Decree No. 362 of November 7/20, 1920, was adopted by a joint meeting of the Holy Synod and the Supreme Church Council, with Patriarch Tikhon presiding, that is, by the Supreme Eccelsiastical Authority of the Russian Church. The force of this decree was, and remains, supreme.
The holy hieromartyr Metropolitan Kyrill Smirnov of Kazan and other archbishops who opposed Metropolitan Sergius Stargorodsky considered this decree to be one of the main guarantors preserving the conciliar and Patriarchal structure of the Russian Church. The Russian Church Abroad always perceived Decree No. 362 as its canonical foundation.
The reasons for such a stance vis-à-vis this decree become considerably clearer if we examine this document in the light of to the lived experience of the Local Council of 1917-18. New publications of archival materials have enabled us to see how firmly Decree No. 362 was anchored in the resolutions of the Council.
In particular, the Decree of 1920 reflects the Council’s conception that the creation of Metropolitan districts would be a natural way for the Russian Church to develop, deriving, as it does, from the “very nature of Her canonical organization”. The prospects for which the Council made provision and which were expressed in the Decree were based on a deep belief in the free creative potential of the Church; they remain as relevant now as they were then. This translation was completed with the generous donation from The Very Rev. Priest Jovan Marjanac, The Rev. George Timidis, St. Elisabeth the Newmartyr parish in Wallasey, UK and The Rev. Deacon Sergei Baranov.
Decree No. 362 on the Conciliar Re-Organization of the Church
The primary object of the Decree (or, as it is often called for short, Ukase No. 362) was to establish canonical lines along which church life could continue under conditions of persecution.Cf.: Artemov, Nikolai, Archpriest. Postanovlenie № 362 ot 7/20 noiabria 1920 g. i zakrytie zarubezhnogo VVTsU v mae 1922 g. Istoricheskoe i kanonicheskoe znachenie // Istoriia Russkoĭ Pravoslavnoi … Continue reading
The decree foresees three main possible consequences of persecution:
1. that the Russian church might be left without a head (i.e. that the Holy Synod, Supreme Church Council, and even the Patriarch himself might not be able to operate).
Point 1: “In the event that, for whatever reasons, the Holy Synod and the Supreme Church Council cease their ecclesiastical and administrative activities, a diocesan bishop should turn to His Holiness the Patriarch, or to any person or institution indicated by the Patriarch for this purpose, in order to receive instructions relevant to their service or to resolve matters according to rules set by the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority.”
2. a break in relations between some parts of the Russian Church or others and its head. Alongside the first point (a blow to the center), this was extended to include the possibility of far-ranging de-centralization (points 2-8).
Point 2 reads: In the event that a diocese, as a result of movement of the front of a war, of changes in transnational borders, etc., ends up isolated from the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority, or if the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority itself, headed by the Patriarch, should cease its activity, a diocesan bishop should immediately take steps to establish relations with the bishops of neighboring dioceses, with the aim of organizing a supreme instance of ecclesiastical authority for several dioceses that are in a similar situation (in the form of a Temporary Supreme Ecclesiastical Governing Body or a Metropolitan district or in another form).
3. Critical disorganization of church life (tumult or chaos):
Point 9: “Should church life become critically disorganized, with certain individuals and parishes ceasing to recognize the authority of their ruling Bishop, the latter, if he is in the situation described in points 2 and 6, does not relinquish his hierarchical prerogatives, but rather forms parishes out of those individuals who have remained loyal to him, and out of those parishes, deaneries and dioceses, allowing for the fact that services may need to be celebrated in private houses and in other premises adapted to this purpose. He must also break off all ecclesiastical communion with those who are not obedient to him.”
Here we see that the Ukase of 1920 did not take “critical disorganization” to be some kind of universal chaos, but rather a specific phenomenon: a failure to acknowledge the authority of one’s lawful ruling bishop. In this instance, the Ukase not only enables, but also obliges the ruling bishop of a diocese to organize church life independently, from the parochial all the way up to the diocesan level. Moreover, a bishop is expected to enter into communion with other bishops “with the aim of organizing a supreme instance of ecclesiastical authority” for the dioceses in question. In Point 2, there is given an indication of different possible forms of government: a “Temporary Supreme Ecclesiastical Governing Body”, as well as a “metropolitan district”, or “another form”.
In other words, under particular circumstances, diocesan bishops in their respective localities are entrusted by the Ukase with resolving matters that ordinarily fall within the remit of the highest instance of ecclesiastical authority.
It is suggested that diocesan bishops should work collectively (in conciliar fashion) in their respective localities by entering into relations with one another as far as this is possible and by forming small synods. Point 3 of Decree No. 362 reads: “Responsibility for the organization of a Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority for a whole group of dioceses in the situation described in Point 2 invariably rests with the most senior-ranking Bishop within the specified group.”
The authors of Ukase No. 362 foresaw that such a situation could assume a “protracted and even permanent character”. Bishops – even individually, but if at all possible together, that is, conciliarly – are, in light of this eventuality, given rights that in ordinarily conditions are the prerogative of a Local Church Council: to partition dioceses, to invest vicar (semi-independent) bishops with full episcopal authority, and to establish new episcopal sees within all significant towns of the new church district (metropolitan district). Diocesan bishops possess these rights of establishment, in the view of the authors of the Ukase, “at the collective discretion of the other bishops of the Diocese” (Point 5B). A diocese that has been partitioned and thus had the number of its bishops supplemented, forms an “ecclesiastical district” that is endowed with all the powers required to have an independent and fully fledged church life (Point 6).
Point 7 specifies that a diocese that is left without a bishop ought to seek assistance from the next diocesan bishop closest to it, in order that he might send his vicar or himself take the reins of government of the diocese. Relatedly, it is specified in Point 8 that if no overtures are made by the vacant see, the initiative in this must be taken by a bishop – be he, as per Point 7, the “closest” or else the most readily available “in terms of ease of communication”. Thus, in one way or another, the Ukase makes it possible, “under the appropriate conditions”, to create a new “church district”.
Essentially, Decree No. 362 sanctions the transformation of the Russian Church along the lines of church districts that preserve spiritual unity among themselves, until such a time when it will again be possible for a reunified Russian Church to freely and collectively decide on the conditions of Her existence.
Of course, investing diocesan bishops with supreme authority was a radical measure. Yet in giving such measures legitimacy and a canonical basis, Decree No. 362 is in full accordance with the All-Russian Local Church Council of 1917-1918.
Looking at the acts of the Council of 1917-1918 will enable us to view Decree No. 362 not only as a response to a situation of persecution but also as a perspective for the future development of the structure of the Russian Church.
The Council of 1917-1918 and Ecclesiastical Districts
By the time of the Council of 1917-1918, a radical change in the structure of the Russian Church had already been conceived and further elaborated by the Council itself. This was the creation of “metropolitan districts”, also known as “ecclesiastical districts”. It was connected with the restoration of the Patriarchate, as well as with urgent pastoral and missionary needs of the Russian Church.
