From ROCOR Studies
This Master of Theology thesis was successfully defended in at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in 2009. Here are the links to the interview with Fr. Nikolaj, and his B.Th thesis, on the Serbian Orthodox Church and the ROCOR, written in Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary. The work is published here with the authors and seminary’s permission. In this interview Fr. Nikolaj explains about the scope of his thesis.
Deacon Andrei Psarev,
June 7, 2020
This thesis is dedicated to my spiritual guide and teacher,
Metropolitan LAURUS of Blessed Memory,
the Fifth First-Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
For clarification of specifics in this thesis, it is necessary to explain some of the techniques used in the writing of this paper. First, all single dates used in this paper are recorded according to the Gregorian Calendar in order to keep a common timeline. In some cases, both the Julian and Gregorian Calendar dates are listed. Second, any quotes from a foreign language that are recorded in the footnotes are in the orthography in which they were originally written. For example, all Russian documents written in Old Russian Orthography have been transcribed in the same style. Third, all names have been transliterated into the Library of Congress standard, unless the person used or was referred to by an English equivalent, unless in an original quote, in which case the former was used. Finally, the following abbreviations have been used throughout this paper in order to make good use of space:
HCA – Higher Church Authority of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
MP – Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate
OCA – Orthodox Church in America
ROCA – Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
ROCNA – Russian Orthodox Church in North America
SOC – Serbian Orthodox Church
Since the time of Christ, the Christian Church has been infected by various schisms and divisions. This unfortunate reality of Church life is something we live with, often forgetting that we should be looking for ways of healing such divisions. Although we pray for the “unity of all” during the Great Litany, we most often forget that it is our duty as Christians to strive for unity and to facilitate its happening. Most specifically, in America, Orthodox Church unity seems to be an abstract idea that everyone speaks about, but does not put into action. This disunity was largely caused by the Russian Revolution, which not only destroyed Orthodox Russia, but financially destroyed the Russian Orthodox Church in North America (ROCNA), leaving it to be torn apart by wolves, who hoped to gain control of the weakened Church.
Not only did the Russian Revolution crush the infrastructure of the Church in North America, it also weakened the other parts of the Russian Orthodox Church. Its members were forced to flee their homes and homeland in order to preserve their lives. This eventually led to the formation of a Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA), which at least in its initial formation had the blessings of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchates, most-importantly the Russian, Constantinopolitan and Serbian. The goal of this church abroad was to unite the dioceses that were unable to be in contact with the Patriarch of Moscow and the Central Church Administration in Moscow, so that church life would continue to function in a manner becoming of the Church and that order would remain. Initially, this idea was accepted by all, and Church hierarchs worked together in order to preserve unity, but eventually, this did not last and divisions occurred, were healed, occurred again and so forth.
As a Serb who has studied in both theological schools of the OCA and ROCA, I have come across various opinions as to who is right and wrong in the division of the churches. One thing apparent is that all sides do not fully understand their history. Personal passions play a role in determining what is thought to have happened or what should have happened. Basically, all sides can be labeled as biased and misinformed. This became so much clearer to me when I began my studies at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary after Holy Trinity Seminary. As a member of a Church neutral to all sides, I was able to step back, look at the situation, and understand that both the OCA and ROCA are from the same root and have many similarities and common values. Unfortunately, it seems as if human passions and a lack of communication and openness are what divided the two churches, more so than any other council or decision. I myself had a certain opinion of St. Vladimir’s that was based on hearsay and a lack of information earlier on. Therefore, as I began my studies at St. Vladimir’s and realized the situation at hand, I determined that it was necessary to take on a project to better enlighten both Churches in hopes of being a catalyst for better inter-church relations between the OCA and ROCA.
Since the reconciliation of ROCA with the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (MP), there has been much discussion regarding the founding of ROCA, its purpose for existence, its relationship with the other Russian Churches in the past and now, as well as its relations to the former Russian Churches, which have over the last sixty-five years gained autonomous or autocephalous status. Particularly, there has been great discussion regarding the relationship of ROCA to the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), which at one time was a part of the MP and ROCA. The OCA is an autocephalous Sister-Church of the MP, whereas ROCA is a self-governing Daughter-Church of the MP, yet functions and is operated on the canonical territory of the OCA without officially recognizing the OCA. This irregular situation is explained by the fact that the OCA and ROCA have never officially “made peace” regarding the division that took place between them after World War II. But does not ROCA de facto recognize the OCA, given that its Mother-Church granted autocephaly to the OCA in 1970? Does not the Tomos of Autocephaly granted to the OCA by the MP give the OCA full canonical authority over the territory of its Church? These questions are repeatedly being asked, yet no straight answers have been given, nor have any definitive actions taken place. ROCA has even created a commission to study the question of the relationship between the OCA and ROCA, but nothing yet has been made official. [From the Editor: See Relations between the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia Joint Statement of the Commissions of the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia October 5-6, 2010]
Therefore, in order to understand what the situation is and how it came to such a state, it is imperative for the history of the foundations of ROCA to be examined and the original relationship of ROCNA to ROCA to be looked at more closely. Specifically, the canonical formation taken on by ROCA in its early years must be sought out and explained, as well as the interaction of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) in its encouragement of church life and unity for the Russian refugees during the 1920’s and 1930’s, since the center of ROCA’s life functioned in Serbia. Even more so, it is necessary to understand the position of the MP towards ROCNA and ROCA, since the MP is the starting point for all the issues being discussed. By having completed such a task, the reasons for unity and division between ROCA and the OCA will be more easily understood.
The goal of this work is to identify the foundation of relations between the OCA and ROCA, based on the rights that were granted to both churches by the MP and the other Eastern Orthodox Patriarchates and accepted by themselves in order to understand the origins of problems in relations between both churches and to help educate the members of both the OCA and ROCA in their own history regarding what really happened in the division between them, beginning with the foundation of ROCA in 1920, and ending with the arrival of the central church administration of ROCA to the United States in 1950. I hope and pray that this undertaking will lead to a beginning of wider eucharistic unity and mutual understanding between the two Churches of one common root.
Chapter 1. The Russian Orthodox Church in North America Until 1920
Since 1794, the Orthodox Church has valiantly undertaken her mission of preaching Orthodoxy in America. Although its beginnings were firm, external problems created serious consequences for church order, not only in North America, but also in all the Russian dioceses throughout the world after the Russian Revolution. In order to maintain order within the Russian dioceses that found themselves outside the borders of Russia and alienated from the church authorities in Moscow, these dioceses were to unite according to a decree of the Russian Church in Russia and remain as closely integrated as possible. As different situations arose and understandings changed, the administrative unity of these church bodies outside of Russia became an ideal, but not always a reality.
The first Orthodox missionaries arrived from Russia in Alaska in 1794 and were followed by a flow of missionaries throughout the next century, translating parts of the Bible and catechism into the local languages. They built churches and schools, reshaping the landscape of the formerly pagan land. By 1840, the Aleutian Islands had become an official hierarchical see of the Russian Orthodox Church, and in 1872 it was moved to San Francisco. The diocese was comprised of not only Russians and converts, but also Serbs, Greeks and Arabs. The diocese significantly grew in 1891, when a large group of Greek Catholic Uniates united itself with the Orthodox Church. This Uniate conversion continued to occur until the Russian Revolution of 1917, raising the number of faithful in the Russian diocese in North America, with over 100,000 conversions to Orthodoxy. 1 With the arrival of Bishop Tikhon (Bellavin) 2 in 1898, the Russian-American diocese began to prosper even more. The influx of immigrants began to increase; for this reason, dioceses of ethnic character were opened so that bishops of specific ethnicities could tend to the flock of their corresponding ethnicities, while still under the jurisdiction of the Russian-American diocese. 3
In 1916, Archbishop Evdokim (Meshchersky) of the American Mission reported to the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, that “very soon the American Mission may become a very large Local Church.” 4 He continued by explaining that the Holy Synod does not fully understand the laws in North America, and therefore, it is necessary for the church in America to become an exarchate with as much self-governance as possible — some type of autocephaly. He believed this was especially necessary because communication with the Holy Synod was not strong. He would often not receive responses to his requests. 5 When Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicated from the Imperial throne on March 2, 1917, the financial support of the American diocese almost immediately began to suffer. In August of 1917, the All-Russian Council was opened in Moscow, at which three delegates represented the Diocese of North America: Archbishop Evdokim (Meshchersky) of the Aleutians and North America, Archpriest Leonid Turkevich, and Archpriest Alexander Kukelevsky. 6 Before leaving for the Council, Archbishop Evdokim appointed Bishop Alexander (Nemolovsky) of Canada as an administrator of the diocese during his absence. 7 Unfortunately, the diocese was in a financial crisis at that time, already $100,000 in debt. The diocese was expanding rapidly, but there was not enough financial support given from Russia, not only after funds stopped coming from Russia, but even before the abdication. In October of 1917, while the council was still in session, the Russian Revolution began, which resulted in the overthrowing of the government and, soon after, the persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church by a new atheist government. 8 Within days, at the beginning of November of 1917, the All-Russian Council decided to reinstate the office of the Patriarch in the Russian Church, after a period of almost 200 years without one. 9 Metropolitan Tikhon (Bellavin) of Moscow, the former head of ROCNA from 1898-1907, was elected Patriarch. 10 From thence, a three-fold church authority of the Russian Church was established, comprised of the Patriarch, Holy Synod and Higher Church Council. 11
At the same time, the All-Russian Council was taking place in Russia and the Russian Revolution was in its beginning stages, the Living Church movement of modernist priests from the North American Mission began to promulgate their ideas in the diocese, causing both spiritual and legal disarray in regard to changes within established church life and properties respectively. 12 The movement, active both in Russia and in North America, had proposed reforms to church life and customs, such as the right of bishops to be married, widowed priests to marry a second time, the use of the Russian vernacular in church services, and decentralization of Church authority from the hierarchy, making it more of a “people’s church.” Their intentions were to appoint a new bishop as primate of an anti-monarchical American Church called the “Federation of Laity and Clergy of the Russian National Orthodox Church.” With Archbishop Evdokim in Russia, the Living Church leader, Priest John Kedrovsky, was able to encourage the movement, which caused disarray in the American diocese. 13 This group wanted to have a church which was “not under royal regimes and decrees.” 14 In response to the actions of the Living Church movement, Bishop Alexander called a meeting of clergy of the diocese in January of 1918, which resolved:
“…to find the source from which clearly false information about the Diocese was originating; that if the persons participating in such activities are within the Mission, the diocesan administration will be asked to dismiss them without delay; to censure those who clearly sympathize with and are friendly toward those who are presently harming the Mission; to express full confidence, love and support to the Ruling Bishop Alexander in his activities.” 15
The clergy of ROCNA met again in September of 1918, condemning the group of rebels. 16 With the institution of the Living Church, the Bolsheviks were able to break up the Russian Orthodox Church as a legal organization and control the church as they wanted it, under the name of the Living Church. The Bolsheviks attacked the Church, not only by trying to discredit it and encourage atheism, but by murdering eighty percent of the bishops, 12,000 clergy, and millions of people. Almost all of the 54,000 churches were closed or destroyed, as well as all monasteries and seminaries. 17
Archbishop Evdokim, who was in Russia for the Council, left the canonical church for the Living Church movement. 18 The Living Church movement gained strength, and along with church services, socialism was being propagated in the Russian communities. 19 For this reason and because of the increasing financial crisis which was forcing Bishop Alexander to mortgage churches, it was decided to convene the Second All-American Sobor in Cleveland, which began on February 12, 1919. According to the decrees of the All-Russian Council, all dioceses would elect their own bishop. Based on this, the Second All-American Sobor elected Bishop Alexander of Canada as head of ROCNA. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church approved the election of Bishop Alexander as the Archbishop of North America on May 7, 1920. 20 However, it is recorded in the acts of Patriarch Tikhon that Bishop Alexander’s promotion to Archbishop was confirmed only in November of 1921 by Patriarch Tikhon. 21 By the time of the Sobor, the debt of ROCNA had exceeded $200,000, so it was necessary to take measures in order to lower the debt. As a result, it was decided to tax each parish and parish priest 5% and 2% respectively. Unfortunately, time showed that this was not being followed by all, and the financial situation was worsening. 22
Another issue discussed regarded the formerly Uniate Ukrainians in Canada, who aspired to have the church there called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as a condition for them to enter ROCNA. The Sobor decided to do so in order for them to become a part of the Orthodox Church. The Sobor also decided to elect an Albanian bishop and a Serbian bishop for their missions in North America, provided their church councils would elect them as well. The two elected were Archimandrite Theophan (Noli) for the Albanians and Archimandrite Mardarije (Uskokovich) for the Serbs. 23
As a result of the Revolution and the changes it caused throughout the Russian Orthodox Church, ROCNA was in shambles — decimated debt, administrative chaos, and anti-canonical acts, all rolled into one. The church needed direction and a guiding hand in order to pull out of the depths of despair, which is what would lead to administrative changes in the North American Church.
Chapter 2. The Establishment of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Russia’s Civil War began. The Russian White Army in opposition to the communist takeover defended itself against the Soviet Red Army. The White Army was in the Caucasus, and its leader, General Peter Nikolaevich Vrangel, invited Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) — at that time on Mount Athos — to administer to the church needs of the White Army forces. Metropolitan Anthony, as the senior bishop outside the territory of Soviet Russia, accepted this invitation and came to the Crimea, attesting to the fact that at least some, if not all the bishops of the legitimate Russian Orthodox Church gave their support to the White Army. This was due to the fact that the White Army was fighting against the atheistic Soviet powers. 24 Since the Russian Revolution had cut off the bishops of southern Russia from the church authorities in Moscow, the bishops were forced to establish a Higher Church Authority of the Russian Church (HCA) for the operation of church life, convening for the first time on a steamship as the bishops and people were on their way to Constantinople. 25 This can be seen as the foundation of the future ROCA.
The ship left from Sevastopol. About 150,000 people on many boats also departed, making their way to Constantinople. Metropolitan Anthony and the Russian clergy went with the White Army, the clergy sharing in the life of the people in every aspect, with a common goal of protecting Russia from the atheist Soviet forces. 26
Metropolitan Anthony left with the flock, invoking in support of his actions Canon 39 of the Fifth-Sixth Ecumenical Council, as he interpreted it. 27 The canon reads:
“Seeing that our brother and fellow minister John the president of the island of the Cyprians has departed thence with his laity and has come to the eparchy of the Hellespont, both because of barbarian assaults and because they have been freed from heathen slavery and have become subject to the ruling powers of the most Christian empire, by the providence of the philanthropic (or man-loving) God, and by the hard work of our Christ-loving and pious emperor, we see fit to concur in decreeing that the privileges conferred upon and granted to the throne of the man aforesaid by the God-bearing Fathers who convened in Ephesus long ago shall be preserved without any innovations, so that the new Justinianopolis shall have the right of Constantinople, and the most God-beloved Bishop appointed over it shall preside over all those in the eparchy of the Hellespontians and be ordained by his own bishops, in accordance with the ancient custom. For our God-bearing Fathers have already decided that the customs obtaining in each Church are to be continued, the Bishop of the city of Cyzicenians being subject to the president of the said Justinianopolis, in imitation of the rest of all the Bishops who are under the said most God-beloved president John, by whom, if the need arises, the Bishop of the same city of the Cyzicenians shall be ordained.” 28
This canon refers to a specific historical event when the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II resettled Archbishop John of the Autocephalous Church of Cyprus and much of his flock from their diocese. Justinian II resettled them to the Hellespont because it was underpopulated and Cypress was being attacked by Arab Muslims. He left with his flock and clergy to the Diocese of the Hellespont, which was a part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Because of his rights as the head of an autocephalous church, Archbishop John was not only given all honors due to him, but was also granted rule over the Diocese of the Hellespont, which was within the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The local metropolitan submitted to Archbishop John, even to the point that if a new bishop of the Diocese of the Hellespont was needed, that the Synod of Archbishop John of Cyprus would enthrone its own candidate as bishop of Cyzicus, i.e. the Diocese of the Hellespont. 29 This specific canon has two parts to it. The first part gives the bishop that is forced to leave his diocese due to barbaric attacks the right to continue to rule his flock on the canonical territory of another church. The second part of the canon upholds administrative church unity, the church of lower status submitting to the church of higher status, even if the church with the lower status is the host diocese.
Those present at the meeting on the steamship were Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev and Galicia, Metropolitan Platon (Rozhdestvensky) of Kherson and Odessa, Archbishop Theophan (Bystrov) of Poltava and Pereyaslavl’, Bishop Veniamin (Fedchenkoff) of the Navy, and Archpriest Georgii Spasskii. 30 At the meeting of the HCA, the members resolved the following:
“In view of the concentration of an enormous amount of refugees in various countries and parts of the world who are not in contact with Soviet Russia, neither able to be administrated by the Higher Church Authority with His Holiness the Patriarch, and also as a result of the necessity of the care for the Russian Army having left the Crimea, [resolved]—
a) for the power of the Higher Church Authority to continue with the serving to the refugees and Army in all areas of church life in all states, which are not in contact with His Holiness the Patriarch;
b) that the place chosen for the authority’s operation is the city Constantinople, as the best central point; …
d) to make His Holiness, TIKHON, the Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia, aware of all possible paths for these decisions, as well as all church centers, that are subject to the care of the Russian Church Administration in Constantinople… 31
These several points having been established, it was determined that the HCA would exist in Constantinople with the blessing of the Patriarch of Constantinople, to spiritually feed the Russian flock, and that the canonical situation of the HCA would have to be decided by the Patriarch of Constantinople. It was also determined who would be a part of the HCA. 32 For this reason, Metropolitan Anthony made sure to receive clearance from all the Local Orthodox Churches that had canonical territory over an area where any Russian parish was, in order to allow a parish to exist there. 33 At the second meeting on November 22, 1920, Archbishop Anastasy (Gribanovskii) of Kishinev and Khotin was added to the HCA, and at the third meeting of the HCA it was resolved to contact the Patriarchate of Constantinople for an official decision on the canonical status of the HCA. The Patriarchate of Constantinople presented Metropolitan Anthony with the following statement: “Under your guidance the Patriarchate authorizes every undertaking, for the Patriarchate knows that Your Eminence will not commit any uncanonical act.” 34 On December 22, 1920, the Patriarchate of Constantinople presented the Russian Hierarchs the following gramota (№ 9084): “To the Russian Hierarchs has been vested the authority over the Russian Orthodox refugees, in order to fulfill all the needs of Church and religion for the comfort and reassurance of the Russian Orthodox refugees.” 35 This was, therefore, the official establishment and ratification of a church authority outside the borders of Russia.
On November 20, 1920, as the situation with the Bolsheviks in Russia worsened, the persecution of the Church and its faithful flared, and the immediate fate of the Russian Orthodox Church became unknown, the three-fold administrative leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church, led by Patriarch Tikhon with the Holy Synod, and the Higher Ecclesiastical Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, issued Decree № 362, in which was stated how church administration was to be undertaken in the event of a breach of contact with the central church administration in Moscow. 36 This document coincides with the actions of the HCA, giving rights to the bishops not in contact with the church authorities in Moscow. In part, the document states:
“With the blessing of His Holiness the Patriarch [Tikhon], the Holy Synod and the Supreme Ecclesiastical Council united together, have deliberated concerning the necessity, supplementary to the instructions already given in the encyclical letter of His Holiness the Patriarch in case of the cessation of the activity of the diocesan councils, of giving to the Diocesan Bishops just such instructions in the event of the severance of relations between the diocese and the Supreme Church Administration, or the cessation of the activity of the latter and, on the basis of past decisions, we have resolved: By an encyclical letter in the name of His Holiness to give the following instructions to the diocesan bishops for their guidance in necessary cases:
1) In the event that the Holy Synod and the Supreme Ecclesiastical Council for any reason whatever terminate their ecclesiastical administrative activity, the Diocesan Bishop, for instructions in directing his ministry and for the resolution of cases in accordance with rules which go back to the Supreme Church Administration, turns directly to His Holiness the Patriarch or to that person or institution indicated by His Holiness the Patriarch.
2) In the event, a diocese, in consequence of the movement of the war front, changes of state borders, etc., finds itself completely out of contact with the Supreme Church Administration, or if the Supreme Church Administration itself, headed by His Holiness the Patriarch, for any reason whatsoever ceases its activity, the Diocesan Bishop immediately enters into relations with the bishops of neighboring dioceses for the purpose of organizing a higher instance of ecclesiastical authority for several dioceses in similar conditions (in the form either of a temporary Supreme Church administration or a Metropolitan district or other).
3) Responsibility for the organization of a Supreme Church Authority as the objective of an entire group of dioceses which find themselves in the position indicated in paragraph 2, is the mandatory obligation of the senior bishops of such a group.
4) In the case of the impossibility of establishing relations with bishops of neighboring dioceses, and until the organization of a higher instance of ecclesiastical authority, the Diocesan Bishop takes upon himself all the fullness of authority granted him by the canons of the Church, taking all measures for the ordering of Church life and, if it appears necessary, for the organization of the diocesan administration, in conformity with the conditions which have arisen, deciding all cases granted by the canons to Episcopal authority, with the cooperation of existing organs of diocesan administration (the diocesan assembly, the diocesan council, et al, or those that are newly organized); in case of the impossibility of constituting the above-indicated institutions, he is under his own recognizance.
5) In case the state of affairs indicated in paragraphs 2 and 4 takes on a protracted or even a permanent character, in particular with the impossibility for the bishop to benefit from the cooperation of the organs of the diocesan administration, by the most expedient means (in the sense of the establishment of ecclesiastical order) it is left to him to divide the diocese into several local dioceses, for which the diocesan bishop:
a) grants his right reverend vicar bishops, who now, in accordance with the Instruction, enjoy the rights of semi-independent bishops, all the rights of diocesan bishops, with the organization by them of administration in conformity to local conditions and resources;
b) institutes, by conciliar decision with the rest of the bishops of the diocese, as far as possible in all major cities of his own diocese, new episcopal Sees with the rights of semi-independent or independent bishops.
6) A diocese divided in the manner specified in paragraph 5 forms an ecclesiastical district headed by the bishop of the principle diocesan city, which commences the administration of local ecclesiastical affairs in accordance with the canons.
7) If, in the situation indicated in paragraphs 2 and 4, there is found a diocese lacking a bishop, then the Diocesan Council or, in its absence, the clergy and laity, turns to the diocesan bishop of the diocese nearest or most accessible to regards convenience or relations, and the aforesaid bishop either dispatches his vicar bishop to administer the widowed (i.e. vacant) diocese or undertakes its administration himself, acting in the cases indicated in paragraph 5 and in relation to that diocese in accordance with paragraphs 5 and 6, under which, given the corresponding facts, the widowed diocese can be organized into a special ecclesiastical district.
8) If for whatever reason an invitation from a widowed diocese is not forthcoming, the diocesan bishop indicated in paragraph 7 undertakes the care of its affairs on his own initiative.
9) In case of the extreme disorganization of ecclesiastical life, when certain persons and parishes cease to recognize the authority of the diocesan bishop, the latter, finding himself in the position indicated in paragraphs 2 and 6, does not relinquish his episcopal powers, but forms deaneries and a diocese; he permits, where necessary, that the divine services be celebrated even in private homes and other places suited therefore, and severs ecclesiastical communion with the disobedient.
10) All measures taken in places in accordance with the present instruction, afterwards, in the event of the restoration of the central ecclesiastical authority, must be subject to the confirmation of the latter.” 37
It is important to take a close look at this decree, in that it applies to more than one circumstance. Although it does approve the actions of the HCA and gives the bishops outside of Russia, by consequence of the war, the right to administer to the affairs of the flock of the Russian Church which finds itself outside the borders of Russia, it seems that the decree applies even more so to the specific situation listed in paragraph 2, that is, to dioceses finding themselves outside the borders of Russia, such as Poland. The decree does not specifically speak of bishops without dioceses, but rather about dioceses and their bishops that find themselves out of contact with the central church authority in Moscow. It also affects Japan, China, Finland, Estonia, etc., but does not specifically speak of the situation of moving a diocese, such as covered in Canon 39 of the Fifth-Sixth Council.
It was not long after the HCA arrived in Constantinople that it prepared for its next move. Upon receiving an invitation from the Serbian Church and Prince Alexander of Serbia for Metropolitan Anthony to come to Serbia which he had accepted, the HCA began questioning whether or not this was the correct move for itself. 38 By the end of April of 1921, the HCA had made its decision to move to Serbia, where it would operate from Sremski Karlovtsy under the protection of the Serbian Church. It moved to Serbia to be amongst Metropolitan Anthony, many of the Russian bishops, the Russian White Army Generals, and many people of the Russian intelligentsia. 39
The HCA was very grateful for the hospitality of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. However, it is evident that the Greeks understood their hospitality to mean accepting the HCA into the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, while the HCA soon neglected that issue when they decided to move to Serbia, not requesting approval for the move. While still in Constantinople, the HCA acted with the blessing of the Patriarchate. For example, in the archives of ROCA in New York, there is a protocol about the tonsuring of a reader in one of the Russian churches in Constantinople. The HCA blessed the tonsuring, yet first asked for the permission of the Patriarchate. 40 Also, the HCA confirmed all divorces only with the permission and advice of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. 41 However, when the HCA left Constantinople, it did not seek the advice of the Patriarchate, but rather decided to simply inform the Patriarchate of the planned move to Yugoslavia. 42 The basis for these later actions is justified by the writings of Sergei Viktorovich Troitskii 43 who wrote that no church can be in submission to two church bodies at one time. 44 He writes, “Since the Church of Constantinople and the Church of Russia are two different bodies, which are in an administrative relationship self-ruling bodies, Orthodox Canon Law does not allow dependence on two Churches.” 45 However, it must be mentioned that Troitskii wrote about this matter in 1939, almost twenty years after the fact, which may not give the best interpretation of what Patriarch Dimitrije thought in 1921.
Upon arrival, Patriarch Dimitrije of Serbia together with Prince Alexander welcomed the Russian bishops to Serbia. 46 On August 31, 1921, the Serbian Orthodox Church held a council. At this meeting, the Hierarchs discussed the status of the Russian Church in exile 47 and the existence of the Russian Church was given the blessing to exist in Yugoslavia. The act (№ 31) stated:
“P.E. [Preosveshteni Episkop – The Very Most Reverend, Bishop] Jefrem, Bishop of Zhicha as the reporter, reports about the request of V.M. [Visokopreosveshteni Mitropolit – The Very Most Reverend, Metropolitan] Antonii, and he himself wishing that the Russian Church be helped as much as possible, finds that the request as a whole could not be accepted, but he reads a suggestion of the 4th section/minutes of its session from the 29th of this month which says:
The Holy Hierarchal Synod, having considered the proposals of V.M. [Visokopreosveshteni Mitropolit – The Very Most Reverend, Metropolitan] of Kiev and Galitsia, Lord Antonii, and of the Russian Archimandrite Kirill, states his readiness to care for the exiled Russian people and their spiritual needs from now on, as it has been done until this time. The Holy Hierarchical Synod will from now on, as until now, go out of its way to help the exiled Hierarchs, Deacons and Priests, and according to need and its abilities, it will receive them into the Serbian Church Service.
