1917: 2/15 March. Pressured from all sides, by the liberal Duma (Parliament), by some of his relatives, and the media, after praying all night for guidance, Tsar-martyr Nicholas II signed the act of abdication in favor of his brother Michael.
On the same day, the Mother of God appeared to a simple peasant woman Evdokia Adrianova and told her to “… go to the village of Kolomenskoe; there is a big black icon, you should take it, make it again beautiful and let people pray before it.” That is how the icon of the “Reigning Mother of God” was found. On that icon the Mother of God is shown as an empress sitting on a throne holding a scepter and orb (emblems of the monarchy), wearing a crown and the purple robe of an empress. The Reigning icon became a much- venerated icon in Russia. People took it for a sign from above that the Queen of Heaven manifested Herself as the only Ruler of Russia. After the communist-led revolution in November of 1917, the newly-formed Soviet government tried to exterminate everything related to that icon. The authors of a beautiful service and akathist were executed, copies of this icon were confiscated, and thousands of believers were arrested. Right after his abdication, the Tsar-martyr was imprisoned. The Provisional government was established by the Duma. It dismissed all members of the Holy Synod except Archbishop Sergius (Stragorodsky), the initiator of the future Sergianist schism in the Russian Church. The Metropolitans of Moscow and St. Petersburg were dismissed also from their dioceses by the liberal government. Some most conservative Bishops lost their dioceses, including Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky), the future First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA). He moved to the Valamo monastery.
1917: August 15/28. The first session of the All-Russian Church Council took place. It was the largest Council in the history of the Russian Church and the first Council since the reforms of Peter I, 200 years before. Each diocese sent 6 representatives — 1 ruling Bishop, 2 priests, and 3 laymen. Ten representatives were chosen from monastics (chosen by vote at an All-Russian monastic convention, plus 4 abbots of the 4 largest monasteries), 15 lay representatives from the Army and Navy, 10 priests-chaplains from the Army and Navy. The Academy of Science and 11 Universities sent each one lay representative, 15 Orthodox representatives from the Duma and Senate, and representatives of Eastern Patriarchs and autocephalous Churches were counted as active members of the Council. Altogether there were 584 members, 68 of whom were Bishops. Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky) was chosen as representative of the monastics since he was not a ruling Bishop at the time. But the next day after the opening of the Council he was elected by the peoples’ vote back to his Kharkov diocese.
1917: October 25/November 7. The Communists overthrew the Provisional government and established the new Soviet one headed by Lenin.
1917: November. The beginning of the persecution of the Russian Church by the atheist government. The first victim — priest-martyr John Kochurov. Since 1901 he had been serving in America, where he built a beautiful cathedral in Chicago.
1917: The Georgian Church declared independence from Russian Church and restored its ancient Patriarchate. Catholicos (Patriarch) Kyrion was elected. The Russian Church did not recognize its autocephaly until 1945.
1917: At this time there were over 51,450 churches in Russia.
1917: November. The All-Russian Church Council decided to restore the Russian Patriarchate, abolished by Peter the Great. Three candidates were elected — Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky), who received the majority of votes, Metropolitan Tikhon of Moscow, and Archbishop Arseny of Novgorod. By the drawing of lots Metropolitan Tikhon was chosen to became the new Patriarch of Russia. Five new Metropolitans were consecrated — Anthony (Khrapovitsky), Arsenius of Novgorod, Cyril of Kazan, Platon of Odessa, and Agathangel of Yaroslav.
1917: Some of the resolutions made by All-Russian Council:
- The Restoration of Patriarchate.
- The Restoration of the old Church practice that Bishops remain in their diocese until their death, exceptions to be made only by higher Church authority in some extraordinary cases.
- Permission to file for divorce in the case of one of the spouses renounces the faith. Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) made a report about it, reminding listeners about 72 rule of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, that such marriage is illegitimate: “Those marriages were never allowed by our Church and were introduced only by authoritarian power of Peter I.”
- To forbid excommunication or suspension of clergy for political motives. All clergy are free to have any political views, but cannot make it public from Church pulpit.
- To prohibit Bishops, clergy, and laymen from resort to civil courts, which is hostile in their nature toward Church; by doing so they bring multiple calamities upon the Church.
- All Sunday and holiday services must be accompanied by a sermon.
- The Highest authority in the Russian Church belongs to the All-Russian Church Council of bishops, clergy, and laymen, which should take place periodically. The Patriarch is first-among -equals in the hierarchy. He can be tried only by the All-Russian Church Council with the participation, if possible, of other Patriarchs and heads of autocephalous Churches. He can be condemned only by 2/3 of all votes.
1918: Beginning of Red Terror.
1918: January 19. Patriarch Tikhon wrote an epistle addressed to the new communist government: “Come back to your senses, madmen, stop those bloody executions. Your actions are not only cruel but truly satanic in nature, for which you deserve eternal fire in the life to come and a terrible curse on your posterity in the present. By the power given us by God, we forbid you to receive Christ’s mysteries, we anathematize you, if you still have Christian names and by your birth belong to Orthodox Church. We invoke all you faithful children of Orthodox Church, not to enter into any communion with that scum of the earth…” (Церк. Ведом., №10/1925).
1918: January 25. Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev was executed by firing squad. He was blessing and praying for his executors. The All-Russian Church Council set that date — the 25th of January or the nearest Sunday — as a day of commemoration of all new martyrs and confessors. Based on that decision ROCA canonized all new Russian martyrs in 1981 and set the day of their commemoration as January 25th (old cal.) or the nearest Sunday.
1918: Beginning of Civil war in Russia between communist “Red army” and anticommunist “White army.”
1918: January 28. The All-Russian Church Council supported anathemas issued by Patriarch Tikhon.
1918: April 8. Last day of the All-Russian Church Council.
1918: Spring. Greek Metropolitan Meletios Metaxakis (future Patriarch) with archdeacon Athenagoras (another future Patriarch of Constantinople) came to Aegina to look into a false accusation of St. Nectarios of Aegina. Metropolitan Meletios took the side of slanderers.
1918: July 4. Tsar-martyr Nicholas II and his family were murdered in the city of Ekaterinburg in Western Siberia by the communists. In 1981 they were canonized with other New Martyrs of Russia by the Council of ROCA Bishops.
1918: July 5. Grand Duchess Elizabeth, nun Barbara, and 6 Grand Dukes were brutally murdered near the city of Alapaevsk in Western Siberia by communists. In 1981 they were canonized with other New Martyrs of Russia by the Council of ROCA Bishops.
1918: Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) by peoples’ vote was elected to Kiev diocese.
1918: Metropolitan Meletios (Metaxakis) became Archbishop of Athens and head of the autocephalous Church of Greece.
1918: December. At the end of this year in Russia: 1 Metropolitan, 8 Bishops, over 200 priests, 300 deacons and over 400 monks and nuns were murdered, 26 monasteries were closed.
1918: December. After Ukraine gained its independence from Russia, a new Catholic government arrested Metropolitan Anthony of Kiev, Archbishop Eulogy of Zhitomir, Bishop Nicodim, and Archimandrite Vitaly. They were imprisoned in a Roman Catholic monastery in Poland.
1919: May 18-24. In the Russian city of Stavropol, the Southern Church Council of Bishops and clergy took place. Because of the Civil war, they were cut off from any communication with the Patriarch and his Synod. A temporary Higher Church Administration was formed at that Council. Its purpose was to serve Southern parts of Russia, freed by the White army. At the same time, a similar Council took place in Siberia, which was at that time under control of the White army.
1919: May 20. The Synod of the Church of Greece under the leadership of Archbishop Meletios (Metaxakis) raised the issue of a new calendar. Archbishop Meletios in his address to the Synod said: “We consider it necessary to change the calendar… the state of affairs in Russia has changed, and there is more favorable perspective to draw together with the West…”
1919: August. Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) and those with him were freed from their imprisonment. He came back to his Kiev diocese, which was temporarily liberated by the White army.
1919: When the Red army took over the city of Voronezh they murdered the Archbishop of Voronezh, Tikhon, by hanging him on the Royal gates. 160 priests were killed with him.
1919: After the dissolving of the Russian empire, Finland gained back its independence. Its new Lutheran government demanded that all Russian Orthodox churches use the Finnish language in worship, and the new, Gregorian calendar.
1919: At the end of this year over 20 Bishops and over 1000 priests became victims of Red terror. 58 relics were confiscated or desecrated.
1920: Patriarch Tikhon granted autonomy to the Estonian Church and made Archbishop Alexander it’s Head.
1920: November 9. Repose of St. Nectarios, Metropolitan of Aegina, Greece.
1920: November. The evacuation of the White army from Southern Russia took place. The exodus consisted of 150,000 immigrants: military, civilians, and clergy. All that enormous fleet of refugees came to the walls of Constantinople (Istanbul).
1920: November 19. The first session of the Higher Church Administration outside the borders of Russia took place on board a ship in the harbor at Constantinople. At that session were present: Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), Metropolitan Platon of Odessa, Archbishop Theophan of Poltava, and Bishop Benjamin of Sevastopol.
1920: November 20. The Holy Synod of the Russian Church under the presidency of Patriarch Tikhon ratified the Directive #362, concerning the independent governing of dioceses which found themselves out of contact with the Synod and the Patriarch: “They should organize a Council of Bishops and elect the senior among them to be the Head of this Council ” The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA) was founded on that basis and the senior among the Bishops — Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), became its First Hierarch.
1920: December 2. The Locum Tenens (Substitute) of the Patriarch of Constantinople Metropolitan Dorotheos gave a blessing for the Higher Church Administration to continue its work and serve Russian refugees under the Leadership of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) on the territory of the Constantinople Patriarchate.
End of 1920: About 200,000 Russian refugees left Russia with the retreating White Army in Southern Siberia and crossed the Russian-Chinese border, with many priests and 6 Bishops.
1921: The Red army occupied Georgia and started the persecution of Christians.
1921: Greek government ousted Archbishop of Athens Meletios (Metaxakis).
1921: Patriarch of Antioch Gregory IV, a personal friend of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), invited him to relocate to Syria.
1921: Spring. By invitation of Patriarch Demetrios of Serbia, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) and Higher Church Administration moved to Serbia.
1921: By the end of this year about 3,000,000 Russian refugees had left Russia.
1921: July 26. The first session of the Higher Church Administration took place in Sremsky Karlovtsy, Serbia.
1921: February. Archbishop Meletios (Metaxakis) visited the United States. The Greek Ambassador in Washington, D. C. sent a message to the prefect in Thessalonica stating that Meletios “vested, took part in Anglican service, knelt in prayer with Anglicans, venerated their Holy Table, gave a sermon, and later blessed those present” (The Struggle against Ecumenism. Boston, 1998, pg. 30).
1921: October. Under the pressure of its Lutheran government, the Church of Finland changed the calendar to Gregorian including the Paschalion. Only in the monasteries was Pascha allowed to be celebrated according to the Julian calendar, but after 1924 that permission was no longer given. Monasteries were unwilling to give in but held their services according to the old tradition. One of these monasteries was a great Valamo monastery with about 1000 monks and novices at that time.
1921: Fall. The resolution of refusal to give the Church of Poland its autocephaly was issued by Patriarch Tikhon of Russia.
1921: November 8/21. The first General Council of the Russian Church Abroad took place in Sremsky Karlovtsy, Serbia. Serbian Patriarch Demetrios was the honorary Head of the Council. Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) was its president. 12 Russian Bishops participated personally and 24, unable to come, sent their written statements, from America, China, Japan, etc. Representatives of the clergy, monastics, and laymen took part in that Council too. Altogether there were 101 participants. As the free voice of all Russians free of Soviet rule, the Council considered itself obligated to express its opinion on the situation in Russia, where the rest of the Russian people were languishing under the oppression of the communist regime. The Council appealed to the Genoa Conference of Nations with a request not to support the Soviet government and to help Russian people in their fight with the oppressive regime.
1921: The Finnish diocese was forcefully taken away from Russian Church by the government of Finland with the help of some Finnish clerics, who wanted to introduce a protestant type of reforms into the Church. They asked the Patriarch of Constantinople to receive them.
1921: November. The ecumenical and uncanonical activities of Archbishop Meletios (Metaxakis) came to the attention of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, which formed a commission to investigate Meletios. On December 29 he was deposed for a series of infractions against canon law and for causing a schism.
In 1967 the staff of The Masonic Bulletin, a newsletter of the Masonic Lodge of Greece, asked its member Alexander Zervoudakis to write a personal memoir about Meletios (Metaxakis). He wrote a detailed biography of Meletios whom he met for the first time in Constantinople in 1922: “…I greeted him as a mason would greet a mason, he smiled and said: ‘I see you understand me’. In 1908 masons successfully guided “…the inquisitive spirit of Meletios to follow the example of a great number of English and other foreign bishops to consecrate himself in the mysteries hidden in masonry…” Meletios entered the masonic lodge “Harmony” of Constantinople under #44.
Masonic consecration took place in Cyprus in 1909. Two other clergymen were initiated into the lodge, one of whom was Metropolitan Basil of Anchialos, an official representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Zervudakis wrote about this event: “I remember with what pride and joy all brethren were talking about the consecration of Meletios… After his consecration brother, Meletios cultivated masonic activities in every place where he was during his stormy life…” In conclusion, Zervudakis wrote: “There are not many of those who join masonry and made it their lifelong pursuit…,” stating that Meletios was one of those few who had.
1921: December 27. The Soviet government issued a decree to confiscate Church valuables in order to help victims of famine in Southern Russia. Lenin wrote about it: “Now and only now, when on hunger-stricken steppes people eat people and on the roads are lying hundreds if not thousands of dead bodies, we can and therefore must confiscate Church valuables with mad and unmerciful energy, despite any kind of resistance. The more representatives of the bourgeoisie and reactionary clergy we will be able to execute the better”. (Лев Регельсон. Трагедия Русской Церкви).
1921: In the city of Tobolsk 100 priests were executed.
1921: By the end of this year 722 monasteries were eliminated by the Soviet government. (V. Rusak, vol. 1, pg. 216).
1922: January 24. Archbishop Meletios (Metaxakis) was uncanonically enthroned as the Patriarch of Constantinople. Metropolitan Germanos (Karavangeis) wrote of this event: “My election in 1921 to the Ecumenical throne was unquestioned. Of the seventeen votes cast, sixteen were in my favor. Then one of my lay friends offered me 10,000 pounds if I would forfeit my election in favor of Meletios Metaxakis. Naturally, I refused his offer, displeased and disgusted. At the same time, one night a delegation of three men unexpectedly visited me from the “National Defense League” and began to earnestly entreat me to forfeit my candidacy in favor of Meletios Metaxakis. The delegates said that Meletios could bring $100,000 for the Patriarchate and, since he had very friendly relations with Protestant bishops in England and America, could be useful in (Greece’s) international causes. Therefore, international interests demanded that Meletios be elected Patriarch. Such was also will of Eleftherios Venizelos (Prime Minister of Greece). I thought about this proposal all night. Economic chaos reigned in the Patriarchate. The government in Athens had stopped sending subsidies, and there were no other sources of income. Regular salaries had not been paid for nine months. The charitable organizations of the Patriarchate were in a critical financial state. For these reasons and for the good of the people I accepted that offer…” (Delimpasis, A. D., Pascha of the Lord, Creation, Renewal, and Apostasy, Athens, 1985, pg. 662 (in Greek)). The majority of bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, who had been circumvented met in Thessalonica. They announced that “the election of Meletios Metaxakis was done in open violation of the holy canons” and proposed to undertake “a valid and canonical election of the Patriarch of Constantinople.” In spite of this, Meletios was confirmed on the Patriarchal throne.
1922: Under the pressure of new Patriarch Meletios, the Synod of Constantinople Patriarchate accepted the validity of Anglican orders.
1922: Patriarch Meletios (Metaxakis) established Greek Archdiocese in the United States and placed it under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
1922: March 3/16. Patriarch Tikhon of Russia sent an official letter of gratitude to Patriarch Demetrios of Serbia for providing asylum for the Russian Hierarchs: “…May God reward you a hundredfold for that good deed, may He bless your days as Patriarch”.
1922: March. In St. Petersburg 12 Russian priests, future leaders of the “Living Church,” sent a letter to a Soviet newspaper, accusing the rest of the Russian clergy of antisoviet activities and demanding unconditional delivery of all Church valuables to the government.
1922: March 11/24. With the blessing of the ROCA Synod new Diocesan Cathedra was established in Harbin, China, which was headed by Metropolitan Methodios.
1922: April 20/May 3. Protopriest Pashkovsky (future Metropolitan Theophilos of the Metropolia) and YMCA representative Mr. Colton met with Patriarch Tikhon and talked about the appointment of Metropolitan Platon to the diocese of North America. Patriarch refused to give that order, but the only recommendation, because “… it is already in hands of Higher Church Administration Abroad and I don’t want to rule over its head”.
1922: April 20/May 3. A secret meeting of GPU (predecessor of KGB) passed the following resolution: “To subpoena (Patriarch) Tikhon and demand that he excommunicates the clergy that had left Russia and was involved in monarchist activities… If he refused to do so he would be immediately arrested and charged with treason against Soviet government… Presidium of comrades: Ushinski, Menzinski, Yagoda, Samsonov, and Krasikov”. (Источник #3, 1915 стр., 116, Пр. Русь, №24/1995).
1922: April 22/May 5. Under the strong pressure from the Soviet government, Patriarch Tikhon signed an edict to abolish the Higher Church Administration Abroad, entrusting to Metropolitan Evlogy the responsibility for organizing a new one. Protopresbyter Vasili Vinogradov, who at that time was Head of Moscow Diocesan Council and member of High Church Council in Moscow wrote in his memoirs: “The abolishment of the Higher Church Administration by Patriarch Tikhon was made exclusively under the categorical demand of the Soviet government. The GPU put Patriarch Tikhon and all members of Holy Synod under house arrest for 3 days until they gave their agreement to sign that document…” (Протопресвитер Василий Виноградов.). At the same time, a court hearing for 9 priests charged with agitation against the confiscation of the Church valuables was held in Moscow. The GPU threatened to execute all of them if the Patriarch and the Synod would not sign that edict. Despite their promise, 9 priests and 3laymen were executed on May 10.
1922: May. Patriarch Tikhon was arrested and was held under arrest for one year, without permission to see anybody. Before his arrest, Patriarch appointed Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan as his first Locum Tenens (Substitute), but at that time Metropolitan Cyril was already in prison, and next on a list of Substitutes Metropolitan Agathangel of Yaroslav became Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne.
1922: Metropolitan Evlogy of Western Europe wrote a letter to Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) about the Patriarchal edict of the abolishment of Higher Church Council Abroad: “The Edict struck me with its unexpectedness and stunned me with the prospect of the awful sedition that it could bring into our Church life. Undoubtedly it was given under the pressure of Bolsheviks. I did not recognize any obligatory power behind that document, even if it was written and signed by the Patriarch. That document has only political and not an ecclesiastical character. Outside of the Soviet Union, it did not have significance for anybody anywhere…” (Жизнеописание Митр. Антония, т. 7, стр. 10).
1922: Early June. The birth of the “Living Church.” The Soviet government would not let Locum Tenens of Patriarchal Throne Metropolitan Agathangel come to Moscow to take the reins of government of the Russian Church. Meanwhile, a group of renovationist priests came forward and tried to create a new Church government. They gained full support of the Soviet government by making statements that the Church never before had been so free as it is now under communist rule.
1922: June 5/18. Locum Tenons Metropolitan Agathangel wrote an epistle from exile: “Despite my wish, I am deprived of the possibility to come to Moscow. Meanwhile, I received information from official sources that some people came to Moscow and took the reins of government in the Russian Church. Who gave them that authority I don’t know, that’s why I consider their power and acts unlawful. They declare about their intentions to review dogmas, moral teachings of Orthodox Church, Holy Canons of Ecumenical Councils, Typicon given to us by great Christian ascetics, and they created a new, as they called it, “Living Church” (А. Левитин и В. Шавров. Очерки по истории Русской Церкви. 1977, стр. 119). Metropolitan Agathangel called the Church to live according to the decree #362 issued by Patriarch Tikhon and the Holy Synod in 1920, which stated that dioceses unable to contact the Holy Synod and the Patriarch should become temporarily self-governing until full restoration of communication takes place.
1922: Early June. One of the leaders of the “Living Church,” priest Alexander Vedenski, came to St. Petersburg (renamed Petrograd by then) and told Metropolitan Benjamin of St. Petersburg that there is now a new Higher Church Administration in Moscow and he is a representative of it in St. Petersburg. The Metropolitan immediately suspended him. That created a huge wave of protests in Soviet newspapers, which showed who was behind the scene in the renovationist movement. A few days later priest Alexander Vedenski, the head of the GPU, and the commandant of St. Petersburg came to Metropolitan Benjamin and presented him with an ultimatum: either he would cancel the suspension of priest Vedenski or against him will be filed a lawsuit with a death sentence for him and his aids. The Metropolitan categorically refused. In a few days, he was arrested. Priest Alexander Vedenski came to witness the arrest. When he walked in he approached for the Metropolitan’s blessing, but instead was reproached with the bitter words: “Father Alexander, we are not in Gethsemane!”
1922: June 10. The beginning of the trial of Metropolitan Benjamin. The main “witness” against him was priest Krasnitski, another leader of the “Living Church.” The last words of Metropolitan Benjamin at that trial were: “I don’t know what you will declare in your verdict — life or death, but no matter what, I will with equal reverence look above, cross myself, and say: Glory be to God for all things!”
1922: June 15. The Higher Church Administration sent an appeal to the heads of all Orthodox and non-Orthodox Churches (except the Pope of Rome, who used the persecution of the Russian Church in the interests of the Catholic Church) and to the governments of the world to come to the defense of the imprisoned Patriarch Tikhon. The French government wrote back to Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) that it “…informed the British, Italian, Belgian, and American governments about your appeal, and we are now consulting them about actions that should be taken toward the release of Patriarch Tikhon…” The Archbishop of Canterbury wrote: “You, I am sure, know our sincere compassion, which not only Anglican clergy, but Heads of all Christian communities in our country feel toward the sad events of recent months. And you will see the united protest which we sent to the Soviet government in Moscow on May 31…” (Письма Митр. Антония, стр. 92).
1922: June 20. Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) of Nizhni Novgorod and his vicars Archbishop Eudokim (Mesherski) and Archbishop Seraphim joined the “Living Church.” In their declaration they wrote: “We completely share measures of the Higher Church Administration (of the Living Church, Ed.), we consider it the only canonical, legitimate High Church Power and all orders and resolutions of it we consider obligatory and lawful. We call all true shepherds and faithful children of the Church to follow our example….” (Лев Регельсон, стр. 304). That appeal was published in the magazine “The Living Church.” Most of the Bishops and clergy were thinking that if “wise” Sergius (he was a good scholar with great knowledge in the field of Church law) considers the “Living Church” legitimate, then they should follow suit. The youngest of Metropolitan Sergius’ vicars, Bishop Barnabas asked the Diveevo fool-for-Christ Maria Dimitrievna for advice and she told him to stay in the “Old Church.” Later, Metropolitan Sergius and Archbishop Seraphim repented publicly before Patriarch Tikhon and were accepted back into the Church. Archbishop Eudokim never repented and died in schism.
1922: July 29. Red Army soldiers came to arrest Optina Elder Anatoly. The Elder asked them to give him 24 hours to prepare himself. The next morning on their return the soldiers asked the elder’s cell-attended if the elder was ready. He answered: “Yes, he is ready!” When they entered his cell they found him lying dead in his coffin.
