Articles Jurij Danilets Metropolitan Anthony Other Orthodox Serbia 2021

The ROCOR and Orthodoxy in Subcarpathian Ruthenia in the 1920s

Archimandrite Vitaly (Maksimenko) with clergy, including St.Aleksei (Kabaliuk), at the right of Fr. Vitaly. Early 1930s

The groundwork for contacts between ROCOR figures and Orthodox clergy in Subcarpathian Ruthenia was thus laid in the period before World War I. In the 1920s, the ROCOR leadership attempted to extend its authority over the Transcarpathian Orthodox parishes, based on the status of Exarch granted to Metropolitan Antony by the Ecumenical Patriarch.

The translation of this paper, which will be presented at the conference in November 2021 in Belgrade, has been posted here to enable conference participants to submit questions to the speaker beforehand. The translation has been financed by the Fund for Assistance to the Russian Church Abroad.

In his account of Antony Khrapovitskii’s ministry as Archbishop of Volhynia, Archbishop Nikon (Rklitskii) made note of the former’s special concern for the Orthodox movement in Austria-Hungary. Understanding the complexity of the situation in the church, the Metropolitan appealed to the Patriarch of Constantinople to extend his jurisdiction to Galicia and Transcarpathia: “For political reasons, the Russian Synod could officially not extend its influence to regions under Austro-Hungarian rule,” Archbishop Nikon noted.[1]Abp. Nikon (Rklitskii). Mitropolit Antonii (Khrapovitskii) i ego vremia (1863–1936). Kniga pervaia [Metropolitan Antonii Khrapovitskii and His Time (1863–1936), Vol. 1]. Nizhnii Novgorod: … Continue reading Further on in the text, we encounter the information that the Patriarch appointed Archbishop Antony “Exarch of Galicia and Carpathian Ruthenia”. It is important that the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not protest against this step, and after the death of Joachim III, his successor Patriarch Germanos ratified the decision.[2]Ibid., pp. 691–692.We must agree with Archbishop Nikon that this new appointment, although symbolic in nature, provided a canonical basis for Archbishop Antony’s guardianship of the Orthodox in Galicia and Transcarpathia.

At the end of World War I, the issue of the ecclesiastical affiliation of the Transcarpathian Orthodox once again came to the fore. At the second session of the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Council in Kiev, from June 20 to July 11, 1918, Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitskii) of Kiev and Galicia motioned to petition for government assistance for his trip to Austria-Hungary. On September 5, 1918, Antony sent a letter to this effect to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.[3]Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitskii. “Ministrovi Zakordonnykh Sprav, prokhaiuchy pidniaty pytannia pered Avstro-Ugorsʹkym Uriadom” [“To the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Requesting that thre … Continue reading The document clearly named not only the Galician lands, but also “Ugro-Ruthenia” (Hungary), as places where the bishop sought “to visit Orthodox communities […] and set up Orthodox churches, parishes and monasteries, both in person and through authorized, ordained persons.”[4]Ibid., p. 402. According to Starodub, after he was denied permission, the issue was raised again at the next (third) session of the Council in October–November of the same year. On November 25, in response to Metropolitan Antony’s repeated appeals, Serhii Herbelʹ, chairman of the Council of Ministers, instructed the Ministry of Religion to come up with draft solutions to the problem. Finally, on December 5, in the final days of the Hetmanate, the relevant documents were sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[5]A. Starodub, Nevidomyy lyst…, p. 399. Subsequent political events were not conducive to resolving the issue.

According to the June 16, 1918 issue of the Brno newspaper Rovnost, Hieromonk Alexis (Kabaliuk) was released from prison and summoned before a military commission after serving his sentence from the Máramaros-Sihoť Trial. The commission deemed him fit for military service and assigned him to a military unit.[6]“Rusínský kněz Kabaliuk odveden k vojsku”, in: Rovnost. 16 června 1918. p. 3. In July 1918, Kabaliuk managed to board a Russia-bound train for prisoners-of-war at Miskolc railway station.[7]Iurii Danyletsʹ. “Diialʹnistʹ prepodobnogo Oleksiia (Kabaliuka) u svitli novykh arkhivnykh dokumentiv” [“The Activities of Venerable Alexis Kabaliuk in Light of New Archival Materials”], … Continue reading The subsequent fate of the leader of the Orthodox movement in Transcarpathia can be traced in the memoirs of Archbishop Evlogii Georgievskii and in those of Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitskii’s cell-attendant Archimandrite Feodosii (Melʹnik).[8]“Skhi-Arkhimandrit Aleksii (Kabaliuk)” [“Schema-Archimandrite Alexis Kabaliuk”], in: Pravoslavnyi putʹ. Tserkovno-bogoslovsko-filosofskii ezhegodnik: Prilozhenie k zhurnalu «Pravoslavnaia … Continue readingVladyka Evlogii recalled that Kabaliuk came to his house in Zhitomir “exhausted, worn out, with a festering wound across his chest…” The Archbishop was convinced that he had been released from prison by the revolutionaries, had made it to the Ukraine, and had been sent for treatment to “the hospital of the Kiev Caves Lavra.”[9]Putʹ moei zhizni: Vospominaniia Mitropolita Evlogiia (Georgievskogo), izlozhennye po ego rasskazam T. Manukhinoi.[My Life’s Journey. Memoirs of Metropolitan Evlogii Georgievskii, Set Out According … Continue reading In the four-volume work Zhizneopisanie Blazhenneishego Antoniia, mitropolita Kievskogo i Galitskogo [The Life of His Beatitude Antony, Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia], we find a recollection of a visit the Metropolitan paid to Hieromonk Alexis in the hospital of the Lavra in Kiev.

