Articles Lives of Bishops Moscow Patriarchate Other Orthodox Slesarev, Alexander V.

A History of the Negotiations with ROCOR Hierarch Archbishop Afanasii Martos on the Leadership of the Belarusian Parishes in the Diaspora (1959–1974)

The icon is deeply revered in Belarus prep. Mother Euphrosinia, kn. Polotsk. Photo: http://www.stephrasinia.ca

The co-existence of various “waves” of immigration, political, and ethnic groups has not always been easy within the ROCOR.

From ROCOR Studies

Archbishop Afanasii’s biography shows what grave consequences the seizure of power in Russia by a militant atheist regime, the stand-off between two totalitarian regimes, and the subsequent Cold War had for the fate of the Russian church. Anton Vikentievich Martas was born into a peasant family in 1904 in the village of Krutoi Bereg, Minsk Province, which became part of the Republic of Poland in 1921 as a result of the Treaty of Riga. From 1926–1928, he studied at the Faculty of Theology of Warsaw University. In 1927, Anton received the monastic tonsure in the Holy Dormition Lavra in Pochaev. After the division of Poland in 1939, Turkovich Monastery, of which Archmandrite Afanasii was abbot, ended up in the USSR-occupied territories. The autocephaly of the Polish church, which was not recognized by Moscow, was annulled, and the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church was restored. After the beginning of the war with the USSR, the German authorities in the central district of Belarus and the Belarusian Central Rada demanded that the Orthodox bishops break away from the Moscow Patriarchate and create an autocephalous church. Autocephaly was proclaimed at the All-Belarusian Church Council in 1942, albeit only conditionally, with the final decision contingent on recognition by other Local Churches. During The Third All-Belarusian Council of Bishops (30 August – 2 September 1942), Archimandrite Afanasii was consecrated Bishop of Vitebsk and Polotsk and appointed temporary administrator of Novogrudok Diocese. In 1944, Archbishop Afanasii was evacuated to Silesia along with the entirety of the episcopate of the Church of Belarus. It is impossible to say what fate might have awaited Archbishop Afanasii had he remained in Belarus. On the one hand, Archbishop Ioann (Lavrinenko) of Polessia and Brest, who returned after being evacuated, was not arrested and was deposed only later under the Krushchev persecutions. On the other hand, Archbishop Daniel (Iuzv′iuk), temporary administrator of the Diocese of Vilnius and Lithuania, spent five years in prison. The events surrounding the Belarusian bishops’ joining the ROCOR at the Council of Munich in 1946 have been described by A. V. Slesarev in his work “Novoe svidetel′stvo o polozhenii ierarkhov Belorusskoi mitropolii v sostave Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi Zagranitsei v 1948 g.” [“A New Witness on the Status of the Hierarchs of the Metropolis of Belarus in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 1948”].

For Archbishop Afanasii, the loss of his beloved native land was a deep tragedy. In 1950, he was forced to accept an appointment in Australia. He had to carry out his archpastoral ministry under conditions of division among his flock predicated on the politicization of the diaspora and the conflict between Russian and Belarusian nationalism. He would later leave for Argentina, return to Australia, and in 1971 ultimately again return to Argentina. In 1983, Archbishop Afanasii resposed and was buried in Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville.

This is the context for Archbishop Afanasii’s correspondence with Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki, the administrator of the Belarusian parishes under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is noteworthy that, unlike the ROCOR, which had received clerics from the Patriarchate of Constantinople from the late 1960s onward without canonical letters of dismissal, the Ecumenical Patriarchate was not prepared to receive Archbishop Afanasii without the required documents.

Igor N. Andruskiewitsch, a member of the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of Argentina under Archbishop Afanasii, recalled the latter’s ministry during his first period in Argentina (1957–1969) as follows: “Vladyka Afanasii founded the Diocese of Argentina. The church, at a point, needs a pastor who can bring about administrative order, while later it needs one who can deepen its spiritual life, and at some other time it needs yet another for a different purpose. The Lord sends those who are needed. […] Vladyka Afanasii was a great zealot of Orthodoxy and of following the Church typicon, and was also a conservative, yet he was a conservative of a different type [than Archbishop Leontii (Filippovich)]. But then Vladyka Afansii was removed and sent to Australia. We had a minor schsim here. There was a group of various shrill people here who poured bile all over the Bishop for a number of years. They were constantly denouncing him. In order to put a stop to this, he was sent to Australia, which was not right: one must not give in to denunciations. Five percent were against him, and ten percent were ardent supporters of him. The Synod thought that he could be silenced in this way. Yet things turned out worse: he began to react in the opposite way.” (“But as for Vladyka Leontii, he accepted everyone”, Interview with Andrei Psarev, November 12, 1999)

Vladyka Afanasii was one of the most educated ROCOR bishops. In 1939, he defended his doctoral thesis on “The Great Catechesis of Metropolitan Peter (Moghila) of Kiev” at the Faculty of the Humanities of Warsaw University. Commenting on the ROCOR Synod of Bishops’ 1971 decision to emend the rite for the reception of non-Orthodox Christians into the Russian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Afanasii observed that he considered it incorrect to receive Catholics and Protestants through baptism and that one ought to follow the old Russian practice (Minutes of the Meeting of the ROCOR Council of Bishops of October 4, 1976, Archive of the Council of Bishops, New York). At the same time, Vladyka Afanasii considered it fully canonical to organize Church life in the diaspora along national rather than territorial lines.

Deacon Andrei Psarev, November 14, 2020

Archbishop Michael Konstantinides of Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (1892-1958)

One direct consequence of the church policy enacted by the Belarusian Central Rada (BCR), which cast itself as the Belarusian government in exile, was the founding of Orthodox parishes under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in countries with a Belarusian diaspora from the 1950s–1970s. The Belarusian Orthodox Ecclesiastical Committee in America (BOECA), whose leadership saw opening new parishes as a first step towards forming an autonomous Belarusian church-administrative unit (diocese or metropolis) under the Patriarchate of Constantinople in America, played a coordinating role in this process. This course of action found support on the part of Archbishop Michael (Konstantinidis, 1892–1958) of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA) of America. In addition, the religious strategy of the BCR and the BOECA had the ultimate aim of attaining total canonical independence for the Belarusian Orthodox Church and having this status confirmed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople and recognized by all the Orthodox. The leader and administrator of the Belarusian parishes under the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the USA and Canada during this period of time was a protopresbyter, Mikalaj Lapitzki (1907–1976), who had obtained wide-ranging privileges and a high degree of independence from the leadership of the American Archdiocese, and who had a high degree of authority in the Belarusian diaspora community and actively collaborated with the BCR (cf. Slesarev 2019, 176–192 for details).

In parallel with organizing new Belarusian parishes, the BCR and BOECA were exploring the possibility of having a bishop of Belarusian descent consecrated within the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople so that he could consolidate the Belarusian church communities around himself. An agreement on this matter was reached with Bishop Michael of North and South America on October 14, 1953, when the latter proposed that the Orthodox Belarusians could elect a candidate for episcpoal consecration from among their own with a view to his serving in the Archdiocese in the future (Vys′viachėn′ne Tsarkvy, 1953: 15).

The beginning of the next stage of enacting the BCR’s religious policy is linked with the resolutions of the Congress of Orthodox Belarusians of America and Canada that took place on August 31, 1958, in South River, New Jersey. Taking into account the existence of Belarusian Orthodox parishes in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the USA, Canada, and Great Britain, and noting that the prerequisites for creating a whole array of new church communities in various countries were met, the members of the Congress concluded that it would be expedient to form a single church-administrative governing body “in accordance with the canons and tradition of the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (Rėzaliutsyia, 1958: 5). In view of its stance on the above-mentioned issues, the Congress dissolved the Belarusian Orthodox Ecclesiastical Commission in America and formed a Church Council of the Belarusian Orthodox Church (BOC) instead. The newly formed administrative body was given the task of temporarily coordinating church life in all countries with a Belarusian diaspora and convening an Orthodox Church Council by the end of the calendar year in order to restructure the church administration (Rėzaliutsyia, 1958: 5).

Despite complications in organizing a general Orthodox Church Council, on August 30, 1959, a special session of the Church Council of the BOC elected a candidate by absentee ballot to serve as administrator of the Belarusian diocese in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, known as the Belarusian Orthodox Church Abroad (Belaruskaia Pravaslaŭnaia Tsarkva na chuzhyne). The members of the BOC Church Council chose Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) (1904–1983), Bishop of Buenos Aires and Argentina, a hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (Z dakladu, 1960: 17).

