1990 - 2000


The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls,

And their kings shall minister unto you.

Isaiah 60.10


Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,

But inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Matthew 6.15


Liberation or Deception?


     The apparent fall of communism throughout most of the Soviet bloc in 1989-91 raised hopes of a restoration of True Orthodoxy in Russia, which, if they seem naïve in retrospect, were nevertheless very real at the time. In retrospect, we can see that the changes introduced by glasnost’ and perestroika were less fundamental than at first appeared, and that the spirit and power of communism was far from dead when the red flag was pulled down from over the Kremlin on December 25, 1991. If some of the economic ideas of the revolution were discredited, its fundamental concepts – the replacement of the Church by the State, God by the people, Tradition by science, Spirit by matter – remained as firmly entrenched as ever.


     Nevertheless, the changes were significant enough to indicate the beginning of a new era. If we seek for historical parallels, then perhaps the closest is that presented by the Edict of Milan in 313, when the Emperor St. Constantine the Great came to an agreement with the pagan emperor Licinius whereby the persecution of the Christians in the Roman empire was brought to an end. The problem for the Christians of the 1990s was: no Constantine was in sight, and what leadership there was squandered the opportunities presented to it.


     Russian Orthodox Christians reacted to these changes in three different ways. The True Orthodox Christians of the Catacomb Church were cautious, fearing a deception, and in general remained in the underground, not seeking to register their communities or acquire above-ground churches in which to worship. The Moscow Patriarchate (MP) – or “Soviet church”, as it was known among True Orthodox Christians - was fearful that its monopoly position in church life under the Soviets would be lost in the new democracy. Nevertheless, it took the opportunity presented by the new legislation to receive all the money budgeted for church restoration by the Russian parliament and open many churches (1830 were opened in the first nine months of 1990 alone). The third force in Russian Orthodox life, ROCOR, which throughout the Soviet period had taken a public position against the MP and in support of the True Orthodox Church, decided to open parishes on Russian soil and thereby provide an alternative for believers who on the one hand did not want to join the MP, but on the other hand were not prepared for the rigours of catacomb life.


     However, the first question that had to be answered by all sides was: how were the political changes to be evaluated? Was the collective Antichrist really dead? If so, then had the end times, paradoxically, come to an end? Or was this only a temporary “breathing space” in which the Antichrist was preparing a new, subtler, and more deadly onslaught?


     There were certainly important benefits to be gained from democratisation. Thus the fall of communism came not a moment too soon for the beleaguered Catacomb Church, which was scattered and divided and desperately short of bishops and priests of unquestioned Orthodoxy and apostolic succession. The fall of the iron curtain enabled ROCOR to enter Russia and regenerate the hierarchy of the True Church. Again, the introduction of freedom of speech and the press enabled millions of Soviet citizens to learn the truth about their state and church for the first time. On the basis of this knowledge, they could now seek entrance into the True Church without the fear of being sent to prison or the camps. In the wave of disillusion with post-Soviet democracy that followed in the mid-1990s, it was pointed out – rightly – that freedom is a two-edged weapon, which can destroy as well as give life, and that “freedom” had brought Russia poverty and crime as well as interesting newspapers. However, for the soul thirsting for truth there is no more precious gift than the freedom to seek and find; and that opportunity was now, at last, presented to the masses.


     On the other hand, only a minority of Russians used this freedom to seek the truth that makes one truly, spiritually free. And so if the fall of communism in 1989-91 was a liberation, it was a liberation strangely lacking in joy. Orthodoxy was restored neither to the state nor to the official church, and the masses of the people remained unconverted. Ten years later, a priest of the Moscow Patriarchate could claim that “the regeneration of ecclesiastical life has become a clear manifestation of the miraculous transfiguration of Russia”.[1] But behind the newly gilded cupolas reigned heresy and corruption on a frightening scale. Moreover, surveys showed that although the numbers of those confessing themselves to be Orthodox Christians had risen[2], the correctness and depth of belief of these new Christians was open to question…[3] It was as Bishop Theophanes the Recluse had prophesied over a century before: “Although the Christian name will be heard everywhere, and everywhere will be visible churches and ecclesiastical ceremonies, all this will be just appearances, and within there will be true apostasy. On this soil the Antichrist will be born...”[4]


     As time passed, the corrupting and divisive effects of Russian “democracy” became more and more evident. Pornography and crime of all kinds increased dramatically; and in the opinion of many it was now more difficult to bring up children in true Christian piety than it had been in the Soviet period. The general level of culture also declined; and the freedom given to religion turned out to be more to the advantage of all kinds of sects and false religions than to True Orthodoxy.


     Of course, “all things work together for good for those who love God” (Romans 8.28). And however dispiriting the 1990s were, they did enable important lessons to be learned for those who wanted to learn them. Among the most important of these was the realisation that “communism” and “democracy” were not simple opposites, the one evil and the other good. As long as Russians denounced communism but praised democracy, without seeing the close historical and philosophical kinship between these two western heresies, it was impossible for them to understand the real roots of the revolution and therefore return to True Orthodoxy. But already early in the 1990s Orthodox Russians were beginning to see the evil and antichristian nature, not only of the October Bolshevik, but also of the February Democratic revolution…


     That the return of democracy would not bring with it a real cleansing of political life was evident when it became clear that none of the communist persecutors of the previous seventy years, throughout the whole vast territory of eastern Europe and Russia, would be brought to trial for his crimes. The consequences were all too evident. Thus one group of “repentant” communists, sensing the signs of the political times, seized power in 1991 in a “democratic” coup (see below) and immediately formed such close and dependent ties on its western allies that the formerly advanced (if inefficient) economy of Russia was transformed into a scrap-heap of obsolescent factories, on the one hand, and a source of cheap raw materials for the West, on the other.[5] Another group, playing on the sense of betrayal felt by many, formed a nationalist opposition – but an opposition characterized by hatred, envy and negativism rather than a constructive understanding of the nation’s real spiritual needs and identity. Still others, using the contacts and dollars acquired in their communist days, went into “business” – that is, a mixture of crime, extortion and the worst practices of capitalism. It is little wonder that in many churches the prayer to be delivered “from the bitter torment of atheist rule” continued to be chanted…


     Meanwhile, Freemasonry, which had been banned at the Fourth Communist International in Moscow in 1922, made a comeback 70 years later. Thus the Masonic historian Richard Rhoda writes: “This writer has been advised in a letter of April 22, 1996 of the following by George Dergachev, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Russia. On January 14, 1992, the first regular Lodge ‘Harmony’ was constituted in Moscow by the Grand Lodge Nationale Française. This lodge now has 41 members.


     September 8, 1993 will be a memorable day in Russian Freemasonry, for three more lodges were constituted by the Grand Lodge Nationale Française: Lotus No. 2 in Moscow with 36 current members; New Astrea No. 3 in St. Petersburg with 19 current members; and Gamaioun No. 4 in Voronezh with 13 current members…


     “M.W. Bro. Dergachev writes: ‘Most of the Brothers have graduated from the Universities. Among them there are scientists, journalists, businessmen, bankers, officers of the Army, Navy, policemen, engineers, writers, producers and lawyers.’


     “These four Regular Daughter Lodges of the Grand Lodge Nationale Française formed the Grand Lodge of Russia on June 24, 1995. In addition to their Mother Grand Lodge, they have been recognized by the Grand Lodges of Poland, Hungary and New York. The Grand Master and Bro. Vladimir Djanguirian, his Grand Secretary, attended by invitation the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of New York this past May…”[6]


     It is known that Boris Yeltsin became a Freemason in 1992 (as announced in Pravda), and KGB Colonel Vladimir Putin became one in Germany.


     In the midst of this disorganized anarchy filled with crime and false religion, many began to long nostalgically for the “organized anarchy” of the Soviet period, considering that the cheapness of Soviet sausages somehow outweighed the destruction of tens of millions of souls through Soviet violence and atheist propaganda. Like the children of Israel who became disillusioned with the rigorous freedom of the desert, they began to long once more for the fleshpots of Egypt, for the slavery which had nevertheless guaranteed them a certain standard of living and to which they had become accustomed. But unlike the Israelites, the wanderers in the desert of post-Soviet Russia had no Moses to urge them ever onwards to the Promised Land.


     True, they felt the need for such a leader; and if many still longed for the return of a Stalin, there were many who preferred the image of Tsar Nicholas II, whose ever-increasing veneration among the people (if not among the hierarchs) was one of the most encouraging phenomena of the 1990s. But veneration for the pre-revolutionary tsars was not going to about the appearance of a post-revolutionary tsar unless that veneration was combined with repentance. Few understood that the people had to become worthy of such a tsar by a return to the True Church and a life based on the commandments of God. Otherwise, if they continued to worship the golden calf, the new Moses, if such a one appeared, would break the tablets of the new law before their eyes. And if they continued to follow the new Dathans and Abirams of the heretical MP, then under their feet, too, the earth would open – or they would be condemned to wander another forty years in the desert, dying before they reached the promised land of a cleansed and Holy Russia.


KGB Agents in Cassocks


     In June, 1990, the Hierarchical Council of the MP, missing a golden historical opportunity, elected Metropolitan Alexis (Ridiger) as the new patriarch. This was the man whom the Furov report of 1970 had called the most pro-Soviet of all the bishops, a KGB agent since 1958 who had been prepared to report to the KGB even on his own patriarch! On being elected, he immediately, on July 4/17, 1990, the day of the martyrdom of Tsar Nicholas II, announced publicly that he was praying for the preservation of the communist party!


    Of course, after that gaffe, being a clever man, “Patriarch” Alexis quickly recovered his balance, his sense of which way the wind was blowing; and there was no further overt support of the communists. True, he did attach his signature, in December, 1990, to a letter by 53 well-known political, academic and literary figures who urged Gorbachev to take urgent measures to deal with the state of crisis in the country, speaking of “… the destructive dictatorship of people who are shameless in their striving to take ownership of territory, resources, the intellectual wealth and labour forces of the country whose name is the USSR”.[7] But the patriarch quickly disavowed his signature; and a few weeks later, after the deaths in Vilnius, he declared that the killings were “a great political mistake – in church language a sin”. Then, in May, he publicly disagreed with a prominent member of the hardline Soiuz bloc, who had said that the resources of the army and the clergy should be drawn on extensively to save the people and the homeland. In Alexis’ view, these words could be perceived as a statement of preparedness to use the Church for political purposes. The patriarch recalled his words of the previous autumn: the Church and the Faith should not be used as a truncheon.[8] By June, the patriarch had completed his remarkable transformation from dyed-in-the-wool communist to enthusiastic democrat, saying to Yeltsin: “May God help you win the election”.  


     Still more striking was his apparent rejection of Sergianism. Thus in an interview granted to Izvestia on June 6 he said: “This year has freed us from the state’s supervision. Now we have the moral right to say that the Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius has disappeared into the past and no longer guides us… The metropolitan cooperated with criminal usurpers. This was his tragedy…. Today we can say that falsehood is interspersed in his Declaration, which stated as its goal ‘placing the Church in a proper relationship with the Soviet government’. But this relationship – and in the Declaration it is clearly defined as being the submission of the Church to the interests of governmental politics – is exactly that which is incorrect from the point of view of the Church… Of the people, then, to whom these compromises, silence, forced passivity or expressions of loyalty that were permitted by the Church leadership in those days, have caused pain – of these people, not only before God, but also before them, I ask forgiveness, understanding and prayers.”[9]


     And yet, in an interview given to Komsomolskaia Pravda only two months earlier, he had said: “The most important thing for the Church is to preserve itself for the people, so that they should be able to have access to the Chalice of Christ, to the Chalice of Communion… There is a rule when a Christian has to take on himself a sin in order to avoid a greater sin… There are situations in which a person, a Christian must sacrifice his personal purity, his personal perfection, so as to defend something greater… Thus in relation to Metropolitan Sergius and his successors in the leadership of the Church under Soviet power, they had to tell lies, they had to say that everything was normal with us. And yet the Church was being persecuted. Declarations of political loyalty were being made. The fullness of Christian life, charity, almsgiving, the Reigning icon of the Mother of God were also renounced. Compromises were made.”


     In other words, Sergianism, though sinful, was justified. It may have “disappeared into the past”, but if similar circumstances arise again, the “sacrifice” of personal purity can and should be made again!…[10]


     The patriarch showed that the poison of Sergianism was in him still during the attempted coup of August, 1991. When the Russian vice-president, Alexander Rutskoy, approached him on the morning of the 19th, the patriarch, like several other leading political figures, pleaded “illness” and refused to see him. When he eventually did issue a declaration – on the evening of the 20th, and again in the early hours of the 21st – the impression made was, in Fr. Gleb Yakunin’s words, “rather weak”.[11] He called on all sides to avoid bloodshed, but did not specifically condemn the plotters.


     As Jane Ellis comments: “Though Patriarch Alexis II issued statements during the coup, they were bland and unspecific, and he was widely thought to have waited to see which way the wind was blowing before committing himself to issuing them. It was rather the priests in the White House – the Russian Parliament building – itself, such as the veteran campaigner for religious freedom, Fr. Gleb Yakunin, as well as the Christians among those manning the barricades outside, who helped to overthrow the Communist Party, the KGB and the Soviet system.”[12]


     It was not until Wednesday morning that the patriarch sent his representative, Deacon Andrew Kurayev, to the Russian parliament building, by which time several dissident priests were already established there. And it was two priests of the Russian Church Abroad, Fr. Nicholas Artemov from Munich and Fr. Victor Usachev from Moscow, who celebrated the first supplicatory service to the New Martyrs of Russia on the balcony of the White House. Not to be outdone, the patriarchate immediately responded with its own prayer service, and at some time during the same day the patriarch anathematized all those who had taken part in organizing the coup.


     By these actions the patriarch appeared to have secured his position vis-à-vis Yeltsin’s government, and on August 27, Yeltsin attended a memorial service in the Assumption cathedral of the Kremlin, at which the patriarch hailed the failure of the coup, saying that “the wrath of God falls upon the children of disobedience”.[13] So in the space of thirteen months, the patriarch had passed from a pro-communist, anti-democratic to an anti-communist, pro-democratic stance. This lack of principle should have surprised nobody; for the essence of sergianism, the root heresy of the Moscow Patriarchate, is adaptation to the world, and to whatever the world believes and praises.


     In September, 1991, in an interview with 30 Dias, the patriarch said: “A church that has millions of faithful cannot go into the catacombs. The hierarchy of the church has taken the sin on their souls: the sin of silence and of lying for the good of the people in order that they not be completely removed from real life. In the government of the diocese and as head of the negotiations for the patriarchate of Moscow, I also had to cede one point in order to defend another. I ask pardon of God, I ask pardon, understanding and prayers of all those whom I harmed through the concessions, the silence, the forced passivity or the expressions of loyalty that the hierarchy may have manifested during that period”.[14]


     This is closer to self-justification than repentance (and was in any case contradicted by later statements). It is similar to the statement of Metropolitan Nicholas (Corneanu) of Banat of the Romanian Patriarchate, who confessed that he had collaborated with the Securitate, the Romanian equivalent of the KGB, and had defrocked the priest Fr. Calciu for false political reasons, but nevertheless declared that if he had not made such compromises he would have been forced to abandon his post, “which in the conditions of the time would not have been good for the Church”. In other words, as Vladimir Kozyrev writes: “It means: ‘I dishonoured the Church and my Episcopal responsibility, I betrayed those whom I had to protect, I scandalized my flock. But all this I had to do for the good of the Church!’”[15]


     In another interview in 1997 Patriarch Alexis said, referring to the Church in the time of Patriarch Tikhon: “The Church could not, did not have the right, to go into the catacombs. She remained together with the people and drank to the dregs the cup of sufferings that fell to its lot.”[16]  Patriarch Alexis here forgot to mention that Patriarch Tikhon specifically blessed Michael Zhizhilenko, the future Hieromartyr Maximus of Serpukhov, to become a secret catacomb bishop if the pressure on the Church from the State became too great. As for his claim that the sergianists shared the cup of the people’s suffering, this must be counted as conscious hypocrisy. It is well known that the Soviet hierarchs lived a life of considerable luxury, while lifting not a finger for the Catacomb Christians and dissidents sent to torments and death in KGB prisons!


     On November 9, 2001, the patriarch threw off the mask of repentance completely, stating in defence of the declaration: “This was a clever step by which Metropolitan Sergius tried to save the church and clergy. In declaring that the members of the Church want to see themselves as part of the motherland and want to share her joys and sorrows, he tried to show to those who were persecuting the church and who were destroying it that we, the children of the church, want to be loyal citizens so that the affiliation of people with the church would not place them outside the law.’[17]


     After the failure of the putsch articles began to appear revealing the links of the Church hierarchy with the KGB. Rattled, the patriarch wrote to Frs. Gleb Yakunin and George Edelstein that their articles were “full of the spirit of unscrupulous blasphemy against the Church.”[18]


     One of the biggest fruits of glasnost’ – which did not, however, lead to a real ecclesiastical perestroika – was the confirmation in January, 1992, by a Commission of the Presidium of the Russian Supreme Soviet investigating the causes and circumstances of the 1991 putsch, that for several decades at least the leaders of the Moscow Patriarchate had been KGB agents. Members of the commission - L. Ponomarev, V. Polosin and Fr. Gleb Yakunin – obtained access to the records of the fourth, Church department of the KGB’s Fifth Directorate, and revealed that Metropolitans Juvenal of Krutitsa, Pitirim of Volokolamsk, Philaret of Kiev and Philaret of Minsk were all KGB agents, with the codenames “Adamant”, “Abbat”, “Antonov” and “Ostrovsky”.


     This news was not, unexpected. In 1989 Kharchev, Chairman of the Council for Religious Affairs, confirmed that the Russian Orthodox Church was rigorously controlled by the Central Committee of the Communist Party, especially its Ideological Department, and by the KGB.[19] Again, Victor Sheimov, a former KGB major with responsibilities for upgrading the KGB’s communications security system until his defection in 1980, described the Fifth Directorate as being “responsible for suppressing ideological dissent, running the Soviet Orthodox Church and laying the groundwork for the First Chief Directorate’s subversive promotion of favourable opinion about the country’s position and policy.”[20] One of Sheimov’s jobs was to draft agents to infiltrate the “Soviet Orthodox Church”. Again, in 1992 a former KGB agent, A. Shushpanov, described his experiences working in the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department of External Ecclesiastical Relations. He said that most of the people working there were in fact KGB agents.[21]


     But it was the Commission’s report on March 6 that contained the most shocking revelations: “KGB agents, using such aliases as Sviatoslav, Adamant, Mikhailov, Nesterovich, Ognev and others, made trips abroad, organised by the Russian Orthodox Department of External Relations [which was headed by Metropolitan Cyril (Gundiaev)], performing missions assigned to them by the leadership of the KGB. The nature of their missions shows that this department was inseparably linked with the state and that it had emerged as a covert centre of KGB agents among the faithful.” “The Commission draws the attention of the Russian Orthodox Church leadership to the fact that the Central Committee of the CPSU and KGB agencies have used a number of church bodies for their purposes by recruiting and planting KGB agents. Such deep infiltration by intelligence service agents into religious associations poses a serious threat to society and the State. Agenceis that are called upon to ensure State security can thus exert uncontrolled impact on religious associations numbering millions of members, and through them on the situation at home and abroad.”[22]


     The findings of the Commision included:- (i) the words of the head of the KGB Yury Andropov to the Central Committee sometime in the 1970s: “The organs of state security keep the contacts of the Vatican with the Russian Orthodox Church under control…”; (ii) “At the 6th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Vancouver, the religious delegation from the USSR contained 47 (!) agents of the KGB, including religious authorities, clergy and technical personnel” (July, 1983); (iii) “The most important were the journeys of agents ‘Antonov’, ‘Ostrovsky’ and ‘Adamant’ to Italy for conversations with the Pope of Rome on the question of further relations between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church, and in particular regarding the problems of the uniates” (1989).[23]


     The Commission also discovered, but did not publish the fact that the patriarch himself was an agent with the codename “Drozdov”. This was not made public because, writes Fen Montaigne, “members of the parliamentary commission had told the patriarch that they would not name him as an agent if he began cleaning house in the church and acknowledging the breadth of cooperation between the church and the KGB. ‘So far, we have kept silence because we wanted to give the patriarch a chance,’ said Alexander Nezhny, a journalist who said his comparison of the archives and church bulletins convinced him that Alexis II is indeed ‘Drozdov’.”[24] 


     Later investigations confirmed the fact. Thus on March 18, 1996 the Estonian newspaper Postimees published the following KGB report from the Estonian SSR: “Agent ‘Drozdov’, born in 1929, a priest of the Orthodox Church, has a higher education, a degree in theology, speaks Russian and Estonian perfectly, and some limited German. He enlisted on February 28, 1958 out of patriotic feelings in order to expose and drive out the anti-Soviet elements among the Orthodox clergy, with whom he has connections, which represents an overriding interest to the KGB agencies. At the time of enlistment it was taken into consideration that in the future (after securing his practical work) he would be promoted through the available channels to Bishop of Tallinn and Estonia. In the period of his collaboration with the organs of the KGB, ‘Drozdov’ has proved himself in a positive manner, is accurate in his reports, energetic and sociable. He understands theological matters and international situations well, is eager to carry out tasks given him by us and has already presented a good quantity of worthy material… After securing the agent in practical jobs for the agencies of state security concretely worked out, we intend to use him to further our interests by sending him into the capitalist countries as a member of ecclesiastical organizations.”[25]


     Nevertheless, what had been revealed was so shocking that the parliamentary commission was closed down by Ruslan Khasbulatov, the President of the Supreme Soviet, at the insistence, according to Ponomarev, of Patriarch Alexis and the head of the KGB, E. Primakov. 


     One of the commission’s members, Fr. Gleb Yakunin, “was accused of betraying state secrets to the United States and threatened with a private persecution. Father Gleb remained defiant. He wrote to the Patriarch in 1994:


     “’If the Church is not cleansed of the taint of the spy and informer, it cannot be reborn. Unfortunately, only one archbishop – Archbishop Chrysostom of Lithuania – has had the courage publicly to acknowledge that in the past he worked as an agent, and has revealed his codename: RESTAVRATOR. No other Church hierarch has followed his example, however.


     “The most prominent agents of the past include DROZDOV – the only one of the churchmen to be officially honoured with an award by the KGB of the USSR, in 1988, for outstanding intelligence services – ADAMANT, OSTROVSKY, MIKHAILOV, TOPAZ AND ABBAT. It is obvious that none of these or the less exalted agents is preparing to repent. On the contrary, they deliver themselves of pastoral maxims on the allegedly neutral character of informing on the Church, and articles have appeared in the Church press justifying the role of the informer as essential for the survival of the Church in an anti-religious state.


     “The codenames I discovered in the archives of the KGB belong to the top hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate.”[26]


     In April, 1992, Archbishop Chrysostom of Vilnius said in an interview: “I cooperated with the KGB… but I was not a stool-pigeon…. Yes, we – or, at any rate, I, and I am saying this in the first place about myself – cooperated with the KGB. I cooperated, I gave my signature, I had regular meetings, I gave reports. I have my pseudonym or nickname, as they say – ‘Restavrator’. I cooperated with them consciously so as insistently to pursue my own church line – patriotic line, too, as I understood it, with the help of these organs. I was never a stool-pigeon, I was not an informer… But together with those among us hierarchs, there are still more among the priests, there is a mass of unworthy, immoral people. It was this immorality, in the absence of a church court among us, that the KGB used. They defended them from us, the ruling bishops, so that we could not punish them.”[27]


     In the same year he declared to the Council of Bishops of the MP: “In our Church there are genuine members of the KGB, who have made head-spinning careers; for example, Metropolitan Methodius of Voronezh. He is a KGB officer [code-name PAUL], an atheist, a liar, who is constantly advised by the KGB. The Synod was unanimously against such a bishop, but we had to take upon us such a sin. And then what a rise he had!”[28]


     At the same Council, a commission of eight MP bishops headed by Bishop Alexander of Kostroma was formed to investigate the charges of collaboration with the KGB. This commission has up to now (twelve years later) produced absolutely nothing![29] In view of the lack of a clear-out of KGB hierarchs, it remains true that, as the saying went, “the MP is the last surviving department of the KGB” or “the second administration of the Soviet state”.


     Writing in 1995, John Dunlop concluded that “the overwhelming majority of the current one hundred and nineteen bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate were ordained to the episcopacy prior to August of 1991. This suggests that each of these bishops was carefully screened and vetted by both the ideological apparatus of the Communist Party and by the KGB.”[30] Keston College came to the same conclusion.[31]


The MP in the 1990s


     With the KGB firmly back in the saddle in the MP, it is not surprising that the corruption continued unchecked. One anonymous member of the Moscow Patriarchate analyzed the situation as follows: “In spite of the liberation and a certain revival of Church life in recent years, her real situation has not really changed markedly for the better. What is the use of an increasing number of baptisms if out of a thousand baptized scarcely one or two can be found who want to become Christians in our sense of the word, but practically everyone considers themselves to be ‘believers’ (in whom?)? What is the use of a growing number of publications of spiritual literature when clearly anti-church and heretical literature is spread at a far faster rate? What is the use of mass weddings when the number of abortions and divorces grows much faster, not to speak of every other kind of sexual immorality? What is the use of transmitting Divine services on television when the great majority of observors of these programmes do not themselves want to pray in church, preferring to play the role of ‘fans’, while those who seriously live the life of the Church hardly watch television? What is the point of teaching the Law of God in schools when all the rest of the school programme remains atheist and a pupil of the sixth class ‘goes through’ the Bible stories in the section of the literature course entitled ‘fairytales’, and takes exams on the history of the ancient world and the sections on Christianity in accordance with exactly the same textbook as fifteen years ago? And even if there is a serious attitude towards the Law of God in the school, what is the point of it if the child’s atheist parents do not teach him Church life, confession and the sacraments, prayer and fasting? Will such learning profit him?


     “We are not talking in detail here about the de facto fall of Orthodoxy in West Ukraine…, about the rapid growth and spread of Latinism, of Protestantism, of the special heresy that strives to unite Christianity with Judaism, of Krishnaism, ‘non-traditional medicine’, astrology, sorcery and the most various kinds of satanism. We are also not talking here about the open campaign of moral corruption through all the means of mass communication, which are almost exclusively in the hands of the enemies of the Church and the fatherland.


     “The main thing is that our Church [the MP] has practically renounced the ideals of Holy Russia and Orthodox Statehood as moral-dogmatic standards, but has become entwined in the rabble of democratic politicians, and while breathing a sigh of nostalgia for the Bolsheviks has begun in the persons of her hierarchs to bless all the initiatives of the new power. This has led to our present position of being unable to resist this concentrated and deeply positioned attack of the enemy forces against the Church, which, moreover, has to a significant degree allowed the enemy to enter the Church and sow his tares in her midst. For example, how can we resist the widely disseminated teaching of Protopriest Alexander Men, who departed far from Orthodoxy, but which has been condemned as a heresy by nobody? Only one small, albeit very well written brochure has appeared in a very limited edition. In the conditions of democracy everyone receives blessings for everything, and in the first place those who do evil are blessed for their evil activities. And we have to look on with horror as the flock of Christ is scattered by wolves before our very eyes…”[32]


     Archpriest Lev Lebedev, a convert from the MP to ROCOR, was still more trenchant in his criticism: “Only after… 1990, in a situation and atmosphere of relative civil liberty, and especially after the staged supposed ‘putsch’ of the dissolution of the CPSU in 1991 and even of Soviet power in 1993 (!), did the following become completely clear. The ‘Patriarchate’ in the former Sovdepia was not at all an unfree, enslaved ‘Church of silence’, as it was sometimes called. Its hierarchy had already for a very long time, not at all under coercion, not under pressure, but completely voluntarily and from the soul, been attempting to please the Soviet regime. They were not the ‘new martyrs’ for the Church that they presented themselves as to their flock, and which is how some observers from outside were inclined to see them. The point is that the episcopate of the ‘patriarchate’ constructed by Sergius had more and more with every succeeding generation (replenishment) truly fraternised and become friendly with the partocrats, the nomenklatura of the CPSS, to the extent that the nomenklatura degenerated morally and ideologically! So that the bishops of the ‘patriarchate’, and especially the highest ones, that is, those who held real power in the Church, became one with the partocrats in spirit, in their manner of thinking, even, to a large extent, in their language (the use of stock phrases from the newspapers in their sermons and speeches had been noted long before). If there is anything more despicable in the world than the Soviet ‘cultural intelligentsia’, then it can only be the episcopate of the Moscow ‘patriarchate’! The princes (and ‘princelets’) of the church, exactly like the party boyars, began to be distinguished by an unbelievable haughtiness and arrogance towards those subject to them, and by the basest servility towards those above them, surrounding themselves with houses, dacha-palaces, crowds of toady-lackeys and every kind of luxury. Just like the partocrats, the bloated bishops of the ‘patriarchate’ became thieves from the public purse and swindlers, and acquired an amazing capacity to look with honest, clear eyes on an interlocutor or at their flock and deliberately deceive them in the most convincing manner. Their mendacity, their infinite mendacity almost in everything became a real second nature of the ‘patriarchal’ hierarchy. ‘Evil communications…’ If ecumenism made the Moscow ‘patriarchate’ one in spirit with all the heretics, and even with non-Christians, with whom it entered into spiritual communion through joint prayers, then sergianism made it one in spirit with the partocracy. Now, when the very partocracy has abandoned even the communist ideology that held it together, and even its own party, so as to become openly private owners of the huge resources stolen from the country and the people, and for that reason has ‘rebranded’ itself as democracy, while holding power in Russia as before, the ‘patriarchate’, being as before one with it, serves it on mutually beneficial terms. However, as we have seen, from now on the ‘patriarchate’ has started more and more openly to orient itself on the real masters of the situation – the Jews.


     “Like all smart dealers ‘of this world’, the bishops of ‘the patriarchate’ are no longer able to maintain real ecclesiastical brotherhood and friendship in their relationships with each other. Jealousy, envy, enmity, intrigues and denunciations against each other have become the norm of their mutual relations. This has been transmitted to the clergy. If there are several priests in a parish, there can never be true friendship between them; jealousy and envy have become the norm. There is no point even speaking about Christian love among the clergy.


     “’The fish begins to rot from the head.’ This condition and behaviour of the hierarchy of the Moscow ‘patriarchate’ has been transferred, not without opposition, to the lower levels – through the middle clergy to the people, the flock, where it received the most powerful and long-lasting resistance. But with time even the flock ‘gave in’. In the mass of the Christians of the churches of the ‘patriarchate’, mutual love has become extremely scarce; more and more its place has been taken by jealousy, envy and the most terrible bitterness against each other (especially on the kliroses and at the money ‘desks’), a bitterness such as you will not find in secular establishments! In the last 10 years this has reached the level of pathological fear of each other in connection with suspicions of witchcraft! Many in the churches now fear to receive a prosphora or boiled wheat or a candle from each other… There where faith has withered there have grown up, like poisonous mushrooms, the most varied superstitions! And, you know, they really do practise witchcraft! And not only in the villages, but also in the cities, moreover completely educated people! They learn from each other methods of ‘black’ and ‘white’ magic, spells, ‘charms’ and ‘anti-charms’. Sorcerers send their ‘patients’ to certain priests, and these in their turn – to sorcerers. Healer-sorcerers have appeared in the midst of the clergy… They go to him in droves, not only from the diocese, but also from other regions. The profit from it is very large. Batiushka generously shares it with the bishop, and for that reason the bishop does not touch him, in spite of the outrage of his brethren and some of the believers!… Suffering from spells and the evil eye have become very widespread illnesses amongst parishioners. Medicine in such cases is useless, it cannot even establish a diagnosis. And people suffer terribly! You should see (especially in the countryside) this bewitched, hunched-up, deformed humanity! And all this is from their own people, as a result of envy and revenge….


     “There where hatred has taken the place of love, you can say what you like, only it is not the Church of Christ, and especially not the Russian Orthodox Church.


     “The quality of faith has changed to an unrecognisable extent. To put it more bluntly, among people of that social milieu where to this day they sincerely suppose that an abandoned church is very suitable for a lavatory, among people of this milieu faith has long ago been turned into some church-like paganism, where everything comes down to ‘sacrifices’ to God, so that He may not punish them, or give them something they are asking for. Among people of a higher cultural level, alongside this a thirst for ‘spiritual experiences’ is also noticeable. But if there is no grace of the Holy Spirit and the lofty feelings produced by it, then they are trying to imagine them, that is, artificially create them. The result is ‘spiritual deception’ in the form of various levels of exaltation, leading right to psychological and mental illness of one or another level. So that now among believing intelligenty the most zealous are always – without fail and necessarily – psychologically sick people. On this soil especially luxuriant blooms that have flowered in the ‘patriarchate’ have been the manifestations of false ‘eldership’ and the ‘deification’ of young archimandrites by demonised hysterics. In contrast to St. John of Kronstadt, the archimandrites (igumens, hieromonks and other ‘grace-filled batiushkas’) do not drive such people away from themselves, but in every way encourage them, sometimes creating out of these female worshippers veritable bands that morally (and sometimes even physically!) terrorize the other believers. This terrible phenomenon already has a marked antichristian character. One of the female worshippers of one such archimandrite very precisely said: ‘Batiushka is our God!’ What stands behind this is the thirst to have a ‘living god’, a man-god, whom one can make an idol of in one’s life. The epoch of the ‘cult of personality’ did not pass in vain. How many hundred and thousands of souls throughout Russia have been hopelessly spoiled by this newly appeared ‘elders’, ‘grace-filled’ instructors and ‘wonder-workers’! True eldership ceased long ago. Some widely venerated monastics from the Trinity – St. Sergius Lavra, the Pskov Caves monastery, the Riga desert and other places, however one many respect them, cannot be called elders. If only because they were silent through all the years of Khruschev’s mockery of the Church, and are silent now, after the speech of the ‘patriarch’ before the rabbis. Moreover, they do not bless others to speak. Why? Because the ‘patriarchate’ has constantly instilled and instills in its flock that in the Church ‘obedience is higher than fasting and prayer’, having forgotten to explain that this refers to the real Church, and not to the false one! These are undoubtedly sincere and assiduous monastics; they also take the ‘patriarchate’ for the Russian Orthodox Church, that is, they also believe in the lie, encouraging those who trust them to believe in it, too…[33]


     “We must note that there were and still are completely honourable people in the bosom of the ‘patriarchate’, people who have sincerely converted to God. But they were always in the minority, and now all the more so, becoming all the time fewer, and they do not have the opportunity to determine Church life. Left only with their human strength, they can do little, although they present an at times exemplary model of asceticism and self-denial.


     “The phenomena of spiritual deformity, canonical transgressions and moral sins are possible and, moreover, natural at any time of the existence of any local Church, insofar as it is a community not of ‘the pure and sinless’, but precisely of sinful, damaged people. The Church must therefore be a spiritual hospital for its members, for the flock. If the Church firmly holds to the Orthodox Faith and the holy canons ‘work’ in it in relation both to those above, and those below, to everyone (!), then it is a truly living organism of the Body of Christ, which is given life and raised up to God by the Holy Spirit. Then the excesses of various apostasies, crimes and transgressions of the canons in it are just that – excesses, instances on the background of what is on the whole a normal and correct life. But if the Church falls away both from the Faith and from the canonical order, it ceases to be the Body of Christ, that is, the Church, being turned into a community in which the virtues and correct conditions become occasional exceptions, while the general background and ‘norm of life’ turns out to be crime, apostasy and transgression… In such an inverted order of things the Church situation does not help, but hinders the salvation of those who trustingly enter it, it simply destroys them. Such, we see, is the situation in the Moscow ‘patriarchate’ to the highest degree. And so now it is extremely unclear what is served by the noisy opening of churches and monasteries, and the adornment of some of them in every way, and the building of Sunday schools and other institutions of the ‘patriarchate’. Does all this serve for the spiritual benefit or the further spiritual corruption of people? Most likely, it is the broadening and deepening of the sphere of evil and destruction, a trap for those who have sincerely been drawn to Christ. They will not be able to strike through to Him as long as they accept the ‘patriarchate’ as the Orthodox Church, as long as they believe in a lie that is incompatible with the Spirit of righteousness, the Holy Spirit.”[34]


     Perhaps the aspect of patriarchal life that most clearly demonstrated its degradation was its attitude to the very heart of all church life – the sacraments. Ludmilla Perepiolkina writes:


     “[Baptism] as a rule is administered through ablution or even sprinkling, although, as one knows, the threefold immersion of the baptized into the baptismal font [is the only correct form of baptism and] signifies Christ’s death and Resurrection on the third day. Therefore a negligent and needlessly hurried administration of this Mystery becomes an act of sacrilege.


     “Both the baptized and their godparents are usually admitted to the Mystery without any preceding catechisation and testing of faith. As a rule, godparents remain in absolute ignorance regarding their spiritual obligations and their responsibility before God for the upbringing of their godchildren. The godparents attending mass baptisms of the Moscow Patriarchate are mostly irreligious, often non-Orthodox, or atheists in general…


     “Superstitious parents sometimes baptize their children several times (‘to keep them from becoming ill…’); religious illiteracy accompanies many other superstitions as well. Lately there have been increased instances of baptizing and even giving Holy Communion (!) to the dead. These awful phenomena are caused not only by the ignorance and covetousness of clergymen, but also by the fact that among the clerics of the Moscow Patriarchate there is an increase in the number of occultists, wizards, psychics. This is because there are not only neophytes among those ordained… but also converts from Eastern cults, Yoga, paganism, occultism and other demonic delusions. Having failed to renounce their former beliefs, the latter dissolve their ‘Christianity’ in this contamination. There are ‘priests’ who practise black magic and are a true horror to their ‘spiritual children’ whom they have enslaved and reduced to becoming zombies…


     “In the city churches of the Moscow Patriarchate Chrismation, which is administered immediately after Baptism, resembles a production line in a factory, rather than a Church Mystery. Since at the time of their baptism people have merely their heads sprinkled with water over the baptismal font, they have their clothes on. A priest then hastily goes round the long rank of the newly baptised who stand there in ignorance. Then, at the sacred moment of Chrismation, requiring a special reverence, when the Holy Spirit is received, there is a general hurried discarding of superfluous clothing. Not infrequently a priest may even anoint parts of the body still covered by clothing.


     “The following should be noted. Not so long ago a certain degree of confidence in the Patriarchate’s Chrism was based on the fact that every time it was sanctified, a part of the Chrism of the previous years had to be added. Thus, the chrism of the Soviet period must have contained a part of the Chrism sanctified by the Holy Patriarch Tikhon. However, in the most recent years many in the Moscow Patriarchate have been confused, and not only because the Chrism now in use was sanctified by the apostate Patriarch Alexis II (Ridiger). From many areas of Russia priest of the Moscow Patriarchate have reported that by its fragrance this Chrism is indistinguishable from ordinary oil although it should have a very complex fragrance due to the fact that it should consist of a multitude of fragrances symbolizing the manifold gifts of the Holy Spirit.


     “The Mystery of Confession and the Mystery of Baptism elicit the most criticism. Practically everywhere the so-called ‘general confession’ is performed, which is not stipulated by the Church canons and which was not permitted even in the Moscow Patriarchate even in the first years after the Second World war, when there was an acute shortage of clergy. At the present time many young priests, accustomed to practise an insipid and formalized ‘general confession’, refuse to hear individual confession even if it is a question of only one or two people (who want to be confessed individually), not scores of them. A priest only covers the head of a penitent with his epitrachelion and recites the last short prayer of absolution, or simply makes the sign of the cross over him in silence. In 10 minutes time scores of people go through confession in this manner.


     “The practice of such ‘remission of sins’ cannot be called anything but criminal! After all, many people, who for 70 years lived in the militantly atheist country where sin had become the norm, and who only recently learned to make the sign of the cross over themselves, often have no idea what sin is. Thus, the overwhelming majority of women who have undergone abortion do not know that they are murderers who have committed a mortal sin.[35] The same happens to other people who seek healing of their soul in the Church, but do not find it. Is this not the reason why there is such an unprecedented number of all kinds of sects in post-Soviet Russia?


     “Through the efforts of Renovationists of the Moscow Patriarchate, its theological academies and seminaries for years have been preparing a complete break between the Mysteries of Confession and Communion, and a rejection of the obligatory Confession before Communion resulting from such a break.


     “The Moscow Patriarchate promotes the conviction that ‘obedience is more important than prayer and fasting’, than the Canons and Patristic teaching. This conviction has been turned into a means of the personal dependence and subjugation of church-going people to pseudo-clergy, pseudo-elders and pseudo-Patriarch…


    “The most profound Mystery of the Church is that of Holy Communion… The gravest sin of the apostates is the profanation of this Mystery. They turn the Divine Liturgy, which only true believers are permitted to attend, into a show, a spectacle for the crowds of tourists and television viewers, and the Holy Gifts – Christ’s Body and Blood – are given to anybody and at random…


     “Besides the corrupting influence which the distortion of the Mystery of Confession or its rejection has upon Orthodox Christians, this innovation is instrumental in achieving the ecumenical objective of allowing access to the Orthodox Mystery of Holy Communion to the non-Orthodox. The resolution of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate concerning admission of Catholics to Communion in Orthodox Churches in Russia had been in force from 1969 to 1986. Subsequently this resolution has not been abolished, it has only been suspended (although on paper only)… At the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s one could regularly observe crowds of Western tourists being admitted to Communion (without prior Confession, of course) in the church of St. John the Theologian at the Theological Academy of St. Petersburg. A Jesuit hieromonk Michael Arranz, a Professor of the Eastern Institute in Rome, who in those years was lecturing on Liturgics at the ‘Orthodox’ Theological Academy in Leningrad, would partake of Communion in the Sanctuary of that church along with the clergy.


     “When celebrating the Proskomedia and reciting litanies (ektenias), the ecumenists would commemorate heretics along with the Orthodox in accordance with their sermon on ‘the church without frontiers’, and during the Great Entrance of the Divine Liturgy they would replace the words ‘and may the Lord God remember you all Orthodox Christians in His Kingdom’ by ‘and all Christians’.


     “In 1994 the Bishops’ Council of the MP left practically all matters concerning communication with the non-Orthodox to the personal discretion of its bishops and clergy, merely pointing out to them the undesirability of bewildering their flock.


     “The instances of Protestants partaking of Holy Communion, unprecedented, in the MP, have now become a regular phenomenon, at least in the Novgorod diocese, where its ruling Archbishop Lev [Tserpitsky] openly admits Protestants and Catholics to Communion in the ancient Cathedral of St. Sophia in the city of Novgorod. In this and similar instances the obvious motivation is undoubtedly the material benefit gained as a result of attracting foreign tourists, along with their dollars, pounds and marks, into the Patriarchate’s churches…”[36]


     As we have seen, Metropolitan Nicodemus of Leningrad was both a KGB agent and a secret Vatican bishop. In 1992 the Pope said that he had two cardinals among the bishops in Russia.[37] Perhaps one of them was Archbishop Lev….


     Another of them may have been Archbishop Theodosius (Protsyuk) of Omsk, who, according to Perepiolkina, “has not only received legates from the Vatican and openly concelebrated with them, even the Divine Liturgy, but presented the well-known Verenfried with an ‘episcopal cross…, thus becoming an inseparable friend’ of the wealthy Catholic sponsor.


     “The practice of offering communion to the heterodox… is reaching epidemic proportions in the MP. This may be illustrated by the state of affairs in the Kaliningrad vicariate of the MP which is… ruled by Bishop Panteleimon (Kutov), a subordinate of Metropolitan Cyril (Gundyaev). In connection with the building project (still only a project, although some donations have already been collected a long time ago) for a Cathedral in the former Koenigsberg (now Kalinigrad), local parishioners hope that ‘this will be an Orthodox church not only by its name. Unfortunately, Bishop Panteleimon’s ecumenical views leave little hope that in the new Cathedral things will be any different from what they are now in the patriarchal churches of the Kaliningrad area, where Orthodox people are offered communion from one chalice with heretics. Bishop Panteleimon himself felt no embarrassment when he declared that ‘Catholics… partook of communion in our churches, and the priests offered prayers for them’.


     “The ecumenical epidemic has spread to even the remotest areas. In accordance with the Balamand Agreement [of 1994], the same church buildings are now being regularly used by representatives of different denominations (particularly in the Baltic States). In the village (!) Yegla of Borovichi region of the Novgorod district they are building a church which right at the start will be intended for ecumenical services. It will have three altars: Catholic, Protestant and ‘Orthodox’. The number of such ecumenical prayer houses in Russia is growing.”[38]


     “Ordination… It is generally known that anyone seeking after a high (or simply well-secured) position in the MP under the Communists had to win, in one way or another, the special favour of the God-defying regime.


