Articles

The “Testament” of Metropolitan Augustīns Petersons

Meeting of students and teachers of Riga Seminary with Metropolitan Augustīns, 1936
Caption: Meeting of students and teachers of Riga Seminary with Metropolitan Augustīns, 1936. Photo credit: http://www.russkije.lv.

This article examines an episode in the postwar history of the transfer of the flock of the Latvian refugee church in Germany into the fold of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Biographical information. Metropolitan Augustīns (secular name: Augustīns Petersons) was born on February 17, 1873 in Lejaspiperi, Ķēču pagasts, into a Latvian Orthodox family. He graduated from Riga Theological Seminary in 1895. In 1904, he was ordained deacon and then priest by Agafangel Preobrazhenskii, then Bishop of Riga and Mitau.[1]Holy Confessor Agafangel Preobrazhenskii (September 27, 1854–October 16, 1928) was born into the family of a priest in Tula Governorate. He graduated from Tula Theological Seminary and Moscow … Continue reading He served in churches in the Diocese of Riga. During World War I, he was an army chaplain. After returning to Latvia in 1921, he served at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Daugavpils (1921–1922), and from 1922 onward, he was Rector of Ss. Boris and Gleb Cathedral in Daugavpils. In 1922, he was elevated to the rank of archpriest. From 1926 to 1936, he was a garrison chaplain in Daugavpils. In 1934, he became a widower.

After the martyr’s death of Archbishop Jānis Pommers of Riga and All Latvia[2]Hieromartyr Jānis (John) Pommers (January 6, 1876–October 12, 1934) was born in a family of Latvian peasants in Ilzessalas hamlet, Wenden District, Governorate of Livonia. He graduated from Riga … Continue reading Under pressure from the state authorities of the Republic of Latvia, the Synod of the Latvian Orthodox Church steered a course toward breaking away from the Moscow Patriarchate, even though the Church of Latvia already had wide-ranging autonomy within this jurisdiction.[3]The LOC was granted autonomy by a resolution of Patriarch Tikhon, the Holy Synod and Supreme Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church on June 21, 1912 (cf. Akty Sviateishego Patriarkha Tikhona i … Continue reading. Without informing the Moscow Patriarchate, the LOC transferred to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In February 1936, Patriarch Benjamin of Constantinople[4]Benjamin I Psomas (1871–1946) was Patriarch of Constantinople from February 18, 1936, to February 17, 1946. granted the LOC autonomy. At the All-Latvian Council of March 9, 1936, Archpriest Augustīns Petersons was elected Primate of the LOC. On March 29, 1936, he was ordained Bishop of Riga and All Latvia and elevated to the rank of metropolitan.

After Latvia was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, Metropolitan Augustīns transferred to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate in spring 1941. When the Nazi occupation of Latvia began, Metropolitan Augustīns retracted his recognition of the Moscow Patriarchate and on July 20, 1941, that the LOC would return to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. On June 15, 1941, he was suspended from ministry by Metropolitan Sergii Voskresenskii of Lithuania and Vilinus, Exarch of Latvia and Estonia.[5]Metropolitan Sergii Voskresenskii (October 26, 1897–April 29, 1944) was born into the family of a priest in Moscow. He graduated from Moscow Theological Seminary. He studied at Moscow Theological … Continue reading In 1944, he emigrated to Germany. In 1947, Metropolitan Augustīns turned to Metropolitan Germanos of Thyateira, Exarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Western Europe,[6]Metropolitan Germanos Strenopoulos (1872–1951). From 1922 onward, head of the London-based Metropolis of Thyateira of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchal Exarch in Central and … Continue reading requesting that the LOC in exile be admitted to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. This request was granted in 1948. On October 4, 1955, Metropolitan Augustīns died in a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients and was buried in the cemetery of the German town of Gauting.[7]Gauting is a municipality in Bavaria 17 km from Munich. A sanatorium for refugee tuberculosis patients was housed in several large barrack-type buildings near the forest 3 kilometers from Gauting.. On August 10, 2011, Metropolitan Augustīns’ remains were reburied according to his will in his native Latvia. At the request of his relatives, the remains were buried in Kos (Skujenes pagasts, Amatas novads), next to the graves of his parents.

From the time Metr. Augustīns was evacuated to Germany in 1944 until his death in Gauting on October 4, 1955, he spent most of his time in various sanatoria for tuberculosis patients. By the time of his death, he was the only remaining clergyman of the Latvian Orthodox Church (LOC) in exile in Germany. Shortly before his death, Metropolitan Augustin approached the head of the ROCOR Diocese of Germany, Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii of Berlin and Germany,[8]Archbishop Aleksandr (Alexander) Lovchii (December 1, 1891–September 11, 1973) was born in Narodichi village, Volhynia Governorate. He was an officer in World War I. After the Revolution, he … Continue reading with a request to take in the LOC in Germany and to provide pastoral care to the Latvian Orthodox there. On April 7, 1955 Metropolitan Augustīns confirmed his request in writing to Archbishop Aleksandr. This event is the focus of the present publication.

Metropolitan Augustīns’ statement about the transfer of authority is well known and has been published previously.[9]First publication: Tserkovnye vedomosti Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi v Germanii. Ofitsialʹnyi organ Pravoslavnoi Germanskoi Eparkhii [Church Bulletin of the Orthodox Church in Germany. Official Press Outlet … Continue reading Published here are documents from the Archives of the ROCOR Diocese of Germany (hereafter: ADG) confirming that Metropolitan Augustīns handed over care for the Latvian parishes to the Diocese of Germany and revealing the details of this event.

At the moment of Metropolitan Augustīns’ appeal to Archbishop Alexander, the LOC in exile was under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. This raises the question of why Metropolitan Augustīns transferred care for the LOC in exile to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, rather than to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and what the nature of this transfer was. The subject of Metropolitan Augustīns’ jurisdictional affiliation is not addressed in the published documents from the ADG. The timing of the transfer of care and the fate of the LOC are not addressed. To answer this question, it is necessary to study a broader set of archival documents, including documents from the archives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The documents from the ADG only partially shed light on this topic. The documents from Metropolitan Augustīns himself cite the Metropolitan’s advanced age and deteriorating condition as reasons for the transfer.

The letters of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii are more informative. As Archbishop Aleksandr testifies, one of the things that prompted Metropolitan Augustīns to transfer the care for the LOC to the Diocese of Germany was his (Metropolitan Augustīns’) own desire for the Latvian Orthodox Church to find its place in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. This was repeatedly discussed in private conversations between Metropolitan Augustīns and Archbishop Aleksandr. In a letter dated February 2, 1955, Archbishop Aleksandr informed Metropolitan Anastasii Gribanovskii, the President of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops,[10]Metropolitan Anastasii Gribanovskii (Anastassy, Anastasy; August 6, 1873–May 22, 1965) was born in Tambov Province into the family of a priest. He graduated from Tambov Theological Seminary and … Continue reading that Metropolitan Augustīns was had already received the sacrament of extreme unction and that he had previously requested that the Latvian parishes be admitted to the Diocese of Germany.

It was not simply a matter of transferring care for the Latvian parishes, but of transferring the parishes themselves to the jurisdiction of the ROCOR. On March 30, 1955, there was another meeting between Archbishop Aleksandr and Metropolitan Augustīns.

Archbishop Aleksandr was behind the written statement by Metropolitan Augustīns about transferring the Latvian parishes to the ROCOR. This proposal was approved by Metropolitan Anastasii. On July 4, 1955, Metropolitan Augustīns composed a statement that was handed to Archbishop Aleksandr. The statement did not mention transferring the Latvian parishes to the jurisdiction of the ROCOR, but asked Archbishop Aleksandr to assume care and responsibility for the Latvian Orthodox Church in Germany and to provide pastoral care to Orthodox Latvians. In June 1955, in a letter to the Evangelisches Verlagswerk (Stuttgart), Metropolitan Augustīns stated that he was giving the ROCOR Diocese of Germany charge of the Latvian parishes. In Archbishop Aleksandr’s letters, one finds doubts about whether Metropolitan Augustīns’ decision to transfer his Latvian parishes to the jurisdiction of the ROCOR was final: “I will ask Vladyka Avgustin to put in writing his wish that the parishes be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Church Abroad, and, upon receiving his written statement, if he does not change his mind and does this […]” (letter dated February 2, 1955), and: “ As instructed by Your Eminence, I spoke tentatively to him about what will happen to his flock if he dies.” (letter dated April 1, 1955).