It is also known that Metropolitan Antony was approached for help by the leaders of the Orthodox movement from Subcarpathian Ruthenia during his visit to Mount Athos in 1920. On June 5, 1920, he issued an “Encyclical to the People of Carpathian Ruthenia,” stating his desire to come to Czechoslovakia. In the same letter, he recommended that the Subcarpathian Orthodox appeal to the Serbs for assistance. “If I do not come to you, go to the Orthodox Metropolis of Karlovci. to Serbia. The Orthodox hierarchs there will instruct you in what to do.”[10]Grigorič V. Pravoslavná církev v republice československé. 1. vyd. Praha: V. Čerych, 1926. p. 39.

Metropolitan Antony did not cease to take an interest in the affairs of Subcarpathian Ruthenia after returning to the Crimea in October 1920 at the invitation of General Peter Wrangel. Under his chairmanship, shortly before it was evacuated to Constantinople, the Temporary Supreme Church Administration in the South of Russia considered the situation of the religious movement in Czechoslovakia. Preliminary documents of the “Assembly of the Russian Church Abroad” note that the Temporary Supreme Church Administration in South-eastern Russia planned to take action on this issue.[11]Zagranichnoe russkoe tserkovnoe sobranie: Materialy podgotovitelʹnoi komissii.[The Assembly of the Russian Church Abroad: Materials from the Preparatory Commission]. 1 ed., Constantinople, 1921. … Continue reading However, the Bolshevik invasion of the Crimea prevented any effective action from being taken.[12]A. Kostriukov. “Vremennoe vysshee tserkovnoe upravlenie na Iugo-Vostoke Rossii kak nachalo zarubezhnoi tserkovnoi vlasti” [“The Supreme Church Administartion in South-eastern Russia as the … Continue reading Thus, for political reasons, Metropolitan Antony did not succeed in securing canonical authority for himself in Subcarpathian Ruthenia. Having found himself in Sremski Karlovci at the invitation of the Serbian Patriarch and as head of the ROCOR, the Metropolitan continued to maintain contacts with the Orthodox clergy in Subcarpathian Ruthenia.

In this paper, we shall focus on contacts between the ROCOR and Orthodox clergy under Serbian jurisdiction. We shall deliberately pass over Metropolitan Antony’s support for Archbishop Savvatii (Vrabets).[13]On Archbishop Savvatii (Vrabec), see: Marek P., Burega V., Danilec J. Arcibiskup Sawatij (1880–1959). Nástin života a díla zakladatelské postavy pravoslavné církve v Československé … Continue reading

Hieromonk Sergii Tsʹoka wrote that as early as December 19, 1921, Georgy Keniz had tried to hold a meeting of delegates of Orthodox communities from Iza village in Huszt District in order to elect Hegumen Alexis (Kabaliuk) as bishop. Given the unfavorable situation in Iza, where the monastic community of St. Nicholas Monastery and villagers were opposed to the meeting, it was decided to move the meeting to Tereblia village, Tyachiv District, and then to the village of Bushtyno.[14]Ibid., p. 203. Miloš Červinka, the chairman of the Czech Orthodox community in Prague, reported in a letter to the office of the President of Czechoslovakia, dated January 22, 1922, that there had been attempts by certain circles to elect a bishop from among the local clergy. Červinka considered such a move harmful and dangerous for the State, suggesting that such candidates might be “susceptible to deleterious foreign influence”.[15]Archiv Kanceláře prezidenta republiky, Praha. F. KPR, sign. 653042/64, Česká církev pravoslavná v ČSR, 1920–1964 (nezpracováno). Miloš Červinka, KPR, 22.01.1922. This was obviously an allusion to Russian émigré influence. The meeting took place on March 1, 1922.[16]Iurii Danyletsʹ. “Peredumovy ta naslidky «bushtynsʹkogo soboru» 1 bereznia 1922 r.” [“Prerequisites and Consequences of the ‘Bushtyno Council’ of March 1, 1922”], in: Naukovyy visnyk … Continue reading The delegates criticized Bishop Dositej and the members of the Central Orthodox Committee[17]A governing body established in 1921 (hereafter: COC) for their inertia in setting up diocesan institutions. One of the COC members, Ivan Mondich, wrote that the Czechoslovak government had refused to approve the charter of the Carpatho-Ruthenian Orthodox Church in response to the Council of the Russian Orthodox Church A            broad in Sremski Karlovci, which, in his words, “gave the Czech government cause to declare that all Russian Orthodox priests [were] monarchists”.[18]“Protokolʺ sobraniia vʺ s. Bushtyno pravoslavnykhʺ obshchinʺ Marm. Zhupy, Karpatskoi Rusi, 1 marta 1922” [“Minutes of the Gathering of Orthodox Communities, in: Russkii pravoslavnyi … Continue reading The attendees at the gathering sent an appeal to the Serbian Patriarch asking him to consecrate a Vicar Bishop for Transcarpathia.