     “All this is entirely contrary to the 30th Apostolic Rule which reads: ‘If any bishop comes into possession of a church office by employing the secular rulers, let him be deposed from office, and let him be excommunicated. And all those who communicate with him too.’ (Compare Rule 3 of the 7th Ecumenical Council.) An unlawful tree cannot produce lawful fruit. Every year the ranks of the Patriarchate’s clergy have been supplemented by those ordained in violation of the Church canons: those tainted by simony, by second marriage, known homosexuals, obviously un-Orthodox and even those married to sectarians (the wife of a Moscow priest A. Borisov, one of the leaders of the late Archpriest Men’s group within the Moscow Patriarchate, is a Pentecostalist who organises her sect’s meetings in his church.)


     “Simony flourishes openly in some dioceses. Thus, it is well know that in Western Ukraine a prospective priest must remunerate his bishop with a sum of 10,000 roubles (the price of a ‘Volga’ car) for his ordination. Parishioners would collect the required sum and present it to their young priest on the day of his first church service. We have no reason to think that his ‘custom’ has in any way suffered from the anarchy which set in after the beginning of perestroika


     “The Sacrament of Marriage is almost always administered without any preparation and without prior Confession of the couple to be married. The determining factor is the payment of a certain sum of money (which in recent years has increased to two, three and more times the average monthly wage). Contrary to the rules, several couples are wed at the same time and often on unstated days and during fasts. Marriages with non-Orthodox and with people of other faiths are allowed. For instance, some of St. Petersburg’s clergy recall a case in the later 70s when one of the well-known Archpriests of that city married his own daughter to a Moslem. It should be added that the perpetration of these and other kinds of unlawful acts is often motivated by the financial and social status of the parties to the marriage…


     “Church prayer is also being profaned by the Patriarchate’s clergy when they ‘sanctify’ banks, restaurants, casinos, communist banners of the Red Army and Fleet, as well as buildings used by psychics and ‘healers’. The apostate MP has entered into a special relationship with the ‘Orthodox’ magicians in white coats…


     “We may also mention the widespread advertising and sale of ‘holy’ water on the planes of Aeroflot, in shops and restaurants.


     “All this, together with ‘funeral services’ for atheists and non-baptised persons (which an Orthodox clergyman may bring himself to perform only as a result of losing the fear of God), and a scandalous acceptance by the hierarchy of the MP (in the person of Metropolitan Pitirim) of a ‘donation’ from the criminal sect ‘Aum Shinri Kyo’ has become the means of replenishing church funds with dirty money.


     “Such actions as the luxurious church ceremonies at the funeral of journalist List’yev, notorious for his immoral television programs (in particular those promoting incest), the burial of one of the mafia leaders in the sacred caves of the Pskov Monastery of the Caves, have become a rather symptomatic phenomenon in the Moscow Patriarchate…


     “Criminal power has come to replace party power in Russia. This power has immediately secured the support of the MP and has occupied an appropriate place in its life. The MP itself is acquiring a criminal character with its ‘church’ banks, multi-billion fraud and cooperation with the mafia…


     “During the long decades of Communist dictatorship an indulgent attitude to all ‘weaknesses’ and deviations of hierarchs and clergy had become firmly ingrained in the consciousness of the members of the MP. This justification of shortcomings was motivated by the alleged ‘captivity’ of the clergy (which from year to year was becoming increasingly voluntary). At the same time the episcopate succeeded in enhancing among the laity and clergy a peculiar kind of Papism (‘The Patriarch is responsible for everything’) and the cult of ‘blessed ignorance’ which, allegedly, makes one’s salvation easier to achieve. All these phenomena flourished and became the very essence of the Moscow Patriarchate, as the years of ‘democratic’ rule have been demonstrating, when discussions about ‘forced’ acts of apostasy… have become meaningless…”[39]


      Many Russians, while not blind to the corruption in the patriarchate, support it for the sake of the Fatherland; for Russia, they think (correctly), cannot be resurrected without a Church, and the MP is the only Church that they see (incorrectly) as being able to become the religion of the State.


     However, as Protopriest Lev Lebedev writes, “fatherland”, “Russia”, “the State” have become idols in today’s Russia, more important that the true Faith, without which they are worthless: “The ideological idol under the name of ‘fatherland’ (‘Russia’, ‘the state’) has been completely preserved. We have already many times noted that these concepts are, in essence, pagan ideological idols not because they are in themselves bad, but because they have been torn out from the trinitarian unity of co-subjected concepts: Faith, Tsar, Fatherland (Orthodoxy, Autocracy, People)… Everything that one might wish to be recognized and positive, even the regeneration of the faith, is done under the slogan of ‘the regeneration of the Fatherland (Russia)’! But nothing is being regenerated. Even among the monarchists the regeneration of the Orthodox Autocratic Monarchy is mainly represented as no more than the means for the regeneration of the Fatherland. We may note that if any of the constituent parts of the triad – Orthodoxy, Autocracy, People – is torn away from the others and becomes the only one, it loses its power. Only together and in the indicated hierarchical order did they constitute, and do they constitute now, the spiritual (and all the other) strength and significance of Great Russia. But for the time being it is the ideological idol ‘fatherland’ that holds sway…”[40]


Ecumania: From Chambésy to Balamand


     In September, 1990, ecumenism in the MP and World Orthodoxy in general took a major step forward at Chambésy, Switzerland, where a Declaration was agreed between a Joint Commission of Orthodox and Monophysite (called “Oriental Orthodox” in the documents), the Orthodox and Monophysites being called two “families of churches” (a phrase unknown to Orthodox ecclesiology).


     Paragraph Four of the Declaration said: “The two families accept that the two natures [of Christ] with their own energies and wills are united hypostatically and naturally without confusion, without change, without division and without separation and that they are distinguished only in thought (th qewria monh).”


     This was already completely unacceptable from an Orthodox point of view, and represented a heretical, Monophysite formulation. The two natures and wills of Christ are not distinguishable “only in thought”, but also in reality. Paragraph Seven also spoke of the two natures being distinguishable “only in thought”, which implied, as Ludmilla Perepiolkina points out “an absence of this distinction in reality”.[41]


     Paragraph Five stated: “The two families accept that the One Who wills and acts is always the single Hypostasis of the incarnate Logos”. However, as Perepiolkina again correctly points out, according to the teaching of St. Maximus the Confessor, “the concept of energy (activity) of nature is attributable only to nature as a whole, and not to the hypostasis. This teaching was affirmed at the Sixth Ecumenical Council. In the Chambésy Declaration, as it is evident from Paragraph Five, natural wills and energies in Jesus Christ are attributed to His Hypostasis. In other words, this Paragraph is a purely Monothelite formula”.[42]


     Paragraph Eight stated: “The two families accept the first three Ecumenical Councils which form our common heritage. With regard to the four later Councils of the Orthodox Church, the Orthodox affirm that, for them, points one through seven are also the teaching of these four later Councils, whereas the oriental Orthodox consider this affirmation of the Orthodox like their own interpretation. In this sense the oriental Orthodox respond positively to this affirmation.” An unclear statement, about which one thing, however, is clear: the Monophysites did not commit themselves to accepting the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Ecumenical Councils in the way the Orthodox did, but only “positively responded to their affirmation”, which meant nothing in dogmatic terms.


     Paragraph Nine stated: “In the light of our joint declaration on Christology and the joint affirmations mentioned above, we now clearly realize and understand that our two families have always loyally guarded the same and authentic Christological Orthodox Faith, and have maintained uninterrupted the apostolic tradition although they may have used the Christological terms in a different manner. It is that common faith and that continual loyalty to the apostolic tradition which must be the basis of our unity and communion.”


     This was in flat contradiction to 1500 years of Orthodox Tradition. In this period all the Holy Fathers unambiguously affirmed that the Monophysites had not “loyally guarded the same and authentic Christological Orthodox Faith”, and were in fact heretics. But the modern ecumenists claimed that all the six hundred and thirty holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, as well as all the Fathers of all the succeeding Council that condemned Monophysitism, were wrong, and the whole controversy was simply based on some linguistic misunderstandings!


     Paragraph Ten of the Declaration stated: “The two families accept that all the anathemas and the condemnations of the past which kept us divided must be lifted by the Churches so that the last obstacle to full unity and communion of our two families can be removed by the grace and power of God. The two families accept that the lifting of the anathemas and the condemnations will be based on the fact that the Councils and the father previously anathematised or condemned were not heretics.”


     So the Seven Ecumenical Councils needed to be amended, said these “theologians”, and the anathemas against all the Monophysite councils and fathers, including the notorious heresiarchs Dioscurus, Timothy and Severus, lifted! This was a clear and explicit rejection of the Faith of the Seven Ecumenical Councils!


     Of course, the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches (with the exception of Jerusalem) had already implicitly rejected the Councils and the Fathers by their communion in prayer and the sacraments with all sorts of heretics, and even pagans, of which the WCC General Assembly in Canberra in 1991 was perhaps the most extreme example. Nevertheless, it was a further and important stage to say explicitly that the Ecumenical Councils were wrong, that the Monophysites should not have been condemned, that they had been Orthodox all these centuries although the Holy Fathers and all the saints of the Orthodox Church considered them to be heretics. This was not simply a failure to come up to the standards of the Ecumenical Councils: it was a renunciation of the standards themselves.


     It was therefore with complete justification that the Holy Synod of the Truth Orthodox Church of Greece under Archbishop Chrysostom (Kiousis) issued the following statement in July, 1991:-


     “At Chambésy the Orthodox and the Monophysites agreed that ‘now they have clearly understood that both families (i.e. the Orthodox and the Monophysites} have always loyally maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological Faith and the unbroken continuity of the Apostolic tradition…’


     “… How is it possible to accept as correct that which has now been understood by twenty-one representatives of the Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches – that is, that for fifteen hundred years the Orthodox and Monophysites had the same Christological Faith – when it is a fact that four Ecumenical Councils condemned the latter as heretical? Is it possible that the Holy Fathers who took part in them were mistaken, and were unjust towards the Monophysites? Was there not to be found even one of the 630 Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, of the 165 Fathers of the Fifth, of the 227 of the Sixth, or of the 367 of the Seventh, to understand this which the ecumenist Orthodox of Chambésy have now understood – that is, that the Monophysites are not heretics? So it is that 1,389 Holy Fathers are in error, and the twenty-one representatives of the innovative Orthodox are right? Are we to believe that the Holy Spirit did not enlighten the Holy Fathers? Are we to deny the divine inspiration of the Holy Councils? Heretical and blasphemous! Even more boldly, are we to assert that St. Euphemia, who sealed with a miracle the Definition of Faith of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, misunderstood the ‘Orthodoxy’ of the Monophysites because she did not understand the language? A fearsome thing!


     “The Orthodox and the Monophysites agree that ‘both families accept the first three Ecumenical Councils…’ [But] the Orthodox Church accepts seven Ecumenical Councils. At Chambésy, at the demand of the Monophysites, the Orthodox delegates accepted the recognition of the first three; the rest are put aside and are considered a matter only for the Chalcedonian Orthodox. For the Monophysites, who are condemned as heretics and anathematised by them, it is appropriate to oppose these four other Ecumenical Councils. But is it permissible for men, however modernist they might be, who would be called Orthodox, and who declare themselves hierarchs and theologians, to limit the Ecumenical Councils to three? How do they dare? How did they sign such a grossly treasonous agreement? At least those who signed the false union of Florence-Ferrara [with Rome], when they returned to the capital and repented, declared ‘Let our hands be cut off’ and abjured the false union…


     “One can only be horrified at the betrayal of those who signed the agreement at Chambésy. Those who were deposed and anathematised as heretics by four Ecumenical Councils are now recognized as ‘saints’ and ‘Fathers’ of the innovating Church… Who are they? There is Dioscorus, whom the Fourth Ecumenical Council anathematised as being of one mind with the heretic Eutyches… and the rest against whom the Orthodox Church cries out the Anathema which is read in the hearing of all on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Now the modernist Orthodox would honor them in their churches, make icons of them and light candles to them, asking forgiveness because our Holy Fathers unjustly condemned them as heretics…


     Let all who signed the agreement at Chambésy know that they have ceased to be Orthodox, since they are communicants of the heresy of the Monophysites.


     “Those who signed the agreement at Chambésy did not sign as individuals. Chiefly, they signed as representatives of their Churches, and their Churches accepted the agreement at Chambésy…


     “Therefore we denounce this new false union which was signed at Chambésy by the representatives of the Autocephalous Churches and Patriarchates, who, after 1,500 years, have fallen into the heresy of Monophysitism… and… the New Calendarist State Church for all that has been stated, and declare it to be heretical henceforth. We call upon every faithful Orthodox person, following upon the treasonous agreement at Chambésy, to choose between Orthodoxy and Monophysitism. Whoever wants to remain Orthodox, whoever wants to remain a member of the Body of the Church of Christ, must immediately cease all relationship and communion with the heretical and monophysitizing shepherds of the Churches which signed and accepted the agreement of Chambésy.


     “All who remain disinterested or silent, and ally themselves with the supporters of the agreement of Chambésy, have simply embraced Monophysitism and its wrong-thinking ‘Fathers’ Dioscorus, Severus, Timothy, and the other heretics. Such people have upon their heads the anathemas of the Ecumenical Councils. They are outside the Church, outside of salvation, and their portion is with that of all the heretics.


     “We have spoken.


     “Let every… Orthodox faithful person take up his responsibilities before God and man. ‘Let us stand aright; let us stand with fear.’”[43]


     In spite of this warning, the ecumenist Orthodox set about putting the Chambésy agreement into practical effect. Thus on July 22, 1991, the Synod of the Antiochian Patriarchate (which included the notoriously pro-Islamic Metropolitan George Khodre) implemented a series of measures aimed at achieving full union with the Monophysice Syriac Church. These included a prohibition on the proselytism of Monophysites and full eucharistic communion.[44]


     Chambésy was followed by the Seventh General Assembly of the WCC in Canberra in 1991, in which the Orthodox delegates blasphemed against the Faith still more blatantly. Thus aboriginal pagans invited the participants to pass through a “cleansing cloud of smoke” uniting Aboriginal spirituality to Christian spirituality (!). In spite of this, Metropolitan Cyril (Gundiaev), head of the Department of External Relations of the MP, said that the WCC was “our common home and we want it to be the cradle of the one church”.[45]


     On November 13, 1991, “Patriarch” Alexis made his boldest ecumenical step yet when he addressed the Rabbis of New York as follows: “Dear brothers, shalom to you in the name of the God of love and peace!… We are all brothers, for we are all children of the Old Testament on Mount Sinai, which, as we Christians believe, was renewed by Christ… Your law is our law, your prophets are our prophets.”


     This is a profound error, which was thoroughly exposed – and anathematized – by the holy Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Galatians. There is a sense in which the Old Testament law and prophets were not destroyed, but fulfilled by Christ (Matthew 5.17) – that is, in the sense that He revealed their inner meaning. But “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ” (Galatians 3.24), and having found Christ, we follow, not the law of the Old Testament, but of the New Testament. Some parts of the old law are still obligatory for Christians – the Ten Commandments, for example. But even there adjustments need to be made: the commandment to “keep the sabbath holy”, for example, applies now to Sundays and Church feast days, not to Saturdays. And the commandments against murder and adultery are now deepened to become commandments against anger and lust. As for circumcisions and animal sacrifices and the worship in the Temple on Mount Moriah, this is now definitely excluded, being replaced by the worship and sacraments of the Church. So the Judaists’ law is not our law. Nor do they stand in a relationship of equality of honour, as the patriarch implies. As for the prophets, they prophesied about Christ; and it is the Christians, not the Judaists, who have understood the prophecies and paid heed to them.


     The patriarch continues: “Judaism and Christianity are united by a spiritual and natural affinity and positive religious interests. We are united with the Judaists without renouncing Christianity. For this is not contrary to Christianity, but in the name and for the sake of Christianity. And the Judaists are united with us also in the name and for the sake of genuine Judaism.”


     Astonishing! Then why have the main persecutors of Orthodox Christianity for the last two thousand years been the Judaists? And why does the Judaists’ “holy” book, the Talmud, say such terrible things about Christ, the Mother of God and Christians in general? No: to be united with the Judaists means precisely to renounce Christianity; it is to be united with Annas and Caiaphas and Judas and to be separated from Christ and the holy Apostles, Martyrs and Fathers of the Church.


     “We are separated from the Judaists because we are not wholly Christian, and the Judaists are separated from us because they are not wholly Judaic. Because full Christianity embraces Judaism and full Judaism is Christianity.”


     The patriarch speaks truly about himself when he says he is “not wholly Christian”. More precisely, he is not Christian at all. For no Christian, whether “full” or not, can possible embrace Judaism, which is the antithesis of Christianity. For the Judaists reject every single article of the Nicene Creed with the possible exception of the first, about God the Father. And yet even here it cannot be said that the Judaists know God the Father. For “who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, hath not the Father” (I John 2.22-23).


     “The hierarchs, clergy and theologians of our Church resolutely and openly denounce all and sundry manifestations of anti-Semitism and enmity and pogroms against the Jews.”


     The Orthodox Church rejects anti-Semitism, that is, a rejection of the Jews on the grounds of their race. She also rejects pogroms because pogroms are murder. But the Church is and will never cease to be anti-Judaist, because Judaism is a lie, the worst of all lies.


     “During the notorious Beilis trial, Archpriest Alexander Glagolev, a professor at the Kiev Ecclesiastical Academy, and Ivan Troitsky, a professor at the St. Petersburg Ecclesiastical Academy, firmly defended Beilis and resolutely rejected the accusations of ritual killings allegedly practised by the Jews. The Metropolitan of St. Petersburg, Antony (Vadkovksky), did much to protect the Jews from the anti-Semitic attacks of the extreme right-wing radical organizations. There were also many other hierarchs and theologians of our Church who courageously defended the Jews from the enmity and slanderous accusations made by the anti-Semitic circles: Metropolitan Macarius (Bulgakov), Bishop Donat (Babinsky) of Grodno, Bishop Vissarion (Nechaev), Archbishop Seraphim (Mescheryakov), Archbishop Macarius (Miroliubov).”


     Much could be said about the Beilis trial, which was indeed “notorious” – mainly because of the extreme pressure brought to bear upon witnesses by the Judaists and their supporters, and the extreme inefficiency of the police work. Beilis was indeed acquitted, but the court established that the victim, Andrew Yuschinsky, had been the victim of a ritual murder. The patriarch also ignores the fact that the Orthodox Church has officially glorified at least one victim of Judaist ritual murder – the Child Martyr Gabriel, to whom Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky wrote a service.


     “We should also mention that many of our theologians and outstanding religious thinker, such as Vladimir Soloviev, Nicholas Berdiaev, and Father Sergius Bulgakov, stood up for the Jews. Vladimir Soloviev regarded the defence of the Jews, from the Christian point of view, to be one of the major tasks of his life. For him the main question was not whether the Jews were good or bad, but whether we Christians were good or bad. Much had been done for establishing a Christian dialogue by our famous religious thinkers of Jewish origina, Semyon Frank and Lev Shestov.”


     It is unfortunate for the patriarch’s argument that the first four thinkers he mentions here – are all notorious heretics!


     “In this difficult but sacred cause for all of us we hope for understanding and help from our Jewish brothers and sisters. We shall build, by our joint efforts, a new society – one that is democratic, free, open and just. It will be a society which no one will want to leave, and in which the Jews will live confidently and calmly, in an atmosphere of friendship, creative cooperation and fraternity between the children of our common God – the Father of all, the God of your and our fathers…”[46]


     The rabbis did not forget the honour paid to them by the patriarch: during the visit of Alexis II to the U.S.A. in 1993 the chief rabbi of New York, Schneier, presented him with the prize “The Call of Conscience”. And both in 1991 and in 1993 the patriarch was a guest of a Zionist organization of the same name; he visited synagogues and met Jewish religious leaders…”


     In February, 1992, the president of the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods, Sergius Poliakov, declared that the patriarch’s speech to the New York rabbis the previous November had been “clearly heretical”. And a representative of the Tver diocese declared that “almost 60% of the diocesan clergy” were refusing to commemorate the patriarch.[47] Unfortunately, only one of those priests who ceased commemorating the patriarch actually joined the True Church[48]


     In March, 1992, the heads of the Local Orthodox Churches met in Constantinople and issued a communiqué in which, after condemning the work of Catholic Uniates and Protestant fundamentalists in Orthodox countries, went on to “remind all that every form of proselytism – to be distinguished from evangelization and mission – is absolutely condemned by the Orthodox. Proselytism, practised in nations already Christian, and in many cases even Orthodox, sometimes through material enticement and sometimes by various forms of violence, poisons the relations among Christians and destroys the road towards their unity. Mission, by contrast, carried out in non-Christian countries and among non-Christian peoples, constitutes a sacred duty of the Church, worthy of every assistance” (point 4).


     Here a dishonourable deal was being proposed: if you refrain from proselytising in Orthodox countries, we will not receive converts in western countries. Of course, this renunciation of proselytism among western heretics had been implicit in the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s statements since the encyclical of 1920, and in all the Orthodox leaders’ actions in ecumenical forums since the 1960s. But it still came as a shock to see the “Orthodox Church” renouncing the hope of conversion and therefore salvation for hundreds of millions of westerners. Here the ecumenical “Orthodox” renounced the first commandment of the Lord to His Church after the Resurrection: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28.19-20).


     The communiqué also made threats against “schismatic groups competing with the canonical structure of the Orthodox Church” (point 3). Presumably, the True Orthodox were meant. This threat was made clearer when, in May, a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate together with a detachment of Athonite police expelled the Russian-American monks of the Skete of the Prophet Elijah, who did not commemorate the patriarch, from Mount Athos.[49]


     Union with the Monophysites at Chambésy proceeded in parallel with moves towards union with the Catholics. Thus Patriarch Alexis began to adopt a more conciliatory attitude towards the uniate Catholics of the West Ukraine. And although he and his senior hierarchs have often protested against Catholic proselytism in Russia[50], it is significant that at the March, 1992 meeting he strongly resisted the call by Patriarch Diodorus of Jerusalem for a cessation of all dialogue between the Orthodox and the Vatican.


     While these movements towards union with heretics were taking place, the Ecumenical Patriarch was acting with great tyranny towards his fellow patriarchs. Thus in July, 1993 a “great and super-perfect (pantelhV) Synod” was called to judge Patriarch Diodorus and certain of his collaborators for their supposed interference in the Australian Archdiocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and certain other questions. The main problem was a very valuable property in Australia which the owner and founder, Archimandrite Hierotheus, refused to give to the Greek Archdiocese, but donated to the patriarchate, which accepted it and sent two bishops, Hesychius and Timothy, to arrange the transfer and establish an exarchate there. It was assumed, completely contrary to the canons, that Jerusalem was “interfering” in Australia on the grounds that the Ecumenical Patriarchate had sole jurisdiction in all lands not directly within the boundaries of any other patriarchate, and therefore in Australia also, in spite of the fact that the Jerusalem Patriarchate had had a mission in Australia since 1892, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate – only since 1924. Another accusation against Patriarch Diodorus was that he was regularly visited by the “pseudo-Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropus and Fili”. The Synod decided with “utmost economy” not to depose the patriarch, but only to expunge his name from the diptychs, and to depose Metropolitans Hesychius and Timothy. The patriarch was summoned to this face by fax one day before it began, while the other two bishops were not even called to answer. So much for the canonical behaviour of the “canonical” bishops”!


     The Patriarch of Jerusalem did not in any way agree to the “super-perfect” Synod’s decision, and was at first resolved to pay no attention to it. Sadly, however, other voices prevailed, the patriarchate succumbed, the patriarch relinquished (it is said, in return for a hefty payment) the property and the exarchate in Australia, and the two metropolitans went to Constantinople to ask forgiveness of Bartholomew; this was graciously granted. This was part of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s continuing campaign to become “the Pope of the East” to whom all the other patriarchs submitted (in preparation for his submitting to Rome). But his pretensions were rejected, and not only by the other Greek Patriarchates and Old Calendarists. Moscow, too, had no intention of allowing Constantinople to lord it over her…[51]


     In 1994 the delegates of aal the Local Churches except Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Jerusalem signed the Balamand agreement with the Catholics, in which the Orthodox and the Catholics were declared to be “two lungs” of the same body (with the Monophysites as a “third lung”?). “On each side it is acknowledged that what Christ has entrusted to His Church – the profession of the apostolic faith, participation in the same sacraments, the apostolic succession of bishops, and, above all, the one priesthood celebrating the one Sacrifice of Christ – cannot be considered to be the exclusive property of one of our Churches.” “All rebaptism [of penitent Catholics in the Orthodox Church] is prohibited.” The Orthodox Church “recognizes the Catholic Church in her entirety as a sister Church, and indirectly recognizes also the Oriental Catholic Churches” (the Uniates). “Special attention should be given on both sides to the preparation and education of future priests with regard to the new ecclesiology, (that they may) be informed of the apostolic succession of the other Church and the authenticity of its sacramental life, (so that) the use of history in a polemical manner (may be avoided)”.


     Although the delegates of the Orthodox Churches signed the Agreement, it still needed to be ratified by the Synods of each Local Church. None of them in fact did so, with the sole exception of the Romanian Patriarchate, which subsequently withdrew its ratification in reaction to the Romanian Uniates’ refusal to accept the document. Nevertheless, there was no official renunciation of the Agreement on the Orthodox side – which was necessary in that the Agreement constituted acceptance of the “branch theory”.


     Patriarch Bartholomew confirmed his acceptance of the branch theory on November 30, 1998, when, referring to the representatives of the Pope, he said: “In view of the fact that one Church recognizes the other Church as a locus of grace, proselytization of members from one Church to the other is precluded”.[52] This elicited protests in Greece and Mount Athos, but Patriarch Bartholomew forced the protestors to back down. (Already in 1992, as we have seen, he had expelled the ROCOR monks of the St. Elias skete from the Holy Mountain). A few years later he went even further, extolling the widest possible toleration: “Orthodox Christian and modernist, Protestant and modernist, Jew and modernist, Catholic and modernist: however we worship, as long as we abide in our faith and unite it to our works in the world, we bring the living and always timely message of Divine wisdom into the modern world.”[53] And he continued his policy of “toleration”, declaring 25 churches in Australia to be schismatic for no other reason than that they did not sign over the deeds of their churches to the Patriarchate. And yet the same patriarch, in 1997, declared: “According to the long-held tradition, the Orthodox Church avoids dictating or making categorical decisions of a social or ethical nature.”[54] This astonishing abdication from the responsibility of an Orthodox bishop “rightly to divide the word of truth” sits uneasily with his heavy-handed, almost papist administration…


     The MP, too, was able to face down its dissidents. In its council in December, 1994, the patriarchate's participation in the World Council of Churches was unequivocally endorsed as having been inspired “primarily by considerations of the good it would do for the Church”. Then a purge of the anti-ecumenist brotherhoods began[55], and an amazing decision was made to permit common prayers with heretics with the blessing of the local bishop![56]


     With the death in 1995 of the only anti-ecumenist in the hierarchy, Metropolitan John (Snychev) of St. Petersburg, the victory of the ecumenists appeared to be sealed. Almost the last major protest against the MP’s ecumenism came in December, 1995, when a group of about fifty clergy of the diocese of Moscow addressed an open letter to the patriarch denouncing the "crypto-catholic" teaching and actions of several modernist priests and laity in the capital. They pointed to numerous instances of the MP offering direct assistance to Latin propaganda, listing ecumenical or purely Catholic radio stations (“Sophia”, “Blagovest”) and periodicals (Simvol, Istina i Zhizn’, Novaia Evropa, Russkaia Mysl’). Active contributors and sometimes even managers of these organs of Latin propaganda included Archpriest Ioann Sviridov (Department of the Religious Education and Catechization of the MP), Igumen Innokenty (Pavlov) (Secretary of the Russian Bible Society), Priest Alexander Borisov (President of the same Society), Igumen Ignaty (Krekshin) (Secretary of the Synodal Commission for the Canonization of Saints of the ROC), Igumen Ioann (Ekonomtsev) (Rector of the Orthodox University of St. John the Theologian), V. Nikitin (chief editor of the official journal of the Department of Religious Education and Catechization Put’ Pravoslavia), the “priest journalists” G. Chistiakov and V. Lapshin, Priest G. Ziablitsev (employee in the Department of External Church Relations of the MP), who was appointed by his superior, Metropolitan Cyril (Gundyaev), to the commission of the Catholic Church (!) for the canonization of one of their saints. “Such a scandalous fact,” wrote the fifty clergy, “i.e. participation in a heterodox enterprise of a canonical character, has not been heard of since the Latins fell away from the Church of Christ in 1054… One is left with the impression that the Vatican is attempting to create within the Church a layer of clergy loyal to the Catholic doctrine who serve the cause of union.”[57]


     The patriarch tried to deflect this protest by complaining once more about Catholic proselytism in Russia and the Catholics' use of humanitarian aid as a cover for their missionary purposes.[58] It is not recorded, however, that he rejected the offer of one Catholic organization "Aid to the Suffering Church" to give every priest in the Russian Church an annual salary of $1000.[59] Nor was he particularly disturbed when the Pope was declared an honorary member of the new parish of the MP in Ulyanovsk in gratitude for his sending $14,000 for the construction of the city’s cathedral. Nor when, in 1996, “Aid to the Suffering Church” gave $750,000 to Radio “Sophia”…[60]


     The patriarch’s right hand (his criticism of the Catholics) clearly did not know what his left hand (his reception of largesse from them) was doing…


ROCOR’s Mission Inside Russia


     With the coming of perestroika in the late 1980s, the idea arose of founding an above-ground Church under the authority of ROCOR inside Russia on the basis of the embryonic organization represented by Bishop Lazarus’ diocese. This idea appears to go back to a correspondence initiated during the perestroika period between the dissident Russian layman (and later priest) Stefan Krasovitsky and Bishop Gregory (Grabbe). Wojciech Zalewski writes: “In April 1989 Krassovitsky in a letter to Grabbe indicated that Alexis Aver’ianov, Zoia Krakhmal’nikova and he himself were thinking about ‘the necessity of try to organize a podvorie of the Church Abroad in Russia’. In September (14/27 September, 1989) he is more specific. Although he did not foresee a possibility that even a single already-established parish would come under ROCA [ROCOR], i.e., under Lazarus’ jurisdiction, he suggests forming and registering an informal society (union, that is, brotherhood) in secret unity with ROCA. Its members would not attend the MP churches. Krassovitsky even sent Grabbe a proposal for such a society. When the membership grows, he writes, then a request for a church building for our own could be submitted or even a church of our own could be built. Furthermore, it would be useful to take over from the government some schools and ‘educate in these schools a hostile attitude to society in its present moral-ideological condition’. Finally, it will be necessary to find an official name for Lazarus’s jurisdiction. At the beginning of October (30 September / 13 October, 1989) Krassovitsky writes ‘[it would be good to get a church for Vladyka Lazarus’ and suggests that priests George Edel’shtein, Oleg Steniaev, Aleksei Aver’ianov and possibly Father Gleb Yakunin all could be helpful in this matter. In turn Grabbe answers by stressing a need for candidates for new bishops without whom ‘the matter could die. Vl. Lazarus must have this in view’ and suggest pulling other member of the Catacomb Church into ROCA’s orbit. To that Krassovitsky replies: ‘According to Vl. Lazar, the canonicity of the church-servers of these groups is very doubtful. Besides, in my experience with them they are either infected with a spirit of narrow sectarianism bordering on unhealthy mysticism, or with heresies like sophianism’ (23 November / 6 December, 1989).”[61]


     In this correspondence we already see many of the reasons for the failure of ROCOR’s mission. First, the rejection of the Catacomb Church. Secondly, the reliance on dissidents in the MP, many of whom turned out to be traitors (Averianov, Steniaev) or never joined ROCOR (Yakunin). Thirdly, the poor choice of Lazarus as first bishop, when he was neither trusted by the Catacomb Church whom he supposedly represented, nor was willing to conduct above-ground work when that became possible, nor was able to work with his fellow bishops inside or outside Russia.


     In March, 1990, ROCOR received its first parish from the MP, that of St. Constantine the Great in Suzdal under Archimandrite Valentine (Rusantsov), who had had a quarrel with his ruling bishop.[62] Valentine was received through a simple phone call by Metropolitan Vitaly, in spite of the fact that he was an MP clergyman with a very suspicious past.[63] 


     Bishop Gregory was soon looking to Valentine as a future bishop and the main organizer of the mission in Russia in place of the disappointing Lazarus.[64] Certainly, Valentine was more active in receiving priests and parishes, and in providing registration for them within the Suzdal diocese. However, some parishes distrusted him precisely for his success in this respect. The parishes in Voronezh and Chernigov had the disconcerting experience of being told that they would be refused registration unless they passed under the omophorion either of the local MP hierarch or of Valentine of Suzdal.[65] Was Valentine simply using his contacts in the MP with skill, or was there, as many suspected, a more sinister reason for his success, a reason linked to his past or present links with the KGB?


     In the same month of March, ROCOR issued the following guidelines for its Church in Russia, to be known as the “Free Russian Orthodox Church” (FROC): "I. The free Russian Orthodox parishes are neither an independent nor a new hierarchal structure; they are in eucharistic communion with and in the jurisdiction of and subject to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which is headed by its first hierarch, Metropolitan Vitaly, and is the preserver of unadulterated Orthodoxy and the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church.

     ”II. The clergy are not to join in eucharistic communion with the
Moscow Patriarchate until it renounces the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius, until it repents of the errors which followed this uncanonical declaration, and removes those ruling bishops who have compromised themselves by uncanonical and immoral acts, who have been involved in corruption and the embezzlement of church funds, who have been placed in power through the interference of the secular authorities, and who have allowed distortions in the services of the Russian Orthodox Church.

     ”III. The parishes may not pray for the government as long as the
controlling and guiding power remains the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which has a militantly atheistic and anti-Church program. In addition, prayer is allowed for apostates only during the prayer, ‘that Thou mightest appear to them who have fallen away,’ but not during the proskomedia.

     ”IV. The reasons for the establishment of free parishes: The free Russian Orthodox parishes have opened due to the absolutely paralyzed, unrepentant state of the hierarchy and clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate, who have fallen away from pure Orthodoxy through the acceptance of the declaration by Metropolitan Sergius (who usurped the power of the Church in Russia) in 1927 of loyalty to the militantly
atheistic communist Soviet power.

     ”The main errors of the Moscow Patriarchate after the declaration of
1927 are as follows:

     ”1. The excommunication of those hierarchs, clergy, monastics and
laymen who did not accept the declaration, which was followed by mass terror and murder of those who did not accept the atheistic government.

     ”2. The desecration of the memory of the Holy New Martyrs and

     ”3. The collaboration with the atheistic government even in the
business of closing churches. Devoted service to the government and public prayer to strengthen its power, which in turn fights against faith and the Church.

     ”4. The distortion of the sacraments, rites, sermon, and carelessness
in the spreading of the Word of God. Refusal to catechize, which has led masses of laypeople into ignorance and a superficial acceptance of Christianity.

     ”5. The participation and membership in the World Council of Churches
and the ecumenical movement, for the creation of a worldwide "church", that would unite all heresies and religions.

     ”6. Submission to secular, atheistic authorities and allowing
them to rule the inner life of the church even to the extent of direct control, with the ultimate goal of destroying faith.

     ”7. The alienation of the hierarchy and clergy from the flock, and a
careless, proud relationship towards the laypeople in direct violation of the apostolic injunction to clergy to be an example and not exercise power over others.

     ”8. The wide-spread moral depravity and mercenariness among the
uncanonical clergy.

     ”9. Uncanonical and capricious transferring of diocesan bishops."[66]


     This was a good manifesto. The problem was: it was not adhered to consistently. And this failure to stick to a consistent confession of faith in relation to the MP was, together with personnel and administrative failures, the main reason for the collapse of ROCOR’s mission in Russia. The momentous event of the return of the exiles to Russia was undertaken almost casually, without sufficient forethought and without a clearly defined strategy. Hence difficult problems arose, problems that ROCOR in the end found insuperable.


     These problems can be divided into three categories: (a) ROCOR in relation to her own flock at home and abroad, (b) ROCOR in relation to the Catacomb Church, and (c) ROCOR in relation to the MP.


     (a) ROCOR in relation to herself. The problem here was easily stated: how could the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad continue to call herself the Church Abroad if she now had parishes inside Russia? After all, her Founding Statute or Polozhenie stated that ROCOR was an autonomous part of the Autocephalous Russian Church, that part which existed (i) outside the bounds of Russia on the basis of Ukaz ¹ 362 of November 7/20, 1920 of Patriarch Tikhon and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, and (ii) temporarily until the fall of communism in Russia. With the fall of communism and the creation of ROCOR parishes inside Russia in 1990, it would seem that these limitations in space and time no longer applied, and that ROCOR had ceased to exist as a canonical organisation in accordance with her own definition of herself in the Polozhenie. The solution to this problem was obvious: change the Polozhenie! And this was in fact the solution put forward by Bishop Gregory (Grabbe), who possessed unparalleled experience of ROCOR life since his appointment as Chancellor of the Synod by Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev in 1931.


     However, the ROCOR episcopate declined his suggestion, probably because a change in the Polozhenie that removed the spatial and temporal limitations of ROCOR’s self-definition would have had the consequence of forcing the ROCOR episcopate to: (i) remove the centre of her Church administration from America to Russia, (ii) proclaim herself (alongside any Catacomb Church groups that she might recognise) as part of the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia and distinguished from the other parts only by its possessing dioceses and parishes abroad, and (iii) enter into a life-and-death struggle with the MP for the minds and hearts of the Russian people.


     However, the ROCOR bishops (with the exception of Bishop Gregory Grabbe) were not prepared to accept these consequences. After all, they were well-established abroad, increasingly dependent economically on contributions from foreign converts to Orthodoxy, and with few exceptions were not prepared to exchange the comforts and relative security of life in the West for the uncertainty and privations of life in Russia (to this day ROCOR’s first-hierarch, Metropolitan Vitaly, has not set foot on Russian soil since the fall of communism, in spite of numerous invitations from believers). Of course, the whole raison d’être of ROCOR was to return to her homeland in Russia (she was previously called the Russian Church in Exile, and exiles by definition want to return to their homeland); and it was in anticipation of such a return that she had steadfastly refused to endanger her Russian identity by merging with other Local Orthodox Churches or by forming local jurisdictions identified with specific western countries (like the formerly Russian schism from ROCOR calling itself the  Orthodox Church of America). But generations had passed since the first emigration, the descendants of that first emigration had settled in western countries, learned their languages, adopted their ways, put down roots in foreign soil. The exiles were no longer exiles from, but strangers to, their native land…


     (b) ROCOR in relation to the Catacomb Church. Since 1927, when ROCOR had broken communion simultaneously with the Catacomb Church from Metropolitan Sergius’ MP, she had looked upon the Catacomb Church as the True Church inside Russia with which she remained in mystical communion of prayer and sacraments, even if such communion could not be realised in face-to-face meeting and concelebration. Indeed, after the death of Metropolitan Peter, the last universally recognised leader of the Russian Church, in 1937, ROCOR commemorated “the episcopate of the persecuted Russian Church”, by which was undoubtedly meant the episcopate of the Catacomb Church. After the war, however, a change began to creep in, at first almost imperceptibly, but then more and more noticeably. On the one hand, news of Catacomb bishops and communities became more and more scarce, and some even began to doubt that the Catacomb Church existed any longer (Archbishop Mark of Berlin declared in the 1990s, when catacombniks were pouring into ROCOR, that the Catacomb Church had died out in the 1950s!). On the other hand, some Catacomb priests inside Russia, having lost contact with, and knowledge of, any canonical bishops there might still be inside Russia, began commemorating Metropolitan Anastasy, first-hierarch of ROCOR.


     These tendencies gave rise to the perception that the leadership of True Orthodoxy had now passed from inside Russia to outside Russia. Moreover, the significance of the Catacomb Church began to be lost, as the struggle was increasingly seen to be between the “red church” inside Russia (the MP) and the “white church” outside Russia (ROCOR). This position was reinforced by the negative attitude taken towards most of the Catacomb clergy still alive in 1990 by Bishop Lazarus of Tambov, the bishop secretly consecrated by ROCOR in 1982 as her representative in Russia. In particular, Bishop Lazarus rejected the canonicity of two groups of Catacomb clergy deriving their apostolic succession from Bishop Seraphim (Pozdeyev) and Schema-Metropolitan Gennady (Sekach)[67], on the one hand, and Archbishop Anthony (Galynsky-Mikhailovsky)[68], on the other.


     Tragically, ROCOR relied on Bishop Lazarus’s testimony as their sole guide to the canonicity or otherwise of the Catacomb bishops in Russia. Thus, as we have seen, on May 5/18, 1990 the ROCOR Synod reversed the previous decision of the Synod under Metropolitan Philaret to recognize Archbishop Anthony (Galynsky-Mikhailovsky) and his ordinations, and told the priests ordained by him “to regulate their canonical position by turning towards his Grace Bishop Lazarus of Tambov and Morshansk”. Again, on August 2/15, 1990 another ukaz was distributed (but not published) which rejected the canonicity both of the “Seraphimo-Gennadiite” and the “Galynskyite” branches of the Catacomb Church, causing widespread havoc in both.[69]


     The main accusation against these Catacomb hierarchs was their inability to prove their apostolic succession by producing ordination certificates, as required by the 33rd Apostolic Canon. This was, of course, a serious deficiency; and it was perfectly reasonable that ROCOR should first seek to check their canonical status before entering into communion with them.  But in view of both groups’ favourable attitude towards ROCOR, it would seem to have been more reasonable and charitable to have talked with them directly, learned their history and their point of view on the problem, and discussed with them some way of correcting this deficiency without resorting to the punitive measures of a papal curia. And such a charitable, unifying attitude to the various Catacomb groups had been urged by Bishop Gregory (Grabbe). However, they were rejected without the slightest consultation or attempt to come to some kind of agreement; and so the possibility of correcting the canonical anomalies of these hierarchs in a peaceful manner and with their complete cooperation was lost.


     The news that ROCOR had rejected them produced catastrophic effects in the lower clergy and laity of Catacomb groups. Thus the present writer remembers coming to a catacomb gathering in Moscow on the eve of the Feast of the Dormition, 1990. The priest entered, and instead of vesting himself for the vigil service, took off his cross in the presence of all the people, declaring: “According to ROCOR I am not a priest.” Then he went to Bishop Lazarus and was reordained. Meanwhile, his flock, abandoned by their shepherd and deprived of any pastoral guidance, scattered in different directions…


     The impression was created that ROCOR had come into Russia, not in order to work with the Catacomb Church for the triumph of True Orthodoxy, but in order to replace her, or at most to gather the remnants of the catacombs under her sole authority. Indeed, in one declaration explaining the reasons for the consecration of Bishop Lazarus, ROCOR stated that it was in order “to regulate the church life of the Catacomb Church[70]. Moreover, in the years to come the ROCOR Synod sometimes described itself as the central authority of the True Russian Church – in spite of the fact that this “central authority” was based, not in Russia, but thousands of miles away in New York!


     ROCOR later came to believe that she had made a mistake in this matter. Thus Archbishop Hilarion wrote to the present writer: “The statement which I signed as Deputy Secretary of the Synod was based entirely on the information given to us by Archbishop Lazarus. He reported to the Synod on the different groups of the Catacombs and convinced the members of the Synod (or the Council – I don’t recall offhand which) that their canonicity was questionable and in some instances – their purity of doctrine as well (e.g. imyabozhniki). The Synod members hoped (naively) that this would convince the catacomb groups to rethink their position and seek from the Russian Church Abroad correction of their orders to guarantee apostolic succession. We now see that it was a mistake to issue the statement and to have based our understanding of the catacomb situation wholly on the information provided by Vl. Lazarus. I personally regret this whole matter very much and seek to have a better understanding of and a sincere openness towards the long-suffering confessors of the Russian Catacombs.”[71]


     Such repentance was admirable, but unfortunately lacking in fruits worthy of repentance. On November 21 / December 4, 1992, Metropolitan Epiphanius of the Seraphimo-Gennadiites wrote to Metropolitan Vitaly, but received no reply. No further attempt was made by ROCOR to rectify its mistake.


