Moscow Patriarchate Serbia 2021 Serhii Shumylo

Clandestine Connections between the ROCOR and Catacomb Communities in the USSR from the 1960s to the 1980s

Bishop Lazar (Zhurbenko, d. 2003) of Tambov, the ROCOR bishop in the USSR with Vladimir S. Rusak. Jordanville, 1990

The author studies the persuasion of the Catacomb Church movement, better known as the “True Orthodox Church” or the “True Orthodox Christians,” whose representatives attempted to establish illegal ties with the ROCOR in the 1960s and 1970s

This paper is dedicated to an analysis of the situation of nonconformist catacomb communities in the USSR from the 1960s to the 1980s. It examines problems of the persecution of church opposition by the Soviet regime, encounters between hierarchs with canonical apostolic succession in catacomb communities, the appearance of various movements and factions, and also the birth of self-consecrated hierarchy and sectarianism. In this regard, special attention is drawn to the formation of illegal connections with the ROCOR by the catacombers and also to attempts by the hierarchy of the Russian Church Abroad to regularize their canonical status and by the same method of illegal pastorship (following the example of the “experience with Edinoverie”) to prevent the spread of a self-consecrated hierarchy in catacomb circles and their degeneration into sectarianism. This article contains several archival sources and eyewitness accounts that have not previously been the object of academic analysis.

The author expresses his particular gratitude to Archpriest Serafim Gan, head of the Chancery of the Synod of Bishops and secretary to the First Hierarch of the ROCOR for the opportunity to work with documents from the Archive of the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR in New York.

 The abridged 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 American-Russian Aid Association Otrada, Inc.

 The theme of the mutual relations of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and catacomb communities in the USSR has been a subject of interest both to church activists and publicists and to professional historians.[1]M. V. Shkarovskii, Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov‘ pri Staline i Khrushcheve [The Russian Orthodox Church in the Stalin and Khrushchev eras], (Moscow: Krutitskoe Patriarshee Podvor’e, … Continue reading

Despite the widespread interest in this topic, there remain many “unfilled gaps,” and it has itself not received serious, full, and objective academic treatment. In many ways this is a result of the fact that the illegal life of catacomb communities in the USSR is in practice unknown to the majority of contemporary researchers, both due to its clandestine and conspiratorial nature and to the absence of a sufficient number of documentary records, which under the conditions of persecution and conspiracy were not kept. Very few written testimonies remain from the eyewitnesses to these events, most of whom are no longer with us. With the departure from this life of the last representatives of the catacomb communities from the Soviet era is lost the opportunity to record and introduce into academic discourse even that knowledge which until recently was still available through live bearers of historical memory. Archive material from the investigative files of the Soviet organs of repression, reports from the Council for Religious Affairs, and also from party and juridical bodies to a degree help to shed some light, but these documents are relatively subjective and do not reflect the real situation in its entirety. All of this makes objective study of the history of the activity of catacomb communities in the USSR extremely difficult, giving rise to a considerable quantity of myths and speculation in different quarters.

For its part, the Church Abroad publicly declared its spiritual unity with the Catacomb Church in the USSR not only in frequent articles, but also through official conciliar church statements both under Metropolitan Anastasii (Gribanovskii) and his successor Metropolitan Filaret (Voznesenskii). This can be clearly seen in the encyclicals of the ROCOR Synod and Councils both from the 1950s and from later years.[2]“Poslanie Arkhiereiskogo Sobora Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Zarubezhnoi Tserkvi” [Encyclical of the Archiepiscopal Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad], Tserkovnaia zhizn‘, no. 1 (1951): … Continue reading

In an encyclical from 1965, the First Hierarch of the ROCOR Metropolitan Filaret emphasises that the ROCOR “has never broken its spiritual and prayerful connection to the Catacomb Church in the motherland.”[3]“Poslanie Pervoierarkha Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi Zagranitsei mitropolita Filareta k brat’iam vo Khriste pravoslavnym episkopam i vsem, komu doroga sud’ba Rossiiskoi Tserkvi, 1/14 … Continue reading At the same time he draws attention to the fact that after the Second World War, among the new wave of émigrés from the USSR were quite a number of former parishioners of the Catacomb Church who had joined the ROCOR. In this way, in his words, “the link between these two churches has been further strengthened.” This is precisely the explanation for the fact that, after the Second World War, the catacomb church began to be spoken about more actively within the ROCOR. Moreover, the Metropolitan underlines that this link between the ROCOR and the catacombers behind the Iron Curtain “is maintained to this very day.”[4]Ibid., 350.

The unity of the Church Abroad and the Catacomb Church was stated a further time at the Archiepiscopal Council of the ROCOR on September 14, 1971.[5]“Protokol № 6 zasedaniia Arkhiereiskogo Sobora RPTsZ, 14 sentiabria 1971 g. Montreal” [Protocol no. 6 of the session of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, September 14, 1971, Montreal], (Archive of … Continue reading This position was testified to a number of times by synodal and conciliar decisions during the following years. As Metropolitan Filaret designated the mission of the ROCOR: “The free, foreign part of the Russian Church is called to speak in the free world on behalf of the Catacomb Church in the USSR.”[6]“Poslanie Pervoierarkha Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi Zagranitsei mitropolita Filareta k brat’iam vo Khriste pravoslavnym episkopam i vsem, komu doroga sud’ba Rossiiskoi Tserkvi, 1/14 … Continue reading

In the context of this ecclesiastical “cold war,” in 1960 a pamphlet was published by S.V.Troitskii under the title of “On the Falsehood of the Karlovtsian Schism,” in which it was claimed that, “the myth of the ‘Catacomb Church’ is the trump card of Karlovtsian propaganda,” and that “underneath the mask of the ‘Catacomb Church’ is concealed treason against the Motherland.”[7]S.V. Troitskii, O nepravde karlovatskogo raskola [On the falsehood of the Karlovtsy schism], (Paris: 1960), 72, 74. A similar propaganda message to the one expressed here under Troitskii’s name became for many years one of the main polemic labels used against supporters of the ROCOR, not only in Soviet but even in our own times.[8]See: A. Beglov, V poiskakh “bezgreshnykh katakomb.” Tserkovnoe podpol’e v SSSR [In search of the “pure catacombs”. The church underground in the USSR], (Moscow: Arefa, 2008), … Continue reading It could be said that at its base lay the principle of the autonomy of communities, each of which was considered a sort of self-governing “local church,” existing in prayerful communion with other like-minded communities, but not dependent on them administratively. Partially this was an attempt at a return to the set-up of the early Christian Church in the pre-Christian age, when the Christian community was persecuted by the Roman Empire and did not have recourse to a centralized church organization, that characteristic feature of eras of imperial state Christianity. For this reason, “Catacomb Church” may be used rather as a collective term without any connotations of strict institutionalization. Alongside it, such terms as “catacomb movement,” “catacomb communities,” or “catacomb groups” are also appropriate. Notwithstanding, M. Shkarovskii’s remark that “the catacombness of the Church does not necessarily signify its intransigence is highly apt. This term encompasses all church activity which was unofficial and therefore not controlled by the state.[9]M. V. Shkarovskii, Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov’ pri Staline i Khrushcheve [The Russian Orthodox Church under Stalin and Khrushchev], 247. For this reason not all catacomb communities were in a state of violent opposition to the church hierarchy of the official ROC Moscow Patriarchate. However, a large number of representatives of this movement stood in one way or another in opposition both to the Soviet authorities and to the official Church leadership.

It should be acknowledged that, by comparison with the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s, the post-war period is indeed marked by a significant decrease in the number of adherents to catacomb communities of the True Orthodox Church-True Orthodox Christians in the USSR. Nonetheless, the extent of this decrease has often been deliberately overstated. The brutal repressions of the end of the 1930s together with the new wave of persecutions at the end of the 1940s and beginning of the 1950s yielded the intended results, leading to the total disorganization of the movement. Moreover, during the years of the Second World War, members of catacomb communities in occupied territories came out from underground en masse, and afterwards were no longer able to return to illegal activity. Many of them emigrated to the West; others were repressed after the return of the Soviet regime. After the death of Patriarch Sergii (Starogorodskii) and the election of Aleksii (Simanskii) as the new Patriarch, a large percentage of the clergy and faithful considered that, with the departure of the “culprit behind the schism of 1927,” the reason for the schism had also lost its significance, which allowed them to reunite with the official Church. However, despite all this, in the country as a whole there remained a large percent of non-conformist catacomb communities which continued their illegal activity.

The transition of a significant number of former “non-commemorators” to being under the omophorion of the new Patriarch Aleksii (Simanskii) and the escalation of repressive measures against dissenters by the organs of the NKVD-MGB led to a radicalization of the negative attitude towards the official “Sergian” hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate within that part of the movement which did not wish to join the official structure of the ROC MP. Conspiratorial activity and self-isolation also increased. This is explained by a struggle for self-preservation under the conditions of the regime’s renewed policy of total destruction of the remnants of the church opposition movement.

Qualitative changes in the milieu of non-conformist catacomb communities of “non-commemorators” were caused, among other things, by the practically total loss of their own canonical “Tikhonite succession” hierarchy, as a result of the exceptionally brutal repressions and almost complete destruction of the oppositionist episcopate. By the end of the 1950s, the only remaining hierarch of the old succession in the catacomb movement was the former Athonite monk and abbot of the Athonite metochion in Odessa, Schema-Bishop Petr (Ladygin), who had been secretly ordained as a bishop in 1925 by Bishops Andrei (Ukhtomskii) and Lev (Cherepanov).[10]S.V. Shumilo, V.V. Shumilo (pub., text preparation, intro., compilation, comment.), Skhiepiskop Petr (Ladygin): nepokolebimyi stolp Tserkvi (1866-1957 gg.) [Schema-Bis hop Petr (Ladygin): an … Continue reading After his death in 1957, many catacomb communities in the country found themselves without hierarchical pastorship, leading to a drawn-out crisis of acephaly. There were, it is true, still some old catacomb bishops: Varnava (Beliaev, †1963), Dimitrii (Lokotko, †1970-e), Nikolai (Murav’ev-Ural’skii, †1961), but all of them had withdrawn themselves from church activity after returning from exile, so that almost nobody knew about them in other catacomb communities.

Simultaneously in the second half of the 1950s, no fewer than 150 priests of the old ordination continued to serve illegally in the catacomb movement in the USSR. Many of them were amnestied and released in 1955 and 1956 and returned to their former illegal activity. On a number of occasions, attempts were made by them to establish links with True-Orthodox bishops. Not finding any of these, and looking for an escape from a canonical cul-de-sac, many of them started to introduce the commemoration of the First Hierarch of the ROCOR into their clandestine church services.