The Local Council aimed at restoring traditional canonical norms and strengthening the conciliarity of the church. The structure of “metropolitan districts” derives from canon law and comprises, among other things, a pattern of regular meetings of district councils. This structure, which was cultivated in the “pre-Constantinian era” and proved its worth throughout the era of persecution, accompanied the Church into the “Constantinian era”, as well. By the early 4th century, the Church in the Roman Empire consisted of around a hundred independent metropolitan districts. It was only gradually and due to considerations of efficacy that these districts began to be consolidated into Patriarchates. The Church in the East, and even, to a great degree, in the Medieval West, continued to be governed in a similar manner. Even though the Russian Church consisted of vast dioceses rather than districts – still, up until 1448, when Her autocephaly was declared, She was subject to the Patriarchate of Constantinople as a single metropolitan district. Returning to the canons of the Orthodox Church and Her governance was entirely consistent with the spirit of the All-Russian Council of 1917-1918.
The prerequisites for determining a new structure for the church on the basis of ecclesiastical districts were elaborated by the Pre-Conciliar Commission in 1906.
Subsequently, the Pre-Conciliar Committee of 1917 drafted a “Decree on Governance by Ecclesiastical Districts and Councils”. The Panel that prepared it was chaired by Archbishop Sergius Stargorodsky and concerned with the question of how to divide the Russian Church into ecclesiastical (metropolitan) districts.
Finally, this question was addressed at the Local Council by the Panel on Supreme Ecclesiastical Governance, led by Metropolitan Kyrill Smirnov of Tiflis, who subsequently died as a hieromartyr. At a Council session of September 5 [O.S.-ed.]/18 [N.S.], 1918, Metropolitan Kyrill noted that a whole range of decisions of the Council (including some that had already been taken) depended for their internal coherency on whether the question of “ecclesiastical districts”Implied here are: local veneration of saints, ecclesiastical courts, and the calling of future councils (cf., Deianiia Sviashchennogo Sobora Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiikoĭ Tserkvi 1917-1918 gg. Мoscow, … Continue reading was resolved positively, and presented the results of the work that had been done on it up to that point.
In his speech, Metropolitan Kyrill evaluated attempts that had been made in the 19th century to organize the Russian Church into metropolitan districts. It was emphasized that the new situation “restored conciliarity as an essential principle of church governance and perfected the hierarchical structure of the Russian Church by reinstituting the Patriarchate”. Three conclusions were drawn, which were reflected in Decree No. 362: that extraordinary measures had to be taken; that new dioceses had to be formed in order to bring bishops, clergy, and laity closer together; and that dioceses needed to be linked among themselves in a conciliar fashion. In the talk, this read as follows:
“All Orthodox people have a burning desire for bishops to be closer to their flock, and this brings the question of establishing new dioceses to the forefront of discussion.
“This circumstance, in turn, suggests perforce that ecclesiastical districts are required in order to bring dioceses together according to the conciliar principle, both between themselves and with the Local Council of the whole Russian Church.”
The Panel on Supreme Ecclesiastical Governance did not initially propose assigning “administrative and judicial significance” to the districts; it preferred to call these formations “ecclesiastical”, not “metropolitan”, districts. A number of those working on the Panel thought that Local Councils would seldom be called in the future. A financial argument was made in the course of the debate at the Council: organizing a Local Council entails massive expenditures. The Panel’s conclusion in its report amounted to saying that, if Local Councils are held only rarely, “the focus of the entire conciliar life of the Church will necessarily be transferred to district councils, which, among other things, will have to be entrusted with electing new members of supreme ecclesiastical governing bodies. According to the number of the members of these bodies, one might fix the number of districts at around twelve.” A further examination of the potential of “metropolitan districts” led to them being assigned executive and administrative functions, to them being transformed into centers of the conciliar life of the church. The Council took a final decision to assign administrative functions to metropolitan districts.
In Metropolitan Kyrill’s report, For the full text of the report, see: Arkhivnye dokumenty sviaashchennomuchenika Kirilla (Smirnova), mitropolita Kazanskogo, iz fonda mitropolita Arseniia (Stadnitskogo) 1907-1918. 13ed. Kosik, Olga, … Continue reading it is conceded that it would be most expedient to create districts “out of a rather small number of dioceses. […] The basis for joining dioceses together into ecclesiastical districts may be said to include: a) ordinary conditions of church life; b) historical considerations; c) convenience of transport and communication; d) the practicalities of culture and daily life; e) the convenience of the allocation of civic and administrative responsibilities in certain localities; f) as well as considerations linked to matters of resettlement and the movement of populations”. The draft proposal advocated setting up twenty districts (that said, the report also included an alternative proposal of division into fifteen districts). The dioceses within each district are also listed. For example, the American ecclesiastical district (No. 20) is meant to be composed of the following dioceses: those of New York, Alaska, Canada, Pennsylvania, Minneapolis, Brooklyn, and San Francisco –, to which are added administrative regions in America along ethnic lines: Albanian, Bulgarian, and Greek.
In subsequent sections of the proposal, rules such as the following are outlined: there should be “routine” yearly councils of bishops, at which all the bishops of the district are required to be present. They can invite other clergymen and laypeople to attend, but only in limited numbers. Clergymen and laypeople can be invited to “extraordinary” councils according to the rules concerning Local Church Councils, as well as if they were members of a previous Local Council. If it is agreed upon by Metropolitans who are chairs of different districts and receives the blessing of His Holiness the Patriarch, it is permissible to convene joint councils across several districts; these should be chaired by the most senior among the metropolitans. This honor should be bestowed upon the metropolitans by the Patriarch and the Holy Synod. It is also stated that the dioceses that make up the district should have a wide-ranging independence in resolving their own internal affairs. The following point in particular testifies to this: “XIV. In the event that a Metropolitan should fall ill or die, a subsequent Council is to be called by the most senior bishop (as per year of ordination) in the district.” Let it be noted that this practice derives from that of the early and medieval Church.
Dioceses must give an account of their activities to the district council. The Metropolitan then delivers his own report to the Patriarch, but only insofar as the most critical aspects of the life of the district or matters which are highly pertinent to the whole of the Russian Church are concerned (Point XI.8). That the districts are meant to be highly independent is also evidenced by the fact that any administrative review ordained by the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority must be conducted by one of the bishops from the same district which is under review, or that one of them must at least be able to take part in the review commission on behalf of the district under review and to be able to give his own independent assessment (Point XV).
When he presented his report at the session of the Council on September 5/18, 1918, Metropolitan Kyrill emphasized that, “The foundational principle in operation is the need to find a common ground for mutual unity between archpastors and their flocks.” In the same breath, Hieromartyr Kyrill brought up the situation of the Church after March 1917 as an example of the conciliar approach. At this time, “the Holy Synod suggested that archpastors should come together under the leadership of the most senior among them and share their views on the ongoing events.”cf.: Deianiia, vol. 11. pp.194-195. Cf. also: Sviashchennyĭ Sobor Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiĭskoĭ Tserkvi 1917-1918 gg. Obzor Deianiĭ. Tret’ia sessiia. Moscow, 2000. pp. 351-355.
It is worth noting that Decree No. 362 allocates this very same type of role in an even broader sense to the most senior bishop. What is more, almost all the provisions of the report and indeed almost all the ideas voiced in it are feature consequentially in the Decree, as well. The sole difference lies in that fact that the Decree does not foresee the existence of a Patriarch and All-Russian Council, and also in the fact that the accountability of self-governing dioceses and districts to the supreme Russian ecclesiastical authority is postponed indefinitely in the case of the latter.
