Lecture on the 90th anniversary of ROCOR read at the Synodal Building in New York, December 7, 2010
Your Eminences, Your Graces, Reverend Fathers, Brothers and Sisters:
I thank you for the opportunity to speak today at the residence of the Hodigitria of our Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Most-Holy Mother of God, in the building where the Councils of Bishops of our Church convene, before a host of our archpastors, pastors and people of God.
When I was given the obedience of reading this lecture on the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, I decided that instead of discussing the history of the Russian Church Abroad, I would examine it in the form of individuals who comprised our Church in her various phases:
- the faithful.
We will look at representatives of the Russian Church Abroad who began their service in Russia and as a result of the Civil War found themselves abroad, those who filled her ranks during the war and those who began their service before the 1990’s. I will not touch upon our contemporaries, since historical review requires a degree of distance, a perspective through time.
The biographies you will hear about now are of people who lived in different times, coming from different places and classes, but all united by one thing—suffering. Each person described here was “injured” by Russia, by her tragic history. Memories of their homeland and her sufferings were passed on by these people to those close to them. They comprised the Russian Church Abroad, which became the Church of Russian sorrows.
The Church Abroad tried to preserve and hand down to future generations the memory of all that which could not be spoken of in the homeland. She carefully preserved the remnants of the fallen Imperial Russia, much in the way that the military banners of the Russian armies are preserved here in the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign.”
The tragic history of the 20th century was reflected in the holy items of the Russian Church Abroad. Repentant processions of the cross were conducted in 1920 in Crimea with the Kursk-Root Icon, which is with us today. The relics of Holy New Martyrs Elizabeth and Nun Barbara were delivered by members of the White Army to China, and from there, sent to Jerusalem. The glorification of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia and the Royal Martyrs here in the Synodal Cathedral was a pinnacle of and became a milestone in Russian history, which was to draw the Soviet period to a close.
In all emigre churches, Russian culture was preserved, Sunday schools taught the Russian language. The Nyack School and many others provided such a good education that its graduates were able to use this knowledge while working in Russia, for Russia, or were in any case able to pass Russian culture on to their children. Three and even four generations have not lost it. Devotion to Russia, preparedness for podvig for her sake became an important part of the education of children in summer camps as well, NORR, ORYuR, ORPR and the Vityazi.
Of course, special attention was paid to the teaching of the law of God. One can judge success in this area by pointing to the textbook authored by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy, published by the millions, considered now a “classic” text, used in Russia for the religious education of children. Even the Azbuka [Alphabet] of his Matushka Elena is being reprinted in Russia for wide distribution.
When we study the biographies of the people who made up the Russian Church Abroad, we feel pain not only that the Russian Church Abroad had to come into being to begin with, but also that all of these highly-esteemed people could not serve their fatherland within its borders. During the reign of Communism in Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was a Church for all Orthodox people who had lost their homeland. During World War II, the clergymen of ROCOR tried to provide as much aid as possible to all the Orthodox Christians from the Soviet Union who found themselves on the territory of the Third Reich, and afterwards in the diaspora. With this goal, a special Emigration Committee was formed at the Synod of Bishops.
In 1921, during the First All-Diaspora Council, the entire emigration of the Russian Church was in the Russian Church Abroad with the exception of the populations of Finland, Poland and the countries which had their own Local Orthodox Churches. The episcopate of the Russian Church Abroad counted some thirty bishops, the vast majority of whom had been consecrated in Czarist Russia.
What theological schools did the first generation of ROCOR archpastors who were consecrated in Russia graduate from?
Moscow Theological Academy:
Metropolitan Evlogy of Western Europe,
Metropolitan Anastassy of Eastern America and New York. In this work I have tried to refer to the last known rank and cathedra occupied.
St. Petersburg Theological Academy:
Metropolitans Anthony of Kiev, Sergei of Japan, Innokenty of Peking, Veniamin of Saratovsk; Archbishops Feofan of Poltava and Seraphim of Bogucharsk; Bishop Michael of Alexandrov.