It is possible that this change of heart was due to the fact that Metropolitan Augustīns intended to preserve the canonical position of the LOC. According to Archbishop Aleksandr (letter dated April 1, 1955), Metropolitan Augustīns attempted to summon a Latvian priest from America to Germany to serve the Latvian-speaking flock of the LOC.[11]It has not yet been possible to ascertain who this priest was. The following Latvian clergymen were serving in America at this time: Fr. Nikolai Vieglais, Frs. Viktor and Arsenii Koliberskii, … Continue reading In 1953, Metropolitan Augustīns also invited the former LOC priest Vladimir Tolstoukhov[12]The clergyman Vladimir Tolstoukhov (1914–?) was born in the Governorate of Livonia. He was a graduate of Saint-Serge Theological Institute in Paris (1939). On September 17, 1939, he was ordained … Continue reading to Germany from France; however, Metropolitan Augustīns himself put an end to Tolstoukhov’s activities in light of his canonical status. In addition to care for Orthodox Latvians, the possibility of confession, worship, and spiritual talks in Latvian, Metropolitan Augustīns may have been guided by a desire to preserve the LOC in the diaspora by entrusting the care for Latvian believers to a Latvian priest.

How did representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church react to this change in Metropolitan Augustīns’ position? There are no documents directly attesting to this. The well-wishing tone of the ROCOR hierarchs’ correspondence and Archbishop Aleksandr’s appeal to the clergy of the Diocese of Germany of September 30, 1955, allows one to assume that they had understanding for Metr. Augustīns’ decision. In the end, Metropolitan Augustīns’ statement only set in stone what the ROCOR had been doing de facto in Germany since World War II. After all, it was the ROCOR, initially together with the Latvian clergy, and then on its own after most of the Latvian clergy emigrated from Germany in 1948, that saw to the spiritual care of the Orthodox Latvians. Metropolitan Augustīns’ statement about the transfer of care for the LOC to the ROCOR Diocese of Germany can also serve as an indirect assessment of this activity on the part of the LOC. Prayerful, eucharistic communion of the ROCOR and the LOC did not require the relations between the two Churches to be formalized on paper as long as Metropolitan Augustīns was still alive. The ROCOR, on whose canonical territory the LOC resided, was aware of its responsibility for the fate of the Orthodox faithful of the LOC in exile, and the Diocese of Germany assumed responsibility for the spiritual care of those parishes in Latvia where there were no LOC priests. But with Metropolitan Augustīns’ death, the situation may have changed. And Metropolitan Augustīns’ statement about the transfer of care was a document of its time, dictated by his desire to place Orthodox Latvians in safe hands.

Documents from Metropolitan Augustīns’ early years in Germany were already published in the volume of collected articles Pravoslavie v Latvii [Orthodoxy in Latvia] (No. 5, 2006), which was reorganized in 2012 as the journal Pravoslavie v Baltii [Orthodoxy in the Baltics]. The focus of this publication was the ROCOR Synod’s lifting of the ban imposed on him in 1946 by Metropolitan Sergii Voskresenskii, Exarch of Latvia and Estonia. The present publication continues this coverage of the life and ministry of Metropolitan Augustīns in Germany. It is based on the “File Concerning the Charging of Archbishop Aleksandr of Berlin and Germany with Care for the Orthodox Latvians and the Latvian Church in Germany, by His Eminence Metropolitan Augustīns of Latvia”, which contains the fundamental documents on the matter: the document in Metropolitan Augustīns’ own hand; his original statement to Archbishop Aleksandr; Archbishop Aleksandr’s circular letter to the clergy of the Diocese of Germany, with instructions for caring for the Latvian parishes (so far the only known diocesan-level document reporting on Archbishop Aleksandr’s actions regarding the LOC parishes after the act of transfer); an act, signed by witnesses, of Metropolitan Augustīns asking Archbishop Aleksandr to take the faithful of the Church of Latvia under his care. The file is published in full, with the exception of folios 2, 2v, 3, 4, and 4v, which are a draft version of folio 1 (circular letter from Archbishop Aleksandr to the clergy of the Diocese of Germany, dated September 30, 1955).

The process of transferring care for the Latvian Orthodox Church to the Diocese of Germany is reflected in documents from ADG fonds 7, “Diocesan Correspondence”, especially the correspondence of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii with ROCOR First Hierarch Metropolitan Anastasii, in parallel to negotiations between Archbishop Aleksandr and Metropolitan Augustīns. The correspondence published here between Archbishop Aleksandr and priests of the Diocese of Germany, Fr. Nikodim Kofanov[13]Priest Nikodim Kofanov (1887–1965) was a clergyman of the ROCOR Diocese of Germany. He was ordained priest on September 27, 1950, by Archbishop Filofei Narko, the administrator of the North-Western … Continue reading from 1954 and with Fr. Nikolai Fedorov[14]Archpriest Nikolai Feodorv (1889–?) was a clergyman of the ROCOR Diocese of Germany. From 1951, he was rector of Saint Nicholas Church in Stuttgart. from 1948 portrays the situation with ministry to Orthodox Latvians in the ROCOR Diocese of Germany before Metropolitan Augustīns’ official appeal to Archbishop Aleksandr in 1955 and after care for the LOC had been transferred to the ROCOR Diocese of Germany. The correspondence of Archbishop Alexander is also valuable for the details it provides about the last months of Metropolitan Augustīns’ life and work.

ADG fonds 7, “Diocesan Correspondence”, has not yet been sorted, which is why the references to documents from it only give the title of the file.

The documents are arranged here in chronological order. Arbitrary abbreviations have been expanded in square brackets. The spelling and punctuation of the documents have been modernized.

File Concerning the Charging of Archbishop Aleksandr of Berlin and Germany with Care for the Orthodox Latvians and the Latvian Church in Germany, by His Eminence Metropolitan Augustīns of Latvia”

Statement of Metropolitan Augustīns Petersons to Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii

17.04.1955

Esteemed Vladyka, Christ is Risen!

In view of the grave illness that has befallen me, I humbly ask for you assume care for and charge of the Latvian Orthodox Church in Germany and for the pastoral care of the Orthodox Latvians. I ask for your holy prayers. Christ is in our midst.

Metropolitan Augustīns

ADG, fonds 4, f. 9 (manuscript, autograph)

Witness Statement on the Transfer of Care for the LOC from Metropolitan Augustīns Petersons to the ROCOR Diocese of Germany

We, the undersigned, who together with His Eminence Archbishop Alexander, Archbishop of Berlin and Germany, performed the sacrament of unction on His Eminence Metropolitan Augustīns of the Church of Latvia on January 20/February 2, 1955, hereby certify that Metropolitan Augustīns, in our presence, after receiving the sacrament of Holy Unction, appealed to Archbishop Aleksandr and requested him to take the faithful of the Latvian Church under his care, and to show care and concern for Her in the event of his death.

Archbishop Aleksandr

Bishop Nafanail[15]Archbishop Nafanail (Nathaniel; Vasilii Vladimirovich Lvov, 1906–1986) was a leading ecclesiastic and spiritual writer. He was born in Moscow. After the Revolution, he emigrated to Harbin. He … Continue reading

Archimandrite Iov[16]Archmandrite Iov (secular name: Vladimir Mikhailovich Leontʹev, 1894–1959) was born into a noble family in Moscow. He studied at the 1st Moscow Cadet Corps and the Paris Corps. He participated in … Continue reading

ADG, fonds 4, f. 8, original typescript.

Letter from Hellmut Reitzenstein of the Evangelisches Verlagswerk, Stuttgart, to Archbishop Aleskandr Lovchii

Evangelisches Verlagswerk Gesellschaft mit Beschränkter Haftung 20.09.1955

Seiner Eminenz Herrn Erzbischof Alexander

Hochwürdigster Herr Erzbischof!

Bei der Zusammenstellung des Taschenbuches der Evangelischen Kirchen erreichte uns beiliegendes Schreiben des Metropoliten Augustin Petersen der Lettischen Orthodoxen Kirche im Exil. Wir möchten nicht versäumen, nunmehr nach der Zusammen[s]tellung des Taschenbuches diesen Brief seines letzten Absatzes wegen an Sie im Original weiterzugeben.

In Verbundenheit des Dienstes bleibe ich Ihr Ihnen sehr ergebener.

Hellmut Reitzenstein

[17]Translation: To His Eminence Archbishop Alexander Most esteemed Archbishop! While we were putting together the pocket guide to the Evangelical Churches, we received the attached letter from … Continue reading

Letter of Metropolitan Augustīns to the Evangelisches Verlagswerk, Stuttgart

+

An das Evangelische Verlagswerk in Stuttgart.

Auf Ihr Schreiben vom 15.06.55 teile ich Ihnen mit, dass ich der einzige Priester der Lett[ischen] Orthodoxen Kirche in Deutschland bin.

Ich bin im Alter von 82 Jahren und befinde mich z.Z. als Patient im T.B.C. Sanatorium Gauting.

