Articles Moscow Patriarchate Seide, Gernot

History of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia from Its Beginning to the Present. Part V, Chapter 1. The Relationship to the Moscow Patriarchate

History of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia from Its Beginning to the Present. Part V, Chapter 1. The Relationship to the Moscow Patriarchate

Until 1959 the Russian Church Abroad did not require the Moscow Patriarchate clergy who wanted to join here to renounce the bond with their former bishops.


The Relations between the Church Abroad & Other Christian Churches

Chapter 1

The Relationship to the Moscow Patriarchate

The relationship between the Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate has already been examined from various angles. In this section, a comprehensive summary of the mutual relationship and the stances of both sides will follow.

In the relationship, one must differentiate three periods. The first period comprises the years from the establishment of the Church Abroad to 1927. The second period begins in 1927, with the estrangement of the two Churches, and lasts until 1945. The third period begins in 1945 and lasts until the present day.

During the years 1920-27, both churches maintained normal relations with one another. The Church Abroad considered the Patriarch its head and was concerned, in accordance with his directives, with building up church life in the emigration. The directives of the Patriarch and the Holy Synod concerning the church life of the émigrés were canonically binding and were implemented. The Supreme Ecclesiastical Administration (SEA) and the Synod of Bishops took care to obtain the Patriarch’s and the Holy Synod’s confirmation of their directives and decrees, e.g., in the case of the appointment of bishops and the transfer of dioceses. Thus, the SEA’s appointment of Archbishop Eulogius as ruling bishop of the West European communities subsequently received confirmation from the Patriarch. The Patriarch allowed the émigré bishops to arrange the elevation of the vicariate of Alaska to an independent diocese and the election of its own candidates for this office. Metropolitan Platon received his appointment as head of the North American communities — just as had Eulogius — first from the SEA; this was later followed by the Patriarch’s confirmation. This appointment was later confirmed by the Patriarch in a letter to the Synod of Bishops. [1] Cf. Part I, Chaps. 2 & 3; Part IV, Chap. 1.4.

The Patriarch’s decree of 7/20 November 1920 formed the basis for these decisions; it served to legitimize the Church Abroad’s reason to exist. [2] Cf. the text of the Decree in the “Documents Section,” Part. VII, Chap. 2. The Patriarch and the Holy Synod had indubitably recognized the existence of the SEA because more than once it had official contacts with this governing body in connection with the regulation of ecclesiastical problems facing the émigrés’ life. Also, they had given the SEA the right to a far-reaching independent administration of the émigré communities, including the appointment of bishops and the creation of dioceses, which they either allowed the SEA to do on its own or later confirmed. No instance is known in which the Patriarch and Holy Synod overruled a decision of the SEA or declared it invalid.

In May 1922 (22 April/5 May) Patriarch Tikhon, by Decree No. 348, dissolved the SEA and named Metropolitan Eulogius head of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia (ROCOR). The SEA acted in accordance with this decree and dissolved itself in August of 1922. [3] The delay was caused by, among other things, the fact that after receiving the letter, Metropolitan Eulogius went to Bad Kissingen for a four-week cure. (Manuchina, Evlogy, pp. 403-404). In its place, the Provisional Holy Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR came into existence. Members of this Synod of Bishops were Metropolitans Anthony and Eulogius, Archbishop Theophanes, and Bishops Gabriel and Hermogenes. [4] Nikon, Zhizneopisanie 7, pp. 19-21. At the Council of Bishops, which met from 18-31 May 1923, the Provisional Synod of Bishops was changed into a permanent Synod of Bishops, and the Council of Bishops was established as the supreme ecclesiastical authority of the Church Abroad.

In September of 1923, Patriarch Tikhon sent a letter to the Synod of Bishops confirming the appointment of Metropolitan Platon as head of the North American communities and simultaneously appointing [the widowed] Archpriest T. Pashkovsky as Bishop of Chicago. [5] Ibid., p. 384.

