Archimandrite Kiprian (Kern) Articles Church People Clergy and Monastics Non-Orthodox

The Pre-Revolutionary Russian Clergy Outside Russia: Ecumenism Before the Ecumenical Movement

metropolitan Evlogii (Georgiveskii) receives Patriarch Photios of Alexandria and metr. Anthony (Khrapovitskii) at St. Serge Theological Institute in Paris
Metr. Evlogii (Georgiveskii) receives Patriarch Photios of Alexandria and metr. Anthony (Khrapovitskii) at St. Serge Theological Institute in Paris, 1925

An account of works on Russian imperial clergymen posted in Europe before the revolution

This commencement speech given at the Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris on December 11, 1955, is important because it explains the Russian church life in Europe prior to the arrival there of  Russian refugee clergy, following the revolution and civil war. This translation was conducted by Priestmonk Alexis (Lisenk0) and sponsored by the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius. The article has been divided into the sections by the editor of ROCOR Studies.

Pushkin was not the only response that Russia gave to the call of Peter the Great. The eighteenth century demonstrated to the entire world that Russia was not some kind of Asian khanate, but rather a full-fledged European nation. Russian science and art flourished with names of world renown. Some are inclined to label the beginning of the twentieth century a “renaissance.” But the 1917 rebellion put an end to all this. Instead of a flowering of Christian civilization, dialectical materialism became the basis of development.

One of the most outstanding phenomena of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth was the abundance of fruition in the area of spiritual education. Over the hundred years of their existence (starting in 1809) our theological academies brought fame to the Russian Church with such names that European scholarship is now justifiably amazed by the greatness of our theological schools.

The Russian emigration likewise furthered this. Thanks to encounters with heterodox Europeans with representatives of Orthodox clergy and science over these 35 years a world that had previously been little known was revealed to Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

However, this fact must not be generalized. It was not only through so-called ecumenical gatherings that Europe came to know educated Russian clergy and the treasures of Russian theological scholarship. Long before that our clergy outside Russia kept trying to acquaint the Western world with Orthodoxy and with the wealth of our theology. The names of these clergymen have become part of history, and in all fairness, we should mention at least some of them.

Russian Church in Stockholm

If we exclude the embassy of our first spiritual mission to China in 1684, since its situation was totally unique, we can consider the oldest church outside Russia to be the one in Stockholm. Already, the 1617 Stolbovo Peace Treaty established the legal status of a Russian priest in Stockholm’s Ryssgarden ministering to Russian merchants. Services were conducted in “prayer barns” which the merchants rented from the Swedish municipal government. We know of a certain pop Emelian being there in 1651. But this was done privately, and the priests who came with Russian merchants at the time were, of course, incidental. An actual and more or less permanent Russian church was founded in 1700, when we had a diplomatic representative in Sweden, and from then on services were conducted for Russians almost continuously.[1]Archpriest P. Rumiantsev, Iz proshlogo russkoi pravoslavnoi tse rkvi v Stokgol’me, (Berlin 1910 ). See also P. R., ‘Russkaia pravoslavnaia tserkov’ v Stokgol’me’, Tserkovnaia Pravda, … Continue reading

The Opening of the Russian Embassy Churches

Historians trace the start of our church activity in Berlin to 1718. In 1721 there was already a church in London, at which Greek priests served for a while. In 1727 our embassy in Paris commenced Orthodox services in the capital of the French Kingdom. That same year under Anna Petrovna, Grand Duchess of Holstein, a church was set up in Kiel and lasted until 1799. A church which lasted briefly was founded in Tokaj, Hungary in 1749. From 1759 till 1765 there was also a church in Königsberg. A church was set up in Madrid in 1760 and in Vienna in 1762. Our church has been in Copenhagen since 1797.

The time of the first Russian embassy in Constantinople (1802) marked the establishment of the Russsian embassy church in the “Second Rome.” That same year two more churches were founded, one at the court of Ekaterina Antonovna, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg and the other in Üröm, near Budapest, the location of the burial vault of Alexandra Pavlovna, Palatine of Hungary and sister of Emperor Alexander I. In 1804 a church was started in Weimar and in 1808 in Ludwigslust (Mecklenburg-Schwerin). Our church in The Hague was founded in 1816, and the one in Bern in 1817, moving later to Geneva. That same year Extraordinary Ambassador A. P. Ermolov set up a church in Teheran. The Stuttgart church was organized in 1819. The church in Rome was founded in 1823, and the one in Rothenburg (Wurtemberg Kingdom) in 1824.

Emperor Nicholas I sent our first ambassador to the newly liberated Greek Kingdom, G. A. Katakazi, and in the same year a Russian church was set up in Athens,[2]The first rector was Archimandrite Irinarkh (Popov). Cf. Priest V. Zhmakin, ‘Osnovanie Russkoi dukhovnoi missii v Afinakh’, Khristianskoe chtenie, (1893:2), 342-351. at first as a house church, and then through the labors of Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin) restored an ancient church from its ruins on Philhellene Street, and our embassy church was moved there. In 1844 churches were set up in Naples and Wiesbaden. In 1847 Archimandrite Porfiry (Uspensky) initiated our Spiritual Mission in Jerusalem.

A former Armenian church was obtained in Amsterdam in 1852. A church was set up in Baden-Baden in 1858 and in Nice in 1859. Two churches were set up in 1862, one in Brussels and another one in Dresden, and one in Karlsruhe in 1865. In 1867 there was a church in Pau, France, and in the following year churches in Karlsbad and Florence were built. In 1870 we sent our mission to Japan, made illustrious by the missionary activity of Bishop Nikolai (Kasatkin), the Apostle to Japan.

The 1870 Vatican Council, the anti-Roman Catholic movement in various countries, and the awakening of national self-consciousness in the Czech land led to the expansion of Orthodoxy among the Czechs, and in 1874 a church was started in Prague. There was a church in Coburg-Gotha from 1874 to 1905. In 1876 a church was set up in Bad Ems, and in Vevey, Switzerland in 1878. The church in Marienbad started functioning in 1882. An Orthodox community was started in faraway Argentina in 1888. In 1889 a church was set up in Franzenbad, in Biarritz in 1890, in Menton in 1892, and in Merano in 1897.

Two of our Church’s missions were founded in 1897 ─ the one in Urmia (Persia) and the other in Seoul, Korea. In 1898 a church was built in San Stefano, near Constantinople, and in the following year in Darmstadt and in Homburg. Three churches were founded in 1901 ─ one in Hamburg, one in Herbersdorf (Silesia), and one in Kissingen. Finally, by 1910 there were churches in Sofia and Budapest.

Some of the above-mentioned churches are no longer in existence, but the great majority flourished until 1917. There were several churches attached to the main one in prominent cities, such as Berlin, Constantinople, and Nice.[3]For more details see Bratskii Ezhegodnik (1906 and 1912), published by the St Vladimir Brotherhood in Berlin.

By the end of the reign of Emperor Alexander III the Synod and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs oversaw 51 churches with 96 clergymen.[4]Vsepoddaneishii otchet Ober-prokurora Sv. Sinoda za 1894 g.

During the last reign, the number had increased to 56 churches. In addition, if we count our foreign missions the United States Diocese contained 286 churches in that same 1912 year, while the Japanese Mission had 266 communities, the Beijing Mission had 15, there was one in the Korean Mission, and seven were under the Urmian Mission.[5]Vseppodaneishii otchet Ober-prokurora Sv. Sinoda za 1912 g.

Before the Revolution our churches in foreign cities were classified into those built as court chapels (such as those in Stuttgart, Kiel, Horsens, Rothenburg, etc.), those built over tombs (such as those built in Weimar, Wiesbaden, The Hague, and Üröm in Hungary), those built as house churches in foreign castles and estates of certain wealthy Russians, and those attached to embassies or missions (in European capitals, where our diplomatic representatives were accredited as ambassadors, envoys, or plenipotentiaries), or else to consulates, as, for example, in Hokodate or Chuguchak. They were all in a different position from other churches since they were not only under ecclesiastical authority (the Synod), but also under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Clergy appointments and dismissals took place by agreement between our diplomatic corps and the Holy Synod (according to the Opinion of the State Council, May 1, 1867). Only our missions in Japan, China, Jerusalem, and later in Seoul and Urmia were directly under the Synod. Staffs, pensions, and clergy transfers outside the country were likewise approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The clergy had a wonderfully organized insurance fund.