1922: August 13. Metropolitan Benjamin of St. Petersburg, Archimandrite Sergius, Novitski and Kovsharov were executed by firing squad. They were canonized as New Martyrs by ROCA Bishops in 1981 and later by the Moscow Patriarchate. Six others, including Bishop Benedict, were sentenced to prison.
1922: August 31. The Russian Bishops abroad assembled in a Council and in accordance with the directive of Patriarch Tikhon to abolish the Higher Church Administration Abroad they passed a resolution: “In fulfillment of the directive of His Holiness Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia… of May 5 #348, the existing Higher Church Administration is abolished… In view of the cessation of operations of the Higher Russian Church Administration… and according to the directive of His Holiness Patriarch of November 1920 (#362)… to create a temporary Holy Synod of Bishops of Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA), with obligatory participation of Metropolitan Evlogy. And to give to that Synod all power and rights of the Russian Higher Church Administration Abroad….” (ГАРФ. Ф. 6343 on. 1. д. л. 92).
St. John (Maximovitch) wrote: “Metropolitan Anthony of Kyiv, as the eldest in rank, who has occupied the oldest Russian diocese (Kyiv, Ed.) and had been, besides the Patriarch, the sole permanent member of the Russian Synod (in Russia before the Revolution), was elected as its president. All Russians (abroad) submitted to the Synod of Bishops, as earlier they had submitted to the Higher Church Administration, and the elected Synod and the Council of Bishops became the recognized Church authority abroad. The Synod and the Council of Bishops continued to consider themselves and the churches under their jurisdiction as an inseparable part of the Russian Church… The name of Patriarch Tikhon was commemorated at the divine services and after him the name of the Head of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky)” (St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco “A short history of the ROCA”). That Council issued an epistle concerning Spiritism, Magnetism, Theosophy, and other occult practices that spread like an epidemic in Russian high society.
1922: The Patriarch of Constantinople Meletios (Metaxakis) asked Head of Finnish Autonomous Church Archbishop Seraphim (Lukianov) to consecrate priest Herman (Aave) as his vicar Bishop and offered autocephaly to the Finnish Church. Archbishop Seraphim wrote back: “The Russian Synod Abroad, which is the lawful successor of the Higher governing authority of autocephalous Russian Church, did not recognize the election of priest Herman (Aave) as canonical, about which I was informed by Metropolitan Anthony of Kyiv. Personally I keep constant contact with the Synod, as well as with other Orthodox Churches, about some perplexing issues and I consider the Synod a legitimate successor and representative of the Higher Church authority after Patriarch Tikhon and the members of his Holy Synod who were forcibly removed from the power. And if I would consider priest Herman (Aave) to be a suitable candidate I would communicate with a Russian Synod Abroad because that Synod all ready by its own decision consecrated several Bishops and even opened a new diocese in Siberia, and our Patriarch did not have anything against those actions of Russian Synod Abroad. The issue of autocephaly in the Finnish Church I found impossible to consider right now in view of the imprisonment of Patriarch Tikhon and other suffering Bishops faithful to him. To cease to be subject to our Head and Father in this hard moment of his suffering for Christ and Church I found not only uncanonical, but also immoral….” (Иером. Харитон. Введение нового стиля в Финской Православной Церкви и причины нестроение в монастырях. 1927, стр. 115).
1922: August. First Council of the “Living Church” in Moscow took place. In a list of reforms discussed there were: the new calendar, the abolition of the fasts, modernization of the services, the second marriage of the clergy, marriage of the Bishops, etc. The Soviet government rendered broad support to the “Living Church.”
1922: Soviet government issued a decree, recognizing “Living Church” as the only legalized Orthodox Church in Russia. Moscow Patriarchate did not receive registration and became an outlawed religious organization. After that more arrests and execution followed.
1922: At the end of this year, 2,691 priests, 1,962 monks, and 3,447 nuns were killed (Лев Регельсон. Трагедия Русской Церкви.). About 25,000 faithful were executed during the confiscation of Church valuables.
1923: January. In a report to the Committee of the Department of Religion in Greece, Archimandrite Chrysostom Papadopoulos, who a month later became Archbishop and the Head of Church of Greece, wrote: “The Greek Church and other autocephalous Churches, despite their independence, are closely bound with each other by the principle of spiritual unity of the Church, they all makeup one Orthodox Church and cannot separate from the rest and accept the new calendar without becoming schismatic in the eyes of the others” (Гласник, 1982).
1923: February. The revolutionary Greek government of Colonel Plastiras finds Archbishop Theokletos of Athens “unsuitable” and appoints Archimandrite Chrysostom (Papadopoulos) as his replacement.
1923: April 2-4. The Detroit Council of Bishops of the North American diocese, against all canons, proclaimed autocephaly for the “American Orthodox Church” headed by Metropolitan Platon, who was appointed to the diocese by ROCA Synod, with the recommendation of Patriarch Tikhon.
1923: April-May. With the permission of the Soviet government, the Council of the “Living Church” took place in Moscow. The elected president of the Council was married “Metropolitan” Peter (Blinov). During the first year of its existence the “Living Church” accumulated many married “bishops” who participated in that Council. Among some of the resolutions of this Council were: “deposition” of Patriarch Tikhon and even “deprivation” of his monastic habit, adoption of the new Gregorian calendar, the abolition of the proscription against the marriage of bishops and the second marriage for clergy, etc. In its opening address the “Living Church” Council, calling itself a “Second All Russian Church Council,” went out of its way to praise new “Higher organs of Proletarian government and V. I. Lenin… The great October revolution,” — they wrote — “brings to life great values of equality and labor, which are found in Christian teachings… We must thank our government, which contrary to foreign slanderers, does not persecute the Church. In Russia, everyone is free to proclaim their beliefs… The Faithful should not see in the Soviet government the power of Antichrist; on the contrary, the Soviet government, by legal means, is the only one in all the world to have brought about the ideals of God’s kingdom. Therefore, every believer must not only be an honest citizen but also with the Soviet government, by all means, must struggle to implement the ideals of God’s kingdom on earth…” (Известия, №97/1923).
“Metropolitan” Bessarion, being carried away in his enthusiasm, called all members of the Council to join the Communist party. The Council sent a delegation to Patriarch Tikhon with its resolution. The Head of the Council “Metropolitan” Peter (Blinov), “Bishop” Vitaly, and Soviet minister of cults Tutchkov, on whose conscience lay the blood of many martyrs, came to the Patriarch and gave him that resolution. Patriarch wrote on it: “Read. The Council did not summon me, I don’t know who authorized the convening of the Council and therefore I cannot recognize its decisions as lawful…”
1923: May 8. The ambassador of Great Britain in Moscow, Mr. Hudson, delivered an ultimatum to the Soviet government with a protest against the persecution of religion in Russia. “A Country in which faith is persecuted and the servants of the altar have been crucified must be struck off the list of civilized countries…” The author of the ultimatum was Lord Carson. Britain threatened to break all diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union if Patriarch Tikhon were executed. All other countries that held some diplomatic relations with Soviets threatened to follow suit.
1923: May 8 — June 10. The Patriarch of Constantinople Meletios (Metaxakis) convened a “Pan-Orthodox Congress” in Constantinople. There were 9 members of the Congress, representing the Churches of Constantinople, Romania, Serbia, and Greece. During the course of this Congress, a prelate of the Anglican Church, Charles Gore, the Bishop of Oxford, was present at the invitation of Metaxakis. He was asked to sit at the Ecumenical Patriarch’s right side, and to participate in the sessions. Among the proposals adopted by this Congress were a change in the Paschalion and in the festal calendar to coincide with that used in the West, a reduction of fasts and church services, the abolition of the proscription against the marriage of clergy after ordination, and the abolition of special clerical garb, beards, and long hair. Also, there were discussed the issues of a second marriage for clergy and the deposition of Patriarch Tikhon by the “Living Church,” which was considered uncanonical.
1923: May 21. Patriarch Damian of Jerusalem wrote to Patriarch Meletios of Constantinople: “Calendar reform would not benefit anybody and would not be accepted by our Patriarchate, because it would put us in very disadvantageous position in view of all the Catholics in the Holy Land” (Praktika kai Apofaseis, sel. 69, Прав. Русь, №7/1994).
1923: May 22. The Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad rejected the Gregorian calendar and other ecclesiastical innovations: “It cannot be accepted, because it goes against the Holy Canons and ancient Church practice, which is sanctified by Ecumenical Councils…” Members of the “Living Church” were excommunicated.
1923: May 24. Patriarch Meletios and his Synod did not recognize “deposition” of Patriarch Tikhon by the “Living Church” and stated that “all Orthodoxy considers him a confessor….” (Церк. Жизнь. №7-8, стр. 4).
1923: June. Clergy and laymen gathered for a meeting of protest in Constantinople against reforms, which turned into a revolt. They broke into the Patriarchate and physically assaulted Patriarch Meletios.
1923: June. Patriarch Meletios established ties with Soviet-sponsored “Living Church.” In 1926 the Synod of the “Living Church” wrote to Meletios: “The Holy Synod recalls with sincere best wishes the moral support which your Beatitude showed us while you were yet Patriarch of Constantinople by entering into communion with us as the only rightful ruling organ of the Russian Orthodox Church” (А. Буевский. Константинопольский патр. Мелетий 4-й и РПЦ. 1953, №3, стр. 36).
1923: June 8. Patriarch Demetrios of Serbia wrote to Patriarch Meletios that he would agree with the decision of “Pan-Orthodox Congress” about calendar reform “only on the condition that it would be simultaneously accepted by all Orthodox Churches” (Ортодоксия, 1926, стр. 64-65).
1923: June 30. Patriarch Tikhon was released from prison. He spent more than a year under house arrest and the last 38 days in a GPU prison. All that time he was blackmailed, threatened, and received lots of promises of legalization, the release of prisoners, etc. The result was his epistle: “I resolutely condemn any encroachment upon the Soviet government, regardless of where it might be coming from. The White guards and monarchists abroad and inside Russia should understand that I am not an enemy of the Soviet government….” (Лев Регельсон, стр. 337). In the same epistle the Patriarch “repented” of his previous epistles that “anathematized” the Soviets. One of the demands of GPU was the introduction of the new calendar in the Russian Church. Patriarch Tikhon reluctantly gave his permission for calendar reform. Some of the Bishops stopped commemorating him (including Archbishop Theodore Pozdeyevski); none of the parishes accepted that reform. And the Patriarch never insisted on it. Eight months later Patriarch Tikhon canceled that reform.
1923: July. Out of 73 Russian Bishops 37 joined the “Living Church” (A.A. Шишкин. Сущность и критическая оценка одного раскола РПЦ, стр. 101).
1923: July 4. A “Pan-Orthodox Congress” in Constantinople in its decision #3244 did not recognize the “deposition” of Patriarch Tikhon by the “Living Church” and called it uncanonical.
1923: July 10. Patriarch Meletios (Metaxakis) wrote a letter to Archbishop Seraphim, the Head of the Finnish Church, in which he misstated that the new calendar was accepted for Church use “with agreement and decision of all Orthodox Churches….” (Церк. ведом. №19-20/1923). Archbishop Chrysostom of Athens (who introduced new calendar in Greek Church) at about the same time wrote: “To our sorrow, the Eastern Patriarchs did not participate in the Congress and right from the beginning rejected with one word all its decisions….” (Прав. Русь, №7/1994).
1923: The Estonian Church uncanonically, i.e., without the blessing of its First Hierarch — Patriarch Tikhon, received autocephaly from Patriarch Meletios of Constantinople. Archbishop Alexander became Head of the Estonian Church.
1923: August 23. The Archbishop of Cyprus advised members of the “Pan-Orthodox Congress” to “…postpone the introduction of reforms till agreement of all Churches will be reached, so we can avoid sorrowful schism in the Orthodox Church” (Ортодоксия, 1926, стр. 68-69).
1923: Sept. 19. Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) wrote a letter to Archbishop Evdokim (Mesherski), who was the Archbishop of North America from 1914 till 1919 and then in 1922 became one of the leaders of “Living Church”: “In response to your impertinent letter I am sending you a resolution of the Russian Orthodox Synod Abroad, in which you will find that you and your comrades in transgressions, as an apparent infringers of the Holy Canons, by your own deeds are deposed… You are trying to persuade me to abandon ideology (sic), saying that the past will never come back, that it is all finished. Yes, for you it’s all finished — the existence of God, immortality, and the Last Judgment, but I am still staying on a previously mutual ideology: ‘I believe in One God the Father Almighty…,’ etc., and don’t intend to change it for a utilitarian view of life… It is certainly hard for you not to renounce your previous holy convictions on every step you make. With all your mistresses and illegitimate children, you always have to look around and fear exposure, banishment, and poverty. But you should know that the only way to save your soul from eternal perdition with your heretics and schismatics consists in taking off your bishop’s vestments and ryassa, belt your cassock with a leather belt, put a skufia on your head, and go into an Orthodox monastery as a penitent novice. Then the heavy rock of remorse will be lifted from your conscience and through tears of repentance will be opened for you the door that leads to where the thief who sinned less than you went, he entered first, and you pray to God that through tearful repentance, you may enter, even if the last… Repent! We don’t have too many years to live. Although you are my disciple and, alas! I tonsured you, but you are going to be 55 soon, and with your weaknesses, you will not live long, and at God’s judgment neither Jews nor nihilistic priests will be able to protect you!” (Письма Митр. Антония, стр. 154-157). Archbishop Evdokim died in a schism in 1935.
1923: Sept. 20. Under the pressure of the Greek government and through the intervention of Archbishop Chrysostom of Athens, Meletios (Metaxakis) resigned as Patriarch of Constantinople.
1923: Patriarch Photios of Alexandria in his letter to Patriarch Gregory IV of Antioch called calendar reforms: “… pointless, uncanonical and harmful… it all smells of schism and heresy…” (Церк. Вестник, стр. 41/1923).
1923: Oct. 7. Patriarch Gregory IV of Antioch sent a copy of the letter of Patriarch Photios of Alexandria to Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) and wrote: “You can get an idea about the opinions of three Eastern Patriarchs concerning issues that were raised in Constantinople” (Церк. вестник, стр. 41, 1923). At the same time, he wrote a letter to Patriarch Meletios (Metaxakis), telling him that the decision about calendar reform was made hurriedly and the introduction of it will be “untimely and questionable…” (ibid.).
1923: November 8. In his memorandum to the Soviet government, Patriarch Tikhon wrote: “… From dioceses adjacent to Moscow, from the South, from Crimea, from far away Siberia…” came delegations of the faithful, protesting against the new calendar reform. “…In view of this, we feel it our pastoral duty to take into consideration the voice of the believers, so as not to constrain their conscience and on November 8, 1923, we gave an instruction—general and obligatory introduction of the new calendar into Church use temporarily postponed…” The Soviet government plan failed and in response, they sealed up the Patriarch’s office, most of the documents were confiscated, and Archbishop Hilarion (Troitsky), a well-known theologian and the right arm of Patriarch, was arrested and imprisoned. Until his death in 1929 he was never released.
1923: November 17. Patriarch of Antioch Gregory IV in his epistle called the Synod of the “Living Church”— a “Godless, satanic gathering…” In his letter to Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), which was written at the same time he wrote: “Your Beatitude, to console you and all the venerable Holy Synod of the Russian Church Abroad, we categorically declare that we are staying in unshakeable spiritual brotherly union with His Beatitude Tikhon Patriarch of all Russia and his faithful collaborators/hierarchs, we continue to commemorate during the Divine Liturgy his holy name. We never had and never will have any communion with the aforementioned apostates….” (Письма Митр. Антония, стр. 92).
1923: December 6. New Patriarch of Constantinople Gregory VII was elected. He recognizes the “Living Church” and its “deposition” of Patriarch Tikhon. He demanded that ROCA Bishops in Constantinople Archbishop Anastassy and Archbishop Alexander stop commemorating Patriarch Tikhon and Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky). When they refused to do so, he “suspended” them. Then he wrote to Patriarch Demetrios of Serbia, asking him to disband Russian Synod Abroad, but Patriarch denied that request. (Церк. Ведомости, №17-18/1925).
1923: Archimandrite (later ROCA Archbishop) Vitaly (Maximenko) founded the missionary monastery of St. Job of Pochaev at Ladomirovo in Carpatho-Russia (Czechoslovakia).
1924: March 3/16. The head of the Greek Church, Archbishop Chrysostom of Athens, in his encyclical signed only by him on behalf of the Synod of the Church of Greece, announced calendar reform.
1924: March 10/23. Pressured by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Church of Greece adopted the new calendar.
1924: End of May. Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory VII sent a special commission to Russia to learn more about the situation in the Russian Church. In his letter to Patriarch Gregory VII Patriarch Tikhon wrote: “In your instructions to members of the commission, one of the main points was the wish of your Beatitude, that I, as Patriarch of all Russia — ‘…for the sake of union with schismatics and for the sake of the flock you should sacrifice yourself, immediately leaving administrative position in Church, as befits a true and loving shepherd, who is taking care of the salvation of many, and also, at least temporarily, the Patriarchate should be abolished, as the one that appeared in absolutely abnormal situation of Civil war and which is considered to be the biggest obstacle to a restoration of peace and unity…’ After reading the above-mentioned protocols, we were deeply confused and bewildered that a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate… interferes in the private life and business of the Autocephalous Russian Church….” (Еп. Григорий, стр. 95).
Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) immediately wrote a “Sorrowful Epistle” to the Ecumenical Patriarch: “I, the humble Metropolitan of Kiev, who by the decision of the All Russian Church Council that took place in Moscow in 1917-1918 and also by the decision of all 32 Russian Bishops Abroad, remain second after the Patriarch, have the difficult but unavoidable duty to remind your Holiness about unlawful acts of your predecessors — Kyr Meletios and Kyr Gregory VII… Until now, from the days of my youth I have raised my voice only to glorify the Eastern, and in particular the Ecumenical, Patriarchs… But I am not a papist and remember very well that besides the great bishops of the Church, such as Paul the Confessor, Gregory the Theologian… there were many others, inner enemies of the Church, heretics, and even heresiarchs, such as Macedonius, Nestorius, Sergius, Pyrr… To that path of disobedience to the Holy Church and the Canons were inclined the latest predecessors of your Holiness… only from the time of the sorrowful “Pan-Orthodox Congress” that was convened by Patriarch Meletios (who gave that name to the gathering of 4-6 Bishops and few priests and laymen, without participation in it of 3 Eastern Patriarchs), since then began this anti-ecclesiastical vandalism, that proposed many (reforms) forbidden by Church with frightful condemnations, as, for example, married bishops, second marriage of priests, elimination of fasts….” (Письма Митр. Антония, стр. 95-96).
1924: After the ultimatum of the Polish government the Church of Poland adopted the new calendar. Despite Patriarch Tikhon’s protests the Patriarch of Constantinople, Gregory VII, granted autocephaly to the Church of Poland, which was under the jurisdiction of the Russian Church. That uncanonical act raised protests among the faithful, which brought a tragedy — Archimandrite Gorazd shot down Metropolitan Gregory, head of the Polish Church, inside the Warsaw cathedral.
1924: The Finnish government ousted the head of the Church of Finland, Russian-born Archbishop Seraphim (Lukianov) from the country. He went to Belgrade and joined the Russian Synod Abroad. Patriarch Gregory VII of Constantinople, contrary to the sixth canon of the First Ecumenical Council, consecrated the priest Herman (Aave) as Metropolitan of Finland, without tonsuring him even as a riasophor monk. The new Metropolitan immediately revoked permission previously given to Valamo and other monasteries to celebrate Pascha according to the old calendar. The monks refused to obey.
1924: October. In Romania Metropolitan Myron (Christea) accepted the new calendar, as one of the conditions for receiving autocephaly from Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory VII. Shortly thereafter, working in close conjunction with the Uniate Prime minister of Romania, Julius Manius, he unilaterally adopted the Western Paschalion as well. Riots broke out in the streets over this issue, and the adaptation of the Western Paschalion was retracted. But only one monastery remained on the old calendar, under the leadership of its abbot, Hieromonk Glicherie, who later became Metropolitan and the Head of the Romanian Old calendar Church. The Romanian Church received the status of the Patriarchate from Constantinople.
1924: October 2. Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) came back to Serbia after his seven- month trip to Mt. Athos, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Syria. When on his way to the Middle East he stopped at Mt. Athos. Patriarch of Constantinople Gregory VII, in fear of his influence on other Eastern Patriarchs, forbade him to leave Mt. Athos. Metropolitan Anthony politely explained that his visa expired soon and left for Palestine. He visited Patriarch Damian of Jerusalem, whom he knew well back in Russia, Patriarch Photios of Alexandria, and Patriarch Gregory IV of Antioch, who was his close friend. In his letter to one Valamo monk, Metropolitan Anthony wrote: “This summer our Lord granted me to visit Jerusalem and other places in the Holy Land; also I visited the Eastern Patriarchs. All three talked against the introduction of the new calendar, although communists and some Finnish priests falsely state that all Eastern Patriarchs are for the new calendar…” (Письма Митр. Антония, стр. 168).
1924: October 3. The Fourth Council of the Russian Church Abroad took place. Participants were: Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), Metropolitan Platon of North America, Metropolitan Eulogy of Western Europe, two archbishops, nine bishops, plus 16 hierarchs who sent their written opinions, so altogether 30 Bishops participated in that Council. The Council decided to cancel the autonomous status of Western European diocese, given to Metropolitan Eulogy at the last Bishop’s Council since he did not recognize the authority of ROCA Synod, which was established by Bishops Council. Metropolitan Evlogy in protest left Council. But he did not create a schism yet.
1924: November. Election of new Patriarch of Constantinople Constantine VI.
1925: January. Patriarch Constantine VI was ousted from Constantinople by the Turkish government. Basil III became a new Ecumenical Patriarch.
1925: February 15. Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) addressed all the rulers and government of the world and the League of Nations concerning the persecution of the Church in Russia.
1925: March 25. Patriarch Tikhon wrote his last Epistle, which was doctored by GPU before its release. The opening of Russian archives made it possible to ascertain that Patriarch Tikhon had significantly qualified his call for obedience to the regime by adding that it was due only to the extent that its orders did not “contradict the faith and piety.” That Epistle was signed two hours before the Patriarch’s death, under the constant pressure of soviet minister of Religious Affairs Tutchkov, who was present at its signing.
1925: March 25, Annunciation (Old Calendar). St. Patriarch Tikhon reposed in Lord. He was canonized in 1981 by ROCA Council of Bishops with other New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.
1925: End of March or early April. Next day after the burial of Patriarch Tikhon, Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsk read to 52 Bishops, gathered for the burial, the last will of Patriarch Tikhon, in which he appointed his successor —Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan — as Locum Tenens, who was to occupy Patriarchal throne until a new Patriarch could be freely elected. If Metropolitan Cyril would not be able to become Locum Tenens then: 1) Metropolitan Agathangel of Yaroslav, and 2) Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsk should be his successors. Metropolitans Cyril and Agathangel at that time were in prison. With the consent of 52 Bishops the third candidate, Metropolitan Peter became Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal throne.
1925: Patriarch Photios of Alexandria reposed. He served on the Patriarchal throne for 25 years.
1925: July 24. At the session of the ROCA Synod of Bishops, a commission was established concerning an issue of unification with the Anglican Church.