The report was subsequently discussed heatedly. It can be assumed that this debate would follow more or less the same fundamental lines if it were to come up again nowadays.
Concerns were voiced that “separatist tendencies” might surface within individual districts, or that rivalries could arise among bishops. Different principles for setting the boundaries of districts were discussed; there were proposals to reconsider how the districts were divided up, et cetera.
The Edinovertsy [Old Ritualist/Old Believer reunionist -ed.] Bishop Simon Shleev was an ardent supporter of the proposal: “These districts must be established in order to strengthen the Patriarchate and increase the number of dioceses. It would bring the center of church life closer to the people and millions of Orthodox Christians will benefit from obtaining both good church governance, so important in warding off persecutions, and swift and fair administration of justice.”Ibid., p. 353.
In light of the proliferations of arguments both “in favor” and “against”, the Council continued the debate on the following day, September 6/19, 1918, its 169th meeting.Ibid. pp. 356-362. 157 members of the Council were present, of whom 34 were bishops. Archbishop Anastasy Gribanovsky, who would become the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in 1936, proposed postponing the passing of any new legislation until the next Council. He was supported by thirty Council members. However, in the course of the debates, doubt was cast upon the possibility of calling new Church Councils in the foreseeable future: “We do not know how great the interval will be. It is possible that the next All-Russian Church Council will be assembled only 200 years from now. One thing is very probable indeed: that it will not be a mere three years until such a Council is again convened” (this was the duration required by the Typicon of the Church).
Bishop Simon Shleev, subsequently a hieromartyr, again took an active part in these deliberations. He insisted on the holding of “small councils” and on having the All-Russian Council affirm the general notion of ecclesiastical districts. He proposed entrusting the task of determining the “number and partitioning of dioceses into districts” to the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority.
The author of the report, Metropolitan Kyrill Smirnov, also did not consent to postpone the issue. He stressed that the Panel considered the existence of ecclesiastical districts to be “an essential matter that involves the very nature of the canonical structure of the church.” Metropolitan Kyrill reiterated the evolution of the idea of districts in the history of the Russian Church and listed decrees in which “metropolitan districts” were mentioned. He declared that, unless the Council adopted the edict on “ecclesiastical districts”, all these decrees “[would] be left hanging”. Metropolitan Kyrill added his voice to the proposal to approve the report in general while “entrusting specific work on it to the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority.”
The Council chaired by Patriarch Tikhon did just this: the report was adopted. Here we have in front of us a clear conciliar decision. It is reflected in the resolution “On Ecclesiastical Districts” of September 7/20, 1918: “In view of the fact that the necessity of forming such districts was acknowledged by the Councils of 1666 and 1681-82 and the subsequent consciousness of the Church, and taking into account the current number of dioceses in the Russian Church, the Holy Council, guided by the holy sacred canons, resolves to establish ecclesiastical districts in the Russian Church, while entrusting the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority with the task of determining the number of districts and the division of dioceses among them”.Sviashchennyĭ Sobor Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiiskoi Terkvi 1917-1918 gg. Sobranie opredeleniĭ i postanovleniĭ. 4ed. Moscow, 1994. p. 14.
Thus the question of structuring the Russian Church along the lines of metropolitan districts was resolved positively by the All-Russian Church Council of 1917-1918.
From the Council to the Decree
1.The Council on “Disorder” and Church Structures
On March 20/April 2, 1918, at the 108th session of the All-Russian Council, a declaration of 87 members of the Council was read out. The declaration testifies to the fact that not long after the February Revolution, “revolutionary executive committees of clergy were formed that did recognize the authority of the canonical church. Following the April  diocesan conferences, revolutionary diocesan councils were elected in many places, and were approved and steered by Ober-procurator Lvov to commit arbitrary lawless deeds and actions. These councils have as yet not been dissolved, and, after one year of revolutionary activity, some of them have brought about an anarchical situation in some dioceses and have now become the most ardent helpers of the Bolshevik Socialists who are destroying the foundations of the Church.”Sviashchennyi Sobor Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiĭskoi Tserkvi 1917-1918 gg. Obzor Deianiĭ. Vtoraia sessiia. Moscow, 2001. pp. 481-482.
In the matter at hand, it was not only clergymen and monks who were rebelling but also abbots and even bishops. The Declaration continues: “Arrests of bishops and seizures of their homes have occurred at times through betrayals and with active participation on the part of clergymen. Deacons and readers throughout all of Russia have formed organizations in isolation from their pastors to combat the authority of the clergy. […] Seizures of chanceries, sealing and removal of divorce cases and parish registers, arbitrary dismissals of members of chanceries for the purpose of seizing total power and control over all judicial proceedings, have been committed not only with the assistance of perfidious pastors and deacons, but also entirely transparently and at the orders of commissars, by clergymen who are members of executive committees and receive significant remuneration for this activity.” In their Declaration, the 87 members of the Council expressed their fear that if definitive measures were not taken, “ecclesiastical anarchy [would] take hold in the dioceses”.Ibid., pp. 482-483
These results of the February Revolution, of which the Soviet authorities took immediate advantage after they came to power, came to be an object of intense focus for the Local Council.
The question of whether it was necessary to “condemn Bolshevism in the Church” was discussed on March 21/April 3, 1918, at the 109th session, and the next day, at the 111th session of the Council, a “Commission on Bolshevism in the Church” was elected.Ibid., p. 323
On April 6/19, 1918, the Council produced the resolution “On Measures to End Disorder in Church Life”, which was aimed against “dissidents and opponents”.Cf.: Sviashchennyi Sobor Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiĭskoi Tserkvi 1917-1918 gg. Sobranie opredeleniĭ i postanovleniĭ. Moscow, 1994. 3ed. pp. 58-60.
Here we must also mention the conciliar resolution that followed on August 30/September 12, 1918, as well, “On the Preservation of the Holy Things of the Church from Sacrilegious Confiscation and Profanation”, whose final words read: “Let it be known to all that the Orthodox Church cherishes its holy things in accordance with their inner meaning, and not according to material value, and that violence and persecutions are unable to take away her principal treasure: her holy Faith, the foundation of Her eternal triumph”.Ibid. 4ed., p. 30. An echo of this may be heard also in the “Memorandum” of the Bishops of Solovki (May 1927), who bore witness to the Church’s preparedness to meet “material hardships” and to the fact that “Her strength is to be found not in the integrity of Her outward organization, but rather in unity of faith and the love of Her loyal children”.Akty Sviateishego Tikhona, Patriarkha Moskovskogo i vseia Rusi, pozdneĭshie dokumenty i perepiska o kanonicheskom preemstve vyssheĭ tsserkovnoĭ vlasti, 1917-1943. Gubonin, Mikhail, ed. Moscow, … Continue reading
Lastly, at the final (170th) session of the Local Council, on September 7/20, 1918, information about persecution of the Church was presented that would come to form the basis of the draft proposal “On Protecting Church Property other than Sacred Objects”. The draft was submitted for consideration by the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority.Cf. Deianiia, vol. 11, pp. 229-238
The dangers threatening the Church were well known to all those taking part in the Council. This was the reason for the Council’s mandate, which was indeed carried out by Patriarch Tikhon, to compose a secret decree naming three candidates for the position of Patriarchal locum tenens.