Organization of the Russian Imperial Clergy Abroad

In 1897 an idea arose in the Synod to reorganize our expatriate clergy which was implemented in 1907. At that time the Russian Church placed all of our churches (except for the embassy churches in Athens and Constantinople as well as the mission churches) under the rule of a special bishop, the fourth vicar to the metropolitan of St Petersburg, bearing the title of “bishop of Kronstadt,” as if in the form of a special foreign diocesan organization. The newly consecrated Bishop Vladimir (Putiata), a graduate of the Kazan Theological Academy, was appointed as such a head of the Russian Orthodox churches in foreign lands. The canonicity of this act can hardly be justified. The territorial principle, which had long ago become basic to church administration, neither knows nor tolerates any interference in the matters of another diocese and ecclesiastical region. The limits of diocesan power are strictly bound by its territory. A bishop who encroaches upon another region is subject to a church trial. The Russian Synod’s action in 1907 represents an encroachment upon the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, to whom the eastern autocephalous churches have sanctioned the rule over all Orthodox parishes in Europe for a long time. We, apparently, did not consider it necessary to ask for the consent of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Second Rome, for the establishment of house, castle, mission, and other churches beyond the borders of the Russian Empire. Excusing this by the principle of “exterritoriality” could hardly be based on the holy canons. But going as far as to organize an entire diocesan administration on territory under the Constantinople Patriarch and to appoint a Russian hierarch into Rome with ruling functions is simply a violation of canonical order. Such was the spirit of Russian ecclesiastical imperialism. The Metropolitan of St Petersburg threw his weight around in a diocese that was not under his authority. It is interesting that while we still have correspondence on this matter between the Synod and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, apparently no need was seen to contact the patriarch of Constantinople about this. This brings to mind the whole sad story of our relations with the Jerusalem Patriarchate when we were establishing our mission there. True, it should be noted that our churches in Athens and Constantinople “due to their special situation as Eastern churches” were not under the Bishop of Kronstadt. But nonetheless, the principle upon which the administration of all the other European churches was based violated the traditional order observed in Europe by all the other European churches. Clergymen of the autocephalous churches of Greece, Alexandria, and others would submit to Constantinople whenever they were assigned to Greek Orthodox churches in Europe. Russian ecclesiastical imperialism simply disregarded this.

The issue of the creation of the position of a new “bishop of foreign churches” was also discussed in church publications at the time.

The issue of the creation of the position of a new “bishop of foreign churches” was also discussed in church publications at the time. It was endowed with the significance of a position which was to unite all of the foreign clergy, providing it with more “living interaction”, “democratizing” it, and so on, but the question of the canonicity of this innovation, of its legitimacy along with the prerogatives of the ecumenical patriarch was not brought up.[6]Archpriest I. Filevsky, Tserkovnyi vestnik (1907:33), 1061-1064.And this is not so surprising, since soon after this Metropolitan Philaret himself, in a letter to A. N. Muraviev on the occasion of the consecration of our Paris church, called the metropolitan of Novgorod “the diocesan hierarch of the Paris church.”[7]Metropolitan Philaret, Pis’ma k A. N. Murav’evu, (Kiev, 1869) 590.

It is interesting to be reminded of the composition of our foreign clergy. If in the eighteenth century more or less incidental priests were appointed to our churches outside Russia, as long as they agreed to leave their country for a long period, there were still among them very prominent individuals, if only, for example, Fr. Nicholas Muzovsky, who later was a court archpriest and a member of the Synod (+ 1848). But by the nineteenth century, after the reorganization of our theological schools, our clergy outside Russia must be regarded as being exceptionally high quality, totally in line with all of the cultural demands and, most importantly, in their educational level and erudition in theological issues. Quite often these were former professors of theological academies and highly qualified clergymen.

It was perfectly natural that preference in filling foreign positions was given to those from the St Petersburg Academy. This was because it was, so to speak, the forefather of all the other academies. And besides, its students and professors were better known to the top religious leadership. The Petersburg Academy was closely watched by the Synod. But this should not be generalized, however. While our clergymen who are better known in the West, such as Fr. I. Bazarov, Fr. J. Vasiliev, Fr. S. Sabinin, Fr. D. Vershinsky, Fr. J. Yanyshev, Fr. J. Smirnov, Fr. T. Seredinsky, the Archimandrites Porfiry (Uspensky) and Kirill (Naumov), and Bishop Mikhail (Gribanovsky), as well as Archimandrite Sergius (Stragorodsky), and very many others who will be mentioned below, had all belonged to the academy in the capital, we should not forget those from Kiev who went down into history, such as Archimandrite Peter (Troitsky), Theophan (Avsenev), Antonin (Kapustin), and Theophan the Recluse. The more famous clergymen from the Moscow Academy include Archimandrite Porfiry (Popov), Archpriest V. Palisadov, and Archpriest K. Kustodiev. The Kazan Academy was represented outside Russia with special distinction by Archimandrite Boris (Plotnikov) and by Archpriest A. Sokolov.

Academic Interests of Russian Clergy Posted Abroad

While in no way presuming upon the exhaustive fullness of this exposition, we shall only indicate the scholarly preparation of at least some of the representatives of our church in Western Europe.

It needs to be said that Russian Orthodoxy showed its face to the West with exceptional modesty and without much ado. It did not impose itself on anyone. Its missionary activity was in no case offensive. Rather than us showing ourselves to the West it was discovering us. And when Europe unexpectedly discovered treasures in us which were unknown to her, we were not able to advertise ourselves either. The haughty Latin and Germanic worlds approached the “Scythians” and “Muscovites” with approximately the same sense of pursuing the exotic as it penetrated into the virginal forests of Africa or to the savages of Polynesia.

The famous Cardinal Pitra (1812-1889), renowned by many for his liturgico-archeological discoveries, set off on his journey to Russia in 1859 with some dread. He feared polar bears, thieves, and cannibals. But in Moscow he was unutterably amazed by his encounter with Metropolitan Philaret, Professor A. V. Gorsky, and Archimandrite Leonid, which whom he conversed in refined Latin, since they had no other common language. But such encounters were, it stands to reason, unique. For Europe Russian Orthodoxy still remained an undiscovered continent.

The famous Cardinal Pitra (1812-1889), renowned by many for his liturgico-archeological discoveries, set off on his journey to Russia in 1859 with some dread. He feared polar bears, thieves, and cannibals

Three years before that Fr Vasilii Polikarpov of our embassy church in Berlin, wrote on January 19, 1856 to Archpriest S. K. Smirnov, professor at the Moscow Theological Academy, about the need to oppose in the Western press all of the attacks upon Orthodoxy, upon our priests’ lack of education, and upon the absence of real scholars and enlightened people in Russia. “The most vile and unfair attacks upon our Holy Church in Russia and her clergy on the part of Catholic and Rationalist writers are multiplying and growing. Their notorious expressions: ‘The Russian Church and her clergy find themselves plunged in the most detestable barbarism’[8]‘L’eglise russe et son clergé se trouvent plongés dans la barbarie la plus détestable’ est à l’ ordre du jour.  Living there behind a ‘protective fence’ you sense neither the power nor the harm of such comments about us. As for me, I am most of all greatly saddened by our continuous silence, which emboldens the worthless Western press to create new fabrications and lies. In my personal conversations with Germans I showed them the whole absurdity of their concepts regarding our church, and here is their response: ‘All this is very good, so why do you leave us in ignorance about yourselves? Write and change the public’s opinion…’ This foreign public would be dumbfounded by encountering the factual existence in Russia of the Golubinskys. Gorskys, und anderen hervorragenden Personlichkeiten…”[9]‘Iz arkhiva professora S. K. Smirnova’, Bogoslovskii vestnik, (Oct.-Nov. 1914) 449=450.

That these words of Fr Palisadov are entirely correct is confirmed by the following comments of the famous Baron Haxthausen regarding Archpriest Feodor Alexandrovich Golubinsky, a professor at the Moscow Theological Academy, which he made in 1843: “This is one of the greatly learned and educated religious persons whom I met in Russia. He combines the most extensive classical learning with perfect knowledge of foreign literature and German philosophy, which he has mastered to its foundations. I admit that I was extraordinarily amazed to hear how deeply and at the same time understandably he discusses Schelling, Hegel, as well as their trends and schools. He questioned me about the lives and personalities of many of our German scholars — by the way, about Schopenhauer, Neander, Hegel, and Schelling…”[10]Etudes sur la situation intérieure etc de la Russie, (Hanover, 1847), 1 :63. The same Haxthausen adds, “Golubinsky knew German philosophy and its latest developments completely, and I listened with amazement to a Russian priest’s judgment about Schelling and Hegel… In spite of his scholarly level, Golubinsky is pious and devoted to his church.”[11]Barsukov, Zhizn’ i trudy Pogodina, 13:224 This last comment by a proud foreigner is especially characteristic.

