Articles Seide, Gernot

History of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia from Its Beginning to the Present. Part I, Chapter 6. The Last Years of the Karlovtsy Emigration (1936-1944)

Metropolitan Anastassi is visiting Russisches Schutzkorps (Russian Protective Corps), a Wehrmacht unit fought against partisans in Yugoslavia during WWII

Part I, Chapter 6

The Last Years of the Karlovtsy Emigration (1936 – 1944)

In 1936, the Council of Bishops appointed Metropolitan Anastasius successor to Metropolitan Anthony. They also accepted the results of the negotiations of the previous year and the “Provisional Statutes” as the “Charter” of the Church Abroad. The administration of the Church was formed by the four metropolitan districts: the Near East (the Balkans) ruled by Metropolitan Anastasius, Western Europe ruled by Metropolitan Seraphim (Lukianov), North America and Canada ruled by Metropolitan Theophilus (Pashkovsky), and the Far East ruled by Archbishop Victor (Sviatin). The district with the most bishops was that of North America, with one metropolitan, three archbishops, and seven bishops.

In essence, this order prevailed until 1945. Only in Central Europe was there a change in administration at the behest of the National Socialist regime. In 1938, Bishop Tikhon was relieved of his duties as ruling bishop of the German diocese and replaced by Bishop Seraphim (Lade, a native German), 1 who had fled the Soviet Union in 1930, and until 1937 had been a vicar bishop of the German Diocese, administering the communities in Vienna and Austria. From the time of his appointment as Bishop of Berlin in 1938, he was a member of the Synod of Bishops. In 1939, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop, and in 1942 to the Metropolitan of Central Europe. At that time, a new metropolitan district was formed within the Church Abroad, consisting of Greater Germany, Belgium, Slovakia, and Luxembourg. Belgium and Luxembourg had been removed from the metropolitan district of Western Europe. Eulogius’ vicar bishops Alexander and Sergius, who had been residing in Brussels and Prague, were forced by the German authorities to place themselves under the jurisdiction of the Church Abroad. Alexander refused and was, therefore, placed under house arrest in Berlin; Sergius recognized the new situation, but lived in seclusion in Prague, celebrating only in his own church and otherwise avoiding public appearances. The vicariate of Austria was transferred to Bishop Basil (Pavlovsky) in 1938. In 1942, Germany was given a vicar bishop, Bishop Philip (von Gardner) with his see in Potsdam. 2 This necessary reorganization of Central Europe remained in effect until the collapse of Germany.

For the Church Abroad, the most significant event in the 1930s was the second Pan-Diaspora Council […] in 1938. 3 Already at the Council of Bishops in 1923 the question of the convocation of a new Council was discussed. 4 After signs of reconciliation began to appear in 1934-35, the question of convening such a Council again became pressing. In January of 1935, Metropolitan Anthony read a report before the Synod of Bishops, in which, among other things, he enumerated the tasks that would confront a future Council. In addition to the problems of strengthening Church organization and the ordering of church property, the most important question would be the future course of the Church in the spiritual rebirth of the faithful and instruction in the Faith. Also, ways and means had to be found to struggle against sectarianism and the general anti-clerical efforts of certain circles within the emigration. 5 After this report, the Synod decided to appoint a preparatory Commission for the Council, which was supposed to meet in 1936. Metropolitan Anthony’s death necessitated a postponement. 6 At the meetings of the Council of Bishops in 1936 and 1937, the matter of the Pan-Diaspora Council was taken up anew, and an agenda was drafted. It was then decided that the Council should be convened in 1938, which coincided with the 950th anniversary of the Conversion of Russia to Christianity.

Ninety-seven people took part in the Council, who, according to a report in Orthodox Russia on 20 September 1938 (No. 17-18), “represented the entire Russian emigration.” This was certainly true if one understands this to include only the Church organizations. Naturally, the Paris Jurisdiction did not participate. For his part, Metropolitan Eulogius accused the Council of having “great canonical shortcomings” and Metropolitan Anastasius of not possessing the full authority to convene such a Council. He also criticized the Council’s claim that it was a “Pan-Diaspora” assembly as false, since his “organization,” which has greater claims to canonicity, was not represented. 7