1925: September. Metropolitan Germanos of Thyateria, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, visited Finland. The whole council of Valamo monastery came to see him apply for the right to continue to use the old calendar in the monastery. But the Metropolitan took the side of Archbishop Herman (Aave). He served with him in a virtually empty church. As a result, the monastery deputy leader, treasurer, steward, father confessor, and supervisor were dismissed from their positions. The priest-monks were suspended until they publicly repented. At the request of civil authorities, a Church Council began an investigation of members of the brotherhood. As a result, some monks were expelled from the country, some of them went to Russia, some to Yugoslavia. But the split in the monastery of old and new calendarists continued till the World War II. (“Valamo and its message”, pg. 46-47).
1925: September 14 (old cal.). On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross, a Cross appeared in the heavens over the Church of St. John the Theologian on mount Hymettos, outside of Athens, where two thousand faithful had gathered to celebrate the vigil. It was directly above the church and its illumination fell only on the area of the church and on a multitude of the faithful. It completely overpowered the shining of the stars, while at the same time it illuminated the church like an electrical spotlight. This heavenly sign was visible for half an hour. The police, who were sent by Archbishop Chrysostom of Athens to break up the service and arrest the priest, was praying on their knees with the others.
1925: November 12. The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad recognized Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsk as the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne.
1925: December 10. Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsk was arrested and 10 other Bishops with him that were staying in Moscow at that time. Right before the arrest the minister of Religious Affairs Tutchkov offered to Metropolitan Peter legalization of Russian Church in exchange for several conditions: 1) Publication of special declaration by Head of the Church with government agenda in it. 2) Removal of some ruling bishops from their dioceses. 3) Condemnation of the bishops abroad. Metropolitan Peter categorically refused to sign the proposed declaration and rejected all conditions of legalization.
1925: December 14. After the arrest of Metropolitan Peter, Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) became his Substitute.
1926: January 3. The Council of Russian Bishops Abroad issued a protest concerning the arrest of Metropolitan Peter.
1926: The Romanian Church celebrated Pascha by the Gregorian calendar.
1926: March 30. During preparation for the VIIIth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) wrote an epistle to all Heads of Orthodox Churches with a protest against the invitation to that Council of “Bishops” of the “Living Church.” The Patriarch of Constantinople wrote back that they invited all рarties from Russia including Locum Tenens Metropolitan Peter, and on that Council will be made a decision as to who is right in the Church quarrel (Проф. Троицкий. Что такое Живая церковь. 1927, стр. 39). Concerning the proposed Council, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) wrote to hieroschemamonk Theodosios, a hermit in Mt. Athos: “Do not grieve about our readiness to go to the Constantinople Council. Obviously there will be no Council anyway, but even if it is going to happen, then we will go, as St. Flavian went to the Thieves Council, and we will keep the faith and anathematize all apostates…” (Письма Митр. Антония, стр. 195).
1926: April. Metropolitan Agathangel of Yaroslav was released from prison. According to the Will of Patriarch Tikhon, he was second after Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan, Locum Tenens of Patriarchal Throne, who was still in prison. He asks Metropolitan Sergius to transfer the reins of power to him.
1926: May. Metropolitan Sergius refused to transfer power to Metropolitan Agathangel.
1926: May. In Alexandria, with the support of Anglican clergymen, and under pressure from the British government (that was still the time of the British mandate in Egypt), the Egyptian government confirmed Meletios (Metaxakis) as Patriarch of Alexandria.
1926: The Patriarchate of Alexandria adopted the new calendar.
1926: The State Church of Greece issued an encyclical declaring the Mysteries (Sacraments) of the old calendarists “bereft of divine grace.”
1926: June 29. The Council of ROCA Bishops convened in Serbia. 27 Bishops participated. Metropolitan Eulogy of Western Europe and Metropolitan Platon of North America refused to submit anymore to the ROCA Synod and left the Council. After his return to Paris, Metropolitan Eulogy made a decision with his three vicar Bishops to leave the Russian Church Abroad. Metropolitan Platon made the same decision with his four vicar Bishops. In North America, only Bishop Apollinary of San Francisco remained faithful to the ROCA Synod. 60 parishes followed him, including the parish of Archimandrite Gerasim in Afognak (Alaska).
1926: Nearly 30 old calendarists monks, exiled from Valamo, came to Serbia on the invitation of the ROCA Synod. They renovated many Serbian monasteries and created a monastic revival. In one of those monasteries, the Milkovo monastery, St. John (Maximovitch) became a monk.
1926: June 9. Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsk wrote from exile to Metropolitan Agathangel of Yaroslav, that he transformed the power of Locum Tenens to him. If for any reason, Metropolitan Agathangel would not be able to take the power, it automatically will go back to previous Locum Tenens, i.e., Metropolitan Peter. He explained why he had not done it sooner: “The issue of the final transfer of power I was planning to clear up after the release of Metropolitan Cyril from prison, who was supposed to be released in May-April, but he was not….” (Еп. Григорий, стр. 208-209).
1926: September 12. The Bishops that left the ROCA Synod appealed to the Temporary Substitute of Locum Tenens of Patriarchal Throne in Russia (what a title!) Metropolitan Sergius. His response was: “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), or if it seems difficult to create such a Church Center universally-recognized by all emigrants, to subordinate (supposedly temporary) 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…” (Вестник РСХД, март 1927, стр. 29).
1926: There was a secret election (for safety reasons) of the new Patriarch of Russia. By a large majority of votes (72 bishops) Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan was elected. But the Soviet government never recognized it. Many bishops were sent to prison for participation in that election, including Metropolitan Sergius.
1926: 117 Russian bishops were in prison or in exile during this year.
1927: June 16/29. Unexpectedly, amid mass arrests of Russian bishops, Metropolitan Sergius was released from prison and received “legalization” for the Russian Church. What price he paid for it was evident in his infamous “Declaration,” which he issued right away: “Now our Orthodox Church in the (Soviet) Union has a central administration that is not only canonical but also fully legal according to the civil laws; and we hope that the legalization will gradually spread also to our lower Church administration: dioceses, etc … We wish to be Orthodox while at the same time recognizing the Soviet Union as our civil homeland. We wish its joys and successes to be our joys and successes and its defeats to be our defeats. Every blow directed against the Soviet Union… is a blow directed against us… we offer the gratitude of all the people (to the Soviet government) for its attention to the spiritual needs of the Orthodox population…”
In his “Declaration,” Metropolitan Sergius demanded that Russian Bishops abroad must pledge loyalty to the Soviet regime, threatening them with suspension. He also declared that all clergy and faithful suffering in prison were being arrested for their counter-revolutionary activity and not for their faith. He excluded from Divine Service commemoration of those in prison and included a commemoration of the Soviet government. Then he created a new Synod without the blessing of the legitimate Head of the Russian Church, Metropolitan Peter. Most members of this Synod were, like him, formerly bishops of the “Living Church.”
1927: July. The mass return of the “Declaration” by Orthodox parishes to Metropolitan Sergius as a sign of protest. In some dioceses (as in the Ural region) as many as 90% of the parishes sent it back. (Лев Регельсон).
1927: August. The Soviet government granted to Metropolitan Sergius confirmation (legalization) of his Church administration.
1927: August. Exile of severely ill Metropolitan Peter to Siberia, 120 miles from Obnorsk on the shore of the Bay of Ob on the Arctic circle.
1927: August. The beginning of massive transfers of bishops from one diocese to another, forced retirement of imprisoned bishops, and consecrations of former Renovationist (repented members of “Living Church”), and simply those who shared the position of Metropolitan Sergius.
1927: August 31. Decree of Metropolitan Sergius Synod transferring Metropolitan Joseph of St. Petersburg to the diocese of Odessa, after his refusal to accept the “Declaration”.
1927: September 9. The Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad announced its loyalty to the Locum Tenens Metropolitan Peter and its refusal to accept the “Declaration” of Metropolitan Sergius.
1927: The Churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Greece, Cyprus, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania participate in the (Protestant) Faith and Order Conference in Lausanne.
1927: Metropolitan Platon of North America officially broke away from the ROCA Synod.
1927: September 6/19. The Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad sent an epistle to the North American flock suspending Metropolitan Platon and his clergy for causing a schism.
1927: September 14/27. Seventeen Russian bishops, exiled to Solovki on the White Sea, sent an appeal to Metropolitan Sergius, criticizing his “Declaration”:
- “The idea of the submission of the Church to civil laws is expressed in such a categorical and unconditional form as can easily be understood in the sense of a complete joining together of Church and State.
- “The epistle offers the government ‘the gratitude of all the people for its attention to the spiritual needs of the Orthodox population.’ Such an expression of gratitude on the lips of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church cannot be sincere and therefore does not correspond to the dignity of the Church.”
- “The epistle of the Patriarchate accepts without any reservations the official version and lays on the Church the whole blame for the grievous clashes between the Church and State.
- “The threat of interdiction of the emigrant clergy violates the decrees of the Sobor of 1917-1918 (Aug. 3/16, 1918), which explained the whole canonical inadmissibility of such punishments and rehabilitated all persons deprived of their clergy rank for political crimes in the past.”
1927: September 15/28. Metropolitan Joseph of St. Petersburg (Leningrad at that time) wrote a letter to Metropolitan Sergius, refusing to submit to his transfer to Odessa diocese.
1927: October 8/21. Order #549 of Metropolitan Sergius issued concerning the commemoration of the civil authorities and the cessation of the commemoration of diocesan bishops who are in exile.
1927: Fall. Death of the Patriarch of Antioch
1927: November. Separation from Metropolitan Sergius and going over to self-government of the diocese of Votkinsk and in part, of Vyatka, headed by Bishop Victor.
1927: November 29/December 12. At the instruction of 8 bishops of the St. Petersburg (Leningrad) diocese and of the clergy and academic circles of St. Petersburg a delegation was sent to Metropolitan Sergius at Moscow. Despite the fact that the Petrograd Delegation came to Moscow after many other delegations that had come with the same purpose, it was received without waiting its turn. The Delegation’s interview with Metropolitan Sergius lasted for two hours.
After going in to Metropolitan Sergius, all members of the Delegation went up to him to receive his blessing, introduced themselves, and testified that they had come as faithful children of the Orthodox Church.
When Metropolitan Sergius had finished reading the letters that had been brought to him from the episcopate, from the clergy, and from the laity, Bishop Dimitry — who was 70 years old—fell to his knees before him and exclaimed in tears: “Vladyka! Listen to us, in the name of Christ!”
Metropolitan Sergius immediately raised him up from his knees, seated him in an armchair, and said in a firm and somewhat irritated voice: “What is there to listen to? Everything you have written has been written by others earlier, and to all this, I have already replied many times clearly and definitely. What remains unclear to you?!”
“Vladyka!” — began Bishop Dimitry in a trembling voice with copious tears, — ”At the time of my consecration, you told me that I should be faithful to the Orthodox Church and, in case of necessity, that I should be prepared to lay down my own life as well for Christ. And now such a time of confession has come and I wish to suffer for Christ; but you, by your Declaration, instead of a path to Golgotha propose that we stand on the path of collaboration with a God-fighting regime that persecutes and blasphemes Christ; you propose that we rejoice with its joys and sorrow with its sorrows… Our rulers strive to annihilate religion and the Church and rejoice at the destruction of churches, rejoice at the successes of their anti-religious propaganda. This joy of theirs is the source of our sorrow. You propose that we thank the Soviet government for its attention to the needs of the Orthodox population. But how is this attention expressed? In the murder of hundreds of bishops, thousands of priests, and millions of faithful. In the defilement of holy things, the mockery of relics, in the destruction of an immense number of churches and the annihilation of all monasteries. Surely it would be better if they did not give such ‘attention’!”
“Our government”— Metropolitan Sergius suddenly interrupted Bishop Dimitry — ”has persecuted the clergy only for political crimes.” “That is a slander!” Bishop Dimitry cried out heatedly.
“We wish to obtain a reconciliation of the Orthodox Church with the governing regime,” Metropolitan Sergius continued with irritation, “while you are striving to underline the counter-revolutionary character of the Church… Consequently, you are counterrevolutionaries, whereas we are entirely loyal to the Soviet regime!”
“That is not true!” exclaimed Bishop Dimitry heatedly. “That is another slander against the confessors, martyrs, those who have been shot and those who are languishing in concentration camps and in banishment… What counter-revolutionary act did the executed Metropolitan Benjamin perform? In what lies the ‘counter-revolution’ in the position of Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsk?”
“And the Sobor of Karlovtsy, in your opinion, also did not have a political character?” Metropolitan Sergius interrupted him again. “There was no Sobor of Karlovtsy in Russia,” Bishop Dimitry replied quietly, “and many martyrs in the concentration camps knew nothing of this Sobor.”
“I personally,” continued Bishop Dimitry, “am a completely apolitical man, and if I myself had to accuse myself to the GPU, I couldn’t imagine anything of which I am guilty before the Soviet regime. I only sorrow and grieve, seeing the persecution against religion and the Church. We pastors are forbidden to speak of this, and we are silent. But to the question, whether there is any persecution against religion and the Church in the USSR, I could not reply otherwise than affirmatively. When they proposed to you, Vladyka, to write your Declaration, why did you not reply like Metropolitan Peter, that you can keep silence, but cannot say what is untrue?”
“And where is the untruth?” exclaimed Metropolitan Sergius. “In the fact,” replied Bishop Dimitry, “that persecution against religion, the ‘opium of the people’ according to the Marxist dogma, not only exists among us, but in its cruelty, cynicism, and blasphemy hast passed all limits!”
“Well, we are fighting with this,” remarked Metropolitan Sergius, “but we are fighting legally, and not like counter-revolutionaries… And when we shall have demonstrated our completely loyal position with regard to the Soviet regime, the results will be even more noticeable. Probably we will be able, as a counterbalance to the Atheist, to publish our own little religious journal…”
“You have forgotten, Vladyka,” remarked Archpriest Dobronravov, “that the Church is the Body of Christ, and not a consistory with a ‘little journal’ under the censorship of an atheist regime!”
“It is not our political, but our religious conscience that does not permit us to join ourselves to your Declaration,” I (I.M. Andreyev, ed.) noted. “I wish to suffer for Christ, and you propose that we renounce Him,” said C.A. Alexeyev with bitterness.
“And so you want a schism?!” Metropolitan Sergius asked threateningly. “Do not forget that the sin of schism is not washed away even by the blood of martyrdom! The majority is in agreement with me,” he added authoritatively.
“Voices must weighed, not counted, Vladyka,” I objected. “After all, Metropolitan Peter, the lawful Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, is not in agreement with you; nor are Metropolitans Agathangel, Cyril, and Joseph; nor such lamps as Metropolitan Arsenius, Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich, Archbishop Pachomius, Bishops Victor, Damaskin, Avercius, and many others; nor the Elders of Optina, nor the prisoners of Solovki…”
“Truth is not always where the majority is,” remarked Archpriest Dobronravov; “otherwise the Saviour would not have spoken of the ‘little flock.’ And the head of a Church has not always turned out to be on the side of Truth. It is sufficient to recall the time of Maximus the Confessor.”
“By my new church policy I am saving the Church,” Metropolitan Sergius replied deliberately.
“What are you saying, Vladyka!” all members of the Delegation exclaimed with one voice. “The Church does not have need of salvation,” added Archpriest Dobronravov: “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. You yourself, Vladyka, have need of salvation through the Church.”
“I meant that in a different sense,” replied Metropolitan Sergius, somewhat disconcerted.
“And why, Vladyka, did you order that a prayer for the regime be introduced into the Liturgy, while at the same time you forbade prayer for ‘those in prisons and in banishment’?” I asked.
“Do I really have to remind you of the well-known text of the Apostle Paul concerning the authorities?” Metropolitan Sergius asked with irony. “And as for the prayer for ‘those in banishment,’ many deacons make a demonstration out of this.”
“And when, Vladyka, will you change the Beatitudes in the Liturgy?’ I again objected; “after all, one can make a demonstration out them, too.” “I am not altering the Liturgy,” Metropolitan Sergius said drily.
“And who needs the prayer for the regime? Certainly, the atheist Soviet regime does not need it. And believers could pray only in the sense of the entreaty ‘for the softening of the hard hearts of our rulers,’ or “for the enlightenment of those in error.’ But to pray for an anti-Christian regime is impossible.” “Really! — What kind of Antichrist do you find here?” replied Metropolitan Sergius with a disdainful gesture of the hand.
“But the spirit is precisely that of Antichrist,” I insisted. “And what called forth this prayer? Did they force you to introduce this petition?’ “Well, I myself found it necessary.”
“No, Vladyka, answer as before God, from the depths of your archpastoral conscience: did they force you to do this, as with much else in your ‘new church policy,’ or not?”
This question had to be repeated stubbornly and persistently many times, before Metropolitan Sergius finally replied: “Well, so they press one, and force one — but I myself think that way, too,” he concluded hastily and fearfully.
“And why, Vladyka, did you order that right after the name of Metropolitan Peter your own name be commemorated? We have heard that this also was ordered from higher up, with the intention of soon omitting the name of Metropolitan Peter altogether.” Metropolitan Sergius did not reply to this. (In 1936 the commemoration of Metropolitan Peter, who died in 1937 or 1938, was prohibited.)
“And who appointed your “Temporary Patriarchal Synod’”? And who has occupied himself with the appointment and transference of bishops? Why was Metropolitan Joseph (of Petrograd) removed against the wishes of his flock? We know, Vladyka, that all this is done by the unofficial ‘ober-procurator’ of your Synod, the Communist secret police agent Tuchkov, against your wishes.”
“Where did you take all that from?” Metropolitan Sergius asked, somewhat disconcerted. “Everyone knows it, Vladyka.”
“And with whom have you surrounded yourself, Vladyka?’ added Archpriest Dobronravov. “The very name of Bishop (later ‘Patriarch’) Alexei Simansky is enough to discredit your whole Synod.”
Metropolitan Sergius stood up and said that he would think about everything we had said and give a short-written reply in three days.
1927: December 13/26. Act of separation from Metropolitan Sergius was issued, signed by Bishops Demetrius of Gdov and Sergius of Narva.
1928: January 9/22. Bishop Alexis (Bui) of Kozlov separated from Metropolitan Sergius.
1928: January 12/25. Bishops Sergius of Narva and Demetrios of Gdov were suspended by Metropolitan Sergius.
1928: January 13/26. Declaration of separation from Metropolitan Sergius was issued by a group of the clergy of the city of Serpukhov, headed by Bishop Alexis (Gotovtsev).
1928: January 14/27. Decree of Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod issued with regard to the “dissension sowing” activity of Bishop Alexis (Bui). He is given over to the judgment of bishops, forbidden to serve, and forcibly retired.
1928: January 24/ February 6. Letter of Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich, former Substitute of the Patriarchal Locum Tenens, to Metropolitan Sergius:
Your Eminence! The period of more than half a year which has passed since the issuance by you of the Declaration of July 61/29, 1927, has indicated that all your hopes for a “peaceful arrangement” of our church matters, for bringing our whole church government into proper order and arrangement, have been in vain, and your “confidence in the possibility of our peaceful life and activity with the bounds of the law” is completely unrealizable and under the present conditions can never come into being.
On the contrary, facts almost every day testify that for Orthodox people it has become even more difficult to live. It is especially difficult to acknowledge that you, who so wisely and firmly held the banner of Orthodoxy in the first period of being the Substitute of the Locum Tenens, have now gone off the straight path and have gone into the byway of compromises which are against the Church.
You have subjected us to the sphere of terrible moral torments, and you have made yourself the first of such tormented ones, for you must suffer both for yourself and for us. Previously we suffered and endured in silence, knowing we were suffering for the truth, and that the power of God was with us and could not be conquered by any sufferings. This power is what strengthened us and inspired us with the hope that at a time known to God alone the truth of Orthodoxy would be triumphant, for to it alone is promised unfailingly that whenever needful the almighty help of God will be given to it.
By your Declaration and the church policy founded upon it, you are trying to lead us into a sphere where we will now be deprived of this hope, for you are leading us away from the service of truth; and God does not help lies.
We are loyal citizens of the USSR. We obediently fulfill all the commands of the Soviet authority. We have never intended and do not intend to rebel against it, but we wish to be honorable and upright members also of the Church Christ on earth and not to “repaint it in Soviet colors,” because we know that this is useless and that serious and upright people will not believe it.
While it is still not too late, while this terrible abyss has not yet entirely overwhelmed you, this abyss which is ready to swallow you ingloriously and forever, gather together your intellectual and moral powers which not long ago were still strong; stand up in all your spiritual stature; issue another declaration to correct the first one, or at least one similar to the one which you sent in the first period when you were the Substitute of the Locum Tenens; cut with the grace-given impulses of the Spirit the chains which bind you, and come out into holy freedom. All the true sons of the Church will pray to God for you; all the good shepherds and courageous archpastors will immediately be on your side. All the many sufferers will embrace you spiritually — this voice of witnesses of pure truth who are exiled from their flocks and the brethren; the unconquerable Truth itself will be for you. It will show you the further path; it will preserve and defend you.
Dear Vladyka: I can imagine how you must suffer! But why do you, experiencing these sufferings yourself, not desire to lighten them for those who at one time trusted you? With what joy I gave over to you my own rights as Substitute of the Locum Tenens, believing that your wisdom and experience would cooperate with you in the governance of the Church.
But what happened? Can this fatal act really not be corrected? Will you really not find the courage to acknowledge your error, your fatal mistake, the issuance by you of the Declaration of July 16/29, 1927? You wrote to me and sincerely believed that the path you have chosen will bring peace to the Church. And what do you hear and see now? A frightful groan is carried up from all the ends of Russia. You promised to pull out two or three sufferers here and there and return them to the society of the faithful; but look how many new sufferers have appeared, whose sufferings are made yet deeper by the awareness that they are the result of your new church policy. Does this groan of the sufferers from the shores of the Oba and Yenisei Rivers, from the far-off islands of the White Sea, from the deserts beyond the Caspian Sea, from the mountain ridges of Turkestan — does this groan not reach to your heart?
How could you, by your Declaration, place upon them and upon many the stigma of opponents of the present civil order, when they and we in our spiritual nature have always been foreign to politics, guarding strictly, with self-sacrifice, the purity of Orthodoxy?
Is it for me, who am younger, to write these lines to you? Is it for me to teach an experienced and learned Hierarch of the Russian Church? Still, the voice of my conscience compels me again and again to disturb your spacious and good heart. Show courage; acknowledge your fatal mistake, and if it is impossible for you to issue a new declaration, then for the good of the Church, give over the authority and the rights of the Substitute of the Locum Tenens to someone else.
I have the right to write you these lines and make this offer, for many now reproach me, saying that I handed over these rights of the Substitute to you hastily and without reservation.
Having experienced myself this burden of church governance, I believe that in the quiet of your cell you are shedding bitter tears and are in frightful anguish of spirit. And we pity you and weep together with you. And if there are separations of dioceses and parishes from you and your “Synod,” this is an alarm-bell, a frightful alarm-bell of the exhausted hearts of the faithful, one that should be able to reach your heart and ignite it with the flame of self-sacrifice and readiness to lay down your life for your friends
May the Lord help you and bless your courageous decision, which your archpastoral conscience will whisper to you and which we do not dictate to you, but with filial love offer to you for the salvation of your soul and the good of the Church.
It seems to me that one way out of the situation that has been created would be for you and all the faithful in our land who think in an Orthodox way to direct your gaze to the eldest Hierarch of the Russian Church, His Eminence Agathangel, Metropolitan of Yaroslavl.