Die Gemeindemitglieder der Lett[ischen] Orthodoxen Kirche sind in ganzem Deutschland zerstreut: in Lagern, Sanatorien, Altersheimen und privat.

Ich bitte höflichst den Berliner Bischof Alexander die Anordnung zu geben, dass die Ihm unterstehenden Pfarrer auch die seelische Betreuung der Gemeindemitglieder der Lett[ischen] Orthodox[en] Kirche durchführen sollen.

Metropolit Augustin

Gauting, den 21.6.55[18]Translation: To the Evangelisches Verlagswerk in Stuttgart In reply to your letter of 15 June 1955, I would like to inform you that I am the only clergyman of the Latvian Orthodox Church. I am 82 … Continue reading

ADG, fonds 4, f. 5, original typescript

Circular Letter of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii to the Clergy of the Diocese of Germany

After a service in the Church of All Saints of Russia in Paris. Archbishop Alexander, to the far left of Bishop Nikodim Nagaev, Archbishop John Maximovich, and Archishop Filofei Narko.

 

September 17/30, 1955, No. 815/a

From Archbishop Aleksandr

On January 20, 1955, His Eminence Metropolitan Augustīns of the Church of Latvia, after having the sacrament of unction performed upon him, turned to me in the presence of His Eminence Bishop Nafanail, Archmandrite Iov (the abbot of the Monastery of St. Job of Pochaev in Obermenzing), Hegumen Georgii[19]Hegumen Georgii Sokolov (1890–1959) was a clergyman of the ROCOR Diocese of Germany. He was born in Rybinsk. After graduating with a Cand. theol. degree from Saint Petersbrg Theological Academy, he … Continue reading (President of the Ecclesiastical Court of the Diocese of Germany), who performed the sacrament of unction on Metropolitan Augustīns along with me, and of E. I. Makharoblidze,[20]Evkustodian I. Makharoblidze was born in the Caucasus into the family of a military chaplain. He graduated from Saint Petersburg Theological Seminary and Saint Petersburg University. After graduating … Continue reading, the diocesan secretary and a member of the episcopal council, and asked me to take under my care the faithful of the Church of Latvia, and to show care and concern for them.

In addition, he sent me a handwritten letter dated April 7 of this year that read: “In view of the grave illness that has befallen me, I humbly ask you to assume care for and charge of the Latvian Orthodox Church in Germany and for the pastoral care of the Orthodox Latvians. I ask for your holy prayers. Christ is in our midst. Metropolitan Augustīns.” Regardless of the above, the Evangelisches Verlagswerk in Stuttgart addressed an inquiry to Metropolitan Augustīns, dated June 15, 1955.

In reply to this letter, the Metropolitan replied to the Evangelical Publishing House by letter dated 21 June 1955: “In reply to your letter of 15 June 1955, I would like to inform you that I am the only clergyman of the Latvian Orthodox Church. I am 82 years old and undergoing treatment in a sanatorium for tuberculosis in Gauting.

Members of the Latvian Orthodox Church are scattered all over Germany in camps, sanatoriums, Altersheime [retirement homes – trans.] and private apartments. I kindly ask Archbishop Aleksandr of Berlin to instruct his subordinate clergy to take over the spiritual care of the members of the Orthodox Church in Latvia.”

I hereby ask the clergy of the diocese subordinated to me to provide pastoral care to the members of the Orthodox Church of Latvia who are in their (clergy’s) parish area and not to deny spiritual aid to Latvians living in other areas, should they ask for it.

Archbishop Aleksandr of Berlin and Germany

ADG, fonds 4, f. 1, typescript, copy

Documents from Diocesan Correspondence

Letter of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii of Berlin and Germany to Metropolitan Anastasii Gribanovskii, President of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops

17/March 2, 1954

To His Eminence Metropolitan Anastasii, President of the Synod of Bishops and First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Your Eminence, Most Reverend Vladyka, Most Gracious Archpastor and Holy Father,

I have the honor to inform you that I took advantage of a small omnibus provided by the World Council of Churches for a short time and made a visit to inspect several parishes of the Diocese. While there, I got to know the needs of the parishes and of our DPs who, for various reasons, could not travel overseas. I also visited the Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Gauting, where I met His Eminence Metropolitan Augustīns of Riga and Latvia. Metropolitan Augustīns has been in Gauting Sanatorium for several years now because his lungs are in poor shape. In addition, he has asthma and needs constant care and medical supervision.

Vladyka Augustīns asked me to convey my heartfelt greetings to Your Eminence and my wishes that you may remain strong and healthy for many years to come. I have distributed the Christmas money for the sick (100 dollars, or 416 marks) that I received from the Synod of Bishops to the various districts of the diocese.

Of this, 250 marks were given to the Gauting Sanatorium Committee. During my visit to the Sanatorium, the patients also asked me to convey their filial gratitude for the care of our highest Church authority, in the person of Your Eminence. […]

I ask for your holy prayers, holy Vladyka. The devoted and obedient servant of Your Eminence, our Most Gracious Archpastor and Father,

Archbishop of Berlin and Germany

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1954

Typescript, copy

Letter of Metropolitan Augustīns Petersons to Письмо Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii of Berlin and Germany

05.08.1954

Your Eminence, Most Reverend Vladyka,

I can’t see very well, so I’ll be brief – please take no offense. I only just received a letter from the Altersheim Varel.[21]A retirement home attached to an Orthodox church in the town of Varel, Friesland, in the German state of Lower Saxony on the North Sea. They write to me that a priest of the “Orthodox Church Abroad” is refusing to serve the Orthodox Latvians: “you are from a different jurisdiction”. So far, there have been no conversations between the “Orthodox Church Abroad” and the [Latvian Orthodox] Church. Priests of the [Latvian Orthodox] Church concelebrated with M[etropolitan] Anastasii in Germany. I am in prayerful communion with Metropolitan Anastasii. Priest Dionisii Ilʹin of the Latvian Orthodox Church in Stuttgart concelebrated with you, and when he died, you buried him. [22]Priest Dionisii Ilʹin (October 3, 1882–1954) was born in Mogilev Governorate. He lived in Saint Petersburg from 1900–1910, while serving at the Railroad Administration. In 1910, he was … Continue reading And I asked you to bury me when I die. In my conversations with the Heavenly Father, I never forget to commemorate Archbishop Aleksandr, and I humbly ask you not to forget me in your prayers, especially when you offer the bloodless sacrifice of Christ. A misunderstanding was introduced into our midst by the unfortunate Vladimir Tolstoukhov. I forbade him to serve, and he disappeared – whereto, I do not know.

The Orthodox Latvians are scattered all across West Germany. I humbly ask you to issue a decree to the Orthodox Russian Church of West Germany,[23]There is no real diocese with this name. It is likely that Metropolitan Augustīns meant to refer to the Latvians living in Federal Republic of Germany, which, in the context of politics, is termed … Continue reading, so that your clergy not refuse to serve the spiritual needs of the Orthodox Latvians. We are not a “foreign jurisdiction,” but members, like you, of the Holy Orthodox Ecumenical Church.

I ask for your holy prayers with tears. Christ is in our midst.

Metropolitan Augustīns

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1954

Manuscript, autograph

Letter of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii to Metropolitan Augustīns Petersons

August 9, 1954, No. 750

To His Eminence Metropolitan Augustīns of Latvia

Your Eminence, Most Gracious Archpastor,

In response to your letter of August 5, I have the honor to inform Your Eminence that I found out for the first time from your letter that our priests have been refusing to serve Orthodox Latvians. There is no canonical reason for this, because our Orthodox Church Abroad is in prayerful communion with the Latvian Church and, as far as I know, Orthodox Latvians are served by our clergy where there are no Latvian clergy.

At the same time, I have instructed the rector of the house in the retirement home in Varel to provide spiritual care for the Orthodox Latvians, without refusing to perform services and fulfill his pastoral duties to them. Through a circular letter, I will also instruct all the clergy of our Orthodox Diocese of Germany to do the same.

I heartily thank Your Eminence for your prayerful commemoration of me. I, too, always offer my petitions to the Lord God in prayer for you. God bless and protect you. I ask for your holy prayers.

The humble fellow brother of Your Eminence in Christ,

Aleksandr

Archbishop of Berlin and Germany

Secretary to the Diocesan Administration

E. I. Makharoblidze

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1954

Typescript, copy

Letter of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii to Fr. Nikodim Kofanov, Rector of the Church in Varel

To Rev. Father Nikodim Kofanov, Rector of the Church in Varel

09.08.1954

His Eminence Metropolitan Augustīns of Latvia has informed me that Orthodox Latvians have brought to his attention that you are refusing to serve the Orthodox Latvians in Varel because they are of a different jurisdiction.