     The bad reputation of Bishop Lazarus led to a schism between ROCOR and another branch of the Catacomb Church, the so-called “passportless” - so called, because its members refuse to carry Soviet passports as signifying the seal of the Antichrist.[72] This branch – if it can be called that, and not simply a “right wing” tendency in several distinct branches – is based mainly in Eastern Russia and Siberia. On the death of their last bishop, Theodosius (Bakhmetev) (+1986), one part of the passportless elected Fr. Gurias (Pavlov) as their candidate for the episcopate, and in the spring of 1990 he travelled for this purpose to the Synod of ROCOR in New York (for which, of course, he had to compromise and take a passport). However, when Fr. Gurias learned that Bishop Lazarus was to take part in his consecration, believing Lazarus to be a KGB agent, he refused the episcopate, broke with ROCOR and returned to Russia. After some negotiations with the Greek Old Calendarist Archbishop Chrysostom II of Athens, Fr. Gurias turned to the Auxentiites and received consecration as Bishop of Kazan in Boston in July, 1991. He died in Kazan on Christmas Day, 1995/96.[73]


     ROCOR’s relationship with the passportless revealed an important theological difference between the True Churches inside and outside Russia in their attitude to the State in Soviet in post-Soviet Russia. In view of the decades of geographical isolation between the Churches such a difference was perhaps not surprising. But it turned out to be perhaps the most important single factor leading to the failure of ROCOR’s mission in Russia.


     The Church inside Russia, living under the threat of complete annihilation, was inclined to describe her situation in apocalyptic terms, thus: since 1917 we have entered the last period of Church history, the period of the Apocalypse; the True Church, like the woman clothed in the sun, has fled into the wilderness, and the earth (the catacombs) has swallowed her up; while the false church, the Moscow Patriarchate, is the whore sitting on the red beast (communism) (Revelation chapters 12-13 and 17). ROCOR had used very similar language to describe the situation in her All-Emigration Council of Belgrade in 1938; but in the post-war years, as news of the Catacomb Church became scarcer, on the one hand, and the Soviet beast became, by the standards of the 1930s, relatively gentler, on the other, this eschatological emphasis became less pronounced.


     This difference became a clear theological divergence in, for example, the correspondence between Metropolitan Vitaly and representatives of the passportless in the early 1990s. The metropolitan compared the Soviet Union to the Roman empire. St Paul had been proud of his Roman citizenship, he wrote, so what was wrong with having a Soviet passport and being called a Soviet citizen? [74]


     The Passportless Christians were appalled by the comparison – as if Rome, the state in which Christ Himself was born and was registered in a census, and which later grew into the great Orthodox Christian empires of Byzantium, the New Rome, and Russia, the Third Rome, could be compared to the anti-state, the collective Antichrist established, not by God, but by satan (Revelation 13.2), which had destroyed the Russian empire![75] Rome, even in its pagan phase, had protected the Christians from the fury of the Jews: the Soviet Union was, in its early phase, the instrument of the Jews against the Christians. Rome, even in its pagan phase, guaranteed a framework of law and order within which the apostles could rapidly spread the faith from one end of the world to the other: the Soviet Union forced a population that was already Orthodox in its great majority to renounce their faith or hide it “in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth” (Hebrews 11.38).


     Here we see a falling away of ROCOR from her own earlier teaching in 1933, when she had explicitly rejected the comparison between Soviet and Roman power: “In the present case no historical parallels and analogies are applicable to the Soviet regime. It would be inappropriate to compare it with the Roman authority, submission to which the Apostles Peter and Paul demanded of the Christians of their time…”[76]


     (c) ROCOR in relation to the MP. Closely related to this difference in attitude towards the Soviet State was a difference in attitude towards the Soviet Church – that is, the Moscow Patriarchate. ROCOR’s position here was tragically double-minded: the bishops proved themselves incapable of making up their minds whether the MP was their bitterest enemy or their most beloved mother, whether it was necessary to fight her or unite with her![77] This double-mindedness bore bitter fruit that was to lead to schism and the collapse of ROCOR’s mission inside Russia and the eventual fall of the main body of ROCOR herself.


     The roots of this double-mindedness go back to the post-war period, when large numbers of Christians fleeing towards Western Europe from Soviet Russia were joined to ROCOR. In receiving these Christians, little difference was made between those who had belonged to the Catacomb Church, and those who had belonged to the MP. Some, even including bishops, turned out to be KGB agents, and either returned to the MP or remained as “moles” to undermine ROCOR. Others, while sincerely anti-Soviet, were not sufficiently “enchurched” to see the fundamental ecclesiological significance of the schism in the Russian Church.


     Thus a certain “dilution” in the quality of those joining ROCOR in the second emigration by comparison with the first – and the problem was to get worse with the third and fourth emigrations of the 70s, 80s and 90s – which began to affect the confessing stance of the Church as a whole. Even members of the first emigration were proving susceptible to deception: over half of the Church in America and all except one diocese in China (that of Shanghai, led by St. John Maximovich) were lured back into the arms of the Soviet “Fatherland” and its Soviet “Church”. Another reason for this diminution in zeal was ROCOR’s continuing communion with the Local Orthodox Churches of “World Orthodoxy” even after all of these (except Jerusalem) sent representatives to the local Councils of the MP in 1945 and 1948. The reasons for this depended on the Church in question. Thus communion continued with the Serbian Church because of the debt of gratitude owed to it because of the hospitality shown by the Serbian Church to ROCOR in the inter-war years. Communion continued with the Jerusalem Patriarchate because all churches in the Holy Land, including ROCOR monasteries, were required, under threat of closure, to commemorate the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Communion also continued, albeit intermittently, with the Greek new calendarist churches, because the Patriarchate of Constantinople was powerful in the United States, the country to which ROCOR moved its headquarters after the war.


     This ambiguous relationship towards “World Orthodoxy” inevitably began to affect ROCOR’s zeal in relation to the MP in particular. For if the MP was recognised by Serbia and Jerusalem, and Serbia and Jerusalem were recognised by ROCOR, the conclusion was drawn that the MP, while bad, was still a Church. And this attitude in turn affected ROCOR’s attitude towards the Catacomb Church, which was no longer seen by many, including several of the bishops, as the only true Church in Russia, but rather as a brave, but not entirely canonical organisation or collection of groupings which needed to be “rescued” by ROCOR before it descended into a form of sectarianism similar to that of the Old Believers. This pro-Muscovite tendency in ROCOR was led, by the powerful Archbishop Mark of Berlin, who argued that ROCOR should return into communion with the patriarchate now that communism had fallen.[78]


     As ROCOR began to lose confidence in herself and the Catacomb Church as the only bearers of true Russian Orthodoxy, the accent began to shift towards the preservation, not of Orthodoxy as such, but of Russianness. But for a foreign Church, however Russian in spirit, to claim to be more Russian than the Russians inside Russia was bound to be perceived as arrogant and humiliating (especially in the mouth of an ethnic German such as Archbishop Mark of Berlin!). And so, after the need to display a specifically Soviet patriotism fell away in the early 90s, the MP was able to mount a successful counter-attack, claiming for itself the mantle of “Russianness” as against the “American” church of ROCOR.


     As a result of all this, at the very moment that ROCOR was called by God to enter into an open war with the MP for the souls of the Russian people on Russian soil, she found herself tactically unprepared, hesitant, unsure of her ability to fight this great enemy, unsure even whether this enemy was in fact an enemy and not a potential friend, sister or even “mother”. In consequence, ROCOR found itself “moving in two directions”, as the brother-priests Dionysius and Timothy Alferov put it. “The first was that of establishing [ROCOR] parishes in Russia. The second was working to enlighten the clergy of the very MP itself, and had as its goal the passing on to the [Russian] Homeland of the riches of the [Russian] Abroad’s spiritual and ecclesio-social experience. The adherents and supporters of both these courses of action argued amongst themselves from the start, although it cannot be said that these two approaches would have been completely and mutually exclusive, the one of the other.”[79] This double-mindedness eventually led to the collapse of the mission. For “if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?” (I Corinthians 14.8). Looking more at her enemies than at the Lord, ROCOR began, like the Apostle Peter, to sink beneath the waves. And the MP which, at the beginning of the 90s had been seriously rattled, recovered her confidence and by the middle of the 90s had recovered her position in public opinion, while ROCOR lost ground.[80]


     This doublemindedness can be seen in ROCOR Synod’s statement of May 3/16, 1990, written by Archbishop Anthony of Geneva. In general it was strongly anti-MP, declaring that sergianism would not come to an end “until it renounces the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius, repents of the errors that followed from it, removes from its administration the hierarchs that have compromised themselves by anticanonical and amoral acts, have been involved in corruption and theft from the state through the mediation of secular authorities, and have also permitted distortions in the Divine services of the Russian Orthodox Church.” But it contained the qualification that there might be true priests dispensing valid sacraments in the patriarchate.


     The idea that there can be true priests in a heretical church is canonical nonsense (Apostolic Canon 46), and Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) immediately obtained the removal of the offending phrase. But the damage had been done.  The statement also spoke about creating a “parallel” structure of parishes in Russia – in parallel, that is, to the parishes of the MP. This, too, was canonical nonsense, and elicited the suspicion that ROCOR was not really aiming to replace the MP, but to co-exist with it.


     But, of course, ROCOR could not coexist with the MP inside Russia. And so many within ROCOR opposed ROCOR’s mission within Russia. Thus Tatiana Senina writes: “Already at the beginning of the 1990s far from all the clergy of ROCOR supported the creation of canonical structures of our Church in Russia. This, for example, is what Fr. Alexander Mileant (now Bishop of Buenos-Aires and South America) wrote in 1991, officially addressing the believers of the MP in the name of his parish: ‘… Many write to us from Russia about the problems in the Russian Church (Moscow Patriarchate), about the presence in it of unworthy clergy who co-operated with the God-fighting power… Their presence in the Church is one more inherited illness which we must begin to cure with the help of God. However, we are disturbed by the move of some parishes dissatisfied with the Moscow Patriarchate into the spiritual care of the Russian Church Abroad, and also by the consecration of bishops for Russia. This can lead to a splintering of the Russian Church into a multitude of jurisdictions warring with each other and to the strengthening of sectarianism. Apparently the most appropriate thing to do now would be to convene an All-Russian Church Council as soon as possible with the participation of the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Russian Church Abroad and if possible of other Orthodox Churches in order to discuss the problems of the Orthodox Church in Russia and for the rapprochement or even merging of the Church Abroad with the mother Russian Church. I pray God to enlighten all the archpastors to find the way to correct the problems and instil peace in the Church. On my part I wish success to his Holiness Patriarch Alexis and all the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church in the strengthening of faith in the Russian people!’”[81]


Bishop Valentine and ROCOR


     The official beginning of ROCOR’s mission in Russia was marked by the concelebration of three ROCOR hierarchs – Mark, Hilarion and Lazarus - in Fr. Valentine’s parish in Suzdal on June 8/21, 1990.[82] Valentine soon began to attract priests and parishes from both the MP and the Catacomb Church. But Bishop Lazarus constantly impeded his work, as did most of the bishops. Only Metropolitan Vitaly and Bishop Gregory Grabbe supported him.


     His main opponent was Archbishop Mark of Berlin, who, in July, 1990, wrote a letter to Metropolitan Vitaly full of innuendos against Archimandrite Valentine, whom he described as “in everything – his behaviour, his mentality – a typical product of the Soviet Patriarchate.” Then he ordained a priest for St. Petersburg, established a “Special German deanery” under the Monk Ambrose (von Sievers), who later founded his own Synod, and in general acted as if Russia were an extension of the German diocese. [83]


     In November, 1991 Bishop Valentine was asked about Archbishop Mark’s role. The reply was carefully weighed: “When the situation in Russia was still in an embryonic stage, Archbishop Mark with the agreement of the first-hierarch of ROCOR made various attempts to build church life in Russia. One of Archbishop Mark’s experiments was the ‘special German deanery’ headed by Fr. Ambrose (Sievers). Now this is changing, insofar as the situation in the FROC has been sufficiently normalized. From now on not one hierarch will interfere in Russian affairs – except, it goes without saying, the three hierarchs of the FROC.”[84]


     On October 3/16, 1990, Bishop Gregory wrote to Bishop Barnabas seeking his support for Valentine. He was not very learned, he said, but he was “bold” and “right-thinking”. He also sought support for Valentine from Archbishop Anthony of San Francisco on October 13/26. Finally, at the end of October, 1990, “the Metropolitan, urged by Grabbe, approved the consecration of Valentine [to the episcopate], against the opposition of Archbishops Mark of Germany and Anthony of Los Angeles, and directed Archbishop Anthony of Geneva and Bishop Barnabas to consecrate Valentine. This took place in Brussels in February, 1991.”[85] Soon a third bishop, Benjamin of the Kuban (a former member of the Seraphimo-Gennadiite branch of the Catacomb Church) was consecrated. The ROCOR’s mission inside the country was now called the “Free Russian Orthodox Church” (FROC), and its numbers had increased to some sixty parishes, while the Moscow Patriarchate suffered a very sharp drop in popularity.[86]


     The boundaries of the three bishops’ dioceses were not clearly delineated at this stage. As Archbishop Lazarus explained: “The Hierarchical Synod decreed equal rights for us three Russian hierarchs. If someone from the patriarchate wants to join Vladyka Valentine – please. If he wants to join Vladyka Benjamin or me – please. So far the division [of dioceses] is only conditional – more exactly, Russia is in the position of a missionary region. Each of us can receive parishes in any part of the country. For the time being it is difficult to define the boundaries of dioceses.”[87]


     From the middle of 1991 the lack of unity among the bishops was becoming a major problem. “Lazarus,” writes Zalewski, “did not answer Valentine’s letters and even broke off contact with the Office of the Metropolitan in New York. While in August that year Valentine expanded the number of his parishes and obtained their official registration, Lazarus’ activities showed no tangible results. Lazarus refused to attend the Sobor in New York to settle his differences with Valentine. Grabbe (letter to Archbishop Anthony of Geneva 23 August / 5 September, 1991) indicates that by this refusal Lazarus breaks church laws which is an especially serious offence ‘in the conditions of our struggle for existence’.”[88]


     Still more serious was the anti-canonical interference of foreign clergy inside Russia. Bishops and priests visiting Russia from abroad often showed an extraordinary inability to distinguish between the true Church and the false. Thus Archbishop Laurus, on visiting Sanino, a village in Vladimir region in which there existed a ROCOR priest, chose instead to stay with the local MP priest! Another bishop shared some holy relics with – the MP Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk (KGB agent “Ostrovsky”)!


     Again, at a time when the MP, with the help of the local authorities and OMON forces, was seizing back churches that had gone over to the FROC by force, Archbishop Mark was calling for official negotiations with the Moscow Patriarchate[89], publicly calling Lazarus and Benjamin poor administrators, and urging believers in a publicly distributed letter “to distance yourselves from Bishop Valentine of the Suzdal and Vladimir diocese of the Free Russian Orthodox Church”, whom he described as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Instead, he told them to turn to Fr. Sergius Perekrestov (a priest who was later defrocked for adultery before leaving the FROC). A priest of the Moscow Patriarchate interpreted this letter to mean that ROCOR had “turned its back on the Suzdal diocese of the FROC”.[90]


     On October 2, 1992, in a letter to Protopriest Michael Artsimovich, Archbishop Mark again demonstrated that he respected neither the Russian bishops nor their flock: “We are receiving by no means the best representatives of the Russian Church. Basically, these are people who know little or nothing about the Church Abroad. And in those cases in which someone possesses some information, it must be doubtful that he is in general in a condition to understand it in view of his own mendacity and the mendacity of his own situation. In receiving priests from the Patriarchate, we receive with them a whole series of inadequacies and vices of the MP itself… The real Catacomb Church no longer exists. It in fact disappeared in the 1940s or the beginning of the 1950s… Only individual people have been preserved from it, and in essence everything that has arisen since is only pitiful reflections, and people take their desires for reality. Those who poured into this stream in the 1950s and later were themselves infected with Soviet falsehood, and they partly – and involuntarily - participate in it themselves, that is, they enter the category of what we call ‘homo sovieticus’… In Russia, consequently, there cannot be a Russian Church because it is all based on Soviet man… I think it is more expedient to seek allies for ourselves among those elements that are pure or striving for canonical purity both in the depths of the Moscow Patriarchate and in the other Local Churches – especially in Serbia or even Greece…We will yet be able to deliver ourselves from that impurity which we have now received from the Moscow Patriarchate, and again start on the path of pure Orthodoxy… It is evident that we must… try and undertake the russification of Soviet man and the Soviet church…”[91]


     Archbishop Mark’s remarks about the russification of Soviet man did not go down well in Russia – especially coming from an ethnic German. And his rejection of the very existence of the Catacomb Church especially angered the catacombniks. In a letter to Metropolitan Vitaly dated December 25, 1992, Bishop Valentine complained that Archbishop Mark’s attacks against him had been distributed, not only to members of the Synod, but also to laypeople and even in churches of the Moscow Patriarchate. And he went on: “On the basis of the above positions I have the right to confirm that after my consecration to the episcopate his Eminence Vladyka Mark did everything to cause a quarrel between me and their Eminences Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Benjamin…


     “It is interesting that when their Eminences Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Benjamin, by virtue of the Apostolic canons and their pastoral conscience, adopted, with me, a principled position on the question of his Eminence Archbishop Mark’s claims to administer Russian parishes, the latter simply dismissed the two hierarchs as being incapable of administration… Then Archbishop Mark … chose a different tactic. He wrote a letter to Kaliningrad, calling me ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’, and this letter was read out from the ambon in the churches of the Moscow patriarchate.


     “Yesterday I was told that his Eminence Archbishop Mark sent a fax to the Synod insistently recommending that his Eminence Barnabas not be recalled from Moscow until a church trial had been carried out on Valentine. What trial, for what? For everything that I have done, for all my labours? Does not putting me on trial mean they want to put you, too, on trial? Does this not mean that it striking me with their fist they get at you with their elbow?”[92]


     The reference to Bishop Barnabas is explained as follows. In February, 1992 he had been sent to Moscow as superior of the community of SS. Martha and Mary in Moscow, which was designated the Synodal podvorye.[93] Bishop Barnabas immediately established contacts with the KGB-supported fascist organisation Pamiat’. Then, in May, Pamiat’ organized a “car race” in honour of the names-day of Tsar Nicholas II. Members of Pamiat’ and Cossacks in 20 cars went through the central streets of Moscow. Bishop Barnabas and the priests Alexis Averianov and Oleg Steniaev, together with the MP priest Victor, served moliebens along the way. “In the course of one of the moliebens Protopriest Alexis Averianov, the spiritual father of the SS. Martha and Mary community and of the National-Patriotic Front Pamiat’, called on those assembled ‘to take your place in the ranks of the national-patriotic and ecclesiastical movement’. The leader of Pamiat’, Demetrius Vasiliev, declared that ‘there was no schism in the Russian church’…”[94]


     As a result of this, the owner of the Mary-Martha Convent, which had been Barnabas’ headquarters, took fright and removed it from ROCOR…


     On August 3, Bishop Barnabas organized “a conference of the clergy with the aim of organizing the Moscow diocesan organization of our Church. The conference was attended by more than ten clergy from Moscow and other parts of Russia. In his speech before the participants Vladyka pointed out the necessity of creating a diocesan administration which would unite all the parishes of the FROC in Moscow and Moscow region, and also those parishes in other regions of Russia which wanted to unite with this diocesan administration.”[95] Barnabas went on to receive clerics who had been banned by the Russian bishops, especially Valentine (whom he accused of homosexuality), and ordained priests in their dioceses without asking them. The appointment of a foreign bishop with almost unlimited powers in Russia was a direct encroachment on the canonical rights of the Russian bishops was becoming increasingly scandalous. According to the holy canons (8th of the 3rd Ecumenical Council, 9th of Antioch, 64th and 67th of Carthage), no bishop can encroach on the territory of another bishop or perform any sacramental action in it without his permission. Also at the August conference, “a diocesan council was elected, containing three members of the National Patriotic Front, Pamyat’, as representatives of the laity.”[96]


     On October 25 / November 7, 1992, Metropolitan Vitaly and the Synod of ROCOR acted to distance themselves from the activities of Bishop Barnabas, sending Bishop Hilarion and Fr. Victor Potapov to Moscow to express the official position of ROCOR at a press conference; which duly took place on November 13.


     However, in February, 1993, at a meeting of the Synod in New York, it was decided to reject this press-conference as “provocative” and to praise one of the pro-fascist priests, Fr. Alexis Averianov, for his “fruitful work with Pamiat’”, bestowing on him an award for his “stand for righteousness”. Moreover, no action was taken against Bishop Barnabas, while Fr. Victor was forbidden to undertake any ecclesiastical or public activity in Russia.[97]


     Bishop Gregory desperately tried to support the Russian bishops against Barnabas, but almost the entire foreign episcopate was now working to support Barnabas and undermine Valentine – including the metropolitan, who had changed course yet again. Thus on 29 December, 1992, Archbishop Anthony of Geneva wrote to Bishop Gregory: “There is no unity among the episcopate… You support Bishop Valentine, I – Bishop Barnabas… For the time being I am withdrawing from Russian affairs… The metropolitan contradicts himself and easily falls under others’ influence, as, for example, [Fr. Victor] Potapov and others. Thanks to him we are in a muddle… May God not allow the episcopate to be increased there [in Russia] in order that there should be more dirt and quarrels. There is no [good] man there, and none with us either… Act, holy Vladyko, but do not make mistakes.” On 29 December / 12 January, 1992/93, Bishop Gregory replied that regardless of whether Valentine was nice or not, “he has 43 parishes and care for parishioners is crucial.”[98]


     In 1993 Archimandrite Adrian and a large patriarchal parish in Noginsk numbering no less than 10,000 parishioners applied to come under the omophorion of Bishop Valentine, and was accepted by him on January 19. At the same time the MP circulated an accusation - signed by a woman but with no other indication of time, place or names of witnesses of the supposed crime - that Archimandrite Adrian had raped one altar boy and had had improper relations with another. This accusation turned out to be completely fabricated – the “raped” altar boy wrote a letter of apology to Fr. Adrian and the letter was accepted by the prosecutor in the criminal court. Both youngsters were then sued for stealing icons…


     In spite of this, Bishop Barnabas convened a “Church Court of the Moscow Diocesan Administration”, and without any kind of investigation or trial, banned the archimandrite, although he belonged to a different diocese, on the grounds of immorality. (The two priests in this court, Protopriest Alexis Averianov and Archimandrite Ioasaph Shibaev had already been unlawfully received by Bishop Barnabas into his jurisdiction, although they had been banned (whether justly or not is not the question here) by Archbishop Lazarus.) Now Archimandrite Adrian, who later joined the Ukrainian church, did turn out to be a less than strictly moral priest. Nevertheless, this in no way justified Bishop Barnabas’ uncanonical actions. Moreover, as the Russian newspapers pointed out, Bishop Barnabas seemed to be partially supporting the patriarchate in the struggle for this parish – in which, as Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) pointed out, the KGB appeared also to be operating.[99]


     Incited by Barnabas, several ROCOR bishops wanted to proceed with defrocking Bishop Valentine; but the decision was made to retire him instead on grounds of his ill-health – a completely uncanonical decision since neither had Bishop Valentine petitioned for his retirement nor had the ROCOR bishops investigated his state of health. Bishop Barnabas also attacked Archbishop Lazarus as an incompetent old man, and Bishop Benjamin as a collective farm worker in bast shoes!


     Worse was to come. Bishop Barnabas wrote (on official Synod notepaper) to Metropolitan Vladimir (Romanyuk) of the uncanonical Ukrainian Autocephalous Church seeking to enter into communion with him, and followed this up by visiting him in Kiev. The whole affair was exposed when Metropolitan Vitaly received an invitation from the “Patriarch” to visit Kiev in order to make the inter-communion official.[100] Of course, the MP seized on this to discredit the whole of ROCOR!


      Bishop Barnabas’ contribution was summed up as follows: “In the shortest time [he] introduced the most complete chaos[101] into the life of the Free Church, which was beginning to be reborn. This representative of the Synod began, above the heads of the Diocesan Bishops of the Free Church in Russia, and in violation of the basic canonical rules, to receive into his jurisdiction clerics who had been banned from serving by them, to carry out ordinations in their dioceses without their knowledge, and finally was not ashamed to demand, at the Council in 1993, that he should be given rights to administer all the parishes of the Free Church in Russia![102] This request was not granted by the Council, the more so in that it learned that ‘the empowered representative of the Synod of the Russian Church Abroad in Moscow’, on writing-paper of the Hierarchical Synod, wrote a petition to ‘the Locum Tenens of the Kievan Patriarchal Throne’, Metropolitan Vladimir (Romanyuk), in which it said that ‘the treacherous Muscovite scribblers hired by the Moscow Patriarchate are trying to trample into the mud the authority of the Russian Church Abroad. In this connection: we beseech you, Your Eminence, through the Kievan Patriarchate headed by you, to give our ecclesiastical activity a juridical base and receive us into brotherly communion.’ Extraordinary as it may seem, the Council did not consider it necessary to defrock its representative, and it was put to him that he should set off for the Holy Land for a mere three months without right of serving – which, however, he did not carry out. This shameful letter was widely distributed by the Moscow Patriarchate, while the ‘Patriarchal Locum Tenens’, delighted by this prospect, invited the First-Hierarch of the Church Abroad to visit Kiev in written form. This letter was also widely distributed.”[103]


The First Schism


     On April 14/27, 1993 Archbishop Lazarus sent an “explanatory report” to the Synod detailing the many serious canonical violations committed against the Russian bishops, and in particular against himself, to which the leadership of ROCOR had not reacted in spite of many appeals. He then declared his “temporary administrative separation” from the Synod until the Synod restored canonical order. But, he insisted, he was not breaking communion with ROCOR. As a result of this, without consulting either him or his diocese, ROCOR meeting in Cleveland, Ohio retired him, and the administration of his parishes was transferred to Metropolitan Vitaly.


     In May, during its Council in Lesna, the Synod effectively retired Bishop Valentine also – it goes without saying, against his will and without canonical justification. As Metropolitan Vitaly wrote to him: “The Hierarchical Council has become acquainted with your administrative successes. However, your health in such a difficult situation makes it necessary for us to retire you because of illness until your full recovery. This means that if you are physically able, you can serve, since you are in now way banned from church serving, but you are simply freed from administrative cares”.


     During the Council a letter was read from a group of Catacomb Christians expressing disagreement with the actions of Archbishop Lazarus and asking that Bishop Barnabas be placed in charge of all the Russian parishes.


     Bishop Barnabas also received support from a parish in Voronezh, which asked that the Council confirm in its epistle the reasons not allowing ROCOR to enter into communion with the MP.


     At the same time, however, Archbishop Mark told the bishops that in five years his German diocese would no longer exist, and that more and more people considered the confrontational approach to the MP wrong. He was opposed by Metropolitan Vitaly, Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles and Bishop Gregory. However, Archbishop Mark brought this issue up more than once (in Protocols 3 and 7), which shows where he himself was moving…[104]


     In a report to the Synod dated May 16/29, after sharply criticizing the Synod’s unjust and uncanonical actions against Bishop Valentine, Bishop Gregory said: “Our responsibility before God demands from us the annulment of this conciliar resolution, and if there are accusers who have material which has not yet been shown us in documentary form, then Bishop Valentine must be returned to his see and the affair must be either cut short or again reviewed by the Council, but now in agreement with the canons that we have in the Church. For this would clearly be necessary to convene a Council, and for a start a judgement must be made about it in the Synod…


     “As a consequence of this Archbishop Lazarus has already left us. And Bishop Valentine’s patience is already being tried. If he, too, will not bear the temptation, what will we be left with? Will his flock in such a situation want to leave with him? Will not it also rebel?


     “For clarity’s sake I must begin with an examination of certain matters brought up at the expanded session of the Synod which took place in Munich.


     “A certain tension was noticeable there in spite of the external calmness. It turned out that behind the scenes a suspicious attitude towards Bishop Valentine had arisen. Already after the closing of the Synod I learned that several members of the Synod had been shown a document containing accusations of transgressions of the laws of morality against Bishop Valentine. The President of the Synod did not have this document during the sessions but only at the end. It was then that I, too, received a copy of the denunciation from Archbishop Mark, who was given it by Bishop Barnabas, who evidently did not know how to deal with such objects according to the Church canons. I involuntarily ascribed the unexpected appearance of such a document amidst the members of the Synod to the action of some communist secret agents and to the inexperience of Bishop Barnabas in such matters.


     “The caution of the Church authorities in relation to similar accusations in the time of troubles after the persecutions was ascribed to the 74th Apostolic canon, the 2nd canon of the 1st Ecumenical Council and especially to the 6th canon of the 2nd Ecumenical Council. At that time the heretics were multiplying their intrigues against the Orthodox hierarchs. The above-mentioned canons indicate that accusations hurled by less than two or three witnesses – who were, besides, faithful children of the Church and accusers worthy of trust – were in no way to be accepted…


     “Did they apply such justice and caution when they judged Bishop Valentine, and were ready without any investigation to ... defrock him for receiving Archimandrite Adrian? And were the accusations hurled at the latter really seriously examined?


     “Beginning with the processing, contrary to the canons, of the accusations against Bishop Valentine on the basis of the single complaint of a person known to none of us[105], the Sobor was already planning to defrock him without any kind of due process, until the argument of his illness turned up. But here, too, they failed to consider that this required his own petition and a check to ascertain the seriousness of his illness. The intention was very simple: just get rid of a too active Bishop. They didn’t think of the fate of his parishes, which exist on his registration. Without him they would lose it.


     “While we, in the absence of the accused and, contrary to the canons, without his knowledge, were deciding the fate of the Suzdal diocese, Vladyka Valentine received three more parishes. Now he has 63. Taking into account Archimandrite Adrian with his almost 10,000 people, we are talking about approximately twenty thousand souls.


     “The question arises: in whose interests is it to destroy what the papers there call the centre of the Church Abroad in Russia?


     “The success of Bishop Valentine’s mission has brought thousands of those being saved into our Church, but now this flock is condemned to widowhood and the temptation of having no head only because he turned out not to be suitable to some of our Bishops…”[106]


     It was in this highly charged atmosphere, with their bishop forcibly and uncanonically retired and the registration of all their parishes hanging by a thread, that the annual diocesan conference of the Suzdal diocese took place from June 9/22 to 11/24. It was also attended by priests representing Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Benjamin. Hieromonk Agathangelus read out a letter from Archbishop Lazarus in which he declared that although he had considered the actions of ROCOR in Russia to be uncanonical, he had tolerated them out of brotherly love, but was now forced to speak out against them, for they were inflicting harm on the Church. First, ROCOR did not have the right to form its own parishes in Russia insofar as the Catacomb Church, which had preserved the succession of grace of the Mother Church, continued to exist on her territory. Therefore it was necessary only to strengthen the catacomb communities and expand them through an influx of new believers. Secondly, the hierarchs of ROCOR had been acting in a spirit far from brotherly love, for they had been treating their brothers, the hierarchs of the FROC, as second-class Vladykas: they received clergy who had been banned by the Russian Vladykas, brought clergy of other dioceses to trial, removed bans placed by the Russian hierarchs without their knowledge or agreement, and annulled other decisions of theirs (for example, Metropolitan Vitaly forbade an inspection to be carried out in the parish of Fr. Sergius Perekrestov of St. Petersburg). Thirdly, the ROCOR hierarchs were far from Russia and did not understand the situation, so they could not rightly administer the Russian parishes. Thus the Synod removed the title ‘Administering the affairs of the FROC’ from all the hierarchs except Bishop Barnabas, which forced the dioceses to re-register with the authorities - although, while a new registration was being carried out, the parishes could lose their right to ownership of the churches and other property. Moreover re-registration was almost impossible, insofar as it required the agreement of an expert consultative committee attached to the Supreme Soviet, which contained hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate. Fourthly, the ROCOR hierarchs had been inconsistent in their actions, which aroused the suspicion that their actions were directed, not by the Holy Spirit, but by forces foreign to the Church.[107] Archbishop Lazarus concluded by calling for the formation of a True Orthodox Catacomb Church that was administratively separate from, but in communion with, ROCOR, on the basis of Patriarch Tikhon’s ukaz ¹ 362, which had never been annulled.


     The Conference’s Address and Resolutions accused the ROCOR Synod of inactivity and of not defending the parishes in Russia from persecution on the part of the MP, and of “not hurrying to exchange their titles of bishops of distant regions and cities with non-Russian names for the names of Russian regions and cities… The Hierarchy Abroad remains unreachable. In this unreachableness, alas, many have begun to find a similarity with the unreachableness for believers of the hierarchy of the MP. The one certain factor influencing the majority of the hierarchs of ROCOR in their relationship to their suffering fellow-countrymen in Russia is intense distrust. Suspicion and mistrustfulness have become the spring that moves the hierarchs of ROCOR. We would like to know in accordance with what rules and canons the Hierarchical Council intended to deprive the Russian hierarchs, Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Valentine, of their sees… Did the Hierarchical Council ask the much-suffering Russian people whether their conscience allows them to take upon themselves the sin of Judas and betray their spiritual Archpastor? We cannot keep silence, peacefully surveying the destructive activity of the hierarchs of the Church Abroad in Russia… and we are forced to govern ourselves in accordance with the Decree of the Holy Hierarch Tikhon, Patriarch and Confessor of All Russia, the Sacred Synod and the Higher Ecclesiastical Council on the independence of those parts of the Russian Church deprived for one reason or another of the possibility of communicating with her central authorities… If the Hierarchical Synod of ROCOR were to adopt new and uncanonical decisions that are incomprehensible for Russian [Rossijskikh] Orthodox Christians, we reserve for ourselves the right correspondingly to adopt decisions that will aid the regeneration of Russian Orthodoxy and its salvation… In view of the uncanonicity of certain resolutions of the Hierarchical Council of ROCOR that took place in the convent of Lesna in France, and the session of the Hierarchical Synod that preceded it in Cleveland (USA), in relation to the Russian parishes and events in Russia and the completely distorted presentation of them, we ask the First Hierarch of ROCOR to convene an emergency Council and rescind the resolutions that are contrary to the Canons and Decrees of the Holy Church. If our request is rejected, then the whole responsibility for the consequences lies upon those who have adopted anti-canonical bans that violate the Apostolic Rules and the Rules of the Holy Church… Desiring the speediest overcoming of the isolation of the hierarchs of ROCOR from the Russian [Rossijskoj] flock and their return to the Homeland…”


     After quoting these words, Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles wrote, in a letter to Metropolitan Vitaly: “All the documents of the congress: the Agenda, the Resolutions, the Address to the Synod and the Protocols serve as vivid accusations first of all against Bishop Valentine, but also against all the participants in the congress who signed the Address and Resolutions…


     “How is one to describe this, which is only a few extracts from the whole? This is uncommon ignorance, and madness, and untruth, and rebellion, and murmuring, and open threats of a schism, and an unjust comparison of the Church Abroad with the MP, and the taking on themselves of the role of a higher arbiter over the Hierarchical Council. In the unprecedented demand that the resolutions of the Council be rescinded it is not indicated precisely which resolutions are meant.


     “Moreover, the threat of separation from the Church Abroad if the unnamed demands are not met, besides the mad demand that the dioceses abroad be liquidated, constitutes a real threat…”[108]


     The tone of the conference documents was indeed strong: but it could well be argued that the very serious situation warranted it, and that hierarchs such as Archbishop Anthony, instead of complaining about “rebellion” and “a real threat”, should have acted to avert the threat by helping their brothers in the Homeland…


     At the end of the conference it was decided that the Suzdal diocese would follow Archbishop Lazarus’ example in separating administratively from ROCOR while retaining communion in prayer with it. Bishop Valentine expressed the hope that this would be only a temporary measure, and he called on Metropolitan Vitaly to convene an extraordinary Council to remove the anticanonical resolutions of the Council in Lesna and the Synod meeting in Cleveland[109]


     A meeting of the clergy Archbishop Lazarus’ diocese in Odessa on July 4/17 confirmed that their separation from ROCOR was conditional, “on the verge of a break”. They reiterated their belief that the bans on Archbishop Lazarus were uncanonical and called on the hierarchs of ROCOR to review them in a spirit of brotherly love and mutual understanding.


     On November 2, 1993 (i.e. over eighteen months since the scandals erupted), the Synod decided to withdraw Bishop Barnabas from Russia and to place all his parishes in the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Vitaly (who, however, did not intend to travel to Russia. Later, on July 8, 1994, Bishop Barnabas was forbidden from travelling to Russia for five years.[110] All the parishes of ROCOR in Siberia, Ukraine and Belarus were to be entrusted to Bishop Benjamin.[111]


      By the beginning of 1994 the Russian bishops had received no reaction whatsoever from the Synod to any of their letters and requests. This was probably under the influence especially of Archbishop Mark, who told the Hierarchical Council that “Valentine is a tank that will crush us under its weight.”[112]


     On March 8/21, 1994, in a conference taking place in Suzdal, Bishop Valentine said: “On June 10/23, 1993 in Suzdal there took place a diocesan congress in which resolutions were taken and an Address was sent to the Synod indicating the transgressions, by the above-mentioned Hierarchs, of the Apostolic Canons and decrees of the Fathers of the Church, of the Ecumenical and Local Councils. At the same time they asked that his Grace Bishop Barnabas be recalled, and that Archbishop Mark should ask forgiveness of the clergy and the Russian people for his humiliation of their honour and dignity. If our request were ignored, the whole weight of responsibility would lie on the transgressors of the Church canons. But so far there has been no reply.


     “We sent the Resolution of the clergy, monastics and laypeople warning that if there continued to be transgressions of the Apostolic Canons and Conciliar Resolutions on the part of the Hierarchs, with the connivance of the Hierarchical Synod, the whole responsibility would lie as a heavy burden on the transgressors. The Synod did not reply.


     “Together with his Eminence Archbishop Lazarus and the members of the Diocesan Councils I sent an address to the Synod in which their attention was drawn to the wily intrigues on the part of those who wished us ill, and asked that the situation be somehow corrected, placing our hopes on Christian love and unity of mind, which help to overcome human infirmities. But in the same address we laid out in very clear fashion our determination that if the Hierarchical Synod did not put an end to the deliberate transgressions, we would be forced to exist independently, in accordance with the holy Patriarch Tikhon’s ukaz ¹ 362 of November 7/20, 1920, in the interests of the purity of Orthodoxy and the salvation of our Russian flock. The reply consisted in Vladyka Metropolitan threatening a ban.


     “I sent a letter to Metropolitan Vitaly in which I besought him earnestly to confirm my status before the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, so that the Suzdal Diocesan Administration should not lose its registration. This time the reply was swift, only not to the Diocesan Administration, but to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation under the signature of Bishop Barnabas, saying that the Russian Hierarchs were no longer Administering the affairs of the FROC, and that this duty was laid upon him. As a result I and the member of my Diocesan Council began visiting office after office, a process that lasted many months.


     “It is difficult for you to imagine how much labour we had to expend, how many written bureaucratic demands we had to fulfil, in order to get our Regulations re-registered. If I had not undertaken this, all the churches would automatically have been taken out of registration and then, believe me, the Moscow Patriarchate would not have let go such a ‘juicy morsel’.”[113]


     After hearing more speeches in the same vein, including one from Archbishop Lazarus, the Congress made the following decisions: 1. To form a Temporary Higher Church Administration (THCA) of the Russian Orthodox Church, which, without claiming to be the highest Church authority in Russia, would have as its final aim the convening of a Free All-Russian Local Council that would have such authority. 2. To elect and consecrate new bishops. 3. To declare their gratitude to ROCOR and Metropolitan Vitaly, whose name would continue to be commemorated in Divine services, since they wished to remain in communion of prayer with him. 4. To express the hope that the Hierarchical Synod would recognize the THCA and the consecrations performed by it.


     One of the members of the Congress, Elena Fadeyevna Shipunova, the wife of Protopriest Andrew Osetrov, declared: “It is now completely obvious that the subjection of the Russian dioceses to the Synod Abroad contradicts the second point of Ukaz ¹ 362. The Russian Church is faced directly with the necessity of moving to independent administration in accordance with this Ukaz. After the sergianist schism Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan called for such a move, considering Ukaz ¹ 362 as the only possible basis of Church organization. Incidentally, Metropolitan Cyril also indicated to Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky that he had to follow Ukaz ¹ 362 instead of usurping ecclesiastical power. Metropolitan Cyril and the other bishop-confessors tried to organize the administration of the Russian Church on the basis of this Ukaz, but they couldn’t do this openly. Now for the first time the Russian Church has the opportunity to do this. We could say that this is an historical moment. The Temporary Higher Church Administration that has been created is the first legal one in Russia since the time of the sergianist schism.  The Centre of Church power ceased its existence after the death of Metropolitan Peter more than half a century ago, but we have not yet arrived at the Second All-Russian Council which has the power to re-establish Central Church power.”[114]


     On March 9/22 the THCA, which now contained three new bishops: Theodore of Borisovsk, Seraphim of Sukhumi and Agathangelus of Simferopol, together with many clergy, monastics and laity, informed Metropolitan Vitaly and the Synod of ROCOR of their decision. 


     On March 23 / April 5 the Synod of ROCOR rejected this declaration and the new consecrations, and decided to break communion in prayer with the newly formed Autonomous Church, but without imposing any bans.[115] In this decision the ROCOR Synod called itself the “Central Church authority” of the Russian Church, which contradicted both its own Fundamental Statute and the simple historical fact that, as the FROC bishops pointed out, since the death of Metropolitan Peter in 1937 the Russian Church had had no “Central Church authority”.[116]


     In its May, 1993 Council in Lesna, the ROCOR hierarchs decided that the Church in Russia was now free and changed the commemoration “For the Orthodox episcopate of the persecuted Church of Russia” to “For the Orthodox episcopate of the Church of Russia”. [117]


     Protopriest Benjamin Zhukov asked: “What Church were they talking about? A lack of precision was revealed, and confusion was created between ‘the persecuted Russian Church’ of the Tikhonites, Josephites and all the catacomniks, on the one hand, and the MP on the other. It was as if there few who understood what was going on. After all, the MP with the aid of OMON had already begun to take away the churches in Russia that had passed over to us, and our Church had begun to be persecuted by the MP. Therefore the Metropolitan and a series of church-servers never changed the former formula, witnessing to the fact that for them the Russian Church was not the MP.”[118]


     However, the FROC, with its direct and ongoing experience of persecution, retained the old formula.


     During the Sobor, Bishop Barnabas criticised all the bishops in Russia and asked the Sobor to give him alone adminstration of all the parishes in Russia.[119]


     Then, in order to strengthen ROCOR’s hand in the coming struggle with the FROC, Archimandrite Eutyches (Kurochkin) was consecrated Bishop of Ishim and Siberia on July 11/24.[120]


     Bishop Gregory, who had not been admitted to the sessions of the ROCOR Synod, fully approved of the actions of the Russian Hierarchs in a letter to Bishop Valentine dated March 24 / April 6. And on the same day he wrote the following to Metropolitan Vitaly: “We have brought the goal of the possible regeneration of the Church in Russia to the most undesirable possible end. Tormented by envy and malice, certain of our bishops have influenced the whole course of our church politics in Russia. As a consequence of this, our Synod has not understood the meaning of the mission of our existence abroad.


     “As I warned the Synod in my last report, we have done absolutely everything possible to force the Russian bishops to separate from us administratively. They have had to proceed from Resolution ¹ 362 of Patriarch Tikhon of November 7/20, 1920 in order to avoid the final destruction of the just-begun regeneration of our Church in our Fatherland. But our Synod, having nothing before its eyes except punitive tactics, proceeds only on the basis of a normalized church life. Whereas the Patriarch’s Resolution had in mind the preservation of the Church’s structure in completely unprecedented historical and ecclesiastical circumstances.


     “The ukaz was composed for various cases, including means for the re-establishment of the Church’s Administration even in conditions of its abolition (see article 9) and ‘the extreme disorganization of Church life’. This task is placed before every surviving hierarch, on condition that he is truly Orthodox.


     “The Russian Hierarchs felt themselves to be in this position when, for two years running, their inquiries and requests to provide support against the oppression of the Moscow Patriarchate were met with complete silence on the part of our Synod.


     “Seeing the canonical chaos produced in their dioceses by Bishop Barnabas, and the Synod’s silent collusion with him, the Russian Hierarchs came to the conclusion that there was no other way of avoiding the complete destruction of the whole enterprise but their being led by the Patriarch’s Resolution ¹ 362.


     “Our Synod unlawfully retired Bishop Valentine for his reception of a huge parish in Noginsk,.. but did not react to the fact that Bishop Barnabas had in a treacherous manner disgraced the Synod, in whose name he petitioned to be received into communion with the Ukrainian self-consecrators!


     “I don’t know whether the full text of Resolution ¹ 362 has been read at the Synod. I myself formerly paid little attention to it, but now, having read it, I see that the Russian Hierarchs have every right to cite it, and this fact will come to the surface in the polemic that will inevitably take place now. I fear that by its decisions the Synod has already opened the path to this undesirable polemic, and it threatens to create a schism not only in Russia, but also with us here…


     “There are things which it is impossible to stop, and it is also impossible to escape the accomplished fact. If our Synod does not now correctly evaluate the historical moment that has taken place, then its already profoundly undermined prestige (especially in Russia) will be finally and ingloriously destroyed.