Kiev Theological Academy:
Metropolitan Platon of Odessa, Archbishops: Apollinary of North America, Gabriel of Chelyabinsk, Germogen of Ekaterinoslav, Feofan of Kursk, and Damian of Tsaritsyn.
Kazan Theological Academy:
Metropolitans Mefody of Harbin, Seraphim of Western Europe, Melety of Harbin and Manchuria, Archbishop Simon of Shanghai.
From this we see that the hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad took with them into exile the finest traditions of their theological schools.
The following is a brief biography of a representative of the first generation of bishops of ROCOR, Bishop Gabriel of Chelyabinsk (Chepura).Materials taken from V.I. Kosik: Russkoje Tserkovnoje Zarubezhije: XX vek v biografiakh dukhovenstva ot Ameriki do Yaponii [The Russian Orthodox Diaspora: the 20th Century in the Biographies of … Continue reading He was born to the family of an officer. Despite his excellent abilities in mathematics, upon graduating from high school, he enrolled in Kiev Theological Academy, where the young Gregory Merkellovich chose to major in Liturgics.
In 1896, he was tonsured a monk at Kievo-Pechersky Lavra. He was a teacher there and then made inspector of its seminary. After the student rebellion of 1906, he was dismissed as Rector of Poltava Theological Seminary. From 1906, he was the Synodal sextant and Rector of the Church of the Twelve Apostles in Moscow’s Kremlin.Antoine Nivier, Pravoslavnije svjashchennosluzhiteli, bogoslovy i tserkovnije dejateli russkoj emigratsii v Zapadnoi i Tsentral’noj Evrope 1920-1955 [Orthodox Clergymen, Theologians and Church … Continue reading In 1910, he was consecrated bishop and served as the first Vicar of the Kishinev Diocese. After the annexation of the formerly-Russian Bessarabia to Romania, Bishop Gabriel, as well as his ruling bishop, Archbishop Anastassy (Gribanovsky), refused to recognize the attachment of the Diocese to the Romanian Church since the Russian Church did not give its consent to this. Vladyka Gabriel was expelled from Romania and arrived in Odessa in 1918, where he received a ukase from Patriarch Tikhon appointing him to Chelyabinsk. But the Civil War hindered Bishop Gabriel from fulfilling his assignment.
“In the area of church singing, he did much work on transposing church music to the various original forms of the znamenny chant (stolpovoy, putevoy, Kievan, Greek and Serbian).”V.I. Kosik, Russkoje Tserkovnoje Zarubezhije [The Russian Ecclesiastical Diaspora], p. 98. He felt that the artistic execution of the chants should not eclipse their ascetic, spiritual content. He was laid to rest in Belgrade in 1933.
Vladyka Gabriel was the ideal clergyman of the Russian Church Abroad, especially in his attentive preservation of the Liturgical “style.” Most theological, liturgical and musical manuscripts of Vladyka Gabriel were lost upon his flight abroad. One of the positive signs of the times, then, is that part of his musical compositions are now being prepared for publication by the Liturgical Music Committee under the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR.
Most of the hierarchs included here died before the end of World War II. Only two bishops survived in Europe in 1946—Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky) and Metropoltian Seraphim (Lade). The episcopate of ROCOR was then supplemented by new refugees from communism. All the bishops of the autonomous Belarussian Church, as well as most of the bishops of the Autonomous Ukrainian Church, joined the Russian Church Abroad.
