RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH:
When the Soviet Union fell in 1991, the second administration' of
the Soviet government, the Soviet Moscow Patriarchate, continued to exist
virtually unchanged, only changing its political orientation from pro-communist
to pro-democratic. At this time the leadership of the healthy ecclesiastical
forces opposed to the Moscow Patriarchate (MP) inside Russia was assumed by the
Free Russian Orthodox Church (FROC). This article consists of a short history of
the FROC and a canonical justification of its independent existence.
The origins of the FROC go back to January 5/18, 1981, when a priest of
the Russian Catacomb Church, Fr. Lazarus (Zhurbenko), was secretly received into
the West European diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA) by
Archbishop Anthony of Geneva and Western Europe (ukaz no. 648/818/2).
Shortly after this, in 1982, another cleric of the West European diocese, Fr.
Barnabas (Prokofiev), was secretly consecrated as Bishop of Cannes and sent to
Moscow, where he consecrated Fr. Lazarus to the episcopate. The candidacy of Fr.
Lazarus had been put forward by the dissident MP priest, Fr. Demetrius Dudko,
with whom Archbishop Anthony had entered into correspondence.
On August 1/14, 1990, the Chancellery of
the ROCA decided to throw some light on this secret consecration by issuing the
following statement: In 1982 his Eminence Anthony, Archbishop of Geneva and
Western Europe, together with his Eminence Mark, Bishop of Berlin and Germany,
on the orders of the Hierarchical Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad,
secretly performed an episcopal consecration on Hieromonk Barnabas (Prokofiev),
so that through the cooperation of these archpastors the Church life of the
Catacomb Orthodox Church in Russia might be regulated. Since external
circumstances no longer compel either his Eminence Bishop Lazarus in Russia, or
his Eminence Bishop Barnabas in France to remain as secret Hierarchs of our
Russian Church Abroad, the Hierarchical Synod is now officially declaring this
This was an ominous phrase: so that...
the Church life of the Catacomb Orthodox Church in Russia might be regulated'.
No indication was given as to why the life of the Catacomb Church needed
regulating from abroad, nor how it was proposed that this regulation should be
accomplished (apart from the consecration of a hierarch), nor whether the
consent of the Catacomb Church to such a regulation had been sought or received,
nor what canonical right the ROCA had to regulate the life of the Catacomb
In actual fact the consent of the Catacomb
Church, was neither asked nor given..
Be that as it may, the ROCA now had the
beginnings of a secret hierarchy in the Soviet Union. This hierarchy began to
act in the spring of 1990, when the first substantial signs of the collapse of
Communism and a measure of ecclesiastical freedom were becoming evident. Thus
Bishop Lazarus flew to New York, where his consecration was confirmed by the
Synod of the ROCA; and believers throughout Russia became aware that the ROCA
had entered into combat with the Moscow Patriarchate on Russian soil.
The first parish to leave the Moscow
Patriarchate and officially join the ROCA was that of St. Constantine the Great
in Suzdal, Vladimir province, whose pastor was Archimandrite Valentine (Rusantsov).
As Fr. Valentine told the story:
In the Vladimir diocese I served as dean. I was a member of the diocesan
administration, was for a time diocesan secretary and had responsibility for
receiving guests in this diocese. And then I began to notice that I was being
gradually, quietly removed. Perhaps this happened because I very much disliked
prayers with people of other faiths. Its one thing to drink tea with guests,
and quite another.. to pray together with them, while the guests, it has to be
said, were of all kinds: both Buddhists, and Muslims, and Satanists. I did not
like these ecumenical prayers, and I did not hide this dislike of mine.
And so at first they removed me from
working with the guests, and then deprived me of the post of secretary, and then
excluded me from the diocesan council. Once after my return from a trip abroad,
the local hierarch Valentine (Mishchuk) summoned me and said: Sit down and
write a report for the whole year about what foreigners were with you, what you
talked about with them, what questions they asked you and what answers you gave
them. Why is this necessary? Its just necessary, replied the
bishop. I dont understand where I am, Vladyko in the study of a
hierarch or in the study of a KGB operative? No, Ive never done this and
never will do it. And remember that I am a priest and not a stooge'.
Well if youre not going to do it, I will transfer you to another
And so the next day came the ukaz
concerning my transfer to the out-of-the-way place Pokrov. I was upset, but
after all I had to obey, it was a hierarchs ukaz. But suddenly
something unexpected happened my parishioners rebelled against this
decision, people began to send letters to the representatives of the authorities
expressing their dissatisfaction with my transfer: our parishioners even hired
buses to go to the capital and protest.
The patriarchate began to admonish them,
suggested a good batyushka, Demetrius Nyetsvetayev, who was constantly on
trips abroad, in exchange. We dont need your batyushka, said the
parishioners, we know this kind, today hell spy on foreigners, tomorrow on
the unbelievers of Suzdal, and then hell begin to reveal the secret of
parishioners confessions. In general, our parishioners just didnt
accept Nyetsvetayev. They didnt even let him into the church. The whole town
was aroused, and the parishioners came to me: Fr. Valentine, what shall we
do? At that point I told them that I had passed my childhood among the
Tikhonites [Catacomb Christians], and that there is a Tikhonite
Church existing in exile. If we write to their first-hierarch, Metropolitan
Vitaly, and he accepts us will you agree to be under his omophorion? The
church people declared their agreement. However, this attempt to remove me did
not pass without a trace, I was in hospital as a result of an attack of nerves.
And so, at the Annunciation, I receive the news that our parish had been
received into the ROCA.'
On June 8/21, 1990, the feast of St.
Theodore, the enlightener of Suzdal, the ROCA hierarchs Mark of Berlin, Hilarion
of Manhattan and Lazarus of Tambov celebrated the first hierarchical liturgy in
the St. Constantine parish.
Then, in February, 1991 Archimandrite Valentine was consecrated as Bishop of
Suzdal and Vladimir in Brussels by hierarchs of the ROCA. There now began a
rapid growth in the number of parishes joining the ROCA on Russian soil,
including many communities of the Catacomb Church. Most of these joined the
Suzdal diocese under Bishop Valentine, but many also joined the Tambov diocese
of Bishop Lazarus and the Kuban diocese of Bishop Benjamin. The ROCA inside
Russia was now called the Free Russian Orthodox Church (FROC).
First Signs of Division
Now where truth and Christian piety
flourishes the devil is sure to interfere. And at this point he inspired certain
hierarchs of the ROCA to hinder the work of the FROC hierarchs by a series of
In 1991 the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA
decided to organize church life in Russia on the principle of
non-territoriality. As Archbishop Lazarus explained: The Hierarchical Synod
decreed equal rights for us three Russian hierarchs. If someone from the
patriarchate wants to join Vladyka Valentine please. If he wants to join
Vladyka Benjamin or me please. So far the division [of dioceses] is only
conditional more exactly, Russia is in the position of a missionary region.
Each of us can receive parishes in any part of the country. For the time being
it is difficult to define the boundaries of dioceses.'
This decision led to some conflicts between
the FROC bishops, but not serious ones. However, it was a different matter when
bishops from abroad began to interfere. As early as July, 1990 Archbishop
Lazarus told the present writer that if Archbishop Mark of Germany continued to
interfere in Russia he might be compelled to form an autonomous Church. But
Archbishop Mark did not stop. He ordained a priest for St. Petersburg, a
Special German deanery' under the Monk Ambrose (von Sievers), who later
founded his own Synod, and in general acted as if Russia were an extension of
the German diocese.
In November, 1991 a correspondent of a church
bulletin asked Bishop Valentine about Archbishop Marks role. The reply was
carefully weighed: When the situation in Russia was still in an embryonic
stage, Archbishop Mark with the agreement of the first-hierarch of the ROCA made
various attempts to build church life in Russia. One of Archbishop Marks
experiments was the special German deanery headed by Fr. Ambrose (Sievers).
Now this is changing, insofar as the situation in the FROC has been
sufficiently normalized. From now on
not one hierarch will interfere in Russian affairs except, it goes
without saying, the three hierarchs of the FROC.'
In 1992, however, Archbishop Marks
interference did not only not cease, but became more intense, and was now
directed particularly against the most successful and prominent of the FROC
hierarchs, Bishop Valentine. Thus while calling for official negotiations with
the Moscow Patriarchate,
Mark called on believers in a publicly distributed letter to distance
yourselves from Bishop Valentine of the Suzdal and Vladimir diocese of the Free
Russian Orthodox Church', described the clergy in obedience to Bishop
Valentine as wolves in sheeps clothing', and told them to turn instead
to Fr. Sergius Perekrestov (a priest who was later defrocked for adultery before
leaving the FROC). A priest of the Moscow Patriarchate interpreted this letter
to mean that the ROCA had turned its back on the Suzdal diocese of the FROC'.
In a letter to Metropolitan Vitaly dated
December 25, 1992, Bishop Valentine complained that Archbishop Marks attacks
against him had been distributed, not only to members of the Synod, but also to
laypeople and even in churches of the Moscow Patriarchate. And he went on: On
the basis of the above positions I have the right to confirm that after my
consecration to the episcopate his Eminence Vladyka Mark did everything to cause
a quarrel between me and their Eminences Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop
It is interesting that when their
Eminences Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Benjamin, by virtue of the Apostolic
canons and their pastoral conscience, adopted, with me, a principled position on
the question of his Eminence Archbishop Marks claims to administer Russian
parishes, the latter simply dismissed the two hierarchs as being incapable of
administration Then Archbishop Mark began to accuse me of lifting
everything under myself like a bulldozer. Therefore his Eminence Mark chose a
different tactic. He wrote a letter to Kaliningrad, calling me a wolf in
sheeps clothing, and this letter was read out from the ambon in the
churches of the Moscow patriarchate.
Yesterday I was told that his Eminence
Archbishop Mark sent a fax to the Synod insistently recommending that his
Eminence Barnabas not be recalled from Moscow until a church trial had been
carried out on Valentine. What trial, for what? For everything that I have done,
for all my labours? Does not putting me on trial mean they want to put you, too,
on trial? Does this not mean that it striking me with their fist they get at you
with their elbow?'
The reference to Bishop Barnabas is
explained as follows. In February, 1992 he had been sent to Moscow as superior
of the community of SS. Martha and Mary in Moscow, which was designated the
Synodal podvorye. Then, on August 3, he organized a conference of the
clergy with the aim of organizing the Moscow diocesan organization of our
Church. The conference was attended by more than ten clergy from Moscow and
other parts of Russia. In his speech before the participants Vladyka pointed out
the necessity of creating a diocesan administration which would unite all the
parishes of the FROC in Moscow and Moscow region, and also those parishes in
other regions of Russia which wanted to unite with this diocesan
At the diocesan conference a diocesan council was elected, containing
three members of the National Patriotic Front, Pamyat, as
representatives of the laity.'
This was a double blow to the FROC. First,
the appointment of a foreign bishop with almost unlimited powers in Russia was a
direct affront to the attempts of the Russian bishops to prevent foreign
interference in their dioceses. The encroachment of the foreign bishops on the
canonical rights of the Russian bishops was becoming increasingly scandalous.
(According to the holy canons (8th of the 3rd Ecumenical
Council, 9th of Antioch, 64th and 67th of
Carthage) no bishop can encroach on the territory of another bishop or perform
any sacramental action in it without his permission.) Secondly, Bishop
Barnabas open endorsement of the fascist organization Pamyat, which
organized provocative demonstrations and even an attack on the offices of Moskovskij
Komsomolets, scandalized church opinion both in Russia and outside.
On October 25 / November 7, 1992,
Metropolitan Vitaly and the Synod of the ROCA acted to distance themselves from
the activities of Bishop Barnabas, sending Bishop Hilarion and Fr. Victor
Potapov to Moscow to express the official position of the ROCA at a press
conference; which duly took place on November 13. However, in February, 1993, at
a meeting of the Synod in New York, it was decided to reject this
press-conference as provocative' and to praise one of the pro-fascist
priests, Fr. Alexis Averyanov, for his fruitful work with Pamyat',
bestowing on him an award for his stand for righteousness'. Moreover, no
action was taken against Bishop Barnabas, while Fr. Victor was forbidden to
undertake any ecclesiastical or public activity in Russia.
The year 1993 brought no relief for the
beleagured FROC bishops from their foreign brothers. Thus when the large and
prosperous parish of the MP in Naginsk under its very popular pastor,
Archimandrite Adrian, applied to come under the omophorion of Bishop
Valentine, and was accepted by him on January 18, Bishop Barnabas interfered and
suggested they come under his omophorion
which offer was politely but firmly turned down. At the same time the MP
circulated an accusation - signed by a woman but with no other indication of
time, place or names of witnesses of the supposed crime - that Archimandrite
Adrian had raped one altar boy and had had improper relations with another. This
accusation turned out to be completely fabricated the raped' altar boy
wrote a letter of apology to Fr. Adrian and the letter was accepted by the
prosecutor in the criminal court. Both youngsters were then sued for stealing
In spite of this, Bishop Barnabas, without
any kind of investigation or trial, suspended the archimandrite and wanted to
depose Bishop Valentine for accepting such a pervert into his diocese. The
Russian newspapers pointed out that Bishop Barnabas seemed to be partially
supporting the patriarchate in the struggle for this parish in which, as
Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) pointed out, the KGB appeared also to be operating.
Nevertheless, several ROCA bishops wanted to proceed with defrocking Bishop
Valentine; but the decision was made to retire him instead on grounds of his
ill-health a completely uncanonical decision since neither had Bishop
Valentine petitioned for his retirement nor had the ROCA bishops investigated
his state of health.
But worse was to come. Bishop Barnabas
wrote to Metropolitan Vladimir (Romanyuk) of the uncanonical Ukrainian
Autocephalous Church seeking to enter into communion with him, and followed this
up by visiting him in Kiev. The Moscow Patriarchate gleefully displayed this
letter as proof of the ROCAs incompetence, and it was only with the greatest
difficulty (and delay) that the Synod, spurred on by Fr. Victor and Bishop
Gregory (Grabbe) outside Russia, and by Bishop Valentine inside Russia, began to
extricate themselves from this scandal.
A recent publication summed up Bishop
Barnabas contribution to Russian Church life in this year: In the shortest
time [he] introduced the completest chaos into the life of the Free
Church, which was beginning to be reborn. This representative of the Synod
began, above the heads of the Diocesan Bishops of the Free Church in Russia, and
in violation of the basic canonical rules, to receive into his jurisdiction
clerics who had been banned from serving by them, to carry out ordinations in
their dioceses without their knowledge, and finally was not ashamed to demand,
at the Council in 1993, that he should be given rights to administer all
the parishes of the Free Church in Russia!