The fact that at this point in time the Patriarch addressed the Synod of Bishops says that he viewed this governing body as legal and competent as the Supreme Ecclesiastical Administration of the émigré communities. The accusation that the Patriarch had written his Decree No. 348 of 1922 under duress from the Soviet government, as Metropolitan Eulogius had written in his letter to Metropolitan Anthony, [6]D´Herbigny/Deubner, Evêques Russes, pp. 54-55, quoted from Vechernee Vremya (April 11/24, 1925), 3014. Eulogius mentioned this letter in his memoirs but did not detail its contents. (Manuchina, … Continue reading was thereby supported. The existence of the Synod of Bishops thereby received direct confirmation from the Patriarch; otherwise, he would have ignored the Synod of Bishops in Karlovtsy and addressed Metropolitans Eulogius or Platon directly.

In 1926, the Synod of Bishops addressed Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky), who as deputy to the Patriarchal locum tenens had assumed the duties of that office, and implored him to intercede between the disputing hierarchs of the emigration. Sergius answered the bishops in a friendly and conciliatory tone, but declined to intercede, citing ignorance of the real situation. In this letter, he spoke of the “Synod” and the “Synod of Bishops”, and advised the “Supreme Administration” to regulate the matters in dispute. In the event that this might not be possible, he proposed that they submit to the local Orthodox Churches. [7] Chrysostomus, Kirchengescgichte 2, pp. 133-134.

This letter simultaneously ended the first phase of these mutual relations. Metropolitan Sergius had not only recognized the Synod but also instructed them to create a “supreme administrative body.” This had already been in existence since 1923.

These first years of mutual relations were distinguished by the fact that the Patriarch and the Holy Synod had given the émigré bishops a far-reaching autonomous administration of émigré communities and, as far as possible, confirmed the measures taken by the SEA and the Synod of Bishops. The relationship was overshadowed when the émigré bishops published a series of open letters on the persecution of the Faith in the Soviet Union and appealed to the Free World to deny the Soviet government diplomatic recognition. The Communists used these open letters [8] Nikon, Zhizneopisanie 6:46-222. to accuse the Patriarch and the Holy Synod of anti-Soviet propaganda and collaboration with forces abroad hostile to the Soviet Union, and to work against the Church leadership in Russia.

In the event of his death, Patriarch Tikhon had named three metropolitans as his locum tenens: Metropolitans Cyril, Agathangelus, and Peter. Due to the political circumstances, of these only Metropolitan Peter was in the position to take over the Patriarchal Chancery.

Everyone recognized him as Patriarchal Locum Tenens. He [Metropolitan Peter] also appointed three deputies in the event of his arrest or death: Metropolitans Sergius and Michael and Archbishop Joseph. He also ordered that “the commemoration of my name as Patriarchal locum tenens remains obligatory.” The Church Abroad recognized him in October of 1925 as head of the Church of Russia and commemorated him as such in the divine services until his death in 1936.

In July of 1927, Metropolitan Sergius published his fateful declaration, in which he demanded of the bishops, priests and faithful, both at home and abroad, total loyalty to the Soviet government. In the event of refusal, he threatened the émigré clergy with exclusion from the clergy of the Patriarchal Church.

The Declaration and its consequences are known and have been discussed in an earlier chapter. At the Council of Bishops in 1928, the émigré bishops severed relations with the Church leadership in Moscow, because the maintenance of normal relations with the “canonical Church authority” was no longer possible. [9] Ibid. 6, pp. 228-232. The canonical Church authority, according to the Church Abroad’s Synod, was the Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Peter, not, however, his deputy, Metropolitan Sergius.

In this correspondence, there are a number of principles, the validity of which remains unchanged to the present day. On the basis of the Patriarch’s Decree of 1 November 1920, [Trans., Decree 362], the Church Abroad will be responsible for its own administration in accordance with the sacred canons and the decisions of the Pan-Russia Council of 1917/18, until normal relations with the Mother Church can be restored. The Church outside the boundaries of Russia is a branch of the great Church of Russia and is inseparably bound to it spiritually.