Taking advantage of the fertile soil of “bishoplessness,” in a number of catacomb communities, church leaders begin to emerge who claimed to be Orthodox bishops, but whose canonical succession could not be verified. The best known of these is Archbishop Antonii (Golynskii-Mikhailovskii, †1976),[11]V. A. Goncharov, “Antonii (Mikhailovskii). Arkhiepiskop?” [Antonii [Mikhailovskii]. An archbishop?], Vestnik PSTGU. II: Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi, 5th ed. (42) (2011): … Continue reading who from the 1950s to the 1970s secretly ordained more than 20 catacomb priests.[12]S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 196 – 199. Also well-known are the names of the following illegal hierarchs whose canonicity remains questionable: Feodosii (Bakhmet’ev, †1985),[13]S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 199. Mikhail (Ershov, †1974),[14]I. V. Il’ichev (comp.), Voin Khristov vernyi i istinnyi: Tainyi episkop IPTs Mikhail (Ershov): Zhizneopisanie, pis’ma i dokumenty [A faithful and true soldier of Christ: secret bishop of … Continue reading Savvatii (Gruzinov, †1980-e), Feodor Sukhumskii (†1960-e), Vladimir Saratovskii (†1966) and others.[15]V. Dal’nik comp., “Spisok lits, vydaiushchikh (vydavavshikh) sebia za episkopov Katakombnoi Tserkvi, 1991 g. (v spiske znachitsia 22 imeni)” [A list of people claiming (who claimed) to be … Continue reading Separate mentions should be made of Serafim (Pozdeev, †1972),[16]V. V. Alekseev, M. I. Nechaeva, Voskresshie Romanovy? K istorii samozvanchestva v Rossii XX veka. [The Romanovs resurrected? On the history of pretenders in Russia in the XX century.], (Ekaterinburg: … Continue reading and the bishops Alfei Barnaul’skii (†1985) and Gennadii (Sekach, †1987),[17]A.V. Slesarev, “Osnovatel’ ‘serafimo-gennadievskoi’ vetvi Katakombnoi tserkvi ‘skhimitropolit’ Gennadii (Sekach)” [The founder of the “Serafim-Gennadian” branches of the … Continue reading whom he ordained, and from whom several proceeded several uncanonical successions with their own secret hierarchy numbering more than 10 bishops.[18]S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh, [In the Catacombs], 193 – 196; S. V. Shumilo, “Obrazovanie ierarkhii UAPTs v 1990 g. i samozvanyi «episkop» Vikentii Chekalin” [The formation of the hierarchy of … Continue reading

All these groups and factions constituted catacomb communities which were frequently not in communication with each other. Their illegal activity and proliferation from the beginning of the so-called “Khrushchev thaw” caused serious concern within the KGB and among party and state organs.

In November 1957, all the Central Committees of the communist parties in the republics of the USSR sent in reports on the state of religious life in their regions. In particular, these made reference to the fact of the proliferation of underground communities of the True Orthodox Church-True Orthodox Christians across the whole country.[19]M. B. Danilushkin, Istoriia Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi. Ot vosstanovleniia patriarshestva do nashikh dnei [The History of the Russian Orthodox Church. From the Reestablishment of the Patriarchate … Continue reading A statement made at a meeting in Moscow in November 1959 by the Deputy of the Council for the Affairs of Religious Cults attached to the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic bears witness to the level of concern aroused by the activity of catacomb communities. In his words, “Among the unregistered groups of believers it is essential that the most attention be devoted” to the activity of “True-Orthodox Christians” and other groupings, because “these sects are within the orbit of the work of enemy counter-espionage (American and West-German); legal proceedings conducted in the Ukraine against the leaders of these sects uncovered their connections with foreign countries, including America, West Germany, Canada, among others.”[20]L. M. Shugaeva, “Religiini utvorennia IPTs i IPKh iak forma protistoiannia totalitarizmu” [The religious groups the True Orthodox Church and True Orthodox Christians as a form of resistance to … Continue reading The particular concern of the organs of the MGB was aroused by a report in the foreign press on the support of the Russian Church Abroad for the church underground in the USSR.[21]Otraslevoi gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Sluzhby bezopasnosti Ukrainy (OGA SBU). F. 3. Op. 279. D. 1. L. 3..

In order to prevent the proliferation of such illegal activity, in the period from 1957 to 1961 a new wave of arrests of catacomb priests and True Orthodox Church-True Orthodox Christian activists swept across the country.[22]S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 106 – 123. According to KGB statistics, the status at the end of the 1950s was that “up to 300 local groups of the TOC with more than 6000 participants”[23]D. V. Vedeneev, “Ateisty v mundirakh. Sovetskie spetssluzhby i religioznaia sfera Ukrainy” [Atheists in uniform. The Soviet secret services and the religious sphere in the Ukraine], (Moscow: … Continue reading had been exposed. Energetic campaigns to uncover catacomb communities and arrest their leaders and activists continued until 1964, as a result of which most communities were left without any leadership.[24]Shkarovskii M. V., “Iosiflianstvo: techenie v Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi” [Josephitism: a movement in the Russian Orthodox Church], 198-199; M. B. Danilushkin, Istoriia Russkoi Pravoslavnoi … Continue reading

The brutal attitude towards the catacomb movement of the True Orthodox Church-True Orthodox Christians during the “Khrushchev Thaw” and the “Brezhnev Stagnation” was linked, among other things, to the campaign of mass closure of working ROC churches in the country and the deprival of legal communities of their registration, which had already begun in the Khrushchev era. Out of 14,477 active patriarchal churches in 1949, by 1966 only 7,523 remained open.[25]V. Tsypin, prot., Istoriia Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi: 1917 – 1990 [A history of the Russian Orthodox Church], (Мoscow: 1994), 503, 516. Correspondingly, more than 7000 clerical ministers of the ROC were deprived of their parishes and registration. A significant percentage of “unregistered communities” was formed in the country which began to pass out of the control both of the authorities and of the diocesan bishops of the ROC.[26]S. Gordun, sviashch., “Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov’ v period s 1943 po 1970 gg.” [The Russian Orthodox Church in the period between 1943 and 1970], Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii, no. … Continue reading

Not infrequently, members of the clergy who had been deprived of legal forms of ministry not only began to serve unsanctioned church services in their homes but also ceased commemorating their former ruling bishops. The growth of an illegal church life, not controlled by the authorities, which resulted from the mass closure of churches, and the fact that many of them went underground and even formed closer ties to the True Orthodox Church-True Orthodox Christians provoked serious concern among the Soviet organs. After all, unchecked, illegal church activity represented a far greater threat to the totalitarian regime than one which was legal and controlled.[27]M.V. Shkarovskii, Russkaia pravoslavnaia tserkov’ i Sovetskoe gosudarstvo v 1943-1964 godakh. Ot «peremiriia» k novoi voine [The Russian Orthodox Church and the Soviet state from 1943-1964], … Continue reading The presence in the country of organized underground TOC structures, with a wealth of experience in illegal activity, was extremely dangerous: if, on the basis of dissatisfaction and oppositionist attitudes, “unregistered” communities in the whole country began to join the TOC en masse, this could have turned into a no less potent movement than the “non-commemorators” in the 1930s. In order to suppress and destroy it, a new campaign of mass terror and repressions would be necessary across the whole country, as in Stalin’s time. Hence from the very beginning of the Khrushchev era, brutal measures were taken in order definitively to decapitate and liquidate the catacomb movement of the True Orthodox Church-True Orthodox Christians.[28]S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh (In the Catacombs), 116.

One example is the destiny of a former priest of the Gomel diocese of the ROC, Father Iosif Rinkevich, who, after being deprived of his parish, “became a member of the True Orthodox Christians.”[29]A. V. Slesarev, “‘Usta Khristovy, sud’ia zhivykh i mertvykh, protoierei i doktor bogosloviia…,’ Sektantsko-raskol’nicheskaia deiatel’nost’ byvshego … Continue reading In 1973 he was subjected against his own will to psychiatric analysis, declared “psychologically ill with schizophrenia,” and sent for compulsory treatment to the Gomel psychiatric hospital. In 1986 he was transferred to the specialist psychiatric hospital in Mogilev, where he remained until 1988.[30]Ibid. Having spent 15 years imprisoned in a “psychiatric concentration camp” and experienced at first hand all the horrors of Soviet “punitive psychiatry,” Father Joseph exited from it now a genuine invalid with serious psychological disorders.

This is only one of many examples of how the governing regime subjected oppositionist clergy in the USSR to persecution during the 1960s and 1970s.

As a consequence, by means of mass repression against catacomb priests and active parishioners, the Soviet authorities succeeded in achieving a significant reduction in the number of leaderless underground church groupings.[31]S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 142–149.

In spite of these measures, at the beginning of the 1960s, there remained no fewer than 100 priests of “Tikhonite-Josephite succession” in the USSR, most of whom were already of considerable old age. This last factor seriously influenced the depletion among the ranks of the elderly clergy by natural causes. By the end of the 1960s – beginning of the 1970s, the overall number of catacomb priests of the old succession was already just more than 50 people. It has been possible to reconstitute the greater part of these names on the basis of testimonies and memories of catacombers who lived until the beginning of the 1990s.[32]Ibid., 128 – 133. Each of these pastors illegally tended to up to 10 or more catacomb communities in different parts of the country.

Rejecting the hierarchs of dubious succession who appeared in the catacomb milieu in the 1960s and 1970s, and in order to avoid degenerating into sectarianism and self-consecration, many of these priests began commemorating the First Hierarchs of the ROCOR, thus searching for a way out of the canonical crisis. Attempts were made to convince a series of exiled bishops of the ROC MP to join the TOC, but these did not meet with success.

Apart from this group of catacomb clergy, as has already been mentioned, there were also others. For instance, no fewer than 25 catacomb priests were ordained by the catacomb archbishop Antonii (Golynskii-Mikailovskii),[33]Ibid., 193 – 196; V. A. Goncharov, Antonii (Mikhailovskii), 137–146. tending to around 100 illegal communities. Relatively substantial were the “Sekachev” and “Alfeev” catacomb movements, amounting to more than 10 bishops and over 100 communities.[34]S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 196 – 199. There were also a fair number of smaller independent groups, consisting of one or several communities. Some of them were led by priests or monks; others, after the arrest or death of their priest, were left completely without pastoral care. In such cases some communities tried to join up with other catacomb pastors. It was not rare, however, for believers to end up in a situation of total self-isolation. Unwilling to entrust themselves to priests who were “strangers” or ignorant of where they could be found, under conditions of persecution and conspiracy, many believers were forced to become cocooned in their meagre surviving groups and transfer to an “acephalous” or “priestless” (беспоповский) situation, performing religious services according to the “lay typikon.” Where there was no contact with other catacomb communities and priests for a long period of time (decades), as was the case in some such communities (as a rule consisting of illiterate peasants), individual folk-beliefs and traditions of an eschatological-apocalyptic nature were prone to appear. Such communities frequently entered a state of complete self-isolation and rejected any sort of cooperation with other catacomb groups, which often led to degeneration into sectarianism and a rejection of the priesthood and sacraments. In part the situation was redolent of the appearance of different views and factions in the Old-Believer movement in Russia in the period of its persecution and suppression by the state. On the other hand, cases are also known where in some catacomb communities which found themselves without a pastor, instead of self-consecration or self-isolation they were forced to send young parishioners to study at a seminary of the ROC MP in order then to continue providing them with pastoral care (the future Archbishop Alipii [Pogrebniak]and Archpriest Ioann [Chizhenok], among others, came from such catacomb communities).

It should be remarked that it was not in all the catacomb communities that the boundary between the official Church and the TOC could be clearly drawn. A section of the catacomb communities genuinely did occupy positions of out-and-out repudiation of the validity of the sacraments of the Moscow Patriarchate. Nonetheless, members of the True Orthodox Church-True Orthodox Christians who were antagonistically inclined towards the ROC MP not infrequently did visit legal churches, although they tried to keep themselves somewhat separate there or to create their own “oppositionist” groups among the ROC parishioners. An unusual role was played in these circles by wandering monks who roamed throughout the country and would beg for alms at the entrance to ROC churches. In conversations with believers, they would often preach eschatological views typical of the TOC milieu. After the wave of mass closures of churches and the withdrawal of their registration from members of the clergy in the 1960s, this fluctuation of believers between catacomb and legal communities became even more widespread, frequently blurring the differences between them and giving rise to notions of “the partial mutual infiltration of the catacomb and official Church” and even of some sort of “communicating vessels.” [35]D. V. Pospelovskii, Russkaia pravoslavnaia tserkov’ v XX veke [The Russian Orthodox Church in the XX Century], 326 – 327.

Catacomb believers in the USSR found out about the activity of the Russian Church Abroad and her views in the main thanks to radio broadcasts of “Western wavelengths.” On the Russian-language radio programs of the stations “Voice of America,” “BBC,” “Radio Liberty,” “Free Europe,” “Radio Canada” etc., ROCOR clergy and parishioners made special reports on the life of the Church Abroad, on persecutions of the faith in the USSR, and broadcast church services and homilies. Despite attempts by the KGB to silence these “murky waves,” the faithful found ways to get round them.