This request was not granted by the Council, the more so in that it learned that
the empowered representative of the Synod of the Russian Church Abroad in
Moscow, on writing-paper of the Hierarchical Synod, wrote a petition to
the Locum Tenens of the Kievan Patriarchal Throne, Metropolitan
Vladimir (Romanyuk), in which it said that the traitrous Muscovite scribblers
hired by the Moscow Patriarchate are trying to trample into the mud the
authority of the Russian Church Abroad. In this connection: we beseech you, Your
Eminence, through the Kievan Patriarchate headed by you, to give our
ecclesiastical activity a juridical base and receive us into brotherly
communion. Extraordinary as it may seem, the Council did not consider it
necessary to defrock its representative, and it was put to him that he should
set off for the Holy Land for a mere three months without right of serving
which, however, he did not carry out. This shameful letter was widely
distributed by the Moscow Patriarchate, while the Patriarchal Locum Tenens,
delighted by this prospect, invited the First-Hierarch of the Church Abroad to
visit Kiev in written form. This letter was also widely distributed.'
This was clear evidence, if further
evidence were needed, that the interference of foreign bishops in the affairs of
the Free Russian Orthodox Church had to be drastically curbed, and that the
canonical rights of the FROC bishops to rule their own dioceses without
inteference from the centre' (several thousand miles away from Russia!) had
to be unequivocally strengthened and protected.
However, a letter dated October 2, 1992
from Archbishop Mark to Protopriest Michael Artsumovich of Meudon gave equally
clear evidence, if further evidence was needed, that this ROCA hierarch at any
rate neither intended to protect the rights of the Russian bishops nor in any
way respected either them or their flock: We are receiving [from the MP] by
no means the best representatives of the Russian Church. Basically, these are
people who know little or nothing about the Church Abroad. And in those cases in
which someone possesses some information, it must be doubtful that he is in
general in a condition to understand it in view of his own mendacity and the
mendacity of his own situation. In receiving priests from the Patriarchate, we
receive with them a whole series of inadequacies and vices of the MP itself
The real Catacomb Church no longer exists. It in fact disappeared in the 1940s
or the beginning of the 1950s Only individual people have been preserved from
it, and in essence everything that has arisen since is only pitiful reflections,
and people take their desires for reality. Those who poured into this stream in
the 1950s and later were themselves infected with Soviet falsehood, and they
partly and involuntarily - participate in it themselves, that is, they enter
the category of what we call homo sovieticus In Russia, consequently,
there cannot be a Russian Church because it is all based on Soviet man I
think it is more expedient to seek allies for ourselves among those elements
that are pure or striving for canonical purity both in the depths of the Moscow
Patriarchate and in the other Local Churches especially in Serbia or even
GreeceWe will yet be able to deliver ourselves from that impurity
which we have now received from the Moscow Patriarchate, and again start on the
path of pure Orthodoxy It is evident that we must try and undertake the russification
of Soviet man and the Soviet church'
Archbishop Mark gave himself away in this
shocking and insulting letter: disdain for the pitiful' and supposedly
long-dead Catacomb Church, disgust with the impure', Soviet' Free
Russian Church, admiration for the purity' of the apostate churches of
World Orthodoxy' with their Masonic and KGB-agent hierarchs'. As for
the remark by an ethnic German - about the russification' of the
Russian Church, the reaction in the heart of Holy Russia was one of
The First Separation
Archbishop Mark wanted to rid himself of
the impurity' of the Free Russian Church; he was soon to achieve his aim.
For on April 14/27, 1993 Archbishop Lazarus wrote to the Synod that on the basis
of ukaz no. 362 of his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon he considered the
decisions of the Synod to be not obligatory for execution for the True
Orthodox Catacomb Church'. But, he insisted, he was not breaking communion
with the ROCA. As a result of this,
without consulting either him or his diocese, the ROCA retired him, and the
administration of his parishes was transferred to Metropolitan Vitaly.
At this point the first signs of serious
dissent with the ROCAs politics in Russia in the ranks of the ROCAs
episcopate appeared in the person of Bishop Gregory (Grabbe), the foremost
canonist of the ROCA and a man of enormous experience in church matters, having
been at the very heart of the ROCAs administration from 1931 until his forced
retirement by Metropolitan Vitaly in 1986. In an emergency report to the Synod
dated May 16/29, after sharply criticizing the unjust and uncanonical actions of
the Synod, he said: As a consequence of this Archbishop Lazarus has already
left us. And Bishop Valentines patience is already being tried. If he, too,
will not bear the temptation, what will we be left with? Will his flock in such
a situation want to leave with him? Will not it also rebel?
For claritys sake I must begin with
an examination of certain matters brought up at the expanded session of the
Synod which took place in Munich.
A certain tension was noticeable there
in spite of the external calmness. It turned out that behind the scenes a
suspicious attitude towards Bishop Valentine had arisen. Already after the
closing of the Synod I learned that several members of the Synod had been shown
a document containing accusations of transgressions of the laws of morality
against Bishop Valentine. The President of the Synod did not have this document
during the sessions but only at the end. It was then that I, too, received a
copy of the denunciation from Archbishop Mark, who was given it by Bishop
Barnabas, who evidently did not know how to deal with such objects according to
the Church canons. I involuntarily ascribed the unexpected appearance of such a
document amidst the members of the Synod to the action of some communist secret
agents and to the inexperience of Bishop Barnabas in such matters.
The caution of the Church authorities in
relation to similar accusations in the time of troubles after the persecutions
was ascribed to the 74th Apostolic canon, the 2nd canon of
the 1st Ecumenical Council and especially to the 6th canon
of the 2nd Ecumenical Council. At that time the heretics were
multiplying their intrigues against the Orthodox hierarchs. The above-mentioned
canons indicate that accusations hurled by less than two or three witnesses
who were, besides, faithful children of the Church and accusers worthy of trust
were in no way to be accepted
Did they apply such justice and caution
when they judged Bishop Valentine, and were ready without any investigation to
.. defrock him for receiving Archimandrite Adrian? And were the accusations
hurled at the latter really seriously examined?
Beginning with the processing, contrary
to the canons, of the accusations against Bishop Valentine on the basis of the
single complaint of a person known to none of us,
the Sobor was already planning to defrock him without any kind of due process,
until the argument of his illness turned up. But here, too, they failed to
consider that this required his own petition and a check to ascertain the
seriousness of his illness. The intention was very simple: just get rid of a too
active Bishop. They didnt think of the fate of his parishes, which exist on
his registration. Without him they would lose it.
While we, in the absence of the accused
and, contrary to the canons, without his knowledge, were deciding the fate of
the Suzdal diocese, Vladyka Valentine received three more parishes. Now he has
63. Taking into account Archimandrite Adrian with his almost 10,000 people, we
are talking about approximately twenty
question arises: in whose interests is it to destroy what the papers there call
the centre of the Church Abroad in Russia?
The success of Bishop Valentines
mission has brought thousands of those being saved into our Church, but now this
flock is condemned to widowhood and the temptation of having no head only
because he turned out not to be suitable to some of our Bishops'
It was in this highly charged atmosphere,
with their bishop forcibly and uncanonically retired and the registration of all
their parishes hanging by a thread, that the annual diocesan conference of the
Suzdal diocese took place from June 9/22 to 11/24. It was also attended by
priests representing Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Benjamin. Hieromonk
Agathangelus read out a letter from Archbishop Lazarus in which he declared that
although he had considered the actions of the ROCA in Russia to be uncanonical,
he had tolerated them out of brotherly love, but was now forced to speak out
against them, for they were inflicting harm on the Church. First, the ROCA did
not have the right to form its own parishes in Russia insofar as the Catacomb
Church, which had preserved the succession of grace of the Mother Church,
continued to exist on her territory. Therefore it was necessary only to
strengthen the catacomb communities and expand them through an influx of new
believers. Secondly, the hierarchs of the ROCA had been acting in a spirit far
from brotherly love, for they had been treating their brothers, the hierarchs of
the FROC, as second-class Vladykas: they received clergy who had been banned by
the Russian Vladykas, brought clergy of other dioceses to trial, removed bans
placed by the Russian hierarchs without their knowledge or agreement, and
annulled other decisions of theirs (for example, Metropolitan Vitaly forbade an
inspection to be carried out in the parish of Fr. Sergius Perekrestov of St.
Petersburg). Thirdly, the ROCA hierarchs were far from Russia and did not
understand the situation, so they could not rightly administer the Russian
parishes. Thus the Synod removed the title Administering the affairs of the
FROC from all the hierarchs except Bishop Barnabas, which forced the dioceses
to re-register with the authorities - although, while a new registration was
being carried out, the parishes could lose their right to ownership of the
churches and other property. Moreover re-registration was almost impossible,
insofar as it required the agreement of an expert consultative committee
attached to the Supreme Soviet, which contained hierarchs of the Moscow
Patriarchate. Fourthly, the ROCA hierarchs had been inconsistent in their
actions, which aroused the suspicion that their actions were directed, not by
the Holy Spirit, but by forces foreign to the Church.
Archbishop Lazarus concluded by calling for the formation of a True Orthodox
Catacomb Church that was administratively separate from, but in communion with,
the ROCA, on the basis of Patriarch Tikhons ukaz no. 362, which had
never been annulled.
At the end of the conference it was decided
that the Suzdal diocese would follow Archbishop Lazarus example in separating
administratively from the ROCA while retaining communion in prayer with it.
Bishop Valentine expressed the hope that this would be only a temporary
Some FROC priests notably Protopriest
Lev Lebedev of Kursk while fully agreeing that the ROCA bishops had
committed uncanonical acts on Russian soil, nevertheless began to express the
view that the actions of the FROC bishops had been hasty and were justified only
in the case that the ROCA had fallen away from Orthodoxy, which, as everyone
agreed, had not yet taken place. However, Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) adopted a
quite different position. He pointed out that the claims of the ROCA to rule
as opposed to help the Church in
Russia contradicted the ROCAs own fundamental Statute:-
For decades we living abroad have
commemorated the Orthodox Episcopate of the Persecuted Church of Russia.
But in our last Sobor we removed from the litanies and the prayer for the
salvation of Russia the word persecuted, witnessing thereby that we
already officially consider that the persecutions on the Russian Church have
And indeed, our parishes in Russia are
now harried in places, but basically they have complete freedom of action, in
particular if they do not lay claim to receive any old church, which the Moscow
Patriarchate then tries to snatch. However it does not always succeed in this.
Thus the huge Theophany cathedral in Noginsk (with all the buildings attached to
it) according to the courts decision remain with our diocese
In other words, we can say that if there
is willingness on our side we now have every opportunity of setting in order the
complete regeneration of the Russian Orthodox Church in our Fatherland.
The very first paragraph of the
Statute on the Russian Church Abroad says:
The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad is
an indivisible part of the Russian Local
Church TEMPORARILY self-governing on conciliar principles UNTIL THE REMOVAL
OF THE ATHEIST POWER in Russia in accordance with the resolution of the holy
Patriarch Tikhon, the Holy Synod and the Higher Ecclesiastical Council of the
Russian Church of November 7/20, 1920 no. 362 (emphasis mine, B. G.).
If we now lead the Russian Hierarch to
want to break their administrative links with the Church Abroad, then will not
our flock abroad finally ask us: what Episcopate of the Russian Church are
we still praying for in our churches? But if we took these words out of the
litanies, them we would only be officially declaring that we are no longer a
part of the Russian Church.
Will we not then enter upon a very
dubious canonical path of autonomous existence, but now without a Patriarchal
blessing and outside the Russian Church, a part of which we have always
confessed ourselves to be? Will not such a step lead us to a condition of schism
in the Church Abroad itself, and, God forbid, to the danger of becoming a
It is necessary for us to pay very
careful attention to and get to know the mood revealed in our clergy in the
Suzdal diocese, so as on our part to evaluate the mood in which our decisions
about the Church in Russia could be received by them.
But will we not see then that it is one
thing when the Church Abroad gives help
to the Russian Church through the restoration in it of a canonical hierarchy,
but something else entirely when we lay
claims to rule the WHOLE of Russia from abroad, which was in no way envisaged by
even one paragraph of the Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad,
nor by one of our later resolutions?'
On October 20 / November 2 (i.e. over
eighteen months since the scandals erupted), the Synod decided to withdraw
Bishop Barnabas from Russia and to place all his parishes in the jurisdiction of
Metropolitan Vitaly (who, throughout the 1990s, has not set foot once on Russian
soil, in spite of numerous invitations).
All the parishes of the ROCA in Siberia, Ukraine and Belarus were to be
entrusted to Bishop Benjamin.
March 8/21, 1994, in a conference taking place in Suzdal, Bishop Valentine said:
On June 10/23, 1993 in Suzdal there took place a diocesan congress in which
resolutions were taken and an Address was sent to the Synod indicating the
transgressions, by the above-mentioned Hierarchs, of the Apostolic Canons and
decrees of the Fathers of the Church, of the Ecumenical and Local Councils. At
the same time they asked that his Grace Bishop Barnabas be recalled, and that
Archbishop Mark should ask forgiveness of the clergy and the Russian people for
his humiliation of their honour and dignity. If our request were ignored, the
whole weight of responsibility would lie on the transgressors of the Church
canons. But so far there has been no reply.
We sent the Resolution of the clergy,
monastics and laypeople warning that if there continued to be transgressions of
the Apostolic Canons and Conciliar Resolutions on the part of the Hierarchs,
with the connivance of the Hierarchical Synod, the whole responsibility would
lie as a heavy burden on the transgressors. The Synod did
Together with his Eminence Archbishop
Lazarus and the members of the Diocesan Councils I sent an address to the Synod
in which their attention was drawn to the wily intrigues on the part of those
who wished us ill, and asked that the situation be somehow corrected, placing
our hopes on Christian love and unity of mind, which help to overcome human
infirmities. But in the same address we laid out in very clear fashion our
determination that if the Hierarchical Synod did not put an end to the
deliberate transgressions, we would be forced to exist independently, in
accordance with the holy Patriarch Tikhons ukaz no. 362 of November
7/20, 1920, in the interests of the purity of Orthodoxy and the salvation of our
Russian flock. The reply consisted in Vladyka Metropolitan threatening a ban.
I sent a letter to Metropolitan Vitaly
in which I besought him earnestly to confirm my status before the Ministry of
Justice of the Russian Federation, so that the Suzdal Diocesan Administration
should not lose its registration. This time the reply was swift, only not to the
Diocesan Administration, but to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian
Federation under the signature of Bishop Barnabas, saying that the Russian
Hierarchs were no longer Administering the affairs of the FROC, and that this
duty was laid upon him. As a result I and the member of my Diocesan Council
began visiting office after office, a process that lasted many months.