Metropolitan Sergius’s possible exclusion of the Church Abroad’s clergy from the Patriarchate must be viewed as an uncanonical act, devoid of validity. Metropolitan Sergius replied to this correspondence by excluding the émigré clerics from the clergy of the Patriarchate.

The estrangement of 1927 led to the second phase in the relations between the Church Abroad and the Patriarchate. This lasted until 1945. It is marked by the permanent weakening of the Patriarchal Church by the Soviet regime and the Communist Party, by the almost complete destruction of Church life in the homeland, and by a simultaneous consolidation of the Church Abroad, which, on the eve of World War II, represented almost 90% of the church emigration.

At this point in time, it was completely impossible for the Patriarchate to maintain relations with other Christian Churches. The few Patriarchal parishes in the West — about a dozen in Western Europe and North America — were totally isolated. All Orthodox and non-Orthodox Churches recognized the Church Abroad as the legitimate émigré Church and conducted official Church relations with it. [10] Cf. Part V, Chap. 3. At conferences and interconfessional discussions, the Church Abroad was the spokesman of the Russian Church and was accepted as such. The church leadership in Moscow was rejected as uncanonical because it could not trace its authority back to Patriarch Tikhon, and the rights of its office were overshadowed by the fact that the legal head, Metropolitan Peter, was still alive.

The third phase begins in 1945 with the new Soviet policy towards the Church, which had been in effect since 1943. This phase basically differs from the second because the Patriarchal Church was permitted by the authorities to become active outside the sphere of Soviet influence. In this third phase, the Patriarchal Church succeeded for the most part in isolating the Church Abroad within the Christian World and excluding it from fellowship in prayer with the other national Orthodox Churches. On the other hand, the Patriarchal Church has been unable up to the present time to officially drive the Church Abroad out of the Orthodox World. The situation is distinguished by the fact that most Orthodox churches — of the 14 autocephalous churches, seven are located in Communist countries [11] Jahrbuch der Orthodoxie (1976/1977). — let their official relations with the Church Abroad lapse. The second characteristic of this era is the Patriarchate’s attempt to weaken the Church Abroad by the building up of their own communities. If one excludes Eastern Europe, China, and Israel, where the Church Abroad lost their entire property and their parishes, the Patriarchal Church never succeeded in making greater inroads. The building up of their own communities led rather to an additional burden and a poisoning of the relationship between the two Churches. When individual clergy of the Church Abroad has joined the Patriarchal Church, usually the loss of church property followed, leading to lengthy trials for both churches.

Both phases since 1927 have in common the fact that the Church Abroad has untiringly reported on the persecution of the Church and the faithful in the Soviet Union and has accused the Church leadership, not only of silence but also, by their denials of any form of oppression, of indirectly facilitating the government’s oppressive measures.

The official stances of the representatives of the Church Abroad and the Patriarchal Church today on the relationship between the two Churches may be summarized as follows. The Church Abroad’s position was represented in the past by Archpriests M. Polsky and G. Grabbe and, until 1945, also by S. Troitsky. The Patriarchate’s standpoint was represented after 1945 by Professor S. Troitsky and Archpriest A. Schmemann. Professor Troitsky did not succeed in leaving Eastern Europe in time and was forced to return to the Soviet Union, where he never distanced himself from his earlier works, but simply wrote the opposite. In his work The Truth about the Russian Church (Pravda o Russkoi Tserkvi), Archpriest Grabbe rebutted Troitsky’s works in detail with. [12] Cf. the works of these authors in the bibliography.