It should be noted that “the famous Trinity scholars” were discovered somewhat unexpectedly by Russian bibliophiles themselves. As Pogodin wrote to Shevyrev in Rome, “I have become close to our Trinity Academy, which contains many first class people. Just imagine, almost all of the new German philosophy has been translated there.”[12]Barsukov, 3:59-60 And about Golubinsky he writes, “The philosophy professor is a wonderful person. If our clergy would make themselves agreeable to the laity, learning to interact with them, our enlightenment would increase threefold.”[13]Barsukov, 3:64 Also, N. Nadezhdin noted, “I have not yet seen a man such as Golubinsky in Russia.”[14]Barsukov, 3:61 Yuri Samarin said this: “Here is a wise child in the fullest sense. Perhaps three scholars will not be found in Russia who could compare to him, but at the same time he is simple and good-natured, like a child.”[15]Sochineniia Samarina, (Moscow, 1911), 12:378.

A letter of Augustinian scholar O. Palmieri to Fr. D. Yakshich, who had a magistr degree[16]In Pre-Revolutionary Russia, this was the degree given to those successfully completing the curriculum at the theological academies, which was a four-year program after the 1869 Educational Reform.from the St Petersburg Theological Academy, deserves attention. In it the Catholic theologian speaks with special affection about Russian learned clergymen and the high level of theological education in our theological academies. This letter testifies to the fact that already long before ecumenical gatherings the West knew the Russian theological treasure.

Frankly speaking, we do not have institutions in our Italy and even in Rome that could compete with Russian theological academies, with their wonderful organization, professors’ competence, and rich libraries.

“Russian scholarly and ecclesiastical literature is almost totally unknown in the West. Among so many prejudices that circulate in the Western world there is also the prejudice that Russian scholarly books are of the lowest quality and that theological scholarship has no laborers in that huge Orthodox realm. The time has come to give justice to the truth and to put an end to so much slander which those who are interested and envious are spreading against Russia in order to lessen her influence and lower her prestige. Instruction is more serious in Russian universities than here in Italy, while the majestic theological academies in Moscow, Kiev, and Kazan force us to think with sadness of the poor and insufficient educational state of our Italian clergy. Frankly speaking, we do not have institutions in our Italy and even in Rome that could compete with Russian theological academies, with their wonderful organization, professors’ competence, and rich libraries. To be convinced of the truth of our assertion it is enough to turn to the fine official publications of these academies, such as Bogoslovskii Vestnik, Trudy Kievskoi Dukhovnoi Akademii, and Pravoslavnyi Sobesednik and see how many scholarly works have been gathered in these collections by Russian theological writers and how far we in Italy are from catching up with the development given to theological scholarship in Russia. Until now, the Vatican Library has not had a Russian section which could compete with collections in the French, English, and Russian sections. A need for a Russian section started being felt. Those favoring the progress of theological scholarship should not believe the slanderers of the Russian church, which was recently being reproached for having only one theologian ─ Makarii! These stupid complaints are inappropriate for Catholic scholarship. O. Erle, prefect of the Vatican Library, with the best of intentions, wished to enrich the library he directed with a Russian section which would be useful to those gathering from all the ends of the world to study the countless manuscripts being kept in the Vatican. His initiative was crowned with gratifying success. Upon being officially assigned to offer an exchange of Russian duplicates with Vatican editions the undersigned A. Palmieri contacted the Russian scholarly societies in St Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa and received highly valuable collections for the Vatican. Educated Russians visiting Rome will be overjoyed when they find in the Vatican Library collections of the journals of the Ministry of Public Education, the Palestine Society, the Universities of St Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa, the Academy of Sciences, the Imperial Geographic, Historical, and Archeological Societies, the Society of Early Slavic Literature, the Archeological and Archeographic Commissions, the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Rumiantsev Museum, and the Society of Antiquities. The complete collections of Khristianskoe Chtenie, Trudy Kievskoi Dukhovnoi Akademii, and Bogoslovskii vestnik are even more valuable. The theological academies readily accepted the offer to exchange publications. I will never forget the graciousness and politeness of the Russian theological academies. There was so much refinement in their service, and so much love for scholarship among the academy rectors and professors that I simply did not know how to express my gratitude to them. Russian hospitality has no parallel. You enter a Russia home as a foreigner, and ten minutes later you are already an old friend to whom the most delicate treatment is accorded. And, unfortunately, it is against these people, with their fortitude in the Christian Faith, their boundless energy, and many other unique gifts, which are lacking in us, who have been withered and spoiled by civilization and are without God, that we, along with Catholic periodicals, cast base insults and vulgar slanders. We invite the scholars of Italy and other countries to familiarize themselves with the magnificent Russian collections in the Vatican. They will find here the most convincing evidence of the intellectual intensity of Russian work and the scholarly vitality of the Russian Church, which, due to our ignorance and medieval prejudices, we regard as bereft of holiness and learning. Such judgments can only be pronounced by those who intentionally wish to be blind. We consider it our duty to express our gratitude to those who have helped us in our mission ─ first of all, in St Petersburg, to K. P. Pobedonostsev, Ober-Procurator of the Holy Synod, who has a high degree of love for scholarship and enjoys world-wide fame as a writer, as well as to Professors Glubokovsky and Mirtov, to His Eminence Evdokim and Professor Popov, editor of Bogoslovskii vestnik, in Moscow, and to His Eminence Platon and Secretary Uspensky of the Theological Academy in Kiev.”…

(Palmieri goes on to discuss Russian piety, which bears no direct relation to spiritual enlightenment).

As we see, this learned Catholic Augustinian bibliophile showed exceeding fondness and unusual respect for Russian scholarship and for our theological schools. In particular, he gave due respect to K. P. Pobedonostsev as well, showing him, at least, more attention and impartiality than certain Russian free-thinkers.

Palmieri’s sympathies were not limited by this letter to Fr D. Yakshin. He sometimes wrote in our theological journals as well, signing his articles with the pseudonym S. Bratkov. In addition, he published by 1910-1911 two editions of his dictionary of Russian theological writers. The title of this planned collection was Nomenclator litteratus Theologiae orthodoxae Russicae a Graecae recentioris (Volum. 1, faxc. 1-2, Pragae). These first editions had major shortcomings ─ there were many chronological inaccuracies, incorrect names, incorrect renderings of certain items of Russian church life terminology, and quite a few omissions, but all of this is inevitable in these types of dictionaries and reference books. What is important is that long before the present days and before the current international encounters a Catholic scholar discovered Russia and Russian theological scholarship for himself, found it fascinating, and in his reverential respect for it was not afraid to reveal to his Western fellow brethren this land which had been heretofore unknown to them. And this happened because Palmieri encountered, both in Russia and elsewhere, the most educated priests and the most learned professors, who were no less erudite than the western ones, and who could, with their loyalty to Orthodoxy’s Apostolic Tradition, serve as an example to all of us of an uncompromising stand for the truth against the temptations of false teachings.