It was certainly regrettable that Eulogius’ communities were not represented at the Council, though they themselves were mostly to blame. Nevertheless, the Council represented the absolute majority of the Russian ecclesiastical emigration. Besides the Russian dioceses and ecclesiastical districts, the diaspora communities in Africa and Asia, the Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, the Peking Ecclesiastical Mission and the Mission in Urmia (Persia) were equally represented there. The Council consisted of fifty-eight lay participants, who formed the majority, and thirty-nine clergymen (bishops, priests and monks). This occurred because representatives of academic and theological institutions took part in the Council, such as, for example, the Russian-Academic Institute in Belgrade, the Palestine Society, the Cadet Corps of the Imperial Army and Navy, the Russian Veterans’ Organization, […] representatives from the St. Vladimir Institute, the Vladimir Brotherhood of Berlin and […] the Imperial (Dynastic) House. 8 Altogether, twenty-eight reports were delivered, and two epistles to the faithful were written. The ecclesiastic-religious character of this Council had essentially stronger representation than at the Council of 1921, where the question of dynastic succession had brought about heated discussions. Indeed, the conservative monarchist circles had hoped that Council would have decided to canonize Tsar Nicholas II and his family, though no such radical decisions were made. 9

After […] detailed reports on the situation of the Russian Church in the homeland, 10 the ecclesiastic-religious problems of the emigration stood at the center of further deliberations. There were detailed discussions on the spiritual and theological instruction of the emigres, catechism for the youth, questions of ecclesiastical discipline, the education of priests, the relations of the Church Abroad with Orthodox and non-Orthodox Churches, the relationship to the ecumenical movement, Roman Catholicism and finally, to the Paris Jurisdiction.

Regarding the schism of the Paris Jurisdiction, the Council stated that it was with “profound regret” that they took cognizance of the continued schism, after all, that Metropolitan Anthony and the Serbian Patriarch had done to overcome it. By subordinating himself to the Ecumenical Patriarch, Eulogius had gone against the directives of Patriarch Tikhon, who had considered the Western European Diocese Abroad part of the Russian Church. Thus, Eulogius had trodden an uncanonical path, in that he and his communities were only a “part of a diocese” (the Diocese of Petersburg) and, therefore, a component part of the Russian Church. A part of a diocese cannot subordinate itself to another jurisdiction. 11

With regard to spiritual and religious education, all clergymen were called upon to conduct more work among the youth, and an appeal was sent to the communities to support the building of community schools – elementary and secondary. 12 To promote the idea of a future Orthodox Russia with an Orthodox government, the “Vladimir Brotherhood” was founded, whose members were required to align their lives with Church precepts (by attending Sunday services, by keeping church feasts and fasts) and to place their family lives on a Christian basis (morning and evening prayers, daily readings from the Gospel). All men and women over eighteen years of age were eligible for membership; a special youth group would be founded for minors. Efforts were to be made to found brotherhoods at all cathedrals, missions and larger communities; these brotherhoods were to keep their feast on the 15th of July annually – the feast of the St. Vladimir (and the day on which the Conversion of Russia is commemorated) – with festive divine services and commemorative events. 13

If Russia were liberated from Communism, the monasticism preserved in the diaspora would play a special role, because the Soviets had marked monasticism in the homeland for destruction. 14 In the emigration, missionary courses were set up at the monasteries to educate specialists in the Church services (experts on the Church ordo, singers, precentors, etc.) Besides this, graduates of such courses were also supposed to learn how to run printing presses, so that later, in a free Russia, the great printing presses in the Lavra of the Kiev Caves, the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, Pochaev and Shamordino could be rebuilt. Also, young monks and nuns were to be prepared, who might later be in a position to assume the leadership of Russian monasteries in the homeland. The monasteries were to form a spiritual and meditative center for the life of the emigration but were also to fulfill social, charitable, missionary, and pedagogical functions. 15

From this brief summary alone, one can see what a comprehensive program the Council had to deal with. The reports, the subsequent discussions, and the resolutions and decisions of the assembly were compiled and published in a 745-page volume entitled Acts of the Second All-Diaspora Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (Deyaniya Vtorogo Vsezarubezhnago Sobora Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi Zagranitsei), Belgrade, 1939. 16

The Second Pan-Diaspora Council of the Church Abroad took place at a time when the persecution of the Church in the Soviet Union had reached its height. 17 “The year 1937 remains in the memory of millions of people as a year of indescribable horror and terror. In that year, the Communists indulged in real orgies of terror, and the country fell mute in its desperate fear… Bloody waves of terror were directed against religion in Russia. The blows of the atheist government even now paralyze impulses of religious life in the U.S.S.R.” 18 In that year alone, 8,000 churches were closed. Hand in hand with these mass closures went mass arrests of the clergy. 19 During this reign of terror against the clergy and faithful, which can only be documented with difficulty since no precise figures or data are available, there are hints to be found in the fate of the bishops, which show what losses the Church must have suffered in those years:

Number of Bishops, who

in the year were arrested,           died,                  retired,          consecrated 20