     “All the years of the existence of the Church Abroad we have enjoyed respect for nothing else than our uncompromising faithfulness to the canons. They hated us, but they did not dare not to respect us. But now we have shown the whole Orthodox world that the canons are for us an empty sound, and we have become a laughing-stock in the eyes of all those who have even the least relationship to Church affairs.


     “You yourself, at the Synod in Lesna, allowed yourself to say that for us, the participants in it, it was now not the time to examine the canons, but we had to act quickly. You, who are at the helm of the ship of the Church, triumphantly, before the whole Sobor, declared to us that we should now hasten to sail without a rudder and without sails. At that time your words greatly disturbed me, but I, knowing your irritability with me for insisting on the necessity of living according to the canons, nevertheless hoped that all was not lost yet and that our Bishops would somehow shake off the whole of this nightmare of recent years.


     “Think, Vladyko, of the tens of thousands of Orthodox people both abroad and in Russia who have been deceived by us. Do not calm yourself with the thought that if guilt lies somewhere, then it lies equally on all of our hierarchs. The main guilt will lie on you as the leader of our Sobor…”[121]


     Unfortunately, however, Metropolitan Vitaly was beginning to show the same kind of condescending and contemptuous attitude to the Russian flock as Archbishop Mark had been demonstrating for some time. Thus in one letter to Bishop Valentine, after rebuking him for receiving Archimandrite Adrian, he wrote: “We understand that, living in the Soviet Union for these 70 years of atheist rule, such a deep seal of Sovietism and of departure from right thinking has penetrated into the world-view of the Russian people that you, too, were involuntarily caught up by the spirit of this wave…”[122]


     Even such an attitude would have been tolerable if the metropolitan had decided to govern the Church in accordance with the holy canons. But at the Lesna Council in 1993 he had told a priest to tell Bishop Gregory not to keep referring to the canons![123]


     Some FROC priests – notably Protopriest Lev Lebedev of Kursk – while fully agreeing that the ROCOR bishops had committed uncanonical acts on Russian soil, nevertheless believed that the actions of the FROC bishops had been hasty and were justified only in the case that ROCOR had fallen away from Orthodoxy, which, as everyone agreed, had not yet taken place. In a letter to Bishop Gregory dated April 4, 1994, and approved by Metropolitan Vitaly, Fr. Lev maintained that no personal reasons could justify legal separation from the authority of the supervising Metropolitan. He claimed that the only legal church authority in Russia was now ROCOR, which, since it remained faithful to Orthodoxy, had the right to administer all groups that did not want to remain in the falsehood of the MP. Fr. Lev was suspicious of Bishop Valentine because he, unlike all others, had managed to obtain church buildings and registration from the authorities. And he hinted that since the authorities granted rights only to “their own”, Bishop Valentine was in fact one of “their own”.[124] In a letter dated April 26, Bishop Gregory accused Fr. Lev of allowing his personal dislike of Valentine to interfere with his judgement. Fr. Lev in his turn accused Bishop Gregory of allowing “personal offence and desire” to dictate his letter to the metropolitan of April 6, 1994.


     Bishop Gregory argued that ROCOR’s two founding documents, the ukaz ¹ 362 and the Polozhenie of ROCOR, did not allow for the Church outside Russia to rule the Church inside Russia. ROCOR could help the Church inside Russia, but not rule it:- “For decades we living abroad have commemorated ‘the Orthodox Episcopate of the Persecuted Church of Russia’. But in our last Sobor we removed from the litanies and the prayer for the salvation of Russia the word ‘persecuted’, witnessing thereby that we already officially consider that the persecutions on the Russian Church have ceased.


     “And indeed, our parishes in Russia are now harried in places, but basically they have complete freedom of action, in particular if they do not lay claim to receive any old church, which the Moscow Patriarchate then tries to snatch. However it does not always succeed in this. Thus the huge Theophany cathedral in Noginsk (with all the buildings attached to it) according to the court’s decision remained with our diocese…


     “In other words, we can say that if there is willingness on our side we now have every opportunity of setting in order the complete regeneration of the Russian Orthodox Church in our Fatherland.


     “The very first paragraph of the ‘Statute on the Russian Church Abroad’ says: ’The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad is an indivisible part of the Russian Local Church TEMPORARILY self-governing on conciliar principles UNTIL THE REMOVAL OF THE ATHEIST POWER in Russia in accordance with the resolution of the holy Patriarch Tikhon, the Holy Synod and the Higher Ecclesiastical Council of the Russian Church of November 7/20, 1920 ¹ 362 (emphasis mine, B. G.).


     “If we now lead the Russian Hierarch to want to break their administrative links with the Church Abroad, then will not our flock abroad finally ask us: what ‘Episcopate of the Russian Church’ are we still praying for in our churches? But if we took these words out of the litanies, them we would only be officially declaring that we are no longer a part of the Russian Church.


     “Will we not then enter upon a very dubious canonical path of autonomous existence, but now without a Patriarchal blessing and outside the Russian Church, a part of which we have always confessed ourselves to be? Will not such a step lead us to a condition of schism in the Church Abroad itself, and, God forbid, to the danger of becoming a sect?…


     “It is necessary for us to pay very careful attention to and get to know the mood revealed in our clergy in the Suzdal diocese, so as on our part to evaluate the mood in which our decisions about the Church in Russia could be received by them.


     “But will we not see then that it is one thing when the Church Abroad gives help to the Russian Church through the restoration in it of a canonical hierarchy, but something else entirely when we lay claims to rule the WHOLE of Russia from abroad, which was in no way envisaged by even one paragraph of the ‘Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad’, nor by one of our later resolutions?”[125]


     Bishop Gregory was right: ROCOR had over-reached her (never well-defined) canonical prerogatives. The result was the collapse of her mission inside Russia. After claiming jurisdiction over the whole Russian Church, within a few years ROCOR was begging to be absorbed into the MP…



The Third Way?


     In July, 1994 a liturgical union took place between ROCOR, the Romanian Old Calendarists under Metropolitan Blaise, the Bulgarian Old Calendarists under Bishop Photius of Triaditsa and the Greek Old Calendarists under Metropolitan Cyprian of Orope and Fili (the “Cyprianites”).[126]


     Any reversal of the process of fragmentation among the True Orthodox Churches could only be accounted a positive sign. In this case, however, union was achieved at the price of ROCOR officially rejecting the validity of the Florinites’ defrocking of Metropolitan Cyprian in 1985 and accepting very controversial ecclesiology, which recognised that the churches of ecumenist “World Orthodoxy” still had grace, as her own.


     From the start, there were many critics of the union among conservative members of ROCOR in Russia and America. Even the two most senior ROCOR bishops, Metropolitan Vitaly and Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles, were reported to have been pressured into it. Thus in his Nativity epistle for 1995/96 Metropolitan Vitaly contradicted the Cyprianite ecclesiology he had signed up to, saying that he personally believed that the Moscow Patriarchate did not have the grace of sacraments.[127] And in December, 1996, he wrote flatly that the Moscow Patriarchate was "the Church of the evil-doers, the Church of the Antichrist", which "has completely sealed its irrevocable falling away from the body of the Church of Christ".[128]


     At first, however, this True Orthodox union, like the earlier, more solidly based one of 1971, appeared to elicit an encouraging response from the heretics. For from the middle of the 1990s, some signs of a genuinely spiritual revival in World Orthodoxy were discerned in the emergence of anti-ecumenist movements in Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Georgia. Thus in November, 1994 the Serbian Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren, the leading anti-ecumenist in the Serbian Church, said to his fellow hierarchs with regard to their participation in the ecumenical movement: "We have lost the purity of the faith, the canonical inheritance of the Church and faithfulness to the holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church."[129]


     Those were honest and true words. But they were not followed up by appropriate action. Thus when 340 priests, monks and nuns of the Serbian Church protested against ecumenism and called on the patriarchate to leave the WCC in the summer of 1997, none of the Serbian bishops signed the document. Instead, in their council in June, they decided to leave the WCC – but with the following condition: “Taking into account, however, that this is a far-reaching decision that affects not only the life and mission of the Serbian Church but of Orthodoxy in general and its salvific mission in the world, the Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Church has decided that prior to its final resignation, it will first forward its position and rationale to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and to all heads of local Orthodox Churches with the proposal and request that a Pan-Orthodox Conference be convened as soon as possible with regard to further participation of Orthodox Churches in general in the WCC. Only after this consultation would our own local Church adopts its final position on the issue and share it with the public.”


     “Unfortunately,” writes Bishop Artemius, “it soon became apparent that the concluding points of this decision of the Serbian Orthodox Church Assembly annulled all the aforementioned compelling reasons for a final and permanent withdrawal from membership and partnership with the WCC. The Thessalonica Summit of the representatives of all of the Orthodox Churches was soon held and its ‘conclusions’ prevented the Serbian Orthodox Church from carrying out its 1997 decision to withdraw from the WCC… The essence of the conclusions of the Thessalonica gathering was to seek a radical reorganisation of the Council, which did not occur in the next seven years to the present day [September, 2004]. These ‘conclusions’, therefore, remained ‘a dead letter’. The WCC did not reorganise itself in any respect and become closer to the Orthodox Church of Christ, nor did any local Orthodox Church (including the Serbian Church) withdraw from membership in the WCC as a result of this. The reasons and justifications for withdrawing from membership from the WCC (as presented in the decision of the S.O.C, Assembly) are also still valid, as are, unfortunately, the harmful ecclesiological consequences that follow from that membership. Thus by its second response this Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church, abandoning its earlier decision (from 1997) and its justification, continued and extended its organic participation as an equal member of the WCC, guiding itself and its flock down the path of ruin…”[130]


     During the late 1990s, the Bulgarian and Georgian Churches left the WCC. It is particularly interesting to see how and why this took place in the two countries. Both were still ruled by communist-appointed “patriarchs”. Patriarch Maximus of Bulgaria had been challenged by Metropolitan Pimen on the grounds of anti-communism (although Pimen was no less sergianist and even more ecumenist than Maximus). However, Pimen and his fellow hierarchs later repented, and were restored to their former positions on October 1, 1998.[131] As we have seen, Patriarch Ilia of Georgia was recruited by the Georgian KGB in 1962.[132] As metropolitan of Sukhumi in the late 1970s he betrayed the Catacomb Schema-Metropolitan Gennadius (Sekach) to the Georgian KGB, as a result of which Metropolitan Gennadius spent two-and-half years in prison in Kutaisi.[133] So why should such a tried and tested ecucommunist leave the ecumenical movement now?


     The Georgian decision was elicited by the separation of two groups from the official Church of Georgia because of the latter’s participation in the ecumenical movement. One priest with his flock joined the Cyprianites, and then a monastery, a convent and a secular parish joined the “Holy Orthodox Church of North America” (HOCNA) under Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston. Rattled by these events, and fearing a more general exodus, the patriarchate withdrew from the WCC in May, 1997 – but then promptly placed the leaders of the True Orthodox under ban! On August 21 the Betani monastery was stormed by the Georgian Patriarchate. At one point the patriarchal leader Archimandrite Joachim shouted at the “disobedient” True Orthodox that one should obey one’s spiritual superior unconditionally, even to the point of becoming a Muslim if so ordered![134]


     Fr. Basil (now Igumen Gregory) Lourié continues the story: “Having withdrawn, in 1997, from international ecumenical organizations, the official Georgian Patriarchate has recently made its next step away from ecumenical jurisdictions. Upon recommendation of the Georgian Patriarchate’s Divinity Commission, in its Synodal meeting of October 8, the Georgian Church officially denounced a number of recent ecumenical documents, branding them ‘unacceptable.’ These documents included: 1) the Chambésy documents of 1990 and 1993 (Union with Non-Chalcedonian (Oriental) Churches); 2) the Framework Agreement between the Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Oriental (Non-Chalcedonian) Church of Antioch; 3) the Balamand Union with the Latins (Roman-Catholic Church) of 1993; 4) Easter Celebration by the Autonomious Orthodox Church of Finland according to the Papal Paschalion; 5) the so-called ‘Branch Theory’ was also denounced; as well as 6) common prayers and intercommunion with non-Orthodox denominations.


     “It is quite obvious that this step back from ecumenism…has been driven by Orthodox zealots who have, over the past two years, been particularly vocal in Georgia. However, this statement of the Georgian Synod represents an unprecedented act of an all but complete rejection of the ecumenist politics, not just a cancellation of membership in a few ecumenical organizations. This move could be assumed to signify the beginning of a comeback of the official Georgian Patriarchate to Orthodoxy, if it were not for certain very important circumstances.


     “Even if we ignore the fact that the Patriarchate would never have initiated the persecution of Georgian Orthodox zealots, who have recently established the True Orthodox Church of Georgia[135], if its goals had not been completely at variance with those of True Orthodox Christians; even if we decline to discuss the identity of Patriarch Elias, a veteran ecumenist and follower of Nicodemus [of Leningrad], and a KGB agent code-named Iverieli since 1962, for whom the beginning of repentance would mean the end of his term in office; and even if we are completely unaware of what is really going on in Georgia’s ecclesiastical life, we can still discern one very essential inconsistency in the above-mentioned Georgian Synodal document which brings to naught all its purported ‘Orthodox’ merits, thus effectively downgrading the document to the level of a mere tactical loophole. Although the Synod does raise its voice against some random particulars of the ecumenical movement, reasonably citing their non-orthodox, i.e. heretical, nature, it proceeds to conclusions which no genuine Orthodox believer facing a heresy would ever make.


     “Denunciation of any ecumenical developments as erroneous is no proof of the denouncer’s own adherence to the Orthodox faith. Denouncement of a heresy from a truly Orthodox standpoint would, first and foremost, involve a severance of ecclesiastical communion with the parties guilty of the heresy. In other words, as Georgian Orthodox zealots reasonably reminded the Georgian Patriarchate back in 1997, it is not enough to withdraw from all manner of ecumenical activities; it is necessary to break communion with all ecumenical jurisdictions, especially with Constantinople which is at the helm of the Orthodox chapter of this heresy. It is necessary to give up the vision of ‘World Orthodoxy’ whereby it is presented as an assembly of local Orthodox churches; instead, it should be viewed as a conglomeration of communities each infected with the ecumenical heresy to a different extent.


     “For true Orthodox Christians, the issues of ‘intercommunion,’ ‘common prayers,’ or ‘ecclesiastical commission’ acquire relevance only in relation to pseudo-Orthodox ecumenical jurisdictions: for example, he who administers a common service with the New Calendarists is an ecumenist. Although the Georgian Patriarchate no longer hails the Roman Catholic Church as its ‘sister church’, it still maintains a ‘sisterly’ relationship with the Constantinople Patriarchate and, therefore, the Georgian Patriarchate cannot be recognized as Orthodox, and the causes of Georgia’s ecclesiastical schism still persist in their undiminished entirety.


     “Meanwhile, the above considerations do not cover the most outstanding singularity of the Georgian Synod’s decision. If this decision was, indeed, a tactical move, the question is: what sort of object could such a tactic possibly further? I daresay, I do have an answer, and it is based on an analysis of all the reshuffles that have occurred in the Orthodox world over the last 15 years.


     “The acceleration of the ‘ecumenical build-up’ in a bid to attain ‘Pan-Christian unity’ in most of the world by the year 2000 has made it absolutely imperative to create some kind of ‘collector’ for ‘the conservatives’ since it will obviously take at least one or two generations before ‘the conservatives’ become completely extinct. It was, therefore, necessary to give them a provisional modus vivendi enabling them to avoid the psychological discomfort of being involved in ecumenical activities ‘too directly’ while at the same time preserving them as part of the ‘great and boundless’ ecumenical Babel. The Orthodox Church was certainly unable to provide assistance in this task, but a ready-to-wear model did exist: the Anglican Church with its two wings, High Church and Low Church, which have no dogmatic accord between them and completely abhor each other’s rites (for instance, High Church does not admit women to priesthood and does not recognize homosexual marriages), yet they consider themselves parts of a single church and retain full communion with each other.


     “Starting in the mid-1980s, certain postulates of mid-20th century Saints dating back to the time when hope was still alive that the New Calendarist Greek Church and the Moscow Patriarchate would mend their ways… created the foundation for a semblance of ‘special divinity’ formulated as follows: we are divorcing ourselves from the ‘official’ jurisdictions on account of their heresies, yet we will continue to regard them as members of the Orthodox Church, albeit ailing members. In other words, according to this ecclesiology, the sojourn of such ‘ailing’ members within the Church may be (spiritually) harmful, but at least there is no threat of their full defection from the bosom of the Church, since the full defection of ecumenical jurisdictions from the Church may not be effected outside some extraordinary Council involving the participation of the jurisdictions concerned.


     “In Greece, this theology [gave birth to the Synod of Resisters], a separate organization headed by Cyprian, Metropolitan of Fili and Oropos.[136] Within ROCOR, a similar attitude practised by some of its members vis-à-vis the Moscow Patriarchate made it possible to hold talks with the MP which received the enthusiastic backing of what looked like the entire German Diocese. In a rather typical development, the same Council of ROCOR Bishops (1994) that gave its go-ahead for the talks with the Moscow Patriarchate, also gave its full approval for Metropolitan Cyprian’s ecclesiology.


     “’The Third Way’ between Orthodoxy and ecumenism may yet prove suitable for a small official ‘local churches’ with pronounced traditionalist sentiment among their laity and lower clergy (Georgia, for instance), not just for conservative factions within Old-Calendar Greek or Russian communities. The ecumenical ‘ocean’ will not become any shallower without such a small country as Georgia. However, as far as the building of the new and tortuous ‘Third Way’ is concerned, Georgia could make a good heap of sand and rocks. This new way is, essentially, a way of distancing oneself from ecumenical lies without causing confrontation. It is a way of coming to terms (and even ecclesiastical unity) with lies and, hence, yet another hopeless journey somewhere away from the truth.”[137]


     The hollowness of the “Third Way” was demonstrated at the Eighth General Assembly of the WCC in Harare in December, 1998, when “the two Patriarchates of Georgia and Bulgaria were exposed, since, although they had withdrawn from the WCC for supposedly serious reasons, now – through their observers at Harare – they declared their loyalty, on the one hand, to the ecumenical ideal and, on the other hand, justified themselves on the grounds that their decisions to withdraw from the WCC were prompted by pressure from ‘conservative elements’!


     “A Georgian clergyman, Father Vasili Kobakhidze, revealingly stated that ‘… the Georgian Orthodox were, are, and always will be your brothers and sisters in the Lord. Patriarch Ilia and the Orthodox Church of Georgia were forced to leave the ecumenical movement on account of fanatics and fundamentalists and in order to avoid an internal schism, but they always pray for Christian unity.’


     “In one of his delegation’s documents, the Bulgarian theologian Ivan Dimitrov (one of seven Bulgarian observers), expressed ‘sorrow for their Church’s withdrawal from the WCC,’ saying that ‘the Bulgarian church’s decision to withdraw from the WCC had been taken, “not out of anti-ecumenical convictions, but under pressure from the Old Calendarist church.”’[138]


     This was an interesting and important admission, which is obliquely confirmed by the text of the Bulgarian Church’s official withdrawal from the WCC.[139] Often, in the course of the twentieth century, the fighters for Church truth have not felt that their actions were having any influence on the world around them. But in fact, besides saving their own souls, they significantly slowed the pace of apostasy.


The Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church


     The FROC still sought reconciliation with ROCOR, and so the two senior bishops, Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Valentine, went to the Lesna Sobor of ROCOR in November, 1994, and after asking forgiveness, were again received into communion. According to Bishop Valentine, “there took place mutual repentance and forgiveness between ROCOR and FROC”.[140] He may have been referring here to the first and second points of the "Act" that was presented to the two Russian bishops for their signatures, which certainly implied that blame was not to be attached to one side exclusively.


     The "Act" greatly troubled the two bishops, because they saw that it involved changes that were very detrimental for the life of the FROC. However, Archbishop Lazarus wanted to sign nevertheless, and Bishop Valentine, though unwilling to sign, did not want to create a schism among the Russian bishops by not following the lead of his senior, Archbishop Lazarus. But he did obtain an assurance that if he wanted to amend any points in the Act, he could do so and his amendments would be included in the final published document. However, he was urged to sign now "in the name of brotherly love". So he signed, after which he promptly had a heart attack, and was whisked away to a hospital in Paris, where he was in intensive care for a week.


     On December 1, 1994 the Lesna Council confirmed Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Valentine as the ruling bishops of their dioceses, as was confirmed in an ukaz sent by Metropolitan Vitaly to Bishop Valentine on December 8.


     In January, 1995 there took place the fifth congress of the bishops, monastics and laity of the Suzdal Diocese to discuss the results of the Lesna Sobor. Opening the congress, Bishop Valentine said: “On returning home to the diocese, I have not begun to hide anything or to lay it on thick. Equally, I have not begun to soften those circumstances in which we found ourselves at the Hierarchical Council. I have expounded everything as in confession and and offered everyone to make their judgement on the given question. My brothers and co-bishops, and also the members of the Diocesan council, on getting to know the state of affairs and having carefully read the Act, have unambiguously and categorically rejected it, which has served as the reason for convening the Congress of clergy, monastics and laity of the Suzdal Diocese and for reaching a decision on the future functioning of the THCA and of our Orthodox existence as a whole. The Church Administrative district (THCA) that has been created cannot pass under the jurisdiction of the Synod Abroad and cannot be dissolved by it. We are more than convinced that we no longer have to wait long for the time when the two parts, ROCOR and the FROC, will unite into one and will work together to prepare the All-Russian Council to re-establish the unity that has been lost and a worthy leadership of the Church of God”.


     This message sent out mixed signals: on the one hand, that the Act in its existing form was unacceptable and that the Church inside Russia was no longer prepared to be administered from outside Russia, and on the other hand that the Church inside Russia did not want to break eucharistic communion with the Church outside Russia. When the discussion was passed to the hall, the Act was widely and strongly criticized by the parish clergy, as was the ROCOR Synod’s proposed redefining of diocesan boundaries. The latter was of particular concern to them because it would necessitate the re-registration of very many parishes. Since they had achieved registration only with the greatest difficulty in the first place, they did not of course welcome this prospect. But more importantly, it would very probably mean that they would be refused any registration, since the Moscow Patriarchate representatives in the ministry of Justice would insist that changing names and diocesan boundaries was unacceptable. This in turn would very likely mean that their churches would be handed over to the Moscow Patriarchate.


     It was therefore proposed that ROCOR be respectfully asked to amend the Act in a number of points, and a corresponding epistle to the Hierarchical Synod of ROCOR was drawn up.[141]


     However, two hierarchs present at this meeting – Bishop Eutyches and Bishop Benjamin - interpreted this proposal as a rebellion against the authority of ROCOR which the senior bishops Lazarus and Valentine had only recently reaffirmed. As Eutyches put it several years later: “The unfortunate monk Valentine Rusantsov, in signing the Act of reconciliation with the Council of ROCOR, had, as time showed, something quite different in his thought and intentions: to hide this Act from his flock, never to carry it out, and then to overthrow it”.[142]


     However, (i) Valentine did not hide the Act from his flock, but discussed it with them openly and extensively, (ii) if he and his fellow-bishops hd seemed to reject it before the beginning of the Congress, this was, nevertheless, not their final decision, which was not to reject it outright but to seek amendments. This was only reasonable considering that it was precisely the Russian flock that would suffer all the evil consequences of the Act’s ill-thought-out propositions.


     Then a priest asked Bishop Eutyches which had a higher authority for him: the Apostolic Canons and the decisions of the Russian Council of 1917-18 and of his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon - or those of the ROCOR Synod? Bishop Eutyches replied: “The resolutions of living hierarchs are preferable to those of dead ones. Even if the resolutions of the ROCOR Synod were uncanonical, for me this would have no significance, I would be bound to carry them out”. This reply elicited uproar in the hall, and Bishop Eutyches left (taking with him a recording of the proceedings).


     Shortly before this Congress, the ROCOR Synod had sent a respectfully worded invitation to Bishops Theodore, Agathangelus and Seraphim to come to New York for the February 22 meeting of the Synod and “for the formalities of re-establishing concelebration”.[143] It is significant that the Synod had also invited Bishop Eutyches, who was not a member of the Synod – but not Archbishop Lazarus, who was a member of the Synod, as agreed at the Lesna Sobor.


     On the next day after the arrival of Bishops Theodore and Agathangelus in New York, in Bishop Agathangelus’ words, “we were handed a ‘Decree of the Hierarchical Synod of the Synod of ROCOR’, in which their Graces Lazarus and Valentine, and also Bishops Theodore, Seraphim and I, were declared to be banned from serving.[144] For Vladyka Theodore and me this was like a bolt from the blue… We were told that the reason for this decision was our supposed non-fulfilment of the conciliar Act, which had been signed by, among the other Hierarchs, their Graces Lazarus and Valentine. The point was that the conference of Russian Bishops which had been formed in agreement with this same Act had asked for several formulations in the Act to be changed, so as not to introduce disturbance into the ranks of the believers by the categorical nature of certain points. This was a request, not a demand. But, however hard we tried, we could not convince the Synod that none of the Russian Bishops was insisting and that we were all ready to accept the Act in the form in which it had been composed. We met with no understanding on the part of the members of the Synod. Vladyka Theodore and I affirmed in writing that we accepted the text of the Act in the form in which it had been composed and asked for a postponement in the carrying out of the ‘Decree’ until the position of all the absent Russian Bishops on this question could be clarified. In general we agreed to make any compromises if only the ‘Decree’ were not put into effect, because in essence it meant only one thing – the final break between the Russian parishes and ROCOR.


     “We gradually came to understand that it was not any canonical transgression of the Russian Bishops (there was none), nor any disagreement with the text of the conciliar Act, nor, still less, any mythical ‘avaricious aims’ that was the reason for the composition of this document, which, without any trial or investigation, banned the five Hierarchs from serving. It was the Hierarchical Conference of the Russian Bishops, which had been established by the Council that took place in Lesna monastery, that was the real reason giving birth to the ‘Decree’. The Sobor of Hierarchs, moved in those days by ‘Paschal joy’ (as Metropolitan Vitaly repeated several times), finally came to create an organ of administration in Russia which, if not independent, but subject to the Synod, was nevertheless an organ of administration. When the ‘Paschal joy’ had passed, the Synodal Bishops suddenly realized: they had themselves reduced their own power, insofar as, with their agreement, Hierarchs could meet in vast Russia and discuss vital problems. Before that, the Church Abroad had not allowed itself to behave like that. And it was this, unfortunately, that the foreign Archpastors could not bear. On receiving for confirmation the protocols of the first session of the Hierarchical Conference with concrete proposals to improve Church life in Russia, the foreign Bishops were completely nonplussed. Therefore a reason that did not in fact exist was thought up – the supposed non-fulfilment of the Act.


     “The members of the Synod, exceeding their authority, since such decisions are in the competence of the Sobor, decided, by means of canonical bans, to confirm their sole authority over the whole of Russia – both historical Russia and Russia abroad. The very foundations of the Church Abroad as a part of the Russian Church living abroad were trampled on, and the Synod on its own initiative ascribed to itself the rights and prerogatives of the Local Russian Church.


     “It did not even ponder the fact that, in banning at one time five Hierarchs, it was depriving more than 150 parishes – that is many thousands of Orthodox people – of archpastoral care. Cancelling the labour of many years of Hierarchs, priests and conscious, pious laymen in our Fatherland.


     “In Russia a very real war is now being waged for human souls; every day is full of work. Depriving Orthodox Christians of their pastors without any objective reason witnesses to the haughtiness and lack of love towards our country and its people on the part of the members of the Synod Abroad. We, the Orthodox from Russia, are called ‘common people’ by Metropolitan Vitaly (thank you, Vladyko Metropolitan!).


     “Vladyka Theodore and I were promised that, in exchange for our treachery, we would be confirmed in our hierarchical rank. And it was even proclaimed that we would be appointed to foreign sees. For us personally, who were born and brought up in Russia, this was very painful to hear…”[145]


     This act of blackmail – we recognize you if you accept a foreign see, but do not recognize you if you stay in Russia – exposed the complete lack of canonical justification in the acts of the ROCOR Synod. Let us recall that: (a) Bishops Theodore and Agathangelus had just been formally recognized as canonical bishops, (b) they had agreed in writing to fulfil all of the ROCOR Synod’s conditions, including the signing of the Act without any alterations, (c) they had not been accused of any canonical transgressions, and (d) they had not been subjected to any investigation or trial, as the canons demanded. Their only crime, it would appear, was that they lived in Russia – a novel charge against a bishop of the Russian Church!


     On February 24 the ROCOR Synod issued an epistle which for the first time contained a semblance of canonical justification in the form of a list of canons supposedly transgressed by the five Russian bishops. Unfortunately, they clearly had no relevance to the matter in hand. Thus what relevance could the 57th Canon of the Council of Carthage – “On the Donatists and the children baptized by the Donatists” – have to the bishops of the Free Russian Orthodox Church?![146]


     The Synodal Epistle said that “on returning to Russia, Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Valentine committed an unheard-of oath-breaking: not carrying out individual points of the Act they had signed, they subjected all its points to criticism and began to spread lies concerning the circumstances of its signing”.


     This was a lie, and on February 28, Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) wrote to Bishop Valentine: “I cannot fail to express my great sorrow with regard to the recent Church events. Moreover, I wish to say to you that I was glad to get to know Vladykas Theodore and Agathangelus better. They think well and in an Orthodox manner. It is amazing that our foreign Bishops should not have valued them and should have treated them so crudely in spite of all the acts and the whole unifying tendency which was just expressed by Metropolitan Vitaly at the last Sobor. The whole tragedy lies in the fact that even the latter wanted to construct everything solely on foreign forces that do not have the information necessary to decide problems which are strange and unfamiliar to them. Therefore they do not want to offer this [task] to the new forces that have arisen in Russia.


     “As a result, we are presented with the complete liquidation of these healthy forces. This is a great victory of the dark forces of our Soviet enemies of Orthodoxy in the persons of the Moscow Patriarchate.


     “I am glad that you will not give in to them, and I pray God that He help you to carry on the Orthodox cause, apparently without the apostate forces of Orthodox Abroad…”[147]


     This action, which transgressed Canons 27, 28 and 96 of the Council of Carthage on the trial of bishops, was the last straw for the much-suffering FROC bishops. In March, 1995 the THCA was rehabilitated under the leadership of Archbishop Valentine, and on March 14 the THCA resolved to denounce the Act signed by the Russian Bishops at the Hierarchical Council in France in November, 1994; to declare the bans on the Russian bishops as contrary to the holy canons and therefore not to be obeyed; to consider the actions of Bishop Eutyches and his report to the Synod of ROCOR of January 30 to be an intentional and slanderous provocation; to consider the ROCOR Synod’s attempt to declare the dioceses of the Russian bishops “widowed” as absurd, and their attempt to fill these sees while their bishops are still alive as a transgression of 16th Canon of the First-and-Second Council of Constantinople.[148]


     The mission of ROCOR to Russia – that is, the mission as still administered from New York - was now effectively dead as a unified, large-scale operation. And opinion polls reflected this change: after the sharp rise in popularity of ROCOR at the beginning of the 1990s, and drop in the popularity of the MP[149], by the middle of the 1990s the MP had recovered its position. Such a reversal cannot be attributed to any change for the better in the MP, which, as we have seen, continued to be as corrupt and heretical as ever, but rather to the suicidal civil war of the ROCOR hierarchs.


     As if to accentuate the failure of ROCOR, fires destroyed the cathedrals of Metropolitan Vitaly and Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles. And in October, 1997, one of her greatest holy objects, the myrrh-streaming “Montreal” Iveron icon went missing and its guardian, the highly respected Chilean Orthodox, Jose Munoz-Cortes was murdered…[150]


     In May, 1995, summoning his last strength, Bishop Gregory went to Suzdal, received communion from Bishop Valentine and publicly for the last time expressed his support for the FROC (now called the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, or ROAC). On his return, the ROCOR Synod demanded his condemnation and suspension, but no punitive measures were taken. In October, Bishop Gregory died, and no bishop of ROCOR was present at his burial…


     At about the same time, frightened by the threat of defrocking by the ROCOR Synod, Archbishop Lazarus and his vicar, Bishop Agathangelus, left the FROC and returned, “repenting”, to ROCOR[151], which restored Lazarus to the status of a ruling bishop in October, 1996. However, in accordance with a resolution of the Hierarchical Synod of ROCOR in 1996, the Hierarchical Conference of the Russian Bishops inside Russia was stripped of what little power it had. Its representation in ROCOR was annulled, and not one of the Russian bishops entered into the ROCOR Synod.


     The reason for Lazarus’ “repentance” is not far to find. As we have seen, he was the first instrument - and the first beneficiary - of ROCOR’s policy of “divide and rule” towards the Catacomb Church. As such, he could not afford to break his links with the Synod that had promoted him, and ran back to it with his tail between his legs.


     But his return to ROCOR did not mean better times for his flock in the Ukraine. Thus Hieromonk (later Bishop) Hilarion (Goncharenko), in a petition for transfer from ROCOR to the FROC, wrote: “Vladyka Lazarus together with the Synod Abroad has cunningly and finally destroyed the whole Church in the Ukraine. My former friends and brothers in the Lord have… turned to me with tearful sobs and the painful question: 'What are we to do now in the stormy and destructive situation that has been created?’”[152]


     On September 10, 1996 the Hierarchical Council of ROCOR defrocked Bishop Valentine, citing his supposed violation of the “Act” on January 26 and a few irrelevant canons. Not surprisingly, this decision was rejected by the Russian bishops. [153]


     In 1999, the Synod of the FROC (now officially called the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC)) clarified its position on the MP, declaring: “A resolution was passed concerning the hierarchs and representatives of the clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate who received their rank through the mediation of the authorities and organs of State Security. In relation to such it was decided that every year on the Sunday of Orthodoxy ANATHEMA should be proclaimed, using the following text: ‘If any bishops, making use of secular bosses, have seized power in the Church of God and enslaved Her, let those and those who aid them and those who communicate with them without paying heed to the reproaches of the Law of God, be ANATHEMA.”[154]


     At this point ROAC was probably the most canonical Church structure in Russia. But how long would that last into the new millennium?


The Florinites Divide Again


     The year 1995 was truly an annus horribilis for the True Church. Apart from the major schism between the followers of Vitaly and Valentine in the Russian Church, there were no less than three schisms in the Greek Church.


     In 1995 five Matthewite bishops in Greece separated from the Matthewite Archbishop Andreas on the grounds of “iconoclasm”, that is, rejecting the icon of the Holy Trinity in which the Father is depicted as an old man. Soon these five bishops were reduced to two. Then these two – Gregory of Messenia and Chrysostom of Thessalonica - divided. Then Gregory consecrated four bishops on his own. The “Gregorians” do not appear to have any followers in Russia.


     On January 7, 1995 following the death of the former Archbishop Auxentius in November, 1994, Metropolitan Maximus of Cephalonia (who had been defrocked in 1985 for participating in the consecration of Dorotheus Tsakos) was made archbishop of the “Auxentiite” faction of the True Orthodox Christians. He asked ROCOR for the same official documents that had been sent to Metropolitans Acacius and Gabriel in 1987 concerning the suspension of Fathers Panteleimon and Isaac of Holy Transfiguration, Monastery, Boston. As a result, becoming convinced of their guilt, he separated from them and the three bishops (Ephraim of Boston, Macarius of Toronto and Photius of Paris) whom Auxentius had consecrated for them.[155]

     In May, 1996, Maximus, without the knowledge of the other bishops, but with the collaboration of Demetrius Biffe, a clergyman of the new calendarists, who made his appearance as Bishop of Kandano, consecrated the following new hierarchs: 1) Auxentius Marines of Aegina, 2) Pancratius Xouloges of Nemea) and 3) Ephraim Papadopoulos of Serres. Also, Demetrius Biffe was named Archbishop of Crete, and altogether they formed a new Synod. Meanwhile, the former colleagues of Maximus - Ephraim of Boston, Macarius of Toronto and Photius of France, together with Athanasius of Larissa, formed a separate Synod under the name of “The Holy Orthodox Church in North America” (HOCNA).[156]

     A third schism – this time among the Florinites - was prepared by a series of events.[157] First, in 1993 the two American Bishops Paisius and Vincent, having made an unsuccessful attempt to join the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, turned back to the Florinite Synod – but not “through the front door”, that is, the Archbishop, but “through the back door, the “Gerontian” fraction within the Synod.


     Secondly, as a result of the confusion created by Paisius and Vincent, their fellow-hierarch in America, Peter of Astoria, concelebrated with ROCOR. This was followed by an interview given by his nephew and the Chancellor of the Astoria diocese, Archimandrite Paul (Stratigeas), to a New York newspaper, Ethniko Kentro, in which he praised the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. This ecumenist act gave further ammunition to the Gerontian faction, since Bishop Peter and his nephew Fr. Paul belonged to the supporters of Archbishop Chrysostom.


     The Gerontian fraction was further strengthened at about this time by the support of Metropolitan Anthony of Megara, who had been given assistance when in America by Paisius and Vincent… This had the important result that when, in September, 1994, a scandal broke out in the newspapers relating to homosexual behaviour by Metropolitan Euthymius of Thessalonica, the Gerontians were able effectively to block the working of the Synodal Court appointed by Archbishop Chrysostom to try Euthymius.


     At this point, however, the Gerontians suffered a major blow: their leader, Metropolitan Gerontius, died in November, 1994. Euthymius now lost his major supporter in the Synod. But in partial compensation, control of the powerful corporation ‘The General Fund of the Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece’ passed to Metropolitan Callinicus (Khaniotes) of Thaumakou, who was a supporter of Euthymius.


     With the death of Gerontius, the election of a new bishop for his see of the Piraeus was required. Bishop Vincent was interested, but he had a rival in Archimandrite Niphon (Anastasopoulos) of the Monastery of the Protection in Keratea. At the beginning of 1995 the Synod appointed Vincent as the locum tenens of the diocese, but the election was put off for a time…


     We come now to the last meeting of the Synod before the schism. Since the Gerontian faction had repeatedly prevented the working of the Synodal Court to try Euthymius, Archbishop Chrysostom decided that the trial would take place without fail during the coming session, with the participation of whatever bishops were present, even if there were fewer than twelve. This frightened Euthymius, who saw the sword of Damocles descending upon his head… As for the election of a new bishop for the Piraeus, this was postponed by the archbishop, although the correlation of forces at that time favoured Vincent. This displeased Paisius, who wanted Vincent, his favourite, to become Metropolitan of the Piraeus, and saw his hopes slipping away…


     Having control of the General Fund, to which the offices of the Synod in Canningos 32 belonged, Euthymius and Paisius now led the Gerontian faction to “continue the cut-off session of the Holy Synod” under the presidency of Metropolitan Callinicus of Thaumakou and Phthiotis. To this end they – that is, the six bishops: Callinicus of Phthiotis, Euthymius of Thessalonica, Stephen of Chios, Justin of Euripus, Paisius of America and Vincent of Aulon - sent a telegram to Archbishop Chrysostom, calling him the leader of “Calliopian faction” and telling him that they were removing him from the presidency of the Holy Synod! The telegram, consisting of one enormous sentence, read as follows: “After your repeated anti-synodical actions, and your refusal to allow an expert canonist and professor of inter-Orthodox renown[158] to take part in the hearing of the affair of Metropolitan Euthymius of Thessalonica in order to avoid excesses in attempts to slander honourable hierarchs and the promotion of the tactic of expelling hierarchs who are fighters [for the faith], like the blessed Bishop Callistus, and the seizure of the whole ecclesiastical administration by the three coup d’état hierarchs who are your closest collaborators and advisers [Calliopius of Pentapolis, Callinicus of Achaia and Matthew of Oinoe are meant], and to avoid the deliberate reintroduction of the matter of [Paisius’ and Vincent’s joining] Jerusalem, which has already been reviewed by the Synod, as well as the rehabilitation of the Bishop of Astoria, who has abandoned the confession of the synodical hierarchs[159], we have decided, in accordance with the divine and sacred canons (those that have been so badly violated by you and your evilly-motivated collaborators), to break off communion with you and with them, not recognizing your right to preside over the remainder of your [sic] Holy Synod which sits at Canningos 32.”


     It goes without saying that this telegram, as the “Callinicites” themselves later recognized, did not begin to be a canonical deposition of Archbishop Chrysostom. And it is clear, both from the text of the telegram and its timing, that its real motivation (their supposed motivation was the allegedly dictatorial behaviour of the archbishop, his convening synodal sessions and cancelling them at will, and not carrying out resolutions passed by the Synod as a whole but displeasing to the “Callistite” minority (i.e. Calliopius of Pentapolis, Callinicus of Achaia and Matthew of Oinoe)) – was the desire to protect Euthymius from a canonical trial. This action was very reminiscent of that of the leaders of HOCNA in 1986, when they left ROCOR just before the trial of Archimandrite Panteleimon.


     (This similarity between the Callinicites and HOCNA is not coincidental. In 1999 the two Synods tried to unite. Naturally, the Callinicites overlooked the moral charges against HOCNA, while HOCNA agreed that Auxentius’ depositions of Callinicus and Euthymius were “an internal matter that should be dealt with by our Sacred Synod [which?] and need not appear on the common statement.” However, the proposed union broke down over the Callinicites’ insistence that they should have the right to examine the consecrations performed by Auxentius since 1985 “upon the petition of the ordinands”. HOCNA, believing itself to be the lawful successor of Auxentius’ Synod, could not accept to place themselves in the position of petitioners…[160])


     The Callinicites’ claim that Euthymius had been subjected to an unjust witch-hunt was not at all convincing. The present writer has seen a book composed of seventy-five signed testimonies against Euthmyius. Even if many or even most of these testimonies were forged or “bought”, as the Callinicites claimed, the very large number of testimonies surely constituted a powerful prima facie reason for convening a trial[161] in which their validity or otherwise could be determined, and the question of Euthymius’s guilt or innocence could be finally resolved. Besides, a Synodical trial was the only way to resolve what had become a nation-wide scandal that was harming the Church terribly.


     On July 18 the Holy Synod, meeting in the church of St. Demetrius in Aigaleo (since its offices had been stolen), invited the rebels to defend themselves (protocol ¹ 435). Having received no reply, on July 25 six bishops: Archbishop Chrysostom and Metropolitans Maximus of Demetriades, Callinicus of Achaia, Matthew of Oinoe, Calliopius of Pentapolis and Callinicus of the Dodecanese defrocked the six rebel bishops. Two days later, Metropolitan Peter of Astoria arrived at the Synod and signed the decisions of July 25. Metropolitans Athanasius of Acharnae and Anthony of Megara did not take part in the trial, considering it uncanonical. Anthony remained neutral to the end of his life, while Athanasius, after many changes, returned to the Chrysostomite Synod in 2004.


     On the next day, the Chrysostomite Synod met again to pass judgement on the former Metropolitan Euthymius, excommunicating him for his moral transgressions.


     On August 25, 1995 twenty-seven Athonite elders and hieromonks wrote to both sides: “… We have come to the firm conclusion that there is no difference here in questions of the Faith, and all this is an administrative disagreement… It is evident that both sides are equally responsible for the division that has taken place. Therefore we support neither of the two groups, but remain neutral… and humbly suggest the following to you in order to overcome this division:


     ”Rescind all resolutions on both sides that took place after the division,… in particular on the one side the resolution to remove the archiepiscopate of the Archbishop,… and on the other the clearly uncanonical defrockings and bans.


     “After the rescinding of the above resolutions… have a general session of all the Synodal Bishops at which, after mutual repentance and forgiveness, they set about resolving the unresolved questions…


     “In conclusion we should like to note that now whatever group does not offer a willing hand of unity to the other will in the final analysis bear responsibility for the strengthening of the division before God and history.”[162]


     On November 12, 1995, the Callinicites wrote to the Chrysostomites, suggesting reconciliation. Not receiving a reply within forty days, Metropolitan Callinicus wrote again in January, beginning with the words: “Your Beatitude, give that which cannot be given and forgive the unforgivable, and this for a full revelation of the truth: that we are completely responsible for the separation.”


     This was a very promising start… However, immediately after this confession of guilt, he began to accuse the Chrysostomites of not extending a helping hand to them, and said that if “we are to blame for the creation of the separation, the continuation of the break-up makes you infinitely more to blame, especially after our sincere public declaration of our feelings for conciliation and union.” Then he appeared to retract his confession of guilt, claiming that they, the Callinicites, were only “said” to be the cause of the problem: “Christ and His Church – clergy and laity – ask for justice, not only for us, who are said to be the ‘creators’ of the crisis, but more so for you, who formed the basic presuppositions of the separation and completely reject your brothers’ offering to cure this evil.” Then, having previously asserted that he and his fellows were “completely” responsible for the schism, Callinicus went on to claim that it was not only they, but also the Chrysostomites, who conspired: “Your Beatitude, let’s not deceive ourselves: you conspired, and we conspired, not yesterday or the day before, but for a long time.” Finally, he ended with the threat that if Archbishop Chrysostom rejected this offer of reconciliation, the responsibility for the schism would be on his Synod.