Here are the more striking examples. The following held the position of senior priest at the embassy church in Athens: Archimandrites Antonin (Kapustin) and Peter (Troitsky), who had been professors at the Kiev Theological Academy, and Archimandrite Sergius (Stragorodsky), later rector of the St Petersburg Theological Academy. In Berlin the priests included Archpriest Basil Polikarpov , who later was professor of St Petersburg University and Archpriest Tarasii Seredinsky who had taught Greek at the St Petersburg Academy before that. Wiesbaden had the famous Fr. John L. Yanyshev, who was later rector of the St Petersburg Academy for many years, protopresbyter of the court, and an outstanding figure in the area of rapprochement with the Old Catholics. Fr. G. T. Meglitsky, a graduate of the St Petersburg Theological Academy, was in Vienna. Fathers V. Razumovsky and S. Krasnotsvetov, both of them professors of Greek and secular history at the St. Petersburg Academy served our mission in Switzerland. Our Jerusalem Mission was headed by the cream of the crop ─ Archimandrite Porphiry (Uspensky), a famous byzantologist with a doctorate in Greek literature, Bishop Kirill (Naumov), a professor at the St Petersburg Theological Academy with a doctorate in theology, the abovementioned Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin), and Archimandrite Leonid (Kavelin), a well-known writer on issues of church history. Serving at our embassy in Constantinople were Archimandrite Theophan (Govorov), better known as the Recluse of Vyshna, the abovementioned Archimandrites Antonin, Peter, Leonid, and Archimandrite Boris (Plotnikov), who later on was twice rector of the St Petersburg Theological Academy and chairman of the School Council of the Synod. S. K. Sabinin, who had taught at the Petersburg Theological Academy, was very famous at one time in Copenhagen will. There will be more about him below. Archpriest K. L. Kustodiev, who later was professor at St Petersburg University, served at our mission in Madrid. More details will follow about him as well. Our church in Naples had Archpriest P. A. Speransky, who prior to that taught Holy Scripture at the St Petersburg Academy. Our Paris church had Archpriest D. Vershinsky, philosophy professor at the St Petersburg Academy and Archpriest J. G. Smirnov, professor of Greek at the same academy, who reposed there in 1936 . In addition, Archpriest J. V. Vasiliev, who later chaired the Holy Synod’s Educational Committee, was particularly famous. There will likewise be more to say about him. A totally special place should be reserved for our Beijing Mission, which shone with such famous sinologists as Archimandrite Habbakuk (Chestnoi), Palladii (Kafarov), and Hiancynth, but this falls outside the sphere of this present brief note. The position of senior priest of the embassy church in Rome was held by the following professors: Archimandrite Theophan (Avsenev), who had taught philosophy at the Kiev Academy and Porfiry (Popov), who had taught patristics at the Moscow Theological Academy. Archpriest A. P. Sokolov, professor at the St Petersburg Academy and Archpriest P. E. Obraztsov, who later was professor at Yuriev University, were in Stockholm. Finally, Archpriest I. M. Pevnitsky, formerly philosophy professor at the St Petersburg Theological Academy, served at one time in Stuttgart. We should also mention Father Peter Grigorievich Preobrazhensky, who served at churches in Prague, Vienna, and Baden-Baden, and, thanks to the opportunity of working in foreign libraries, wrote a monograph for which he received a magistr degree from the St Petersburg Theological Academy.[17]Achprriest Peter Preobrazhensky, Letopisnoe povestvovanie sv. Feofana Ispovednika, (Moscow, 1912). This interesting work is a contribution to byzantology.

Life in Europe and the opportunity of working in the best libraries of the West, as well of associating with representatives of international scholarship gave these priests the opportunity to be familiarized with European scholarship and widen their horizons. Over the many years of being outside Russia they put together magnificent libraries, sent interesting information about international life to Russian periodicals, and published documents that were unknown in Russia. Many of them joined international scholarly societies, which will be discussed below.

But senior priests of churches weren’t the only ones who made use of these blessings. Staff members of those churches obtained intellectual enrichment during their assignments to Western capitals. Here are a few examples. The philosopher Gregory Skovoroda, who became famous later was a churchman at our church in Tokaj, Hungary for several years, did a great job of utilizing his expatriate existence. Fr. Kudriavtsev, after serving as deacon at our Vienna church later became a professor at Novorossiysk University. It should be noted that our diplomatic corps always tried to fill diaconal and psalmist vacancies in those churches with persons of the highest educational level. Here are more names: N. V. Orlov, psalmist at our embassy church in London, was a professor at King’s College. Gorchakov serves as a wonderful example. Upon completing the St Petersburg Theological Academy In1861 the young graduate Michael Ivanovich Gorchakov became psalmist at the Russian church in Stuttgart, where he spent four years, during which he tenaciously studied at the universities of Tübingen, Heidelberg, Strassburg. Upon his return to Russia and ordination to the priesthood he became totally involved in scholarly pursuits, obtaining in succession a magistr in theology in 1866, a magistr in law in 1868, a doctorate in law in 1871, and a doctorate in theology at the Kiev Theological Academy in 1881, after which he taught at St Petersburg University for many years.

While serving as psalmist at the Tokaj church Ivan Falkovsky studied at the Piarist school, where he learned Latin and German to perfection, enrolled at Budapest University, and was tonsured as Irinei upon his arrival in Kiev, where he became a famous professor at the academy, after which he was Bishop of Smolensk. Archbishop Philaret of Chernigov had high regard for his Orthodoxae Theologiae dogmaticae Compendium, considering it ‘‘hitherto the best [of such writings] in terms of clarity, precision, and meticulousness.“ (Obzor russkoi dukhovnoi literatury).

It is, of course, impossible to give a full description of everyone who had worked in the field of the rapprochement of the Western world with the Orthodox Church. This would require many volumes of research. The lives of such persons as Archpriest Porfiry (Uspensky) or Archpriests Sabinin, Bazarov, Vasiliev, and others contain such a wealth of material that they are still awaiting their biographers, and will probably be awaiting them for a long time. But, as we discuss our church work outside Russia prior to 1917, we feel we should give at least a few cursory descriptions of our clergymen who had been well-known at one time but are now half-forgotten.

Archpriest John Bazarov, who was a senior priest at the Stuttgart, Frankfurt, and Wiesbaden churches, occupies a special and perhaps preeminent position among these priests. Son of a member of the first graduating class of the St Petersburg Theological Academy, he was born on June 21, 1819, was himself a member of the fifteenth graduating class of this academy in 1843, and spent almost all of his life outside Russia. His activity in Germany is singularly important and interesting. He translated many service books and the Liturgy into German, as well as Muraviev’s Istoriia tserkvi. With this he prepared the way for the future activity of Archpriest A. P. Maltsev. His Bibleiskaia istoriia enjoyed great popularity, undergoing 29 editions with a total of one million copies, which was an unprecedented press run for that time. He served as the hub for all compatriots who came into Germany, and did much to acquaint Germans with the Russian Church, scholarship, and society besides. His correspondence with Baron Haxthausen on church unity, published in 1877 by the Society of Lovers of Spiritual Enlightenment, is interesting. It fell to Fr Bazarov’s lot to administer the final rites to the dying Vasily Andreevich Zhukovsky[18]Prominent Russian poet (1783-1852) [trans.]. in Baden-Baden. It would be apropos to add that our clergy outside Russia was of service to Russian literature two more times in its sorrowful moments. On August 26 (September 7), 1863 Fr. Dimitry Vasiliev served the funeral at the rue Daru church for Turgenev, who had died in Bougival, while on July 2, 1904 Archpriest S. V. Protopopov served the funeral for Chekhov, who had died in Baden-Baden, and blessed his headstone in 1908.

Among numerous printed works by Archpriest Bazarov the article S. S. Dzhunkovsky i ego vozvrashchenie v Pravoslavie [S. S. Dzhunkovsky and His Return to Orthodoxy][19]Pravoslavnoe obozrenie (1866:19), 430-442., which has to do with our theme, deserves mention. Here is the story behind this. Upon graduation from St Petersburg University in 1842 Stepan Stepanovich Dzhunkovsky converted to Catholicism in Rome, becoming a Jesuit and, in 1853, a missionary of the Diocese of Paris. After this, he was named Prefect of the Apostolic Throne. Abbot Migne published his two-volume Dictionnaire des Missions. Dzhunkovsky later married an Englishwoman in an Anglican ceremony, but the marriage soon fell apart. After reading Bishop Nicanor Brovkovich’s Razbor rimskogo ucheniia o glavenstve papy [An analysis of the Roman Teaching on Papal Supremacy] he came back to Orthodoxy as a simple layman. This incident is instructive.

Protopresbyter John Yanyshev spent just thirteen years outside Russia (1851 to 1856 in Wiesbaden, 1858 to 1866 in Berlin, and then again in Wiesbaden), but his name is known to all who have the least bit of familiarity with the history of Russian religious education, both in and outside Russia. Born in the Kaluga Province on April 14, 1826, he graduated with a magistr degree from the St Petersburg Theological Academy in 1849, placing first. He spent two years as an instructor at the same academy, after which he went as a priest to Wiesbaden. From 1856 to 1858 he was in Russia as a professor at St. Petersburg University, returned to Germany for eight years, and then was rector of the St Petersburg Academy for seventeen years. These years are justifiably recognized as the “Yanyshev years” in this academy’s history. He became known here for his extensive moral and, what is most important, spiritual influence. His last 27 years were devoted to directing the court clergy. At one point he prepared the Danish Princess Dagmar, future wife of Emperor Alexander III, the Empress Maria Feodorovna, for her reception into Orthodoxy. He received a generous appraisal of all his services, including being awarded the Order of St Andrew the First-called, being granted an honorary doctorate from the Kazan Theological Academy, and membership in many societies. During the 59 years of his priesthood, he did a great deal to draw the Old Catholics closer to the Orthodox Church. His works are numerous and greatly interesting. He is responsible for one of the best textbooks on moral theology (2nd ed., St Petersburg, 1906).