The Holy Hierarchal Synod is willing to receive under its protection the Higher Russian Church Administration, under whose dominion the following things would belong:
- Jurisdiction over Russian clergy outside of our country and that Russian clergy within our country which is not in parochial or state-educational service, as well as over military clergy of the Russian army which is not in the Serbian Church service;
- Divorce proceedings of Russian refugees.
After the speeches of V.M.G. [Visokopreosveshteni Mitropoliti Gospodina – The Very Most Reverend, Metropolitan Lords] Gavrilo and Varnava, and P.E. [Preosveshteni Episkop – The Very Most Reverend, Bishop] Nikolaj [Velimirovich], the suggestion of the 4th section, concerning the administration of Russian refugees, was approved unanimously.” 48
According to Troitskii in 1939, this act of the SOC is the foundation of all the actions of the Russian Church in Yugoslavia. 49 Later, on December 6, 1927, another council of the SOC declared the following: “According to the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church, when an Orthodox episcopate along with its flock endures persecution and is forced into exile onto the territory of another Church it has the right to have an independent organization and administration; in accordance with this, such a right must be recognized by the Russian Church hierarchy on the territory of the Serbian Church, naturally under the protection and supervision of the Serbian Church.” 50 Therefore, it was at this Council of Bishops of the SOC held on August 31, 1921, that the status of the HCA was examined and given a blessing to exist under the protection of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the SOC, accepting the clergy within the canonical territory of the SOC into its own jurisdiction, and allowing the HCA to have jurisdiction only over the Russian clergy outside of Yugoslavia, as well as Russian clergy in the military service within the borders of Yugoslavia. They were also given a right to divorce proceedings of the Russian refugees. It is in this same document that the Russian bishops, clergy, and people outside of Russia are first referred to as “the Russian Church in Exile,” i.e., the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. 51 Divorce proceedings for the Russian refugees are most likely included in the work of the HCA for language reasons. It was simpler for the Russian hierarchs to handle this affair, rather than to have Serbs take care of it and need translators. In the official organ of ROCA, Tserkovnyia Vedomosti, divorce proceedings were among the main church reports, and there were many of them.
The invoking of the 39th Canon of the Fifth-Sixth Council by Metropolitan Anthony and the SOC must be understood as an interpretation specifically based on the first half of the canon, which approves the moving of a bishop into another diocese due to barbarian attack. The second half, as mentioned earlier, refers to church administration, which does not seem to be completely followed in this case, since ROCA was not in complete submission to the SOC, nor were its dioceses outside the borders of the SOC which found themselves as part of ROCA. The point of the canon is to regularize order in regard to refugee bishops and refugees, thus keeping one church administration. By using the first half of the canon, a dual-administration is possible, but when taking the whole canon into context, it seems difficult to base the functioning of ROCA on the basis of this canon. It may be more correct to base the actions of ROCA partially on the canon, but interpret it only has having legitimacy based on the hospitality of the SOC. Bishop Atanasije (Jevtic) of the SOC points out in his book, The Holy Canons of the Church, that “…this canon served the Serbian Church as a canonical precedent, to allow the refugee episcopate of the Russian Church after the Bolshevik Revolution to form a self-governing canonical organization on the territory of [its] Patriarchate, and not one of the Orthodox Churches bothered the Serbian Orthodox Church about this.” 52 This may seem as an overstatement, given the attempts of other Orthodox Churches to discredit ROCA, especially after it left Serbia in the 1940’s; however, the canonical support given by the SOC to ROCA has served as a foundation for their relations since the 1920’s.
It was in April of 1921 that Metropolitan Platon (Rozhdestvensky) of Kherson and Odessa, the former Archbishop of the Aleutians and North America, an evacuee from Crimea and an original participant in the HCA, was sent to America by the HCA with the goal of correcting the problems the North American diocese was experiencing in regard to the threat the Living Church posed upon it, as well as its severe financial crisis. 53 He came to assist Archbishop Alexander (Nemolovsky), who was unable to change the situation by himself. It was with hopes that Metropolitan Platon could resolve the problems in the diocese with his great experience.
Not long after the HCA sent Metropolitan Platon to North America in order to help Archbishop Alexander did the HCA undertake another action for ROCNA. Church Life (Церковная жизнь), the official organ of ROCA from the 1930’s onward, reported on this in 1934: “In the Summer of 1921, Metropolitan Evlogy received a letter from Patriarch Tikhon in which the desire for a worthy bishop to be found abroad for Alaska was expressed. Metropolitan Evlogy informed the Higher Church Authority about it, which assigned Archimandrite Antonii [Dashkevich] to the cathedra [or diocese] of Bishop of the Aleutians.” 54 Bishop Anthony (Dashkevich) of the Aleutian Islands was consecrated on December 11, 1921 by Patriarch Dimitrije, Metropolitan Anthony and Bishop Maksimilian (SOC). 55 This shows the HCA’s direct involvement in the life of ROCNA. It seems as if the HCA, along with Metropolitans Anthony and Platon, understood Decree № 362 as giving it the right to oversee ROCNA, since it was cut off from Moscow and all dioceses were instructed to unite administratively if communication with the central church authority was broken. This is first seen when Metropolitan Platon is sent to North America to help with the crisis there. Next, it is seen with the appointing and consecrating of Bishop Antonii (Dashkevich) by request of Patriarch Tikhon. These acts naturally make the appearance that the HCA was the highest administrative authority of ROCNA, since the HCA was making decrees relevant to major issues of ROCNA, which were usually carried out by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church or by the Patriarch himself.
On September 23, 1921, the HCA met in Sremski Karlovtsy for one of its general meetings. At the meeting, the decision of the Serbian Church in the name of Patriarch Dimitrije was accepted with the following decision, stating: “The meaningful statement of His Holiness, the Patriarch of Serbia is to be put into consideration and use.” 56
At its next meeting on January 17, 1922, the HCA read the statement of the SOC about the opening of a diocese in North America. This statement of Patriarch Dimitrije was received on January 2, 1922. The HCA accepted the statement and applied the following act: “The decision of the Serbian Church Powers opening a diocese in North America is received into consideration, Archbishop Aleksandr (Nemolovskii) and Bishop Antonii (Dashkevich) of the Aleutians and Alaska are to be notified, and His Holiness the Patriarch of All-Russia is to be informed of it at the first opportunity.” 57 This is an interesting point, in that the HCA takes responsibility in allowing the SOC to open a diocese in North America, i.e. on the territory of ROCNA. The question that comes up is whether or not the HCA had the right to allow such an action. Based on the other aforementioned actions in ROCNA by the HCA, this seems as if it is also under the auspices of the HCA. It should be mentioned that the opening of a Serbian diocese in America was already being planned in 1917, when the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church sent Hieromonk Mardarije (Uskokovich) to America to head a Serbian mission. By 1919, at the Second All-American Sobor, Fr. Mardarije was nominated to be made Bishop of Chicago per the agreement of the Serbian clergy in North America. However, the Serbian clergy did not want the Russian Sobor to nominate its own bishop. Due to the turmoil in the Russian Orthodox Church following the Revolution, the SOC sent Bishop Nikolaj (Velimirovich) to North America in January of 1921 to inspect the situation there. After the report of Bishop Nikolaj, the SOC decided to have its own diocese, and therefore acted through the HCA, which was considered the central authority of the Russian Orthodox Church outside the borders of Russia and functioned from Serbia. 58
On July 30, 1921, the HCA expressed to Patriarch Dimitrije its desire to hold an assembly in the following letter: “The Higher Russian Church Authority abroad, conscious of the benefit and necessity of similar preliminary meetings in different countries, appeal in this way to Your Holiness with the request that You permit a Russian Church assembly and that it be in Serbia, and that You would give Your prayerful archpastoral and graceful blessing on this undertaking, and in the same manner would send Your own representatives to this Assembly.” 59
Patriarch Dimitrije gave his blessing and the Russian Church held its first All-Diaspora Council, which lasted from November 21, of 1921 until December 3, 1921. 60 There were officially 155 participants at the Council. 61 Patriarch Dimitrije was given the title of honorary president of the Council. All the Serbian bishops were invited to the council, yet only three including the Patriarch were present. The other two were Metropolitan Ilarion of Tuzla and Bishop Maksimilian of Sremska Mitrovitsa. 62 Eight other Serbian bishops sent their greetings. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church was also represented for one day of the proceedings by Metropolitan Stefan of Sofia. 63 Priest Georg Seide writes in his manuscript The History of the Russian Church Abroad the following about the council:
“Originally, the Council was convened as a “ecclesiastical assembly” for the Russian emigration. The assembly did not at first claim to be a Council. The Resolution of July 64 spoke definitively of a “convocation of an ecclesiastical assembly abroad.” The participants, who included Archbishop Evlogy, spoke as much of a “religious assembly” as of a “Council.” The Serbian Patriarch Dimitry and King Alexander called the assembly a “Council” in their messages of greeting. A group of participants moved that the assembly be considered a “Council”; this motion was passed.” 65
Raising the name of the assembly to “Council” gave it more importance by expressing its meaning and conciliarity, not only in the eyes of the Serbs, but also in the eyes of other Orthodox Churches that respected the Russian struggle, Metropolitan Anthony, and the other Russian bishops abroad. The council became the main legislative body of ROCA, which was a necessary step after the evacuation from the Crimea and the loss of close contact with the Mother-Church.
Only a few months after the council on April 28, 1922, the Serbian Patriarchate received a letter (№ 3902) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in regard to the status of the HCA:
“The ministry of foreign affairs is honored to request the Patriarchate to report about the conditions under which the independent Russian Church Administration in Karlovtsi has been recognized by the Patriarchate, within what boundaries its authority lay, as well as whether the recognition came in agreement with our government.
The ministry of foreign affairs poses this question because a report came from our consul in Athens, in which he says that the Russian consul in Athens received a letter from the Russian Metropolitan Dimitrii from here (who is abiding with us), who asks that the Greek government be notified that the Russian Administration in Karlovtsi is the only Church authority for all Church matters – dogmatic and personal.” 66
Within one week, the Serbian Patriarchate replied by the order of Patriarch Dimitrije with the following letter (№ 31):
“The Russian Church Administration in Sremski Karlovtsi exists with the blessing of His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow, exclusively for the church affairs of the colonies of Russian Orthodox refugees, which are dispersed all over Europe. This Church Administration takes care of the liturgical life and administration of sacraments to the refugees, of keeping the church discipline among Russian clergy, of church courts (church-law issues) among the refugees and generally of fulfilling their religious needs.
As far as the Patriarchate knows, such Church Administrations also exist in America, Asia and Africa.
Our Church has, of course, approved Russian Church Administration’s performing of these businesses within Russian colonies. If the Russian Church Administration in Athens has requested an approval to perform such work among the Russian refugees in Greece, then it has certainly contacted their Church Administration, just as it has done here with us.
The Lord Minister President is also aware of the happenings within the Russian Church Administration as well as of the gatherings [(communities)] of their members.” 67
This response confirms the rights the SOC gave to the HCA to exist in Serbia, at least in the eyes of the Serbian government, but it does not speak of a general authority over all the Russian Churches. That is something that would be achieved by the active participation of its members from those different dioceses.
On March 16, 1922, Patriarch Dimitrije was sent a gramota from Patriarch Tikhon of Russia. In the gramota, the Patriarch thanks Patriarch Dimitrije for his hospitality to the Russian refugees:
“Our heart is even more filled with the feeling of joy and thankfulness to Your Beatitude, that we feel all the good that was done and is being done by You in regards to the Russian exiles – the bishops, clerics and laymen, who were left outside the borders of their native land due to the power of the events, and found themselves the hospitality and asylum within the borders of the Serbian Patriarchate. May the Lord return to You a hundredfold for this blessed work. May the days of your Patriarchal service be blessed.” 68
Therefore, the Russian bishops formed the HCA in order to serve the refugees and White Army in their defense against the atheist Soviet powers. The documents drawn up by the HCA on its way to Constantinople and in Serbia, the decree of Patriarch Tikhon, the act of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the decisions of the SOC are the bases on which the legal right for the existence of ROCA was founded, giving it the ability to function as a church body. It is not long after this temporary peace that new waves would strike the shores abroad and cause havoc outside Russia, just as it was within its borders.
Chapter 3. The First Division
As time progressed and the Soviets began putting more pressure on the Russian Church and the Patriarch, communication began to get confused and something bad was bound to happen. On May 5, 1922, a tri-lateral decree (№ 347) from Patriarch Tikhon, the Holy Synod, and the Higher Church Council in Moscow was issued, ordering the disbandment of HCA. The decree stated that the HCA had been acting in a political way by calling for the reinstatement of the Romanov Dynasty in its letter to the Geneva Conference of the League of Nations and in no way represents the position of the entire Russian Orthodox Church. Therefore, the decree claimed that the Council of Sremski Karlovtsy was considered to be uncanonical and of no validity, along with its statements regarding the Romanov Dynasty. Due to these actions, the decree called for all the churches abroad to subject themselves to Metropolitan Evlogy of Western Europe, he being the only bishop in Europe that was on the canonical territory of his own diocese. 69 The other bishops of the HCA were all bishops of dioceses in Russia, which they were unable to occupy at the time due to the Soviet occupation of those places. This act seems to be the beginning of church chaos abroad, causing confusion among the hierarchy.
Metropolitan Evlogy forwarded this decree to Metropolitan Anthony with a letter on June 16, 1922, in which he states:
“I am sending you the decree of the Holy Synod and the Higher Church Council under His holiness the Patriarch about the disbandment of the Higher Church Authority abroad. The decree throws me off with its unexpectedness and directly knocks me unconscious with the awful distemper it suggests, which it could bring into our church life. It is without a doubt that it was given under the pressure of the Bolsheviks. I really do not know what to do. My first thought was to quickly come to all for advice: what to do now. The same decree was sent to my name. As of now, I am not making this known and only partially and completely secret order have I introduced it to the members of the Diocesan Council. Allow me to come to you, call for me by telegram. It is necessary to examine the situation from all sides. And why and for what is all this difficulty falling on me, simply you can go out of your mind. With fearful impatience I will wait for your telegram, and of right now I will take no measures.” 70
Archbishop Nikon (Rklitskii), in his series of books on the life of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), records a letter from Metropolitan Evlogy to Metropolitan Anthony which states: “Regarding this document, I do not recognize any mandatory power, even though it was definitely written and signed by the Patriarch. The document has a political character, not an ecclesiastical one. Outside the Soviet government, it does not have meaning for anyone, anywhere.” 71
The stress of this decree caused Metropolitan Evlogy to fall ill, and he was unable to come to Sremski Karlovtsy to see Metropolitan Anthony. His doctors instructed him to rest for one month, after which he went to Sremski Karlovtsy. Upon arrival, he records in his memoirs that his brother hierarchs had already created an opposition to the Patriarchal decree. It was decided on the first day of the meeting not to pay attention to the decree until it was determined under which circumstances it was written. On the second day of the meeting, Archbishop Anastasy of Kishinev arrived and related his opinion that the HCA should be disbanded, but that Metropolitan Evlogy should not assume authority over the churches abroad, but rather that there should be an All-Diaspora Council, which would form a new church authority abroad. Most of the bishops agreed with Archbishop Anastasy, except for Bishop Benjamin, who believed that all the authority should go to Metropolitan Evlogy. 72 Metropolitan Evlogy writes in his memoirs:
“Here I could have followed by developing my power, announcing, that from now on the decrees of the Karlovtsy Synod did not have power for me as far as I was concerned, that I am fulfilling the will of the Patriarch… But for the sake of brotherly relations to me brother-archpastors thrown into the immigration, in the name of love for Metropolitan Anthony, the eldest hierarch abroad, with whom I had fastened a many-years spiritual friendship, for the sake of all of these beloved, maybe sentimentally, I promptly <…> neglected the truth — the will of the Patriarch. In this was my great mistake, my big sin before God, before the Mother Russian Church and before His Holiness, Patriarch Tikhon, and in it is concluded the main reason, not only of my own troubles, but also the source of all the future failings in the life of the Church abroad.” 73
At the meeting, they decided to accept the will of the Patriarch and disband the HCA, however, the HCA would continue to exist until it was made clear why the decree was not in a standard format. The decree states:
“Having discussed the situation which has developed and having taken into consideration the facts and different reasons for the existence of the Higher Russian Church Authority, which has been presented to the Higher Church Authority, having discussed the fundamental reasons presented in the report of the Secretary of the aforementioned Authority, E. I. Makharoblidze, decides: 1) the Higher Church Authority, expressing its full submission and filial dedication to His Holiness the All-Russian Patriarch, accepts the decree of the Holy Synod of the All-Russian Orthodox Church regarding the disbandment of the Higher Church Authority into fulfillment. But, accepting it into attention: 1) the lack of clarity of the decree and the disagreement with his previous decrees, calling to attention his different explanations and confirming that His Holiness the Patriarch does not completely express the position of the Church abroad (in the knowledge of the Higher Church Authority comprised of 9 dioceses among 12 ruling and vicar bishops, but in the decree it speaks only of parishes abroad), for which reason further explanation and decrees from His Holiness the Patriarch are necessary; 2) the impossibility of leaving the Russian Church Abroad without a Higher Church Authority even for the shortest time and the difficulty of organizing a new church rule, the decree written to His Eminence, Metropolitan Evlogy does not give any new powers, but only preserves for him (and that is only temporarily) the ruling of the same parishes abroad, which he ruled, that is, in Western Europe; 3) it is the exclusive importance of the experienced moment when the Higher Church Authority in Russia is completely disorganized, but His Holiness the Patriarch is arrested, and the menacing and serious danger is paid to the Russian Orthodox Church; 4) the conditions that the decree were without a doubt written were under the pressure of the Bolsheviks and enemies of the Church, – the Higher Church Authority realizes the necessity of putting into action the decree regarding its disbandment in fulfilling according to the establishment in Russia of a legal church authority and the return of His Holiness the Patriarch to the rule of the church, who will be made aware of the developed position, asking of him explanations and decrees and to wait for him to express his liberated will. The higher Church Authority is to continue to act until that is received.” 74
Therefore, it was decided that the operations from Sremski Karlovtsy would continue to exist, and that the bishops abroad were no longer to refer to their administration as the HCA, but rather as the Synod or Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad — ROCA.
Not long before this, on March 7, 1922, the Diocesan Council of the North American Diocese discussed the many different decrees Archbishop Alexander had received from the HCA. Although the Diocesan Council did not say that it would not accept the decrees, it reiterated numerous times that it chooses for the church in North America to remain directly under the direct auspices of His Holiness Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia.” 75
In a meeting of Archbishop Alexander and Bishops Stefan and Euthymius on May 20, 1922, the appointment of Bishop Antonii (Dashkevich) as Bishop of Alaska and the Aleutians was discussed. Bishop Antonii was consecrated by the HCA for Patriarch Tikhon, although no official documentation was received from the Patriarch. It was decided to still consider the Alaskan Diocese as part of ROCNA until an official decree from the Patriarch was received and to continue to be in communion with the HCA, while considering itself directly in submission to the Patriarch of Russia. 76 Already at this time, there was talk that Patriarch Tikhon desired that Metropolitan Platon take over ROCNA.
On May 27, 1922, there was a meeting of hierarchs, clergy and laity, at which it was requested that Metropolitan Platon accept the diocese as his own. Since Metropolitan Platon had heard that the Patriarch had made the HCA aware of this, he had sent a telegram to the HCA asking about the decision regarding him and ROCNA. 77 The official acts of the meeting state:
“Now, a directive such as that should come from the highest authority of this power – His Holiness, Patriarch Tikhon, who has made his will aware to the Higher Church Authority abroad, as is known by Vladyka Metropolitan. Honoring the authority which belongs to those Hierarchs, Vladyka Metropolitan quickly sent a telegram to this Authority two weeks ago, asking for official confirmation of the expressed will of His Holiness, the Patriarch.
At this point, an answer from the Higher Church Authority has not followed. His Eminence does not doubt that the reason for this lies in some external situations, which is not related to the essence of the act, and that as soon as those [situations] are eliminated, the Higher Church Authority will not slow down its awareness about the will of His Holiness, the Patriarch, which the same as for the Authority and for Vladyka Metropolitan is mandatory.” 78
Since they had to wait for confirmation, Metropolitan Platon rejected the offer, but was confirmed as the representative of Patriarch Tikhon to ROCNA and the head authority in the diocese. 79 This showed not only the support of ROCNA for Metropolitan Platon, but also the importance of the HCA in the decisions of ROCNA. The HCA acted as a mediator between Patriarch Tikhon and ROCNA.
In May of 1922, a representative of the YMCA, Mr. Colton, along with Archpriest Theodore Pashkovsky, the future Metropolitan Theophilus, visited Patriarch Tikhon in Moscow, requesting the appointment of Metropolitan Platon to rank of diocesan bishop of North America. Patriarch Tikhon was not familiar with the current situation in America, so he requested that Mr. Colton convey the Patriarch’s recommendation to the council of bishops abroad for their decision on the matter, since the council was in charge of affairs outside the borders of Russia. 80 At the same time, Archbishop Alexander of North America sent a letter to Metropolitan Anthony in support of Metropolitan Platon taking over the North American Diocese. 81 This was because the state of affairs in ROCNA had gotten so bad, and Archbishop Alexander was not able to correct the situation himself. Pashkovsky took this letter of recommendation from the Patriarch to Metropolitan Anthony, and on September 5, 1922, the Hierarchical Synod decreed:
“In light of that expressed willfully by His Holiness Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia, about the control of the North-American Diocese, for the time being taken on by Metropoitan Platon of Kherson and Odessa himself, communicated in report № 1 of July 1/14, 1922, of Archpriest T. Pashkovsky upon his arrival from Moscow, and in light of the agreement of Archbishop Alexander about the temporary transfer of control of the diocese to Metropolitan Platon – [we decide] to recognize Metropolitan Platon as the temporary administrator of the North American Diocese.” 82
Patriarch Tikhon confirmed this decree of the Hierarchical Synod on September 29, 1923, with a letter that stated: “By decision of the Sacred Synod on the 14/27 of April 1922 Your Eminence is named temporary Ruler of the North American Eparchy, and Archpriest Feodor Pashkovsky — Bishop of Chicago. Now, having acquainted myself with the situation of the North American Church, it is recognized as necessary to name You Ruler of the North American Church and release You from the rule of the Kherson and Odessa Dioceses.” 83 Thus, Metropolitan Platon officially became the head of ROCNA.
It is worthy to note that talk of Metropolitan Platon’s appointment to the North American Diocese was mentioned in a letter written by Metropolitan Evlogy to Metropolitan Anthony on June 22, 1922, but not in a positive light. He writes:
“Things are also bad with the American situation. Archpriest N. Popov from Copenhagen wrote to me that supposedly His Grace Antonii (Dashkevich) is returning to Denmark?! What does that mean? In regard to the telegram of Metropolitan Platon that was sent to me by E.I. Makharoblidze, I must inform you, that the representative of the Young Men’s Christian Association, Mr. Colton, visited me in Berlin as he was returning from Moscow, where he had a meeting with Patriarch Tikhon. (…) According to what Mr. Colton said, during his conversation, the Patriarch explained his opinion that in order to make peace of the American church turmoil, it would be beneficial to make Metropolitan Platon the head of the American mission, to send Archbishop Aleksandr (Nemolovskii) to Canada and Bishop Antonii (Dashkevich) to Alaska. In this way, as you see, this is not the categorical directive of the Patriarch, but rather an opinion expressed in a private conversation. Evidently, the Russian monarchist groups in America share this opinion. Considering all these sad circumstances, it would have been better, had Metropolitan Platon sorted out these problems himself, since he was also at fault that they occurred. It seems, that as we are beset by anarchy, there is no other way out.” 84
Therefore, it seems that the appointment of Metropolitan Platon was not something desired by the elder hierarchs of ROCA. It is also important to mention something about the personal relationship between Metropolitans Anthony and Platon. In the Orthodox Encyclopedia (Православная энциклопедия), an account of earlier relations is recorded:
“In March and April of 1907, [Archbishop] A[nthony] [Khrapovitsky] conducted the scheduled Highest revision of the K[iev] S[piritual] A[cademy] (in the frame of the revision of the spiritual academies conducted by the Synod). The revision was put together by A[nthony]. With the position of not accepting the academic autonomy, a protest on the side of the corporation of the KSA was the result, which was told about in a brochure of A[nthony], “The Truth About the Kiev Spiritual Academy.” In connection with this revision, it was necessary for the Rector of the KSA, Bishop Platon (Rozhdestvensky), to leave, which according to biographers of A[nthony], became a reason for unfriendly relations between the hierarchs in the immigration.” 85
However, when Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) was arrested in 1918, then Metropolitan Platon of Kherson and Odessa, like other future refugee bishops, began to appeal to the Anglican Church for help. He wrote a letter to Archbishop Randall Davidson of Canterbury about Metropolitan Anthony’s arrest. Metropolitan Platon writes: “All my efforts to liberate this innocent martyr led to nothing. I implore Your Eminence and your body of bishops to help free the Metropolitan from the hands of his persecutors and the Church from the frightful agonies which she is enduring.” 86 This shows that Metropolitan Platon, although at one time removed from his position because of Metropolitan Anthony’s revisions, was still defended by Metropolitan Platon during his — Metropolitan Anthony’s — persecution. As to whether or not the events of 1907 in Kiev played a role in later differences, it is unknown.
Soon thereafter, on June 20, 1922, Archbishop Alexander left for Canada, by suggestion of the Patriarch, 87 and then Western Europe on August 5, 1922. 88 He eventually ended up in the Western European Diocese of Metropolitan Evlogy and then in the MP before his death in 1960. 89 It seems that Archbishop Alexander was upset about the way an investigation was being conducted on his actions in the diocese by Bishop Antonii (Dashkevich) of Alaska, who was consecrated by request of Patriarch Tikhon for a self-governing diocese of Alaska, i.e. not a part of ROCNA. In a letter to Metropolitan Anthony, Archbishop Alexander informed the Metropolitan that he answered the questions posed to him by Bishop Antonii, but had never received a response. The HCA sent Archbishop Alexander a decree (№ 244) on May 18, 1922, stating that Metropolitan Evlogy had received a letter from Patriarch Tikhon on March 25, 1922, about Bishop Antonii’s mission to ROCNA for the inspection of church life there. According to the letter, Patriarch Tikhon approved the investigation of ROCNA by Bishop Antonii. Archbishop Alexander, however, thought that Bishop Antonii was listening to rumors and informing the HCA of them; thus, he wanted to find out the details since he felt the North American diocese was being slandered. 90 At the end of the letter he writes: “I object to such unjustness and sincerely ask Your Eminence to show me at least the smallest bit of justice, required by law, i.e., to quickly send me the report of Bishop Antonii for an answer and an explanation.” 91 This likely played a role in Archbishop Alexander’s request for Metropolitan Platon to takeover the diocese.