1935 14 2 7 3
1936 20 1 10 2
1937 50 7 3 0

In 1939, the only four bishops still ruling their dioceses were Metropolitans Sergius (Stragorodsky, Patriarch from 1943), Alexis (Simansky, Patriarch from 1945), 21 Nicholas (Yarushevich), and Archbishop Sergius (Voskresensky). 22 To these one must add almost another dozen bishops, who were either retired or who functioned as rectors in individual churches. 23 The result of this terror became even more apparent when Metropolitan Sergius was elected to the office of Patriarch. 24 Before the Revolution there were 163 bishops. During the confusion of the ’20s, when numerous hierarchs were incarcerated or exiled and replaced by newly-consecrated bishops, there were a total of 260 canonical bishops, i.e. bishops who were under the official Patriarchal Church (Tikhonites). 25 The destruction of the Church in the Soviet Union was nearly complete before the outbreak of World War II. Originally in 1917, there were over 1,200 convents and monasteries, but after 1929 there were none; of the 79,000 Orthodox churches and chapels “only 400 were left.” 26 The theological academies, seminaries, parochial schools, libraries, archives etc. were closed for twenty years; some of them were simply destroyed. The Church was forbidden to conduct any form of missionary activity, to spread the Word of God in any way outside of the church building. Considering the few churches allowed to continue their existence in the country, this meant that the Church was condemned to silence and could no longer fulfill its duty to care for souls. Terror and oppression could indeed have destroyed the outward existence of the Church, but not the faith of the people. This was proven in the 1937 census, the results of which were not made public. Loud proclamations by the militant atheists indicated that 50% of urban dwellers and 70% of rural inhabitants were “believers.” 27 It should be taken into account that many citizens certainly did not answer the question out of fear of possible reprisals. Moreover, the atheists would surely have doctored the results in their favor so that they would not have to answer for the total failure of their “struggle against religion.” The true situation became apparent after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, when in the occupied territory hundreds, even thousands, of churches were reopened within a very brief period of time; priests, monks and nuns returned to their old communities, and monasteries from the catacombs. This religious spring, which also affected the faithful in unoccupied territories, 28 forced the Soviet government to make a radical change with regard to its policy towards religion, which was clearly shown to be completely ineffective.

While the Moscow Patriarchate was shattering under the blows of brutal persecution, ecclesiastical life in the emigration blossomed after overcoming the Schism. Metropolitan Eulogius’ Paris Jurisdiction counted some seventy-five communities with 110 priests and 3 vicar bishops (Vladimir of Nice, Alexander of Brussels and Sergius of Prague) and its own theological seminary for the education of priests. At this time, the Paris Jurisdiction possessed only a small minority of emigres compared to the Church Abroad, which cared for the great majority of them.

There were approximately 1,000 communities in the Church Abroad worldwide at the end of the ’30s. Most communities had their own church or chapel, or at least a temporary church. Many of these churches had been built by the emigres without government or outside assistance. To give just one example: in Manchuria alone during the years 1920-45, 48 churches were built, 27 of them between 1930 and 1945. 29 Most communities of the Church Abroad had one priest, of whom more and more were receiving their education in the emigration. Metropolitan Anastasius had been the First Hierarch of the Church Abroad and President of the Synod of Bishops since 1936; the Synod had five to seven standing members. The jurisdiction of the Church Abroad consisted of four metropolitans, ten archbishops and fourteen bishops; they were: Metropolitans Anastasius (Gribanovsky), Theophilus (Pashkovsky), Meletius (Zaborovsky) and Seraphim (Lukianov); Archbishops Adam (Philipovsky, retired in 1938), Hermogenes (Maximov), Nestor (Anisimov), Seraphim (Lade), Seraphim (Sobolev), Simon (Vinogradov), Tikhon (Lyashchenko), Tikhon (Troitsky), Victor (Svyatin), Vitalius (Maximenko): and Bishops Arsenius (Chagovtsev), Alexis (Panteleev), Demetrius (Voznesensky), Theodosius (Samoilovich), Theophanes (Gavrilov), Gregory (Ostroumov), Hieronymus (Chernov), John (Maximovich), John (Shleman), Joasaph (Skorodumov), Juvenal (Kilin), Leonty (Turkevich), Macarius (Ilinsky), Basil (Pavlovsky) and Benjamin (Basalyga). They administered 24 archdioceses, dioceses and vicariates: in North America – the Metropolia of All America and Canada, the Archdioceses of Western America and Seattle, Philadelphia and the Carpatho-Russians, Eastern America and Jersey City, and the Dioceses of Detroit and Cleveland, Alaska and the Aleutians, Illinois and Chicago, Western Canada and Calgary, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, Eastern Canada and Montreal, Boston; in South America: Sao Paulo and Brazil; in Europe: Brussels and Western Europe (Metropolia) with the vicariates of Cannes, Berlin and Germany with the vicariate of Vienna and Austria, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria; in the Far East: Peking and China with the vicariate of Shanghai, Harbin and Manchuria with the vicariates of Chichikar and Khailar, Kamchatka and Seoul).