Having taken cognizance of this proposal, Archbishop Afanasii began to familiarize himself with the state of church life in the Belarusian parishes in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. On October 18, 1959, accompanied by Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki, he visited the parish of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk in Toronto, Canada, celebrated the liturgy there, and addressed the parishioners (K—r, 1960: 4).

Two months later, on December 6, 1959, Archbishop Afanasii attended another session of the BOC Church Council. After agreeing to transfer to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople with the aim of becoming the leader of the Belarusian parishes, he suggested first drawing up Statutes for the BOC in the diaspora and to give thought to the canonical basis for the existence of a Belarusian ecclesiastical body. After a thorough discussion, the council members present at the session concluded that it would be expedient to draw up a foundational document on the basis of the Statutes of the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (BAOC) adopted by the All-Belarusian Church Council of 1942, while also accounting for the particularities of church life in the diaspora. Two possible approaches to the matter of the canonical organization of the BOC in the diaspora were suggested:

  1. To request Archbishop Filofei (Narko), locum tenens of the Metropolitan See of the BOC, to serve as head of the BOC in the diaspora. In the event he should, to request that he cede the powers of locum tenens to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas), who would leave the ROCOR and become head of the BOC in the diaspora on the basis of the ecclesiastical independence that the Metropolis of Belarus possess in 1944.
  2. Should Archbishop Filofei refuse to lead the BOC in the diaspora, to request that the Patriarchate of Constantinople establish a Belarusian Exarchate headed by Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) (Z dokladu, 1960: 17).

Archbishop Filofei (Narko) of Berlin and Germany (1971-1982)

At the moment this resolution was adopted, the Archbishop Filofei (Narko, 1905–1986) mentioned in it was the administrator of the ROCOR Vicariate of North Germany, and had been under the jurisdiction of the Belarusian Orthodox Church from 1941–1946 (after 1944 outside Belarus). Arcbishop Filofei was deemed locum tenens on the basis of Section 18 of the Statutes of the BAOC, which had been adopted at the All-Belarusian Church Council of August 30–September 2, 1942. According to the statutes, in the event of the death or deposition of a primate of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, the most senior bishop of the Metropolis according to date of ordination was to be elected locum tenens in order to convene and hold a Church Council to elect a new primate (Statut, 1956: 176). After the death of Metropolitan Panteleimon (Rozhnovskii, † 1950) of Minsk and All Belarus and Archbishop Venedikt (Bobkovskii, † 1951), who had also joined the ROCOR shortly after leaving Belarus, Archbishop Filofei was the most senior hierarch in the Metropolis of Belarus in the diaspora according to date of ordination. Beginning in 1957, D. Kosmovich, the leader of the representation of the BCR in Germany, held secret talks with Archbishop Filofei concerning the possibility of the latter joining the Patriarchate of Constantinople in order to head up the body of the Belarusian Church. Without refusing outright, Archbishop Filofei nevertheless dodged the question (Belarusian State Archive and Museum of Literature and Art [BGAMLI], D. Kosmovich Collection, Survey 1, File 23, f. 23r; BGAMLI, D. Kosmovich Collection, Survey 1, File 150, f. 43v; BGAMLI, D. Kosmovich Collection, Survey 1, File 150, f. 47r; BGAMLI, D. Kosmovich Collection, Survey 1, File 150, f. 48r; BGAMLI, D. Kosmovich Collection, Survey 1, File 162, ff. 56rv; BGAMLI, D. Kosmovich Collection, Survey 1, File 164, f. 86r; BGAMLI, D. Kosmovich Collection, Survey 1, File 165, f. 50; BGAMLI, D. Kosmovich Collection, Survey 1, File 165, f. 57v; BGAMLI, D. Kosmovich Collection, Survey 1, File 166, ff. 98rv; BGAMLI, D. Kosmovich Collection, Survey 1, File 166, f. 101). It was for this very reason that the option of bringing in Archbishp Afanasii to lead the BOC was admitted only in the event that Archbishop Filofei should refuse outright.

Archbishop Afanasii is preaching in his Resurrection cathedral in Buenos Aires (Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov’ Zagranitsei, Jerusalem, 1968)

While waiting for this matter to be resolved, Archbishop Afanasii wrote in his New Year’s letter to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki on January 1, 1960: “It is my wish that 1960 should bring all the best in the matter of the Belarusian church and that the Belarusians should have their own lawful bishop” (List da Lapitskaga, 2005a: 352). However, in that year, the matter of finding a bishop to serve as head of the Belarusian parishes in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople was not resolved due to the lack of a definitive stance on the part of Archbishop Filofei (Narko).

In June 1961, Archbishop Afanasii presented his proposed Statutes of the BOC in the diaspora for consideration by the BOC Church Council; they addressed the need to maintain the high status of parish rectors by reaffirming the status of the heads of parish councils under them. Nevertheless, the Archbishop states that it was not expedient to allow laymen to be church leaders due to their lack of understanding of theological and canonical matters (BGAMLI, D. Kosmovich Collection, Survey 1, File 240, f. 121r; List da Lapitskaga, 2005b: 353).

Several months later, the BOC Church Council distributed a final version of the Statutes to representatives of Belarusian organizations, indicating that the text had been agreed with Archbishop Afanasii. After receiving the draft document, a representative of the BOC Church Council in London appealed to the Archbishop on behalf of the Orthodox Belarusians in Great Britain to serve as head of the Belarusian church in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. When he was informed about the contents of the draft Statutes that had been sent around, Archbishop Afanasii found that they differed from his original wishes in significant ways. As it turned out, the drafters of the text had been guided by the Statutes of the Russian Metropolis of North America, which allow for the possibility of broader lay involvement in church administration. The Archbishop, for his part, had been guided by the 1942 BAOC Statutes adopted by the All-Belarusian Church Council, which assigned a key role in church administration to the hierarchy and clergy. Archbishop Afanasii took the view that his name had been manipulated and on December 18, 1961, he sent a letter to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski in which he stated that the draft Statutes of the BOC in the diaspora that were under consideration were not canonical and that he would cease all interaction with Belarusian ecclesiastical bodies. In order to distance himself from any suspicions and accusations, the Archhbishop stated his desire to write up a report explaining the current situation and asked Protopresbyter Mikalaj to distribute it among Orthodox Belarusians (List da Lapitskaga, 2005c: 353–354).

Negotiations with Archbishop Afanasii were resumed in February 1962, when Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki again proposed that he head the BOC in the diaspora, with Archbishop Filofei (Narko) nonetheless formally retaining the right to use the title of locum tenens of the Metropolitan See of the BOC. Moreover, it was proposed that Archbishop Afanasii draw up Statutes for the BOC in the diaspora himself, in such a way that they would take into account his particular wishes regarding how church administration was to be organized. Commenting on the processes that had taken place, Protopresbyter Mikalaj indicated that only laymen and deacons had been involved in writing up the Statutes. At the same time, he noted that the attendees of a Church Congress in Manchester (Great Britain) had called attention to the current situation and expressed their desire for clergymen to be involved more actively in the work of drawing up the church statutes (List da Afanasiia, 2005a: 329–330). The disagreements that had arisen during the preparation of the draft statues prolonged the negotiations concerning Archbishop Afanasii’s leaving the ROCOR by over a year. In this situation, Protopresbyter Mikalaj repeatedly appealed to Archbishop Filofei (Narko) to head up the BOC in the diaspora, yet he did not receive a single reply to his letters (List da Afanasiia, 2005b: 333; List da Afanasiia, 2005c: 338; List da Lapitskaga, 2005d: 356).