Archpriest Alexis Petrovich Maltsev, senior priest at the Berlin church, was particularly well-known during the final years before the Revolution. Born in 1854, he completed the St Petersburg Theological Academy in 1878 under the new statutes. A student of Fr. J. L. Yanyshev, he received a magistr degree in 1879 for Nravstvennaia filosofiia utilitarizma [The Moral Philosophy of Utilitarianism]. In addition, he wrote on pedagogy and was an instructor at the St Petersburg Theological Academy for a time. But most of his life was spent in Germany. His activity was exceedingly fruitful. He organized churches not only in Berlin itself and in Potsdam, but all over Germany. He especially tried to start churches in locations where Russians stayed at resorts and in more or less major centers. He created the famous St Vladimir Brotherhood in Berlin, which provided much help to Russians. Among his literary works we need to point out, first of all, translations of Russian service books into German. What Fr. Bazarov began Fr. Maltsev continued with success. Almost all of the Octoechos, Triodion, Book of Needs, Service Book, and separate services were translated. His active helper in this matter was the former Roman Catholic Fr. Basil Goecken, who converted to Orthodoxy under Fr. Alexis’ influence and became a priest at the Berlin church. In speaking about Maltsev’s literary work, we must mention Zhukovsky’s 1844-1846 Russian translation of the New Testament, which Maltsev published in1895.

Yet another name was well-known in our churches In Germany, that of Archpriest Tarasy Seredinsky. Born in 1822, he was from the South, and upon graduation from the Odessa Seminary with perfect knowledge of demotic Greek he entered the St Petersburg Academy, where he obtained a Magistr Degree in 1845. He taught Greek at the academy for two years, and subsequently was priest at our churches In Naples (1846-1859) and Berlin (1859-1886). During the 51 years of his priesthood he did much to acquaint Russians with Catholicism in Italy, as well as acquainting Italians and Germans with Orthodoxy and Russian scholarship. His numerous scholarly works dealt mostly with comparative liturgics, critical theology, and liturgical theology. He wrote numerous reviews of foreign books. He had perfect facility in Hebrew, ancient and demotic Greek, Latin, French, German, and Italian. His Berlin home was a hub for all his compatriots traveling outside Russia. Gogol, Botkin, Pirogov, Samarin, Count Adlerberg, and others were among his visitors. He reposed on April 16, 1897. [20]His interesting works include his dissertation, O vazhnosti bogosluzhebykh knig pravoslavnoi Tserkvi v dogmaticheskom otnoshenii [The Dogmatic Importance of the Service Books of the Orthodox Church] … Continue reading

Archpriest Stefan Sabinin should be recognized as one of the most colorful figures in this area. Born in Voronezh in 1789, he was in the fourth graduating class of the St Petersburg Theological Academy in 1822. He taught German at the academy for one year and then left Russia, staying away almost 40 years. He served in Copenhagen for fourteen years and in Weimar starting in 1837. The range of his interests and knowledge was truly unusual, but he was drawn mostly to Old Testament theology (influenced by the great scholarly Archpriest G. P. Pavsky) and philology. His 17 exegetical studies on the Old Testament appeared in Khristianskoe chtenie over a ten year period, from 1829 to 1839. He translated the Book of Job into Russian both in prose and in verse. His Syriac grammar remained in manuscript form. The Academy of Sciences published his Icelandic grammar. He translated sagas and wrote works on the Polovetsians and the Pechengs, as well as various philological studies. He was in constant correspondence with Šafařik, Hanka, and Pogodin. He was elected to membership in the Danish Royal Society of Northern Antiquarians. In 1857 he conducted M. I. Glinka’s funeral in Berlin. His repose was on May 14, 1863. Sabinin, more than most, reflected the talents present in our clerical caste which blossomed in the inherited grace-filled atmosphere and the exclusively high level of our theological schools, which through a selection process of many years picked out such highly educated scholars and multifaceted writers from their midst.

Always true to the memory of his teacher Fr. Pavsky, Sabinin wrote him the following from Copenhagen in May of 1830. “You aroused in me the zeal to work on the Old Testament.”[21]A. Rodossky, Rukopisnye pamiatniki trudov po perevodu V. Zaveta prot. Pavskogo i ego uchenika prot. Sabinina, Khristianskoe chtenie, (1887:1), 749. Here is a brief list of articles on the Old Testament authored by Sabinin which appeared in Khristianskoe chtenie: Prorochestvo ob Izmaile [Prophecy About Ishmael] (1829), Avraam i ego potomki [Abraham and His Descendants] (1829), Prorochestvo ob Iakove i Isave [Prophecy About Jacob and Esau] (1829), Prorochestva Iakova, kasaiushchiesia ego synov i v osobennosti Iudy [Prophecies of Jacob Dealing With His Sons, Especially Judah] (1830), and Prorochestvo Valaama [Balaam’s Prophecy] (1830). The following year these articles of his appeared in the same journal: Prorochestvo Moiseia ob iudeiakh [Moses’ Prophecy About the Jews], Prorochestvo Moiseia o proroke podobnom emu [Moses’ Prophecy About a Prophet Like Him], Vetkhozavetnye prorochestva, kasaiushchiesia nyneshnego sostoianiia iudeev [Old Testament Prophecies About the Current Situation of the Jews]. The following articles appeared there in 1832: Iz’iasnenie 53-i gl. Prorochestva Isaii o Iisuse Khriste [An Explanation of the Isaiah 53 Prophecy About Jesus Christ] and Istoricheskii vzgliad na prorochestvo o padenii Vavilona [A Historical Look at the Prophecy of Babylon’s Fall]. Further on, still in the same journal, the following appeared: Istoricheskoe rassmotrenie vetkhozavetnykh prorochestv o Troe [A Historical Analysis of Old Testament Prophecies About Troy] (1833), Iz’iasnenie prorochestva Noeva o sud’be potomstva ego [An Explanation of Noah’s Prophecy About the Fate of His Descendants] (1839), O sostoianii iudeev v plenu Vavilonskom [The Situation of the Jews in Babylonian Captivity] (1839), and Iz’iasnenie prorochestv o Egipte i podtverzhdenie ikh istoricheskimi sobytiiami [An Explanation of Prophecies About Egypt and Their Confirmation by Historic Events] (1840). That year Sabinin stopped publishing his articles, which can be explained by the emergence of the unfortunate matter of Archpriest Pavsky.[22]A. Rodossky, 750-752. His Prorochestva Isaii [Prophecies of Isaiah] has remained in manuscript form.[23]A. Rodossky, 762-766.

We need to mention Fr. Dimitri Vershinsky, senior priest of the Paris church, from among the clergymen renowned for their scholarship. Born on November 14, 1798 in Tver, he graduated from the St Petersburg Theological Academy in 1825, and started publishing his works while still a student. Upon graduation he stayed at the academy, first as an instructor and later as a tenured professor of philosophy for ten years. He was one of the first Russian academic philosophers and became known as the founder of Russian philosophical terminology. He translated Bachmann’s Logics and Ast’s History of Philosophy. Khristianskoe chtenie had up to 25 of his translations of the Holy Fathers and 17 original articles. But what should perhaps be regarded as more remarkable is his Mesiatseslov pravoslavnoi kafolicheskoi vostochnoi tserkvi [Calendar of the Orthodox Catholic Eastern Church]. This is so, first of all, because this is the first scholarly work in this area. Vershinsky was the first to start a critical study of the saints’ lives, working from the Bollandists’ volumes. Following his example, other research arose in this area (by Kosolapov, Archbishop Dimitri Sambikin, and Archbishop Sergius Spassky). Our Synod sent such a highly learned cleric with confidence to be a senior priest at out Paris church. Vershinsky could successfully demonstrate the level of our scholarship to the West, and was a worthy representative of our educated clergy in that capital of European civilization. He spent fourteen years in Paris (from 1835 to 1848) and reposed in Petersburg on November 8, 1858. A portrait of him painted by Bouchardy in Paris in 1839 is still in existence. It shows him without a beard, but with side-whiskers and in civilian dress, which generally was totally in the style of that era and could appeal much more to Europeans, who were so unaccustomed to our Eastern appearance. Professor I. V. Cheltsov of the St Petersburg Theological Academy was married to Vershinsky’s daughter.