From November 7-9, 1922, the Third All-American Sobor took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with the intent of electing a hierarch for ROCNA, according to the decisions of the All-Russian Council of 1917-1918. The Sobor unanimously approved the appointment of Metropolitan Platon as the head of ROCNA by Patriarch Tikhon, accepting him as the ruling bishop of the diocese. It also granted him the title “Metropolitan of All-America and Canada.” 92 Before and during this council, Bishop Stefan (Dzubay) of Pittsburgh disagreed with the appointment of Metropolitan Platon being administrator of the diocese and had claimed that he himself was the real administrator, since he was the eldest of vicars in the diocese. 93 The Sobor addressed this issue, calling Bishop Stefan to stop his illegal acts and return to the canonical church. 94 He eventually did return to the church and then left to the Unia, from where he originally came, before his death. However, while in schism, he consecrated Bishop Adam (Philipovsky) of Canada, who eventually headed a Carpatho-Russian Diocese in North America, which was accepted into ROCNA in 1935. 95
On January 16, 1924, Patriarch Tikhon along with the Holy Synod of the Church of Russia decreed that Metropolitan Platon was no longer to be the head of ROCNA. It stated:
- As WE have data proving that the Metropolitan of North America has engaged in public acts of counter-revolution directed against the Soviet Power, and of harmful (disastrous) consequences to the Orthodox Church,– Metropolitan Platon will be dismissed from the government of the North American Diocese from the day on which this present decree is announced to him.
- The choice of a candidate for the North American Hierarchical See will be the object of a special discussion. It will be his duty personally to announce this decision to Metropolitan Platon and take over from him all the Church property, governing the North American Diocese according to special instructions which will be given to him.
- Metropolitan Platon will be invited to come to Moscow to put himself at the disposal of the Patriarch. 96
The obvious Soviet influence of this document caused uproar in ROCNA.
With the increasing pressure from the supporters of the Living Church, the situation in the North American diocese began to worsen. The schism persisted in its anti-canonical acts, it started to file lawsuits against ROCNA, accusing it of not being the legal Russian Orthodox Church in North America, but rather that the Living Church itself was the Canonical and Historical Russian Church, based on the Council that it held in Moscow from April 29 to May 8, 1923. This illegal gathering deposed Patriarch Tikhon. It also appointed Archpriest John Kedrovsky, a married suspended priest of ROCNA, as “Archbishop of North America.” This was naturally an unacceptable decision of the invalid council. The Living Church sued ROCNA for 116 of its churches. 97
In defense of the actions of the Living Church, the Fourth All-American Sobor was assembled in April 2-4, 1924. The Sobor proclaimed ROCNA a temporarily autonomous church, due to the situation with the Living Church lawsuits and the break-in communication with Patriarch Tikhon. Present at the Sobor were Bishops Stefan, Theophilus and Apollinary, as well as Archimandrite Emmanuel who was representing Bishop Euthymius. There were also 110 priests, thirty-seven lay delegates, and three people with the vote of advice only. Metropolitan Platon was not present at the opening, because he did not want rumors to go around that he forced the Sobor to accept his authority, so Bishop Stefan of Pittsburgh opened the sessions. He began by speaking of the terrible situation of the Church in Russia and how it was negatively affecting ROCNA. He believed that only Metropolitan Platon could bring order to the Church in North America. 98 In part, the final resolution of the Sobor read:
Point 1. Temporarily, until the convocation of the All Russian Sobor further indicated in Point 5, to declare the Russian Orthodox Church in America, a selfgoverned Church so that it be governed by its own elected Archbishop by means of a Sobor of Bishops, a Council composed of those elected from clergy and the laity, and periodic Sobors of the entire American Church.
Point 2. To ask filially the Most Reverend Metropolitan Platon to head the administration of the Church and to rule it first with the cooperation of the existing Council of Bishops and Diocesan Council and to elaborate in speedy order a plan for the permanent administration of the American Church for the future, which, in agreement with the foundation of Orthodoxy, must be organized upon the basis of elected Sobors.
Point 3. To filially ask the Most Reverend Metropolitan Platon together with the bishops to approve this resolution and to inform all the Eastern Churches of the reorganization which has taken place.
Point 4. Not to break all the spiritual ties and communion with the Russian Church, but always to pray for her good, give her every cooperation and mention the Most Holy Patriarch as the head of the Russian Mother Church to which the American Church is obliged for her existence.
Point 5. To leave the final regulation of questions arising from the relationship of the Russian and the American Churches to a future Sobor of the Russian Orthodox church which will be legally convoked, legally elected, will sit with representatives of the American Church under conditions of political freedom, guaranteeing the fullness and authority of its decisions for the entire Ecumenical Church as a true Sobor of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Point 6. For participation in the working out of a new constitution of the American Church, as well as for the elaboration and execution together with the Bishops of all acts and measures as shall be needed in the development of the reorganization of the American Church, to elect six delegates from the Sobor, of which 3 from the clergy and 3 from the laity, to whom shall be turned over all the questions indicated in the name of this Sobor, being guided by the resolution of the All-American Church Sobor of 1917-1918.
Point 7. To consider the present resolution effective under the conditional place an All-Russian Church Sobor, under the conditions indicated above in Point 5, guaranteeing its freedom and legality, and at that Sobor final agreements shall be reached as to the fate of the American Church. 99
This was done mostly in light of the claim of the Living Church to legal ownership of the property of ROCNA, as well as the report of Patriarch Tikhon’s intended removal of Metropolitan Platon from the leadership of the North American diocese, written of above.
The Sobor did not intend to break spiritual unity with the Russian Church — neither in the homeland or abroad; however, it determined the necessity to strengthen itself against the Living Church. 100 By establishing self-governments, ROCNA wanted to demonstrate to the local government authorities its right to church property in North America by affirming its status as an independent Orthodox Church in North America. In reality, this declaration of self-governance rendered ROCNA a newly formed organization in 1924, while Kedrovsky was able to convince the American Judicial System that the Living Church was the continuation of the historical and canonical Russian Church. This led to the loss of St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York City, as well as many other churches in ROCNA. 101
Having come to Sremski Karlovtsy for the Bishops’ Council of ROCA in October of 1924, Metropolitan Platon explained the situation in ROCNA to the other hierarchs. The Council made numerous decisions regarding ROCNA, deciding to stop any continued investigation of it, confirming Metropolitan Platon as the legal head of ROCNA, recognizing Bishop Adam (Philipovsky) as having no legal right to the head of ROCNA, relating brotherly sympathy regarding the disastrous problems with the fake Metropolitan John Kedrovsky, and sending an epistle to the North American flock, which confirmed Metropolitan Platon as the legal head of ROCNA. 102 The most important decision, however, was to recognize the self-governance (autonomy) of ROCNA, in light of the problems affecting ROCNA. The protocol from October 22, 1924, stated:
“Having listened to the report of His Eminence Platon, about the situations, which caused the act of the so-called Detroit Sobor in North America, at which it was decided to declare the Russian Orthodox Diocese in North America as “self-governing Church,” while equal to the essence of the decision itself, which according to the words of Metropolitan Platon, by no means follows to identify as a declaration of the American Church as autocephalous, supposedly cutting all ties with its legal canonical Head, His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon — [decided] to recognize that the above mentioned act of the Detroit Council does not show a sign in and of itself of a break of the American Church with her Mother Church of Russia and with His Holiness, Patriarch Tikhon, and in the qualification that it is temporary measures it can be justified with the reasons of church economy.” 103
The council also made the decision to delay the attempted establishment of a selfgoverning Diocese of Alaska and the Aleutians until a new directive came from the Patriarch of Russia since it did not seem to be the proper time to do so and to release Bishop Antonii (Dashkevich) from the diocese. 104 The Council also confirmed the Synod of Bishops as the highest organ of authority of ROCA in the intermediary time between Councils and made Metropolitan Platon a permanent member of the Synod of Bishops. 105
The Council also discussed eliminating the autonomous status of the Diocese of Western Europe, which was voted to do so by an eight to four vote, Metropolitan Anthony and Bishop Tikhon of Berlin withholding their votes. However, Metropolitan Evlogy refused to accept the decision since Patriarch Tikhon had confirmed this in his act (№ 348) from May 5, 1922, and it was confirmed at the Bishops’ Council of ROCA one year prior. Metropolitan Evlogy left the hall where the Council was taking place in protest. The Council eventually did elect to revoke the autonomy of the Western European Diocese, but only per the approval of Patriarch Tikhon. Until that time, everything was to remain status quo. 106
Upon return to the United States, Metropolitan Platon was welcomed and a general support for ROCA can be seen in the official organ of ROCNA. For example, in an article of the Russian-American Orthodox Messenger (Русско–Американский Православный вестник) entitled, “The Competency of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad,” the author expresses the comfort the Council brings by gathering all the Russian bishops abroad together to discuss issues related to the entire Church. He also mentions the great value the Council has, for example, in the case of Bishop Adam (Philipovsky), in that it can confirm the illegality of his actions against ROCNA. 107
After this Council, however, things took a turn for the worse. The lawsuits with the Living Church were destroying ROCNA’s infrastructure. In 1925, Kedrovsky won St. Nicholas Cathedral in Manhattan, forcing Metropolitan Platon to serve in the church building of the Episcopal Church. 108 Naturally, church life continued. The need for another vicar bishop arose in ROCNA, so Metropolitan Platon selected Archimandrite Arseny (Chagovets), a member of the diocese of Kherson, although he was in Yugoslavia and serving there, as bishop of Winnipeg, suggesting him to the Synod of Bishops of ROCA for approval of his hierarchical consecration. On May 27, 1926, the Synod of Bishops decided to consecrate Archimandrite Arseny in Belgrade per the blessing of the Serbian Patriarch Dimitrije. 109 The consecration took place on June 6, 1926, and would play a role later in the life of ROCNA and ROCA. 110
On June 25, 1926, the Bishops’ Council of ROCA met in Sremski Karlovtsy. Arriving late to the Council were Metropolitans Platon and Evlogy, who had come together from Paris. They decided to travel together in order to discuss supporting each other’s cause at the Council. 111 Metropolitan Platon reported on the state of the affairs in his diocese and the autonomy that was considered in ROCNA. Some of the bishops insisted that the diocese was being run as an autocephalous church and that Metropolitan Platon was trying to establish that type of existence, which is untrue according to documents, especially since ROCA was consecrating bishops for ROCNA. In his explanation of the situation, Metropolitan Platon stated that he was able to convince the Detroit Council to go with autonomy and slow down the hard push for autocephaly. Regardless, the Bishops’ Council was pushing for ROCNA to annul its decision on autonomy. 112 Metropolitan Platon even said that he was an enemy of autocephaly for ROCNA at that time “and that he confirms his full canonical humility to the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, Metropolitan Peter, the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and the Hierarchical Synod chosen by it.” 113 Following his own report, Metropolitan Platon asked that all the members of the Bishops’ Council sign “a gramota which was prepared for him by his lawyer to all the Patriarchs and to ROCNA, which would confirm his own full power over the Orthodox Church in America and which would be absolutely necessary for him to have for the lawsuit with the representative of the members of the Living Church, the former priest Kedrovsky.” 114 Having discussed these matters, the Bishops’ Council decided to accept the report of Metropolitan Platon, but in regard to the gramota, the Council was not sure how to act or what to specifically write, not wanting to sign the gramota which was written by Metropolitan Platon’s lawyer. So, they decided to discuss the gramota after the report of Bishop Serafim about the disorder in ROCNA, which was given to him to investigate by the Synod of Bishops. 115 The Council, which originally understood the reasoning for the decision of the Detroit Sobor regarding autonomy, now looked at that decision negatively. When Metropolitan Platon did not receive the support or the signatures from the Bishops’ Council, he walked out of the Council in protest, refusing to sign the protocol, which forbade giving him approval to the gramota. 116 In support of Metropolitan Platon, and his own autonomy, Metropolitan Evlogy also refused to sign the protocol. He too ended up leaving the Council when it discussed his situation in Western Europe, regarding autonomy. His vicar Bishop Tikhon did not support Metropolitan Evlogy’s cause, even though, as Metropolitan Evlogy writes, Bishop Tikhon was supportive of him earlier during the same Council. He related to the Council as he left, that his own vicar is responsible for this, and that he does not trust him. In response, Metropolitan Anthony told Metropolitan Evlogy that the Council does not trust him. 117 At this point, Metropolitan Evlogy said to the Council:
“I do not recognize the Karlovtsy establishment, abolished by Patriarch Tikhon, the legal canonical authority above it; that authority exists only thanks to my recognition and agreement, for which reason for me it has a conditional and only moral [character], and by no means a canonical character; it does not have any rights to change the volume of my church power, explained in the decree of Patriarch Tikhon, and that I only agree to continue to work with the Synod and Council of Karlovtsy, with the indispensable conditions, that the establishments will follow the fundamental points of the decree of Patriarch Tikhon exactly, and not our agreement from the Council of 1923.” 118
Both of these acts made for the beginning of the church division abroad.
Concerning Metropolitan Platon, the Council decreed in the following days regarding his actions and the situation in ROCNA with nine points: 1) by not signing the protocol, Metropolitan Platon does not recognize the authority of the Locum Tenens; 2) that Metropolitan Evlogy did not sign it, even though during the reading of the protocol, he agreed that all was correct in it; 3) that Metropolitan Platon is moving towards the autocephaly of ROCNA; 4) that the decision of the Detroit Sobor about autocephaly was against the canons and is harmful for ROCNA; 5) to require from Metropolitan Platon and his vicars a statements saying they do not accept the decision of the Detroit Sobor about the autocephaly of ROCNA and that they submit to the authority in Russia, the authority of the Bishops’ Council of ROCA and its Synod, since that does not compromise the submission to the Locum Tenens, which ROCA submits to; 6) that if there is no answer within four months, Archbishop Anastasy of Kishinev and Khotin be sent to North America to assess the situation and take the temporary administration of ROCNA; 7) to require from Metropolitan Platon the acts of the 1925 “Sobor” and to explain what it was about; 8) to ask Metropolitan Platon to not send the gramota he asked for to the Patriarchs; 9) to not consider Metropolitan Platon part of the Synod of Bishops until Metropolitan Platon fulfills point 5 of the decision. 119
In response to the letter that was sent to the bishops of ROCNA requesting their submission to ROCA, four bishops — Amfilokhy, Euthymius, Theophilus and Arseny all sent a letter which was not in favor of being in submission to ROCA. After which, Archpriest Leonid Turkevich, the future Metropolitan Leonty, sent a letter along with Bishop Theophilus asking for the letter to be returned. 120 Bishop Theophilus asked for forgiveness, stating that the letter was originally written in English and that the bishops did not fully understand the meaning of it when they signed. 121 Metropolitan Platon also sent a letter to the flock of ROCNA, stating that ROCA was no longer canonical and that ROCNA was completely self-governing. The letter was signed by all of Metropolitan Platon’s vicar bishops except for Bishop Apollinary, who refused, pledging loyalty to ROCA. 122 Metropolitan Platon responded to this by suspending Bishop Apollinary from serving in the churches of ROCNA and removed him from his see as the Bishop of San Francisco, about which the clergy of ROCNA was informed. On March 31, 1927, the Synod of Bishops of ROCA recognized this act of Metropolitan Platon as not having any validity and that it was an uncanonical act to remove Bishop Apollinary from his see, as well as consecrating Bishop Aleksy (Panteleev) for the diocese of San Francisco, since those actions needed approval of the Synod of Bishops. The Synod also declared that any consecrations done in ROCNA or the Diocese of Western Europe to not be canonical if done without the blessing of the Bishops’ Council and the Synod of Bishops of ROCA. Following this act, the Synod removed Metropolitan Platon as the ruling hierarch of ROCNA and suspended him from serving in the diocese of ROCNA, for the reason that Metropolitan Platon established “a self-decision-making Church, that is actually autocephalous”; Bishop Apollinary was appointed as the temporary administrator of ROCNA by ROCA and he was confirmed as the bishop of San Francisco. Regarding these actions, Metropolitan Platon and the bishops of ROCNA were sent decrees from the Synod of Bishops. 123
Bishop Apollinary (Koshevoi) was originally consecrated as the Bishop of Rila, a vicar to the Diocese of Kursk, by Patriarch Tikhon during the All-Russian Council of 1917-1918 on October 22, 1917. In June of 1919, he was moved to Belgorod as the ruling hierarch. He immigrated to Serbia at the end of the Russian Civil War, and was eventually sent to America in 1924 by ROCA as a vicar bishop to Metropolitan Platon. 124 On September 5, 1927, the Bishops’ Council of ROCA named Bishop Apollinary as the ruling bishop of the North American Diocese, as well as decided to make the Diocese of Canada a self-ruling diocese, i.e. no longer a vicariate. It also mentioned that Archbishop Alexander (Nemolovsky) was never officially removed from the North American Diocese, since a response was never received from the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne of Moscow, and that he had been in Constantinople for five years, not being able to return to America because of the lawsuits being battled there. 125 Thus, two churches existed on the territory of North America — the Russian Orthodox Church of North America of Metropolitan Platon and the Russian Orthodox Church in North America of Bishop Apollinary under ROCA, creating two parallel church administrations and more confusion in North America.
After the death of Patriarch Tikhon in April of 1925, Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsy assumed the position as Locum Tenens to the Patriarchal Throne. He was third in line in the position, Metropolitans Kirill of Kazan and Agafangel of Yaroslavl’ ahead of him, yet they were forbidden to come to Moscow by the Soviet authorities. The Bolsheviks were hoping that they could use Metropolitan Peter to fulfill their agenda, but this did not happen. Instead, Metropolitan Peter spoke against the Soviet activities. He was eventually arrested on December 10, 1925, for not accepting the Soviet Powers. Before he was arrested, Metropolitan Peter assigned Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) of Nizhnyi Novgorod to take over his duties in the event that he was unable to fulfill them, being called the “Deputy of the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne,” 126 but Metropolitan Peter was to still remain the official Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne and that his name was to be commemorated at all services. 127
Instead of Metropolitan Sergius acting as the Deputy to the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, he exceeded his authority. On July 29, 1927, Metropolitan Sergius released a decree in which he states: “We want to be Orthodox and at the same time recognize the Soviet Union as our civil native land, whose joys and successes – are our joys and success, and failures – our failures.” 128 The decree of Metropolitan Sergius was not accepted in ROCA as legal, nor was it accepted by all of the bishops in Russia. In September of 1927, the Council of Bishops of ROCA met in Sremski Karlovtsy and released a statement, in which it rejected the decree of Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod and only recognized Metropolitan Peter as the Locum Tenens. The reason the Council of Bishops gave for doing this, was that the decree took away the freedom the Church exercises in order to canonically run itself, therefore deeming the act uncanonical and harmful for the Church. 129 Metropolitan Peter was still commemorated as the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne throughout the remainder of his life in ROCA. It was only after his death in 1937, that ROCA began to commemorate the “Orthodox Episcopate of the Russian Church.” ROCA used this form so as to not openly commemorate Metropolitan Kyrill of Kazan, whom the bishops believed to be the legal Locum Tenens, fearing that it would cause him more persecution. Instead, they only commemorated him at “the proskomedia and in private prayers.” The bishops were unaware that Metropolitan Kirill had already been murdered by the Soviets. 130 As a result of the decree of Patriarch Sergius, a division was caused between himself and those who followed him and ROCA, not to mention with Metropolitan Peter, who did not recognize the decree of Metropolitan Sergius to be legal.
On May 9, 1928, Metropolitan Sergius and the synod with him decreed that ROCA disband and that all their dioceses be considered abandoned because the bishops abroad were acting illegally and creating a schism. The bishops of ROCA did not accept this decree as legal. Metropolitan Sergius waited for a period of five years, hoping that the bishops abroad would follow him. He even asked Patriarch Varnava of Serbia to help with the disbandment of ROCA. Patriarch Varnava wrote to Metropolitan Sergius, explaining that this was not going to happen because the bishops of ROCA were in disagreement with the actions of the MP. Finally, on June 22, 1934, Metropolitan Sergius together with his Synod decreed a suspension on the bishops of ROCA for not responding to the call of disbandment in prior years, and therefore caused a final rift between the authorities of the MP and ROCA. 131
The loyalty to the Soviets and the suspension decreed by Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod of Bishops marked the beginning of a division between the MP and ROCA. In reality, it only separated ROCA and Metropolitan Sergius along with his Synod. It did not separate ROCA from the entire Russian Church. Metropolitan Peter and those in subjection to him continued to recognize ROCA, but the official church of the MP was thus formally in complete incongruity with ROCA and vice versa. This is the division that remained for years to come, therefore, also including ROCNA.
The problems of the Russian Church emigration intensified when Metropolitan Evlogy left from submission to the MP in 1931 and was accepted into the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. This was done in response to the requirement of Metropolitan Sergius that Metropolitan Evlogy pledge loyalty to the Soviet regime after participating in a prayer service in England for the Russian people. Metropolitan Sergius saw this as an attack on the Soviet Union. He removed Metropolitan Evlogy from the Western European Diocese and gave the diocese to Archbishop Vladimir, who was also in the Western European Diocese. Archbishop Vladimir refused to do this, and so Metropolitan Sergius appointed Metropolitan Elevferii of Lithuania as the administrator of the Western European Diocese. Metropolitan Evlogy did not accept this, and since he was not able to pledge loyalty and his Diocesan Council supported him in finding another way to keep his diocese and not submit to the Soviet regime, Metropolitan Evlogy appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarch, at that time Patriarch Photios II. Patriarch Photios was frowned upon by ROCA due to his communion with the Living Church. He believed that it was a temporary fall and that it needed to run its course. On February 17, 1931, Patriarch Photios and the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate granted autonomy to Metropolitan Evlogy and his diocese temporarily until normal relations with the MP were reformed, forbidding any politics from the pulpit. 132 Troitskii writes:
“In May of 1931, Metropolitan Elevferii, in agreement with the instruction of Metropolitan Sergius, forwarded copies of all the documents in regard to the transfer of Metropolitan Evlogy into the jurisdiction of Constantinople to the Serbian Patriarch Varnava and expressed hope that “the reading of these documents would not leave him indifferent, but would rather awaken the showing of brotherly help to the Russian Church for the reconciliation of this new division.” Patriarch Varnava in his letter to Metropolitan Elevferii on February 14, 1932, accuses Metropolitan Evlogy in the organization of a schism, and the Patriarch of Constantinople not having the right to accept him to himself.” 133
Thus, a new step in the division was taken by adding onto the scene the jurisdiction of yet another Local Church.
Patriarch Varnava of Serbia 134 was a key figure in the life of the Russian Church during the 1930’s. He made his position clear to the Russian faithful soon after his enthronement on the Patriarchal Throne of the SOC on April 12, 1930, with his sermon at the Russian Church of the Holy Trinity in Belgrade. 135 In his sermon on June 22, 1930, the new Patriarch said:
“You ought to know that the fanatics who persecute the Church not only torture it but are trying to split it, to divide it, and in many ways stretch out their criminal hands even toward you who are beyond the boundaries of your fatherland. You, the true sons of Russia, must remember that you are the only support of the Russian people. You are bound at any cost to preserve undamaged the national church traditions in all their purity.
This is your duty before God, before your native country, and before the Christian world. The church dissensions sown by the enemies of your homeland must be halted at any cost. Among you there is a great hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, who is the adornment of the Universal Orthodox Church. He is a lofty mind, equal to the first hierarchs of the Church of Christ at the beginning of Christianity. He is the repository of Church truth, and those who have separated must return to him. All of you, not only those living in our Yugoslavia, but also those in America, Asia, and in all countries of the world, must compose, with your great hierarch Metropolitan Antony at the head, a single, indestructible whole, which will not be susceptible to the attacks and provocations of the enemies of the Church.
I, as the Serbian Patriarch, am like your own brother, and I fervently pray to God that He unite the Russian people in exile into a single unit, so that Russia may rise to that same stature which was hers when headed by the Orthodox ruler, the Czar, and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and all His Saints I give you my Patriarchal blessing.” 136
From the time of his youth, Patriarch Varnava always had an attraction to Russia and had a desire to study there. 137 He ended up studying in Russia at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. On April 30, 1905, Petar was tonsured into the small schema by Bishop Sergius (Stragorodsky) of Iamburg, the future Metropolitan of Nizhnyi Novgorod, 138 claiming that “the religious life of the Russian people had such an effect on him, that [he] because of that decided to accept monasticism.” 139 On May 5, 1905, Monk Varnava was ordained into the deaconate by Bishop Sergius. On June 5, of the same year, Hierodeacon Varnava was ordained a hieromonk. 140
As a hierarch, Bishop Varnava 141 fled to Russia during the Balkan Wars and spent time with Russian hierarchs. For example, he spent more than one month with Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky), the future head of ROCA, then Archbishop of Khar’kov, and celebrated Pascha in Moscow with Archbishop Tikhon, the future Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. He also was present in Moscow for the All-Russian Church Council of 1917-1918, so his connection to the Russian Church was strong. Therefore, Patriarch Varnava was connected with both parts of the Russian Orthodox Church; with the First-Hierarch of ROCA, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) who was with him in Yugoslavia, and with Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) of Nizhnyi Novgorod who was in Moscow acting as the Deputy of the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne of the MP, Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsy. 142 This fact in and of itself would place Patriarch Varnava in the position of being a mediator for the two sides.