Despite these difficulties, Archbishop Afanasii continued to maintain close contacts with Orthodox Belarusians, and this not only through his regular correspondence with Protopresbyter Mikalaj, the administrator of Belarusian parishes in North America: he also preserved liturgical communion with Belarusian congregations. One occurrence from early 1963 is quite indicative in this respect. After the liturgy, the Archbishop forgot his Greater Omophorion in the Belarusian church of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk in South River. Commenting on what had happened, he wrote to Protopresbyter Mikalaj: “I see in this incident a certain sign of things to come: maybe I will yet serve in your church, or indeed serve my Orthodox fellow countrymen in general” (List da Lapitskago, 2005e: 356). Throughout 1963, Archbishop Afanasii repeatedly expressed doubts about whether it was expedient for him to remain in the ROCOR, proposing that he could resign as administrator of the Diocese of Argentina and, after retiring, transfer to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in order to continue to serve the Belarusian diaspora. In this case, he agreed to lead the Belarusian communities in Australia, offering to transfer the management of the more numerous parishes in North America to Archbishop Filofei (Narko) should the latter also be ready to leave the ROCOR. Archbishop Afanasii’s willingness to write for the magazine Tsarkoŭny Svetach, an official publication of the Church Council of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, made a statement regarding his determination to take real steps toward rapprochement with the diaspora Belarusians (List da Lapitskaga, 2005d: 356; List da Lapitskaga, 2005е: 356; List da Lapitskaga, 2005f: 358).

Counting on the likelihood that Archbishop Afanasii would transfer to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, on December 25, 1964, Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki convened a Church Congress, primarily in order to consider whether to ask the Bishop to lead of the BOC in the diaspora. The Congress was attended by representatives of the Belarusian parishes in the USA and Canada. After approving the draft Statutes written up by Archbishop Afanasii, they sent an appeal to the Archbishop calling on him to leave the ROCOR and become the head of the Belarusian parishes. Protopresbyter Mikalaj also proposed that the diocese of the non-canonical Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in the United States, Canada and Europe, headed by Archbishop Vasilii (Tomashik), be incorporated into the BOC in the diaspora. At the same time, Archbishop Afanasii would remain the leader of the BOC in the diaspora. The issue was raised in these terms because Archbishop Vasilii (Tomashik) wanted to legitimize his canonical status through being recognized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. According to Protopresbyter Mikalaj, incorporating the BAOC parishes into the BOC would enable church divisions in the Belarusian diaspora to be overcome, leaving only a minority of supporters of self-proclaimed “autocephaly” (List da Afanasiia, 2005c: 337–338; List da Prėdyudmu, 2005: 391).

In a reply dated January 25, 1965, Archbishop Afanasii stressed that he was deeply committed to the archpastoral care of the Belarusian diaspora and approved a proposal to head the Belarusian parishes of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. However, he was in no hurry to leave the ROCOR, pointing to the need to continue to carry out in practice the decision to develop the structure of the BOC in the diaspora (List da Preidyumu, 2005: 391–392). This last circumstance prompted some representatives of the Belarusian parishes to declare themselves unwilling to recognize Archbishop Afanasii as the leader of the Belarusian church community. In response, on February 1, 1966, the Archbishop sent an appeal to the rectors of the Belarusian parishes, church committees and all Orthodox Belarusians, in which he proposed organizing a Belarusian Orthodox Church within the ROCOR. At the same time, he referred to the example of the Western Rite Vicariate of St. Denis, which operated as part of the Western European Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. Archbishop Afanasii also referred to the ordination of bishops for the Dutch, Romanian and Bulgarian dioceses, which were organized along national lines and enjoyed a high degree of independence. He explained his delay in leaving the Russian Church Abroad in terms of the lack of a Belarusian diocesan structure within the Patriarchate of Constantinople—which, were he to be the head of it, would allow him to serve as leader of the Belarusian parishes. For the Belarusian clergy to be directly subordinate to the Greek archbishop, there had to be agreement on the matter of their possible subordination to a Belarusian hierarch. Archbishop Afanasii said that the Belarusians’ lack of a church-administrative center, including a cathedral, bishop’s residence and appropriate living conditions for the bishop, was another impediment to his leaving the ROCOR. The Archbishop insisted that Statutes of the BOC in the diaspora had to be adopted according to which parish communities would be highly dependent on the uppermost ranks of the church hierarchy, and the clergy, church committees and all church organizations would be absolutely subordinate to the bishop, with the bishop retaining the right to confirm their powers. A very important prerogative of the bishop would also be to oversee the financial and economic activity of parishes. Archbishop Afanasii made his final decision on whether to leave the ROCOR and head the Belarusian parishes directly dependent on all existing difficulties being overcome and his conditions being met (List nastaiatseliam, 2005: 391–392).

The President of the Belarusian collaborationist Central Rada Radasłaŭ Kazimiravič Astroŭski expects auxiliary police force (Hilfspolizei). 1942-1943

Archbishop Afanasii’s proposals elicited an equivocal reaction on the part of Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki. He made the editing of parish statutes conditional on Archbishop Afanasii’s move to the GOA (List da R. Astroŭskaga, 2005: 396–397). However, the idea of organizing a Belarusian ecclesiastical body within the ROCOR, raised by the Archbishop, unexpectedly found support from the president of the Belarusian Central Rada, Radasłaŭ Astroŭski. In a letter to Protopresbyter Mikalaj, he agreed with the remark that the Belarusian communities did not have a cathedral, a place for the bishop to live, and premises for his chancellery. Astroŭski also conceded that the issue had not yet been agreed upon with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Pointing to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s abandonment of the Western European Orthodox Russian Exarchate in 1965 in favor of it returning to the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, Astroŭski expressed fears that such a transfer of jurisdiction to the Moscow Patriarchate might likewise occur with the BOC in the diaspora. The president of the BCR, for his part, based his reasoning on the assumption that the Belarusian Church could exist in the future as an entity independent of the ROCOR: “In light of the resolution of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on the total independence of the Belarusian bishops as concerns their archpastoral duties, we cannot allow ourselves to be inhibited by the fact that Archbishop Afanasii belongs temporarily to the Church of Russia. If we can obey a Greek bishop, so what would prevent us from obeying our Belarusian bishop?” (List Prėzidenta BCR, 2005a: 398). It is quite obvious that he considered the subordination of the Belarusian parishes to Archbishop Afanasii, a member of the ROCOR, to be a temporary state of affairs. Astroŭski saw the ultimate goal of such subordination as receiving autocephaly (“full autonomy”) from the ROCOR Synod of Bishops for the BOC in the diaspora. Given that the Russian Church Abroad itself lacked autocephalous status and in light of the traditionally cautious stance of its episcopate on the Belarusian question, one can hardly regard the hopes of the president of the Belarusian Central Rada as realistic.

After a short time, Astroŭski abandoned the idea of creating a Belarusian Orthodox Church within the ROCOR, believing that it was necessary for the Belarusian parishes to remain in the Patriarchate of Constantinople (List Prėzidenta BCR, 2005b: 399; List Prėzidenta BCR, 2005c: 399–400; List Prėzidenta BCR, 2005d: 400). He became personally involved in resolving the church question, asking Archbishop Afanasii to leave the ROCOR. He wrote, with disappointment, to Protopresbyter Mikalaj in March 1965: “We have had no luck with our bishops. Arch[bishop] Afanasii is silent, though he must understand that this puts us in a very unfortunate position. I wrote a second letter to him the other day, asking for an answer, because I am receiving inquiries from both Australia and England about when, finally, there will be a suitable bishop to be the head of our Belarusian Church” (List Prėzidenta BCR, 2005d: 400).

The rift between Archbishop Afanasii and the leadership of the BOC Church Council concerning the jurisdictional allegiance of the Belarusian Orthodox Church led to another stall in negotiations that lasted for over two years. In April 1967, Protopresbyter Mikalaj wrote to the Archbishop that it would be absolutely unacceptable to incorporate the Belarusian parishes into the ROCOR and pointed out that the Russian hierarchs had no sympathy for the cause of forming unified national churches. He argued his stance by pointing to the ROCOR Synod’s imposition of canonical sanctions on Bishop Ioann-Nektarii (Kovalevskii), who had long led the St. Denis Vicariate of the Western European Diocese of the Russian Church Abroad (List da Afanasiia, 2005d: 338–339).