However, this link with the ROCOR was one-sided. As a result, starting from the period of the “Krushchev thaw,” attempts were made on a number of occasions in different catacomb groupings to set-up direct contacts with the ROCOR. The first success was in 1962 when, by means of an encoded correspondence, communication was established with the ROCOR archbishop Leontii (Fillipovich, †1971) of Chile, through whom over the course of almost 10 years the spiritual guidance and communication of a series of catacomb communities with the Russian Church Abroad was conducted.[36]A. V. Psarev, “Arkhiepiskop Leontii Chiliiskii (Archbishop Leontii of Chile),” no. 5 (1996), 1-26; S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 151 – 156.

This link was established and maintained for a lengthy period by the spiritual son and tonsured disciple of the former Athonite Hieroschemamonk Feodosii (Kashin, †1948) – the catacomb monk Feodosii (in the world Fedor Iosifovich Zhurbenko) who spent five years in the Karaganda concentration camps for “being a member of the TOC.”[37]Fedor Iosifovich Zhurbenko, Elektronnaia baza dannykh PSTGU po Novomuchenikam i Ispovednikam XX veka (versiia 1996 g.) [Electronic database of STOUH on the New-Martyrs and Confessors of the XX … Continue reading

The monk Feodosii maintained his connection with Archbishop Leontii of Chile through the Athonite archimandrite Evgenii (Zhukov, †1972), who served as a priest in Kuban before the Revolution. The aforementioned Father Feodosii (Kashin) was one of his colleagues at the time. In 1930, Father Evgenii joined the “Josephites” and was appointed as Dean of the True Orthodox Church in Kuban. In 1933 he was arrested, however as a citizen of the Greek Kingdom he was deported to Greece in exchange for some imprisoned Greek communists, after which he returned to Mount Athos.[38]M. V. Shkarovskii, Iosiflianstvo: techenie v Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi [Josephitism: a Movement in the Russian Orthodox Church], 129-130; M. V. Shkarovskii, Russkie obiteli Afona i Elladskaia … Continue reading

The encoded letters were written and sent to him using the names of different old women from different towns, so that nobody at the postal service would suspect anything. Having himself, through the mediation of Father Evgenii, been taken under the omophorion of Archbishop Leontii of Chile, the monk Feodosii (Zhurbenko) also sent him requests from Father Amvrosii (Kapinus, in the schema Anuvii, †1966) and Father Ignatii (Skliarov, †1972) from Voronezh, Father Vissarion (Markov, in the schema Serafim, †1979) from Tambov, Hieromonk Timofei (Nesgovorov, †1975) from Ufa, Father Mikhail Rozhdestvenskii (†1988) from Petrograd, Father Nikita Lekhan (†1985) from Khar’kov, Father Aleksandr (Orlov, †1977) from Siberia, Hieromonk Gerasim (Zamesin, † end of the 1970s) and a series of other catacomb priests.[39]S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 153 – 154.

Copies of several letters from Archbishop Leontii of Chile to F. Zhurbenko from the 1960s have been kept in the archive of the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR. In them he warns the catacombers against having dealings with dubious hierarchs, such as Feodosii Bakhmet’ev, Serafim Pozdeev, Vladimir Saratovskii, and Nikolai Avtonomov, and recommends that in case of need they should approach the exiled Archbishop Veniamin (Novitsky) of Irkutsk, who had spent 10 years in the Kolyma concentration camps, and whose cell-attendant Leontii had once been himself. Archbishop Leontii also confirms reception into the ROCOR and the reading in absentia of the prayers of absolution for several catacomb priests whose confessions F. Zhurbenko had sent to him.[40]Kopii pisem arkhiepiskopa Leontiia Chiliiskogo v SSSR k F. I. Zhurbenko za 1968 – 1969 gg. [Copies of letters of Archbishop Leontii of Chile to F.I Zhurbenko in the USSR from 1968 –  1969], … Continue reading As Deacon A. Psarev remarks, after the correspondence had been set up, Archbishop Leontii took an active part in the life of the clergy and pastorate of catacomb communities in the USSR.[41]A. V. Psarev, “Arkhiepiskop Leontii Chiliiskii (Archbishop Leontii of Chile),” no. 5 (1996), 1-26. Thanks to the establishment of the link with the Russian Church Abroad, most of the catacomb clergy of the “Tikhonite-Josephite succession” introduced mandatory commemoration of the First Hierarch of the ROCOR at church services, in the assumption that by so doing they were bringing themselves into canonical unity with the fullness of Orthodoxy.

It is worth drawing attention to the fact that many catacombers in this period were especially badly worried by the problems of “bishoplessness,” and the emergence of self-consecration in their milieu, which posed the threat of the catacomb movement degenerating into sectarianism. It is interesting that, instead of recommending that they go to self-consecrated bishops for help, a hierarch of the ROCOR told the catacombers, if necessary, to approach hierarchs of the official church who had not sullied their reputation by cooperating with the authorities. As Archbishop Leontii’s cell-attendant and longstanding secretary Veniamin (Vozniuk) remembered, “Vladyka Leontii sent Feodor Iosifovich [Zhurbenko – authorial addition] to Bishop Veniamin, because the canonical bishops were all gone. Vladyka Veniamin was forced to serve in the MP, but was utterly opposed to its apostasy.”[42]Ibid. On this recommendation, F. Zhurbenko received diaconal and priestly ordination from Archbishop Veniamin (Novitskii) of Irkutsk in 1971,[43]Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) v Sinod RPTsZ ot 6 avgusta 1976 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to the ROCOR Synod of August 6, 1976), sheets 2 – 3; Doklad arkhiepiskopa … Continue reading and later was tonsured as a monk with the name Lazar’, but was soon obliged to return to looking after catacomb communities. Archimandrite Evgenii (Zhukov) tried a number of times to help Father Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to leave for Mount Athos as one of the monks sent from the USSR to the Russian monastery of Saint Panteleimon, but these plans were unsuccessful.[44]Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) arkhimandritu Veniaminu (Vozniuku) v Chili ot 7 avgusta 1976 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to Archimandrite Veniamin (Vozniuk) of August 7, … Continue reading

The link to the ROCOR which had been established by the catacombers was very fragile; answers took a year or more to come, and some letters did not arrive at all. After Archbishop Leontii’s death and that of Athonite Archimandrite Evgenii (Zhukov) at the beginning of the 1970s, the connection was broken off entirely. The last letter from Chile from Archbishop Leontii’s secretary Archimandrite Veniamin (Vozniuk) was received in 1973 after which answers from him ceased to arrive in the USSR.[45]Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) v Sinod RPTsZ ot 6 avgusta 1976 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to the ROCOR Synod of August 6, 1976], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in … Continue reading Hence it is unclear whether, before his death, Archbishop Leontii received requests for the reception into the ROCOR of the catacomb priests Father Mikhail Rozhdestvenskii, Father Nikita Lekhan and Father Mikhaila Golubev, which were in the process of being sent at the time, or whether they were seized in the post.[46]Doklad arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo Arkhiereiskomu Soboru RPTsZ, 1981 g. [Report by Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to the ROCOR Council of Bishops, … Continue reading

The connection with the ROCOR could only be renewed in August 1976. At this point, through acquaintances who had relatives in the Eastern Bloc, Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) addressed First Hierarch Metropolitan Filaret (Voznesenskii) on behalf of “a section of the priests in the catacombs” with a request for their reception under the omophorion of the ROCOR. In his letter he writes that their group of catacomb priests already commemorated “His Holiness Metropolitan Filaret, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, at all religious services without their yet being officially under his jurisdiction.”[47]Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) v Sinod RPTsZ ot 6 avgusta 1976 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to the ROCOR Synod of August 6, 1976], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in … Continue reading For this reason he asks the ROCOR Synod to make an official declaration on this question. He also communicates that, as a result of the lack of canonical catacomb bishops, he received his priestly ordination in 1971 from Archbishop Veniamin of Irkutsk, but then returned once more to a catacomb position. In this regard he asks the Synod to inform him whether the validity of his ordination is recognized by the ROCOR, and if not, as he writes, “he will peacefully lay down his holy orders and live out his salvation in peace and silence.” He also asks whether catacombers can accept a bishop from the Moscow Patriarchate.[48]Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) v Sinod RPTsZ ot 6 avgusta 1976 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to the ROCOR Synod of August 6, 1976], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in … Continue reading

In answer to this letter, by its decision of March 1, 1977 (protocol no. 523-а), the ROCOR Synod resolved to bless Hieromonk Lazar’ to conduct illegal church services and also to perform monastic tonsures. It was also determined that “the commemoration of Metropolitan Filaret at services by priests serving in secret does not meet with any objections.” Where the validity of consecrations to the episcopacy in the ROC MP was concerned, the Synod ruled that it considered its official policy and “the direction of church life taken by Metropolitan Sergii incorrect.” “Therefore when entering into communion with bishops or clerics from the Moscow Patriarchate, a written repudiation of its official policy should be demanded, and prayers of absolution should be read.” With regard to the acceptance of clerics from the ROC MP, “under the present extraordinary conditions,” the ROCOR Synod gave its blessing for this to take place “by means of written correspondence.”[49]Postanovlenie Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ ot 16 fevralia/1 marta 1977 g. [Ruling of the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR from 16 February/1 March 1977], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), … Continue reading Underneath this document stand the signatures of Metropolitan Filaret, Archbishops Serafim, Vitalii, and Antonii, and also Bishop Lavr.

As far as can be told, this is the first official document of the ROCOR Synod dealing with the reception into its communion of members of the catacomb clergy in the USSR.

Four months later, on July 8, 1977, the Jordanville Archdeacon Ioann (Melander) sent a letter to the ROCOR Synod, in which he communicated that he had been approached on Mount Athos by Hieromonk Misail (Tomin), who had recently arrived from the USSR and been admitted as a member of the brotherhood of the Russian monastery of Saint Panteleimon on Mount Athos. He himself was a former catacomb priest who had transferred to the ROC MP. He asked for a request from a group of catacomb priests who had been ordained by the catacomb archbishop Antonii (Golynskii-Mikhailovskii, †1976), who had recently deceased near Kiev, to be passed to the ROCOR Synod. The list which was passed on contains the names of 19 catacomb priests, 14 monastics, and 11 lay people in total – all of them disciples of the late archbishop Antonii.[50]Pis’mo arkhidiakona Ioanna (Melander) ot 25 iiunia/8 iiulia 1977 g. [Letter of Archdeacon Ioann (Melander) of 25 June/8July 1977], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 1 – 2. In his next letter of September 26, 1977, Archdeacon Ioann communicates that he has had a further meeting with Hieromonk Misail (Tomin), who had made a short trip to the USSR in order to receive treatment for his eyes, after which he had returned to Mount Athos. During his trip he had had a meeting with some catacomb priests from the Antonii (Golynskii-Mikhailovskii) group, who this time had entrusted him with a written request for reception into the jurisdiction of the ROCOR Synod. As Father Ioann writes, “after the death of Archbishop Antonii they have not been performing the holy offices, as Archbishop Antonii had forbidden them to celebrate the sacraments with no bishop.”[51]Pis’mo arkhidiakona Ioanna (Melander) ot 13/26 sentiabria 1977 g. [Letter of Archdeacon Ioann [Melander] of 13/26 September 1977], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 2. In contrast to the list of catacomb clergy transmitted earlier, the new list contained the names of 14 catacomb priests from the Antonii (Golynskii-Mikhailovskii) group. It seems that the other five clerics had refused to sign the request. This petition through Father Misail was made by Abbot Antonii from the city of Zhlobin in the Gomel oblast, who was considered to be the dean of the “Golyntsy” grouping.[52]Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) arkhiepiskopu Antoniiu Zhenevskomu i Zapadno-Evropeiskomu, 31.12.1981 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and … Continue reading Antonii himself confirmed this fact to the author of this paper in a personal conversation in 1993.