The following is a brief biography of a hierarch of the next generation of bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Archbishop Leonty (Filippovich) of Chile and Peru. A.V. Psarev, Zhizneopisanije Arkhiepiskopa Leontija Chilijskogo [Biography of Archbishop Leonty of Chile], Pravoslavnaja Zhizn, 1996, No. 3-5. Vasiliy Konstantinovich was born in 1904 in Kiev. At the age of 18, he was accepted to Kievo-Pechersky Lavra by Archimandrite Germogen (Golubev).During the Khruschev persecutions of the Church, Archbishop Germogen became renowned as a confessor of Orthodoxy. Vladyka Leonty reestablished a spiritual bond with him then. Fr. Leonty became the spiritual son of Schema-Archbishop Antony (Abashidze), and under his obedience traveled the country visiting persecuted clergymen. Fr. Leonty was twice arrested, and in 1937, had “illegal status.” In 1942, he was consecrated by hierarchs of the Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate as Bishop of Berdichev. From 1941 to 1943, he served on the cathedra of Zhitomir and ordained over 300 clergymen. In 1944, he was accepted into ROCOR. In 1947, he served in the remote Paraguayan town of Capitan Miranda as a Vicar of the Brazilian Diocese. In 1953, he traveled to Chile. Under Archbishop Leonty, churches in Santiago and Lima, Peru, were consecrated. He corresponded with the ecclesiastical underground of the USSR and unilaterally participated in providing a hierarchy for Greek Old Calendarists. In 1971, Vladyka died while on the cathedra of Argentina.
In Vladyka Leonty we see a tendency for zealotry which is a large part of the history of the Russian Church Abroad. Zealots often turn to unilateral actions which can lead to division. Yet the history of the Orthodox Church shows us that the influence of zealots upon hierarchs tends towards compromise, and the Church achieves balance.
The next generation of Russian bishops is represented by those who were consecrated after World War II. Bishop Daniel (Alexandrov) of Erie was born in 1930 in Odessa. His maternal grandfather was the last Russian governor of Alaska of the ancient Maksatov family. During the Romanian occupation of Odessa, he began to participate in parish life. He graduated high school in the USA in 1952 and enrolled in Holy Trinity Seminary, where he learned the publishing trade. He was a person who possessed a wide variety of practical and theoretical knowledge. He knew kryukovoy chant, painted icons and knew architecture. A talented linguist, he even read Arabic and Persian. Towards the end of his life, Vladyka noted “My problem is that I have more abilities than opportunities.” From 1988 on, Vladyka Daniel was the only Old Rite bishop of the Russian Church to minister to Old Believers. At the same time, Vladyka Daniel knew well and valued the ancient Russian liturgical traditions, cherishing the broad Orthodox world view and was foreign to the spirit of schism. He reposed in the Lord in 2010.
Bishop Daniel’s life podvig bears testimony to the fact that the Russian Church Abroad, despite its isolation, continued to preserve catholicity within its best representatives.
Protopresbyter Alexander Shabashov was born in Voronezh in 1881.V.I. Kosik, Russkoje Tserkovnoje Zarubezhije [The Russian Ecclesiastical Diaspora], pp. 384-387. He became a priest in 1909. He worked in the Turkestan region and the Volhynia Diocese. From 1910, he served as a military chaplain. During World War I he was wounded twice and suffered contusions (attesting to the likelihood that he led the soldiers into battle). During the Civil War, he was the head priest of the Semirechensky Front. From 1922-23, he served at the podvorie [representative office] of the Peking Mission in Harbin. In 1923 he went to Brisbane, Australia, performing physical labor at a flour mill to earn a living. He supported Metropolitan Evlogy in his ecclesiastical conflict with the Synod of ROCOR, but in 1927 transferred to ROCOR himself. Unfortunately, as is so characteristic in the history of the Russian diaspora, the local community became divided. He went to another parish. In 1929, Fr. Alexander departed for the US under Archbishop Apollinarius and served at Holy Fathers Church in New York City and in other parishes. In 1933, he was appointed rector of Resurrection Church in Brussels, where he served until 1946. After the war, he tried to return to Australia but was rejected because he had received German citizenship and had been active in emigre organizations which were financed by the Germans. From 1946-1948, he served in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he died in 1956.
This is the portrait of an exiled pastor who spent most of his pastoral life serving the Russian people during his “forty years in the wilderness.” And like Moses, he too died in the desert.