In view of this, I would like to inform Your Reverence that our Orthodox Church is in prayerful communion with the Latvian Orthodox Church, and our clergy are obliged to provide pastoral care to Orthodox Latvians, as well, whereever there are no priests to serve them.

In view of this, I suggest that you do not refuse to fulfill their religious and moral needs and perform services for them whenever they turn to you.

Aleksandr

Archbishop of Berlin and Germany

Secretary to the Diocesan Administration

E. I. Makharoblidze

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1954

Typescript, copy

Letter of Priest Nikodim Kofanov, Rector of the Church in Varel, to Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii

13.08.1954

To His Eminence Aleksandr, Archbishop of Berlin and Germany

Your Eminence, Vladyka, I received your order No. 751 today, and I must say that it is news to me, because, as long as I have been here, I have never refused to serve any of the Latvians. There are six of them here. They all go to my church and take communion in both Varel and Oldenburg, so I don’t know whom I could have refused. Among these Latvian Orthodox, there is one, Plater,[24]i.e. Jānis Platters, who was a member of the Synod of the Latvian Church for 15 years. In Germany, he was one of those behind the opening of St. Nicholas Church in Varel, where he was sometime … Continue reading, my former churchwarden, and others, who, while attending my church, have been going to the services of some Hryhoriite or Polikarpite priest.[25]Meant here are clergymen of the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) in Germany. They are named here according to the heads of the UOAC, ‘Metropolitan’ Polikarp (Sikorsʹkyy) … Continue reading. Therefore I will be so bold as to assure you, Most Reverend Vladyka, that Metropolitan Augustīns has been told a falsehood, and I have been serving and will serve every Orthodox Christian, no matter what nation he may be of.

Fr. Nikodim Kofanov

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1954

Manuscript, autograph.

Letter of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii of Berlin and Germany to Metropolitan Augustīns Petersons

August 16/29, 1954

To His Eminence Metropolitan Augustīns of Latvia

Your Eminence, Most Gracious Archpastor,

Fr. Nikodim Kofanov, the rector of the church in Varel from whom I had requested an explanation for your letter concerning the fact that our priest in Varel was refusing to perform services for the Latvian faithful, has informed me, in a report dated August 13, that this information is news to him, and that during his time in Varel, he has never refused to meet the religious and moral needs of any of the faithful Latvians. According to Fr. Kofanov’s statement, there are 6 Latvians in his parish and all of them go to his church and receive communion both in Varel and in Oldenburg and he, Father Kofanov, does not know whom he could have refused to provide pastoral care.

He states that some of them attend the services of Hryhoriite or Polikarpite priests when they come to visit.

Regardless of this, as communicated to you, I have decreed that our clergy should not refuse Orthodox Latvians pastoral care, because our Church is in full prayerful and eucharistic communion with the Orthodox Church of Latvia headed by Your Eminence.

I have the honor to inform Your Eminence of this following my order No. 750 of August 9 of this year.

Entrusting myself to your holy [prayers], I remain with LOVE IN CHRIST, your Eminence’s fellow brother,

Aleksandr

Archbishop of Berlin and Germany

Secretary to the Diocesan Administration

E. I. Makharoblidze

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1954

Typescript, copy

Letter from Metropolitan Augustīns Petersons to Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii of Berlin and Germany

December 1954

Your Eminence, Most Esteemed Vladyka,

I offer you my heartfelt greetings on the new year of 1955 and the great feast of the Nativity in the Flesh of Our Saviour Jesus Christ. I ask fervently for your holy prayers. Please forgive me for being brief – my eyesight is very poor. Christ is in our midst.

Yours in fervent prayer, Metropolitan Augustīns.

Warm regards to Mr. Makharoblidze

М. А.

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1954

Manuscript, autograph

Letter of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii of Berlin and Germany to Metropolitan Augustīns Petersons

22.12.1954/02.01.1955

To His Eminence Metropolitan Augustīns of Latvia

Your Eminence, Most Esteemed Vladyka,

I thank Your Eminence heartily for your holiday greetings and reciprocate Your Eminence’s greetings on the Feast of the Nativity and the New Year.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you total well-being and peace of mind. I ask for your holy prayers. Your Eminence’s ardent intercessor and fellow brother,

Aleksandr

Archbishop of Berlin and Germany

Secretary to the Diocesan Administration

E. I. Makharoblidze

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1955

Typescript, copy

Letter of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii of Berlin and Germany to Metropolitan Anastasii Gribanovskii, President of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops

Alexander, Orthodoxer Erzbischof von Berlin und Deutschland №855, January 20/February 2, 1955

Vladyka, Your Eminence, Most Gracious Archpastor and Holy Father,

I have the honor to inform you that we got a phone call this morning from Gauting Sanatorium asking us – me and the clergy of our Diocese – to come to the Sanatorium to perform the service of unction on the Most Reverend Metropolitan Augustīns of the Church of Latvia.

Immediately after getting the call from the Sanatorium, I called the monastery of St. Job of Pochaev and asked His Grace Bishop Nafanail and Archimandrite Iov to come with me to the Sanatorium to anoint Metropolitan Augustīns. In addition, Hegumen Georgii, who had come to Munich for a time from Mannheim, was also summoned for the Service of Holy Unction.

We hurriedly got together and set out by car for Gauting Sanatorium, and got there within an hour. The anointing of Metropolitan Augustīns began at 1.30 p.m. For lack of strength, Vladyka Augustīns was confined to lying down, but nevertheless, he sat upright throughout the duration of the unction service. The service concluded at 3.30 p.m.

After the service, the Metropolitan said that he felt much better and gave thanks to God for this great comfort that He had sent him.

When I used to come to visit Metropolitan Augustīns in the Sanatorium, he would ask me to bury him when he died and even to receive the Latvian parishes in Germany into our diocese, and in general, he would like the Latvian Orthodox Church to find a place within our Orthodox Church Abroad. I told Metropolitan Augustīns that there would be no impediments on our part to taking in his parishes, since even now, while he is alive, our clergy minister to the Latvians and priests from the Latvian Church to our parishioners, just as, for example, the late priest Fr. Dionisii Ilʹin ministered to our parishioners in Esslingen and other places.

Today, after the unction service, Metropolitan Augustīns asked me, should the Lord call him to Himself, to bury him at the cemetery in Gauting. He has already ordered a zinc coffin, so that when the opportunity arises, his remains can be transported to Riga, so that his ashes can rest on Latvian soil. I told Metropolitan Augustīns that his request would be fulfilled, unless impeded by the authorities, whether German and Latvian. After that, he thanked me and asked me to do all I could.

By all indications, one can see that Metropolitan Augustīns is preparing for death and he is trying to be ready for it. The main thing is that lately he has continually had a high fever and his heart is too weak. The hope is only in the help of God, as Vladyka himself is convinced.

I will allow myself to voice my opinion to Your Eminence that the transfer of the parishes of the Latvian Church to our Church is to be desired. Although these parishes are few in Germany, this will be important in the future, when this issue will be resolved at the All-Russian Council, when our Church will be free from the Bolshevik yoke. Vladyka Nafanail has expressed the same opinion.

I will ask Metropolitan Augustīns to inform me in writing of his desire, as expressed by him, for his parishes to be admitted to the jurisdiction of our Church Abroad, and, upon receipt of his written statement, if he does not change his mind and does this, I will report to Your Eminence for appropriate instructions. […]

Otherwise, we thank the Lord for everything. We hope that the Lord will not forsake us with His great mercies in the future.

I pray the Lord to give you, Holy Vladyka, strength and health for your labors to the glory of God and for the benefit of the faithful members of our Church Abroad.

I ask for the holy prayers of Your Eminence, Most Gracious Archpastor and Father.

Your devoted and humble servant,

Archbishop Aleksandr

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence. 1955

Typescript, copy

Letter of ROCOR First Hierarch Metropolitan Anastasii Gribanovskii to Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii of Berlin and Germany

The President of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

No. 24/42/388, March 6/19, 1955

To His Eminence Archbishop Aleksandr of Berlin and Germany

Your Eminence, gracious Archpastor,

I have reported to the Synod of Bishops on your letter of January 20/February 2 of this year concerning the unction of Metropolitan Augustīns.

Your are entirely right to ask Metropolitan Augustīns to confirm in writing his decree that the remaining Latvian clergy in Germany should be placed under you[26]At the time, Metropolitan Augustīns had no Latvian clergy of his own. This letter is also about the subordination of the Latvian clergy and parishes in Germany to Archbishop Aleksandr. and parishes. The Synod of Bishops requests that you attend to this and report to it in the event of new developments.

The humble fellow brother of Your Eminence in Christ, Metropolitan Anastasii.