Bishop Dositej Vasić considered the meeting a consequence of Metropolitan Antony’s efforts to gain control over church life in Subcarpathian Ruthenia. In a report to the Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) on August 11, 1922, Bishop Dositej mentioned that Hegumen Alexis Kabaliuk had visited Sremski Karlovci. The monk reported that he had visited Patriarch Dimitrije Pavlović and Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitskii[19]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Report by Bishop Dositej Vasić to the Holy Synod on 11.08.1922. f. 5. and noted that the Transcarpathian faithful wanted a permanently resident bishop. “It would be good,” said Hegumen Alexis, “to appoint one of the Russian bishops, of whom there are many residing in the Kingdom [of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes —trans.].”[20]Ibid., f. 7. Next, Bishop Dositej reported that he had written a short ‘missive’ to reassure the faithful and clergy, and asked Hegumen Alexis to circulate it among the population of Subcarpathian Ruthenia. However, according to Dositej, Kabaliuk withheld the document after returning to Iza. Instead, he “summoned his and Metropolitan Antony’s supporters” to a meeting. According to the Serbian bishop, the Hegumen had had Georgy Keniz join in the anti-Serbian agitation and set many people in Uzhhorod against the COC. It is clear from the text of the document that Keniz’s main objective was to induce believers to think that a bishop and clergy should be ordained from the local population. Dositej did not overlook the differences of opinion between Fr. Alexis and the brethren of the monastery in the village of Iza. According to Dositej, in early 1922, the monks persuaded the hegumen that he was doing the wrong thing, “that he could not be a bishop because he had no education,” and that he would be regarded as acting against the Serbian Church. “But to all of this, Fr. Alexis replied that he was acting with ‘the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony’.”[21]Ibid. The report gives a brief account of the meeting in Bushtyno and the contents of the resolution. “All that the minutes show is a first step: that they wanted to have a local clergyman as a vicar bishop,” Dositej noted.[22]Ibid. From Bishop Dositej’s report, we can tell that all of Hegumen Alexis and Keniz’s steps were being coordinated directly by Metropolitan Antony, the head of the “Karlovci Synod.”

Following the Serbian Synod’s apathetic reaction to the Bushtyno resolution, the issue of electing a bishop did not go away. In one report, Bishop Dositej mentioned that Keniz had visited him in Sremski Karlovci and demanded a reply to the March 1, 1922 petition. The bishop did not want to talk to him at all, stating that he, a mere peasant, had no right to speak on behalf of the Church in Subcarpathian Ruthenia without authorization from the COC.[23]Ibid., f. 9. At Keniz’s request,  the bishop had signed a document confirming he had visited Serbia and allowing him to reclaim travel expenses. He wrote a letter to reassure the faithful and promised to visit them soon. Dositej speculated that Keniz might have received additional instructions from Metropolitan Antony in Sremski Karlovci, for he became active upon returning home. Dositej wrote: “He was authorized by Metropolitan Antony himself, followed by His Holiness Patriarch Dimitrije, to instruct the Orthodox people of Subcarpathian Ruthenia to assemble and elect a bishop. It was promised their chosen candidate chosen would immediately be consecrated as a bishop in Karlovci.”[24]Ibid. Bishop Dositej drew the attention of the SOC Synod to Kabaliuk’s activities: “Fr. Alexis Kabaliuk’s behavior on this count was interesting. He pretended not to know anything the plans that were underway. When asked by the monastery brotherhood as to why he would not speak out against Keniz, who was acting without his permission, he replied: ‘One must respect the will of the people.’”[25]Ibid.On July 3, another assembly was held in Bushtyno to elect a bishop for the Carpatho-Ruthenian Orthodox Church.[26]Iurii Danyletsʹ. “Zbory v s. Bushtyno na Pidkarpatsʹkiy Rusi v 1922 r. ta obrannia iepyskopa” [“Assemblies in Bushtyno in Subcarpathian Ruthenia and the Election of a Bishop”], in: Acta … Continue reading On the eve of the vote, a rival to Kabaliuk appeared in the person of Hieromonk Bogolep (Tserkovnik),[27]Archimandrite Bogolep (Tserkovnik) (1890–1974). at the time rector of a parish in Bedevlia Village. In Bishop Dositej’s words, Bogolep tried to enlist the support of the peasants by promising to ordain them as priests after he was consecrated. In the end, the majority of votes was received by Hegumen Alexis (52 votes), followed by Hieromonk Bogolep (23) and Hieromonk Amfilokhii (Keminʹ) (3).[28]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Minutes of the Orthodox Council of the Church in Carpathian Ruthenia, 03.07.1922. f. 3. A letter of petition to Patriarch Dimitrije noting the election of Alexis Kabaliuk as bishop has been found in the SOC Archives in Belgrade.

Studying the collections of the aforementioned Archive allows us to conclude that two versions of the petition were signed at the meeting in Bushtyno. The first, as already noted, was addressed to Patriarch Dimitrije Pavlović, and the second to Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitskii. Unfortunately,  the original of the second document has been lost, but a copy typewritten by the Secretary of the Provisional Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has been found. At the end of the page, it states that the original bore 31 stamps “from churches and congregations, and 64 signatures”. The signatories tried to convince the Metropolitan that for three years since the revival of Orthodoxy in Transcarpathia, “[…] we have been languishing almost without pastors, and most importantly, without an Archpastor, a Bishop, as an intercessor […]”. In view of this, the letter asks Metropolitan Antony “[…] to look upon us orphaned children of the Holy Orthodox Mother Church, and become the Archpastor and Bishop of the Carpatho-Ruthenian Church that we so desire […]”.[29]Archiv úřadu eparchiální rady olomoucko-brněnské eparchie Pravoslavné církve v českých zemích a na Slovensku, Olomouc (AUEROBE Olomouc). F. Matěj Pavlík-Gorazd. Složka Korespondence … Continue reading This document thus does not match the minutes of the meeting in the slightest, and effectively calls for the Carpatho-Ruthenians to leave the SOC.