The next generation of clergymen of the Russian Church Abroad is represented by those who were ordained in the Soviet Union or abroad before or during World War II. Mitred Protopriest Evgeny Lyzlov was born in 1901 to the family of a priest from the town of Kozulino in the Smolensk region. His maternal grandmother was the sister of St. Nicholas of Japan. He graduated from Smolensk Theological Seminary. In 1918, he was mobilized with the Red Army. Because of his priestly class, he was not able to enroll in a civil college. In 1925, he was ordained and served in Smolensk oblast. Fr. Evgeny’s final assignment before the German occupation was as the rector of the cemetery church in Velikiye Lugi (1935-37). He was often subjected to arrest and forced taxation. Before the war, he stopped serving and earned a living in Gzhatsk by giving mathematics lessons, conducting the local orchestra and choir of a linen factory. From 1938 on, he served in various institutions in the city of Rzhev. When the Germans came, he resumed performing religious services and ministered to prisoners of war. Things which were given to Fr. Evgeny by peasants for performing services of need he exchanged for food and used a sled to bring them to the imprisoned Red Army soldiers. Fr. Evgeny was then sent to Germany to work together with his family. In 1949, he came to the US, settling in Philadelphia, and helped more than 300 families emigrate to the US from Germany from the Shleissheim displaced-persons camp. In Philadelphia, Fr. Evgeny founded a parish dedicated to the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow.” He died in 1982 on the feast day of the Smolensk Icon of the Most-Holy Mother of God.A.A. Kornikov, Dukhovenstvo peremeshchennykh lits: biograficheskij slovar’ [Displaced Clergymen: a Biographical Lexicon], Nizhny Novgorod, 2002, pp. 55-56.
In Fr. Evgeny we see that the pastors of ROCOR drank of the same cup of Russian sorrow as did their flock.
Despite all the difficult wartime and post-war conditions. Priests found the strength to boost the spirits of their parishioners. The following generation consisted of those who were ordained after World War II. Protopriest Pavel Gribanovsky was born in 1912 to the family of a polkovnik [colonel] of the 2nd Siberian Regiment. After the Civil War, he and his parents found themselves in Bulgaria, then Paris in 1926. Here the future Fr. Pavel became acquainted with Russian literary figures, with whom he remained contact for the next few decades.See “O Dal’nem krae,” “Putnikakh” and “Goluboi zvezde” [“On the Far Region,” The Travelers” and “Blue Star”], Perepiska Borisa Zaitseva, Natalii Sollogub I o. Pavla … Continue reading In 1930, he and his family moved to Harbin, and in 1933 to Shanghai, where Pavel Viktorovich served in the police of the Shanghai French Concession. In 1949, he moved to California to teach in the Ministry of Defense’s Language Institute. He served as a deacon and continued his education, obtaining a doctorate at Washington University in Seattle, where he taught Russian literature and language. In 1979, he was ordained to the priesthood and appointed to the Church of All Russian Saints in Santa Rosa, CA, where he served until his retirement in 1990. He reposed in the Lord in 1994.Nikolai Kiselev, Protoierei Pavel Gribanovsky [Protopriest Pavel Gribanovsky], Pravoslavnaya Rus [Orthodox Russia], No. 6, 1994, p. 14.
In Fr. Pavel we see a member of the diaspora who, despite the fact that his childhood was disrupted by the Civil War, and he came to maturity abroad, he preserved loyalty to his homeland. Fr. Pavel also presents another aspect of the traditions of the Russian Church Abroad—respect for world culture.