     Metropolitan Callinicus here wrote as if the schism were merely a personal quarrel that had not resulted in an ecclesiastical schism and formal defrockings, but could be resolved by a mutual agreement to overlook everything that had happened! But the Chrysostomite Synod was by no means obliged to restore the defrocked bishops. Having confessed that they were guilty of schism, it was hardly fitting for the Callinicites to accuse the Chrysostomites of something even worse if they did not simply ignore it!


     The Callinicite Archimandrite Nectarius (Yashunsky) expressed moral outrage at the fact that the Chrysostomites expressed joy at the Church being cleansed of “unworthy brethren”, which allowed them “to open a new page” in the life of the Church. But the Chrysostomite Synod – and all True Orthodox Christians everywhere - had good reason to rejoice that the Church had been cleansed of a most serious moral offender, Euthymius, the cause of a major schism in the Church of Thessalonica and the reason why many had left the Church and others refrained from entering. Of course, they would have rejoiced even more if he had repented, or submitted to a canonical trial. But long experience had shown that he was not going to do neither of these.


     The Chrysostomite bishops could also rejoice at the departure of Paisius and Vincent, whose ecumenist sympathies had been obvious for some time, and whose relations with their fellow-bishop in America, Peter had been poor.[163] They did not rejoice about the fall of the other bishops, who were of better reputation, and with whom they would no doubt have been happy to be reunited on the basis of “forget and forgive” (as we shall see, they were in fact reunited with all except one of them). But what they – rightly – could never agree to was to accept all the Callinicite bishops en masse, which is what the Callinicite bishops insisted on.


     A general reunion of “Chrysostomites” and “Callinicites” without preconditions or the attaching of any blame to anyone would have been as short-lived and hypocritical as the “Auxentiite-Gerontian-Callistite” union of 1985. One further misdemeanour of Euthymius would have destroyed it just as surely as one further misdemeanour of Auxentius (in relation to Tsakos) destroyed the union of 1995. Better a division, regrettable as it may be, than an attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable. 


     This was essentially the reason why Acacius and Gabriel did not follow Chrysostom into the new Synod he led from 1986. They saw that the conditions for genuine synodal government of the Church simply did not exist while certain powerful but evil bishops remained within it. Gabriel died in isolation, but Acacius joined the Chrysostomites in 2003…


     In May, 2003 almost the whole episcopate and clergy of the Callinicites officially withdrew their repentance for the creation of the schism of 1995, even declaring: “We are grateful [!!!] to those daring bishops who declared the ‘Archbishop’ and the unrepentant triad excommunicated, saving the Church from more adventures and humiliation.”[164]


     This statement actually confirmed the wisdom of the Chrysostomites in not immediately giving in to the Callinicite offer of reconciliation in 1995. Clearly the Callinicites’ stated acceptance of “complete responsibility” for the schism had been insincere and a ploy, a means of extracting concessions which they could not obtain in any other way….


The Schism Develops


     In any case, the “Callinicites” began to divide almost immediately. In the Piraeus Stephen, Paisius and Vincent formed one group, and in Thessalonica Callinicus, Euthymius, Athanasius and Justin formed another. On December 28, 1995 the latter group passed judgement on the ecumenist activities of Paisius and Vincent and declared them “fallen from the faith”, without, however, defrocking them. But then, at the beginning of 1996, Athanasius and Justin left Callinicus and Euthymius and joined Stephen, Anthony, Paisius and Vincent to form yet another Synod.


     In April, 1996 Callinicus and Euthymius bought the fourth floor of Canningos 32, and consecrated new bishops: Macarius (Kavvakides), who was later elected archbishop of their new synod, Anthimus (Karamitros) and Christopher (Angelopoulos), who had been defrocked for immorality by the Patriarch of Jerusalem before being received into the Church by Auxentius. Meanwhile, the other bishops under the presidency of Athanasius occupied the third floor of the same building and in October consecrated two new bishops for America – the Russian Archimandrite Anthony (Grabbe), who had been defrocked for immorality by Metropolitan Vitaly, and Plotinus (Argitelis). This group proceeded to defrock Callinicus and Euthymius, but revoked their sentence the following day. 


     In January, 1997 Metropolitan Peter of Astoria died; and in February - Anthony of Megara. The latter was buried by Vincent, but the 40-day pannikhida was performed by the Holy Synod under Archbishop Chrysostom.


     In the same month, Archimandrite Niphon, who was the spiritual father of some people in the Chrysostomite parishes in the Lamia region and appeared to be a fervent supporter of Archbishop Chrysostom[165], approached Metropolitan Callinicus of the Twelve Islands in Athens and asked him to join with Athanasius of Acharnae (who was not then a member of the Synod) to consecrate him to the episcopate. Callinicus refused. But Niphon would obtain his ambition later…


     In May, Vincent, “weeping and groaning”, handed over the seal of the Metropolia of Piraeus and Salamis to Archbishop Chrysostom and returned to America. Then Paisius, Vincent, Nectarius (formerly Plotinus) and Anthony separated from Athanasius, Stephen and Justin and formed their own synod. In September Stephen and Justin returned to the Holy Synod under Archbishop Chrysostom…


     In January, 1998 Athanasios of Acharnae returned to the Chrysostomite Synod. In the same month Calliopius of Pentapolis died. In this period many priests were returning to the Chrysostomite Synod.


     In February, 1998 Archimandrite Paul (Stratigeas), former Chancellor of the Astoria diocese, was elected and consecrated as the new Metropolitan of America. This elicited some protests and unease because of his ecumenist tendencies in the past - of which, however, he had repented publicly. In April Paisius and Vincent gave an interview in America eulogizing the Ecumenical Patriarch. When Callinicus and Euthymius, as was only to be expected, reacted negatively to this, Paisius and Vincent apostasised to the Ecumenical Patriarch, who rebaptised Paisius (as having been baptised in the Old Calendar Church), and chrismated Vincent! They were not joined by Nectarius and Anthony, who went their own separate ways.


     In June, 1998 the “General Fund” returned into the hands of the Chrysostomite Synod, together with the offices of the Synod on the third floor of Canningos 32. Confusion was now created by the fact that the two rivals Synods calling themselves “The Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece” occupied two floors of the same building. In the summer of 1996, the Chrysostomite Synod had obtained a decision in the Lower Court in Athens recognising the religious organization “The Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece” as a juridical person with the right to own property. And they had forbidden any other group to use that name under threat of court action. The reason for this, as Bishop Photius explains, was simply to avoid confusion. The Callinicites “use the same name, the same building on the same street and postmen, [so] the faithful and the authorities are confused. [Archbishop Macarius, the new leader of the Callinicites since 2003] wants that confusion. We [do] not. If he has the right to use the name, let him keep it and we shall find a similar name for the title of our Church. If we have that right, then the Macariites have to choose another name. And we believe that we have the right because we have [a] legal person with that title.”[166]


     However, the Callinicites saw a much more sinister motive in the Chrysostomite action. Thus Archimandrite Nectarius quoted the words of the Chrysostomite Synod in 1996 that “from now on nobody else has the right to use this name. Otherwise our Church will be forced to seek to defend itself in the courts”[167], and chose to see hidden in the last words, “seek to defend itself in the courts” “a greater meaning than may appear at first sight, for the Chrysostomites were thinking of no more and no less than entering the Greek state on equal terms with the new calendarists and becoming, so to speak, ‘a second state church’. With this end, [writes Bishop Macarius of Petra,] ‘on June 4, 1998 a delegation of the above-mentioned Synod [consisting of Archbishop Chrysostom, Metropolitan Callinicus of Achaia and two archimandrites], inspired by a false Protestant theory of group freedom of conscience, according to which those having the same faith have the right, on uniting with each other, to express it in common services, employing the protection of the government, renounced the Orthodox world-view that the Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece is a Local One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, and proclaimed that the Church of the Old Calendarists is a religious community! And they asked for the State’s ‘lawful protection’ in liquidating all the True Orthodox Christians who do not belong to them!! (op. cit., p. 8). One involuntarily thinks of Sergius Stragorodsky and his legalization of his Synod with the consequent liquidation of those not belonging to him (however, one must give the Greeks their due – here they were not talking about physical ‘liquidation’).”


     Both Bishop Macarius’ incoherent and incomprehensible reference to a “Protestant theory of group freedom” (what theory?!) and Fr. Nectarius’ reference to Sergius Stragorodsky are quite out of place here. The registration of a legal name with the authorities was not sinful in itself. The Greek State, though not truly Orthodox, cannot be compared to the Soviet Union; legalization with the Greek authorities is not ipso facto a sin against Orthodoxy in the way that legalization with the militant atheist Soviet authorities was because of the anathema lying on the Soviet state. Nor, as Archimandrite Nectarius (if not Bishop Macarius) graciously concedes, were the Chrysostomites aiming at the physical liquidation of the Callinicites! The Chrysostomites could justly be criticised only if either they used the legal status they acquired with the State to persecute the Callinicites in a real way (as opposed to simply protecting their property from them by legal means), or the constitution of the corporation was uncanonical….


     Archimandrite Niphon declared that “the making of the True Orthodox Church of Greece into a corporation [sic!] generally overthrows the basic dogmas, abolishes the canons, violates Holy Tradition and, in a word, turns everything upside down for the sake of receiving [the status of] a juridical person”[168]? But this was surely a wild exaggeration and distortion. Moreover, to call it a “Protestant heresy” was unjust even to the Protestants since, as far as the present writer knows, the Protestant doctrine of “the invisible Church of all believers” does not assert the identity of the Church with any visible organization or legal corporation! The very fact that the constitution of the corporation said that the Church of Christ was founded on the Day of Pentecost by the Lord Jesus Christ, whereas the corporation itself was founded on such-and-such a day and month and year by 20 people, and could be “liquidated” by a quorum of members, shows that no identification of the Church with the legal corporation was intended. Besides, in every jurisdiction of the True Orthodox Christians almost every church and monastery has some kind of legal corporation. Why should these be “lawful, canonical and allowed by the Church”, in Bishop Macarius’ words, while the Chrysostomite legal corporation constitutes “a Protestant ecclesiological heresy that appeared after the proclamation of liberty of conscience by the United States in 1787 and especially after the French revolution of 1789…”[169]?!


     The Callinicites also saw a sinister Protestant heresy in the “Constitutional Charter” which the Chrysostomites, after prolonged consultation that produced few objections, established in September, 1998. The most important points in the Charter, a legal document registered with the civil authorities of Greece, were: (a) all property, monastic or parish, was concentrated in the hands of the Synod; (b) monasteries were denied the right to own property; (c) hieromonks were prohibited from serving in parishes without special permission from their ruling hierarchs, even when the parish was opened by the monastery; and (d) between Synodal sessions the Archbishop was given the right to make decisions on his own, although the Synod had the right to agree or disagree with his decisions at the next meeting[170]; (a) went against the prevailing tradition in Greece, where parishes and monasteries are allowed to own their property independent of their bishop. However, it is not contrary to the holy canons, which decree that “the Bishop have authority over the property of the Church” (Apostolic Canon 41).


     The leader in the attack on the Charter was Archimandrite Niphon, who, as we have seen, was seeking a way to join the Callinicites and receive consecration there. He was supported in the background by the Callinicite Bishop Macarius and the Athonite Elder Augustine, a former lawyer.


     Niphon had another motive: the Synod had refused him permission to found a metochion under his sole control in the Chicago area, and the Charter confirmed that the foundation of such monastic communities required the permission of the Synod and the local bishop.[171] Niphon stormed against the Synod’s supposedly “tyrannical teachings” which had the result that “the ruling Holy Monastery could not found free metochia as before”. But as Archbishop Chrysostom justly wrote: “Where do you know that this is written in the Sacred Canons? On the contrary, do you not know that the Sacred Canons demand permission to be obtained for the establishment of a monastic institution? Are you in disagreement with the Sacred Canons?”[172]


     He was; and in November, 1998 Niphon left the Synod with Metropolitans Athanasius of Acharnae and Callinicus of the Twelve Islands and 23 parishes and monasteries.[173] In January, 1999 the Holy Synod rescinded the “Constitutional Charter”, not because it considered it uncanonical, but in order to make it easier for Niphon to return to the Church. But he did not, and in July officially joined the Callinicites (Callinicus of the Twelve Islands remained on his own). In September, he was consecrated metropolitan of the Piraeus, and Arethas metropolitan of Crete.


     At the present time the Callinicites (now renamed “Macariites” because of their new archbishop, Macarius) have about sixteen priests in Russia and one in Romania.


     In July, 1999 Metropolitan Matthew of Oinoe died suddenly, This persuaded Archbishop Chrysostom to proceed to the consecration of new bishops in August: Gerontius of Piraeus and Salamis, Chrysostom of Attica and Boeotia, Gregory of Christianoupolis, Photius of Marathon and Theodosius of Bresthena. The first four bishops were young (30-34 years), which fact was used as another stick to beat the Chrysostomites with.


     Archimandrite Nectarius was on firmer ground when he criticised the Chrysostomite Synod for seeking reconciliation with ROCOR during the late 1990s in spite of ROCOR’s continued communion with Cyprian of Fili, whom the Chrysostomites had defrocked. This was pushed especially by Metropolitan Paul of Astoria, who in 1999 criticised Fr. Nectarius, then a Chrysostomite cleric, for receiving someone from ROCOR, although he had not even been chrismated. Moreover, in 1998 there was an agreement between the two Synods not to receive clergy from each other’s jurisdiction without certificates of release. In earlier years, Metropolitan Peter had justified his occasional communion with the Russians on the grounds that he had been consecrated by them, so could not refuse. Clearly, a certain degree of inter-communion was taking place. However, in 2001, an unofficial Chrysostomite delegation visited Jordanville and raised the issue of Cyprian and Cyprianism. Archbishop Laurus promised that the matter would be discussed at the next ROCOR Council after the election of a new metropolitan. [174]


Other True Orthodox Churches


     Apart from ROCOR and ROAC, there were at least several other Catacomb Church groups in existence in the 1990s. One of these was the Seraphimo-Gennadiites and offshoots from them, such as the “Alpheites”. As we have seen, the canonicity of the Seraphimo-Gennadiites was rejected by ROCOR, following Bishop Lazarus’ advice, in 1990, and most other Catacomb groups also reject them – mistakenly, in the present writer’s humble opinion. In 1998 the Seraphimo-Gennadiite hierarchy decided not to seek union with any other Church. In 1999 Metropolitan Epiphanius was defrocked for his communion with the notorious “healer”, “Metropolitan” Raphael. Later, communion was also broken with Bishop Barsanuphius for his decision to register his Church with the authorities in Moldova.


     In the later 1990s this Church had seven bishops: Schema-Metropolitan Theodosius (Gummenikov) in the North Caucasus region, Archbishop Basil (Bilyak) in Transcarpathia, Archbishop Adrian in the Ukraine, Archbishop John in the Central Volga region, and Bishops Vladimir, Lev and Nikita. Most recently, in 2004-2005, a schism developed over the question of I.N.N. tax forms and their possible defilement by the mark of the Antichrist – a question that troubles many other Orthodox Christians in many countries…


     The most controversial of them was the “Andrewites”. A large question mark hangs over not only the canonicity, but even of the very existence of this branch, so the following data, derived from only one source[175], must be considered extremely provisional and quite possibly incorrect. So called from their founding father, Archbishop Andrew of Ufa (+1937), the canonicity of the Andrewites hierarchy depends in part on the canonicity of Archbishop Andrew, considered by some to be one of the great martyrs of the Catacomb Church and by others – a schismatic who died under ban and formally an Old Ritualist.


     After their last bishops died in the early 1980s, the Andrewites found a 96-year-old Bishop Amphilochius (Shibanov, consecrated in 1928) living in secret in the Trans-Baikal region, and in June, 1994 brought him to Moscow, where he consecrated (on his own) two bishops, and later two more, before dying shortly afterwards. In June, 1995, the Andrewites held a Council at which they defined their (rather extreme) position on various questions. The acts of this Council were signed by: Bishops Ambrose (Count von Sievers) of the Goths, Evagrius (Baron Drenteln) of Ingermannland, Paisius (Rogozhin) of Satkinsk and Eustace (Amosov) of Chita. The Council confirmed an earlier decision, made at the Nikolsky Council of 1961, that sergianists were not to be raised to the priesthood except in exceptional circumstances, and only those who had been subdeacons or lower in the patriarchate. In June, 1996 the Andrewites held another Council near Moscow attended by eight bishops (Ambrose, Evagrius, Paisius, Eustathius, Pancratius, John, Babylas and Nectarius) - twenty-two clergy in all. At this Council the 29 canons of the “Nomadic” Council of 1928 (which most observors consider to be mythical) were confirmed, and measures against various sexual sins were adopted.[176] The Andrewites claim to be in communion with a “Clementite” Old Believer hierarchy, so called from their first bishop, Clement, who was consecrated by Archbishop Andrew of Ufa in 1925.[177] According to one MP source, the Andrewites have 11 bishops and 10,000 faithful, most of whom are scattered in Bashkiria, the Lower Volga region, Krasnodar region and the Urals.[178]


     The two main branches of the Greek Old Calendarist Churches – the Matthewites and the Florinites – both had representatives in Russia.


     The Russian Matthewites were based mainly in the Kuban.  Their founder was the Catacomb Schema-Monk Epiphanius (Chernov) (+1994), a former spiritual son of the second hierarch of ROCOR, Archbishop Theophanes of Poltava (+1940), who came out to the West in 1978.[179] At first he joined ROCOR in Switzerland, but then, convinced that ROCOR had fallen away from her former confession and had been infiltrated by renovationism, he moved to England, where he stayed in the house of the present writer, joining the local community of the Matthewite Greek Old Calendarists. On returning to Russia in 1990, he assumed the leadership of a wide net of virtually priestless parishes, bringing them under the omophorion of the Matthewite Archbishop Andrew of Athens.


     They now have five priests and two deacons and are served mainly by the Matthewite exarch in Russia, Metropolitan Cyricus of Mesogaia, who in July, 2005 broke away from the Matthewites to form his own jurisdiction. There are also two Moscow priests under the Matthewite Church of Cyprus.


     “In 1993,” writes Anton Ter-Grigorian, “Chernov, undoubtedly a vivid and talented Church organizer, cut off all ecclesiastical relations with the Greek Matthewites.” It appears that this was because of the inactivity of the Matthewite exarch in Russia, Metropolitan Chrysostom (Metropoulos) of Thessalonica. “In the same year he widely distributed his ‘Letter to the Catacomb Christians’ in which he wrote that the Greeks understood nothing about the problems of Russia, were behaving in a provocatively high-handed manner and did not want to consecrate a Russian hierarch. Before his death, which took place a year later, he also distributed in the catacomb milieu his ‘Spiritual Testament’. In the Testament he wrote that they should no longer have any relations with the Greeks and added: ‘finally a true Russian hierarchy has been discovered’. What hierarchy precisely this was he did not specify. However, a part of the communities founded by Chernov declared after his death that this hierarchy had been founded in 1994 by a miraculously discovered Bishop Amphilochius and was not contained in the hierarchy of Archbishop Ambrose (Count von Sievers). The representatives of these hierarchies declared also that Church was planning to go to the Council of the miraculously discovered true Russian hierarchy, but was not able to because of illness and died a few weeks before the Council.


     “In Chernov’s former (Matthewite) communities chaos broke out. Some were already commemorating Archbishop Ambrose, others commemorated the Greek Vladyka. However, communality of tradition (Chernov) was preserved in both parts of the ‘Greco-Russian Church’. And the representatives of the communities prayed together in their peregrinations round Russia.”


     In 1996 the leaders of the two communities, Archbishop Ambrose and Metropolitan Cyricus, met in a flat in Moscow. The meeting lasted for two hours, and ended cordially. The two communities were now in effect one, having Fr. Epiphanius Chernov as their common spiritual father.


     However, Fr. Andrew Sidniev did not like the strictly anti-sergianist stance of Archbishop Ambrose, and succeeded in getting an encyclical published in which Metropolitan Cyricus advised his spiritual children not to trust Archbishop Ambrose. Although the metropolitan denied that it was his encyclical, but ascribed it to Sidniev, he did not reject it openly either. As a result Archbishop Ambrose was forced in his own encyclical to forbid his spiritual children to have communion with the Matthewites.[180]


     In Romania there are now three True Orthodox Churches. The first, under Metropolitan Vlasie, has between 800,000 and 1,000,000 believers – easily the largest True Orthodox Church in the world. It has eight bishops, 123 priests and 63 monasteries, and is recognised by the State. It remains in communion with the Cyprianite Greek Old Calendarists and the Bulgarian Old Calendarists under Bishop Photius of Triaditsa. In recent years, according to one report, it has become less strict in the reception of new calendarists, following the liberal practice of the Cyprianites.


     The second, under Bishops Gherontie and Cassian has between 8000 and 12000 believers, according to one account, about 4000 according to another. It has ten priests, three deacons and three monasteries. It is the strictest hierarchy, insisting on the rebaptism and remarriage of new calendarists.


     The third is very small: two priests and one monastery under the Macariite Metropolitan Christopher. It was formed when Bishop Cosmas, formerly of the first hierarchy, approached the Greek Synod, then under Metropolitan Callinicus.[181]


The Serbian Wars


     Dejan Djokic writes: “As Yugoslavia entered the post-Tito era, there were increasing calls for the pursuit of the… ideal of finding what really happened in Yugoslavia in the Second World War. The official history [which minimised the ethnic elements and called it a ‘national liberation war and a socialist revolution’] was bound to be challenged in the more relaxed political atmosphere which eventually emerged following the death of Tito in 1980, when the so-called ‘hidden’, unofficial, accounts of the war years began to appear. During what one Serbian weekly described as ‘the burst of history’, the official interpretation of Yugoslavia’s recent past was questioned by every engaged intellectual. To many observers in the late 1980s, it must have seemed that the Second World War had broken out for the second time in Yugoslavia – verbally, for the time being…


     “The most controversial and most debated issue was that of Croatian genocide against Serbs during the Second World War. Both the Ustaša-directed project to rid the Independent State of Croatia of its almost two million Serbs (and also Jews and Roma) and the nature and scope of the genocide have been the subject of scholarly works. The issue remains a bone of contention between Serbs and Croats… Moreover, some Serbs argue that anti-Serbianism has always been present among Croats and that the Ustaša genocide was merely the last phase of a long process…


     “The nationalist discourse in Yugoslavia, but especially in Serbia and Croatia in the late 1980s and early 1990s, sought a reconciliation between victors and losers of the Second World War who belonged to the same nation; between Partisans and Cetniks in the case of Serbs, and Partisans and Ustašas in the case of Croats. In Yugoslavia at the time ‘reconciliation’ meant a homogenisation of the nation by reconciling ideological differences within the nation…”[182]


     The reconciliation between Partisans and Cetniks in Serbia was symbolised by the coming to power of Miloševic, and between Partisans and Ustašas in Croatia – in the coming to power of Tudjman. Miloševic was an atheist who cynically used the religious feeling associated with Kosovo and the battle of Kosovo Polje in 1389 to stir up nationalist feeling at a speech he made at the site of Kosovo Polje on the 600th anniversary of the battle in 1989. The autonomy of Kosovo was revoked, and then that of Vojvodina in the north…


     Reconciliation between communists and anti-communists also took place in the ecclesiastical sphere. In 1991, communion was restored between the Serbian Patriarchate and the Free Serbs.[183]


     The Serbian wars began in the spring of 1991. The general feeling then among Serbs was that a repeat not only of 1389, but also of 1941 was taking place, when hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Serbs suffered martyrdom at the hands of Roman Catholic Croats for refusing to renounce Orthodoxy.[184] That similarities exist between the present and the past cannot be denied. Thus in 1991, as in 1941, the Pope was using the war to further his geopolitical ambitions at the expense of the Orthodox. The Vatican was the first state to recognise Croatia; it was reported that the Catholic Church itself purchased weapons and ammunition that it sent to the Croats[185]; and the Pope called the bloody murderer of Serbs in World War II, Cardinal Stepinac, "undoubtedly the most prominent martyr in Croatia's history".[186] The destruction of Orthodox churches was a particularly eloquent proof that the forces ranged against the Serbs were indeed of the evil one.


      But did the evil of their enemies make the Serbs innocent victims or “martyrs” for Christ, as even some Greek Old Calendarist publications incautiously declared? Let us consider some facts. First, as the Orthodox writer Jim Forest has pointed out, "Serbia is one of Europe's most secularised societies. Tito's anti-religious policies were more effective than those of Stalin, Khruschev or Brezhnev. Few Serbs are even baptized (the usual estimate is five per cent) and far fewer are active in church life."[187] As for marriages, in the diocese of Rashka and Prizren, for example, “for 50 long years almost no one was married and all those families lived in a state of adultery. In [Bishop Artemius of Prizren’s] diocese, the clergy started pressing for having church weddings. In the beginning it went very slowly and with difficulty, but then people got used to this requirement of the Church and the amount of those who marry increases with each year.”[188]


     Whereas in 1931 barely 0.1% of the population of Yugoslavia declared itself to be without religious affiliation, and only about 12.5% in 1953, the figure was 31.6% in 1987. And the phenomenon of religious non-affiliation was particularly striking precisely in the Serb territories (for example, 54% in Montenegro).[189] One survey in 1985 put the proportion of religious believers in Bosnia at 17 per cent.[190]


     These figures cast doubt on the claim that the Serbian wars are religious in essence. Rather, according to Srdan Vrcan, it is a political conflict that has been given a religious colouring by the warring leaders in order to gain the support of their peoples.[191] Thus, according to the dean of the Serbian Orthodox Theological Faculty in Belgrade, the conflict in Bosnia was “not in any way a religious war. What is the religious issue which is the main motive? There is none. Rather, this is an ethnic and civil war with some elements of religion... This is just a case of the religious component pressed into service for either ethnic or secular [interests]."[192]


     Secondly, the attitude of the Serbian Church in this conflict has been highly ambivalent, sometimes criticising the Serbian communist government for having brought so much suffering upon the Serbian people, at others criticising it for not fighting hard enough, and even blessing the activities of some of the most criminal elements in the Serbian forces. Thus the Swiss Orthodox analyst Jean-François Meyer writes: "The Church has assumed a vocation of guarding 'Serbness' and preserves a lively consciousness of this mission. Thus she has always adopted uncompromising positions with regard to the Kosovo question and energetically defends [Kosovo's] remaining a part of Serbia. As for the Serbs of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, since the massacres carried out in the zones under Croat control during the Second World War were also anti-Orthodox operations, the Church has not hidden her sympathy for their worries and their political objectives. Certain Serbian Orthodox circles were able for a time to believe that they had found in Milosevic a politician who shared the general preoccupations in this respect, but the Church was not slow to distance herself on experiencing the chicaneries of the regime. Thus in 1993 one could see the minister responsible for religious affairs in Belgrade accusing the Church of getting involved in political affairs and certain bishops of wanting to 'stir up the people against the government', while the patriarchate replied by describing the minister as a 'servant of the communist ideology'. At least one part of President Milosevic's entourage continues to cultivate the anti-religious heritage of the communist regime, beginning with the president's wife herself, Mira Markovic (ex-president of the 'Federation of communists - Movement for Yugoslavia', then founder in 1995 of a new party, the UYL, that is, the 'United Yugoslav Left'), who deplores the importance of religion in Serbia and considers that the country 'has already reverted spiritually to the Middle Ages'; the tendency of the regime to retrieve Serb nationalist symbols does not prevent the wife of the president from criticising the cult of Saint Sabbas, which is very important in the Serbian Orthodox tradition. Wishing to be a guarantor of the unity of all Serbs, the Serbian Church has again reasserted her opposition to the Belgrade regime when the latter tried to distance itself from the Bosnian Serbs so as to obtain a lifting of the embargo imposed by the international community. When the Serbs fled from Krajina in August, 1995, the leaders of the Serbian Church again published a solemn declaration sharply criticising the 'incapacity' of the 'neo-communist' Belgrade regime, which has led to 'a total impasse' and is preventing 'the spiritual, moral and political recovery' of the Serbian people."[193] This gesture of defiance towards the communist government was a welcome change from the Serbian Church's “sergianism” in relation to the communists over the previous forty years.[194]


     On the other hand, as Cigar wrote: "Notwithstanding general condemnations of violence by Patriarch Paul, the Serbian Orthodox Church continued to lend its mantle of respectability to even the most extreme nationalist elements. Arkan provided bodyguards for the Serbian Orthodox metropolitan Amphilochius of Montenegro, who has reportedly used them to intimidate dissidents. In July, 1993, on the occasion of the city of Belgrade's holy day, Arkan marched prominently beside Patriarch Paul in solemn procession through the city streets. In that same month, Patriarch Paul himself led an official delegation to Bosnia, where he presided over widely publicized religious ceremonies with the participation of the top Bosnian Serb government and military leaders."[195]


     Who committed the worst atrocities in the Bosnian wars is an historical question that cannot be settled here. For every claim of atrocities by one side there have been counter-claims of atrocities on the other.[196] One thing is certain: there was great hatred and evil on all sides, and no side emerged in a good light from a Christian point of view.


     In March, 1999, NATO warplanes bombed Serbia in an attempt to stop the latest tide of “ethnic cleansing” unleased by the Serbian army against the Muslim Albanians of Kosovo. On March 23, 1999 the Synod of the Serbian Church issued the following statement: “In the name of God, we demand and beseech that all conflict in Kosovo and Metohija immediately cease, and that the problems there be resolved exclusively by peaceful and political means. The way of non-violence and co-operation is the only way blessed by God in agreement with human and Divine moral law and experience. Deeply concerned about the threatened Serbian cradle of Kosovo and Metohija and for all those who live there, and especially by the terrible threats of the world’s armed forces to bomb our Homeland, we would remind the responsible leaders of the international organisations that evil in Kosovo or anywhere else cannot be uprooted by even greater and more immoral evil: the bombing of one small but honourable European people. We cannot believe that the international organisations have become so incapable of devising ways for negotiation and human agreement that they must resort to ways which are dark and demeaning to human and national honour, ways which employ great violence in order to prevent a lesser evil and violence…”[197]


     This statement must be commended at least for calling the actions of the Serbs in Kosovo “evil”. But in its main import it was both factually and morally wrong. After all, is the uprooting of a whole people, accompanied by the cruellest of tortures and rapes, a “lesser evil” than a war undertaken to defend the victims and restrain the aggressors? NATO’s actions may be considered ill-judged from a political point of view. However, from a moral point of view, its aims were surely better than those of the Serbs in Kosovo.[198]


     Serbs also talk about the sacredness of Kosovo Polje and the terrible injustices they have suffered over the centuries. Terrible suffering there has undoubtedly been; but true martyrs for Christ do not complain about their sufferings but rather glory in them. And it goes without saying that they never indulge in revenge killings and rapes. In any case, how is the sacredness of Kosovo Polye, sanctified by the blood of St. Lazarus, who chose a Heavenly Kingdom over an earthly, increased by the savagery of men whose actions are quite clearly earthly – or rather satanic? And how is Orthodoxy glorified when the world sees such savagery committed by supposedly Orthodox Christians on their television screens, with no attempt by the Serbian authorities to condemn it as it deserves?


     On November 29, 1999 Patriarch Paul took part in a festival organised by the communists celebrating the day of the foundation of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1945. He was strongly criticised for this by Bishop Artemius, who called this day “the feast of the annihilation of the monarchy of the Serbian people”, and called for “the reestablishment of the monarchy in Serbia and the return of its lawful rights to the House of the Karageorgieviches, of which they were deprived by the decision of the godless communist authorities.”[199]


     As the Milosevic regime began to fall in the year 2000, the patriarch again returned to an anti-communist position. But by this time it was clear that he was no different from his ally, the Moscow patriarch, in always following the dominant political currents in his country, which is the essence of sergianism. Not only in relation to sergianism, but also in relation to ecumenism, the patriarch could only be described as the opposite of a confessor, declaring that the Christians and the Muslims had the same God, while allowing his bishops, especially Laurence of Sabac, to take prominent roles in the World Council of Churches.


     Thus in a letter to the Pope dated January 17, 1992 Patriarch Paul asked for "a true ecumenical dialogue between our two sister Churches".[200] Again, a year later he wrote to the Pope: “We sincerely rejoice that this joint prayer… (with) representatives of other Christian churches and confessions in Europe, as well as representatives of Islam and other great religions,… will take place in Assisi, the homeland of that righteous one and true servant of God, whose spiritual legacy and teachings have made him an apostle of humility, repentance, peace and love. He has built a real bridge between Christians of the West and East. You may rest assured, Your Holiness, that on this day, as well as on every day given us by God, we are in communion with you in prayer for peace and the salvation of all. This is so, although the undersigned… is regretfully unable to be able personally and physically at the concelebration in Assisi. We ask you to do us a favour and receive our delegation as soon as possible in spite your enormous volume of work and all your great difficulties. This delegation will be instructed to cooperate with these organisations which you appoint for the preparation of our meeting with Your Holiness. If God is merciful, and the meeting takes place in the not so remote future, this will be the first meeting between the Pope of Rome and the Serbian Patriarcha. We once more thank Your Holiness for the invitation, attention and love which you have shown us. We assure you that on the 9th and 10th of January, during the prayer in Assisi, we ‘with one mouth and one heart’ will offer up to the Throne of our Lord and Saviour, together with Your Holiness and all the Bishops and believers of your Holy Church, our sincere prayers for peace in the whole world and peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”[201] 


     As we have seen, there was a reaction against ecumenism in Serbia in the mid-1990s. The movement was renewed to some extent when about 300 clergy and monastics wrote to the Holy Synod: “We ask ourselves: how long will our Holy Synod of Bishops be silent while facing the fact that one Bishop of the SOC (Bishop Irenaeus Bulovic of Backa) organized a reception of the Cardinal of Vienna in 1996 in his cathedral church as if someone more important than the Serbian Patriarch was coming. He took the Cardinal to the Holy Sanctuary and allowed him to kiss the Holy Table. During the liturgy he also exchanged the kiss of peace with the same Cardinal. One other Bishop (Laurence of Sabac) has often taken part in common prayers with ecumenists, pseudo-Christians, pagans and sectarians.


     “Do we, Orthodox monks, not have the right to ask a question and require an explanation, which is the last degree of tolerance for our eternal salvation because we do not want to lose our soul by being led by such bishops?


     “That is why we require an official explanation about the validity of attitudes which we have hitherto expressed.


     “Another question is: Was it necessary to receive the money from the WCC for the new Theology School building in Belgrade so that heretics might teach their heresy to our students of Theology, while our professors of the School force the students to take the blessings from the Protestants and take part in their lectures.”[202]


     However, Patriarch Paul remained unmoved, the movement produced no concrete results, and Serbian hierarchs have continued to the present day to pray with heretics, especially Catholics. Thus in 2000 the Catholic Archbishop of Zagreb, Joseph Bozanic, celebrated a mass in a suburb of Novi Sad in northern Serbia which was attended by the local Orthodox bishop, and joint prayer services took place in Belgrade during a Catholic-Orthodox conference of bishops that took place in Belgrade at the invitation of the Serbian Orthodox Church.[203] Claims to be suffering martyrdom for the Orthodox faith at the hands of wicked Catholics and Muslims are hardly consistent with ecumenist betrayal of that same faith with those same enemies!


     Supporters of the Serbs often point to such men as Archimandrite Justin Popovich, as if such True Orthodox confessors justified the present state of the Serbian Church. This argument completely forgets to mention the rather relevant fact that Fr. Justin denounced the apostasy of the Serbian Church in the most scathing terms, and, as we have seen, in fact broke communion with the Serbian Patriarch.


     The true followers of Fr. Justin have broken communion again. Thus in 1995, after the visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch to the Pope of Rome, three Serbian monks of the Holy Mountain followed Fr. Justin in breaking communion with the false patriarchate. Led by Hieroschemamonk Acacius, they went under the omophorion of the Old Calendarist Archbishop Chrysostom II of Athens. One of the monks, Fr. Akakije, “was ordained a priestmonk in 1997, went to Serbia, and celebrated the first Divine Liturgy in the chapel of St. John of Shanghai on Fruska Gora near Novi Sad that year. By the blessing of the Holy Synod, SS. Cyril and Methodius were named as patrons of the chapel. In mid-1998, in Paracino, central Serbia, another parish was established, dedicated to St. Mark of Ephesus. Both chapels are in private homes.”[204] The True Orthodox Church of Serbia now comprises some four parishes, three monasteries and about 400 people.[205]


     It is significant that the Serbian wars broke out in 1991, when the last significant anti-ecumenist forces in the Serbian Church, the Free Serbs, had just surrendered to the false patriarchate. This suggests that the war was allowed by God as a punishment for apostasy from the True Faith. At the same time, since the war an increase in religiosity has been discernible in the Serbian nation: a poll carried out in 2002 by the Ministry for religious affairs of the republic of Serbia indicated that 95% of the population (excluding Kosovo) considered itself to be believing and only 0.5% - atheist. Out of a population of 7,498,001, 6,371,548, or 85%, were Orthodox. [206]


     Now, we must hope, the Serbs - and not only the Serbs, but all the traditionally Orthodox nations still enslaved to apostate hierarchies and totalitarian governments - will see their error, and begin to fight the heretical West and Islam, not physically but spiritually, not by returning evil for evil, but by confessing both the truth and the love of Orthodox Christianity in word and deed. For, as Tim Judah writes, “Milošević had spun the Serbs dreams of the Empire of Heaven and clothed himself in the glory of the Kosovo myth. Unlike Lazarus, however, he chose a kingdom on earth, which is not the kingdom of Lazarus’s truth and justice.”[207]


The Sergianist Conquest of Jerusalem


     Having effectively rejected most of the Catacomb Church, as well as that (large) part of her organisation inside Russia that is now known as ROAC, ROCOR began inexorably to fall towards the “black hole” of the Moscow Patriarchate. In December, 1996 Archbishop Mark had a meeting with Patriarch Alexis in Moscow which scandalized Russian Orthodox faithful in many countries. And shortly after he issued a joint declaration with Archbishop Theophanes of the MP in Germany which effectively recognised the MP as a True Church with which ROCOR had to unite as soon as possible. Metropolitan Vitaly then said about Archbishop Mark that he had “lost the gift of discernment”…


     In 1997 the MP took de facto control of ROCOR’s monasteries and properties in the Holy Land. The story began when Patriarch Alexis declared his desire to visit ROCOR’s monasteries and to serve at the tomb of Archimandrite Antonin, the famous builder of the Russian Church’s churches in the Holy Land in the nineteenth century. To allow him to do this would have meant violating the ROCOR Synod’s ukaz of April 19, 1994, which “the clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate are not allowed to carry out any kind of Divine services (that is: put on an epitrachelion, perform a litiya or prayer service, etc.) on the territory of our monasteries.” Moreover, the patriarch’s intentions were clearly not peaceful or religious, for before his visit he announced that he was going to the Holy Land to take possession of the properties of ROCOR! In spite of that, the Synod of Bishops ordered, in its meeting in New York on May 13, that the chief heresiarch of modern times should be allowed into the holy places under ROCOR’s jurisdiction and treated “with honour and respect”. However, ROCOR’s leaders in the Holy Land, Bishop Barnabas of Cannes, Archimandrite Bartholomew and Abbess Juliana of the Eleon monastery, decided to remain faithful to the still-unrepealed ukaz of April 19, 1994, and refused admittance to the KGB patriarch and his suite. The ROCOR Synod punished them for this, expelling them from the Holy Land. And then, on July 13, Metropolitan Vitaly, under heavy pressure from Archbishop Mark, apologised both to Patriarch Diodorus of Jerusalem, and to the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat (an MGB agent who trained in Moscow)![208] Patriarch Alexis then resorted to violence: with the aid of the Palestinians, he took the Hebron monastery by force in an operation that was reminiscent of the similar operations carried out by him with the aid of OMON troops against ROCOR parishes in Vladivostok, Ryazan and other places. (Abbess Juliana suffered concussion. This was in fact the second time that she had been violently expelled from a monastery in the Holy Land by the MP, the first time being in 1948.) Finally, on July 29, the 70th anniversary of Metropolitan Sergius’ declaration, the ROCOR Synod expelled Bishop Barnabas of Cannes, Archimandrite Bartholomew and Abbess Juliana from the Holy Land.[209] At that point, therefore, the last remnants of True Orthodoxy must be deemed to have surrendered to an unholy alliance of “World Orthodoxy”, Islam and Communism in the land of the God-Man’s Death and Resurrection. Even mute nature was sorrowful: Abraham’s Oak at Hebron died one year after its seizure by the MP…


     Later it turned out, as the Hebron newspaper El Mascobbiyeh reported, that since February, 1997 the monastery had been secretly transferred to the MP through the head of the MP’s Russian ecclesiastical mission in Jerusalem, Vasily Vasnev…[210]


     The critics of Abbess Juliana pointed to the fact that access to the Holy Places was guaranteed by law for all pilgrims. Actually, while the Oak of Abraham, situated on the grounds of the Hebron monastery, was clearly a Holy Place, the Eleon and Gethsemane monasteries were situated close to, but not precisely on, the sites of the Lord’s Ascension, Agony in the Garden and Betrayal by Judas. However, assuming that the monasteries were situated on a Holy Place, let us consider the force of this argument.


     Protopriest Benjamin Zhukov wrote: “Such a law exists in Israel. But nobody can say with certainty that such a law is also in force on the territory of the Palestinian Autonomy. And even if it is, in view of the special military situation there (as far as Hebron is concerned, the conflicts between the Palestinians and the Jews have led, in the last two months, to tens of deaths and hundreds of people wounded), one can say that the functioning of the law is not the norm in the Palestinian Autonomy. The best proof of this is the fact that there are differences between the various Palestinian levels of authority in evaluating the lawless actions of the Palestinian police in Hebron...


     “If such a law exists in the Palestinian Autonomy, then in Hebron, in the given instance, it became quite inapplicable for us. Arafat considers that we occupy the territory unlawfully. How can we act in accordance with the law concerning the reception of visitors if we are not considered to be the owners of this place? Thus Arafat himself removes from us the basis for fulfilling the law. But we become still less responsible before this law (I repeat, if this law is in force) if the visitor who is planning to come is in the eyes of the authorities the lawful owner. Consequently, the first violators of the law are the authorities themselves, who are placing us in a position outside the law. But what fulfilment of the law is required of us here? The concept of hospitality has very little to do with this...


     “As regards the attitude of the Jews to this law in the given case, it is known that, not long before the projected visit to the Holy Land of Alexis II, one of the important officials of the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs, Uri Mor, visited our monastery on Eleon with the aim of finding out what the attitude to the visit of the Moscow Patriarch was there. Our nuns replied that the arrival of the Patriarch, supposedly for the 150th anniversary of the Mission, was nothing other than a Soviet show; the 150th anniversary was an excuse, since the 100th anniversary of the Mission was celebrated triumphantly in Jerusalem in 1958 under the leadership of Archbishop Alexander of Berlin, in the presence of officials of the Jordanian state and, of course, of representatives of the Greek Patriarchate (officially the Mission goes back to its establishment by the Turkish government in 1858). To this Uri Mor replied: ‘You can protest as you like.’ And then he said: ‘I see that your approach is different from that in Gethsemane... If you don’t want to receive him, that is your business!’ And he added: ‘Israel will never change the status quo on its territories.’


     “Patriarch Diodorus’ attitude to this question is also characteristic. When his emissary accompanying Alexis II was rejected, Patriarch Diodorus received the nuns of the Eleon monastery and expressed to them his principled censure. And, demonstrating his power, he said that he could enter Eleon, if he wanted, with the help of the Jewish police, but he would not do this. And he dismissed them in peace, after asking: ‘Whose side is Hebron on?’


     “Let us add that the Catholic monastery of the Carmelites admits nobody, and nobody has laid claims against it. As S. Chertok, a journalist living in Jerusalem, has clearly written (Russkaia Mysl’, ¹ 4179, 19-25 June, 1997): ‘In Israel access to the holy places is truly free. However, in closed institutions this is done at established or agreed hours, and, of course, without resorting to force. This rule particularly applies to monasteries where order is defined by a strict rule.’”[211]


     Even if the law concerning the free access of pilgrims to the holy places were clearer and more strictly applied, it could still not have applied to Patriarch Alexis for the simple reason that he was not a pilgrim. Having announced publicly before his visit that he was going to the Holy Land to take possession of the properties of ROCOR, he took the Hebron monastery by force. In other words, he acted like a thief - and no law, secular or sacred, can compel one to accept a self-declared thief onto one’s property.


     But even if such an impious law existed, it would be necessary to ignore it for the sake of piety, of the Law of God. Would the great confessors of the faith in the Holy Land - Saints Theodosius the Great, Euthymius the Great and Sabbas the Sanctified - have allowed the heresiarchs of their time to carry out services in their monasteries? It is inconceivable.


