125, d. 407, l. 27; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 114.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 110.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, p. 12.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 122-123.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Archbishop Averky of Jordanville
recounts the following event in the life of Metropolitan Joseph, who died in
1957: “An antireligious manifestation was once passing along the streets of
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The Diocesan Council of the Free
Serbian Orthodox Diocese of the
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Norman Malcolm,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Some doubt whether Mikhailovich
was a true martyr, accusing him of practising "ethnic cleansing"
against Muslims during World War II. See Norman Cigar, Genocide in
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Etinger, Spasennie v Kholokoste (The Saved in the Holocaust); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 52-53.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Tsankov, Protopriest S.
"Pokojnij Tsar Boris, kak religiozno-nravstvennaia lichnost'" (The
Reposed Tsar Boris as a Religio-Moral Personality), Pravoslavnaia Rus'
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Marchevsky, in Pravoslavnaia
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 138-139.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, pp. 1-2, 4.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, pp. 11-12.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 141.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> K.E. Skurat, Istoria Pomestnykh Pravoslavnykh Tserkvej (A History of the Local Orthodox Churches), in Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 4, p. 1.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (Journal of the
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> These bishops were: Metropolitan Panteleimon (Rozhnovsky), who immediately left ROCOR and remained out of communion with any Church until his death in 1950; Archbishop Benedict (Bobkovsky), formerly of Grodno and Belostok, who received an appointment in Germany until his death in 1951; Archbishop Philotheus (Harko), formerly of Mogilev and Mstislav, who became Archbishop of Hamburg until his death in 1986; Bishop Athanasius (Martos), formerly of Vitebsk and Podolsk, who was appointed as Archbishop in Australia until his death in 1985; Bishop Stefan (Sevbo), formerly of Smolensk, who was appointed Bishop of Vienna until his death in 1965; Bishop Paul (Melentiev), formerly of Briansk, who fell away into Catholicism in 1948; Bishop Gregory (Boriskevich), formerly of Gomel, who became a bishop in Canada and then the USA, dying in 1957; Bishop Theodore (Rafalsky), formerly of Brest, who received an appointment in Australia until his death in 1955; Archbishop Panteleimon (Rudyk), formerly of Kiev, who was appointed to Argentina, but in 1957 was expelled from ROCOR for homosexuality and in 1959 joined the MP, dying in 1968; Bishop Leonty (Filippovich), formerly of Zhitomir and Volhynia, was appointed to Paraguay and then Chile, dying in 1971 (he had joined ROCOR on May 17, 1944); Bishop Eulogius (Markovsky), formerly of Vinnitsa, who received an appointment in North America and died in 1951; and Archbishop Demetrius (Magan), formerly of Ekaterinoslav, who in 1948 joined the American Metropolita schism and died in 1968 (Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 108-109, 75). For more details of this Council, see G.M. Soldatov, op. cit. (V.M.)
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Averky, op. cit., pp. xiv-xvi.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, p. 5.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Protopriest Alexander Lebedev. Pora uzhe nam znat’ svoiu istoriu (It’s time we knew our history); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 65.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 75.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 116-117.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko), Motivy moej zhizni (Motifs of my Life), 1955; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 117-118.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> I.M. Andreyev, History of the
Russian Church from the Revolution to our Days, Jordanville, 1952; quoted
in Is the Grace of God present in the
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Maximenko, sppech at the Fifth Diocesan Congress, 3/16 March, 1952; in Motivy moej zhizni (Motives of my Life), Jordanville, 1955; reprinted in Troitskij Pravoslavnij Kalendar’ na 2006 g. (Trinity Orthodox Calendar for 2006), p. 67 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, pp. 142-143.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Lardas, “The Old Calendar Movement in the Greek Church”, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jurdanville, 1983 (unpublished thesis).
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Bishop Ambrose of Methone,
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> George Margaritis, The Greek Church and the Holocaust, p. 13; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 49.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Churchill, Road to Victory; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 79.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Bishop Callistus (Ware); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, p. 14.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The above account is taken from
Metropolitan Calliopius of Pentapolis, Saint Joseph de Desphina (
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Fr. Andrew Sidniev, Florinskij raskol in Tserkvi IPKh Gretsii (The Florinite Schism and the Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 35-36.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 48.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Antonios, op. cit., p. 73.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The mutual accusations are summarized in Metropolitan Calliopius, Nobles et Saints Combats, op. cit., p. 150, note 8: “a) Bishop Matthew accused Bishop Germanos of celebrating the mysteries for the new calendarists, of recruiting priests who were strangers to the struggle, of changing the typicon, of behaving in an inconceivable manner towards his priests, of speaking against the Mother of God….