However, Fr. Vershinsky’s activity was not sufficiently vivid in Paris. His successor, Archpriest Joseph Vasiliev became especially well-known in France. He was one of the stars of the first order from among our clergy outside Russia, and should be discussed in greater detail

He was born in 1821 in the Orel Province. Upon graduation from the St Petersburg Theological Academy in 1846 he was appointed to Paris, where he spent 21 years, having accomplished a great deal to reinforce our influence among the French and to broaden our mission among Catholics. He was more of an organizer and missionary, rather than an ivory tower scholar.

It was under him that the present Paris Cathedral of St Alexander Nevsky was built and consecrated. On August 30, 1861 Bishop Leonty (Lebedinsky) of Revel (later Metropolitan of Moscow) performed the consecration of this church, concelebrated by numerous clergy and attended by a huge crowd with both Russian and French attendees. Among those concelebrating, besides Fr. J. Vasiliev, were Archpriest J. Yanyshev and Archimandrite Habbakuk (Chestnoi), our famous sinologist, who had at one point been with Goncharov on the Frigate “Pallada.”

Before that our church was at 12, rue Berry, and the present rue Daru was known then as rue de la Croix du Roule. Fr. J. Vasiliev and Count P. D. Kiselev, the ambassador at the time, were responsible for all of the work of collecting donations and setting up the church, as well as for the idea itself of creating an actual magnificent church. On June 7, 1867 a thanksgiving service was held in this church, with Emperors Alexander II and Napoleon III present, on the occasion of the Russian Czar’s deliverance from an assassination attempt. And here, as has already been mentioned, Fr. D. Vasiliev, who succeeded Fr. J. Vasiliev, conducted Turgenev’s funeral. There is one small detail in this connection.

Turgenev died on August 23 in Bougival outside Paris After the funeral his body remained for a rather long time in what is now the lower church awaiting the conclusion of all the necessary police formalities for dispatching him to Russia. And only approximately a month later (on October 3, 1883, new style) the body was transported to the Gare du Nord, where the last panikhida on French soil was served. The same Fr. D. Vasiliev served the panikhida, prior to which a few eulogies were said. The first to speak was… Renan! He was followed by archeologist and writer Edmond About, and last of all by Gregory Vyrubov, a professor at the Sorbonne and the Collége de France, a positivist philosopher who, together with Littré, published La revue positive.[24]D. Obolensky, “U groba Turgeneva,” Istoricheskii vestnik, (1903, bk. 2) 942-947. Vyrubov is erroneously called Vladimir rather than Gregory. He graduated from the Imperial Alexander … Continue reading

Such a strange juxtaposition! Here was Paris, an Orthodox panikhida being cranked out by a Russian priest at the bier of a great Russian writer, and the eulogies were said there by Renan, who had broken all ties with the hierarchy and official Catholicism, the archeologist About, and the positivist professor and prominent scholar Vyrubov, whose total outlook, most importantly, was of a Frenchman (he later became a French citizen) and a refined European, and who, perhaps, served as additional evidence that Russians were not barbarians and ingoramuses.

Now let us return to the consecration of the church on rue Daru. Bishop Leonty, a thunderous protodeacon, and the metropolitan’s choir all took part. All this astounded the French. It was as if they had discovered some new continent. It turned out that Russians have their own ancient church culture, their priests speak perfect French, and they are well-read and educated. This consecration was reported in the newspapers, and the visit of the capital of the French Empire by an Orthodox bishop was all over the press and society.

But not only external magnificence and piety emerged from the new church on rue de la Croix du Roule. Its priest was an outstanding missionary and could display in full measure Russian theological scholarship and the truth of Apostolic Tradition preserved by Orthodoxy.

Criticism of objectionable teachings interested Fr J. Vasiliev back when he was a student. His magistr dissertation was on Papal Supremacy. And while in France he wrote numerous articles for Strannik, Voskresnoe chtenie, Zhurnal Ministerstva Narodnogo Prosveshcheniia, Chteniia v Obshchestve istorii i drevnosti. He sometimes used the psedonym ”Abu-Yusef” (i.e. Fr. Joseph). These were mostly articles on polemical theology, such as responses to messages by certain Catholic cardinals and by Pope Pius IX himself, on offers by Anglican clergy on the possibility of their joining the Orthodox Church, and so on.

But more important is the fact that Fr. J. Vasiliev started the Paris magazine L’Union Chrétienne, which he published together with S. P. Sushkov and the famous Abbot René Fr. Guettée. This was one the first ”ecumenical” periodicals, as they are referred to nowadays. As the title indicates, it dealt with the issue of reuniting with Orthodoxy by Roman Catholicism, which had fallen away from it, and by Protestantism, which in turn fell away from Catholicism.

The church’s missionary activity is a sign of her apostolicity. Orthodoxy has never been ashamed of proselytism nor rejected it. If she had rejected it she would have lost one of the essential signs of being what she is

Abbot Guettée’s name has huge significance here, and in this connection, we need to point out how our clergy outside Russia understood their service to the reunification of the fragments of the Christian world. The were, first of all, defenders of the truth of Orthodoxy and had no doubts of this truth. That is why they were faithful to it without any compromise. And as they kept this truth they also brought it to those who had been removed from it due to various historical circumstances.

The church’s missionary activity is a sign of her apostolicity. Orthodoxy has never been ashamed of proselytism nor rejected it. If she had rejected it she would have lost one of the essential signs of being what she is. But, of course, this proselytism, as mentioned above, was always very placid. The spirit of militant attack upon its opponents is foreign to Orthodoxy, just as the fires of the Inquisition or changeover into the liturgical garb of other confessions are foreign to it. It proceeds openly into its missionary campaign and needs no pretense in order to conceal secret aims.

The Parizhskie pis’ma [Paris Letters] of Archpriest J. V. Vasiliev to the Ober-Procurators of the Holy Synod from 1846 to 1867 (Petrograd, 1915, 322) are of great interest. In them Fr. Vasiliev’s entire missionary work is evident, including the matter of Abbot Guettée’s conversion to Orthodoxy, the construction of the church in Paris, and much else. The publisher of these letters quotes an excerpt from the Le Nord newspaper which could easily supplement the abovementioned exultant assessment of the abbot by A. Palmieri, this time coming from the lips of the famous Greek scholar, Metropolitan Philotheos Vriennis: ‘’At the festive gathering in the presence of the Patriarch of Constantinople Philotheos Vriennis, professor at the Theological School on Halki, gave a laudatory speech in which, by the way, he said ‘In theological polemics, as in any other, the most famous ancient or recent writers should serve as a model for us…’ No one, of course, will start refuting that out of the persons representing our church in a most worthy manner in the midst of papism the scholarly and respected Father Vasiliev is one of the most excellent. His polemical articles give great honor to our Church. His nobility, modesty, a delicacy of expression, a spirit of Christian love, fairness, and precision ─ all of these qualities with which this renowned theologian has stepped into the spotlight are characteristic features of his talent.’’ (5) In addition, the same letters cite the text of The Messages of the Holy Ecumenical Patriarch Joachim Together With the Holy Council, in which the Patriarch praises the missionary activity of our Paris priest. (256-261) These two statements on the part of the Greek Church are especially significant, since one could frequently hear among Greek society and clergy warnings against panslavicism, Russia’s excessive claims, and a somewhat condescending attitude on the part of educated Greeks toward Slavs, and toward Russia in particular. These letters, particularly those that our Synod wrote to Fr. Vasiliev, repeatedly express the idea that the Russian Church does not wish to interfere in matters of other local Churches. (cf. 8, 13) Subsequently, as we have indicated, this prudent principle of non-interference was, unfortunately, forgotten, and we started creating our own special Russian ecclesiastical administration, a forerunner to current claims of a portion of Russian hierarchs outside Russia. Western, or to be more precise, Catholic consciousness was unaccustomed to this. But it must be said that Fr. Vasiliev’s quiet and peace-loving sermons managed to accomplish more than would threats and oppression. He captivated the abovementioned Abbot Gettée by his pastoral influence.

The provincial priest René-Franҫois Guettée (born in Blois in1816) was quite gifted for scholarly work. He is responsible for a seven-volume (twelve-volume in the second edition) History of the French Church. In 1852 his book was already included in the Index of Forbidden Books, and in 1857 he was forbidden to serve in the Paris Diocese. In 1861 Bishop Leonty, on his visit to consecrate the Russian church in Paris received Fr. Guettée’s petition for reception into Orthodoxy. He was received in 1862 (in his existing rank, it stands to reason!). He came to love Orthodoxy and Russia passionately. From then on he was already Fr. Vladimir and took Russian citizenship. He died in 1892 and left instructions to be buried in Russia, but for some reason, he was buried in the Batignolles Cemetery in Paris.