It is difficult for you to imagine how
much labour we had to expend, how many written bureaucratical demands we had to
fulfil, in order to get our Regulations re-registered. If I had not undertaken
this, all the churches would automatically have been taken out of registration
and then, believe me, the Moscow Patriarchate would not have let go such a
After hearing more speeches in the same
vein, including one from Archbishop Lazarus, the Congress made the following
decisions: 1. To form a Temporary Higher Church Administration (THCA) of the
Russian Orthodox Church, which, without claiming to be the highest Church
authority in Russia, would have as its final aim the convening of a Free
All-Russian Local Council that would have such authority. 2. To elect and
consecrate new bishops. 3. To declare their gratitude to the ROCA and
Metropolitan Vitaly, whose name would continue to be commemorated in Divine
services, since they wished to remain in communion of prayer with them. 4. To
express the hope that the Hierarchical Synod would recognize the THCA and the
consecrations performed by it.
One of the members of the Congress, Elena
Fateyevna Shipunova, declared: It is now completely obvious that the
subjection of the Russian dioceses to the Synod Abroad contradicts the second
point of Ukaz no. 362. The Russian Church is faced directly with the
necessity of moving to independent administration in accordance with this Ukaz.
After the sergianist schism Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan called for such a move,
considering Ukaz no. 362 as the only possible basis of Church
organization. Incidentally, Metropolitan Cyril also indicated to Metropolitan
Sergius Stragorodsky that he had to follow Ukaz no. 362 instead of
usurping ecclesiastical power. Metropolitan Cyril and the other
bishop-confessors tried to organize the administration of the Russian Church on
the basis of this Ukaz, but they couldnt do this openly. Now for the
first time the Russian Church has the opportunity to do this. We could say that
this is an historical moment. The Temporary Higher Church Administration that
has been created is the first legal one in Russia since the time of the
sergianist schism. The Centre of
Church power ceased its existence after the death of Metropolitan Peter more
than half a century ago, but we have not yet arrived at the Second All-Russian
Council which has the power to re-establish Central Church power.'
On March 9/22 the THCA, which now contained
three new bishops: Theodore of Borisovsk, Seraphim of Sukhumi and Agathangelus
of Simferopol, together with many clergy, monastics and laity, informed
Metropolitan Vitaly and the Synod of the ROCA of their decision.
On March 23 / April 5 the Synod of the ROCA
rejected this declaration and the new consecrations, and decided to break
communion in prayer with the newly formed Autonomous Church, but without
imposing any bans.
In this decision the ROCA Synod called itself the Central Church authority'
of the Russian Church, which contradicted both its own Fundamental Statute and
the simple historical fact that, as the FROC bishops pointed out, since the
death of Metropolitan Peter in 1937 the Russian Church has had no Central
Then, in order to strengthen the ROCAs
hand in the coming struggle with the FROC, Archimandrite Eutyches (Kurochkin)
was consecrated Bishop of Ishim and Siberia on July 11/24.
Bishop Gregory (Grabbe), however, who had
not been admitted to the sessions of the ROCA Synod, fully approved of the
actions of the Russian Hierarchs in a letter to Bishop Valentine dated March 24
/ April 6. And on the same day he wrote the following to Metropolitan Vitaly:
We have brought the goal of the possible regeneration of the Church in Russia
to the most undesirable possible end. Tormented by envy and malice, certain of
our bishops have influenced the whole course of our church politics in Russia.
As a consequence of this, our Synod has not understood the meaning of the
mission of our existence abroad.
As I warned the Synod in my last report,
we have done absolutely everything possible to force the Russian bishops to
separate from us administratively. They have had to proceed from Resolution no.
362 of Patriarch Tikhon of November 7/20, 1920 in order to avoid the final
destruction of the just-begun regeneration of our Church in our Fatherland. But
our Synod, having nothing before its eyes except punitive tactics, proceeds only
on the basis of a normalized church life. Whereas the Patriarchs Resolution
had in mind the preservation of the Churchs structure in completely
unprecedented historical and ecclesiastical circumstances.
The ukaz was composed for various
cases, including means for the re-establishment of the Churchs Administration
even in conditions of its abolition (see article 9) and the extreme
disorganization of Church life. This task is placed before every surviving
hierarch, on condition that he is truly Orthodox.
The Russian Hierarchs felt themselves to
be in this position when, for two years running, their inquiries and requests to
provide support against the oppression of the Moscow Patriarchate were met with
complete silence on the part of our Synod.
Seeing the canonical chaos produced in
their dioceses by Bishop Barnabas, and the Synods silent collusion with him,
the Russian Hierarchs came to the conclusion that there was no other way of
avoiding the complete destruction of the whole enterprise but their being led by
the Patriarchs Resolution no. 362.
Our Synod unlawfully retired Bishop
Valentine for his reception of a huge parish in Noginsk,.. but did not react to
the fact that Bishop Barnabas had in a treacherous manner disgraced the Synod,
in whose name he petitioned to be received into communion with the Ukrainian
I dont know whether the full text of
Resolution no. 362 has been read at the Synod. I myself formerly paid little
attention to it, but now, having read it, I see that the Russian Hierarchs have
every right to cite it, and this fact will come to the surface in the polemic
that will inevitably take place now. I fear that by its decisions the Synod has
already opened the path to this undesirable polemic, and it threatens to create
a schism not only in Russia, but also with us here
There are things which it is impossible
to stop, and it is also impossible to escape the accomplished fact. If our Synod
does not now correctly evaluate the historical moment that has taken place, then
its already profoundly undermined prestige (especially in Russia) will be
finally and ingloriously destroyed.
All the years of the existence of the
Church Abroad we have enjoyed respect for nothing else than our uncompromising
faithfulness to the canons. They hated us, but they did not dare not to respect
us. But now we have shown the whole Orthodox world that the canons are for us an
empty sound, and we have become a laughing-stock in the eyes of all those who
have even the least relationship to Church affairs.
You yourself, at the Synod in Lesna,
allowed yourself to say that for us, the participants in it, it was now not the
time to examine the canons, but we had to act quickly. You, who are at the helm
of the ship of the Church, triumphantly, before the whole Sobor, declared to us
that we should now hasten to sail without a rudder and without sails. At that
time your words greatly disturbed me, but I, knowing your irritability with me
for insisting on the necessity of living according to the canons, nevertheless
hoped that all was not lost yet and that our Bishops would somehow shake off the
whole of this nightmare of recent years.
Think, Vladyko, of the tens of thousands
of Orthodox people both abroad and in Russia who have been deceived by us. Do
not calm yourself with the thought that if guilt lies somewhere, then it lies
equally on all of our hierarchs. The main guilt will lie on you as the leader of
Unfortunately, however, Metropolitan Vitaly
was beginning to show the same kind of condescending and contemptuous attitude
to the Russian flock which had suffered so much in its struggle for the faith,
as Archbishop Mark had been demonstrating for some time. Thus in one letter to
Bishop Valentine, after rebuking him for receiving the supposedly homosexual
Archimandrite Adrian, he wrote: We understand that, living in the Soviet
Union for these 70 years of atheist rule, such a deep seal of Sovietism and of
departure from right thinking has penetrated into the world-view of the Russian
people that you, too, were involuntarily caught up by the spirit of this
Perhaps this was the reason why he and his Synod now proceeded to dispense with
the Russian bishops without even the semblance of canonical order as if they
were so much Soviet filth', and attempted to rule the flock they so
distrusted in the most hands off' manner possible - from several thousand
miles away, declaring that the Centre of Ecclesiastical Administration for the
whole of the vast Russian Church resided in an old man in New York who had never
set foot on Russian soil!
The Second Separation.
of receiving no reply to their repeated requests that the ROCA Synod
re-establish canonical order in Russia, Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Valentine
accepted an invitation from Abbess Macrina of Lesna monastery not,
significantly, from the Synod or any individual hierarch to go to the Lesna
Sobor of the ROCA in November, 1994. Here, in spite of a very cold reception, -
both of us,' as Bishop Valentine later wrote, were in fact isolated from
the Hierarchical Sobor and its acts' - they asked forgiveness and were again
received into communion.
None of the outstanding issues dividing the two sides were discussed at that
time, but the Russian bishops did manage to ask Bishop Hilarion for explanations
of two things that worried them: the ROCAs entering into communion with the
Greek Old Calendarist Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili (which Bishop Gregory (Grabbe)
had strongly protested against), and its forthcoming negotiations (at Archbishop
Marks insistence) with members of the Moscow Patriarchate.
they were invited to join the Sobor. However, as they crossed the threshold of
the monastery church where the Sobor was in session, the Russian bishops were
handed an Act' Bishop Valentine later called it an Act of
capitulation' which had already been signed by all the ROCA bishops and
which the two Russian bishops were now told to sign. When we had cursorily
looked through this Act,' writes Bishop Valentine, I began to protest, to
which Archbishop Mark said that if we didnt want peace and did not want to
sign, we could leave the hall.' Vladyka Valentine said that both sides had to
participate in drawing up such an act, after which Bishop Hilarion, deputy
secretary of the Synod, promised that they would edit the act, taking into
account our remarks and suggestions'. Then Archbishop Lazarus agreed to sign,
and Bishop Valentine, though unwilling to sign, did not want to create a schism
among the Russian bishops by not following the lead of his senior, Archbishop
Lazarus. So they both signed. Two hours later, overcome by the extreme tension
of the occasion, Bishop Valentine suffered a heart attack and was rushed to a
hospital in Paris, where he was placed in intensive care.
Vladyka Valentine was still in hospital and in a very weak condition, two ROCA
bishops came to him, gave him communion and asked him to sign two more documents
(he does not remember what was in those documents). On returning to Lesna,
Vladyka offered a second variant of the Act to Vladyka Lazarus. Lazarus did not
want to sign this second variant, but he suggested to Vladyka Valentine that he
sign in the capacity of his deputy. So Valentine signed his own variant of the
Act and gave copies of it to both Vladyka Lazarus and the ROCA Synod.
Bishop Eutyches later witnessed that Bishop Valentines proposed changes to
the original Act were not accepted by the other bishops at the Sobor.
important result of the Lesna Sobor was the decision, on November 17/30, to
divide the parishes of the ROCA-FROC in Russia into six dioceses with
This ill-considered decision, as we shall see, was to elicit serious discontent
among the Russian clergy because of the threat it posed to the registration of
their churches. Bishop Valentine did not sign it probably because he was
already in hospital.
the same day, still more seriously, the Synod published an epistle declaring
that the time has come to seek living communion with all the parts of the One
Russian Orthodox Church, scattered by dint of historical circumstances'. This
serious compromise in the confessing stance of the ROCA vis--vis the Moscow
Patriarchate, with which it quite clearly said that it wanted better
was signed by Archbishop Lazarus but, again, not by Bishop Valentine. It was
later to be used by Archbishop Mark as an excuse for his treacherous relations
with the patriarchate.
next day, in two special ukazes, the ROCA confirmed Bishop Valentine as
ruling hierarch of the Suzdal diocese and recognized that the accusations of
immorality which had been hurled at him two years before, and which Archbishop
Mark had insisted on bringing before the Synod, although the canons forbade it,
were completely unfounded.
November 22 / December 5, having returned from hospital in Paris to the Lesna
monastery, Bishop Valentine wrote a letter to the Sobor once again explaining
the serious problems caused to the FROC by the canonical transgressions of the
ROCA. And he appealed to the ROCA bishops to relate to the FROC bishops in the
same way that the famous ROCA theologian Archbishop Averky had once (in 1971)
recommended that they relate to the Old Calendarist Greeks: Our interference
must be limited to giving the Greeks grace-filled bishops, and then we must
leave them to live independently.'
It was evident that, in spite of the restoration of communion with the ROCA,
Vladyka was still deeply worried by the intentions of the ROCA with regard to
the Russian dioceses a fear that was to prove to be more than justified
January 12/25, 1995 there was a meeting of the bishops and clergy of the FROC in
Suzdal to discuss the results of the Lesna Sobor. Besides the Act, of particular
concern to many of the clergy was the fact that the redefining of the diocesan
boundaries proposed at the Sobor would involve the necessity of re-registration
for very many parishes. Since they had achieved registration only with the
greatest difficulty in the first place, they did not of course welcome this
prospect. But more importantly, it would very probably mean that they would be
refused any registration, since the Moscow Patriarchate representatives would
insist that changing names and diocesan boundaries was unacceptable. This in
turn would very likely mean that their churches would be handed over to the
the Moscow Protopriest Michael Ardov said: Concerning the church building
which I occupy, I must say that if I transfer to Vladyka Eutyches [to whom the
ROCA had given the Moscow and St. Petersburg dioceses], what will happen? The
building is registered with the Suzdal diocese. They tell us that we are in this
building unlawfully, and that we still have to secure its transfer to us. It is
well know that [Moscow Mayor] Luzhkov is categorically against our parish. They
forced us to change our parish rules sixteen times before registering it. Of
course, I submit to the Ukaz of the Hierarchical Synod, but I have a
request for our bishops: they must take into account that this is not Canada and
not America, but a different state, and we have different perspectives.'
other priests spoke against re-registration for similar reasons.
the end of the meeting, Protopriest Andrew Osetrov posed the following question
to Bishop Eutyches: Which do you consider preferable for Russian believers
the Resolutions of the Hierarchical Synod and Sobor of the ROCA and its
First-Hierarch, or the Resolutions of the All-Russian Sobor of 1917-18 and the
holy Patriarch Tikhon?'
Eutyches replied: Preferable are the Resolutions of living hierarchs, and not
dead ones. Even if the Resolutions of the Synod of the ROCA will be uncanonical,
for me this has no significance, I must fulfil them.'
summed up the difference between the two sides. For the ROCA (and the Russian
Bishops Benjamin and Eutyches) obedience to the Synod was the ultimate value,
more important even than the holy canons which every bishops swears to uphold at
his consecration. For the FROC bishops, on the other hand, the authority of the
ROCA could not be placed higher than the objective good of their own flock,
which could be preserved only by faithfulness to the canons of the Seven
Ecumenical Councils and the highest authorities in the post-revolutionary
Russian Church the decisions of Patriarch Tikhon and the 1917-18 Council.
next day, January 13/26, the seven FROC bishops met and decided to put off a
final decision on the thorny question of the territorial division of dioceses.
When discussion passed to the Act, Bishop Eutyches said that the Act had not
been fulfilled by the Russian bishops and refused to take any further part in
the Conference. Later, in a letter to Metropolitan Vitaly dated January 17/30,
he wrote that Bishop Benjamin, convinced that the meeting completely
supported Bishop Valentine and was hostile to the Church Abroad and himself
personally, left the meeting [on January 12/25]. I participated in the meeting
to the end and was struck by the general anti-ROCA mood of the hierarchs,
priests, nuns and laymen.'