Metropolitan Sergius soon asked Patriarch Varnava to be a mediator between the MP and ROCA in an epistle written on March 23, 1933. In this letter, Metropolitan Sergius explains that the organization of ROCA with the participation of its refugee hierarchs is a political move and asks that Patriarch Varnava pass the following suggestion to the bishops of ROCA: a) give the MP the commitment that they would cease to speak against the Soviet regime – those who cannot do this must be dismissed to another Orthodox Church, but their churches and institutions must be given to the MP, and b) ROCA must liquidate its center as the head of the Russian Church Diaspora. 143
On May 1, 1933, Patriarch Varnava agreed to be a mediator between the two churches in the healing “of the chronic church illness” and asked that Metropolitan Sergius “prolong the term for one year to think about it and get necessary advice … so that we can do all that depends on us for the pacification of the pieces of the Russian Church that are abroad.” 144
On May 19, 1933, the Bishops’ Council of the SOC decided to ask Patriarch Varnava to, “in brotherly love try, if it is possible, to reconcile the two hostile sides for the good of our brother Russians, and likewise the whole Orthodox Church.” 145 They did this on the basis of reading the letter of Metropolitan Sergius from March 23, 1933, and the answer of Patriarch Varnava, as well as on the basis of a survey of the SOC on the problems of the Russian Church. 146 In his letter on the occasion of Nativity from December 19, 1933, Metropolitan Sergius asks Patriarch Varnava to respond quickly to his inquiry about the measures to be undertaken by them in regards to ROCA. On December 24 1933/January 6, 1934, Patriarch Varnava answered Metropolitan Sergius in a personal letter in which he suggested that as far as the clergy of ROCA are concerned, the presenting of the testimony of loyalty to the Soviet powers is impossible, and that they should be excluded from the clergy of the MP. The parts of the Russian Orthodox Church which find themselves in Yugoslavia must temporarily be in submission to the Serbian Church, while those outside its canonical territory and under the guidance of ROCA may act in the regions of the diaspora, where a few autocephalous Orthodox Churches are allowed to act. After the acceptance of ROCA into the jurisdiction of the SOC, the question of church court over it by the MP will go out of its (the MP’s) competence. Every attempt to replace the hierarchs of ROCA with Russian bishops loyal to the MP calls for unrest in the Russian Church Diaspora. 147
Noteworthy is the influence of Metropolitan Anthony’s letter on Patriarch Varnava’s attitude toward Metropolitan Sergius. The letter states:
“Metropolitan Sergius was forced to sign a list of declarations and decrees as proof of their loyalty to the Soviet powers, which would cause temptation. His letter to Your Holiness [on March 23, 1933], which included a list of demands which are directed towards the destruction of the Russian Church affair abroad, serve without a doubt to prove the correctness of that standing, knowing that if Metropolitan Sergius has at least some correct information about the state of the minds and feelings in the Russian emigration, then he must know that his representatives, Metropolitan Elevferii and Archbishop Veniamin are meeting general resentment and have very few followers and only call for destruction and temptation.” 148
In response to Patriarch Varnava’s question regarding how ready the Synod of Bishops of ROCA was to agree with the demands of Metropolitan Sergius, Metropolitan Anthony replied that insofar as the demands were not of a canonical character, but rather dictated by the Soviet government, the hierarchy of ROCA did not have the right to accept them. Rather, it had to preserve itself as a self-governing part of the Russian Church according to the ukaz of Patriarch Tikhon, the Holy Synod, and the Higher Church Council about the temporary self-government of the parts of the Russian Church (Ukaz № 362 from November 20, 1920) until the reinstatement of a free, legal church power in Russia, and that no church disciplinary measures against ROCA given by Metropolitan Sergius would be recognized by its (ROCA’s) legal leadership. 149
In a response to this letter on February 6, 1934, Metropolitan Sergius points out that he cannot release the bishops and clergy of ROCA into another jurisdiction because they hold an aggressive and hostile position towards the MP. In order for the MP to grant itself authority over the Russian clergy, they (the MP) would have to liquidate the churchadministration of Sremski Karlovtsy and hand over all the pre-revolutionary church property to the MP. A transfer of the entire church organization of Karlovtsy from one jurisdiction to another would be a “change of flags,” as Metropolitan Sergius feels. 150 The letter of Metropolitan Sergius continues: “Such a transfer would only add new transgressions to the existent canonical infractions: the attempt to take cover behind a different authority from the responsibility before the legal church court. In similar situations, both those taking cover and those covering are responsible according to the church canons.” 151
Patriarch Varnava’s response in his letter (№ 448) to Metropolitan Sergius on May 25, 1934, points out the inconsistency of Metropolitan Sergius, (having in mind the question of the transfer of the emigre clergy from the jurisdiction of the MP 152) because he cannot be a mediator between Metropolitan Sergius and the hierarchs abroad who refuse to fulfill the conditions of Metropolitan Sergius because of his restricted condition and suggests that he resort to the canonical arbitration tribunal. 153
In an answer to that letter in June of 1934, Metropolitan Sergius wrote in thanks to “the Head of the Serbian Orthodox Church for the mediation and aspirations towards the guarding of the Russian Orthodox Church from new shocks, yet still [did] not regard it possible to not impose on those of Karlovtsy disciplinary sanctions and simply exclude them from the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate with the following handing over into the Serbian jurisdiction without the commitment to abolish the Karlovtsy rule.” 154 Metropolitan Sergius felt that a court of arbitration was not the appropriate choice, because according to him, the dispute was not between two equal parties, but rather about an erudite schism of clerics within the jurisdiction of the MP. 155
The decision of Metropolitan Sergius and the Synod of the MP from June 9/22, 1934 (№ 50) resulted from the correspondence with Patriarch Varnava. The more active hierarchs of ROCA, with Metropolitan Anthony at its head, were suspended from serving. All clerics and laymen who stayed in communion with them and accepted their Holy Sacraments were told that they would be liable to the same punishments as the suspended bishops. 156
On the other hand, in order to show the value of Patriarch Varnava’s actions in relation to the Russian Church in the homeland and abroad, it is necessary to look at the problematic situation of Metropolitan Sergius himself. After Metropolitan Sergius was released from prison in the early months of 1927, the way the government authorities treated him changed. They began to show support to him in hopes of creating some other kind of division in the Church of Russia, much like they did with the Living Church. Before his imprisonment, Metropolitan Sergius acted strictly as the Substitute of the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal See. He was the substitute of Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsy. After his release, he began to act as the de facto Locum Tenens, since Metropolitan Peter had been arrested and was unable to serve as the Locum Tenens. The State granted registration to the Church, allowed him to live in Moscow and convene a Synod. Because of this situation, Metropolitan Sergius was the source of all power in the Church of Russia in the USSR. Metropolitan Kirill of Kazan feared that the Church’s freedom would be compromised and be submitted to the power of the Synod, as it was before the All-Russian Council. Eventually, Metropolitan Sergius was forced to stop the commemoration of Metropolitan Peter, 157 the true Locum Tenens because he had been convicted as a criminal. Because of this, several bishops in Russia refused to stay in communion with Metropolitan Sergius, although Metropolitan Peter did not. He encouraged Metropolitan Sergius to act as he did before his imprisonment. The bishops abroad never accepted Metropolitan Sergius as their first-hierarch, in disagreement with his actions. They also supported the bishops who broke communion with him. 158 In The Canonical Status of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, by Andrei Psarev, he writes the following concerning Metropolitan Sergius:
“It should be noted that all the circumstances of Church life in Russia at that moment were extraordinary. Therefore, the entire situation met the provisions of Ukaz 362. Metropolitan Sergius had a right to continue with his Church organization in boundaries of Ukaz 362. This was presumed recently at a conference of historians in Hungary. The problem was that Metropolitan Sergius considered himself not as an entity of the Church, in spirit of Ukaz 362, but the responsible executor of the central Church administration. He started to act as though he were in fact the head of the Russian Church, even to the point of banning the Bishops who did not agree with him…
In May of 1934, Metropolitan Sgerius had received from his Synod the title, His Beatitude, Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna, “along with the right to wear two panagias. Moscow was a patriarchal see and it was a duty of the Patriarchal Locum Tenens and his Substitute to administer and keep the see vacant until the convening of a Council; consequently, Metropolitan Sergius had no right to the title Metropolitan of Moscow”. 159
Therefore, Metropolitan Sergius acted in a way that was not in accordance with the canons of the Russian Orthodox Church; however, given the situation and the persecution, it is not fitting to judge the actions of people who were being persecuted, especially Metropolitan Sergius.
In short, the situation in the Russian Church in Russia had become very unstable. Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod of Bishops were forced to submit to the Bolsheviks, thus, the Church in Russia was suffering. The Russian Church administrations outside the borders of Russia were receiving demands from the Bolsheviks by way of Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod, which caused confusion abroad. This was probably the purpose of the directives that were sent abroad. However, it caused disorder and division. First, Metropolitan Platon was in a bad position, trying to defend ROCNA from the Living Church. Next, Metropolitan Evlogy was acting based on one of the earlier demands of the Soviet-controlled Church, dividing himself from ROCA and uniting with the Ecumenical Patriarch. Third, the SOC was receiving demands from Metropolitan Sergius regarding ROCA. Unsurprisingly, this made an uncomfortable situation for the SOC since ROCA was being operated on its canonical territory. As a result, ROCA reacted to the actions of Metropolitans Platon and Evlogy in a strict way, deepening the wounds. This all combined together made for a very tense situation in the Diaspora, which could only be healed by the strongest of leadership and humility on all sides.
Chapter 4. The Reconciliation of 1935 and its General Acceptance
For every upsetting word spoken, it takes at least a thousand to reconcile. Such is also the case in regard to church divisions. After a few years of division and justifications from all sides, steps started toward reunification, first on the side of ROCA and then ROCNA, but also within Metropolitan Evlogy’s group in Western Europe. In these attempts, there were many tries on behalf of all sides to figure things out, however, distance and lack of communication made the process much more difficult. This connected with the acts of the MP, made for a confusing setting abroad.
On Pascha 1933, Metropolitan Platon and the other hierarchs in ROCNA released an epistle, 160 which was not well received by the ROCA bishops in North America. The ROCA hierarchs’ first problem with the epistle was that it was supposed to be Paschal, but spoke much about the church division. In the epistle, Metropolitan Platon wrote that he was always for peace within the church, ROCA was never approved by a Patriarchal decree, and therefore, ROCNA had to declare itself as a self-ruling church organization. 161 In response to this epistle, the ROCA bishops in North America addressed a letter to the faithful in America, explaining their standpoint, that Metropolitan Platon must not be a lover of peace when he continues to be divided from ROCA, did not have the right to an autonomous church divided from ROCA, and that people should stand firm in ROCA. Also, the bishops of ROCA insisted that the division was not the fault of Vicar-Bishops Theophilus (Pashkovsky) and Arseny (Chagovets) who were afraid to state their true opinions, but rather the fault of Metropolitan Platon. They affirmed this by citing an interview that those two hierarchs gave in which they affirm the need for unification as well as the citing of personal letters between the bishops of ROCNA and ROCA regarding unity. 162
It was just after these polemics started, or rather continued, that Archbishop Veniamin (Fedchenkoff), a founding member of the HCA on the ship from the Crimea who went over to the MP after making a statement of loyalty to the Bolsheviks, had arrived in America to start a parallel MP diocese in North America. 163 This is following the letter of Metropolitan Sergius to Patriarch Varnava regarding the liquidation of ROCA and the call for its bishops to pledge loyalty to the Soviet regime. This shook up the continent even more. Now, there was ROCNA, ROCA, the Living Church, and the MP all on the same territory, which would cause even more confusion for the faithful Russian people in North America. This showed the bishops of North America that unity was necessary, so that those loyal to the atheist communists would not take the situation over. At first, Metropolitan Platon was hospitable towards Archbishop Veniamin, who was officially visiting to deliver lectures for an unnamed institution, but it upset the faithful. 164 When Metropolitan Sergius required that Metropolitan Platon sign a declaration of loyalty to the Soviet regime. By way of a telegram sent by Archbishop Veniamin to Metropolitan Sergius, Metropolitan Platon affirmed that he did not involve himself with politics, and that he was in full obedience to the Russian Church and Metropolitan Sergius. However, when Metropolitan Platon and Archbishop Veniamin had hoped to consecrate Archpriest Leonid Turkevich (the future Metropolitan Leonty) and sent Metropolitan Sergius a letter regarding this, Metropolitan Sergius refused to bless the consecration without a letter of Soviet loyalty. Metropolitan Platon would not pledge loyalty to the Soviets, and therefore, had to end any eucharistic or administrative relations with Metropolitan Sergius and Archbishop Veniamin. 165
On June 19, 1933, Archbishop Apollinary died from a heart attack at the age of 58. 166 On July 18, the Bishops’ Council of ROCA appointed Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco as the new bishop of North America. 167 Two days later, on July 20, 1933, the ROCA Bishops’ Council discussed the talk of Archbishop Seraphim of Western Europe regarding the desire of peace and the end of any divisions abroad in the Russian Church brought to his attention by the faithful in his diocese. The council was in agreement with all healing, under the condition that any administrative relations with Moscow on behalf of ROCNA are stopped and that the Western European Exarchate of Metropolitan Evlogy leave from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and return to the ROCA. 168
Less than a year after these events, on April 20, 1934, Metropolitan Platon died and the administration of ROCNA was taken over by Bishop Theophilus (Pashkovsky) of San Francisco. Bishop Theophilus was born as Theodore Nicholaevich Pashkovsky on February 6, 1874 in Kiev and was the son of a priest. He came to America in 1894 to assist Bishop Nicholas of North America as his secretary. He was married to a Serbian girl from San Francisco (the niece of Fr. Sebastian [Dabovich]) in 1897, and soon thereafter ordained a priest. In 1907, he made his way back to Russia as the secretary of Archbishop Tikhon who was assigned to the Diocese of Yaroslavl’. While in Russia, his wife died. Patriarch Tikhon desired to make him a bishop. In 1922, Fr. Theodore returned to America, was tonsured a monk with the name Theophilus, and consecrated a bishop, with his see in Chicago. In 1931, he was transferred to San Francisco. 169 From the epistles and writings of Bishop, and later Metropolitan Theophilus, it is evident that he was a very Russian-minded person. He saw the church in America as Russian, but in America. For example, on May 14, 1936, at the Bishops’ Council in Pittsburgh, then Metropolitan Theophilus addressed his brother hierarchs by stressing the need of educating the youth, not only about the Orthodox Church, but also the history of the Russian people. 170 This is just one of many examples of Metropolitan Theophilus’ devotion to Russia and the Russian idea. This will become even clearer later.
Around the same time of Metropolitan Platon’s death, the hopes for unity in Europe began to take shape. On Forgiveness Sunday in 1934, a letter was given to Metropolitan Evlogy by a seminarian by the last name of Rodzianko, a student at St. Sergius’ Institute in Paris and later on Bishop Basil, which was written by Metropolitan Anthony. In the letter, Metropolitan Anthony had expressed his desire to make peace with Metropolitan Evlogy and to correct the current state of affairs. Metropolitan Evlogy decided to go to Serbia to meet with Metropolitan Anthony and to be present at the consecration of Archimandrite Vitaly (Maximenko) as Bishop of Detroit. When Metropolitan Evlogy arrived in Sremski Karlovtsy, he was taken to Metropolitan Anthony who was already old and frail. After spending a few minutes together, they both read the prayer of absolution over one another, as a sign of making peace between themselves. The bishops were going to serve together, but some of the other ROCA hierarchs protested. 171
Patriarch Varnava wanted Metropolitans Anthony and Evlogy to serve together, but during this visit, it did not happen. Instead, Metropolitan Evlogy was simply commemorated along with Metropolitan Anthony in Belgrade while they prayed together. 172 Bishop Basil (Rodzianko) recalled the following:
“After this, everyone was waiting for joint-services in the Church of the Holy Trinity, but Count Grabbe, Petr Sergeevich Lopukhin and a whole list of other “really righteous people” who were there said, “No, you can’t do it like that. You need the agreement of the Council of Bishops. That is their personal reconciliation, but this is a question of principle, that is, a principle of conciliarity.” Patriarch Varnava was very interested by all of this. He learned of everything from me and fully took my side. He came to the Council 173 and said: “I will speak not only on behalf of myself, but in the name of King Aleksandr. If you do not take away the suspension from all of those who you suspended in other countries now and do not reinstate full Eucharistic communion, then unfortunately, the King feels that he cannot continue to show his hospitality to you any longer.” The bishops understood the threat and quickly removed the suspensions.” 174
In order to not weaken these tendencies, the representatives of the Russian Church community in Belgrade visited Patriarch Varnava in Sremski Karlovtsy. In the delegation were Archpriest Vladislav Nekliudov, the warden of the Russian Church of the Holy Trinity, N.I. Ivanov and Mikhail Mikhailovich Rodzianko. 175 “At their leave-taking, the Patriarch said that he would do everything possible to help the work of church unity.” 176
However, these suspensions were only removed at the Bishops’ Council on September 10, 1934, deciding: “To remove the suspension from serving placed upon Metropolitan Evlogy and his vicars and to reinstate not only prayerful communion, but also liturgical communion.” 177
On May 19, 1934, Bishop Theophilus wrote an epistle to the flock of ROCNA, stating: “We must remember, that the days at hand are evil and there are many temptations presenting themselves to catch Orthodox Russian People in different nonchurch structures, at least to bring division among them.” 178 On July 11, 1934, Bishop Theophilus invited all the bishops in North America, both in ROCNA and in ROCA, to San Francisco to discuss the issues of church order in North America. The bishops met on August 9, 1934, and began to work on a plan of action. 179 At the Bishops’ Council, Bishop Theophilus, the eldest of the bishops, addressed the others in attendance, saying:
“All of us love our Native American Church. It is not only of the flesh of the Russian Church, but by spirit and strength, it is that same Russian Church in which we were born, grew up, and confirmed ourselves still on the Native Russian Land. “O Theophilus, protect the tradition,” said Metropolitan Platon of blessed memory to me at my hierarchical consecration, and that testament goes for all of us hierarchs of God. We must uphold everything passed on to us firmly and steadily, and without shakiness we must show to all that we have accepted that which they have accepted, in accordance without our Hierarchical oath.” 180
At this council, the bishops agreed to discuss the status of autonomy of ROCNA declared by Metropolitan Platon, ROCNA’s relationship to hierarchs of other jurisdictions in America, i.e. ROCA bishops, the relationship to the Serbian Patriarchate, and other issues relating church life. 181
On August 24, 1934, at the Bishops Council held in Cleveland, Ohio, this plan was again spoken of with hopes of regulating church order in North America in a period of six months. 182 At the ROCA Bishops’ Council in September 1934, the Council decided to remove the suspension that was put on Metropolitan Platon, stating:
“In witness to the brotherly forgiveness shown by the Council of the reposed Metropolitan Platon and having made peace with them, and also to ease the paths which lead to the reinstatement of church unity in America, we decide to lift the suspension from serving that is on the bishops and clergy of the so called jurisdiction of Platon. The Council expresses along with this surety, that they will appraise this as being a worthy sign of brotherly love, developed for them from the Council of Bishops Abroad, and that they find in it for themselves a moral wake-up as soon as possible and return to full unity with the last.” 183
However, the suspension on Bishop Arseny (Chagovets) was not removed, because he not only followed Metropolitan Platon, but was consecrated a bishop for ROCNA by Metropolitan Anthony and Bishops Gavriil (Chepur) and Germogen (Maksimov) of ROCA in Belgrade on June 6, 1926, and therefore took his oath to the authorities of ROCA, swearing “to be in submission to the All-Russian Church Authority, the Bishops’ Council and the Synod of Bishops,” 184 but left from ROCA along with Metropolitan Platon.
In November of 1934, Archbishop Theophilus was elected Metropolitan of North America and Canada at the Fifth All-American Sobor held in Cleveland, Ohio. 185 Until 1935, the North American Diocese, excluding Archbishop Apollinary and those wishing to remain united with the Hierarchs of ROCA, considered itself an autonomous church administration, although in reality it functioned in an autocephalous manner, not being subject to any other church administration. With the lifting of suspensions by ROCA on ROCNA, the North American Church responded with two important acts at its Bishops’ Council held in Cleveland, Ohio, from November 24 and 26-27, 1934, following the All-American Council. The first of the two acts states: “We, the Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church in North America, repeatedly after our Council in San Francisco, open our arms brotherly to all the Russian Orthodox Bishops who have come to the bosom and territory of the United States and Canada…” 186 The act also called for the bishops not a part of ROCNA to attend a Bishops’ Council at St. Tikhon’s Monastery on May 29, 1935. 187 The other act reads:
“In the spirit of brotherly condescension in Christ Jesus, moving and going to meet the wave towards peaceful friendship of co-pastors, the Bishops’ Council removes the canonical suspension, applied earlier due to former disagreements and divisions, on those or other clergy due to disciplinary measures, who were until now divided by different jurisdictions, not including those canonical measures, which were applied due to the breaking of Church Canons about the purity of life, abstinence and by court…” 188
The Council also gave Metropolitan Theophilus the right to act how he saw fit in regard to the bishops of other jurisdictions, i.e. ROCA Bishops Tikhon, Vitaly, Ioasaph, and Ieronim. 189 Aside from all these events, in the official organ of ROCA, Church Life (Церковная жизнь), there is an article from March of 1935, which speaks of Metropolitan Theophilus’ election as Metropolitan and the Fifth All-American Sobor’s affirmation of ROCNA’s self-rule as events showing the tendencies of separatism in ROCNA. 190 However, it seems as if this was something that was hearsay, since the Bishops’ Council at the same time of the All-American Sobor aimed towards unity, while still keeping the status quo.
Already in 1934, the Russian ecclesiastical divisions in Europe between Metropolitan Evlogy of Western Europe and ROCA had ended. Metropolitan Evlogy was originally in ROCA after its establishment but had chosen to sever his association with it in 1927. In order to heal the division, both Metropolitans Anthony and Evlogy met in Belgrade and made peace. The Serbian Patriarch Varnava had much to do with this. He was very saddened by all that which took place in the Russian Diaspora in regard to schisms. For this reason, he could not be indifferent to the happenings within the divisions of the Russian diaspora. 191 In his address to Metropolitan Anthony in 1931, Patriarch Varnava mentioned: “I, with my side, 192 as a steadfast and sincere friend, constantly am saddened by its misfortune, and with great joy am ready to be a mediator in the act of unification of the Russian People, so necessary for the salvation of Russia.” 193 At the same time in an interview of a Serbian magazine Time (Време), Patriarch Varnava stated: “…Our Church, according to its duty and from its feeling of thanks to the Russian People, is undertaking brotherly measures so that it can unify the divisions of the Russian hierarchy abroad.” 194
Patriarch Varnava created a plan for the regularization of the problems of the Russian Church Diaspora, especially with regard to Metropolitans Evlogy in Western Europe and Theophilus in North America. The first plan was directed towards Metropolitan Evlogy and had six points:
1) the Russian Church Abroad has four Metropolitanates: a) Western Europe, b) the Balkans, c) the Far East and d) America; 2) the unified higher organ of these bodies is to be comprised of representatives who meet for periodical councils; 3) the jurisdiction of the Russian Hierarchical Synod in Sremski Karlovtsi is to be confined to the territory of the Serbian Church; 4) Western Europe must be comprised up of Russian hierarchy of one jurisdiction; 5) the differences between Metropolitan Evlogy and the Executive Board of Karlovtsi are to be decided by the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Serbia; and 6) Metropolitan Evlogy remains the Exarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Russian Church in Western Europe remains under the patronage of this [the Serbian] Patriarchate until the time when a new organization of the Russian Church in Dispersement receives a blessing from the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Serbia. 195
The second plan was directed towards Metropolitan Theophilus, also having six points:
1) the Russian Church abroad must be divided into self-governing metropolitanates, of which one must be in America; 2) these circles must have a common center for decisions on questions that concern the entire Russian Church abroad and questions that cannot be answered by the circles; 3) until the reestablishment of the free Russian Church in Russia, the common center will be under the patronage of the Serbian Patriarch, so that the center will function properly; 4) that center must be organized at a conference of representatives of the circles under the auspices of the Serbian Patriarch; 5) the suspension of Bishop Arsenii [Chagovets, who was in Canada,] from serving must be disregarded; and 6) there must be a hierarchy of one jurisdiction in America. 196
Metropolitan Evlogy already had a plan similar to this in 1923, after the tri-lateral decree of Patriarch Tikhon, the Holy Synod, and the Higher Church Council in Moscow, which was decreed on May 5, 1922, stating that the Higher Church Authority Abroad, i.e. ROCA, was not of a canonical character, should disband, and that Metropolitan Evlogy was responsible for the churches abroad. The plan already at that time, called for the same four metropolitan regions and an annual Bishops’ Council. 197
By October 1935, North American church unity still had not been reached, but Metropolitan Theophilus had been invited to Serbia by Patriarch Varnava for another attempt at the reunification within ROCA of all the Russian metropolitanates outside Russia. His trip was approved both by the Diocesan Council of ROCNA and the Bishops’ Council of ROCNA on October 10, 1935. 198 In order for unity to be reached, it was insisted that the following conditions be met: that the Metropolitan regions would remain autonomous; that the Metropolitan regions be recognized themselves as part of the Local Russian Church; that representatives of each Metropolitan region would meet as necessary for specific reasons, without establishing a permanent center; and that there would not be parallel dioceses of different Metropolitan regions overlapping one another. 199
In October of 1935, Metropolitan Theophilus traveled to Belgrade, first meeting with Metropolitan Evlogy in Paris, and then together they traveled by train to Serbia. The bishops were greeted with all honors upon arrival to Sremski Karlovtsy. They immediately met with Patriarch Varnava that evening and only on the next day did they see Metropolitan Anthony, who was already too old to have a great influence on the conference that was held under the protection of Patriarch Varnava. Taking part in the conference regarding the reunification of the metropolitan regions were Patriarch Varnava of Serbia as chairman of the conference, Metropolitan Evlogy of Western Europe, Metropolitan Theophilus of ROCNA, Metropolitan Anastasy of Kishinev (representing the Balkans and Near East region), and Archbishop Dimitrii of Khailar as secretary (representing the Far East and Metropolitan Meletii). All of the members present were more than willing to bring about church administrative unity. Only Metropolitan Evlogy was persistent in not wanting to lose his title as Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch. He even criticized Metropolitan Theophilus in his memoirs as being weak in character, calling him a simple provincial priest who was not interested in conflict. Metropolitan Evlogy saw that he was not receiving support for his cause from the other hierarchs and went along with everything, signing all the documents. 200
Rodzianko, the Church Warden at the Russian Church in Belgrade at the time, writes in The Truth About the Russian Church Abroad as an eyewitness to the event:
“The hierarchs mentioned answered the Patriarchal summons and arrived in Sremski Karlovtsy. At the meetings, the Patriarch was chairman. The first of these sessions was on October 18/31[, 1935]. From the minutes one can see how Metropolitan Theophilus expressed the complete readiness on his part to meet half-way with the general desire to institute peace and unity on the basis set forth in the report, which he immediately read. After a thorough discussion, extending over several meetings, “The Temporary Situation of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad” appeared. This “Situation” was signed by Patriarch Varnava, Metropolitan Antony, Metropolitan Evlogy, Metropolitan Theophilus, Metropolitan Anastasy and Bishop Dimitry.
The main parts of this “Situation” are:
The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, composed of dioceses, spiritual missions and churches finding themselves outside the borders of Russia, is an inseparable part of the Russian Orthodox Church, temporarily existing on autonomous principles.