Go to him with love and trust. Despite his advanced age, he has remained wise and powerful in spirit. His appeal from Perm was an act of zeal for the salvation of the Church. Stretch out your brotherly hands to him, give him a warm, brotherly greeting, ask him to help you out of this terrible and burdensome situation, and hand over to him your rights as Substitute until His Eminence, Metropolitan Peter should return to power.
We archpastors, together with you, will help him in the governance of the Church with whatever strength and understanding we have, even without the organization of a “Synod.”
1928: January 24/February 6. Metropolitan Joseph, Archbishop Barlaam, and Bishop Eugene of Rostov separated from Metropolitan Sergius.
1928: February 1/14. Metropolitan Joseph wrote a letter to his vicar Bishop Demetrius of Gdov, stating that 26 bishops had separated from Metropolitan Sergius.
1928: February. The beginning of the persecution of non-commemorating bishops by the Soviet government. Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd and Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich were arrested and sent into exile.
1928: February 20/March 4. Separation from Metropolitan Sergius, in the diocese of Vyatka, of Bishop Nectary (Tresvinsky) of Yaransk and Bishop Hilarion (Belsky).
1928: March 14/27. Decree of the Sergian Synod suspending eight more Bishops: Metropolitan Joseph, Archbishop Seraphim and others (except for Metropolitan Agathangel).
1928: March 29/April 11. Last warning of Metropolitan Sergius to Metropolitan Agathangel with the threat of suspension.
1928: April 29. St. Elder Nectary of Optina reposed in Lord. He was canonized in 1981 by ROCA and later on by the Moscow Patriarchate. He died in exile. He received the last rite and communion from priest Adrian (Rymarenko), future Archbishop Andrew of Novo-Diveevo (ROCA), who at that time was among non-commemorators and also Elder Nectarios. The Elder did not permit Optina priest-monks to serve him communion because of their unwillingness to understand the significance of Metropolitan Sergius’ error.
1928: May 29. Metropolitan Sergius declared the Council of Bishops and the Synod of Russian Church Abroad to be abolished.
1928: Hieromonk Panteleimon procured a piece of land in Jordanville (New York state) on which was founded Holy Trinity monastery.
1928: One-half of the Orthodox churches in Poland were confiscated by the government from seven million Orthodox believers and given to Catholics.
1928: The Patriarch of Constantinople in his letter to Greek Bishops in America called THE OCA uncanonical and forbid any communion with it.
1928: October 3/16. The repose of Metropolitan Agathangel of Yaroslav.
1929: May 2/15. Issuance of the first epistle of Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan from exile addressed to Bishop Athanasius (Malinin), sent for the purpose of informing Metropolitan Sergius. Some fundamental points in it: “No Substitute can equal the one he replaces in his rights… A basic change of the very system of Church administration, which Metropolitan Sergius has ventured on, exceeds the competence even of the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne… Until Metropolitan Sergius abolishes the Synod he has established, I cannot acknowledge as obligatory the fulfillment a single one of his administrative Church decrees” (“Russia’s Catacomb Saints”, pg. 503).
1929: July. Archbishop Chrysostom (Papadopoulos) of the State Church of Greece convokes a meeting of his Holy Synod in an effort to legitimize the adoption of the new calendar and condemn all those who remain faithful to the traditional Church calendar. Of the 44 Bishops present, 13 departed from the Synod meeting, 27 refused to endorse this decree; only 4 signed.
1929: September 5/18. Metropolitan Sergius wrote his first letter to Metropolitan Cyril (defending his actions): “You have broken off Eucharistic communion with us and at the same time do not consider either that you have caused a schism, or that we stand outside the Church. Such a theory is entirely unacceptable for church thinking — it is an attempt to keep ice on a hot grill.” Appeal (to Metropolitan Cyril) to re-examine his position, the threat of canonical actions.
1929: October 28/November 10. Metropolitan Cyril wrote a response to Metropolitan Sergius (Epistle No. 3):
Concerning these blasphemies, I learn for the first time from you. As for my only possible attitude to them you can judge at least by the horror with which “I cast away from myself the idea of the absence of grace in the sacred actions and Mysteries performed by Sergianists.” You yourself make note of my horror, and when after this you join me also to the number of such blasphemers, you are simply speaking an untruth. If such blasphemies are actually uttered by anyone, they are the fruit of the personal temperament of the speakers, the fruit — I shall say with your own words — of “the unillumined darkness of some and the loss of spiritual balance of others.” And how bitter it is, Vladyka, that you also in an equal degree, reveal the loss of spiritual balance. For your Christian love, which, according to your awareness, has “a certain boldness to believe that the threatening utterance of the Lord (Matt.12:31 — Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men but the blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven) will not be applied to these unfortunate ones with all strictness,” you nonetheless do not dare to find a more loving means of acting on them than the decree of your Synod of July 24 (August 6), 1929, no.1864, which forbids, in spite of all entreaties, the serving of funerals for those who die alienated from your church administration. Not to mention the re-chrismation of the baptized who have been chrismated with the same Holy Chrism with which the priests obedient to you anoint, or the re-marriages of those already married. In April, in concern over the erring, you busy yourself with the removal of the anathemas of the Council of 1667 (i.e., against the Old Believers), while in August you consolidate the church dispute which has been evoked by your activity and is not yet clear to all, making it an irreconcilable church animosity.
Do not forget that you are creating animosity… chiefly against those who, during the existence of Renovationism of various degrees, by their Orthodox feeling, without knowing the written laws, faultlessly determined the authentic church truth and returned to it the shepherds themselves, who were about to waver in their church path as a result of a bookish application of the written canons. In the decree no. 1864 of your Synod I hear a sentence similar to that of the Jewish high priests: These people that knoweth not the law are accursed (John 7:49).
This proceeds, of course, from the fact that you and the Synod understand a negative attitude to your activity in church administration to be a denial of the Church Herself, Her Mysteries, and all Her holy things. This is why it so amazes you that, while refraining from celebrating Liturgy with you, I nonetheless do not consider either myself or you to be outside the Church. “For church thinking, such a theory is completely unacceptable,” you declare; “it is an attempt to keep ice on a hot grill.” If in this case there is any attempt on my part, it is not to keep ice on a hot grill, but rather to melt away the ice of a dialectical-bookish application of the canons and to preserve the sacredness of their spirit. I refrain from liturgizing with you, not because the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ would not be actualized at our joint celebration, but because the communion of the Chalice of the Lord would be to both of us for judgment and condemnation, since our inward attitude, disturbed by a different understanding of our church relate to each other, would take away from us the possibility of offering incomplete calmness of spirit the mercy of peace, the sacrifice of praise.
Therefore, the whole fullness of my refraining concerns only you and the hierarchs one in mind with you, but not the ordinary clergy, and even less laymen. Among the ordinary clergy, there are very few conscious idealogues of your church activity
No matter how much you emphasize the strictness of the judgment of the canons to which you refer in accusing those disobedient to you, your interpretations produce little impression either on those who are disobedient or on the church community as whole, which is entirely ceasing to trust the dialectical canonics which has developed among us to frightful proportions since the appearance of Renovationism. Remember how, on the basis of canonical literalism, the Renovationist constituent so-called council of 1923 condemned the Patriarch not only to the deprivation of rank but even of monasticism. Therefore, do not misuse the letter of the canonical norms, Vladyka, lest we turn the holy canons into simple canons. Church life in the last years is composed and actualized not according to the literal meaning of the canons. The very transferral of the Patriarchal rights and obligations to Metropolitan Peter was done in a way unprecedented and unknown to the canons, but the church consciousness accepted this unprecedented way as a means of preserving the wholeness of the Patriarchal order, considering the latter as the chief guarantee of our Orthodox way of life, especially in view of the Renovationist denial of the idea of the Patriarchate.
1929: November. Arrest of Bishop Damascene (Tsedrick), who had been living in Starodub, at the accusation of a priest, a zealous partisan of “Declaration” of Metropolitan Sergius. Bishop Damascene is sent to Solovki prison. Before his arrest, he wrote: “I am coming to the opinion that even a decisive word of Metropolitan Peter will not change the situation essentially…” At this period of his life, he accustomed his friends and followers to the idea that Christianity in Russia would be forced to go underground.
1929: December. Locum Tenens Metropolitan Peter wrote a letter to Metropolitan Sergius from exile: “Your Eminence, forgive me magnanimously if by this letter I will break the inner peace of Your Eminence. I was informed about circumstances developing in the Church in connection with exceeding the limits of Church authority entrusted to you. I deeply regret that you made no effort to initiate me into your plans of administration for the Church. You know that I did not resign as Locum Tenens and therefore the Higher Church Administration and General Church government still belongs to me. At the same time, I may assure you that with the office of Substitute you received the power to manage an only routine business and protect the current order. I was deeply convinced that without previously informing me you would not undertake any crucial decisions, because I did not give you any constituent power while I am still Locum Tenens and while Metropolitan Cyril is well and Metropolitan Agathangel was still alive. In my instructions about the appointment of a Substitute I decided not to mention anything about the limits of a Substitute’s power and his responsibilities, because for me it was obvious that the Substitute would not change established order but will be only a center through which the Locum Tenens would be able to communicate with his flock. But your system of administration excluded not only this, but also the necessity for the existence of the Locum Tenens himself, and such a radical step ecclesiastical conscience obviously cannot accept. I did not set any conditions limiting the power of the Substitute out of deep respect for and trust toward the appointed candidates, and, in the first place, toward you, keeping in mind your wisdom. It’s hard for me to enumerate all the details of negative feelings toward your administration, the protests, and cries, about which I hear from faithful hierarchs and laymen. The picture of Church divisions is painfully staggering. My conscience and sense of duty does not permit me to be indifferent toward that sorrowful occurrence and it induces me to appeal to your Eminence with earnest entreaty to correct the committed mistake, which put the Church in a degrading position, causing schisms and divisions, and put a dark cloud on the reputation of its hierarchs… Put all your hopes on the Lord and His help always will be with you…” (Акты св. патр. Тихона Московского и всея Руси, ч. 2, Прав. св.-Тихоновский богословский институт. Братство во имя Всемилостивого Спаса. М. 1994, стр. 681-682, 691-692).
1929: The Romanian Patriarch Myron compelled all Romanian bishops to celebrate Pascha according to the Catholic calendar. Many Orthodox parishes reacted in protest. The Old Calendarist movement in Romania began to grow.
1929: Metropolitan Sergius wrote to Metropolitan Eulogy of Western Europe asking him to contact Eastern Patriarchs and ask them to forbid the “uncanonical” activities of the ROCA bishops. Nobody sent a response.
1929: By the end of this year the following 15 bishops who would not commemorate Metropolitan Sergius were arrested:
- Metropolitan Joseph of Leningrad — exiled to Ustiug in Novgorod province.
- Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich — to Solovki.
- Archbishop Barlaam (Riashentsev), formerly of Perm — to a Yaroslav prison.
- Bishop Dimitry of Gdov — to a Leningrad prison.
- Bishop Alexis (Bui) of Urazov — to Solovki.
- Bishop Victor (Ostrovidov) of Vyatka — to Solovki.
- Bishop Maxim (Zhizhilenko) of Serpukkhov — to Solovki.
- Bishop Athanasius (Molchanovsky) of Skvirsk — to Solovki.
- Bishop Nektary (Trezvinsky) of Yaransk — exiled to Kazan.
- Bishop Hilarion (Belsky) — to Solovki.
- Bishop Paul (Kratirov) of Yalta — exiled to Kharkov.
- Bishop Basil (Doktorov) of Kargopol — exiled, location unknown.
- Bishop Sergius (Nikolsky) — exiled, location unknown.
- Bishop Joseph (?), formerly of Birsk — exiled, location unknown.
- Bishop Damascene (Tsedrick) — to a prison in Moscow.
1929: December 17. The Chudov monastery in the Moscow Kremlin was blown up by communists.
1929: December 20 (old cal.). A Second letter of Metropolitan Sergius to Metropolitan Cyril, ending with a deadline (February 2/15 1930), requiring Metropolitan Cyril to express canonical obedience and refuse communion with the “schismatics”; from this date the giving over of Metropolitan Cyril to the judgment of a Council of Bishops and his removal from the governance of the Kazan diocese took effect.
1929: December 28 (old cal.). The prominent Russian theologian Archbishop Hilarion (Troitsky) died in a Leningrad jail on the way from Solovki prison. He was canonized as a saint in 1981 by the ROCA and later on by the Moscow Patriarchate.
1930: 200,000 Carpatho-Russian Uniates in Czechoslovakia returned to Orthodoxy. The Serbian Patriarch formed the diocese of Mukachevo for them.
1930: February 5/18. Interview of foreign correspondents with Metropolitan Sergius. He denied all persecutions and gave totally imaginary facts about the Patriarchal Church. — About 30,000 parishes, many more priests (one to three for a parish), 163 bishops “in canonical submission to the Patriarchate.” He added that some churches were closed by the will of believers.
1930: The last Orthodox monastery in Russia was shut down. Before the Revolution, there were over a thousand monasteries and about 100,000 monastics.
1930: February 8/21. The arrest of Bishop Alexis (Bui) of Kozlov for opposition to Metropolitan Sergius.
1930: Departure of Bishop Amphilochius (Skvortsov) of Yenisei and Krasnoyarsk, after the influence of conversation with Metropolitan Cyril, into Siberian forests, where he founded a catacomb Skete.
1930: Separation from Metropolitan Sergius of Bishop Sinesius (Zarubin) of Izhevsk.
1930: Arrest of Bishop Sergius (Druzhilin) of Narva for opposition to Metropolitan Sergius.
1930: Metropolitan Evlogy of Western Europe, despite his signature of loyalty to the Soviet regime, which he made on request of Metropolitan Sergius, took part in a non-denominational prayer meetings for the suffering Russian Church, which was organized in England. This was interpreted in Moscow as an act against the Soviet government and he was suspended by Metropolitan Sergius. Not wishing to submit to this edict, but at the same time not wishing to acknowledge his guilt before the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Evlogy in 1931 appealed to the Patriarch of Constantinople with a request for temporary reception into the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The permission was granted to join the jurisdiction of Ecumenical Patriarchate.
1930: The first Orthodox Church was founded in Brazil by ROCA priest Fr. Constantine Izrastsov.
1930: February 13/26. The second letter of Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsk to Metropolitan Sergius, written from exile in Siberia: “… In my opinion, in view of the extraordinary conditions of Church life, when the normal rules of administration are subjected to every kind of fluctuation, it is essential to place Church life on the path on which it stood during your first period as a Substitute. And so, be so good as to return to that course of yours, which was respected by everyone. Of course, I am far from the idea that you will decide to renounce altogether the fulfillment of the obedience that has been laid upon you—this would not serve for the good of the Church. I repeat that I am greatly grieved that you did not write to me and inform me of your intentions. If letters come to me from others, undoubtedly yours also would get through. I write you frankly, as to the Archpastor closest to me, to whom I am obliged for much in the past, and from whose hierarchal hands I received the tonsure and the grace of priesthood…” (Лев Регельсон), (“Catacomb Saints”, pg. 505-506).
1930: Hieromonk John (Maximovitch), future St. John, Archbishop of San Francisco, wrote against the Sophian heresy of Protopresbyter Sergius (Bulgakov), who was dean of St. Sergius Theological Academy in Paris.
1930: Serbian Patriarch Demetrius died. New Patriarch Barnabas was elected. He received his theological education in pre-revolutionary Russia and was a close friend of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) and a big benefactor of all Russian emigrants in Serbia.
1930: At the end of this year in Russia “The Union of the Militant Godless,” as they called themselves, grew from 1/2 million members to 4 million. They were responsible for the destruction of many churches.
1930: December 5. In Moscow, the magnificent Cathedral of Our Savior was blown up. It was larger than St. Peter’s cathedral in Rome. After “Perestroika” it was rebuilt.
1930: An Orthodox delegation under the leadership of Patriarch Meletios (Metaxakis) attended the Anglican Lambeth Conference.
1930: When all bishops of the Jerusalem Patriarchate rebelled against their Patriarch Damian, Archbishop Anastassy, Head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem (later first Hierarch of ROCA) with Patriarch Damian consecrated new Bishops. That act stopped the schism and brought others back to the Church.
1931: “The Union of the Militant Godless” membership grew to 7 million.
1931: Publication of the first issue of the “Journal of Moscow Patriarchate.” It contained a justification of Metropolitan Sergius’ position.
1932: August 28/September 10. The Council of ROCA Bishops anathematized Freemasonry.
1932: A group of Christians of Uganda left the communion of the Anglican Church and were admitted to the Orthodox Church by the Patriarch of Alexandria.
1932: “The Union of the Militant Godless” grew to 12 million members.
1933: March 23. Metropolitan Sergius wrote a letter to Serbian Patriarch Barnabas, asking him to persuade ROCA Bishops to give a pledge of loyalty to the Soviet government; in case of their refusal, he asks the Patriarch to persuade them to dissolve their Synod and join some other jurisdiction. ROCA Bishops rejected that proposal.
1933: May 6. Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) wrote a letter to Metropolitan Sergius:
“Your Eminence, dear Vladyko, in issue #6 of magazine “Православие” I read your epistle addressed to me — and all the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad’s — benefactor, His Holiness Patriarch Barnabas. I heard that His Holiness received that epistle, but as long as he considered it not necessary to inform me about its contents I kept silence. But since now you have, without waiting for His Holiness’ actions, published your epistle in the press, I am obliged to respond to it at least with a private letter to you as to my former student and friend, in order that you would not interpret my silence as recognition of the irrefutability of your arguments and as an agreement to express loyalty to the theomachists (godless?), persecutors and desecrationists of the Holy Church of Christ, or as an expression of total disdain toward you, as toward an apostate.
You reproached hierarchs abroad for leaving Russia and you said that the analogy of emigration of Archbishop John of Cyprus with his flock to the Hellespont is not applicable. I shall not concentrate for long on your accusations, but point out to me when the Church condemned Athanasius the Great and other holy hierarchs who were forced by persecutors to leave the boundaries of their Church. Show me when the Patriarchs of Jerusalem and others were condemned for finding refuge in Constantinople from the Hagarites — and they lived there for a long time, — then your accusations would not be unsubstantiated. Not from you and not for us should be heard an exhortation to martyrdom, which was unavoidable for us if we had stayed in South Russia; we would take those rebukes, if we deserved it, from those who showed an example of confession of their faith and did not sell its purity, as you did, for the pottage of false freedom (i.e., legalization – Ed.), which brought only oppressive and disgraceful slavery. However, the words of Christ the Saviour: “Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…” fit us refugees, rather than rebukes. You, evidently, fell so much into the captivity to the persecutors of the Church that you forget about the existence of the White armies under whose control were large territories within whose boundaries we were and where we organized the Temporary Church Administration and blessed the weapons raised for the liberation of our Motherland from oppressors. Because of our sins, we did not succeed and yielding, step by step, we were forced to leave South Russia with a very sizable part of our flock. If you had seen the fleet that came to Constantinople, then you would be convinced that it was an exodus indeed, similar to the one from Cyprus in the past…
Then it was led by an Archbishop; now by the Higher Church Administration of Southern Russia. The Ecumenical Patriarch showed us similar brotherly love as his predecessor did to Archbishop John of Cyprus. And with his blessing, our Church Administration served, from Constantinople, the spiritual needs of the refugees… We don’t have any communication with Orthodox Archpastors, pastors, and laymen imprisoned in Russia, except in our prayers for them, but we know that they are sufferers only for their faith, despite accusations of their persecutors of crime before the state, as in the past the enemies of Christianity used to do. But ancient martyrs and their brethren knew very well that when they were burned for the alleged arson of Rome, in reality, it was the “rulers of the darkness of this age” that persecuted them for their loyalty to our Savior. Nothing can strengthen the Church more than martyrdom, even if it must lose its archpastors. For you, the way of the Cross is foolishness, as for the Greek contemporaries of the Apostles (I Cor. 1:23).
You are making every effort to live in peace with the enemies of Christ, with persecutors of His Church, and you even help them, demanding from us a declaration of loyalty, stamping the brand counter-revolutionary on those who did not do anything wrong to the Soviet government except adhering firmly to their faith. I implore you as my former student and friend: free yourself from that temptation, renounce publicly that lie which was put in your mouth by Tutchkov (the minister of cults, ed.) and other enemies of the Church, don’t hesitate before the possibility of martyrdom. If you will be honored with a martyr’s crown, then the Church on earth and the Church in heaven will join together in glorification of your courage and of Our Lord who gave you that strength, but if you remain on that broad way that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13) on which you are standing now, then it will ingloriously lead you to the bottom of the hell, and the Church, until the end of its existence, will not forget your betrayal. I always think about it when I look at your gift that you gave me 20 years ago — a panagia of the Vladimir Mother of God with the inscription: “To my dear teacher and friend…” and then the following: “Give us of your oil: for our lamps are gone out” (Matt. 25:8). Here we are offering you the redeeming oil of faith and loyalty to the Holy Church, don’t renounce it, but reunite with it, as in 1922 (here Metr. Anthony made a mistake as it was in 1924 that Metr. Sergius came back from the Living Church, ed.) when you publicly repented before Patriarch Tikhon in your previous disloyalty. Don’t reject this friendly appeal of the one who loved you and continues to love you” (Письма Митр. Антония, стр. 258). There came no response to this letter.
1933: July 15/28. Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan wrote a letter to Metropolitan Sergius from exile:
“Having reached the age which is, according to the word of the holy Psalmist, the beginning of the boundary of earthly human life (Ps.89:10), standing, so to speak, at the entrance to the grave, I acknowledge my duty to explain to my brethren, the archpastors, pastors, and believing people, why I consider you a usurper of church authority and refuse to submit to your administrative-ecclesiastical decrees, as well as those of the Synod which you have established. However, I have no immediate opportunity to bring my confession to the hearing of the Church, and therefore I am compelled to do this, addressing it to you who brazenly affirm yourself to be the Chief Bishop of the country, perhaps out of sincere error, and, in any case, with the tacit allowance of a part of the brother bishops, who are now guilty together with you of the violation of the canonical good order of the Orthodox Russian Church.”
The rest of this epistle details once again Metropolitan Cyril’s reasons for refusing to accept the authority which Metropolitan Sergius was claiming for himself in the Church.
1933: Metropolitan Sergius ordered Archbishop Veniamin (Fedchenkov), who had left ROCA with Metropolitan Evlogy in 1926 and later joined Metropolitan Sergius, to go to the United States for inspection. When Archbishop Veniamin reported no signatures of loyalty to the Soviet government being collected, Metropolitan Sergius deposed Metropolitan Platon of North America (THE OCA) and called THE OCA (or Metropolia as it was called then) a schismatic organization. He appointed Veniamin as the Metropolitan-Exarch for America.
1933: September. Bishop Athanasius (Sakharov) wrote to Bishop Innocent of Vladimir, accusing Metropolitan Sergius of usurping the rights of Chief Hierarch and announcing his own separation from Metropolitan Sergius in accordance with the Patriarchal Decree #362 of November 7/20 1920.
1933: Development of illegal activity by clergy. Testimony of an atheist brochure: “The movable priest has now become a quite ordinary figure in many districts. The enterprising priest puts in a little bundle all the essential cult property and—from village to village, from bazaar to bazaar — travelling on horseback, he performs religious services on demand, not allowing believers to forget about God. Believing laborers, if they believe in God and desire to perform Divine services, has officially registered churches for this purpose. But religious organizations are going underground… in recent years in a whole series of locations, for example in Western Siberia, in the Central Black Sea area, in the Urals, the northern Caucasus, etc. A prayer house is organized somewhere in a private dwelling, underground, where the entrance is accessible only to a limited number of persons and there is no control on the part of the authorities.”
