If My People had heard Me, if Israel had walked in My ways,

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.

Daniel 11.32.


     By the 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, Alexandria, Greece and Romania, on the other, could no longer be counted as truly Orthodox. The Churches of Serbia, Bulgaria and Jerusalem were still Orthodox – but they had not broken communion with those Churches that had fallen away from the truth, so the prospects of their remaining free from the quicksands of “World Orthodoxy” for long were not good. The situation of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad was only a little better – she was not in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, but had not broken decisively with the other heretical Churches, and even her attitude to Moscow was not entirely unambiguous. The Greek Old Calendarist Church was strong in the faith, but tragically divided. The Romanian Old Calendarists were also strong, but as yet had no bishops. The Catacomb Church of Russia was bathed in the glory of a vast multitude of new martyrs and confessors; but the whole apparatus of the most evil and most powerful state in history was directed towards her complete annihilation…


     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…


The Genocide of the Serbian Orthodox


     On April 6, the Germans invaded Yugoslavia. Archbishop Averky writes: “The unexpected German bombardment of Belgrade on April 6, 1941, which soon decided the fate of Yugoslavia, produced such a shattering impression that the capital was completely abandoned, both by the government organs and by the ordinary inhabitants, who fled in indescribable panic for many tens of kilometers. Amidst this complete devastation it was only in the life of the Russian church in Belgrade that no essential changes took place: the services prescribed by the Typicon continued as usual, while priests went with the Holy Gifts around the city, giving communion to the wounded and carrying out prayer services in the refuges. During the raid Metropolitan Anastasy remained at his hierarchical place in the altar, while the clergy took it in turns to serve prayer services in front of the wonder-working Kursk-Root icon of the Mother of God ‘of the Sign’. And this in spite of the fact that five bombs fell in the immediate vicinity of our church, the neighbouring Serbian church of St. Mark burned down, and for a whole two days a gigantic fire from a warehouse full of logs that had been hit by a bomb burned just next to the wall of the church. On the second day, March 25 / April 7, on the very feast of the Annunciation, when there was a particularly violent bombardment, Vladyka Metropolitan was present at the Divine Liturgy which one of the priests celebrated in the basement of the Russian House for the many Russian people who had sheltered there. This liturgy, which was carried out in a situation recalling that of the ancient Catacomb Christians, was sealed for life in the memory of all those who received communion at it. And with the blessing of Vladyka Metropolitan up to 300 people received communion after a general confession (this was in view of the danger of death that clearly threatened everyone).


     “Exactly a week later, on Lazarus Saturday, the Germans entered the completely destroyed and deserted city, and difficult years began for the Russian emigration in Yugoslavia. Together with the whole of his Belgrade flock, Vladyka Metropolitan nobly endured hunger and cold and all kinds of restrictions and deprivations, various unpleasantnesses from the German occupying authorities and hostile attacks from that part of the Serbian population which had submitted to the influence of communist propaganda.


     “Soon after the occupation of Yugoslavia by the German armies, members of the Gestapo carried out a thorough search in the residence of Vladyka Metropolitan Anastasy, and then took away the clerical work of the Hierarchical Synod.[1] However, they were forced to admit that Vladyka , as a true Archpastor of the Church of Christ, was profoundly alien to all politics, and they left him in peace.”[2]


     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.”[3]


     The Church suffered terribly throughout the territory of Yugoslavia. The Bulgarians occupied Yugoslav Macedonia and expelled Metropolitan Joseph of Skopje and Bishop Vincent of Zletovo-Strumica, together with many Serbian priests, to Serbia; seven priests and thousands of laity were killed by the Hungarians in Vojvodina; and the Italians occupied Kosovo, where Albanian nationalists killed and plundered.[4] Nine Serbian hierarchs were killed, including Metropolitans Dositheus of Zagreb and Peter of Bosnia, and Bishops Sabbas of Karlovac, Plato of Banja Luka, Nicholas of Herzegovina and Seraphim of Ryashko-Prizren (the last in an Albanian prison).[5]


     In neighbouring Czechoslovakia Bishop Gorazd of Moravia-Silesia, a convert from Catholicism, had since his consecration in 1921 been waging a noble battle returning the Czech lands to the faith of Saints Cyril and Methodius. At the beginning of the war, after being cut off from the Serbian Patriarchate, to which he was canonically subject, he turned to ROCOR’s Metropolitan Seraphim (Lyade) in Berlin, asking him to take his diocese under his protection. Metropolitan Seraphim agreed, and gave him holy chrism and antimensia. However, in 1942 saboteurs killed the Nazi Gauleiter Heidrich in Prague. They were given refuge in the crypt of the Orthodox cathedral of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Prague. When Bishop Gorazd heard about this some days later, he was very disturbed, knowing that if the Germans discovered this hiding-place, then the whole of the Czech Orthodox Church would be subjected to repressions. Before going to Berlin, where Metropolitan Seraphim had invited him to participate in the consecration of a bishop, he asked for the saboteurs to be removed to another hiding-place as soon as possible. Soon the Nazis discovered the hiding-place and on July 18 seven of the saboteurs were killed. Two of the cathedral’s priests and other Orthodox were arrested (the priests were later shot). Bishop Gorazd did not try to save his own life, but took the whole responsibility upon himself. He wrote to the authorities: “I place myself at the disposal of the corresponding authorities and am ready to accept any punishment, including the death penalty.” On July 27 he was arrested, and on September 4, after being tortured, he was shot. The Orthodox Church in Bohemia and Moravia was shut down and its priests sent to camps in Germany.[6]


     But by far the worst atrocities were committed against the Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia by the Ustashi and the Catholic Church in the newly independent state of Croatia, which had been recognized by the Vatican. On April 28, 1941, the Catholic Archbishop Stepinac of Zagreb issued an appeal rapturously praising the Ustashi regime of Ante Pavlevic and calling on all Catholic priests to collaborate with it. Three days before, the government had issued a series of decrees banning the Cyrillic script, closing all Orthodox schools, imposing a special tax on the patriarchate, forcing all Serbs to wear coloured armbands with the letter “P” (for Pravoslovac – Orthodox) and banning the use of the term “Serbian Orthodox religion”. On June 22 the minister of education said that one third of the Serbs in Croatia would be expelled, one third killed and one third converted to Catholicism. In July the arrests of Serbs began. By the autumn over 15,000 Serbs had passed through the camps, and by 1943 there were 300,000 Serbia refugees from Croatia in Serbia.


     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 March 26, 1942, this request was granted. However, no Serb was allowed to visit the émigré services.[7]


     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.”[8]


     According to Archbishop Stepinac’s report to the Pope on May 8, 1944, 240,000 Serbs apostasised to Catholicism. However, many of these returned to Orthodoxy after the war. Hundreds of churches were destroyed or desecrated, and vast amounts of property were confiscated from the Orthodox Serbs. According to German Nazi figures, about 750,000 Orthodox Serbs were killed, including five bishops and 177 other clergy.[9] 200,000 of these perished in the notorious camp of Jasenovac alone in conditions of appalling brutality, 40,000 of them on the orders of the Franciscan Father Filipovich. Bishop Nicholas Velimirovich inscribed these martyrs into the Church calendar for August 31: “The 700,000 who suffered for the Orthodox faith at the hands of the Roman crusaders and Ustashi during the time of the Second World War. These are the New Serbian Martyrs.”[10]


     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.”[11]


     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 Croatia would cease so that I could collect my thoughts and write to you in peace.


     “For the last ten months Serbs have been killed and destroyed in Croatia in the most ruthless manner and the value of their property that has been destroyed reaches billions. Blushes of shame and anger cover the faces of every honest Croat.


     “The slaughter of Serbs began from the very first day of the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia (Gospic, Gudovan, Bosanska Krajina, etc.) and has continued relentlessly to this very day. The horror is not only in the killing. The killing includes everybody: old men, women and children. With accompanying barbaric torture. These innocent Serbs have been impaled, fire has been lit on their bare chest, they have been roasted alive, burned in their homes and churches while still living, covered with boiling water, then their skin peeled off, salt poured into their wounds, their eyes have been pulled out, their ears, noses and tongues cut off, the priest have had their beards and moustaches torn off from their skulls, their sex organs severed and put into their mouths, they have been tied to trucks and then dragged along the ground, nails have been pressed into their heads, their heads nailed to the floor, they have been thrown alive into wells and over cliffs, and grenades thrown after them, their heads smashed against walls, their backs broken against rocks and tree stumps, and many other horrible tortures were perpetrated, such as normal people can hardly imagine.


     “Their rivers Sava, Drav, the Danube and their tributaries have carried thousands and thousands of their corpses. Dead bodies have been found with the inscription: ‘direction Belgrade – traveling to King Peter’. In a boat which was found on the Sava river there was a heap of children’s heads with the head of a woman (which could have been a head of one of the mothers of the children) with the inscription: ‘Meat for the Jovanova Market in Belgrade’.


     “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 Bosnia, the vessels full of Serbian blood, the cases of Serbs being forced to drink the warm blood of their slaughtered kin. Countless women, girls and children in front of their mothers were raped or else sent off to Ustashi camps to serve the Ustashi; rapes even took place on the altars of Orthodox churches. In the Petrinje county a son was forced to rape his own mother. The slaughter of the Serbs in the Glina Orthodox church and the murder of Serbs on the altar of the Kladusa church is without precedent in history. There are detailed and original accounts of all these horrors. Even the Germans and Italians were astounded by these crimes. They photographed a large number of cases of such slaughter. The Germans are saying that the Croatians did this also during the Thirty Years War and that is why there has been a saying in Germany since then: ‘God save us from plague, hunger and Croats.’


     “The Srem Germans despise us because of this and behave in a more humane fashion with Serbs. The Italians photographed a vessel with 3.5 kilograms of Serbian eyes, as well as a Croat who wore a necklace strung with Serbian eyes, and another one who came to Dubrovnik with a belt on which severed Serbian tongues were hanging!


     “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 Europe there have been no similar cases. One would have to go to Asia at the time of Tamerlane, or Genghis-Khan, or to Africa, to the countries of their bloodthirsty rulers to come upon similar situations. These events have shamed the name of Croatia for centuries to come. Nothing can absolve us fully from this ever again. We will not be able to tell even the last wretched man in the Balkans about our thousand year old Croatian culture, because even the Gypsies never perpetrated such cruelties. Why am I writing this to you, when you are not a political personage and cannot bear responsibility for all this. Here is why: in all these unprecedented barbarian crimes which are more than Godless, our Catholic church participated in two ways. A large number of clergy, priests, friars and organized Catholic youth took an active part in all this. It has also happened that Catholic priests became camp guards and Ustashi accomplices and so approved of the torture and slaughter of Christians. A Catholic priest even slit personally slaughtered an Orthodox clergyman. They could not have done all this without the permission of their bishops, and if they did, they would have had to lose their jobs and be taken to court. Since this did not happen, it means that their bishops granted them permission.


     “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.”[12]


     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 Byzantium – that is, of the Eastern Orthodox Church – is something so terrible that only the Omnipotent and Omniscient God could tolerate it… The Croats and the Serbs are from two different worlds, two different poles; without a miracle of God they will never find a common language. The schism of the Eastern Orthodox Church is the greatest curse in Europe, perhaps even worse than Protestantism.”


     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 Vatican, and is now a candidate for canonization!…


     Another creation of the Ustashi was the so-called “Croatian Orthodox Church”. On June 8, 1942, the Romanian Patriarch Nicodemus raised ROCOR’s Archbishop Hermogen (Maximov) to rank of metropolitan of this uncanonical church, whose main task was to “Croatize” the Serbs. It enjoyed the full support of the Croatian authorities, but was rejected by the Serbian Church and by ROCOR under Metropolitan Anastasy, who banned Germogen. However, the Germans did not allow this ban to be published. Moreover, on July 27 the Ecumenical Patriarch, followed by most of the Orthodox Churches in the German orbit, recognized the Croat Church. But believers did not go to it.[13] Metropolitan Germogen was killed by Tito’s partisans in July, 1945.[14]


German-Occupied Russia


     On June 22, 1941, the feast of All Saints of Russia, the Nazis invaded Russia. The invasion had been prophesied by Elder Aristocles of Moscow in 1911: “You will hear about it in that country where you will be at that time, you will hear that the Germans are rattling their sabres on the borders of Russia… Only don’t rejoice yet. Many Russians will think that the Germans will save Russia from the Bolshevik power, but it will not be so. True, the Germans will enter Russia and will do much, but they will depart, for the time of salvation will not be yet. That will be later, later… Germany will suffer her punishment in her own land. She will be divided…”[15]


     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.”[16]


     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 Russia, of the ‘family of peoples’ in the Soviet Union, of Pan-Slav brotherhood, or in the name of Stalin, but never in the name of the communist system.”[17]


     Such 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 Germany was not like the war against the kulaks, or the war for greater production in the 1930s, although the almost continuous state of popular mobilization which these campaigns produced in some ways prepared the population to respond to emergency and improvisation. During 1942 the war was presented as a war to save historic Russia, a nationalist war of revenge against a monstrous, almost mythical enemy. The words ‘Soviet Union’ and ‘Communism’ appeared less and less frequently in official publications. The words ‘Russia’ and ‘Motherland’ took their place. The ‘Internationale’, the anthem of the international socialist movement played on state occasions, was replaced with a new nationalist anthem. The habits of military egalitarianism ingrained in the Red Army were swept aside. New medals were struck commemorating the military heroes of Russia’s past; the Tsarist Nevsky Order was revived but could be won only by officers. Aleksandr Nevsky, the Muscovite prince who drove back the Teutonic Knights in the thirteenth century, was a singularly apt parallel. In 1938 Stalin had ordered Sergei Eisenstein to produce a film on Nevsky. He interfered with the script to make the message clear about the German threat (and the virtues of authoritarianism). In 1939 the film was withdrawn following the Nazi-Soviet pact, but in 1942 it again became essential viewing.”[18]


     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 Russia. All classes were wiped out one by one: the nobility, the merchants, the peasantry, the clergy and the educated class (including all the Russian officers), and all the state institutions of what had been Russia were destroyed: the army, the police, the courts, local administration, charitable institutions, etc. A systematic annihilation of Russian culture was carried out – churches were blown up, museums were robbed, towns and streets were renamed, Russian family and everyday traditions were exterminated, Russian sciences and schools were liquidated, the whole of Russian history was blotted out and spat upon. In the place of the annihilated Russian element a red and Soviet element was created, beginning with the Red army and the Red professors and ending with Soviet orthography and Soviet sport. Our earthly Fatherland, Russia, was in fact destroyed, by terror she was transformed into the Sovdepia, which was a complete denial of Russia – it was anti-Russia. A Russian person has no right to forget that a consistent denial of Russian statehood is that on which the Soviet regime stood and on which it prided itself with emphasis.


     “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.


     “Every 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 Soviet Union. The slogan of this army was not ‘For the Faith, the Tsar and the Fatherland!’, but ‘Give us the Internationale!’ This army was created from the beginning, not for the defence, but for the enslavement of our Fatherland and in order to turn it into ‘the launch-pad of world revolution’; it had to wage an aggressive war against it for the spreading of antitheist communism throughout the world…


     “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 Russia never knew such a massive ‘betrayal’ in her history. How many wars has Russia waged, and never have there been so many traitors, turncoats and ‘self-seekers’ among us. And yet it was enough for the ‘Fatherland’ war to begin and not just a simple one, but a ‘Great’ one, and hundreds of thousands of people with weapons in their hands passed over to the side of the enemy. Moreover, people were enlisting in the ROA even in 1945, when the fall of Hitler’s Germany and the victory of Stalin was evident…”[19]


     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 Kiev thousands were shot in their cells. But in Stavropol they still had time to take the ‘contras’, including several old priests and monks, out of the city. They were led out onto the railway line from Kislovodsk to Moscow. At the small station of Mashuk, where the poet Lermontov had his duel, the wagons containing the prisoners were uncoupled from the trains and shunted into a siding at Kamenolomnya. Then the priests and monks were taken out with their hands bound and their eyes covered. In groups of five they were led to the edge of a sheer cliff, and thrust over the edge. Then the bodies were lifted up with hooks and covered with crushed stone and sand before a tractor levelled the area for the next wagon-full...”[20]


     The Germans were in general greeted with ecstatic joy. Thus Solzhenitsyn writes: “Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia gave the Germans a jubilant welcome. Belorussia, the Western Ukraine, and the first occupied Russian territories followed suit. But the mood of the people was demonstrated most graphically of all by the Red Army: before the eyes of the whole world it retreated along a 2,000-kilometre front, on foot, but every bit as fast as motorized units. Nothing could possibly be more convincing than the way these men, soldiers in their prime, voted with their feet. Numerical superiority was entirely with the Red Army, they had excellent artillery and a strong tank force, yet back they rolled, a rout without compare, unprecedented in the annals of Russian and world history. In the first few months some three million officers and men had fallen into enemy hands!


     “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…”[21]


     “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).”[22] Even in fully Sovietized regions such as Pskov and the Eastern Ukraine, 95% of the population, according to German reports, flooded into the newly-opened churches.


     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 Autocephalous and Autonomous Churches were not allowed to operate in these regions by the Romanian authorities. This elicited protests from the Slavic believers.[23]


The Pskov Mission and the Catacomb Church


     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.[24] He immediatedly proceeded to bless the formation of an “Orthodox mission in the liberated regions of Russia”, otherwise known as the “Pskov Orthodox Mission”, whose official aim was the restoration of church life “destroyed by Soviet power”. This mission, staffed mainly be members of the Eulogian jurisdiction, included within its jurisdiction parts of the Leningrad and Kalinin regions, as well as the Pskov and Novgorod regions, with a population of about two million people.


     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 Vilnius.


     “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.’”[25]


     At the beginning the mission had only two open churches, one in Pskov and one in Gdov. But in November, 1942, Metropolitan Sergius succeeded in opening a theological seminary in Vilnius led by Protopresbyter Basl Vinogradov.[26] And by 1944 there were 200 parishes and 175 priests.[27] Lectures were read on Pskov radio, help was given to Soviet prisoners of war, and a children’s home was created in the church of St. Demetrius in Pskov. The region, on the insistence of Metropolitan Sergius (an NKVD agent, after all), remained ecclesiastically part of the Leningrad diocese under Metropolitan Alexis (Simansky), whose name was commemorated in each service, until anti-German leaflets signed by Alexis were dropped by the Soviet air force on the territory. While remaining formally within the MP, Metropolitan Sergius (Voskresensky) carried out the commands of the Germans. For example, in the summer of 1943 he ordered that a thanksgiving service with the participation of all the clergy should take place in Pskov to mark the Germans’ handing back of the land into the hands of the peasantry.


     The True Church also benefited from the German invasion. The Kiev-Caves Lavra was reopened, and Catacomb Schema-Archbishop Anthony (Abashidze) returned to it with his monks. Archbishop Anthony stayed there until his death in 1942.[28] Also in Kiev, Archimandrite Michael (Kostyuk), together with Schema-Abbess Michaela (Shelkina), directed a large community of catacomb monks and nuns. They were even able to build an above-ground church with the permission of the Germans.[29]


     Josephite parishes continued to exist in German-occupied Russia. Thus Hieromonk Tikhon (Zorin), like other Josephite clergy, refused to work with the Pskov mission, but recognized the German authorities. But the Pskov mission was hostile to the Catacomb Church. Thus one of the priests of the Pskov mission, Protopriest Nicholas Zhundy, was appointed superior of the parish in the village of Meletovo, where the Josephite Hieromonk Sergius (Samsonik) was also serving. In December, 1942 he received the command from the mission “in every way to counteract the activities of the Josephite priest”. He was able to carry out this command, “having sorted out parish life in Meletovo”. Nothing more was ever heard of Fr. Sergius…[30]


     “On the whole,” writes M.V. Shkvarovsky, “the Catacomb Church in North-West Russia preferred to remain underground. The point was that the ‘Pskov Orthodox Mission’ (1941-1943), which existed with the permission of the commanding officers of the army group ‘North’, was in canonical submission to the Moscow Patriarchate and tried to winkle out the secret communities. Schema-Bishop Macarius (Vasilyev), who settled in the Pskov-Caves monastery at the end of 1941, foretold the unsuccessful end of the war for Germany. Together with the secret Bishop of Pskov John (Lozhkov), he tried to enter into relations with Metropolitan Seraphim (Lyade) of Berlin and Germany, who belonged to ROCOR. However, the hieromonk whom he sent, Nicephorus (Richter-Mellin) was detained in Konigsberg on a train and sent back.


     “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 Soltsy in Novgorod diocese the mitre-bearing Protopriest Fr. V., former dean of the churches of the city of Minsk, who then became a catacomb priest, in spite of the very severe command of the dean of the Novgorod region Fr. Basil Rushanov, categorically refused to commemorate the Soviet Metropolitan Sergius. This was in 1942. And in 1943 and 1944 Fr. B. began to commemorate Metropolitan Anastasy [Gribanovsky].’


     “The fact that most of the communities of the True Orthodox Christians in Leningrad region during the occupation remained underground allowed them to continue their activity even after the end of the war, in spite of the deaths of their leaders…


     “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.”[31]


     Perhaps for this reason, on July 7, 1944, as the Red Army returned to the occupied territories, Beria wrote to Stalin asking permission for the deportation of 1,673 Catacomb Christians from the Ryazan, Voronezh and Orel regions to Siberia. He described the Catacomb Christians as “leading a parasitical way of life, not paying taxes, refusing to fulfil their obligations and service, and forbidding their children to go to school.”[32]


     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 Tula region they have been preserved to this day [2004]. The Lord entrusted them to me, and with God’s help I am spiritually caring for them…


     Before the war only a few Catacomb priests were surviving in Briansk region. But when the region was occupied by the Germans, several hundred churches were opened in it, where they commemorated, not Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) as first hierarch, but Metropolitan Anastasy, the head of ROCOR. In Briansk region the Catacomb Christians were served by Bishop Stefan (Sevbo). Under the pressure of the red army Bishop Stefan and many clergy and laity emigrated to Belorussia, and then to Germany. Vladyka Stefan later ruled the Viennese diocese of ROCOR, and died in 1965.”[33]


The Church in Belorussia and Ukraine


     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 Minsk, be called “Metropolitan of Minsk and All Russia” and open a theological seminary.[34]


     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.[35] According to another source, however, Metropolitan Panteleimon at first refused to accept the idea of a Belorussian Autonomous Church in communion with the MP, and refused to concelebrate with the MP’s exarch in the Baltic, Metropolitan Sergius (Voskresensky). And that was why the more pliable Bishop Philotheus of Slutsk was appointed as de facto head of the Church in Belorussia.[36]


     “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 Belorussian Church with the blessing of Metropolitan Panteleimon, but only he, Bishop Athanasius, and Bishop Stefan (Sevbo)… were allowed to take part. On the question of the Belorussian Church declaring itself to be autocephalous, the bishops stated that this could not be done without the knowledge and agreement of the other local Churches, which they knew would be impossible because, among other things, a world war was in progress. However, a letter addressed to the heads of the autocephalous Orthodox Churches was signed by Metropolitan Panteleimon and given to the German authorities, but it was never sent.


     “Archbishop Philotheus and his fellow hierarchs persistently sought the return of Metropolitan Panteleimon, who finally was allowed by the Germans to return to Minsk in April of 1943. In May of 1944, the council of bishops met, and rejected the idea of seeking the autocephaly that had been attempted by the nationalistic element.”[37]


     Throughout this period, the Belorussian Church had no contact with the MP - the Germans forbade the commemoration of Sergius. So formally speaking the Belorussians were not part of the MP. Moreover, in October, 1943, they were represented by a bishop and a priest at a ROCOR Council in Vienna, so de facto they were now in communion with ROCOR. At that council the election of Metropolitan Sergius as “Patriarch” was condemned as uncanonical, and a bishop, George, was consecrated for the see of Gomel and Mozyr by ROCOR.[38] Another Belorussian hierarch, Bishop Stefan (Sevbo) of Smolensk, had good relations with the Catacomb Church.[39] And after fleeing to the West after the war the entire episcopate was received into ROCOR “in their existing rank” on April 23 / May 6, 1946.[40]


     In Ukraine, the Germans allowed the creation of two Churches independent of the MP. The Ukrainian Autocephalous Church was in essence a reactivation of the Lypkivsky “self-consecrators’” schism, which had flourished in the Ukraine in the 1920s before being eliminated by Stalin, via the Polish Autocephalous Church. Thus on December 24, 1941, Metropolitan Dionysius of Warsaw, at the request of Ukrainian political and social-ecclesiastical activists, appointed Archbishop Polycarp (Sikorsky) of Lutsk as “Temporary Administrator of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church on the liberated lands of Ukraine”.[41] Into this Church, without reordination, poured the remnants of the Lypkivsky schism, which soon led it onto the path of extreme Ukrainian nationalism. About 40% of the Orthodox in the Ukraine were attracted into this Church, which was especially strong in the home of Ukrainian nationalism in the West; but it had no monastic life, and very soon departed from traditional Orthodoxy.