In late 1968, Hegumen Iosif Strok (1904–), who had immigrated from Poland, joined the ranks of the clergy of the Belarusian parishes of the GOA. Since his change of jurisdiction to the Patriarchate of Constantinople had not been approved by the hierarchy of the Polish Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Stefan of Warsaw and All Poland suspended him from the sacred ministry. Ignoring this fact, Archbishop Iakovos (Coucouzis) of North and South America (1911–2005) confirmed his appointment as rector of the Belarusian parish of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk in Toronto, Canada. From the very moment of his arrival in North America, Hegumen Iosif was regarded as a candidate for episcopal ministry by the BOC Church Council. On March 6, 1969, Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki approached Archbishop Afanasii and asked him to join the Patriarchate of Constantinople and consecrate Hegumen Iosif as bishop. The head of the Belarusian Congress Committee of America, I. I. Kasiak, also made a similar appeal to the Archbishop. In his reply to Protopresbyter Mikalaj, Archbishop Afanasii reported that he was ready to accept the invitation-only after he retired and was entitled to a pension. He said that the most likely date of his retirement, which it lay in the power of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church to determine, was 1970. The Archbishop also expressed doubts about the expediency of transferring to the Patriarchate of Constantinople when there was already a candidate—Hegumen Iosif—for episcopal ordination. Moreover, the archbishop stated that Protopresbyter Mikalaj’s proof of the invalidity of the position of the Primate of the Polish Orthodox Church was erroneous. Referring to the church canons (Apostolic 12, 16, 33, IV EC 13, VI EC 17, Antioch. 3, Sard. 13, etc.), Archbishop Afanasii called Hegumen Iosif’s leaving the Polish Orthodox Church illegal and stated that his episcopal consecration would be invalid even if the administrator of the American Archdiocese of the Patriarchate of Constantinople were to consent to it (List da Afanasiia, 2005e: 341; List da Lapitskaga, 2005g: 359–360; List igumena, 1969–1970: 33–35) [Khronika, 1969–1970: 36].

By the time a new candidate to serve as a bishop for the BOC in the diaspora came forward, the position of Archbishop Afanasii in the ROCOR Diocese of Argentina had become much more difficult. Alongside a broad circle of supporters, there was a group opposed to his remaining Archbishop of Argentina, with E. E. Messner as its ideological leader. A significant reason for criticism of the Bishop was the publication of his book “Belarus in Historical, State, and Church Life” [Afanasii. 1966]. The book had elicited a negative reaction from Russian monarchists who did not share the author’s views on the issue of Belarusian statehood. Archbishop Afanasii’s supporters actively worked against their opponents by holding special meetings in support of the Archbishop, adopting relevant resolutions, and publishing open letters. The unfolding conflict caused the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church to appoint Archbishop Afanasii as the administrator of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand on September 6, 1969 (Apanas, 2005: 43–44; Knirsha, Mikhalenko, 1968: 3; Rezoliutisia, 1968: 3) [Kazantsev, 2009: 6].

Six months after Archbishop Afanasii moved to Australia, the issue of persuading him to head the BOC in the diaspora again became relevant in the BOC Church Council. The reason for this was the disappointment of Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki and other influential Belarusian diaspora figures with [by then] Archimandrite Iosif (List da Afanasiia, 2005f: 342). In June 1970, M. Zui, chairman of the Belarusian Association in Australia, personally met with Afanasii and tried to persuade him to leave the Russian Orthodox Church to head the Belarusian parishes of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Once again avoiding a direct answer, Archbishop Afanasii explained his position to Zui and expressed doubts about his new prospects: “How long will it last? A couple of months later, they will say that he is such and such. And what am I to do then? If I had a pension, then it would be different. I would somehow make ends meet, but as things are, I am afraid” (List M. Zuia, 2005: 442).

In the middle of the same year, the Orthodox Belarusians under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople gained hope that they would soon have a bishop of their own. Having considered the situation in the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand at a meeting on July 21, 1970, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia decided to retire Archbishop Afanasii from the administration of the diocese and provide him with a salary. Emphasizing his positive role in carrying out his tasks and the state of his health, the Synod’s resolution pointed to the need for Archbishop Afanasii to continue to be paid by the diocese until he could draw a state pension. In addition, the Synod of Bishops agreed to grant the Archbishop the opportunity to serve in certain parishes until affairs of the Diocese could be handed over to the new administrator, Archbishop Savva (Raevskii). The latter was entrusted with “guaranteeing suitable conditions for the life of His Grace Archbishop Afanasii and for his performance of the divine services” (Opredeleniia, 1970: 38).

Events subsequently unfolded extremely unfavorably for Archbishop Afanasii. In September 1970, Archbishop Savva forbade him to celebrate divine services in the cathedral, allowing him only to be present and commune at the altar. As he lacked a state pension and did not receive the material allowance from the ROCOR the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand as prescribed by the Synod resolution, he was forced to take advantage of the hospitality of local parishioners. This state of affairs had an oppressive effect on the Archbishop, prompting him to seek a way out of his difficult situation (List da Lapitskaga, 2005h: 362). Around the same time, he embarked on a trip to the United States, where he visited New York, South River, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. After meeting with Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki, the Archbishop discussed the possibility of transferring to the GOA in order to provide pastoral care for the Belarusian parishes. He was, moreover, extremely determined, spurred by the deterioration of his position in the ROCOR, as is reflected in a letter to Protopresbyter Mikalaj on September 29, 1970: “Now I am a retired bishop, no longer in active ministry, and I can start serving wherever I want. The resolution of the Council of Bishops in Munich in May 1946 on the right of Belarusians to be served by Belarusian bishops remains in force. Using this decree, I can notify the Synod and tell them that I will be serving the Belarusians, and they cannot have any pretensions against me” (List da Lapitskaga, 2005i: 375). Archbishop Afanasii saw obtaining appropriate invitations from church committees and rectors of Belarusian parishes in North America as a necessary condition for beginning to provide pastoral care for them. He also considered it necessary to coordinate on this issue with the Patriarchate of Constantinople and with Archbishop Iakovos (Coucouzis), the administrator of the GOA. Discussing the prospects for the BOC in the diaspora, Archbishop Afanasii wrote: “I think that we should not break with the Patriarchate of Constantinople altogether, but we do need to have full canonical autonomy from this Patriarchate. […] Therefore it is necessary to have absolute autonomy from this Patriarchate. It is not necessary to create a Belarusian Exarchate. I think that the term ‘Exarchate’ may be damaging in the future due to the dependence of an exarchate on Constantinople” (List da Lapitskaga, 2005i: 376).

At the same time as Archbishop Afanasii’s situation was becoming direr due to his being deprived of material support by the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki continued his active efforts to establish a Belarusian diocese within the GOA. In September 1970, Protopresbyter Mikalaj sent an appeal to the Patriarchate of Constantinople from the Council of Belarusian Parishes with a request to ordain Belarusian bishops (Letter, 1972: 4). At the same time, Archbishop Afanasii, not seeing any prospects for continuing his ministry in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, informed Protopresbyter Mikalaj that he was willing to begin the process of transitioning to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. He considered receiving appropriate invitations from the Belarusian church communities to be the first step in this direction (List da Afanasiia, 2005g: 343). By the end of the year, he had received invitations from the Belarusian parishes of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk (South River), St. George (Chicago), St. Cyril of Turov (Richmond Hill), and St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk (Toronto). However, by then, the ROCOR Australian Diocese had provided Archbishop Afanasii with an apartment, maintenance, and a church in which to celebrate services. Having discovered the possibility of a stable existence, he again began to hesitate about transferring to the GOA, citing the impossibility of finding a positive solution for his problem within the Ecumenical Patriarchate. At the same time, the Archbishop avoided any form of outright refusal. In a letter to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki dated December 29, 1970, he noted that he needed to live in Australia for one more year in order to receive a state pension, and he also expressed hope that several new Belarusian parishes could be opened in Sydney and other cities. He said that the festive events surrounding the consecration of the Belarusian Church of St. Cyril of Turov in New York provided a time-frame for a potential move to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Archbishop Afanasii promised to take part in the consecration and said he would fly in from Australia a month before the festivities in order to have time to deal with the formalities of transferring to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Probably wishing to convince his correspondent of the seriousness of his intentions, he mentioned a specific date and asked that a church consecration be organized for no later than Easter 1971. The letter concluded with the postscript: “Do not be in any hurry concerning Belarusian church affairs. Do not hurry with the construction of the church, either” (List da Lapitskaga, 2005j: 362–364).