1933: “The Union of the Militant Godless” grew to 17 million.
1933: October. Four Greek Bishops, Metropolitan Basil of Dryinopolis, Germanos of Demetrias, Irenaeus of Cassandra, and Basil of Drama, submitted a statement to the Holy Synod of the Greek Church urging a return to the traditional calendar. They were threatened with deposition.
1934: January 6. Serbian Patriarch Barnabas wrote back to Metropolitan Sergius informing him about the refusal of ROCA Bishops to pledge loyalty to the Soviet government and offered him to work on his previous proposal for ROCA Bishops to join another jurisdiction, in which case ROCA Synod will be exempt from Moscow authority. But that solution was obviously against the interests of the Soviet government, which tried hard to silence the free voice of the Russian Church in the West.
1934: February 7. Metropolitan Sergius in his response to Patriarch Barnabas completely ‘forgot” his previous proposal of changing jurisdictions and called it “a new canonical crime — an attempt to use someone’s authority as a shield from accountability to a legitimate Church court, to which the accused and the concealer will be held to account.”
1934: May 21. Patriarch Barnabas wrote back pointing out to Metropolitan Sergius his inconsistent approach and stating that because of the Metropolitan’s unwillingness to follow his own solutions to the problem he (i.e., Patriarch Barnabas) cannot be of help anymore.
1934: Two members of Baganda tribe in Uganda, both baptized by Anglican missionaries but led in their search for the “true old Church” to Orthodoxy, asked Patriarch of Alexandria Meletios (Metaxakis) for support and recognition, but were advised that since union between Orthodoxy and Anglicans was now close, it would be best if they to return to the Anglican Church.
1934: February. Letter of Metropolitan Cyril to an unnamed hierarch:
“The disorder in the Russian Orthodox Church I view not as concerning the teaching which She holds, but as concerning administration. The preservation of a fitting order in church administration from the death of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon until the calling of a lawful Church Council is secured by the Testament of His Holiness the Patriarch, which he gave by authority of a special right given only to him, and not to be transmitted to anyone else, to name a Substitute for himself. This Testament is the norm of the administration of the Russian Church until the content of this Testament shall be entirely exhausted. The Hierarch who bears the obligations of the Patriarchal Locum Tenens preserves his church authority until the election by a Council of a new Patriarch. If there is a delay in the election of a Patriarch, the Locum Tenens remains in his post until death, or his own voluntary renunciation of it, or his removal according to an ecclesiastical trial. He has no authority to assign for himself a Substitute with rights identical to his own rights as Locum Tenens. He can only have a temporary Substitute for current affairs who acts according to his instructions. It is at this point that the error of Metropolitan Sergius is to be found since he has recognized himself, in the absence of Metropolitan Peter, to have all his [Metropolitan Peter’s] rights as Locum Tenens. He sin is in exceeding his authority, and the Orthodox Episcopate should not have acknowledged such an authority, and once being convinced that Metropolitan Sergius is administering the Church without the guidance of Metropolitan Peter, it should have been administered by force of the Patriarchal Ukase of November 7/20, 1920, preparing to give an answer of its activity to Metropolitan Peter or to a Council. If the Locum Tenens should die before the calling of a Council, it is essential again to turn to the Patriarchal Testament and to acknowledge as having the rights of the Locum Tenens one of the still-living hierarchs indicated in the Patriarchal Testament. If none of these is alive, then the effect of the Testament is ended, and the Church automatically goes over to administration according to the Patriarchal Ukase of November 7/20, 1920, and the common efforts of the Episcopate should bring into realization the calling of a Council for the election of a Patriarch.
Therefore, only after the death of Metropolitan Peter or his lawful removal do I find it not only possible for myself, but even obligatory, to actively interfere in the general church administration of the Russian Church. Until then, the hierarchs who acknowledge as their Chief Hierarch only Metropolitan Peter, commemorating his name in proper order at the Divine services, and not recognizing the administration of Sergius as a lawful succession, can exist parallel to those who recognize Sergius, until a conciliar trial. Those banished from their dioceses should spiritually guide those few who acknowledge them as their Archpastors, and those who have not been banished should guide the spiritual life of the whole diocese, by every means sustaining ties with each other and church unity.
For me personally it is impossible at the present time to step forth, since I am entirely unsure of the character of the attitudes of Metropolitan Peter, in order to be convinced of his actual views and to decide how to act. In any case, I cannot be the Substitute of Metropolitan Peter in the correct order without his decree concerning this. But if Metropolitan Peter voluntarily renounces his post of Locum Tenens, then by authority of the Testament of His Holiness the Patriarch, and of the promise which I gave him, I will fulfill my duty and take up the weight of the post of Locum Tenens, even if Metropolitan Peter might have assigned another successor to himself, for he has no right to make such an assignment.
1934: March-July 16. There was a short period of freedom for Metropolitan Cyril in the city of Gzhatsk. During this time he actively engaged in organizing “non-commemorators,” — i.e., those who did not recognize Metropolitan Sergius as chief Hierarch and govern themselves according to Patriarchal decree #362 of November 7/20 1920.
1934: April. Metropolitan Sergius was presented by his Synod and commemorating Bishops (21 altogether) the title of “Most Blessed Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomensk,” with the right to wear two panagias.
1934: Spring. Metropolitan Platon of North America died. Archbishop Theophilus (Pashkov) became his successor.
1934: Spring. Metropolitan Anthony wrote a personal letter of reconciliation to Metropolitan Evlogy of Western Europe, reminding him of their past friendship and days spent together in prison and begged him to return back to ROCA Synod.
1934: Spring. Metropolitan Evlogy wrote back, asking forgiveness, admitting his mistake in leaving ROCA Synod and asking that the suspension that was laid on him by the Council of Bishops in 1927 be lifted.
1934: May. Metropolitan Evlogy by invitation of Metropolitan Anthony came to Belgrade. Metropolitan Anthony read over him prayers of absolution and then ask Metropolitan Evlogy to do the same to him.
1934: Old Calendarists Greeks approached Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), asking him to consecrate for them a Bishop. But he refused.
1934: The first Orthodox diocese in Brazil was established and ROCA Bishop Theodosios became its First Hierarch.
1934: St. Bishop John (Maximovitch) was consecrated for China. It was the last consecration performed by Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky).
1934: July 22. Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod issued a suspension of all ROCA clergy.
1934: August. The Spiritual leader of many young Russian emigrants in Western Europe, Fr. Alexander (Elchaninov), died.
1934: Clergy continues to celebrate secret Divine services. A letter from a priest of the Kazan diocese states: “I finished my exile and, returning to my native place, did not receive a parish. The only thing left for me was to wander from village to village where there were no churches, and for a piece of bread or a night’s lodging perform Divine services. Many priests like myself, with bundles on their shoulders, go from village to village, offering to perform the Divine services. Many people chase us away, mock us, but many receive us, feed us, give us shelter, ask us to serve. We serve everything, including Liturgy. For performing the services we carry in our bundles an antimension, a container with the Holy Gifts, incense, a censer, church wine, and the simplest vestments. And so we carry a whole altar on our shoulders. Most frequently of all, people ask us to serve pannykhidas.”
1934: October 12. Holy Martyr John (Pommer), Archbishop of Riga and Latvia, was murdered in his residence. He was first wounded then tied to the carpenter’s bench and, having been doused with kerosene, had been set afire. In 1931, on the tenth anniversary of St. John’s episcopate in Riga, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) called him “a courageous defender of Orthodoxy.” Beginning in 1925 Archbishop John became the representative of the Orthodox in the Latvian Parliament. From this moment his activity took on enormous dimensions: he opened an Orthodox seminary, the property was restored to churches. Orthodox Latvians, who, before his coming had largely concealed themselves, now stepped out boldly behind their fearless leader. In a few years, according to official statistics, the Orthodox population increased by twenty percent; thirteen new churches were built and consecrated, and four others were under contraction when the Archbishop was martyred. All trails of the investigation led to the Latvian communists and the Soviet embassy, but the investigation was never completed. St. John was canonized by the Council of ROCA Bishops in 1981 among other New Martyrs of Russia.
1935: May. Eleven Bishops of the State Church of Greece, seeing that nothing availed in convincing Archbishop Chrysostom (Papadopoulos) of Athens to reject his innovation, agreed to return to the Old calendar; of these, all but three withdrew at the last moment under the threat of persecution. The three remaining Bishops: Germanos of Demetrias, Chrysostom of Florina, and Chrysostom of Zakynthos, renounced the innovation and took up the leadership of the traditional Orthodox Christians. Four new Bishops were consecrated by them. In an encyclical to the faithful, the three Metropolitans declared the State Church to be schismatic and under the condemnation of the Pan-Orthodox Councils of 1583, 1587, and 1593 (which condemned the Gregorian calendar).
1935: July 28. Patriarch of Alexandria Meletios (Metaxakis) died in Zurich and was buried in Cairo. According to Archbishop Athenagoras of Thyateria and Great Britain, who was present at his burial as an archdeacon and eye-witness, Meletios was given a full masonic funeral (“The Struggle against Ecumenism,” pg. 33).
1935: September 8. Archimandrite Gerasim (Schmaltz), despite the animosity of local clergy, came to Spruce Island in Alaska and labored there for 35 years in solitude, thus fulfilling the prophecy of St. Herman that another monk like him will live there as a hermit.
1935: November 15. At a joint session under the chairmanship of the Serbian Patriarch Barnabas at Sremsky Karlovtsy, Metropolitan Anastassy (fulfilling the duties as first Hierarch of ROCA because of health conditions of Metropolitan Anthony), Metropolitan Evlogy of Western Europe, and Metropolitan Theophilus of North America (THE OCA), all signed the “Temporary Regulations of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad” thus eliminating schism and making ROCA once more undivided. Later they participated in the Council of Bishops.
1935: November 17. The Council of ROCA Bishops condemned the heretical teaching of Archpriest Sergius (Bulgakov) concerning Sophia, the Wisdom of God. Fr. Sergius was dean of St. Sergius Theological Academy in Paris.
1936: February. Metropolitan Evlogy on his return to Paris, under pressure from liberal professors of the Academy, broke once more with the ROCA Synod. Metropolitan Theophilus of North America remained with ROCA for another eleven years.
1936: June 28/July 10. Blessed Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) reposed.
1936: Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky), who had been nominated beforehand as a successor of Metropolitan Anthony, was elected by the Council of Russian Bishops Abroad and became second Head of ROCA.
1936: August 29. Metropolitan Peter, Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne was executed by firing squad. He was canonized by the Council of ROCA Bishops in 1981 and later by the Moscow Patriarchate.
1936: December 14/27. The Synod of Metropolitan Sergius made a “decree of the transfer of the rights and obligations of the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne to his Substitute, the Most Blessed Metropolitan Sergius… in connection with the death in exile of Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa…” But note this quote from an article of Metropolitan Sergius that he wrote in 1931: “Once the Locum Tenens leaves his post (because of death, resignation, etc.), in that very moment the authority of his Substitute ceases…” (Лев Регельсон).
1935-1937: In those years in Russia 84 Bishops and over 3,000 priests and monastics were sent to prison.
1937: Metropolitan Cyril wrote a letter to Hieromonk Leonid: “…Metropolitan Sergius is walking away from the Orthodox Church, which was left to us by his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, and therefore Orthodox Christians do not have anything common with him. Present affairs finally revealed the renovationist nature of ‘Sergianism.’ Whether those remaining in ‘Sergianism’ will be saved or not we cannot know, because eternal salvation belongs to God’s Grace and mercy alone, but for those who see and feel the wrongdoings of ‘Sergianism,’ it would be unforgettable hypocrisy to shut their eyes to that falsehood and seek there satisfaction of their spiritual needs with their conscience full of doubts about the validity of that satisfaction..” (Прав. Русь, №16/1997).
1937: In the Greek Old calendar Church one of its newly consecrated bishops, Matthew of Brestena, officially rejected the idea of God’s Grace in the State Church of Greece and separated from Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina and Metropolitan Germanos of Demetrias. Metropolitan Germanos of the Cyclades Islands followed Matthew. The Traditional Orthodox Christians became divided into two factions — the “Florinites” and the “Matthewites”.
1937: 24 July. Serbian Patriarch Barnabas reposed. Some Austrian doctors declared the cause of death to be “poisoning.”
1937: October 5-8. The General Council of clergy and laymen in America declared itself to be part of the Russian Church Abroad.
1937: Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan was executed by firing squad. He was canonized by the Council of ROCA Bishops in 1981.
1937: Metropolitan Joseph of St. Petersburg was executed by firing squad. He was canonized by the Council of ROCA Bishops in 1981.
1937: During this year in the St. Petersburg diocese 1468 priests were sent to prison or exile.
1937: After political pressure had been brought to bear the Ecumenical Patriarch recognized the autocephalous status of the Albanian Church.
1938: Metropolitan Anastassy, the First Hierarch of ROCA, together with Serbian Bishops consecrated the new Patriarch of Serbia, Gabriel.
1938: September 11/24. Holy Elder Silouan of St. Panteleimon Russian monastery on Mt. Athos reposed in the Lord. He was canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1988.
1938: August. The Second General Council of the ROCA took place in Sremsky-Karlovtsy (Serbia). Representatives from all 1,000 parishes and 24 dioceses were present. At that time in ROCA there were 4 Metropolitans — Anastassy in Serbia, Theophilus in America, Meletius in China, and Seraphim in France, and 10 Archbishops and 10 Bishops.
1938: During this year in Poland 720 Orthodox churches were destroyed by over-zealous Roman Catholics. According to A. S. Denikin, in 1938 in only one month 114 Orthodox churches were destroyed in Poland, with desecrations, arrests of the clergy, and violence.
1938: At the end of this year in Russia, out of 163 Bishops only 4 were not imprisoned: Metropolitan Sergius, Metropolitan Nicholas, Metropolitan Alexis (future Patriarch) and Metropolitan Seraphim. They were left to create an image of a “free” Church for foreign visitors.
1939: The beginning of WWII in Europe.
1939: New Patriarch of Alexandria Christophoros II was elected.
1939: Continuation of the secret activity of the “non-commemorators.” The Soviet magazine Atheist, on April 21 1939, in an article called “A Church in a Suitcase,” said that traveling priests, who have been banished from parishes by NKVD (KGB), “have all necessary appurtenances for the performance of rites in a suitcase. If they have to help people in the kitchen, they do it; they buy groceries for the sick…”
1940: June. Soviet forces occupied Estonia and made it part of the Soviet Union. The Estonian Church was again made a part of the Moscow Patriarchate.
1940: The Soviet army occupied part of Moldavia. Kishinew diocese once more became part of the Russian (Patriarchate) Church.
1940: The Orthodox Church of Japan reached a membership of 40,000.
1940: In this year the Bulgarian Church had about six million faithful: 2,742 parishes, 2,381 priests, and 11 dioceses.
1941: June 22. Hitler attacked Russia. In territories occupied by his army churches were opened again.
1941: After the death of Metropolitan Sergius of Japan, who was persecuted by the Japanese government and imprisoned, being suspected of collaboration with the Soviet government, ROCA Bishops in China (there were six bishops then) consecrated a new Bishop for the Church of Japan, Japanese Nicholas (Ono). Later that consecration was recognized by Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky).
1942: Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod published a book “The Truth about Religion in Russia.” They could not have chosen a more pathetic title. Some of that “truth” sounds like this: “Since the October revolution there were many trials of clergy and they all happened only because those clerics behind their ryassa and Church flag were hiding anti-Soviet activities… all of it was only political trials and has nothing to do with their religious activities… Our constitution gave us a full guarantee of freedom of religion…” (Правда о религии в России. 1942, стр. 26).
1942: November. Metropolitan Sergius sent a telegram to Joseph Stalin with congratulations on the 25th anniversary of the Communist revolution; he wrote: “Wholeheartedly and prayerfully I greet you, as the God-chosen leader of our military and cultural forces…”
1942: The convent of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God was moved from China to San-Francisco.
1943: During Nazi occupation of Greece Metropolitan Germanos of Demetrias died, leaving Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina of Greek Old calendar Church briefly by himself.
1943: September 4. Unexpectedly Joseph Stalin invited Metropolitans Sergius, Alexis, and Nicholas to the Kremlin. He offered to restore monasteries, seminaries and academies, and the Church publication Journal of Moscow Patriarchate, and gave his permission for the election of a new Patriarch. But he said that he is going to create a Council for Religious Affairs and the head of this Council will be comrade Karpov, who was in charge of persecution of the Church for many years. Church authorities were not able to make any decisions without consulting him first.
1943: September 9. A Council of Moscow Patriarchate bishops took place. To make it a Council the Soviet government released 16 surviving bishops from prison. Altogether 18 bishops participated in that Council. They “elected” the only candidate — Metropolitan Sergius — as Patriarch of Russia.
1943: During this year in Russia, 1000 priests were arested and 500 of them executed.
1943: October 3/16. The Council of ROCA Bishops in Vienna (Austria) expressed their view of this “election” in the following statement: “It is an uncanonical and political act, which was made to serve the interests of the Soviet communist government and its dictator Joseph Stalin, which was in the crisis of war, seeking the help of the hated and persecuted Orthodox Church… and when that need will be diminished they will renew the persecution…,” which did happen a decade later.
1944: Patriarch of Moscow Sergius (Stragorodsky) died.
1944: Archpriest Sergius (Bulgakov), dean of St. Sergius Theological Academy in Paris, died.
1944: Metropolitan Christopher of Christianopolis (formerly of Megaris) and Metropolitan Polycarp of Diavlia, two of the bishops who had been consecrated in 1935 by Chrysostom of Florina and Germanos of Demetrias and had rejoined the State Church of Greece because of persecution, returned again to the Old Calendar Church of Metropolitan Chrysostom. In addition Metropolitan Germanos of Cyclades Islands, who had separated from Metropolitan Chrysostom, was seeking to resolve their differences.
1944: Mass return to Moscow Patriarchate of members of the “Living Church,” including its leader Metropolitan Vitaly. The “Living Church” became history.
1944: The Albanian Orthodox Church consisted of 210,000 Orthodox Christians.
1945: The Moscow Patriarchate confirmed the independence of the Georgian Church, which had declared itself autocephalous in 1917.
1945: January 31— February 2. The Council of Bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate took place. Honored guests of that Council were: Patriarch of Alexandria Christopher, Patriarch of Antioch Alexander III, Patriarch of Georgia Callistratus, and representatives of other Churches. In that Council participated: 4 Metropolitans, 41 Archbishops and Bishops, and 126 representatives of clergy and laymen. By an open, unanimous vote a new Patriarch of Moscow, Alexis I (Simansky) was elected. After the election the new Patriarch sent a “thank you” note to Joseph Stalin: “The Russian Orthodox Church thanks God and prays to Him for your well-being and longevity, dear Joseph Vessarionovich, whose military genius and ceaseless labors for the well- being of our Motherland gave us that victorious peace. Let our beloved Motherland flourish under your wise guidance, and may the peace that you won be a token of peace for all humanity” (В. Русак. Свидетельство обвинения. Т. 3, стр. 50). Some Russian bishops from North America, who year later split with ROCA and established THE OCA, went to Moscow hoping to participate in that Council. The administration of the Moscow Patriarchate allowed them to take part in the Council only if they would join the Moscow Patriarchate and would give an order to their flock in North America to stop any anti-soviet activities. They rejected those conditions and left Russia.
1945: May-June. The end of WWII in Europe.
1945: Moscow envoy Archbishop Elevferi went to Harbin, China to persuade ROCA Bishops to take Soviet passports and rejoin the Moscow Patriarchate. The China bishops lost all contact with the Synod in war-torn Europe. Widespread rumors that the ROCA Synod had ceased to exist, plus election of new Patriarch with participation of other Patriarchs, reopening of churches, release of imprisoned bishops —all this created an illusion of freedom of religion in Russia. Thus Metropolitan Melety of Harbin, who was virtually on his death bed (he died a few months later), Archbishop Nestor, Archbishop Juvenaly of Tzanzing, Archbishop Victor of Peking, Archbishop Demetry of Hilara and Bishop all joined the Moscow Patriarchate, all the Russian Bishops in China except St. John (Maximovitch), Archbishop of Shanghai. They all, except Metropolitan Melety, went to Russia. Some were arrested and imprisoned right away. Archbishop Nestor (later Metropolitan) spent 6 years in Gulag.
1945: Metropolitan Seraphim (Lukianov) of Western Europe (ROCA), fell into the same trap, he took a Soviet passport and joined the Moscow Patriarchate. After the death of Metropolitan Evlogy in 1946 he was made Exarch of Western Europe, later he became Metropolitan of Odessa in Russia. He was able to smuggle a letter back to Western Europe, in which he expressed regret for his decision and stating that now he always has a “nanny” that followed him everywhere and watched his every step.
1945: Bishop Nicholas (Ono) of Japan asked the Moscow Patriarchate to send him two vicar Bishops. Moscow did sent two Bishops, but general Douglas MacArthur, who was chief administrator of American military government, would not give them permission to stay. He recommended to Bishop Nicholas (Ono) to take vicars from the Metropolia in the USA. Bishop Benjamin of Pittsburgh came to Japan, but Bishop Nicholas did not accept him. The majority of Japanese faithful, though, accepted him; thus in the Church of Japan was created a schism, which did not last long.
1945: August. Metropolitan Nikolai of Leningrad went to Paris and persuaded Metropolitan Evlogy to join the Moscow Patriarchate and take a Soviet passport. Despite opposition from his clergy and professors of the St. Sergius Theological Academy, Metropolitan Evlogy declared his decision.
1945: August. Patriarch Alexis I of Moscow sent an “Epistle to the Clergy and Laity ofthe ‘Karlovtsy Orientation’ (i.e., ROCA),” trying to persuaded them to join the Moscow Patriarchate. He criticized their “schismatic activities,” but, in contrast with Metropolitan Sergius in 1927, he did not ask any pledge of loyalty to the Soviet State.
1945: October. Metropolitan Anastassy, the First Hierarch of ROCA, published an answer to the appeal of Patriarch Alexis.
1946: After the “liberation” of Bulgaria by the Red army, all religious instructions in Bulgarian schools were abolished, and some of the bishops were arrested, including the future Patriarch, Metropolitan Cyril.
1946: April 23/ May 6. The Council of ROCA Bishops took place. Seven bishops from Ukraine and Belorussia (regions temporarily occupied by the Germans), who left Russia with the approach of the Soviet army, joined ROCA. Over 100,000 refugees from the Soviet regime and deportees in Nazi labor camps refused to return home, where their destiny lay in Soviet labor camps, and remained in the West, becoming a new members of Russian Church Abroad. In a few years they spread all over the world —USA, Australia, Canada, South America, and some stayed in Western Europe.
1946: April 26/May 9. The Council of ROCA Bishops did not recognize the election of Patriarch Alexis and rejected his appeal for reunification.