On July 19, 1922, the COC met in Uzhhorod. Seven of the 12 members took part in the meeting: Hegumen Alexis Kabaliuk, V. Gomichkov, I. Mondich, Fr. I. Ilechko, Fr. M. Meygesh, Hieromonk Matfei Vakarov, and I. Zbigley. After discussing the results of the second Bushtyno meeting, which some speakers called “a meeting not of the Carpatho-Ruthenian Church, but of a few dozen people from Máramaros jupa,” they adopted a unanimous resolution against the “illegal Bushtyno assembly and episcopal elections,” which had taken place in violation of the church statutes and without the consent and knowledge of the SOC and COC. At Hegumen Alexis’ request, a note was added to the resolution reading: “I acknowledge this decision of the COC to be correct, but I do not wish to go against the will of the people and leave the matter to the discretion of  the Serbian Synod”.[30]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. COC Meeting Minutes from 19.07.1922, Uzhhorod. ff. 1–2. Hegumen Alexis was thus the only person who defended the decisions of the Bushtyno assembly. The COC members asked Bishop Dositej to come to Subcarpathian Ruthenia at once and finish organizing church life there.

According to Archbishop Dositej, even though the COC meeting minutes note that it was planned to send the text of the resolution to Serbia by mail, Hegumen Alexis (Kabaliuk) took the papers himself.[31]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Report by Bishop Dositej Vasić to the Holy Synod on 11.08.1922. f. 13. He personally undertook to deliver the documents to the bishop in Sremski Karlovci. The Serbian envoy tried to convince them of the fact that, that after corresponding with Metropolitan Antony’s office, Kabaliuk clearly knew that Dositej had left Serbia and was on his way to to Prague.[32]From July 20, 1922, Vladyka Dositej was in Czechoslovakia, where he stood in for Bishop Gorazd during the latter’s missionary trip to the United States.Despite this, Hegumen Alexis, accompanied by Hieromonk Bogolep and Georgy Keniz, set out for the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

On the eve of the trip, July 18, 1922, another petition was sent to Patriarch Dimitrije, signed by the aforementioned persons as “commissioners of the Orthodox people of Carpathian Ruthenia”. It criticized the activity of Bishop Dositej, who had allegedly “again disappointed our expectations by not coming either at Easter or in past days”, and asked him to be “relieved of his duties among our people”.[33]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Letter from Hieromonk Bogolep Tserkovnik and Georgy Keniz to Patriarch Dimitrije Pavlović of Serbia, 18.07.1922. f. 2. On behalf of 32 parishes, the signatories petitioned him to appoint “Hegumen Alexis Kabaliuk as a vicar bishop for us”, and to entrust supreme ecclesiastical administration of “the former Orthodox dioceses of Ugro-Ruthenia—Uzhhorod, Mukachevo, Marmorosz, Prešov, and Šariš—in accordance with the Church canons, to the Metropolitan of Kiev as Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch, who may ordain [sic!] Father Alexis as his assistant in accordance with our petition.”[34]Ibid., f. 1.

Hieromonk Sergii Tsʹoka has claimed that Kabaliuk and the other delegates traveled to Sremski Karlovci separately, while Hieromonk Bogolep allegedly sought “to be consecrated as bishop”.[35]Tsʹoka, op. cit., p. 204. In his report to the Synod, Bishop Dositej said that the Transcarpathians had gone to Metropolitan Antony together. After arriving in Sremski Karlovci, they split up, for reasons unknown to the bishop. Dositej explained this as “peasant cunning”. “The delegates themselves went to Metropolitan Antony,” he wrote. “When he was told what had been decided and how the election had been held in Bushtyno, Metropolitan Antony was very cross, because nothing had been said about his own canonical privileges, although there was talk at this ‘important meeting’ of elevating Bishop Dositej to the rank of Archbishop of Carpatho-Ruthenia. The delegates asked for forgiveness and promised to rectify the matter, as they had received permission from the assembly in Bushtyno”.[36]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Reply of Bishop Dositej Vasić to the Holy Synod on 11.08.1922. f. 13. Metropolitan Antony thus did not accept the original minutes, forcing the delegates to make revisions to them. “We then went to Metropolitan Antony again. He accepted the document and included it in the minutes. He was most glad: he immediately prepared an official document taking the Diocese of Carpatho-Ruthenia under his wing, as well as an episcopal encyclical to his new spiritual children.” In addition, Metropolitan Antony drafted a letter to Bishop Sergii (Korolev) in Prague, in which he ordered that George Keniz “be ordained […] immediately as a priest and appoint him to one of the vacant parishes in Carpatho-Ruthenia”, with “His blessing and the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Dimitrije of Serbia”.[37]Ibid.