In the monasteries there lived 180 monks and 40 novices and 450 nuns. The monasteries and convents were distributed geographically as follows: in Palestine, one monastery, the Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem with 20 monks, four convents with 300 nuns: in Serbia, comma one monastery with 25 monks and one convent with 70 nuns: in Bulgaria, comma one monastery, and one convent with 10 occupants; semicolon in Czechoslovakia, comma one monastery with 30 monks: in China, comma one monastery with 26 monks, one convent and three church houses with 40 nuns: in Manchuria, one monastery with 30 monks and 40 novices, and one convent with 30 nuns: and, finally in the United States, two monasteries with 40 monks between them. 30

In numerous larger communities there were parochial schools, which provided regular instruction. In addition to these, the Church also maintained boarding schools for girls, many orphanages, hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, homes for the elderly and nursing homes, apprentice workshops for the youth and numerous handicraft enterprises. 31

The education of future priests took place at two seminaries and a theological faculty whose academic program was comparable to that of a theological academy in Russia. At the St. Vladimir Institute in Harbin, in addition to the Theological Faculty there was also a faculty of arts and sciences, and one of architecture and electrical engineering. (The Institute had received certification and the status of a university from the Chinese authorities.) The need for ecclesiastical utensils, icons and vestments were overwhelmingly met by church and monastery workshops. Church books, gospels, prayer-books, periodicals and religious literature were published by Church printing presses, of which the largest were those at the Monastery of St. Job in Ladomirova and at the Convent of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God in Harbin. Since 1933, the official journal of the Synod of Bishops has been the journal Church Life (Tserkovnaya Zhizn’), which was issued biweekly (currently, quarterly). Along with this, two semi-official journals were also published – Orthodox Russia (Pravoslavnaya Rus’) since 1926, and The Bread of Heaven since 1930. 32

The outbreak of World War II and the Communist seizure of power in Eastern Europe, China and Manchuria, were stunning blows to the Church Abroad, for it lost all its possessions in these territories, though it succeeded in reorganizing Church life anew and gathering together the dispersed flock once again.

With the outbreak of the War in 1939, contacts were interrupted between the Synod of Bishops and many dioceses and communities of the diaspora. The “Provisional Statutes of 1936” had given the North American and Far Eastern Metropolitan Districts far-reaching autonomous administrations, though they still had to receive the ratification of the Synod of Bishops for their most important decisions, e.g. the appointment, advancement or deposition of bishops, the opening of theological seminaries, pastoral courses, the publication of ecclesiastical literature, etc. Thus, when contacts were broken, the administrative divisions and the personal existence of the hierarchy remained practically unaltered until 1945 (with the exception of the Central European Metropolia). The Council of 1938 had made decisions and resolutions that, in the following years, served as ecclesiastical and political guidelines for the bishops and clergy administering their territory. The last council of Bishops met in Vienna in 1943, primarily to discuss the election of Metropolitan Sergius as the new Patriarch.