The highest organ of legislation, trial and administration for the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad is the Council of Bishops, meeting annually, and its executive organ – the Holy Synod of Bishops.
The exiled part of the Russian Church is composed of four provinces: Western Europe, Near East, North America and the Far East, in each of which metropolitan districts are formed.
…Patriarch Varnava offered to mediate in talks with the Oecumenical Patriarch about the release of Metropolitan Evlogy from the Church of Constantinople. Metropolitan Evlogy accepted this proposal with thanks and expressed his readiness to unite with all parts of the Russian Church Abroad. The brotherly unity of the hierarchs <…> was witnessed and strengthened by the concelebration of two Divine Liturgies. Heading the service in the Serbian Cathedral was His Holiness, Patriarch Varnava, and serving in the Russian Trinity Church were Metropolitan Evlogy, Metropolitan Theophilus, Metropolitan Anastasy, and Bishop Dimitry (Metropolitan Antony did not serve because of illness)”. 201
These actions of Patriarch Varnava caused Metropolitan Sergius to protest in a telegram, which he sent to the Patriarch requesting that the Patriarch quit his project of a new church organization of the Russian emigres. 202 Patriarch Varnava refused to stop showing his protection to ROCA and points out that Metropolitan Sergius was in restricted conditions and was not properly informed about the church conditions of the Russian emigres. Patriarch Varnava made a point that Metropolitan Sergius’s lack of desire for reconciliation in regards to the Russian Church emigres profited only the Patriarch of Constantinople, with his attempts towards universal power, which was supported by the nationalism of the Greek Church and was being fought against by Patriarch Varnava himself. 203
Therefore, under the guidance of Patriarch Varnava, Metropolitan Theophilus’ trip to Serbia in the Fall of 1935 was fruitful in that an agreement was made, in which the “Temporary Status of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad” was ratified. The Metropolitan region of North America was seen as an autonomous district, under the auspices of ROCA, along with “all Russian Orthodox people outside the limits of Russia and grouped into church communities, dioceses and metropolitanates.” 204 Most importantly from the standpoint of ROCNA, the church in North America was able to maintain its autonomy, while being united with the other Russian metropolitan regions abroad.
The united bishops immediately released an epistle to the newly unified flock of ROCA, about the events of the conference and its outcome with the “Temporary Status.” It also expressed its hope for the all the metropolitan regions to remain a part of the Mother-Church in Russia. 205 According to the tone of reports of the unity in The Russian American Orthodox Messenger, the new situation was well received. The publication, after almost five years of not being printed, was once again released for publication on the occasion of the unity, in order to informed the expanded diocese with the addition of the ROCA parishes, which were separate from ROCNA for almost ten years. 206
Upon his return to America, Metropolitan Theophilus called for a Bishops’ Council to take place in Pittsburgh from May 14-16, 1936. The main topic of discussion was the “Temporary Status” which was accepted in Sremski Karlovtsy. Together with the hierarchs of ROCA in North America, all the Russian bishops in North America united under one autonomous administration, which was now a metropolitan region of ROCA. The Council wrote an act, which accepted the “Temporary Status” into use for ROCNA with a call for the people to also accept it at an All-American Sobor and the option for changes to be made at the All-American Council with the approval by the Bishops’ Council of ROCA. The act was not only signed by the bishops who were a part of ROCNA before the “Temporary Status” was written, but also by all the ROCA bishops of North America, including: Metropolitan Theophilus, Archbishops Adam, Tikhon, and Vitaly, Bishops Arseny, Veniamin, Ieronim, and Makary. 207 The council also addressed the faithful regarding the newly achieved unity, assuring them of the keeping of the current autonomous status and of the new status of a metropolitan region with numerous self-ruling dioceses and appointed Bishop Makary of Boston as the representative of ROCNA to the General Council of Bishops of ROCA. 208 It went on to say: “All of our Archpastors, with its Metropolitan at its head, are a part of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which is the Highest Church Organ for our entire Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, at the same time remaining an undivided part of the All-Russian Church.” 209 The epistle also informed the people of an upcoming All-American Sobor in Philadelphia, which would discuss the “Temporary Status” and the current situation of the new status of ROCNA as a metropolitan region. 210 Metropolitan Theophilus also wrote a letter to all the parish rectors of ROCNA following the Bishops’ Council in Pittsburgh, asking that all the clergy support the newly achieved unity with ROCA. 211
According to the “Temporary Status”, every metropolitan region is to send the minutes regarding special issues of its Bishops’ Councils to the General Council of Bishops’ of ROCA for approval, such as diocesan territorial issues (Article VI, Point 3). 212 With the changes that took place with the “Temporary Status”, the Bishops’ Council of ROCNA passed on their minutes to the General Council of Bishops, and the Bishops’ Council of ROCA decided: “1) To confirm the decisions of the Council of Bishops of North America in Pittsburgh from May 1/14 to 3/16 of this year; 2) accept the North- American region as autonomous in the volume in which it now exists.” 213 Unfortunately, at the same Council in Sremski Karlovtsy, the decision of the Western European Diocese’s decision to not accept the “Temporary Status” was discussed, and the sadness of the ROCA hierarchs in regard to this turn around since the signing of the “Temporary Status” by Metropolitan Evlogy. Because of this, a parallel ROCA diocese was left to remain in Western Europe. 214 The fact that ROCA allowed for the parallel diocese to exist in Western Europe, contrary to the “Temporary Status” upset Metropolitan Evlogy and was most likely that which kept the Western European Exarchate from returning to ROCA ever again. With this event, talks on unity with Western Europe were dismissed on behalf of the Exarchate. 215
For the last time Metropolitan Sergius asked Patriarch Varnava to use his authority to make the Russian emigres go into submission to him (Metropolitan Sergius) in a letter from March 14, 1936. He wrote that if Patriarch Varnava continued to demonstrate his prayerful communion, as well as all other methods of support to the Russian Church refugees who were not in submission to Metropolitan Sergius, that it would lead to the ceasing of prayerful and Eucharistic communion of the MP with the SOC. 216
In the 1936, after the death of Metropolitan Anthony, Patriarch Varnava was present at the Council of Bishops. At lunch on September 15/28, 1936, Patriarch Varnava gave a speech, which included the following:
“…It is sad, of course, that our Blessed Metropolitan Antonii, our great and wise leader, has left us. He was not only for you, but also for our Serbian Church, a wise counselor in the days of its founding. But a worthy successor succeeded him in the person of the Very Most Reverend Metropolitan Anastasii.
I always was of the conviction that bolshevism and Communism were misfortunes not only for Russia and the Russian Church, but for all the Christian world. I, in every possible way, attempted to assist in the organization of the Russian Church and supported it. It is true, even I earlier tried to defend my teacher and friend Metropolitan Sergius, but finally now, I have been assured that he is in captivity by the Bolsheviks and that his commands bring great injury to the Russian Church.
It was difficult for me earlier to speak in defense of Russia in regards to the Communists and international Jews and to prove that until national Russia is restored, there cannot be peace and order in Europe. I was completely on my own. The Catholics showed themselves to have so little foresight, that instead of substantial help to the suffering Russian Church, they tried to use its misfortune.
…We are orientating ourselves towards the national, and more importantly, Tsarist Russia.
I greet you, as friends of mine, as friends of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Serbian People. I ask for you to believe in my firm determination: as long as I am alive and stand on this post, I will implement this according to the extent of my powers.” 217
Patriarch Varnava’s realization confirmed his desire to facilitate Russian Church Diaspora unity, which undoubtedly played a role in the compiling of the “Temporary Status” in 1935.
The Sixth All-American Sobor of ROCNA took place in New York from October 5-8, 1937. 218 The main item on the agenda of the Sobor was the “Temporary Status.” It was the goal of the hierarchy for the Sobor to approve the “Temporary Status.” Metropolitan Theophilus opened the Sobor with a speech calling for the unity of all who are a part of the church. At the end of his speech, he stated: “Here – at the Sobor will be confirmed that which we are present for and that will serve to the church unity both now and in the future.” 219
The Sobor began with the reading of a report by Archpriest John Nedzelnitsky, who explained the status of ROCA at the time of the Sobor and the founding of ROCA. The report was highly in favor of the accepting of the “Temporary Status” and unity with ROCA. He also spoke about the situation in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia, Japan and Finland regarding the political situation and its effect on the church at that time. He explained that it was illogical for the Russian dioceses abroad to fall away from the Russian Church to churches, such as the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but should instead remain a part of the one Russian Church, united abroad until the freeing of Russia from the Soviets. He explained that Metropolitan Sergius’ relationship to the churches abroad, i.e. suspending the hierarchs of those churches for not declaring loyalty to the Bolsheviks, makes an obvious statement that the church abroad must be united in autonomous metropolitan regions. 220
The next report was read by Archpriest Joseph Dzvonchik, also in favor of accepting the “Temporary Status.” He explained that ROCNA would keep the autonomous status it acquired in 1924, at the Fourth All-American Sobor in Detroit, and that the appointment of Archbishop Apollinary, as well as the suspensions, did not aid the making of peace in the Church in North America. Instead, it contributed to more division. He noted that the Fifth All-American Sobor in Cleveland decided that no other church authority would be allowed to interfere in the life of ROCNA. He also wrote, that the Diocesan Council gave Metropolitan Theophilus certain guidelines for his trip to Serbia, which he followed, resulting in the “Temporary Status”, which is already being followed in ROCNA since the Pittsburgh Bishops’ Council which took place in May 1936. 221 Therefore, Fr. Dzvonchik concluded, that it is the right thing for the Sobor to approve the “Temporary Status”, “so that the acts of this Sobor showed themselves to be a bright page in the history of our Church in America.” 222
After some discussion and the reading aloud of the “Temporary Status” and Bishop Makary reaffirming for the Sobor that the autonomy of ROCNA would not be changed by the “Temporary Status” and that there were technical changes made to the original “Temporary Status” in 1936 at the General Bishops’ Council in Sremski Karlovtsy, an open vote was taken for the accepting of the “Temporary Status” and for the implication of document into ROCNA. The results of the voting approved the “Temporary Status”, but not by majority of the Sobor: 105 votes for the acceptance, nine against, and 122 people abstained from voting for one reason or another. In any case, the “Temporary Status” was accepted since the majority of voters accepted it. 223 In response to the voting. Metropolitan Theophilus felt the confusion and explained that the “‘Temporary Status’ has more of a moral meaning than an administrative one – it shows our union – our unity, but it does not tie us.” 224 As the council continued, some changes to the “Temporary Status” were discussed regarding the rights of bishops and dioceses.
Changes were voted to be made, but four of the bishops (Archbishops Tikhon and Vitaly and Bishops Ioasaph and Ieronim) protested to these changes, claiming that they were never discussed at a Bishops’ Council and that the changes would contradict the “Temporary Status.” No changes were made. 225
In August of 1938, the Second All-Diaspora Council was held in Sremski Karlovtsy. Representatives were present at this Council from all over the Russian Diaspora. From America, Archbishop Vitaly of Eastern America and Jersey City and Bishop Benjamin of West Virginia and Pittsburgh were present, representing the hierarchs of ROCNA. Representing the clergy was Archimandrite Feodosii from Western America, and from the laity, Nikolai Pavlovich Rybakov and N.D. Talberg represented ROCNA, attesting to the unity achieved by the reunification of ROCNA with ROCA. 226 In general, the Council celebrated the 950-Year Anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’ and called the faithful to morality. It admonished immorality and the fall of some from the Russian Diaspora into other faiths. It also remarked on the struggle that the Orthodox Church is in with Catholicism, recognizing that there are many good and honest people in that faith, but that the Catholics have shown themselves to be enemies to the Orthodox peoples. 227
Summing up, the reconciliation of 1935 was a needed event in all the branches of the Russian Church that found themselves outside the borders of the Soviet Union. Through the efforts of Patriarch Varnava and the goodwill of all the heads of the metropolitan regions, at least for a short time, the church was able to unite into four autonomous church administrations under the umbrella-authority of the General Council of Bishops who were from all those regions and a Synod made up of representatives from each of the regions. It is unfortunate that Metropolitan Evlogy did not stand firm in his acceptance of the “Temporary Status”, but rather decided not to heed to the call of the higher church authorities for reasons, which appear to be none other than the result of personal pride and love of power. However, the achieved unity between ROCA and ROCNA, made possible a desired unified stand and gathering of resources, which would allow the church to flower during the difficult times of division from the Mother-Church due to the godless powers in Russia. Although the path to this unity was full of all sorts of obstacles, the churches were able to unite morally for the sake of peace and to await the return to the Mother-Church in a unified matter. Explaining the amount of abstentions at the Sobor is probably due to the fact that there was a significant difference between the hierarchy and the laity. The bishops were all Russians who were born in Russia, whereas many of the clergy and laity considered themselves more American, mostly of Carpatho-Russian descent, but children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of immigrants. They obviously had a much more American mindset. In order for this unity to have happened, it was necessary for all sides to humble themselves, whether it have been by sacrificing power to some degree or losing some of its parishes. Through a common desire to be unified, the hierarchs of all the metropolitan regions were able to sacrifice a bit of authority in order to be one. It is evident in both the cases of Western Europe and North America, that the people’s voice showed itself to be loud and heard. At least in America, the voice of unity was louder than the voice of protest, and it seems to be predominantly because the hierarchs of ROCNA were willing to do what was necessary for the sake of unity, a sure sign of wise pastoral decision-making. In Western Europe, it can be seen that Metropolitan Evlogy had difficulties accepting the “Temporary Status”, because he would have had to lose power, status and titles in order to achieve it. This situation left the church vulnerable to possible disarray since the unity was not felt throughout all members of the church. With the coming of World War II, the status of church life was shook even more, which led to the coming event.
Chapter 5. The Second Division – The Seventh All-American Sobor of 1946
In November of 1940, the Lesser Council of Bishops of the North American Diocese called for the preparation of the Seventh All-American Sobor, which was to take place in New York City. The Sobor was to be called for the general status of the church to be examined. Already in February of 1941, the first meeting of the preconciliar commission met in New York. The committee was made up of clergy and laity with Archbishop Vitaly of Jersey City and Eastern America as the committee chairman. Other members included Archpriest Vasily Kurdyumov, Archpriest Peter Karel, Protodeacon Innokenty Semov, Peter Zubov, Sergei Androsov and Iosif Tsimbalik, as well as other members who were added on with the blessing and approval of the chairman. 228
The committee met several times in preparation for the Sobor. In their meeting on May 14, 1941, a member of the pre-conciliar commission, Prince S. A. Gagarin, spoke about the necessity of the upcoming Sobor to discuss the unification with the other “branches of the Universal Orthodox Church in America. In case of such a unification, the Orthodox church in America would hold a proper place among other American religious organizations, which would considerably increase the authority of our Russian Mission.” 229 In response to such a comment, the MetropolitanPs Council responded with a statement of Metropolitan Theophilus, who wrote: “I zealously thank Vladyka Vitaly and the members of the preconciliar commission. The presentation of a council is a solemn designation of the great protection for the foundations of Orthodoxy and will raise up our Church and give her respect among other church workers. Unification will not be a subject of discussion, but rather brotherly tendencies.” 230 It seems as if Metropolitan Theophilus had no intention of uniting with the other Orthodox churches in America at that time, intending on staying a member of ROCA.
By July of 1941, a program for the Sobor had already been formulated and sent to Metropolitan Theophilus. At this time, there was little mentioned about unification with the MP, neither was there anything mentioned about the possibility of autonomy, but rather general church relations were to be discussed, as well as the status of other church bodies. However, it seems that there was already concern among the clergy as to what the status of the church would be in regard to ROCA, Metropolitan Anastasy having fled to Germany due to World War II and the effects it was having on Yugoslavia. One priest, V. Rev. T. Buketoff, wrote Metropolitan Theophilus in May of 1942 with the concern, saying that the best situation would be a separation from ROCA and the worst situation would be submission to Metropolitan Sergius. 231 A major concern among some of the lower clergy and laity in ROCNA was the belief that Metropolitan Anastasy and ROCA as a whole had submitted to and supported Adolf Hitler’s regime. This accusation seemed to come from hierarchs of the MP; first from the MP Patriarchal Exarch of North America, Metropolitan Veniamin, in June of 1942 232 and again by Archbishop Aleksy of the MP in 1945. 233 These accusations were to be proven false after the war, especially by the statements of Patriarch Gavrilo of Serbia after World War II had ended, which will be addressed later.
Metropolitan Anastasy and ROCA did have relations with Hitler, but before the official start to World War II in 1939. On June 12, 1938, Metropolitan Anastasy traveled to Berlin to consecrate a new cathedral that was built for the Russians by the German government, headed by Adolf Hitler. The Russians in Berlin used to have a church that was in the Russian Embassy in Berlin. When the Bolsheviks took over the embassy, the church was closed. There were plans to build another church, but financing problems prevented it from happening. When the German government found out about this problem, it decided for one reason or another to assist. In 1935 is when it began to assist with the building. 234 After the consecration, Metropolitan Anastasy read a letter on behalf of the Synod of Bishops of ROCA to Adolf Hitler, which read:
“When we look at our Cathedral in Berlin, which has now been consecrated by us and raised thanks to the willingness and generosity of Your Government after granting to our Holy Church the rights of a juridical entity, our thought appeals before all others to You with honest and heartfelt thanksgiving, as the actual builder of it.
We see a unique act of God’s Foresight in that, which is now in the act of Your building, when in our homeland churches and national holy places are trampled and destroyed, has a place for and the building of this church.
Not only the German people remember you with warm love and dedication, but the greatest people of all nations see in You a leader of the world battle for peace and righteousness.
Your struggle of battle for the national originality of the German people and the greatness of the German Empire have made You an example, a worthy emulator, and sample of how to love his own people and his homeland, how to stand for his national treasures and eternal items of worth. These last ones find their sanctity and perpetuation in our Orthodox Church. National values make up the honor and glory of every people, and therefore, find a place for the Eternal Kingdom of God.
You have built up a house for the Heavenly Master. That He may send His blessing both on the work of Your construction and on the building of Your national Empire. That God may strengthen You and the German people in the battle with hostile powers, which wish for the destruction of our people as well. That He may grant to You, Your country, your government and army, health, blessed days and in all things blessed success for many years.” 235
This letter is obviously extremely scandalous, and looking back at the events of Hitler during World War II, anyone who read this would naturally understand it as a support for Hitler. However, one must remember that this was written before the evil doings of Hitler were made known. At this point, Metropolitan Anastasy and the Synod of Bishops saw Hitler as a liberator — someone who was going to conquer communism and perhaps free Russia, allowing the Russian Church to return to its home. He was the hope of the Russian people outside of Russia. With a post-Revolution mentality, anyone who was understood to be an enemy of the Bolsheviks was received as an ally that could do no wrong. Thinking realistically, Hitler built an Orthodox Church. If any government in this day and age would go so far for the Orthodox Church in building it a cathedral, that government and leader would receive praise for its positive actions. There was no way for Metropolitan Anastasy or the Synod of Bishops of ROCA to know what was to come with Hitler. Also, Patriarch Gavrilo of Serbia sent his representatives to this consecration, as well as were present representatives from the Bulgarian Church. 236 Therefore, the Bulgarians and Serbs would be guilty as well, had they known how evil Hitler’s regime would be found to be.
As the intensity of World War II heightened, travel was made nearly impossible, funds were limited, and communication was becoming more difficult, not only within North America, but also internationally, i.e. with Metropolitan Anastasy, 237 the plans for a Seventh All-American Sobor were put on hold until after the war by the unanimous consent of all the bishops of North America.
With the victory of the Allies in World War II, soldiers began to return to America. American national pride and morale were heightened and an intolerance of all Axis Powers was a common feeling. America’s new ally, the Soviet Union, became more tolerable than ever before. In Russia, the victory over the Nazis was widely celebrated. The Soviet communists were beginning to show themselves as tolerant people, having the same common enemies as the democratic powers. Considering all this, it was time for the church in North America to make efforts to call the planned Seventh All-American Council.
Even before the end of the war, things began to happen in regard to the church relations of the Russian Orthodox Church of North America (ROCNA) and the MP. When Metropolitan Sergius (Starogorodsky) was elected Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia in September of 1943, many people of ROCNA began to believe that the communist authorities were showing less pressure on the MP, and foresaw the possible lifting of suspension by the MP. The Patriarch was even commemorated in some places in ROCNA. Upon the death of Patriarch Sergius in May of 1944, a telegram was sent to Moscow expressing condolence on the death of the Patriarch. This sparked an invitation of the MP extended to ROCNA to send delegates to the All-Russian Council, which was to be held in Moscow in January of 1945. Due to bad weather conditions, the delegates were late for the council. When the delegates arrived only after the council had ended, they informed the new Patriarch Aleksy of Moscow of the status of ROCNA and within days, the Patriarch presented the delegates with a decree to be taken to Metropolitan Theophilus. When the delegates returned, the decree spoke of the forming of a new Metropolitan District in North America, which would call for, among other things, an All-American Council within the following few months, the election of a new Metropolitan, and the renunciation of anti-USSR activities. This was not an option for ROCNA because the calling of an All-American Council was nearly impossible due to the war, there was already a canonical Metropolitan who would need not be replaced, and ROCNA had long earlier taken a stance of not speaking politically from the pulpit. 238 Therefore, the Metropolitan’s Council came to the conclusion that “[the] substance of the Ukase, 239 as well as its tone and all of the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the issuance of the Ukase, suggest the high-handed methods of an autocratic bureaucracy.” 240
It is evident, however, that ROCNA was interested in receiving autonomy from the MP. But, ROCNA wanted this autonomy on its own terms. A problem was the connection ROCNA had with ROCA. ROCA held not only a spiritual role, but also a political role, in that it was adamantly anti-communist and pro-monarchist. An even greater problem began to develop when ROCA left Yugoslavia during World War II and was operating from Geneva and then eventually Munich. There was a group of some of the lower clergy and laity within ROCNA, which believed that since ROCA was no longer in the canonical jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Church, that it was no longer in communion with world Orthodoxy, thus severing its canonical ties to the Universal Orthodox Church. This was an idea stemming mostly from the laity, as can be seen in the letter commonly called the “Memorandum of Five Professors,” 241 a document drafted by five members of ROCNA expressing their desire for autonomy to be received from the MP. 242 This however was not the opinion of the hierarchy.
First, in response to the “Memorandum of the Five Professors,” the Small Bishops’ Council, including Metropolitan Theophilus, Archbishop Vitaly and Bishops Ieronim and Veniamin, accepted a resolution in which it is stated that the memorandum of the professors was not to be printed in periodicals because “the authors themselves, judging from the contents of the ‘Memorandum,’ are not well enough informed in church affairs.” 243 Second, in a letter written to Metropolitan Theophilus on March 5, 1946, Archbishop Leonty makes a point that ROCA was not established to function within the jurisdiction of another church, but rather in order to fulfill the needs of the Russian Church outside the borders of Russia due to the political situation in Russia. 244 Therefore, “the temporary dispensation of the Serbian Patriarch could be taken away from the Synod Abroad, but its function is created outside the scope of Serbia, as it fully was before, in the like it now remains in power…” 245 Third, there was a report in The Russian American Orthodox Messenger in January of 1946, in which there is a report that the Serbian Patriarch Gavrilo spoke of his approval of Metropolitan Anastasy’s actions in Germany and was happy to hear that Metropolitan Anastasy had already made it to Geneva. The Patriarch said that Metropolitan Anastasy “held on by the Germans with great wisdom and tact, he was always loyal to the Serbs, undergoing searches 3-4 times by the Germans, caused by their distrust.” 246
In February of 1946, when the MP representative Archbishop Aleksy was in America, he served in one of the churches of ROCNA without the blessing of the local bishop, Archbishop Vitaly. This infuriated Archbishop Vitaly who wrote to Archbishop Aleksy, pointing out his uncanonical actions, which were against the oath every bishop takes before his hierarchical consecration, in which he swears never to serve the Liturgy in the diocese of another bishop without the host-bishop’s approval. Archbishop Vitaly, therefore, questioned Archbishop Aleksy’s claimed intentions of bringing peace to ROCNA when he was obviously acting in a manner contrary to that of the Church and peace. 247
Especially during the events leading to the Sobor in Cleveland, Ralph Montgomery Arkush, who was the legal counsel of the North American Metropolitanate, 248 was influential in actions of ROCNA. In a letter he wrote to Metropolitan Theophilus on March 9, 1946, a suggested plan for the issue of relations with ROCA is laid out. The author presents his case in stating that there were rumors that Archbishop Aleksy of Yaroslav and Rostov of the MP was going to recommend the ex-communication of ROCA. 249 Next, he speaks of the trip of Bishop Ieronim of Detroit and Cleveland to Geneva, where he was going to participate in a hierarchical consecration of ROCA. 250 He writes:
“If this is true it should be stopped at once. The one great obstacle to peace in our Church today is our connection with the Russian Church Abroad. Your Eminence has pointed out to Metropolitan Anastasius a dignified, orderly and sensible method of winding up its affairs, namely, by merging his bishops, priests and people into our own jurisdiction. He has declined this suggestion without discussion. In my opinion the suggestion should be renewed with added force, now that the disintegration of our Church is proceeding apace. I suggest a cable be sent to Bishop Ieronim instructing him to ascertain the exact facts as of the status of Metropolitan Anastasius’ affairs but to refrain from participating in any consecration. I can imagine no act that will create greater resentment among the great majority of Russian Orthodox people in the country than, without authorization of an All American Sobor, deliberately to prolong the life of the Russian Church Abroad at a time when we have been beating our brains out to discover an orderly and humane method of liquidating that organization.
…Nevertheless, our connection with thagamzation [ROCA] has this momentary value, that the Patriarchate wants so much to see the connection dissolved that we can insist on our own terms as the price of such dissolution. This fact the Patriarchal representative was never willing to face but I know that his committee will recognize it and that we will have the support of the Episcopal Church in demanding it. In other words we must not give up our connection with the Russian Church Abroad until we have been guaranteed full administrative autonomy by the Patriarchate. This will be the position for our committee in the talks with the Patriarchal committee. It is even possible that we can force the Patriarchate to give similar autonomy to Metropolitan Anastasius’ jurisdiction. If then the latter declines to acknowledge the spiritual headship of Moscow we can in good conscience wash our hands of him.