In his summary, Bishop Dositej noted that Keniz had received “the reward he deserved for his work. He did not require anything more.” Regarding Hieromonk Bogolep and his activities, the report contains the following assessment: “It is true that he lost the first election. But it was a great moral reward for him that, in letter he presented along with the encyclical, Metropolitan Antony said nothing about Fr. Alexis’ election as bishop and much less about whether he would be consecrated, only stating that he would be taking the Carpatho-Ruthenian diocese under his care.”[38]Ibid. From this quote, we can conclude that Hieromonk Bogolep did not ask to be ordained by Metropolitan Antony despite attempting to have himself consecrated as bishop.

On the same day (July 24, 1922), after the departure of the Transcarpathian delegates, Metropolitan Antony wrote a letter to the Serbian Patriarch. He reported the visit of Keniz and Hieromonk Bogolep, who had allegedly told him “that Your Holiness has consented to their request that Archpastoral authority in Carpathian Ruthenia be transferred to me, in accordance with the Ecumenical Canon…”. The Metropolitan noted that, “of course, I agreed to their request and would be glad to move there, if the Czech Government gives permission”. In Antony’s words, he initially resolved to go to the Patriarch for personal instructions, but because the latter was on vacation in a sanatorium, he postponed this visit until the Patriarch’s return to Belgrade. At the end of his letter, the Metropolitan expressed his gratitude for “having brought this affair full circle, which is so dear to me and which I have been pursuing for no less than twenty years…”.[39]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Metropolitan Antonii Khrapovitskii. Letter to Patriarch Dimitrije Pavlović of Serbia, 24.07.1922. ff. 1–2. Vladyka Antony’s letter suggests two possible conclusions: 1) Keniz and Fr. Bogolep supplied Metropolitan Antony with false information that the Serbian Orthodox Church had given permission for the Carpatho-Ruthenian Orthodox Church to transfer to the Karlovci jurisdiction; 2) a conscious manipulative effort was underway on the part of the head of the ROCOR to force Patriarch Dimitrije to abandon his claims to the Orthodox Church in Subcarpathian Ruthenia.

On July 25, 1922, the delegates met with Hegumen Alexis and told him about their visit to Metropolitan Antony. According to Bishop Dositej, “Fr. Alexis then became angry, and seeing that he had been deceived, tore both important documents to shreds and threw them on the ground.” However, this was not enough for Fr. Alexis; he summoned the delegates and went with them to Metropolitan Antony to explain the main idea of the Bushtyno resolution to him. Metropolitan Antony received the delegates and expressed the opinion that it was enough for now that he had received their diocese into his jurisdiction. “And then we shall see…” For his part, Kabaliuk tried to convince the Metropolitan that this decision would not satisfy the people, because the faithful wanted him—Fr. Alexis—to be their bishop. Hegumen Alexis’ resistance angered the Metropolitan and he demanded that he hand the letter and encyclical back to him at once, stressing that he was not accustomed to be advised by ordinary peasants. Upon hearing that Kabaliuk had torn up the documents, Antony became angry and threw all three out of his office. “Behind our backs,” Bishop Dositej wrote, “we could hear him uttering words of disparagement: ‘Bolsheviks’, ‘rebels’, ‘villains’…”[40]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Report by Bishop Dositej Vasić to the Holy Synod on 11.08.1922. f. 14. The attempt to change jurisdiction thus ended in failure and conflict with the head of the ROCOR.

In a report to the SOC Synod dated August 11, 1922, the Archbishop of Niš proposed requesting that Metropolitan Antony cease his interventions in Subcarpathian Ruthenia.[41]Ibid., f. 17. The Serbian Synod and the Patriarch evidently held talks to this effect with the Metropolitan, for he then gave up his explicit claim to authority over the Carpatho-Ruthenian Orthodox Church. However, only a year later, the Metropolitan came out in support of the consecration of Archbishop Savvatii (Vrabets). This shows that the Russian hierarch’s stance, which some scholars and the SOC itself have regarded as hostile, was inconsistent.

In early August 1922, Bishop Dositej arrived in Subcarpathian Ruthenia. After a liturgy on the feast of the Prophet Elias in Iza, the bishop met with clergy and some members of the COC. In a report to the SOC Synod, he wrote: “They were all glad that I was among the delegates, because they had been told that the SOC did not want to have anything more to do with them; that I was pursuing some Czech policy to the detriment of the Russian [sic!] people; that I was more of a politician than a bishop; that their only salvation was in Metropolitan Antony, who had connections with Serbian bishops […] who shared his views; that Russian Orthodoxy was the sole correct form of Orthodoxy; that Metropolitan Antony was the legitimate exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch for the Carpatho-Ruthenian Orthodox Church; that our interference in this region was against the interests of the Russian people, and, what is more, against the holy canons of the true Orthodox Church.”[42]Ibid., f. 2.