     On August 18, 1941, a Council of Bishops meeting in the Pochaev monastery elected Metropolitan Alexis (Gromadsky) as leader of the Ukrainian Autonomous Church, which based her existence on the decision of the 1917-18 Local Council of the Russian Church granting the Ukrainian Church autonomy within the framework of the Russian Church. Although the Germans tended to favour the Autocephalous Church over the Autonomous Church, it was the latter that attracted the majority of believers (55%) and opened the most churches. It even attracted catacomb priests, such as Archimandrite Leontius (Filippovich), who after his consecration as Bishop of Zhitomir restored about 50% of the pre-revolutionary parishes in his diocese and ordained about two hundred priests, including the future leader of the “Seraphimo-Gennadiite” branch of the Catacomb Church, Gennadius Sekach, before he (Leontius) himself fled westwards with the Germans and joined ROCOR.[42] Also linked with the Autonomous Churches was the Georgian Schema-Archbishop Anthony (Abashidze), who lived in retirement in Kiev and may have taken part in the consecration of the future leader of the Catacomb Church in Siberia, Bishop Theodosius (Bakhmetev).


     Andrew Psarev writes: “The Ukrainian Autonomous Church was formally subject to the Moscow Patriarchate, insofar as her leading hierarchs considered that they did not have the canonical right to declare themselves an autocephaly. But since the Moscow Patriarchate was subject to the Bolsheviks, in her administrative decisions the Autonomous Church was completely independent, which is why her spiritual condition was different from that of the Moscow Patriarchate.”[43]


     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 Rovno, Platon Artemiuk, was closely linked with the Benderite centre in Derman; he twice went to their headquarters and was twice triumphantly received by them, going between two rows of Benderite youngsters dressed in Gestapo-like uniforms, and sat at a meal with them. Here at the centre it was decided to kill the head of the Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Alexis (Gromadsky), and the resolution was put into effect on May 7, 1943.


     “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 the village of Malaya Moschanka, in Dubensk uyezd, who refused to serve services in Ukrainian. The Benderites arrived at his house and began to beat him, then cut him up with knives, before casting him still half alive head first into a well.”[44]


     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 Germany in the closing stages of the war.


ROCOR and the Germans


     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 Kiev, and much-suffering Smolensk and Pskov are radiantly celebrating their deliverance as if from the depths of hell. The liberated part of the Russian people everywhere has already begun to chant: ‘Christ is risen!’”[45]


     In June, the ROCOR Synod made some suggestions to the German authorities on the organization of the Church in Russia. In June it wrote: “…In the spirit of the canons of the Orthodox Church there exists only one solution in the question of the organization of the Church’s administration, and that is the convening of a Council of Russian hierarchs by the eldest among them and the appointment by this Council of a temporary head of the Church and of the rest of the Church administration.” The final organization of the governing organs and the election of a Patriarch could take place, in the opinion of the Synod, only when ‘hierarchs will be appointed to all the vacant sees and normal relations are established in the country”.[46]


     However, the attitude of the Germans to the Orthodox Faith was ambiguous. Hitler was “utterly irreligious”[47], 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."[48] 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 April 11, 1942, he said: "We must avoid having one solitary church to satisfy the religious needs of large districts, and each village must be made into an independent sect, worshipping God in its own fashion. If some villages as a result wish to practise black magic, after the fashion of Negroes or Indians, we should do nothing to hinder them. In short, our policy in the wide Russian spaces should be to encourage any and every form of dissension and schism."[49]


     The Germans wanted to prepare new priestly cadres who would conform to their views on the Jews. On October 31, 1941 a directive went out from the Main Administration of Imperial Security for the Reich: “The resolution of the ecclesiastical question in the occupied eastern provinces is an exceptionally important… task, which with a little skill can be magnificently solved in favour of a religion that is free from Jewish influence. However, this influence is predicated on the closing of churches in the eastern provinces that are infected with Jewish dogmas…”[50]


     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 Estonia and Latvia that they should have their own national churches…”[51]


     Again, on August 8, 1942 the head of the German General Commissariat wrote to Archbishop Philotheus, temporary head of the Belorussian Church, forbidding the baptism of Jews, the opening of work-houses attached to monasteries, the opening of theological seminaries and academies without the permission of the German authorities and the teaching of the Law of God in school. He also removed the juridical status of Church marriages. It was becoming clear that the authorities were not intending to give any rights to the Orthodox Church in Belorussia.[52]


     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 Germany from abroad (for example, Fr. Rodzianko), and according to the information I have received permission was not given because these priests supposedly worked together with émigré political organizations.”[53]


     On October 21, 1943, with the permission of the Germans (the first time they had given such permission), Metropolitan Anastasy came to Vienna from Belgrade and convened a Conference of eight bishops of ROCOR which condemned the election of the patriarch as unlawful and invalid.[54] “The conference composed and sent to the German authorities a memorandum which contained a series of bold demands. The memorandum is the best proof of the fact that the Conference took decisions independently, and not at the command of the Nazis. In it first of all should be highlighted the protest against the Nazis’ not allowing the Russian clergy abroad to go to the occupied territories of the USSR. The memorandum demanded ‘the removal of all obstacles hindering the free movement of bishops from this side of the front’, and the reunion of bishop ‘on occupied territories and abroad’. (A.K. Nikitin, Polozhenie russkoj pravoslavnoj obschiny v Germanii v period natsistkogo rezhima (1933-1945 gg.) [The Situation of the Russian Orthodox Community in Germany in the Nazi period (1933-1945)], Annual Theological Conference PSTBI, Moscow, 1998). A vivid expression of this protest was the consecration by the participants of the Conference of Bishop Gregory (Boriskevich). He was consecrated for the Belorussian Autonomous Church and received the title of Bishop of Gomel and Mozyr. At the Council an appeal to Russian believers was agreed. The conference did not send any greetings to Hitler or other leaders of the Third Reich. The third agreed point was unexpected for the Nazi institutions. De facto it contained a critique of German policy in relation to the Russian Church and included demands for greater freedom: ‘(1) The free development and strengthening of the Orthodox Church in the occupied regions and the unification of all Orthodox ecclesiastical provinces liberated from Soviet power with the Orthodox Church Abroad under one common ecclesiastical leadership would serve as an earnest of the greater success of these parts of the Russian Church in the struggle with atheist communism…  (3) It is necessary to give Russian workers in Germany free satisfaction of all their spiritual needs. (4) In view of the great quantity of various Russian military units in the German army, it is necessary to create an institution of military priests… (6) A more energetic preaching of the Orthodox religio-moral world-view… (9) Petition for the introduction of apologetic programmes on the radio… (10) The organization of theological libraries attached to the parishes… (13) Giving Orthodox ecclesiastical authorities the possibility of opening theological schools and the organization of pastoral and religio-moral courses.’”[55]


     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 Russia.  Of course, it is impossible to conceal the now well-known fact that, exhausted by the hopelessness of their situation and reduced almost to despair by the terror reigning in Russia, Russian people both abroad and in Russia itself placed hopes on Hitler, who declared an irreconcilable war against communism (as is well-known, this is the explanation for the mass surrender of the Russian armies into captivity at the beginning of the war), but when it became evident that he was in fact striving to conquer Ukraine, Crimea and the Caucasus and other rich regions of Russia, and that he not only despised the Russian people, but was even striving to annihilate it, and that in accordance with his command our prisoners had been starved to death, and that the German army during its retreat had burned and destroyed to their foundations Russian cities and villages on their path, and had killed or led away their population, and had condemned hundreds of thousands of Jews with women and children to death, forcing them to dig graves for themselves, then the hearts of all reasonable people – except those who ‘wanted to be deceived’ -  turned against him…”[56]


     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 Serbia and the German’s distrust of him…


     ”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.”[57]


     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 Russian Church to a persecution that was unprecedented in the history of Christianity.


     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 Russia with the actions of our fathers and great-grandfathers… We are now all united by one feeling – a feeling of deadly irreconcilability with the Bolshevik evil and a flaming desire to extirpate it on the Russian land. For we know that as long as it reigns there, no rational human life is possible, no spiritual movement forward; as long as this evil threatens both our fatherland and the whole of Europe, death and destruction will be established everywhere. And insofar as you, dear brothers and sisters, are striving to crush this terrible evil… you are doing a truly patriotic, even more than that, universal work, and the Church cannot not bless your great and holy beginning… Dear brothers and sisters, let us all unite around this Liberation Movement of ours, let each of us struggle on this path and help the common great work of the liberation of our Homeland, until this terrible evil of Bolshevism falls and our tormented Russia is raised from her bed…”[58]


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…”[59]


     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’ Romanian and Bulgarian Orthodox Churches, to the Romanian and Bulgarian soldiers who were fighting on the side of Germany, and also to the population and Church in Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Greece and other countries. Nicholas Yarushevich himself was appointed a member of the so-called ‘Pan-Orthodox Committee’ created according to a decision of the communist party, and also of the Extraordinary State Commission for the investigation of fascist crimes. And it is precisely on Metropolitan Nicholas, as a member of this commission, that there falls the blame for the lie and disinformation concerning Stalin’s crimes: he was among those who signed the unprecedentedly mendacious declaration to the effect that the shootings of thousands of Polish officers in a wood near Katyn were carried out by the Germans, and not by Soviet punishment squads, as was the case in actual fact. Moreover these were not the only such cases.


     “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 S. Stragorodsky. As it said in the foreword: ‘… This book is a reply first of all to the “crusade” of the fascists undertaken by them supposedly for the sake of liberating our people and our Orthodox Church from the Bolsheviks’. The whole of the book, from the first page to the last, is overflowing with outpourings of unreserved devotion to Stalin’s regime and with false assurances about ‘complete religious freedom in the USSR’.[60]


     “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…’”[61]


     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 Leningrad, that of the Holy Trinity in Lesny, began to contribute. However, helping the Soviet war effort and remaining True Orthodox were clearly incompatible aims; and in November, 1943 the Trinity parish applied to join the Moscow Patriarchate…[62]


     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 Eastern Europe. ‘First of all,’ wrote the Exarch of the MP in the Baltic region, Metropolitan Sergius (Voskresensky), in his report to the German occupying authorities already on November 12, 1941, ‘for the Soviet state the existence of legal ecclesiastical administration was very important for purposes of advertisement and propaganda. In the foreign Jewish press, which wanted to attract the hearts of its liberal readers to “Stalin’s constitution”, it was possible to point to the existence of the “Patriarchate” as an indisputable proof that in the Soviet state even the Orthodox Church, that support of tsarist reaction, had complete religious freedom. On the other hand, if the patriarchal administration and its members were annihilated, it would be difficult to bring the press abroad to silence. This would elicit a particularly powerful and long-lasting response among the Orthodox Balkan peoples… The existence of the patriarchal administration was allowed, since its abolition, like any form of open persecution of the Church, would not correspond to the interests of the subtle atheist propaganda, and could elicit politically undesirable disturbances in the broad masses of the Orthodox believers (their number is calculated at from 30 to 60 million) and arouse still greater hatred for the authorities.


     “’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.’[63]


     “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 USSR. For Roosevelt this was one of the key questions, on which depended the final result of the negotiations and the possibility of giving military help to the USSR. [64] In connection with this, on October 4, 1941 the Soviet deputy foreign minister Solomon Lozovsky assured the delegation of the USA that religion both in the USSR and outside it had a great significance for raising the patriotic spirit in a country, and for that reason, if some faults and mistakes had been admitted in the past, they would be corrected. So as to imitate so-called ‘freedom of conscience’ in the USSR and thereby win over the countries of the West, Stalin began cautiously flirting with religion. But in the beginning not with the Moscow Patriarchate, … but with the Vatican


     “Cardinal changes in the internal politics of Stalin in relation to the Moscow Patriarchate… took place in the second half of 1943. At the beginning of autumn the leaders of the allied countries in the anti-Hitlerite coalition were preparing for their first personal meeting in Teheran. Stalin placed great hopes on the Teheran meeting, and so he sought out various means of urging on the allies. First of all, public movements in England and the USA for giving help to the USSR were given the most active support. Among these organizations with whose leaders Stalin carried out a personal correspondence, was Hewitt Johnson, the rector of the cathedral church of Canterbury. The Soviet historian V. Alexeev thinks that ‘this was a partner whom Stalin treasured, and who had no small influence in an allied country, where the Anglichan church was the state religion.’


     “Besides Hewitt Johnson, other hierarchs of the Anglican church were actively involved into the movement for the speediest provision of help to the USSR, including Archbishop Cosmo Lang. More than a thousand activists of the Episcopalian church of the U.S.A. addressed similar appeals to the president of the USA Franklin Roosevelt. Moreover, by the autumn of 1943 the leadership of the Anglican church had addressed the Soviet government through the embassy of the USSR in Great Britain with a request to allow a visit of their delegation to Moscow. As V. Alexeev remarks: ‘On the eve of the Teheran conference the visit of the delegation was recognized as desirable and useful by Stalin. In this situation it was extremely advantageous that the head of the delegation, the Archbishop of York, should be received by the higher leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church headed by the patriarch.’


     “In connection with the above-mentioned political perspectives, Metropolitan Sergius (from Ulyanovsk) and Metropolitan Alexis (from Leningrad) were very quickly transported to Moscow on government planes. Together with Metropolitan Nicholas (Yarushevich), they were brought late at night on September 4, 1943 to Stalin in the Kremlin. Besides Stalin, the deputy president of the Sovnarkom of the USSR. V. Molotov and NKVD General-Major G. Karpov took part in the talks. As Alexeev witnesses, relying on G. Karpov’s report, at the meeting ‘Stalin approved of the convening of a council, but advised that a Hierarchical, not a Local council be convened at the given time… The metropolitans agreed. When Sergius touched upon the question of the time necessary for the preparation of the council, Stalin asked him: “Can we not produce a Bolshevik tempo?” Then, turning to Karpov, he asked him to help the leadership of the church to get the bishops to the council as quickly as possible. For this he was to bring in aviation and other forms of transport. Karpov assured Stalin that all the necessary work would be carried out and the council could be opened already in three to four days. Immediately Stalin and Metropolitans Sergius, Alexis and Nicholas agreed to set September 8 as the opening of the council.’


     “Here we must note that Karpov’s report[65] 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 Moscow, and also the spineless agreement of the metropolitans with Stalin’s proposals – ‘the metropolitans agreed’, as it says in Karpov’s report. But the delegation of metropolitans, being loyal to the authorities, could not act differently in their meeting with the dictator, in connection with which Karpov spiced up his report with invented initiatives of Sergius.


     “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 Russia [Rossii]’, as it was under Patriarch Tikhon (Bellavin).[66] Turning to the metropolitans, Stalin said that the government was ready to provide her with the necessary financial means to support the international image of the Moscow Patriarchate, and also informed them that for the accommodation of the chancellery of the MP he was giving over to them a three-storey house with all its furniture – the past residence of the German ambassador Schulenberg. Obviously, Stalin presented this gift to annoy the Germans, who had opened Orthodox churches on the occupied territories.


     “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 Moscow… Sergius replied that since the council at which they would elect the patriarch would be held in four days, the delegation could be received practically at any time after that. On hearing this, Molotov concluded that it would be appropriate to receive it in a month’s time [that is, on the eve of the Teheran conference]. Stalin agreed.”[67]


     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.”[68]


     The meeting lasted until 3 a.m. According to Archimandrite Ioann (Razumov), Sergius was enchanted by Stalin. “How kind he is!… How kind he is!” he said in a hushed voice.[69]


     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 the USSR military aid if religious suppression stopped. Right until Stalin’s death Russian metropolitan bishops were delivered in large black limousines to appear on international platforms, such as peace congresses, in the company of such stalwart atheists as Fadeev and Ehrenburg.”[70] But from the Church’s point of view, the new policy, while it ensured the Church’s physical survival, made it completely a slave of the State. As Rayfield writes: “The Church was now… an arm of the state.”[71]


     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 November 1, 1943, the Council made it obligatory for all parishes to submit a monthly account with a detailed description of their activity in all its facets?”[72]


     Shumilo continues: “The so-called ‘hierarchical council’… took place on September 8, 1943. In all 19 hierarchs took part in it, six of whom were former renovationists who had been hastily consecrated not long before the ‘council’, and also several loyal bishops who were specially freed from prison and sent to Moscow in planes. At the given assembly there were no bishops from the occupied territories, nor from the emigration, or, still more, those who did not agree with Sergius and his ecclesiastical politics, who continued to languish in Soviet concentration camps. As the patriarchal historian D. Pospelovsky notes: ‘… At that time there were at least some tens of bishops in exile and the camps… Some of the imprisoned bishops refused to recognize the ecclesiastical politics of Sergius after 1927 as the condition of their liberation. At that time the Catacomb Church was still very active.’”[73]


     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”.[74]


     “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.”[75]


     Sergius was enthroned as “patriarch” on September 12, 1943. On September 14 the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, later renamed the Council for Religious Affairs, was created with Karpov at its head. Eduard Radzinsky comments: “Karpov was also [since 1940] head of the Fifth Department of the NKVD[76], whose assignment was to combat ‘the counterrevolutionary clergy.’ In the NKVD Karpov’s duty was to fight the church, in the council [-] to assist it…”[77]


Orthodoxy and Paganism in Manchuria


     From 1931 Manchuria with its capital city of Harbin was occupied by the Japanese, which placed an important part of the Russian emigration in what was in effect a militantly pagan country.


     In Autumn, 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 Japan as Bishop Nicholas, the first Japanese Orthodox bishop. On his return, some parishioners rejected him. However, with the help of the retired Metropolitan Sergius, the believers were pacified.[78]


     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.[79]


     However, on February 5, 1944 the congress of leaders of the Russian emigration in Manchuria met in Harbin. The congress opened with a moleben in the St. Nicholas cathedral, after which the participants went to the Japanese temple “Harbin-Jinjya”, where they carried out a veneration of the goddess Amateras. On February 12 the Harbin hierarchs responded with a archpastoral epistle, in which they said: “Since any kind of veneration of pagan divinities and temples is forbidden by the commandments of God…, Orthodox Christians, in obedience to the will of God and his Law, cannot and must not carry out this veneration, for such venerations contradict the basic theses of the Orthodox Faith.” Archbishop Nestor refused to sign this epistle. In March both vicars of the Harbin diocese, Bishop Demetrius and Bishop Juvenal, were summoned to the police, where they were closely interrogated about the circumstances of the illegal distribution of the archpastoral epistle and about the attitude of the flock to this question. On April 28 Metropolitan Meletius was subjected to interrogation. The conversation, which lasted for several hours, produced no result. Referring to his extreme exhaustion and illness, Vladyka Meletius asked that the conversation be continued on May 1. This again produced no result. Bishop Demetrius, who also took part, categorically and sharply protested against the venerations.


     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 Harbin archpastors sent a letter to Archbishop Nestor in which they appealed to him “to unite with us, return and may your voice sound out in defence of the purity of the Faith and zeal for its confession. Sign (better late than never) our Archpastoral Epistle and announce this publicly – in whatever way and place you can.” In reply, Vladyka Nestor wrote that he did not disagree with his brother archpastors about the inadmissibility of venerating the temples of Amateras.[80]


     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.[81]


The Legacy of Metropolitan Sergius


     “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 Moscow… In general, in the run-up to the Teheran conference the politics of the Soviet regime was ‘reconstructed’ not only in relation to the Moscow Patriarchate but also in relation to the Vatican. In October, 1943 support had been given to the official Georgian Orthodox and Armenian-Gregorian churches. The regime cooperated with the Muslims in convening in Tashkent a conference of loyal Muslim clergy and believers, in the organization in Bujnaks of a legal spiritual administration of the Muslims of the North Caucasus, in the opening of Muslim theological schools (medrese) in Bukhara, Tashkent, etc. However, it is quite mistaken to think that this ‘warming’ was a fully-fledged offering of freedom to the religious organizations in the USSR.  In spite of their external freedom, the religious workers of the country, all without exception, remained hostages of the totalitarian system and remained under the constant strict supervision of the Soviet special services. But in relation to the so-called ‘unreliables’, the communist repressive apparatus continued to operate as before, although the religious workers themselves in all their official declarations categorically denied this, insinuating into popular opinion abroad the false idea that complete freedom of conscience and religious organizations had been re-established in the USSR. As V. Alexeev remarks: ‘… The deeply religious F.D. Roosevelt was very satisfied with the new relationship of the authorities to the church in the USSR. These steps undertaken by Stalin also received approval in England, Canada and France, where the position of religious organizations in society was very strong. The Russian emigration was also satisfied with them.’”[82]


     Shortly after being elected Patriarch, in an encyclical dated October 14, 1943, Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) threatened all the clergy who were cooperating with the Germans with an ecclesiastical trial. The Germans countered by confronting Metropolitan Sergius (Voskresensky) with the acts of the Vienna conference of ROCOR, which condemned Sergius’ election as uncanonical, and demanded that he approve of them. On April 28 or 29, 1944, Metropolitan Sergius (Voskresensky) was ambushed and shot. There are good reasons for believing that the act was done by Soviets dressed in German uniforms and that the leader of the murderers was Dr. Aschach, local head of German counter-intelligence.[83]


     On October 27, 1943 Metropolitan Sergius wrote to Karpov: “I ask you to petition the government of the USSR for an amnesty for the people named in the attached list, whom I would like to draw into Church work under my administration. I will not take upon myself to decide the question to what extent these people deserved the punishment they underwent. But I am convinced that clemency given them by the Goverenment would arouse them (and give them the opportunity) to apply all their energy to demonstrate their loyalty to the Government of the USSR and to wipe out their guilt completely.” To this declaration was attached a list of 26 clergy, including 24 hierarchs. Most of them, as it turned out, had already been shot or had perished in the camps.[84]


     On October 31, after the Georgians congratulated Sergius on his election, Sergius’ representative, Archbishop Anthony of Stavropol and Pyatigork, concelebrated with Catholicos Callistratus of Georgia in Tbilisi. So eucharistic communion was re-established without preconditions. Until 1990 the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not accept this act since it was carried out without his agreement, but only with his knowledge.[85]


     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 Holy Church. And in the shortest time the ‘penitent renovationists’ received a lofty dignity, places and ranks, in spite of the church canons and the decree about the reception of renovationists imposed [by Patriarch Tikhon] in 1925…


     “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’.”[86]


     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.


     Thus on October 12, 1943 Karpov wrote to Stalin and Molotov: “The renovationist movement earlier played a constructive role but in recent years has lost its significance and base of support. On this basis, and taking into account the patriotic stance of the Sergiite church, the Council for Russian Orthodox Church Affairs has decided not to prevent the dissolution of the renovationist church and the transfer of the renovationist clergy and parishes to the patriarchal, Sergiite church.”[87]


     On October 16 Karpov sent secret instructions to the regions not to hinder the transfer of renovationists to the Sergianist church.[88]


     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.[89] 


     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.”[90]


     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 the Universal Church only because he is a heretic. But in principle Metropolitan Sergius considers it possible and even desirable for the whole of the Universal Church to be headed by one person. Moreover, in difficult times in the life of the Church this person can assume such privileges even if he does not have the corresponding canonical rights. And although the metropolitan declares that this universal leader is not the vicar of Christ, this declaration does not look sincere in the context both of his other theological opinions and of his actions in accordance with this theology.”


     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”![91]


     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 Soviet Union.


     “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.”[92]


The False Moscow Council of 1945


     Sergius died on May 15, 1944.[93] “With the approval of the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church the ‘right hand’ of Sergius, the former renovationist Metropolitan Alexis (Simansky) of Leningrad entered into the rights of the patriarchal locum tenens. Metropolitan Alexis’ first act as locum tenens was to send a telegram on May 19, 1944 to Stalin, in which he thanked him for the trust he had showed him, promised to continue the politics of Stalin without wavering and assured him of his love and devotion to the cause of the party and Stalin….


     “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 USSR, USA and Great Britain from February 4 to 12 in Yalta, which had for Stalin a strategically important significance. With this aim, already at the end of November, 1944 a congress of bishops had been carried out in Moscow at which they were given special instructions and commands on the order in which the council was to be carried out and the role of each of them in it. It was here that the projected conciliar documents were drawn up, and the order for the election of the new Soviet patriarch was drawn up. The former Catacomb Archbishop Luke (Vojno-Yasensky), who had been freed from a camp during the war and united to the MP, reminded the gathered bishops of the resolution of the Local Council of 1917-1918 to the effect that the patriarch had to be elected by secret ballot from several candidates. But none of the sergianist bishops decided to support this resolution and the single candidate, as had been planned, remained Metropolitan Alexis (Simansky). Since Archbishop Luke did not agree with this violation of the conciliar norms, was through the efforts of Protopriest Nicholas Kolchitsky and Metropolitan Alexis not admitted to the council and took no part in it.”[94]


     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?”[95] 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.[96]


     In January, 1945, another council assembled in Moscow, consisting of four Russian metropolitans, 41 bishops and 141 representatives of the clergy and laity. Also present were the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Georgia, and representatives of the Constantinopolitan, Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian and other Churches. In all there were 204 participants.