1946: Metropolitan Evlogy died. Moscow appointed Metropolitan Seraphim (Lukianov), who left ROCA Synod year before, as its Exarch, but a large majority of Metropolitan Evlogy’s flock did not follow him, neither did Metropolitan Evlogy’s vicar, Archbishop Vladimir of Nica. He refused to accept Metropolitan Seraphim as his superior, and the diocesan assembly gave him full support. Archbishop Vladimir (later Metropolitan) was man of prayer and a true monk, he followed Metropolitan Evlogy in schism only out of obedience, as his vicar. The spirit of Parisian theologians was alien to him, as he stated to some of the Jordanville monks that visited him on the way to America. One of his best friends was Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko), first abbot of Jordanville monastery, who was his roommate in Theological Academy in Russia. He entered into personal negotiations with Metropolitan Anastassy, proposing to subordinate his diocese to ROCA Synod on the condition that ROCA Synod will go under jurisdiction of Constantinople. Metropolitan Anastassy refused and Archbishop Vladimir remained with Constantinople.
1946: Saint Bishop Nikolai (Velimirovitch) came to USA from Serbia to stay. He was canonized by Serbian Church in 1988.
1946: May. The Council of North American Bishops expressed their loyalty to Metropolitan Anastassy and the ROCA Synod.
1946–1964: During those years an emigration of Russians from China to Australia took place.
1946: The ROCA Synod established a diocese in Australia.
1946: November. The General Council of American bishops, clergy, and laity took place. After the victory of Allies in WWII, among some Russian Americans great sympathy and illusions toward the victorious Soviet Union was generated. Thus a majority of clergy and lay representatives on that Council were inclined to break away from the ROCA Synod and join the Moscow Patriarchate. The major rule of this Council, in order that its decisions be accepted as legitimate, was — that the decisions of the Council had to be ratified by a majority of the bishops. But, despite the fact that 5 bishops voted against joining the Moscow Patriarchate and 4 bishops for it, Metropolitan Theophilus decided to proceed with reunification. Those 5 Bishops remained in the ROCA Synod and Metropolitan Theophilus with the 3 other Bishops left it. From Moscow came Metropolitan Gregory to receive them officially into the Moscow Patriarchate, but Metropolitan Theophilus refused to meet with him. Outraged, Patriarch of Moscow Alexis I suspended all THE OCA clergy. That suspension lasted till 1971.
1946: December 1. The Brotherhood of St. Job of Pochaev, comprising 14 monks, from Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia, arrived at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, where they united with the brotherhood of the monastery and established a printing shop.
1946: Two Benedictine monks in Holland became Orthodox and founded the first Orthodox Dutch-speaking parish.
1947: The Russian-language journal Orthodox Russia, formerly published in Czechoslovakia, was published for the first time in Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY.
1947: Bulgarian communists ordered the head of the Bulgarian Church, Exarch Stephen, to join in the fight against anti-communist propaganda. The Synod replied that it would ignore that order. In September Exarch Stephen was obliged to resign and the Holy Synod gave the necessary permission.
1948: January 1. In Moscow Patriarchate were registered 11,846 priests, 1,255 diacons, 85 monasteries.
1948: Ecumenical Patriarch Maximos is declared “mentally unfit” and forcibly retired. He was not a promoter of ecumenism. In 1965 he was asked what exactly happened. Here is his answer: “It is not seemly to comment on the manner in which they deposed me.” (Hagios Agathangelos # 138 Jul.-Aug. 1993). Archbishop Athenagoras of North and South America arrived in Constantinople on an aircraft of the US State Department and became Ecumenical Patriarch. The Western religious and secular media reported on the political overtones and illegality of his election.
1948: In violation of the Apostolic Canons, Greek Old Calendar Metropolitan Matthew of Bresthena consecrated four new Bishops by himself. As a result, many priests and faithful left his jurisdiction and joined Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina.
1948: “The Faith and Order Conference” fused with the “Life and Work Movement” in Amsterdam to became the “World Council of Churches” (WCC). The Churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Greece, and Romania participated in sessions but not in prayers, except the Constantinople contingent (The struggle against Ecumenism). Fr. John Meyendorff said that only Constantinople, Greece, and Cyprus participated in sessions (The Orthodox Church, pg. 219).
1948: The Antiochian Church, under pressure from American Arabs, without whose material support survival would be difficult, adopted the new calendar.
1948: The Moscow Patriarchate, with the help of the newly-formed Israel government, took by force some churches and a monastery from the Russian Church Abroad in Palestine. Some monks were detained, one died after torture, another was left crippled, nuns were expelled. Abbess Elizabeth from the seized Gorny monastery left the Holy Land with some nuns and founded a monastery in England. The forced seizure took place only on the territory of the newly-founded state of Israel. All monasteries and churches on the territory of the state of Jordan (Jerusalem was in Jordan then) remained in ROCA hands. The seizure was done in an attempt to gain recognition for the state of Israel from the Soviet government.
1948: Metropolitan Dionysius, Head of the Polish Church, and his vicar Bishops had to do penance before Patriarch Alexis I of Moscow for their act of self-proclaimed autocephaly. They received a new decree of autocephaly, but Metropolitan Dionysius was forced to retire.
1948: October 1/14. The Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY, began classes.
1948: Election of new Romanian Patriarch Justinian.
1948: The Council of Bishops in Moscow, the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, and the heads of the Greek, Albanian, Czechoslovakian, and Polish Churches were present. The Council condemned Ecumenism as a heresy and rejected invitation to participate in WCC in Amsterdam. “The Russian Orthodox Church never participated in any ecumenical conference… We don’t know why representatives of the Church of Constantinople took part in ecumenical conferences accompanied by joint prayer. Whether they forgot about their honor, as being the oldest Church, to defend the canons of the Orthodox Church…” Further on, that document, quoting some ecumenical declarations that ecumenism is a real Ecumenical Pentecost, continued: “The Russian Orthodox Church always taught and still teaches that Pentecost, i.e., the Descent of Holy Spirit, already happened, and Christians must await now not a new appearance of the Holy Spirit, but the glorious Second Coming of Christ. Teachings about “the third hour,” in which the kingdom of the Holy Spirit will appear, are characteristic of masons and other cults, and any new “prophesy” about an expected Ecumenical Pentecost is only an echo of some ancient deceptive teaching of those seducers… In response to the WCC invitation to participate in the Amsterdam Assembly as its members, we declare that all Orthodox Churches, members of present Council, refused to participate in the Ecumenical movement in its present state.” That resolution was signed by the heads of the Russian, Georgian, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Polish, Albanian, and Czechoslovakian Churches and by representatives of the Antiochian and Alexandrian Churches.
1948: At the end of this year began the persecution of religion in Albania. Two Orthodox bishops were arrested by the communist government.
1949: The Head of the Albanian Church, Archbishop Christophoros of Tirana, was deposed and imprisoned for “activities considered harmful to the Albanian people.” His successor Paissios, elected under dubious conditions, was recognized by the Patriarch of Moscow, but not by the Patriarch of Constantinople.
1949: Greek Old calendar Metropolitan Germanos of Cyclades Islands returned to the Holy Synod of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina.
1949: According to GULAG report at this year in Russian prisons were 3,523 priests.
1949: Archpriest Adrian (Rymarenko), later Archbishop Andrew of Novo-Diveevo, came to the USA with his flock of spiritual children.
1950: Russian refugees from communist China began to arrive in San-Francisco.
1950: The first memorial church to the Tsar-martyr Nicholas Romanov was consecrated in Brussels, Belgium.
1950: Election of a new head of the Church of Cyprus, Metropolitan Makarios. He achieved world-wide fame as a result of his part in the Cypriot struggle for union with Greece. He was chosen as president of the new Republic of Cyprus. It was entirely in accordance with the traditions of the Cypriot Church, which for many centuries was a rallying point for the Greek population under so many foreign rulers.
1950: The Greek Old calendar Synod of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina issued an encyclical declaring the State Church schismatic and void of Grace.
1950: November. Metropolitan Anastassy and the ROCA Synod moved from Europe to USA and settled in Kursk Icon of the Mother of God Hermitage at Mahopak N.Y.
1950: November 13/26. The cathedral at Holy Trinity Monastery at Jordanville was consecrated by Metropolitan Anastassy, St. Archbishop John (Maximovitch), and other ROCA Hierarchs.
1950: The Greek Old Calendar Metropolitan Matthew of Brestena died. He was the founder of the “Matthewite” jurisdiction.
1950: November 29/December 12. The “Normal Parish By-Laws” were ratified by the Council of ROCA Bishops.
1950: The Lesna convent (ROCA) moved from Serbia to France. The convent was founded by St. John of Kronstadt in Southern Russia at the beginning of this century and after the revolution emigrated to Serbia.
1950–1955: Archbishop Spyridon, the head of the State Church of Greece, initiated and maintained a period of fierce persecution against the Old Calendar Orthodox Christians.
1951: Government persecution of the Old Calendar Church in Greece. Old Calendar clergy were arrested, stripped of their clerical robes, shaved and shorn, often beaten, and then cast out onto the street in civil dress; some were sent into exile. One aged priest was beaten to death. All churches were sealed and vessels taken. Metropolitan Germanos of Cyclades Island died in the greatest grief when under house arrest. Archbishop of Athens Spyridon did not permit proper burial and many were arrested at the cemetery.
Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina was arrested and exiled to the monastery of St. John on the island of Lesvos.
1951: January 23/February 5. The miracle-working Kursk Icon of Mother of God arrived in America.
1951: The Autocephalous status of the Orthodox Church of Czechoslovakia was confirmed by the Patriarch of Moscow. Its First Hierarch became Metropolitan Eleftherios.
1951: A new head for the Polish Church was provided by Moscow — Metropolitan Makary (Oksivsk), former Bishop of Lvov.
1952: The Patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras, wrote an epistle calling all Orthodox Churches to join the Ecumenical movement.
1952: Representatives of Constantinople, Antioch, Cyprus, and the American Metropolia (later THE OCA) participated in The Ecumenical Faith and Order Conference in Lund.
1952: Greek Old Calendar Bishops Polycarp of Diavlia and Christopher of Christianopolis, intimidated by persecutions, returned to the State Church of Greece, leaving Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina all alone in the Old Calendar Church, if one did not take into account “Matthewite” Bishops of uncanonical consecration.
1952: Mount Athos had about 2,700 monks.
1953: The “Apostle to South America,” Protopresbyter Constantine (Izrastzov) (ROCA) reposed. He built the first Orthodox church in the Southern hemisphere in 1901 in Buenos Aires in Argentina, and 15 other churches were built with his participation or assistance.
1953: Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras established a theological school on Mt. Athos.
1954: St. John (Maximovitch), then Archbishop of Western Europe, took the young Church of Holland under his omophorion.
1954: At the Evanston Assembly of the WCC, in a statement prepared and inspired primarily by Father George (Florovsky), dean of St. Vladimir Seminary (THE OCA), the Orthodox delegates declared: “We are bound to declare our profound conviction that the Holy Orthodox Church alone has preserved in full and intact the Faith once delivered to the saints” (Boston pg. 316).
1954: Bishop Irenaeus (later Metropolitan and Head of THE OCA) went to Japan from the USA and granted the Church of Japan autonomy; that act resolved the schism inside the Church of Japan and it was united again.
1955: Romanian Metropolitan Galactic left the Romanian New Calendar Church and joined the Old Calendarists of Romania. He was arrested right away.
1955: September 7. Greek Old Calendar Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina reposed, leaving no successor. The “Matthewites” possessed only uncanonical Bishops, they formed a minority, about 1/4 of all Old Calendarists in Greece. Followers of Metropolitan Chrysostom were ruled by a Council of Archimandrites.
1955: September 25. In Alexandria, Egypt, Patriarch Christopher II of Alexandria presided at a memorial service for the repose of the soul of Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina.
1955: In a single night in Istanbul (Constantinople), with the police looking on, thousands of hired thugs descended on the city’s Hellenic ghettos. Almost every Greek shop in the city had its windows broken; cemeteries were desecrated; the tombs of the Patriarchs were destroyed; seventy-three Orthodox churches were gutted.
1956: St. Nikolai (Velimirovitch), Bishop of the Serbian Church in America reposed in the Lord. He was canonized in 1988 by the Serbian Church.
1956: Romanian Old Calendar Metropolitan Galaction single single-handedly consecrated 3 Bishops, including Bishop Glicherie, future Metropolitan and First Hierarch of the Romanian Old Calendar Church.
1956: The New Shamordino Convent (ROCA) was found in Kentlyn, Australia, the first Orthodox monastery on that continent.
1956: ROCA bishops left “The Council of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of America” after it accepted bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate as members.
1957: At the WCC conference in Oberlin, Ohio, in response to the Protestant’s conference theme “The Unity we Seek,” the Orthodox delegates, again, at the inspiration of Father George Florovsky, responded that this “unity has never been lost… For us, this unity is embodied in the Orthodox Church” (Boston, pg. 316).
1957: Greek Old Calendar Archimandrite Akakios (Papas) petitioned the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad to consecrate Bishops for the True Orthodox Church (“Florinites”), but Metropolitan Anastassy refused to do so.
1957: New Patriarch of Jerusalem Benedict I was elected.
1958: January 20/February 2. The first Orthodox church in Lima, Peru was consecrated by ROCA Archbishop Leonty of Chile.
1958: The Head of the Orthodox Church of Czechoslovakia, Metropolitan Eleftherios, resigned and new Head Metropolitan John was elected.
1958: New Patriarch of the Serbian Church German was elected.
1958: The Moscow Patriarchate recognized the autonomous status of the Church of Finland.
1958: The grave of Old Calendar Metropolitan Chrysostom of Florina at the Convent of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Parnitha, Attica, was opened and his remains were found to be fragrant.
1958: Since July many Romanian Church leaders, including Patriarch Justinian, were arrested and several hundreds of priests and monks were reduced to the lay state by government officials.
1959: September 13-15. In connection with the visit of Khrushchev to America molebens were served in all ROCA churches in the USA for the salvation of Russia and pannykhidas (memorial services) were served for all those slain and tortured by the godless ones.
1959: The Greek State Church hierarchy, in the main hostile to participation in the WCC, decreed that only lay theologians who could not involve the Church, would be allowed to represent the Greek Church at the ecumenical assemblies in the future (Meyendorff, pg. 219).
1959: The WCC convened a conference at Rhodes.
1959: Archbishop Iakovos was enthroned as Head of the Greek Archdiocese in the Americas.
1959: March 17. Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras, through Archbishop Iakovos of America, sent a personal letter to the Roman Pope John XXIII: “Your Holiness, my Patriarch gave me a commission to inform you, that the 6th verse of chapter 1 of the Gospel according to John was written about you; and he is convinced that the man, who was sent from God, whose name is John, is precisely you; and verse 7 of the same chapter defined your mission, i.e., as he “came a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all through him might believe” thus you are were chosen for the same purpose, although in your essence you are not a light, you were exalted to the cathedra of Rome “to bear witness of the light” (“Information,” Vatican #1, 1994 or Прав. Русь, №13/1995).
1959: 15 August (Dormition of Mother of God by the Old calendar). Blessed repose of Holy Elder Joseph, Hesychast of Mt. Athos.
1959: St. John (Maximovitch), then Archbishop of Western Europe, took under his protection the newly-formed Gallic (French) Orthodox Church and became its ruling Bishop, giving it full autonomy.
1959: The Central Committee of the WCC met on Rhodes with representatives of almost all Orthodox Churches.
1959: Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov), author of books about Holy Elder Silouan of Mt. Athos, founded the monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, England.
1959: October 12. The cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign (Kursk) at the Synod of ROCA Bishops in Manhattan was consecrated.
1960: May 1/14. At the feast day of the icon of our Lady of “Unexpected Joy,” a paper icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Of the Passion,” belonging to the pious Greek family of Antonia Kulis in Long Island, New York, began weeping. One month later another icon of the Mother of God in the same area began weeping, and then another.
1960: After “perestroika,” when KGB archives were opened to the public, in it was found a report of the Head of the Council of Religious Affairs Kuroedov about his conversation during this year with Patriarch Alexis I concerning the WCC. — “the Patriarch accepted the recommendation of the Council of Religious Affairs for the Russian Orthodox Church to became a member of the WCC and regarded it as a big step toward its activity abroad…”
1960: December. Archimandrite Akakios (Papas) of the “Florinite” jurisdiction of the Greek Old Calendar Church, or as they called themselves, the “True Orthodox Church” (TOC), came to the USA to petition the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad again to consecrate bishops (for them), but Metropolitan Anastassy decided that there was no need to get involved. However Archbishop Seraphim of Chicago and Bishop Theophil Ionescu of Detroit agreed to consecrate Archimandrite Akakios, which was done without the blessing and knowledge of Metropolitan Anastassy or the ROCA Synod. Another complication for the newly-consecrated bishop was that Bishop Theophil, though affiliated with the ROCA, was the only new calendar bishop in ROCA with his Rumanian flock. Later that caused the TOC lots of troubles. Until 1969 the ROCA Synod did not recognize that consecration.
1960: More than 4,000 monks and nuns in Romania were reported to have been arrested.
1960–1964: Nikita Khrushchev started a new persecution of the Russian Church. In four years 10,000 newly-opened churches and 69 monasteries were closed. Russian Hierarchs in interviews with foreign reporters denied any persecution at all.
1961: March 1. The head of the Orthodox Church of Poland, Metropolitan Makary, died. His successor, Timothy, Archbishop of Bialystok was canonically elected.
1961: April. The Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras and his Synod canonized St. Nectarios of Aegina.
1961: At this year the Moscow Patriarchate has 8,252 priests and 809 deacons.
1961: July 18: The Council of Bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate convened. To that Council some of the most outspoken bishops were not invited in view of reforms that took place. That Council almost nullified the power of bishops and priests, and gave all power to parish councils and starostas (heads of the council), which was appointed by local communist organizations. All Church property and major decisions, as an appointment of treasurer, etc., were now in the hands of the starosta. In some cases they were openly atheists, or morally unstable, and nobody in parish could replace them without permission of government officials. Eight bishops, inspired by Archbishop Germogen of Tashkent, wrote a letter of protest, but later fell under pressure and withdrew their petition, all except Archbishop Germogen. For being so steadfast he was “retired” in to a monastery. Another government-inspired decision of that Council was for the Russian Orthodox Church to became a member of the WCC. Other Churches of the Soviet block: Polish, Romanian, and Bulgarian, soon followed suit.
1961: At the order of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, conveyed through his Exarch, Archbishop Iakovos of Americas, the Orthodox delegates at the WCC assembly in New Delhi are “to refrain” henceforth from issuing “separate statements” at WCC conferences.
1962: Archbishop Leonty of Chile (ROCA) traveled to Greece and together with Greek Old Calendar Archbishop Akakios (Florinite) consecrated three Bishops: Parthenios of the Cyclades, Auxentios of Gardakion, and Chrysostom of Magnesia. These consecrations also were done without the knowledge or blessing of the ROCA Synod and its First Hierarch. Then Archbishop Akakios with the newly-consecrated bishops made two more consecrations of Akakios of Davlia and Gerontios of Salamis.
1962: Archbishop Leonty of Chile stood before the ROCA Council. Archbishop Averky, abbot of Holy Trinity monastery and rector of the Seminary, in defense of Archbishop Leonty said: “It was a big mistake that the ROCA Bishops in the past did not do much about the introduction of the New calendar, since its main purpose was to create a division in the Orthodox Church. I would not dare to do what he did, but I am amazed at his brave act which was done by the calling of his conscience…” St. Archbishop John (Maximovitch) expressed his opinion in the same manner: “The Old Calendarists were knocking on our door for 6 years, but the Council of Bishops considered it the private business of the Greek Church. The explanation of Archbishop Leonty was that “the Old Calendar Church of Greece is a persecuted Church in need of help, we should recognize it as satisfactory and stop debating that issue. In the last century in the Antiochian Church there developed some problems and Constantinople helped, and in the Church of Cyprus, too….” (Прав. Жизнь).
1963: 23 April/6 May. Russian Catacomb Bishop Barnabas (Beliaev) reposed. He was a Fool for Christ, Confessor, and spiritual writer.
1963: St. John (Maximovitch) was confirmed as Archbishop of San Francisco.
1963: Greek Old Calendar Archbishop Akakios of Talantion (TOC or Florinite) died. Bishop Auxentios of Gardakion became Head of the TOC.
1963: April. In an address to members of a WCC gathering in Buck Hills Falls, Pennsylvania, Archbishop Iakovos of Greek Archdiocese in America stated: “It would be utterly foolish for the true believers to pretend or to insist that the whole truth has been revealed only to them, and that they alone possess it. Such a claim would be both unbiblical and untheological… Christ did not specify the date nor the place that the Church would suddenly take full possession of the whole truth” (Boston pg. 317).
1963: July. Parishioners of the ROCA San Francisco Cathedral of the “Joy of all who Sorrow” elected a new parish council, which, with the blessing of its Archbishop, St. John (Maximovitch), resumed building of the new cathedral. The old council, seeking support of some members of the ROCA Synod, appealed to the civil courts. A painful trial followed. Six bishops came to San Francisco, three of them took the side of the old parish council and three bishops gave their support to St. John and a new council. Ninety-year-old Metropolitan Anastassy came too. At that trial a righteous judgment was reached and Archbishop John was established as the permanent Hierarch of San Francisco and Western America. When asked who was to blame for all the Church disorder that had occurred, he replied simply: “The devil.”
1964: (?). After the Moscow Patriarchate’s demand, the Patriarch of Constantinople gave the Russian Exarchate of Western Europe (the jurisdiction separated from ROCA in 1927, so called Evlogians) to the Moscow Patriarchate. The head of the Western European Exarchate, Archbishop Gregory, refused to join the Church in Russia and declared his Church autocephalous. Nobody recognized its autocephaly and later it was accepted back by Constantinople, but not anymore as an Exarchate but as a diocese.
1964: January. Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI met and held joint prayers in the Holy Land.
1964: St. John (Maximovitch), Archbishop of San Francisco, during preparation for canonization of St. John of Kronstadt, visited John (Shachovskoy), Archbishop of San Francisco (THE OCA) and proposed for THE OCA to recognize ROCA canonization of St. John of Kronstadt and, since Alaska is in THE OCA jurisdiction, to canonize St. Herman of Alaska and ROCA in return would recognize that canonization. But Archbishop John (Shachovskoy) refused.
1964: May 14/27. Election of new First Hierarch of ROCA. Vote was split between St. John (Maximovitch) and the other candidate. To avoid divisions, by recommendation of St. John, the youngest bishop, Philaret (Vosnesensky) of Australia, was chosen as candidate for the position of First Hierarch of ROCA. After secret vote he was confirmed as the Metropolitan.
1964: June 4/17. The Council of ROCA Bishops issued an Encyclical to the flock and Christians of the free world about persecution of the faithful in USSR.
1964: October 19/November 1. The Glorification of St. John of Kronstadt by ROCA Synod took place.
1964: Jean-Nectarios (Kovalevsky) was consecrated bishop for the Gallic (French) Church by St. John (Maximovitch) and Bishop Theophil (Ionescu) in San Francisco.
1964: Patriarch Alexis of Russia required registration of every baptism with the government authorities. Because of that, many lost their jobs and were expelled from educational institutions.
1964: As a reaction to joint prayer of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras with Roman Pope Paul VI, the monastery Simonopetra of Mount Athos wrote a letter of protest.
1965: With the recommendation of St. John (Maximovitch), Archbishop of San Francisco, the first Orthodox Bishop of Holland Jacob (Akkevsdeke), native Dutch, was consecrated by Metropolitan Philaret, First Hierarch of ROCA.
1965: May 9/22. Metropolitan Anastassy, former First Hierarch of the ROCA, reposed in the 91st year of his life. He led the ROCA Synod from 1936 to 1964.