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1955, original typescript

Letter of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii of Berlin and Germany to Metropolitan Anastasii Gribanovskii, President of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops

19/April 1, 1955

To His Eminence Metropolitan Anastasii, President of the Synod of Bishops and First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

Your Eminence, Most Gracious Archpastor and Holy Father,

Warm greetings from Mannheim, where I will be staying through the Feast of the Annunciation, because the priest appointed to serve here has come down with a bad flu’ and is not able to come. […] At the same time, I have the honor to inform Your Eminence that on March 17/30, Fr. Feodor Trofimov,[27]Archpriest Feodor Trofimov (1930–1990), a clergyman of the ROCOR Diocese of Germany, was born in Lugansk. He graduated from the Pastoral Courses of Saint Serge Orthodox Theological Institute, … Continue reading the Secretary of the Diocesan Administration, and I visited His Eminence Metropolitan Augustīns of Latvia in Gauting Sanatorium. Since we last saw him at the service of Holy Unction, Metropolitan Augustīns has changed and grown much weaker. As instructed by Your Eminence, I spoke tentatively to him about what will happen to his flock if he dies.

Metropolitan Augustīns again confirmed orally that I am to bury him and receive his flock into the Orthodox Diocese of Germany, which he shall also confirm in writing. He replied to my question about whether he has relatives abroad that he does not. Yet he did make a written statement to the Director of Gauting Sanitorium about his private affairs. He already has 600 marks, which will be spent on a zinc coffin, which, if possible at a later date, will be used to repatriate his remains to Latvia.

The Metropolitan asked me to take it upon myself to bury him: this is his will, and he asked that it be carried out. I promised to carry out his will and to receive his flock into our Church Abroad, via the Diocese [of Germany –trans.].

Metropolitan Augustīns asked me to give you his sincere regards and to wish you strength and health for your labors to the benefit of the holy Orthodox Church.

Metropolitan Augustīns is readying himself to stand before God and is asking Your Eminence to forgive him for any offense he may have caused you. He would like to write to you, but writing is already very hard for him and he is nearly too weak to do so.

There is not a single priest of the Latvian Church left in Germany and all the Latvians are served by our clergy. Metropolitan Augustīns has written to one Latvian priest asking him to return to Germany, since there are Orthodox Latvians here who do not know Russian.

It is hard to say whether this priest will be able to leave America.

I shall report in a timely manner to Your Eminence on everything that I shall undertake going forward in receiving Metropolitan Augustīns’ flock in accordance with his wishes.

Everything else is much the same here. Glory to God for all things!

We pray to the Lord to grant Your Eminence strength and health. I ask for your holy prayers, Holy Vladyka.

The devoted and humble servant of Your Eminence, Most Gracious Archpastor and Father,

+ Archbishop Aleksandr of Berlin and Germany

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1955, manuscript, copy.

Letter of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii of Berlin and Germany to Metropolitan Anastasii Gribanovskii, President of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops

16/29.04.1955

To His Eminence, Metropolitan Anastasii, President of the Synod of Bishops and First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

Your Eminence, Most Gracious Archpastor and Holy Father,

I have the honor of presenting you with a copy of Metropolitan Augustīns’ letter of April 7 of this year, requesting my care and concern for the Latvian Church and pastoral care for the Orthodox Latvians, for your consideration and so that you can issue subsequent orders.

At the same time, in addition this, we will put together an official document about my being entrusted with care for the Latvian Church in the presence of His Grace Bishop Nafanail, Archimandrite Iov, Hegumen Georgii, and E. I. Makharoblidze, the secretary of the Diocesan Administration. After these designated persons have signed the document, it will be presented to Your Eminence additionally by me.

Asking for your hierarchical prayers, with great devotion and reference, I have the honor to be the most lowly servant of Your Eminence, our Most Gracious Archpastor and Father,

Aleksandr

Archbishop of Berlin and Germany

Secretary to the Diocesan Administration

E. I. Makharoblidze

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1955 Typescript, copy

Letter of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii to Metropolitan Augustīns Petersons

25.05.1955

To His Eminence Metropolitan Augustīns of Latvia

Your Eminence, Most Gracious Archpastor, Holy Vladyka!

Your Eminence, please accept my heartfelt greetings on your names-day and my well wishes. May God keep you in health, peace of mind, and complete well-being through the prayers of your Heavenly Patron. I ask for your hierarchical prayers and remain, with love, the fellow brother and servant of Your Eminence in Christ,

Aleksandr,

Archbishop of Berlin and Germany

Secretary to the Diocesan Administration

E. I. Makharoblidze

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1955 Typescript, copy

Letter of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii of Berlin and Germany to ROCOR First Hierarch Metropolitan Anastasii Gribanovskii

Alexander,

Orthodoxer Erzbischof von Berlin und Deutschland №855, September 25/October 8, 1955 года

Your Eminence, Most Reverend Vladyka, Most Gracious Archpastor and Holy Father,

As a follow-up to my telegram of September 22/October 5 of this year about the death of of Metropolitan Augustīns of Riga and Latvia, I am honored to inform Your Eminence that Metropolitan Augustīns quietly passed away in Gauting Sanatorium on September 21/October 4, 1983, at the age of 83, of a weak heart, a condition aggravated by his lung disease. Metropolitan Augustīns last partook of Holy Communion two days before his death.

On the day of his death, at 4:10 p.m., the body of the late Metropolitan Augustīns, after being anointed with holy oil as prescribed, was clothed in episcopal vestments by Fr. Georgii, the Rector of the Church at the Sanatorium, by Hegumen Georgii, and by a deacon from the Diocesan Administration. Fr. Georgii served a parastas prior to the vesting and a panikhida after.

When the coffin was brought into the room where Metropolitan Augustīns had been living in the Sanatorium, his body was placed in the coffin and carried into the Sanatorium Church, where it remained until the funeral.

On Wednesday, the second day after the Metropolitan’s death, I also served a memorial service in the Sanatorium Church, attended by Mr. Gallen of the World Council of Churches, the Secretary to the Diocesan Administration, and devotees of the late Metropolitan.

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, liturgies for the departed were served in the Sanatorium Church and in other churches in Munich.

On Friday, September 24/October 7, the day of the funeral, after a liturgy for the departed served by myself and Bishop Nafanail with Archimandrite Iov, Hegumen Georgii, and Fr. Anatolii Dreving[28]Anatolii Dreving (1910–1969), a clergyman of the ROCOR Diocese of Germany, was born in Moscow. He earned a degree in Chemistry from Tartu University in 1935. From 1939 onward, he lived in Poland … Continue reading, Deacon Feodor Trofimov, and subdeacons concelebrating. The service was sung by the Munich Cathedral choir directed by Petr Andreevskii[29]Petr Ivanovich Andreevskii was the son of the rector of Glukhov Cathedral in the Diocese of Chernigov. In 1904, he graduated from Chernigov Theological Seminary. He taught music at Starodub … Continue reading

The funeral service began at 12.30 p.m., after the Divine Liturgy, and ended at 3.30 p.m. There was a great throng of worshipers from the Sanatorium itself and others who had come from Munich and environs to pay their last respects to the late Metropolitan.

At 4 p.m., the coffin with Metropolitan Augustīns’ body was transported on a hearse to the cemetery in Gauting and consigned to the earth. At the cemetery, while the coffin was being lowered into the grave, a Lutheran Latvian priest delivered a eulogy for the Metropolitan in Latin. Representatives of Latvian national organizations were also present at the cemetery and laid wreaths on the grave.

Two of these representatives spoke of the Metropolitan’s virtues, after which our clergy, having paid their last respects to their late fellow brother, left the cemetery.

May the Lord give rest to the soul of his servant, newly departed Metropolitan Augustīns, in the Kingdom of Heaven! May his memory be eternal!

At the same time, I consider it [necessary] to report to Your Eminence that no belongings have remained behind after Metropolitan Augustīns’ death. Even the panagia that I saw with my own eyes during my many visits to the late Metropolitan has disappeared. The watch that had been with the Metropolitan in the Sanatorium has also vanished without a trace.

When the late Metropolitan was vested by Hegumen Georgii, the panagia was no longer there. Churchwarden Vladimir Makarov told me that he had asked his sister, who was with the Metropolitan, to pack up all of his belongings pending orders from the Diocesan authorities.

When I questioned a representative of the Latvian National Committee about the Metropolitan’s remaining belongings, he told me that all the small items had been placed in a suitcase and stored in the Sanatorium Office, but that he had not seen any panagia among his belongings in the suitcase. He promised to make inquiries at the Sanitarium Office.