To put it differently, as early as a few years before the infamous year of 1922, when the “campaign for the confiscation of church property” began and the “Renovationists” appeared, the Council had already dotted all the “i”s and crossed all the “t”s, not least concerning those elements within the church that were prepared to cooperate with the authorities, both in their own interests and in the interests of those in power.
If, in the very beginning of 1918, questions such as the following were aked: “Is it possible to create new entities for church governance without government approval? Does this not contribute to the separation of church and state? Will the authorities not view this as a provocation?” — there was a clear answer to them: “The Church must, first and foremost, be guided by the canons; therefore, it is both possible and indeed necessary to establish new entities for church governance in the current political climate.”Sviashchennyĭ Sobor Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiskoĭ Tserkvi 1917-1918 gg. Obzor Deianii. Vtoraia sessia, p. 51. It was not a coincidence that, on January 31/February 13, 1918, a decree of the Council Advisory Committee “On Investing the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority with the Right, in Cases of Necessity, to Introduce into Church Praxis Decisions Drafted by Panels, but not Considered by the Council due to Time Constraints”. Such transfers of decision-making powers by the Council to the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority were made more than once. According to this logic, the will of the Council was carried out in the issuing of Decree No. 362.
Under conditions of “indisputable persecution of the Church”,Sviashchennyĭ Sobor Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiĭskoĭ Tserkvi 1917-1918 gg. Sobranie opredeleniĭ i postanovleniĭ, Moscow, 1994. 3ed. p. 7. as described in the introduction to the “Bylaws for Parishes”, the Local Council took a very methodical approach to formulating the founding regulations for church structures, not only those of parishes and dioceses, but also for those in-between, for example, deaneries and groups of deaneries, together with assemblies of priests and conciliar bodies elected by them.Ibid. pp. 28-32. In chapter XIII of the “Bylaws for Parishes”, provisions are made for “Parish Unions” and other church institutions that are to be gathered together into a “General Assembly of Unions” that is to elect a “Council of Unions”.Ibid. 3ed. pp. 39-41. There is an ordinance on regional and district assemblies (the latter involving several regions under the authority of a Vicariate), whose duty is to stage preliminary discussions in the lead-up to diocesan assemblies.Ibid. pp. 43-44[/rf] A Local Council is to consider the founding of new dioceses and vicariates.[ref]Ibid. 4ed. pp. 21-22 The emergence of Decree No. 362 cannot be considered in isolation from this area of the Council’s activity.
2. After the Council: Road to the Decree
The Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority (SEA) of the Russian Orthodox Church, chaired by Patriarch Tikhon, set about carrying out the directives of the Council.The author would like to express his deep gratitude to Professor Anatoly Nikolaevitch Kashevarov (Saint Petersburg) for his efforts and support in clarifying a range of questions relating to the work … Continue reading
On the basis of the Council’s decision concerning the division of the Russian Orthodox Church into metropolitan districts and the distribution of dioceses among the same, the SEA, on November 10/23, 1919, adopted a decree “on increasing the number of Bishops and forming new semi-autonomous vicariates”.Russian State Historical Archive, Collection #381, List 1, Case 24, Folio 132. Subsequent work on carrying out the Council’s mandate was, however, among those matters which were postponed “until a more favorable season”.Ibid. Case 23. Folia 137-137v. SEA Assembly of June 21/July 4, 1919. By June 1919, the SEA had already lost contact with over half of all dioceses throughout Russia. Nevertheless, the Holy Synod and Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority continued, in a combined meeting, to hear the reports of ruling bishops on founding more vicariates and increasing the number of bishops overall. This is all the documentary evidence we have for attempts to carry out the Council’s mandate: from May 1920 onwards, the documents of the SEA are not fully represented in the archives.
Over the course of the two years between the date the Council concluded its work and the issuance of Decree No. 362, relations between the Church and Soviet authorities had been becoming ever more pointed. From 1919-1920, the Church leadership declared its neutrality in the Russian Civil War, seeking, albeit unsuccessfully, to achieve constructive relations with the Soviet authorities. The Liquidations Section of the People’s Commissariat of Justice was pursuing, in the words of the historian Anatoly Kashevarov, “a policy of driving the Orthodox Church out of all areas of life”, while by the end of 1919, the Cheka was seeking “to paralyze the work of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authorities, the Patriarch, the Holy Synod, and the Supreme Church Council, on all levels”. Patriarch Tikhon was arrested twice: in late 1918 and late 1919.Kashevarov, Anatoly, Prof. Vysshee Tserkovnoe Upravlenie v 1918-1922 gg. // Istoriia Russkoĭ Pravoslavnoĭ Tserkvi v ХХ veke (1917-1933). Materials from a conference held at Szentendre (Hungary), … Continue reading When he was under house arrest, he could not take part in the word of the SEA. During raids that included searches for incriminating materials, the Chekists confiscated documents from the SEA. The Church organized a secret transfer of documentation to Petrograd in order to preserve materials from the All-Russian Council and the SEA. Many documents were saved thanks only to this secret measure.
A second blow to the center of church administration led to new reflexions on the need for decentralization. The number of dioceses with which the supreme ecclesiastical authority could remain in contact alternated between 17 and 29 throughout various periods of the Civil War, whereas the total number of dioceses in Russia was around 67.Russian State Historical Archive. Collection 831. List 1, Case 22, folia 77-77v.; Case 24, folio 19. The threat of separation from the Supreme Ecclesiastical Governing Body in Moscow and the threat of it ceasing its work entirely often compelled bishops in the regions to govern the local church in a conciliar fashion and secretly set about resolving questions that did not ordinarily fall within their remit. It was only natural that there arose gatherings of diocesan bishops who had no connection with Moscow. These gatherings could witness the additional attendance of bishops who were cut off from their dioceses as a result of military operations. There were cases where such a phenomenon evolved into a form of temporary supreme ecclesiastical governance (that of Siberia in Tomsk, that of the South-west in Stavropol). The emergence of these local gatherings of bishops helped to bring about ecclesiastical conciliarity under the conditions of that time period. The Stavropol Council of 1919, which created the Temporary Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority, went much further in administrative terms than being merely a “gathering” of bishops. Patriarch Tikhon not only displayed a positive reaction to the calling of this Council, but subsequently approved the decisions taken by it, as well. Cf.: Makharoblidze. Eksakustodian. 20-letie Rossiĭskoi tserkovnoĭ «Konstitutsii» // Tserkovnoe obozrenie. 1940, No. 11-12, p. 10.