1965: Serbian Patriarchate joined the WCC.
1965: The Second Vatican Council ended. It brought dramatical reforms into the Roman Church.
1965: Two Moscow Patriarchate priests, Fr. Gleb Yakunin and Fr. Nicholas Eshliman, wrote an open letter about the real situation in the Russian Church. They stated that since the “Declaration” of Metropolitan Sergius the civil government became the real ruler of the Russian Church. They listed many examples of it. They also called for a new Council with freely elected participants from all parishes and dioceses and free election of a new Patriarch. Patriarch Alexis gave his order to stop that letter from circulation among believers. Soon both priests were imprisoned.
1965: December. Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras unilaterally lifted the 1054 Anathema against unrepented Rome. The prominent canonist of the New Calendar Greek Archdiocese of the Americas, Reverend Theodore T. Thalassinos, wrote: “The removal of mutual excommunication between the two Churches restores canonical relations between Rome and New Rome (i.e., Constantinople – Ed.). The restoration is a canonical necessity, since there is no possible third alternative between ecclesiastical communion and its negation: ecclesiastical excommunication” (Boston, pg. 317). Almost all monasteries of Mount Athos ceased commemorating Patriarch Athenagoras during Divine services. Patriarch Benedict of Jerusalem called it a “…terrible blow to Orthodoxy to the benefit of Papism…” Metropolitan Philaret, the First Hierarch of the ROCA wrote an open letter of protest to Patriarch Athenagoras: “… It is not a question of personal controversy between the Pope and the Patriarch which could be easily remedied by their mutual Christian forgiveness; no, the essence of the problem is in the deviation from Orthodoxy, which took root in Roman Church during the centuries… The more innovations were introduced, the deeper was to became the separation between the East and the West… Therefore, the cancelation of the mutual excommunications of 1054 could have been of meaning in the XI century, but now it is only evidence of indifference in regard to the most important errors… The Church tradition and the example of Holy Fathers teach us that the Church holds no dialogue with those who have separated themselves from Orthodoxy. Rather the Church addressed to them a monologue, inviting them to return to its fold through rejection of any dissenting doctrines… We sincerely ask Your Holiness to put an end to the confusion, because the way you have chosen to follow, even if it would bring you to a union with the Roman Catholics, would also provoke a schism in the Orthodox world…”
1966: February 20. Archbishop Germogen of Tashkent wrote a letter to Patriarch Alexis I of Russia, in which he gave a good example of full submission of Russian Hierarchs to the Soviet regime: Once, he wrote, he had a talk with Metropolitan Pitirim of Krutitsa, who was the second high ranking Hierarch after the Patriarch. They talked about Archbishop Germogen’s problems with local Soviet authorities in Tashkent. Metropolitan Pitirim gave him the following advice: “When a priest or member of parish council will come to you with their Church-related questions, listen to them, but then send them to the local representative of the Council of Religious Affairs, asking them to come back again; on their return make a call to that representative and ask him what was his reply and then give them the same answer…”
1966: Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras stated that “theoretical unity (between Rome and Constantinople) already exists. But actual unity will shortly take place.”
1966: June19/July 2. St. John (Maximovitch), Archbishop of San Francisco reposed in Lord in Seattle, Washington, in the presence of the miracle-working Kursk icon of Mother of God.
1966: The Council of the Moscow Patriarchate Bishops suspended two priests, Fr. Gleb (Yakunin) and Fr. Nicholas (Eshliman), for their open letter; arrest and imprisonment followed.
1966: December 8. An Open letter of Kirov believers to the Patriarch Alexis I was sent abroad and BBC released its content. That letter contained mainly a description of unconscionable actions of the local Bishop John aimed at setting Church life in disarray. Therefore, the believers requested the Patriarch to remove him. Among other matters the letter noted that local civil authorities have, from 1960 to 1964, illegally and forcibly closed 40 churches in the Kirov area (53%), had the icons and iconostases in these churches set afire, plundered the Church valuables, and had a number of churches completely destroyed without any necessity for so doing…” (“Catacomb Saints”, pg. 456). All 12 believers not only signed the letter but gave their addresses, too.
1966: February 14. Boris Talantov, one of the authors of the Open Letter of Kirov Believers was summoned to the Kirov administration of KGB. Here, after he had been threatened at first with prison, it was proposed that he renounce the Open Letter in a written declaration that would be published in one of the newspapers. He categorically refused. Later he paid for it with his life. He was imprisoned and died in prison. Other authors of the Open Letter were also persecuted, but nobody failed to acknowledge their signature.
1967: February 25. Nicodim (Rotov), Metropolitan of Leningrad, a prominent figure in the Moscow Patriarchate in an interview to BBC in London declared that the Open Letter of Kirov Believers is an anonymous document and therefore not credible. He made clear his readiness to swear to the truth of his statement on the Cross and Bible. Boris Talantov in one of his letters stated: “This assertion of Metropolitan Nicodim greatly distressed me as an Orthodox Christian, since from previous correspondence with the Moscow Patriarchate I was convinced that Metropolitan Nicodim could not be in doubt of the authenticity of the Open Letter. Therefore on March 22 (1967) I sent to Patriarch Alexis a letter in which I refuted the assertion of Metropolitan Nicodim about the anonymity of the Open Letter and confirmed the credibility of its contents…” (“Catacomb Saints”, pg. 456).
1967: July. Pope Paul VI traveled to Constantinople and held joint prayers with Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras.
1967: October. Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras traveled to Rome and held joint prayers with Pope Paul VI.
1967: Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras traveled to London and held joint prayers with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
1968: At the WCC assembly in Uppsala, Sweden, were present 140 delegates from all Orthodox Churches except the ROCA and Greek Old Calendarists; the Moscow Patriarchate sent 35 representatives of priests and Bishops, the leader of the group was Metropolitan Nicodim of Leningrad, one of the greatest preachers of “Christian Unity” in our time. The Church of Greece (New Calendar) sent only 2 laymen, who did not stay until the end of all sessions. Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox delegates opened sessions with prayer: “O God, Father, You can create all new… Your love is stretched out upon all men, to seek the Truth, which we have not known”. That was a strange admittance for the Orthodox. For the first time, the Orthodox officially became an “organic members” of this ecumenistic body.
1968: In his Christmas Encyclical, Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras announced that he had inserted Pope Paul VI’s name in the diptychs (the list of canonical, Orthodox Bishops, whose names are commemorated during the Holy Eucharist).
1968: May 10. Election of new Patriarch of Alexandria Nicholas VI.
1968: August. In KGB archives, opened after Perestroika, were found documents reviling the real power behind ecumenical activities of Moscow Patriarchate. Most of the Russian Hierarchs mentioned in those documents bear “nick names,” but in most cases, when one compares dates and events and historical facts, it is not hard to identify them. For example: “August 1968. Agents “Svatoslav” (Metrop. Nicodim?), “Adamant” (Metrop. Juvenali), “Altar”, “Master”… went to England to participate in sessions of WCC Central Committee. Our agents were able to avert hostile activities and install agent “Kuznetzov” in the governing body of the WCC…” That agent whose real name is Alexis Buevski, a member of the Church Foreign Relations Committee in Moscow Patriarchate, in 1993 was still a member of WCC Central Committee (Gospel according to Marx, Readers Digest, 1993).
1969: ROCA First Hierarch Metropolitan Philaret wrote a letter of protest to Archbishop Iakovos of the Greek Archdiocese in the Americas, concerning Constantinople’s ecumenical activities. In addition, he addressed a “Sorrowful Epistle” to all Hierarchs of World Orthodoxy.
1969: December 18. Metropolitan Philaret and the entire Council of ROCA Bishops officially ratified and recognized the consecrations of the True Orthodox Church (TOC), i.e., Greek Old Calendar Church of the Florinite jurisdiction; thereby, they accepted the Synod of Archbishop Auxentios as a sister Church and declared that full ecclesiastical communion should be established.
1970: January 24. Election of new Head of Orthodox Church of Poland, Metropolitan Basil.
1970: The Moscow Patriarchate lifted suspensions from the THE OCA and the Church of Japan clergy and granted THE OCA autocephaly; The THE OCA in return released the Church of Japan from its jurisdiction back to Moscow Patriarchate. The Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and the Archbishop of Athens did not recognize the new autocephalous Church. At the same time the Moscow Patriarchate, the THE OCA and the Church of Japan canonized new Saints—great missionaries of XIX century St. Innocent of Alaska and St. Nicholas of Japan.
1970: St. Herman of Alaska was canonized on July 27/August 9 by the ROCA and the THE OCA.
1971: September. Two Greek Old Calendar Bishops, representing the “Matthewite” Synod, Kallistos of Corinth and Epiphanios of Kition of Cyprus came to United States on behalf of their Synod to petition the Russian Church Abroad to regularize their consecrations under whatever conditions the ROCA Synod should impose. In a Resolution of September 15 1971, the ROCA Synod agreed to this regularization by the rite of laying on of hands on all the other Matthewite Bishops and that they, in turn, perform this rite for all their clergy. Another condition was that the Matthewite Synod make peace and unite with the Synod of Archbishop Auxentios (Florinites). Two Matthewite Bishops, Kallistos and Epiphanios, agreed to this condition and on September 17/30 and September 18/October 1 1971, during the Divine Liturgies, the two Hierarchs received the Laying-on of hands at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts by two ROCA Bishops. Abbot Panteleimon of Holy Transfiguration Monastery was main negotiator between the two Synods. The conditions laid down by the ROCA Synod and agreed upon by Matthewite representatives were only partially implemented in Greece. The Matthewite Synod agreed to perform the rite of consecration over their bishops, but refused to perform same rite over their priests and deacons. The Second condition — union with the Synod of Archbishop Auxentios — also was not met. Metropolitan Kallistos and Epiphanios rebuked their fellow bishops, but to no avail.
1971: Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras publicly proclaimed that he gives communion to Roman Catholics and Protestants.
1971: July. Election of a new Patriarch of the Bulgarian Church, Maxim, after the death of Patriarch Cyril.
1971: Metropolitan Philaret of the ROCA addressed his “Second Sorrowful Epistle” to the bishops of World Orthodoxy.
1971: The Council of Bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate convened. The election of the new Patriarch of Russia Pimen took place by open vote. Fr. John Meyendorff wrote about that election: “It is clear that under the present Soviet regime it is impossible to imagine that this election was free…” In an interview in 1989, the former head of the Council of Religious Affairs, Harchev, who was the real power behind Patriarchal throne, said: “It is no secret that the last Patriarchs were not elected, but appointed under strong pressure from Soviet government…” That Council also displayed its animosity toward the ROCA and approved ecumenical activities of its Synod.
1971: The only Seminary in Constantinople was closed by Turkish government.
1971: September 1/14. The Council of ROCA Bishops took place. Two documents were published — “The situation of the Catacomb Church in Russia” and “Refusal to Recognize Patriarch Pimen.”
1971: Bishop of Holland Jacob (Akkevsdeke) left the ROCA and joined the Moscow Patriarchate.
1971: Serbian Patriarch German, being one of the chairmen of the WCC, signed with other chairpersons, representatives of different Christian believers, an Address, in which were these words: “A powerful breath of renovation will blow above the grand Church field, and also in all its communities, because they are not just administrative units, but all together create compound parts of one great Christian Church…” (Ghfd/ Hecm/ cnh/ 4/ 1998 #21). Archimandrite Justin (Popovitch), canonized by Serbian Church in 1988, stopped commemorating Patriarch German, because of his participation in issuing this heretical document.
1971: St. Justin (Popovitch), Archimandrite of Serbian Church, wrote about Patriarch Athenagoras: “He, by his neopapist activities, for decades corrupted Orthodox consciences, rejecting the only saving Truth of the Orthodox Church and faith, by recognizing the Roman Pope with his demonic pride…” He called the Patriarch an “apostate and heretic” (Прав. Русь, №22/1998).
1972: Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras died. New Patriarch Demetrios was enthroned. In his enthronement speech, the new Patriarch addressed the Roman Pope as the leader of Christendom, while speaking of himself as the leader of the Orthodox. He also vowed to continue Athenagoras’ policies.
1972: March 28. Election of the new head of the autonomous Orthodox Church of Japan, Metropolitan Theodosius (Nagashima).
1973: December 23. Election of the new Archbishop of Sinai Damianos (Samartsis).
1974: January 12. Election of new head of the Orthodox Church of Greece, Archbishop Seraphim.
1974: Patriarch Demetrios of Constantinople in his Paschal message proposed a fixed date for Pascha.
1974: Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios banished thirteen Athonite monks—including three abbots, who refused to commemorate him because of his ecumenical activities.
1974: Greek Old calendar “Matthewite” Synod formally cut off all communion with the ROCA, because the latter refused to condemn all those who follow the new calendar as schismatics devoid of Grace.
1974: Greek Old calendar “Florinite” Synod of Archbishop Auxentios, in an attempt to reunite all Old calendarists of Greece, reconfirmed the 1950 encyclical of the Synod of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina concerning the invalidity of the mysteries of the State Church and all followers of the calendar innovation. This led to the resignation of Bishop Petros, Exarch in United States, and caused great consternation among other Old calendarists of moderate spirit.
1974: September 12/25. The Third General Council of ROCA took place at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. One of its most important decisions was the lifting of the ban on the “Old Rite” (the rite of Old believers).
1974: At the end of this year the Moscow Patriarchate had 5,994 priests and 594 deacons.
1975: The Theological School of Chalki (Ecumenical Patriarchate) was closed.
1975: Metropolitan Athenagoras of Thyateria and Great Britain, with the written commendation and approval of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, published his Thyateria Confession, which recognizes the priesthood and the sacraments of heretical denominations, espouses the “Branch Theory,” admits that Muslims deny the divinity of Christ but nonetheless teaches that “they believe in the true God”; and finally, it permits Orthodox in the absence of their own clergy, to have intercommunion with Roman Catholics and Anglicans. This document was never repudiated or condemned by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
1975: At the WCC assembly in Nairobi, the Orthodox representatives stated: “The Orthodox do not expect that other Christians be converted to Orthodoxy in its historic and cultural reality of the past and present and to became members of the Orthodox Church”.
1976: Election of new Patriarch Theoktist of Romanian New Calendar Church.
1976: Greek Old Calendar “Matthewite” Synod broke with the ROCA and later repudiated that Church’s corrections of their consecrations in 1971.
1976: According to KGB archives opened after Perestroika, at the end of this year out of 300 Moscow priests only 75 refused to collaborate with the secret police.
1977: June 12. Election of new Romanian (New Calendar) Church Patriarch Justin (Moise-secu). As Metropolitan of Moldavia, Justin was known to have cooperated with government officials in the reduction of monastic life during the years 1958-1962.
1977: Metropolitan Philaret and the ROCA Synod received in to communion a group of Catacomb clergy in Russia.
1977: December 23. Election of new Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia Elias II.
1977: Greek Old Calendar “Florinite” and Romanian Old Calendar bishops met together and established communion.
1977: October. Election of new head of the THE OCA, Metropolitan Theodosius. He was the first American-born Metropolitan.
1977: November 13. Election of new Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos, formerly Metropolitan of Pathos. He did not combine his ecclesiastical functions with the presidency of the republic as did his predecessor Makarios.
1978: June 29/July 12. ROCA Archbishop Andrew (Rymarenko) of Novo-Diveyevo reposed.
1978: During an official audience with newly-elected Pope John Paul I, Metropolitan Nicodim (Rotov) of Leningrad collapsed and died in the arms of the Pope, from whom he received the last rites. It was later revealed that Nicodim had secretly accepted Roman Catholicism.
1978: September 11/24. The canonization of Blessed Xenia of St. Petersburg by the ROCA Synod of Bishops took place in New York.
1978: Metropolitan Theodosios of the THE OCA went to Rome for the enthronement of new Pope John Paul I. In his letter to Protopriest John Soroka he wrote: “It is absolutely necessary to represent the THE OCA on the international level… to show that we exist as a Church…” (Прав. Обозрение. №47, стр. 78).
1978: The Greek Old Calendar Synod of Archbishop Auxentios (Florinites) made an uncanonical consecration of a ROCA cleric as Bishop of Portugal, which led to a severance of relations between the two Synods.
1979: February. Two Bishops of the Florinite Synod — Metropolitan Kallistos of Corinth and Anthony of Megaris — along with a group of archimandrites, broke away from the Synod of Archbishop Auxentios. The motives for it were — “administrative inabilities of Archbishop Auxentios, which led to many anomalies and canonical disorders, and also to the admission of many questionable clerics from the ranks of the State Church…” (The Old Calendar Church of Greece, Archim. Chrysostom, pg. 22). Bishops Kallistos and Anthony consecrated eight Bishops from among the aforementioned archimandrites and thus created a new Synod, made up of ten bishops: Kallistos, Anthony, Cyprian, Maximos, Kallinikos, Matthew, Germanos, Kalliopios, Mercurios, and another Kallinikos.
1979: February 14. The remaining three bishops of Archbishop Auxentios’ Synod condemned the schism and deposed Bishops Kallistos and Anthony. The same day they consecrated ten more bishops.
1979: February 27. The new Synod of the Greek Old calendar Church, under the leadership of Archbishop Auxentios, met in Athens and ratified condemnatory resolution of February 14, deposing both those who performed the consecration and those who were consecrated. Auxentios’ Synod declared that they: “denounce the deposed and sever them from the body of our Holy Church as conspirators, factionalists, establishers of unlawful assemblies, and schismatics, and have no communion whatsoever with them any longer…” (Boston, pg. 108).
1979: Founding of first Orthodox parish in Luxembourg of St. Peter and St. Paul (ROCA).
1979: March 25 (Old cal.). On the feastday of Annunciation St. Justin (Popovitch), Archimandrite, reposed in the Lord. He was author of many theological books: 12 volumes of Lives of the Saints, Dogmatic Theology, etc. He was canonized by the Serbian Church in 1988.
1979: June 27. Patriarch of Antioch Elias IV reposed.
1979: July 2. Election of new Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius IV (Hazim); he was educated at the American University of Beirut and at the Theological Institute of St. Sergius in Paris.
1980: December. Patriarch of Jerusalem Benedict reposed.
1980: June 29. Yearly Diocesan Conference of Greek Exarchate in America took place in Atlanta, Georgia, during which Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America served an ecumenical service with Roman Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, United Methodists, and Jews. Altogether, 50 clerics of different confessions were praying together in an Orthodox church.
1980: In the Antiochian parish of St. George in Montreal, Canada, while Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) was serving the Divine Liturgy, present in the altar was a local Roman Catholic Bishop as an honorary guest. Before the Holy Communion he was presented with a piece of antidoron on a plate. When time came to go to the chalice Catholic Bishop ask permission to dip his antidoron in to the chalice with the Holy Gifts. Metropolitan Philip gave his permission. The whole event was viewed by many on a local TV station. (Orthodox Witness, July 6/1980).
1980: At the end of this year the Romanian Church had about twelve million faithful and ten thousand priests.
1980: Metropolitan Philaret of the ROCA wrote a letter to Serbian Patriarch German concerning ecumenical activities of some of his clerics, i.e., joint prayer with priestesses and a rabbi. Patriarch German responded: “With brotherly love we inform you that participation of Serbian priests on so-called ecumenical services was absolutely accidental, unforeseen, and in contradiction with the views of the Serbian Church” (Прав. Обозрение. №52, стр. 110).
1980: Archimandrite Philotheos (Zervakos), abbot of the monastery of the Life-giving Spring in Longovarda, Greece, spiritual son of St. Nectarios of Aegina, spiritual father of many, and well respected elder in the Greek New Calendar Church, wrote a letter to his spiritual son. He was 96 years old at the time. — “…I am sorry that from all heads of states to whom I wrote letters, calling them to repent and follow God’s Laws, nobody responded or all the more repented. Among rulers of the Church, the famous Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras, to whom I sent a booklet about humility and letter in which I wrote that if he really loved the Pope then he should tell him only the truth— ‘Dear Pope, because of my love for you I am telling you an uncorrupted truth. Listen, if you have ears to listen. You have the greatest level of pride, and I the second. Because you say that you are infallible and cannot make mistakes, and I declare myself holy. We are both liars, because you are not infallible and I am not holy. And if people in their flattery tell us that we are infallible and holy, we must tell them the truth—We are not what you think, we are sinners.’м—мthe Patriarch was angry and offended because I told him the truth and he sent me back my letter through his general secretary, who wrote that the Patriarch ordered to sent it back and that he never expected such a letter from the abbot of Longovarda monastery, and he did not want to keep it in his archives…” In the same letter elder Philotheos wrote about his conversation with the head of the Greek government at that time, his spiritual son Constantine Kallias. He tried to convince him to persuade Patriarch Athenagoras to restrain from falling into the embrace of Roman Pope. Constantine Kallias responded that we should be obedient to the Ecumenical Patriarch. “Then,” — wrote the elder, — “I became filled with zeal, and righteous wrath and told him — the Ecumenical Patriarch was when he has good pastors and 4 million Christians. But Athenagoras and Meletios (Metaxakis) are not a good shepherds and they didn’t enter the sheepfold by the door, but climb up some other way — by the means of Masonry…” (Orthodox Tradition, vol. XII #1, 1995.)
1981: February 16/March 1. Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem was enthroned in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
1981: October 19/November 1. Canonization of New Martyrs of Russia by the Council of ROCA Bishops in New York.
1981: The Greek Old calendar Synod of Archbishop Auxentius entered into communion with the Free Serbian Church in the USA. That union later broke down when it became known that both clergy and laymen of Serbian jurisdiction in America were deeply involved in Freemasonry.
1982: June 4. Bishop Christophoros (Ruben Spartas), first black bishop and pioneer of Orthodoxy in Uganda died.
1982: The ROCA Council of Bishops, in response to a request of catacomb believers in Russia, decided to consecrate a bishop for the Catacomb Church in Russia.
1982: July 20/August 2. With the blessing of the Council of ROCA Bishops, the Godbearing elder Blessed Paisius (Velichkovsky) was canonized in the skete of St. Elias on Mount Athos. Archbishop Laurus of Holy Trinity monastery and Bishop Mark of Germany took part in the triumphant celebration.
1982: August 20/September 2. Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) reposed. Co-founder of St. Herman of Alaska monastery in Platina, California and of The Orthodox Word magazine. Ascetic, theologian, author of many books, including: The Soul after Death, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the future, The Northern Thebaid, The Russian Catacomb Saints, etc. He presented the English-speaking world with many translations, such as: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Fr. Michael Pomazansky, Vita Patrum by St. Gregory of Tours, The path to Salvation by St. Theophan the Recluse, and others.
1982: November 24. The miracle of the Myrrh-streaming Iveron Icon of Mother of God was manifested in Montreal, Canada at the home of Jose Munioz, an Orthodox iconographer from Chile, who was converted to Orthodoxy by ROCA Archbishop Leonty of Chile.
1982: According to the decision of the Synod of ROCA Bishops the secret consecration of Bishop Lazarus took place in Moscow. He became an Archpastor for his Catacomb flock in Russia.
1983: The WCC held its VIth assembly in Vancouver during which shamanistic and other pagan rituals were performed. Metropolitan Cyril of the Moscow Patriarchate served an ecumenical “Liturgy,” created by Frenchman Max Turian, with the participation of Anglican, Catholic, Protestant, and Monotheistic clerics, and, in addition, with two priestesses.
1983: Metropolitan Philaret and the Council of ROCA Bishops pronounced an Anathema against the pan-heresy of Ecumenism.