The representatives of the Church Abroad — above all Polsky and Grabbe —accused the Church leadership in Moscow of treading an uncanonical path since 1927. According to their interpretation, Metropolitan Sergius had no right to publish his Declaration of 1927 because he was only the deputy of Metropolitan Peter, the rightful head of the Church. Sergius could not speak and act in the name of the Russian Church. He did not have the authority. His Declaration was purely a personal epistle that was issued without the consent of the head of the Church, of the Holy Synod, or of the ruling bishops. The Declaration, therefore, is of no canonical significance. Metropolitan Sergius’s directive of 27 December 1936, that he be commemorated in the divine services, was published without announcing the death of Metropolitan Peter, who had until then been commemorated also in the Patriarchal Church. This was a usurpation of the patriarchal throne. Sergius appointed himself the Patriarchal Locum Tenens. This step was also offensive because, at this point in time, Metropolitan Cyril, whom Patriarch Tikhon had appointed as Patriarchal Locum Tenens, was still alive. The 1930 ecclesiastical trial of Metropolitan Cyril was invalid. During the elections of the patriarchs in 1943, 1945 and 1971, the Patriarchal Church most crudely violated the decisions of the Pan-Russia Council of 1917/18 concerning the ballot for the election a patriarch, because no secret ballot took place. At all three elections, there was only one candidate, who was “elected” by oral vote. The then Metropolitan Alexis (Shimansky), later Patriarch, verbally expressed himself on these decisions, saying, “I mean that the election of the patriarch, with all the details which usually accompany it, seems to be superfluous for us. I think that none of us bishops can have any other candidate in mind… We already have a definite candidate for the Patriarchal office, and the only one.” [13] Chrysostomus, Kirschngeschichte 3, p. 43. Thereafter, there was general jubilation, which was recorded as consent, and the election ended. Moreover, this election was condemned as completely uncanonical because only 18 bishops participated in it, while another 100 bishops were hindered from exercising their office. Therefore, Patriarch Sergius only had the consent of a minority of the bishops.

Patriarch Sergius died soon after assuming office in 1944. Metropolitan Alexis took over the Church in November of 1944 and convened a Council of Bishops, which worked out a new Church order and was supposed to name a successor for the office of patriarch. This Small Council altered the decisions of the Great Council of 1917/18. The representatives of the Church Abroad did not accept this, because only the full assembly of the Church (including all bishops, representatives of the clergy and laity) could have legitimized it. Concurring later with this understanding of the situation was also a group of bishops of the Patriarchal Church, who were under the leadership of Archbishop Hermogenes (Golubev). Thus, the decisions of the Council of 1944 regarding the election of the patriarch are invalid.

On the same basis, the elections of 1945 and 1971 were condemned as uncanonical, because, again, no secret balloting had taken place. The authors contend that the candidates for the highest office in the Church had already received the consent of the government before the election. The Councils of 1945 and 1971 had passively consented to that which had been determined for them from above.

There is little to refute these arguments. Balloting for the Patriarch conforms to what was also the rule for general elections in the Soviet Union until very recently. “It is readily understandable that the Soviet government can never grant democratic structure and form to the Church, as they were also forbidden to the citizens,” N. Struve writes about the Council of 1945. [14] Struve, Christen, p. 89.

In addition to these canonical arguments, the Church Abroad accuses the administration of the Patriarchate of having completely subordinated itself to the Soviet regime since Metropolitan Sergius’s Declaration of 1927, and of intensifying this submission through subsequent declarations. Through their actions, the leadership of the Patriarchal Church forced a large part of the clergy and laity to reject them. This rejection went so far, that a portion of the clergy and their faithful separated from the official Patriarchal Church and went underground, where a Catacomb Church existed. This Catacomb Church is the true representative of the Church of Russia in the homeland and the Sister Church of the Church Abroad. The supreme Church leadership and the hierarchs of the Patriarchal Church have tread a path of falsehood and are prepared to cover up and support the lies spread by the Communists about the situation of the Church and the faithful.