Much has been written on the political stance of the Synod of Bishops since World War II. Frequently, the Church Abroad, or certain of its hierarchs, has been accused of collaborating with the Nazis. Often, these accusations are based on ignorance, insufficiently researched contentions, or an erroneous evaluation of the political tenets of the Church Abroad. If one looks first at the Soviet accusations, then at those in Western writings, one finds that the latter are the same as the former. A typical example can be found in an essay by Maier-Hultschin, which appeared in 1954 and has been repeated by many authors without […] verification. 33 This author’s report is notable for its crass mistakes and ignorance of the Church Abroad, so much so that it would be necessary to rewrite it again from scratch. Archpriest George Grabbe (later Bishop Gregory) did just this in a detailed essay in 1955. 34 Nevertheless, the essay’s tendencies seem to be typical for similarly misleading works, and Maier-Hultschin’s contentions can be found repeated even today. 35 The superficiality of Maier-Hultschin’s research can be seen, for example, when he speaks about Metropolitan Anastasius, whom he consistently designates as “Patriarch Athanasius”, and to whom, among other things, he falsely attributes the title of “Patriarch of Moscow,” who was held in the highest esteem by the emigration. This “Patriarch Athanasius” had allegedly received financial support from Hitler as early as 1933, thus at a point in time when Archbishop Anastasius was still in charge of the Jerusalem Mission and was not yet even a member of the Synod (he became one in 1934). Similarly, close ties were also construed by Gunther in his memorandum, which traces the collaboration between the Church Abroad and the Nazis back to 1921! 36 At that time, Archbishop Eulogius ruled the German Diocese, which did indeed belong to the Church Abroad, which was directly responsible to the Patriarchal Church. One more thing in connection with Gunther’s Memorandum of 1980 – he is a Russian Orthodox Christian belonging to a Patriarchal Church in the Federal Republic of Germany. It is lamentable that the opponents of the Church Abroad are not completely subjective in their argumentation and have instead remained silent about many known facts, thereby disqualifying themselves as objective scholars. They have used documents and sources not for a critical exposition, but rather only to support their theses. Theirs are one-sided critical voices, whose purpose is to debase the prestige of the Church Abroad. From an abundance of documents, they have chosen only certain ones, while simultaneously passing over other sources and documents in silence. Typical examples of these unscholarly and subjective works of the more recent past are the works of Gunther, Gaede and Pospielovsky. 37 Whereas one must take into consideration that the historian Gaede lives in East Berlin and her work must be subjected to the Communist censors and cannot therefore be neutral, Gunther and Pospielovsky live in democratic countries and are themselves answerable for own biases, which they have indeed consciously chosen. All three authors discuss the relationship of the Church Abroad to the National Socialists, and as their main piece of evidence of close cooperation present Metropolitan Anastasius’ letter of 1938 to Hitler. In this letter, Metropolitan Anastasius expresses his gratitude for the German government’s support during the building the Russian cathedral in Berlin. This letter has occasioned all three authors to malign the Church Abroad as friendly to the Nazis. They considered this letter to be so important, that they quoted from it and discussed it extensively.

On the other hand, there was a letter 38 from Hieromonk John (Shakhovskoy) (later an OCA archbishop of San Francisco), then living in Berlin, which was composed during the German invasion of the Soviet Union; this letter was either passed over in silence (by Gunther and Gaede) or excused as harmless (by Pospielovsky). Pospielovsky writes, “Fr. John was an ordinary priest and his errors were only his own, while Metropolitan Anastasius was speaking in the name of his entire Church organization. 39

Another argument may also be made here: all the bishops of the former “Metropolia” in North America, which had reunited with the Church Abroad in 1936, also belonged to Metropolitan Anastasius’ Church organization in 1938. Why did they not protest against the alleged sympathies of their First Hierarch towards the Nazis? One cannot even compare Metropolitan Anastasius’ situation with that of John Shakhovskoy. Metropolitan Anastasius, on account of his visible position, had also to keep in mind the welfare of his flock in Germany, and was also forced to write a letter of thanks, which he had cause to write, because the Berlin cathedral had been built with massive material support from the German authorities. Hieromonk John, on the other hand, was an ordinary parish priest and had no particular responsibility whatever. His submissive and repulsive homage to Hitler arose from an inner necessity. It had neither a logical foundation nor a need. It occurred voluntarily and out of […] personal desire. There were another dozen or so […] Russian priests of the Church Abroad in Germany, none of whom found it necessary to distinguish himself as Fr. John had done. It is also clear why the remaining Russian priests living in Germany refrained from this. The essence and character of National Socialism with its racist delusions – also directed against the Slavs, including the Russian people – were known to them. They evaluated the future situation of Russia under the National Socialists correctly and realistically. The authors have not anywhere substantiated that John Shakhovskoy would have qualified as an opponent to the Nazis in any way before 1945. On the contrary, today the Russian emigres still remember that Shakhovskoi always allowed himself to be carried away in his sermons in Berlin with expressions of friendliness towards the regime! Thus, Pospielovsky’s excuse for Fr. John’s behavior is demonstrably incredulous and threadbare. It is certainly regrettable that there are still “historians” who convey these one-sided interpretations and are incapable of maintaining a critical distance. Perhaps the truth lies in the foreword to Pospielovsky’s work, when Professor Meyendorff writes: “Russian emigre authors tended to write apologies for their own particular political stands.”