“b) Bishop Germanos accused Bishop Matthew of having published books on impious subjects and from apocryphal sources, like On the subject of the descent of the gifts of the Lord, and The Lord did some miracles by prayer. He reproached him for attaching a certain credence to the demons who made him publish ‘The Ecstasies of Vasiliki Kyriazis’, who was possessed by the devil. He could not accept that he proclaimed himself to be a saint, that he called himself ‘the only Orthodox and saved bishop’, that he would ascend onto the patriarchal throne of Constantinople, that he no longer used the prayer, ‘Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers…’ and that he deviated from the typicon, that he ordained ‘deaconesses’, that he permitted monks to take confession (see the letter signed by the monks of the Monastery of the Archangels, Athikia, Corinth: Gideon, Akakios, Gerasimos, Hilarion, Cosmas, Artemios, Hierotheos, Jeremiah, Callistus, Nicodemus and Joseph).”
For more on the works of dubious Orthodoxy published by Bishop Matthew, see Monk Antonios, op. cit., pp. 27-34.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> I.M. Andreev (Andreevsky),
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Irina Osipova, Khotelos' by
vsiekh poimenno nazvat' (I would like to call all of them by name),
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> TsKhSD, f. 5, op. 16, d. 650, l. 18; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, p. 11.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> According to figures of the
Council for the Affairs of the ROC, on
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit. As
Archbishop Lazarus (Zhurbenko) said: “The catacomb believers feared the Moscow
Patriarchate priests even more than the police. Whenever a priest came for some
reason or other, he was met by a feeling of dread. The catacomb people would
say, ‘A red detective has come.’ He was sent deliberately, and he was obliged
to report everything to the authorities. Not infrequently, hierarchs and
priests told the people outright, directly from the ambon, ‘Look around,
Orthodox people. There are those who do not come to church. Find out who they
are and report to us; these are enemies of the Soviet regime who stand in the
way of the building of Socialism.’ We were very much afraid of these
sergianist-oriented priests.” ("Out from the Catacombs", Orthodox
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shkvarovsky, Iosiflianstvo, op. cit., pp. 192-197.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> On Bishop Peter, see "Kratkoe opisanie biografii menia nedostojnago skhiepiskopa Petra Ladygina" (A Short Description of the Biography of Me, the Unworthy Schema-Bishop Peter Ladygin); Tserkovnaia Zhizn' (Church Life), ¹¹ 7-8, July-August, 1985. On Bishop Barnabas, see V. Moss "Holy Hieroconfessor Barnabas of Pechersk", Orthodox Life, January-February, 1995.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> “I vrata adovy ne odoleiut ee…” (And the Gates of Hell will not Prevail against her), Suzdal’skie Eparkhial’nie Vedomosti (Suzdal Diocesan News), ¹ 4, June-July, 1998, pp. 32-40 ®.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Gosudarstvo i 'katakomby'" (The State and the ‘Catacombs’), in Filatov, op. cit., pp. 105, 111 ®
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> N. Talberg, “Sviataia Rus’ na Sviatoj Zemle” (Holy Rus’ on the Holy Land), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 16, 1958, p. 8; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 87.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Protopriest Victor Potapov;
RPZTs i sud’by russkoj Palestiny” (ROCOR and the destinies of Russian
Palestine); “How ROCOR lost
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op.
cit., vol. 3, pp. 86, 97. However, the Russian community in
“Archimandrite Nicholas (Gibbs), former teacher of English to the
children of the Tsar-Martyr, who followed the Royal family to Tobolsk and
Ekaterinburg, move from ROCOR to the Moscow Patriarchate. This move was aided
by conversations with Metropolitan Nicholas (Yarushevich), who was then
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Soldatov, op. cit., p. 14.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 94.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 114-115.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 94-95.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Shumilo, op. cit.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> M.V. Shkarovsky; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 95.
<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Monk Benjamin, <