An especially crass example of these falsehoods, as represented by the Patriarchal Church, is the book The Truth about Religion in Russia (German ed: Zürich, 1944) by Patriarch Sergius. “It is amazing,” writes Father Chrysostomus, “that Metropolitan Sergius not only openly touches upon the delicate theme of the ostensible freedom of the Church of Russia, but rather makes this the focal point of his explanation, and dares to make it the main theme of the entire book. It was, of course, clear to him that every believing reader in Russia knew precisely what he was presenting a bare-faced lie; of course, it must also have pained him greatly… When he (Sergius) for example, as mentioned above, cited two examples from the émigré press, whose information on persecuted people ostensibly did not agree, he must have known precisely that, alongside these unsubstantiated events, hundreds of proven cases of terrible persecution of Orthodox hierarchs were published by the church emigration, which were truthful and which he did not, however, mention at all… Metropolitan Benjamin of Petrograd (St. Petersburg) received his death at the hands of an executioner… Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev was brutally murdered… Bishop Hermogenes of Tobolsk was tied to the paddles of a moving steamboat; Archbishop Andronicus of Perm was buried alive. Bishop Platon of Reval was turned into an ice column, having had water poured over him while exposed to subfreezing temperatures. Bishop Theophanes of Solikamsk was thrown alive into a hole in the ice. Bishop Isidore was impaled as a martyr. Bishop Ambrose was bound to the tail of a galloping horse and thus perished…

Metropolitan Sergius passed over all these facts in silence. If one considers that here only the officially announced deaths of bishops are counted and that the number who died in prisons and concentration camps multiply this number many times over, it remains incomprehensible to the believing reader how Metropolitan Sergius can, with an almost painful flourish, dismiss the reports of the murder of bishops as if they were merely the fruit of unbridled fantasy.” [15] Chrysostomus, Kirchengeschichte 3, pp. 16, 20-21.

Yet the Church Abroad does not accuse the Patriarchal Church of only the denial of such severe persecution in the past but also accuses them of complete submission to the aims and policies of the atheist regime. To quote just a few examples: in an interview, Archbishop Pitirim (Nechaev) maintained that “the Orthodox Church in Russia does not concern itself with the religious instruction of minors because that would mean an assault on their conscience and personality.” To this, Archimandrite (now Bishop) Mark writes: “And that is most deplorable. For what reason do the hierarchs of the Church of Russia feel forced to make such statements, which can only be designated anti-religious propaganda? The fact that no one may give children religious instruction cannot be justified by theological arguments.” [16] Mark (Archimandrite), “Der Geistliche,” pp. 20, 31.

Thus, the Church Abroad considers it to be their task, as the free portion of the Russian Church, to speak for all the faithful in the Soviet Union, to expose the persecution, and to reveal the truth about religion in Russia, but not the way Patriarch Sergius did.

The Patriarchal Church accuses the Church Abroad of having tread an uncanonical path since 1927. Because they have refused to follow the directives of the Church leadership and have been disobedient to Church authorities, their clergy were excluded from the clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate. Since then, they have been in schism and have also over the years lost the recognition of world Orthodoxy. They claim that today the Church Abroad is totally isolated and has no fellowship in prayer or communion with any other Church. The Patriarchal Church rejoices that it has the general recognition of all Christian Churches, with which they have full communion of prayer.

The Patriarch’s second accusation is directed against the politicking of the Church Abroad. They allegedly left the ecclesiastical path early on, and have through political statements taken a non-ecclesiastical and an anti-Christian path. They have had recourse to lies. The result of this path would be “simultaneous feelings of enmity, bitterness and hate towards their brothers in the Faith… this bitterness will only be justified by the fact that those brothers do not live and act in the same way as seems right to those abroad. [17] From the epistle of Patriarch Pimen at the Third Council, III Gesamtkonzil, p. 62.

Concerning canonical disputes, both sides have certain weighty arguments on their sides. The history of the Church of Russia, especially the Synodal period after Peter I, is in no way free of violations of canonical order. How the canons can be interpreted to justify one’s particular standpoint was demonstrated by the example of Professor S. Troitsky, who defended the Synod’s canonicity until 1945, and after that year defended the Patriarchate’s! If both hierarchies were as uncanonical as the official announcements of their opponents would lead us to believe, if both sides so little valued their episcopal succession, then one would have to question as to how it is possible for clergy of all ranks, from monk to metropolitan, when transferring to the Patriarchate, to be recognized in their ecclesiastical orders and honors. The ratification of their ordinations simultaneously means that these were performed by bishops who had preserved their full succession. Besides the sacrament of confession, nothing else is required for the reception! Would that be possible if this were a matter of completely uncanonical hierarchs?