In 1924, when the issue of electing a bishop from the local monks was again raised, Archimandrite Vitalii (Maksimenko) spoke out strongly against this idea. In a letter to Fr. Vsevolod Kolomatskii dated June 10, 1924, he wrote: “The local candidates are hopeless.”[43]Private Archive of Archimandrite Andrei Kolomatskii, Church of St. John the Baptist, Rumburk, Czech Republic. Letter from Archimandrite Vitalii (Maksimenko) to Fr. Vsevolod Kolomatskii, 10.06.1924. … Continue reading Maksimenko considered inviting “Metropolitan Antony there, at least for some time”, to be the only way out of the difficult crisis in the Orthodox Church in Subcarpathian Ruthenia, yet, as Archimandrite Vitalii wrote, Metropolitan Antony had by then already agreed to come to Czechoslovakia and “that ship had long since sailed.”[44]Ibid., f. 1. Archimandrite Vitalii was not the only one who regretted that it would be impossible for Metropolitan Antony to relocate to Subcarpathian Ruthenia. About nine months after this letter, Gerovskii’s brother Georgii, writing to Bishop Gorazd, called it a great mistake for the authorities to have banned Metropolitan Antony from entering Transcarpathia.[45]P. Marek. «Obtížný cizinec»…, p. 271.

In February–March 1923, there was an idea among the Orthodox clergy in Carpathian Ruthenia to invite Vladyka Sergii Korolev as an administrator. On March 31, 1923, delegates from the Carpatho-Ruthenian Orthodox Church were received by the SOC Synod members Bishops Dositej Vasić, Nikolai Velimirović, and Joseph Zvijović. The Serbian bishops supported the petition to appoint Bishop Sergii as administrator and asked the Patriarch to make a final decision.[46]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Minutes of the SOC Synod, 31.03.1923, ff. 1–3. In a separate letter to the Synod, A. Gerovskii, the head of the delegation, stressed that the Orthodox parishes represented by him recognized Dositej as their bishop, but because he was otherwise engaged as a member of the Synod, asked that an assistant administrator be appointed. In this letter, Gerovskii proposed Bishop Sergii as a candidate for this position and reported on his long-standing contacts with the Orthodox Transcarpathians. “We know Rt. Revd. Sergii well, as he was the long-time superior of Jabłeczna Monastery (in Chełm Region), where all our hieromonks were trained before the War. He has always been close to us. We all loved and love him for his kindness and for his goodwill toward our Carpatho-Ruthenian Orthodox Church, and we are certain that His Eminence is the most suitable candidate for the post of Administrator.[47]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Letter of A. Gerovskii to the SOC Synod, 31.03.1923. f. 3. А. Gerovskii noted that Bishop Sergii had been expelled from Chełm Diocese by the Poles and was in Prague, where was serving as a parish priest of the Russian Orthodox community. The letter expressed confidence that “His Eminence Metropolitan Evlogii, to whom His Grace Sergii is subordinate as a plenipotentiary representative of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon of All Russia, would give his consent for His Grace Sergii to accept the post of Administrator of the Carpatho-Ruthenian Orthodox Church.”[48]Ibid., f. 4. In the event that the SOC Synod agreed to his candidacy, the delegates would take it upon themselves to negotiate with Metropolitan Evlogii and Bishop Sergii in this matter.

At an assembly of clergy in Iza on June 5, 1923, the question of inviting Bishop Sergii to be a vicar-administrator was again raised. As Gerovskii reported to them, Bishop Sergii had agreed to come to Subcarpathian Ruthenia and even to join the Serbian jurisdiction.[49]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Minutes of the Assembly of the Clergy of the Autonomous Carpatho-Ruthenian Orthodox Church in Iza Village, 05.06.1923. ff. 1–3. The matter of Bishop Sergii’s appointment to the See of Carpatho-Ruthenia was discussed again one final time at a clergy council in Huszt on October 2, 1924.[50]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Minutes of the Assembly of Orthodox Parish Clergy of the Autonomous Orthodox Church of Carpatho-Ruthenia, Huszt, 19.09(2.10)1924. We have no surviving documents that explain why the Synod refused to appoint Vladyka Sergii as Administrator. We can advance the hypothesis that the Czechoslovak government blocked Gerovskii’s and Bishop Dositej’s initiative, fearing the mounting influence of the ROCOR within its borders. One finds no further mention of this issue after October 1924.

In 1925, the SOC planned to appoint Bishop Mitrofan (Abramov) as vicar for Subcarpathian Ruthenia. However, the Czechoslovak authorities opposed his candidacy on the belief that he had previously had close ties with Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitskii). Bishop Gorazd Pavlík had to persuade Václav Müller, the adviser on church affairs to the Ministry of Schools and Public Education (MSPE), that Bishop Mitrofan, the abbot of St. Stephen’s Monastery, had nothing to do with the ROCOR.[51]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Letter from Bishop Gorazd Pavlík to the Yugoslav Ambassador to Prague, L. Nešić, of 10.02.1926. ff. 1–3. It should be noted that Bishop Mitrophan had been received into the clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1922 and remained a part of it until his death in 1945.

In May 1926, Czechoslovak officials again mentioned Metropolitan Antony in the context of the Orthodox Church in Subcarpathian Ruthenia. At a joint meeting of the Foreign Ministry and MSPE on May 5, 1926, Deputy Foreign Minister Václav Girsa stated that the unsettled state of the Orthodox Church was conductive to interference in its affairs by external actors. Metropolitan Antony, whom they alleged had tried to extend the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate to Subcarpathian Ruthenia with the approval of Archbishop Evlogii, was named as the first among these forces. In addition, the Foreign Ministry suspected Archbishop Savvatii of having secret ties with Metropolitan Antony.[52]Archiv Ministerstva zahraničních věcí, Praha. F. Sekce II (1919–1939). Kart. 61. Složka «Pravoslavná církev československá», č.j. 71747. Minutes of the Joint Meeting of the Foreign … Continue reading The second external force to which Girsa recommended paying special attention was the influence of the Living Church and Communist doctrine.[53]Ibid., f. 4.