Accordingly, I suggest that Bishop Ieronim be kept in Geneva as a threat to the Patriarchate that if our terms are not promptly agreed to we will proceed to reconstitute the synod abroad.” 251
Arkush finishes his letter by speaking of other, more general council matters, stating his hopes of not pressuring Metropolitan Theophilus. 252 He also includes a suggested plan for the dissolving of ROCA, which would be presented “To the Clergy and Lay People of the Russian Orthodox Church of America.” 253 The plan Arkush wrote emphasizes that the canonical status of ROCNA is approved by the rulings of the American courts, the “Episcopal Church, by The Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, by the United States Army and Navy, and other bodies. Above all, it has commanded the loyalty of the great body of Russian Orthodox faithful on this continent.” 254 He also speaks of the ties with the Mother Church and the current relationship of ROCNA with ROCA, noting that the bishops of ROCNA comprise a majority of bishops in ROCA; therefore, if there were a debate, ROCNA would be able to carry the decision. More importantly, he describes the relationship of ROCNA to ROCA as a spiritual unity, rather than an administrative submission of ROCNA. 255
On October 16 and November 15, 1946, Metropolitan Theophilus wrote letters to Metropolitan Anastasy, asking him for his prayers for the upcoming Sobor, which was to take place in Cleveland. 256 In the letter of November 15, Metropolitan Theophilus prepares Metropolitan Anastasy for the possibility of difficulties, but related that he believed there would be positive results from the Sobor. 257
The Seventh All-American Sobor was held in Cleveland, Ohio at St. Theodosius Cathedral. It began on November 26, 1946, with Metropolitan Theophilus presiding. All the ROCNA bishops were in attendance, including Archbishops Tikhon, Vitaly, Leonty, and Ioasaph and Bishops Benjamin, Ieronim, and John, as well as Bishop Serafim (ROCA), who had just arrived from Europe and was present as a guest at the Sobor. There was also present at the Sobor 157 clergymen and 92 lay delegates in attendence, as well as other guests from other churches, who came only to greet the Sobor, such as Bishop Dionisije from the Serbian Orthodox Church and a representative of the Episcopal Church. 258 Although there were reports and discussions about financial matters and theological education at the Sobor, the main topic was the possible return to the Mother Church. The first three reports were by, “1. Bishop Ieronim – ‘The Current Status of the Russian Church Abroad’; 2. Prof. N. C. Timashev – ‘The Status of the Orthodox Church Under the Soviet Power’; 3. Archpriest John Kozitsky – ‘The American Metropolitan Region in its Current Status and the American Sobor of 1937′.” 259 The Protocols of the Sobor do not include the text to these documents; however, the discussions that occurred after are recorded. The discussions provided an opportunity for all the delegates sent to the Sobor to share their opinions, as well as the opinions of the parishes they represented, with the other members of the Sobor. In general, there were three main opinions: 1) to remain status quo as a self-governing Metropolitan region under the auspices of ROCA 2) once again to declare ROCNA a fully self-governing church organization, cutting ties with ROCA and not submitting to the MP, or 3) to accept the Moscow Patriarch as the spiritual head of an autonomous ROCNA, cutting ties with ROCA. The first of these was the rarest of opinions shared, the second was more popular, but a majority shared the third opinion with a desire for a reunification with the MP. 260 Archpriest Joseph Dzvonchik shared his recollections of his trip to Moscow with Bishop Aleksy in 1945 for the All-Russian Council, at which he was supposed to be a delegate but did not arrive in time. He did, however, speak about their meetings with Patriarch Aleksy and the Holy Synod of the MP and clarified that the MP had offered ROCNA to keep “inner administrative autonomy.” 261 He also noted, “The fact, that we were not given permission to serve in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Theophany explains that our Church is under suspension.” 262 Father Dzvonchik was referring to the suspension placed on ROCNA in 1935, by Metropolitan Sergius, which took away the canonical rights of ROCNA’s existence since it was not under the administration of the MP. 263 He also pointed out that,
“Until now, there has taken place many changes within the Church in Russia. Events show that the activity of the Church is not being reduced, but rather is expanding. Of course, there was a pursuit of the Church and it seems there was a time when the Church was used. The year 1944 showed that the Church, which was driven to the catacombs, again has openly manifested its activity, is growing and developing, and is continuing to grow stronger, and with time it will be given to us to help it grow into an strong spiritual power. 264
This opinion naturally played quite a role at the Sobor because it was a firsthand account of the MP. Among the opinions expressed, there was also that of Archbishop Vitaly, who explained that if ROCNA was to accept the Patriarch of Moscow as the spiritual head of ROCNA, it would entail a full submission to him. Bishop Ieronim also voiced his opinion of opposition in stating that there were bad results when the Metropolitan region of Western Europe hurriedly submitted to the MP. 265
Metropolitan Theophilus addressed the Sobor, saying that the comments of the delegates from the previous day made it clear that “the time has come to end ties with the Synod Abroad and to look for union with the Moscow Patriarchate, leaving ourselves the right to full autonomy.” 266 The Sobor came to an agreement on a resolution of the Sobor by a vote of 187 accepting the resolution and 61 rejecting it. 267 The resolution states:
“Now therefore be it resolved, that His Holiness Alexis, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia be requested to unite us in his fold and be our Spiritual Head, conditioned upon the Church in America retaining its present autonomous status and the right of self-government. That the periodic All American Sobors of the Russian Orthodox Church of North America shall remain the Supreme Legislative and Administrative body of our Church; at these Sobors the Church shall continue to elect its own Metropolitan, and make and adopt its own laws by which the Church in North America is, in all respects, self-governed;
And whereas the Patriarchal authority is not consistent with the authority of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, this sobor does hereby Resolve: That any administrative recognition of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad is hereby terminated, retaining, however, our spiritual and brotherly relations with all parts of the Russian Orthodox Church abroad;
And be it further resolved that in the event the aforesaid conditions are found not to be acceptable to His Holiness, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church of North America shall continue, and does remain, self-governing until such time as the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia finds it possible to accept the conditions herein stated.” 268
Later that same day, Archbishop Vitaly attempted to reopen the discussion about the accepted resolution, but he was forbidden to, based on the understanding that the Sobor had already established its conciliar resolution and could not reopen the topic for discussion. 269
Archbishop Vitaly recorded his thoughts about the Seventh-All American Sobor in his memoirs, first giving a history of the events. He wrote that Metropolitan Veniamin, the Exarch of the MP, informed the ROCNA bishops, that it was a specific need that the bishops would pledge their loyalty to the Bolsheviks if they wanted to be together. This was rejected at all the Bishops’ Councils held before the Seventh All-American Sobor from 1945-1946. 270 He also writes: “…the Metropolia was corresponding with Metropolitan Anastasy, offering him to retire and to hand over all the parishes abroad to the overseeing of America.” 271 Metropolitan Anastasy said that he could not do such a thing, which led Archbishop Vitaly to believe that this correspondence had an effect on the resolution of the Seventh All-American Sobor. 272
Archbishop Vitaly also points out that the Statute of ROCNA, which was published in the Russian-American Orthodox Messenger (Русско–Американский Православный вестник) in its first issue of 1946, states that the Bishops’ Conference at the All-American Sobor has the right to overturn any decision of the Sobor, as it is the entity which is responsible for church law. However, at the Sobor, Archpriest Joseph Pishtey informed the delegates, that this could be changed by the Sobor, since the AllAmerican Sobor is considered the highest authority in the church, which was done at the Sobor by a majority of votes. 273
Therefore, the united Russian Diaspora came to an end. In just about ten years, ROCA went from a split church to a united church, back to a split church. World War II played a large role in splitting the church apart, by allowing the world political situation to have an effect on church life, instead of allowing proper church administration to run its course. Noteworthy, this all happened before the Berlin Airlift, the first major event of the Cold War. Also, the lack of communication across the Atlantic Ocean during the war made for a confusion-friendly field of division. The move of the ROCA central administration also played a role, by facilitating the misunderstanding that ROCA was no longer under the protection of a canonical church authority, i.e. no longer under the protection of the SOC. It also seems from the research conducted, that certain people in ROCNA desired a church run on autocephalous principles, without any checks and balances of a higher church authority other than itself. This ambition combined with the thought that the central church administration had submitted to another godless authority all aided the breaking of the North American Metropolitan Region from ROCA, which was the result of the Seventh All-American Sobor in Cleveland.
Chapter 6. A Divided Diaspora
The outcome of the Seventh All-American Sobor was a turning point in the Russian Diaspora that led to a formal division. After the Sobor, Metropolitan Theophilus sent a telegram to Patriarch Aleksy, in which was written:
“Your Holiness! At the All-American Sobor of Russian Orthodox, Greek- Catholic churches of North America, having taken place in Cleveland, in the state of Ohio from November 26-29, 1946, it was decided to ask Your Holiness to receive us into the bosom of Your Church and to be our spiritual head alongside the protecting of full autonomy of the American church, which exists at the present time. The All-American Sobor remains the highest law-giving decisionmaker, at which is chosen Metropolitans, church laws are established, and in all relations governs church life.
At the same time, the Sobor decided to cease all administrative relations with the Synod abroad, but remains in brotherly and spiritual unity with all Orthodox Russian churches of the whole world, about which we feel our holy duty to make You aware of.” 274
In response to this telegram, Patriarch Aleksy replied:
“Today I received Your Eminence’s telegram. I greet the decision of the Sobor of Cleveland. Principally, I do not have objections against autonomy for our Orthodox Church in America. I am instructing Metropolitan Gregory of Leningrad to discuss all questions together with Your Eminence in a peace-loving spirit, who will soon be visiting in America.
God’s blessing to the clergy and the whole flock. From now on, I recognize Your Eminence and all Your clergy in prayerful communion with us. Serve jointly with Metropolitan Veniamin 275 as a sign of the communion. Christ is in our midst; He is and shall be.” 276
This dialogue had given ROCNA hopes of a fruitful outcome to their decision, but it was not accepted by all with joy.
Not all the hierarchs of ROCNA agreed with submission to the MP. Archbishop Vitaly wrote to Metropolitan Anastasy in Europe on December 2 and 16, 1946, in which he describes to the First-Hierarch of ROCA, the event, which had taken place in North America. He did not immediately leave ROCNA for ROCA, but rather waited for the blessing of Metropolitan Anastasy to be directly under ROCA. In his second letter to Metropolitan Anastasy, Archbishop Vitaly, to some degree, blames what had happened on the involvement of the Anglican Church, as well as Ralph Arkush, claiming that the Anglicans and Episcopalians convinced Metropolitan Theophilus that autonomy would be held on to as long as ROCNA recognized the MP as its spiritual head. 277 He also writes, “According to the bitter experience of the past years, Metropolitan Theophilus and his advisors fear civil lawsuits more than anything.” 278 Archbishop Vitaly was against union with the MP because he feared that it was in the hands of the Soviet Powers; therefore, he felt that it was necessary to reject submission to the MP, but hoped that he could still remain in ROCNA, supporting an anti-MP tendency; therefore, he was attempting to defend “the Church from communist enslavement,” perhaps using the Episcopal Church’s example of a High and a Low Church as a guide in order to keep church unity. 279 This idea was not made possible, and four hierarchs of ROCNA, Archbishops Tikhon and Vitaly and Bishops Ioasaph and Ieronim, who did not accept the resolution of the Sobor, along with Bishop Serafim who had just arrived from Geneva to serve in America, left ROCNA to be under ROCA directly. They were received into ROCA on March 4, 1947, when the Synod of Bishops of ROCA was meeting. In the decision, it states that ROCA accepted the bishops based on the decisions of the Seventh All-American Sobor, and that the decision made at that Sobor could have been reached with less emotion and based on the canonical practice of the church. Since ROCNA was a part of ROCA from 1935, it was still in subjection to ROCA authorities and should not have acted without the approval of the Bishops’ Council of ROCA. It is necessary to mention, however, that there were no suspensions placed on ROCNA by ROCA. ROCA simply accepted the bishops not willing to unite with the MP directly under its jurisdiction and approved the continuing work of those bishops in North America, thus forming a parallel Russian jurisdiction in North America. 280 For this reason, a letter was sent out on April 8, 1947, to all parishes of ROCNA affected, informing them that all administrative ties with these bishops have been cut, that the bishops are no longer to be commemorated, and that all the parishes previously under these hierarchs are now under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Theophilus. 281
In July of 1947, Metropolitan Gregory of Leningrad was sent to America by Patriarch Aleksy in order to establish church order in ROCNA and officially reunite ROCNA with the MP. 282 However, Metropolitan Theophilus had previously expressed that he would not meet with any representatives of the MP without a direct answer to the Resolution of the Seventh All-American Sobor. 283 Metropolitan Gregory attempted to meet with Metropolitan Theophilus on numerous occasions between July 22 and the end of November of 1947. Each time, Metropolitan Theophilus did whatever possible to not meet with the Patriarchal representative. 284 Also, the MP did not fully accept the suggested full-autonomy of the Cleveland Sobor, but rather stated that the suggested full autonomy was actually autocephaly, because the Patriarch would have no right to approve or disapprove of the election of the Metropolitan of ROCNA. Therefore, the option for ROCNA did not include the luxury of not having to get approval upon election of a new primate. Also, the MP felt it was impossible to unite all the Russian Orthodox bishops on the territory of North America at the current time, because not all of the Russian Orthodox parishes were represented at the Cleveland Sobor. Otherwise, the MP met the demands of the resolution of the Sobor. 285
Just before these events, in January of 1947, events were occurring in post-WWII Japan which resonated throughout ROCNA. Metropolitan Theophilus’ son was United States Colonel Boris Pash, who was one of the American military’s leading men of the Allied Council to Japan under General Douglas MacArthur. Since the Cold War had not yet started, relations with the Soviets were still relatively warm. Pash became friendly with the Soviet Lieutenant General Kuzma Derevyanko, who was his Soviet military equal in the same council. Because Pash spoke Russian fluently, he was able to get to know Derevyanko quite well. He noticed that the Soviets, although allies at this point, repeatedly made attempts to move ahead among the other allies. So, when Derevyanko made an attempt to bring bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate to Japan to help the church there, Pash acted quickly so as not to allow Soviet-influenced bishops, perhaps even spies, to come to Japan to infiltrate the church there. There was a plan for a bishop to come to Japan from Moscow, sent by Patriarch Alexei I, but the Soviet businessman that was working with the Japanese officials was actually a spy trying to undermine the church in Japan. Also, the majority of the clergy and laity were Japanese, and the church had already been present in Japan for almost 200 years at this point, and Pash did not believe that Soviet bishops should come to assist the church there, but rather that bishops not under political pressures should be assisting a free church in Japan. 286 Pash wrote:
“The Japanese had no way of knowing that although religion was persecuted in the U.S.S.R., the Soviet Government, through the Patriarch of Moscow, was making every effort to bring into the fold the Orthodox churches outside Russia.
I knew this because it was my good fortune to assist my father, the late Metropolitan Theophilus, then the head of the Russian Orthodox Church of America in his successful effort to defeat similar Soviet moves in the Western Hemisphere.
The picture became clear to me. The Soviet groups, realizing the tremendous advantages the control of the church would give it, had contacted the church officials, through Russian emigres who were supporting Soviet interests. The Soviets certainly had no intention of assisting the Japanese Orthodox Church. What then was Moscow’s interest?
The communist plan was simple and sinister. Moscow wanted to gain control of the church and use it as a cover for operations in Japan. The two bishops – no doubt trained or at best subservient to the Communist Party, if not actual members – accompanied by a “secretary” who was an MVD agent, would take over the Japanese Orthodox Church. Later, those Japanese priests who fell in line would retain their parishes, while those who opposed Moscow’s schemes would be dismissed. Future candidates for the clergy would be sent to Moscow “to study.” Later Russian priests would arrive to “Administer to the spiritual needs” of the parishioners of Russian descent and to provide “guidance” for them. Thus, about 200 well-trained Moscow agents could be placed in parishes. What a readymade network for Moscow!” 287
Pash was able to convince the clergy of the Japanese Church to appeal to Metropolitan Theophilus of ROCNA for help and assured them of the Metropolitan’s assistance. Other religious denominations had also appealed to American brothers and sisters for help, which helped convince the Japanese Orthodox to do so as well. On January 6, 1947, Bishop Benjamin of Pittsburgh arrived in Tokyo from ROCNA for Nativity celebrations. Derevyanko was informed that there was no need for bishops from Russia since a Russian bishop from America had arrived to help the church there. 288 Based on these recollections of Pash, it seems that perhaps Metropolitan Theophilus’ standoffish temperament with Metropolitan Gregory may be explained by his belief in Soviet infiltration of the church and his fear of the same thing happening in America. However, we cannot say specifically, but rather can only suspect while recognizing these historical events.
Upon his return to Moscow, Metropolitan Gregory made a report to Patriarch Aleksy, after which an epistle of Patriarch of Aleksy of Moscow and All-Russia along with his Synod of Bishops to ROCNA from December 12, 1947, was sent to the church under the care of Metropolitan Theophilus and was again placed under the original suspension of the Moscow Patriarchate from January 5, 1935, stating:
“Metropolitan Theophilus and those Bishops of the same mind with him: Archbishop Leonty of Chicago, John of Alaska, John of Brooklyn and Bishop Nikon – for the persistent resistance to the call of the Mother-Church to communion; for the pulling of their flock into schism, in site of the desire the flock itself, expressed in the decisions of the Cleveland Sobor, but of the first and the illegally instituted “curse” on Archbishop Makary 289 for his reunification with the Moscow Patriarchate – are subjected by the Court of the Council of Bishops, in accordance with Rules: 34 of the Apostles, 9 of the Council of Antioch, 15 First and Second Council.
The suspension placed on Metropolitan Theophilus on January 5, 1935 by the Patriarchal Locum Tenens, Metropolitan Sergius and the condition removed from him in January of 1947 by His Holiness Aleksy, the Patriarch of Moscow, remains in power as a result of them not fulfilling the decreed conditions of reunification by the Patriarch through his, Metropolitan Theophilus’, joint serving with His Grace the Exarch, or with the representative of the Patriarch – Metropolitan Grigorii. That same suspension also spreads itself to the abovementioned Bishops, following after Metropolitan Theophilus on the path of schism. 290
The decree goes on to call all the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church in America “who are searching for the true path of salvation in canonical communion with the All Russian Church-Mother and who expressed that at the All-American Sobor of Cleveland” 291 to unite with the Exarch of the MP, Archbishop Makary.
Tension heightened after these events, but mostly on a personal level, not a church level. Two parallel churches were created out of one, not to mention the already existing MP Exarchate in North America. After the Synod of Bishops accepted the bishops of ROCNA who were not willing to unite with the MP, church life began to exist in a parallel manner. However, both ROCNA and ROCA existed without any official relations until after 1950. For example, after the acceptance of the bishops into ROCA, there was no other mention of ROCNA in the official organ of ROCA, Church Life (Церковная жизнь), well into the next decade. On April 19, 1948, however, a Conference of the North-American and Canadian Dioceses of ROCA was held in New York, which stood against the decisions of the Seventh All-American Sobor in Cleveland and called for all the Russian Orthodox people in North America to return to the dioceses of ROCA in order to be of a canonical church structure, while calling the actions of ROCNA self-proclaimed autocephaly. 292
Metropolitan Theophilus died on June 27, 1950. Upon hearing of his death, Archbishop Vitaly wrote about his love for the First-Hierarch of the North American Church, on June 29, 1950. He expressed his sadness for the division, and told of Metropolitan Theophilus’ admittance of the mistake made by the Seventh All-American Council. 293 He wrote: “…Metropolitan Theophilus, in a conversation with his friends, regretted that, as he put it, a mistake was allowed to happen at the Sobor in Cleveland.” 294 When Archbishop Vitaly heard that Metropolitan Theophilus was very ill, he wrote to him, quickly receiving a response from Metropolitan Theophilus, which read: “Your Eminence, Merciful Archpastor! Accept my deep consciousness of my personal unworthiness and forgive my offenses against You and likewise I ask that you forgive me as well, according to your diligence. When the time will come to have peace with all, there will be come great joy. [signed] Metropolitan Theophilus.” 295
What caused even more stress to the situation was the arrival of the central administration of ROCA to the United States. Facilitating the division, even more, was the growing number of bishops. ROCNA, soon after the Seventh All-American Sobor, consecrated four bishops to fill the vacant dioceses, whose bishops had left ROCNA, and once the ROCA administration arrived in New York, their number of bishops also increased. Now, two self-ruling Russian churches were on the same territory; both divided from their Mother-Church, as two sisters walking next to each other in the desert, yet refusing to talk to one another—a sad outcome and result of a loss of contact with the Central Church Authority due to the communist yoke. Naturally, personal passions began playing a greater role, and both sides continued to stand firmer and firmer in their decision, creating ecclesiastical-administrative chaos in North America, even more so than it was already.
With this study coming to a close, there are now many facts that have come to light, which have been forgotten or buried by time, personal grudges and disagreements. ROCA was formed in 1920, in order to administrate the emigre clergy, who were forced to flee from Russia due to the Soviet takeover. The full inner and outer destruction achieved by the Bolsheviks will never be known, and that is probably for the overall good of the people. It is obvious that the atheist powers attempted to wipe out the church in every way. When they had started to seriously achieve their goal within Russia, the moral authority of ROCA in the world was a thorn in the side of the Bolsheviks, and therefore, the Church was used as a chessboard in order to force political agendas through a trusted institution — itself, the Church. It is evident that the decrees that came from Moscow to ROCA, ROCNA, the Western European Exarchate and others that were of purely political content were not from a free Russian Orthodox Church, but rather from the godless authorities of persecuted Russia with a signature of a respected hierarch. It is unfortunate that knowledge of the general situation throughout the Russian Churches was unknown by all sides, and that most clergy were left guessing what was really going on.
The involvement of the entire Russian Church body — ROCA, ROCNA, the Diocese of Western Europe, and the other church factions originating from the Russian Church — along with the Serbian Church and the other Patriarchates, played a role in the life of ROCA. Undoubtedly, the Serbian Church was the greatest external player, and its leaders, especially Patriarchs Dimitrije and Varnava, were both firm supporters of the Russian Church, people and their unity. The greatest woe, however, is that the churches abroad were unable to keep a solid peace and firm unity. We can see that the Russian Churches abroad bounced back and forth into this unity. The Church in North America was very far from the central ROCA administration, which made communication very difficult, especially during wartime. The attempts of the Living Church to destroy the canonical church structure in North America devastated the Church, breaking it morally, financially, and worst of all, spiritually. It seemed to have caused a “survival of the fittest” mindset in North America — every Church for itself, which is why ROCNA had to defend itself against losing anymore of its properties and faithful. Sadly, this led the church to all sorts of judicial situations, where it had to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to defend itself, leaving it poor and unable to continue its original task — missionary work. Instead, the Church was forced to fight with those who were supposedly already within the fold. This led to ROCNA declaring itself autonomous, which eventually upset the church authorities abroad and led to division. So, once again in the history of the church, division was sought to protect, yet it only led to more division. However, it seems that ROCA acted harshly in regard to Metropolitan Platon’s suspected desire for autocephaly. Perhaps, the Bishops of ROCA feared that by signing a gramota claiming self-rule for ROCNA, it would be interpreted as a premature Tomos of Autocephaly, which was not the intent of ROCNA. The purpose was to unite in order to jointly return to the Mother-Church’s free authority in Russia as soon as atheistic communism fell in the homeland. However, Metropolitan Platon should have acted in a manner more becoming of his rank as a metropolitan. He should not have stormed off from the session of the Bishops’ Council in 1926, but rather should have continued to discuss the issues, trying to explain the situation in ROCNA and the legal ramification necessary in the United States.
Also, the repeated threats and political actions carried out by the MP towards the other branches of the Russian Church played a devastating role by confusing the other branches and causing general disarray, the obvious goal of the Soviet authorities. Worst of all, when any unity was reestablished, it lasted for a short period of time and eventually broke up again. The “Temporary Status” which was achieved in Serbia in 1935, was a breakthrough for ROCA and an ideal situation for the difficult period in which the Russian Church found itself. It was able to give autonomy to each region abroad, while keeping church unity as much as possible, so that the church could be united in the event of its desired reunion with the Mother-Church in Russia after the fall of communism. The only element necessary for this unity was submission to a higher authority for the sake of peace and cooperation, yet each group considered itself to be the highest authority over itself, since there was no direct communication with the MotherChurch. It would have been in the best interest of ROCNA to remain a part of ROCA, especially since it had almost a majority in the Bishops’ Council. Instead, it could have offered possible refuge to Metropolitan Anastasy, who was forced to leave Yugoslavia and eventually Western Europe, keeping the Russian Church in North America unified. Unfortunately, with the victory of the United States and the Soviet Union united as allies in World War II, ROCNA was fooled by believing that the Soviet authorities would not protest to a fully autonomous church in North America, which in reality, was an autocephalous church administration, only without the official status of “autocephaly.”
It seems that the eyes of the members of ROCNA widened in regard to its own self-government. The vote of the laity played too great a role in ROCNA’s administrative decision, which caused its separation from ROCA in 1946. It is clear that the hierarchs of ROCNA did not want to leave ROCA, but felt that they had to submit to the will of the people in fear of more separation and lawsuits. Unfortunately, instead of having to deal with the protest and perhaps temporary disgruntlement of the lower clergy and laity, the hierarchs of ROCNA prematurely chose separation from its moral and administrative authority — the General Bishops’ Council. This once again provoked parallel dioceses, which caused more division, lawsuits and ecclesiastical chaos. When the laity separates itself from church authority, it is like a spark of fire that quickly burns out, but when a bishop separates himself, he is like a wild fire, burning everything he touches. If the laity of ROCNA in 1946 would have gone to the source of authority, that is, directly to Metropolitan Anastasy and the other members of the General Bishops’ Council of ROCA, by way of its bishops in search for answers as to what the status of its own church life was after World War II, then perhaps hearsay would not have been a necessary form of evidence in the decision of how to lead the church. Instead, certain people, such as Ralph M. Arkush and the authors of the “Memorandum of the Five Professors,” played on the passions and fears of the clergy and laity, convincing them that submission to the Soviet-oppressed Church in the USSR was the proper route. This led to the uninformed decision of attempting to reunite with Moscow, which led to nothing other than isolation in the Russian Church world.
Most importantly, before ROCNA’s final division from ROCA in 1946 at the Seventh All-American Council, it should have verified its actions with the General Council of Bishops of ROCA according to the “Temporary Status.” However, ROCNA decided to act on its own without seeking the approval of its actions from its higher church authority — the General Bishops’ Council of ROCA. Assumedly, ROCNA knew that ROCA would never approve such an act, but should not that have been a sign to act more cautiously? And, what did it lead to? It led to the MP’s shunning of ROCNA. Perhaps it would have been best for ROCNA to have listened to Arkush’s idea more closely, and only after being made completely sure that the MP would grant full autonomy to ROCNA, that it would accept such an offer, rather than “jump the gun” and divide itself from its higher church authority. Of course, it was of good will to not want to break communion with ROCA in its resolution to join with the MP in 1946, but how was it possible to forget that the bishops of ROCA, including those of ROCNA, were under suspension by the MP. Why did not ROCNA jump so willingly to join with ROCA in 1934, but rather waited for the good-will of ROCA to be seen in its lifting of the suspension put on Metropolitan Platon in 1927? Perhaps this would have assured ROCNA of its future status in the MP; instead, it led to ecclesiastical isolation.