The real contrast between the two Churches is in a completely different area: the different assessment of ecclesial developments in the Soviet Union may have opened up grave issues, which today can hardly be overcome. While the hierarchy of the Patriarchal Church made accommodations with the Soviet regime, the Church Abroad uncompromisingly rejected Communism. The accusations of the Church Abroad were directed only against those hierarchs and priests who were prepared, and are still prepared, to fulfill any demands of the atheist Soviet regime, and are prepared to deceive themselves and to lie, to declare what is right to be wrong, to present persecution of the Faith as support of the Church. The worlds that lie between the stances are shown in the fact that the Church Abroad, in October of 1981, canonized the confessors and martyrs of the Russian Church, who lost their lives under the Soviet regime, whereas the Patriarchal Church renounces these victims of the Communist rule, their martyrdom on grounds of their Faith, and to the present day maintains that “in Russia, no one is persecuted on account of his beliefs.” Utterances of this kind are what the Church Abroad accuses the hierarchs of the Patriarchate of. Many of the Patriarchal hierarchs have proved themselves to be zealous abettors in implementing Soviet policy and even collaborate in the closure of churches and monasteries. The Church Abroad does not demand that the bishops become martyrs of opposition. It is the passivity of their conduct towards the government measures of force which elicits criticism and makes cooperation seem impossible. The Church Abroad’s leadership fears that, in the event of a reunification with the Patriarchate, the bishops, clergy and faithful abroad would be required to agree with the state’s policy towards the Church, as in the case of the representatives of the Patriarchate who live in the West. From samizdat, open letters, reports, and memoirs that have reached the West in the last decades, we know what the situation of the Church in the Soviet Union is. We know the hierarchy, the priests and the government policy.

In these documents, criticism similar to that by the Church Abroad is made. Thus, Fr. Gleb Yakunin writes in his report, “However, today in the Moscow Patriarchate, which has lost its internal freedom and is fully dependent upon the State, the charisma of the Patriarch remains practically an unrealized talent that is buried in the earth <…> the candidacy of Patriarch Pimen was not ratified by secret ballot, but rather by oral vote and was, according to reliable information, confirmed ahead of time by the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, according to the recommendations of the Council for Religious Affairs and the KGB… The pompous Council, which had been carefully and thoroughly planned in advance, had, along with the election of the Patriarch, the task of camouflaging the reality, of creating the appearance of the well-being of the Russian Orthodox Church <…> for the benefit of the many observers at the Council. A symbolic event occurred at the end of the Council, when, for the ultimate in humiliation, the participants and guests were led into the Bolshoi Theatre, where an anti-religious performance was being held — “The Tale of the Priest & his Servant Balda” [Trans., a Pushkin poem, in which the priest tries to cheat his servant Balda, but the latter outsmarts him]. Only Ephrem, the Patriarch of Georgia, and Vladimir, the Metropolitan of Japan, left the hall enraged; the others endured the performance to the end… It raises the question, who had proved themselves to be Balda at this play?” [18] Yakunin, Polozhenie, pp. 9-10. What might a Russian Christian who sat through this performance have felt? What might he have thought when the representatives of the Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic Churches remained in the hall? If one examines the list of participants, it can be seen that almost all of the free Western Churches were represented. Was it solidarity with the oppressed that made the representatives of these Churches remain?

If the Church Abroad always speaks of the fact that it is “completely free”: they did not need to pay heed to the relations between Churches and can freely and openly express their criticism. [19] III Gesamtkonzil, p. 52.

It is, however, exactly this criticism, which the representatives of the Patriarchate — perhaps also the representatives of the other Christian Churches — find unacceptable. Thus, in the past, the Patriarchate has striven in every way to get the Church Abroad again under its jurisdiction. After World War II, they attempted to annex the Church Abroad’s parishes directly. After this failure in most cases, the Patriarchate, by discrimination and defamation (e.g. accusations of collaboration with the Nazis), strove to isolate the Church and its hierarchs. As a prerequisite of collaboration with other Christian Churches, the Patriarchate demanded the severing of official relations of the respective Church with the Church Abroad, which succeeded in every case. Wherever pressure did not help, however, the Patriarchate resorted to promises.