January 14/27 the Hierarchical Conference (excluding Bishops Eutyches and
Benjamin) approved a letter to the ROCA Synod, in which they wrote that the Act
approved by the Lesna Sobor was in extreme need of a series of substantial
changes to the points, and additions'. Below we quote the Act, together with
the comments of the FROC bishops (in italics):
the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA, under the presidency of the First-Hierarch,
His Eminence Metropolitan Vitaly of Eastern America and New York, and the Most
Reverend Hierarchs: Archbishop Lazarus of Odessa and Tambov and Bishop Valentine
of Suzdal and Vladimir, taking upon ourselves full responsibility before God and
the All-Russian flock, and following the commandments of the One, Holy, Catholic
and Apostolic Church, in the name of peace and love, for the sake of the
salvation of our souls and the souls of our flock, declare the following:
We recognize our mutual responsibility for the disturbances that have arisen in
the Russian [Rossijskoj] Church, but we consider that certain hasty
actions of the Hierarchical Synod cannot serve as justification for a schism in
the Russian Church and the establishment of the Temporary Higher Church
Comment by the FROC bishops:
We definitely do not agree with the
definition of the actions of the Russian hierarchs as a schism, for these
actions were a forced measure aimed at guarding the canonical rights of the
Bishop in his diocese, and the created Temporary Higher Church Administration
was formed, not in spite of, but in accordance with the will and ukaz no.
362 of the holy Patriarch Tikhon, at a time when the Hierarchical Synod of the
ROCA left the Russian hierarchs without any communications, directives, holy
Antimins or holy Chrismation.
If we recognize our mutual responsibility
for the disturbances that have arisen in the Russian Church, then it is our
right to recognize certain hasty actions of the Hierarchical Sobor and Synod as
uncanonical and as inflicting direct harm on the work of restoring true
Orthodoxy in Russia, which has served as the terminus a quo for [our]
conditional administrative separation and the formation of the Temporary Higher
The concrete intra-ecclesiastical situation
has dictated such a course of action on our part, but at the same time we have
admitted that administrative independence must
in no way automatically lead to canonical and eucharistic independence. Such
communion has not been broken by us, in spite of the one-sided decision of the
Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA.
ask each others forgiveness, so that from now on we should not reproach
anybody for the actions which lead to the division and the founding of the THCA.
Comment of the FROC bishops: It is
not a matter of reproaches but of the essence of the actions of both sides,
which have led to administrative division and the founding of the THCA. By
examining each concrete action, we would be able mutually to understand the
depth of the causes, and proceeding from that, calmly and without detriment,
remove their consequences in the present.
consider the organization of the THCA to be an unlawful act and abolish it.
Comment of the FROC bishops: The very formulation of this point
seems to us to be faulty in view of the final aim of our joint efforts.
consider the consecration of the three hierarchs: Theodore, Seraphim and
Agathangelus, which was carried out by their Graces Lazarus and Valentine, to be
unlawful. Their candidacies should be presented in the order that is obligatory
for all candidates for hierarchical rank accepted in the ROCA, and, if they turn
out to be worthy, then, after their confession of faith and acceptance of the
hierarchical oath, they will be confirmed in the hierarchical rank.
Comment of the FROC bishops: We do not agree at all that the
episcopal consecrations performed by us were not lawful. The obligatory order
for all candidates for hierarchical rank accepted in the ROCA could not be a
guide for us in our actions since at that time we were administratively
independent of the ROCA. If we approach this demand from a strictly formal point
of view, then the Hierarchical Synod should have asked us concerning our
agreement or disagreement with the new consecrations, especially the
consecration of his Grace Bishop Eutyches which was not done. In spite of
your limitation of our rights, we have recognized these consecrations and are
far from the thought of demanding a confession of faith and acceptance of the
hierarchical oath a second time, specially for us.
5. In the same way, all the other actions carried
out by Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Valentine and the THCA organized by them
which exceeded the authority of the diocesan bishops, but belonged only to the
province of the Hierarchical Sobor and Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA, are to be
considered to be invalid.
Comment of the FROC bishops: Until the moment that we ceased to
be members of the ROCA, and the THCA was formed, all our actions and suggestions
were presented for discussion and confirmation by these higher church instances.
Having conditionally separated from the ROCA in administrative matters, we were
entitled to carry out these actions.
Archbishop Lazarus is reinstated in the rights of a ruling hierarch with the
title Archbishop of Odessa and Tambov'.
Comment of the FROC bishops: The formulation of this point admits
of an ambiguous interpretation and is therefore on principle unacceptable for
us. Judging objectively, his Grace Archbishop Lazarus did not lose his rights as
a ruling bishop, in spite of the ukaz of the Hierarchical Synod
concerning his retirement. The ukaz seems to us to be canonically
ill-founded, and therefore lacking force and unrealized. We suggest the
formulation: In view of the erroneous actions of the Hierarchical Synod of
the ROCA, Archbishop Lazarus is not to be considered as having been retired and
is recognized as having the rights of the ruling hierarch of his diocese with
the title (Archbishop of Tambov and Odessa).
7. Bishop Valentine will be restored to his rights
as the ruling hierarch of Suzdal and Vladimir after the removal of the
accusations against him on the basis of an investigation by a Spiritual Court
appointed by the present Hierarchical Sobor.
Comment of the FROC bishops: The
given point is excluded, in agreement with the Ukaz of the Hierarchical
bring order into ecclesiastical matters on the territory of Russia a
Hierarchical Conference of the Russian Hierarchs is to be organized which does
not encroach on the fullness of ecclesiastical power, but which is in
unquestioning submission to the Hierarchical Sobor and the Hierarchical Synod of
the ROCA. One of the member of the Hierarchical Conference will be a member of
the Synod, in accordance with the decision of the Hierarchical Sobor.
Comment of the FROC bishops: It is
suggested that this formulation be changed, and consequently also the meaning of
the eighth point: The THCA does not encroach on the fullness of
ecclesiastical power. In certain exceptional situations it recognizes its
spiritual and administrative submission to the Hierarchical Sobor of the ROCA.
One of the members of the Hierarchical Conference will be a temporary, regular
member of the Synod, in accordance with the decision of the Hierarchical Sobor
of the ROCA and the Hierarchical Conference of the Russian Bishops.
9. After the signing of the Act it will be
published in all the organs of the church press, and in particular in those
publications in which their Graces Lazarus and Valentine published material
against the Hierarchical Sobor and Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA.
Comment of the FROC bishops: The formulation should be changed as
follows: After the signing of the Act it will be published in all the organs of
the church press, and in particular in those publications in which their Graces
Lazarus and Valentine published material explaining certain hasty actions of the
Hierarchical Synod and Sobor of the ROCA.'
January 3, Bishop Hilarion on behalf of the ROCA Synod had sent a respectfully
worded invitation to Bishops Theodore, Agathangelus and Seraphim to come to New
York for the February 9/22 session of the Synod and for the formalities of
re-establishing concelebration'. It is significant that
the Synod had also invited Bishop Eutyches, who was not
a member of the Synod but not Archbishop Lazarus, who was
a member of the Synod, as agreed at the Lesna Sobor.
Bishops Theodore and Agathangelus arrived in New York, they were listened to and
on the next day, in Bishop Agathangelus words, we were handed a Decree
of the Hierarchical Synod of the Synod of the ROCA, in which their Graces
Lazarus and Valentine, and also Bishops Theodore, Seraphim and I, were declared
to be banned from serving.
For Vladyka Theodore and me this was like a bolt from the blue We were told
that the reason for this decision was our supposed non-fulfilment of the
conciliar Act, which had been signed by, among the other Hierarchs, their Graces
Lazarus and Valentine. The point was that the conference of Russian Bishops
which had been formed in agreement with this same Act had asked for several
formulations in the Act to be changed, so as not to introduce disturbance into
the ranks of the believers by the categorical nature of certain points. This was
a request, not a demand. But, however hard we tried, we could not convince the
Synod that none of the Russian Bishops was insisting and that we were all ready
to accept the Act in the form in which it had been composed. We met with no
understanding on the part of the members of the Synod. Vladyka Theodore and I
affirmed in writing that we accepted the text of the Act in the form in which it
had been composed and asked for a postponement in the carrying out of the
Decree until the position of all the absent Russian Bishops on this
question could be clarified. In general we agreed to make any compromises if
only the Decree were not put into effect, because in essence it meant only
one thing the final break between the Russian parishes and the ROCA.
gradually came to understand that it was not any canonical transgression of the
Russian Bishops (there was none), nor any disagreement with the text of the
conciliar Act, nor, still less, any mythical avaricious aims that was the
reason for the composition of this document, which, without any trial or
investigation, banned the five Hierarchs from serving. It was the Hierarchical
Conference of the Russian Bishops, which had been established by the Council
that took place in Lesna monastery, that was the real reason giving birth to the
Decree. The Sobor of Hierarchs, moved in those days by Paschal joy
(as Metropolitan Vitaly repeated several times), finally came to create an organ
of administration in Russia which, if not independent, but subject to the Synod,
was nevertheless an organ of administration. When the Paschal joy had
passed, the Synodal Bishops suddenly realized: they had themselves reduced their
own power, insofar as, with their agreement, Hierarchs could meet in vast Russia
and discuss vital problems. Before that, the Church Abroad had not allowed
itself to behave like that. And it was this, unfortunately, that the foreign
Archpastors could not bear. On receiving for confirmation the protocols of the
first session of the Hierarchical Conference with concrete proposals to improve
Church life in Russia, the foreign Bishops were completely nonplussed. Therefore
a reason that did not in fact exist was thought up the supposed non-fulfilment
of the Act.
members of the Synod, exceeding their authority, since such decisions are in the
competence of the Sobor, decided, by means of canonical bans, to confirm their
sole authority over the whole of Russia both historical Russia and Russia
abroad. The very foundations of the Church Abroad as a part of the Russian
Church living abroad were trampled on, and the Synod on its own initiative
ascribed to itself the rights and prerogatives of the Local Russian Church.
did not even ponder the fact that, in banning at one time five Hierarchs, it was
depriving more than 150 parishes that is many thousands of Orthodox people
of archpastoral care. Cancelling the labour of many years of Hierarchs,
priests and conscious, pious laymen in our Fatherland.
Russia a very real war is now being waged for human souls; every day is full of
work. Depriving Orthodox Christians of their pastors without any objective
reason witnesses to the haughtiness and lack of love towards our country and its
people on the part of the members of the Synod Abroad. We, the Orthodox from
Russia, are called common people by Metropolitan Vitaly (thank you,
Theodore and I were promised that, in exchange for our treachery, we would be
confirmed in our hierarchical rank. And it was even proclaimed that we would be
appointed to foreign sees. For us personally, who were born and brought up in
Russia, this was very painful to hear'
act of blackmail we recognize you if you accept a foreign see, but do not
recognize you if you stay in Russia exposed the complete lack of canonical
justification in the acts of the ROCA Synod. Let us recall that: (a) Bishops
Theodore and Agathangelus had just been formally recognized as canonical
bishops, (b) they had agreed in writing to fulfil all of the ROCA Synods
conditions, including the signing of the Act without any alterations, (c) they
had not been accused of any canonical transgressions, and (d) they had not been
subjected to any investigation or trial, as the canons demanded. Their only
crime, it would appear, was that they lived in Russia a novel charge against
a bishop of the Russian Church!
February 11/24 the ROCA Synod issued an epistle which for the first time
contained a semblance of canonical justification in the form of a list of canons
supposedly transgressed by the five Russian bishops. Unfortunately, they clearly
had no relevance to the matter in hand. Thus what relevance could the 57th
Canon of the Council of Carthage On the Donatists and the children
baptized by the Donatists' have to the bishops of the Free Russian
February 15/28, Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) wrote to Bishop Valentine: I cannot
fail to express my great sorrow with regard to the recent Church events.
Moreover, I wish to say to you that I was glad to get to know Vladykas Theodore
and Agathangelus better. They think well and in an Orthodox manner. It is
amazing that our foreign Bishops should not have valued them and should have
treated them so crudely in spite of all the acts and the whole unifying tendency
which was just expressed by Metropolitan Vitaly at the last Sobor. The whole
tragedy lies in the fact that even the latter wanted to construct everything
solely on foreign forces that do not have the information necessary to decide
problems which are strange and unfamiliar to them. Therefore they do not want to
offer this [task] to the new forces that have arisen in Russia.
a result, we are presented with the complete liquidation of these healthy
forces. This is a great victory of the dark forces of our Soviet enemies of
Orthodoxy in the persons of the Moscow Patriarchate.
am glad that you will not give in to them, and I pray God that He help you to
carry on the Orthodox cause, apparently without the apostate forces of Orthodox
next month Archbishop Valentine recounted these events in a Lenten letter to his
flock, and continued: This second
instance of administrative pressure on the Russian Hierarchs, and, moreover, in
such an undisguisedly cunning form,
when flattering mentions and assurances of friendship and invitations came in
the name of the Synod of the ROCA, while in fact another attempt to usurp
power over the Russian flock was taking place, forces me to make certain
November 7/20, 1920 the holy Patriarch Tikhon together with the Sacred Synod and
the Higher Ecclesiastical Council of the Russian Church passed the exceptionally
important Resolution no. 362 concerning the self-governing of Dioceses in the
case of the absence of a canonical Higher Church Administration or the
impossibility of communicating with it. On the basis of this Ukaz,
Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) organized the Hierarchical Synod of the
Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. In Russia on the basis of this Ukaz there
was organized the Catacomb or Tikhonite' Church under the leadership of its
inspirer, the holy New Martyr Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd. In its time the
Russian Orthodox Church Abroad helped in the establishment of a lawful hierarchy
in Russia, consecrating to the Episcopate their Graces Lazarus, Valentine and
Benjamin. Instead of expanding the Church in the Homeland, there appeared the
temptation of ruling it from abroad, declaring itself the Central Church
Authority, which is what the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA did in practice
in April, 1994 (cf. Suzdalskij Palomnik, special issue, NN 18,19,20).
But then a declaration was made concerning the supposedly unlawful
creation by the Russian Hierarchs, on the basis of Ukaz no. 362, of a
Temporary Higher Church Administration, whereas the Ukaz no. 362 of
Patriarch Tikhon of November 7/20 said directly: The care for the
organization of a Higher Church authority is the unfailing duty of the eldest
according to rank of the Hierarchs in the indicated group.
freedom and the dignities of the Bishops based on the Holy Canons do not permit
administrative arbitrariness and do not give the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA
the right to the supreme administration of the Church. And our following of the
Canons and Ukaz no. 362, which was specially written for the Russian
Dioceses existing in identical conditions, cannot give an excuse to whoever it
may be to declare the Russian Hierarchs to be in some kind of schism.