The first generation of monastics to leave Russia is clearly exemplified by Archimandrite Feodosy (Melnik). He was born in 1891, and after elementary school in Podolsk guberniya in Ukraine, he joined Kiev-Pechersk Lavra as a novice, unbeknownst to his parents. From there, in 1912, he was drafted into military service. He spent all of World War I in the 19th Artillery Brigade. He achieved the rank of podpraporshchik [non-commissioned officer] and was awarded the Cross of St. George and the Medal of St. George. In 1918, he returned to Kievo-Pechersk Lavra and became the cell-attendant of blessed Metropolitan Anthony, which he remained until the hierarch’s death in 1936. (The late Vladyka, in his usual affectionate matter, called him “Fedya.”) He then became a cleric of the Serbian Orthodox Church and was appointed the spiritual father of the monastic school in Vysokije Decani, an especially holy place for Serbs. During World War II, he defended this ancient monastery from attacks by Albanians, Italians and Germans. He died in 1957.V.I. Kosik, Russkoje Tserkovnoje Zarubezhije [The Russian Ecclesiastical Diaspora], p. 362. Such fathers as Archimandrite Feodosy brought to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia a treasure it possesses to this day, the living tradition of piety.
The generation that followed consists of those who were tonsured during World War II. Archimandrite Lazarus (Edgar Moore) was born in England in 1902.See A. Vyacheslavlev, V pamiat’ arkhimandrita Lazarya (Mur) [In Memory of Archimandrite Lazar], Pravoslavnaya Rus,No. 1, 1996, pp 10-11. He became an Anglican priest and served as a missionary in India. In 1934, he was accepted into the Orthodox faith. In 1936, he was ordained to the monkhood and made a hieromonk in Serbia by Bishop Feofan of Kursk. He then served at the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. He learned Russian and did translations (even today, his translation of the Prayer Book, the first book printed by Jordanville, is considered unequalled by many). He left Palestine along with a portion of the nuns of Gorny Convent, which moved to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1945. In 1952, the Synod of Bishops sent Fr. Lazarus to India for missionary work with the Malabar Church. In 1961, Fr. Lazarus became an official observer of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia at the Assembly of the World Council of Churches in New Delhi. Fr. Lazarus’ Indian mission was unsuccessful and he left India in 1972, going to Greece, then Australia. In 1983, he came to the United States. By this time, Fr. Lazarus became involved in the charismatic movement, for which he was suspended from serving. Not long before his death, he made his peace with the Russian Church Abroad, and was later buried in Eagle River, Alaska.
We see from Fr. Lazarus’ example that the Russian Church Abroad, despite its national flavor, retained a universal element which drew adherents from other peoples.
Archimandrite Vladimir (Soukhobok) found himself going from the Soviet Union to Germany during World War II. He graduated from the Russian gymnasium in Wilhelmstahl.Zoya Trifunovich, Russkoye Vozrozhdenije No. 44.4, 1998, p. 283. He came to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville in March, 1949, from Munich’s St. Job of Pochaev Monastery with a group of monks and novices. That very same April, Vasily became a novice. He helped in the kitchen and helped organize the monastery library. The monastery brethren were building the church, and Vasily did plastering work. In addition, they all studied at the seminary. After graduation, Fr. Vladimir’s obedience was to work in the monastery office.
Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov remembered “He had one main podvig: for years he would write commemorative slips for the living and the dead, tended to the commemorative books in the altar, served countless molebens and pannikhidas and read names at the proskomedia. In joy and in sorrow, the faithful would appeal to him: ‘commemorate us, pray for us!’ And Fr. Vladimir became the link between the monastery and the outside world. This was his holy achievement.”Svetloj pamjati druga: venok na svezhuju mogilu archimandrite Vladimira [“To the Bright Memory of a Friend: a Wreath on the Fresh Grave of Archimandrite Vladimir”], Pravoslavnaya Rus, No. 16, p. … Continue reading
On August 20, 1988, Fr. Vladimir departed to the other world. In a eulogy read at his funeral, Vladyka Metropolitan Laurus noted that “Fr. Vladimir was rewarded by the Lord with a special sense of kindness and love, with which he drew people to him, and people responded in kind. The fact that so many people gathered here today to see him off to the other world is likewise a result of his kindness and love.” Ibid, p. 14. We see in him a bond with the finest traditions of Russian monasticism, serving the world through the podvig of prayer and consolation.