In the words of the representative of the Latvian National Committee, Metropolitan Augustīns had left 600 marks in the Sanatorium Office to purchase a coffin and a cemetery plot. Almost all of this money was spent on the funeral and the purchase of the coffin and the cemetery plot. Metropolitan Augustīns did not have any episcopal vestments of his own about from a stole and an under-cassock. They had to find to find everything to vest the departed Metropolitan by themselves. Vestments from the apartment of the late Metropolitan Seraphim were brought by Fr. Georgii.[30]Metropolitan Seraphim (Karl Georg Albert) Lade (1893–1950) was born in Leipzig into a German Lutheran family. After embracing Orthodoxy in 1904, he moved to the Russian Empire. In 1907, he attended … Continue reading Metropolitan Augustīns also did not have a miter apart from his white klobuk.

Litia at the Grave of Metropolitan Augustīns Petersons at Gauting Cemetery, 07.10.1955. EAA 5355.1.363.56 (album of Archpriest Nikolai Raag). Celebrating clergy from the Diocese of Germany: Bp. Nafanail Lʹvov, Bp. Aleksandr Lovchii of Berlin and Germany, Dcn. Feodor Trofimov, Archim. Iov Leontʹev, Priest Anatolii Dreving, Hegumen Georgii Sokolov.

Metropolitan Augustīns is survived by his children and heirs who at the present time live in America. A telegram was sent to his son, but no response came prior to the funeral and none of his relatives attended it.

Litia at the Grave of Metropolitan Augustīns Petersons at Gauting Cemetery, 07.10.1955. EAA 5355.1.363.56 (album of Archpriest Nikolai Raag). Celebrating clergy from the Diocese of Germany: Bp. Nafanail Lʹvov, Bp. Aleksandr Lovchii of Berlin and Germany, Dcn. Feodor Trofimov, Archim. Iov Leontʹev, Priest Anatolii Dreving, Hegumen Georgii Sokolov.

Metropolitans Augustīns’ remaining possessions were not documented, since he did not have any archives with him in the Sanatorium, nor any at all, because the Metropolitan was in various different sanatoria over the course of his illness, as he told me in person when I visited him in Gauting Sanatorium, where he spent more than three years.

Still, I will ask the Sanatorium Office about the things that the late Metropolitan left behind and especially the panagia and watch that I personally saw he had but did not stay with him after his death. I will report to Your Eminence separately about the results communicated to me by the Office regarding the late Metropolitan’s effects.

I pray to the Lord that he may send down upon you, Holy Vladyka, strength and health for your ceaseless labours on the field of Christ.

I ask for the holy prayers of Your Eminence, our Gracious Archpastor and Father,

Your lowly and devoted servant,

the humble Archbishop

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1955 Typescript, copy

Report of Archpriest Nikolai Fedorov, Rector of St. Nicholas Church in Stuttgart, to Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii

To the Administration of the Diocese of Germany

Russische griechische orthodoxe Kirche heilige Nicolaus in Stuttgart 15.09.1958 № 116

From Archpriest Nikolai Fedorov, Rector of St. Nicholas Church in Stuttgart

Report

About 10 days ago or more, a lady approached me on behalf of the Latvians, asking for permission for their priest, who was to come to Stuttgart from London, to serve a Liturgy in our church for the Latvians on Sunday, September 21 (the old one is September 8).

I told her that the Church was taken on that day because of the great feast (the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin), but that if their priest wished to serve with me, he should address his request directly to Archbishop Aleksandr of Berlin and Germany in Munich, and that if he, Archbishop Aleksandr, gave him permission to do so, there would be no objection on my part.

A similar inquiry was made on behalf of “Patersen Morgan” (Weltrat der Kirchen), to whom I gave the same answer, i.e., to consult the Archbishop in Munich.

Please keep me abreast of any further developments.

Archpriest Nikolai Fedorov, Rector of St. Nicholas Church in Stuttgart

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1958. Manuscript, autograph.

Metropolitan Augustīns’ remains were repatriated to Latvia in keeping with his will. Panikhida in Riga Cathedral, August 10, 2011. Photo credit: baznica.info.

Metropolitan Augustīns’ remains were repatriated to Latvia in keeping with his will. Panikhida in Riga Cathedral, August 10, 2011. Photo credit: baznica.info.

Letter of Archbishop Aleksandr Lovchii to Report of Archpriest Nikolai Fedorov, Rector of St. Nicholas Church in Stuttgart

Die Diözesanverwaltung der orthodoxen Kirche in Deutschland (Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts № 498a 15.09.1958)

To the Very Reverend Archpriest Nikolai Fedorov, Rector of St. Nicholas Church in Stuttgart

In response to Your Eminence’s inquiry No. 116 of September 15, the Diocesan Administration hereby informs you that the priest of Latvian nationality who came from London did not present himself to His Eminence Archbishop Aleksandr, nor have I seen his canonical ordination papers, so you should check his documents: who ordained him, when, and in what jurisdiction?

Moreover, you should notify him that the late Metropolitan Augustīns of Latvia, upon his death, entrusted what was left of his flock to His Eminence Archbishop Aleksandr for pastoral care. One also ought to know know by whose authority he is visiting the Latvians?

If there are no canonical impediments, then do grant him the opportunity to serve with you on September 8/21 in your Church.