Having neither reasons, nor lawful authority or canonical rights to ban
the Russian Hierarchs, the Chancellery of the Synod of the ROCA is only
witnessing, in the latest incident, to a deep
crisis in the administration of the ROCA itself, when the President of the
Hierarchical Synod Metropolitan Vitaly is not able to control the resolutions
and ukazes issuing from the Chancellery of the Synod. It is impossible to
take the documents signed by Vladyka Metropolitan Vitaly seriously when in the
course of less than a year their meaning has several times changed to the
complete opposite. It is impossible to
believe that in the punitive actions of the Russian Hierarchs that have
now become quite usual there is contained love for Russia, about which the
hierarchs of the ROCA speak so eloquently. It is impossible to look on with
indifference as, instead of building up the Church in the much-suffering
Homeland, they incessantly divide territory, as a result of which churches
of the FROC fall into the hands of the Moscow Patriarchate.'
February 27 / March 12, 1995 Archbishops Lazarus and Valentine and Bishops
Theodore, Seraphim and Agathangelus met in Suzdal and re-established the THCA
which had been created on March 5/18, 1994. Then they decided: To qualify the
Decree of the Hierarchical Sobor [sic Synod would have been more
accurate] of the ROCA of February 9/22 and the claims contained in it to
leadership of the whole Russian Church by the Hierarchical Synod and the
First-Hierarch of the ROCA as exceeding their authority and a transgression of
the Holy Canons and the Statute of the ROCA. In particular, the 8th
Canon of the Third Ecumenical Council has been transgressed, which declares:
May the haughtiness of secular power not creep in under the guise of sacred
acts; and may we not lose, little by little and without it being noticed, the
freedom which our Lord Jesus Christ, the Liberator of all men, has given us
through His Blood. And so it is pleasing to the Holy and Ecumenical Council that
every Diocese should preserve in purity and without oppression the rights that
belonged to it from the beginning And if anyone should propose any resolution
contrary to this, let it be invalid.'
is significant that it was precisely this Canon that was quoted by Hieromartyr
Joseph, Metropolitan of Petrograd, when he laid the foundations for the Catacomb
Church in January, 1928. And indeed, the arguments between the ROCA and the FROC
increasingly came to resemble the arguments between Metropolitan Sergius and the
Catacomb Church, on the one hand, and Sergius and the foreign bishops who
separated from him, on the other. The issue in 1928-30, as in 1995, was the
question: who, if anyone, had the power to create a central organ of Church
administration having full patriarchal power to rule over all the bishops of the
Russian Church? Metropolitan Sergius then, like Metropolitan Vitaly today,
claimed that he had such power, and proceeded to act with greater fierceness and
disregard for the canons than any real pope or patriarch. But the Catacomb
bishops then, like the FROC bishops today, claimed that since the death of the
last canonical Patriarch and the imprisonment of his locum tenens,
Metropolitan Peter, there was no alternative but to return to the decentralized
form of Church administration prescribed by the never-repealed Patriarchal ukaz
to the ukaz, neighbouring bishops in
identical circumstances could voluntarily
unite into TCHAs and govern themselves as autonomous Churches until the
convening of the next canonical Sobor of the whole Russian Church. But (a)
bishops living in different States and separated by thousands of miles of ocean
obviously do not live in identical circumstances, and (b) no group of bishops or
TCHA has power over any other TCHA, nor can it claim to have rule over the whole
Russian Church, so that (c) full patriarchal power can belong only to the future
Local Council of the All-Russian Church and the organs elected by it. To these
restrictions must be added, for hierarchs of the ROCA, those detailed in its
still-unrepealed Statute, that is: (a) the ROCA is only a part of the Russian Church, like any other TCHA or autonomous group
of bishops, and certainly not its real centre,
as it has recently claimed; (b) its administrative powers extend only over the
Church Abroad, outside Russia; (c) it
must continue to commemorate the Episcopate of the Russian Church' that
is, of the Church inside Russia; and
(d) even its powers over the Church Abroad are valid only until the fall of the
atheist power, when power returns to the Church inside Russia
three and a half years since the second schism between the ROCA and the FROC,
the situation has not changed in essence. Almost immediately after the events of
February, 1995, frightened by the threat of defrocking by the ROCA Synod,
Archbishop Lazarus and his vicar, Bishop Agathangelus, left the FROC and
returned, repenting', to the ROCA. But what has always,
since 1990, been the core of the ROCA-FROC inside Russia, the Suzdal diocese,
has remained firm, and has in fact increased in strength.
accordance with a resolution of the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA in 1996, the
Hierarchical Conference of the Russian Bishops was stripped of what little power
it had: its representation in the ROCA was annulled, and not one of the Russian
bishops entered into the ROCA Synod. At the same Council meeting Bishop
Valentine was defrocked. The FROC, naturally, refused to recognize this
The desertion of Archbishop Lazarus
requires some comment. The secret consecration of Fr. Lazarus (Zhurbenko) was
the first major mistake of the ROCA inside Russia. It was surprising in that the
ROCA might have been expected to consecrate, not the newly appeared Lazarus, but
one of the fourteen hieromonks who had been received under the omophorion
of Metropolitan Philaret on November 26 / December 7, 1977, after the death of
their Catacomb archpastor, Archbishop Anthony Galynsky-Mikhailovsky, in 1976.
Moreover, there were other distinguished Catacomb pastors with links to the ROCA,
such as Fr. Michael Rozhdestvensky (+1988), who would have been eminently
suitable candidates for the episcopate.
Besides, the career of Fr. Lazarus himself
had not been without controversy. Although he had been reared in the Catacomb
Church, and had been in the camps, he had been refused ordination to the
priesthood by three Catacomb hierarchs, including Archbishop Anthony
Galynsky-Mikhailovsky all of whom he later accused, by a strange
coincidence, of being uncanonical. He then joined the Moscow Patriarchate and
received ordination there from a certain Bishop Benjamin of Irkutsk. Only a year
later, he returned to the Catacomb Church in Siberia, and was instrumental,
according to some catacomb sources, in sowing such suspicion against the
Catacomb Bishop Theodosius Bahmetev (+1986) that almost the whole of his flock
Some even accuse him of having betrayed Catacomb Christians to the KGB. Be that
as it may and such accusations are easily made, but much less easily proved
there can be no doubt that a large part of the Catacomb Church distrusted
Lazarus and refused to have anything to do with him. This was true both of the
moderates' and the extremists' in the Catacomb Church, both of the
Seraphimo-Gennadiite' branch, led by Metropolitan Epiphany (Kaminsky),
of the Matthewites' led by Schema-Monk Epiphany (Chernov),
and of the passportless' branch represented by the Catacomb Archimandrite
Gury (Pavlov), who, when about to be consecrated to the episcopate in New York
in 1990 by the ROCA, categorically refused when he heard that Lazarus was going
to be a co-consecrator.
It was true also of Fr. Michael
Rozhdestvensky. He was the initiator of the complete rejection of the then
priest Lazarus Zhurbenko because of the latters departing to the MP for his
ordination. At a meeting of catacomb clergy in the city of Tambov in 1978, in
the presence of the still-flourishing Abbot P, Fr. Vissarion and others, Fr.
Michael confirmed this position. This decision was supported in those years by
all without exception of the catacomb clergy. But later, when Vladyka Barnabas
was searching for a worthy candidate for consecration to the rank of Bishop of
the Catacomb Church, Fr. Lazarus (then already a hieromonk) craftily suggested
the widowed Fr. Michael and himself was called to invite him to be consecrated
to the episcopate. On receiving the invitation with the signature of Hieromonk
Lazarus (Zhurbenko), Fr. Michael Rozhdestvensky, naturally, did not go. Vladyka
Barnabas was left with neither a choice nor time, and he was forced to
consecrate Hieromonk Lazarus to the episcopate. Fr. Michaels position in
relation to Vladyka Lazarus remained unchanging to the very end of his life [in
But not only did the ROCA consecrate Fr.
Lazarus instead of eminently more suitable candidates such as Fr. Michael: they
used his testimony as their sole guide to the canonicity or otherwise of the
other Catacomb bishops in Russia. Thus on May 5/18, 1990 the ROCA Synod reversed
the previous decision of the Synod under Metropolitan Philaret to recognize
Archbishop Anthony-Mikhailovsky and his ordinations, and told the priests
ordained by him to regulate their canonical position by turning towards his
Grace Bishop Lazarus of Tambov and Morshansk'. Again, on August 2/15, 1990
another Ukaz was distributed (but not published in the Church press)
which rejected the canonicity both of the Seraphimo-Gennadiite' and the
Galynskyite' branches of the Catacomb Church, causing widespread havoc in
both. Thus one Seraphimo-Gennadiite' priest from Moscow took off his cross,
saying that he was not a priest according to the ROCA and went to Bishop Lazarus
to be reordained. His flock, suddenly abandoned, scattered in different
The main accusation against the hierarchs
of these branches was that they could not prove their apostolic succession by
producing ordination certificates, as required by the 33rd Apostolic
Canon. This was, of course, a serious deficiency; but in view of both groups
favourable attitude towards the ROCA, it would seem to have been more reasonable
and charitable to have talked with them directly, learned their history and
their point of view on the problem, and discussed with them some way of
correcting this deficiency without resorting to the punitive measures of a papal
curia. And such a charitable, unifying attitude to the various Catacomb groups
had been urged alas, without success - by Bishop Gregory (Grabbe).
Archbishop Hilarion has recently admitted to the present writer: The
statement which I signed as Deputy Secretary of the Synod was based entirely on
the information given to us by Archbishop Lazarus. He reported to the Synod on
the different groups of the Catacombs and convinced the members of the Synod (or
the Council I dont recall offhand which) that their canonicity was
questionable and in some instances their purity of doctrine as well (e.g.
imyabozhniki). The Synod members hoped (naively) that this would convince the
catacomb groups to rethink their position and seek from the Russian Church
Abroad correction of their orders to guarantee apostolic succession. We now see
that it was a mistake to issue the statement and to have based our understanding
of the catacomb situation wholly on the information provided by Vl. Lazarus. I
personally regret this whole matter very much and seek to have a better
understanding of and a sincere openness towards the long-suffering confessors of
the Russian Catacombs.'
So Bishop Lazarus used the authority of the
ROCA to take his revenge on Catacomb bishops who had displeased him and to have
himself exalted above the Russian flock in their place.
He was therefore the first instrument - and the first beneficiary - of the
ROCAs policy of divide and rule' towards the Catacomb Church. As such,
he could not afford to break his links with the Synod that had promoted him, and
ran back to it with his tail between his legs.
But his return to the ROCA has not meant
better times for his flock in the Ukraine. Thus Hieromonk Hilarion (Goncharenko),
in a petition for transfer from the ROCA to the FROC, wrote: Vladyka Lazarus
together with the Synod Abroad has cunningly and finally destroyed the whole
Church in the Ukraine. My former friends and brothers in the Lord have.. turned
to me with tearful sobs and the painful question: 'What are we to do now in the
stormy and destructive situation that has been created?'
Similar disturbances have taken place in
other dioceses of the ROCA inside Russia. Thus Bishop Eutyches has been accused
of serious dogmatical errors related to ecumenism.
Thus the ROCA, which had a golden
opportunity to gather all the anti-MP Catacomb Church forces under its wing in
the early 1990s, only succeeded in creating further divisions and weakening the
witness of the True Church. The good it did by consecrating such good pastors as
Bishop Valentine was almost outweighed by the harm it did by undermining Bishop
Valentine and the Suzdal diocese, by consecrating hirelings and wolves who only
brought division to the flock of Christ, and by in general acting like foreign
dictators reminiscent of the MP hierarchs. Experienced Catacomb Christians soon
discerned the signs, and fled from the spirit of sergianism (and ecumenism) in
the ROCA as they had fled from it in the MP.
It has been left to the FROC to take up the
burden which the ROCA has failed to carry. Thus it is she, rather than the ROCA,
which is now gathering the Catacomb Christians under her wing - but without
issuing bans against those groups which do not recognize her authority. In
accordance with the Patriarchal Ukaz, she has sought friendly relations
with, but not administrative rule over, the other truly Orthodox groups in
Russia in the spirit of love that must characterize all relationships within the
Church. She claims neither to be the one and only Russian Church, nor to be the
administrative centre of the Russian Church. But she has pledged to work towards
the convening of that future canonical Local Council of the Russian Church which
she, like the ROCA in previous decades, recognizes to be the highest authority
in the Church and the only competent judge of the actions of all her constituent
What are the prospects of reunion between
the FROC and the ROCA? In the present writers opinion, this can only take
place under one or other of two possible conditions:-
1. A complete change of heart in the ROCA Synod towards the FROC and
repentance for its past canonical transgressions, involving: (a) fitting
punishment of those who have wrought such havoc in Russia in recent years,
especially Archbishop Mark of Berlin; (b) the removal of all bans on the FROC
bishops; (c) the recognition of the FROCs autonomy in accordance with the
Such a change of heart looks unlikely in
view of the events of recent years, when the ascendancy of Archbishop Mark over
the ROCA Synod has become more and more marked. His shameful negotiations with
KGB Agent Drozdov', i.e. Patriarch' Alexis Ridiger, in December, 1996,
and his part in forcing Metropolitan Vitaly to expel the confessors of Hebron
and Jerusalem and apologize before the PLO President Arafat in July, 1997, have
shocked the Orthodox world. In the Sobor of May, 1998, after Mark had been
removed from the Synod by the First-Hierarch, a golden opportunity presented
itself to have this evil genius of the Russian Church finally removed from
power; but the opportunity was lost.
the ROCAs drift towards unity with the MP continues unabated; having rid
itself of the Soviet filth' of the FROC, the majority of its bishops are
now hypocritically ready to unite with the Mother Church' of the Soviet MP.
Indeed, having renounced the great majority of the truly confessing Christians
in Russia, it is only logical that the ROCA should seek an alliance with the
other side, perhaps on the basis of an autonomous status for the ROCA within the
Moscow Patriarchate. After all, Church life does not stand still, but
continually moves between the poles of good and evil, life and death; so that a
movement away from one pole inevitably involves a movement closer to the other
of this there remains the other possibility: 2.
A schism in the ROCA allowing the right-thinking Christians in it both inside
Russia and abroad, to separate from their Sovietizing hierarchs and be reunited
with the confessing Christians of other Russian Church jurisdictions.