     What at first sight appeared to be the strongest argument advanced by the critics of Abbess Juliana was the fact that ROCOR in the Holy Land commemorated Patriarch Diodorus of Jerusalem, and was therefore bound to receive his friends and guests. Thus according to Protopriest George Larin, who later became Archbishop Mark’s deputy in the Holy Land, “we do not even have the right to perform Divine services in our churches in the Holy Land without the blessing of his Beatitude Diodorus, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and… we perform the Divine Liturgy on antimens sanctified by his Beatitude, … we pray for him and commemorate him in the litanies before our First-Hierarch... When hierarchs and priests and deacons arrive on pilgrimage in the Holy Land, they do not have the right (according to the canons of the Orthodox Church) to perform Divine services even in our churches without the Patriarch of Jerusalem’s special permission, which is why we go from the airport first to his Beatitude for a blessing!”[212]


     At the same time Fr. George admited that Patriarch Diodorus “concelebrates with the Patriarch of Moscow and does not wish to concelebrate with our hierarchs”. A strange and clearly uncanonical situation, in which the ROCOR monastics in the Holy Land already had their own first-hierarch, but were forced to have another one - who served with their chief enemy but not with them! Who was it Who said that one cannot serve two masters?...


     Now Patriarch Diodorus of Jerusalem was not a heretic in the way Alexis of Moscow was. He criticized the ecumenical movement, and in 1989, as we have seen, left the World Council of Churches, although it appears that he did not break off all contact with the ecumenical organizations. But his opposition to ecumenism lacked the principled character of ROCOR’s; for he remained in full communion with all the ecumenist Orthodox. In so doing he placed himself in an uncanonical situation and compelled all true zealots of Orthodoxy to break communion with him. For, as St. John Chrysostom says, “he who communicates with an excommunicate is himself excommunicated”.


     Moreover, other hierarchs of the Jerusalem Patriarchate were unashamedly on the side of the MP. Thus Metropolitan Timothy of Lydda declared: “The Russian monastery of Hebron has been returned to its legal owner [i.e. Alexis of Moscow]”, emphasizing that “the time has come to overcome the divisions now that the Church in Russia is free. There is only one Russian Orthodox Church and one cannot recognize as such the tiny grouping which separated from it a long time ago for whatever reasons.”[213]


     The question was: what was the purpose of ROCOR’s presence in Jerusalem? To have a quiet life undisturbed by any conflicts with her neighbours? In that case, she would have done best to give up her ineffectual pose of pseudo-independence and join either the Patriarchate of Jerusalem or the MP’s Mission in Jerusalem. Or was it to inherit the Kingdom of heaven through a good confession of faith, even to the shedding of blood if necessary? In that case, she should hve broken communion with the Patriarch of Jerusalem and firmly resist all attempts of KGB agents in cassocks to “have cups of tea” and “serve Divine services” in her monasteries. This would undoubtedly have led to confrontation, but with God’s help she would undoubtedly have succeeded - and encouraged many other covert opponents of ecumenism in the Holy Land and elsewhere. After all, as the Apostle Paul put it: “If God is with us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8.31).


     One bishop critical of Abbess Juliana wrote: “Obviously, it was a question of drawing a line at some point: Alexey evidently could not be received as though he were a patriarch, but the other extreme, closing the gates in the face of the delegation is another extreme, which, elsewhere might indeed be appropriate, but in the context was provocative to the local authorities, both civil and ecclesiastical. Diplomacy has little place in matters of principle, but neither, I feel, does provocation...”


     These comments betray a lack of understanding of the situation in which Abbess Juliana and her fellow zealots were placed.


     First, she had been ordered to receive him “with honour and respect”, which precluded treating him as though he were not a patriarch. True, the Synod had given her a speech to the patriarch in which it was written: “We welcome you not as the Patriarch of all Russia, but as a guest of Patriarch Diodorus of Jerusalem”. But, as Abbess Juliana wrote, “standing in front of the television cameras I would have been shamed in front of the whole world!!!... This seemed to me absurd. Every welcome is already a welcome, and holding in my hands the paper, the reporters could have put into my mouth completely different words. And in essence I would have had to go up to receive his blessing.


     Again, a highly respected protopriest from Russia, while criticizing the Synod for going too far in one direction, criticized Abbess Juliana for going too far in the other, saying that she should have let Alexis in, but “drily, officially”. However, even if she had received him “drily” and “officially”, could she, a frail woman who did not have the support even of all her nuns, have prevented him from serving at the tomb of Archimandrite Antonin once he and his vast entourage had crossed the threshold of the convent? If she had tried to do so, the scandal may have been even greater, and she might well have been simply pushed aside, just as she was pushed aside at Hebron.


     In any case, if the KGB Agent “Patriarch” had been allowed into the citadel of ROCOR in Jerusalem, the real relationship of ROCOR to him and his patriarchate would have been completely misrepresented and the whole world would have known who the real master, not only on Eleon, but in the Russian Church as a whole, was.


     The most shocking aspect of thes whole affair was the letter of apology to the Muslims. Protopriest Benjamin made some illuminating comments on the diplomatic significance of the metropolitan’s letter to Arafat: “In the letter to Arafat there is not a word about the unlawful seizure of property, about the inhumane beating of the monastics, about the crying violation of international law, as was expressed by Archbishop Laurus in his protest. Nothing of the kind! In this address, eight days after the lawless actions of the Moscow Patriarchate with the help of the Palestinian OMON, under the guise of a ‘diplomatic note’ with the aim of receiving Hebron back again, there took place a complete ‘whitewash’ and ‘justification’ of all the criminals in the affair of the seizure of Hebron. Perhaps, in fact, in such circumstances Hebron will be returned to our Church: the Moscow Patriarchate would make off, as Khrushchev once made off in Cuba, having got a long way in ! Perhaps... but would it not be better to sacrifice Hebron (we may even say that we do not have the strength to keep it), rather than to sacrifice our faithful monks, whose exploit we did not defend in this lamentable letter. We have similarly failed to value the exploit of those who trusted us and who have been beaten up by the OMON in our homeland... This was a diplomatic failure for the whole world to see!


     There can be no doubt that Metropolitan Vitaly was forced to make this apology by Archbishop Mark, who was not sent to the Holy Land in July at the bidding of the Synod, but came of his own will, having supposedly heard about the events “from the newspapers”. Many suspect - and there is certainly much evidence pointing in that direction - that the events in Hebron and Jerusalem were actually planned by the Moscow Patriarch with Archbishop Mark at their secret meeting in December, 1996.


     Archbishop Mark’s position in relation to Moscow was set out in an article in which he began by affirming that the events in the Holy Land should not stop attempts to overcome the schism with the Moscow Patriarchate - which, however, was a “division”, not a “schism”. Then he reviewed the main obstacles to union in a perfunctory and misleading way. Finally, he called for an All-Emigration Council to review relations with the patriarchate and to consider the question: “Is eucharistic communion possible with complete autonomy?”[214] This showed where his thought is moving - towards making ROCOR a “completely autonomous” Church in communion with the patriarchate, like the Orthodox Church of America!


     It also became clear that Archbishop Mark was planning to hand over the remaining ROCOR properties to the MP. For his close assistant in this affair, Protopriest Victor Potapov, said in an interview: “We declare outright that we consider the Church Abroad to be an inalienable part of Russian Orthodoxy and that we would like to give over to Russia everything that we have available, and in particular also here in the Holy Land.”[215]


     In 2000, Patriarch Alexis, during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, presented documents laying claim to the Hebron monastery to the Palestinian authorities, who accepted them. In 2005, he awarded Ambassador Hairi al Oridi with “The Order of the Holy and Right-Believing Prince Daniel” for his contribution to the development of relations between Russian and Palestine.”Bishop Mark of Yegorievsk, who presented the award along with the Patriarch, noted that the Ambassador took an active role in preparing for the two visits of Patriarch Alexis to the Holy Land…”[216]


The ROCOR Traditionalists


     In March, 1998 three monks of the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville - Hieromonk Paisius, Hierodeacon Ambrose, Rassophor Monk Oleg - left because of the clearly ecumenist ecclesiology taught and practised in the monastery. On March 5/18 they sent the following letter to Metropolitan Vitaly and the Hierarchical Synod of ROCOR about this: “… We humbly address you with an explanation of the reasons of our departure from the Holy Trinity monastery in Jordanville.


     “The first reason. Archimandrite Peter (Lukyanov) continues to defend the non-Orthodox “catechesis” which has been condemned by the Synod and the Spiritual council of the monastery… Archbishop Lavr said that Archimandrite Peter is not a heretic, and there is nothing non-Orthodox in the “catechesis”, referring on this question to the opinions of Archbishop Mark and Protopriest Stefan Pavlenko…


     “The second reason: the joint prayer in the church at an akathist to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker of Archbishop Lavr and an abbot from the Serbian Church, which is in the World Council of Churches – that fortress of the ecumenist heresy… When we declared that we would not concelebrate and pray together with the ecumenist Serbs, Archbishop Lavr replied: “But we will!” And he took as examples Archbishops Anthony, Mark, Alipy and Hilarion, who concelebrate with the Serbs…


     “The third reason: the meeting of the Serbian Bishop Artemy in the monastery with the ringing of bells and hassocks… Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan… completely supported us, saying that we… were acting correctly and should not fear in future to speak the truth and act according to our Christian conscience. (During the Serbian bishop’s stay in the monastery we did not go into the church, nor to trapeza, about which we informed the Rector). Praying with the Serb ecumenists is the same as praying with clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate, with whom they are in liturgical communion.


     “The fourth reason. In our above-mentioned behaviour we based ourselves on the decision of the Council of ROCOR in 1983 in Mansonville, which delivers the heresy of ecumenism, the ecumenists and all those in communion with them, even for the sake of a certain love or help, to anathema. But Archbishop Lavr considers this Council to be a “robber” council, since, in his words, it was arranged by Grabbe. We cannot agree with this name, because this Council was accepted by the conciliar opinion of the Church, and it is referred to throughout the world, and only another Council cannot annul it. And so it turns out that “they fall under their own anathema”.


     “The fifth reason: the joint prayers (at which we were not present) in church and at trapeza with Bishop Basil (Rodzyanko) of the American Metropolia, who was present at them wearing a panagia and with his staff…


     “The sixth reason: new calendarists and those belonging to the MP are admitted to communion in the monastery church.


     “The seventh reason: Archbishop Lavr considers that the MP is the Mother-Church and applies every effort to attain union with it. For example, in the seminary he taught Canon Law according to the patriarchal heretical textbook of V. Tsypin… Metropolitan Anastasy willed that we should have no communion with the MP ’…no canonical, prayerful or even everyday communion.’ Metropolitan Philaret taught that there can be no dialogue with heretics, only monologue. He said this about the MP, which, as everybody knows, is deeply immired in the heresies of sergianism and ecumenism. By recognising the MP to be a Church, the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, who considered the MP to be graceless, are blasphemed… Also the Catacomb Christians who have always been faithful to ROCOR, are called by Archbishop Lavr ‘self-consecrators’…


     “The eighth reason. Archbishop Lavr considers that ‘the dogmas of the Church are theory, it is quite a different matter in practice’…


     “The ninth reason. In the unia of the Antiochian Patriarchate (and of the MP which has dealings with it) with the Monophysites Archbishop Lavr sees no falling away from Orthodoxy, but only an attempt to ‘swallow up’ the latter.


     “The tenth reason: Hieromonk John (Berzinysh)’s commemoration at the proskomedia of the Constantinopolitan Patriarch Bartholomew, who falls under three anathemas: as a new calendarist, as a mason… and as an ecumenist.


     “… After two admonitions, which had no effect, we declared to Hieromonk John that we could not be in eucharistic and prayerful communion with him, for according to the canons of the Church of Christ the commemoration of a heretic at the proskomedia is inadmissible… Rassophor Monk Oleg was deprived of communion for an indefinite period, although any monk can leave the monastery if questions of the faith are at stake.


     “Hieromonk John asked us in an insulting way: ‘How are you now going to trapeza, which has been prepared by a heretic, and eat things sacrificed to idols?’ So we had to stop going to the church and trapeza, since nobody stopped him… We told Archbishop Lavr that already for two weeks because of the unlawful actions of Hieromonk John we were not going to the church or trapeza, but he did not react in any way to this… We suggested that Hieromonk John (Berzinysh) repent from the ambon, for the whole brotherhood was greatly upset and tempted, but Archbishop Lavr replied that he ‘was not intending to create a show with Hieromonk John’s repentance’.


     “… In his last conversation with us… Archbishop Lavr declared that we were banned, we did not receive a reply to our question for how long, which we consider uncanonical. Archbishop Lavr gave as his reason for the ban our not going to church for a month. But there is cunning in this: after all, two weeks earlier we had told him that we were forced not to visit the church… We again explained to Archbishop Lavr the reason for our actions, to which he replied, subjecting us to severe perplexity and great temptation: ‘Show me the book in which it is written that it is wrong to commemorate (at the proskomedia) the Patriarch of Constantinople’.


     “Because of all the above-mentioned reasons we left the Holy Trinity monastery, since we consider Archbishop Lavr to be ‘not rightly dividing the word of truth’.”[217]


     In June, 1998, under pressure from believers inside Russia, Metropolitan Vitaly recovered somewhat, and declared that the MP was “a pseudo-patriarchate with a pseudo-patriarch at its head… The Moscow Patriarchate has lost Apostolic Succession, which is to say, it has lost the Grace of Christ. We have not the slightest intention of taking part in a Bishops’ council, or Sobor, jointly with the Moscow Patriarchate.”[218]


     One of those who supported the metropolitan here was Archpriest Lev Lebedev of Kursk: “How right was Archbishop Seraphim of Brussels when he wrote with regards to the MP in 1994: ‘It is by our existence independently of the MP that we will benefit Orthodoxy, as well as the MP. As long as we exist, no matter how small a lot we are, the MP will always have to be mindful of us. We serve as the saving deterrent for its blunders. If we disappear and merge with them, the hands of the MP will be completely untied.”


     While considering that the MP was graceless, Fr. Lev was not in favour of the metropolitan’s making a public declaration to that effect, nor was he in favour of breaking relations with the Cyprianites, with whom, as we have seen, he retained friendly relations.


     In 1998 Fr. Lev was due to address the Hierarchical Council of ROCOR in New York. However, he was mysteriously taken ill and died in his hotel room before he could deliver his report, which contained a scathing exposé of Archbishop Mark of Germany. He also wrote: “One cannot but admit that the apostate, heretical and criminal majority of the MP hierarchy corresponds entirely to the state of society as a whole; it is one of the ‘moles’ or ‘worms’ greedily devouring whatever it can still find to devour in the rotting corpse. Under these circumstances what can the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad have in common with the Moscow ‘Patriarchate’? Nothing! Hence it follows that any kind of ‘dialogue’ or ‘conference’ with the MP with the aim of clarifying ‘what divides us and what unites us’ is either an abysmal failure to understand the essence of things or a betrayal of God’s truth and the Cchurch. What divides us is everything! And what unites us is nothing, except perhaps the outward forms of church buildings, clerical vestments and the order of services (but in all respects even here). Therefore it is necessary to realize clearly and confirm officially that now the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia is not a part of the Church of Russia, but the only lawful Russian Church in all its fullness![219] ‘Recognition’ of the MP by ROCOR would provide the MP with the appearance of legitimacy in the eyes of the entire world. But this cannot be allowed to happen… And if one’s soul suffers pain for the Russian-speaking population of Russia, then it is only through constant and firm reproof of the MP, and not through making advances towards it, that it is possible to save those in Russia who still seek salvation and are capable of accepting it. It is therefore essential to return to the uncompromising attitude towards the MP which was taken by ROCOR from the beginning. And it is quite wrong, under the pretext of ‘the good of the Church’ and ‘operational efficiency’, to undermine the authority of the Primate of ROCOR, who is capable of distinguishing truth from falsehood and of ‘discerning the spirits’. Recently ROCOR has been afflicted by a whole series of disasters one after the other. The murder of the guardian of the miraculous myrrh-streaming Iveron icon was especially terrible. But it is after the very indecisive resolutions of the Hierarchical Council of ROCOR in 1993 and 1994 and the subsequent steps taken by some of our hierarchs towards rapprochement with the MP that these disasters began, one after the other – disasters which bear witness to the withdrawal of God’s beneficence towards our Church, because of its deviation from the truth. How many more disasters do the supporters of fraternization with the criminal and heretical MP wish to bring down upon us?”


The Witness of St. Philaret


     That Archbishop – the future Metropolitan – Lavr was a leader in the movement of ROCOR away from True Orthodoxy and towards “World Orthodoxy” was revealed in the disrespectful way he treated the incorrupt relics of his predecessor, Metropolitan Philaret.


     Metropolitan Philaret reposed on the feast of the Archangel Michael, 1985. Nearly thirteen years passed, and it was arranged that his remains should be transferred from the burial-vault under the altar of the cemetery Dormition church of the Holy Trinity monastery in Jordanville into a new burial-vault behind the monastery’s main church. In connection with this, it was decided, in preparation for the transfer, to carry out an opening of the tomb. On November 10, 1998 Archbishop Lavr of Syracuse and Holy Trinity, together with the clergy of the community, served a pannikhida in the burial vault; the coffin of Metropolitan Philaret was placed in the middle of the room and opened. The relics of the metropolitan were found to be completely incorrupt, they were of a light colour; the skin, beard and hair were completely preserved. His vestments, Gospel, and the paper with the prayer of absolution were in a state of complete preservation. Even the white cloth that covered his body from above had preserved its blinding whiteness, which greatly amazed the undertaker who was present at the opening of the coffin – he said that this cloth should have become completely black after three years in the coffin… It is noteworthy that the metal buckles of the Gospel in the coffin fell into dust on being touched – they had rusted completely; this witnessed to the fact that it was very damp in the tomb; and in such dampness nothing except these buckles suffered any damage! In truth this was a manifest miracle of God.


     However, the reaction of Archbishop Lavr to this manifest miracle was unexpected: he ordered that the coffin with the relics be again closed…


     On the eve of the reburial of the relics, November 20, at the beginning of the fourth hour of the day, the coffin of the holy hierarch was taken from the Dormition church to the monastery church of the Holy Trinity in a car. The serving of the pannikhida was led by Archbishop Lavr, with whom there concelebrated 20 clergy. None of the other hierarchs of ROCOR came to the translation of the relics of the holy hierarch Philaret (only Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan wanted to come, but he was hindered by a sudden illness). After the pannikhida the coffin with the body of the holy hierarch was placed in the side wall of the church, and at 19.00 the All-Night Vigil began. The next day, November 21, Archbishop Lavr headed the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the church. With him concelebrated 18 priests and 11 deacons, several more clergy who had arrived prayed with the laypeople in the church itself. About 400 people gathered in the over-crowded church. All those present were greatly upset and grieved by the fact that during the pannikhida, as during the All-Night Vigil and the Liturgy, the coffin with the relics of the holy hierarch Philaret remained sealed. In spite of the numerous requests of clergy and laity, who had specially come to Jordanville so as to kiss the relics of the holy hierarch, Archbishop Lavr refused to open the coffin. He also very strictly forbade making photocopies from the shots that had already been taken of the incorrupt relics of the saint or even to show them to anyone. Archbishop Lavr called on those assembled to pray for the peace of the soul of the reposed First Hierarch until the will of God should be revealed concerning his veneration among the ranks of the saints… After the Liturgy a pannikhida was served, and then the coffin with the relics of the holy hierarch Philaret were taken in a cross procession around the Holy Trinity cathedral and then to the prepared place in the burial vault, where Archbishop Lavr consigned the honourable relics of the holy hierarch to the earth.[220]


     There have been other witnesses to the holiness of Metropolitan Philaret. The following took place on the feast of St. Stephen, January 9, 2006 in the True Orthodox women's monastery of New Stenik, which has just been built in a very remote part of Serbia in spite of threats to destroy it coming from the false patriarchate of Serbia. The nuns were expelled from Old Stenik a few years ago because of their opposition to the heresy of ecumenism, and are under the omophorion of a hierarch of the “Florinite” branch of the True Orthodox Church of Greece.


     Nun Ipomoni (which means “patience” in Greek) suffers from very severe asthma attacks. On this day, she had the most severe attack yet and suffocated. For 20 minutes she did not breathe and her body was without any sign of life. Now it should be noted that a few days before this, the 10 nuns in this monastery led by Schema-Abbess Euphrosyne had earnestly prayed to the Lord to give them the fear of God.


     During the 20 minutes that she was clinically dead Nun Ipomoni met several demons in a dark tunnel; they got hold of her and were trying to drag her to hell. It was a most terrifying experience. After 20 minutes, Matushka Euphrosyne anointed her dead body with oil from the lampada in front of the icon of St. Philaret of New York. At the moment when the oil touched her head, which felt like an electric shock, she revived and began to move. For some afterwards, she was still very weak and wept all the time. But the next day Fr. Akakie arrived at the monastery, served the liturgy for three days in a row, communed her and gave her the sacrament of Holy Unction. Now she has fully recovered. She feels well, walks and even prepares food. This whole incident has had a very beneficial effect on all of the nuns. Their prayer to receive the fear of God was answered. And they ardently thanked God and his great hierarch, St. Philaret of New York.[221]


ROCOR and the Serbs


     In 1999, the ROCOR Synod issued the following appeal: “The present condition of our Sister Church of Serbia and the much suffering Serbian people is becoming ever more difficult. Employing the evil of slander and violence, NATO is attempting to excise Kosovo, the very heart of Serbia. And bombs are exploding near Belgrade itself. This appeal directs the Archpastors to call the clergy and flock to pray, not only in church but also at home for the salvation of the land of Serbia and its faithful people, to whom we are bound by bonds of consanguinity.” The Appeal then instructed ROCOR priests to pray at the Liturgy “for the suffering Orthodox people of Serbia”, and in molebens - “for His Holiness Paul, Patriarch of Serbia, for the Archpastors, clergy and flock of Serbia”.[222]


     What was striking about this appeal was the fullness of the recognition of “our Sister Church of Serbia” – at a time when the Serbian Church was increasing its ecumenical activity.[223] Logically, of course, this implied that not only the Serbian Church, but all the Local Churches of World Orthodoxy, with whom the Serbs were in full communion, were “Sister Churches” of ROCOR – together, perhaps, with those non-Orthodox churches, such as the Catholic, with whom the Serbs declared themselves to have “brotherly” relations.[224]


     And yet all these Churches had been anathematised by ROCOR in 1983 for their participation in the pan-heresy of ecumenism – which anathema had been reaffirmed as recently as May, 1998.[225]


     What did this mean? That the ROCOR Synod was simply stupid in not realising the incompatibility of its “Appeal” with its own recent condemnation of ecumenism? Or that it was deliberately deceiving the faithful by pretending to condemn and separate itself from heresy, while actually entering secretly – or now, perhaps, not so secretly - into communion with it?


     Secondly, ROCOR was accusing NATO of “slander and violence”. What slander? Surely ROCOR did not believe the communist propaganda machine? Surely it did not deny the ever-mounting evidence of atrocities and “ethnic cleansing” on the part of the Serbs?!


     As for violence, the violence of NATO was, of course, regrettable, but much less than the violence of the Serbs against their own citizens. Why did ROCOR – unlike Patriarch Paul – not say a word about that evil? Why was ROCOR reversing the political as well as the ecclesiastical position it had maintained for most of this century – that is, of support for NATO against the communist regimes of Eastern Europe and Asia? The clue here appeared to be a word that figures prominently in the “Appeal”: “consanguinity”. Everything, it appears, was forgiven to the Serbs because they had Slavic blood in common with the Russians.


     Another reason was indicated in ROCOR’s epistle to its flock on July 13, 2001: “Concerning our relationship to the Serbian Orthodox Church, we declare that the relationship of our Church with her is special, being conditioned by our historical closeness to the Serbian Church, which accepted the Russian Church Abroad and a multitude of Russian refugees under her loving roof and cared for us as our own Mother. Now the Serbian Church herself is suffering a heavy trial from the attack of global forces on Kosovo and other parts of Serbia. We, at such a difficult time, cannot turn our backs to Her.”[226]


     And yet, in 2000, the Serbian Patriarch broke all links with ROCOR. As a MP publication reported: “By a decision of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of December 28, 1998, a Podvorye of the Moscow Patriarchate was formed in the city of Bari, Italy, for the spiritual nourishment of the local Russian-speaking community and the numerous pilgrims who visit this city to venerate the honourable relics of the holy hierarch and wonderworker Nicholas, as well as for the support of working contacts with religious, state and social circles in Italy. The co-worker of the Department of external ecclesiastical relations, the priest Vladimir Kuchumov, was appointed as superior.


     “From the beginning of the activity of the Podvorye, it became known that in the lower church of the former Russian home for receiving pilgrims, which is partly used, in accordance with an agreement, by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR), there was serving a clergyman of the Serbian Orthodox Church.


     “His Holiness Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia wrote to His Holiness Patriarch Paul of Serbia, asking him to clarify the situation that had been created, which violated the canonical structure of the Orthodox Church, insofar as the pastoral service of a clergyman of the Serbian Patriarchate was taking place in a schismatic ecclesiastical structure having no communion with any Local Orthodox Church.


     “His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia sent a return letter to His Holiness Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia, in which he expressed the position of the Sacred Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church in relation to the schismatics. In particular he declared the following:


     “’… The Sacred Hierarchical Synod of our Holy Church has forbidden their Graces, the Diocesan Bishops, to give any kind of canonical permission to priests to depart for the jurisdiction of the above-mentioned ‘church’. We hope that they will stick to this.


     “’We are sorry that such a thing could have taken place, and we hope that this incident will in no way spoil the age-old good brotherly relations that have existed throughout the course of our united history.


     “’In this hope, we beseech Your Holiness and the Most Holy Russian Orthodox Church, which is so dear to us, [to forgive] our oversight, which took place in the city of Bari, and not to consider it to be a sin. We assure you that such an unpleasant incident will not be repeated.


     “’Your Holiness knows the brotherly and Christian relations that the Serbian Orthodox Church and people had towards Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev and the bishops, monks and Russian people who came to us in flight from the violence of the communists in 1918. This brotherly relationship continued only until, after the fall of the communists, the representatives of the Russian Church Abroad started to spread their priesthood onto the territory of Russia, thereby violating the canonical authority of the Russian patriarchate. The Sacred Synod has more than once directed its protests to the leadership of the Russian Church Abroad in America and demanded that it cease from such actions since they are anticanonical and worthy of every condemnation.’” [227]


     The communion of certain ROCOR hierarchs with the Serbs had always been presented by them as proof that they were still in communion with World Orthodoxy as a whole. Now, however, a choice had to be made: either full integration into World Orthodoxy through submission to the MP, or a complete breaking of all ties with World Orthodoxy and a return to the confessing stance of Metropolitan Philaret. Within a few months the ROCOR Synod made its choice for submission to the MP, and the rest of the Church had to choose whether to follow their hierarchs or not…


On the Eve of the Millenium


     In 1999, ten years since perestroika began to expose the secret corruption of the MP, the situation was back to “normal” – that is, homosexuality among the leading metropolitans[228], combined with tight cooperation with the leading elites in government and the mafia.[229]


     Things were back to normal because the KGB (FSB) was back in charge. For, as Preobrazhensky writes, “the FSB is a restored KGB of the Soviet epoch. After the democratic reforms of the 1990s the KGB officers managed to get everything back. All the Directorates of the Soviet KGB are reunited now in today’s FSB, except two of them: the First, which managed intelligence, and the Ninth, which guarded the highest Communist bureaucrats. Both are formally independent, but keep close connections with the FSB… The former First Chief Directorate of the KGB is now called the Foreign Intelligence Service. It is successfully managing the operation ’ROCOR’”[230] – that is, the absorption of ROCOR into the MP.[231]


     Homosexuality, “the sin of Metropolitan Nicodemus”, as it is known in the MP, is very useful to the KGB. Constantine Preobrazhensky writes that for the last 70 years the KGB has been actively promoting homosexuals to the episcopate. “Even Patriarch Sergius is said to have been one of them. The homosexual bishops were in constant fear of being unmasked, and it made them easily managed by the KGB.”


     In 1999, after persistent complaints by his clergy, the homosexual Bishop Nicon of Ekaterinburg was forced to retire to the Pskov Caves monastery. However, within three years he was back in Moscow as dean of one of the richest parishes. “The influential homosexual lobby of the Moscow Patriarchate saved Bishop Nicon.”[232]


     In 1998 the MP blessed a book compiled by Metropolitan Juvenal of Krutitsa and Kolomna, entitled A Man of the Church, consisting of fulsome tributes to the notorious Metropolitan Nicodemus of Leningrad by several of his fellow-hierarchs. The Archbishop of Tver even wrote: “At present many are capable of accusing the former [clergy] of supposed collaboration with the KGB, including Vladyka Nicodemus. But there was no other way out: the Church had to live somehow. Therefore there came into being a special mode of acting in order not to permit a total destruction of the Church…”[233]


     In view of this failure to repent, it is not surprising that the MP’s position in the Ukraine continued to deteriorate. As the new millennium dawned, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, supported by the secular authorities and Ukrainian nationalists, declared that the Ukraine was his canonical territory, and that the unification of the Kieven metropolia to the MP in 1686 had been uncanonical. In August, 2000, under strong pressure from the MP, he renounced this position.[234] But then in November he reached an agreement with the UOAC and the UOAC-KP, but excluding the UOC-MP, on the formation of a united local church that would provide for “a cessation of mutual accusations” and a halt to the process of transfer of parishes from one jurisdiction to the other. A commission would oversee the organisational work, and this Commission would then present its conclusions to himself, after which he would determine “the canonical questions and the status of bishops and clergy” of both churches. This united church was approved of by the Ukrainian authorities, and deputies calculated that if such a church came into being and was recognized by Constantinople, a majority of believers in the UOC would join it.[235] The invasion of the Patriarchate of Constantinople into the canonical territory of the Russian Church exacerbated their already strained relations (because of the quarrel over Estonia, in particular). The already tense situation was exacerbated by the Uniate Cardinal Husar calling on all the Ukrainian Orthodox to unite in “One Orthodox Ukrainian National Church” with the Byzantine rite but in submission to the Pope. In June, 2001 the Pope met leaders of all the Ukrainian churches in Kiev with the exception of the UOC-MP.[236] By the latest count the UOC-MP had 9047 communities in the Ukraine (an increase of 557 on the previous year), the UOAC-CP had 2781 (an increase of 290), the UAOC had 1015, the Uniates had 3317 and the Latin-rite Catholics – 807.[237]


     The grossest ecumenism also continued – almost certainly because the FSB (KGB) still needs MP clergy to penetrate foreign confessions for espionage purposes[238]. As we have seen, the anti-ecumenical protests of the early and mid-1990s were suppressed, the challenge of ROCOR was rebuffed, and the “Third Way” practised by the Bulgarian and Georgian Churches was ignored. While anti-ecumenical elements still existed in the MP (for example, in 1998 Russkij Vestnik published a protest against the MP’s participation in the WCC by the Abbot and 150 monks of Valaam), along with renovationist, occultist, nationalist and communist elements, all were held together by the culture of obedience to the patriarch: all was permitted so long as no “schism” was created…


     Some were impressed by the apparent hostility of the MP to the Roman Catholics’ proselytisation of Russia. However, from the remarks of the leading hierarchs it became clear that the argument was simply over the Catholics’ supposed violation of a “mutual non-aggression pact”. Russia was the “canonical territory” of the MP, so the Catholics had no right there (as the patriarch put it: “Russia has historically been Orthodox for a thousand years, and therefore the Roman papacy has no right to make a conquest of it”): they should stick to their own “canonical territory”, the West. That meant that the MP renounced any right to convert western heretics to Orthodoxy. As Metropolitan Cyril put it: “In practice we forbid our priests to seek to convert people. Of course it happens that people arrive and say: ‘You know, I would like, simply out of my own convictions, to become Orthodox.’ ‘Well, please do.’ But there is no strategy to convert people.”[239]


      As the liberal era of the 1990s came to an end, the resurrection of the spirit of Soviet patriotism became more and more evident. This spirit, which seeks to justify the Soviet past and rejects repentance for its sins, was illustrated most vividly in an article entitled “The Religion of Victory” in which a new Russian religio-political bloc, “For Victory!” presented its programme. The victory in question was the victory of the Soviet forces over Germany in 1945, whose blood was considered by the bloc to have “a mystical, sacred meaning”, being “the main emblem of the Russian historical consciousness”.


     The political and economic aspects of the bloc’s programme were communistic; but its nationalist and religious aspects were still more alarming. Yeltsin and his colleagues were accused of having betrayed ’45 and the “truly genius-quality” achievements of post-war Sovietism. “However”, wrote Valentine Chikin, “the enemy [which is clearly the West] has not succeeded in destroying our Victory. Victory is that spiritual force which will help us to be regenerated. From Victory, as from a fruitful tree, will arise new technologies, will grow new schools, defence will be strengthened, a world-view will be worked out. A new communality embracing the whole nation will confirm the Victory of ’45 in the 21st century, too.


    “Let us not forget: in the 40s a wonderful fusing together of Russian epochs took place. Of the pagan, with Prince Sviatoslav [‘the accursed’, as the Orthodox Church calls him], who defeated the Khazars. Of the Orthodox, in which the great Russian commanders and saints Alexander Nevsky and Dimitri Donskoj acted. Of the monarchist, with Peter, Suvorov and Kutuzov. In the smoke of the battles of the Fatherland war they combined with the brilliant ‘reds’ Zhukov, Vasilevsky and Rokossovsky, which Joseph Stalin so clearly and loudly proclaimed from the Mausoleum…


     “Only the bloc ‘For Victory’ has the right to claim the breadth of the whole nation. The ideology of the bloc ‘For Victory!’ is the long awaited national idea… Victory is also that sacred word which overflows the Russian heart with pride and freedom.”


     Alexander Prokhanov continued the theme: “Victory is not simply the national idea. Victory is a faith, the particular religious cast of mind of the Russians. Under the cupola of Victory both the Orthodox and the Muslim and the atheist and the passionately believing person will find himself a place. Of course, in order to reveal this faith, it needs its evangelists, such as John the Theologian. It needs its builders and organizers. In the consciousness of this religious philosophy there is a place for artists and sculptors, sociologists and political scientists, historians and politicians.


     “We still have to finish building this great Russian faith – Victory! In it the miracle expected for centuries, which was handed down from the sorcerers from mouth to mouth, from Kievan Rus’ to the Moscow princedom, from the empire of the tsars to the red empire of the leaders (vozhdej). This is the hope of universal good, of universal love. The understanding that the world is ruled, not by the blind forces of matter, but by Justice and Divine righteousness….”[240]


     This Soviet patriotism was supported by, among others, the former idol of ROCOR’s liberals, Fr. Demetrius Dudko. “Now the time has come,” he wrote, “to rehabilitate Stalin. And yet not him himself, but the concept of statehood. Today we can see for ourselves what a crime non-statehood is and what a blessing statehood is! No matter how many cry that in Soviet times many perished in the camps – how many are perishing now, without trials or investigations… If Stalin were here, there would be no such collapse…. Stalin, an atheist from the external point of view, was actually a believer, and this could be proved by facts if it were not for the spatial limitations of this article. It is not without reason that in the Russian Orthodox Church, when he died, ‘eternal memory’ was sung to him… The main thing is that Stalin looked after people in a fatherly manner. Stalin legitimately stands next to Suvorov!”[241]


The Soviet Empire Strikes Back


     On January 1, 2000 KGB Colonel Putin came to power. He was sympathetic to this “long awaited national idea”. He also showed a greater interest in religious matters than his predecessor, and has personally pushed forward the union of the MP and ROCOR, ideas which were first mooted, on ROCOR’s side, by Archbishop Mark in 1997 and by Archbishop Laurus on July 17, 1999…[242]


     His personal religiosity, however, as we would expect from his past, was of a very dubious kind. Thus while claiming to be a member of the MP, as George Spukts writes,


     “1) he lights menorahs when he worships at his local synagogue;


     “2) he has worshipped the mortal remains of Kin Il Sung in North Korea;


     “3) he has worshipped the mortal remains of Mahatma Gandhi;


     “4) he ‘believes not in God, but in Man’ (as he himself has stated);


     “5) he was initiated into an especially occult form of ‘knighthood’ (read: freemasonry) in Germany;


     “6) he has restored the communist anthem;


     “7) he has restored the bloody red rag as the RF’s military banner;


     “8) he has not removed the satanic pentagram from public buildings (including cathedrals);


     “9) he has plans of restoring the monument to ‘Butcher’ Dzerzhinsky [now fulfilled];


     “10) he has not removed the satanic mausoleum in Red Square nor its filthy contents.”[243]


     Under Putin, writes Professor Eugene L. Magerovsky, “not only do the Soviet symbols remain, but so do its laws as well. For example, all churches built before 197 are ‘state historical objects’ which belong to the state… The ‘privatization’ of churches, i.e. their transfer into the hands of their original owners, was halted in St. Petersburg in 2002. In the legislation of the state, which is not even called Russia, the Russian Federation is declared to be the successor-state of the RSFSR and the USSR; and the Russian Empire… seems not to have existed at all…


     “Another matter is no less disturbing. The deliberate and increasingly profound return of everything Soviet, from the higher state apparatus to even the ordinary ‘militia’, which is what in Russia they keep calling the police. The term had sunk into oblivion some fifteen years ago even in the nations of Eastern Europe and its use in Russia now arouses justifiable misgivings in us.”[244]


     Putin’s propagandist Egor Kholmogorov wrote: “Putin’s power was, from the very beginning, non-electoral in origin, it was not a matter of being ‘appointed by Yeltsin’, but of what the Chinese call ‘the mandate of heaven’, an unquestioned right to power... As a politician, Putin has already for a long time been above politics”.[245] More recently Kholmogorov has written: “We as a people must be ashamed only about one thing, for our poor fulfilment of the task placed on us by God, of ‘ruling the peoples autocratically’. And any ‘national repentance’ which people like to talk endlessly about must begin with our tanks on the streets of Eastern Europe."


     “For those who claim,” writes Professor Olga Ackerly, “that the ‘CIS is different from the USSR’ and Putin is a ‘practising Orthodox Christian’, here are some sobering facts. The first days and months Putin’s presidency were highlighted by the reestablishment of a memorial plaque on Kutuzovsky Prospect where Andropov used to live. The plaque was a symbol of communist despotism missing since the 1991 putsch, bearing Andropov’s name – a former head of the KGB, especially known for his viciousness in the use of force and psychiatric clinics for dissidents. On May 9, 2000, Putin proposed a toast to the ‘genius commander’ Iosif Stalin and promoted many former KGB officers to the highest state positions.”[246]


     Since then Putin has moved to muzzle press and TV freedom, to restore the red flag and hammer and sickle to the armed services and the melody of the Soviet national anthem. Organized crime has flourished under his patronage (this already started when he was vice-mayor of St. Petersburg). In general his regime may be described as neo-Soviet without the Marxism-Leninism but with a superficial democratic and, especially, nationalist tinge.


     The MP has shown complete loyalty to this regime, and has not criticised it at all, supporting it both in its neo-Sovietism and in its criminal economy, in which it has itself taken an enthusiastic part (cf. the activities of “the tobacco metropolitan”, Cyril Gundiaev, who imports tobacco and alcohol duty-free).


     “It seems,” continues Ackerly, “that in the CIS, whatever the state cannot accomplish, the church will, and although church and state have been known to work together before in history, in this case we are not speaking about any religious, canonical or national deeds, but about maintaining a grip to reassemble the Soviet Union, or the pursuit of internationalism rather than what is good for one particular nation…. Important to note is that the Eurasian movement, with ties to occultism, ecumenism, etc. was recently revived by Putin, and a Congress entitled ‘The All-Russian Political Social Movement’, held in Moscow in April of 2001, was ‘created on the basis of the Eurasist ideology and inter-confessional [sic!] harmony in support of the reforms of President Vladimir Putin.’ The movement is led by Alexander Dugin, a sexual mystic, National Bolshevik Party members, son of a Cheka cadre, personally familiar with the so-called ‘Black International’, advisor to the State Duma, and participant in Putin’s ‘Unity’ movement.”[247]


     This is a heady cocktail, and shows that while the Putin-Drozdov “symphony of powers” is aiming for the resurrection of the Soviet Union, it will be in a different, more “exciting” form that will appeal to far wider clientele than old-style communists…


The MP’s “Jubilee” Council


     In August, 2000 the MP held a “Jubilee” Hierarchical Council which seemed at least partly aimed at removing some of the last obstacles towards ROCOR’s unification with it. These obstacles, as formulated by ROCOR during the past ten years, were: 1. Ecumenism, 2. Sergianism, and 3. The Glorification of the New Martyrs, especially the Royal New Martyrs.


     1. Ecumenism. In the document on relations with the heterodox, which was composed by a small group of bishops and presented to the Council for approval on the first day, few concessions were made to the opponents of ecumenism, apart from the ritual declarations that “the Orthodox Church is the true Church of Christ, created by our Lord and Saviour Himself; it is the Church established by, and filled with, the Holy Spirit…”  “The Church of Christ is one and unique…” “The so-called ‘branch theory’, which affirms the normality and even the providentiality of the existence of Christianity in the form of separate ‘branches’…  is completely unacceptable.”


     But, wrote Protopriest Michael Ardov (ROAC, Moscow), “the ‘patriarchal liberals’ will also not be upset, insofar as the heretics in the cited document are called ‘heterodox’, while the Monophysite communities are called the ‘Eastern Orthodox Churches’. And the ‘dialogues with the heterodox’ will be continued, and it is suggested that the World Council of Churches be not abandoned, but reformed…”[248]


     Although there has been much talk about anti-ecumenism in the MP, as in the Serbian Church, it is significant that only one bishop, Barsanuphius of Vladivostok, voted against the document on relations with the heterodox (six Ukrainian bishops abstained).


     The MP’s Fr. (now Bishop) Hilarion (Alfeyev) explained the origins of the document on ecumenism: “The subject of inter-Christian relations has been used by various groups (within the Church) as a bogey in partisan wars. In particular, it has been used to criticise Church leaders who, as is well known, have taken part in ecumenical activities over many years.” In Alfeyev’s opinion, “ecumenism has also been used by breakaway groups, such as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and the Old Calendarists, to undermine people’s trust in the Church.” Therefore there was a need “for a clear document outlining the theological basis of the Russian Orthodox Church’s attitude towards heterodoxy, i.e. the question of why we need and whether we need dialogue with the non-Orthodox confessions, and if so which form this dialogue should take.” Alfeyev refused to answer the question whether the Council would discuss the matter of the participation of the MP in the WCC, but said that the patriarchate felt obliged to continue negotiations with Protestant and Catholic representatives in the WCC and to be a part of the ecumenical committee.[249]


    After the Council, there was no let-up in the MP’s ecumenical activities. Thus on August 18, “Patriarch” Alexis prayed together with the Armenian “Patriarch”. And on April 21, 2005, he congratulated the new Pope Benedict XVI on his accession, and expressed the hope that he would strive to develop relations between the two churches. When asked how he evaluated Pope John Paul II’s ministry, he replied: “His Holiness’ teachings have not only strengthened Catholics throughout the world in their faith, but also borne witness to Christianity in the complex world of today.”[250]


     Deacon Nicholas Savchenko summed the MP’s degree of immersion in ecumenism as follows: “In an inter-confessional undertaking there are two degrees of participation. One case is participation with the authority of a simple observer, that is, of one who does not enter into the composition, but is only an observer from the side. It is another case when we are talking about fully-entitled membership in an ecumenical organization.


     “Unfortunately, at the present time the ROC MP takes part in the activity of the WCC precisely as a fully-entitled member of the Council. It is precisely on this problem that I consider it important to concentrate attention. After all, it is the membership of the ROC MP in the WCC which most of all, willingly or unwillingly, encroaches upon the teaching of the faith itself and therefore continues to remain an obstacle to our [ROCOR’s] communion [with the MP]. It is possible to list a series of reasons why membership in the WCC is becoming such an obstacle.


     “1. The first important reason consists in the fact that the ROC MP today remains in the composition of the highest leadership of the WCC and takes part in the leadership, planning and financing of the whole of the work of the WCC.


     “Official representatives of the ROC MP enter into the Central Committee of the WCC. The Central Committee is the organ of the Council’s administration. It defines the politics of the WCC, make official declarations relating to the teaching of the faith and gives moral evaluations of various phenomena of contemporary life within those limites given to it by the church-members. The composition of the last CC of the WCC was elected at the WCC assembly in Harare in 1998. As is witnessed by the official list of the members of the CC of the WCC, five members of the Central Committee come from the MP, headed by Bishop Hilarion (Alfeyev). In all there are about 150 people in the CC, including 9 women priests, which we can see from the list of the members of the CC. The last session of the CC of the WCC with the participation of the representatives of the ROC MP took place at the end of August, 2003.