These wishes expressed by Archbishop Afanasii testify to his desire to put off leaving the ROCOR for as long as possible. This is confirmed not only by the text of the postscript, but also by his timing of the move with the consecration of the Belarusian church in New York. It is unlikely that the construction could have been completed by the deadline specified by the Archbishop, since the foundation stone had been laid only on June 1, 1970 (in fact, the consecration would take place on October 29, 1972) [Commemorating, 1983: 8–10]. It may be assumed that Archbishop Afanasii was trying to make Protopresbyter Mikalaj believe that he was determined to lead the Belarusian parishes, while also finding a plausible excuse to hold off carrying out this decision indefinitely. Protopresbyter Mikalaj reached the same conclusion. In his reply to Archbishop Afanasii, he noted indignantly: “I have come to the conviction that you are keeping the Belarusians in reserve just in case. Perhaps I am wrong, but your letter reads as such: if they give you what you want, you will remain in the Russian Church Abroad” (List da Afanasiia, 2005h: 344). Despite his disappointment, Protopresbyter Mikalaj continued his negotiations with Archbishop Afanasii. Agreeing that the latter had to remain resident in Australia, he wrote: “Dear Vladyka! Do not hesitate and do not fear. Grant our request, and the Lord God will bless your holy endeavors. […] As regards the material aspect, you will not starve, either. I can assure you of this” (List da Afanasiia, 2005h: 345).

In his reply to Protopresbyter Mikalaj, Archbishop Afanasii attempted to brush off the suspicions the former had raised: “I have no intention of ‘keeping the Belarusians in reserve just in case’. You are very wrong about this. I am not expecting anything from the Synod. My ministry in the Church Abroad is over, and all that is left to be done is to tie up loose ends and take stock of it all. I am retired or in a state of retirement. I would like to arrange my life in accordance with my current status” (List da Lapitskaga, 2005k: 365). The Archbishop explained his delay in responding to the invitations of church committees to head the Belarusian parishes in terms of the slowness of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in addressing this issue. In this situation, it was not possible for him to announce he would join the GOA until this had been officially decided by the Ecumenical Patriarchate (List da Lapitskaga, 2005k: 366).

The appeal of the Church Council of the Belarusian parishes requesting that the Belarusian bishops be ordained was considered at a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on May 6, 1971, with Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople presiding. The members of the Synod signaled their approval for the initiative to appoint a bishop for the Belarusian parishes under the jurisdiction of the GOA. According to the resolution of the Synod (Minutes, No. 424), the Church Council of the BOC in USA and Canada was given the chance to nominate a candidate for episcopal service. The right to approve the elected candidate and ordain a Belarusian bishop was retained by the clergy of the Patriarchate of Constantinople (Letter, 1972: 4) [I. K., 1976: 20].

As he did not yet have information concerning Constantinople’s decision, Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki further attempted to persuade Archbishop Afanasii to transfer to the GOA jurisdiction in a letter of May 17, 1971. He invited the Archbishop to the consecration of the newly erected churches of St. Eurphrosyne of Polotsk in South River and of St. Cyril of Turov in Richmond Hill, and wrote: “I would like our Belarusian churches to be consecrated by our Belarusian bishop — that is to say, by you. Yet this can only occur after you leave the Russian Church Abroad. Do not worry about us. We will normalize our status without any difficulty after we have a bishop of our own” (List da Afanasiia 2005i: 346). In a reply dated June 10, 1971, Archbishop Afanasii stated his readiness to leave the ROCOR without any hesitation and to head the Belarusian parishes of GOA if Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America (Coucouzis) would agree to this. Emphasizing his deep feeling of belonging to the Belarusian people and his frustration with the ROCOR, the Archbishop pointed out the need to have a preliminary agreement with the head of the American Archdiocese concerning the possibility of appointing him as the administrator of the Belarusian parishes in North America. At the same time, he expressed his willingness to come to New York, to engage in talks with representatives of the Belarusian parishes, and to prepare an appropriate appeal to Archbishop Iakovos together with them. In addition to outlining his vision of how to resolve the issue of the episcopal leadership of the Belarusian parishes under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Archbishop Afanasii informed Protopresbyter Mikalaj about the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia that was planned for September 1971. Taking into account the widespread movement of laymen who supported Archbishop Afanasii in Australia, Argentina, Paraguay, and North America, the Archbishop himself did not rule out the possibility that the Council of Bishops might decide to appoint him as administrator of one of the smaller dioceses (Morocco or Great Britain). However, the Archbishop assured Protopresbyter Mikalaj that he would not accept any such appointment. At the same time, he expressed his concern for his former Argentine flock, who had founded a “Society of Admirers of Archbishop Afanasii” and who for this reason come been under pressure from the new administrator of the Diocese of Argentina, Archbishop Leontii (Filippovich) (List da Lapitskaga i Kasiaka, 2005a: 366–367).

By the time the letter was written, Archbishop Afanasii had been granted the opportunity to serve freely in the parish of St. Nicholas in Bankstown, a suburb of Sydney, which was highly critical of the diocesan leadership. The Archbishop described the parish as mainly Belarusian in terms of its makeup, noting that the diocesan authorities would bend to the demands of the parish, which was on the verge of leaving the ROCOR (List da Lapitskaga i Kasiaka, 2005a: 368).

Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki was notified of the decision of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to establish an episcopal see for the Belarusian parishes in North America during a telephone conversation with Protopresbyter Georgios Bakopoulos, the Secretary of the GOA, on June 17, 1971. The same day, he sent a letter to Archbishop Afanasii, urging the latter not to postpone his departure from the ROCOR and to come by July 4 for the solemn opening of the Belair-Miensk religious recreation center in Glen Spey, New York, in conjunction with the Belarusian Veterans’ Day. According to Protopresbyter Mikalaj, the well-attended event would be a most opportune moment to announce Archbishop Afanasii’s move to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the beginning of his pastoral care of the Belarusian diaspora (List da Afanasiia, 2005k: 347–348).

Afanasii (Martos) as Bishop of Brisbane (Photo: Archbishop Savva Raevskii, 1892-1976, by Fr. Michael Protopopov, Melburn, 1999)

In a reply dated June 24, 1971, Archbishop Afansii showed restraint and announced that it was impossible for him to take part in the festivities. He explained his refusal by saying that he would have to go through the process of obtaining a new foreign passport, which required additional time, as well as by referring to the initial agreement according to which he was to come to the consecration of the newly built churches in South River and Richmond Hill. While acknowledging the importance of the decision of the Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople that the head of the Belarusian parishes of North America should be a bishop of Belarusian origin, he insisted that his candidacy ought to be agreed upon beforehand. Archbishop Afanasii proposed that Protopresbyter Mikalaj appeal confidentially to Patriarch Athenagoras to recommend him as a potential administrator of the Belarusian diocese. In addition, the Archbishop reported on a possible decision regarding himself at the forthcoming Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. The reason for this was a mass demonstration of believers in the Diocese of Argentina in support of Archbishop Afanasii. By his own estimates, about 85% of the ROCOR parishioners in Argentina had objected to the change of a ruling bishop and had said they were prepared to leave the Russian Church Abroad. The situation was similar in Australia, where hundreds of the faithful had protested against Archbishop Afanasii’s removal from the diocesan administration. Under these circumstances, he feared he would be condemned by the Council of Bishops and assured Protopresbyter Mikalaj that he would soon join the American Belarusians: “I will not accept any new appointment from the Council of Bishops and will remain in my own. In this state, it would be better and more sensible for me to part with them. What would you advise me to do? I am writing to you openly and sincerely, without concealing anything. However, my decision about serving the diaspora Belarusians remains in force. I want to be with my people for the rest of my life. You can consider me privately to be yours, and the time will come soon for this to become official. On my part there are no obstacles to this, but I do not want to impose myself, either” (List da Lapitskaga, 2005l: 369).

A little over a week after this letter was sent, the position and prospects for Archbishop Afanasii’s ministry in the Russian Church Abroad suddenly changed. On July 2, 1971, Archbishop Leontii (Filippovich), administrator of the Diocese of Argentina and Paraguay of the ROCOR, died [Sakhnovsky, 1971: 2–3]. Given the mood of the faithful in Argentina, it was seen as most appropriate for Archbishop Afanasii to return to Buenos Aires. In this context, Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki continued his efforts to arrange for Archbishop Afanasii to transfer to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. After appealing to the leadership of GOA, he was asked to provide documents confirming the Archbishop’s canonical status. This required Archbishop Afannasii to make an official, documented exit from the ROCOR. Guaranteeing his subsequent de facto independence from the Greek hierarchs, Protopresbyter Mikalaj urged him to submit a written petition to the ROCOR Synod of Bishops and obtain a letter of dismissal (List da Afanasiia, 2005l: 348–349).