     ”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 USSR of representatives of foreign churches, so as to give an international significance to the given action. As V. Alexeev notes: ‘… … By having a local council Stalin forestalled possible new accusations of the council’s lack of competency and representativeness, etc. for the election of a patriarch from the foreign part of the Orthodoxy clergy… So that the very fact of the election of a new patriarch should not elicit doubts, the patriarchs of the Orthodox churches and their representatives from Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and the Middle East were invited for the first time to Moscow.’ And although in the actual council only three patriarchs – those of Georgia, Alexandria and Antioch – took part, representatives from other local churches also arrived; they were specially brought to Moscow by Soviet military aeroplanes.


     “The council opened on January 31, 1945 with a speech of welcome in the name of the Soviet Stalinist regime by the president of the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, NKVD Major-General G. Karpov. He noted that the council ‘was an outstanding event in the life of the Church’, whose activity was directed ‘towards helping the Soviet people to secure the great historical aims set before it’, that is, the construction of ‘communist society’.


     “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.”[97]


     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 USSR, the patriarch would confer with the Council for the Affairs of the Orthodox Church attached to the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR. The Statute did not even sketchily outline the range of questions in which the patriarch was bound to agree with the Council, which gave the latter the ability to exert unlimited control over church life.”[98]


     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.”[99]


     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 Moscow museums and 28 from the Zagorsk state museum – mainly objects used in Orthodox worship – which were used as gifts for the Eastern Patriarchs. Thus, for example, Patriarch Christopher of Alexandria was given a golden panagia with valuable stones… Naturally, the patriarchs were expected to reciprocate, and they hastened to express the main thing – praise… Patriarch Christopher of Alexandria said: ‘Marshal Stalin,… under whose leadership the military operations have been conducted on an unprecedented scale, has for this purpose an abundance of divine grace and blessing.’”[100]


     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’”.[101]


    The 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 USSR [!] and also had a certain political significance. The Moscow Patriarchate in particular agreed with Patriarch Christopher of Alexandria and with the representatives of the Constantinople and Jerusalem patriarchates to break links with Metropolitan Anastasy, and on the necessity of a joint struggle against the Vatican.”[102]


The Tragedy of the Vlasovites


     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 Soviet Union the Soviet Union of the Russian people”[103]. Typical of the feelings of many at this time were the following words of Metropolitan Eulogius of Paris, full of emotion and nostalgia but with no spiritual, ecclesiastical content: “The holy Mother Russian Church is calling us to return to her bosom. Shall we decline this maternal call? Our soul has suffered enough in exile abroad. It is time to go home. The higher ecclesiastical authorities promise us a peaceful development of church life. I want to kiss my native Russian land. We want peace in the bosom of our native Mother Church – both us old men, in order to find a final peace, and the young and the middle-aged, in order to work on the regeneration of the Homeland, and to heal her yawning wounds. Without fear or doubt, and without disturbance, let us go to our native land: it is so good, so beautiful…”[104]


     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 repatriation agreements they had signed with Stalin in Yalta. And so “from 1945 to 1947,” writes G.M. Soldatov, “2,272,000 people were handed over by the Allies to the USSR. Of these more than 600,000 had served in the ‘eastern forces’ of the German army.[105] About 200,000 managed to remain in the West,”[106] thanks especially to the efforts of ROCOR’s Fr. George Grabbe and other clergy.


     The 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 Moscow was literally flooded with cripples, soldiers who were missing arms and legs, returning from the war, and then, suddenly, they all disappeared. Only later did I learn that they were all picked up and packed off to die on the island of Valaam, in order not to spoil the view in the capital. There was no monastery there then. You can just imagine for yourselves the conditions that they had to endure there while living out their last days. They were so poor, and were reduced to begging in order to survive. This is how they were treated, just so that the capital should not be spoiled by their presence! This I remember quite well. Besides this, as we all know that, because of Stalin and his military leaders, an enormous number of Soviet citizens were taken out of the country as prisoners. The government immediately disowned them; they were immediately branded traitors. And the consequences of this were that when they, for some reason or another, came back to our country, most of them were whisked off to Stalin’s labour camps. This is how they treated the veterans then…”[107]


     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 Austria, “the English occupying authorities handed over to Stalin to certain death some tens of thousands of Cossacks who had fought in the last months of the war on the side of Germany. Eye-witnesses of this drama recall that the hand-over began right during the time of the final liturgy, which Smersh did not allow to finish. Many Cossacks tried to hurl themselves into the abyss so as not to be delivered to the communists, and the first shots were heard from the Soviet occupational zone already a few minutes after the hand-over. It is interesting that the then head of ROCOR, Metropolitan Anastasy, blessed the Cossacks who had formally ended their lives through suicide because they did not want to fall into the hands of the Reds, to be given a church burial. ‘Their actions,’ he wrote, ‘are closer to the exploit of St. Pelagia of Antioch, who hurled herself from a tall tower so as escape desecration [rape].’…”[108]


     A similar tragedy took place in Kempten. On August 25, 1945, Metropolitan Anastasy wrote about it to General Eisenhower from Munich, where ROCOR had just moved its headquarters: “After seven years of terrible war, the sun of peace has arisen over the suffering earth. This peace was won by the heroism of the Allied Armies and by the wisdom, courage and self-sacrifical valour of these leaders. Among these names yours stands in the first place. These names will be blessed by those people to whom the victory of the Allied Armies returned freedom. It was with a feeling of profound satisfaction that this victory was greeted by émigrés from various countries who now live in Germany… Only the Russians, of whom there were more in Germany than the representatives of any other nation, were deprived of this joy. They were forced to remain in a foreign land because between them and their Home was a wall which their conscience and common sense did not allow them to cross… The Russians, of course, love their homeland no less than the French, the Belgians or the Italians love theirs. The Russians are nostalgic for their homeland. If, in spite of this, they still prefer to remain in a foreign land, having no domicile, often hungry and with no juridical defence, this is only for one reason: they want to preserve the greatest value on earth – freedom: freedom of conscience, freedom of the word, the right to property and personal security. Many of them have already grown old and would like to die in their homeland, but this is impossible as long as there reigns there a power which is based on terror and the suppression of the human personality… It is a remarkable fact that not only intelligentsia, but also peasants and simple workers, who left Russia after 1941, when it entered into war, and who were brought up in the conditions of Soviet life, do not want to return to Soviet Russia. When attempts were made to deport them, they cried out in despair and prayed for mercy. Sometimes they even committed suicide, preferring death in a foreign land to returning to a homeland where only sufferings await them. Such a tragic event took place on August 12 in Kempten. In the this place, in the DP camp, there was a large concentration of Russian émigrés, that is, people who had left Russia after the revolution, and also former Soviet citizens who a little later expressed their desire to remain abroad. When the American soldiers appeared at the camp with the aim of dividing these émigrés into two categories and hand over the former Soviet citizens into the hands of the Soviets, they found all the émigrés in church ardently praying to God that He save them from deportation. Being completely defenceless and abandoned, they considered the church to be their last and only refuge. They offered no active resistance. The people only kneeled and prayed for mercy, trying, in complete despair, to kiss the hands and even the feet of the officers. In spite of this, they were forcibly expelled from the church. The soldiers dragged women and children by the hair and beat them. Even the priests were not left in peace. The priests tried by all means to defend their flock, but without success. One of them, an old and respected priest, was dragged away by the beard. Another spat blood out of his mouth after one of the soldiers, trying to pull the cross out of his hands, struck him in the face. The soldiers rushed into the altar in pursuit of the people. The iconostasis, which separates the sanctuary from the church, was broken in two places, the altar was overthrown and several icons were hurled to the ground. Several people were wounded, two tried to poison themselves. One woman tried to save her child by throwing it through the window, but the man outside who caught this child in his arms was wounded by a bullet in the stomach. You can imagine what a huge impression this made on all the witnesses. It especially shocked the Russians, who were in now way expecting such behaviour from American soldiers. Up to that point they had seen in them only help and support. The American authorities have always shown respect and goodwill to Russian churches and church organizations. Many Russians strove to get into the American zone of occupation because of their hope of being defended by the valorous American army… The Russian people consider the tragedy in Kempten to be an isolated case, which took place because of a misunderstanding. They firmly believe that nothing like will ever happen again. They hope that benevolent help will be given to them as before. They are convinced that the victorious American Army, the Army of a country which is glorified by its love for freedom and humanity, will understand their desire to defend their finest national and religious ideals, for the sake of which they have been suffering for more than 25 years. We joyfully note that we, Russian émigrés in Europe, are not alone in this respect. We have recently received news from the bishops of our Church in the United States that they have not agreed to recognize the newly elected patriarch in Russia. They consider that it would be incompatible with their feeling of dignity and with their priestly conscience to be in subjection to an institution that is under the complete control of the Soviet government, which is trying to use it for its own ends. The voice of our brothers speaks about the convictions of their numerous flock in the USA… We are strengthened in the belief that we stand on the right path in defending our independence from the Muscovite ecclesiastical and political authorities until the establishment of a new order in our country that is based on the principle of true democracy, that is, freedom, brotherhood and justice. In obtaining a glorious victory together with its allies, and in pushing its frontiers forward, Russia could become the happiest of countries, if only if returned to a healthy political and social life. Being convinced that the victory of eternal truth will finally triumph, we continually pray that better days come for her, for Russia, and that peace and prosperity may be established throughout the world after the days of war have passed. May the blessing of the Lord be upon you.”[109]


The East European Churches Submit


     As a result of their attendance at the false council of 1945, the official Orthodox Churches of Eastern Europe were soon drawn into the communist orbit. In the cases of the Romanian, Bulgarian and Serbian Churches, this happened after the fall of the Orthodox monarchy. Thus the communist penetration of the Romanian Church began shortly after the abdication of King Michael on December 30, 1947.


     After his liberation from Dachau, Patriarch Gabriel of Serbia was living in Italy and for a long time did not want to go to Yugoslavia, waiting for the return to the country of King Peter. But in the autumn of 1946 Archbishop Eleutherius (Vorontsov) of the MP forced him to change his mind. In a report to the Central Committee on February 14, 1947, G. Karpov remarked that Archbishop Eleutherius ‘at the command of Patriarch Alexis has conducted a series of conversations with Gabriel and persuaded him of the necessity of returning to Yugoslavia and working with the democratic government of Tito, abandoning hopes of the restoration of the monarchy. In Decembe, 1946 the Serbian patriarch declared that he remains faithful to the traditional friendship with Russia and categorically rejects an orientation towards the West. Patriarch Gabriel also expressed the thought of the necessity of the gathering in Moscow of representatives of all the Orthodox Churches. At the Pan-Slavic Congress in Belgrade in December, 1946, Patriarch Gabriel expressed that which we in Moscow have been impatiently waiting for him to say: ‘… he considers that the seniority in the Orthodox world should belong to the Moscow Patriarchate, and the Russian Church should become the Mother for the Slavic churches.’ Developing this thought and noting the anti-Slavic and anti-Soviet ‘undermining’ work of the Vatican, Patriarch Gabriel said: ‘That is why we need to be together with the Russian people and the Russian Church, in order to oppose all the snares and enemy intrigues of the whole of the West headed by the Pope of Rome and his supporters.”[110]


     The other Serbian hierarchs had already shown their submission to Moscow. Thus on May 19-20, 1946 a Serbian Hierarchical Council allowed the Church in Czechoslovakia to enter the MP, a decision that was confirmed on May 15, 1948.[111]


     However, the patriarch’s fellow prisoner in Dachau, Bishop Nicholas Velimirovich, chose not to return to communist Yugoslavia, but emigrated to America. In 1951 he settled in the American Metropolia’s St. Tikhon monastery, eventually becoming rector.[112] He reposed in 1956.


     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…[113]


     “A report dated October 18, 1961 and prepared by the United States Senate’s Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, traces the way in which the hierarchy of the Mother Church passed under the control of the atheist government of Communist Yugoslavia: ‘… After the liberation of Yugoslavia, the Communists began persecuting all religions. Immediately after the war, the Orthodox Metropolitan of Montenegro, Joanikije Lipovac, and 70 of his priests were killed. A number of Orthodox priests were put in jails and, in 1947, American-born Bishop Barnabas Nastic was sentenced to 11 years in prison [where he died]. Patriarch Gabriel died in 1950. After his death, the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church wanted to elect as the new patriarch a strong man, Metropolitan Joseph Cvijovič, of Skopje.[114] To prevent this, the regime ordered his arrest. Then it made certain that the new patriarch would be a ‘cooperative’ one, and forced the election of a weak man, Bishop Vikentije Prodanov, who became a manageable tool of communist propaganda.’”[115]


     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 nations of Yugoslavia] were killed by Tito’s mass shootings, forced death marches and concentration camps in the period 1945-6.”[116]


     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).[117] 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 Bulgaria had tried to preserve his country’s neutrality between Hitler and Stalin, and, through the persuasion of Metropolitan Stefan of Sophia, had refused to allow the Bulgarian Jews to be taken to Hitler’s death-camps; for which he was killed in 1943.


     Professor Ya.Ya. Etinger tells the story as follows: “Hitler demanded from his ally Bulgaria the despatch of all the Jews of Bulgaria, Macedonia and Thrace to Auschwitz – about 48,000 people were subject to deportation. The head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Stefan of Sophia, on learning from the chief rabbi Asher Khamanel, the president of the capital’s Jewish community, that ‘the Commissariat for Jewish questions’ had already prepared the first lists of eminent Jews subject to deportation to Hitler’s death camps, openly declared: ‘I will conceal all the Jews in the churches and monasteries, but I will not hand them over for reprisals.’ He personally demanded that Prime-Minister Filov revoke the arrests of Jews in a series of cities in the country. The metropolitan also sent a letter to Tsar Boris, in which he wrote: ‘Let us not commit abominations, for which our good-hearted people will sometime have to feel shame, and perhaps other misfortunes.’ The metropolitan promised that he himself would remain under house arrest until the arrested Jews were released. For this he was accused by the local fascist organizations of ‘betrayal of the race and treachery’. Rabbi Khamanel, whom the police were hunting, was hidden by the metropolitan in his own podvorie. On May 24, the day of the national feast of SS. Cyril and Methodius, thousands of people came out onto the streets of the capital declaring that they would not tolerate the murder of their fellow citizens. Another highly placed clergyman, Metropolitan Cyril of Plovdiv, later patriarch of Bulgaria, also sent an epistle to the tsar. In his letter he demanded that the tsar immediately revoke the barbaric order. Otherwise, declared the metropolitan, he would not answer for the actions of the people and clergy. According to the reminiscences of eye-witnesses, he warned the local police authorities that he had said to the Jews of one of the poorest quarters of the city: ‘I present you my house. Let us see whether they will be able to get you out of there.’ And in a letter to Filov he said that he would go with a cross in his hands to the death camp in Poland ahead of the convoys with the Jews. These many protest actions attained their goal and the deportation was stopped. Tsar Boris III invited the German consul, A. Bickerle, and categorically declared: ‘The Jews of my country are its subjects and every encroachment on their freedom will be perceived by us as an insult to the Bulgarians.’ Prime Minister B. Filov wrote in his diary: ‘His Majesty completely revoked the measures taken against the Jews.’ On returning from Hitler’s head-quarters on August 28, 1943, Tsar Boris very soon died. There are grounds for supposing that he was killed by the Hitlerites for refusing to carry out the will of the Fuhrer.”[118]


     After the death of Tsar Boris, his brother, Prince Cyril, became regent and continued the same policy. But after the Soviet troops entered Bulgaria he was arrested and shot on “Bloody Thursday”, February 3, 1945.[119]


     So-called associations of priests controlled by the communists were infiltrated into the Church of Bulgaria, as into neighbouring Serbia. “After assuming power,” writes Ivan Marchevsky, “the communists began to destroy the clergy: a third of the 2000 members of the clergy was killed. Then they began to act in a different way: Vladykas appointed ‘from above’ ordained obedient priests.”[120] Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev), formerly of ROCOR, also joined the MP – although, according to his spiritual daughter, Abbess Seraphima (Lieven), he continued to call the Soviet power “satanic” and to oppose the infiltration of communist influence into the Bulgarian Church.


     In August, 1948, Metropolitan Dionysius, head of the Polish Church, petitioned the MP to be received into communion, repenting of his “unlawful autocephaly”. In November, the MP granted his request, and granted the Polish Church autocephaly – again. However, because of his “sin of autocephaly”, and because he had accepted the title of “His Beatitude”, Dionysius was not allowed to remain head of the Church.[121]


     Another reason may have been his participation in the creation of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church during the war. This decision remained in force despite a plea on Dionysius’ behalf by Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople in February, 1950.[122] In 1951, at the Poles’ request, the MP appointed a new metropolitan for the Polish Church[123], and from now on the Polish Church, though new calendar, returned to Moscow’s orbit.


     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”.[124]


     Then, from February 5 to 10, 1950, a Local Council of the Albanian Church took place in Tirana. A new constitution was worked out in which it was declared that the elections of the clergy should take place with the participation of the laity. A pseudo-patriotic note was sounded in article 4: “Parallel with the development of religious feeling, the Orthodox Autocephalous Albanian Church must instil into believers feelings of devotion to the authorities of the people of the People’s Republic of Albania, and also feelings of patriotism and of striving for the strengthening of national unity. Therefore all the priests and co-workers of the Church must be Albanian citizens, honourable, devoted to the people and the Homeland, enjoying all civil rights.” The episcopate had to pronounce the following oath: “I swear by my conscience before God that I will preserve the faith and domas, canons and Tradition of the Orthodox Church, and faithfulness to the people of the Albanian People’s Republic and its democratic principles, as prescribed by the Constitution.”[125]


     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…”[126]


ROCOR moves to America


     Archbishop Averky writes: “In September, 1944, when the Soviet armies were already approaching Belgrade, the main mass of Russian inhabitants of the city set off for Vienna. Metropolitan Anastasy with the whole staff of the Hierarchical Synod and the chancellery were also evacuated there. And in Vienna he did not cease to perform Divine services in our two churches – the old embassy church and the new house church – literally under bombs and amidst flaming conflagrations. Here, too, the wonder-working icon every day went round the houses and refuges of Russian people and even of some Austrians who had been penetrated by the greatest respect for our holy object in consequence of the miraculous signs that clearly came from it.


     “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 Munich alone and its suburbs about 14 parishes were created, and a very intensive church life was conducted in many places with daily Divine services. In the summer of this year of 1945 Vladyka Metropolian and Metropolitan Seraphim consecrated Archimandrite Alexander (Lovchy), the rector of a Munich parish, as Bishop of Kissingen, a vicariate of the German diocese.


     “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 America, carried out two hierarchical consecrations – Archimandrite Seraphim (Ivanov) as Bishop of Santiago, and Archimandrite Nathanael as Bishop of Brussels and Western Europe.


     “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.[127] 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 Germany and organize a normal Church life in their new places of residence. A whole series of new hierarchical sees was established in various countries, and the hierarchs who had assembled as a result of the war in Western Germany gradually received appointments to these newly-opened sees.


     “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 Germany on September 25 / October 8, he consecrated a new church in Frankfurt in honour of the Resurrection of Christ.


     “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 America also asked him to come; there a sad schism had just taken place (in 1946) after the so-called ‘Cleveland council’, at which it was decided [by four out of eight bishops] to move to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarch Alexis. At the beginning Vladyka Metropolitan wavered, but Munich was becoming more and more empty, and the refugee camps and the parishes in them were gradually closing down. And finally Vladyka President decided to move to where most of his flock had moved and where they were urgently inviting him to come.


     “Vladyka Metropolitan Anastasy’s departure for America took place on November 10.23, 1950. The next day he arrived at the airport in New York and was triumphantly received in the Ascension cathedral.


     “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.”[128]


     At this Council holy myrrh was sanctified for the first time in ROCOR’s history. Previously, myrrh had been received from the Serbian Church.[129]


     The ROCOR Synod’s move to North America was timely, because her position on that continent had been shaken in recent years.


    “On October 26-27 [1944] 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 parishes of North America. This resolution was signed also by the ROCOR hierarchs Vitaly (Maximenko), Tikhon (Troitsky), Joasaph and Jerome.”[130]


     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.[131]


     In America, meanwhile, two bishops, Alexis of Alaska and Macarius of Boston, joined Moscow, as did Bishop Ono of Tokyo in November, 1946.[132]


     In the same month, at a clergy-laity council in Cleveland, with the agreement of Metropolitan Theophilus but without the agreement of the other bishops, the council was recognized to be the supreme legislative and administrative organ of the American metropolia – an act which reduced the power of the bishops to almost nothing. The council decided – against the protests of five out of the nine bishops – to return to the MP. Metropolitan Theophilus then wrote to the five dissenting bishops that they were excluded from his metropolia, and ordered that their names be removed from commemoration from the parishes before Pascha. The five dissenters returned into submission to ROCOR.[133]


     “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 American Church is discontinuing any administrative subordination to the Synod Abroad.”[134]


     In spite of the defection of the American Metropolia, ROCOR in America continued to grow. Moreover, as Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko) of Jordanville pointed out, “a normal relationship to the question of Americanisation has been found. Instead of completely renouncing the Russian Church style of life and complete Americanisation, even in the ecclesiastical and Divine services sphere, an American Orthodox Mission attached to the Synod has been organised, headed by an American Archbishop, James (Iakov). He has American clergy, and does missionary work among Americans, organising American parishes out of them.”[135]


     In 1949 Bishop Leonty of Paraguay briefly started commemorating the American Metropolia together with Metropolitan Anastasy, but when placed under ban, soon returned to ROCOR.[136]


The Greek Church during the War


     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 Greece. In 1936 Communist agitation disrupted the country, and to forestall civil war John Metaxas imposed martial law with the consent of the King and the senior politicians, and became dictator.”[137]


     The Italian invasion of 1939 was repelled, only to be followed in April, 1941 by the German occupation. Greece was divided between the Bulgarians (in the north), the Germans (in the centre and Athens) and the Italians (in the rest of the country). Many priests perished at the hands of the German, Italian and Bulgarian forces during the occupation of 1941-1944.[138]


     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 Athens. Barzilayu knew that, a year before, the Germans had deported 46,000 Jews from Thessalonica to the death-camps… He appealed to the Greek civil authorities, but without success. However, he did receive support from the newcalendarist Archbishop Damascene (Papandreou) of Athens, with the help of whom about 1400 Jews were saved.[139] Similar examples of courage in defence of the Jews were shown by the metropolitans of Corfu and Zakynthus.


     War against the German invaders immediately passed into the Greek civil war between the royalists and the communists. On December 26, 1944 the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American and French representatives arrived in Athens and met with the warring sides. Archbishop Damascene also tried to mediate. Churchill eventually persuaded the Greek king to make Archbishop Damascene the temporary head of the government on condition that the communists did not form part of it.[140] On September 28, 1946, as the result of a plebiscite, King George II returned to Athens.


     Both the State Church and the True Orthodox Church suffered greatly at the hands of ELAS, EAM and other communist guerrilla organizations. More than 200 Orthodox priests were murdered by Communist partisans during the civil conflicts of 1943-1949, often with a bestial cruelty quite up to that of their Soviet counterparts. However, atheism never gained a strong foothold in Greece – in a poll carried out in 1951 only 121 out of 7,500,000 people declared themselves to be atheists.[141]


      It was at this time that the two major struggles of the Orthodox Church in this century – against Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe, and against newcalendarist ecumenism in Greece, Romania and the West – began to merge. Thus the Greeks discovered by experience the horrors of Communism, while the new calendarist and Balkan hierarchs were called (in February, 1945) to travel to Moscow and legitimise the “election” of Stalin’s puppet, “Patriarch” Alexis of Moscow. And a few years later, the tentacles of Ecumenism would begin to be felt in the communist world, too.


     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 State Church in 1933, and was assigned to the parish in Carystos on the island of Euboea. He immediately came into conflict with the fierce Metropolitan Panteleimon of Carystia and Skyros, who had already shown his antipathy to the True Orthodox by throwing the 80-year-old Fr. George Antoniou into prison in Chalkis, where he died. Fr. Joseph’s vigorous missionary activity, combined with his charity and healing gifts, only increased the wrath of the new calendarist hierarch, who succeeded in getting Fr. Joseph’s church sealed. Once Fr. Joseph, like a new John the Baptist, publicly denounced the metropolitan for celebrating an uncanonical marriage and having no pity on the couple who would suffer as a result (two years later, they were burned to death in a car accident). Finally, Fr. Joseph had to flee in order to escape arrest, and was assigned to another parish in Dombrana, near Thebes.