Patriarch Tikhon continued to hold discussions with bishops who arrived in Moscow.Kashevarov, op. cit., pp. 49-50. He showed no haste in creating a new official entity that would invariably become an object of manipulation on the part of the authorities. After he was imprisoned, he rejected a proposal to create a Supreme Ecclesiastical Governance that would include such active supporters of Soviet authority as, for example, the priest Vladimir Krasnitsky.Akty, pp. 325-326
The idea that some kind of normal church life might be resumed in the future doubtless still lived on, as did that of restoring order to the Russian Church, but external circumstances imposed limits on the extent to which this idea could be made a reality. We can cite the example of the encyclical of May 1920, which bestowed broader powers upon diocesan bishops in light of the restrictions on the work of the Holy Synod and Diocesan Councils. In Decree No. 362, there is a reference to this encyclical, which was signed, among other bishops, by two Metropolitans, Sergius Stargorodsky and Kyrill Smirnov, who later came to oppose each other on such fundamental grounds.
However, we do not yet possess any concrete information about how and by whom Decree No. 362 was composed over the course of 1920.It can be suggested the Metropolitan Kyrill Smirnov played an important role in this process. Despite being imprisoned, he was able to maintain contact with other hierarchs. (cf., Zhuravsky, Alexei. … Continue reading
Decree No. 362, of November 7/20, 1920, was adopted, with Patriarch Tikhon presiding, at a combined meeting of the Holy Synod and the Supreme Eccelsiastical Council, that is, all three instances of church authority endowed by the All-Russian Council with full powers – in other words, the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority (SEA) of the Russian Orthodox Church. It was unthinkable that another Council could be summoned in spring of 1921, as Patriarch Tikhon had been mandated to do by the Local Council of 1917-1918, but on the last day of the Council, the SEA’s powers had been set to last until the next Council.The notion that Decree No. 362 was motivated by the expiry of the SEA’s powers is incorrect. The second paragraph of the Council’s decision “On the Summoning of a Subsequent Council”, … Continue reading Reacting to the critical situation of the Church, the Local Council sought to preserve the canonical continuity of church governance, while nonetheless combining this with its fundamental aim of bringing about a complete transformation of the Church. It should be emphasized that Decree No. 362, despite its relevance to the “crisis” of the Church, maintains the spirit of the Council’s attempts to re-organize the Church from the inside. The Decree ought thus to be considered as an expression of the unity that existed between the two challenges faced by the Local Council, one of which was to respond to the challenges of the day, whereas the other was all-encompassing and structural.
3.After the Decree
The first attempt to organize an autonomous form of ecclesiastical governance with heed to the already-issued Decree No. 362 was undertaken in the Far East.
In early 1921, in Vladivostok, where the Soviet regime had not yet taken hold, people’s congresses were convened to prepare for the Zemsky Sobor of July 10/23 to July 28/August 10, 1922. A delegation from the Transbaikal Diocesan Congress in Chita arrived in Harbin to meet with Bishop Meletius Zaborovsky of Transbaikalia and Nerchinsk and raised the question of “forming a separate Metropolia to serve as a supreme entity for governing the church in the [Russian] Far East, as is indeed necessary in view of the separation between the churches there and the Moscow Patriarchate”.Bakonina, Svetlana. Vopros o Vremennom Vysshem Tserkovnom Upravlenii na Dalʹnem Vostoke v 1921 g. Proceedings of the 15th Annual Theological Conference on Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox University … Continue reading The idea of creating a Far Eastern Metropolitan Precinct on the basis of Decree No. 362 was supported not only by Bishop Meletius, but also by Archbishop Methodius Gerasimov and Bishop Nestor Anisimov, then in Harbin. But these plans were cut short by the entry of the Red Army into Vladivostok in fall of 1922.
The proposal to create a Far Eastern Metropolitan Precinct was put into effect only much later, when it was established together with other such districts constituting the Russian Church Abroad.Cf.: “Temporary Edict on the Russian Church Abroad” and the minutes of the gatherings in Sremsky Karlovtsy from October 18/31 to November 5/18, 1935, that undertook the preparations for it (cf.: … Continue reading Yet in any event, the Far East in 1921 was one of the paths whereby Decree No. 362 reached the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority of the Church Abroad in Sremsky Karlovtsy.Cf.: Artemov, Nikolai, Archpriest. Op. cit. p. 145
On September 2, 1922, a Council consisting of twelve bishops of the Church Abroad (with 16 later joining with them in writing) resolved to create a Synod of Bishops and a Council of the Russian Church Abroad, on the basis of Decree No. 362. According to the Decree (Point 2), doing the same was the “immutable duty” of these bishops in light of the actions of the [Soviet] authorities who were seeking to remove the head of the Russian Church and introduce turmoil and confusion into Her midst.
The goal of “overturning the counter-revolutionary element among the church party, who have actual control over the Church” by taking advantage of the Renovationists (“priestlings who want a change of tack”) was set by the Soviet regime in spring of 1922, in conjunction with the confiscation of church valuables.Cf.: Zapiska L. D. Trotskogo v Politbiuro TSK RKP (b) o politike po otnosheniiu k tserkvi // Arkhivy Kremlia. Politbiuro i Tыerkovʹ: 1922-1925 gg. V 2 kn. ed. by Nikolai Pokrovsky and Stanislav … Continue reading On May 5, 1922, Patriarch Tikhon was a witness at a trial of a hundred Moscow priests, of whom eleven were executed; on the same day, he himself was called to trial, though he found out about this only on May 9 when he signed a document saying he could not travel outside of Moscow. On May 19, the Patriarch was put under strict house arrest. At the same time, the Renovationists made attempts to take church administration into their own hands, but they did not manage to do so, because the Patriarch, in Decree No. 362 (Point 1), named the person who was to be in charge of governing the Church until another Council could be called: Metropolitan Agathangel (Preobrazhensky) [of Yaroslavl -ed.]. One year later, on May 3, 1923, the Renovationist “All-Russian Local Council” abolished the Patriarchate altogether, declaring that Patriarch Tikhon was “stripped of his clerical rank and of the monastic state, and returned to his original lay status”.Levitin and Shavrov. Ocherki po istorii tserkovnoi smuty 20-kh-30-kh godov ХХ veka. Kiisnacht, 1977. Pt. 2. pp. 114-115.
The Soviet authorities managed to achieve the same thing from Patriarch Tikhon with respect to his fellow bishops living abroad as they did from the Renovationists with respect to the Patriarch himself. Moreover, the authorities attempted to seize church property in foreign countries. This is attested to in the “Minutes of the Secret Meeting of the Presidium of the State Political Directorate [GPU]” that were compiled late in the night between 3 and 4 May, 1922.
“CONSIDERED: […] 2. On summoning TIKHON to the GPU in order to deliver an ultimatum to him on the question of deposing, defrocking, and excommunicating clergy who are active abroad as members of the monarchist, anti-Soviet, interventionist movement.
“RESOLVED: […] 2. To summon TIKHON and demand that he publish, within 24 hours, orders of excommunication, defrocking, and deposition of the above-mentioned clergy, as well as to demand that he issue a special letter to the Orthodox clergy living abroad asking them to hand over the valuable church property under their control to the Soviet Authorities. Should TIKHON refuse to carry out the above-mentioned demands, the same should be immediately arrested and all charges of the crimes he has committed against the Soviet Authorities in general should be read out to him.”Arkhivy Kremlia. Politbiuro i Tserkovʹ. Vol. 1, pp. 252-253. For transcripts of this case, see: Sledstvennoe delo Patriarkha Tikhona. Moscow, 2000, pp. 154-157.