Father Vladimir Guetté was one of those people who were incapable of hiding the truth or making erroneous artificial compromises. Even before his conversion he wrote Jansenism and the Jesuits (1857), History of the Jesuits (1858), and World Papism, Condemned by Pope Gregory the Great (1861). He could not be under “dual citizenship,” to truth and to untruth. He not only came to believe in the correctness of Orthodoxy, but started openly denouncing the untruth of the heterodox. For his essay Skhizamticheskoe papstvo [Schismatic Papism] the Council of the Moscow Theological Academy presented him with a Doctor of Theology degree, which was unprecedented in the history of Russian scholarship! His Izlozhenie ucheniia Pravoslavnoi tserkvi i drugikh khristianskikh tserkvei [An Exposition of the Teaching of the Orthodox Church and Other Christian Churches] was published twice in Russia in 1869, in Kazan and in St Petersburg, and in addition, it was translated into other Slavic languages and into Russian. And who could have discerned a former Catholic abbot in this priest with a fulsome beard, an expansive Eastern riasson, and a doctor’s cross?

This introduction of the French to Orthodoxy continued after Fr. J. Vasiliev as well. Service books, sermons by Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow translated by A. Serpinet in 1866 in three volumes, and the like were published in French. We should note, for instance, The Rite of Receiving Those Coming into the Orthodox Church from the Armenian or Roman-Latin Faiths (St Petersburg, 1912), which was published by Priest N. Popov of the Russian church in Pau. These were parallel texts in Slavonic, German, French, and Spanish. The German text was taken from the translation by Archpriest A. Maltsev in Berlin, while the Spanish one is by G. A. Kolemin and the Orthodox Spaniard Garcia Ruiz-Peresu, an officer in the Spanish general staff.

In addition to the abovementioned French translation of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow’s sermons, we need to mention yet a whole series of Russian theological works. These sermons were translated into English as well. The same metropolitan’s famous Catechism was translated by Dr. A. Blumenthal into German, and into English by Schaff (New York 1877). The same Dr. Blumenthal translated the abbreviated Dogmatic Theology by Metropolitan Makary (Bulgakov) of Moscow into German in 1875. It was translated into Greek by Neophytos Pagidas (Athens,1882), into Bulgarian in 1901 and into Serbian in 1898. Istoricheskoe uchenie ob otsakh tserkvi [The Historical Teaching on the Church Fathers] by Archbishop Philaret (Gumilevsky) of Chernigov was translated into Greek by Neophytos Pagidas (Jerusalem, 1885-1887). Istoriia russkoi tserkvi {History of the Russian Church] by the same Philaret of Chernigov appeared in German in Frankfurt am Main in 1972, translated by the abovementioned Dr. Blumenthal.

Although these translations were not done by our priests outside Russia, they were widely distributed among foreigners, which gave Europe the opportunity to be introduced to Orthodoxy long before what is now called “The Ecumenical Movement.”

By the way, we should mention Fr. Guettés sojourn in Moscow. He visited Metropolitan Philaret on June 6, 1865, and also present were Bishop Leonid (Krasnopevkov), the metropolitan’s vicar bishop, and N. V. Sushkov, who writes about this in his Zapiski o zhizni i vremeni sviatitelia Filareta, mitropolita Moskovskogo (Moscow, 1868), 235-240), and a translator. The conversation was carried on in French through the translator, and Fr. Vladimir talked about the possibility of uniting all Christians. The metropolitan voiced decided objections to the participation by the Orthodox in an international society for uniting churches (we would say today “in the Ecumenical Movement). He held the unbending position of not allowing any concessions in matters of faith, Orthodox discipline, and morality. He decisively rejected the idea of intercommunion with the Anglicans. He expressed particular caution precisely in connection with the Anglican confession, fearing the political undercurrent of this matter. He foresaw this danger, particularly in the East. He concluded his conversation with Fr. Guettée with the following: “The program’s intent is a blessed one, but is the hope of fulfilling it a strong one? I do not wish to reject it, but I am not convinced enough to affirm it.” Doubting the sincerity of the suggested association on the part of the Anglicans and not counting on participation by the French, the metropolitan had more faith in the Americans’ motives.

The proclamation of the Vatican Dogma of 1870 upset Bjerring, another Roman Catholic scholar, who converted to Orthodoxy, thanks to Vasiliev’s influence, having written a bold letter to Pope Pius IX. This letter is full of dignity and is a frank confession of the impossibility of submitting to the doctrine of papal infallibility.

After being in Paris 21 years Fr. J. Vasiliev was transferred to the very high and responsible position of Chairman of the Educational Committee at the Synod, and remained there 14 years, to his dying day on December 27, 1881. Professor A. L. Katansky of the St Petersburg Theological Academy was married to Fr. Vasiliev’s daughter and left behind interesting Vospominaniia starogo professora [Recollections of an Old Professor], in which, among other things, he tells of his trip to Paris and his acquaintance with Fr. Joseph, describing his personality.[25]Khristianskoe chtenie (1914 and 1915).

One more of our church figures outside Russia deserves mention ─ Archpriest Constantine Kustodiev. He could hardly count on great renown on the basis of formal facts. His academic record was far from brilliant. After the Saratov Seminary he completed the Moscow Theological Academy in 1862, not only without getting a magistr degree, but even placing as one of the last in academic standing, in any case in the bottom quarter of the graduating class of that year. Grades meant nothing to him. In general, this class was regarded as rebellious, with constant incidents between the administration and the students. There could be no question of any kind of brilliant career. But he was always interested in knowledge. When he was still a student he wrote an interesting article entitled “Information on Capuchins and Jesuits in Astrakhan in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries” in the Astrakhanskaia rech’ newspaper for 1861-1862. He read quite a lot, but not to get any kind of grade, and not for formal credit.

After the academy he left to be a psalmist (and later a priest) at our church in Madrid. He quickly blossomed there. First of all, he quickly learned Spanish, in which he later became completely fluent. He translated both of our liturgies into Spanish. Soon afterwards he was invited by the scholarly Athenaeum Club, which he joined, to give lectures on the Russian language. He sent very interesting articles to Russia, such as “O sostoianii ispankikh dukhovnykh seminarii (Khristianskoe chrenie) [The Condition of Spanish Seminaries], “O Mozarabskoi liturgii v Toledo” (Pravoslavnoe obozrenie) [The Mozarabian Liturgy in Toledo], “Ispanskie mistiki” (Pravoslavoe obozrenie) [Orthodox Mystics], “Poslednee auto-da-fe v Sevil’e v XVIII v.” (Russkii vestnik) [The Last Auto-da-fé in Seville in tne Eighteenth Century], “Khristianstvo v Ispanii pod vladychestvom musul’man”, [Christianity in Spain under Muslim Domination]. But perhaps his most interesting information has to do with the dispatches he found in Madrid from the Duke de Liria, the Spanish ambassador at the court of Peter II and Empress Anna Ioanovna, which he published in Russkii Arkhiv. He published the Comparative Exposition of the Teachings of the Major Christian Confessions in Spanish. In 1870 he was transferred to the church in Üröm, near Budapest. His wife died there in 1872, which had a strong effect on his spiritual state, although his will for further scholarly research was not broken. He continued sending interesting information from Hungary on Slavs in Hungary and in Eastern Slovakia, on the history of the Serbs in Hungary, on Peter the Great’s visit to Karlsbad, and so on.

But Fr. Kustodiev could not manage to initiate a scholarly career in a formal sense. In 1870 he submitted to the Moscow Theological Academy a dissertation to obtain a magistr degree entitled “History of the Old Testament Woman.” At that time the academic reform was just being introduced, the defense of a dissertation was something new, and the academy’s board, under Gorsky’s chairmanship, put aside this petition in expectation of the new rules. He submitted a similar petition to the Kiev Academy, but Archimandrite Philaret (Filaretov) put it aside as well.

However, in spite of these failures, Fr. Kustodiev, acting on the suggestion of Professor M. I. Gorchakov, sought election to teach theology at the St Petersburg University. He received 31 out of 39 votes and was thus elected as a tenured professor, without having a magistr degree. Due to poor health he declined this honorary position and soon afterwards, in 1875, died in Üröm, where he is buried. His academic friend Professor Phillip Ternovsky wrote very interesting recollections about him in the magazine Strannik for 1884 (v. 1, 71-88, 292-312).