Gerovskii also mentioned Metropolitan Antony in a letter to the SOC Synod of  Bishops on May 26, 1926.[54]Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Letter of A. Gerovskii to the SOC Synod of Bishops, 26.05.1926. f. 1. He believed that the Church in Subcarpathian Ruthenia was experiencing internal strife caused by the “illegal interference of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the false Archbishop Savvatii, Bishop Veniamin, and Metropolitan Antony, who are inciting people against the Serbian Church […], which “[…] undermined the prestige of the Church in general and that of the Serbian Church in particular”.[55]Ibid..

The groundwork for contacts between ROCOR figures and Orthodox clergy in Subcarpathian Ruthenia was thus laid in the period before World War I. In the 1920s, the ROCOR leadership attempted to extend its authority over the Transcarpathian Orthodox parishes, based on the status of Exarch granted to Metropolitan Antony by the Ecumenical Patriarch. These attempts ran counter to the position of the SOC, which had established an autonomous Carpatho-Ruthenian Orthodox Church in the region in 1921 and considered these territories as canonical parts of itself as the successor to the Metropolis of Karlovci. One point of interest is the cooperation of the SOC with individual Russian bishops and attempts to appoint them as administrators of the Carpatho-Ruthenian Orthodox Church. The subjects raised in this talk demand further study with reference to a broader range of sources.