Regardless of Patriarch Tikhon’s views on the political aspects of the Pan-Diaspora Council of 1921 that was convened in Sremsky Karlovtsy, he did not issue a canonical condemnation of the Russian bishops abroad as the Soviet authorities had been demanding. Subsequently, Patriarchal locum tenens Metropolitan Petr Polyansky refused even to strip the chair of the Council of Bishops of the Church Abroad, Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitsky, of the title of “Metropolitan of Kiev”, leaving such an action up to a Local Council.Hieromonk Damaskin Orlovsky. Mucheniki, ispovedniki i podvizhniki blagochestiia Russkoĭ Pravoslavnoĭ Tserkvi ХХ stoletiia. Tver’, 1996. Vol. 2, pp. 478-488. In their “Memorandum”, the bishops of Solovki devoted special attention to the question of why it was impossible to hold an ecclesiastical trial for bishops residing abroad.Akty, p. 506. Through overt use of violence, the Soviet authorities “squeezed out” Decree No. 348 of April 22/May 5, 1922, which ordered the “shutting down” of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority of the Church Abroad, out of the Church leadership.For further information about the questions addressed here, see: Artemov, Nikolai, Archpriest. Op. cit. pp. 117-119, 165-190.
And yet, despite this, even the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority in Moscow did not give the regime what it desired. In Decree No. 348, the following is said with respect to condemning the bishops abroad: “It has been determined […] that the Holy Synod, should it resume its normal operations, is to be composed of the full number of its members as indicated in the Canons.”Akty. p. 194. Further information concerning the impossibility of resuming “normal operations” led to Decree No. 362 being applied.
This was well understood abroad. As has been said, around this very time Patriarch Tikhon entrusted the task of leading the Church until the next Council to Metropolitan Agathangel (Preobrazhenskhy). In his encyclical of June 5/18, 1922, the latter called for diocesan bishops to govern their dioceses autonomously. Both of these steps were influenced by Decree No. 362 (Points 1 and 4).Point 4 reads: “In the event that it should prove impossible to establish communications with Bishops from neighboring dioceses and further all the way up to the highest instance of church … Continue reading The Decree addresses the possible emergence of “disobedient” clergy, that is, a scenario in which authority in the Church might be usurped. This is precisely what occurred in May 1922, with the emergence of the “Renovationist” SEA.
Of course, just as the overseas dioceses were not neglected at the Local Council, Decree No. 362 also does not preclude the possibility of Russian Church structures being formed abroad. The document lists “the movement of fronts in wartime and borders” among the possible reasons why this could happen, without mentioning other potential causes for a break in communications that are not dependent on geography alone. At that moment, such causes were obvious: the persecution of the Church by the God-hating regime in Russia.
Let it be noted that Patriarch Tikhon demonstrated the authoritativeness of Decree No. 362 as a conciliar legal act of the Russian Church by referring to it in his encyclical of July 2/15, 1923, which was published after his release from prison.Akty, p. 290.
Decree No. 362 on Conciliar Re-organization (cont’d). Decree No. 362 appears at first glance to concern a “worst case” scenario, to be a flexible reaction by the Church to a situation of persecution. Yet in light of the discussions and decisions of the All-Russian Church Council, a much broader vision of the reality of church life is revealed behind the Decree’s external form: namely, the idea of the conciliar re-organization of the Russian Church.
The Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority could see that it would be impossible to carry out in full the Council’s mandate to create metropolitan districts. The SEA, relying on the freedom of the Church, took a canonical decision to entrust the Church, in this same freedom, to implement the Council’s mandate in reality.
It would have been pointless to attempt to guess or prescribe the boundaries of dioceses in advance; it was up to them to determine their own boundaries under the circumstances in which they found themselves. Plenipotentiary powers were entrusted to a dispersed Council of Bishops or to smaller (local) councils.
Not only are diocesan bishops called upon to take full control themselves, but Point 2 of Decree No. 362 obliges each and every diocesan bishop to work together with the other bishops he is able to contact in order to conjoin “several dioceses that are operating under the same conditions”.
Bishops are endowed with powers which, in terms of the constitution of the Church, would need to be ratified by a Council:
“5) Should the state of affairs indicated in Points 2 and 4 assume a protracted or even permanent character, especially if a Bishop should find himself unable to profit from the cooperation of the governing bodies of his dioceses, it is more expedient (from the perspective of enforcing order in the Church) for him to divide his own diocese into several local dioceses, in relation to which the Diocesan Bishop:
a) is to entrust his Right Reverend Vicars, who in accordance with the [current] directive have semi-autonomous powers of governance, with all the rights of Diocesan Bishops, while organizing administrations under them that are suited to the local conditions and opportunities; and
b) is to establish, on the basis of conciliar deliberations with the other Bishops of the diocese, new episcopal sees in all significant towns of his diocese, with semi-autonomous or autonomous powers.
6) A diocese that has been partitioned in the manner specified in Point 5 forms an ecclesiastical district with the bishop of the main town of the diocese as its head; the latter then assumes governance of the affairs of the local church in accordance with the Canons.”
Point 7 specified what is to happen to a Diocese that is left without a bishop:
“7) If a diocese ends up in the position designated in Points 2 and 4 but lacks a Bishop, then the Diocesan Council or, if none exists, the clergy and laity are to turn to the ruling Bishop of the diocese that is nearest to them or most readily accessible in terms of ease of communication. The bishop concerned is then to send one of his vicars to administer the vacant see or else himself assumes its governance, acting according to the scenarios indicated in Point 5 while his relations with that diocese are to be dictated by Points 5 and 6. Nevertheless, under the appropriate conditions, the vacant see may be re-organized as an ecclesiastical district.
“8) If for any reason there is no summons from the vacant see, the diocesan bishop indicated in Point 7 must himself take the initiative in looking after it and its affairs.”
Thus, in either case, the Decree here guarantees the right to create a new “ecclesiastical district” “under the appropriate conditions”.
While Point 9 of the Decree focuses on the possibility of “critical disorganization of church life”, as was discussed above, Point 9 addresses the future organization of church life. This future period is referred to in the most delicate terms: “in the event that the central church administration is reconstituted”.Point 10 reads in full: “All measures taken locally in accordance with the present directives must, in the event that the central church administration is ever reconstituted, be submitted for … Continue reading (How different the phrasing “when it […] is reconstituted” would have sounded!). The words chosen by the authors of the Decree allow for the possibility that this reconstitution might not take place in the near future, or even ever. One need only remember the warning that resounded at the All-Russian Council to the effect that the next such council might not take place sooner than 200 years from then! The notion that the authors of Decree No. 362 could not have contemplated it being applied for up to eighty years is mistaken.
This is evidenced by the Decree’s wording concerning the protracted or permanent character of the new state of affairs: the Russian Church might emerge from the “worldwide conflagration” [of Communism] in an altered state.
Decree No. 362 consitutes a bold stage of development in the way of thinking that sent the Church off in new directions at the Council of 1917-1918. The Decree provided the means to bring about the kind of re-organization that the Council envisioned, in full accordance with church discipline and on the basis of the canons of Ecumenical and Local Orthodox Church Councils.