     On August 4, 1936 the democratic regime was replaced by a royal dictatorship with John Metaxas as Prime Minister. Metaxas was very liberal in relation to the True Orthodox, but in 1938 the Minister of Public Order, egged on by Archbishop Chrysostom Papadopoulos, gave an order for the arrest of True Orthodox priests and the sealing of their churches. Although this order was soon repealed, Metropolitan Panteleimon used it to urge the authorities in Thebes to arrest Fr. Joseph and seal his churches. Fr. Joseph was cast into prison in Chalkis, deposed and forcibly shaved. On his release he was sent by Metropolitan Germanus to Xylocastron, near Corinth. Once installed in Xylocastron, he brought his parents there and continued his apostolic activity.


     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 Cyclades to baptize the son of his spiritual son John Motsis. The local communist chief ordered the bishop to leave immediately.


     On July 20 Fr. Joseph celebrated the Liturgy in the village of Laliotis. Then the communists entered the house where he was staying, arrested him and threw him into prison, where he was tortured. On July 22, he was taken out of prison with another young man by three guerillas. On seeing the youth of the executioners, Fr. Joseph sadly shook his head and urged them not to commit the crime. The communists forced their victims to dig their own graves, killed the young man, and then turned to Fr. Joseph.


     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.[142]


     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.[143]


     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.[144] 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.[145]


     To add to the distress of the True Orthodox, a division took place between Bishops Germanus and Matthew in 1943.[146]


     However, in 1945 Bishops Christopher of Megara and Polycarp of Diauleia again broke communion with the State Church and were received by Metropolitan Chrysostom on July 13. So at the end of the war the True Orthodox were divided into three groups: Metropolitan Chrysostom with Bishops Christopher and Polycarp, Bishop Germanus of the Cyclades, and Bishop Matthew of Bresthena.


The Soviet Offensive: (1) Inside the USSR


     “The Underground or Catacomb Church in Soviet Russia underwent her hardest trials after February 4th, 1945, that is, after the enthronement of the Soviet Patriarch Alexis. Those who did not recognize him were sentenced to new terms of imprisonment and were sometimes shot. Those who did recognize him and gave their signature to that effect were often liberated before their terms expired and received appointments… All secret priests detected in the Soviet zone of Germany were shot.”[147]


     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].”[148]


     “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].”[149]


     “One of the first to recognise the new Soviet patriarch was the former Catacomb Bishop Athanasius (Sakharov) of Kovrov. Together with his spiritual father, Hieromonk Hierax, he distributed to his Catacomb clergy and flock his appeal concerning ‘the legality of the newly elected patriarch’ and the supposed beginning in the country of ‘a regeneration of canonical Orthodoxy’. Contrasting the ‘conciliar election’ of Patriarch Alexis to the unlawful usurpation of the power of the first hierarch by Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky), Bishop Athanasius affirmed that with the death of the latter and ‘the canonical election as patriarch’ of Alexis (Simansky), the reasons leading to a schism in the Church had been automatically removed. This thought of Bishop Athanasius was also supported by the former Catacomb Bishop Gabriel (Abalymov) and some others. Trusting the appeals of these archpastors, the affirmations of the Eastern Patriarchs and the Moscow patriarchate itself, many ‘non-commemorating’ priests (especially on the formerly occupied territories) followed their example, agreed to come out of the underground and receive official registration. Soon the majority of them were retired as hierarchs of the MP, while those who dared to display disagreement were arrested by the NKVD and again sent to the concentration camps. On August 30, 1946, Bishop Athanasius was also arrested, and spent 11 years in prison. When he was freed in 1957, Vladyka was frequently subjected to slander and oppression from the hierarchs of the MP, and was not appointed to a see. Bishop Athanasius died in complete poverty on October 15, 1962 in the village of Petushki, Vladimir province.”[150]


     Another leading catacombnik who returned to the patriarchate was Protopriest Basil Veriuzhsky. But he continued to act as if his sympathies were with the Catacomb Church. Thus in April, 1951 the Leningrad head of the Council for the Affairs of the ROC, A.I. Kushnarev, wrote to the president of the Council with some irritation: “… Veriuzhsky, the former rector of the church of the ‘resurrection-on-the-blood’, was repressed in his time as an inveterate Josephite, and on returning to Leningrad did not serve even once, continuing to remain hostile to Soviet power and not wishing to take part in services at which prayers are said for Soviet power. In spite of this, or out of respect for him, the patriarch supports Veriuzhsky in every way. In Moscow they have given him the academic degree of doctor of theology, the first in the Soviet Union, and have ardently wanted to advance him to the rank of professor in the Leningrad Theological Academy, and it is only the disagreement of the authorities that has hindered this protection…”[151]


     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 Moscow province alone, where there had been more than ten Catacomb pastors in 1941, by the beginning of 1945 general searches had been carried out and all the clergy of the True Orthodox Church had been arrested.


     “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 USSR, V. Molotov, on October 5, 1944 witnesses to serious anxiety in connection with the activation and spread of the influence of the Catacomb Church, and to measures undertaken by the government. It said: ‘… In the regions with an insignificant number of functional churches, and in the areas where there are no churches, there has been a mass spread of group services in the houses of believers or under the open sky – in cemeteries, by the building of the church, with hundreds of worshippers. Moreover, in these cases believers invite unregistered clergy to carry out the rites. In a series of cases such services are carried out systematically… To a significant extent the activists of these unregistered church groups, and the clergy that belong to them, are hostile to the legal patriarchal Orthodox church, condemning the latter for its loyal attitude to Soviet power… The large numbers of believing fanatics under the influence of these groups are sharply different in their attitudes from the [pro-Soviet] clergy of the legal church. This situation results in all kinds of recidivism, in a significant resurgence of religious feelings in the form of the so-called ‘renewal’ of icons, the spread of ‘holy’ letters, the carrying out of prayer services in fields by wells, various prophesyings, and also agitation about the persecution of religion and the church in the USSR.’ Noting the ineffectiveness of violent measures, since ‘believers seek for the satisfaction of their religious demands in the undergrounds, constructing ‘forest’, ‘cave’ and ‘catacomb’ churches,’ General Karpov makes a Jesuitical suggestion for the struggle with, and establishing control over, the believers: ‘… With the aim of struggling against the illegal church groups where they have assumed large proportions, [I suggest that we] proceed to broaden the net of functioning churches up to two or three per region, not refraining from increasing the opening of churches also in the provinces, and in areas with a significant number of functioning churches, and in those regions where there are none,’ he says in his report.


     “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 March 17, 1947, all 64 of the petitions reviewed were satisfied, while in the protocol for May 20, 1947 62 petitions reviewed on that day are said to have been satisfied. Thus from 1944 to 1947 inclusive, 1270 churches were handed over to the MP on the territory of the RSFSR.[152]


     “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 Catacomb Church the MP, too, was drawn in, beginning a ‘struggle with sectarianism’ with the cooperation of the MGB and the Council for the Affairs of the ROC. Many instances are known in which monks or priests of the MP, recruited by the MGB, were sent into catacomb communities and informed against their members, in connection with which the most active among them were arrested. The creation of such a system of informing was not slow in producing the results that the regime needed: already by the middle of the 50s Soviet state security had succeeded in revealing and ‘dissolving’ more than 50% of the Catacomb communities and monasteries in the USSR, thereby stopping both the growth in numbers and the influence of the Catacomb Church on the population.”[153]


     Only in the central regions of Tambov, Lipetsk, Ryazan and Voronezh was there a certain increase in catacomb activity, which was remarkable also for the large number of young people who took leading positions in the movement.[154] Moreover, in the 1950s there were still quite a large number of wandering catacomb priests and a few holy bishops, such as Anthony (Galynsky), Peter (Ladygin) and Barnabas (Belyaev).[155] But a new wave of persecution in the early 1950s sharply reduced the numbers of Catacomb Christians in freedom. And so they retreated deeper and deeper into the catacombs, fearing false brethren and abandoning all hope of influencing the broad masses of the people in the near future.


     The sufferings of the Catacomb priests and believers is illustrated by the life of a Catacomb priest from Vyatka province, who was on the run from the authorities for nearly fifty years: “Can a man living in freedom stand what a hunted man experiences…? It is hard for us to understand now how real and terrible that threat was. 40 people suffered for Fr. Nicetas at one time. Batyushka went from place to place, they couldn’t catch him, so they began to arrest his spiritual children. One woman was arrested just for giving him some cream. It seems that in her simplicity she didn’t think of hiding that from the persecutors. They tortured those whom they arrested, beat them, demanding the addresses where batyushka was hiding.


     “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 Russia, their own Russian people tormented the Russian people.”[156]


     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.[157]


The Soviet Offensive: (2) Outside the USSR


     “For successfully conducting the ‘council’ [of January, 1945] NKVD Major-General G. Karpov was awarded with the highest state award – the ‘Order of Lenin’. Patriarch Alexis and other participants in the council were generously rewarded. Soon after the council, on April 10, 1945, Stalin personally met Simansky [Patriarch Alexis]. At the meeting, besides Stalin, there took part the people’s commissar for foreign affairs V.M. Molotov, and from the MP [NKVD agent] Metropolitan Nicholas (Yarushevich), who soon became president of the newly created Department of External (i.e. international) Church Affairs (OVTsS), and Protopriest N. Kolchitsky – chancellor of the MP, in charge of questions of international relations. This is how Patriarch Alexis later recalled this meeting: ‘… Full of happiness at seeing face to face him whose name alone is pronounced with love not only in every corner of our country, but also in all the freedom-loving and peace-loving countries, we expressed our gratitude to Joseph Vissarionovich… The discussion was a completely unforced conversation of a father with his children.’ As V. Alexeev affirms, citing the correspondence between [Patriarch Alexis] Simansky and G. Karpov, at the meeting ‘besides discussing intra-ecclesiastical problems, the conversation first of all concerned the tasks of the Russian Orthodox Church in the field of international relations… The Church, according to Stalin’s conception, had to play a significant role in facilitating the international contacts of the USSR, using its own channels’. Soon after this meeting, on May 28, 1945, Patriarch Alexis unexpectedly set off on a ‘pilgrimage’ to the Middle East, where he met not only prominent religious personalities, but also the heads of governments and other influential politicians…”[158]


     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 Jerusalem he tried to persuade the ROCOR communities to come under his omophorion. But the head of ROCOR’s Spiritual Mission, Archimandrite Anthony (the future Archbishop of Los Angeles) firmly rejected his advances. With the agreement of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the patriarch was allowed to visit the convents on Eleon and Gethsemane. The hierarchs, surrounded by English police and Russian KGB agents, entered the church on Eleon just as the nuns were singing: “Blessed is the man walketh not in the counsel [soviet in Slavonic] of the ungodly”. None of the nuns in either of the convents asked for the hierarchs’ blessing. The patriarch was annoyed, but was heard to way: “What discipline Archimandrite Anthony has!”[159]


     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.”[160]


     “After visiting the countries of the Middle East, Metropolitan Nicholas, who had accompanied the Soviet patriarch, set off at the end of June for England, where he was received at Buckingham palace by King George VI. Metropolitan Nicholas made a successful attempt to exert political influence on the king with the aim of forming a ‘democratic image’ for the totalitarian regime of Stalin in British government circles…”[161]


     Metropolitan Nicholas “sounded out the ground for the organization of parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in London and the participation of the Anglicans in the planned World Conference of Christian Churches in Moscow. In the course of the visit the archbishop of York issued some anti-catholic declarations, calling the Vatican the common enemy of Orthodoxy and Anglicanism. This gave G. Karpov an excuse, in his report to the Central Committee of the All-Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) to draw the conclusion that ‘the Anglican church, like the Russian Orthodox church, has a negative attitude towards the Vatican and is ready to take part in undertakings directed against the Vatican, although it has so far adopted a passive position in this matter’ (RTsKhIDNI, f.17, op. 125, d. 407, l. 37).”[162]


     Metropolitan Nicholas then went to Paris, where his propaganda was so successful that a law on Soviet passports was passed (on June 14, 1946), after which more than 3000 Russians living in France hurried to the Soviet embassy to take their passports.[163] In September, 1945 75 Eulogian parishes were united with the MP. The question of Eulogius’ ban, placed on him by the MP 15 years earlier, was not even discussed, and Nicholas and Eulogius concelebrated in the church of St. Alexander Nevsky. On September 11 the MP decreed that Metropolitan Eulogius should be exarch of these parishes. However, on December 25, 1945 the Soviet deputy foreign minister V. Dekanozov wrote to G. Karpov: “The successes of Nicholas of Krutitsa have not been established and could easily be destroyed. Comrade Bogomolov (the ambassador in France) thinks that the sending of constant representatives of the MP to Paris should be speeded up and the first successes of Nicholas confirmed, otherwise the Anglo-Americans will seize the foreign Orthodox organizations into their hands and turn them into a weapon against us” (GARF, f. 6991, op. 1, d. 65, l. 452). Metropolitan Eulogius twice asked the Ecumenical Patriarch to allow him to return to the MP, but no reply ensued, and he remained dependent on Constantinople, by whom he was also named exarch.[164] His successor, Archbishop Vladimir (Tikhonitsky), supported by his flock, decided in October, 1946 to remain with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.[165]


     In September, 1945 ROCOR’s Metropolitan Seraphim (Lukyanov) of Western Europe joined Moscow, and after the death of Metropolitan Eulogius was raised to the rank of patriarchal exarch. However, his Paris flock did not accept him, as a consequence of which he returned to ROCOR, but then again returned to the MP, where he died as metropolitan of Odessa. In one of his letters abroad Metropolitan Seraphim wrote that he was constantly watched by a “nanny”.[166]


     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…”[167]


     On October 18, 1945 Metropolitan Gregory of Leningrad visited Finland, and received the Konevets and Valaamo monasteries together with two parishes in Helsinki into his jurisdiction. He also received written assurances from the hierarchs of the Finnish Orthodox Church that they would soon return from Constantinople to Moscow.[168]


     Other successes of the Soviet church included the defection of the ROCOR Bishop John of Urmia (Iran) to Moscow – but he later rejoined ROCOR when he moved to America.


     This tug-of-war between the Soviet and American spheres of influence was felt everywhere. Even in Greece its influence was felt. Thus on Mount Athos Archimandrite Justin of the Russian monastery of St. Panteleimon petitioned to come under the MP.[169]


     One of the few defeats suffered by the Soviets in the ecclesiastical arena at this time was in Japan. On March 27, 1946 Bishop Nicholas (Ono) and his consistory petitioned to be received into the MP, and on April 3 Patriarch Alexis agreed. However, Japan was at that time under the military occupation of the American MacArthur, one of whose advisors, Colonel Boris Pasch, was the son of Metropolitan Theophilus (Pashkovsky), head of the American Metropolia, who advised his son to hinder the union of the Japanese Church with Moscow. The son heeded his father, and the union did not take place at this time.  Two bishops sent by Moscow to further the union arrived at Vladivostok, but were not allowed to sail to Japan by the American authorities…[170] The MP would have to wait until 1970 before it regained control of the Japanese Church…


     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.[171]


Archbishop John of Shanghai


     In China all the Russian bishops except one – the renowned wonderworker John (Maximovich) of Shanghai – accepted Soviet passports and returned to the MP. An eye-witness account of what took place is as follows. “The pressure on Bishop John of Shanghai from the Soviets began even before the end of the Second World War, when the hierarchs of the Church Abroad in Manchuria – Metropolitan Meletius, Archbishops Nestor and Demetrius and Bishop Juvenaly sent letters to the Ruling Archbishop of Peking and China Victor and to Bishop John of Shanghai informing them that on July 26, 1945 they had recognized Patriarch Alexis of Moscow and All Russia, and suggesting that Archbishop Victor and Bishop John follow their example and submit to the new Moscow Patriarch as to the lawful head of the Russian Orthodox Church.


     “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’.”[172]


     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.”[173]


     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 San Francisco), she forbade him, and told him to go back to Bishop John and tell him that this was wrong. At about this time, on September 28, Bishop John received a telegram from Metropolitan Anastasy in Geneva telling him that the Synod Abroad was functioning, that the parents of Vladyka John were alive and living in Germany, and that he, the metropolitan, asked him to tell him about the situation of the Church in China.[174] Bishop John immediately stopped commemorating the Soviet patriarch, and on September 29 he telegraphed Archbishop Victor that he had re-established contact with the Synod.


     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 U.S.[175]


     “The next telegram came in the month of November from the United States from Archbishop Tikhon of Western America and San Francisco, in which Vladyka Tikhon informed him that Metropolitan Anastasy, Archbishops Vitaly, Joasaph, Jerome and he had come into contact with each other and asked Bishop John to be with them and not to recognize the Moscow Patriarchate.


     “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.”[176]


     “On the evening of January 15, 1946 Archbishop Victor flew into Shanghai on an aeroplane from Peking and declared that he not only recognized the Patriarch, but had also become a Soviet citizen, having taken a passport of the USSR.”[177]


     “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 Shanghai clergy came to the showing, including Mitre-bearing Protopriest N. Kolchev, who is now living in San Francisco, Fr. I. Wen and others.


     “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 Far East.


     “Finally, on May 15, there arrived a telegram from Metropolitan Anastasy in Munich raising Bishop John to the rank of Archbishop with his immediate subjection to the Hierarchical Synod. However, it was impossible to publicise this until the official decree was received from the Synod.


     “On Friday, May 31, 1946, Archbishop Victor again flew into Shanghai, but this time, on his arrival, he was met by Soviet consular officials, and not by clergy and parishioners. On the same evening, Archbishop Victor proceeded in state to the cathedral surrounded by consular officials and newly enlisted komsomol members and occupied part of the cathedral residence with his suite. That evening the Soviets staged a demonstration, trying to drive Bishop John out of the cathedral and the cathedral residence.


     “The next day, June 1, 1946, there arrived the long-awaited official decree [¹ 108] on the raising of Bishop John to the rank of ruling Archbishop with immediate submission to the Synod.


     “The new ruling archbishop told Archbishop Victor of his appointment and suggested that he leave the Cathedral House and leave the bounds of the Shanghai diocese.


     “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, 1946 this decree was published in the Soviet newspapers, and there came the time of open battle for the physical possession of the Cathedral, for the right to celebrate Divine services in it. Archbishop Victor banned our clergy (Fr. Hieromonk Modest, Fr. Medvedev, Fr. K. Zanevsky) from serving in the cathedral, while Vladyka John himself served daily and ordered them to serve with him, forbidding the Soviet priests from giving sermons and himself speaking for them, explaining to the worshippers why the Orthodox Church Abroad did not recognize the Moscow Patriarchate.”[178]


     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.”[179]


     “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.”[180]


     On October 19, 1946 Archbishop Victor was imprisoned in Peking on charges of participating in the anti-comintern union of North Korea and the Russian Fascist organizations, and also of cooperating with the Japanese occupation authorities. However, on October 24, through the intervention of Soviet diplomats, he was released.[181]


     On November 26, 1947, in defiance of the Soviets, the Chinese government in Nanking confirmed Bishop John as head of the Russian Spiritual Mission in China.[182] But in 1948, as the communists came closer to power, Archbishop John evacuated his flock of 6000 to the Philippines, and then to the United States. He himself left Shanghai on May 4, 1949. His refusal to join the Soviets undoubtedly saved both the physical and the spiritual lives of himself and his flock. Those 10,000 Russian Orthodox of the MP in Shanghai who accepted Soviet passports and returned to the “Fatherland” were not so fortunate…[183]


     On June 14, 1948, the MP’s Metropolitan Nestor of Manchuria and Harbin was arrested – as it turned out, at the request of Soviet representatives. After being tortured by Chinese interrogators, he was transferred to the Lubianka in Moscow. After four months’ investigation, on December 25 he was sentenced to 10 years in the camps for spying, for writing the book The Shooting of the Moscow Kremlin and for carrying out pannikhidas for the Royal Martyrs killed in Alapaevsk. He was released in 1956. [184]


More Soviet Councils


     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 Georgian Churches. (The Georgian Church had been granted autocephaly by Moscow shortly after the Stalin-Sergius pact in 1943. This act was not recognised by Constantinople until the 1990s.) Only Jerusalem and Cyprus, among the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, were not represented.


     Immediately after the celebrations, a Church Council took place. Only the East European Churches within Moscow’s orbit and Antioch attended; the Churches of Constantinople, Alexandria and Greece boycotted it, ostensibly on the grounds that only Constantinople had the right to call such a conference, but more probably because they did not wish to involve themselves in the inevitable adulations of Stalin.[185] When KGB Colonel G. Karpov, head of the Department for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the real master of ceremonies, learned that Metropolitan Germanus of Thyateira and Great Britain, the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, was not arriving in Moscow until after the working days of the Council, he said: “He is well-known to be an English spy”. And about Patriarch Maximus, who had given Metropolitan Germanus this order, he said: “he has long been ill with schizophrenia and must in the near future go into retirement”.[186] This was no idle threat: the next year Patriarch Maximus was forced into retirement by his Synod on grounds of mental illness, although he was completely sane.[187] However, this was a mistake of the Kremlin politicians; for Maximus’ place on the ecumenical throne was taken by the 33rd degree Mason Athenagoras, who arrived in Constantinople from America on the private plane of the American President Truman…


     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 Amsterdam in the same month of July. So, in line with Stalin’s foreign policy, the delegates denounced the West and the Vatican and condemned the ecumenical movement.[188]


     Moscow’s hostility to the Vatican was determined especially by its determination to eliminate uniatism in Eastern Europe – that is, churches serving according to the Eastern Orthodox rite but commemorating the Pope. A start had been made already towards the end of the war, when it was suggested to the uniate episcopate in Western Ukraine that it simply “liquidate itself”. When all five uniate bishops refused, in April, 1945, they were arrested.


     Within a month a clearly Soviet-inspired “initiative movement” for unification with the MP headed by Protopresbyter G. Kostelnikov appeared.[189] By the spring of 1946 997 out of 1270 uniate priests in Western Ukraine had joined this movement, on March 8-10 a uniate council of clergy and laity voted to join the Orthodox church and annul the Brest unia with the Roman Catholic Church of 1596. Central Committee documents show that the whole procedure was controlled by the first secretary of the Ukrainian party, Nikita Khruschev, who in all significant details sought the sanction of Stalin.[190]


     In October, 1948 the 1,250,000 uniates of Romania (The Romanian unia had taken place at Blaj in Transylvania in 1697) were united with the Romanian Patriarchate.[191] And in April, 1950, a council took place at Prešov in Slovakia attended by 820 delegates, at which it was agreed to revoke the Uzhgorod unia of 1649 and return to Orthodoxy. The “converted” uniates formed a new, East Slovakian diocese of the Czech Orthodox Church.[192]


     However, as 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 Western Ukraine, with the false asceticism and mysticism of the Catholics. And the uniates, “on being merged into the unorthodox patriarchate, did not come to know the grace-filled ‘taste of True Orthodoxy’. The fruits of this ‘union’ are well known to all today.”[193]


     It is now known that all the decisions of the Moscow council of 1948 were planned a year and a half before by the Central Committee of the Communist Party.[194] Consequently it is not surprising to see from the hierarchs’ special epistle that their motives were purely political: “The world is going through a stormy time in which the irreconcilable differences between the Catholic and rationalist-Protestant West, on the one hand, and the Orthodox East, on the other, are clearly manifest… We servants of the Orthodox Church have been painfully impressed by the fact that those who are stirring up a new war are children of the Christian Catholic and Protestant world. We are deeply grieved that from the stronghold of Catholicism, the Vatican, and the nest of Protestantism, America, instead of the voice of peace and Christian love we hear blessing of a new war and hymns in praise of atomic bombs and such-like inventions, which are designed for the destruction of human life. All Christians, regardless of nation and creed, cannot help blaming the Vatican for this policy. We fervently beseech the Chief Pastor, our Lord Jesus Christ, that He enlighten the Catholic hierarchy with the light of His Divine teaching and help it to realize the abyss of its sinful fall.”[195]


     The most theological contribution to this council came from Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) of Boguchar (Bulgaria), formerly of ROCOR. He prepared three reports: against the ecumenical movement, on the old and new calendars, and on the Anglican hierarchy. Seraphim expressed a "particular opinion" on the calendar question, considering the council's resolution on this question to have been inadequate. In his report against Ecumenism he stressed that the presence of Orthodox representatives at ecumenical conferences, even as observers, constituted apostasy from Holy Orthodoxy.


     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." [196]


     On July 15, 1948 a feast in honour of the participants in the Council was laid on by the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church. About 200 people were present. The representative of the Bulgarian Church proposed a toast to Stalin for the communist Prime Minister of Bulgaria. Karpov declared that the guests had become personally convinced in Moscow that the Russian Orthodox Church was completely free and independent of the State. Metropolitan Germanos of Thyateira praised Stalin and called Karpov a minister who “aids the strengthening and flourishing of Orthodoxy in the Soviet Union”. Metropolitan Elias of the Lebanon said that it was only thanks to Stalin that the flourishing of the Russian Orthodox Church had been guaranteed throughout the world.[197]


     In July, 1951 the heads of the Churches of Antioch, Russia, Georgia, Romania and Bulgaria gathered in Zagorsk and issued a purely political statement in favour of “peace” and against the USA.[198] The “theology of peace” – that is, the removal of all obstacles to the communist domination of the world – was becoming the major content of top-level ecclesiastical meetings in the eastern bloc. For the moment pro-communism was combined with anti-ecumenism (since the initiators of the ecumenical movement were the Anglo-Saxons); but the time would shortly come when the communist masters of the East European Churches would compel the patriarchs to change course and embrace ecumenism – for the sake of giving their pro-communist message a wider audience and deeper penetration…


The World Council of Churches


     In July, 1948, in Amsterdam, the union took place between the two ecumenical movements “Faith and Order” and “Life and Work” into a new organization, the World Council of Churches.