Lay Orthodox Christians
Evgenii Nikolaevich Sumarokov was born in 1884 in Simbirsk. He graduated from Ufa Theological Seminary. In 1912, he graduated with a law degree from the St. Petersburg Imperial University. He worked as a lawyer in the city of Ufa. Politically, he shared the views of the People’s Socialists. From 1918 on, he participated in the White Movement. In 1920, went to Manchuria. There he became a psalm-reader. He taught at St. Vladimir Theological Institute and became a member of the diocesan council of the Harbin Diocese. He worked for the pro-Japanese Bureau on the Russian Emigration and had to promote the interests of Japan within the Russian emigration, including in a journal he edited called Khleb nebesniy [Bread of Heaven]. In 1946, he obtained Soviet citizenship and intended to move to San Francisco to be with his son. In 1948, he was arrested by the NKVD together with Metropolitan Nestor (Anisimov), Priest Vasiliy Gerasimov and Nun Zinaida (Bridi). He was first sent to Chita, then to Moscow. In December 1948, he was sentenced to ten years in the camps. He died in 1956 in a concentration camp in Dubrovo.V.I. Kosik, Russkoje Tserkovnoje Zarubezhije [The Russian Ecclesiastical Diaspora], pp. 343-345.
We see here that the children of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia were not exclusively monarchists, but were hostages to various authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. And again, the second wave of emigres which was unfairly considered traitors in their homeland. But it was the representatives of this wave of emigres that built the majority of churches here in North America.
Nina Mikhailovna Solovieva.Personal account to the author, December 2010. Born on October 18, 1923, in the town of Vyshemir or Rechesk region, Gomel’sk oblast in Belarus. Finished eight years of school. Her father, Mikhail Ivanovich was imprisoned for refusing to remove icons from his house. He was only able to come home thanks to the German Luftwaffe bombardment and destruction of the prison in which he was incarcerated. The Germans burned down their village and took both the population and their livestock away. Nina Mikhailovna found herself with her family in Germany and worked in forced labor, tried to flee, was captured, beaten and returned sent back to work. After the war, she immigrated to Brazil and was an active parishioner at the church in Sao-Paolo. She later moved to the US and worked to establish the Parish of the Protection of the Mother of God in New Brunswick, NJ. From 1962-1972, Nina Mikhailovna was the senior Sister at the parish, and her husband, Trofim Ivanovich Soloviev, was the warden. In 1973, she and her husband moved to Jordanville, NY, where she became one of the senior parishioners of Holy Trinity Cathedral. For as long as she was able, she laundered the church vestments, and continued to decorate the church on Passion and Bright Weeks. She became known to several generations of seminarians, for whom she would prepare holiday feasts at her home. All her children remained Orthodox and continue rear their children in the faith. Her son, Fr. Michael, serves as a deacon in Albany, NY.
Such people now serve as living examples of devotion to the Church for today’s generation. Among those who comprised the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia I would like to mention is Vasilii Grigorievich Shipilov. He was born in 1928 in Altai and spent many years as a prisoner and in forced rehabilitation. He was arrested by the government for wandering throughout Siberia and preaching the Word of God, denouncing the lawlessness of the Soviet State, and for having refused to accept a Soviet passport. In the hospital, he was subjected to beatings by the personnel and mockery by atheist patients. He was listed as a deacon in international rights organizations. In fact, he was a layman, but he was given the nickname “deacon” for having rewritten the New Testament by hand. In 1988, he was released to leave the country. He had at one time dreamed of settling in Zhirovitsk Monastery, but ended up at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. Here he prayed constantly. The brethren taking care of him saw how profoundly he would immerse himself in prayer. He ate as though in prison camp, and had a particular fondness for onions. His raspy voice was rarely heard. He reposed in the Lord in 1993.Monk Vsevolod, Svjatorusskoje otkrovenije miru [“The Holy Russian Revelation to the World”], Jordanville/Moscow, 2005, pp 99-100. “Chronical of Current Events,” No. 53, … Continue reading
Vasilii Grigorievich of course is not the typical example of a person who came to the Russian Church Abroad after the fall of the Soviet regime. There is now a new generation arriving. A whole series of parishes is supported by people who grew up in Russia after World War II, and one would hope that our generation would exhibit interest in the history and traditions of the Russian Church Abroad.