It was precisely this conciliar take on matters that was reflected in the views of the Holy New Russian Martyrs who were elected as Patriarchal locum tenentes by Patriarch Tikhon, and who effectively carried out their duties as locum tenentes. In referencing Decree No. 362 as their ecclesiastical and legal basis, they acknowledged in it a strong link with Patriarch Tikhon and the
regulations of the All-Russian Council. Implied are: the encyclical sent around Metropolitan Agathangel Preobrazhensky on June 5/18, 1922 (cf.: Akty, pp. 219-221), Metropolitan Kyrill Smirnov’s letterss (cf.: Akty, pp. 699-700, … Continue reading
Decree No. 362 was an expression of a great belief in the conciliarity and creative freedom of the Church, in Her capacity to maintain continuity and inner unity.
Decree No. 362 has more than a merely historical value. It is an example of the historical application of the integral approach that came into fruition in the Russian Church and was formulated at Her Local Council of 1917-1918.
The concept of a “metropolitan district” (“ecclesiastical district”) that can be found in Decree No. 362 follows an ancient canonical model. Metropolitan districts were thought of as fully-fledged, independent ecclesiastical entities that were built on the foundation of conciliar relations not only within themselves, but also externally. Decree No. 362 is an outgrowth of this life-affirming, integral way of thinking about the Church.
The Russian Church Abroad not only saw Decree No. 362 as the basis for its existence, but also brought this approach to bear on a practical level as it organized metropolitan districts in the 1930s and 1940s and, finally, when it pursued the policy of reunifying the Russian Church.
Nowadays, the idea of creating metropolitan districts within the Russian Church as a whole is demonstrating new prospects. A metropolitan district has been formed in Kazakhstan. In April 2003, His Holiness Patriarch Alexis II approached the Bishops representing the Russian Orthodox Church in Europe and proposed discussing the possibility of creating a metropolitan district there. The Council of Bishops of the ROCOR, which met in Munich in 2003, advised its representative, Bishop Ambrose (Cantacuzène) of Vevey, to adopt the attitude of a “well-wishing observer” with respect to such negotiations. This episode served as a further step in the process of rapprochement, which had effectively been going on since as early as October 2000.
Now, the forcible separation [between the ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate, -ed.] has come to an end. In the “Act of Canonical Communion” that was signed on May 17, 2007, mention is made of the fact that the Russian Church Abroad, “while carrying out its salvific mission in the historical circumstances of the dioceses, monasteries, brotherhoods, and other church institutions it has come to serve, is an integral, self-governing part of the Local Russian Orthodox Church”. According to the Council’s conception of metropolitan districts and the subsequent issuance of Decree No. 362 in this very spirit, She has always remained an “integral, self-governing part [of the Russian Church]” in Her historic pastoral and missionary work, and it is for this very reason that, by virtue of mutual recognition alone, She was accepted immediately and naturally together with Her Synod of Bishops as a part of the larger Council of the Moscow Patriarchate. The inaccurate view of the Russian Church Abroad as “schismatic” has gone away, as has that of the ROCOR’s attempts to return to communion with the Moscow Patriarchate as being “swallowed up” by the latter.
The essence of the reunion that occurred in May 2007 can be brought to light precisely by examining the context of the decisions of the All-Russian Council of 1917-1918 and Decree No. 362 such as it emerged from them. History has not yet transcended the perspectives outlined by the Council; on the contrary, it has only begun to engage with them. There is more at hand here than the mere official culmination of a process undergone by both sides. Both parts of the Russian Church that have now again entered into communion with each other can now take the time to contemplate on and further develop these ideas for re-organizing the Church as they were formulated in the early 20th century by the Council of a unified Russian Church.
|↵1||Cf.: Artemov, Nikolai, Archpriest. Postanovlenie № 362 ot 7/20 noiabria 1920 g. i zakrytie zarubezhnogo VVTsU v mae 1922 g. Istoricheskoe i kanonicheskoe znachenie // Istoriia Russkoĭ Pravoslavnoi Terkvi v ХХ veke (1917-1933). Materials from conference held at Szentendre (Hungary), November 13-16, 2001. Munich, 2002. pp. 93-212. For the text of Decree No. 362, see ibid. pp. 543-545.|
|↵2||Implied here are: local veneration of saints, ecclesiastical courts, and the calling of future councils (cf., Deianiia Sviashchennogo Sobora Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiikoĭ Tserkvi 1917-1918 gg. Мoscow, 2000. vol.11, p. 195).|
|↵3||For the full text of the report, see: Arkhivnye dokumenty sviaashchennomuchenika Kirilla (Smirnova), mitropolita Kazanskogo, iz fonda mitropolita Arseniia (Stadnitskogo) 1907-1918. 13ed. Kosik, Olga, Suhova, Natalia, and Tyagunova, Natalia, ed., in: Bogoslovskiĭ sbornik PSTGU. Moscow, 2005. pp. 256-264.|
|↵4||cf.: Deianiia, vol. 11. pp.194-195. Cf. also: Sviashchennyĭ Sobor Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiĭskoĭ Tserkvi 1917-1918 gg. Obzor Deianiĭ. Tret’ia sessiia. Moscow, 2000. pp. 351-355.|
|↵5||Ibid., p. 353.|
|↵6||Ibid. pp. 356-362.|
|↵7||Sviashchennyĭ Sobor Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiiskoi Terkvi 1917-1918 gg. Sobranie opredeleniĭ i postanovleniĭ. 4ed. Moscow, 1994. p. 14.|
|↵8||Sviashchennyi Sobor Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiĭskoi Tserkvi 1917-1918 gg. Obzor Deianiĭ. Vtoraia sessiia. Moscow, 2001. pp. 481-482.|
|↵9||Ibid., pp. 482-483|
|↵10||Ibid., p. 323|
|↵11||Cf.: Sviashchennyi Sobor Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiĭskoi Tserkvi 1917-1918 gg. Sobranie opredeleniĭ i postanovleniĭ. Moscow, 1994. 3ed. pp. 58-60.|
|↵12||Ibid. 4ed., p. 30.|
|↵13||Akty Sviateishego Tikhona, Patriarkha Moskovskogo i vseia Rusi, pozdneĭshie dokumenty i perepiska o kanonicheskom preemstve vyssheĭ tsserkovnoĭ vlasti, 1917-1943. Gubonin, Mikhail, ed. Moscow, 1994, p. 507.|
|↵14||Cf. Deianiia, vol. 11, pp. 229-238|
|↵15||Sviashchennyĭ Sobor Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiskoĭ Tserkvi 1917-1918 gg. Obzor Deianii. Vtoraia sessia, p. 51.|
|↵16||Sviashchennyĭ Sobor Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiĭskoĭ Tserkvi 1917-1918 gg. Sobranie opredeleniĭ i postanovleniĭ, Moscow, 1994. 3ed. p. 7.|