The need to secure a prior canonical dismissal from the Russian Church Abroad deeply disappointed Archbishop Afanasii. In a letter to I. I. Kasiak dated August 7, 1971, he wrote, without attempting to conceal his indignation: “As you can see, these conditions are ‘unfulfillable’ for me. Who will give me, a bishop, a letter of dismissal, and what canons deal with this? I do not know, and it is unheard of for any bishop to be received into another Church via a letter of dismissal. […] I, who as a bishop am the one who would usually issue a letter of canonical dismissal, would need a letter of dismissal. From whom? Who could give me one? The Synod? Is the Synod recognized as a canonical institution by the Ecumenical Patriarch and Exarch Iakovos? You know very well that the Synod will not give me a letter of dismissal” (List da Kasiaka, 2005: 370). The Archbishop also expressed his disappointment at the creation of a Belarusian church organization under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople: “You, Fr. Mikalaj, and the Belarusians have always spoken to me of leading an independent Belarusian Church, yet now it turns out that there will not be a Belarusian Church, but rather something ‘non-commital’: a diocese that is not a diocese, a vicariate that is not a vicariate. This question remains unresolved and it cannot be resolved. It is a pity, a great pity” (List da Kasiaka, 2005: 371). The letter ends with an expression of his indignation at the long delay of Protopresbyter Mikalaj and I. I. Kasiak in clarifying the conditions for his move to the American Archdiocese: “Things have been drawn out until, ultimately, the Greeks’ conditions put me in an impossible position: they imposed conditions on me that are not foreseen in the canons and are impossible for me to meet. […] If I were now to make a declaration about my leaving [the ROCOR], it would remain without an object, because there is nowhere and no one for me to go to. To establish a jurisdiction of my own would be risky on my part because I would be left alone with my jurisdiction. […] In a word, the affair about me is finished. Now, do not accuse me of deceiving the Belarusians. On the contrary: I was let down by the impossible conditions that they set me. It is with great embarrassment and disappointment that I write to you about this. […] The bet on me turned out to be fruitless through no fault of my own” (List da Kasiaka, 2005: 371). Despite this expression of disappointment, Archbishop Afanasii did not finally give up on the prospect of transferring to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and he asked Kasiak to inform him immediately in the event that anything were to change (List da Kasiaka, 2005: 371).

In a letter to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki dated August 20, 1971, Archbishop Afanasii reiterated his regret about the impossible conditions imposed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. He informed Protopresbyter Mikalaj about the death of Archbishop Leontius (Filippovich) and allowed for the possibility that he might be reappointed as the administrator of the ROCOR Diocese of Argentina. At the same time, he asked Protopresbyter Mikalaj for advice on how to proceed in this situation. Archbishop Afanasii also once again raised the issue of the status of the Belarusian bishop in the GOA, considering his position as vicar of the Archdiocese of North and South America to be extremely undesirable: “You and I and all the Belarusians have been talking about a diaspora Belarusian Orthodox Church. How can this Church exist if its bishop will be the lowest-ranking assistant to the [Greek] Exarch?” (List da Lapitskaga, 2005m: 372).

Archbishop Afanasii continued to correspond actively with Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki even after the beginning of the ROCOR Council of Bishops from September 8–28, 1971. He enclosed a copy of his certificate of episcopal consecration and information about his theological education with a letter to Protopresbyter Mikalaj dated September 13. Submitting these documents was a required part of the process of coordinating with the leadership of the GOA on Archbishop Afanasii’s transfer to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Assuming that he might be reappointed as the administrator of the Diocese of Argentina at the demands of faithful, the Archbishop gave voice in strong terms to his unwillingness to continue serving the ROCOR: “Whatever you decide, my ministry in the Church Abroad is actually already finished. [..] I am done with the Synod. I do not want to see any more of them. I will not talk to them. I will not go to their Councils anymore. There is nothing to talk about with Pharisees and hypocrites. It is impossible to change my mind” (List da Lapitskaga, 2005n: 373–374).

In addition to stating his desire to break with the ROCOR and devote himself to serving the Belarusian diaspora, Archbishop Afanasii reported on his attempts to persuade Archbishop Fillofei (Narko) to leave the ROCOR. His bids for the latter to reject a recent offer to head the Diocese of Germany and Berlin, and to retire and work together with him to organize church life in the Belarusian diaspora, did not meet with support or understanding (List da Lapitskaga, 2005n: 374). Archbishop Afanasii also suggested that Protopresbyter Mikalaj should take the initiative and facilitate the move of St. Nicholas parish in Bankstown, Australia, to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. According to him, this parish consisted of 80% Belarusian emigrants and was preparing to leave the ROCOR together with its priest, Archimandrite Venedikt. Since it was proposed that the parish would be directly subordinate to the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, Metropolitan Irinei (Bekish), he suggested taking the initiative and having the community place itself directly under the authority of the head of the GOA, Archbishop Iakovos (Coucouzis) (List da Lapitskaga, 2005n: 374).

Four days after Archbishop Afanasii sent this letter—on September 17, 1971—the Council of Bishops of the ROCOR resolved to offer him the post of Administrator of the Diocese of Argentina. The conditions for him to be able to return to his former place of service included his accepting some “necessary instructions” from the Chairman of the Council and the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky), as well as a ban on the distribution of his book “Belarus in Historical, State and Church Life”. The stance of the ROCOR Council of Bishops with regard to the book was explained in terms of “the numerous expressions of protest received by the Synod of Bishops, [..] and also bearing in mind that it contains reckless, controversial and offensive judgments on historical Russia, discussed by the author from the point of view of Belarusian nationalism, which have led to sharp criticism of the author and publisher and introduced confusion into the life of the Church” (Opredeleniia, 1971: 42).

Archbishop Afanasii accepted the proposal of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, yet he did not apprise Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of this development. The latter continued actively to hold talks with the GOA leadership about the terms of the Archbishop’s reception. Soon it became known to him that the main conditions for receiving the Archbishop into the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople were his having been canonically consecrated, his not being suspended from the sacred ministry, and filing an application for dismissal from the ROCOR, as well as providing a biography of himself and a copy of his degree certificates (List da Afanasiia, 2005m: 350). In late September 1971, Protopresbyter Mikalaj visited the ROCOR Synod of Bishops. It is obvious that the purpose of his visit was to agree on the terms of Archbishop Afanasii’s official withdrawal from the Russian Church Abroad. To his great surprise, he that the Archbishop had agreed to be reappointed as the administrator of the ROCOR Diocese of Argentina. In a letter to Archbishop Afanasii on September 28, 1971, Protopresbyter Mikalaj did not hold back the emotions that had engulfed him, but kept hope alive that he might eventually succeed in what he had set out to do: “This news has upset and indeed crushed me. How much did we fuss over this, yet everything, as it turns out, has evaporated. To put it briefly, I have compromised myself in the eyes of both the Belarusian parishes, who believed in me and sent petitions to you, and the Exarchate. But this has not broken me and [..] I am writing a letter and asking you once again to be the leader of our diaspora Belarusian Orthodox Church. I repeat once again: you will not regret it. You will have peace, respect, and everything you need both for prayer and for life. [..] I believed in you as a bishop, as a man, and as a Belarusian, and I still believe in you today, and I hope that you will keep to the words from your last letter and be the leader of our Belarusian Church, for which you were consecrated to the rank of bishop according to Divine Providence” (List da Afanasiia, 2005m: 350).

It took until October 1, 1971, two weeks after he had accepted the Synod’s appointment, for Archbishop Afanasii to notify Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki and I. I. Kasiak in writing that he was returning as an administrator to the ROCOR Diocese of Argentina. Explaining what had happened, he stressed his lack of consent to serve in Argentina and allowed for the possibility that he might not take up his duties as an administrator. He made his acceptance of the Synod’s decision conditional on the nature of the “necessary instructions” which the First Hierarch of the ROCOR was to communicate to him. Archbishop Afanasii also reprimanded his correspondents for not yet having resolved the issue of the conditions of his transfer to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. At the same time, he noted that he was ready to leave the ROCOR only if there were arrangements in place guaranteeing that he would be able to join the GOA without impediment and would subsequently be appointed administrator of the Belarusian churches. On the assumption that he would visit New York, the Archbishop expressed his wish to visit Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America together with Protopresbyter Mikalaj in order to agree on the details of his possible transfer to the GOA (List da Lapitskaga i Kasiaka, 2005b: 376–378).