In answer to this request, by its decision of December 7, 1977 the ROCOR Synod (journal no. 282-а) ruled that: “Entrusting ourselves to the testimony of the fourteen priests with regard to the fact that their late master Archbishop Antonii was a correctly consecrated Orthodox bishop, performing his service in secret from the civil authorities – we admit them to prayerful communion, informing them that they may perform all holy offices which may according to church laws be performed by priests, and also assigning to monastic clerics the right to perform monastic tonsures. Of which they are to be informed in the order in which their petitions were received.”[53]Zhurnal № 282-a zasedaniia Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ ot 26 noiabria/7 dekabria 1977 g. [Journal no. 282 of the session of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops of 26 November/7 December 1977],.

Thus, in 1977 the ROCOR officially received two groups of catacomb clergymen from the USSR, each of which made their petitions independently of one another. By working together with the ROCOR, the “Golyntsy” hoped to regularize their canonical position and restore communion with the catacomb priests of the old succession who had already entered into communion with the Church Abroad in the 1960s. It must be conceded, however, that many of the catacombers who had been in communion with the ROCOR before this point did not accept this decision of its ruling Synod.

Following the example of these two groups, the practice of commemorating the First Hierarch of the ROCOR was also widely established in other catacomb groups and factions in the USSR, including among the disciples of the canonically dubious bishops Feodosii Bakhmet’ev, Savvatii Gruzinov, Serafim Pozdeev, Gennadii Sekach, Alfei Barnaul’skii, and others. As has already been noted, by the 1980s Gennadii Sekach’s catacomb grouping already numbered more than 10 secret bishops, some of whom combined a secret episcopal ministry in home chapels with official ministry as ordinary priests in legal ROC MP churches (Evgenii Zhiganov, Antonii Piletskii, Adrian Lapin, Kheruvim Degtiar’, Vasilii Beliak and others).[54]S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 193 – 196; S. V. Shumilo, “Obrazovanie ierarkhii UAPTs v 1990 g. i samozvanyi «episkop» Vikentii Chekalin” [The formation of the hierarchy of … Continue reading All of them considered themselves as being in prayerful communion with the Church Abroad right up until 1990, despite the fact that there is no evidence of their making any petition to the ROCOR Synod on this subject.

There were also other catacomb communities of the True Orthodox Church-True Orthodox Christians, who united around their pastors without entering into communion with the above-mentioned factions and groupings, but who nonetheless also commemorated the First Hierarchs of the ROCOR at their secret church services. Among them it is worth mentioning the communities of the hieromonk Gurii (Pavlov, †1995) in Chuvashia, the priest Maksim Golubev (†1999) in Belarus, and others. There were also a large number of acephalous catacomb communities, which after the death of their priests found themselves without pastoral care and celebrated their secret church services according to the “lay typikon.” Many of them subsequently joined the ROCOR, but others simply remained in a ‘priestless’ (беспоповский) situation. Among the latter may be mentioned the relatively numerous communities of Mikhail Ershov in Tatarstan, Ioann Labunskii in the Chernigov region, and Mikhail Kostiuk in the Kyiv region.

In April 1980, via dissident channels, Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) transmitted to the Deputy President of the ROCOR Synod Archbishop Antonii (Bartoshevich) of Geneva detailed information on 13 catacomb priests serving illegally in the USSR at that time (most of them were over 80, and many had been ordained by the late Schema-Bishop Petr Ladygin).[55]Doklad arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo Arkhiereiskomu Soboru RPTsZ, 1981 g. [Report of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, 1981], … Continue reading These clerics belonged in the main to the old “Tikhonite succession.” Finding themselves without a canonical bishop after the death of Schema-Bishop Petr (Ladygin), they nonetheless did not join up with the aforementioned canonically dubious catacomb groups, continuing to celebrate church services in their homes. Through the offices of Father Lazar’, many of them commemorated the First Hierarch of the ROCOR and also wanted to come under the omophorion of the Church Abroad bishops.

It should be noted that these were not all the catacomb pastors serving illegally in the USSR at the time. For instance, the said list did not contain the names of the catacomb priests Hieromonk Gurii (Pavlov, †1995), Hieromonk Meletii (Rushchak, †1983), the priest Aleksandr Bakalinskii (†1984), Hieromonk Pakhomii (Petin, †1985), Archpriest Aleksandr Makov (†1985), Archpriest Aleksandr Shabel’nik-Kaliuzhnyi (†1996), among others. Also not mentioned, naturally, were the numerous catacomb clerics ordained by Antonii (Golynskii-Mikhailovskii), Alfei Barnaul’skii, Gennadii (Sekach), Feodosii (Gumennikov) and other canonically dubious hierarchs. Regarding the disciples of these last bishops, Father Lazar’ only mentions that they are not in communion with them, and that “if they want to come over to us, we do not accept them.” [56]Ibid., (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 11.

As Father Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) remarks in his letter of April 12, 1980, addressed to the Deputy Chairman of the ROCOR Synod, over its long years without a canonical bishop, “the life of the Catacomb Church began to descend into confusion and disorder. They threw themselves into the task of finding an Orthodox Tikhonite bishop, searched high and low everywhere from Poland to Sakhalin, and did not find one anywhere. Instead they found seven impostors who claimed to be genuine bishops of the Catacomb Church, but on closer examination turned out either to be agents of the bogobortsy (‘God-haters’), or just impostors. This situation caused many priests and lay people to sink into despondency… At present there is a state of anarchy in the Catacomb Church, and we have reached a dead-end.”[57]Ibid., (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 5.

In his letter to Archbishop Antonii of Geneva, Father Lazar’ again inquires as to the attitude within the ROCOR towards the sacraments of the Moscow Patriarchate and seeks to clarify whether, in an absence of catacomb bishops, it is possible to receive priestly ordination from bishops of the ROC MP, whether its church miron “holy oil” may be used etc. Among other things, he also communicates that there was no unanimous opinion among the catacomb clergy and faithful regarding the recognition or non-recognition of sacraments and ordinations in the ROC MP. Consequently, as he writes, some catacomb priests and parishioners accept the validity of his ordination in the MP, while others cast doubt on it. With this in mind, he once again asks for the clarification of the ROCOR Synod on this issue, and if the Synod does not recognize the orders he has received in the MP, he offers to submit himself to their judgement and to cease his ministry.

To this Archbishop Antonii sent the following reply on June 20, 1980: “Regarding the Moscow Patriarchate: there is not a single official decree of our Church Abroad Councils of Bishops stating that she is wholly deprived of God’s grace. It is not for us to make this kind of judgement… Our metropolitans have received in their existing holy orders not only priests, but also bishops from the Moscow Patriarchate… It causes me joy, Father, to see that you are not such a fanatic… I give you my blessing for the holy occupation of pastorship! My God grant you his aid.” Archbishop Antonii goes on to explain: “Accordingly, if the Moscow Patriarchate is not deprived of God’s grace (if only for the sake of the faithful), then it is better to take communion from one of her worthy pastors (for example Father Dimitrii Dudko) than not to take communion at all. It is better to use miron “holy oil” consecrated in the Moscow Patriarchate than some sort of dubious oil brought along by an old woman. A priest from the Moscow Patriarchate should be received, after careful examination, through the sacrament of repentance (likewise a bishop). It is acceptable to attend church services in the official Church, but one should partake of the sacraments only in cases of extreme necessity from a sound and trustworthy priest, not from someone who is a known provocateur.”[58]Pis’mo arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo ieromonakhu Lazariu (Zhurbenko) ot 20 iiunia 1980 g. [Letter of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to Hiermonk … Continue reading This response and the content of his correspondence was presented in detail by Archbishop Antonii in a report to the First Hierarch and the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, receiving their wholehearted approval.[59]Doklad arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo Arkhiereiskomu Soboru RPTsZ, 1981 g. [Report of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, 1981], … Continue reading

Desiring to regularize the canonical status of Father Lazar’s catacomb communities and secret monastic sketes, around which at that point 87 catacomb monastics had assembled, headed by the 76-year-old Schema-Abbess Sergiia Obukhova (who was a spiritual daughter of Archbishop Andrei Ukhtomskii, was tonsured by Schema-Bishop Petr Ladygin, and who had spent 13 years in Stalin’s concentration camps as a prisoner for the faith),[60]Pis’mo skhiigumenii Sergii (Obukhovoi) Pervoierarkhu RPTsZ mitropolitu Filaretu (Voznesenskomu), 1980 g. [Letter of Schema Abbess Sergiia (Obukhova) to the First Hierarch of the ROCOR … Continue reading Archbishop Antonii (Bartoshevich) ruled by a decree of January 18, 1981 that Hieromonk Lazar’, “along with the monastics and lay people in his care, is received into the Diocese of Western Europe of the ROCOR and entrusted with the mission of tending to the catacombs in the territory of Russia. At church services Hieromonk Lazar’ should commemorate Metropolitan Filaret as the First Hierarch of the ROCOR.”[61]Ukaz arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo ieromonakhu Lazariu (Zhurbenko) ot 18 ianvaria 1981 g. [Decree of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to Hieromonk Lazar’ … Continue reading

Judging from Archbishop Antonii’s report, his choice in favor of Hieromonk Lazar’ was due, among other things, to the fact that he “was not a fanatic” and adopted a balanced position with regard to the official Church in Russia.

A consequence of these steps was a series of highly unusual decisions taken by the Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad which opened in New York on October 18, 1981 under the chairmanship of Metropolitan Filaret (Voznesenskii, †1985). Here the Church Abroad Hierarchs officially glorified in the ranks of the saints the Host of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.[62]Protokol № 4 Arkhiereiskogo Sobora RPTsZ ot 22 oktiabria 1981 g. [Protocol no. 4 of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops from October 22, 1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), 1; Poslanie … Continue reading Among the canonized were many well-known hierarchs and priests who had belonged to the oppositionist “non-commemorators” movement, including Metropolitan Iosif (Petrov) of Petrograd, Metropolitan Kirill (Smirnov) of Kazan, and many others.[63]Spisok Novomuchenikov i Ispovednikov Rossiiskikh (utverzhden Arkhiereiskim Soborom RPTsZ v 1981 g.) [List of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia (confirmed by the ROCOR Synod of Bishops in … Continue reading

In the same decree of October 22, 1981, in which the list of New Martyrs was proclaimed, the ROCOR Council accepted a resolution on the Catacomb Church in the USSR. As the text of the decree states, this decision was taken on the basis of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva’s report. In this report, the Deputy Chairman of the ROCOR Synod set out, over 12 pages, the details of his correspondence with Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko), analyzed the crisis which had arisen in catacomb communities as a result of the lack of a canonical bishop, provided a résumé of the characters of the 13 remaining catacomb priests of the old succession, based on Father Lazar’s information, and also expressed doubt on the canonicity of one other catacomb group headed by the late archbishop Antonii (Golynskii-Mikhailovskii) and a series of other personalities.[64]Doklad arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo Arkhiereiskomu Soboru RPTsZ, 1981 g. [Report of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, 1981], … Continue reading

The result of the discussion of this report was the acceptance by the Council of the resolution of October 22, which noted that: “Discussing the situation of the Catacomb Church in Russia, the Council of Bishops asks for God’s blessing on all those catacomb pastors who continue their ministry under exceptionally difficult circumstances, motivated to do so by their faith and dedication to the Holy Church and their readiness to remain true to the faith even unto death. May the Lord help them, without falling into compromises, to bear their cross until the end. Upon them and upon their works the Council calls down God’s blessing.”[65]Protokol № 4 Arkhiereiskogo Sobora RPTsZ ot 22 oktiabria 1981 g. [Protocol no. 4 of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops from October 22, 1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), 1.