|↵17||Ibid. pp. 28-32.|
|↵18||Ibid. 3ed. pp. 39-41.|
|↵19||Ibid. pp. 43-44[/rf] A Local Council is to consider the founding of new dioceses and vicariates.[ref]Ibid. 4ed. pp. 21-22|
|↵20||The author would like to express his deep gratitude to Professor Anatoly Nikolaevitch Kashevarov (Saint Petersburg) for his efforts and support in clarifying a range of questions relating to the work of the SEA.|
|↵21||Russian State Historical Archive, Collection #381, List 1, Case 24, Folio 132.|
|↵22||Ibid. Case 23. Folia 137-137v. SEA Assembly of June 21/July 4, 1919.|
|↵23||Kashevarov, Anatoly, Prof. Vysshee Tserkovnoe Upravlenie v 1918-1922 gg. // Istoriia Russkoĭ Pravoslavnoĭ Tserkvi v ХХ veke (1917-1933). Materials from a conference held at Szentendre (Hungary), November 13-16, 2001. Munich, 2002. pp. 93-212.|
|↵24||Russian State Historical Archive. Collection 831. List 1, Case 22, folia 77-77v.; Case 24, folio 19.|
|↵25||Cf.: Makharoblidze. Eksakustodian. 20-letie Rossiĭskoi tserkovnoĭ «Konstitutsii» // Tserkovnoe obozrenie. 1940, No. 11-12, p. 10.|
|↵26||Kashevarov, op. cit., pp. 49-50.|
|↵27||Akty, pp. 325-326|
|↵28||It can be suggested the Metropolitan Kyrill Smirnov played an important role in this process. Despite being imprisoned, he was able to maintain contact with other hierarchs. (cf., Zhuravsky, Alexei. Vo imia pravdy i dostoinstva tserkvi. Мoscow, 2004. pp. 203-212.) In addition, one can note the development of what would become the foundation of Decree No. 362 in the work of Sergei Troitskii, one of Metropolitan Kyrill’s collaborators on the Panel on Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority at the Local Church Council of 1917-1918, who subsequently emigrated to Serbia. His book, “Division or Schism”, which was published in Paris in 1932, is devoted to describing the situation of the Church in the 1920s and 1930s. The legal power to organize a Russian Church abroad, as described by him, is founded on an examination of the canons concerning the role of metropolitan districts as the basis for the structure of the Church, with particular attention paid to Decree No. 362.|
|↵29||The notion that Decree No. 362 was motivated by the expiry of the SEA’s powers is incorrect. The second paragraph of the Council’s decision “On the Summoning of a Subsequent Council”, issued on September 7/20, 1918, reads: “2. The members of the Holy Synod and the Supreme Church Council are to retain their prerogatives until these bodies can be reconstituted by a future Council” (Sviashchennyĭ Sobor Pravoslavnoĭ Rossiiskoi Tserkvi 1917-1918 gg. Sobranie opredelenii i postanovleniĭ. Мoscow, 1994. 4th ed. p. 9).|
|↵30||Bakonina, Svetlana. Vopros o Vremennom Vysshem Tserkovnom Upravlenii na Dalʹnem Vostoke v 1921 g. Proceedings of the 15th Annual Theological Conference on Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox University of the Humanities (STOUH). Moscow, 2005, vol. 1, p. 288.|
|↵31||Cf.: “Temporary Edict on the Russian Church Abroad” and the minutes of the gatherings in Sremsky Karlovtsy from October 18/31 to November 5/18, 1935, that undertook the preparations for it (cf.: Tserkovnaia zhiznʹ, 1935, No. 11-12, pp. 164-178; Gernot Seide. Geschichte der Russischen Orthodoxen Kirche im Ausland von der Gründung bis in die Gegenwart. Wiesbaden, 1983. pp. 58-63, 439-441). On the basis of this founding document, which was adopted by the Episcopal Council of 1936, the Russian Church Abroad was administered as four Metropolitan Precincts up until 1942, when the Synod of Bishops opened a fifth one, that of Central Europe, with reference to Decree No. 362. The situation after the War forced the ROCOR to transition over to a diocesan form of governance, with a Metropolitan who was to sit at the head of its Episcopal Council.|
|↵32||Cf.: Artemov, Nikolai, Archpriest. Op. cit. p. 145|
|↵33||Cf.: Zapiska L. D. Trotskogo v Politbiuro TSK RKP (b) o politike po otnosheniiu k tserkvi // Arkhivy Kremlia. Politbiuro i Tыerkovʹ: 1922-1925 gg. V 2 kn. ed. by Nikolai Pokrovsky and Stanislav Petrov. Moscow and Novosibirsk, 1997. vol. 1. pp. 161-164.|
|↵34||Levitin and Shavrov. Ocherki po istorii tserkovnoi smuty 20-kh-30-kh godov ХХ veka. Kiisnacht, 1977. Pt. 2. pp. 114-115.|
|↵35||Arkhivy Kremlia. Politbiuro i Tserkovʹ. Vol. 1, pp. 252-253. For transcripts of this case, see: Sledstvennoe delo Patriarkha Tikhona. Moscow, 2000, pp. 154-157.|
|↵36||Hieromonk Damaskin Orlovsky. Mucheniki, ispovedniki i podvizhniki blagochestiia Russkoĭ Pravoslavnoĭ Tserkvi ХХ stoletiia. Tver’, 1996. Vol. 2, pp. 478-488.|
|↵37||Akty, p. 506.|
|↵38||For further information about the questions addressed here, see: Artemov, Nikolai, Archpriest. Op. cit. pp. 117-119, 165-190.|
|↵39||Akty. p. 194.|
|↵40||Point 4 reads: “In the event that it should prove impossible to establish communications with Bishops from neighboring dioceses and further all the way up to the highest instance of church authority, a Diocesan bishop must himself be charged with assuming the totality of the power that is bestowed upon him according to the canons of the Church, taking all necessary measures to bring about the organization of local church life, and, should it prove necessary, to organize a form of diocesan governance that is appropriate for the conditions that have come about. He is to resolve all matters canonically proper to Bishops in cooperation with the existing diocesan governing bodies (the Diocesan Assembly, Council, etc., as well as others that have been newly constituted). In the event that this is not possible, he is to form the bodies mentioned above using his own authority and under burden of personal responsibility.|
|↵41||Akty, p. 290.|
|↵42||Point 10 reads in full: “All measures taken locally in accordance with the present directives must, in the event that the central church administration is ever reconstituted, be submitted for review and approval by the latter.”|
|↵43||Implied are: the encyclical sent around Metropolitan Agathangel Preobrazhensky on June 5/18, 1922 (cf.: Akty, pp. 219-221), Metropolitan Kyrill Smirnov’s letterss (cf.: Akty, pp. 699-700, 700-701), the will of Metropolitan Joseph Petrovykh of November 25/December 8, 1926 (cf.: Akty, pp. 489-490), the encyclical of Archbishop Seraphim Samoilovich of December 16/29, 1926 (cf.: Akty. pp. 490-492), and the petition of a group of Yaroslavl bishops from January 24/February 6, 1928 (cf.: Akty, pp. 572-574). Metropolitan Joseph Petrovykh testified to the fact that Decree No. 362 had been validated by the Patriarchal locum tenens, Metropolitan Petr Polyansky. (cf.: «Ia idu tolʹko za Хristom.» Mitropolit Iosif (Petrovykh), 1930 god // Bogoslovskiĭ sbornik PSTBI, Мoscow, 2002. Vol. 9, p. 385).|
Leave a Comment