Already there are many members of the ROCA inside Russia who sympathize with,
and by no means reject, their brothers in the FROC. Both they and the FROC are
suffering persecution from the MP; both they and the FROC have suffered the
effects of the ROCAs maladministration and (in the case of certain hierarchs)
outright treachery. It is only logical, therefore, that these two groups, having
an identical faith and being in identical conditions' (to use the language
of the Patriarchal Ukaz), should reunite when the time is right that is,
when the complete failure of the ROCAs mission inside Russia becomes evident
there must be no forcing, no exertion of power at the expense of love. That is
the primary lesson of these tragic years since the fall of Soviet power. Lest
little by little and without it being noticed, we lose the freedom which our
Lord Jesus Christ, the Liberator of all men, has given us through His
26 / October 9, 1998.
of St. John the Theologian.
By November, 2000, the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church had eight bishops, six
in Russia, one in the Ukraine and one in Latvia, with about 150 above-ground
parishes and 300 catacomb parishes.
APPENDIX 1: LETTER OF BISHOP GREGORY GRABBE TO METROPOLITAN VITALY
Most Reverend Vladyko!
a very long time now in fact, since the first days of your leadership of our
Church Abroad I have with great anxiety and turmoil of heart been tracing
how quickly she has begun to slide into the abyss of administrative disorder and
this time I have suppressed within myself the desire to express openly to you my
anxiety for the destinies of our Church Abroad, mainly out of worry that every
utterance of mine will be taken by you as an expression of personal offence.
me, Vladyko, although I could not fail to have the feeling of a certain chagrin
in relation to member of the Council and you personally, by the mercy of God I
have nourished no unfriendly feelings towards anyone. As you yourself know, I
have by all means tried, and I am still trying, in the first place to be ruled
by the interests of our Church, both abroad and in Russia.
very much beseech you patiently to listen to my observations concerning the
years when I ceased to be secretary of the Synod. Although I no longer bear any
formal responsibility for the later destinies of our Church, I cannot look with
indifference at what is now happening before my eyes.
woes began with the first Hierarchical Council to take place after the death of
order to illustrate the relationship of the members of the Council of that time
to myself, please recall the speech made at the banquet on the occasion of your
election. Then Protopriest Ioann Legky, as he then was, in greeting you, said
that he was glad that in my person you would have such an experienced and
faithful assistant as had had your three predecessors.
my extreme surprise, in looking through the protocols at the end of the Council,
I saw that his speech had been received as an insult to the whole
Hierarchical Council. This amazing resolution remained in the protocol as
an instruction to posterity.
this time you suggested that I keep the parishes in my jurisdiction and add to
them some more from Pennsylvania. In accordance with your direction, I then
composed a list of the parishes which should enter my diocese. But when I
arrived at the session, you detained my report on this matter and sharply
attacked me for my bankruptcy as an administrator and in effect gave me an
ultimatum: either I myself had to put in an application for retirement, or I
would be judged by the Council, although it was not known what for. Seeing that
both you and the majority of the members of the Council were seeking an
opportunity to drive me out of your midst, I made a declaration about my
retirement for the sake of ecclesiastical peace, although I felt absolutely no
guilt that would have merited a trial or dismissal. It was said that the reason
for the Council members dissatisfaction was my unskilful administration of
affairs in Rome, although at that time I had completely supported the opinion of
the person sent there as investigator, Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles.
the reposed Archbishop Seraphim of Chicago, in spite of being ill with the
illness that led to his death, wrote you a decisive protest against my illegal
dismissal from the see of Washington and Florida.
the same Council there was an unexpected declaration that Archbishop Laurus had
been appointed as Secretary of the Synod, and Bishop Hilarion as his Deputy.
This change in Secretary did not figure on the Councils agenda. I myself had
to point out to the Council that in appointing whoever it may be to a post, one
must first make that post free from the other person occupying it. I immediately
announced my retirement. However, I could not fail to be worried by the fact
which the members of the Council did not want to take into consideration
that the new Secretary of the Synod would be living 200 kilometres from the
Chancellery, while his deputy was a man completely inexperienced in chancellery
my very hasty removal from the post of Secretary of the Synod (although it was
called different things at different times) after 55 years of service to the
Church Abroad must have demonstrated to our enemies that a revolution had taken
place among us, which would undoubtedly be badly reflected on the prestige of
the Synod. I myself had to point this out to you in my concern for preserving
the dignity of the Synod at the given time. Apparently you yourself felt a
certain awkwardness at that time, and you expressed your gratitude to me in a
laconical way. It is also worthy of note that I was treated like a guilty
chamber-maid precisely in the year in which the Council resolved triumphantly to
celebrate the 50th anniversary of the death of Metropolitan Anthony [Khrapovitsky].
The Council completely ignored the fact that I was not only appointed to work in
the Synod by the personal desire of the Metropolitan, but also that I was one of
his closest and most trusted co-workers.
view of this, my daughter [Matushka Anastasia Georgievna Shatilova] refused the
responsibilities of Record-Keeper of the Chancellery. For the last four decades
she had been my unofficial secretary and closest co-worker. She already had
enormous experience of work in ecclesiastical administration. In unconditionally
accepting her resignation, you thereby deprived the Synodal Chancellery of its
my and her departure, the Department of External Relations of the Synod was
immediately closed. This Department had been acquiring a greater and greater
significance in the eyes of the other Orthodox Churches. Reprints from the
Newsheet' that it published had already begun to appear in the official
organs of some local Churches. This was a fresh blow at the prestige of the
the disorganisation of our Chancellery I can judge from a series of signs. Thus
I was sent from Russia copies of your letters to Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop
Valentine. First, I very soon managed to find out that these documents were
unknown to both Secretaries of the Synod, to whom I handed over these copies.
Moreover, the very subject of these letters, by the delicacy of their content,
demanded their presentation by you for discussion in the Hierarchical Synod. But
it turned out that the letters were not only dispatched without the knowledge of
the Secretaries, but also had a whole series of other defects which quite
clearly demonstrated the bankruptcy of your personal Chancellery. Although
Russian notepaper was available, the letters to Russia were sent on English
notepaper; they not only had no numbers, but even no dates. In the letter to
Archbishop Lazarus there was no indication of whom it was being sent to, while
Bishop Valentines title was incomplete. Finally, the very text of the letters
was by no means brilliant grammatically and stylistically. Moreover, it also
emerged (which is especially terrible) that at the bottom of both letters was
not your signature in your own hand, but a facsimile!
Synodal House ceased to exist as the centre of our administration. The sessions
of the Synods and Councils were usually arranged in any place, only not in the
Synodal House. Besides, you are rarely in New York, Vladyka Hilarion is often
away, and the Chancellery in his absence does not function in our former
centre there is often not a single responsible person capable of giving correct
information, or of understanding what to do with information received from
outside. Often the responsible person turns out to be the telephonist on
duty at the time.
have been many complaints against your secretary on the part of clergy visiting
the Synod, mainly because of her crudeness and unwelcomingness. I know of cases
when she refused to connect you by telephone even with Bishops. I personally
have more than once been in such a situation. However, in refusing to connect me
with you, she was polite to me. But her often provocative behaviour has drawn
censure also on you personally, for much is said and done by her in your name.
Synodal cathedral, which was always famous for its well-ordered and very
majestic cathedral services, has for a long time now not had even one permanent
priest. Vladyka Hilarion tries to fulfil the role of such a priest as well as he
can. But people who turn to the Synod for the carrying out of needs in his
absence are often refused in a less than polite manner.
constantly changing priests in the cathedral read Church Slavonic with evident
difficulty, making mistakes even in often-repeated Saturday Gospels.
are no better in the Eastern American diocese. I have often had to hear the
complaints of our priests about the fact that since the time you became the head
of this diocese there has not been a single diocesan Congress, in spite of the
fact that at pastoral congresses you have been asked insistently about this by
the father rectors. Many priests feel that you have abandoned this diocese when
they learn that there have been diocesan congresses in Canada.
have begun to be concerned at the danger of losing the guarantee of keeping
their parish property. Thus the property of the Eastern American diocese and of
the parish at Glen Cove attached to it has suddenly been declared to be the
property of the Hierarchical Synod. For a long time now the Synod has been
aiming to close down this parish, and to sell the dioceses property for its
regards our affairs in Russia, you yourself know how many reports I have made on
this issue. Not once have I received any kind of reaction, neither from you
personally, nor from the Synod Chancellery.
was particularly distressed by the ban you imposed on me in March preventing me
from personally presenting my report to the Synod and from taking part in the
deliberations on its contents. This is a completely unprecedented case in the
history of the Church Abroad. I do not know of a single case in which a Bishop
was refused the right of publishing his report to the Synod.
actuality of my report has been confirmed by the events that took place one
after the other in Russia. A correctly ordered administration should anticipate
events, and not simply react to them hastily, which is quite obviously what is
happening now. As a result we have brought the matter of the possible
regeneration of the Church in Russia to the most undesirable of ends.
on by envy and spite, certain of our Bishops have influenced the whole course of
our Church politics in Russia. As a consequence of this, our Synod has not
understood the meaning of the existence of our mission abroad.
I warned the Synod in my last report, we have done absolutely everything
possible to force the Russian Bishops to separate from us administratively.
have had to proceed from Resolution No. 362 of Patriarch Tikhon of November
7/20, 1920, so as to prevent the final destruction of the just-beginning
regeneration of the Russian Church in our Fatherland. But our Synod, having
nothing before its eyes except punitive tactics, has proceeded only from the
positions of normalised ecclesiastical life. But the Patriarchs Resolution
had in mind the preservation of ecclesiastical construction in completely
unprecedented historical and ecclesiastical circumstances.
ukaz was composed for various cases, including the means of restoring the
Church Administration in conditions when it had even ceased to be (cf. article
9) and the extreme disorganisation of Church life'. This is the task placed
before any surviving hierarch, provided only that he truly Orthodox.
Russian Hierarchs felt themselves to be in this position when, for almost two
years in a row, their enquiries and requests to receive support against the
oppression of the Moscow Patriarchate were met with complete silence on the part
of our Synod.
the canonical chaos caused in their dioceses by Bishop Barnabas, and the silent
connivance towards him of the Synod, the Russian Hierarchs came to the
conclusion that they had no other way of preventing the destruction of the whole
enterprise than by being ruled by the patriarchal Resolution No. 362.
Synod unlawfully pushed Bishop Valentine into retirement for accepting the huge
parish in Noginsk, which Bishop Barnabas hoped to receive for himself, but did
not react in any way when the same Bishop Barnabas treacherously shamed the
Synod by petitioning to be received into communion with a Ukrainian
self-consecrator in the name of the Synod!
do not know whether you have read the full text of the Resolution of November
7/20 at a session of the Synod. I myself earlier paid little attention to it,
but now, on reading it through, I see that the Russian Bishops have every right
to refer to it, and this fact will be revealed in the polemic that will now
inevitably develop. I fear that the Synod has already opened the way to this
undesirable polemic by its decisions, and it will betoken a schism not only in
Russia, but also with us here
are things which cannot be stopped, and it is also impossible to walk away from
an accomplished fact. If our Synod does not now correctly evaluate the passing
historical moment, then its already infinitely undermined prestige (especially
in Russia) will be finally and ingloriously destroyed.
all the years of the existence of the Church Abroad we have enjoyed respect and
glory for nothing else than for our uncompromising faithfulness to the canons.
They hated us, but they did not dare not to respect us. But now we have shown
the whole Orthodox world that the canons are for us just an empty sound and we
have become a laughing-stock in the eyes of all those who have any kind of
relationship to Church questions.
you yourself, at the Council in Lesna, permitted yourself to say that for us,
the participants in it, this was not now the time to examine canons, but we had
to act quickly. You, holding the tiller of the ecclesiastical ship,
triumphantly, in front of the whole Council, declared to us that now we had to
hasten to sail without a rudder and without sails. At that time your words
appalled me, but I, knowing of your irritation towards me because I insist that
we have to live in accordance with the canons, still hoped that all was not lost
and that our Bishops would somehow shake off the whole nightmare of these last
Vladyko, of the tens of thousands of Orthodox people we have deceived both
abroad and in Russia. Dont calm yourself with the thought that if there is
some guilt somewhere, then it lies equally on all our hierarchs. The main guilt
will lie on you, as the leader of our Council. I have had to hear from some
Bishops that sometimes the Synod decrees one thing, and then you, taking no
account of previous resolutions, on your own initiative either change them or
simply rescind them.
look now, as has already become quite well known, after the stormy March session
of the Synod, it dispersed without making a single resolution. During it the
question was discussed of banning the Russian Hierarchs from serving.
Nevertheless, you demanded that the Secretariat that it send of an ukaz
banning bishops who were not even under investigation. Both from the point of
view of the 34th Apostolic canon, and from an
ecclesiastical-administrative point of view, this is unprecedented lawlessness.
Vladyko, your reproachful speech against Metropolitan Philaret, when in 1985 you
for ten minutes non-stop fulminated against him for transgressing the 34th
Apostolic canon. The crimes of Metropolitan Philaret seem to me to be miniscule
by comparison with what is happening now. He only occasionally gave awards to
clergy of other dioceses at the request of his cell-attendant, but never
interfered in the affairs of the dioceses of his brothers. But that is what both
you personally and certain of our Bishops have begun to do. Fr. Nikita was not
able to get the reposed Metropolitan Philaret to commit those uncanonical acts
in which the activity of Bishop Barnabas and certain other bishops abound
with the silent agreement of you as the First Hierarch, who must know all these
me, Vladyko, if my letter grieves you. My aim is not, and never has been, to
wound or offend you. In going through the results of your rule in recent years
in chronological order my aim was by no means to complain about my own fate.
You of course must know that I have not once expressed any offence or complaint
of a personal character. I write this letter only in order to show you clearly
how we have come off the canonical rails since 1985, we have more and more begun
to depart from the basic ecclesiastical canons and rulers of our Local Church
and now we have reduced all our affairs in Russia and abroad to the saddest
was a witness of, and participant in, the glorious period in the life of the
Church Abroad, and now with pain I look on what I consider to be what is already
its inglorious end.
growth of our parishes abroad has ceased since the death of Metropolitan
Philaret. We have no candidates to fill the hierarchical sees, which witnesses
to the fact that we are gradually becoming smaller. And now at this portentous
moment we are simply renouncing the link with Russia that was established with
Synod must understand that we by our actions have elicited the speedy
administrative departure from us of the Russian Hierarchs. It had to happen one
way or another on the basis of the Resolution of Patriarch Tikhon of November
7/20, 1920 and of our own Statute concerning the Russian Orthodox Church
Abroad'. If we do not now understand this, then we only demonstrate before the
whole world our bankruptcy and our failure to understand the whole historic
mission laid upon us by the Providence of God.
their resolution of March 22 the Russian Hierarchs declared that they remained
in communion of prayer with us and commemorated you in the Divine services, but
we, instead of understanding the unprecedented state of ecclesiastical affairs
in Russia, and not thinking about building up the Church or of the tens of
thousands of people deceived by us reply to everything only with canons
which were meant to be used in normal conditions.
is absolutely necessary for you sharply and decisively to turn the rudder of our
administration in the direction of keeping the canons, before it is too late.
do not allow your name in the history of the Russian Church to be linked, not
with the peaceful construction of Church life, but with its abrupt and shameful
destruction both in Russia and abroad.