Patriarch Alexis assured, “each bishop and clergyman <…> that he would be given the honor due his rank and promised them [that he would accept] his hierarchical status suitable to the holy service.” [20] JMP (1957) 3, pp. 5-8, here p. 7. Patriarch Pimen took a major step forward and promised in his message to the Third Pan-Diaspora Council of the Church Abroad: “We do not summon you to become loyal citizens of this government, which offered you the possibility of living on its territory or in which you might have been born. Yet we have the intention of demanding the psychologically impossible from you, i.e., an insufferable break with your political convictions and the changeover to complete uniformity in thought, feelings and behavior in accordance with the sons of the Church of Russia, who live in deeply-rooted concord with all the citizens of your homeland <…> the Russian Orthodox Church harbors no grudge against the wayward children of its grace-filled community.” [21] Ibid., pp. 62-64. In his answer to this appeal, Metropolitan Philaret clearly states: “The current appeal differs from previous ones in only a single way, that this time it does not contain the senseless demand directed at us to make a declaration of loyalty to the Soviet government.” The Metropolitan then turns quite resolutely against the Patriarch’s accusation that “feelings of enmity, bitterness, and hate towards one’s brothers in the Faith” are harbored. He continues, “We have for many years accused the Soviet rulers of torturing the Russian people… Our heart breaks each time with pain when news about the suffering of the Russian people under the yoke of atheistic Communism reaches us. In all our churches we pray unceasingly for its deliverance from this torment. With bitterness, we observe the open indifference of the Moscow Patriarchate towards this need… No kind of pressure from any side will bring us to change our stance towards godless Communism, because the teaching of the Apostle Paul applies to us: ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?’ (II Cor. 6: 14-15).” [22] Ibid., pp. 67-68.

Despite this largely repudiatory stance, it must be stressed that the Church Abroad feels bound to the faithful and many priests in the Soviet Union. The prayer that Metropolitan Philaret mentioned is said in all churches. They are an expression of the unity between the Church Abroad and the Mother Church. During the lifetime of Patriarch Tikhon, in all émigré churches, they prayed first for the Patriarch, then for Metropolitan Anthony, and finally for Metropolitans Peter and Cyril. Today, the Church Abroad prays first for the episcopate of the persecuted Russian Church, next for Metropolitan Philaret, and then for the suffering people. The sequence symbolized the still existent unity of the Church of Russia, which the Church Abroad stresses again and again. They have many contacts with the Russian Church in the homeland. “Contacts, for our part, exist to quite a varied degree. In essence, these are personal contacts, inasmuch as the official Church is affected by that. There are contacts between individual representatives of the official Church (the Moscow Patriarchate with representatives of the Russian Church Abroad). Usually, as the nature of the thing demands, nothing or very little about these matters can be said, because our partner will be put in danger there, a danger which does not exist for us here. Personal contacts with the Church in Russia are made with less difficulty and can be spoken about more freely though anonymously, i.e., without naming names and other details… We have a large number of common tasks and problems. And in some, we do not need to differentiate between the official State Church and the Underground Church in Russia, or the various shades of gray between the two poles. For example, the struggle to preserve the Faith and Traditions represents a common task for the Church in Russia and abroad… The struggle for the propagation of the Faith and Traditions is also a common one, inasmuch as this is possible in general, i.e., missionary activity… The spread of knowledge among the faithful is also a common struggle… The necessity for catechism is also a common one.” [23] Mark (Archimandrite), “Der Geistliche”, pp. 12-14.

The Church Abroad sees this as not only the sharing of common tasks but rather as the binding of all the faithful together who have not betrayed their Christianity by compromising with the atheist state: these include not only the dissidents and members of the catacombs. “We see the so-called Catacombs in their various manifestations. Each priest who undertakes to baptize children and adults without registration and without a copy of identification papers is prepared to act without the knowledge of the enemy and takes a personal risk to do Christ’s will. We have reported that there are also catacomb priests in the real sense, even if their number is small. In recent years, their secret techniques of activity have made advances. We have direct contacts with both types of priests.” [24] “The Reply to Solzhenitsyn” by Fr. George Grabbe in III Gesamtkonzil, pp. 35-39.