It seems that, although ROCA remained in America with parallel dioceses to those of ROCNA, ROCA acted nobly by not suspending or condemning the hierarchs, clergy, or laity of ROCNA after its division from ROCA, but rather awaited a return and approached the situation pastorally. Since ROCNA did not uphold its commitment to the “Temporary Status”, ROCA justly could have suspended the bishops not wishing to remain in submission to ROCA, but it did not act in this way. It simply continued its task of service to the Russian immigrants and refugees abroad, which unfortunately included those immigrants in America and created disarray in ROCNA.
Of course, we hear from the side of ROCNA, that Metropolitan Anastasy collaborated with the enemy — Hitler. We hear that ROCA did not have a canonical basis for existing after it left from under the protection of the SOC. However, the “Temporary Status” mentioned nothing about the necessity of ROCA to exist within the territory of the SOC. It only mentions that ROCA is made up of the dioceses outside the borders of Russia. And, even the spiritual leaders of ROCNA, such as Archbishop Leonty (later Metropolitan), insisted that the existence of ROCA had nothing to do with its existence in Serbia, as is cited in this work. Unfortunately, during unstable times, not everything is black and white. Communication was weak; distances were great. It is easy to have division when you do not see someone, but when you have to be face to face with your own kind, it is more difficult to start division. It is obvious that passions and misinformation played a tremendous role in dividing the church in North America from ROCA.
Looking at the history of the divisions between ROCA and ROCNA, and taking into consideration the current status of the churches, one asks: “What can be done now?” Less than twenty years after the ROCA administration came to America, ROCNA became the Orthodox Church in America and was granted autocephaly by the Mother-Church, the Moscow Patriarchate, making North America the territorial Local Church. Thirty-seven years later, ROCA healed its division from the same Mother-Church. Yet, both churches remain on the same territory, operating from about thirty miles away from each other. What can be done?
The solution is unclear. We see an autocephalous church, the OCA — a daughter and sister of the MP, and we see a self-ruling church, ROCA — a daughter of the MP.
What are possible outcomes? There are a few choices: 1) everything remains status quo and ecclesiastical administrative chaos continues to reign in North America; 2) the dioceses of ROCA on the territory of the OCA become an autonomous church of the OCA, while the other dioceses of ROCA are absorbed into the MP; 3) The MP dissolves the autocephaly and self-rule of both jurisdictions, reuniting both churches to itself, as was the situation originally. There are surely other options, but it is unclear how realistic they are, and we could list possible outcomes for pages and pages.
Since there do not exist any canonical sanctions on the hierarchs of either the OCA or ROCA on one another, the first step should be eucharistic union. Through one common Cup, unity will be found. But, so long as eucharistic division continues, administrative unity is not a reality. Many in ROCA fear the Gregorian Calendar, the ecumenical involvement, and more “modern tendencies,” forgetting that ROCA has had some parishes on the Gregorian Calendar in certain places, ecumenical involvement (and now as well, since it is a part of the MP), and “modern tendencies” just as are found in the OCA. In the OCA, many dislike the Julian Calendar, “hyper-conservatism,” and the use of Slavonic and Russian, forgetting that the OCA has an entire diocese on the Julian Calendar, pockets of “hyper-conservatism,” and parishes which use Slavonic and Russian.
The reality is that the OCA and ROCA are more similar than most people believe or wish to admit, including the members of the respective churches. There should not be any reason to believe that the churches cannot return to their common spirituality in order to find unity with one another. The churches can return to their common spirituality in order to find unity with one another. The reasons for division — and there were many just and unjust — have vanished. The problem is an identity crisis. Since the fall of the Russian Empire, ROCNA, eventually the OCA, has little by little clung to its new home, America. ROCA clung to the memory of the Russian Empire. Now, both are co-existing in the western world, and it would only be a benefit for the flock if these churches united in a spirit of Christian love and humility in order to assist each other and facilitate the spiritual growth of the Orthodox Church in America and abroad, thus ending the divisions of the Russian Church in North America.
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«Определение Собора Архиереев Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковные ведомости 19-20 (1924): 5-6.
«Освящение Берлинского собора». Церковная жизнь 5-6 (1938): 93-97.
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«Письмо Митрополита Сергия на имя Патриарха Сербского Варнавы». Голос Литовской Епархии 7-8 (1936): 3-4.
«Поездка Митрополита Ленинградского и Новгородского Григория в Соединенные Штаты Северной Америки». Журнал Московской Патриархии 1 (1948): 13-24.
«Послание Патриарха Московского и всея Руси Алексия и Священного при Нем Синода к архипастырям, пастырям и пастве Православной Русской Церкви в Америке». Журнал Московской Патриархии 1 (1948): 9-12.
«Послание Православных Епископов в Америке, признающих каноническую власть заграничного Архиерейского Собора и Священного Синода». Церковная жизнь 6 (1933): 94-101.
«Постановления Заместителя Патриаршего Местоблюстителя и при нем Патриаршего Священного Синода». Журнал Московской Патриархии 22 (1934): 1-2.
«Постановления Собора». Русско-Американский Православный вестник 24 (1922): 167-168.
«Преосвященный Аполлинарий, Архиепископ Северо-Американский и Канадский». Церковная жизнь 7 (1933): 133-134.
«Протокол». Церковные ведомости 12-13 (1922): 6-7.
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«Телеграмма Митрополита Феофила Патриарху Алексию». Журнал Московской Патриархии 4 (1947): 7.
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Троицкий С.В. «Митрополит Сергий и примирение русской диаспоры». Журнал Московской Патриархии 6 (1968): 21.
«Хроника – Архиепископ Вениамин в Америке». Церковная жизнь 6 (1933): 110.
«Хроника – Поездка Архиепископа Вениамина». Церковная жизнь 5 (1933): 90.
«Хроника – Церковные события в Америке». Церковная жизнь 7 (1933): 135.
«Церковное положение в Америке». Церковная жизнь 3 (1935): 50-52.
Vassa Larin, “What is the ‘Orthodox Episcopate of the Russian Church’?” December 1, 2007, <http://www.synod.com/synod/engdocuments/enartprint_srvassa.html>.
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- Mark Stokoe and Leonid Kishkovsky, Orthodox Christians in North America: 1794-1994 (Orthodox Christian Publications Center, 1995), 8-16, 20, 22, 30. ↩
- Bishop Tikhon (Bellavin) eventually was elected Patriarch of Moscow in 1917 (M.E. Губонин. Акты Святейшаго Патриарха Тихона [Москва, Издательство Православного Свято-Тихоновского Богословского института, 1994], 49). ↩
- Stokoe and Kishkovsky, 35-37. ↩
- Gregory Afonsky, An Historical Outline of the Orthodox Church (1967), 5. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Serafim Surrency, The Quest for Orthodox Church Unity in America (New York: Saints Boris and Gleb Press, 1973), 28. ↩
- Stokoe and Kishkovsky, 55. ↩
- Constance J. Tarasar, Orthodox America 1794-1976 (Syosset, New York: The Orthodox Church in America, 1975), 175-177. ↩
- Peter the Great of Russia abolished the Patriarchate of Russia in 1721 and instituted a Supreme and Holy Synod, which would have a government bureaucrat, the Oberprokuror, to oversee and approve the acts of the Church (On the reforms, see Dimitry V. Pospielovsky, The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia [Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1998], 105-131). ↩
- Губонин, 49. ↩
- Русская Православная Церковь в Северной Америке (Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1954), 6. ↩
- Stokoe and Kishkovsky, 58. ↩
- Tarasar, 176-177. ↩
- Ibid., 177. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Stokoe and Kishkovsky, 56-57. ↩
- Tarasar, 178. ↩
- Stokoe and Kishkovsky, 58. ↩
- Tarasar, 178. ↩
- Губонин, 180. ↩
- Tarasar, 178-180. ↩
- Ibid., 178-179. ↩
- Антоний Храповицкий. Письма Блаженнейшего Митрополита Антония (Храповицкого). (Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1988), 80. ↩
- M. Rodzianko, Michael P. Hilko, tr., The Truth About the Russian Church Abroad (Jordanville, N.Y.: Holy Trinity Monastery, 2002), 8. ↩
- Ibid., 6. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- D. Cummings, tr., The Rudder (Chicago: The Orthodox Christian Education Society, 1957), 335. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Никон Рклицкий. Жизнеописание Блаженнейшего Антония, митрополита Киевского и Галицкого. Vol. 5 (New York: Издание Северо-Американской и Канадской Епархии, 1959), 5. ↩
- «Ввиду сосредоточения огромного количества беженцев в различных государствах и частях света, не имеющих общения с советской Россией и не могущих сноситься с Высшим Церковным Управлением при Святейшем Патриархе, а также вследствие необходимости попечения о русской армии, выехавшей из Крыма:
1) продолжить полномочия членов Высшего Церковного Управления с обслуживанием всех сторон церковной жизни беженцев и Армии во всех государствах, не имеющих сношения со Святейшим Патриархом;
2) местом действия управления избрать г. Константинополь, как наиболее центральный пункт;
3) уведомить всеми возможными путями о сих постановлениях Святейшего Патриарха Московского и всея Руси Тихона, а также и все церковные центры, подлежащие попечению Русского Церковного Управления в г. Константинополе». Ibid. 6-7. ↩
- Ibid., 6-12. ↩
- Храповицкий, 81. ↩
- Rodzianko, 8. ↩
- Храповицкий, 82. ↩
- Губонин, 169. ↩
- Compendium of Regulations, Statutes and Laws of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (Synodal Chancery of the ROCOR, 2006), 11-12. ↩
- Храповицкий, 83. ↩
- Рклицкий, Vol. 5, 23-24. ↩
- Protocol № 19 of the HCA (March 9/22, 1921, Archive of ROCA). ↩
- Protocol № 22 (Archive of ROCA). ↩
- Protocol № 23 (April 29/May 12, 1921, Archive of ROCA). ↩
- Sergei Viktorovich Troitskii was a canonist that immigrated to Serbia in 1920. He taught in Belgrade and Subotica Universities in Yugoslavia as well as in Paris at St. Sergius’ Academy. He served as the legal counsel for the SOC and wrote the book, “About the Unjust Schism of Karlovtsy” (В.И. Косик. Русская Церковь в Югославии. [Moscow: Православный Свято-Тихоновский Богословский институт, 2000], 257-258). ↩
- Troitskii, S.V., Letter to the Chairman of the Hierarchical Synod of ROCA (July 20, August 2, 1939, Archive of ROCA). ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Храповицкий, 83. ↩
- In the 1920’s, ROCA is referred to in the Archives of the SOC at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade as Руска Црква у изгнанству (The Russian Church in Exile), as well as Сремска Црква (The Church of Srem, i.e. Sremski Karlovtsy). ↩
- “Minutes from the 4th regular assembly of the Holy Hierarchal Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church, held on August 18/31, 1921, in Sremski Karlovtsy” (SOC Archive, ROCA Box). ↩
- Троицкий, 107. ↩
- Польский, 126. ↩
- “Minutes from the 4th regular assembly…” (SOC Archive, ROCA Box). ↩
- Београд. Братство св. Симеона Мироточивого, 2005, 162. ↩
- Никон Рклицкий. Жизнеописание Блаженнейшего Антония, митрополита Киевского и Галицкого. Vol. 7 (New York: Издание Северо-Американской и Канадской Епархии, 1961), 382-383. ↩
- «Епископ Антоний Алеутский», Церковная жизнь 4 (1934): 66. ↩
- «Определение Высшаго Русскаго Церковнаго Управления заграницей», Церковные ведомости 4 (1922): 11. ↩
- «Определение Высшаго Русскаго Церковнаго Управления заграницей», Церковные ведомости 2 (1922): 8-9. ↩
- Ibid. 9. ↩
- Сава, епископ Шумадиjски. Историjа Српске Цркве у Америци и Канади 1891-1941. (Каргуjевац: Калениħ. 1994), 94-97, 112-115. ↩
- Letter № 484 (July 17/30, 1921, SOC Archive, ROCA Box). ↩
- Деяния Русского Всезаграничного Церковного собора, Title page. ↩
- Priest George Seide, The History of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (Germany: Digital Format, No Date), 33. ↩
- Деяния Русского Всезаграничного Церковного собора, 8&15. ↩
- Seide, 33-34. ↩
- Refers to Letter № 484 of July 17/30, 1921, quoted above. ↩
- Ibid., 34. ↩
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Letter to the Patriarchate of the Serbian Orthodox Church (April 22/May 5, 1922, SOC Archive, ROCA File). ↩
- Patriarchate of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (April 22/May 5, 1922, SOC Archive, ROCA File). ↩
- «Грамота». Церковные ведомости 5 (1922): 3. ↩
- Губонин, 193-194. ↩
- «Посылаю Вам указ Свящ[енного] Синода и Высш[его] Ц[ерковного] Упр[авления] заграницей. Указ этот коробит меня своей неожиданностью и прямо ошеломляет представлением той страшной смуты, которую он может внести в нашу церковную жизнь. Несомненно, он дан был под давлением большевиков. Я прямо не знаю, что делать. Первой мыслью моей было немедленно поехать ко всем на совет: что же теперь делать. Такой же указ получился на мое имя. Я пока не оглашаю и лишь в частном и совершенно секретном порядке познакомил с ним членов Епарх[иального] Совета. Разрешите мне приехать к Вам, вызовите телеграммой. Нужно всесторонне обсудить положение. И почему и зачем вся эта тягота сваливается на меня, просто с ума можно сойти. Со страшным нетерпением буду ждать Вашей телеграммы, а пока не буду ничего предпринимать». Кострюков А.А. Русская Зарубежная Церковь в первой половине 1920-х годов. (Москва: Православный Свято-Тихоновский Гуманитарный университет, 2007), 242-243. ↩
- «Я за этим документом никакой обязательной силы не признаю, хотя бы он действительно написан и подписан патриархом. Документ этот имеет характер политический, а не церковный. Вне пределов советского государства он не имеет значения ни для кого и нигде». Рклицкий, vol. 7, 10. ↩
- Евлогий, 404. ↩
- «Тут мне следовало и проявить власть, заявить, что отныне указы Карловацкого Синода для меня силы не имеют, что я исполню волю Патриарха… Но я, ради братского отношения к собратьям-архиереям, закинутым в эмиграцию, во имя любви к митрополиту Антонию, старейшему зарубежному иерарху, с которым меня связывала долголетняя духовная дружба, ради всех этих сердечных, может быть, сентиментальных побуждений… пренебрег Правдой – волей Патриарха. В этом была моя великая ошибка, мой большой грех перед Богом, перед Матерью Русской Церковью и перед Святейшим Патриархом Тихоном, и в этом заключалась главная причина не только моих личных бед, но и источник всех дальнейших нестроений в жизни зарубежной Церкви». Ibid., 404. ↩
- «Обсудив создавшееся положение и приняв во внимание представленные Высшему Церковному Управлению данные и разные соображения, Высшее Русское Церковное Управление, разделяя основные доводы, изложенные в докладе Секретаря названного Управления Е.И. Махароблидзе, определяет: 1) Высшее Церковное Управление, выражая полную покорность и сыновнюю преданность Святейшему Патриарху Всероссийскому, принимает указ Священного Синода Всероссийской Православной Церкви об упразднении Высшего Церковного Управления к исполнению. Но принимая во внимание: 1) неясности сего указа и несогласованность его с предыдущими указами, вызывающими различные толкования его и убеждающие в том, что Св. Патриарх совершенно не представляет положения заграничной Церкви (в ведении Высшего Церковного Управления состоят 9 епархий при 12 правящих и викарных архиереях, а в указе говорится лишь о заграничных приходах), и потому требующие дополнительных разъяснений и указаний Св. Патриарха; 2) невозможность оставления Русской Заграничной Церкви без Высшей Церковной Власти даже на самое короткое время и трудность организации новой церковной власти, указ же Высокопреосвященному митрополиту Евлогию никаких новых полномочий не дает, а лишь сохраняет за ним (и то лишь временно) управление теми заграничными приходами, коими он управляет, т. е. в Западной Европе; 3) исключительную важность переживаемого момента, когда Высшая Церковная Власть в России совершенно дезорганизована, а Св. Патриарх арестован, и угрожающую вследствие сего Русской Православной Церкви серьезную опасность; 4) то обстоятельство, что указ этот, несомненно, подписан под давлением большевиков и врагов Церкви, – Высшее Церковное Управление признает необходимым привести указ об его упразднении в исполнение по установлении в России законного церковного управления и возвращении к управлению Церковью Св. Патриарха, которому доложить о создавшемся положении, прося его разъяснений и указаний, и ожидать его свободного волеизъявления. До получения же сего продолжить действия Высшего Церковного Управления». «Протокол», Церковные ведомости 12-13 (1922): 7. ↩
- «К сведению духовенства». Русско–Американский Православный Вестник 8 (1922): 3. ↩
- «Акты Собрания Епископов Православной Церкви в Северной Америке». Русско-Американский Православный Вестник 12 (1922): 68. ↩
- «Акты». Русско–Американский Православный Вестник 12 (1922): 69. ↩
- Ibid., 69. ↩
- Ibid., 70. ↩
- Рклицкий, vol. 7, 383. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- «Ввиду выраженного Святейшим Тихоном, Патриархом Московским и всея России, воли о том, чтобы управление Северо-Американской епархией временно принял на себя митрополит Херсонский и Одесский Платон, сообщенной в рапорте прибывшего из Москвы протоирея Ф. Пашковского, от 1/14 июля 1922 г. за №1 и ввиду согласия Архиепископа Александра на передачу временно управления Епархией митр. Платону – считать м. Патона временно управляющим Сев.-Американской епархией». Русская Православная Церковь в Северной Америке (Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1954), 7. ↩
- Surrency, A124-A125. This decree of Patriarch Tikhon is not listed in the book of his acts, but rather is taken from the 150 Year Jubilee Book of ROCNA (New York, 1944, page 295); however, it is listed indirectly in an article by Archpriest T. Tikhomirov in the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, entitled: “To the 10th Anniversary of One Judicial Process” (Тихомиров Т., прот. «К десятилетию одного судебного процесса». Журнал Московской Патриархии 6 (1957): 67). ↩
- «С американскими делами тоже плохо. Копенгагенский протоиерей Н. Попов написал мне, будто бы Пр[еосвященный] Антоний (Дашкевич) возвращается в Данию (?!). Что это значит? По поводу присланной мне Е.И. Махароблидзе телеграммы М[итрополита] Платона я должен сообщить, что действительно у меня в Берлине был представитель Всемирного Союза Христианской молодежи г. Колтон, только что возвратившийся из Москвы и имевший там беседу с Патриархом Тихоном. (…) По словам г. Колтона, Патриарх во время беседы с ним высказал свое мнение, что для умиротворения американской церковной смуты было бы полезно м[итрополита] Платона сделать главой всей Американской миссии, арх[иепископа] Александра (Немоловского) послать в Канаду, а еп[ископа] Антония (Дашкевича) – на Аляску. Т[аким] обр[азом], это, как видите, не категорическое распоряжение Патриарха, а лишь выраженное в частном разговоре мнение. Кажется, это мнение разделяют также русские монархические органы в Америке. По совокупности всех так печалньо сложившихся обстоятельств, думаю, пусть бы м[итрополит] Платон и разматывал все эти узлы, не без его вины завязавшиеся. При создавшейся анархии другого выхода, по-видимому, нет». Кострюков, 243-244. ↩
- «В марте-апр. 1907 г. А. руководил Высочайшей назначенной ревизией КДА (в рамках проводимых Синодом ревизий духовных академий). Ревизия, осуществлявшаяся А. с позиций неприятия академической автономии, вызвала протест со стороны корпорации КДА, что нашло отражение в брошюре А. «Правда о Киевской Духовной академии» (К., 1907). В связи с ревизией был вынужден покинуть КДА ее ректор еп. Платон (Рождественский), что, по мнению биографов А., стало причиной неприязненных отношений между иерархами в эмиграции». Алексий, Патриарх Московский и всея Руси, ed. Православная Энциклопедия. «Антоний», Vol. 2. (Москва: Церковно-научный центр «Православная энциклопедия», 2001), 647. ↩
- Rev. G.K.A. Bell, “War-Time Correspondence between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of Russia,” The Christian East 1.1 March (1920): 8. ↩
- Tarasar, 181. ↩
- «К сведению духовенства». Русско–Американский Православный Вестник 17 (1922): 105. ↩
- Рклицкий, 382. ↩
- «Ответ архиепископа Александра митрополита Антонию». Русско-Американский Православный вестник 17 (1922): 106. ↩
- «Я протестую против такой несправедливости и усердно прошу В.В. проявить ко мне хотя самую малейшую справедливость, требуемую законом, т. е. немедленно прислать мне доклад Е. Антония для ответа и объяснений». Ibid. ↩
- «Постановления Собора». Русско–Американский Православный вестник 24 (1922): 167-168. ↩
- Tarasar, 183. ↩
- «Постановления Собора», 167-168. ↩
- Tarasar, 183. ↩
- Surrency, A125. ↩
- Ibid., 183-184. ↩
- Постановления Освященного Собора Русской Православной Греко-Кафолической Церкви в Соединенных Штатах Северной Америки (1924), 4-5. ↩
- Surrency, A126. ↩
- Tarasar, 184-185. ↩
- Рклицкий, vol. 7, 386. ↩
- «Протокол № 9 Архиерейского Собора Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Русско-Американский Православный вестник 4 (1924): 28-29. ↩
- «Выслушав доклад Высокопреосвященного Платона об обстоятельствах, вызвавших акт так называемого Детройтского Собора в Сев. Америке, которым постановлено объявить Русскую Православную Епархию в Сев. Америке «самоуправляющейся Церковью», а равно и самом существе этого определения, которого, по словам Митрополита Платона, отнюдь не следует отождествлять с объявлением Американской Церкви автокефальной, порвавшей будто бы всякую связь с своим законным каноническим Главой – Свят. Патриархом Тихоном, признать, что вышеуказанный акт Детройтского Собора не знаменует собой разрыва Американской Церкви с ее Матерью Церковью Российской и с Свят. Патриархом Тихоном, и в качестве временной меры может быть оправдан соображениями церковной экономии». Ibid. ↩
- «Определение Собора Архиереев Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковные ведомости 19-20 (1924): 5-6. ↩
- Рклицкий, vol. 7, 54. ↩
- Евлогий, 609. ↩
- «Компетенция Архиерейского Собора Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Русско-Американский Православный Вестник 6 (1924): 41. ↩
- Tarasar, 185. ↩
- «Определение Архиерейского Собора Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковные ведомости 9-10 (1926): 1. ↩
- «Архиерейская хиротония». Церковные ведомости 13-14 (1926): 11-12. ↩
- Евлогий, 610. ↩
- «Определение Архиерейского Собора Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковные ведомости 15-16 (1926): 1. ↩
- «…И подтверждает свою полную каноническую покорность Местоблюстителю Патриаршего Престола Митрополиту Петру, Собору Епископов Заграничной части Русской Православной Церкви и избираемому им Архиерейскому Синоду». Ibid. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- «Собор Архиереев Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковные ведомости 13-14 (1926): 15. ↩
- Евлогий, 611. ↩
- «…Не признаю Карловацкого учреждения, упраздненного Патриархом Тихоном, законной канонической властью над собой; эта власть существует только благодаря моему признанию и согласию, а потому имеет для меня условный и только моральный, а отнюдь не канонический характер; она не имеет никакого права изменять объем моих церковных полномочий, определенных в Указе Патриарха Тихона, и что я согласен и дальше работать с Карловацким Синодом и Собором при том непременном условии, что эти учреждения будут в точности следовать основному Указу Патриарха Тихона, а не нашему соглашению на Соборе 1923 г.». Ibid. ↩
- «Определение Архиерейского Собора Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковные ведомости 17-18 (1926): 5. ↩
- «Определения Архиерейского Синода Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковные ведомости 3-4 (1927): 3. ↩
- «Письмо Преосвященного Феофила на имя Высокопреосвященного Митрополита Антония». Церковные ведомости 3-4 (1927): 15. ↩
- Рклицкий, vol. 7, 390. ↩
- «Определения Архиерейского Синода Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковные ведомости 9-10 (1927): 5. ↩
- Рклицкий, 391. ↩
- «Определение Архиерейского Собора Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковные ведомости 5-6 (1928): 1. ↩
- «Заместитель Местоблюстителя Патриаршего Престола». ↩
- Никон Рклицкий. Жизнеописание Блаженнейшего Антония, митрополита Киевского и Галицкого. Vol. 6 (New York: Издание Северо-Американской и Канадской Епархии, 1960), 208, 219-221. ↩
- «Мы хотим быть православными и в то же время сознавать Советский Союз нашей гражданской родиной, радости и успехи которой – наши радости и успехи, а неудачи – наши неудачи». Губонин, 510. ↩
- Рклицкий, vol. 6, 231-232. ↩
- Vassa Larin, “What is the ‘Orthodox Episcopate of the Russian Church’?” December 1, 2007, <http://www.synod.com/synod/engdocuments/enartprint_srvassa.html>. ↩
- «Постановления Заместителя Патриаршего Местоблюстителя и при нем Патриаршего Священного Синода». Журнал Московской Патриархии 22 (1934): 1-2. ↩
- Евлогий, 621-624. ↩
- Троицкий Г. «Патриарх Сергий». Журнал Московской Патриархии 6 (1968): 20. ↩
- It is necessary to point out that Patriarch Varnava had an idealistic notion of the Russian people. In an interview with a Belgrade-based Russian magazine in the beginning of the 1930’s, he states the following: “Everyone knows of the sad events which took place in Russia. It is difficult to speak of them, but I often give myself the question: ‘Is the Russian people, that trusting and good people, guilty in the downfall of its best sons and daughters?’ I answer this question to myself: ‘No.’ You cannot blame the Russian people. In it you must see only God’s testing, sent to the Great People, of which it will pass as a conqueror of its inner and outer enemies…” (Маевский Владислав Альбимович. Сербский Патриарх Варнава и его время. [Нови Сад, Югославия: Русская типография С. Филимонова], 273). In another place, Patriarch Varnava also calls that which the Russians suffer as testing and struggles, praying that the Mother of God would protect them with Her Omophorion (Знаменательный Юбилей. [Белград: типография «Меркур»], 6). ↩