In another resolution of October 27, 1981, accepted based on a report by Bishop Grigorii (Grabbe), the Council once again pronounced its “appeal for God’s blessing” on “those who, unafraid of persecution, refrain from any compromise with the policies of Godlessness.”[66]Opredeleniia Arkhiereiskogo Sobora RPTsZ 1981 g. [Decree of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, 1981], Stolp ognennyi. Mitropolit N’iu-Iorkskii i Vostochno-Amerikanskii Filaret (Voznesenskii) i … Continue reading

Unofficially, with the approval of the Council, it was decided that all possible help should be given to catacomb communities in the USSR in restoring to them the canonical episcopate which they had lost during the years of persecution. To this end, with the blessing of Metropolitan Filaret (Voznesenksii), the decision was taken secretly to consecrate Archimandrite Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) as a bishop and thus to restore a canonical hierarchy to the catacombs.

It should be noted that there were no illusions in the ROCOR Synod at this point on the situation of the catacomb communities in the USSR. The hierarchs of the Church Abroad were well-informed on the current crisis, disunity, divisions, and disputes in the catacomb milieu. Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) had himself made no attempt to conceal this in his letters at the end of the 1970s – beginning of the 1980s. The Church Abroad hierarchs had also received information from the USSR via other channels. Hence, there were no illusions in the ROCOR Synod of any sort of unified, organized, and numerous Catacomb Church structures in the motherland. On the contrary, by accepting them under the omophorion of the ROCOR and then ordaining a bishop in the Synod as an extreme instance of ikonomia “pastoral dispensation,” the Church Abroad hierarchs hoped to help to overcome the longstanding crisis in the catacomb communities and prevent their degeneration into sectarianism and self-consecration.

Where the catacomb clerics of Archbishop Antonii (Golynskii-Mikhailovskii)[67]V. A. Goncharov, Antonii (Mikhailovskii), 137–146. were concerned, the secretary of the ROCOR Synod Bishop Grigorii (Grabbe) wrote even before the consecration of Bishop Lazar’: “Regarding the priests of Antonii Golynskii, nothing can be done at present other than wait. There are too many inconsistencies in his ordinations which cannot be ignored or remedied in absentia. Some must be rejected entirely, and others repeated.”[68]Pis’mo sekretaria Sinoda RPTsZ episkopa Grigorii (Grabbe) na imia arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo ot 26 fevralia/11 marta 1982 g. [Letter of the secretary of the ROCOR Synod Bishop Grigorii … Continue reading

In the opinion of Archbishop Antonii (Bartashevich), Bishop Grigorii (Grabbe), and others, in order to correct the uncanonical ordinations in the catacomb communities and normalize a fully-fledged church life within them, it was essential to have a hierarch with indisputable apostolic succession on location in the USSR. To this end, after the Council of 1981, efforts began to be made in the ROCOR secretly to place a catacomb hierarch in the USSR.

This was the most propitious moment in all the years of the existence of the Soviet regime: 1981-1982 – the last years of the rule and life of L. Brezhnev, characterized by the final death throes of the communist regime of which he was the head. During this period more opportunities appeared both for foreign tourists to visit the USSR and for Soviet tourists to visit the countries of the West. During such trips, foreign and Soviet tourists, apart from “deficit” goods, often tried illegally to import religious and other literature, distributing it among their relatives and acquaintances. Active contacts with the world outside, including with representatives of the ROCOR, were achieved through dissident human rights associations, which had by this time spread across the whole of the USSR, and with whom some catacombers collaborated. The closest links to dissident circles in the USSR were maintained by the ROCOR Dioceses of Western Europe and Germany.

The idea of secretly ordaining a bishop for the catacombs was made easier by the fact that a sister of one of the clerics of the Diocese of Western Europe, Archpriest Vladimir Prokof’ev, worked in the French Embassy in Moscow. Thanks to this, Archpriest Vladimir was able to visit the USSR as a tourist regularly and without hindrance. Accordingly, after discussion at the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, it was decided secretly to tonsure as a monk and secretly to ordain Father Vladimir (in secret monasticism Varnava), in order that during one of his many visits to the USSR he could secretly perform the episcopal consecration of Catacomb Archimandrite Lazar’ (Zhurbenko).[69]Zaiavlenie Kantseliarii Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ ot 1/14 avgusta 1990 g. [Declaration of the Chancery of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops of August 1/14, 1990], Pravoslavnaia Rus’, no. 18 (1423), … Continue reading

As the secretary of the ROCOR Synod Bishop Grigorii (Grabbe, †1995) remembered: “After the discussion of this at the Synod of Bishops, it was decided secretly to tonsure as a monk and consecrate as a Bishop a cleric of the Diocese of Western Europe whose sister lived in the USSR, thanks to which he could more easily obtain a visa for travel there. This secretly ordained Bishop was entrusted by the Council with the mission of, also in secret, consecrating as a Bishop Father Lazar’, in order for him to take on the leadership of the catacomb clerics and their communities… At the present time we may say, without putting anybody in danger, that the priest of the Diocese of Western Europe Vladimir Prokof’ev, who became Bishop Varnava, was the person who performed the consecration of Bishop Lazar’.” [70]G. Grabbe, ep., Zavet Sviatogo Patriarkha [The testament of the Holy Patriarch], 315.

It is an interesting fact that, within the context of this secret operation, the ROCOR Synod even discussed the possibility of approaching one of the exiled bishops of the ROC MP in order to perform episcopal and priestly consecration in catacomb communities. To this suggestion, however,  Bishop Grigorii (Grabbe) replied in a letter of March 11, 1982 with a categorical refusal. While communicating that Metropolitan Filaret had agreed to the secret episcopal consecration of Father Lazar’ for the catacomb communities, and that this “matter had been approved by the Synod,” he remarks: “To approach even the very best bishops of the Patriarchate to perform consecrations is impossible. This would so undermine the consciousness of the difference between her and the catacombers that it could ruin the entire affair… We can receive priests from the Patriarchate in their existing orders, as we have done in the past, but we cannot  send candidates for ordination to her bishops, even to the very best of them, for the sake of the catacombers themselves.”[71]Pis’mo sekretaria Sinoda RPTsZ episkopa Grigorii (Grabbe) na imia arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo ot 26 fevralia/11 marta 1982 g. [Letter of the secretary of the ROCOR Synod Bishop Grigorii … Continue reading

The secret mission for the restoration of the hierarchy in the catacomb communities was successfully completed on May 10, 1982,[72]Gramota Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ o postavlenii arkhimandrita Lazaria (Zhurbenko) «ot Rossiiskoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi iazhe v Katakombakh”» vo Episkopa Tambovskogo, 16 maia 1990 g. … Continue reading when the episcopal consecration of Father Lazar’ was illegally performed in the flat of Catacomb Nun Feodora in Moscow.

A clarification of this consecration from the Synodal Chancery of the ROCOR, dated August 14, 1990, states that it was performed “by order of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad,” “in order that the church life of the Catacomb Church in Russia could be regularized.”[73]Zaiavlenie Kantseliarii Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ ot 1/14 avgusta 1990 g. [Declaration of the Chancery of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops of August 1/14, 1990], Pravoslavnaia Rus’, no. 18 (1423), … Continue reading

Concerning these events, Metropolitan Mark of Berlin also remembered that in this way the ROCOR “tried to help the Catacomb Church, ordaining for its pastoral care Bishop Lazar’ (Zhurbenko).”[74]Doklad arkhiepiskopa Marka Berlinskogo i Germanskogo na Vsezarubezhnom Sobore ot 9 maia 2006 g. [Report by Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany at the Council of the Whole Church Abroad of May 9, … Continue reading At the same time the issue at stake was the restoration of a hierarchy to already existing catacomb communities, and not the creation in the USSR of new parallel structures. As Vladyka Mark also remarked: “the ROCOR did not wish to create a parallel hierarchy within Russia.”[75]Ibid.

Aside from Bishop Lazar’, there were suggestions secretly to consecrate several more catacomb bishops. At this point Bishop Lazar’ proposed as candidates for consecration the priests Father Mikhail Rozhdestvenskii (1901–1988) from Leningrad, and Father Nikita Lekhan (1893-1985) from Kharkov. However, the entourage both of Father Mikhail and of Father Nikita were afraid of establishing personal contact with Bishop Varnava (Prokof’ev), who came into the USSR from abroad, concerned that by so doing the KGB might latch onto them and expose their secret communities.[76]Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) na imia arkhiepiskopa Zhenevskogo Antoniia (Bartoshevicha) от 31.12.1981. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ [Zhurbenko] addressed to Archbishop Antonii … Continue reading In a letter addressed to Archbishop Antonii of Geneva from March 5, 1989, Bishop Lazar’ writes about the reluctance of a series of catacomb priests to enter into communion with him, because he had earlier received his ordination as a priest in the official Church. Furthermore, a rumour had been circulated that the bishop who had secretly ordained him as a bishop was not from the ROCOR, but from the Moscow Patriarchate, and that the ROCOR documents confirming his election were fakes.[77]Pis’mo episkopa Lazaria (Zhurbenko) na imia arkhiepiskopa Zhenevskogo Antoniia (Bartoshevicha) ot 5 marta 1989 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) addressed to Archbishop Antonii … Continue reading

In spite of the challenges of his illegal ministry, within a relatively short period of time more than 50 historical catacomb communities gathered together under the omophorion of Bishop Lazar’ from Kuban, the Northern Caucasus, the Ukraine, the Central-Chernozem region of Russia, Belarus, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Bashkiria, Udmurtia, Chuvashia and other regions. Among them were communities belonging to the “Buevtsy,” the “Josephites,” the “Kirillovtsy,” as well as the “Victoriany,” the “Andreevtsy,” and others. Moreover, during the period from 1982 to 1989, Bishop Lazar’ secretly ordained more than 10 new priests for catacomb communities. Several more catacomb priests who had earlier been ordained by uncanonical catacomb hierarchs belonging to the “Sekachevtsy,” “Alfeevtsy,” and other groups united themselves with him through the correction of their consecrations. At the same time, not all the catacomb communities accepted a bishop from the ROCOR.[78]Ibid., (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheets 6 – 7. A distinctive position was adopted by the catacomb hieromonk Gurii (Pavlov), who aimed to “create a hierarchy which was independent from the Moscow Patriarchate and from the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad.”[79]Pis’mo episkopa Lazaria (Zhurbenko) na imia Pervoierarkha RPTsZ mitropolita Vitaliia (Ustinova) ot 12 iiunia 1990 g. [Letter of Bishop Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) addressed to the First Hierarch of … Continue reading

Paying careful attention to the question of the legitimacy of their apostolic succession when accepting representatives of one or another catacomb faction or group into communion, Bishop Lazar’ collected detailed evidence on the origins and successions of different catacomb hierarchies.[80]Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) na imia arkhiepiskopa Zhenevskogo Antoniia (Bartoshevicha) от 31.12.1981 [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) addressed to Archbishop Antonii … Continue reading Thanks to the participation of Bishop Lazar’, in 1989 the ROCOR Synod avoided the scandal of admitting into its communion the pretender and impostor Vikentii Chekalin, who had come from the USSR to a session of the Synod in New York, claiming to be “the catacomb bishop of Yasnaia Poliana.”[81]S. V. Shumilo, “Obrazovanie ierarkhii UAPTs v 1990 g. i samozvanyi «episkop» Vikentii Chekalin” [The formation of the hierarchy of UAOC and the pretender “bishop” Vikentii Chekalin], 157 … Continue reading Also thanks to Bishop Lazar’, the ROCOR avoided the mistake of entering into communion with the uncanonical catacomb hierarchy of the “Sekachevtsy” and “Alfeevtsy.” Examining this question in detail, the ROCOR Council decreed in a ruling of May 15, 1990 that, “the Council cannot accept the canonicity of the ordinations” of these catacomb groupings, recommending that catacomb hierarchs active in the USSR and belonging to the “Sekachevtsy,” “Alfeevtsy,” and other factions have their consecrations corrected by a canonical hierarch of the ROCOR.[82]Spravka Kantseliarii Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ za № 4/77/133 ot 2(15).8.1990 [Memorandum of the Chancery of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops for № 4/77/133 of 2(15).8.1990)],  (Archive of the Synod … Continue reading A decision on the attitude to be taken towards clerics of the “Golynksii consecration” was also considered. Specifically, the ROCOR Synod, expressing its doubts regarding the legitimacy of the apostolic succession of archbishop Antonii (Golynskii-Mikhailovskii) (since, as the document states, “there is no written evidence supporting the canonicity of his ordination”), by a decree of May 18, 1990 addressed to the clergy and followers of this faction an offer to “regularize their canonical situation” through an appeal to the ROCOR hierarchy.[83]Opredelenie Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ ot 5/18 maia 1990 g. [Decree of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops from May 5/18, 1990], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York).