Aleksandr,

Archbishop of Berlin and Germany

Secretary to the Diocesan Administration

E. I. Makharoblidze

ADG, fonds 7, file: Diocesan Correspondence, 1955 Typescript, copy

Publication, foreword, and footnotes by Anatolii Kinsler

References

References
1 Holy Confessor Agafangel Preobrazhenskii (September 27, 1854–October 16, 1928) was born into the family of a priest in Tula Governorate. He graduated from Tula Theological Seminary and Moscow Theological Academy (1881). On March 7, 1985, he was tonsured a monk. On March 10, 1885, he was ordained hieromonk. On December 4, 1886, he was appointed Inspector of Tomsk Theological Seminary and elevated to the rank of hegumen. On February 28, 1888, he was appointed Rector of Irkutsk Theological Seminary and elevated to the rank of archimandrite. On September 10, 1889, he was consecrated Bishop of Kirensk, Vicar of the Diocese of Irkutsk. From July 17, 1893, he was bishop of Tobolsk and Siberia. From October 4, 1897, he was Bishop of Riga and Mitau (from 1904 Archbishop). From August 13, 1910 to December 22, 1913, he was Bishop of Lithuania and Vilnius. From December 22, 1913, onward, he was Archbishop (after 1917, Metropolitan) of Yaroslavl and Rostov. He attended the 1917–1918 Local Council of the Russian Church and sat on the Supreme Church Council. Patriarch Tikhon Bellavin’s will named him as a candidate to be locum tenens of the Patriarchal Throne. He was canonized as a holy confessor among the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia (2000).
2 Hieromartyr Jānis (John) Pommers (January 6, 1876–October 12, 1934) was born in a family of Latvian peasants in Ilzessalas hamlet, Wenden District, Governorate of Livonia. He graduated from Riga Theological Seminary (1897) and Kiev Theological Academy (1904), after which he became a teacher. In 1903, he became a monk. In 1904, he was ordained hieromonk. In 1906, he became Inspector of Vologda Theological Seminary. In 1907, he was made archimandrite and Rector of the Lithuanian Theological Seminary. On February 11, 1912, he was consecrated Bishop of Slutsk, Vicar of the Diocese of Minsk. From April 4, 1913–September 7, 1917, he was Bishop of Taganrov and Azov, Vicar of the Diocese of Yekaterinoslav. From September 7, 1917–April 22, 1918, he was Bishop of Staritsa, Vicar of the Diocese of Tver. From April 22, 1918 onward, he was Bishop (subsequently Archbishop) of Penza and Saransk. On July 19, 1921, he became Archbishop of Riga and All Latvia. He was brutally murdered on October 10, 1934, at his dacha in Ozolkalns on the Ķīšezers. In 2001, by a decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, he was glorified for Churchwide veneration in the Synod of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.
3 The LOC was granted autonomy by a resolution of Patriarch Tikhon, the Holy Synod and Supreme Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church on June 21, 1912 (cf. Akty Sviateishego Patriarkha Tikhona i pozdneishie dokumenty o preemstve vysshei tserkovnoi vlasti. 1917–1943 [Acts of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon and Subsequent Documents about the Succession of the Highest Authority in the Church]. Moscow, Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Institute Press, 1994, p. 177).
4 Benjamin I Psomas (1871–1946) was Patriarch of Constantinople from February 18, 1936, to February 17, 1946.
5 Metropolitan Sergii Voskresenskii (October 26, 1897–April 29, 1944) was born into the family of a priest in Moscow. He graduated from Moscow Theological Seminary. He studied at Moscow Theological Academy, but did not graduate, because the Academy was closed. In 1925, he was tonsured a monk, ordained hierodeacon and then hieromonk. On October 29, 1933, he was ordained Bishop of Kolomna, Vicar of the Diocese of Moscow. From 1934, he was Bishop of Bronnitsa. From 1936 onward, he was Bishop (from October 8, 1937, Archbishop) of Dmitrov and Administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate. On February 2, 1941, he became Metropolitan of Vilnius and Lithuania and Exarch of Latvia and Estonia. He was killed on April 29, 1944, on the way from Vilnius to Kaunas. He was buried at Pokrov Cemetery in Riga.
6 Metropolitan Germanos Strenopoulos (1872–1951). From 1922 onward, head of the London-based Metropolis of Thyateira of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchal Exarch in Central and Western Europe. On February 4, 1936, he was appointed delegate of the Patriarch of Constantinople to the Council of the Latvian Orthodox Church that elected then-Archpriest Augustīns head of the LOC. On March 29, 1936, he took part in the consecration of Fr. Augustīns as Metropolitan of Riga and All Latvia.
7 Gauting is a municipality in Bavaria 17 km from Munich. A sanatorium for refugee tuberculosis patients was housed in several large barrack-type buildings near the forest 3 kilometers from Gauting.
8 Archbishop Aleksandr (Alexander) Lovchii (December 1, 1891–September 11, 1973) was born in Narodichi village, Volhynia Governorate. He was an officer in World War I. After the Revolution, he emigrated. He studied at the Faculties of Theology and Philosophy of the University of Berlin. On September 19, 1937, he was ordained deacon, and on October 3, 1937, priest, by Archbishop Tikhon Liashchenko of Berlin and Germany. He was tonsured a monk on 22.03.1942. On July 29, 1945, he was consecrated Bishop of Kissingen, Vicar of the Diocese of Germany. On April 1, 1952, he was made Archbishop of Berlin and Germany. He retired on March 15, 1971.
9 First publication: Tserkovnye vedomosti Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi v Germanii. Ofitsialʹnyi organ Pravoslavnoi Germanskoi Eparkhii [Church Bulletin of the Orthodox Church in Germany. Official Press Outlet of the Orthodox Diocese of Germany], No. 7–9 (July–September 1955), p. 9. Metropolitan Augustīns’ letter, dated June 21, 1955, to the Evangelisches Verlagswerk in Stuttgart, was published already in: A. V. Gavrilin, “Dokumenty po delu mitropolita Rizhskogo i vseia Latvii Avgustina (Petersonsa) «Latviiskoi Papki» Arkhiva Arkhiereiskogo Sinoda Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi Zagranitsei»” [“Documents on the Affair of Metropolitan Augustīns Petersons of Riga and All Latvia in the ‘Latvia File’ of the Archive of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia”], Pravoslavie v Latvii [Orthodoxy in Latvia] 5, Riga: Filokaliia Press, 2006, p. 104.
10 Metropolitan Anastasii Gribanovskii (Anastassy, Anastasy; August 6, 1873–May 22, 1965) was born in Tambov Province into the family of a priest. He graduated from Tambov Theological Seminary and Moscow Theological Academy (1897). He was tonsured a monk in 1898. In 1901, he became an archimandrite and Rector of Moscow Theological Seminary (1901). He served as Bishop of Serpukhov, Vicar of Moscow Diocese (1906), of Chełm and Lublin (1914), and of Chisinau (1915), and as Archbishop of Chisinau and Khotyn (1916). He was a member of the 1917–1918 Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1919, he emigrated from Russia. He administered Russian Orthodox communities in Constantinople. Around 1924, he was expelled from Constantinople for “anti-Turkish propaganda”. From 1924 to 1935, he was head of the Russian Mission in Palestine and was Metropolitan of Palestine (1935). From 1936 to 1964, he was the First Hierarch of the ROCOR. In autumn 1944, he was evacuated with the Synod of Bishops and the Chancellery thereof to Vienna. He lived in Munich from 1945 until the Synod moved to the USA in 1950. He retired in 1964 and died in New York in 1965.
11 It has not yet been possible to ascertain who this priest was. The following Latvian clergymen were serving in America at this time: Fr. Nikolai Vieglais, Frs. Viktor and Arsenii Koliberskii, Fr. Georgii Benigsen, Fr. Mikhail Zhelneronok, Fr. Petr Kurzemnieks, Fr. Leonid Ladinskii, Fr. Nikolai Perekhvalʹskii, Fr. Aleksii Ionov, Fr. Ioann Legkii, Fr. Ioann Baumanis.
12 The clergyman Vladimir Tolstoukhov (1914–?) was born in the Governorate of Livonia. He was a graduate of Saint-Serge Theological Institute in Paris (1939). On September 17, 1939, he was ordained deacon by Metropolitan Augustīns of Riga and All Latvia, and as priest on Sepember 24, 1939. From September 24, 1939, through August 1, 1941, he served as a priest at Holy Annunciation Church in Riga. From August 1941 to December 1943, he worked for the Pskov Spiritual Mission. In December 1943, he was appointed second priest of Holy Annunciation Church in Riga and Plenipotentiary Commissioner for the Inner Mission of the Latvian diocese. In 1944, he was evacuated to Germany and thence to Austria. After the war, he joined the clergy of the ROCOR Diocese of Austria. In 1949, he moved to France at the invitation of Bishop Kassian (Bezobrazov) and joined the clergy of Western European Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. On August 14, 1950, he was suspended from the ministry, and defrocked on October 21, 1950 by Metropolitan Vladimir Tikhonitskii. He lived in France and worked in the civil service. On December 1, 1953, he arrived in Germany at the invitation of Metropolitan Augustīns Petersons in order to serve the Orthodox Latvians. He concealed the fact of his suspension and defrocking from Metropolitan Augustīns. As soon as January 1954, he drew the attention of Archbishop Alexander Lovchii by concelebrating with a Ukrainian autocephalist priest in the Augustdorf camp church, which belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. In the course of an inspection, Vladimir Tolstoukhov’s canonical status was ascertained, and Metropolitan Augustīns was informed of this. Metropolitan Augustīns ordered Vladimir Tolstoukhov to leave Germany. Vladimir Tolstoukhov’s subsequent fate is unknown. Presumably, he spent the last years of his life in America.
13 Priest Nikodim Kofanov (1887–1965) was a clergyman of the ROCOR Diocese of Germany. He was ordained priest on September 27, 1950, by Archbishop Filofei Narko, the administrator of the North-Western Vicariate of the Diocese of Germany, and appointed rector of Saint Nicholas Church in the DP [displaced persons – transl.] camp in Varel, Germany. In 1956, he became the rector of the Church of Our Lady of Kazan at the retirement home in Darmstadt.
14 Archpriest Nikolai Feodorv (1889–?) was a clergyman of the ROCOR Diocese of Germany. From 1951, he was rector of Saint Nicholas Church in Stuttgart.
15 Archbishop Nafanail (Nathaniel; Vasilii Vladimirovich Lvov, 1906–1986) was a leading ecclesiastic and spiritual writer. He was born in Moscow. After the Revolution, he emigrated to Harbin. He graduated from Harbin College (1922) and worked at the Chinese Eastern Railway. In 1929, he was tonsured and ordained a hieromonk. He graduated from the Higher Theological Courses in Harbin. In 1936, he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite. From 1937 to 1939, he was the head of the Orthodox Mission in Ceylon. During World War II in Slovakia, he was an assistant to the abbot of the monastery of St. Job of Pochaev in Ladomirová. In 1945, he was appointed rector of Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Berlin. After the War, he served in Hamburg. He played an active role in saving displaced persons (DPs) by preventing the extradition of about 600 of them to the USSR at Fischbek DP camp near Hamburg. On March 10, 1946, he was consecrated Bishop of Brussels and Western Europe. In 1951, he became Bishop of Preston and The Hague. From 1952 onward, he was the administrator of the ROCOR parishes in North Africa. From 1954, he resided in Munich at the monastery of St. Job of Pochaev. From 1966–1980, he was the superior of the monastery. In 1971, he temporarily administered the Diocese of Austria. In 1976, he became Bishop of Vienna and Austria, and was made Archbishop in 1981.
16 Archmandrite Iov (secular name: Vladimir Mikhailovich Leontʹev, 1894–1959) was born into a noble family in Moscow. He studied at the 1st Moscow Cadet Corps and the Paris Corps. He participated in World War I as a member of His Majesty’s Hussar Life Guards Regiment. During the Russian Civil War, he fought in the ranks of the North-Western Army of General N. N. Yudenich. He emigrated to France. In 1934, he entered the monastery of St. Job of Pochaev in Lado­mirová. He was tonsured a monk around 1935. In 1938, he was ordained a hieromonk. He was in Germany from December 1944 onward. In 1945, together some of the brethren who had remained in Germany, he founded a monastery, likewise in the name of St. Job of Pochaev, near Obermenzig (a suburb of Munich). He was the first superior of this monastery.
17 Translation:

To His Eminence Archbishop Alexander

Most esteemed Archbishop!