Fr. Demetrius Dudko saw a path to the reunification of the Church Abroad and the Mother Church. In 1979, he appealed directly to Metropolitan Philaret, writing: “Do not hedge yourselves off from us, but rather come to our churches in order to pray together with us and to communicate.” In the postscript, Dudko adds that he views favorably “even the seemingly unrealistic proposal, that Philaret and the clergy of the Church Abroad should somehow unite with us in an unofficial way, not with the bishops, who are often only creatures of the godless, but rather with the church folk.” Metropolitan Philaret should send bishops to the U.S.S.R., who either openly or secretly would try to ordain worthy priests. “They must come into some kind of contact with us. We look for them with hope.” [25] Informationsdienst Glaube in der Zweiten Welt (May 10, 1979) 8, p. 20-21.

Fr. Gleb Yakunin also saw this possibility. He indicated that the Moscow Patriarchate “has parishes under its jurisdiction that are located on the territory of the American Autocephalous Orthodox Church. If, for example, the O.C.A. could take the suffering Orthodox flock on the territory of the U.S.S.R., not cared for by the Moscow Patriarchate, under their jurisdiction, as brotherly help and as an exchange of experience, then it would be a valuable contribution to balancing out the relations between both Churches and the deepening of relations. And if God gives his blessing to this by the prayers of St. Innocent, spiritual bread will stream from America to the hungering Christians in Siberia and in the Far East.” [26] Yakunin, Polozhenie, p. 73.

Two voices of the Russian Christians in the homeland, who are far from all politics, show new ways for Russians in the emigration. If today this may have perhaps a fantastic ring to it, perhaps tomorrow it could be realized.


1 Cf. Part I, Chaps. 2 & 3; Part IV, Chap. 1.4.
2 Cf. the text of the Decree in the “Documents Section,” Part. VII, Chap. 2.
3 The delay was caused by, among other things, the fact that after receiving the letter, Metropolitan Eulogius went to Bad Kissingen for a four-week cure. (Manuchina, Evlogy, pp. 403-404).
4 Nikon, Zhizneopisanie 7, pp. 19-21.
5 Ibid., p. 384.
6 D´Herbigny/Deubner, Evêques Russes, pp. 54-55, quoted from Vechernee Vremya (April 11/24, 1925), 3014. Eulogius mentioned this letter in his memoirs but did not detail its contents. (Manuchina, Evlogy, p. 403).
7 Chrysostomus, Kirchengescgichte 2, pp. 133-134.
8 Nikon, Zhizneopisanie 6:46-222.
9 Ibid. 6, pp. 228-232.
10 Cf. Part V, Chap. 3.
11 Jahrbuch der Orthodoxie (1976/1977).
12 Cf. the works of these authors in the bibliography.
13 Chrysostomus, Kirschngeschichte 3, p. 43.
14 Struve, Christen, p. 89.
15 Chrysostomus, Kirchengeschichte 3, pp. 16, 20-21.
16 Mark (Archimandrite), “Der Geistliche,” pp. 20, 31.
17 From the epistle of Patriarch Pimen at the Third Council, III Gesamtkonzil, p. 62.
18 Yakunin, Polozhenie, pp. 9-10.
19 III Gesamtkonzil, p. 52.
20 JMP (1957) 3, pp. 5-8, here p. 7.
21 Ibid., pp. 62-64.
22 Ibid., pp. 67-68.
23 Mark (Archimandrite), “Der Geistliche”, pp. 12-14.
24 “The Reply to Solzhenitsyn” by Fr. George Grabbe in III Gesamtkonzil, pp. 35-39.
25 Informationsdienst Glaube in der Zweiten Welt (May 10, 1979) 8, p. 20-21.
26 Yakunin, Polozhenie, p. 73.

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