One may have differing opinions on the secret ordination to the ROCOR of a bishop with the purpose of tending to the historical catacomb communities in the USSR, and of the figure of Bishop Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) himself. However, as A. A. Kostryukov correctly remarks, this step “nonetheless gave oppositionist parishes the opportunity to receive the sacraments from a hierarch with apostolic succession.”[84]A. A. Kostriukov, K istorii vzaimootnoshenii mezhdu Russkoi Zarubezhnoi Tserkov’iu i katakombnym dvizheniem (Towards a History of the Mutual Relations between the Russian Church Abroad and the … Continue reading

At that point in time, what was happening was not yet the creation of parallel church structures of the ROCOR in the USSR, as happened after 1990 under Metropolitan Vitalii (Ustinov).[85]Interesting information on how the ROCOR Synod took the decision in 1990 to found parallel structures of the ROCOR in Russia is given by the founder of the first Russian mission of the ROCOR, the … Continue reading In 1981, the ROCOR Synod did not found any new structures and did not receive any fugitive priests from the ROC MP, but only within the confines of ikonomia “special dispensation,” as they understood it, sought to help the historical catacomb communities which had been present in the country since 1927 to regularize their canonical status, and thus, by means of illegal pastoring, to prevent their final degeneration into the self-consecration and sectarianism which many catacomb communities suffered from after their loss of a canonical hierarchy. To some extent, this was a repeat of the “experience of Edinoverie” which had earlier been applied by the ROCOR in relation to Old-Believer communities who wished to unite themselves to the hierarchy of the Church Abroad.

Overall, the existence of a church underground in the USSR over more than 60 years of exceptionally brutal atheistic persecutions of the faith is a unique historical phenomenon, reflecting the realia and tragedy of the Soviet era. In essence, the existence of catacomb communities is one of the few instances of a church underground which neither ceased its activity nor was completely destroyed (in spite of all the efforts of the Soviet repressive machine), and of resistance to the reigning culture of atheism and struggle against God. This spiritual experience and inheritance are important components of the history of the Church in the Soviet period, without which it cannot be understood and revealed in all its fulness and variety. To remain under the influence of outdated Soviet stereotypes, to ignore, deny, or distort this important page of our church history is quite simply the same thing as to steal from ourselves. For this reason, an unbiased approach to the history, experience, and inheritance of the Catacomb Church movement in the USSR, including its nonconformist elements, is of important significance both for the objective study of Church-State relations in the USSR and for the development of historiography. Without it, as I have already said, the history of the Church in the Soviet period cannot be revealed in all its diversity.

 

 

 

Serhii Viktorovich Shumylo (Kiev, Ukraine), Doctor of History (Ph.D.), Doctor of Theology (ThDr.), Director of the International Institute of the Athonite Legacy, research fellow of the Institute of History of Ukraine at NASU, lecturer at the Humanities Faculty of the National Academy, and director of human resources for culture and art at the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, Honored Cultural Worker of Ukraine. Е-mail: institute@afon.org.ua[

 

 

References

References
1 M. V. Shkarovskii, Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkovpri Staline i Khrushcheve [The Russian Orthodox Church in the Stalin and Khrushchev eras], (Moscow: Krutitskoe Patriarshee Podvor’e, Obshchestvo liubitelei tserkovnoi istorii, 1999), 242 – 260; M. Shkarovskii, Sudby iosiflianskikh pastyrei [The destines of the Josephite pastors], (SPb., 2006); M. V. Shkarovskii, D. P. Anashkin, “Pravoslavnoe tserkovnoe soprotivlenie v SSSR” [Orthodox Church resistance in the USSR], in Biograficheskii spravochnik. 1927–1988 gg., (Moscow, 2013), 9‒62;  A. A. Kostriukov, “K istorii vzaimootnoshenii mezhdu Russkoi Zarubezhnoi Tserkov’iu i katakombnym dvizheniem na rodine v 1970 – 1980-kh gg.” [Towards a history of the mutual relations between the Russian Church Abroad and the catacomb movement in the motherland from the 1970s-1980s], Tserkov’ i vremia, (January-March, 2020): 118–136; A.A. Kostriukov, Russkaia Zarubezhnaia Tserkov’ pri mitropolite Filarete (Voznesenskom): 1964–1985 gg. [The Russian Church Abroad under Metropolitan Filaret (Voznesenskii): 1964-1985], (Moscow: Izd-vo PSTGU, 2021), 223 – 239; S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh. Pravoslavnoe podpol’e v SSSR [In the Catacombs. The Orthodox Underground in the USSR], (Lutsk: Teren, 2011), 150 – 185; S. V. Shumilo, “Obrazovanie ierarkhii UAPTs v 1990 g. i samozvanyi «episkop» Vikentii Chekalin” [The formation of the hierarchy of the UAOC and the self-consecrated “bishop” Vikentii Chekalin], Tserkov’ i vremia. Nauchno-bogoslovskii zhurnal, no. 3 (92) (July-September, 2020): 154 – 213; A. Psarev, diak., “Stremias’ k edinstvu: ekkleziologiia RPTsZ v otnoshenii Moskovskogo Patriarkhata (1927–2007 gg.)” [Striving for unity: the ecclesiology of the ROCOR with regard to the Moscow Patriarchate (1927-2007)], Bogoslov.Ru – Nauchno-bogoslovskii portal, accessed January 24, 2018, https://bogoslov.ru/article/5682965; A. V. Psarev, “Arkhiepiskop Leontii Chiliiskii (1904—1971): Materialy k zhizneopisaniiu arkhipastyria gonimoi Tserkvi Rossiiskoi” [Archbishop Leontii of Chile (1904-1971): materials towards the description of the life of an archpastor of the persecuted Russian Church], Pravoslavnaia zhizn’, no. 3, 1-25; no. 4, 1-24; no. 5 (1996): 1-26; A. V. Makovetskii, “Rol’ uchastnikov katakombnogo dvizheniia v organizatsionnom oformlenii eparkhii Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi zagranitsei na kanonicheskoi territorii Moskovskogo Patriarkhata (1982—1994 gg.)” [The role of the members of the catacomb movement in the organizational formation of a diocese of the ROCOR on the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate [1982—1994], Tserkovno-istoricheskii vestnik, no. 20/21 (2013—2014): 218—225; A. Soldatov, “Uroki vozvrashcheniia. Kanonicheskie struktury RPTsZ na postsovetskom prostranstve – k 90-letiiu RPTsZ. Chast’ pervaia.” [Canonical structures of the ROCOR in the post-Soviet space – on the 90th anniversary of the ROCOR. Part 1.], Portal-credo.ru – setevoi resurs, accessed November 17, 2010, http://www.portal-credo.ru/site/?act=fresh&id=1213.
2 “Poslanie Arkhiereiskogo Sobora Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Zarubezhnoi Tserkvi” [Encyclical of the Archiepiscopal Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad], Tserkovnaia zhizn, no. 1 (1951): 7; Mitropolit Anastasii, “Paskhal’noe poslanie,” Tserkovnaia zhizn, no. 1–6 (1955): 17; “Poslanie Arkhiereiskogo Sobora Bogoliubivoi pastve Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi Zagranitsei” [Encyclical of the Archiepiscopal Council to the God-fearing pastorate of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad], Tserkovnaia zhizn, no. 11–12 (1956): 100–101.
3 “Poslanie Pervoierarkha Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi Zagranitsei mitropolita Filareta k brat’iam vo Khriste pravoslavnym episkopam i vsem, komu doroga sud’ba Rossiiskoi Tserkvi, 1/14 noiabria 1965 g.” [Encyclical of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad Metropolitan Philaret to my brother bishops in Christ and to all, for whom the destiny of the Russian Church is close to their heart], in Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov’ Zagranitsei 1918-1968, vol. 1 (1996): 349 – 350.
4 Ibid., 350.
5 “Protokol № 6 zasedaniia Arkhiereiskogo Sobora RPTsZ, 14 sentiabria 1971 g. Montreal” [Protocol no. 6 of the session of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, September 14, 1971, Montreal], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York).
6 “Poslanie Pervoierarkha Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi Zagranitsei mitropolita Filareta k brat’iam vo Khriste pravoslavnym episkopam i vsem, komu doroga sud’ba Rossiiskoi Tserkvi, 1/14 noiabria 1965 g.” [Encyclical of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad Metropolitan Philaret to my brother bishops in Christ and to all, for whom the destiny of the Russian Church is close to their heart], in Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov’ Zagranitsei 1918-1968, vol.1 (1968): 349 – 350.
7 S.V. Troitskii, O nepravde karlovatskogo raskola [On the falsehood of the Karlovtsy schism], (Paris: 1960), 72, 74.
8 See: A. Beglov, V poiskakh “bezgreshnykh katakomb.” Tserkovnoe podpol’e v SSSR [In search of the “pure catacombs”. The church underground in the USSR], (Moscow: Arefa, 2008), 10, 22.[/ref

It should be noted immediately that the catacomb movement in the USSR was not itself homogenous in nature. The term “Catacomb Church” should not be understood to denote some sort of centralized structure, unified into an entire illegal church institution. Under the conditions of Soviet totalitarian reality, the existence of major illegal societies was impossible. What is more, the leaders of the catacomb communities themselves had no aspiration towards the creation of a centralized structure. Taking the cue for their activity from the Decree on Self-Governance of Patriarch Tikhon, the Synod and Higher Church Council of November 7/20, 1920, no. 362, the oppositionist “non-commemorator” movement (even in the form of its most radical “Josephite” wing) initially rejected the creation of an alternative church administration and a parallel hierarchy.[ref]S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the catacombs], 70 – 73.