     “Besides participating in the CC, the representatives of the MP go into the make-up of the Executive Committee of the WCC, one of whose tasks is the direct leadership of the whole apparatus of the Council and the organization of all its undertakings. There are 24 people in the official list of the members of the Executive Committee of the WCC, including the MP’s representative Bishop Hilarion (Alfeev). Besides him, there are representatives of the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate, the Romanian Patriarchate and the American Autocephaly in the Executive Committee of the WCC. The last session of the Executive Committee with the participation of representatives of the MP took place at the end of August, 2003. At this last session a new ‘Committee for Prayer’ was formed. It was to occupy itself with the preparation of the text and rite of ecumenical prayers. There are 10 people in all in this committee, including a representative of the MP, Fr. Andrew Eliseev. Besides, the deputy president of the ‘Committee for Prayer’ is a Protestant woman priest. Because of this participation the ROC MP is inevitably responsible for all the decisions of the WCC that contradict the dogmatic and moral teaching of the Orthodox Church.


     “2. The second reason for the incompatibility of membership of the WCC with the canons of the Church consists in the fact that the regulations of the Council presuppose the membership in it not of individual person-representatives, but precisely of the whole Local Church in all its fullness. Each Local Church in the WCC is considered in its complete fullness to be a member or a part of the heterodox community.


     “In correspondence with the Basis of the WCC, it is a ‘commonwealth of Churches’. In this definition there is a significant difference from the original formulation offered by the commission on ‘Faith and Order’ in 1937, when the future WCC was offered as a ‘community of representatives of the Churches’. The difference is substantial. A community of the Churches themselves is not the same as a community of representatives of the Churches, as we said earlier. In the present case it turns out that the Orthodox Church is considered to be a part of a certain broader commonwealth under the name of the WCC. The legislative documents of the WCC even directly reject any other understanding of membership – after all, if it were not so, the Council would no longer be a Council of churches. And the declaration on entrance into the WCC is given in the name of a church, and not in the name of representatives. In the declaration the church asks that it itself be received into the composition of the WCC. The Council is not a simple association of churches. In the regulatory documents it is asserted that it is a ‘body’ having its own ‘ecclesiological meaning’, as is said about it directly in the heading of the Toronto declaration. The regulatory documents reject only the understanding of the Council as a ‘body’ in separation from the church-members. But in union with the church-members the Council is precisely a ‘body’ with its own ‘ecclesiological meaning’. And this ‘ecclesiological meaning’ of the WCC, by definition ‘cannot be based on any one conception of the Church’, as it says in point 3.3 of the Toronto declaration. That is, the Orthodox Church is considered in its fullness to belong to the ‘body’ with this ‘ecclesiological meaning’, which in accordance with the constitution cannot be Orthodox.


     “Such an understanding of membership in the WCC as the membership of the whole Orthodox Church is contained in the documents on the part of the Local Churches. For example, we can cite the following quotation from the document ‘The Orthodox Church and the World Council of Churches’. This document was accepted at the session of the inter-Orthodoxy Consultation in 1991 in Chambésy. It says in point 4: ‘The Orthodox Churches participate in the life and activity of the WCC only on condition that the WCC is understood as a ‘Council of Churches’, and not as a council of separate people, groups, movements or religious organizations drawn into the aims and tasks of the WCC…’ (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, 1992, ¹ 1, p. 62).


     “Such an understanding of the membership of the whole of the Orthodox Church in the WCC was earlier officially confirmed by the Pan-Orthodox Conferences. Thus the Pan-Orthodox Conference of 1968 formulated its relationship with the WCC in the following words: ‘To express the common consciousness of the Orthodox Church that it is an organic member of the WCC and her firm decision to bring her contribution to the progress of the whole work of the WCC through all the means at her disposal, theological and other.’ (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, 1968, ¹ 7, p. 51). The following, Third Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference confirmed this formulation in the same sense in the Russian translation. ‘The Orthodox Church is a complete and fully-entitled member of the WCC and by all the means at her disposal will aid the development and success of the whole work of the WCC’ (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, 1987, ¹ 7, p. 53). Although these formulations elicited disturbances at the time, nevertheless they have not been changed to the present day, insofar as only the Local Church herself can be a member of the WCC. Any other interpretation of membership is excluded. Either a Local Church is a member or part of the WCC, or it is not.


     “From what has been said it turns out that membership in the WCC is not simply observation of the activity of the Council. Membership is precisely becoming a part of the ecumenical commonwealth. The ROC MP must not be a member of the WCC since this signifies becoming a member of the ecumenical movement.


     “3. The third reason why membership in the WCC contradicts Orthodoxy is that membership inevitably signifies agreement with the constitutional principles of the WCC and its rules. For example, it says in the Constitution of the WCC (chapter 3) that the Council is created by the church-members to serve the ecumenical movement. Does this mean that the church-members must, or obliged in their fullness, to serve the ecumenical movement? It appears so. Further the Constitution of the WCC (chapter 3) describes the obligations of those entering the Council of churches in the following words: ‘In the search for communion in faith and life, preaching and service, the churches through the Council will… facilitate common service in every place and everywhere and… cultivate ecumenical consciousness’. From these words it follows directly that common preaching with the Protestants is becoming a constitutional obligation of the Orthodox Church. Obligations still more foreign to Orthodoxy are contained in the Rules of the WCC – a separate document that directly regulates the obligations of those entering into the Council of churches. Chapter 2 of the Rules of the WCC is called ‘Responsibilities of membership’. The following lines are found in it. ‘Membership in the WCC means… devotion to the ecumenical movement as a constitutive element of the mission of the Church. It is presupposed that the church-members of the WCC… encourage ecumenical links and actions at all levels of their ecclesiastical life’. Thse words of the Rules of the WCC oblige the Orthodox Church to perceive the contemporary ecumenical movement with all its gross heresies and moral vices as a part of the life of the Orthodox Church.


     “One more important constitutional document is the declaration ‘Towards a common understanding and vision of the WCC’. This document was accepted by the Central Committee of the WCC in 1997 with the participation of representatives of the Local Churches. It also contains views which are incompatible with the Orthodox teaching on the Church. In the first place this concerns how we are to understanding the term that is the cornerstone of the Basis of the WCC, that the Council is a ‘commonwealth of Churches’. In paragraphs 3.2 and 3.3 the meaning of the term ‘commonwealth’ is described in the following words: ‘The use of the term ‘commonwealth’ in the Basis really convinces that the Council is more than a simple functional association of churches… We can even say (using the words of the Resolution on ecumenism of the Second Vatican Council) that ‘real, albeit incomplete communion (koinonia) exists between them [the churches] already now’. From this quotation it follows directly that the church-members of the WCC are considered as entering into limited ecclesiastical communion with other members of the WCC with all their plagues and heresies. The document ‘Towards a common understanding and vision of the WCC’ in point 3.5.3 even directly extends this ecclesiastical communion to the whole Orthodox Church with all her people. The document says that this ecclesiastical communion in the Council ‘is not something abstract and immobile, it is also not limited by the official links between the leadership of the churches and their leaders or representatives. It is rather a dynamic, mutually acting reality which embraces the whole fullness of the church as the expression of the people of God’.


     “The most important document of the WCC having a constitutional significance continues to remain the Toronto declaration – ‘The Church, the churches and the WCC’. On the basis of this document the Local Churches in the 1960s entered into the WCC. In it we also clearly see the principles that radically contradict Orthodoxy. Thus point 4.8 of the Toronto declaration declares: ‘The church-members enter into spiritual mutual relationships through which they strive to learn from each other and help each other, so that the Body of Christ may be built and the life of the Church renewed.’ Evidently, this principle of the ‘building of the Church of Christ’ contradicts the Orthodox teaching on the Church. However, it is precisely this, as we see here, that is inscribed in the foundation document of the WCC and can in no way be changed. Besides, the document in its conclusion says the following about the principles of the Toronto declaration, including the principle of the ‘building of the Body of Christ’: ‘Not one of these positive presuppositions which contain in themselves the basis of the World council are in conflict with the teachings of the church-members’.


     “From what has been said we can draw the conclusion that membership in the WCC presupposes agreement with its constitutional principles, which contradict Orthodoxy. The ROC MP should not be a member of an organization whose constitutional principles contradict Orthodoxy… [251]


     2. Sergianism. The MP approved a “social document” which, among other things, recognised that “the Church must refuse to obey the State” “if the authorities force the Orthodox believers to renounce Christ and His Church”. As we shall see, enormous significance was attached to this phrase by ROCOR. However, on the very same page we find: “But even the persecuted Church is called to bear the persecutions patiently, not refusing loyalty to the State that persecutes it”.[252] We may infer from this that the MP still considers that its loyalty to the Soviet State was right and the resistance to it shown by the Catacomb Church was wrong. So, contrary to first appearances, the MP remained mired in sergianism. Sergianism as such was not mentioned in the document, much less repented of. This is consistent with the fact that the MP has never in its entire history since 1943 shown anything other than a determination to serve whatever appears to be the strongest forces in the contemporary world. Until the fall of communism, that meant the communists. With the fall of communism, the MP was not at first sure whom she had to obey, but gradually assumed the character of a “populist” church, trying to satisfy the various factions within it (including nominally Orthodox political leaders) while preserving an appearance of unity.


     In this connection Frs. Vladimir Savitsky, Valentine (Salomakh) and Nicholas Savchenko write: “The politics of ‘populism’ which the MP is conducting today is a new distortion of true Christianity. Today this politics (and the ideology standing behind it) is a continuation and development of ‘sergianism’, a metamorphosis of the very same disease. Today it seems to us that we have to speak about this at the top of our voices. Other problems, such as the heresy of ecumenism and ‘sergianism’ in the strict sense, while undoubtedly important, are of secondary importance by comparison with the main aim of the MP, which is to be an ‘all-people’ Church, In fact, in the ‘people’ (understood in a broad sense, including unbelievers and ‘eclectics’) there always have been those who are for ecumenism and those who are against. Therefore we see that the MP is ready at the same time to participate in the disgusting sin of ecumenism and to renounce it and even condemn it. It is exactly the same with ‘sergianism’ (understood as the dependence of the Church on the secular authorities). The MP will at the same time in words affirm its independence (insofar as there are those who are for this independence) and listen to every word of the authorities and go behind them (not only because that is convenient, but also because it thus accepted in the ‘people’, and the authorities are ‘elected by the people’). In a word, it is necessary to condemn the very practice and ideology of the transformation of the MP into a Church ‘of all the people’.”[253]


     This analysis has been confirmed by events since the former KGB Colonel Putin came to power in January, 2000. The MP has appeared to be reverting to its submissive role in relation to an ever more Soviet-looking government, not protesting against the restoration of the red flag to the armed forces and approving the retention of the music of the Soviet national anthem.


     There followed an official justification of Sergianism. Thus on July 18, 2002, the Moscow Synod ratified a document entitled “The relationships between the Russian Orthodox Church and the authorities in the 20s and 30s”, which declared: “The aim of normalising the relationship with the authorities cannot be interpreted as a betrayal of Church interests. It was adopted by the holy Patriarch Tikhon, and was also expressed in the so-called ‘Epistle of the Solovki Bishops’ in 1926, that is, one year before the publication of ‘The Epistle of the deputy patriarchal locum tenens and temporary patriarchal Synod’. The essence of the changes in the position of the hierarchy consisted in the fact that the Church, having refused to recognise the legitimacy of the new power established after the October revolution in 1917, as the power became stronger later, had to recognise it as a state power and establish bilateral relations with it. This position is not blameworthy; historically, the Church has more than once found herself in a situation in which it has had to cooperate with non-orthodox rulers (for instance, in the period of the Golden Horde or the Muslim Ottoman Empire).”[254]


     However, Soviet power was very different from the Tatars or Ottomans, and “bilateral relations” with it, unlike with those powers, involved the betrayal of the Orthodox Faith and falling under the anathema of the Church. Moreover, if the Church at first refused to recognise Soviet power, but then (in 1927) began to recognise it, the question arises: which position was the correct one? There can be no question but that the position endorsed by the Russian Council of 1917-18 was the correct one, and that the sergianist Moscow Patriarchate, by renouncing that position, betrayed the truth – and continues to betray it to the present day through its symbiotic relationship with a government that openly declares itself to be the heir of the Soviet State.


     As late as January 24, 2005 Metropolitan Cyril (Gundiaev) of Smolensk, head of the MP’s Department of Foreign Relations, confirmed that the MP does not condemn sergianism: “We recognize that the model of Church-State relations [in the Soviet period] did not correspond to tradition. But we are not condemning those who realized this model, because there was no other way of preserving the Church. The Church behaved in the only way she could at that time. There was another path into the catacombs, but there could be no catacombs in the Soviet space…”[255]


     3. The New Martyrs. The major problems here from the patriarchate's point of view were the questions of the Royal Martyrs, on the one hand, and of the martyrs of the Catacomb Church who rejected Metropolitan Sergius, on the other. Non-royal martyrs killed before the schism with the Catacomb Church could be "safely" canonized. Thus in 1989, the MP canonized Patriarch Tikhon, and in 1992 it canonized three more martyrs and set up a commission to inquire into the martyrdom of the Royal Family, about which an MP publication wrote in 1998: “No less if not more dangerous as an ecclesiastical falsification is the MP’s Canonization Commission, headed by Metropolitan Juvenal (Poiarkov), which has suggested a compromise glorification of Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich: ‘Yes, he was guilty of the tragedy on Khodynka field, he hobnobbed with Rasputin, he offended the workers, the country became backward. In general as a ruler of a state he was completely useless. Most important, he brought the country to revolution. But he suffered for Christ…’ Such a falsification will only continue that dirty stream of slander which the Christ-fighters began to pour out already long before 1917…”[256]  


     After nearly a decade of temporising, the MP finally, under pressure from its flock, glorified the Royal New Martyrs and many other martyrs of the Soviet yoke. The glorification of the Royal New Martyrs was a compromise decision, reflecting the very different attitudes towards them in the patriarchate. The Royal Martyrs were called “passion-bearers” rather than “martyrs”, and it was made clear that they were being glorified, not for the way in which they lived their lives, but for the meekness with which they faced their deaths. This allowed the anti-monarchists to feel that Nicholas was still the “bloody Nicholas” of Soviet mythology, and that it was “Citizen Romanov” rather than “Tsar Nicholas” who had been glorified - the man rather than the monarchical principle for which he stood.


     As regards the other martyrs, Sergius Kanaev writes: “In the report of the President of the Synodal Commission for the canonisation of the saints, Metropolitan Juvenal (Poiarkov), the criterion of holiness adopted… for Orthodox Christians who had suffered during the savage persecutions was clearly and unambiguously declared to be submission ‘to the lawful leadership of the Church’, which was Metropolitan Sergius and his hierarchy. With such an approach, the holiness of the ‘sergianist martyrs’ was incontestable. The others were glorified or not glorified depending on the degree to which they ‘were in separation from the lawful leadership of the Church’. Concerning those who were not in agreement with the politics of Metropolitan Sergius, the following was said in the report: ‘In the actions of the “right” oppositionists, who are often called the “non-commemorators”, one cannot find evil-intentioned, exclusively personal motives. Their actions were conditioned by their understanding of what was for the good of the Church’. In my view, this is nothing other than blasphemy against the New Martyrs and a straight apology for sergianism. With such an approach the consciously sergianist Metropolitan Seraphim (Chichagov), for example, becomes a ‘saint’, while his ideological opponent Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd, who was canonized by our Church, is not glorified. For us another fact is also important, that Metropolitan Seraphim was appointed by Sergius (Stragorodsky) in the place of Metropolitan Joseph, who had been ‘banned’ by him.”[257]


     Other Catacomb martyrs were “glorified” by the MP because their holiness was impossible to hide. Thus the relics of Archbishop Victor of Vyatka were found to be incorrupt and now lie in a patriarchal cathedral – although he was the very first bishop officially to break with Sergius and called him and his church organization graceless! Again, the reputation of Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan was too great to be ignored, in spite of the fact that by the end of his life his position differed in no way from that of St. Victor or St. Joseph.


     Some, seeing the glorification of the Catacomb martyrs by their opponents, remembered the Lord’s words: “Ye build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets’. Therefore ye bear witness against yourselves that ye are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up the measure of your fathers!” (Matthew 23.29-32). This blasphemous canonisation of both the true and the false martyrs, thereby downgrading the exploit of the true martyrs, had been predicted by the ROCOR priest Fr. Oleg Oreshkin: "I think that some of those glorified will be from the sergianists so as to deceive the believers. 'Look,' they will say, 'he is a saint, a martyr, in the Heavenly Kingdom, and he recognized the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius, so you must be reconciled with it and its fruits.' This will be done not in order to glorify martyrdom for Christ's sake, but in order to confirm the sergianist politics."[258]


     The main thing from the MP’s point of view was that their founder, Metropolitan Sergius, should be given equal status with the catacomb martyrs whom he persecuted. Thus in 1993 the patriarch said: “Through the host of martyrs the Church of Russia bore witness to her faith and sowed the seed of her future rebirth. Among the confessors of Christ we can in full measure name… his Holiness Patriarch Sergius.”[259] By the time of the council of 2000, the MP still did not feel able to canonise Sergius – probably because it fears that it would prevent a union with ROCOR. But neither did it canonise the leader of the Catacomb Church, Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd – which suggested that a canonisation of the two leaders was in the offing, but depended on the success of the negotiations between the MP and ROCOR.


     The patriarch's lack of ecclesiastical principle and ecclesiological consistency in this question was pointed out by Fr. Peter Perekrestov: "In the introduction to one article ("In the Catacombs", Sovershenno Sekretno, ¹ 7, 1991) Patriarch Alexis wrote the following: 'I believe that our martyrs and righteous ones, regardless of whether they followed Metropolitan Sergius or did not agree with his position, pray together for us.' At the same time, in the weekly, Nedelya, ¹ 2, 1/92, the same Patriarch Alexis states that the Russian Church Abroad is a schismatic church, and adds: 'Equally uncanonical is the so-called "Catacomb" Church.' In other words, he recognizes the martyrs of the Catacomb Church, many of whom were betrayed to the godless authorities by Metropolitan Sergius's church organization…, and at the same time declares that these martyrs are schismatic and uncanonical!"[260]


     For in the last resort, as Fr. Peter pointed out, for the MP this whole matter was not one of truth or falsehood, but of power: "It is not important to them whether a priest is involved in shady business dealings or purely church activities; whether he is a democrat or a monarchist; whether an ecumenist or a zealot; whether he wants to serve Vigil for six hours or one; whether the priest serves a panikhida for the victims who defended the White House or a moleben for those who sided with Yeltsin; whether the priest wants to baptize by immersion or by sprinkling; whether he serves in the catacombs or openly; whether he venerates the Royal Martyrs or not; whether he serves according to the New or Orthodox Calendar - it really doesn't matter. The main thing is to commemorate Patriarch Alexis. Let the Church Abroad have its autonomy, let it even speak out, express itself as in the past, but only under one condition: commemorate Patriarch Alexis. This is a form of Papism - let the priests be married, let them serve according to the Eastern rite - it makes no difference, what is important is that they commemorate the Pope of Rome."[261]


     The MP council’s documents were well characterised by the ROCOR clergy of Kursk as follows: “Everywhere there is the same well-known style: pleasing the ‘right’ and the ‘left’, the Orthodox and the ecumenists, ‘yours’ and ‘ours’, without the slightest attempt at definiteness, but with, on the other hand, a careful preservation of the whole weight of the sins of the past and present”.[262]


     The “Jubilee Sobor” was final proof, if proof were needed, that the MP had not repented and could not repent unless its higher echelons were removed and the whole church apparatus was thoroughly purged.


“The Second October Revolution”


     In October, 2000, the Hierarchical Council of ROCOR took place in New York. In almost all its acts it represented a reaction to, and to a very large extent an approval of, the acts of the Moscow council. Its most important acts were three conciliar epistles addressed: the first to the Serbian Patriarch Paul, the second “To the Beloved Children of the Church in the Homeland and in the Diaspora” and the third “To the Supporters of the Old Rites”.


     The first of these epistles, dated October 26, declared that ROCOR and the Serbs were “brothers by blood and by faith” and that “we have always valued the eucharistic communion between our sister-Churches and the desire to preserve the consolation of this communion to the end of time”. And towards the end of the Epistle we read: “We beseech your Holiness not to estrange us from liturgical communion with you”.


     It should be remembered that this was written only two years after ROCOR had officially reissued its anathema on ecumenism, and only a few months after the Serbian Patriarch himself had said that there was no communion between his Church and ROCOR, calling ROCOR a “church” only in inverted commas! Moreover, as recently as September, 2000, the official publication of the Serbian Church, Pravoslav’e, had reported that, at the invitation of the patriarchate there had arrived in Belgrade a Catholic delegation, which had made a joint declaration witnessing to the fact that Serbian hierarchs had been praying together with the Catholics for the last three weeks! So, having justly anathematised the Serbs as heretics, and having witnessed the continuation of their heretical activity, ROCOR was now begging to be brought back into communion with the heretics!


     Why? The reason became clear later in the Epistle: “A miracle has taken place, the prayers of the host of Russian New Martyrs have been heard: the atheist power that threatened the whole world has unexpectedly, before our eyes, fallen! Now we observe with joy and hope how the process of spiritual regeneration foretold by our saints has begun, and in parallel with it the gradual return to health of the Church administration in Russia. This process is difficult and is not being carried forward without opposition. Nevertheless, a radiant indicator of it is the recent glorification of the New Martyrs of Russia headed by the slaughtered Royal Family and the condemnation of the politics of cooperation with the godless authorities which took place at the last Council of the Russian Church in Moscow.


     “There still remain other serious wounds in the leadership of the Russian Church which hinder our spiritual rapprochement. Nevertheless, we pray God that He may heal them, too, by the all-powerful grace of the Holy Spirit. Then there must take place the longed-for rapprochement and, God willing, the spiritual union between the two torn-apart parts of the Russian Church – that which is in the Homeland, and that which has gone abroad. We pray your Holiness to grant your assistance in this.


     So the ROCOR bishops – this letter was signed by all of them without exception - were asking a heretic anathematised for ecumenist to help them to enter into communion with other anathematised ecumenists – their old enemies in Moscow, whom they now characterised in glowing and completely false terms as if they had already returned to Orthodoxy! Why, then, should the ROCOR bishops continue to speak of ecumenism as an obstacle to union with the MP? As the Kursk clergy pointed out: “It is not clear how long, in view of the declared unity with the Serbian patriarchate, this last obstacle [ecumenism] to union with the MP will be seen as vital”.[263]


      The second of the epistles, dated October 27, made several very surprising statements. First, it again spoke of “the beginning of a real spiritual awakening” in Russia. Considering that less than 1% of the Russian population goes to the MP, then, even if the spiritual state of the MP were brilliant, this would hardly constitute “awakening” on any significant scale.


     However, as Demetrius Kapustin pointed out, the supposed signs of this awakening – the greater reading of spiritual books, the greater discussion of canonical and historical questions in the MP – are not good indicators of real spiritual progress: “It is evident that the reading of Church books can bring a person great benefit. However, a necessary condition for this is love for the truth. The Jews also saw Christ, and spoke with Him, but they did not want humbly to receive the true teaching, and not only were they not saved, but also took part in the persecutions and destroyed their own souls. It is the same with many parishioners of the MP. On reading books on the contemporary Church situation, many of them come to the conclusion that sergianism and ecumenism are soul-destroying. However, these doubts of theirs are often drowned out by the affirmations of their false teachers, who dare to place themselves above the patristic tradition. Satisfying themselves with a false understanding of love (substituting adultery with heretics and law-breakers for love for God, which requires chastity and keeping the truth) and obedience (substituting following the teaching of false elders for obedience to God and the humble acceptance of the patristic teaching, and not recognizing their personal responsibility for their own Church state), they often take part in the persecutions and slander against the True Orthodox. In a word, even such good works as the veneration of the Royal Martyrs are often expressed in a distorted form (by, for example, mixing it with Stalinism, as with the ‘fighter from within’ Dushenov)”. Kapustin then makes the important point that “an enormous number of people… have not come to Orthodoxy precisely because they have not seen true Christianity in the MP (alas, in the consciousness of many people in Russia the Orthodox Church is associated with the MP). In my opinion, the MP rather hinders than assists the spiritual awakening of the Russian people (if we can talk at all about any awakening in the present exceptionally wretched spiritual condition of Russia).”[264]


     Secondly, ROCOR’s epistle welcomed the MP’s glorification of the New Martyrs, since “the turning of the whole Russian people in prayer to all the holy New Martyrs of Russia and especially the Royal new martyrs… had become possible now thanks to the recognition of their holiness by the Hierarchical Council of the Moscow Patriarchate”. As if the Russian people had not already been praying to the Holy New Martyrs in front of icons made in ROCOR for the past twenty years!


     Moreover, as Protopriests Constantine Fyodorov and Benjamin Zhukov wrote, “the possibility of turning in prayer to the Russian New Martyrs was opened to the people not by the Moscow Patriarchate (as is written in our Hierarchical Council’s Epistle), but by the martyric exploit of these saints themselves, who were glorified by our Church in 1981. The prayer of the Russian people to these saints never ceased from the very first day of their martyric exploit, but was strengthened and spread precisely by the canonization of the Church Abroad.[265]


     Thirdly: “We are encouraged by the acceptance of the new social conception by this council, which in essence blots out the ‘Declaration’ of Metropolitan Sergius in 1927”.[266] And yet the declaration was not even mentioned, let alone repented of. In any case, how could one vague phrase about the necessity of the Church disobeying the State in certain exceptional cases (which was contradicted on the same page, as we have seen) blot out a Declaration that caused the greatest schism in Orthodox Church history since 1054 and incalculable sufferings and death! Two years later, as we have seen, in July, 2002, the Synod of the MP, far from “blotting out” the declaration, said that Sergius’ relationship to the Soviet authorities was “not blameworthy”, so not only has the MP not repented for sergianism, but it has continued to justify it, contradicting the position of the Catacomb new martyrs whom it has just glorified and who gave their lives because of their opposition to sergianism.


     The epistle, which was signed by all the bishops except Barnabas, obliquely recognised this fact when it later declared: “We have not seen a just evaluation by the Moscow Patriarchate of the anti-ecclesiastical actions of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) and his Synod and their successors”. If so, then how can we talk about Sergius’ Declaration being blotted out?!


     The third epistle, addressed to the Old Ritualists without distinguishing between the Popovtsi and Bespopovtsi, was similarly ecumenist in tone, beginning with the words: “To the Believing children of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Homeland and in the diaspora, who hold to the old rite, the Council of bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad sends greetings! Beloved brothers and sisters in our holy Orthodox faith: may the grace and peace of the Man-loving Saviour be with you to the ages!”


     It was one thing to remove the bans on the old rites, as the ROCOR had done in its Council in 1974: it was quite another to recognise the schismatics as Orthodox. And in such terms! For later in the epistle the ROCOR compares the persecutions of the Old Ritualists to the persecutions of St. John Chrysostom, and begs forgiveness of the Old Ritualists as the Emperor Theodosius the Younger had begged it of the holy hierarch! But, as Bishop Gregory Grabbe pointed out after the 1974 Council, the sins of the Russian State in persecuting the Old Ritualists in the 17th century should not all be laid on the Church of the time, which primarily condemned the Old Ritualists not for their adherence to the old rites (which even Patriarch Nicon recognised to be salvific), but for their disobedience to the Church. To lay all the blame for the schism, not on the Old Ritualists but on the Orthodox, even after the Old Ritualists had proudly refused to take advantage of the many major concessions made by the Orthodox (for example, the edinoverie) while stubbornly continuing to call the Orthodox themselves schismatics, was to invert the truth and logically led to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church was not the True Church!


      As clergy of the Kursk diocese pointed out: “The conciliar epistle to the Old Ritualists, in our opinion, is not only an extremely humiliating document for the Orthodox Church, but also contains signs of a heterodox ecclesiology. Effectively equating the Old Ritualists with the confessors of Orthodoxy, the Hierarchical Council, first, leaves them with their convictions, thereby blocking the path to repentance, and secondly, either teaches that outside the Orthodox Church there can exist true confession, or considers that the Church can be divided into parts which for centuries have not had any eucharistic communion between themselves. Both in form and in spirit the epistle in question represents a complete break with the patristic tradition of the Orthodox Church…. It seems that all that remains to be added is the request: ‘We humbly beseech you to receive us into your communion and be united to the Holy Church.”[267]


     The feelings of the protestors was summed up by Fr. Stefan Krasovitsky and Roman Vershillo, who said that a “revolution” had taken place, and that “if we are to express the meaning of the coup shortly, then there took place, first, a moral disarmament, and secondly, the self-abolition of ROCOR as a separate part of the Russian Local Church… Alas, [it] is composed in such a way that it is not actually clear who has really fallen into schism from the Church: we or our errant Old Ritualist brothers!”[268]


     For ROCOR the writing was now on the wall. The October, 2000 Council constituted a clear break with the traditional attitude towards the MP and World Orthodoxy adopted by Metropolitans Anthony, Anastasy and Philaret, as well as Vitaly in earlier years. Only a clear renunciation of that clear break could keep the children of ROCOR within the Church and Faith of their fathers…


[1] Fr. Andrej Rumyantsev, “Kesariu – Kesarevo” (To Caesar what is Caesar’s), Vecherniaia Moskva (Evening Moscow), 21 September, 2000, p. 1 (in Russian).

[2] However, according to Vladimir Rozanskij (“Rome and Moscow: a willing separation?” Asia News, 3 June, 2004), the “Moscow’ authorities confirmed that ‘for Easter [2004] less than 1% of the population attended any kind of religious service’. In the last ten years, there are twenty times more churches than there were under communism, with buildings being built or reopened. Yet in relation to the immediate post-communism years, only one third of people now attend the services”.

[3] See Kimmo Kaariainen, Religion in Russia after the Collapse of Communism, Lewiston-Queenston-Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 1998; Tatiana Senina, “Ty nosish’ imia, budto zhiv, no ty mertv” (You have the name of being alive, but you are dead), Vertograd-Inform, September-October, 2000, pp. 46-72 ®.

[4] Bishop Theophan, Tolkovanie na Vtoroe Poslanie sv. Apostola Pavla k Soluniam (Interpretation of the Second Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians), 2.3-5 ®.

[5] See Mikhail Nazarov, Tajna Rossii (The Mystery of Russia), Moscow: “Russkaia Idea”, 1999 ®.

[6] Rhoda, “Russian Freemasonry: A New Dawn”, paper read at Orient Lodge ¹ 15 on June 29, 1996,

[7] Keston News Service, ¹ 369, February 21, 1991, p. 6.

[8] Letter in Literaturnaia Rossia (Literary Russia), June 14, 1991 ®; Oxana Antic, "Patriarch Aleksii II: A Political Portrait", Report on the USSR, vol. 3, ¹ 45, November 8, 1991, p. 17.

[9] “Patriarch Alexis II: I take on myself responsibility for all that happened”, Izvestia, ¹ 137, June 10, 1991; Bishop Gregory Grabbe, "Dogmatizatsia Sergianstva" (The Dogmatization of Sergianism), Pravoslavnaia Rus'(Orthodox Russia), ¹ 17 (1446), September 1/14, 1991, p. 5 ®.

[10] Grabbe, "Dogmatizatsia Sergianstva", op. cit., p. 5.

[11] Hieromonk Tikhon (Kozushin), personal communication; Natalia Babisyan, "Sviashchenniki na barrikadakh" (Priests on the Barricades), Khristianskie Novosti (Christian News), ¹ 38, August 22, 1991, p. 21 ®.

[12] Ellis, "The Russian Church: hopes and fears", Church Times, September 13, 1991. During the 1993 attack on parliament he showed a similar indecisiveness. “He promised to excommunicate the first person to fire a shot, but when shooting… thundered around the ‘White House’, he forgot about his promise.” (Eugene Sokolov, “Tovarisch Drozdov – Vor Hevronskij” (Comrade Drozdov – the Thief of Hebron), Russkoe Novoe Slove (New Russian Word), 18 July, 1997 ®.)

[13] He said that the Church had not supported the coup (although there is clear evidence that Metropolitans Philaret of Kiev and Pitirim of Volokolamsk supported it), but had "taken the side of law and liberty" (Report on the USSR, vol. 3, ¹ 36, September 6, 1991, p. 82).

[14] 30 Dias (Thirty Days), Rome/Sao Paolo, August-September, 1991, p. 23.

[15] Kozyrev, “[orthodox-synod] Re: The Orthodox Episcopate of the Russian persecuted Church”, ”, 28 November, 2002.

[16] Quoted by Anatoly Krasikov, "'Tretij Rim' i bolsheviki (bez grifa 'sovershenno sekretno')" (The Third Rome and the Bolsheviks), in Filatov, S.B. (ed.), Religia i prava cheloveka (Religion and Human Rights), Moscow: Nauka, 1996, p. 198 ®.


[18] Zhurnal Moskovskoj Patriarkhii (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate), 1991, ¹ 10 ®.

[19] Kharchev, Argumenty i Fakty (Arguments and Facts), 1992, ¹  8, p. 5 ®.

[20] Sheimov, Tower of Secrets, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1993, p. 418.

[21] Shushpanov, Moskovskie Novosti (Moscow News), 12 July, 1992, p. 20 ®.

[22] Fr. George Edelshtein, “Double Agents in the Church”, Moscow News, August 26, 2005.

[23] For more details of the parliamentary commission's revelations, see Praymoj Put' (The Straight Path), ¹¹ 1-2, January, 1992, p. 1; ¹ 3, February, 1992, p. 1; February, 1992; Alexander Nezhny, "Tret’e Imia" (The Third Name), Ogonek (Little Fire), ¹ 4 (3366), January 25 - February 1, 1992; Iain Walker and Chester Stern, "Holy Agents of the KGB", The Mail on Sunday, March 29, 1992; John Dunlop, "KGB Subversion of Russian Orthodox Church", RFE/RL Research Report, vol. 1, ¹ 12, March 20, 1992, pp. 51-53; “Three Leading Moscow Hierarchs Unveiled as KGB Operatives”, Orthodox Life, vol. 42, ¹ 3, May-June, 1992, pp. 25-29; Protodeacon Herman Ivanov-Trinadtsaty, "A ne nachalo li eto kontsa?" (Is this not the Beginning of the End?), Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 9 (1462), May 1/14, 1992, pp. 609; "Ne bo vragom Tvoim povem..." (I will not give Thy secret to Thine enemy…), Vestnik Germanskoj Eparkhii Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tservki za Granitsei (Herald of the German Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad), ¹ 1, 1992, pp. 16-22; Fr. Victor Potapov, "Molchaniem predaåtsa Bog" (“God is Betrayed by Silence”), Moscow: Isikhia, 1992, pp. 36-39; Joseph Harriss, "The Gospel according to Marx", Reader's Digest, February, 1993, pp. 59-63. See also I.I. Maslova, “Russkaia pravoslavnaia tserkov’ i KGB (1960-1980-e gody)” (The Russian Orthodox Church and the KGB (1960s to 1980s), Voprosy Istorii (Questions of History), December, 2005, pp. 86-87 ®.   

[24] The Philadelphia Inquirer on May 3, 1992; quoted in "The Church of the KGB", Living Orthodoxy, vol. XIV, ¹ 2, March-April, 1992, pp. 22-23.

[25] Estonian State Archive, record group 131, file 393, pp. 125-126; James Meek, “File links church leader to KGB”, The Sydney Morning Herald, February 13, 1999; Seamus Martin, “Russian Patriarch was (is?) a KGB agent, files say Patriarch Alexeij II received KGB ‘Certificate of Honour’”, Irish Times, September 23, 2000; Arnold Beichman, “Patriarch with a KGB Past”, The Washington Times, September 29, 2000.

[26] Andrew and Mitrokhin, op. cit., p. 661.

[27] Rossijskaia Gazeta, 1992, ¹ 52, p. 7 ®.

[28] According to ex-KGB agent Konstantin Preobrazhensky, Methodius is in fact not only a KGB agent, but “a regular officer of the GRU, the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Defence Ministry”. In the KGB they call such people ‘officers of deep cover’. There are quite a few of them in today’s Moscow Patriarchate” (“Ecumenism and Intelligence”).

[29] M. Pozdniaev and Archbishop Chrysostom, "Ia sotrudnichal s KGB... no ne byl stukachem" (I worked with the KGB… but I was not a stool-pigeon), Russkaia Mysl' (Russian Thought), ¹ 3926, 24 April, 1992, translated in Religion, State & Society, vol. 21, ¹¹ 3 and 4, 1993, pp. 345-350; “Letter of Priest George Edelstein to President Putin, in Church News, June, 2003, vol. 14, ¹ 65 (#119), p. 2.

[30] Dunlop, “The Moscow Patriarchate as an Empire-Saving Institution”, in Michael Bourdeaux, M.E. Sharp (eds.), The Politics of Religion in Russia and the New States of Eurasia, 1995, Armonk, NY, p. 29.

[31] Felix Corbey, “The Patriarch and the KGB”, Keston News Service, September 21, 2000.

[32] Anonymous, “O Pravoslavnom Tsarstve i Poslednem Vremeni” (On the Orthodox Kingdom and the Last Times), no date or place of publication ®.

[33] According to Igumen Gregory Lourié, the role of the MP elders, and especially Archimandrite Ioann (Krestiankin) of the Pskov Caves monastery, was critical in turning the masses of the people away from ROCOR at the beginning of the 1990s. “Archimandrite Ioann not only did not approve of the opening in Russia of parishes outside the jurisdiction of the ROC MP, but he also reproached ROCOR herself as a schism: ‘We have no canonical differences with the Russian Church Abroad, but we cannot now accept them on the Russian land, for they, by not recognizing our Mother Church, which lived through all the woes of Rus’ with her people, are becoming, not builders up, but schismatics and destroyers of that little which has remained with us. And if you pray in a church belonging to the [Church] Abroad, you become a schismatic.’” (“Dve Tserkvi, dve very i raznie novomucheniki. Razmyshlenia po sluchaiu konchiny arkhimandrita Ioanna (Krestiankina)” (Two Churches, two faiths and different new martyrs. Thoughts on the occasion of the death of Archimandrite Ioann (Krestiankin)”, ®. (V.M.)

[34] Lebedev, Velikorossia (Great Russia), St. Petersburg, 1999, pp. 644-647 ®.

[35] In an article published in Pravoslavnoe Slovo (The Orthodox Word), ¹ 12 (49), 1995, priest Timothy Selsky writes that in the MP cathedral of a small town he noticed… a price-list displayed at the candle counter. “The column reading ‘Prayer after Abortion – 8000 Roubles’ caught my eye. What sort of a new rite was this? As I learned later, a woman who would pay the required sum at the candle counter would have a certain prayer read over her, a prayer which allegedly should be read after having killed one’s own child in the womb. Whence all this? What is the mystery of such an easy remission of a mortal sin unknown to any of the Holy Church Fathers? Have we lived to see the day when the forgiveness of the sin of infanticide is bought just like that for a mere 8000 roubles and without any confession at all?”

[36] Perepiolkina, Ecumenism – A Path to Perdition, St. Petersburg, 1999, pp. 116-117, 118-120, 121, 122. An earlier, Russian-language edition of this important book is entitled Ekumenizm - put' vedushchej k pogibeli (Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, 1992).

[37] Perepiolkina, op. cit., p. 204.

[38] Perepiolkina, op. cit., pp. 213-214.

[39] Perepiolkina, op. cit., pp. 125, 127, 129, 130.

[40] Lebedev, op. cit., p. 655.

[41] Perepiolkina, op. cit., p. 251.

[42] Perepiolkina, op. cit., p. 252.

[43] From the translation in Living Orthodoxy, vol. XIII, ¹ 1, January-February, 1991, pp. 29-30. See also Metropolitan Calliopius of Pentapolis, Prodosia tis Orthodoxias (A Betrayal of Orthodoxy), Piraeus, 1991 (G); O Pharos tis Orthodoxias (The Lighthouse of Orthodoxy), October, 1991, ¹ 66, p. 120 (G); Monk Isaac, "Commentary on the latest recommendations of the Joint Commission for theological dialogue between the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches", Orthodox Life, vol. 42, ¹ 3, May-June, 1991; "Dossier sur les Accords de Chambésy entre Monophysites et Orthodoxes" (Dossier on the Chambésy Agreements between the Monophysites and the Orthodox), La Lumière du Thabor (The Light of Tabor), ¹ 31, 1991 (F).

[44] The Word, April, 1992.

[45] Christian News, April 1 and 8, 1991; reprinted in "Ecumenism down under", Orthodox Christian Witness, vol. XXIV, ¹ 45 (1149), August 5/18, 1991, p. 3; Keston News Service, ¹ 370, March 7, 1991, p. 2.

[46] Rech’ Patriarkha Alekseya II k rabbinam g. Nyu Yorka (S.Sh.A.) i Eres’ Zhidovstvuyushchikh, (The Speech of Patriarch Alexis II to the Rabbis of New York (U.S.A.) and the Heresy of the Judaisers) U.S.A., 1993 (MS), Moscow, 1992, pp. 8-10 ®; Valery Kadzhaya, “Ask Peace for Jerusalem”,

[47] Priamoj Put' (The Straight Path), February, 1992, p. 5; E. Polyakov, "Khronika Tserkovnoj Zhizni v Yanvare-Fevrale 1992 g." (A Chonicle of Church Life in January-February, 1992) (MS), p. 2 ®.

[48] Russkii Pastyr’, ¹ 30, I-1998, p. 86. Cf. Fr. Timothy Alferov, "Nekotorie uroki dvizhenia 'nepominaiushchikh' (Some Lessons of the Movement of the Non-Commemorators), Russkii Pastyr' (Russian Pastor), ¹ 19, II-1994, pp. 102-104 ®.

[49] Damian Thompson, “Holy Sanctuary in turmoil over monks’ eviction”, The Daily Telegraph, June 4, 1992; “Ecumenists seize Skete of the Prophet Elias”, Living Orthodoxy, vol. XIII, ¹ 4, July-August, 1991, pp. 1, 9. For other harassment of non-commemorators on Mount Athos, see Monk Maximus of the Great Lavra, Human Rights on Mount Athos, Welshpool: Stylite Publishing, 1990; “Of Truth and Falsehood: Allegations of the ‘O.C.A.’ and Response from the Holy Mountain”, Living Orthodoxy, vol. XIII, ¹ 3, May-June, 1991.

[50] Thus in November, 1991, as Roman Catholic bishoprics in the former Soviet Union multiplied, the patriarch said in London that the Vatican had broken certain non-proselytism agreements, and that a flock of no more than 300 Catholics in Novosibirsk did not justify the creation of a bishopric there (Oxana Antic, "New Structures for the Catholic Church in the USSR", Report on the USSR, vol. 3, ¹ 21, May 24, 1991).

[51] Bishop Ambrose of Methone, personal communication, November 17, 2005; A.D. Delimbasis, Rebuttal of an Anticanonical “Verdict”, Athens, 1993.

[52] Ekklesiastiki Aletheia (Ecclesiastical Truth), December 12, 1998 (G).

[53] Patriarch Bartholomew, Address at Emory University at the Presidential Medal award ceremony, October 31, 1997.

[54] Time, May 5, 1997.

[55] See A. Soldatov, "Obnovlenie ili obnovlenchestvo?" (Renovation or Renovationism?), Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 20 (1521), October 15/28, 1994, pp. 6-9 ®; Service Orthodoxe de Presse (Orthodox Press Service), ¹ 194, January, 1995, pp. 7-10 (F); V.N. Osipov, "Pravoslavnoe serdtse na vetru", Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 2 (1527), January 15/28, 1995, pp. 14-15 ®.

[56] Perepiolkina, op. cit., p. 205; from the Documents and Reports of the Council published by the MP in 1995, p. 191.

[57] Perepiolkina, op. cit., pp. 215-216.

[58] Service Orthodoxe de Presse (Orthodox Press Service), ¹ 204, January, 1996, p. 13 (F).

[59] "Wages for Popes", 30 Days, ¹ 6á, 1994; reprinted in "Vatican Diary", Orthodox Christian Witness, January 2/15, 1995, pp. 7-8.

[60] Perepiolkina, op. cit., pp. 205, 217-219.

[61] Zalewski, “Vozvraschenie Russkoj Zarubezhnoi Tserkvi na Rodinu. Vzgliad Episkopa Grigoria (Grabbe). Iurii Pavlovich Grabbe’s (Bishop Grigorii) Vision of the Return of the Orthodox Church to the Homeland in the Post-Soviet Era” (MS, in English mainly).