     Being the only Orthodox Church that had not participated in the council of Moscow that condemned ecumenism, Constantinople was the only Orthodox jurisdiction besides the Cypriot Church present at this essentially Protestant assembly.[199] Moscow was invited, but declined. In his reply Metropolitan Nicholas of Krutitsa took the opportunity to berate his ecclesiastical opponents, expressing the hope that the World Council of Churches would not count as representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church either those Russian Orthodox believers who were under the omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, or the “schismatics” from the groups of Metropolitan Theodosius in America or Metropolitan Anastasy in Munich, who had nothing in common with the Russian Orthodox Church.[200]


     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”.[201] 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.”[202]


     A.V. Soldatov has chronicled the progressive weakening in the Orthodox position: “At the conference [of Faith and Order] in Geneva in 1920 the spirit of extreme Protestant liberalism gained the upper hand. It came to the point that when the Orthodox Metropolitan Stephen of Sophia noted in his report: ‘The Church is only there where the hierarchy has apostolic succession, and without such a hierarchy there are only religious communities’, the majority of the delegates of the conference left the hall as a sign of protest. At the next conference on Faith and Order [in Lausanne] in 1927, victory again went to the extreme left Protestants. The Orthodox delegation, experiencing psychological pressure at this conference, was forced to issue the following declaration: ‘in accordance with the views of the Orthodox Church, no compromises in relation to the teaching of the faith and religious convictions can be permitted. No Orthodox can hope that a reunion based on disputed formulae can be strong and positive… The Orthodox Church considers that any union must be based exclusively on the teaching of the faith and confession of the ancient undivided Church, on the seven Ecumenical Councils and other decisions of the first eight centuries.’ But the numerous speeches of the Orthodox explaining the teaching of the Church on the unity of the Church seemed only to still further increase the incomprehension or unwillingness to comprehend them on the part of the Protestant leaders of Ecumenism. This tendency was consistently pursued by the Protestants at the conferences in 1937 in Oxford and Edinburgh. Summing up this ‘dialogue’ at the beginning of the century, Fr. Metrophanes Znosko-Borovsky remarks: ‘The Orthodox delegates at Edinburgh were forced with sorrow to accept the existence of basic, irreconcilable differences in viewpoint on many subjects of faith between the Orthodox East and the Protestant West.’


     “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 Amsterdam chose as its motto the words: ‘Human disorder and God’s house-building’. At it, as Archbishop Vitaly remarks, ‘every effort was made to destroy the teaching on the One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church’. The leading theological minds of the Protestant world made a series of reports at the Amsterdam conference, in which they focussed with particular clarity the whole depth of the dogmatic and theological disintegration of the Protestant faith and, in particular, ecclesiology. The conclusion of the report of Gustav Aulen became the basic, single dogma of the organization being created: ‘The Church is as it were a synthesis of all churches.’ Another speaker, Clarence Craig, somewhat deepened the arguments of his colleague with the help of a suggested variant translation of the word ‘catholic’ (or ‘conciliar’ in the Slavonic translation of the Symbol of Faith) as ‘integral’. But of particular interest for us was the speech at this conference of the Orthodox priest, noted theologian and Church historian [of the Ecumenical Patriarchate], Fr. Georges Florovsky. Having noted that ‘the Bible, dogmatics, catechesis, Church discipline, Liturgy, preaching and sacrament have become museum exhibits’, Fr. Georges concluded: ‘the only salvation in the work of reviving the Church is in the ecumenical movement’. He affirmed that ‘the Church has not yet defined herself, has not worked out her own theological school definition, does not have her own definition, has not yet recognized herself.’”[203]


     According to the rules agreed in Amsterdam, an applicant to the WCC must “recognize the essential interdependence of the churches, particularly those of the same confession, and must practise constructive ecumenical relations with other churches within its country or region. This will normally mean that the church is a member of the national council of churches or similar body and of the regional ecumenical organisation." (Rules of the WCC)


     Article I of the WCC Constitution reads: "The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures (sic) and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit." And the Constitution also declares that the primary purpose of the fellowship of churches in the World Council of Churches is to call one another to “visible unity in one faith and in one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, through witness and service to the world, and to advance towards that unity in order that the world may believe”. Further, according to Section II of the WCC Rules, entitled Responsibilities of Membership, "Membership in the World Council of Churches signifies faithfulness to the Basis of the Council, fellowship in the Council, participation in the life and work of the Council and commitment to the ecumenical movement as integral to the mission of the church.”


     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 Amsterdam the description that the English Catholic poet Andrew Marvell gave it in his poem, “The Character of Holland” in 1653:


Hence Amsterdam, Turk-Christian-Pagan-Jew,

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.



Divisions in the Greek Church


     During this period, while the Old Calendarists in Greece profited from the lessening of persecution from the new calendarists to increase their numbers, the divisions among them continued and intensified. Metropolitan Chrysostom and his two fellow bishops continued to argue that the new calendarists were potentially rather than actually schismatics. Moreover, in an article in the newspaper Eleutheria (Freedom) on November 14, 1945, they said that they would never consecrate bishops because the Old Calendarists did not constitute a Church but a “keeper” against the innovations of the State Church: “We assure all the Church and State authorities that, having full awareness that we are only simple keepers of an institution of Pan-Orthodox importance as the old calendar is, and not representatives of a rebellious church, we shall never and in no case whatsoever carry out ecclesiastical acts such as the consecration of bishops”.[204]


     At the same time, they issued two encyclicals – on March 11 and July 12, 1946 – which forbade any concelebration with the new calendarists.


     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 Matthewite Church] and Mother Mariam [the abbess of the Monastery of Keratea] contrived to persuade the old man of Bresthena [Bishop Matthew] to proceed to carry out the consecrations on his own. They first proposed Hieromonk Basil Baltsakis. The project was scuppered thanks to the objections of the Fathers of the Monastery of the Transfiguration, notably Fathers Gregory, Climis, Xenophon and Eugene. Hieromonk Anthony Thanos, the abbot of the monastery (and later metropolitan of Attica) had received Bishop Matthew’s declaration ‘that he would prefer to have his hands cut off rather than proceed to consecrations.’ Four years later, however, when the Fathers had left the monastery, Eugene Tombros and Mother Mariam attained their end and Bishop Matthew proceeded to the consecration of four bishops on his own…”[205]


     “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."[206]


     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.[207]


     On August 26, 1948, an assembly of Bishop Matthew’s Church made a decision which was on the face of it uncanonical, and which served to deepen the divisions in the True Orthodox Church. They decided “that our most Reverend Bishop Matthew of Bresthena should proceed to the consecration of new bishops, insofar as the other pseudo-bishops of the True Orthodox Christians neither understand nor confess Orthodoxy, nor unite with us, nor even agree to make consecrations. We grant him the authority to proceed both to the election of people and to their immediate consecration, in accordance with the divine and sacred canons and the opinions of our canon law experts, and in accordance with the practice of the whole Church of Christ, which has accepted, in case of necessity (as is the case today) such a dispensation, as we have just heard from our Protosynkellos, Protopriest Eugene Tombros, who explained the validity of the consecration of one Bishop by one Bishop in accordance with the law of our Orthodox Church.”[208]


     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 Athens, where, the next year, he was made Protosynkellos of the Church of Bishops Germanus and Matthew. In this post he did much by his slandering of Bishop Germanus to foment the schism between Germanos and Matthew, after which he acquired an unparalleled and fateful authority in the Matthewite Church.[209] Such a traitor to the Old Calendarist Church was hardly in a position to make judgements about the supposedly “pseudo-Orthodox” Metropolitans Germanus and Chrysostom. Nor could a group of priests led by Tombros “give authority” to Bishop Matthew to proceed to the election and consecration of another bishop on his own.


     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.


     On October 29, 1948 the three Florinite bishops Chrysostom, Christopher and Polycarp reacted angrily to “the indescribable impiety [single-handed consecration] that makes Bishop Matthew guilty before God”, accusing him of being a “false teacher” consecrating new bishops “without any ecclesiastical necessity, but only in order to fulfil his personal interests”. On December 20, Metropolitan Chrysostom wrote a similar letter to the Greek Ministry of Religion that was published in Vradini.[210]


     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.”[211] 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.”[212]


     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.” [213]


     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.[214]


     But was Bishop Matthew really the only true bishop in Greece at that time (condition (b))? That could be maintained only on the assumption that all the other Old Calendarist bishops had fallen away from Holy Orthodoxy. That was certainly not the case with Bishop Germanus. As for Metropolitan Chrysostom, although he had clearly erred in softening the full force of the Confession of 1935, this did not make him automatically an apostate from Orthodoxy, without even a synodical trial. As St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite explains in his commentary on the 30th Apostolic Canon: “The Canons ordain that a synod of living bishops should defrock priests, or excommunicate or anathematize laymen, when they transgress the Canons. However, if the synod does not put into practical effect the defrocking of the priests, or the excommunication or anathematization of the laymen, these priests and laymen are neither defrocked nor excommunicated nor anathematized in actuality [en energeia]. However, they are subject to defrocking and excommunication here, and to the wrath of God there.”[215]


     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.[216]


     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 29 October, 1948, Metropolitan Chrysostom had declared unambiguously that the new calendarists had “separated themselves from the Unique Body of Orthodoxy… We consider and believe that the official Church of Greece is schismatic and that the services celebrated by its clergy are deprived of Divine grace.”[217] This encouraged Bishop Germanus, who had been in prison from January, 1948 to January, 1950, to reconsider his position, and on his release he re-entered communion with Metropolitan Chrysostom, who in May, 1950 reaffirmed the Confession of 1935 (see below).


     “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.”[218]


     On May 26, 1950, Metropolitan Chrysostom and Bishop Germanus sent the following encyclical both to the offices of the State Church and to the Matthewites: “In the year of our Saviour 1935 we proclaimed the Church of the innovating new calendarists to be schismatic. We reiterate this proclamation and in consequence ordain the enforcement of the First Canon of St. Basil the Great that the sacraments celebrated by the new calendarists, in that the latter are schismatics, are deprived of sanctifying grace.


     “Therefore no new calendarist must be received into the bosom of our Most Holy Church or be served without a prior confession by which he condemns the innovation of the new calendarists and proclaims their Church schismatic. As regards those who have been baptized by the innovators, they should be chrismated with Holy Chrism of Orthodox origin, such as is found in abundance with us.


     “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’.”[219]


     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 autocephalous Church and consecrate bishops, thereby threatening the survival of the Church.


     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.[220] Although he had wavered on the question of grace, this was neither heresy nor schism, and certainly not automatic apostasy. For, as Metropolitan Macarius (Nevsky) of Moscow, who was himself unlawfully removed from his see in 1917, said: “The Holy Church cannot allow an incorrect attitude towards its first-hierarchs, she cannot remove them from their sees without a trial and an investigation.”[221]


     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”.[222] 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.”[223]


     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 Russia and Serbia and in general the whole of the Orthodox Church! But then we must conclude, in accordance with strict Matthewite reasoning, that the Church of Christ ceased to exist in 1920! But, of course, the Matthewites do not draw this logical conclusion from their own premises. Therefore their reasoning must be considered to be inconsistent.


The New Calendarist Offensive


     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 Aegina replied: “I am with all the factions!”[224]


     The renewal of persecution against the True Church was clearly imminent in 1949, when, “the State Church elected Archbishop Spyridon to the primacy; he was to prove the fiercest persecutor yet of the Old Calendarists. Immediately after his election, he required his Bishops to submit details about Old Calendar clergy, parishes, and monasteries in their dioceses. The theological schools were forbidden in the future to accept Old Calendarist students (this order is still in effect, though heretics of various persuasions are not debarred). Finally, on January 3, 1951, at the request of the Holy Synod of the State Church, a decree was issued by the Council of Ministers as follows: ‘… It is decided that: 1) Old Calendarist clergy who do not have canonical ordination by canonical Bishops of our Orthodox Church, and who wear clerical dress, should be deprived thereof; 2) monks and nuns following the Old Calendar should be arrested and confined to monasteries, and those who bear the monastic dress uncanonically should be deprived thereof and prosecuted; 3) the Churches which have been illegally seized by the Old Calendarists should be returned to the official Church, as also the monasteries they possess illegally and capriciously; 4) the execution of the above be entrusted to the Ministries of Public Order, Justice, Religion, and Education.’


     “The above plan was put into immediate effect. In a short while, the basement of the Archdiocese in Athens and other towns was filled with the clerical robes of the True Orthodox clergy who were taken there, shaved, often beaten, and then cast out into the street in civil dress; many Priests underwent this process a number of times, while others were arrested and sent into exile. One aged Priest, Father Plato, was beaten to death by the police in Patras, and then hastily buried in a field to cover up the crime. All the Churches in Athens were sealed and their vessels taken, and a few Churches in other parts of Greece were even demolished. Soon no True Orthodox Priest could circulate undisguised, and even monks and nuns were not immune to these profane attacks. The first victim was Bishop Germanus of the Cyclades, who died in the greatest grief when under house arrest on March 24, 1951, and was buried by the Faithful[225]; by the personal order of Archbishop Spyridon, they were not permitted to take the body to a Church, and no Priest was allowed to assist; even so, many were arrested at the cemetery. Soon the orphanage of the TOC was seized by the State Church. There is no space here, unfortunately, to describe all the heroic struggles of the Old Calendarists at this time, the demonstrations attended by thousands in the squares of Athens, the catacomb Church services and so forth, which are the glory of our Church.


     “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 Lesbos, situated on a remote 2,500-foot crag, where he was to remain for over a year. The monks of the monastery behaved sympathetically, but conditions were very hard for an infirm, elderly man. The Metropolitan, however, constantly expressed his joy at being found worthy to suffer for his Faith, and his satisfaction at the resistance and perseverance of the Faithful in the face of persecution. We have a precious proof of his holiness from this bitter time: the police officer whose duty it was to guard him, looked into the Bishop’s cell one evening and, to his amazement, saw him standing in prayer with his hands raised, surrounded by a blinding heavenly light. The guard fell at his feet to ask forgiveness and subsequently became one of his most faithful spiritual children.


     “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 Athens…. However, it was not until 1954 that the violent measures finally came to an end and the Churches could be safely re-opened.”[226]


     It is perhaps no accident that the persecutions against the True Orthodox in Greece took place when the Greek civil war and the great political turmoil of the previous decade had come to an end. Freed from external enemies, the State Church could now return to “the enemy within”. Even some former communist hierarchs were re-employed in the struggle against the True Orthodox, such as Metropolitan Anthony of Elia, who joined the party in 1944 was deposed in 1946, but returned to his see after the amnesty of 1952.[227]


      By 1949, however, the communist threat had receded and Greece was firmly back within the sphere of western influence. The time was ripe for the State Church to go forward to full union with the western heretics – but only if its rear could be secured from snipers of the True Orthodox Church. Hence the significance of the election of the persecutor Archbishop Spyridon, who was entrusted with removing this, the main obstacle to the further development of Ecumenism in the western world.


     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…”[228]


     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 Cyclades, Christopher of Megara and Polycarp of Diauleia) agreed with all this, and, according to our information, their representatives, distinguished lawyers, had to formulate a corresponding act… Unfortunately, at the last moment irresponsible activists from the lay estate interfered… and influenced the weak character of the former Bishop of Florina, who rejected all that he had said earlier…”[229]


     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…”[230]


     Metropolitan Chrysostom’s inconsistencies could not fail to undermine the determination of his fellow bishops; and although Bishop Germanos of the Cyclades died as a confessor on March 24, 1951, the other three bishops resigned from their pastoral duties on November 6, 1952, “until a final resolution of the calendar question by a Pan-Orthodox Council”.[231] This decision elicited demonstrations in the streets by the Florinites, which led Metropolitan Chrysostom to withdraw his resignation. However, Bishops Christopher and Polycarp remained as simple lay members of the True Orthodox Church until February, 1954, when they returned to the State Church and were received in their existing rank.[232]


     “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 Serbian Church, who was then residing in the United States, offered to help him consecrate new bishops. However, Chrysostom declined the suggestion[233]. In answer to the pleas of his flock for bishops, he directed that they come to terms with the bishops Matthew had consecrated and have them somehow regularized according to the canons.”[234]


     “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 Greece were ringing mournfully as he went to his place of rest – the Synod of the State Church having so ordered as a sign of grief at the recent anti-Greek riots in Constantinople. When after six years, as is the custom in Greece, the bones of the Metropolitan were exhumed, the fragrance they produced filled the entire convent for several days, and is still often perceptible.”[235]


     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.”[236]


     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.”[237]


The Church of Cyprus


     Some words are appropriate here on the Church in Cyprus, where the great majority of the Orthodox had accepted the calendar innovation in 1924.[238]


     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 Cyprus, and a little later, the protosynkellos of his Church, Fr. Eugene Tombros. In 1948, as we have seen, he consecrated Bishop Spyridon, a Greek, for the True Orthodox of Cyprus.[239]


     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 midday, 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.”[240]


     Bishop Spyridon, after only nine months on Cyprus, was imprisoned and sent back to Greece by the British at the instigation of the new calendarists.  While in prison, he told Abbot Chrysostom of Galactotrophousa monastery to go with him to Greece, where he would be consecrated bishop in his stead. However, the authorities denied him a visa. But in 1957 Monk Epiphanius arrived in Greece and was consecrated Bishop of Kition – which consecration, however, was not recognised by Bishop Spyridon.[241] This caused a schism in the Cypriot Church, and Abbot Chrysostom, who remained faithful to Bishop Spyridon, was defrocked by the Matthewite Synod in Greece. However, the schism was healed, and Abbot Chrysostom was reinstated, in the 1980s.[242]


     As regards the new calendarist Church of Cyprus, it was British policy to hinder the consecration of new bishops on Cyprus. After the newcalendarist Archbishop Cyril III died in 1933, and until 1947, the British colonial government did not allow the election of a new first-hierarch. By this time all the metropolitans on the island had been exiled except Leontius of Paphos.


     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 become the State Church of the Bolshevik regime. Already during the war, the cult of Stalin, probably the greatest persecutor in the history of the Church, reached idolatrous proportions. He was “the protector of the Church”, “the new Constantine”. Thus Fr. Gleb Yakunin writes: “From the beginning of the war and the church ‘renaissance’ that followed it, the feeling became stronger in the leadership of the Moscow Patriarchate that a wonderful act of Divine Providence in the historical process had happened in Russia. God’s instrument in this process was, in their opinion, the ‘wise, God-established’, ‘God-given Supreme Leader’.”[243]


     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…[244]


     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…”[245]


     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 USSR” was addressed to him in the name of the whole Church.[246] “Without the slightest hesitation,” write Fr. Gleb Yakunin and a group of Orthodox Christians, “we can call this address the most shameful document ever composed in the name of the Church in the whole history of the existence of Christianity and still more in the thousand-year history of Christianity in Rus’.”[247] Again, on the day after Stalin’s death in March, 1953, Patriarch Alexis wrote to the USSR Council of Ministers: “In my own name and in the name of the Russian Orthodox Church I express my deepest and sincerest condolences on the death of the unforgettable Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, the great builder of the people’s happiness. His death is a heavy grief for our Fatherland and all the peoples who dwell in it. His death has been taken with deep grief by the whole of the Russian Orthodox Church, which will never forget his benevolent attitude towards the needs of the Church. His radiant memory will never be erased from our hearts. Our Church intones ‘eternal memory’ to him with a special feeling of unceasing love.”[248] Again, in 1955 he declared: “The Russian Orthodox Church supports the totally peaceful foreign policy of our government, not because the Church allegedly lacks freedom, but because Soviet policy is just and corresponds to the Christian ideals which the Church preaches.”[249]


     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.[250]


     Although the evidence is very meagre, and needs confirmation from other sources, it appears that the Catacomb Church also condemned the MP’s cult of Stalin. According to Bishop Ambrose von Sievers, it was anathematized by a Council of the Catacomb Church meeting in Chirchik, near Tashkent, in the autumn of 1948. It also anathematized the patriarchate’s 1948 council, and declared the canonical leader of the Russian Church to be Metropolitan Anastasius, first-hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad. This Council, which confirmed the decisions of the supposed “Nomadic Council” of 1928, was attended by thirteen bishops or their representatives, and was organized by Fr. Peter Pervushin, who had also played a major role in the 1928 Council.[251]


Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople


     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 Church of Greece by Metaxakis himself.[252] By an extraordinary coincidence Athenagoras was a former spiritual son of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina, so that the leaders of the opposing sides in the Church struggle in the early 1950s were, like David and Absalom, a holy father and his apostate son. Patriarch Maximus V, an opponent of ecumenism, was forced into retirement by his Synod on grounds of mental illness (although he was completely sane)[253], and the 33rd degree Mason Athenagoras took his place.


     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.”[254]


     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…”[255]


     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.”[256]


     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 Constantinople in 1992 renouncing missionary work among Western Christians…


     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!”[257] 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 faith”.[258] Again, at the Second General Assembly at Evanston (1954) the Orthodox delegates declared: “We are bound to declare our profound conviction that the Holy Orthodox Church alone has preserved in full and intact the Faith once delivered to the saints.”[259] Again, at the Faith and Order conference at Oberlin (1957), which was centred on the theme, “The Unity we Seek”, the Orthodox declared: “’The Unity we Seek’ is for us a given Unity which has never been lost, and, as a Divine gift and an essential mark of Christian existence, could not have been lost… For us, this Unity is embodied in the Orthodox Church.”[260]


     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).[261]


     Towards the end of the 1950s Athenagoras began to make feelers towards Rome. Thus on March 17, 1959, at the request of Athenagoras, Archbishop James of North America (a Freemason of the 33rd degree) met Pope John XXIII, the first such meeting for 350 years. The archbishop said: “Your All-Holiness, my patriarch had entrusted me to inform you that the sixth verse of the first chapter of the Gospel of John speaks about you. He is convinced that the man sent from God is precisely you, and the seventh verse explains the meaning of his embassy – ‘he came for a witness, to witness about the light, that all should believe through him’. And so you were elected for this end, although in your essence you are not the light, but you were raised to the Roman see ‘to witness to the light’.”[262]


     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.”[263] 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 Greece and on Mount Athos. However, Athenagoras supported James, calling his position “Orthodox”.[264] “Let the dogmas be placed in the store-room,” he said. “The age of Dogma has passed.”[265]


     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 Montreal in 1963, a memorandum on “Councils of Churches in the Purpose of God” declared: “The Council [WCC] has provided a new sense of the fullness of the Church in its unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity. These marks of the Church can no longer be simply applied to our divided churches, therefore.” Although this memorandum was not accepted in the end because of Fr. Georges Florovsky’s objections, it showed how the WCC was encroaching on the Orthodox Church’s understanding of herself as the One Church. Indeed, it could be argued that the Orthodox participants had already abandoned this dogma. For as early as the Toronto, 1950 statement of the WCC’s Central Committee, it had been agreed that an underlying assumption of the WCC was that the member-churches “believe that the Church of Christ is more inclusive than the membership of their own body”.[266]


     At the Second Pan-Orthodox Conference in Rhodes, in September, 1963, the sending of observers to the Second Vatican Council was discussed. There was much disagreement, and eventually a compromise was reached: every Local Church should make the decision independently.[267] It was unanimously agreed that the Orthodox should enter into dialogue with the Catholics, provided it was “on equal terms”. In practice, this meant that the Catholics should abandon their eastern-rite missions in Orthodox territories. The Catholics have never shown much signs of wishing to oblige in this, but they did help to make a dialogue easier by redefining the Orthodox, in Vatican II’s decree on Ecumenism, as “separated brethren” rather than “schismatics”.


     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.”[268]


     The Vatican had invited the Ecumenical Patriarchate to send observers to its Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which declared that the Orthodox were no longer heretics and schismatics but “separated brethren”.


     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 Vatican personnel had already adopted entirely new and innovative meanings for the idea of ecumenism. The powerful Augustin Cardinal Bea, for example, was a leading figure at the Council and a close adviser to Paul VI, as he had been to Pope John. Bea was seen as the Vatican’s own spearhead in what came to be nothing less than an ecumenical revolution. The Cardinal organized ‘ecumenical gatherings’ that included not only Roman Catholics and Protestants as usual, but Jews and Muslims as well. In time, as was only logical, Buddhists, Shintoists, animist and a host of other non-Christian and even non-religious groups would find a place in the poorly and broadly defined new ‘ecumenism’.”[269]


The Communists Become Ecumenists


     So 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 Athens. This indicated that the communists had changed their minds about ecumenism, and decided that the Russian Church’s participation in it would further their cause.