Accusations from the Soviet side (see below) since 1945 were overall weakened by Metropolitan Theophilus in 1946, in a telegram to the President of Switzerland: “Metropolitan Anastasius heads our Church Outside of Russia in the best possible way and shows himself to be a person with the highest ecclesiastical principles and a blameless way of life, who does not interfere in politics. The present campaign in the Communist press is most regrettable and undesirable and should simply be ignored. I implore Your Excellency most respectfully to allow him to continue to remain in Switzerland for the good of the Russian Church.” 40 Metropolitan Theophilus had written this telegram on 21 January 1946, at a time when there were already negotiations with the Patriarchal Church over a possible reunification, and a few weeks before the break between the Metropolia and the Church Abroad. It would also have been unlikely that Metropolitan Theophilus, who, as head of the ROCOR in North America during the World War II, had been a loyal American citizen, would not have known, at this point in time, of the actual activities of the Church Abroad during the War, and that this telegram had been sent on erroneous information. It must indeed be assumed that the telegram reflected the genuine conviction of its author.

Yet one ought to attach even greater importance to the statement of Patriarch Gabriel of the Serbian Orthodox Church, who had been arrested by the Germans and ultimately imprisoned by them in the Dachau concentration camp. After his release, he traveled to London for the christening of Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne. When he heard accusations made by pro-Communists, that Metropolitan Anastasius had collaborated with the Germans, Patriarch Gabriel made a public statement, declaring that “Metropolitan Anastasius conducted himself with great wisdom and tact under the Nazis, was ever loyal to the Serbs, had several times been subjected to searches by the Germans, and was not trusted by them.” This authoritative statement by Patriarch Gabriel, who had suffered under the Nazis, effectively counters the malicious slander with which the enemies of the Russian Church Abroad, falsely accusing Metropolitan Anastasius of collaboration with the Germans, tried to besmirch him. 41

The statement of Patriarch Gabriel was published in two American periodicals: the magazine The Russian-American Church Messenger, (#3, 1946) and the newspaper Rossia (8 November 1945 issue). Later, Professor S.V. Troitsky tried to dismiss these words of the Patriarch of Serbia as the fabrication of the emigre press: “He had only just died, and already they were ascribing to him such convenient words.” 42 But then the question arises as to why the Patriarch was not questioned about this after the publication in 1945-46, the more so in that he only reposed in 1950. Here, doubts can arise only with respect to the slanderous insinuations of Troitsky. Furthermore, the fact that the Serbian Orthodox Church has continued in prayerful communion with the Church Abroad up to the present time, and that the bishops of both concelebrate the divine services, despite pressure from the Moscow Patriarchate to compel the Church of Serbia to break off relations with the Church Abroad, weighs against Troitsky.

The communist press campaign against Metropolitan Anastasius mentioned in the telegram also clearly pursued the aim of defaming the Church Abroad, which persistently refused to reunite with the Patriarchal Church. Thus, the true reason for the negative attitude was always passed over in silence, and the Church Abroad’s friendly attitude to Germany is not further clarified so as not to reveal the Soviets’ own pact. The background to the Church Abroad’s friendly attitude towards Germany is clearly to be found in their opposition to the Soviet government and the Communist system. The Church Abroad has never made a secret of this. The sharpest condemnation of the Patriarchal Church and its leading bishops touches in the first place upon the accusation of their collaboration with the government and support of Soviet policy at the expense of the faithful in the Soviet Union. The faithful of the Church Abroad, who as members of this Church all identify with the canonical and ecclesial-political course of their bishops, fully supported the Church Abroad in rejecting the Soviet government and the Patriarchal Church. This statement can be confirmed by the fact that the great majority of emigre Russians refused to become members of communities belonging to the Patriarchal Church, even though the latter Church has established communities world-wide since 1945. On the contrary, the Patriarchal Church had no success in establishing numerically important communities of Russian emigres, and one sees only communities […] dominated by those of non-Russian nationalities. This also met with no success before 1945, when the Patriarch attempted to find Russian emigre followers in Western Europe and even appointed Bishop Benjamin (Fedchenko), who had emigrated and was inclined to be a monarchist, to that see.

After 1945, whenever political circumstances did not work in their favor, the Patriarchal Church had no success in exercising any influence over the emigres. For example, in the Federal Republic of Germany, where, according to the words of a member of the Patriarchal Church, approximately 500 faithful belong to the Patriarchate “whereby the lion’s share falls to the church community in West Berlin,” the Church Abroad, in the opinion of this author, shepherds 5,000 of the faithful. 43 This is all the more astounding, because the Church Abroad has only twenty clergymen to care for its faithful, while the Patriarchal Church has fourteen clergymen, including three archbishops, for its 500 faithful! 44