In a reply dated October 7, 1971, Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki informed Archbishop Afanasii that he would soon be visiting the administration of the American Archdiocese and asked him to send the remaining documents needed to formalize his canonical transfer to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. He explained that the delay in resolving this issue was due to the secretary of the Archdiocese, Protopresbyter George Bakopoulos, having been ill. He also informed him that Archbishop Iakovos (Coucouzis) refused to accept the Belarusian community in Australia under his omophorion because he was unwilling to interfere within the Archdiocese of Australia. Protopresbyter Mikalaj expressed his hope that the Belarusian parishes could subsequently be united under a single Belarusian bishop (List da Afanasiia, 2005n: 351).

On October 14, 1971, Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki and I. I. Kasiak visited the administration of the American Archdiocese, where they agreed on a procedure for Archbishop Afanasii to change jurisdictions. By this time, Protopresbyter Mikalaj had received a set of documents from the Archbishop certifying that he had a theology degree and had been ordained canonically. Intending to initiate the process of his transfer to the GOA, Protopresbyter Mikalaj asked him to send an appropriate request to the Patriarch of Constantinople (List da Afanasiia, 2005о: 344).

Bishop Afanasii (marked) at the ROCOR Bishop Council in Munich in 1946 (the caption of 1947 is inaccurate)

The following day—October 15, 1971—Archbishop Afanasii sent an additional set of documents to Protopresbyter Mikalaj, including an English autobiography, his Master’s diploma in theology from Warsaw University (1933), a certificate from the Faculty of the Humanities of Warsaw University documenting that he had completed studies in education (1939), and an Ukase of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops receiving him into the jurisdiction of the ROCOR (1946) along with an English translation of the same. He did not send, as requested by Protopresbyter Mikalaj, a petition to be received into the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Moreover, he said that he had lost hope that the matter of his move to the GOA could be resolved favorably and that he felt responsible for his Argentine flock, to whom he considered it his duty as a bishop to return (List da Lapitskaga, 2005о: 378–379).

On the assumption that he would be able to relinquish his duties as administrator of the ROCOR Diocese of Argentina within the next year, Archbishop Afanasii wrote in a letter to Protopresbyter Mikalaj on October 21, 1971: “I am not renouncing the Belarusian cause, but please do not rush; try to clear up my case bit by bit” (List da Lapitskaga, 2005р: 380). He believed it would be possible to write a petition to join the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate only if the matter were decided upon positively by the GOA with subsequent approval from Constantinople. The Archbishop said that the most acceptable arrangement would be for a Belarusian ecclesiastical body to exist within the American Archdiocese while having an autonomous status (List da Lapitskaga, 2005q: 383–384; List da Lapitskaga і Kasiaka, 2005с: 381; List da Lapitskaga і Kasiaka, 2005d: 384–385).

In a letter of November 7, 1971, Archbishop Afanasii subjected Archbishop Filofei (Narko), who that year had received the post of administrator of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany, to particular criticism. “I was very surprised by Archbishop Filofei […] He was bought with the title ‘of Berlin and Germany’. He sold his Belarusian birthright, being locum tenens of the Metropolitan See of Minsk and All Belarus, in exchange for the paper diocese of Berlin and Germany” (List da Lapitskaga і Kasiaka, 2005d: 384–385). While he had received the titles of the administrator of the Diocese of Argentina, Australia, and again Argentina from the ROCOR Councils of Bishops, Archbishop Afanasii considered it unacceptable for Archbishop Filofei to act in like manner. Archbishop Afanasii sent the latter a letter rebuking him and thereby made relations with the former locum tenens of the BOC Metropolitan See maximally difficult (List da Lapitskaga і Kasiaka, 2005d: 385–386).

By mid-December 1972, the Patriarchate of Constantinople declared it was ready to receive Archbishop Afanasii as a bishop, without guaranteeing that he would be appointed as administrator of the Belarusian parishes in the GOA.

By mid-December 1972, the Patriarchate of Constantinople declared it was ready to receive Archbishop Afanasii as a bishop, without guaranteeing that he would be appointed as administrator of the Belarusian parishes in the GOA. The lack of certainty that his initiative would be brought to fruition led the Archbishop to continue to serve in the ROCOR (List da Lapitskaga і Kasiaka, 2005е: 387–389).

The subsequent correspondence between Archbishop Afanasii and Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki reflects the former’s disillusionment with the project of creating a Belarusian diocese in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Finding it impossible to leave the ROCOR without a guarantee from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Bishop wrote in September 1974: “God knows what will come. In such weighty matters as ours, the decisions depend on a higher power: God. Neither I nor you nor anyone else will be able to resolve our issues. Let us entreat God in earnest” (List da Lapitskaga, 2005r: 389). As subsequent history shows, Archbishop Afanasii continued to lead the ROCOR Diocese of Argentina until his death († 1983), having wound up the negotiations on moving to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

In summing up the history of negotiations with Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) regarding his leaving the Russian Orthodox Church and assuming leadership of a Belarusian ecclesiastical body within the Patriarchate of Constantinople, one ought to highlight the principal components of this dialogue. First, as someone who had served for a number of years in the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church in Poland and was then ordained bishop in the Metropolis of Belarus, Archbishop Afanasii felt nostalgic after being forced to emigrate and move to the ROCOR, which dictated his sympathy for the Belarusian church project. Secondly, Archbishop Afanasii was only considered as a possible head of a Belarusian ecclesiastical body under the Patriarchate of Constantinople because Archbishop Filfofei (Narko), who was also a member of the ROCOR and was the most senior Belarusian hierarch by date of consecration, had ignored an offer of this position. Third, for a long time, Archbishop Afanasii postponed his move to the Constantinopolitan jurisdiction because of his disagreement with the main provisions of the Statutes of the BOC in the diaspora, which entailed wide-ranging opportunities for laypeople to become involved in church administration. Fourth, the negotiations became more complicated at a certain stage due to a long lack of consensus on the issue of the jurisdictional affiliation of the BOC in the diaspora, after Archbishop Afanasii’s proposal to create a Belarusian diocese within the ROCOR was not approved by the BOC Church Council and the BOC administration. Fifth, Archbishop Afanasii’s reservations about changing church jurisdictions were largely predicated on a lack of confidence in the security of his future position. This is why the Archbishop postponed his move until he had first received his state pension, and after that until he received a guarantee that he would be appointed as administrator of the Belarusian diocese. Sixth, Archbishop Afanasii was kept from moving to the Patriarchate of Constantinople by the lack of suitable conditions for episcopal ministry. He made his leaving the ROCOR directly contingent on the Belarusian ecclesiastical body having a cathedral, a bishop’s residence, and the means to support the bishop materially. A combination of all these factors dictated the logic of the dialogue with Archbishop Afanasii and ultimately led him to decide to continue serving in the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