- «Слово». Церковные ведомости 8 (1930): 6-7. ↩
- Rodzianko, 15-16. ↩
- Пагануций П.Н. «Святейший Патриарх Сербский Варнава». Церковь и время 3 (2003): 149. ↩
- Сава, епископ Шумадиjски. Српски Jерарси (Нови Сад: Д.П. Будуħност. 1996), 50. ↩
- Пагануций, 149. ↩
- Сава, Српски Jерарси, 50. ↩
- Bishop Varnava was consecrated on April 10, 1910. ↩
- Metropolitan Peter was in exile and under confinement from 1925. ↩
- Журнал Московской Патриархии в 1931-1935 годы (Москва: Издательский Совет Русской Православной Церкви, 2001), 157-164. ↩
- Троицкий С.В. «Митрополит Сергий и примирение русской диаспоры». Журнал Московской Патриархии 6 (1968): 21. Sergei Viktorovich Troitskii was a historian of church law. He left Russia after the Revolution and settled in Belgrade. He taught in Paris at the St. Sergius Theological Institute as well as in a Yugoslav Law School. He was the author of the book О неправде Карловацкого раскола and completed his life in Belgrade (Косик, 257). ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Ibid., 22-23. ↩
- Khrapovitskii, Metropolitan Anthony, Letter to Patriarch Varnava (April 29/May 12, 1933, SOC Archive, ROCA File). ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Metropolitan Sergius, Letter to Patriarch Varnava (January 25/February 7, 1934, № 119, SOC Archive, ROCA File). ↩
- Metropolitan Sergius, Letter to Patriarch Varnava (January 25/February 7, 1934, № 119, SOC Archive, ROCA File). After receiving news of this letter, Metropolitan Anthony wrote Patriarch Varnava a letter in which he states his feelings towards that which is happening with Metropolitan Sergius. He writes: “This letter intensifies our sorrow in regards to the difficult situation and our persecuted Mother-Church with the hierarchy, the part along with the Locum Tenens who is in exile and the part which finds itself in complete captivity under godless rule… I never will believe that he [Metropolitan Sergius] voluntarily wrote a demand for the complete destruction of the entire realm of the Russian Local Church” (Khrapovitskii, Metropolitan Anthony, Letter to Patriarch Varnava (April 24/May 7, 1934, № 3759, SOC Archive, ROCA File). ↩
- In a private letter to the hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad dated September 12, 1926, Metropolitan Sergius urged them to accept an autonomous existence: “Your letter gave me cause to ask you a general question, whether the Moscow Patriarchate can be now a guide to the Orthodox emigrants in their Church life, when between us there is virtually no communication? I think that for the benefit of the Church you either should create, by common consent, a Center of Church government, with enough authority to solve all conflicts and disagreements and prevent all disobedience, without reaching for our support (there always could be found a reason to suspect the authenticity of our orders or interpret them with lack of sufficient information: some will recognize some, some not…), or if it seems difficult to create such a Church Center universally recognized by all emigrants, it is better to submit to God’s will, admit that a separate existence cannot be organized by emigrants, and therefore it is time for all of you to step on the ground of the canons and submit (perhaps temporarily) to the Local Church government, for example in Serbia to the Serbian Patriarch. In non-Orthodox countries you can organize independent communities or Churches, members of which could be non-Russians.” (Translation taken from the unpublished manuscript of Monk Benjamin [Gomarteli] Timeline of the Orthodox Church in the XX Century). ↩
- Троицкий С.В. «Митрополит Сергий и примирение русской диаспоры». Журнал Московской Патриархии 6 (1968): 23. «Постановление Заместителя Патриаршего Местоблюстителя и при нем Патриаршего Священного Синода о Карловацкой группе», Журнал Московской Патриархии в 1931-1935 годы, 226. ↩
- Троицкий С.В. «Митрополит Сергий и примирение…», 23. (From citation in the article: The Archive of the Office of External Church Affairs, Footnote 1). ↩
- Троицкий, «Митрополит Сергий и примирение русской диаспоры», 23-24. ↩
- Журнал Московской Патриархии в 1931-1935 годы, 228-229. It must be mentioned here that the fundamental body of all Orthodox Church canons were written during the time when Christianity was the predominant religion. For that reason, during the period of persecution of the Church, it must be understood that church life should be organized according to the spirit of the New Testament, not according to the letter of the church law which have in mind calm conditions of church life. In this spirit, the Russian bishops went abroad firmly upholding a political monarchy, as well as an anti-Soviet political stance, were not able spiritually unite with the other parts of the Russian Church. The leadership of ROCA, although it was in an unprecedented church condition, thought itself to be the one church center of the Russian Diaspora with its hierarchs remaining in subordination to canonical stipulations. ↩
- This is stated in a paper by A.V. Zhuravskii entitled, «Экклезиологическая и Этико-Каноническая позиция Митрополита Кирилла (Смирнова) в его воззрениях на церковное управление и церковно-государственные отношения». This paper was read at a conference in Sentendre, Hungary in 2001 (История Русской Православной Церкви в XX веке [1917-1933]: Материалы конференции [Мюнхен: Братство преп. Иова Почаевского, 2001]), 417-418. ↩
- A. Psarev, The Canonical Status of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- The original text of this epistle was not found. ↩
- «Послание Православных Епископов в Америке, признающих каноническую власть заграничного Архиерейского Собора и Священного Синода». Церковная жизнь 6 (1933): 94-96. ↩
- Ibid., 94-95, 100. ↩
- «Хроника – Поездка Архиепископа Вениамина». Церковная жизнь 5 (1933): 90. ↩
- «Хроника – Архиепископ Вениамин в Америке». Церковная жизнь 6 (1933): 110. ↩
- «Хроника – Церковные события в Америке». Церковная жизнь 7 (1933): 135. ↩
- «Преосвященный Аполлинарий, Архиепископ Северо-Американский и Канадский». Церковная жизнь 7 (1933): 133. ↩
- «Определения Архиерейского Собора Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковная жизнь 9 (1933): 171. ↩
- «Определения Архиерейского Собора Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковная жизнь 8 (1933): 158. ↩
- Tarasar, 200. ↩
- Кувшинов Василий, протопресвитер, ed. Деяния Архиерейского Собора Русских Православных Епископов в Северной Америке, первого, в 1936 году (Сиэттл, 1936), 2. ↩
- Евлогий, 629-631. ↩
- Граббе Ю., гр. «К приезду Высокопреосвященного Митрополита Евлогия в Белград». Церковная жизнь 6 (1934): 95. ↩
- The Fall Council of Bishops of 1934. ↩
- Косик, 46-47. ↩
- Rodzianko, 33. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- «…Снять с Митрополита Евлогия и его викариев наложенное на них запрещение в священнослужении и восстановить с ними тотчас же не только молитвенное, но и литургическое общение». «Определения Архиерейского Собора Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковная жизнь 9-10 (1934): 148. ↩
- «Мы должны памятовать, что ныне дние лукави суть и много прельщений преподносится к уловлению православных русских людей в различные не церковные строения, лишь бы внести разделение в среду их». Кувшинов Василий, протопресвитер, ed. Деяния Архиерейского Собора Русских Православных Епископов в Северной Америке, первого, в 1934 году (Сиэттл, 1934), 3. ↩
- Ibid., 6. ↩
- «Все мы любим свою родную Американскую Церковь. Она не только плоть от плоти Российской Церкви, но она и по духу и силе та же Русская Церковь, в коей мы родились, взросли и утвердились еще на родной Русской Земле. «О Феофиле, храни предание», – говорил мне при хиротонии покойный Митрополит Платон, и этот завет относится ко всем нам, Святители Божии. Твердо и стойко соблюсти нам подобает все переданное нам и без колебаний явить, согласно Архиерейской своей присяге, что мы принимаем то, что они принимали, и отметаем то, что они отметали». Ibid. ↩
- Ibid., 12. ↩
- Деяния VI Всеамериканского Церковного Собора (Нью-Йорк: издание Митрополичьего Совета, 1937), 21. ↩
- «Во свидетельство братского прощения, данного Собором почившему Митрополиту Платону, и совершенного примирения с ним, а также для облегчения путей, ведущих к восстановлению церковного единства в Америке, снять запрещение в священнослужении, лежащее на епископах и клире т. наз. Платоновской юрисдикции. Собор выражает при этом уверенность, что они оценят должным образом этот акт братской любви, проявленной к ним Собором Зарубежных Епископов, и найдут в нем для себя нравственное побуждение возможно скорее возвратиться к полному единению с последним». «Определения Архиерейского Собора Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковная жизнь 9-10 (1934): 149-150. ↩
- «Архиерейская хиротония». Церковные ведомости 13-14 (1926): 11-12. ↩
- Tarasar, 199. ↩
- Кувшинов Василий, протопресвитер, ed. Деяния Архиерейского Собора Русских Православных Епископов в Северной Америке, второго, в 1934 году (Сиэттл, 1935), 4-5. ↩
- Ibid., 5. ↩
- Ibid., 6. ↩
- Ibid., 16-17. ↩
- «Церковное положение в Америке». Церковная жизнь 3 (1935): 50. ↩
- Metropolitans Evlogy of Western Europe and Platon of North America left from submission to the Council of Bishops of ROCA at the Council of Bishops in 1926. ↩
- Implying the Serbian Church. ↩
- Маевский, Патриарх Варнава, 280. Vladislav Al’bimovich Maevskii was a historian. He was Patriarch Varnava’s secretary as well as the librarian at the Patriarch Library in Belgrade. He moved to the United States after World War II (Косик, 244). ↩
- Ibid., 293. ↩
- «1. Руска Црква у изгнанству има четири митрополитанска округа: а) Западна Европа; б) Балкан; в) Даљни Исток; г) Америка. 2. Заjеднички виши орган, коме се потчињаваjу та четири округа jесте периодички сабор преставника ових округа. 3. Jурисдикциjа Руског Архиjереjског Синода у Сремским Карловцима мора бити ограничена на териториjу Српске Цркве. 4. У Западноj Европи мора постоjати Руска jерархиjа jедне jурисдикциjе. 5. Неспоразум између Митрополита Евлогиjа и Карловачке Управе решаваjу Патриjарси Цариградски и Српски. 6. Митрополит Евлогиjе остаjе егзарх Цариградског Патриjарха и Руска црква у Западноj Европи остаjе под патронатом овог Патриjарха до тог времена кад нова организациjа Руске Цркве у иностранству добиħе благослов од Патриjарха Цариградског и Српског» (Patriarch Varnava, Letter to Metropolitan Anthony, Notes of the Serbian Patriarchate of Letters of Patriarch Varnava [SOC Archive, ROCA File]). ↩
- 1. Руска црква у изгнанству мора бити поделена на аутономне митрополитанске округе jедан од коjих мора бити у Америци. 2. Ови окрузи мораjу имати своj заjеднички центар за решавање питања коjа се тиче целе Руске Цркве у иностранству и питања коjа не могу бити решена у окрузима. 3. До успоставлења слободе руске цркве у Русиjи заjеднички центар налази се под патронатом Српског Патриjарха, да би таj центар правилно функционисао. 4. Таj центар мора бити организован на конференциjи преставника округа под руководством Спрског Патриjарха. 5. Забрана свештенодеjствовања Епископу Арсениjу мора бити укинута. 6. У Америци мора бити jерархиjа jедне jурисдикциjе (Patriarch Varnava, Letter, Notes of the Serbian Patriarchate of Letters of Patriarch Varnava [SOC Archive, ROCA File]). ↩
- Евлогий, 606. ↩
- Кувшинов Василий, протопресвитер, ed. Деяния Архиерейского Собора Русских Православных Епископов в Северной Америке, второго, в 1935 году (Сиэттл, 1936), 11. ↩
- Деяния VI Всеамериканского Церковного Собора, 21-22. ↩
- Евлогий, 637-638. ↩
- Rodzianko, 34-35. ↩
- «Письмо Митрополита Сергия на имя Патриарха Сербского Варнавы». Голос Литовской Епархии 7-8 (1936): 3-4. ↩
- Ibid., 4-7. ↩
- Деяния VI Всеамериканского Церковного Собора, 21-22, 26. ↩
- «Возлюбленной во Христе русской православной пастве в рассеянии сущей». Церковная жизнь 11-12 (1935): 161-164. ↩
- «От редакции». Русско-Американский Православный вестник 1 (1936): 1. ↩
- Кувшинов Василий, протопресвитер, ed. Деяния Архиерейского Собора Русских Православных Епископов в Северной Америке, первого, в 1936 году (Сиэттл, 1936), 4-5. ↩
- Ibid., 6, 22. ↩
- «Все наши Архипастыри, во главе со своим Митрополитом, входят в состав Архиерейского Собора Православной Церкви Заграничной Церкви, который является Высшим Церковным Органом для всей нашей Русской Православной Заграничной Церкви, оставаясь в то же время неразрывной частью Всероссийской Церкви». Ibid. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- «Всечестным отцам-настоятелям С. Американского митрополичьего округа». Русско–Американский Православный Вестник: 4 (1936): 49. ↩
- «Временное Положение о Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковная жизнь 11-12 (1935): 175-178. ↩
- «1) Постановления Собора Северо-Американских Архиереев в Питтсбурге с 1/14 по 3/16 с.г. утвердить; 2) признать за Северо-Американским округом автономию в том объеме, в каком она ныне существует». «Определения Общего Архиерейского Собора Русской Православной Церкви». Церковная жизнь 10-11 (1936): 153. ↩
- Ibid., 154-156. ↩
- Евлогий, 643-644. ↩
- «Письмо Митрополита Сергия на имя Патриарха Сербского Варнавы». Голос Литовской Епархии, 4. There are no documents of follow up regarding this threat. ↩
- «Архиерейский Собор». Церковная жизнь 10-11 (1936): 162-163. ↩
- Деяния VI Всеамериканского Церковного Собора, 24. ↩
- Ibid., 11. ↩
- Деяния VI Всеамериканского Церковного Собора, 13-18. ↩
- Ibid., 19-23. ↩
- Ibid., 23. ↩
- Ibid., 23-24. ↩
- «”Временное положение” имеет больше нравственное значение, чем административное – оно показывает наше единение, наше единство, но оно нас не связывает». Ibid., 24. ↩
- Ibid., 67-68. ↩
- Деяния Второго Всезарубежного Собора Русской Православной Церкви заграницей (Белград: типография «Меркур», 1939), 10-15. ↩
- Ibid., 698-705. ↩
- Протокол № 1 Заседания Предсоборной комиссии 7-го Всеамериканского Собора 1942 г. Нью-Йорк. February 19, 1941. OCA Archives, Series IV – Records of the All-American Councils, 6S Pre 7S, 4:3. ↩
- Протокол № 3 Заседания Предсоборной комиссии 7-го Всеамериканского Собора 1942 года. May 14, 1941. OCA Archives, Series IV – Records of the All-American Councils, 6S Pre 7S, 4:3. ↩
- Metropolitan’s Committee, Letter to Archbishop Vitaly (May 21, 1941, OCA Archives, Series IV – Records of the All-American Councils, 6S Pre 7S, 4:3), 1. ↩
- Very. Rev. T. Buketoff, Letter to Metropolitan Theophilus (May 4, 1942, OCA Archives, Series IV – Records of the All-American Councils, 6S Pre 7S, 4:3), 1. ↩
- Archpriest Veniamin Kedrovsky, Letter to Bishop Leonty of Chicago (June 13, 1942, OCA Archives, Series IV – Records of the All-American Councils, 6S Pre 7S, 4:3), 2. ↩
- Transcript of Telephone Conversation between Archbishop Vitaly and Archbishop Aleksy (Dec 14, 1945, ROCA Archives, Box OCA 1924-1947 гг. ↩
- «Освящение Берлинского собора». Церковная жизнь 5-6 (1938): 93-97. ↩
- «Когда мы взираем на наш Берлинский соборный храм, ныне нами освящаемый и воздвигнутый благодаря готовности и щедрости Вашего Правительства после предоставления нашей Святой Церкви прав юридического лица, наша мысль обращается с искренней и сердечной благодарностью, прежде всего, к Вам, как к действительному его создателю.
Мы видим особое действие Божьего Промысла в том, что именно теперь, когда на нашей Родине храмы и народные святыни попираются и разрушаются, в деле Вашего строительства имеет место и создание сего храма.
Не один только германский народ поминает Вас с горячей любовью и преданностью; лучшие люди всех народов видят в Вас вождя в мировой борьбе за мир и правду.
Ваш подвиг борьбы за национальную самобытность германского народа и величие германской Империи сделал Вас примером, достойным подражания, и образцом того, как надо любить свой народ и свою родину, как надо стоять за свои национальные сокровища и вечные ценности. Эти последние находят в нашей Церкви свое освящение и увековечение. Национальные ценности составляют честь и славу каждого народа и посему находят место и в Вечном Божием Царстве.
Вы воздвигли дом Небесному Владыке. Да пошлет же Он Свое благословение и на дело Вашего государственного строительства, на создание Вашей народной империи. Бог да укрепит Вас и германский народ в борьбе с враждебными силами, желающими гибели и нашего народа. Да подаст Он Вам, Вашей стране, Вашему Правительству и воинству здравие, благоденствие и во всем благое поспешение на многая лета». Ibid., 96. ↩
- Ibid., 93. ↩
- It is necessary to point out that the church in North America was not only in spiritual communion with Metropolitan Anastasy and ROCA, but it was also in administrative union with ROCA until the time after the Seventh All-American Council, when Metropolitan Theophilus stopped commemorating Metropolitan Anastasy as the First-Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and began commemorating Patriarch Aleksy as the spiritual head of the Russian Mother Church (Transcript of Telephone Conversation between Archbishop Vitaly and Metropolitan Theophilus, Dec 16, 1946, ROCA Archives, Box OCA 1924-194755.), 1. ↩
- Metropolitan Council of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North America, The Patriarchal Ukase of February 16, 1945 (New York: Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North America, 1945), 4-7. ↩
- Decree, author. ↩
- Metropolitan Council of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North America, The Patriarchal Ukase of February 16, 1945, 8. ↩
- «Записка пяти профессоров». ↩
- M. Karpovich, N Timashev, G. Fedotov, Peter Zubov & George Novitzky, Memorandum on the Status of the Russian Orthodox Church in America (Oct 18, 1946 OCA Archives, Series IV – Records of the All-American Councils, 6S Pre 7S, 4:4), 1. ↩
- Постановление Малого Собора Епископов о «Записке пяти профессоров». Series IV – Records of the All-American Councils, 6S Pre 7S, 4: 6. ↩
- Archbishop Leonty, Letter to Metropolitan Theophilus (March 5, 1946, OCA Archives, Series IV – Records of the All-American Councils, 6S Pre 7S, 4:4), 2. ↩
- «…Временное разрешение от Сербского Патриарха может быть отнято от сего Заграничного Синода, но его функции, созданные вне компетенции Сербии, полностью как прежде были, так и теперь в силе остаются…» Ibid. ↩
- «…Он с великой мудростью и тактом держался при немцах, был всегда лоялен к сербам, подвергался 3-4 раза обыскам от немцев, вызывая их недоверие», «Сербский Патриарх Гавриил о Митрополите Анастасии». Русско-Американский Православный вестник 1 (1946): 16. ↩
- «Архиепископу Алексию». Русско–Американский Православный Вестник 2 (1946): 18. ↩
- Протоколы 7-го Всеамериканского Собора (1946), 6. ↩
- The Russian Church in America was already under suspension by the MP as of January 5, 1935 («Послание Патриарха Московского и всея Руси Алексия и Священного при Нем Синода к архипастырям, пастырям и пастве Православной Русской Церкви в Америке». Журнал Московской Патриархии 1 (1948): 11). ↩
- Ralph Montgomery Arkush, Letter to Metropolitan Theophilus (March 9, 1946, OCA Archives, Series IV – Records of the All-American Councils, 6S Pre 7S, 4:4), 1. ↩
- Ibid., 1-3. ↩
- Ibid., 3-4. ↩
- Ralph Montgomery Arkush, Suggested Plan for Dissolving of ROCA (March 9, 1946, OCA Archives, Series IV – Records of the All-American Councils, 6S Pre 7S, 4:4), 1. ↩
- Ibid., 2. ↩
- Ibid., 3-7. ↩
- Metropolitan Theophilus, Letter to Metropolitan Anastasy (October 16, 1946, ROCA Archives, OCA 1924-1947 Box), 2; Metropolitan Theophilus, Letter to Metropolitan Anastasy (November 15, 1946, ROCA Archives, OCA 1924-1947 Box). ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Протоколы 7-го Всеамериканского Собора. 1946. ↩
- Ibid., 9. ↩
- Ibid., 14-17. ↩
- Ibid., 12-13. ↩
- Ibid., 13. ↩
- «Послание Патриарха Московского и всея Руси Алексия и Священного при Нем Синода к архипастырям, пастырям и пастве Православной Русской Церкви в Америке», 11-12. ↩
- Протоколы 7-го Всеамериканского Собора. 1946. ↩
- Ibid., 14. ↩
- «…За прошлый день стало ясно, что время пришло прекратить связь с Заграничным Синодом и искать единения с Московской Патриархией, оставляя за собой право полной автономии». Ibid., 23. ↩
- Ibid., 24. ↩
- Ibid., 27-28. Translation taken from Surrency (A141). ↩
- Ibid., 29. ↩
- Максименко Виталий, архиепископ. Мотивы моей жизни (Jordanville, N.Y.: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1955), 37. ↩
- «…Митрополия имела переписку с м. Анастасием, предлагая ему уйти на покой, а все заграничные приходы передать в ведение Америки». Ibid., 37. ↩
- Ibid., 38. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- «Ваше Святейшество! На Всеамериканском Соборе русских православных, греко-кафолических церквей Северной Америки, состоявшемся в Кливленде, в штате Огайо, с 26 по 29 ноября 1946 года, было постановлено просить Ваше Святейшество принять нас в лоно Вашей Церкви и быть нашим духовным главой при сохранении полной автономии американской церкви, которая существует в настоящее время. Высшим законодательным установлением остается Всеамериканский Собор, на котором выбираются Митрополиты, устанавливаются церковные законы, и который во всех отношениях управляет церковной жизнью.
В то же самое время Собор постановил прекратить всякие административные сношения с заграничным Синодом, но оставаться в братском и духовном единении со всеми православными русскими церквами всего мира, о чем мы считаем своей священной обязанностью сообщить Вам». «Телеграмма Митрополита Феофила Патриарху Алексию». Журнал Московской Патриархии 4 (1947): 7. ↩
- Metropolitan Veniamin (Fedchenkoff) was one of the original bishops of the HCA. In 1933, he
left ROCA for the MP and was made Exarch of the MP in North America and Archbishop of the Aleutians and North America. He left America for the USSR in 1947 and died in 1961 in the USSR. ↩
- «Телеграмму Вашего Высокопреосвященства сегодня получил. Приветствую решение Кливландского Собора. Митрополиту Ленинградскому Григорию, в ближайшее время имеющему отбыть в Америку, поручаю в миролюбивом духе обсудить все вопросы совместно с Вашим Высокопреосвященством.
Божие благословение духовенству и всей пастве. Отныне считаю Ваше Высокопреосвященство и все Ваше духовенство в молитвенном с нами общении. Совершите совместное служение с Митрополитом Вениамином в знамение этого общения. Христос посреди нас есть и да будет». «Ответ Патриарха Алексия». Журнал Московской Патриархии 4 (1947): 7. ↩
- Archbishop Vitaly, Letter to Metropolitan Anastasy (December 16, 1946, ROCA Archives, OCA 1924-47 Box). ↩
- «По горькому опыту прежних лет, Митрополит Феофил и его советники больше всего боятся гражданских судов». Ibid. ↩
- Archbishop Vitaly, Letter (December 16, 1946, OCA Archives, Series IV – Records of the AllAmerican Councils, 6S Pre 7S, 4:79). ↩
- «Определения Архиерейского Синода Русской Православной Церкви заграницей». Церковные ведомости 6-7 (1948): 3-5. ↩
- Metropolitan’s Council, Letter to Priests and Parishes (April 8, 1947, OCA Archives, Series IV – Records of the All-American Councils, 6S Pre 7S, 4:7). ↩
- «Поездка Митрополита Ленинградского и Новгородского Григория в Соединенные Штаты Северной Америки». Журнал Московской Патриархии 1 (1948): 13. ↩
- Metropolitan Theophilus, Telegram to A. Besmertny (January 27, 1947, OCA Archives, Series IV – Records of the All-American Councils, 6S Pre 7S, 4:7). ↩
- «Поездка Митрополита Ленинградского и Новгородского Григория в Соединенные Штаты Северной Америки», 22-24. ↩
- Ibid., 18-19. ↩
- Col. Boris T. Pash, “Checkmate!” The American Legion Magazine 4 (1958): 14-15, 42. ↩
- Ibid., 42. ↩
- Ibid., 43. ↩
- Archbishop Makary (Ilinsky) was a ROCNA bishop that left ROCNA for the MP in 1946. He was originally the rector of Christ the Savior Cathedral in New York City until he was made Bishop of Boston in 1935, and later the Bishop of Brooklyn. He served as Dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary from 1938-1944. After switching to the MP in 1946, he was made Archbishop of New York and later Metropolitan and Exarch of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA. ↩
- «Митрополита Феофила и единомысленных с ним епископов: Чикагского Архиепископа Леонтия, Аляскинского Иоанна, Бруклинского Иоанна и Епископа Никона за упорное противление призывам Матери-Церкви к общению; за вовлечение своей паствы в раскол, вопреки желанию самой паствы, выразившемуся в постановлении Кливлендского Собора, а первого и за незаконно наложенное «проклятие» на Архиепископа Макария за воссоединение его с Московской Патриархией подвергнуть Суду Собора Епископов, согласно с правилами: 34-м апост., 9-м Антиох. Соб., 15-м Двукратн. Соб.
Наложенное на Митрополита Феофила 5 февраля 1935 г. Патриаршим Местоблюстителем Митрополитом Сергием и условно снятое с него в январе 1947 г. Святейшим Патриархом Московским Алексием запрещение оставить в силе, вследствие неисполнения им указанного Патриархом условия воссоединения чрез совместное служение его, Митрополита Феофила, с Преосвященным Экзархом или с представителем Патриарха – Митрополита Григорием. Это же запрещение простирается и на вышеупомянутых Епископов, идущих вслед за Митрополитом Феофилом по пути раскола». «Послание Патриарха Московского и всея Руси Алексия и Священного при Нем Синода к архипастырям, пастырям и пастве Православной Русской Церкви в Америке», 11-12. ↩
- «…Ищущих верного пути спасения в каноническом общении со Всероссийской Церковью-Матерью и выразвивших это на Всеамериканском Церковном Кливлендском Соборе…» Ibid., 12. ↩
- Максименко, 47-51. ↩
- Максименко, 120. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- «Ваше Высокопреосвященство, Милостивый Архипастырь! Примите мое глубокое сознание моего личного недостоинства и простите мои обиды Вам и взаимно простить по своему усердию прошу и мне. Когда настанет время мир иметь со всеми, придет большая радость. Митрополит Феофил». Ibid. ↩