9 M. V. Shkarovskii, Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov’ pri Staline i Khrushcheve [The Russian Orthodox Church under Stalin and Khrushchev], 247.
10 S.V. Shumilo, V.V. Shumilo (pub., text preparation, intro., compilation, comment.), Skhiepiskop Petr (Ladygin): nepokolebimyi stolp Tserkvi (1866-1957 gg.) [Schema-Bis hop Petr (Ladygin): an unshakeable pillar of the Church (1866-1957)], (Glazov: 2013), 86.
11 V. A. Goncharov, “Antonii (Mikhailovskii). Arkhiepiskop?” [Antonii [Mikhailovskii]. An archbishop?], Vestnik PSTGU. II: Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi, 5th ed. (42) (2011): 137–146.
12 S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 196 – 199.
13 S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 199.
14 I. V. Il’ichev (comp.), Voin Khristov vernyi i istinnyi: Tainyi episkop IPTs Mikhail (Ershov): Zhizneopisanie, pis’ma i dokumenty [A faithful and true soldier of Christ: secret bishop of the TOC Mihail (Ershov): life, letters and documents], (Moscow: Bratonezh 2011), 744 s., il.
15 V. Dal’nik comp., “Spisok lits, vydaiushchikh (vydavavshikh) sebia za episkopov Katakombnoi Tserkvi, 1991 g. (v spiske znachitsia 22 imeni)” [A list of people claiming (who claimed) to be bishops of the Catacomb Church, 1991 (the list contains 22 names)], Lichnyi arkhiv arkhiepiskopa Odesskogo i Tambovskogo Lazaria (Zhurbenko), Odessa oblast.
16 V. V. Alekseev, M. I. Nechaeva, Voskresshie Romanovy? K istorii samozvanchestva v Rossii XX veka. [The Romanovs resurrected? On the history of pretenders in Russia in the XX century.], (Ekaterinburg: 2000), pt. 1, 209–349; M. I. Nechaeva, “Ot «velikogo kniazia» do «arkhiepiskopa». Evoliutsiia samozvantsa Mikhaila Pozdeeva v kontekste tserkovnoi sredy.” [From “Grand Prince” to “Archbishop”. The evolution of the pretender Mikhail Pozdeev in a church context], in Religioznoe mnogoobrazie Ural’skogo regiona. Materialy Vserossiiskoi nauchno-prakticheskoi konferentsii, (Orenburg: 2014), 168–181; M. I. Nechaeva, Lzhekniaz’ Mikhail. Debiut samozvantsa. [False prince Mikhail. The beginnings of a pretender.] (Ekaterinburg: 2000); S.L. Firsov, “Legenda o tsarskom brate: Velikii kniaz’ Mikhail Aleksandrovich – Solovetskii patriarkh Mikhail.” [The legend of the Tsar’s brother: Grand Prince Mikhail Aleksandrovich – Patriarch Mikhail of Solovki], Gosudarstvo, religiia, tserkov’ v Rossii i za rubezhom, no. 4 (2010).
17 A.V. Slesarev, “Osnovatel’ ‘serafimo-gennadievskoi’ vetvi Katakombnoi tserkvi ‘skhimitropolit’ Gennadii (Sekach)” [The founder of the “Serafim-Gennadian” branches of the Catacomb Church “Schema-Metropolitan” Gennadii (Sekach)], in Sektovedenie. Al’manakh. Vol. II. (Zhirovichi: Izdatel’stvo Minskoi Dukhovnoi Seminarii, 2012), 112-147; A.V. Slesarev, “Rossiiskaia pravoslavnaia katakombnaia tserkov’ v Belorussii: istoriia i sovremennost’.” [The Russian Orthodox Catacomb Church in Belarus: history and modernity.], Minskie Eparkhial’nye Vedomosti, no. 4 (83) (2007), 68-70; I. Iashunskii, ierod, “Nashi katakomby” [Our catacombs] Vestnik RKhD, no. 166 /III/: 243-259; “Lzhearkhiepiskop Kheruvim (Degtiar’) i vnutritserkovnoe sektantstvo” [The false archbishop Kheruvim [Degitar] and intro-church sectarianism], Religiia v Ukraine. Elektoronnyi resurs, accessed on July 5, 2012, https://www.religion.in.ua/main/17123-lzhearxiepiskop-xeruvim-degtyar-i-vnutricerkovnoe-sektantstvo.html.
18 S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh, [In the Catacombs], 193 – 196; S. V. Shumilo, “Obrazovanie ierarkhii UAPTs v 1990 g. i samozvanyi «episkop» Vikentii Chekalin” [The formation of the hierarchy of UAOC in 1990 and the self-consecrated “bishop” Vikentii Chekalin], Tserkov’ i vremia. Nauchno-bogoslovskii zhurnal, no. 3 (92), (July-September 2020), 157 – 175.
19 M. B. Danilushkin, Istoriia Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi. Ot vosstanovleniia patriarshestva do nashikh dnei [The History of the Russian Orthodox Church. From the Reestablishment of the Patriarchate to our own Day], vol. 1. 1917-1970, (SPb., 1997), 553.
20 L. M. Shugaeva, “Religiini utvorennia IPTs i IPKh iak forma protistoiannia totalitarizmu” [The religious groups the True Orthodox Church and True Orthodox Christians as a form of resistance to totalitarianism], in Problemi istoriі Ukraіni: fakti, sudzhennia, podiі. Mizhvidomchii zb. nauk. prats’, 15th ed. (Kiev: In-t istoriі Ukraіni NAN Ukraіni), 432.
21 Otraslevoi gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Sluzhby bezopasnosti Ukrainy (OGA SBU). F. 3. Op. 279. D. 1. L. 3..
22 S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 106 – 123.
23 D. V. Vedeneev, Ateisty v mundirakh. Sovetskie spetssluzhby i religioznaia sfera Ukrainy [Atheists in uniform. The Soviet secret services and the religious sphere in the Ukraine], (Moscow: Algoritm, 2016), 340; D.V. Vedeneev, “Organi derzhavnoі bezpeki SRSR i religiini ob’ednannia v Ukraіni pid chas Velikoі Vitchiznianoі Viini,” Ukraіns’kii institut natsional’noі pam’iati: merezhevii zhurnal (2010), accessed January 18, 2011, http://www.memory.gov.ua/ua/publication/content/1538.htm.
24 Shkarovskii M. V., “Iosiflianstvo: techenie v Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi” [Josephitism: a movement in the Russian Orthodox Church], 198-199; M. B. Danilushkin, Istoriia Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi [A history of the Russian Orthodox Church], 542-554; D. V. Vedeneev, “Tserkovno-monarkhicheskoe podpol’e. Operatsii spetssluzhb protiv obshchin Istinno-Pravoslavnoi tserkvi v Ukrainskoi SSR” [The ecclesiastico-monarchical underground. Operations of the secret services against communities of the True Orthodox Church in the Ukrainian SSR] // D. V. Vedeneev, “Ateisty v mundirakh. Sovetskie spetssluzhby i religioznaia sfera Ukrainy.” [Atheists in uniform. The Soviet secret services and the religious sphere in the Ukraine.], (Moscow: Algoritm, 2016), 310-345; A.M. Kolodnii, “Konfesiі pravoslavnogo korinnia totalitarnoі dobi” [Orthodox confessions in the totalitarian era], Istoriia religiі v Ukraіni. Navchal’nii posibnik. Ukraіns’ka elektronna biblioteka pidruchnikiv: merezhevii zhurnal, accessed January 11, 2011, https://westudents.com.ua/glavy/81959-4-konfes-pravoslavnogo-kornnya-totaltarno-dobi.html; L.M. Shugaeva, “Religiini utvorennia IPTs i IPKh iak forma protistoiannia totalitarizmu” [Religious communities of the True Orthodox Church and True Orthodox Christians as a form of resistance against totalitarianism], 432 – 433; S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh (In the Catacombs), 106 – 123.
25 V. Tsypin, prot., Istoriia Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi: 1917 – 1990 [A history of the Russian Orthodox Church], (Мoscow: 1994), 503, 516.
26 S. Gordun, sviashch., “Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov’ v period s 1943 po 1970 gg.” [The Russian Orthodox Church in the period between 1943 and 1970], Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii, no. 1-2 (1993): 20; D. V. Pospelovskii, Russkaia pravoslavnaia tserkov’ v XX veke, (Moscow: 1995), 322.
27 M.V. Shkarovskii, Russkaia pravoslavnaia tserkov’ i Sovetskoe gosudarstvo v 1943-1964 godakh. Ot «peremiriia» k novoi voine [The Russian Orthodox Church and the Soviet state from 1943-1964], SPb (1995), 90-91; D. V. Pospelovskii, Russkaia pravoslavnaia tserkov’ v XX veke [The Russian Orthodox Church in the XX century], 175.
28 S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh (In the Catacombs), 116.
29 A. V. Slesarev, “‘Usta Khristovy, sud’ia zhivykh i mertvykh, protoierei i doktor bogosloviia…,’ Sektantsko-raskol’nicheskaia deiatel’nost’ byvshego sviashchennika Iosifa Rinkevicha (1925-2008)” [“The mouthpiece of Christ, judge of the living and the dead, archpriest and doctor of theology…” The sectarian-schismatic activity of the former priest Iosif Rinkevich (1925-2008)], in Sektovedenie. Al’manakh, vol. III, (Zhirovichi: Izdatel’stvo Minskoi dukhovnoi seminarii, 2013), 45-74.
30 Ibid.
31 S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 142–149.
32 Ibid., 128 – 133.
33 Ibid., 193 – 196; V. A. Goncharov, Antonii (Mikhailovskii), 137–146.
34 S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 196 – 199.
35 D. V. Pospelovskii, Russkaia pravoslavnaia tserkov’ v XX veke [The Russian Orthodox Church in the XX Century], 326 – 327.
36 A. V. Psarev, “Arkhiepiskop Leontii Chiliiskii (Archbishop Leontii of Chile),” no. 5 (1996), 1-26; S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 151 – 156.
37 Fedor Iosifovich Zhurbenko, Elektronnaia baza dannykh PSTGU po Novomuchenikam i Ispovednikam XX veka (versiia 1996 g.) [Electronic database of STOUH on the New-Martyrs and Confessors of the XX Century (1996 version)], accessed January 9, 2020, http://martyrs.pstbi.ru/cgi-bin/db.exe/ans/m?HYZ9EJxGHoxITYZCF2JMTcCid6+hLpF=EX7HErslCHIkTcGZeu+hLp74Ta2pAGslBE+; Fedor Iosifovich Zhurbenko, in “Pis’ma raznykh lits k sviatiteliu Afanasiiu (Sakharovu)” [Letters from various people to Saint Afanasii (Sakharov)], ed. O. V. Kosik, (Moscow: Izd-vo PSTGU, 2013), 353-366.
38 M. V. Shkarovskii, Iosiflianstvo: techenie v Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi [Josephitism: a Movement in the Russian Orthodox Church], 129-130; M. V. Shkarovskii, Russkie obiteli Afona i Elladskaia Tserkov’ v XX veke [The Russian monasteries on Mount Athos and the Greek Church in the XX century], (Moscow: Indrik, 2010), 51-52; P. Troitskii, Istoriia Russkikh obitelei Afona v XIX – XX vekakh [The history of the Russian monasteries on Mount Athos in the XIV – XX centuries], (Moscow: Indrik, 2009), 187; A.V. Il’inskaia, Starets Feodosii Kavkazskii v sonme podvizhnikov Iuzhnoi Rossii [Elder Feodosii Kavakskii in the host of the ascetics of Southern Russia], (Moscow: Palomnik, 2010), 487-511.
39 S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 153 – 154.
40 Kopii pisem arkhiepiskopa Leontiia Chiliiskogo v SSSR k F. I. Zhurbenko za 1968 – 1969 gg. [Copies of letters of Archbishop Leontii of Chile to F.I Zhurbenko in the USSR from 1968 –  1969], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York).
41 A. V. Psarev, “Arkhiepiskop Leontii Chiliiskii (Archbishop Leontii of Chile),” no. 5 (1996), 1-26.
42 Ibid.
43 Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) v Sinod RPTsZ ot 6 avgusta 1976 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to the ROCOR Synod of August 6, 1976), sheets 2 – 3; Doklad arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo Arkhiereiskomu Soboru RPTsZ, 1981 g. [Report by Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to the ROCOR Council of Bishops, 1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheets 3 – 4.
44 Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) arkhimandritu Veniaminu (Vozniuku) v Chili ot 7 avgusta 1976 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to Archimandrite Veniamin (Vozniuk) of August 7, 1976], sheet 2; Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) v Sinod RPTsZ ot 6 avgusta 1976 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to the ROCOR Synod of August 6, 1976], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 2.
45 Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) v Sinod RPTsZ ot 6 avgusta 1976 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to the ROCOR Synod of August 6, 1976], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 3.
46 Doklad arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo Arkhiereiskomu Soboru RPTsZ, 1981 g. [Report by Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to the ROCOR Council of Bishops, 1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 11 – 12.
47 Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) v Sinod RPTsZ ot 6 avgusta 1976 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to the ROCOR Synod of August 6, 1976], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 1 .
48 Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) v Sinod RPTsZ ot 6 avgusta 1976 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to the ROCOR Synod of August 6, 1976], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 2 – 3.
49 Postanovlenie Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ ot 16 fevralia/1 marta 1977 g. [Ruling of the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR from 16 February/1 March 1977], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), Protocol no. 523-a.
50 Pis’mo arkhidiakona Ioanna (Melander) ot 25 iiunia/8 iiulia 1977 g. [Letter of Archdeacon Ioann (Melander) of 25 June/8July 1977], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 1 – 2.
51 Pis’mo arkhidiakona Ioanna (Melander) ot 13/26 sentiabria 1977 g. [Letter of Archdeacon Ioann [Melander] of 13/26 September 1977], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 2.