[62] As Fr. Valentine told the story: “In the Vladimir diocese I served as dean. I was a member of the diocesan administration, was for a time diocesan secretary and had responsibility for receiving guests in this diocese. And then I began to notice that I was being gradually, quietly removed. Perhaps this happened because I very much disliked prayers with people of other faiths. It’s one thing to drink tea with guests, and quite another… to pray together with them, while the guests, it has to be said, were of all kinds: both Buddhists, and Muslims, and Satanists. I did not like these ecumenical prayers, and I did not hide this dislike of mine.

     “And so at first they removed me from working with the guests, and then deprived me of the post of secretary, and then excluded me from the diocesan council. Once after my return from a trip abroad, the local hierarch Valentine (Mishchuk) summoned me and said: ‘Sit down and write a report for the whole year about what foreigners were with you, what you talked about with them, what questions they asked you and what answers you gave them.’ ‘Why is this necessary?’ ‘It’s just necessary,’ replied the bishop. ‘I don’t understand where I am, Vladyko – in the study of a hierarch or in the study of a KGB operative? No, I’ve never done this and never will do it. And remember that I am a priest and not a “stooge”.’ ‘Well if you’re not going to do it, I will transfer you to another parish.’

     “And so the next day came the ukaz concerning my transfer to the out-of-the-way place Pokrov. I was upset, but after all I had to obey, it was a hierarch’s ukaz. But suddenly something unexpected happened – my parishioners rebelled against this decision, people began to send letters to the representatives of the authorities expressing their dissatisfaction with my transfer: our parishioners even hired buses to go to the capital and protest.

     “The patriarchate began to admonish them, suggested ‘a good batyushka’, Demetrius Nyetsvetayev, who was constantly on trips abroad, in exchange. ‘We don’t need your batyushka,’ said the parishioners, ‘we know this kind, today he’ll spy on foreigners, tomorrow on the unbelievers of Suzdal, and then he’ll begin to reveal the secret of parishioners’ confessions.’ In general, our parishioners just didn’t accept Nyetsvetayev. They didn’t even let him into the church. The whole town was aroused, and the parishioners came to me: ‘Fr. Valentine, what shall we do?’ At that point I told them that I had passed my childhood among the ‘Tikhonites’ [Catacomb Christians], and that there is a ‘Tikhonite Church’ existing in exile. If we write to their first-hierarch, Metropolitan Vitaly, and he accepts us – will you agree to be under his omophorion? The church people declared their agreement. However, this attempt to remove me did not pass without a trace, I was in hospital as a result of an attack of nerves. And so, at the Annunciation, I receive the news that our parish had been received into ROCA.” (“Vladyka Valentin raskazyvaiet” (Vladyka Valentine tells his story), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 17 (1446), September 1/14, 1991, pp. 9-10 ®).

[63] According to several people in the Catacomb Church, Valentine was a long-standing KGB agent, who had had many awards from the communists and had twice been sued in court for homosexuality – once in Makhachkala in Dagestan in 1973 and the second time in Vladimir in 1988. Each time, the case was closed by the KGB (Priest Dimitriy,, 26 May, 2003.) According to these sources, only a KGB agent could have held such a “plum” post in Suzdal, with so much contact with foreigners and so many trips abroad. Why, then, did he join ROCOR? Because after the election of Alexis Ridiger as patriarch in 1990, Valentine’s “clan” in the MP, the so-called “Serapion” clan, lost much of its power, and the opportunistic Valentine decided to “jump ship” and join ROCOR, which at that time, according to many observers, looked destined to overthrow the MP in Russia.

     Is there any proof that Valentine is a KGB agent? In 1998 the present writer asked Valentine in writing whether he was or had been an agent. Valentine declined to reply on the grounds that a monk does not seek to justify himself… However, it is said that there exists Valentine’s written confession that he was a KGB agent in the archives of ROCOR. This was obtained from him on his knees in St. Constantine church in Suzdal in June, 1990, when Archbishop Lazarus and Mark concelebrated with him for the first time.

     However, as we shall see, both Lazarus and Mark have themselves been accused of working with the KGB…

[64] Thus on September 17/30 he wrote to the Synod that Suzdal was “a base sent from God”. And he continued: “S.K. [probably Stefan Krasovitsky] writes to me on the question of the development of our mission in Russia: ‘A very great brake is the fact that Vladyka Lazarus has not thevright, as he claims, to receive clergy from all round the country into our Church, but only in Tambov province. It would be necessary for him to have such a right. It is also necessary that Archimandrite Valentine should have such a right, and I hope he will return to us in the rank of a bishop. The point is that at present many priests are going both to Vladyka Lazarus and to Fr. Valentine. All the papers, as Vl. Lazarus says, he sends to America. While things are going from here to there, parishes can disperse, be closed in cooperation with the authorities, etc.

     “Fr. Germanus Ivanov-Trinadtsaty, after staying in Russia and getting to know the situation on the spot, writes that keeping Fr. Valentine in the rank of archimandrite without consecrating him while there were three of our bishops in Russia has elicited perplexity: ‘I see,’ he writes, ‘all the “faults” (in inverted commas) of Fr. Valentine, everything that makes him not the typical abroad cleric, but I can WITNESS that he himself sees this and is trying to change. He is precisely that person who has fallen on our heads from the sky, who can get things moving. He is capable of changing the situation in Russia radically in our favour. For this he needs a hierarchical mitre.

     “I personally have talked for quite a long time with Fr. Valentine and did not notice in him any of those faults about which Vl. Mark writes. Evidently, life and work in our Church in the course of the past months has not passed in vain for him.

     “Fr. Germanus also talked with great veneration about Vladyka Lazarus… but thinks that he is not capable of being a leader. He does not have that firm juridical position which, but a miracle of God, Fr. Valentine has and which we could use. If we want to carry out missionary work in Russia, there is simply no other way out for us.” (Tserkovnie Novosti (Church News), ¹ 4 (105), May, 2002, p. 7 ®).

    On October 13/26, 1990, he wrote to Archbishop Anthony of San Francisco: “Vladyka Lazarus is a fine person, but too accustomed to the catacombs, while he does not have the right to live in Moscow. He is not capable of heading open work. I hope that you, Vladyko, as a member of the Synod will help poor Valentine” (Zalewski, op. cit., p. 4).

[65] “Chernigovskomu prikhodu RIPTs-RPTsZ – 15 let” (15 Years of the Chernigov Parish of RTOC-ROCOR), ®.

[66] ”The Position of ROCOR on the Free Russian Orthodox Church”, adopted by the Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad, 2/15 March 1990.


[67] On Bishops Seraphim and Gennadius, see; Andreyev, Russia’s Catacomb Saints, Platina: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1982, chapter 40; Hierodeacon Jonah (Yashunsky), “Nashi Katakomby” (Our Catacombs), Vestnik RKhD (Herald of the Russian Christian Movement), 1992, ¹ 166 ®; Bishop John and Igumen Elijah, Tainij Skhimitropolit (A Secret Schema-Metropolitan), Moscow: "Bogorodichnij Tsentr", 1991 ®; Kto est’ kto v rossijskikh katakombakh (Who’s Who in the Russian Catacombs), St. Petersburg, 1999, pp. 53-60 ® (a very hostile account); V. Moss, "The True Orthodox Church of Russia", Religion in Communist Lands, Winter, 1991.

[68] On Archbishop Anthony, see a manuscript life in the writer's possession and “I Vrata Adovy ne Odoleiut Ea’ (materialy k istorii Rossijskoj Istinno-Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi)” (And the Gates of Hell shall not Prevail against Her) (Materials towards the History of the True Orthodox Church), Suzdal’skie Eparkhial’nie Vedomosti Suzdal Diocesan News, ¹ 7, March-May, 1999, pp. 35-40 ®; Kto est’ kto v rossijskikh katakombakh (Who’s Who in the Russian Catacombs), op. cit.

[69] “Spravka iz Kantseliarii Arkhierejskago Sinoda” (Document from the Chancellery of the Hierarchical Synod), ¹ 4/77/133, 2/15 August, 1990 ®. See also Priest Oleg, "O mir vsego mira, blagosostoianii svyatykh Bozhiikh tserkvej i soedinenii vsekh, Gospodu pomolimsa" (For the peace of the whole world and the good estate of the holy Churches of God and the union of all, let us pray to the Lord), Pravoslavnaia Rus' (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 24 (1453), December 15/28, 1991, pp. 11-12 ®.

[70] “Zaiavlenie Arkhierejskago Sinoda Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi Zagranitsej” (Declaration of the Hierarchical Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 18 (1423), 15/28 September, 1990, p. 6 ®.

[71] Private e-mail communication, July 15, 1998.

[72] See V. Moss, “Pechat’ Antikhrista v Sovietskoj i Post-Sovietskoj Rossii” (The Seal of the Antichrist in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia), Suzdal’skie Eparkhial’nie Vedomosti (Suzdal Diocesan News), ¹ 10, April-November, 2000, pp. 22-30 ®; translated into English with revisions and additions in V. Moss, The True Church in the Last Times, Cafepress, 2004, pp. 299-329.

[73]  See "A Biography of Archimandrite Gury", The True Vine, vol. 3, ¹ 3 (1992); Vozdvizhenie (Exaltation), ¹ 2 (15), February, 1996 ®; Kto est’ kto v rossijskikh katakombakh (Who’s Who in the Russian Catacombs), op. cit., pp. 44-46.

[74] Metropolitan Vitaly, “Otvet bespasportnomu” (Reply to a Passportless), Pravoslavnij Vestnik (Orthodox Herald), February-March, 1990 ®; Petrova, op. cit.

[75] Petrova, op. cit.

[76] Encyclical Letter of the Council of Russian Bishops Abroad to the Russian Orthodox Flock, 23 March, 1933; translated in Living Orthodoxy, #131, vol. XXII, ¹ 5, September-October, 2001, p. 13.

[77] Ñf. Fr. Timothy Alferov, “Î polozhenii rossijskikh prikhodov RPTsZ v svete itogov patriarkhijnogo sobora” (On the Position of the Russian Parishes of the ROCOR in the Light of the Results of the Patriarchal Council), Uspenskij Listok (Dormition Leaflet), ¹ 34, 2000 ®.

[78] See, for example, his article “Sila Tserkvi v edinenii very i liubvi” (The Strength of the Church is in Unity of Faith and Love), Vestnik Germanskoj Eparkhii Russkoj Tserkvi za Granitsej (Herald of the German Diocese of the Russian Church Abroad), ¹ 4, 1997 ®.

[79] Alferov, op. cit.

[80] See table 10.7 in Kaariainen, op. cit., p. 153.

[81] Senina, “The Angel of the Philadelphian Church”, Vertograd-Inform (English edition), ¹ 15, January, 2000, pp. 6-24.

[82] Fr. Stefan Krasovitsky, “Torzhestva v Suzdale” (Triumphs in Suzdal), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 15 (1420), August 1/14, 1990, p. 3 ®.

[83] In an interview that the present writer had with Bishop Lazarus in Moscow as early as June 22 / July 5, Lazarus threatened that if Mark continued to interfere with his work inside Russia, he form an autonomous church organization on the basis of Patriarch Tikhon’s ukaz ¹ 362 – a threat he carried out three years later.

[84] “Vladyka Valentin vernulsa iz Ameriki” (Vladyka Valentine has returned from America), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 3 (1456), February 1/14, 1992, p. 14.

[85] Zalewski, op. cit., p. 4.

[86] V. Moss, "The Free Russian Orthodox Church", Report on the USSR, ¹ 44, November 1, 1991; L. Byzov, S. Filatov, “Religia i politika v obshchestvennom soznanii sovetskogo naroda” (Religion and Politics in the Social Consciousness of the Soviet People), in Bessmertnij, A.R. & Filatov, S.B., Religia i Demokratia (Religion and Democracy), Moscow: Progress, 1993, p. 41, note 5 ®.

[87] “Vladyka Lazar otvechaiet na voprosy redaktsii” (Vladyka Lazarus replies to the questions of the editors), Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 22 (1451), November 15/28, 1991, p. 6 ®.

[88] Zalewski, op. cit., p. 5.

[89] Priamoj Put’ (The Straight Path), January, 1992, p. 5; Nezavisimaia gazeta (The Independent Newspaper0, January 18, 1992 ®.

[90] Priamoj Put’ (The Straight Path), January, 1992, pp. 3-4; Priamoj Put’ (The Straight Path), March, 1992, pp. 3-4 ®.

[91] Quoted in Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹¹ 18-20, pp. 108, 109 ®.

[92] Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹¹ 18-20, pp. 63-64 ®.

[93] According to Mrs. Anastasia Shatilova, it was Barnabas himself who asked for this jurisdiction (Church News, July, 2003, vol. 14, ¹ 66 (#120), p. 4).

[94] Priamoj Put’ (The Straight Path), May, 1992 ®.

[95] Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 17 (1470), September 1/14, 1992, p. 12 ®.

[96] Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 18 (1471), September 15/28, 1992, p. 11.

[97] Sergius Bychkov, “Voskresenie mifa” (The Resurrection of a Myth), Moskovskie Novosti (Moscow News), March 7, 1993; “Ukazanie Protoiereiu Viktoru Potapovu” (Instruction to Protopriest Victor Potapov), February 4/17, 1993 (no. 11/35/39). The official publications of ROCOR shed little light on this about-turn, saying only that the Synod “reviewed and changed certain of its decisions of December 12, 1992” (Tserkovnaia Zhizn’ (Church Life), ¹¹ 1-2, January-February, 1993, p. 3 ®).

[98] Zalewski, op. cit., p. 5.

[99] Emergency report to the ROCOR Synod, May 16/29, 1993, Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), 18-20, 1994, p. 92 ®. In a later report to the Synod (June 9/22, 1993, Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹¹ 18-10, 1994, pp. 94-95), Bishop Gregory, after enumerating Bishop Barnabas’ transgressions, appealed that he be brought to trial. He wrote that according to Protocol ¹ 5 of the Sobor, “’Bishop Barnabas spoke about disturbances in his relationships with Archbishop Lazarus and [Bishop] Benjamin’… He complained to the Sobor about a priest of Archbishop Lazarus because he did not allow him to serve in his church without the permission of the Archbishop. The President of ROCOR then explained to Bishop Barnabas that insofar as the given parish was in the jurisdiction of Archbishop Lazarus, the priest had been completely right. I personally possess an inquiry from the priest of Archbishop Lazarus which confirms his reply to Bishop Barnabas. On meeting the priest in the Mary-Martha convent, Bishop Barnabas ‘demanded that I go under his omophorion. I refrained from going over, at which Bishop Barnabas said: ‘You are a rebellious batiushka’. Having spoken about ‘disturbances in his relationships with Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Benjamin’, Bishop Barnabas goes on to criticize Archbishop Lazarus. He recognized that he has ‘too hastily’ banned Archimandrite Adrian, the unlawfulness of which the President had immediately pointed out. To the question of Archbishop Mark concerning the reception by Bishop Barnabas of the priest Peter Astakhov, who had been banned by Bishop Valentine for living with a woman, Bishop Barnabas, as is recorded in the protocol, replied that he ‘had to receive Fr. Peter, since the authorities wanted to seize his church’. Then Bishop Barnabas proclaimed a list of parishes of Archbishop Lazarus which, as he said, wanted to go over to him. The unlawful actions of Bishop Barnabas in relation to other dioceses are listed further on in the same protocol. There it says: “Another written report of Bishop Valentine was read, which expressed a complaint against Bishop Barnabas for his links with Pamyat’ and for his receiving clergy without release documents. The actions of Bishop Barnabas introduce disturbance into the parishes of the Russian Church and place its existence under threat.” (in Tserkovnie Novosti (Church News), ¹ 8 (100), November, 2001, pp. 3-4).

[100] According to the Ukrainian publication Ohliadach (Observer), even after Bishop Barnabas was banned from Russia by the ROCOR Synod, he continued his links with the Ukrainians. “On an unofficial level, relations have continued to the present. With the secret blessing of Archbishop Barnabas, Archimandrite Ioasaf (Shivaiev), dean of the Russian parishes of ROCOR, went under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kievan Patriarchate” (quoted in Church News, July, 2003, vol. 14, ¹ 66 (#120), p. 3).

[101] Bishop Valentine’s phrase was: “such disturbance and division of the flock as the atheists and the MP could only dream about” (Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹¹ 18-20, 1994, p. 5).

[102] Protocol no. 8, April 30 / May 13, 1993.

[103] Istoki Rossijskoj Pravoslavnoj Svobodnoj Tserkvi (The Sources of the Free Russian Orthodox Church), Suzdal, 1997, pp. 19-20 ®.

[105] Bishop Valentine’s accuser turned out to be Alexander R. Shtilmark, an assistant of the Pamyat’ leader, Demetrius Vasiliev. His motivation was clear. Later, several of Shtilmark’s relatives witnessed to his mental unbalance. And his sister, Maria Stilmark has recently asserted (personal communication, March, 2006) that her brother denies ever having sent a complaint to the Synod! In spite of this, and Bishop Valentine’s repeated protestations of his innocence (which appear not to have reached Metropolitan Vitaly) ROCOR, in the persons of Archbishop Mark and Bishop Hilarion continued to drag this matter out for another two years (Reports of Bishop Gregory (Grabbe), Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹¹ 18-20, 1994, pp. 123, 126 ®). (V.M.)

[106] Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹¹ 18-20, 1994, pp. 89-90 ®.

[107] There were objective grounds for such a suspicion. Thus the protocols of this Council for June 9/22 record: “Hieromonk Vladimir, superior of the Borisovsk church, says that three months before the Session of the Hierarchical Council, his relative said that he should abandon the Suzdal Diocese since they were going to retire Bishop Valentine at the Session of the Sobor in France. She knew this from a party worker linked with the KGB. And three years later he learned that this question had indeed been discussed. He is interested to know how it happened that the KGB realized its intention in real life?” (Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹ 23, 1995, p. 54; letter to the author by Hieromonk Vladimir (Ovchinnikov), June 23 / July 6, 1993 ®).

[108] Letter of Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles, no heading, no date; original in the archive of Archbishop Anthony (Orlov) of San Francisco.

[109] Suzdal’skij Palomnik, ¹¹ 18-20, 1994, p. 121; letter to the author by Hieromonk Vladimir, op. cit.

[110] (Tserkovnaia Zhizn’ (Church Life), ¹¹ 3-4, May-August, 1994, p. 5 ®).

[111] Tserkovnaia Zhizn’ (Church Life), ¹ 5-6, September-December, 1993, pp. 7, 9 ®.

[112] Church News, vol. 12, ¹ 1 (83), January-February, 2000, p. 5.

[113] Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹¹ 18-20, 1994, pp. 159-160 ®

[114] Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹¹ 18-20, pp. 168-169 ®.

[115] Tserkovnaia Zhizn’ (Church Life), ¹¹ 1-2, January-April, 1994, pp. 14-16; Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹¹ 18-20, 1994, pp. 196-198 ®.

[116] Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹¹ 18-20, 1994, pp. 198, 200-201 ®.

[118] Zhukov, “Poslanie nastoiatelia khrama RPZTs v Parizhe” (Epistle of the Rector of the ROCOR Church in Paris), in Otkliki na deiania Arkhierejskogo Sobor RPTsZ 2000 goda i na prochie posleduischie za nim sobytia (Reactions to the Acts of the Hierarchical Council of the ROCOR in 2000 and to other events that followed it), part 2, Paris, 2001, p. 85 ®).

[119] Protocol 5; Tserkovnie Novosti (Church News), ¹ 4 (105), May, 2002, p. 4 ®.

[120] Tserkovnaia Zhizn’, ¹¹ 3-4, May-August, 1994, pp. 60-65. Bishop Eutyches had left the MP in the early 1990s for four reasons: (i) the sexual demands made by the MP’s Metropolitan Theodosius of Omsk to the wives of clergy and parishioners, (ii) his refusal to demand the return of church buildings from the authorities, (iii) his refusal to give catechism lessons before baptism, and (iv) his ban on baptising by full immersion (Roman Lunkin, “Rossijskie zarubezhniki mezhdu dvukh otnej” (The Russians of the Church Abroad between two fires), (R).

[121] Bishop Gregory, Pis’ma (Letters), Moscow, 1998, pp. 123-125; Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹ 23, 1995, pp. 21-23 ®.

[122] Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹¹ 18-20, 1994, p. 149 ®.

[123] Grabbe, Doklady (Reports), Moscow, 1999, p. 85 ®.

[124] Zalewski, op. cit., p. 7.

[125] Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹¹ 18-20, 1994, pp. 128-129, 130 ®.

[126] “In fact,” writes Bishop Ambrose of Methone, “two bishops present at the Episcopal Sobor in San Francisco did not sign the act of union, Bishop Ambrose of Vevey (continuing the policy of Archbishop Anthony of Geneva) and Bishop Benjamin – in his case I have no idea why” (personal communication, November 17, 2005).

[127] Pravoslavnij Vestnik (Orthodox Herald), January-February, 1996 ®.

[128] Letter to Archbishop Mark of Germany and Great Britain, November 29 / December 12, 1996 ®.

[129] Tserkovnie Novosti (Church News), June, 1997, ¹ 6 (62), p. 4 ®.

[130] Bishop Artemius, Statement to the Thessalonica Theological Conference, September, 2004; in The Shepherd, June, 2005, pp. 15-16.

[131] Church News, October-November, 1998, vol. 10, ¹ 8 (75), p. 8.

[132] Orthodox Tradition, vol. XV, ¹ 1, p. 34.

[133] Nun E., a close disciple of Metropolitan Gennadius, personal communication, September, 1990.

[134] Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 2, December, 1998, p. 25; Church News, September, 1997, vol. 9, ¹ 9 (65), pp. 8-10.

[135] These zealots joined HOCNA. However, other Georgian anti-ecumenists joined other Greek Old Calendarist jurisdictions: the Cyprianites and the Chrysostomites. (V.M.)

[136] In fairness to the Cyprianites, it has to be said that they were much more consistent in their resistance to ecumenism than the Patriarchates of Georgia or Bulgaria. (V.M.)

[137] Lourié, “The Synodal Decision of the Official Georgian Church and ‘the Third Way’ between Ecumenism and Orthodoxy”, Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 10 (43), October, 1998, pp. 7-8 ®.

[138] “Looking Back on Harare”, Orthodox Tradition, vol. XVII, ¹ 4, 2000, p. 4.

[139] Patriarch Maximus wrote to the General Secretary of the WCC on November 27, 1998 as follows: “The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church at their session on the 9th of April 1998, Protocol No. 9, having taken into consideration that the hopes from its membership in the World Council of Churches have not been fully justified, as well as from the confusion of the Orthodox Christians in this country with that membership (of our Church in the WCC), with a view to safeguard the fullness of our Holy Church, have decided to discontinue its membership in it” ( (My italics (V.M)).

[140] Valentine, Nativity Epistle, 1994/1995 ®.

[141] Here is the original Act of November 29, 1994, together with the changes proposed by the FROC’s letter of January 27, 1995 (in italics) (see Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹ 22, 1995, pp. 26-27): “We, the Hierarchical Synod of ROCOR, under the presidency of the First-Hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Vitaly of Eastern America and New York, and the Most Reverend Hierarchs: Archbishop Lazarus of Odessa and Tambov and Bishop Valentine of Suzdal and Vladimir, taking upon ourselves full responsibility before God and the All-Russian flock, and following the commandments of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, in the name of peace and love, for the sake of the salvation of our souls and the souls of our flock, declare the following:

     “1. We recognize our mutual responsibility for the disturbances that have arisen in the Russian [Rossijskoj] Church, but we consider that certain hasty actions of the Hierarchical Synod cannot serve as justification for a schism in the Russian Church and the establishment of the Temporary Higher Church Administration.” Comment by the FROC bishops: We definitely do not agree with the definition of the actions of the Russian hierarchs as a schism, for these actions were a forced measure aimed at guarding the canonical rights of the Bishop in his diocese, and the created Temporary Higher Church Administration was formed, not in spite of, but in accordance with the will and ukaz no. 362 of the holy Patriarch Tikhon, at a time when the Hierarchical Synod of ROCOR left the Russian hierarchs without any communications, directives, holy Antimins or holy Chrismation. If we recognize our mutual responsibility for the disturbances that have arisen in the Russian Church, then it is our right to recognize certain hasty actions of the Hierarchical Sobor and Synod as uncanonical and as inflicting direct harm on the work of restoring true Orthodoxy in Russia, which has served as the terminus a quo for [our] conditional administrative separation and the formation of the Temporary Higher Church Administration. The concrete intra-ecclesiastical situation has dictated such a course of action on our part, but at the same time we have admitted that administrative independence must in no way automatically lead to canonical and eucharistic independence. Such communion has not been broken by us, in spite of the one-sided decision of the Hierarchical Synod of ROCOR.

     “2. We ask each other’s forgiveness, so that from now on we should not reproach anybody for the actions which lead to the division and the founding of the THCA.” Comment of the FROC bishops: It is not a matter of reproaches but of the essence of the actions of both sides, which have led to administrative division and the founding of the THCA. By examining each concrete action, we would be able mutually to understand the depth of the causes, and proceeding from that, calmly and without detriment, remove their consequences in the present.

     “3. We consider the organization of the THCA to be an unlawful act and abolish it.” Comment of the FROC bishops: The very formulation of this point seems to us to be faulty in view of the final aim of our joint efforts.

     “4. We consider the consecration of the three hierarchs: Theodore, Seraphim and Agathangelus, which was carried out by their Graces Lazarus and Valentine, to be unlawful. Their candidacies should be presented in the order that is obligatory for all candidates for hierarchical rank accepted in ROCOR, and, if they turn out to be worthy, then, after their confession of faith and acceptance of the hierarchical oath, they will be confirmed in the hierarchical rank.” Comment of the FROC bishops: We do not agree at all that the episcopal consecrations performed by us were not lawful. The obligatory order for all candidates for hierarchical rank accepted in ROCOR could not be a guide for us in our actions since at that time we were administratively independent of ROCOR. If we approach this demand from a strictly formal point of view, then the Hierarchical Synod should have asked us concerning our agreement or disagreement with the new consecrations, especially the consecration of his Grace Bishop Eutyches – which was not done. In spite of your limitation of our rights, we have recognized these consecrations and are far from the thought of demanding a confession of faith and acceptance of the hierarchical oath a second time, specially for us.

     “5. In the same way, all the other actions carried out by Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Valentine and the THCA organized by them which exceeded the authority of the diocesan bishops, but belonged only to the province of the Hierarchical Sobor and Hierarchical Synod of ROCOR, are to be considered to be invalid.”Comment of the FROC bishops: Until the moment that we ceased to be members of ROCOR, and the THCA was formed, all our actions and suggestions were presented for discussion and confirmation by these higher church instances. Having conditionally separated from ROCOR in administrative matters, we were entitled to carry out these actions.

     “6. Archbishop Lazarus is reinstated in the rights of a ruling hierarch with the title “Archbishop of Odessa and Tambov”.Comment of the FROC bishops: The formulation of this point admits of an ambiguous interpretation and is therefore on principle unacceptable for us. Judging objectively, his Grace Archbishop Lazarus did not lose his rights as a ruling bishop, in spite of the ukaz of the Hierarchical Synod concerning his retirement. The ukaz seems to us to be canonically ill-founded, and therefore lacking force and unrealized. We suggest the formulation: ‘In view of the erroneous actions of the Hierarchical Synod of ROCOR, Archbishop Lazarus is not to be considered as having been retired and is recognized as having the rights of the ruling hierarch of his diocese with the title (Archbishop of Tambov and Odessa).

     “7. Bishop Valentine will be restored to his rights as the ruling hierarch of Suzdal and Vladimir after the removal of the accusations against him on the basis of an investigation by a Spiritual Court appointed by the present Hierarchical Sobor.” Comment of the FROC bishops: The given point is excluded, in agreement with the Ukaz of the Hierarchical Synod. [This refers to the ukaz dated November 18 / December 1, 1994, quoted above, which reinstated Vladyka Valentine as Bishop of Suzdal and Vladimir.]

     “8. To bring order into ecclesiastical matters on the territory of Russia a Hierarchical Conference of the Russian Hierarchs is to be organized which does not encroach on the fullness of ecclesiastical power, but which is in unquestioning submission to the Hierarchical Sobor and the Hierarchical Synod of ROCOR. One of the members of the Hierarchical Conference will be a member of the Synod, in accordance with the decision of the Hierarchical Sobor.” Comment of the FROC bishops: It is suggested that this formulation be changed, and consequently also the meaning of the eighth point: ‘The THCA does not encroach on the fullness of ecclesiastical power. In certain exceptional situations it recognizes its spiritual and administrative submission to the Hierarchical Sobor of the ROCOR. One of the members of the Hierarchical Conference will be a temporary, regular member of the Synod, in accordance with the decision of the Hierarchical Sobor of ROCOR and the Hierarchical Conference of the Russian Bishops.

     “9. After the signing of the Act it will be published in all the organs of the church press, and in particular in those publications in which their Graces Lazarus and Valentine published material against the Hierarchical Sobor and Hierarchical Synod of the ROCOR.” Comment of the FROC bishops: The formulation should be changed as follows: After the signing of the Act it will be published in all the organs of the church press, and in particular in those publications in which their Graces Lazarus and Valentine published material explaining certain hasty actions of the Hierarchical Synod and Sobor of ROCOR.

[142] “Obraschenie Episkopa Evtikhia Ishimskogo i Sibirskogo” (Address of Bishop Eutyches of Ishim and Siberia), Otkliki, op. cit., part 3, p. 60 ®.

[143] Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), 23, 1995, pp. 32-33 ®.

[144] This Decree, dated February 22, also stated that the Odessa-Tambov and Suzdal-Vladimir dioceses were declared “widowed” (a term used only if the ruling bishop has died) and were to be submitted temporarily to Metropolitan Vitaly. See Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹ 23, 1995, p. 31; Tserkovnie Novosti (Church News), ¹ 1A (43), February, 1995, p. 3 ®. (V.M).

[145] “Witness” of February 28, 1995, Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹ 23, 1995, pp. 35-36 ®.

[146] Tserkovnie Novosti (Church News), ¹ 1A (43), February, 1995, p. 5 ®.

[147] Suzdal’skij Palomnik (Suzdal Pilgrim), ¹ 23, 1995, p. 34 ®.

[148] Tserkovnie Novosti (Church News), ¹ 3 (45), May-June, 1995, p. 3 ®.

[149] V. Moss, "The Free Russian Orthodox Church", Report on the USSR, ¹ 44, November 1, 1991; L. Byzov, S. Philatov, op. cit., p. 41, note 5 ®.

[150] Bishop Amrose of Methone reports that a few days before his death Jose told him that he had left the icon in Canada (personal communication, November 17, 2005).

[151] Tserkovnaia Zhizn' (Church News), ¹¹ 3-4, May-August, 1995, pp. 3-4 ®.

[152] Suzdal’skij Blagovest’ (Suzdal Bell-Ringing), ¹ 3, January-February, 1997, p. 3 ®.

[153] Orthodox Life, vol. 47, ¹ 3, May-June, 1997, pp. 42-43; Suzdal’skij Blagovest’ (Suzdal Bell-Ringing), ¹ 3, January-February, 1997, p. 3 ®.

[154] Suzdal’skie Eparkhial’nie Vedomosti (Suzdal Diocesan News), ¹ 7, March-May, 1999, p. 7 ®. Cf. “Rossijskaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov’, 1990-2000” (The Russian Orthodox Church, 1990-2000), Vertograd-Inform, ¹¹ 7-8 (64-65), July-August, 2000, pp. 22-39 ®.



[157] The major sources used in this account of the schism are all unpublished: Bishop Photius of Marathon, Chronicle of the Schism of 1995; Bishop Macarius of Petra, 1973-2003: Thirty Years of Ecclesiastical Developments: Trials-Captivity-Deliverance (in Greek); and Hieromonk Nectarius (Yashunsky), Kratkaia istoria svyaschennoj bor’by starostil’nikov Gretsii, 1986-1995 gg. (A Short History of the Sacred Struggle of the Old Calendarists of Greece, 1986-1995) ®.

[158] Mr. Christakis, Professor of Canon Law at the University of Athens. The Callinicites, while avoiding a church trial, liked to quote the opinions of new calendarist lawyers from outside the Church who expressed themselves in support of Euthymius. Another was Mr. Nicholas Athanasopoulos. However, the latter, according to Eleutherotypia for May 13, 2005, has been expelled from the Areopagus for “serious sins”.

[159] No decision had yet been made about Peter of Astoria. He had been invited to the last session of the Synod, but did not come. The Synod then decided to send two bishops to visit him and ask him why he had not come to the last session (Bishop Photius of Marathon, personal communication).

[160] Letter of Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston, Metropolitan Macarius of Toronto and Bishop Moses of Roslindale to the Callinicites, December 1/14, 1999, protocol number 1704.

[161] The sixth canon of the Second Ecumenical Council declares: “But if any brings against a bishop his own, that is, a private complaint, whether in a claim on some property or in some injustice that he has suffered from him; in such accusations neither the person of the accuser, not his faith, should be taken into account. It is fitting that the conscience of a bishop be free in every way, and that he who has declared himself offended [by the bishop] should receive justice, of whatever faith he might be.”

[162] Phoni ex Agiou Orous (Voice from the Holy Mountain), p. 8 (in Greek).

[163] In 1995, in his monastery in Anthousa, Petros turned to Euthymius and said about Paisius and Vincent: “I know so many things about them! You, Euthymius, are a saint by comparison with them!” Euthymius, trying to hide his embarrassment with a joke, said: “Then you will have to make an icon of me.” It goes without saying that Peter was in no way praising Euthymius, but only saying that Paisius and Vincent were even worse that he (Bishop Photius, Chronicle).

[164] Point 9, “Decree of the Panhellenic Clergy Meeting of the GOC of Greece”, 2003.

[165] In the Lamia region he used to preach faithfulness to the Chrysostomite Synod because “the sin of Callinicus Khaniotes and Euthymius Orphanos cannot be washed out even by the blood of martyrdom”, and “if his Beatitude [Archbishop Chrysostom] were to receive Euthymius and Callinicus back, I would cease to commemorate the Archbishop and would commemorate every Orthodox episcopate” (Bishop Photius, Chronicle).

[166] Bishop Photius, private communication, September 28, 2004.

[167] Ekklesia G.O.X. Ellados (Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece), ¹ 8, p. 56; Bishop Macarius of Petra, To Katantima tis ipo ton Khrysostomon Kiousin proderevomenis Synodou (The Plight of the Synod under Chrysostom Kiousis), Thessalonica, 1999, p. 12 (in Greek).

[168] Bishop Macarius, To Katantima, op. cit., pp. 30-31.

[169] Bishop Macarius, To Katantima, op. cit., p. 9.

[170] Basil Lourie, “The Split in the Genuine Orthodox Church”, Vertograd, March, 1999, p. 10.

[171] Katastatikon “Ekklesias Gnision Orthodoxon Khristianon Ellados” (Constitution of the “Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece”), Article 10, g (in Greek).

[172] Encyclical of Archbishop Chrysostom, December 22, 1998, Athens, 1999 (G).

[173] Callinicus had been propounding heretical Apollinarian views on the Incarnation. When caught out by one of his own priests, and beginning to realise his mistake, he then said that he would repent of his error if the other bishops repented of certain supposedly heretical things that they had said. But the Synod refused to accept this “deal” (Bishop Photius of Marathon, personal communication, July 22, 2005).

[174] But then the schism between Laurus and Vitaly took place, and the Chrysostomite dialogue with Laurus ended… (Bishop Photius, private communication, June 28, 2003).

[175] Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Ispytatel'nie Voprosy zadannie smnievaiushchim Preosviashchennomu Amvrosiu Episkopu Gotfskomu" (Testing questions given to Bishop Ambrose of the Goths) (MS, 7/20 June, 1994), personal communication, and “Episkopat Istinno-Pravoslavnoj Katakombnoj Tserkvi” (The Episcopate of the True Orthodox Catacomb Church), Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 4 (8), 1997, 1-20. See also I.I. Osipova, “Skvoz’ Ogn’ Muchenij i Vody Slyoz…” (Through the Fire of Torments and the Water of Tears), Moscow: Serebryanniye Niti, 1998 ®.

[176] For more on Bishop Ambrose, see his autobiographical article, “Endurance: Reminiscences of the True Orthodox Church”, Religion, State and Society, vol. 25, ¹ 3, 1997, pp. 220-234; “’Arkhiepiskop Amvrosij (‘Sivers’)” (Archbishop Ambrose (Sivers), Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 2 (59), 2000, pp. 46-49 ®. See also Kto yest’ kto v Rossijskikh Katakombakh (Who’s Who in the Russian Catacombs), op. cit., pp. 10-24.

[177] Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), “’Klimentovskaia’ Ierarkhia I.P.Ts.” (The Clementine Hierarchy of the True Orthodox Church), Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 5 (9), 1997, pp. 1-11 ®. See also Kto est’ kto v Rossijskikh Katakombakh (Who’s Who in the Russian Catacombs), op. cit., pp. 24-27. This latter publication also has information on several other small Catacomb groups.

[178] Priest Daniel Sysoev, “Katakombnij Raskol” (The Catacomb Schism),, p. 24 ®.

[179] Fr. Epiphanius is called a "schema-metropolitan" in some Russian publications (e.g. Fomin, op. cit.). However, the present writer, who knew him well, has failed to find any evidence that he was more than a simple monk. And in the eulogy to him published by the Matthewites after his death (Kirix Gnision Orthodoxon (Herald of the True Orthodox), November, 1995 (G)), there is no mention of his supposed episcopate.

[180] Ter-Grigorian, “Mitr. Kirik Mesogejskij i Arkhiepiskop Amvrosij Gotfskij – vstrecha na Elbe «  (Metropolitan Cyricus of Mesogaia and Archbishop Ambrose of the Goths – a meeting on the Elbe),, September, 2004 ®. The Kyrikite priest Fr. Andrew Sidniev has disputed many points in Ter-Grigorian’s account. See and ®.

[181] Fr. Anthimus Bichir, Cristian Belciu, private communications, August, 2004.

[182] Djokic, “Coming to Terms with the Past: Former Yugoslavia”, History Today, vol. 54 (6), June, 2004, pp. 18-19.

[183] Pravoslavije, June 1, 1991 (S); Keston News Service, ¹ 379, 11 July, 1991, p. 4; Anglican and Eastern Churches Association, December, 1991, pp. 29-31.

[184] Thus in May, 1992, the Holy Synod of the Serbian Church declared: “As of yesterday, the Serbian people in Croatia, Dalmatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina have ceased to exist… Today Serbian Christians commemorate the 50th anniversary of their suffering on the territory of the notorious Nazi ‘Independent State’ of Croatia, as well as in Kosovo and Metohia – by experiencing new suffering…

     “Tens of thousands dead, many more wounded, more than a million evicted and refugees, destroyed churches, houses, devastated villages and desolate homes. With deep sorrow we must state that once again concentration camps are being opened for Serbs in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. For instance, in Sukhopol, near Virovitica, Odzhak in Bosanska Posavina; Duvno and Livno, Smiljan in Lika and other places. Refugees testify that once again, as in 1941, bottomless pits are being opened into which innocent Serbs are being cast” (in Perepiolkina, op. cit., p. 237).

[185] Antonios Markou, "On the Serbian Question", Orthodox Tradition, vol. XI, ¹ 4, 1994, p. 16.

[186] "'World Orthodoxy's' Sister Church to canonize murderer of the Serbian Orthodox people", Orthodox Christian Witness, September 12/25, 1994, p. 2.

[187] Forest, "An Orthodox Response to the War in Former Yugoslavia", Orthodox Outlook, vol. VIII, ¹ 6, 1995, p. 32. It should also be mentioned that baptisms in the Serbian Church are now very often only pourings, not full immersions.

[188] Church News (the English translation of Tserkovnie Novosti), vol. 9, ¹ 8 (64), August, 1997, p. 7.

[189] Sergej Flere, "Denominational Affiliation in Yugoslavia, 1937-1987", East European Quarterly, XXV, ¹ 2, June, 1991, pp. 145-165.

[190] This figure cited in Norman Malcolm, Bosnia. A Short History, London: Papermac, 1996, p. 222.

[191] Vrcan, "The War in Former Yugoslavia and Religion", Religion, State and Society, 22/4, 1994, pp. 374-75.

[192] Cited in Norman Cigar, Genocide in Bosnia, Texas A&M University Press, 1995, p. 67.

[193] Jean-François Meyer, Religions et Sécurité Internationale (Religions and International Security), Berne, Switzerland: Office Central de la Defense, 1995, pp. 24-25.

[194] “Comparing the position of the Orthodox Church under the power of communism in Russia and in Yugoslavia, one can say that in the first years of the establishment of the godless power in Russia Patriarch Tikhon anathematized the godless and all their co-workers, and as soon as the betrayal of church liberty by Metropolitan Sergius was comprehended, almost immediately an elemental movement against was formed, under the leadership of the greater and best part of the Episcopate of the Russian Orthodox Church, which later received the name of the Catacomb or Tikhonite Church. Unfortunately, nothing similar took place in the composition of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

     “The Serbian Church, which was far from being as cruelly persecuted by the godless as the Russian, made no protest against the participation of their own Patriarch German in the ecumenical movement and even his position as one of the presidents of the WCC. The hierarchy of the Serbian Church did not find in itself enough spiritual strength, as did the Russian Church, to create in its depths an anti-communist and anti-ecumenist popular movement, although individual true holy new martyrs were found in it. For a little more than fifty years of communist dominion in Yugoslavia, not one courageous speech of members of the Serbian hierarchy against godlessness and ecumenism was known abroad.” (Tserkovnie Novosti (Church News), June-July, 1999, ¹ 4 (80), p. 4 ®.

[195] Cigar, op. cit., pp. 67-68.

[196] See, for example, an attempt to justify the massacre of Muslims in Srebrenica as revenge for the massacre of Serbs in the same region by Carl Savich, “Srebrenica: The Untold Story”,

[197] Translated in The Shepherd, vol. XIX, ¹ 8, April, 1999, pp. 18-19.

[198] Pro-Serbian commentators argue that the West is the victim of anti-Serb propaganda. The present writer watched many programmes on the Serbian wars on British television in the course of the war. No anti-Serb bias was evident in them. Detailed and generally accurate documentaries were shown on the sufferings of the Serbs at the hands of the Croats in 1941 and on the significance of Kosovo for the Serbs. Serb representatives were invited to express their point of view in all debates on the Serbian wars. On the other hand, Russia’s NTV station seemed to be the only media outlet in Serbia or Russia which reported “ethnic cleansing” in Kosovo (Anna Blundy, “Russian Viewers finally see case for Nato”, The Times (London), April 7, 1999, p. 2).

[199] “Episkop ofitsial’noj serbskoj tserkvi oblichaet svoego patriarkha” (Bishop of the Official Serbian Church Reproaches His Patriarch), Vertograd-Inform, ¹ 1 (58), January, 2000, p. 13 ®.

[200] Florence Hamlish Levinsohn, Belgrade: Among the Serbs, Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1994, p. 238.

[201] Russkaia Mysl’ (Russian Thought), January 22, 1993 ®.

[202] John Chaplain, “Re: [paradosis] Alternative Orthodoxy is loosing its illusory legitimacy…”, May 26, 2004.

[203] “Serbskaia Patriarkhia i Katolicheskaia Tserkov’: ‘V Sovmestnoj Molitve… My Stali Yeshcho Blizhe’” (The Serbian Patriarchate and the Catholic Church: ‘In Joint Prayer… We Became Still Closer), Vertograd-Inform, ¹¹ 7-8 (64-65), July-August, 2000, pp. 18-19 ®; Church News, vol. 23, ¹ 7 (89), October, 2000, pp. 5-6.

[204] “The True Orthodox Church of Serbia”, Vertograd (English edition), ¹ 9, July, 1999, p. 3.

[205] Hieroschemamonk Akakie, personal communication, November, 2004.

[206], 20 July, 2003, in Pravoslavnaia Rus’ (Orthodox Russia), ¹ 16 (1733), August 15/28, 2003, p. 16 ®.

[207] Judah, The Serbs, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997, p. 309.

[208] See materials in Russkoe Pravoslavie (Russian Orthodoxy), ¹ 3 (7), 1997 ®.

[209] Pravoslavnaia Rus’, ¹ 16 (1589), August 15/28, 1997 ®.

[210] Abbess Juliana, in “Paroles d’un detraque et reponse de Mere Juliana” (A Deranged Person’s Words and Mother Juliana’s Reply),, June 22, 2004.

[211] Zhukov, Letter of July 19, 1997 to Alexander Ivanovich Musatov.

[212] Larin, Letter of August 18/31, 1997 to Fr. Stefan Krasovitsky.

[213] Service Orthodoxe de Presse, 221, September-October, 1997, p. 16 (F). Patriarch Diodorus was reported to have distanced himself from that remark.

[214] Vestnik Germanskoj Eparkhii, ¹ 4, 1997 ®.