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[BGAMLI = Belarusskii Gosudarstvenni Arkhiv-muzei Literatury i Iskusstva, Belarusian State Archive and Museum of Literature and Art]
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  • List da Afanasiia (2005a) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) of 23.02.1962 Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 329–331.
  • List da Afanasiia (2005b) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas). May 1963. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 333–334.
  • List da Afanasiia (2005с) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) of 08.10.1963. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 337–338.
  • List da Afanasiia (2005d) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas). April, 1967. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 338–339.
  • List da Afanasiia (2005e) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) of 06.03.1969. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 340–341.
  • List da Afanasiia (2005f) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) of 12.04.1970. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 342.
  • List da Afanasiia (2005g) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) of 07.10.1970. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 343.
  • List da Afanasiia (2005h) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) of 11.01.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 344–345.
  • List da Afanasiia (2005i) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) of 17.05.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 346–347.
  • List da Afanasiia (2005k) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) of 17.06.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 347–348.
  • List da Afanasiia (2005l) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) of 17.07.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 348–349.
  • List da Afanasiia (2005m) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) of 28.09.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 350.
  • List da Afanasiia (2005n) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) of 07.10.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 351.
  • List da Afanasiia (2005о) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzski to Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) of 20.10.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 343–344.
  • List da Kasiaka (2005) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to I. Kasiak of 07.08.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 370–371.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005a) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 01.01.1960. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 352.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005b) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 13.06.1961. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 353.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005c) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 18.12.1961. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 353–354.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005d) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 19.06.1963. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 355–356.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005е) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 05.08.1963. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 356–357.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005f) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 26.08.1963. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 357–358.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005g) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 08.08.1969. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 359–360.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005h) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 03.11.1970. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 361–362.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005i) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 29.09.1970. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 375–376.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005j) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 29.12.1970. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 362–364.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005k) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 24.01.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 364–366.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005l) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 24.06.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 368–370.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005m) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 20.08.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 371–373.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005n) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 13.09.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 373–374.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005о) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 15.10.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 378–379.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005р) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 21.10.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 379–381.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005q) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 03.11.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 383–384.
  • List da Lapitskaga (2005r) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 03.09.1974. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 389–390.
  • List da Lapitskaga i Kasiaka (2005a) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki and I. I. Kasiaka of 10.06.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 366–368.
  • List da Lapitskaga i Kasiaka (2005b) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki and I. I. Kasiaka of 01.10.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 376–378.
  • List da Lapitskaga i Kasiaka (2005с) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki and I. I. Kasiaka of 29.10.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 381–382.
  • List da Lapitskaga i Kasiaka (2005d) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki and I. I. Kasiaka of 07.11.1971. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 384–387.
  • List da Lapitskaga i Kasiaka (2005е) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki and I. I. Kasiaka of 26.01.1972. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 387–389.
  • List da Prėidyumu (2005) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to the Chair of the Church Congress of Belarusian Orthodox Parishes of North America in South River, 25.01.1966. Copies from Belarusian parishes in South River, Toronto, and Chicago. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 391–392.
  • List da R. Astroŭskaha (2005) = Letter from Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki to BCR President R. Astroŭski of 18.02.1965. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 396–397.
  • List igumena (1969–1970) = Letter from Hegumen Yazėp (Iosif) (Strok) to His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras. Belaruskaia dumka. 1969–1970. 12–13. p. 33–35.
  • List M. Zuiia (2005) = Letter from M. Zui to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 20.06.1970. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 442–443.
  • List nastaiatseliam (2005) = Letter from Archbishop Afanasii (Martas) to the Rectors of the Belarusian Parishes, Parish Councils, and All Orthodox Belarusians Abroad of 01.02.1966. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 393–395.
  • List Prėzidenta BCR (2005a) = Letter from BCR President R. Astroŭski to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki. 1965. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 397–398.
  • List Prėzidenta BCR (2005b) = Letter from BCR President R. Astroŭski to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 05.02.1965. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 399.
  • List Prėzidenta BCR (2005c) = Letter from BCR President R. Astroŭski to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki 22.02.1965. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 399–400.
  • List Prėzidenta BCR (2005d) = Letter from BCR President R. Astroŭski to Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki of 31.03.1965. Mikalaj Lapitzki. U sluzhėn′ni Bohu i Belarusi [Serving God and Belarus]. New York–Warsaw: BINIM, ISPAN, 2005. p. 400.
  • Opredeleniia 1970 = Opredeleniia arkhiiereiskago sinoda Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi Zagranitsei [Resolutions of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia], in: Tserkovnaia Zhizn′ [Church Life]. 1970. 5–9. p. 33–42.
  • Opredeleniia (1971) = Opredeleniia arkhiiereiskago sinoda Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi Zagranitsei, in: Tserkovnaia Zhizn . 7–12. p. 33–54.
  • Rezoliutsiia (1968) = Rezolutsiia, Vsenarodnoe Sobranie «V zashchitu Tserkvi», sostoiavsheesia v voskresenʹe 17 noiabria 1968 v zale «CASA SUIZA», Rodrígues Peña 254 – Buenos Aires [Resolution of the All-Peoples’ Assembly “In Defence of the Church”, Held on Sunday, November 17, 1968, in the Hall of the Casa Suiza, Rodrígues Peña 254, Buenos Aires], in: Nasha strana 983 (1968). p. 3.
  • Rėzaliutsyia (1958) = Rėzaliutsyia Z′ezdu pravaslaŭnykh belarusaŭ: dukhavenstva i vernikaŭ z Amėryki i Kanady z dnia 31 zhniŭnia 1958 hodu ŭ Saŭt Ryvėry, N′iu Dzhėrsi, SSHPA [Resolution of the Congress of Orthodox Belarusians, Clergy, and Believers of America and Canada on June 31, 1959, in South River, New Jersey, USA], in: Tsarkoŭny S′vetach 9 (1958). p. 5.
  • Statut (1956) = Statut S′viatoĭ Pravaslaŭnaĭ Belaruskaĭ Aŭtakefal′naĭ Tsarkvy, pryniaty Ŭsebelaruskim Tsarkoŭnym Saboram 30.8.–2.9.1942 [Statutes of the Orthodox Belarusian Autocephalous Church, Adopted by the All-Belarusian Church Council, 30.8.–2.9.1942], in: I. Kasiak. Z historyi Pravaslaŭnaĭ Tsarkvy belaruskaha narodu [On the History of the Orthodox Church of the Belarusian People]. New York, 1956. p. 173–188.

Secondary Literature

  • Afanasii (1966) = Archbishop Afanasii Martos. Belarusʹ v istoricheskoi, gosudarstvennoi i tserkovnoi zhizni [Belarus in Historical, State, and Church Life]. Buenos Aires, 1966. 299 pp.
  • Vy′sviachėn′ne Tsarkvy (1953) = Vys′viachėn′ne Belaruskae Pravaslaŭnae Tsarkvy S′v. Eŭfrasin′ni Polatskaĭ u Saŭt Ryver [Consecration of the Belarusian Orthodox Church of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk in South River], in: Tsarkoŭny S′vetach 4 (1953). p. 15.
  • Z dakladu (1960) = Z dakladu a. protaprės′vitsera Mikalaia Lapitskaha, «Suchasnae stanovishcha Belaruskaĭ Pravaslaŭnaĭ Tsarkvy ŭ vol′nym s′vetse i patrėbnyia merapryemstvy dlia ŭz′niats′tsia tsarkoŭnaha zhyts′tsia», prachytanaha na Z′ez′dze belarusaŭ ZSHA i Kanady ŭ Toronto (Kanada) dlia 4 veras′nia 1960 [From the Talk of Protopresbyter Mikalah Lapitzki, ‘The Contemporary State of the Belarusian Orthodox Church in the Free World and Necessary Measures to Clear Up Church Life’, Delivered at the Congress of Belarusians in the USA and Canada in Toronto, September 4, 1960], in: Tsarkoŭny S′vetach 10 (1960). p. 13–18.
  • K. (1976) = I. K., S′v. pam. a. protapr. M. Lapitski [To the Sacred Memory of Protopresbyter Mikalaj Lapitzki], in: Belaruskaia dumka. 1976. 20. p. 18–21.
  • K—r (1960) = K—r. Iapiskap Apanas u Tarontse [Bishop Afanasii in Toronto], in: Bats′kaŭshchyna. 1960. 3 (487). p. 4.
  • Kazantsev (2009) = N. Kazantsev. “Porazitelʹnaia vtoraia zhiznʹ kornilovtsa Messnera” [“The Impressive Second Life of the Kornilovets Messner”], in: Nasha strana 2878 (2009). p. 6.
  • Kasiak (1956) = Kasiak. Z historyi Pravaslaŭnaĭ Tsarkvy belaruskaha narodu [On the History of the Orthodox Church of the Belarusian People]. New York, 1956. 191 pp.
  • Sakhnovskii (1971) = N. Sakhnovskii. “V Boze pochil Vladyka Leontii” [“Vladyka Leontii Has Passed Away in the Lord”], in: Pravoslavnaia Rusʹ 14 (1971). p. 2–3.
  • Slesarev (2019) = A. V. Slesarev. “Predposylki vozniknoveniia i istoriia razvitiia Belorusskogo Soveta pravoslavnykh tserkvei v Severnoi Amerike v 1950–1976 gg.” [“Conditions for the Emergence and History of the Development of the Belarusian Council of Orthodox Churches in North America, 1950–1976], in: Khristianskoe chtenie [Christian Reading] 4 (2019). p. 176–192.
  • Kronika (1969–1970) = Khronika tsarkoŭnaha zhyts′tsia [Chronicle of Church Life], in: Belaruskaia dumka. 1969–1970. 12–13. p. 36.
  • Commemorating (1983) = Commemorating the Consecration of St. Cyryl of Turov American-Byelorussian Greek Orthodox Church in Richmond Hill. New York, 1983. 16 pp.

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