Already in 1942, the Church Abroad established contacts with the hierarchs of these autonomous Churches and supported them because they also held fast to the principle of unity of the whole Russian Church, in that the autonomy of these Churches did not contradict this concept. The Ukrainian episcopate presided over by Archbishop Alexis (Gromadsky), who had assumed the title of Metropolitan since the formation of the autonomous Church, consisted of two archbishops: Simon (Ivanovsky) and Anthony (Marchenko), and eleven bishops: Panteleimon (Rudyk), Benjamin (Novitsky), John (Lavrinenko), Dimitry (Magan), Theodore (Rafailsky), Job (Kreshovich), Seraphim (Kuzneruk), Eulogius (Markovsky), Leonty (Filippovich), Emmanuel (Tarnovsky), and Pankraty. Of these bishops, Panteleimon, Theodore, Eulogius, and Leontius fled to the West during the years1944-45 and joined the Church Abroad; Bishops Anthony, John, and Job later joined the Moscow Hierarchy; Metropolitan Alexey was murdered by Ukrainian nationalists in 1943; the remaining bishops were arrested by the Soviets as “Nazi collaborators.”

The Belorussian Autonomous Church was presided over by Metropolitan Panteleimon. This hierarchy also consisted of Archbishops Philotheus (Narko) and Benedict (Bobkovsky), as well as Bishops Athanasius (Martos), Stephen (Sevbo), Gregory (Boriskevich), and Paul (Melechev). The entire episcopate fled to the West in 1944, where all except Panteleimon and Paul joined the Church Abroad. While Panteleimon (d. 1950 in Munich) held no further office in the emigration, Bishop Paul founded a schismatic group, an “autocephalous Belorussian Church,” under the leadership of “Bishop” Sergius (Opchotenko) of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church. 45

The collaboration between the Church Abroad and the Belorussian Autonomous Church began in 1941, shortly after the invasion of the German troops. Archbishop Benedict and Bishop Gregory of the Belorussian Church took part at the Council of Bishops in 1943 in Vienna, at which the election of Patriarch Sergey was condemned as uncanonical, and an appeal was made for the liberation of Russia from the Bolshevik yoke. 46 In addition to them, the other participants of the Council under the presidency of Metropolitan Anastasius were Metropolitan Seraphim (Lade), Archbishop Sergius (Korolev), Bishop Basil (Pavlovsky), and Bishop Philip (von Gardner). This Council was the last assembly of bishops of the Church Abroad until the end of World War II.

In the spring of 1944, during the allied assault on Belgrade, the greater part of the Russian emigres retreated, including all the clergy in Yugoslavia and the nuns from the Lesna Convent, which had been attacked many times by communist partisans and was finally burnt to the ground in 1943. 47

The collapse of the German  Eastern Front in the summer of 1944, the partisan struggle in Yugoslavia, and the advance of Soviet troops in the Balkans, who marched into Belgrade in October 1944 also caused the evacuation of the Synod of Bishops from Sremsky-Karlovtsy/Belgrade. The emigres fled via Vienna and Karlsbad to West Germany. Of the permanent members of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Hermogenes and Bishop Theophanes died in 1944 in Yugoslavia. In Karlsbad, Archbishop Tikhon (Lyashchenko) died. Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) remained in Bulgaria. Of the bishops who originally emigrated from Russia, only Metropolitans Anastasius, Seraphim, and Meletius, and Archbishop Nestor remained alive and continued to belong to the Church Abroad. Metropolitan Eulogius, Archbishop Vladimir, and Bishops Alexander and Sergius were also still living but belonged to the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Nevertheless, the Church Abroad was to continue its existence, though sorely tried by the advance of the Soviet Army. Its survival was due first to the hierarchs who had remained faithful to the Church Abroad, and second to those hierarchs who joined this jurisdiction after 1945. Yet the Church was not formed by bishops and priests alone. The ranks of the faithful were swelled by hundreds of thousands of new refugees, who had either left their homeland in the wake of the German troops or as foreign workers displaced to Germany, who decided to remain in the West and establish a new life for themselves in freedom.