It remains to say a few words about the activity of our clergy in the Anglo-Saxon countries. Leaving aside the development and organization of our mission in the United States of America, which would require special research, we will simply mention the work of our clergy in Great Britain, where the priests of our London Church, Fr. Eugene Popov, who spend 33 years in Copenhagen and London (an 1835 graduate of the St Petersburg Academy), and Fr. Eugene Smirnov, were especially prolific, as well as the abovementioned psalmist of our London church, Professor N. V. Orlov of London University.

Fr. Eugene Smirnov (an 1871 graduate of the St Petersburg Academy) wrote articles in Khristianskoe Chtenie, as well as the essay Nachatki dvizheniia v anglikanskoi tserkvi k soedineniiu s vostochoi (Moscow, 1865) [The Beginnings of the Movement in the Anglican Church Toward Union with the Eastern]. After being a psalmist in New York for two years, he spent some time in Brussels, and in 1876 became senior priest of the London church. The consecration of the embassy church of the Dormition of the Mother of God in 1879 took place during his time. Also in 1879 he went to St Petersburg with the the Anglican Priest George Nuge (sp?) who was petitioning to be reordained. He wrote a series of valuable works on polemical theology, including Religioznaia zhizn’ v severnoi Amerike [Religious Life in North America], Tserkovnyi congress v Norvich’ [The Church Congess in Norwich], Tserkovnyi kongress v Shrusberi [The Church Congress in Shrewsbury], Pravoslaven li starokatolitsizm? [Is Old CatPetersdholicism Orthodox?], Pravoslaven li interkommunikon, predlagaemyi nam starokatolikami? [Is the Intercommunion Which the Old Catholics are Suggesting to Us Orthodox?], and Chin prisoedineniia inovertsev k Pravoslavnoi tserkvi (London, 1896), [The Rite of Receiving the Heterodox into the Orthodox Church]. In addition, there is his A Short Account of the Historical Development and Present Position of the Russian Orthodox Missions.

Professor N. V. Orlov, who received his degree from the St Petersburg Academy in 1874 for his monograph on Irvingianism, wrote many works on the same issues of polemical theology. We know his Instruction in God’s Law (a translation of Fr. Smirnov’s Nachatki Khristianskogo Ucheniia) and translations into English of the Horologion (1898), Octoechos (1898), General Menaion (1899), and the Festal Menaion (1899).

Such is a brief and more than superficial account of the activity of certain of our churches outside Russia and their clergy prior to the Revolution. This is all in the past, but a past that is glorious and rich with its memorable works, which have not perished and cannot perish. They opened the eyes of the Western Christian world to the depths of our theology, our faithfulness to the Apostolic Tradition, our connection to the early Church Fathers, and to our magnificent services, which are rich in deep content. They showed to the world the light of those certain wonderful pastors who are modestly and insufficiently described here.

We live in the present. It has initiated daring attempts in theological scholarship and Christian hope. The West has encountered the exiles of Russian Orthodoxy on its soil and has interacted with them more closely. Numerous gatherings and personal encounters have tied us with new and firm bonds. Their basis lies in mutual respect, efforts to understand each other, and the hope in the possibility of seeing, at some point, by the mercy of the Chief Pastor, not only the shreds of Christ’s torn garment, but unity in Christ, realized in love and firm faithfulness to Church teaching. And the St Sergius Institute in Paris, heir to the great Russian theological academies, grew up on Western soil.

Uncertainty lies in the future. But in it we keep the earnest of faith in the success of Gospel preaching in a world that is becoming godless. We have sufficient examples that we are called to imitate. Some of them have been mentioned above.


1 Archpriest P. Rumiantsev, Iz proshlogo russkoi pravoslavnoi tse rkvi v Stokgol’me, (Berlin 1910 ). See also P. R., ‘Russkaia pravoslavnaia tserkov’ v Stokgol’me’, Tserkovnaia Pravda, (Berlin 1914), 291-292.
2 The first rector was Archimandrite Irinarkh (Popov). Cf. Priest V. Zhmakin, ‘Osnovanie Russkoi dukhovnoi missii v Afinakh’, Khristianskoe chtenie, (1893:2), 342-351.
3 For more details see Bratskii Ezhegodnik (1906 and 1912), published by the St Vladimir Brotherhood in Berlin.
4 Vsepoddaneishii otchet Ober-prokurora Sv. Sinoda za 1894 g.
5 Vseppodaneishii otchet Ober-prokurora Sv. Sinoda za 1912 g.
6 Archpriest I. Filevsky, Tserkovnyi vestnik (1907:33), 1061-1064.
7 Metropolitan Philaret, Pis’ma k A. N. Murav’evu, (Kiev, 1869) 590.
8 ‘L’eglise russe et son clergé se trouvent plongés dans la barbarie la plus détestable’
9 ‘Iz arkhiva professora S. K. Smirnova’, Bogoslovskii vestnik, (Oct.-Nov. 1914) 449=450.
10 Etudes sur la situation intérieure etc de la Russie, (Hanover, 1847), 1 :63.
11 Barsukov, Zhizn’ i trudy Pogodina, 13:224
12 Barsukov, 3:59-60
13 Barsukov, 3:64
14 Barsukov, 3:61
15 Sochineniia Samarina, (Moscow, 1911), 12:378.
16 In Pre-Revolutionary Russia, this was the degree given to those successfully completing the curriculum at the theological academies, which was a four-year program after the 1869 Educational Reform.
17 Achprriest Peter Preobrazhensky, Letopisnoe povestvovanie sv. Feofana Ispovednika, (Moscow, 1912).
18 Prominent Russian poet (1783-1852) [trans.].
19 Pravoslavnoe obozrenie (1866:19), 430-442.
20 His interesting works include his dissertation, O vazhnosti bogosluzhebykh knig pravoslavnoi Tserkvi v dogmaticheskom otnoshenii [The Dogmatic Importance of the Service Books of the Orthodox Church] (Khristianskoe chtenie, 1851), O bogosluzhebnom blagochinii Zapadnoi tserkvi [The Decorum of Services in the Western Church] (St Petersburg, 1859, 207 pp.), and Osobennosti v sviashchennosluzhebnykh obriadakh i obychaiakh grecheskoi i russkoi tserkvi [Special Features in the Sacred Service Rites and Customs of the Greek and Russian Churches] (Khristianskoe chtenie, 1871).
21 A. Rodossky, Rukopisnye pamiatniki trudov po perevodu V. Zaveta prot. Pavskogo i ego uchenika prot. Sabinina, Khristianskoe chtenie, (1887:1), 749.
22 A. Rodossky, 750-752.
23 A. Rodossky, 762-766.
24 D. Obolensky, “U groba Turgeneva,” Istoricheskii vestnik, (1903, bk. 2) 942-947. Vyrubov is erroneously called Vladimir rather than Gregory. He graduated from the Imperial Alexander Lyceum in 1861, with its 25th graduating class. Cf. Pamiatnaia knizhka Litseistov (St Petersburg, 1911), 66.
25 Khristianskoe chtenie (1914 and 1915).


  • A wonderful statement of Russian Orthodox missionary history. Yes, indeed missionary work is not ‘an option’ as some would try to classify it. Father Roman (Braga) +2015 our spiritual guide and canon law specialist said, “Go you therefore and BAPTIZE ALL NATIONS” is a Christ given COMMANDMENT!”. Matthew 28:19.

    In regards to Professor Orlov and the Octoechoes and Festal Menaion he translated and was printed in hard bound books, our beloved Father George Gladky +1989, missionary father and first ROCOR assigned speaking English priest to Florida in 1962-32 , found these Orlov books for church services in English stashed and really ‘trashed’ in the basement of the New York City Cathedral, moldy, mildew and damaged, and unused. Father George managed to save a few that would then be with his missionary work and the start of bookstore at St. Vladimir Seminary and then St. Tikhon Seminary in the 1950’s and then the later Orthodox Book Center in Miami (Hialeah) Florida. … What did this mean, the work was done for translations, but IT WENT USED! basically when new waves of immigration came in and Russian and Slavonic languages were needed for the new arrivals and English fell by the wayside to care for these pressing needs.

  • I’m a bit confused. Is this one essay? It seems like snippets of encyclopedia entries that have no organic connection. There was much in it, however, that I found interesting.

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