1983: Fr. Alexander (Schmemam) (THE OCA), dean of St. Vladimir Seminary, author of many controversial theological books, died.
1983: Greek Old Calendar Metropolitan Kallistos of Corinth retired from his Synod (the one that split from Archbishop Auxentius’ Synod) at its refusal to endorse his view that the State Church of Greece is without Grace. Until his death in 1986 he remained alone, under no one and in communion with no one. Metropolitan Anthony of Megaris assumed Synod Presidency.
1985: May. About 60 pastors and 2,000 believers from Evangelical Protestant background in USA decided to become Orthodox. Their 20 representatives traveled to Constantinople but were rejected by Patriarch Demetrios.
1985: November 8/21. Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky), the Head of Russian Church Abroad, reposed.
1985: Metropolitan Glicherie, the head of the Old calendar Church in Romania, reposed.
1986: The election of new First Hierarch of the ROCA. Bishops votes evenly split between Archbishop Vitaly (Ustinov) of Canada and Archbishop Anthony of Geneva. By drawing lots Archbishop Vitaly became new Metropolitan and head of the ROCA.
1986: March. The Greek Old calendar Synod of Archbishop Auxentius split. Most of the bishops filed charges against Archbishop Auxentius for the uncanonical consecration of a man of notoriously bad reputation. Three bishops remained with Archbishop Auxentius — Athanasius of Larisa, Maximos of the Seven Islands, and Germanos of Aeolia. The rest of the Bishops organized a new Synod under Metropolitan Chrysostomos (Kiousis).
1986: January. Serious charges of moral misconduct were brought against Abbot Panteleimon of Holy Transfiguration monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts, and Hieromonk Isaac by some of the monks of that monastery. The Council of ROCA Bishops, in which jurisdiction the monastery was at that time, appointed two bishops to investigate the matter. They went to the monastery and looked into these charges, reporting back to the Synod that there were grounds for further investigation. At the same time both accusers and accused were also extensively questioned by the Council of Bishops. Fr. Panteleimon asked to retire from his duty as abbot. The Synod accepted his resignation, and appointed Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles to supervise the monastery on an interim basis. The monks, citing the by-laws of their monastery, elected a new abbot, Hieromonk Isaac, who also was under investigation and therefore was prohibited by the Synod from holding office.
1986: December 3. Metropolitan Vitaly, fulfilling the ROCA Synod recommendation, suspended both abbot Panteleimon and Hieromonk Isaac and appointed a commission to complete the investigation. Nine days later, on December 12, he received formal notice from the monastery that it had left the Russian Church Abroad, charging that the investigating Bishops had “waged a campaign of slander” against them, and further charging the Synod with ecumenism and “doctrinal abuses.” The influence of Holy Transfiguration monastery was great among English-speaking parishes in the ROCA and Fr. Panteleimon was a spiritual father to many. About 30 clerics, 25 parishes, and one convent followed Fr. Panteleimon and left the ROCA. They were accepted by Greek Old calendar Bishops Akakias of Davlia and Gabriel of Cyclades, who previously had left the Synod of Archbishop Auxentius.
1986: Abbot Herman of St. Herman of Alaska monastery in Platina, despite suspension by the ROCA Synod, began serving. This year he joined the uncanonical group of “Metropolitan” Pankratios, who used to be a defrocked priest in the Church of Constantinople. He (Pankratios) was consecrated as a “bishop” by Romanian Bishop Theophil and Albanian defrocked priest Paul (Rado) who proclaimed himself a Bishop Christophoros. In 1978 “Metropolitan” Pankratios with some coptic Bishop “consecrated” Mario (Mayman) as a bishop in the chapel at the UN. In 1972 (?) Mario hijacked a Swiss jet airliner, claiming that he had a bomb. He demanded a meeting with the Pope, claiming himself to be “Jesus Christ Superstar.” (New York Post, February 18/1978).
1987: February. 60 priests and deacons, along with 2,000 new Orthodox faithful, joined the ranks of Holy Orthodoxy through the Antiochian jurisdiction in America. Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) presided over the ceremonies. The people who comprised the clergy and laity of the Antiochian Evangelical Mission, as they were calling themselves then, came to Holy Orthodoxy from a varied — but on the whole, evangelical protestant— background. Many of these Orthodox missionary clergy were formerly the leaders of the Campus Crusade for Christ. Most astonishing is the fact that, all that lengthy way to Orthodoxy, which took them ten years of constant research and prayer, they made almost on their own.
1987: July 14/27. Archbishop George of Kenya reposed. He was founder of the Orthodox Church in Kenya. He was converted to Orthodoxy in the early 30’s together with the rest of his Gikugu tribe. At the end of his life he was troubled by uncanonical activities of the Alexandrian Patriarchate and joined the Greek Old Calendar Church of Metropolitan Cyprianos of Fili.
1987: Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios stated that it is permitted to receive communion from and impart communion to Roman Catholics under certain conditions, such as in case of mortal danger. (Македония, №7-8, 1987).
1987: Archimandrite Panteleimon of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, Mass., and all his followers left Metropolitans Akakias of Diavlia and Gabriel of Cyclades and joined the jurisdiction of Archbishop Auxentius.
1987: Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios and his archdeacon participated in a Papal mass in Rome.
1987: December 15. Holy Kynot (the governing body of Mt. Athos, i.e., 20 representatives of all monasteries) wrote a letter of protest to Patriarch Demetrios against his ecumenical activities. Patriarch responded that monks were interferring in the business of the Ecumenical Patriarch, being tempted by “dark forces.”
1988: Bishop Nikolai (Velimirovitch) and Archimandrite Justin (Popovitch) were canonized by the Serbian Church.
1988: Protopresbyter Michael (Pomazansky) reposed three weeks before his 100th birthday. Prominent theologian, author of Orthodox Dogmatic Theology and other books, he was the last graduate of the Kiev Theological Academy and the last professor of the Theological Seminary before the Bolshevik revolution. For many years, almost until his death, he was professor of Dogmatic Theology at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville.
1988: March. The Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch in the Americas, Archbishop Iakovos, made the following statement: “The unity we seek cannot be Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Protestant. It has a wider dimension, that of Catholicity…” (Boston, pg. 321).
1988: April 20. Mt. Athos sent a delegation of three abbots to Constantinople with note of protest against Patriarch Demetrios’ ecumenical activities. The Patriarch convinced them that there was no ground for concern.
1988: April 29. Gorbachev met with the entire Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. This was the first such encounter since the 1943 and 1945 meetings with Stalin. Members of the Synod presented Gorbachev a memorandum containing a list of Church grievances, and requesting that the Church be recognized as a legitimate public organization, and asked that state legalization governing religion be changed. Gorbachev gave an affirmative promise.
1988: June 1. Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios gave an interview to Orthodox Typos during which he confirmed his opinion about the possibility of deathbed interconfessional communion.
1988: July 7/20. The Holy Kynot of Mt. Athos sent a letter of protest to Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios in which they wrote: “The Holy Kynot cannot tell the monks of Mt. Athos and other believers about strictness and firmness of your faith anymore, because you personally confess the opposite. The Holy Mountain cannot express loyalty and reverence toward the Ecumenical Throne anymore, because we remain firmly in the traditions and piety of our faith…” (Прав. Русь, №2/1992).
1988: June 6-9. The Universal celebration of the Millennium of Christianity in Russia. The Millennial Council of the Moscow Patriarchate took place. The Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria, and the Archbishop of Athens refused to go to Moscow as a protest against participation in that celebration of First Hierarchs of THE OCA and Church of Japan, which autocephaly they still did not recognize. The most important act of the Council was the decision to shorten maximum intervals between general councils from ten to five years and bishop’s councils from five to two years. The Millennial Council sent an address to the ROCA. In contrast to the Patriarchate’s previous appeals to the ROCA, the new statement did not condemn them as schismatics and did not demand their return under the Moscow Patriarchate, but merely invited them to reestablish relation in a unity of worship. The initiator of this new approach was Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom), the Moscow Patriarchate Bishop of Britain. In his speech at the Council, he praised the ROCA for retaining the Russian spiritual traditions and for passing them on to the younger generations of Russian emigres, as well as for publishing large quantities of service books, which are used even by the Moscow Patriarchate parishes inside Russia.
1988: The Church of Constantinople canonized Elder Silouan, Russian monk from St. Panteleimon monastery on Mt. Athos.
1988: The Holy Order of MANS (which stands for Mysterion, Agape, Nous, Sophia) were converted to Orthodoxy. Their theology was a mixture of New Age philosophy, Christianity, Buddhism, Astrology, Chiliasm, and “revelations” of its founder, the late Fr. Paul Blighton. They had about 2,000 members, a third of whom had taken vows of poverty and obedience. They were gradually moving toward Orthodoxy when they met Abbot Herman of Platina, who helped them in that journey. In 1988 he baptized 650 people. But being in an uncanonical jurisdiction he entered them into the “Church” of Metropolitan Pankratios. Later some of them, including their leader Andrew Rossi, joined some of the canonical jurisdictions in North America. In 1991 one of Metropolitan Pankratios’ Bishops, Benedict, left his jurisdiction in protest against receiving Holy Order of MANS without requesting them renounce all heresies, and joined the ROCA as a Hieromonk. Later he became an Abbot of the Monastery of Christ the Saviour in Blanko, Texas.
1988: June 17. The Washington Post printed an article by ex-KGB agent Victor Orlov, who stated that he was offered the job of infiltrating the Russian Orthodox Hierarchy by entering Moscow Theological Academy without exams and after graduation he would have a successful career of bishop and lots of money. He declined that offer, but among his colleagues were others who agreed to take the job.
1989: The Tragic death of Hieromonk Cosmas of Grigoriu monastery of Mt. Athos. “Apostle to Zaire.” He baptized 15,000 natives and established many churches.
1989: July. From recently opened KGB archives: “In July 1989, according to plan approved by our Leadership, were implemented some measures… during sessions of the WCC in Moscow in which over 500 foreign religious activists participated. As a result, the Central Committee of the WCC made several public announcements, in accordance with the political line of socialist countries..” (Readers Digest, 1993, “Gospel according to Marx”).
1989: September. Metropolitan Pitirim of Volokolamsk of the Moscow Patriarchate declared his intentions to publish the Koran “for the disciples of the Prophet Mohammed.”
1989: October. Patriarch Parthenios of Alexandria declared that “Mohammed is a Prophet of God,” and anyone who “speaks against Islam or Buddhism speaks against God”.
1989: October. The Greek Old calendar Synod of Archbishop Auxentius consecrated Bishop Photios of Lyons for France, for parishes that left ROCA with Archimandrite Panteleimon in 1986.
1990: January. Romanian Patriarch Theoktist, after the downfall of the communist regime of Causcescou and sharp criticism of his collaboration with it, decided to retire to a monastery.
1990: April. Retired Romanian Patriarch Theoktist once again became ruling Patriarch of Romanian New calendar Church.
1990: May. The Council of ROCA Bishops canonized the Optina Elders.
1990: May. In response to many pleas of Catacomb and non-catacomb believers in Russia, the Council of ROCA Bishops opened parishes of the Free Russian Orthodox Church in Russia, and confirmed the Hierarchy in Russia.
1990: Election of new Patriarch of Russia Alexis II.
1990: July 14/27. The Synod of ROCA Bishops did not recognize the election of Patriarch Alexis II of Russia.
1990: The WCC’s Barr Statement, with the participation of Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox theologians, “affirms the need to move beyond a theology which confines salvation to the explicit personal commitment to Jesus Christ…”
1990: September 9. Fr. Alexander Men, Moscow priest, well-known writer, preacher, and missionary to the intelligentsia, was savagely axed to death on his way to church to serve the liturgy.
1990: September 23-28. In the Ecumenical Patriarchate Center in Switzerland took place a meeting of the joint theological commission between Monophysites and Orthodox. 34 participants were from Churches of Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Greece, USA, Lebanon, Poland, Switzerland, Syria, England, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Yugoslavia. The purpose of this commission was, as chairperson Metropolitan Damaskine put it, “restoration of full communion with Monophysites of Syria, India, Armenia, Egypt, and Ethiopia…” The Commission came to the conclusion that dogmatic differences do not exist between them anymore, and that Orthodox and Monophysites are in full agreement in essential dogmatic issues. In two paragraphs of the joint declaration of this committee they stated: “Our Churches condemn the Nestorian heresy and the hidden Nestorianism of Theodorit of Cyprus…” Blessed Theodorit rejected his previous mistakes openly and for his outstanding labors for Orthodoxy was called Blessed by Church fathers. In paragraph 8 the Committee wrote: “Our Churches accepted first three Ecumenical Councils, which are our common legacy. In relation to four later Councils, Orthodox assert that the teaching contained in 1-7 paragraphs of this Declaration are also teaching of those four Councils, while Monophysites considered that assertion of the Orthodox to be their private opinion…” (Прав. Русь, №10/1992). The first recommendation of this Committee was for the Orthodox to lift all anathemas and condemnations from Monophysite councils and its teachers.
1990: December 1. Election of new Serbian Patriarch Paul (Stoyachevitch). He was chosen from three elected candidates by drawing lots.
1991: The WCC met in Canberra, Australia. About 4,000 delegates, including Orthodox, participated in pagan purification ritual of walking through the smoke of burning leaves. Some of the sessions were very strange indeed. One time while two half naked aborigines were jumping on stage, a South Korean theologian was trying to recall the spirits of the dead and appealed to delegates to try to read and understand Bible from point of view of birds, water, air, and trees, and try to think as a mountain. During one session one member of some committee offered to look in a Bible for explanation of some issue but was stopped by another member who said that “any assertion that the Bible could say more then any other book is a manifestation of Christian imperialism.” In a midst of all of this an Orthodox Bishop was reading “Our Father” and “Credo” from stage and the whole congregation repeated after him, despite the fact that nobody was considering conversion. (Readers Digest, 1993).
1991: March 9/22. “Bishop” Benedict, abbot of Christ the Saviour monastery in Blanko, Texas, who had been consecrated by uncanonical “Metropolitan” Pankratios, joined the ROCA Synod. He was received as a hieromonk with his monasteries and parishes.
1991: June. In Damascus, Syria, representatives of the Antiochian Church and the Syrian Monophysites (Jacobites) discussed means toward their union. They signed an “Agreed Statement” allowing joint prayers and intercommunion, though the Monophysites do not accept the last three of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.
1991: Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios died. Metropolitan Bartholomew of Chalcedon replaced him.
1991: July. The Greek Old calendar Synod of Archbishop Auxentius consecrated Bishop Gury of Kazan in Russia.
1992: April 29. Patriarch Alexis II of Russia granted autonomy to the Estonian Orthodox Church again.
1992: The ROCA monks were evicted from the Skete of Prophet Elias on Mt. Athos by police for refusing to commemorate the New calendar Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew. Bishop Kallistos (Ware) of the Constantinople Patriarchate wrote about it: “The way in which the patriarchal delegation sought to settle this question of conscience through the use of force and violencle can only be deplored. The monks were treated in an altogether barbaric fashion… The Librarian, for example, had to leave behind him ten years of research on his word-processor… The Skete, hitherto always Russian, has now been taken over by Greek monks. The ecumenical patriarchate says that the expulsion is not to be seen as an anti-Russian measure, but the facts speak for themselves…” (Sobornost, 15:1).
1992: In Constantinople representatives of autocephalous Churches of “World Orthodoxy” in their Summit message condemned attempts to convert non-Orthodox Christians to the Orthodox Faith; they declared that they “renounce proselytism in any form, which poisons relationships between Christians and impedes the movement toward union ”
1992: November 25/December 8. The Synod of ROCA Bishops entered into communion with the Old calendarist Church of Romania.
1992: Schism in the Bulgarian Church. After the fall of the Communist government part of the bishops accused Patriarch Maximos of collaboration with the communists, and split, organizing its own Synod.
1992: Belorussian, Ukrainian, Moldavian, and Latvian Orthodox Churches, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union received autonomy from Moscow.
1993: June 17-24. The “Balamand Agreed Statement,” signed by representatives of the Churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Russia, Romania, Cyprus, Poland, Albania, and Finland in Balamand, Lebanon, accepted the Roman Catholic Church as a “Sister Church,” with fully valid sacraments. In paragraph 13 of this document they wrote: “Especially after the Pan-Orthodox Convention (in 1921 with Meletios Metaxakis as chairperson, Ed.) and II Vatican Council, new evolution of Church as an association, fundamentally changed the main position of both Orthodox and Catholics. Therefore both sides recognized that Christ’s commandments to His Church were — confession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacraments, and especially in sole priesthood, which perform the one Christ’s sacrifice, apostolic succession of Bishops — all those cannot be considered a legacy of only one of our Churches. That concludes, that any kind of rebaptism is forbidden…” (Orthodox Life, №4/1994).
1993: The incorrupt relics of Archbishop John (Maximovitch) of San Francisco were uncovered.
1993: Greek Old Calendar Synod of Archbishop Cyprianos consecrated Bishop Photios for the Bulgarian Old calendar Church.
1993: December 8. Holy Kynot of Mt. Athos wrote a letter of protest to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew concerning the “Balamand Agreed Statement,” especially the declaration about full validity of Roman Catholic sacraments aroused deep concern of Athonites — “With deep sorrow we were assured that Holy Orthodox Church in this paragraph was equal to the Catholic Church, which still abides in delusion. Thus most important theological differences (filioque, primacy and infallibility of Pope, creation of Grace, etc.) are forgotten and unity has been forged without dogmatical agreement… We would like to ask those Orthodox who signed this document: Perhaps filioque, primacy and infallibility of Pope, immaculate conception, created Grace — is an Apostolic teaching? Perhaps the Orthodox, considering all this, can recognize confession of Roman Catholics and their faith as “apostolic”? Are Roman Catholic heresies deviation or not? If it is, as it was defined by Orthodox Councils and Fathers, doesn’t the “sacraments“ and “apostolic succession” of non-Orthodox became invalid? How can fullness of Grace abide were there is no fullness of Truth?.. Unheard of acts and statements of representatives of Orthodox Churches absolutely opposite to our holy faith cause deep sorrow in our hearts. First of all, we will point to the example of the Patriarch of Alexandria, who in two cases at least declared that Christians should recognize Mohammed as a prophet, and nobody so far said anything against that awful delusion, and he continues to lead the Church of Alexandria, as if nothing had happened… Secondly, we point to the example of the Antiochian Patriarchate, which without agreement of all Orthodox joined in communion in sacraments with anti-chalcedonians (Monophysites) in Antioch, without solving the most important issue of their refusal to recognize all Ecumenical Councils after the Third one, especially the Fourth in Chalcedon, which is an unchangeable foundation for Orthodoxy. Sadly enough, in this case we did not see any protest from other Orthodox Churches also…” (Orthodox Life, №4/1994, or Ghfd/Hecm 1994 #23).
1993: November. Following the bloody confrontation between the Supreme Soviet and President Yeltsin in October, in which some priests were on the side of the legislative body, others on the side of executive, the Moscow Patriarchate Synod ordered all priests running for Parliament or local legislatures to withdraw their candidacies. All but Fr. Gleb Yakunin submitted. Consequently he was defrocked. This action was interpreted as a personal vendetta on the part of the bishops, because Fr. Gleb was active in uncovering KGB documents which listed them by rather transparent code-names as collaborators.
1994: January 16/29. St. Innocent of Alaska and St. Nicholas of Japan were canonized by the Synod of ROCA Bishops. In 1971 they were canonized by the Moscow Patriarchate, the Church of Japan, and the THE OCA.
1994: June 19/July 2. St. John (Maximovitch), Archbishop of San Francisco, was canonized by the Synod of ROCA Bishops.
1994: July 2/15. The Synod of ROCA Bishops entered into communion with the Old Calendarist Synod of Metropolitan Cyprianos of Fili, Greece, and with the Bulgarian Old Calendarist Church of Bishop Photios.
1994: Archbishop Auxentius, First Hierarch of Greek Old Calendar Church died.
1994: A mission of the Russian Church Abroad was established in South Korea.
1994: 15/28 August. The miracle of a myrrh-streaming crucifix was manifested in an Antio-chian parish in Australia during heated debates about changing the calendar (it was an old calendar parish). Antiochian Archbishop Gibron in his sermon made a point that this miracle happened on the day of the Dormition according to the Old calendar.
1995: The ROCA Synod of Bishops entered into communion with the Greek Old calendar Bishop Petros of Astoria, N. Y.
1995: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stayed for 3 days in the Vatican as a guest of honor of the Roman Pope. They negotiated date of unification — year 2,000. The Patriarch participated in mass by reading Credo with the Pope and blessed Catholic deacon to read Apostle and Pope in return blessed Orthodox deacon to read Gospel.
1996: The ROCA has 330 parishes, 150 of them in the USA.
1996: The Moscow Patriarch ceased to commemorate Patriarch of Constantinople for 4 months, for accepting
1996: October 7/20. St. Jonah, Bishop of Hankow, Manchuria (now Northern China), was canonized by the Council of ROCA Bishops. He came to China with the rest of Russian emigrants in 1921. He reposed in 1925 and was glorified by manifest miracles.
1997: February 18-23. The Bishops Council of Moscow Patriarchate convened. At this year Moscow Patriarchate had 124 dioceses, 18,000 parishes, 146 Bishops, 390 monasteries (185 men’s and 205 women’s), 56 theological schools (5 academies and 21 seminaries), 1,550 Sunday schools and 40 Orthodox private schools.
1997: The Moscow Patriarch with the help of Palestine police ousted ROCA monks from their monastery in Hebron.
1997: The Council of Bishops of the Serbian Church decided to cancel their membership in the WCC.
1997: Four monasteries in Georgia broke communion with Georgian Patriarch Elias II because of his involvement in the Ecumenical movement. The Patriarch and his Synod decided to cancel their membership in the WCC, but protesting abbots were punished for disobedience by suspension.
1997: October. The Synod of Antiochian Patriarchate made several liturgical decisions: “1. The Synod affirmed the God-given value of women in the Church and ordered that liturgical texts which imply otherwise be corrected. The Holy Synod discussed certain matters which touch the lives of women and decided that women and men should be treated equally concerning their participating in divine services and receiving sacraments. Whatever references are in the liturgical books that women are unclean (which are mentioned only concerning their periods and 40 days after giving birth; Ed.) and tainted should be abolished. They can enter church and receive communion at any time. This necessitates a new look at liturgical texts. 2. The Synod decided that there will be no fasting days during the period from Pascha until Ascension.” (The Word, 1997).
1997: The fragrant relics of Metropolitan Glicherie, First Hierarch of the Romanian Old calendar Church were uncovered, after many appearances to faithful.
1997: October 31. Brother Joseph Munoz, the keeper of the Myrrh-streaming Icon of the Mother of God was brutally murdered in Athens.
1997: December 30. The relics of St. Alexander of Svir were found in a museum in St. Petersburg. During the first moleben, before the eyes of the priests, myrrh began flowing from the Saint’s relics. The relics were moved to the church of the Holy Martyrs Faith, Hope Love and their mother Sophia. Since that time the church has received throngs of pilgrims. Many cases of healings and deliverences from “unclean spirits” were recorded. Now the myrr-streaming relics have been transferred to the St. Alexander of Svir monastery.
1998: The Bulgarian Orthodox Church left the WCC.
1998: November 10. The coffin of Metropolitan Philaret, former First Hierarch of the ROCA, was opened at the Holy Trinity monastery in Jordanville, and his remains were found to be incorrupt. His relics were transferred to the sepulcher at the back of the main church.