References

References
1 Abp. Nikon (Rklitskii). Mitropolit Antonii (Khrapovitskii) i ego vremia (1863–1936). Kniga pervaia [Metropolitan Antonii Khrapovitskii and His Time (1863–1936), Vol. 1]. Nizhnii Novgorod: Bratstvo vo imia sviatogo kniazia Aleksandra Nevskogo, 2004. p. 691.
2 Ibid., pp. 691–692.
3 Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitskii. “Ministrovi Zakordonnykh Sprav, prokhaiuchy pidniaty pytannia pered Avstro-Ugorsʹkym Uriadom” [“To the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Requesting that thre Question be Raised Before the Austro-Hungarian Cabinet”], September 5, 1918, No. 2033. Reproduced in: A. Starodub. “Nevidomyy lyst kyivsʹkogo mytropolyta Antoniia (Khrapovytsʹkogo) v spravi kanonichnogo statusu Pravoslavnoi Tserkvy u Galychyni” [“An Unknown Letter from Metropolitan Antony’s in the Matter of the Canonical Status of the Orthodox Church in Galicia”], in: Kovcheg. Naukovyy zbirnyk z tserkovnoi istorii [The Ark. An Academic Collection on Church History]. No. 2. Lʹviv, 2000. pp. 400–402.
4 Ibid., p. 402.
5 A. Starodub, Nevidomyy lyst…, p. 399.
6 “Rusínský kněz Kabaliuk odveden k vojsku”, in: Rovnost. 16 června 1918. p. 3.
7 Iurii Danyletsʹ. “Diialʹnistʹ prepodobnogo Oleksiia (Kabaliuka) u svitli novykh arkhivnykh dokumentiv” [“The Activities of Venerable Alexis Kabaliuk in Light of New Archival Materials”], in: Naukovi Zapysky Bogoslovsʹko-istorychnogo naukovo-doslidnogo tsentru imeni arkhimandryta Vasyliia (Pronina) [Transactions of the Archimandrite Vasilii Pronin Research Center for the History of Theology], No. 5. Mukachevo: Orthodox Diocese of Mukachevo, 2018, p. 40.
8 “Skhi-Arkhimandrit Aleksii (Kabaliuk)” [“Schema-Archimandrite Alexis Kabaliuk”], in: Pravoslavnyi putʹ. Tserkovno-bogoslovsko-filosofskii ezhegodnik: Prilozhenie k zhurnalu «Pravoslavnaia Rusʹ» za 1984 god [The Orthodox Way: An Ecclesiastical, Theological, and Philosophical Yearly. Appendix to the Journal Orthodox Russia for 1984]. Jordanville, 1985. pp. 46–48.
9 Putʹ moei zhizni: Vospominaniia Mitropolita Evlogiia (Georgievskogo), izlozhennye po ego rasskazam T. Manukhinoi.[My Life’s Journey. Memoirs of Metropolitan Evlogii Georgievskii, Set Out According to His Own Accounts by T. Manukhina] Moscow, 1994 URL: http://www.wco.ru/biblio/books/evlogy1/main.htm (accessed 19.07.2021).
10 Grigorič V. Pravoslavná církev v republice československé. 1. vyd. Praha: V. Čerych, 1926. p. 39.
11 Zagranichnoe russkoe tserkovnoe sobranie: Materialy podgotovitelʹnoi komissii.[The Assembly of the Russian Church Abroad: Materials from the Preparatory Commission]. 1 ed., Constantinople, 1921. p. 12.
12 A. Kostriukov. “Vremennoe vysshee tserkovnoe upravlenie na Iugo-Vostoke Rossii kak nachalo zarubezhnoi tserkovnoi vlasti” [“The Supreme Church Administartion in South-eastern Russia as the Beginning of the Authority of the Church Abroad”], in: Vestnik PSTGU. Seriia II: Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi [St. Tikhon’s University Review. Series II: History. The History of the Russian Orthodox Church] 11:3 (28)/2008. p. 59.
13 On Archbishop Savvatii (Vrabec), see: Marek P., Burega V., Danilec J. Arcibiskup Sawatij (1880–1959). Nástin života a díla zakladatelské postavy pravoslavné církve v Československé republice. Olomouc, Univerzita Palackého 2009. 249 s.
14 Ibid., p. 203.
15 Archiv Kanceláře prezidenta republiky, Praha. F. KPR, sign. 653042/64, Česká církev pravoslavná v ČSR, 1920–1964 (nezpracováno). Miloš Červinka, KPR, 22.01.1922.
16 Iurii Danyletsʹ. “Peredumovy ta naslidky «bushtynsʹkogo soboru» 1 bereznia 1922 r.” [“Prerequisites and Consequences of the ‘Bushtyno Council’ of March 1, 1922”], in: Naukovyy visnyk Uzhgorodsʹkogo universytetu. Seriia: Istoriia [Uzhhorod University Review. History]. Uzhhorod: Uzhhorod Goverla University Press, 2020. Vol. 2 (43). pp. 41–50. DOI: 10.24144/2523-4498.2(43).2020.217359
17 A governing body established in 1921
18 “Protokolʺ sobraniia vʺ s. Bushtyno pravoslavnykhʺ obshchinʺ Marm. Zhupy, Karpatskoi Rusi, 1 marta 1922” [“Minutes of the Gathering of Orthodox Communities, in: Russkii pravoslavnyi vestnikʺ. 1922. 17 marta. S. 2.
19 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Report by Bishop Dositej Vasić to the Holy Synod on 11.08.1922. f. 5.
20 Ibid., f. 7.
21, 37, 38 Ibid.
22, 24, 25, 55 Ibid.
23 Ibid., f. 9.
26 Iurii Danyletsʹ. “Zbory v s. Bushtyno na Pidkarpatsʹkiy Rusi v 1922 r. ta obrannia iepyskopa” [“Assemblies in Bushtyno in Subcarpathian Ruthenia and the Election of a Bishop”], in: Acta Patristica. Číslo 22/2020, ročník XI. pp. 24–42.
27 Archimandrite Bogolep (Tserkovnik) (1890–1974).
28 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Minutes of the Orthodox Council of the Church in Carpathian Ruthenia, 03.07.1922. f. 3.
29 Archiv úřadu eparchiální rady olomoucko-brněnské eparchie Pravoslavné církve v českých zemích a na Slovensku, Olomouc (AUEROBE Olomouc). F. Matěj Pavlík-Gorazd. Složka Korespondence Srbská církev. Letter from the Delegates of Orthodox Communities in Subcarpathian Ruthenia to Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitskii, 03.07.1922.
30 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. COC Meeting Minutes from 19.07.1922, Uzhhorod. ff. 1–2.
31 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Report by Bishop Dositej Vasić to the Holy Synod on 11.08.1922. f. 13.
32 From July 20, 1922, Vladyka Dositej was in Czechoslovakia, where he stood in for Bishop Gorazd during the latter’s missionary trip to the United States.
33 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Letter from Hieromonk Bogolep Tserkovnik and Georgy Keniz to Patriarch Dimitrije Pavlović of Serbia, 18.07.1922. f. 2.
34, 44 Ibid., f. 1.
35 Tsʹoka, op. cit., p. 204.
36 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Reply of Bishop Dositej Vasić to the Holy Synod on 11.08.1922. f. 13.
39 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Metropolitan Antonii Khrapovitskii. Letter to Patriarch Dimitrije Pavlović of Serbia, 24.07.1922. ff. 1–2.
40 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Report by Bishop Dositej Vasić to the Holy Synod on 11.08.1922. f. 14.
41 Ibid., f. 17.
42 Ibid., f. 2.
43 Private Archive of Archimandrite Andrei Kolomatskii, Church of St. John the Baptist, Rumburk, Czech Republic. Letter from Archimandrite Vitalii (Maksimenko) to Fr. Vsevolod Kolomatskii, 10.06.1924. f. 2.
45 P. Marek. «Obtížný cizinec»…, p. 271.
46 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Minutes of the SOC Synod, 31.03.1923, ff. 1–3.
47 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Letter of A. Gerovskii to the SOC Synod, 31.03.1923. f. 3.
48, 53 Ibid., f. 4.
49 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Minutes of the Assembly of the Clergy of the Autonomous Carpatho-Ruthenian Orthodox Church in Iza Village, 05.06.1923. ff. 1–3.
50 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Minutes of the Assembly of Orthodox Parish Clergy of the Autonomous Orthodox Church of Carpatho-Ruthenia, Huszt, 19.09(2.10)1924.
51 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Letter from Bishop Gorazd Pavlík to the Yugoslav Ambassador to Prague, L. Nešić, of 10.02.1926. ff. 1–3.
52 Archiv Ministerstva zahraničních věcí, Praha. F. Sekce II (1919–1939). Kart. 61. Složka «Pravoslavná církev československá», č.j. 71747. Minutes of the Joint Meeting of the Foreign Ministry and MSPE, 05.05.1926. f. 1.
54 Archive of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade. Letter of A. Gerovskii to the SOC Synod of Bishops, 26.05.1926. f. 1.

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