When a person who came from Russia falls to misfortune, he seeks something that will give him strength, something personal and profound, his own faith, and this search brings him a temple of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
He will find himself in a very “homey” church. Priests, bishops knew and know their flock, they recognize them and know them by name. There was never a division between “upper” and “lower” classes. This community-mindedness of the Russian Church Abroad is our strength, it helps people come into church life, to become cognizant members of the Church of Christ.
The holy items of the Russian Church Abroad include the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, the Myrrh-streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God, the relics of St. John of Shanghai and of SS Elizabeth and Barbara. They are an integral part of the history of the Church Abroad, but also, thanks to their veneration, a link to the past has survived, and the life of the Church preserved.
Yet it would not be spiritual beneficial to praise ourselves on this 90th anniversary. Orthodox teaching on spiritual life calls us to sobriety, to an honest assessment of ourselves. There is always the other side of the coin.
For instance, it is devotion to a “historical Russia” that is often bound with one-sidedness, with a simplified understanding of contradictory historical processes, sentimental idealization of the past. The problem of such an approach is that it prevents us from taking lessons from the past, and we risk repeating the same mistakes. On this anniversary we can lay the foundations for an honest, unbiased understanding of our historical legacy.
Just as for every individual Christian, so for every discrete church there is no limit to perfection. Much must be done to overcome a “party” mindset, to create an atmosphere of perpetual mutual interaction on all levels of our Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, so that each one of us could make contributions with our own talents.
Our Vladyka Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory told us in one of his final sermons, in January 2008, to the teachers and students of Moscow’s Orthodox St. Tikhon Humanitarian University”The Primate of the Russian Church Abroad Sends a Greeting to the “Paths of the Russian Diaspora” Conference, http://russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/eng2008/1entikhonovskiinst.html, December 7, … Continue reading:
Let us too, beloved-in-the-Lord students, future servants of the Church of Christ, follow the example of the God-Man, who came into the world not to exert His authority or to judge us, but to save and to serve mankind. When clergymen begin to consider themselves to be a “special” class, and look down upon the people of God, it harms the “circulation” of the Body of the Church, and then empathetic love is replaced with unhealthy, pseudo-ecclesiastical relationships.
This is the origin of all sorts of abuses, including mladostarchestvo [pseudo-eldership; inexperienced clergymen acting as spiritual guides— transl.], etc. The first Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of blessed memory, spoke out against such behavior, for in such cases a vicious cycle is formed—the people of God are despised, is not called upon to active cooperation, and no one tends to their spiritual education. The result is that the people are excluded from participating in the life of the Church and become simply passive observers of the mysteries, and the pastors abandon their true calling.
It is heartening and endearing to see that St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Humanitarian University is doing the needed work, and this should be encouraged. So, dear fathers, brothers and sisters in the Lord, our humble refugees, the bishops, clergymen and laity built the Russian diaspora outside of her borders, while she herself was suffering at the hands of the atheists. They knew that the main goal of church life is the creation of a real Christian community. Just as every ordination of a clergyman is intended for a physical church, each baptism is performed for a concrete community. Everyone in the Church must serve—our example for this is the Lord Himself, Who said: “but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister” (Matthew 22:26). This is the example of serving God and man: the greater your authority, the greater is your duty towards your neighbor.