24 / April 6, 1994
2. ON RECENT EVENTS IN CHURCH LIFE IN RUSSIA AND ABROAD
Independent Opinion of Bishop Gregory (Grabbe))
conciliar decrees on the matter of the Russian bishops that have come to me
cannot fail to elicit perplexity in all those who have any acquaintance at all
with the canons of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The very fact that Bishops Theodore and
Agathangelus were summoned, without the slightest qualifications, to a session
of the Synod witnesses to the recognition of their hierarchical consecrations.
This is especially obvious if we remember the joyful declarations of the
President of the Council [in Lesna, in December, 1994] concerning the decrees
that had previously been accepted opening the way to a peaceful resolution of
all the problems of the Church Administration in Russia. Bishops Theodore and
Agathangelus came to the session of the Synod on the basis of precisely this
understanding of their status. However, completely unexpectedly for us, the
Synod raised the question, not even of whether their episcopate should be
doubted, but of banning them from serving with the threat of defrocking five out
of the seven Russian Bishops, which, if the Bishops from Russia had entered the
ranks of the Church Abroad should have been carried out in the definite legal
procedure laid out in the Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. But we
should not forget that one of the especially important legal principles of the
above-mentioned Statute was that all its rules had in mind only the affairs of
the Church Abroad, but by no means the affairs of the Church in Russia. In the
whole Statute there is not one word about entrusting the Hierarchical
Synod or its President with authority over the Church in Russia. Of course, this
does not exclude help for the Church in Russia. However, there is a great
difference between help and jurisdiction.
If we turn to the decree of his Holiness
Patriarch Tikhon of November 7/20, 1920, there hierarchs are allowed to render
help in the forming of a temporary Administration in Russia, but not to assume
for themselves ecclesiastical authority over the whole of Russia. It was this
kind of help that the Church Abroad rendered when she consecrated Bishops for
Russia, because of the communists annihilation of the whole lawful Russian
hierarchy. That was enough for a beginning.
When local parishes began to appear,
together with local legislation concerning them, a series of completely new
questions arose. With the growth in the number of parishes in the conditions of
competition with the Moscow Patriarchate that had betrayed the truth, problems
began to arise that were not always comprehensible for the [bishops] abroad. The
administration abroad, not being sufficiently acquainted with all the aspects of
Church life in Russia, as often as not was silent, but from time to time took
upon itself the labour of issuing decrees for the Church in Russia. Besides
this, the Synod Abroad, submitting to the promptings of conscious provocateurs,
burned with distrust for the Russian Bishops, while at the same time having no
other candidates for archpastoral service. Hence a series of mistakes, and as a
result, with the aid of the enemies of the Church, the relations between the
Russian hierarchy and the Hierarchical Synod became extremely complicated.
Finally, we see the Resolution of the Synod
dated February 9.22 of this year, which simply abolishes the missionary gains in
Russia, handing over all the open.. parishes that have not taken part in the
missionary work to the hierarchy, and even to Vladyka Metropolitan, who has not
once been in Russia.
to God, our Russian Bishops remain faithful to the principles of the
preservation of Orthodoxy that have guided them in their missionary work. If our
Bishops abroad also preserve faithfulness to these principles, then the two
parts of the Russian Church can again be united. The erroneous bans on
Archbishops Lazarus and Valentine and their vicars cannot be carried out, for
they were issued in violation of all the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church and
her holy Canons, including the Statute on the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
No hierarch who understands his
responsibility can take part in the dissolution of the Church discipline that
has been formed in the course of past years, substituting anarchy for the order
ordained for the regeneration of the Russian Church by the Holy Patriarch Tikhon.
20 / March 4, 1995.
APPENDIX 3. EPISTLE OF THE TEMPORARY HIGHER CHURCH
OF THE RUSSIAN (ROSSIJSKOJ) ORTHODOX CHURCH
TO THE FLOCK BELOVED OF GOD
in Christ Jesus Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, Children of the persecuted and
tormented Russian Church!
Russian Orthodox Church is living through a harsh time, constricted now not by
bloody persecutors, but by false brethren, who imitate Orthodoxy and call
themselves the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, the supposed
successor of the Church of his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon. Its main aim is to
deceive, if it were possible, even the elect' (Matthew 24.24), so that
there should be forever lost in our poor Fatherland the feeling of truth and the
right understanding of what the Church
really is. The gaze of the majority of Russian (rossijskikh) people,
deprived in the course of seventy years of the opportunity of confessing the
true faith and acquiring the first principles of Orthodox teaching, is directed
at externals, at the superficial content of this heretical and traitrous organization. Its influence has now embraced
a significant part not only of the Russian (rossijskogo) people, which
has lost the foundations of its statehood and nationality, but also a large part
of the other peoples of the earth, their views of life and social structures,
which gives us the right to speak of it as an institution of the Antichrist, who is striving by his
speedy coming to take the place of Christ in the hearts and minds of the whole
must admit that the work of Judas has had great success in recent years. Witness
to this is the departure from the Holy Canons of almost all the Local
Orthodox' Churches of the world, and the presence of an extensive net of
informants and agents, thanks to which no event in the life of these Churches
that have fallen under the influence of the source of world evil is free from
control by the God-fighting powers, if they are not directly inspired by them.
the turn has come to the last citadel of undamaged Orthodoxy in the free world
the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, now headed by his Eminence Metropolitan
VITALY (Ustinov). Unfortunately, Vladyka Metropolitan, having fallen with age
under others influence, is no longer the leader of the Hierarchical Synod of
the ROCA, but only formally occupies this post. As usually happens, the enemy of
the human race delivers his main blow at the weak place in human administration.
Deceived and confused, Vladyka Metropolitan fears to change place, fears to go
to Russia, and in his own residence fears that he may be poisoned, killed, etc.
a group of opponents of the commandment of Christ on love, transgressors of the
Holy Canons and Resolutions of the Holy Fathers, having united with their
pro-patriarchal supporters in the ROCA itself, are in fact leading the matter to
a rapprochement with the Moscow Patriarchate, taking into their hands the
reins of the Church administration. These so-called zealots of undamaged
Orthodoxy', a part of whom are without doubt agents of the MP, have been
joined by well-wishers in Russia. In their number is (the recently consecrated)
Bishop Eutyches, who, at the 5th Conference of clergy in Suzdal,
spoke about the Holy Canons as of something secondary by comparison with the
opinion of the living hierarchs of the ROCA who were in agreement with him.
must admit that the successes of the dark powers that have been trying finally
to destroy undamaged Orthodoxy, have been very great. But this is no reason for
the faithful children of the Church of Christ to become despondent or to cease
to struggle against these evil forces. The hierarch Ignaty Brianchaninov wrote:
The apostasy is allowed by God: do not
try to stop it with your powerless hand. Keep away, guard yourself from it: and
this will be enough from you. Get to know the spirit of the time, study it, so
as to avoid its influence as far as possible.'
it turns out that the Russian [Rossijskaya] Church, having received the
re-establishment of its episcopate several years ago from the hands of foreign
hierarchs, and thereby acquired the opportunity to develop independently and
freely from sergianism and the other sins of the Moscow Patriarchate, is now
suffering the most real persecution from these same hierarchs. Moreover, if in
the past faithfulness to the Holy Canons was raised in the Church Abroad to the
level of primary importance and was the unfailing condition of the choice and
realization of the enterprises of Church life, now, some three or four years
later, almost every action of the ROCA Synod is a crude trampling on the Holy
Canons and on the Statute of the ROCA itself, which declares in its first
paragraph that the ROCA is a part
of the Russian [Rossijskoj] Church, temporarily governing itself until
the removal from Russia of the atheist Soviet power'.
without noticing this, the Synod of the ROCA now imposes its will on the Russian
believers instead of giving an account, in an atmosphere of love, agreement and
respect for the persecutions they have undergone in Russia, to the Orthodox
people the hierarchs, pastors and simple believers who do not recognize the
schismatic Moscow Patriarchate. It would be good if the will of the Chancellery
of the ROCA Synod were really the will of all the hierarchs of Russia Abroad, a
will in agreement with the Canons of the Holy Apostles and Fathers of the
Church! But nothing of the sort. The far from canonical decisions of three or
four hierarchs take the place of the Sobors decisions and resolutions, and,
published and distributed through Russia by agents of the MP, they sow division,
distrust and enmity in our much-suffering Fatherland.
our great misfortune and shame, it has already become a habit for the ROCA Synod
to deprive bishops of their sees, ban or defrock several Hierarchs at once, not
only without trial or investigation, but even without any reason, simply on the
basis of slander. They can see better from beyond the ocean'!, as Vladyka
Metropolitan Vitaly expressed it. All this, without any doubt, is one of the
greatest achievements of the secret antichristian forces in recent times.
and more threats are piled on the Russian Hierarchs, Archbishops Lazarus and
Valentine, and Bishops Theodore, Seraphim, Agathangelus, Alexander, Victor and
Arsenius, by the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA, by false brothers of the Moscow
Patriarchate and by bold enemies of Orthodox teaching. Making use of the
ambiguity of the situation, the Moscow Patriarchate, with the help of the
authorities, is striving to take away the churches of the Russian [Rossijskoj]
Orthodox Church, the Church of God that is free from sergianism, and inspire
believing people with the thought that the Hierarchical rank of the Russian
Hierarchs is invalid.
is especially distressing to see that one part of the believers is submitting to
this propaganda and is taking steps to embrace the heretical sergianists and
transgressors of the Holy Canons. They are taking a step into the abyss of hell,
from where weeping and gnashing of teeth' (Matthew 8.12) are heard.
most recent Resolution of the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA forces us once more
to remind people of the power of the bans placed by the canons for these
transgressions, of which that part of the hierarchs of the ROCA which has
ascribed itself the right to speak and act in the name of the whole Church
Abroad, is now guilty.
If a Bishop receives church servers banned by another
bishop as members of his clergy, let him be expelled as a teacher of lawlessness
(16th Apostolic Canon).
Let a Bishop who dares to carry out an ordination
beyond the bounds of his Diocese without the agreement of the Diocese in which
the ordination takes place, be defrocked, together with those ordained by him
(35th Apostolic Canon).
If a Bishop teaches publicly in a city that does not
belong to him, let him be removed from the episcopate and do the works of the
priesthood (20th Canon of the 6th Ecumenical Council).
Let no Bishop dare to move from one Diocese to
another. If he decides to carry out Church affairs that do not belong to him,
then let everything he has done be invalid and let him be punished for his
lawlessness and foolhardy undertakings by speedy defrockment from his rank by
the holy council (13th Canon of Antioch; 59th Canon of
Canons demand that every Diocese should preserve in purity and without
oppression the rights that belonged to it from the beginning, and
if anyone suggests anything contrary to this, let it be invalid (8th
Canon of the 3rd Ecumenical Council; 9th Canon of Antioch;
64th and 67th Canons of Carthage). It is precisely these
Canons that FORBID
the ROCA Synod FROM MAKING ANY ATTEMPT TO RULE the Russian Orthodox Church and call itself
the HIGHER CHURCH AUTHORITY!
call on all the faithful children of the Church of God to firmly remember the
covenants of the holy Fathers of the Church and not to give in to any attempts
to persuade them, from whatever quarter these may come, to carry out the affairs
of Church life in violation of the Holy Canons. Any resolutions of the
Hierarchical Synod or of the Moscow Patriarchate which are aimed at interfering
in the affairs of the Russian [Rossijskoj] Orthodox Church in the
Homeland, are not to be recognized or carried out.
in the Lord Children of the Orthodox Church of God, who remain faithful to the
Holy Canons and covenants of the Hierarch Tikhon, Patriarch and Confessor of
Moscow and All Russia and of the Holy New Martyrs of Russia! We call on you to
cleanse yourselves from sergianism and the other sins of the Moscow Patriarchate
that have penetrated the Russian Church Abroad. We have no right to interfere in
the affairs of the Dioceses Abroad, but it is painful for us to see how this
part of the Russian Church, which preserved, throughout all the decades of
atheism in the Homeland, in persecution and dispersion, the light of the
Orthodox Faith, is now being subjected to humiliation and mockery according to
the will of those who are guilty of the present division, and whose leader is
the devil. May the Lord preserve us all.
THE AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
OF THE TEMPORARY HIGHER CHURCH AUTHORITY
Archbishop of Suzdal and Vladimir
MEMBERS OF THE TEMPORARY HIGHER CHURCH AUTHORITY
Bishop of Borisovsk
Bishop of Sukhumi and Abkahzia.
APPENDIX 4. AN ANATHEMA AGAINST THE SERGIANISTS
On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, 1999, the Synod
of the FROC (now officially called the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church)
declared: A resolution was passed concerning the hierarchs and
representatives of the clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate who received their rank
through the mediation of the authorities and organs of State Security. In
relation to such it was decided that every year on the Sunday of Orthodoxy
ANATHEMA should be proclaimed, using the following text: If any bishops,
making use of secular bosses [nachalnikov], have seized power in the
Church of God and enslaved Her, let those and those who aid them and those who
communicate with them without paying heed to the reproaches of the Law of God,
5. EPISTLE OF THE HIERARCHICAL SYNOD OF THE RUSSIAN (ROSSIJSKOJ) ORTHODOX CHURCH
TO THE HIERARCHICAL COUNCIL OF THE RUSSIAN (RUSSKOJ) ORTHODOX CHURCH ABROAD
August / September 3, 2000. No. 70.
Eminence, honourable Archpastors members of the Hierarchical Council, and
also clergy and children and of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad!
Hierarchical Council of the Church Abroad opens at a time when, on the one hand,
the whole world is being shaken by events, each more terrible than the one
before catastrophes, elemental disasters, wars On the other hand, the
whole world is seized by a certain fever for unification: this is observable not
only in the political life of the world, but also in its religious life. On the
one hand, endless disputes, on the other a haste to unify everyone and
everything: states with states, churches with churches, religions with
fever for unification that embraces the earthly globe manifests itself in
various external forms sometimes political, sometimes economic, and
sometimes also in an ecclesiastical-ecumenical form but its profound essence
remains unchangingly the same. And in this the zealots of unification place
definite hopes on the hierarchs of the ROCA.
can the Orthodox Church surrender to this spirit of the times that Church
which is unshakably built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone' (Ephesians 2.20)?
brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you
received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved', says the holy
Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Corinthians (I Corinthians 15.1-2). In
another epistle, to the Galatians, he says: But even if we, or an angel from
heaven, preach any other gospel that what we have preached to you, let him be
accursed' (Galatians 1.8). But to those who have preserved the holy
gospel there is the promise of being comforted by the mutual faith both of
you and of me' (Romans 1.12).
we open the Acts of the Holy Ecumenical Councils, we see that the holy builders
of the Church struggled for nothing more than for the preservation and support
in its unchanging form of the faith of the fathers. We pray you that
you keep the faith of the fathers unchanged'. We beseech you to investigate
the novelty that has been introduced against the former faith' this is how
the zealots of the Orthodox Faith addressed the Holy Councils. And, having
investigated the novelty, and rejected the innovations, and confirmed the Dogmas
of Orthodoxy unshaken, the Holy Fathers exclaimed: Yes, this is the faith of
the fathers! This is how we all believe!'
we open the works of the Russian teachers of the faith that are closer to us, we
see the same care first of all for keeping the patristic teaching unchanged.