While we were putting together the pocket guide to the Evangelical Churches, we received the attached letter from Metropolitan Augustin Petersen [sic!] of the Latvian Orthodox Church in Exile. We should not like to neglect to pass the original letter on to you, on account of its last paragraph, now that the paperback has been compiled.

In loyal service, I remain your very devoted

Hellmut Reitzenstein

18 Translation:

To the Evangelisches Verlagswerk in Stuttgart

In reply to your letter of 15 June 1955, I would like to inform you that I am the only clergyman of the Latvian Orthodox Church.

I am 82 years old and undergoing treatment in a sanatorium for tuberculosis in Gauting.

Members of the Latvian Orthodox Church are scattered all over Germany in camps, sanatoriums, retirement homes and private homes.

I kindly ask Archbishop Aleksandr of Berlin to instruct his subordinate clergy to take over the spiritual care of the members of the Orthodox Church in Latvia.

Metropolitan Augustin

Gauting, June 21, 1955

19 Hegumen Georgii Sokolov (1890–1959) was a clergyman of the ROCOR Diocese of Germany. He was born in Rybinsk. After graduating with a Cand. theol. degree from Saint Petersbrg Theological Academy, he served in the Diocese of Rostov-on-Don. During the German occupation in November 1942, he was appointed rector of All Saints Church in Rostov-on-Don. In 1943, he was evacuated to Germany, where he was received into the clergy of the ROCOR Diocese of Germany. From October 1943, he provided pastoral care to the Orthodox in Eisenerz DP camp in Austria. From 1945 onward, he was resident in Munich. He served as secretary to the Diocese of Germany and President of the Ecclesiastical Court. Over the years, he served as an orthodox priest in Rosenheim, Landshut, Gauting, Munich-Moosach, and Mannheim.
20 Evkustodian I. Makharoblidze was born in the Caucasus into the family of a military chaplain. He graduated from Saint Petersburg Theological Seminary and Saint Petersburg University. After graduating from seminary, he was given a stipend by the Military Bureau at the invitation of A. A Zhelobovskii, Protopresbyter of the Army and Navy, to serve in the Administration of the Chaplaincy of the Military and Navy. He served in the Bureau of the Military Chaplaincy and the Bureau of the Orthodox Confession. In the 1920s and 1930s, he was the Secretary of the Supreme Church Council and the Head of Office of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. He was the editor of the journal Tserkovnyi vestnik [Church Gazette]. In the 1950s, he was the Secretary of the Diocesan Administration of the Diocese of Germany, a member of the Council of Bishops, a member and secretary of the Diocesan Court, the editor of the diocesan journal, and the long-time warden of the church in Landshut. It was none other than Makharoblidze, in this capacity, who compiled the case file published here. He died on August 10, 1960.
21 A retirement home attached to an Orthodox church in the town of Varel, Friesland, in the German state of Lower Saxony on the North Sea.
22 Priest Dionisii Ilʹin (October 3, 1882–1954) was born in Mogilev Governorate. He lived in Saint Petersburg from 1900–1910, while serving at the Railroad Administration. In 1910, he was transferred to Riga. After the start of World War I, he was evacuated from Riga to Vitebsk. In 1915, he was appointed an official of the Railroad Administration under the Supreme Commander-in-Chief’s Headquarters in Mogilev. In March 1918, he fled Soviet Russia to Riga. From 1930–33, he studied at Riga Theological Seminary. From 1927–1930, he held the post of reader in Riga Cathedral, and from 1930 to 1935, he worked in Annunciation Church in Riga under Archpriest Aleksandr Makedonskii. In 1938, he moved to Berlin. Bishop Seraphim (Lade) of Berlin and Germany ordained him as a deacon on May 18, 1939, and as a priest on May 28, 1939. He served in Marienbad, Franzensbad, and Karlsbad. In 1942, he was arrested by Gestapo and sent to Dachau concentration camp. After being released on May 3, 1945, he lived in Marienbad from 1945–1949. From 1949 onward, he served in Germany under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Augustīns. He was rector of the parish in Esslingen. He died during Lent, 1954.
23 There is no real diocese with this name. It is likely that Metropolitan Augustīns meant to refer to the Latvians living in Federal Republic of Germany, which, in the context of politics, is termed West Germany, as opposed to East Germany, the German Democratic Republic.
24 i.e. Jānis Platters, who was a member of the Synod of the Latvian Church for 15 years. In Germany, he was one of those behind the opening of St. Nicholas Church in Varel, where he was sometime churchwarden.
25 Meant here are clergymen of the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) in Germany. They are named here according to the heads of the UOAC, ‘Metropolitan’ Polikarp (Sikorsʹkyy) (1875–1953) and ‘Archbishop’ Hryhoriy (Ohiychuk) (1893–1985), the latter having broken away from Polikarp Sikorsʹkyy in 1947 and founded the so-called ‘Aschaffenburg Branch’ of the UAOC
26 At the time, Metropolitan Augustīns had no Latvian clergy of his own. This letter is also about the subordination of the Latvian clergy and parishes in Germany to Archbishop Aleksandr.
27 Archpriest Feodor Trofimov (1930–1990), a clergyman of the ROCOR Diocese of Germany, was born in Lugansk. He graduated from the Pastoral Courses of Saint Serge Orthodox Theological Institute, Paris. He was ordained deacon in 1954 and assigned to Munich Cathedral. In March 1958, he was ordained priest and appointed rector of Saint Alexander Nevsky Church in Mannheim. Over the years, he served parishes in Heidelberg, Worms, Kaiserslautern and Stuttgart.
28 Anatolii Dreving (1910–1969), a clergyman of the ROCOR Diocese of Germany, was born in Moscow. He earned a degree in Chemistry from Tartu University in 1935. From 1939 onward, he lived in Poland and afterward in Germany. His ordination as deacon was performed on April 19, 1950, by Bishop Grigorii Borishkevich, and that as priest on April 26, 1950, by Metropolitan Panteleimon Rozhnovskii. On October 10, 1950, he became rector of Saint Seraphim Church in Munich, a position that had been held by the well-known Baltic priests Aleksandr Kiselev (1909–2001) and Georgii Benigsen (1915–1993) until they emigrated to America.
29 Petr Ivanovich Andreevskii was the son of the rector of Glukhov Cathedral in the Diocese of Chernigov. In 1904, he graduated from Chernigov Theological Seminary. He taught music at Starodub Theological College From 1906–1910, he studied law at Yurʹev [now Tartu –trans.] University, and worked afterward as a clerk at the Warsaw Court Chambers. From May 15, 1951, onward he was a reader and choir conductor at Munich Cathedral.
30 Metropolitan Seraphim (Karl Georg Albert) Lade (1893–1950) was born in Leipzig into a German Lutheran family. After embracing Orthodoxy in 1904, he moved to the Russian Empire. In 1907, he attended Year 5/6 theological courses at St. Petersburg Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon on July 6, 1907, and priest on July 8, 1907. In 1916, he graduated from Moscow Theological Academy with a Cand. theol. Degree. Afterwards, he served in parishes in the Diocese of Kharkov. He taught German at Kharkov Seminary. From 1919 to 1922, he was a military chaplain in the White Army. In 1922, he was ordained archpriest. After becoming a widower, he was tonsured a monk. He served in the Diocese of Kharkov of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), headed by Metropolitan Pimen Pegov. He was elevated to the rank of hegumen and archimandrite. In 1924, he was consecrated by ‘Metropolitan’ Pimen as ‘Bishop’ of Zmiev, Vicar of the Diocese of Kharkov of the UAOC. In 1927, he became ‘Bishop’ of Akhtyrka in the UAOC. In 1930, he returned to Germany and was received into the ROCOR in holy orders. In 1938, he headed the Diocese of Germany. He was elevated to the rank of archbishop in 1939. In 1942, as Metropolitan, he became the head of the Central European Metropolitan District of the ROCOR. He died in Munich of September 14, 1950.

1 Comment

  • Russkiy Mir-shaking events happening in Latvia…

    Reported in the news:

    “[The] press service of the Latvian Orthodox Church issued a simple statement: ‘The state has determined that the Latvian Orthodox Church is legally independent of any church center located outside of Latvia.’ And then it urged its parishioners to maintain calm in the face of this change. Such obedience to state power has a long tradition in Orthodoxy and especially Russian Orthodoxy, but what makes the Latvian move so intriguing and likely to be repeated elsewhere is that this tradition is now being used against the Moscow Patriarchate and thus against the Russian government behind it.”

    Moscow has demonstrated to its charges that the Church must be subservient to State and so the Latvian Orthodox Church is following the example of the MP…following it all the way out of the MP.

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