     This change of mind was partly the result of the fact that, as Fr. Georges Florovsky lamented, from the time of the Evanston conference a progressive takeover took place of the “Faith and Order” concerns by the “Life and Work” concerns.[270] That is, of the two strands of ecumenical activity that had existed before the war – the resolving of dogmatic differences among Christians, and “concern for the world and its problems” – it was the latter that was becoming dominant. And this was of great interest to the communists.


     We have seen that, as late as the Moscow council of 1948, the MP, in obedience to its communist masters, had adopted an anti-western and anti-ecumenical position. However, this position began to change in the late 1950s, when the MP began to be pushed into joining the WCC by the Council for Religious Affairs. Thus on January 16, 1958, Metropolitan Nicholas asked the Council how he was to reply to the suggestion of the WCC general secretary that he meet representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church. Comrade Karpov, head of the Council for Religious Affairs, said that he should reply that they in principle agreed to a meeting in June-July of that year.


     And 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 Evanston assembly, we agree to a meeting with the leaders of the World Council of Churches exclusively in the name of our Pan-Orthodox duty – to serve the reunification of all Christians in the bosom of the Church of Christ.”[271]


     In 1959, as a sign of the changing times, the MP joined the European Conference of Churches as a founding member… Then, on June 15, 1960 the new head of the Council for Religious Affairs, Kuroyedov met Patriarch Alexis. As Fr. Sergius Gordun writes, “Kuroyedov declared that he had carefully studied the external activities of the Patriarchate and he had come to conclusion that the situation was quite unsatisfactory. ‘In recent years the Patriarchate has not undertaken a single major initiative for the unification of the Orthodox Churches around the Russian Orthodox Church headed by the Moscow Patriarchate – initiatives, that is, aimed at exposing the reactionary activities of the Pope of Rome and the intensification of the struggle for peace. The Patriarchate is not using those huge opportunities which she enjoys; she has not undertaken a single major action abroad… The Russian Orthodox Church is not emerging as a unifying centre for the Orthodox Churches of the world, usually she adopts a passive stance and only weakly exposes the slanderous propaganda concerning the position of religion and the Church in our country… The Council recommended to Metropolitan Nicholas that he work out suggestions for intensifying external work. However, Metropolitan Nicholas has not fulfilled this request of the Council and has put forward suggestions which in no way correspond to the requirements discussed with the metropolitan in this regard.’ Then Kuroyedov suggested that Metropolitan Nicholas be released from his duties as president of the Department of Foreign Relations and that they be imposed on another, more fitting person.”


     The “suggestion” was accepted, and Metropolitan Nicholas was retired on June 21. In July, he asked Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein) of Brussels to tell the world that a new persecution was beginning, and in August repeated this message to other western church leaders. At the end of August, Kuroyedov suggested to the patriarch that he retire Metropolitan Nicholas from administering the Moscow diocese. The patriarch suggested to the metropolitan that he accept the Leningrad diocese, but the latter sharply rejected the offer. On September 9, Metropolitan Nicholas sent a letter to Khruschev (there was no reply). On September 19, the MP Synod retired him. On December 13 he died in suspicious circumstances; many believe he was murdered.[272]


     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[273], 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 Leningrad and Novgorod, is linked with the change in the position of the Moscow Patriarchate in relation to the ecumenical movement. As is well known, the Conference of the heads and representatives of the autocephalous Orthodox Churches, which took place in Moscow in 1948, accepted a resolution declaring that ‘the aims of the ecumenical movement… do not correspond to the ideals of Christianity and the tasks of the Church of Christ as those are understood by the Orthodox Church’. In this connection particular mention was made of the ecumenical movement’s turn towards involvement in social and political life, which was not acceptable for Orthodoxy. This position was maintained by the Moscow Patriarchate until 1960. In a conversation which took place on April 2, 1959, his Holiness Patriarch Alexis informed the Council about the attitude of the Russian Church to the ecumenical movement, and declared that she intended gradually to increase her links with the World Council of Churches and to send her observers to its most important conferences, but would not become a member of this organization. However, a year and a half later this position changed. In the notes of a conversation which took place between Patriarch Alexis and V.A. Kuroyedov on September 15, 1960, there is the following phrase: ‘The Patriarch accepted the recommendation of the Council concerning the entry of the Russian Orthodox Church into the membership of the World Council of Churches and evaluated this as a major action of the Russian Orthodox Church in its activities abroad.’ What was the aim of the Council for the affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church in recommending that the Russian Church enter the World Council of Churches? To conceal, it would seem, the anti-ecclesiastical policy of the Soviet government. Having cornered the Church, the Council wanted to create the image of a free and active Russian Church abroad…”[274]


     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.[275]


     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.”[276]


     From September 24 to October 1 the Orthodox Churches in the WCC met on Rhodes under the presidency of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Athens. One of its participants, Archbishop Basil of Brussels, recalls that “the relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world were reviewed in detail. With regard to the Catholic Church, the majority of participants in the conference expressed themselves ‘for the development of relations in the spirit of the love of Christ, with particular reference to the points envisaged by the 1920 encyclical of the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate.’”[277]


     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.”[278]


     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![279]     


     The argument used by Nicodemus for removing atheism from the agenda was that discussion of this question might elicit persecution against the Church in Russia. As for Masonry, “it does not exist in contemporary Russia, we don’t know it, Masonry exists only in the West. Consequently, this question is not of general, but only of local Orthodox interest, and for that reason it should not be included in the programme of a general Orthodox Council…”[280]


     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”[281], went to New Delhi for the Third General Assembly of the WCC. On December 6-7, the MP was accepted as an official member of the WCC at its Third General Assembly in New Delhi. 142 churches voted for, 4 abstained and 3 voted against.


     The Vatican immediately warned that the MP’s membership was aimed “at the fulfilling of plans hatched in the Kremlin, which are bound to assist the triumph of Soviet propaganda through ecumenical Christianity”. And sure enough: when an attempt was made to condemn communism, Archbishop Nicodemus immediately proposed a resolution listing the vices of capitalism, as a result of which both resolutions were withdrawn.[282]


     The KGB-enforced entry of the MP into the WCC, which was followed by the entry of the Romanian Church (in 1961) and of the Georgian Church (in 1962), had a devastating effect on the Orthodox position. For the Soviets not only constituted numerically by far the largest single Church in the WCC; they also controlled, through the KGB, all the other delegates from behind the iron curtain. Communism and Ecumenism therefore met in an unholy union which has been called “Ecucommunism”.[283] As Deacon Andrew Kuraiev writes: “Sergianism and Ecumenism intertwined. It was precisely on the instructions of the authorities that our hierarchy conducted its ecumenical activity, and it was precisely in the course of their work abroad that clergy who had been enrolled into the KGB were checked out for loyalty.”[284]


    The Orthodox delegates at New Delhi signed a summary statement which declared, among other things: “We consider that the work of creating the One, Universal Church must unfailingly be accompanied by the destruction and disappearance of certain outmoded, traditional forms of worship”. The idea of “creating” the One Church was blasphemous, and the idea of destroying certain “outmoded” forms of worship - an outright challenge to the Holy Tradition of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church! And, having delivered it, the Orthodox delegates seemed to lose all restraint; for within a decade or two of the New Delhi congress, the ecumenical movement had climbed into the realm of “Super-ecumenism” – relations with non-Christian religions. It was therefore the Congress of the WCC in New Delhi that marked the decisive dogmatic break between “World Orthodoxy” and True Orthodoxy. If, until then, it could be argued, albeit unconvincingly, that the “World Orthodox” had not apostasised, and that only a few of their leaders were ecumenist heretics, this could no longer be maintained after New Delhi.


     During this Congress, Nicodemus announced that the Vatican had invited the MP to send observers to the Second Vatican Council; but that the MP had laid it down as a condition that there should be “no declarations hostile to our beloved country”. So for most of the next year, the MP chose to emphasise, albeit in a gentle way, the dogmatic differences between the two Churches. [285]


     However, in September-October, at the Second Pan-Orthodox Conference on Rhodes, it was decided to begin a theological dialogue with the Catholic Church. Moreover, - still more importantly, - at the beginning of October the Council for Religious Affairs told the Central Committee that the participation of observers at the Second Vatican Council would assist the establishment of useful contacts with the Vatican and would bind the Vatican in its promotion of hostile activity against the USSR. This official address of the Council to the Central Committee completed a process of change in attitude towards the Catholic Church and the question of the presence of observers at the Vatican Council from originally negative to a positive recognition of benefit for the Soviet government and for the MP of an improvement in their relations to the Vatican. The decision to allow the sending of observers to the Second Vatican Council was taken at the highest level of Soviet power, the Politburo, on October 10, 1962 (¹ 58/30).[286]


     The arrival of Russian Orthodox observers at the Council produced consternation in French Catholic circles, which accused the Vatican of “selling out” to communism.[287] But the French communist press was delighted: “Since the world socialist system shows its superiority indisputably and enjoys the approval of many hundreds of millions of men, the Church can no longer rest content with crude anti-communism. She has even given an undertaking, on the occasion of her dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church, that there should be no direct attack on the communist regime at the Council.”[288]


     Why did the Vatican accept this condition, which so damaged her standing in the anti-communist West? Probably for the same reason that the MP-KGB agreed to send observers – to infiltrate the camp of the enemy. And the possibility exists that their main agent of infiltration was precisely the MP’s Metropolitan Nicodemus…


     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 Leningrad] was secretly a Catholic bishop, recognized by Rome with jurisdiction from Pope Paul VI throughout Russia. This assertion is not impossible – but neither is it entirely proved.


     “On September 6 1975 Havryliv made a sacramental general Confession before Metropolitan Nicodemus, who then accepted Havryliv’s monastic vows and profession of Faith to the Apostolic See and the Pope of Rome. Kyr Nicodemus commanded Havryliv to order his monastic life according to the Jesuit Constitutions, and presented him with a copy of this document in Russian. This was all done privately; four days later the Metropolitan tonsured Havryliv a monk. On 9 October Kyr Nicodemus ordained Havryliv to the priesthood, without requiring the oaths customary for Russian Orthodox candidates to Holy Orders.


     “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 Ukraine, but in Russia. The Metropolitan spoke of the practice of his predecessors – and also asked me to be prudent.”[289]


     This proved that beneath the “eirenic” ecumenical activities of the Vatican, there was a steely determination to take over the MP without any respect for the latter as a church. Havryliv was reordained by Nicodemus – a clear indication that Rome accepted the sacraments of the Orthodox for only as long as it suited her. When she had gained control, however, such recognition would no longer be forthcoming…


The Khruschev Persecution


     As 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 Soviet Union. The ultimate intention of the Soviet authorities – the complete destruction of the Orthodox Church – remained unchanged in the post-war period; but their tactics showed some flexibility. The Khrushchev persecution demonstrated how fragile and one-sided was the State-Church accord, and how easily the State’s concessions could be retracted without compunction or compensation.[290]


     Until the death of Stalin, while True Orthodoxy was persecuted as violently as ever, “Soviet Orthodoxy” enjoyed a comparatively peaceful period. However, on July 7, 1954 the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party issued a document entitled “On Major Inadequacies in Scientific-Atheist Propaganda and Measures for its Improvement”, which called for a return to the pre-war course of “attacking religious survivals”. That summer some parishioners were persecuted and some churches closed. Public criticisms of this new course were issued by Metropolitan Gregory of Leningrad and Archbishop Luke of Simferopol.


     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.[291] 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 Catacomb Church. In July G. Karpov informed Patriarch Alexis that he did not need to worry about the question of the opening of churches, since this process would now be uninterrupted…[292]


     On October 4, 1958 the Central Committee sent a secret letter to the Union Republics called “On the inadequacies of scientific-atheist propaganda”. In all party and public organizations and state organs were required to attack the This fact was forcibly re-imposed upon the consciousness of believers in 1959-64, when most of the seminaries and monasteries and 12-15,000 of the parish churches,”religious survivals” of Soviet people. In accordance with the instructions of the Central Committee and of Khruschev personally, on October 16 the Council of Ministers accept the first anti-ecclesiastical resolutions: “On Monasteries in the USSR” and “On Taxing the Income of Enterprises of Diocesan Administrations, and also the Income of Monasteries”. In the first of these the monasteries were forbidden to take on hired labour, and a significant diminution of land holdings was envisaged, as also of the numbers of communities. Moreover, the 1945 tax on building and land rent was re-introduced, and the tax rate on plots of land was sharply increased. A heavy blow was dealt to the material base of the patriarchate. Raising the tax on the income from candle factories touched every parish. The factories were forced to raise their output prices, but at the same time it was forbidden to change the old prices in the churches. An absurd situation was the result – the parishes, on acquiring the candles, were forced to sell them to themselves at a loss. To make up for this, in many parishes they began to disband the paid choirs and economize on repairs and the upkeep of the churches. The clergy fell into poverty. The patriarchate was flooded by desperate pleas for help from the hierarchs. As a result of the new regulations, all the dioceses found themselves in debt to the state and on the edge of complete insolvency. An appeal was made to the Council for the Affairs of the Orthodox Church, but it was firmly rejected. An appeal to put off the introduction of the new taxes until January 1, 1959 was also rejected.[293]


     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 Moscow Patriarchate… Now there is a suggestion to prepare and convene, in the course of one or two years, an Ecumenical Council or congress of all the Orthodox Churches in the world… How shall we carry out this work… if we encourage crude administrative methods in relation to the Church and do not react to the distortions in scientific-atheist propaganda?... I consider such actions as the blowing up of church buildings to be inadmissible.” Karpov went on to speak of the mass discontent of the clergy, and of the fact that the patriarch was thinking of retiring; and even suggested making some concessions to the Church. As a result, he kept his post for another year, and a temporary departure from extreme forms of anti-religious aggression was observed in the country.[294]


     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.[295]


     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.”[296] 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…”[297]


     Schema-Monk Epiphanius (Chernov) recounts the following story about a communist party member and his wife, who was secretly a member of the Catacomb Church. When their son was born, she wanted to have him baptised – but not in the Moscow patriarchate. He then “tried to convince his wife of a truth which she was well aware. But in the given case the husband’s words were very convincing and concrete:


     “’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?’”[298]


     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…”[299]


     Meanwhile, the pressure on the MP was increasing. On March 16, 1961 the Council of Ministers passed a resolution “On the strengthening of control for the fulfilment of the legislation on churches”, which gave power to the local authorities to close churches and remove registrations.


     On April 18, 1961 the MP Synod decided to present the resolution “On Measures to Improve the Existing Order of Parish Life” for discussion at the Council in July. This measure, which had been imposed on the Church by the Council for Religious Affairs, deprived the priest of all financial and administrative control of his parish, passing it instead to councils of twenty (the dvadtsatky), which were easily controllable by the authorities.


     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.”[300]


     Fearing 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 conducted.[301] Archbishop Hermogen of Kaluga, who appeared without an invitation, was not allowed at the session on the grounds that he was not a ruling hierarch. The parish reform was passed. It was also decided that all clergy should be banned from becoming members of the dvadtsatky or the parish councils. As was only to be expected, Patriarch Alexis cooperated with the 1961 statute on the parishes and with other measures harmful to the Church during the Khrushchev persecution.[302]


     Meanwhile, in the single year of 1961, 1500 churches were closed in the Soviet Union. In 1963 the Kiev-Caves Lavra was closed. Attempts were made to close the Pochaev Lavra, too, but determined action by the monks and the local inhabitants, some of whom were imprisoned or exiled, saved the day.[303]


     On October 14, 1964, Khruschev died, and the persecution against the MP ceased. The main party ideologist and secretary of the Central Committee, Suslov thought that it was necessary to continue a decisive “struggle against religion”, but in such a way as not to turn the West against them and “not to give rein to all kinds of extremists”. It was recognised that illegalities had been committed, and several people were freed from the prisons and camps.[304]


The Passportless Movement


     By the beginning of the 1960s, the pressure on the Catacomb Church was beginning to wane. Thus “when, in 1961,” writes Archbishop Lazarus, “the priests’ rights were taken away from them and given to the church council, they quieted down and it was easier for us; at least we could get to our priests and priests began more freely to come to us, to confess and commune us. From 1961 the Moscow Patriarchate calmed down in its attitude towards us. Of course, when foreigners asked representatives of the M.P., ‘Does a catacomb church exist?’ the answer was always ‘No’. That was a lie. There were catacomb believers all over Russia, just as there are today…”[305]


     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 with the True Church and continued to commemorate the Soviet patriarch.[306]


     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 the Soviet Union only in 1932, and only for the most urbanized areas. Already then it was used as a means of winkling out Catacomb Christians. Thus Shkvarovsky writes: “Completing their liquidation of the Josephites, there was a meeting of regional inspectors for cultic matters on March 16, 1933, at a time when passportisation was being introduced. The meeting decided, on the orders of the OGPU, ‘not to give passports to servants of the cult of the Josephite confession of faith’, which meant automatic expulsion from Leningrad. Similar things happened in other major cities of the USSR.”[307]


     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.[308] 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.[309]


     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 Lipetsk, Tambov and Voronezh areas – were rigorously persecuted, and often left to die of hunger. Thus passportisation in the cities and collectivisation in the countryside constituted two forms of the Bolsheviks’ struggle to force everyone in the country to accept the Soviet ideology.


     On May 4, 1961, however, the Soviet government issued its decree on “parasitism” and introduced its campaign for general passportisation. In local papers throughout the country it was announced that, in order to receive a Soviet passport, a citizen of the USSR would have to recognize all the laws of Soviet power, past and present, beginning from Lenin’s decrees. Since this involved, in effect, a recognition of all the crimes of Soviet power, a movement arose to reject Soviet passports, a movement which was centred mainly in the country areas among those peasants and their families who had rejected collectivization in the 1930s.


     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 Tashkent gave in 100 passports at once. Communities in Kemerovo and Novosibirsk provinces gave in their passports, and Christians in the Altai area burned their passports… Protests against general passportisation broke out in Belorussia, in the Ukraine, and in the Voronezh, Tambov and Ryazan provinces…


     “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 Catacomb Church received a major influx from Christians of the patriarchal church who renounced Soviet passports and returned into the bosom of the True Orthodox Church.”[310]


     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 Soviet Socialist Republics”, together with a hammer and sickle, which was still unacceptable to the passportless, who therefore continued to be subject to prison, exile and hunger. Those who joined the Catacomb Church at this time often erased the word “citizen”, replacing it with the word “Christian”, so that they had a “Passport of a Christian of the Soviet Socialist Republics”.[311]


     The issue of passports is of greater theological and practical importance than might at first appear. In essence it comes down to the question whether the Soviet State can be considered “Caesar” to which “the things of Caesar” are due (payment of taxes, civic loyalty, army service), or “the collective Antichrist”, obedience to whom involves compromises that are unacceptable for the Christian conscience. Although the majority of members of the True Russian Church in this century have not made an issue of this, it remains debatable whether obedience to the 1918 anathema against the Bolsheviks does not in fact require rejection of the Soviet State, Soviet passports, Soviet army service, etc., in a way that only the passportless demonstrated. Certainly, experience demonstrated without a doubt that all attempts of Christians to cooperate in any way with the Soviet regime were worse than useless and only led to compromises in the faith… Since the fall of communism in 1991, as we shall see, the possession of passports has ceased to be such a burning issue. However, the question whether the Soviet Union was a state “established by God” (Romans 13.1), or, on the contrary, an anti-state established by Satan (Revelation 13.2), remains a critical one. The True Orthodox position is that since the Soviet Union was anathematised by the Church, neither it, nor any modern state claiming continuity from it, can command the allegiance of Orthodox Christians.


The Florinites Acquire a Hierarchy


     After the repose of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina, on September 16, 1955, 92 of his 150 priests gathered together and established a twelve-member Commission to administer the Church. On January 10, 1957 a second Clerical Assembly was held, attended by all the Flornite priests and several zealot monks from Mount Athos. A new twelve-member commission was appointed and three archimandrites – Acacius (Pappas), Chrysostom (Kiousis) and Chrysostom (Naslimes) – were voted worthy of receiving the episcopal rank. Acacius was elected president of the Commission, Auxentius Pastras – deputy president, and general secretary – Chrysostom (Kiousis). The Commission then began to search for a way of restoring their hierarchy.[312]


     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 Brussels, where Archbishop John Maximovich, the famous wonderworker, looked favourably on their request, but said that they would need to obtain the blessing of the ROCOR Synod in New York. The Florinites sent Archimandrite Acacius to Metropolitan Anastasy in New York. But the metropolitan refused to consecrate him.


     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 Local Churches and the Moscow Patriarchate.”[313]


     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.[314]


     In any case, on December 22, 1960, Archimandrite Acacius Pappas was consecrated as Bishop of Talantion in Detroit, by Archbishop Seraphim of Chicago and the Romanian Bishop Theophilus of Detroit. For this act Archbishop Seraphim was reprimanded by the ROCOR Synod. Moreover, the Matthewites bitterly contested its canonicity, saying that Acacius the elder had bribed Seraphim. But this accusation is firmly rejected by Acacius the younger (now Metropolitan of Diauleia), who accompanied his uncle throughout the trip.[315] The Matthewites also asserted that Theophilus was a new calendarist, having been appointed to look after the new calendarist Romanian parishes which had joined the Russian Synod. This was true, but did not necessarily invalidate the consecration because he was a member of a Synod which followed the Orthodox Calendar. In other words, his following the new calendar was uncanonical, but insofar as he was a member of a True Orthodox Synod which, for reasons of pastoral condescension, tolerated it for a certain group, he was to be considered a true bishop (as long as he remained in ROCOR). Another problem was the fact that in 1971, in a letter to Metropolitan Philaret, Bishop Theophilus denied that he had taken part in the consecration. However, his participation was witnessed both by Archbishop Seraphim[316], and by the then Archimandrites Peter and Acacius the younger. According to Seraphim, Theophilus had personal reasons for keeping the whole matter secret.[317]


     On returning to Greece, Bishop Acacius undertook the administration of the Church with the aid of one of the Commission’s archimandrites. In May, 1962, Bishop Acacius and the Commission invited Archbishop Leontius of Chile, a member of the ROCOR Synod. These two bishops then consecrated: Parthenius (Skurlis) as Bishop of the Cyclades, Auxentius (Pastras) as Bishop of Gardikion, Acacius the younger as Bishop of Diauleia and Gerontius (Margiolis) as Bishop of Salamis. It was also decreed that the newly consecrated bishops should consecrate Archimandrites Chrysostom (Naslimes) and Chrysostom (Kiousis). Chrysostom (Naslimis) was duly consecrated the next year. But for some reason unknown to the present author, Chrysostom Kiousis, who had been elected as second candidate for the episcopate by the 1957 conference, was passed over.[318]


    “Archbishop Leontius’ involvement with the Old Calendarists did not end there. Together with the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad’s Bishop Seraphim of Caracas, he secretly consecrated Archimandrite Peter Astifides as bishop of Astoria [in Venezuela]. This, too, was done without the knowledge or consent of either the Synod or Metropolitan Anastasy.


     “Later Archbishop Leontius ordained Acacius Douskos a priest in New York. This Acacius was a subdeacon of Archbishop Vitaly of Montreal, and he was ordained without Archbishop Vitaly’s consent. Later he returned to Montreal where he set up a Greek Old Calendar parish independent of Archbishop Vitaly.”[319]


     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 Syracuse and Jordanville said: “I myself would not have decided to carry out the consecration of the Greek Old Calendarists. But at the same time, in the depths of my soul, I cannot help being delighted at the boldness with which Archbishop Leontius carried out this act to which his conscience called him.


     “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 Moscow. A vicious circle is the result. In view of this irrational position, it is especially important for us to stand on a firm canonical foundation, preserving the essence, and not the letter, which can lead to the worship of Satan…


     “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 the Church of Christ. Its fruits are already evident. Even in America there are Greek clergy whose conscience torments them for accepting the new style. The keeping of various traditions in various spheres is bound up with following the old style. With the expulsion of the old style from the church the ascetic principle is also expelled. The Old Calendarists are the closest to us in spirit. The only ‘but’ in the action of Archbishop Leontius consists in the fact that he acted as it were in a non-fraternal manner, contrary to the decision of the council, although from good motives.”[320]


     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 Catacomb Church is in Russia, so we must support it] as satisfactory, and with that bring our arguments to an end.”


     Vladyka John also recalled that in the past century there had been similar disturbances in the Antiochian Church. At that time the Constantinopolitan Church had intervened. In the same way the Greek Church had helped the Church of Cyprus.