52 Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) arkhiepiskopu Antoniiu Zhenevskomu i Zapadno-Evropeiskomu, 31.12.1981 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) to Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe, 31.12.1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheets 2-3.
53 Zhurnal № 282-a zasedaniia Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ ot 26 noiabria/7 dekabria 1977 g. [Journal no. 282 of the session of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops of 26 November/7 December 1977],.
54 S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 193 – 196; S. V. Shumilo, “Obrazovanie ierarkhii UAPTs v 1990 g. i samozvanyi «episkop» Vikentii Chekalin” [The formation of the hierarchy of UAOC and the pretender “bishop” Vikentii Chekalin], 157 – 175; “Lzhearkhiepiskop Kheruvim (Degtiar’) i vnutritserkovnoe sektantstvo” [The false archbishop Kheruvim (Degtiar’)], Religiia v Ukraine, digital resource, accessed July 5, 2021, https://www.religion.in.ua/main/17123-lzhearxiepiskop-xeruvim-degtyar-i-vnutricerkovnoe-sektantstvo.html.
55 Doklad arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo Arkhiereiskomu Soboru RPTsZ, 1981 g. [Report of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, 1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheets 6 – 7.
56 Ibid., (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 11.
57 Ibid., (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 5.
58 Pis’mo arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo ieromonakhu Lazariu (Zhurbenko) ot 20 iiunia 1980 g. [Letter of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to Hiermonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) of June 20, 1980]; Doklad arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo Arkhiereiskomu Soboru RPTsZ, 1981 g. [Report of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, 1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheets 8 – 9.
59 Doklad arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo Arkhiereiskomu Soboru RPTsZ, 1981 g. [Report of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, 1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheets 1 – 12.
60 Pis’mo skhiigumenii Sergii (Obukhovoi) Pervoierarkhu RPTsZ mitropolitu Filaretu (Voznesenskomu), 1980 g. [Letter of Schema Abbess Sergiia (Obukhova) to the First Hierarch of the ROCOR Metropolitan Filaret, 1980] 8 str.; Doklad arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo Arkhiereiskomu Soboru RPTsZ, 1981 g. [Report of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, 1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheets 5 – 6.
61 Ukaz arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo ieromonakhu Lazariu (Zhurbenko) ot 18 ianvaria 1981 g. [Decree of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) of January 18, 1981]; Doklad arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo Arkhiereiskomu Soboru RPTsZ, 1981 g. [Report of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, 1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 10.
62 Protokol № 4 Arkhiereiskogo Sobora RPTsZ ot 22 oktiabria 1981 g. [Protocol no. 4 of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops from October 22, 1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), 1; Poslanie Arkhiereiskogo Sobora Russkoi Zarubezhnoi Tserkvi chadam Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi vo Otechestve i rasseianii sushchim [Encyclical of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad to the flock of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Fatherland and in the diaspora], Pravoslavnaia Rus,’ no. 21 (1981), 1 – 2.
63 Spisok Novomuchenikov i Ispovednikov Rossiiskikh (utverzhden Arkhiereiskim Soborom RPTsZ v 1981 g.) [List of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia (confirmed by the ROCOR Synod of Bishops in 1981)], Troitskii pravoslavnyi russkii kalendar’ na 2000 g., (Jordanville: 1999).
64 Doklad arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo i Zapadno-Evropeiskogo Arkhiereiskomu Soboru RPTsZ, 1981 g. [Report of Archbishop Antonii of Geneva and Western Europe to the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, 1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheets 1 – 1.
65 Protokol № 4 Arkhiereiskogo Sobora RPTsZ ot 22 oktiabria 1981 g. [Protocol no. 4 of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops from October 22, 1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), 1.
66 Opredeleniia Arkhiereiskogo Sobora RPTsZ 1981 g. [Decree of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, 1981], Stolp ognennyi. Mitropolit N’iu-Iorkskii i Vostochno-Amerikanskii Filaret (Voznesenskii) i Russkaia Zarubezhnaia Tserkov’ (1964-1985) [A Pillar of Fire. Metropolitan Filaret [Voznesensky] of New York and Eastern-America and the Russian Church Abroad (1964-1985)], (SPb, 2007), 243.
67 V. A. Goncharov, Antonii (Mikhailovskii), 137–146.
68 Pis’mo sekretaria Sinoda RPTsZ episkopa Grigorii (Grabbe) na imia arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo ot 26 fevralia/11 marta 1982 g. [Letter of the secretary of the ROCOR Synod Bishop Grigorii (Grabbe) addressed to Archbishop Antonii of Geneva of February 26/ March 11, 1982], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 1.
69 Zaiavlenie Kantseliarii Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ ot 1/14 avgusta 1990 g. [Declaration of the Chancery of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops of August 1/14, 1990], Pravoslavnaia Rus’, no. 18 (1423), (Jordanville: SShA., 15/28 September, 1990): 6; G. Grabbe, ep., Zavet Sviatogo Patriarkha [The testament of the Holy Patriarch] (Moscow, 1996), 315.; I. Iashunskii, ierod. “Nashi katakomby” [Our Catacombs], Vestnik RKhD, no.166 /III/: 243-259; S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh [In the Catacombs], 163-165.
70 G. Grabbe, ep., Zavet Sviatogo Patriarkha [The testament of the Holy Patriarch], 315.
71 Pis’mo sekretaria Sinoda RPTsZ episkopa Grigorii (Grabbe) na imia arkhiepiskopa Antoniia Zhenevskogo ot 26 fevralia/11 marta 1982 g. [Letter of the secretary of the ROCOR Synod Bishop Grigorii (Grabbe) addressed to Archbishop Antonii of Geneva of February 26/ March 11, 1982], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 1.
72 Gramota Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ o postavlenii arkhimandrita Lazaria (Zhurbenko) «ot Rossiiskoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi iazhe v Katakombakh”» vo Episkopa Tambovskogo, 16 maia 1990 g. [Certificate of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops on the consecration of Archimandrite Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) “of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Catacombs” as Bishop of Tambov from May 16, 1990], sheet 1.
73 Zaiavlenie Kantseliarii Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ ot 1/14 avgusta 1990 g. [Declaration of the Chancery of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops of August 1/14, 1990], Pravoslavnaia Rus’, no. 18 (1423), (15/28 September 1990): 6.
74 Doklad arkhiepiskopa Marka Berlinskogo i Germanskogo na Vsezarubezhnom Sobore ot 9 maia 2006 g. [Report by Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany at the Council of the Whole Church Abroad of May 9, 2006], Ofitsial’nyi sait Sinoda RPTsZ: cetevoi resurs (2006), accessed January 11, 2011, http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/2006/5soborday4.html.
75 Ibid.
76 Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) na imia arkhiepiskopa Zhenevskogo Antoniia (Bartoshevicha) от 31.12.1981. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ [Zhurbenko] addressed to Archbishop Antonii (Bartoshevich) of Geneva, 31.12.1981], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 1; S. V. Shumilo, V katakombakh (In the Catacombs), 165 – 166.
77 Pis’mo episkopa Lazaria (Zhurbenko) na imia arkhiepiskopa Zhenevskogo Antoniia (Bartoshevicha) ot 5 marta 1989 g. [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) addressed to Archbishop Antonii (Bartoshevich) of Geneva of March 5, 1989], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheet 6.
78 Ibid., (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheets 6 – 7.
79 Pis’mo episkopa Lazaria (Zhurbenko) na imia Pervoierarkha RPTsZ mitropolita Vitaliia (Ustinova) ot 12 iiunia 1990 g. [Letter of Bishop Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) addressed to the First Hierarch of the ROCOR Metropolitan Vitalii (Ustinov)], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), 1.
80 Pis’mo ieromonakha Lazaria (Zhurbenko) na imia arkhiepiskopa Zhenevskogo Antoniia (Bartoshevicha) от 31.12.1981 [Letter of Hieromonk Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) addressed to Archbishop Antonii (Bartoshevich) of Geneva, 31.12.1981], sheets 1–3; Izveshchenie o proiskhozhdenii katakombnykh ierarkhii Serafima Pozdeeva, Gennadiia Sekacha, Feodosiia Gumennikova i drugikh ot 28 maia 1989 g. [Report on the origin of the catacomb hierarchs Serafim Pozdeev, Gennadii Sekach, Feodosii Gummenikov, and others of May 28, 1989], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York), sheets 1–3.
81 S. V. Shumilo, “Obrazovanie ierarkhii UAPTs v 1990 g. i samozvanyi «episkop» Vikentii Chekalin” [The formation of the hierarchy of UAOC and the pretender “bishop” Vikentii Chekalin], 157 – 175.
82 Spravka Kantseliarii Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ za № 4/77/133 ot 2(15).8.1990 [Memorandum of the Chancery of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops for № 4/77/133 of 2(15).8.1990)],  (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York).
83 Opredelenie Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda RPTsZ ot 5/18 maia 1990 g. [Decree of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops from May 5/18, 1990], (Archive of the Synod of Bishops in New York).
84 A. A. Kostriukov, K istorii vzaimootnoshenii mezhdu Russkoi Zarubezhnoi Tserkov’iu i katakombnym dvizheniem (Towards a History of the Mutual Relations between the Russian Church Abroad and the Catacomb Movement), 133.
85 Interesting information on how the ROCOR Synod took the decision in 1990 to found parallel structures of the ROCOR in Russia is given by the founder of the first Russian mission of the ROCOR, the priest Stefan Krasovitsky, in an article entitled, “My meeting with Archbishop Antonii of Geneva”: “In 1990, when I was living in the USA at the behest of the ROCOR Synod, the problem was being discussed of the desirability of the organization on the territory of Russia of publicly active parishes of the Church Abroad. Some people, including the late Archbishop Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) considered that the existence of “catacomb” parishes was enough. A doubt even arose as to whether the organization of publicly active parishes would not constitute a “schism” in the Church in Russia?… In my conversations with members of the Synod, and in particular, with Vladyka Metropolitan Vitalii, I attempted to argue that this was not enough; that a public demonstration of intact church authority was necessary, the presence of a flag, visible to everyone (the catacombers had no such aim) for the support of the healthy forces in the “MP” itself… Then, after one of many such discussions, Vladyka Metropolitan took it into his head to say to me: ‘Go and see Vladyka Antonii of Geneva. If you can convince him, then I also give my assent’ (Archbishop Antonii was the right-hand man of Vladyka Metropolitan). So I set off for France. There Father Veniamin Zhukov organized my meeting with Vladyka Antonii… I did not find it an easy task to convince Vl. Antonii. He also had doubts about the desirability of what might seem to be a ‘schism’… ‘You have convinced me,’ said Vl. Antonii after a three-hour long conversation; and the decision to organise publicly active parishes of the ROCOR in Russia was taken contrary to the wishes of the ‘catacombers,’ who at that moment were represented in the Synod by Bishop Lazar’ [Кrasovitsky S. My meeting with Archbishop Antonii of Geneva. Typewritten, 2006]. Later on, in April 1993, Archbishop Lazar’ (Zhurbenko) wrote in a report to the ROCOR Synod of Bishops that, “the start of the, from a church perspective, illicit actions in our land was made when the decision was taken to open publicly active parishes under the jurisdiction of the Church Abroad in Russia… Instead of in some way to support and help the Catacomb Church…a step was in fact taken towards separation and confrontation. For our part, trustingly and seeing in the Church Abroad only brothers, we did not oppose these actions in any way, although we understood that they were not completely legitimate.” [Report of Archbishop Lazar’ of Tambov and Oboiansk to the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, April 14/27, 1993 L. 1-2].

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.