Let us, too, humbly, drawing strength from the experience of those “upon whose shoulders we stand,” preserve and pass on to our neighbors the “investment” we received from all the podvizhniki we discussed today, and refuse our own ambitions to the benefit of the common goal.
|↵1||In this work I have tried to refer to the last known rank and cathedra occupied.|
|↵2||Materials taken from V.I. Kosik: Russkoje Tserkovnoje Zarubezhije: XX vek v biografiakh dukhovenstva ot Ameriki do Yaponii [The Russian Orthodox Diaspora: the 20th Century in the Biographies of Clergymen from America to Japan], Moscow 2008, p. 96.|
|↵3||Antoine Nivier, Pravoslavnije svjashchennosluzhiteli, bogoslovy i tserkovnije dejateli russkoj emigratsii v Zapadnoi i Tsentral’noj Evrope 1920-1955 [Orthodox Clergymen, Theologians and Church Figures of the Russian Emigration in Western and Central Europe, 1920-1955], Moscow 2007, pp 142-143.|
|↵4||V.I. Kosik, Russkoje Tserkovnoje Zarubezhije [The Russian Ecclesiastical Diaspora], p. 98.|
|↵5||A.V. Psarev, Zhizneopisanije Arkhiepiskopa Leontija Chilijskogo [Biography of Archbishop Leonty of Chile], Pravoslavnaja Zhizn, 1996, No. 3-5.|
|↵6||During the Khruschev persecutions of the Church, Archbishop Germogen became renowned as a confessor of Orthodoxy. Vladyka Leonty reestablished a spiritual bond with him then.|
|↵7||V.I. Kosik, Russkoje Tserkovnoje Zarubezhije [The Russian Ecclesiastical Diaspora], pp. 384-387.|
|↵8||A.A. Kornikov, Dukhovenstvo peremeshchennykh lits: biograficheskij slovar’ [Displaced Clergymen: a Biographical Lexicon], Nizhny Novgorod, 2002, pp. 55-56.|
|↵9||See “O Dal’nem krae,” “Putnikakh” and “Goluboi zvezde” [“On the Far Region,” The Travelers” and “Blue Star”], Perepiska Borisa Zaitseva, Natalii Sollogub I o. Pavla Gribanovskogo, 1965-1992 [Correspondence of Boris Zaitsev, Natalia Sollogub and Fr. Pavel Gribanovsky], Vestnik Russkogo Khristianskogo Dvizhenija [Herald of the Russian Christian Movement], No. 192.1, 2007.|
|↵10||Nikolai Kiselev, Protoierei Pavel Gribanovsky [Protopriest Pavel Gribanovsky], Pravoslavnaya Rus [Orthodox Russia], No. 6, 1994, p. 14.|
|↵11||V.I. Kosik, Russkoje Tserkovnoje Zarubezhije [The Russian Ecclesiastical Diaspora], p. 362.|
|↵12||See A. Vyacheslavlev, V pamiat’ arkhimandrita Lazarya (Mur) [In Memory of Archimandrite Lazar], Pravoslavnaya Rus,No. 1, 1996, pp 10-11.|
|↵13||Zoya Trifunovich, Russkoye Vozrozhdenije No. 44.4, 1998, p. 283.|
|↵14||Svetloj pamjati druga: venok na svezhuju mogilu archimandrite Vladimira [“To the Bright Memory of a Friend: a Wreath on the Fresh Grave of Archimandrite Vladimir”], Pravoslavnaya Rus, No. 16, p. 15.|
|↵15||Ibid, p. 14.|
|↵16||V.I. Kosik, Russkoje Tserkovnoje Zarubezhije [The Russian Ecclesiastical Diaspora], pp. 343-345.|
|↵17||Personal account to the author, December 2010.|
|↵18||Monk Vsevolod, Svjatorusskoje otkrovenije miru [“The Holy Russian Revelation to the World”], Jordanville/Moscow, 2005, pp 99-100. “Chronical of Current Events,” No. 53, http://www.memorial.krsk.ru/Public/80/XTC.htm (December 1, 2010).|
|↵19||The Primate of the Russian Church Abroad Sends a Greeting to the “Paths of the Russian Diaspora” Conference, http://russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/eng2008/1entikhonovskiinst.html, December 7, 2010.|