     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.[321]


The Romanians Acquire a Hierarchy


     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).”[322]


     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 two o’clock 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 April 5, 1955, when Bishop Galaction, who was at that time already a [retired] metropolitan, returned to our Church. He was forbidden from serving by the patriarchate and lost all his titles. But he laid the beginning of the hierarchy of our Church, because until then there were no bishops in our Church.”[323]


     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.”[324]


     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 Bucharest (Fr. Glycerius was exiled). However, with the aid of some Old Calendarist laity, he escaped and went to Moldavia, where he ordained a number of priests and deacons.[325] He was deposed by the patriarchate on Great Thursday, 1955 for assuming the title of Metropolitan and leading the “schismatic” Old Calendarists.


     “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.[326] After this, during the night of November 17, 1956, Archimandrite Glycerius, who had been abducted from his forced labour, was secretly consecrated a bishop. Then they hid in our monastery, where every day ordinations took place. A year later they were again arrested.”[327]


     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.[328] 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…”[329]


     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 Bucharest to assist Bishop Eulogius who was in hiding. There he was betrayed by an Old Calendar priest and arrested. The authorities demanded that Fr. Demosthenes reveal the whereabouts of the bishop, which he refused to do.


     “On July 23, 1958, Fr. Demosthenes was again arrested. He, with a group of chanters, had served a funeral for his cousin in a closed church. A New Calendar priest reported this to the authorities, which resulted in his and the chanters’ arrest. Six officers took Fr. Demosthenes to the city Tirgu-Mures. Upon his arrival, he was led to a room where several guards took off his clothes, and later shaved off his hair and bear. His prison cell had a cement bed with no covers. For five months the civil authorities investigated and interrogated Fr. Demosthenes in an attempt to find some excuse to have him sentenced. The first round of questioning went along these lines:


     “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.”[330]


     The years 1959-64 were years of persecution throughout Eastern Europe. Similarly appalling conditions prevailed in Bulgaria at this time. Many priests and monks were held in the approximately 30 death camps, where prisoners were brought up one by one to be slaughtered.


     Although information is sketchy and hard to verify, it appears that there was another Old Calendar hierarchy in Romania.[331] Its origins go back to the immediate post-war period. In 1948, at the request – more precisely, order - of the Soviets, the new calendarist Romanian Church was obliged to surrender its parishes in the diaspora and let them come under the jurisdiction of the Moscow patriarchate. Worried by the danger this posed for their flock, several bishops, foremost among them Grigorie Leu of Husi and Chesarie of Tomis, decided to send the priests Florian Galdau and Vasile Leu, the son of Bishop Grigorie, to help the aged and sick Metropolitan Visarion Puiu. Since Fr. Vasile’s wife had died, he was tonsured in preparation for consecration to the episcopate.


     On August 21, 1948 the two priests left Romania, and after jumping from the train at Isanova railway station, entered Yugoslavia, where they were arrested and interrogated by Yugoslav security. They succeeded in escaping and reached Austria. There, after staying for a time in a camp, they were set free by the Allied Forces and began to serve in a church in Salzburg. Eventually, after a meeting of Romanian exiles from all over the diaspora, the Autonomous Romanian Orthodox Archiepiscopate of Western Europe was set up. Since Metropolitan Visarion was ill and paralysed in a sanatorium in Switzerland, Fr. Vasile was sent to the Russian Church Abroad in Munich to be consecrated to the episcopate.


     ROCOR had already given some help to the Romanian Church. Thus Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) had ordained several priests for the Bessarabians who did not recognize the new calendar, and Bishop Seraphim (Lyade) had been called to go to Romania, in spite of the authorities’ ban, and organise Old Calendar parishes there.[332] And Metropolitan Seraphim now joined Bishop Stephen (Sevbo) of Vienna and Bishop Philip of Potsdam in consecrating Fr. Vasile in December, 1949, giving him the new name Vasile-Victor. According to the Securitate accounts of his interrogation, Bishop Vasile-Victor admitted to the fact that the British agent Atkinson had paid the three bishops £1000 each to consecrate him. However, the files of the German diocese of ROCOR reveal no record of this consecration…[333]


     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 Switzerland, gave the sacrament of confession to Queen Anna, and met the old King Carol in Paris. He also broadcast in Romanian at the BBC in London, several radio stations in Austria, and was a regular contributor to Paris Radio. He issued thousands of certificates to Romanian refugees to enable them to obtain visas in western countries.


     In Romania, meanwhile, Bishop Victor-Vasile’s father, Bishop Grigorie, had suffered the abolition of his diocese of Husi, and on February 25, 1949 was summoned to Bucharest for discussions. Being a strong anti-communist who had warned about the transformation of the Romanian Church into a “Sovrom patriarchy”, he was not allowed to return a healthy man. Three days later he died, probably from poisoning.


     On August 16, 1952 Bishop Victor-Vasile was arrested in Vienna, injected with some substance, and kidnapped. Three days later he woke up in a Soviet prison. He was transported to the Lubyanka in Moscow, where he was interrogated for seven months and charged with working for the English and American secret services. Beria himself sometimes took part in the interrogations. He refused to ask for a pardon, and also refused to delegate anyone to make such a request on his behalf. “I consider communism to be the main enemy of the Christians,” he said, “and that is why this is the goal of my life.” At the Bucharest District Law Court on November 16, 1954 he declared: “I realize that you want to find out whether I collaborated with the English information service. I said and I repeat that I haven’t spied for anybody. I am an enemy of this Romanian regime, which has turned the country into a kind of prison. I carried out this activity because the communist regime is a strait jacket for the soul and essence of the Romanian people. The only decision that would honour me and the law court would be my condemnation to death.”


     On November 20, 1954 he was condemned to death for treason (resolution ¹ 2417). However, he was not executed, but passed through all the prisons of Romania. In 1964 he was released. His file in the security archives is 300 pages long and reveals that he made no compromise with the authorities.


     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 Moldavia, where he was accepted as a bishop at first. However, canonical differences with the other Old Calendarists forced him to return to Bucharest. It appears that Bishop Victor-Vasile took a stricter attitude towards the Romanian new calendarists, rebaptising and remarrying them, and also could not recognize the validity of the consecration of Metropolitan Galaction, since it had been carried out in 1935, after the calendar change. On the other hand, the Old Calendarists did not accept Victor-Vasile’s consecration because he did not have ordination papers, and because ROCOR had no records of his consecration.[334]


     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 Bucharest because the communists placed him under virtual house arrest in order to restrict his contact with the faithful. That is why, when he died in 1978, he was taken to Cernica monastery and buried by the new calendarists there. Only a few laymen from his flock, and no priests, were present.


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 Russian Church which was outside Russia while still remaining in communion with the “Mother Church” in the Homeland. Thus in 1945 Metropolitan Anastasy declared that the members of ROCOR “have never considered and do not consider themselves to be outside the enclosure of the Orthodox Russian Church, for we have never broken canonical, prayerful and spiritual unity with our Mother Church… We do not cease to thank God for judging that we should remain the free part of the Russian Church. Our duty is to preserve this freedom until we return to the Mother Church the precious pledge entrusted by her to us. A completely competent judge between the bishops abroad and the present head of the Russian Church could be only a freely and lawfully convened All-Russian Council that is completely independent it its decisions, and in which as far as possible all bishops abroad and especially those now in prison will participate. We are ready to give an account before them of all our actions during our sojourn abroad.”[335]


     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[336], 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 Soviet Church. Spiritually! Many of us there fell, ‘for fear of the Jews’, or giving in to the temptation of outward cooperation with the authorities. I knew priests of the official Church who, at home, tore their hair out, who smashed their heads making prostrations, begging forgiveness for their apostasy, calling themselves Cain – but nonetheless they did not recognise the Red Church. But these others abroad – it is precisely spiritually that they submit to it. What good fortune that our priest-martyrs, in dying, did not find out about this betrayal!”[337]


     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 Russian Church. Although, from a strictly canonical point of view, the Russian refugees should have sought admission into the Local Orthodox Churches on whose canonical territory they lived, these Churches (primarily the Serbian, but also the Bulgarian, the Romanian and the Eastern Patriarchates, especially Jerusalem) did not insist on this, respecting the particular needs of the refugees to stick together in one ecclesiastical organization, and taking into account the desire of the refugees to return eventually to Russia (which most believed would be soon).[338]


     However, the triumph of the Soviets in the war dashed the hopes of an early return to Russia. So the refugees had to decide how they were to establish themselves in the West on a more permanent basis. This was made more difficult by the fact that the previously friendly attitude of the Local Churches was beginning to change, partly because they were coming under pressure from the MP to break links with ROCOR, and partly because they themselves, as we have seen, were losing the salt of True Orthodoxy and therefore had less sympathy for the True Orthodox Russians in their midst.


     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…[339]


     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 Russia and Eastern Europe by a too-strict attitude towards the status of the official churches there, to which most of the new wave of refugees had belonged. Instead, while continuing to berate (but not too strongly) the shortcomings of the MP, ROCOR positioned itself, not as the sole representative of True Orthodoxy in the West, but as the “anti-communist church”, that part of the Russian Church which was in freedom and able to tell the truth about the situation in Russia.


     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 Russia was not followed by a real repentance in the Russian people.


     This problem of self-definition was only partly eased by the transfer of the administration of ROCOR from Munich to New York in 1950. America was not, and is not now, the “canonical territory” of any single Local Church, so the anomalous position of ROCOR in America (and other western territories, such as Western Europe and Australia) was less prominent in view of the anomalous position of all jurisdictions in the New World. For it is a fundamental tenet of Orthodox canon law that there should be only one bishop for one territory – the division of the Orthodox flock in one place into various jurisdictions along ethnic lines is forbidden, and was even anathematised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate as the heresy of “phyletism” in 1872.


     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 Russian Church and breathe with the spirit of the Russian Church of all ages. But it is dangerous to draw from this the extreme conclusion that we are the only Church, and that we need pay no attention to the others or reckon with them. We are going along the right path, and the others have declined from it, but we must not proudly despise the others, for there are Orthodox hierarchs and priests everywhere. The words of Maximus the Confessor are often cited: ‘if the whole universe were to communicate, I alone would not.’ But he said: ‘if’. And when the Prophet Elijah thought that he alone kept the faith, the Lord revealed to him that there were still 7000 others…”


     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.”[340]


     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 Catacomb Church, who were in a better position to judge about the MP than the hierarchs abroad, considered the MP to be indeed “the church of the evil-doers”.


     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 laymen.[341] 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.[342] Another senior bishop, Metropolitan Seraphim (Lukyanov) of Paris joined the MP, was received back into ROCOR in his existing orders, and then returned to the MP for good in 1954. Again, among the twelve Belorussian and Ukrainian bishops who were received “in their existing rank” by ROCOR in 1946, at least one proved to be a Judas – Archbishop Panteleimon (Rudyk), whose immorality left a trail of destruction in various countries before he, too, joined the MP.


     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 Moscow hierarchy in connection with its support of the God-fighting authorities and I promise from now on to be faithful and obedient to the lawful hierarchy of the Russian Church Abroad.)”[343]


     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."[344]


     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. Thus on October 19, 1956, in response to a statement by Bishop Leontius of Chile that ROCOR should treat the Eulogians as renovationists and not permit any concelebrations, the metropolitan said that the Eulogians were different, since they were not heretics.[345] And yet ROCOR had herself condemned the Eulogians’ teaching on Sophianism as heresy![346]


     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.”[347]


     Metropolitan 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 Russian Church as a whole just before the revolution. However, it disagreed not only with prior Russian practice, but also with the practice of the Greek Church, and with the holy canons themselves (for example: the canons decree that Armenians should be received by Chrismation). Fortunately, this illegitimate practice of “oikonomia” was officially rescinded by the ROCOR Synod under Metropolitan Philaret in September, 1971, when it was decreed that Catholics and Protestants should henceforth be received by baptism. And when the Copts were once allowed to conduct a service in Jordanville, Metropolitan Philaret ordered that the church be cleansed from the defilement of heresy by holy water!


     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 Kazan’s words). Still more seriously, as we have seen, it received into the episcopate a whole series of renovationist protopriests with the minimum of formalities.


     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 Council of Constantinople).


     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 USSR and the closure of churches, although, according to its logic, it should have rejoiced over the closure of apostate churches.


     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”.[348]


     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.[349]


     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 Jerusalem patriarchates. Again, Archbishop John (Maximovich) of Western Europe consecrated several new-calendarist bishops, all of whom left ROCOR for “World Orthodoxy” after his death: Bishop Theophilus (Ionescu) of Detroit and his Romanian new calendarists to the American Metropolia, Bishop John-Nectarius (Kovalevsky) of Saint-Denis and his French mission (following the Gallican rite) to the Romanian new calendar church[350], Bishop Cyril (Ionev) of Toronto and his Bulgarian new calendarists to the American metropolia, and Bishop Jacob (Akkerduik) of the Hague to the MP. Their main complaint appears to have been that ROCOR wanted to “russify” them…


     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 Russian Church inside Russia,. The question was: which Russian Church inside Russia was it part of – the MP or the Catacomb Church?


     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 Russia. But which people were being talked about? Those who considered themselves citizens of the Soviet state, or those who rejected such citizenship?


     In spite of his lack of communion with the MP, Metropolitan Anastasy appears to have considered it to be the “Mother Church”. Thus he wrote to Metropolitan Theophilus of New York: “Your proposed union with the Patriarchate has not only a spiritual, but a canonical character, and binds you with the consequences. Such a union would be possible only if the Mother Church were completely free…”[351]


     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…”[352]


     Again, on October 18, 1959, in his address at the opening of the Hierarchical Council of ROCOR, he said: “We must not only teach others, but ourselves also fulfil [that which we teach], following the examples of the Moscow saints whom we have commemorated today. They stand before us as Orthodox zealots, and we must follow their example, turning aside completely from the dishonesty of those who have now occupied their throne. Oh if they could but arise, they not only would not recognise any of their successors, but rather would turn against them with severe condemnation. With what zeal would St. Philip be set aflame against the weak-in-faith representatives of the Church, who look with indifference at the flowing of the innocent blood of their flock, and yet do not condemn the enemies of the Church, but try in every way to flatter the atheistic authority. How the great adamantine St. Hermogen would have arisen in righteous indignation, seeing the hierarchy remaining deceitfully silent at a time when atheist propaganda is being widely disseminated, forgetting that by their silence they are betraying God. Let us in every way turn aside from them, but at the same time let us arm ourselves with apostolic zeal. We must avoid every kind of contact with them like the plague. You know that these people with their thoroughly burned consciences will never cease to wage war against us, although they constantly change their methods of warfare.”[353]


     In 1961, moreover, he showed that he had not forgotten the Catacomb Church, declaring in the name of ROCOR: “We consider ourselves to be in spiritual unity precisely with the Secret Church, but not with the official administration of the Moscow Patriarchate led by Patriarch Alexis, which is permitted by the atheist government and carries out all its commands…”[354]


     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”.[355] 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 Russia was displayed by other leading hierarchs of ROCOR. One of these was Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko) of Jordanville, a disciple of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), who had once served the liturgy on his own breast in a Polish prison. He could, in one and the same article, fiercely criticise Sergius’ policies as leading to the destruction of the Church and speak about “the profound reverence [we feel] before the exploit of Patriarch Sergius”.[356]


     Again, he wrote, fully in the spirit of the Catacomb Church: “They say: the patriarchate has changed nothing, in dogmas, services or rites. No, we reply, the patriarchate has destroyed the essential dogma of the Church of Christ, and has rejected Her essential mission – to serve the regeneration of men, and has replaced it by the service of the godless aims of communism, which is unnatural for the Church. This falling away is more bitter than all the previous Arianisms, Nestorianisms, Iconoclasms, etc. And this is not the personal sin of one or another hierarch, but the root sin of the Moscow Patriarchate, confirmed, proclaimed and bound by an oath in front of the world. It is, so to speak, dogmatized apostasy…[357]


     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.”[358]


     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).”[359]


     A similar ambiguity in relation to the MP can be found in the following words of Archbishop John (Maximovich) in a letter dated September 13, 1963 and found among his papers after his death: “… When under Metropolitan Anastasy they began to speak about ‘the incorrect actions of the Church’, he used to stop them, pointing out that one must not ascribe the actions of the hierarchy to the Church, since the hierarchy is not the whole Church, even if it speaks in her name. On the see of Constantinople there were Paul the Confessor, Macedonius, Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostom, Nestorius, Proclus, Flavian and Germanus. Some of them shone in sanctity and Orthodoxy, but others were the leaders of heresies. But the Church remained Orthodox. During iconoclasm after the expulsion of Severnin, Nicephorus and other, not only their sees, but also the majority of Episcopal sees were occupied by Arians. The other Churches did not even have communion with it [the see of Constantinople], according to the witness of St. Paul, who abandoned the heresy and his see, since they did not wish to have communion via the iconoclasts. Nevertheless, the Church of Constantinople remained Orthodox, although part of the people, and especially the guards and the bureaucrats, were drawn into iconoclasm. So now it is understandable when people who are not familiar with the language of the Church use the expression ‘Soviet church’, but it is not fitting for responsible and theological discussions. When the whole hierarchy of South-Western Rus’ passed into uniatism, the Church continued to exist in the person of the believing Orthodox people, which after many sufferings restored its hierarchy. For that reason it is more correct to speak, not of the ‘Soviet church’, which is impossible in the correct understanding of the word ‘Church’, but of the hierarchy, which serves Soviet power. Our relationship to it can be the same as to other representatives of this power. Their rank gives them the opportunity to act with great authority and to substitute the voice of the suffering Russian Church, and it is leading into error those who think to learn from them the true position of the Church in Russia. Of course, among them there are both conscious traitors, and those who simply do not find in themselves the strength to fight with their environment and who go with the current – that is a question of their personal responsibility. But as a whole it is the apparatus of Soviet power, the God-fighting power. Being on the one hand a hierarchy in the sphere of Divine services, for grace works independently of personal worthiness, in the social-political sphere it is a cover for the Soviet God-fighting activity. For that reason those who are abroad and have entered its ranks have become conscious helpers of this power…”[360]


Showdown in San Francisco


     In 1963, Archbishop John became involved in a major quarrel which threatened to tear apart the Russian Church Abroad in San Francisco. Much remains obscure about this quarrel, and a clear evaluation of who was right and who was wrong is very difficult to make. However, the main facts appear to be the following. 


     Archbishop Tikhon of San Francisco fell ill, so Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles was appointed to be temporary administrator of the diocese and in charge of the building of the new cathedral. He discovered a scandal involving the financing of the project, - it appears that more than $150,000 had been stolen, - and demanded that fund raisers should be held and that the money necessary to complete the building should be secured and accounted for in a bank account before they proceeded any further with the construction. A new parish council was elected, but the supporters of the warden of the former council, who consisted of former parishioners of Archbishop John when he was ruling bishop of Shanghai, invited him to come to San Francisco and solve the problem.[361] Archbishop John agreed, and received the blessing of the ROCOR Synod to leave Brussels.


     Upon arriving, he took the side of his former Shanghai parishioners, and permitted the founding of a Society of Laymen which, according to the secretary of the Synod, Fr. George Grabbe, constituted an authority parallel to, and a rival to, the diocesan authority of the bishops. “Vladyka Metropolitan wrote to Vladyka John, that he should not permit this organisation. He was silent and accepted from them the organisation of a festivity on his namesday. This society, headed by dark personalities, is intending to seize power over the whole of the Church Abroad through Vladyka John. After this society has developed in California something similar will follow in other countries, too, for these people have large resources from somewhere or other. In complete secrecy, for example, they have bought Vladyka John a house, about which he has told nobody anything, but it has become known from the newspaper… The editor of Russkaia Zhizn’ (Russian Life) Delyanich, who is connected with the solidarists and Shakhovskoy [the Metropolia Archbishop of San Francisco] has, with another woman, bought this house for $62,000 with a cash down-payment of $9000, and within a month transferred it into the name of Vladyka John.”[362]


     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 Church of Christ. This can in no way be said of the numerous opposition to Vladyka Anthony in San Francisco, amongst whom are very many fine, deeply believing people who are sincerely devoted to the Church.”


     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 to San Francisco, there was massive unrest and petition with many signatures was sent to the Synod asking that their beloved archpastor not be removed. The opposing party also redoubled their efforts. In his report to the Synod of July 23, Vladyka John wrote: “There was a danger of massive fights, I tried to hold people back as far as I could, my presence restrained this zeal not according to reason, but to my profound sorrow everything that was done to establish peace in my flock in the course of four months was destroyed at one blow in one day.” (p. 3). Metropolitan Anastasy telephoned Vladyka John and spoke with him for one hour, as a result of which conversation the temporary administration of the diocese was given back to Vladyka John for another six months. But passions did not cool. On July 9 there was due to take place the re-election of the members of the parish council and the warden, but the members of the parish council who were against Vladyka were categorically against the elections, understanding that Vladyka John’s supporters were almost twice the number of their own. The only way of keeping their places was to sue Vladyka for financial mismanagement. The court ordered that the building of the cathedral be stopped until the end of the trial. The opponents of Vladyka John summoned his enemies among the bishops to the trial: Archbishop Nicon (Rklitsky), Anthony (Sinkevich) of Los Angeles, Vitaly (Ustinov) of Canada and Seraphim (Ivanov) of Chicago. Also appearing for the opposition was the secretary of the Synod, Fr. George Grabbe. In his report to the Synod Vladyka John wrote: “At the first hearing there arrived the secretary of the Synod, Protopresbyter George, one of the most influential members of the clique. His constant meetings with lawyers for the plaintiffs attracted attention to himself… It is with pain that I have to see and observe the collapse of the Church Abroad, which is beneficial only for her enemies. We, her hierarchs, cannot allow this, nor that one organized group should lord it over the rest of the episcopate and should by any means introduce that which it desires…”[363]


     On August 13, the Hierarchical Council of ROCOR decided to confirm Archbishop John in the see of San Francisco. In reply, on August 18, there was an “Extraordinary meeting of the Initiative group of the opponents of Archbishop John”. At this meeting a “Group standing for the purity of the Synod” declared that they were not alone, that “the American Council of Churches [a mainly Protestant organization] has already taken note of Archbishop John’s entourage, and has promised support” (Novaia Zaria (New Dawn), ¹ 8618, 20 August, 1963). Vladyka John was accused that already for half a year he has been conducting negotiations with the Greek and Serbian Churches… so as to join one of them… and for this aim he is trying to take possession of the property of the Joy of All Who Sorrow cathedral… Vl. John has surrounded himself with people with a communist past. 


     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 Syracuse and Jordanville, wrote to Metropolitan Philaret: “A tendency has appeared among a small group of bishops to create ‘its own party’ and strive for all power in the Church. Scandals have begun among us which, alas, are leading our Church to destruction, all the while broadening and deepening their activity from that time until now.”[364] It is even reported that an ukaz banning Archbishop John from serving had been prepared at the time of his death in 1966…[365]


     Moreover, when Archbishop John came to be canonized in July, 1994, Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles objected. As he declared to the Sobor of ROCOR in 1993: “I am convinced that Vladyka John was not a saint. From a purely theological point of view, miracle-working is not a sign of sanctity. There is no doubt that Vladyka John worked miracles, I even experienced his wonderworking on myself. But together with that, we have to remember the words of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) at the consecration of Vladyka John: ‘God has given you many gifts, see that you do not become proud…’ In San-Francisco his fall took place, because Vladyka John supported that group of people which did not deserve to be trusted…”[366]


     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 San Francisco was not the only controversial event in his career. Another was his reception into his diocese in Western Europe of groups of converts keeping the new calendar, all of whom later left the Church after his death. His career demonstrates that in the terrible chaos of the twentieth century even the greatest of men made serious mistakes – a fact that is illustrated also in the lives of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas, Patriarch Tikhon, Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky, Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina, Bishop Matthew of Bresthena and others. In this fact lies an important lesson for all True Orthodox Christians: that while striving for correctness and purity in the faith, we have to take account of the extraordinarily difficult times we live in our judgements of our leaders…


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 Europe against Soviet aggression on April 4, 1949. From the viewpoint of Marxism-Leninism, NATO was not a defensive organization but a threat to world peace. Therefore the communists organized the “movement for peace” in order to undermine NATO’s activity and thereby cover its own aggression against the non-communist world. 


     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.”[367]


     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.”[368]


     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 Kingdom of God on earth, with the help of the planting of communist socialism. In their address to the Moscow council before the election of the patriarch in 1971 the Priest Nicholas Gainov and three laymen raised questions in relation to the speeches of Metropolitan Nicodemus [of Leningrad] and his co-workers. They cited his words on the union of people amongst themselves in ‘the service of reconciliation’ with the aim thereby of ‘seizing the Kingdom of God that is coming in strength’. The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate wrote: ‘For the Christian religion there can be no indifferent or neutral spheres of activity. The changes that are taking place in the world are viewed by Christianity as the action of the Providence of God, the manifestation of the power of God with the aim of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth’ (1962, ¹ 12, p. 12).