  1. Cf. Part IV.
  2. Tserk. Zh. (1942) 6, pp. 81-87. Cf. Part IV, Chap. 1.8.
  3. Cf. Part III, Chap. 1.
  4. Tserk. Ved. (1923) 11-12, pp. 9-10; 13-14, pp. 1-2.
  5. Russ. Prav. Ts., 1:106-107; Deyania vtorogo sobora, pp. 3-5.
  6. Ibid., pp. 5-6.
  7. Manuchina, Evlogy, pp. 646-647.
  8. Deyania vtorogo sobora, pp. 12-15 (List of Participants).
  9. Cf. the question of canonization in Part III, Chap. 1 & 2.
  10. Deyania vtorogo sobora, pp. 58-123.
  11. Ibid., pp. 557-583. This report by Count Grabbe can also be found in Grabbe Tserkov’ i eya uchenie v zhizni, 1, pp. 222-252.
  12. Cf. Part IV, Chap. 5; Deyania vtorogo sobora, pp. 209-237.
  13. Ibid., pp. 39-50.
  14. Seide, Die Klöster der ROK.
  15. Deyania vtorogo sobora, pp. 377-389.
  16. Today, the book is extremely rare and only available in a few libraries, mostly in the private collections of émigrés. Two copies are in the library at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville and one at the Synod in New York. A comprehensive survey can be found in the periodical Russie et Chretienté (1938-39), pp. 205-247, also in Russ. Prav. Ts., 1:107-131.
  17. Cf. Fireside; Fletcher, Study in Survival; Heyer, Ukraine 1917-1945; Kandidov, Tserkov’ i shpionazh; Polsky, Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi v SSSR; Timaschew, Religionen im Sowjetstaat.
  18. Chrysostomus, Kirchengeschichte, 2, pp. 305-306.
  19. Ibid., p. 308.
  20. Regel’son, Tragedia, pp. 553-557.
  21. Seide, In Memoriam.
  22. In 1941 Archbishop Sergius succeeded the departed Metropolitan Eleutherius. He also remained faithful to Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) during the German Occupation, but vigorously attacked the Communist regime on account of its persecution of the Church. He was murdered in 1944, cf. Chrysostomus, Kirchengeschichte, 3, pp. 31-33; Alexeev, Serge Voskresensky; Treulieb, Metropolit Sergii.
  23. Regel’son, Tragedia, pp. 553-557.
  24. Polsky, Kanonicheskoe polozhenie, p. 40.
  25. Cf. The list of canonical bishops in Tserk. Ved., (1926) 23-24: pp.9-10; (1927) 3-4: pp. 13-14; 5-6: p. 20; 11-12: pp. 14-16; 17-18: p. 8; 19-20: p. 8; 21-22: pp.11-12.
  26. According to a report in Russkaya Mysl’ of 16 Jan. 1965 on p. 3. The number is considered to be too low (Chysostomus, Kirchengeschichte, 3: p. 310), though it may not have been significantly higher. Struve (Christen, p. 61) speaks of “a few hundred churches.”
  27. Kischkowsky, Religionspolitik, p. 68.
  28. Seide, Sibirien und Mittelasien.
  29. Seide, Russisch Orthodoxe Kirche in China, p. 184.
  30. Deyania vtorogo sobora, pp. 386-387.
  31. Cf. Part IV.
  32. Seide, Druckerei und Verlagswesen; see also Part IV.
  33. Maier-Hultschin, Orthodoxie in Hitlers Spiel.
  34. Grabbe, “Fantasticheskaya istoria” in Tserkov’ i uchenie, 2, pp. 161-172.
  35. Günther, Die Russisch Orthodoxe Kirche in der BRD. Memorandum.
  36. Ibid, p. 36. “Now the collaboration of the Russian Orthodox Church with the National Socialist Movement from 1921 and in particular from 1933 could be rewarded.”
  37. Severnoi Ameriki, p. 114.
  38. Günther, p. 70.
  39. For the 30-115 million believers (Günther, p. 68) in the USSR, there was a total of 70-75 bishops, of which a dozen live abroad.
  40. How senseless and macabre these allegations where is shown in the example of the Jews in the USSR. Countless rabbis and Jewish believers who were arrested by the Gestapo between 1936 and 1938 and convicted of espionage (Chrysostomus, Kirchengeschichte 2, p. 309).
  41. Chrysostomus, Kirchengeschichte, pp. 165-166, Alexeev, Foreign Policy, p. 51.
  42. JMP (1950), 4: pp. 21-28. The fact that Archbishop Seraphim did not participate was interpreted by the JMP as a rejection of the Synod. The participation be Bishop Sergius (Korolev), who was likewise subject to the Patriarchal Church, was passed over in silence, because it did not fit into their interpretation.
  43. Prav. Rus’ (1943) 5-6, p. 15; 7-8, pp. 15-16; Tserk. Zhizn’ (1942) 8, pp. 120-122.
  44. Cf. Part V, 3: Struve, Christen, pp. 78-83; Alexeev, Occupation allemande; Fireside, German Occupation.
  45. Cf. Part V: 3; B.A.P.C. in Tserk. Zhizn´ (1952) 3-4, pp. 48-60; 5-6, pp.84-90; Der christliche Osten (1973) 2, pp. 59-60.
  46.  Prav. Rus’, (1943), 11-12, pp. 1-4. Eight bishops took part in the Council, though only seven were named, cf. Metropolit Anastasy, p. 20.
  47.  Prav. Rus’, (1943) 1-2, pp. 5-6.

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