     “The peace which the Moscow patriarchate is clamouring for is not spiritual peace, but political peace, and moreover, a false peace, for the so-called ‘theology of peace’ is linked with the deceptive propaganda of the Soviets. In trying to echo communist propaganda, the patriarchate is involuntarily falling into the preaching of a certain kind of chiliasm, that is, the attainment of a golden age and general peace by human means of a political character. If the Saviour said: ‘Seek first of all the Kingdom of God, and all the rest will be added to you,’ the Moscow patriarchate puts the question in the reverse order: the Kingdom of God must be attained through the external means of the communist social order.


     “That is why, in his report ‘Peace and Freedom’ at the local conference of the movement for peace in Holland in 1963, Metropolitan Nicodemus called for the Church to come closer to this world. ‘From ancient times,’ he said, ‘the apologists of the unchangeability of social relations have begun to incline the thoughts of Christians to complete alienation from the world with the aim of drawing them away from burning social problems, for the struggle for the reconstruction of society on the principles of justice. Under the long influence of this pseudo-Christian preaching whole generations of narrow fanatics have have been educated and grown up with distorted ideas about Christianity’ (J.M.P., 1963, ¹ 1, p. 40).


     “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 tasks. His Kingdom of God on earth is the communist order.


     “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 Moscow patriarchate has already lost Christianity itself, replacing it with the religion of this world. Contrary to the word of the Saviour (Matthew 6.24), it is trying to serve two masters, and, as the Saviour warned, it has arrived at the point where it is careless with regard to Christianity but ardent in serving atheist communism.”[369]

[1] On the day the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, writes M.V. Shkarovsky, “a search was carried out in the residence of Metropolitan Anastasy [in Belgrade]… [and] searches in the chancellery of the Hierarchical Synod and in the flat of the director of the synodal chancellery G. Grabbe… During the search the clerical work of the Synod and many other documents were taken away to Germany for study. In 1945 they were acquired by the Soviet armies and are now in Moscow, in the State archive of the Russian federation…” (Natsistskaia Germania i Pravoslavnaia Tserkov’ (Nazi Germany and the Orthodox Church), Moscow, 2002, p. 193; in Soldatov, op. cit., p. 12). (V.M.)

[2] 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 ®.

[3] 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 Dachau.

[4] Andrew Shestakov, Serbskaia Tserkov’: kratkij istoricheskij ekskurs (The Serbian Church: a short digression); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., pp. 21-25.

[5] Stella Alexander, Church and State in Yugoslavia since 1945, Cambridge University Press, 1979, chapter 1, 3; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., p. 22.

[6] Monk Gorazd, "Sviashchenomuchenik Gorazd" (Hieromartyr Gorazd), Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 12 (1465), June 15/28, 1992 ®.

[7] M.V. Shkarovsky; in Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 35.

[8] Wertz, "On the Serbian Orthodox Martyrs of the Second World War", Orthodox Life, vol. 33, ¹ 1, January-February, 1983, pp. 15-26.

[9] The Germans knew what was going on. Thus on February 17, 1942 Heindrich, Hitler’s right-hand man in his plan for the destruction of the Jews, wrote to Himmler: “The number of Slavs destroyed by the Croats by the most sadistic methods has reached 300,000… If the Serbs living in Croatia accept Catholicism they are allowed to live without persecution.” (Karlheinz Deschner, With God and Fuhrer, p. 282; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 38).

[10] However, more recent scholarship gives generally lower figures for those killed. The Simon Wiesenthal Center calculated that 600,000 Serbs, 30,000 Jews and 29,000 Gipsies were killed (Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 21). Mark Almond writes: "Probably about 325,000 Serbs were killed by the Ustasha in the NDH [Independent State of Croatia, which included Bosnia], including about 60,000 at Jasenovac alone. In other words about one in every six Serbs in Pavelic's realm was killed." (Almond, Europe's Backyard War, London: Mandarin, 1994, p. 137. See also Aleksa Djilas, "The Yugoslav Tragedy", Prospect, October, 1995, p. 39). Again, the Serb scholar Bogoljub Kocovic writes that 487,000 Serbs were killed during World War II altogether, as opposed to 207,000 Croats, 86,000 Muslims and 234,000 others; while the Croatian scholar Vladimir Zerjavic gives: 530,000 Serbs, 192,000 Croats, 103,000 Muslims and 202,000 others (Kocovic, Zrtve drugog svetskog rata u Jogoslaviji, London: Libra Books, 1985, pp. 102, 174, 182; Zerjavic, Gubici stanovnistva Jogoslavije u drugom svjetskom ratu, Zagreb: Jugoslavensko Viktimolosko Drustvo, 1989, pp. 61, 82) (S).

[11] "Holy New Martyr Vukashin", Orthodoxy Canada, ¹ 114, May-June, 1986, p. 3.

[12] 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 Bosnia", Orthodox Christian Witness, September 11/24, 1995.

[13] 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 ®.

[14] 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).

[15] Quoted in Fomin, Rossia pered Vtorym Prishestviem (Russia before the Second Coming), Sergiev Posad, 1993, p. 237 ®.

[16] Chernov, Tserkov' Katakombnaia na Zemle Rossijskoj (The Catacomb Church in the Russian Land), MS, Woking, 1980 ®.

[17] Oliver Figes, Natasha’s Dance, London: Penguin, 2002, p. 489.

[18] Overy, op. cit., pp. 161-162.

[19] 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 ®.

[20] Chernov, op. cit.

[21] Solzhenitsyn, The Mortal Danger, London: The Bodley Head, 1980, pp. 39-40.

[22] Krasikov, “’Tretij Rim’ i Bol’sheviki” (The Third Rome and the Bolsheviks), in L.M. Vorontsova, A.V. Pchelintsev and S.B. Filatov (eds.), Religia i Prava Cheloveka (Religion and Human Rights), Moscow: “Nauka”, 1996, p. 203 ®.

[23] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 31-32.

[24] In Latvia, Metropolitan Augustine asked the Germans to allow him to re-establish the Latvian Church within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. But they refused…

[25] 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 ®.

[26] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 46.

[27] According to another source, the mission had 221 churches and 84 priests to serve in them.

[28] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 32.

[29] 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 ®.

[30] M.V. Shkvarovsky, “Iosiflyane v Severo-Zapade Rossii v period nemetskoj okkupatsii” (The Josephites in North-West Russia during the German Occupation), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 14 (1755), July 15/28, 2004, pp. 12-13 ®.

[31] 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 ®.

[32] 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.

[33] “Interviu s episkopom Irinarkhom Tul’skim i Brianskim (RPATs)” (Interview with Bishop Irinarch of Tula and Briansk (ROAC), Vertograd, ¹ 440, 10 March, 2004 ®.

[34] Archbishop Athanasius (Martos); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 33.

[35] 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 ®.

[36] 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 ®.

[37] Woerl, “A Brief Biography of Archbishop Filofei (Narko)”, Orthodox Life, vol. 50, ¹ 6, November-December, 2000, pp. 25-26.

[38] Woerl, “Dobrij Pastyr’”, op. cit., p. 8. George later became bishop of Chicago and Detroit. See “Episkop Vasilij Venskij – 1880-1945gg.” (Bishop Basil of Vienna – 1880-1945), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 18 (1663), September 14/27, 2000, p. 5 ®.

     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.

[39] “Good, albeit also not unambiguous relations were established between the True Orthodox Christians and the Belorussian Church. In particular, thanks precisely to the catacombniki the Belorussian Church took a more anti-patriarchal stand and entered into conflict with Metropolitan Sergius (Voskresensky), who was trying to infiltrate his people into Belorussia. The most ardent relations were with Bishop Stefan (Sevbo) of Smolensk (+1963), who even ordained several priests for the True Orthodox Christians and of whom a good memory was preserved in the ‘catacombs’. It was precisely in Smolensk province and Mozhaisk district in Moscow province that the True Orthodox Christians became so active that they regenerated and greatly increased their flock, which had become very thin on the ground since the repressions of 1937” (Archbishop Ambrose (von Sievers), “Istinno-Pravoslavnie Khristiane i Vojna 1941-1945gg.” (True Orthodox Christians and the War, 1941-1945), Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 1 (15), 1999, pp. 23-24 ®).

[40] The whole of the Ukrainian Autonomous Church was also received into the ROCOR at this time. See Pravoslavnaia Rus (Orthodox Russia)', ¹ 20 (1545), October 15/28, 1995, p. 4; Alexeyev, W. and Stavrou, T., The Great Revival, op. cit., chapter 4.

[41] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 35.

[42] 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 ®.

[43] Psarev, op. cit., p. 10. The Ukrainian Autonomous Church was also represented at the ROCOR’s Council in Vienna in 1943, which condemned the election of Sergius as uncanonical (Woerl, op. cit.).

[44] Raevsky, Ukrainskaia Avtokephalnaia Tserkov’ (The Ukrainian Autocephalous Church), Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1948, p. 15; M.E. Gubonin, Akty Sviateishago Patriarkha Tikhona (The Acts of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon), Moscow, 1994, pp. 960, 979 ®; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 50.

[45] Tserkovnaia Zhizn’ (Church Life), 1942, ¹ 4; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 41.

[46] Synodal Archive of the ROCOR in New York, d. 15/41, l.27-30; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 44.

[47] Richard Overy, Russia’s War, London: Penguin Books, 1999, p. 162.

[48] Cited in Alan Bullock, Hitler and Stalin, London: Harper Collins, 1991, p. 801.

[49] Cited by W. Alexeyev and T. Stavrou, The Great Revival, Minneapolis: Burgess Publishing Co., 1979, pp. 60-61.

[50] I. Altman, Kholokost i evrejskoe soprotivlenie na okkupirovannoj territorii SSSR (The Holocaust and Jewish resistance in the occupied territories of the USSR); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 34.

[51] Shkarovsky, Pravoslavie i Rossia (Orthodoxy and Russia); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 41-42.

[52] Archbishop Athanasius (Martos); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 45.

[53] Synodal Archive of the ROCOR in New York, d. 15/41, l.27-30; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 45-46.

[54] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 63-64.

[55] 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].

[56] 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 ®.

[57] Soldatov, op. cit., pp. 12, 13.

[58] I.L. Solonevich, “Rossia v kontslagere” (Russia in the concentration camp), Volia naroda (The Will of the People), November 22, 1944; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 78-79.

[59] M.V. Shkarovsky, Pravoslavie i Rossia (Orthodoxy and Russia); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 31.

[60] 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.”

[61] Shumilo, “Sovietskij Rezhim i ‘Sovietskaia Tserkov’’ v 40-e-50-e gody XX stoletia” (The Soviet Regime and the ‘Soviet Church’ in the 40s and 50s of the 20th Century), http://catacomb.org.ua/modules.php?name=Pages&go=page&pid=678 ®.

[62] “Iosiflianskie obschiny v blokadnom Leningrade” (Josephite Communities in Blockaded Leningrad), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 14 (1731), July 15/28, 2003, pp. 12-13 ®.

[63] 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.).

[64] See D. Volkogonov, Triumf i Tragedia (Triumph and Tragedy), Moscow: Novosti, 1989, book II, part 1, pp. 382-83 ®; Shkvarovsky, Iosiflianstvo, op. cit., p. 185. Donald Rayfield writes: “Stalin may also have listened to an American envoy, who had pointed out that Congress would not hesitate to send the USSR military aid if religious suppression stopped” (Stalin and his Hangmen, London: Viking, 2004, p. 405). (V.M.)

[65] 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.)

[66] 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 – Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church – resumed the title rossijskaia. (V.M.)

[67] Shumilo, op. cit.

[68] 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 Soviet Union.’ A satisfied smile touched the lips of the dictator: ‘Yes, of course. I am a seminarian…’ Stalin began to reminisce about his years at the seminary… He said that his mother had been sorry to her very death that he had not become a priest…” (Levitin-Krasnov, Likhie Gody, 1925-1941 (The Savage Years, 1925-1941), Paris: YMCA Press, 1977 ®). Rayfield notes that the metropolitans went to the meeting “all wearing ordinary suits” (op. cit., p. 405). The story (perhaps fictional) goes that on seeing this, Stalin looked up to heaven and said: “Do you not fear Him? You fear me more…”

[69] 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 Moscow and All Rus’): Moscow Sretenskij monastery, 2003, p. 702 ®. It was at about this time that Stalin is said to have “told the British ambassador that, in his own way, ‘he too believed in God’. The word began to appear in Pravda with a capital letter.” (Overy, op. cit., p. 162)

[70] Rayfield, op. cit., p. 405.

[71] Rayfield, op. cit., p. 405.

[72] Vasilieva, O., Kniashevsky, P. "Tainaia Vecheria" (The Last Supper), Liternaturnaia Rossia (Literary Russia), ¹ 39, September 27, 1991 ®.

[73] Shumilo, op. cit.

[74] Shumilo, op. cit.

[75] Shumilo, op. cit.

[76] According to Monk Benjamin (op. cit., p. 60): head of the third department of the Fifth Administration.

[77] Radzinsky, Stalin, p. 508.

[78] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 13-14, 19.

[79] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 49.

[80] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 67-69.

[81] 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).

[82] 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.

[83] Vasilieva, op. cit.; Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco (OCA), “Truth/Consequences”, ORTHODOX@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU, archives for September 21, 1999.

[84] GARF, f. 6991, op. 1, d. 5, l. 1; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 66.

[85] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 61-63.

[86] "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 ®.

[87] Karpov, in Edward E. Roslof, Red Priests: Renovationism, Russian Orthodoxy, and Revolution, 1905-1946, Indiana University Press, 2002, pp. 194-195.

[88] Roslof, op. cit., p. 195.

[89] See Metropolitan John (Snychev) of St. Petersburg, Mitropolit Manuil (Lemeshevsky) (Metropolitan Manuel Lemeshevsky)), St. Petersburg, 1993, p. 185 ®. Of course, a guilty conscience may also have had something to do with it: both “Patriarch” Sergius and his successor, “Patriarch” Alexis, were themselves “repentant renovationists”.

[90] Roslof, op. cit., p. 196.

[91] Hierodeacon Jonah (now Archimandrite Nectarius) (Yashunsky), "Sergianstvo: Politika ili Dogmatika?" (Sergianism: Politics or Dogmatics?), 29 April / May 12, 1993, pp. 2-3, 5 (MS) ®. Since, for Sergius, salvation was not the Truth of Holy Orthodoxy, it is not surprising to find the seeds of ecumenism in him. Thus in his article, “The Relationship of an Orthodox Person to his Church and to the Heterodox” (Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate), 1993, ¹ 3) he wrote: “Outside the Church one does not find an immediate darkness between the Church and the heretical communities. Rather, there is found a partial shadow, which in its own way falls upon the schismatics and the self-willed (heretics). These two groups cannot be in the strict sense considered strangers to the Church nor completely torn away from Her.”

[92] Polosin (Sergius Ventsel), "Razmyshlenia o Teokratii v Rossii" (Thoughts on Theocracy in Russia), Vestnik Khristianskogo Informatsionnogo Tsentra (Herald of the Christian Information Centre), ¹ 48, November 24, 1989 ®.

[93] “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.).

[94] 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 ®.

[95] 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).

[96] Protopriest Valerius Lapkovsky, “Kto Vozdvigal Pamiatnik Arkhiepiskopu Luke?” (Who Raised the Monument to Archbishop Luke?), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 17 (1566), September 1/14, 1996, p. 10; I.I. Voloshin, “Kanonizatsia Moskovskoj patriarkhiej arkhiepiskopa Luka (Vojno-Yasenetskogo) kak znamenie vremeni (“The Canonization by the Moscow Patriarchate of Archbishop  Luke (Vojno-Yasenetsky) as a sign of the times), Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 6 (63), 2000, pp. 8-17 ®.

[97] Shumilo, op. cit.

[98] Gordun, op. cit., p. 94.

[99] Jane Ellis, The Russian Orthodox Church, London: Croom Helm, 1986, p. 215.

[100] Alexeyev, "Marshal Stalin doveriaet Tserkvi" (Marshal Stalin trusts the Church), Agitator, ¹ 10, 1989, pp. 27-28 ®.

[101] Shumilo, op. cit.

[102] RTsKhIDNI.F.17.Op.132.D.111.L.27; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 81.

[103] Nabokov, in B. Boyd, Nabokov: The American Years, London, 1992, p. 85.

[104] 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.

[105] On these “Vlasovites”, see Joachim Goffman, Vlasov protiv Stalina (Vlasov against Stalin), Moscow, 2005 ® (V.M.).

[106] 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.”

[107] Ardov, “Avoiding participation in the Great Victory Services”, sermon given on May 8, 2005, Vertograd, May 18, 2005; translated in The Hoffman Wire, May 18, 2005). Shumilo writes: “Under the pretext of restoring ‘socialist legality’ whole families, and even settlements, were sent to Siberia, mainly from Western Ukraine, Belorussia and the Baltic region. By the end of the 40s, Soviet Marshal Zhukov had ordered the forcible removal from Western Ukraine to Siberia, Kazakhstan and other regions of more than 600,000 people” (op. cit.). Alexander Yakovlev writes that during the war the authorities executed 157,000 Red Army soldiers (the equivalent of fifteen divisions) and almost a million were arrested (A Century of Russian Violence in Soviet Russia, Yale University Press, 2003).


[108] Soldatov, op. cit.; Archbishop Savva (Raevsky), “Lienz”, Orthodox Life, vol. 56, ¹ 4, 2005, pp. 2-8.  Soldatov continues: “In the Catacomb Church a tradition has been preserved about Schema-Monk Leontius (Mymrikov), who blessed True Orthodox Christians to go to war against the communists.” Schema-Monk Epiphanius (Chernov) writes of several Catacomb Church martyrs who were shot for refusing to fight in the Soviet army (Tserkov’ Katakombnaia na Zemle Rossijskoj (The Catacomb Church on the Russian Land), Woking, 1980 (MS) ®).

[109] 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.

[110] RTsKhIDNI, f. 17, op. 125, d. 407, l. 27; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 114.

[111] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 110.

[112] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, p. 12.

[113] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 122-123.

[114] 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 Belgrade heading for the building of the Patriarchate where Metropolitan Joseph lived. They stopped in front of the windows and began to shout: ‘Down with Joseph! Down with Joseph!’ Without losing his presence of mind in any way, the metropolitan went out onto the balcony and in the booming voice with which he usually preached in front of many thousands of believers, cried out, as if perplexity, asking who they were talking about: ‘Down with Joseph? Which Joseph: Broz [i.e. Tito] or Stalin?’” (Sovremennost’ v svete Slova Bozhia (The Contemporary World in the Light of the Word of God), Sermons and Speeches, vol. I (1951-1960), Jordanville, 1975, St. Petersburg, 1995, p. 255 ®. (V.M.)

[115] The Diocesan Council of the Free Serbian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A. and Canada, A Time to Choose, Third Lake, Ill.: Monastery of the Most Holy Mother of God, 1981, p. 10. However, Monk Benjamin (op. cit., http://www.zlatoust.ws/letopis4, htm, “Letopis’ Tserkovnykh Sobytij” (Chronicle of Church Events), vol. 4, p. 2) has a higher opinion of Patriarch Vikentije.

[116] Norman Malcolm, Bosnia. A Short History, London: Papermac, 1996, p.193.

[117] 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 Bosnia, Texas A&M University Press, 1995, pp. 18-19. However, Norman Malcolm argues (op. cit., p. 179) that there is no definite evidence for this. So does Tim Judah (The Serbs, London: Yale University Press, 1997, pp. 120-121). See also K. Glazkov, "K 50-letiu raspravy nad Dragoliubom-Drazhej Mikhailovichem" (To the 50th Anniversary of the Execution of Draza-Dragoliuboj Mikhailovich), Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 17 (1566), 1/14 September, 1996, p. 5 ®.

[118] Etinger, Spasennie v Kholokoste (The Saved in the Holocaust); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 52-53.

[119] Tsankov, Protopriest S. "Pokojnij Tsar Boris, kak religiozno-nravstvennaia lichnost'" (The Reposed Tsar Boris as a Religio-Moral Personality), Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 18 (1495), 15/28 September, 1993 ®; David Horbury, "Prince Kyril - Time to Restore History's Victim", Royalty, 1996, vol. 14, ¹ 5, pp. 64-71.

[120] Marchevsky, in Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 1 (1454), January 1/14, 1992, p. 15.

[121] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 138-139.

[122] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, pp. 1-2, 4.

[123] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, pp. 11-12.

[124] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 141.

[125] K.E. Skurat, Istoria Pomestnykh Pravoslavnykh Tserkvej (A History of the Local Orthodox Churches), in Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 4, p. 1.

[126] Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate), ¹ 8, 1951; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 4, p. 2.

[127] 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.)

[128] Averky, op. cit., pp. xiv-xvi.

[129] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, p. 5.

[130] Protopriest Alexander Lebedev. Pora uzhe nam znat’ svoiu istoriu (It’s time we knew our history); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 65.

[131] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 75.

[132] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 116-117.

[133] Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko), Motivy moej zhizni (Motifs of my Life), 1955; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 117-118.

[134] 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 Soviet Church?, Wildwood, Alberta, 2000, p. 88.

[135] 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 ®.

[136] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, pp. 142-143.

[137] Lardas, “The Old Calendar Movement in the Greek Church”, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jurdanville, 1983 (unpublished thesis).

[138] Bishop Ambrose of Methone, personal communication, November 5, 2005. For example, on April 20, 1943 Fr. Constantine Angelakis was shot for taking part in a Greek national liberation movement (Ekklesiastiki Aletheia (Church Truth), December 16, 1977; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 49).

[139] George Margaritis, The Greek Church and the Holocaust, p. 13; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 49.

[140] Churchill, Road to Victory; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 79.

[141] Bishop Callistus (Ware); Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, p. 14.

[142] The above account is taken from Metropolitan Calliopius of Pentapolis, Saint Joseph de Desphina (St. Joseph of Desphina), Lavardac: Orthodox Monastery of St. Michael, 1988 (F).

[143] 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.

[144] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 48.

[145] Monk Antonios, op. cit., p. 73.

[146] 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.

[147] I.M. Andreev (Andreevsky), "The Catacomb Church in the Russian Land", op. cit.

[148] Irina Osipova, Khotelos' by vsiekh poimenno nazvat' (I would like to call all of them by name), Moscow: Fond "Mir i Chelovek", 1993, pp. 161, 193 ®.

[149] Shumilo, op. cit.

[150] Shumilo, op. cit.

[151] TsKhSD, f. 5, op. 16, d. 650, l. 18; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 4, p. 11.

[152] According to figures of the Council for the Affairs of the ROC, on June 1, 1945, there were 10342 functioning churches in the MP, including 6072 in Ukraine and 2297 in Russian. In the same year 104 monasteries were functioning, including 22 in Transcarpathia, in which there lived 4632 monastics (M. Shkarovsky, in Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, pp. 87-88).

[153] 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 America, vol. X, ¹ 10 (100), June, 1990, pp. 5-6)

[154] Shkvarovsky, Iosiflianstvo, op. cit., pp. 192-197.

[155] 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.

[156] “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 ®.

[157] Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Gosudarstvo i 'katakomby'" (The State and the ‘Catacombs’), in Filatov, op. cit., pp. 105, 111 ®

[158] Shumilo, op. cit.

[159] 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.

[160] Protopriest Victor Potapov; RPZTs i sud’by russkoj Palestiny” (ROCOR and the destinies of Russian Palestine); “How ROCOR lost Jerusalem”, Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 20, October, 2000, pp. 23-36 ®.

[161] Shumilo, op. cit

[162] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, pp. 86, 97. However, the Russian community in London remained unitedly loyal to ROCOR for time being. It was only when the French-Russian monk Anthony (Bloom) arrived as Orthodox chaplain for the Fellowship of SS. Alban and Sergius that a division began. In 1950 Fr. Anthony was made vicar of the newly created MP parish. In 1957 he was consecrated to the episcopate. In 1963 he was appointed Exarch of the MP in Western Europe, and n 1966 – Metropolitan.

     “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 visiting England. Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein) recalls: ‘Metropolitan Nicholas produced the most powerful impression on Archimandrite Nicholas (Gibbs); he healed his mind and was under the influence of his attractive personality, although because of his extremely suspicious character and as an ‘inveterate Englishman’ he was somewhat cautious in relatin to him. He was disturbed by the ‘peace’ speeches of Metropolitan Nicholas and their extremely sharp attacks on the western world. I objected to him (and this was my sincere conviction) that it was not necessary to attach any significance to these ‘peace’ speeches, since they were said under duress, and he was doing this for the good of the Church and as it were in exchange for these privileges and relaxations which Stalin would undoubtedly provide the Church in the post-war years. I have to admit that I hardly read Metropolitan Nicholas’ political speeches on the pages of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, since I found them of little interest. But I was sorry because of the harm they brought to the good name of the Russian Orthodox church in the West and among our ecclesiastical schismatics’” (Monk Benjamin, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 98).

[163] Soldatov, op. cit., p. 14.

[164] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 94.

[165] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 114-115.

[166] Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, pp. 94-95.

[167] Shumilo, op. cit.

[168] M.V. Shkarovsky; Monk Benjamin, op. cit., part 3, p. 95.

[169] Monk Benjamin, <