Human teachings all strive for that which is new, they grow, they develop
Thus is has become a law: forward, forward! But in regard to our faith it was
said from on high: stand remain unmoved. All that remains for us to do
is to be confirmed and to confirm others,' appealed the noted holy hierarch of
the Vladimir lands Theophan, the Vishensky recluse. We have to look over
all that has passed in order to see whether the order of teachings that was
outlined for us has in any way been disturbed.' (On Orthodoxy with warnings
against sins against it,' Sermons of Bishop Theophan, Moscow, 1991.
From his sermons to the flocks of Tambov and Vladimir).
1918 he who restrains' was taken away and this had fateful consequences
not only for Russia, but also for the whole world. Already within two years of
the murder of the holy Martyr Tsar Nicholas II, in 1920, the Constantinopolitan
Patriarchate in the person of the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne,
Metropolitan Dorotheus of Prussa, issued an encyclical which encroached on the
very foundations of Orthodoxy. Heretical communities that have been separated by
the Orthodox Church from Her communion were declared to be churches' having
equal rights with her, and Orthodoxy was given the aim of the speediest possible
unification with all the apostates.
contrast to this treacherous document, which marked the beginning of the global
apostasy of World Orthodoxy', in the same year of 1920 the holy Patriarch
Tikhon together with the Holy Synod and the Higher Church Council that is,
undoubtedly with the whole fullness of the Central Ecclesiastical authorities of
the Russian Church made a most important resolution, Ukaz no.
362 of 7/20 November, 1920, on the self-definition of dioceses in conditions of
possible persecution. The other name for this Ukaz the Ukaz on decentralization
underlines the fact that the aim of the resolution of the Russian
Ecclesiastical Authorities was contradictory to the aim of the encyclical
of the Ecumenical throne, which called for the centralization of all confessions
now on the broad path and all conditions for unification were created only for
the unfaithful: but for those faithful to Christ a violent disunion lay in
store: the two parts of the Russian Church were disunited: the one found itself
exiled from its native land, while the other was driven into the catacombs by
persecutions unprecedented in their ferocity. But in these terrible years the
Church of Russia did not cease to constitute one spiritual whole.
force enabling both parts of the Russian Church to hold out and preserve Their
unity in all temptations, especially in the approaching most terrible period
the epoch of the sergianist schism was their unanimous confession of the
faith of the fathers.
is not antiquity, but novelty', pointed out Theophan the Recluse. This
remarkable definition has a universal character and allows always accurately to
establish the one who is truly guilty of schism.
his treacherous Declaration of 1927 Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) opened
wide the gates of the Church for renovationism. It consisted in the undermining
of the very meaning of the existence of the Church on earth not as the
pillar and ground of the truth and of eternal Authority, but as the weapon of
parts of the Russian Church the part in Russia, and the part Abroad were
completely unanimous in their attitude to the Declaration of 1927. The
Hierarchical Synod of the Church Abroad, headed by his Beatitude Metropolitan
Anthony, broke communion with the schismatic metropolitan and his synod. The
bishops in the homeland that were faithful to the Russian Church did the same.
The essence of the sergianist schism was very accurately expressed by New Martyr
Bishop Victor (Ostrovidov), when he called Sergius an anti-ecclesiastical heretic.
The faithful children of the Russian Church did not visit the sergianist
churches, they justly made no distinction between sergianists and
renovationists. We shall not go to renovationism,' said the Orthodox.
Communications were lost with Metropolitan Peter (Polyansky), the lawful head of
the Russian Church, who was in prison, and the treachery of his Deputy forced
the Church, both in the Homeland and abroad, to be ruled in its canonical
existence by Ukaz no. 362 of the holy Patriarch Tikhon concerning the
self-definition of dioceses. With the death of Metropolitan Peter (Polyansky),
the Central or Supreme Authority of the Russian Church ceased even its nominal
existence. Such an eventuality was foreseen by Ukaz no. 362, which contained
detailed recommendations for the ordering of the Church which would avoid schism
in this event. But through the efforts of Metropolitan Sergius, a dual authority
was introduced, and then a false patriarchate (a common phenomenon, alas, in
Church history during the periods when heresy was dominant).
now on the Russian Church trod its path in the conditions of the absence of
Central (Supreme) Ecclesiastical Authority. When the last Orthodox churches were
closed in Russia in the 1930s, the Russian Church finally departed into the
catacombs, preserving communion in prayer with Her half that was abroad and
commemorating Her First Hierarchs Metropolitans Anthony, Anastasy and Philaret.
Following the spirit and aim of the Ukaz no. 362 of the holy Patriarch Tikhon of
7/20 November, 1920 kept the Orthodox Church reliably free of false strivings
was not the case with the sergianist church it grew strongly into what is
now commonly called official world orthodoxy'. The latter was also ruled by
a document of 1920, but the document of an opposite tendency the ecumenical
encyclical of the Locum Tenens of the Ecumenical Throne Dorotheus.
World Orthodoxy' became an inalienable part of the ecumenical movement and
dragged the sergianist church after it into the abyss. Into the gates opened by
Metropolitan Sergius there now poured without the slightest resistance the false
teachings by which the enemy of human salvation has, in the course of the whole
of his struggle with the Church, and especially in the 20th century,
undermined the teaching of Christ.
sergianist church accepted all the most destructive innovations of the 20th
century both communism, and ecumenism, by which it clearly marked its
complete attachment to the most terrible schism that has ever tormented the
Metropolitan Sergius, as the holy new martyrs pointed out, had distorted the
dogmatic face of the Church', then under his successors we must speak no
longer of distortion, but of a complete overthrow of the Holy Dogmas, and first
of all of the Dogma of the Church as being one and only one. In consequence
of this trampling on the Holy Dogmas there appeared crying violations of the
Holy Canons for example, the categorical ban on joint prayers with the
heterodox under threat of being deprived of ones rank and expelled from the
it necessary to cite examples of the excesses of the ecumenists, which are the
more blasphemous in that they have been committed in the name of Christ? In 1983
those abroad had the opportunity of seeing on television the raising of a pagan
idol by delegates of the Fourth Assembly of the World Council of Churches in
Vancouver, among whom were representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate, while in
Russia the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate' in its account of this
ecumenical Assembly was not ashamed to mention this hideous act in the most
the ecumenical Assembly in Vancouver the Russian Church Abroad, headed by the
holy Hierarch Philaret, in its Council in Mansonville in 1983 delivered
ecumenism to anathema.
With the fall of the iron curtain', there finally
appeared the opportunity for the forcibly divided parts of the Russian Orthodox
Church to unite. But it turned out that in the years that had passed since the
death of the holy Hierarch Philaret (1985), too much had changed in the Church
Abroad and a significant part of Her was now under threat of falling under
their own anathema.
concelebrations of clergy and even bishops of the Church Abroad with the clergy
and episcopate of the ecumenist Orthodox Churches which was to have ceased
after the Mansonville council of 1983 again became a commonplace phenomenon.
The concelebrations of the majority of the hierarchs of the Church Abroad, not
to speak of the other clergy, with the clergy of the ecumenical Serbian
patriarchate became a real scourge. And these concelebrations took place in
spite of the fact that this patriarchate almost exceeded the Soviet sergianists
in ecumenical enthusiasm, while her relationships with her local communists was
just as submissive as was that of her Soviet sister'. These concelebrations
have not ceased even now, after the recent epistle of the Serbian patriarch to
his Muscovite brother, in which he affirms that his patriarchate no longer has
communion in prayer with the ROCA.
was also with a heavy feeling of perplexity that we observed the hasty
proclamation, in the Hierarchical Council of the ROCA that took place in 1994,
that the ecclesiology of Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili and Orope was identical to
the ecclesiology of the Church Abroad. We cannot accept as Orthodox the basic
position of this ecclesiology that the saving grace of the sacraments can
supposedly be guaranteed to abide in heretical communities, albeit only up to
their conciliar condemnation. One of the Greek metropolitans with his followers
calls the hierarchs of World Orthodoxy' the sick' members of one and
the same Body of Christ His True Church. One branch is healthy, the other
sick. We understand that the ecclesiological resolution of the Council of 1994
is a natural step further downwards after the Nativity Epistle of 1986, which
was distributed under the signature of Metropolitan Vitaly, in which the meaning
of the anathema against ecumenism accepted in 1983 was restricted, against all
logic, to members of our Church (that is, the Church Abroad)' as if an
anathema applies, not to a heretic, but to a jurisdiction! But we also saw, and
we see to the present day, that there are enough people in the Church Abroad who
understand the whole destructiveness of the resolutions, and that these people
are trying to correct the mistake of the Hierarchical Council in 1994.
of course that which we perceive with the greatest heaviness is the
ever-increasing tendency of the Church Abroad towards union with the Moscow
Patriarchate. It is worthy of note that the very possibility of negotiations
with her was sanctioned in principle by the same Council of the ROCA in 1994
which recognized the crypto-ecumenist ecclesiology of Metropolitan Cyprian.
time when the Moscow Patriarchate was preoccupied with unity with the Catholics
(the Balamand unia of 1993 this document has not been disavowed: on the
contrary, certain of its positions have been widely realized in life) and with
the Monophysites (the Chambesy union of 1990; within the bounds of the programme
outlined in it the Moscow Patriarchate is now getting very close to the Armenian
monophysite church), certain hierarchs of the Church Abroad have been
insistently seeking to get closer to the Moscow Patriarchate even in spite
of the fact that the patriarchate takes less and less account of the very
existence of the Church Abroad, exappropriating her property now not only in
Russia, but also abroad. This has delivered a huge blow to the dignity of the
Church Abroad and Her hierarchy even in the eyes of outsiders'. But still
sadder is the fact that this witnesses to the apostasy of part of the hierarchs
of the ROCA from the path bequeathed to Her by the first-hierarchs Metropolitans
Anthony, Anastasy and Philaret that is, to their apostasy from Orthodoxy.
the other, healthy part of the ROCA does not find within itself the strength to
halt the strivings of the apostates, then the final degeneration of the ROCA
into a false ecclesiastical organization and Her subsequent dissolution in the
ecumenical great and spacious sea' (Psalm 103.27) of World
Orthodoxy' will become a burning question in the nearest future.
Russia the stand-off between the Church Abroad and World Orthodoxy' in the
person of the MP has taken a particularly acute form, and therefore the Russian
parishes of the ROCA did not have the possibility of waiting many years until
the hierarchs abroad re-established Church discipline and were again established
on the path of the holy Hierarch Philaret. This was the cause of the break in
eucharistic communion between the Russian [Rossijskoj] Orthodox Church
and the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA which took place in 1995. Unfortunately,
our actions at that time did not meet with understanding on the part of the
clerical leadership of the ROCA, which, contrary to the spirit and the letter of
Ukaz no. 362 and its own evident inability to restrain the tendencies towards
apostasy from the faith in the dioceses abroad, began to insist on his own full
right to realize supreme ecclesiastical authority in Russia.
five years that have passed since then have shown whether or not we were right
in our fears.
position remains: faithfulness to the dogmas and holy canons of the Orthodox
Church and, moreover, the preservation of the Orthodox Faith without
contamination from the ecumenical filth of World Orthodoxy' and its organic
part the Moscow Patriarchate. It was on this path that Her ever-memorable
first-hierarch, the holy Philaret, left the Russian Church Abroad for us, his
successors, and this position of ours is similar to that of the majority of Old
Calendarist Greek hierarchs and their flock. We have no separate' claims in
relation to the Moscow Patriarchate: it is no more than a part of the global and
now already ecumenical sergianism, which with the same zeal that Metropolitan
Sergius once served Stalin now serves the New World Order and the coming
unification of everyone and everything. It is in no way worse or better than
some Serbian or Constantinopolitan patriarchate. With all these ecumenical
jurisdictions the Russian Orthodox Church broke canonical communion under the
holy Hierarch Philaret.
you, your Graces, honourable Archbishops, clergy and laymen, choose to return to
the faith of the fathers the holy fathers of Universal Orthodoxy and the
fathers of our Church Abroad then we shall be together again. Unity of
canonical communion will be quickly restored between us, as soon as unity of
faith is restored.
if it is not if within the Church Abroad there is not found the strength to
stop Her slide into the quagmire of World Orthodoxy', then the end is
inevitable: the Moscow Patriarchate will suck up into itself her remains
scattered around the world, and the muddy waters of ecumenism will close above
Her head forever.
this not be!
means of salvation are the same for all times: to hear and to carry out, amidst
the wavering, unstable elements of the world, the everlasting voice of the true
Mother Church uttered from on high: As you have believed in that stand
and be saved' (I Corinthians 15.1).
Valentine, Archbishop of Suzdal and Vladimir,
of the Hierarchical Synod of the Russian [Rossijskoj] Orthodox Church
Theodore, Bishop Borisovskoye and Sanino
Seraphim, Bishop of Sukhumi and Abkhazia
Victor, Bishop of Daugavpilis and Latvia
Hilarion, Bishop of Sukhodolsk
Anthony, Bishop of Yaransk
Andrew Osetrov, Secretary of the Hierarchical Synod
 This correspondence was published in the German Russian-language journal Posev (September, 1979, pp. 50-51) and was therefore well known to the KGB, who, it is argued, oversaw this whole process and secret' consecration. Archbishop Anthony was the most liberal and pro-MP of the ROCA bishops at that time. His continued communion with ecumenists led to many communities in Western Europe leaving the ROCA, and to the break between the ROCA and the Matthewite Old Calendarists in 1976.
 "Zayavlenie Arkhiereiskago Sinoda Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi Zagranitsej", Pravoslavnaya Rus', no. 18 (1423), September 15/28, 1990, p. 6.
 In 1993 Bishop Lazarus clergy asked the ROCA: We ask you to clearly answer the question: does the ROCA confess that the Catacomb Church is her sister, as she often did earlier, and if she does, then on what basis does the ROCA interfere in the inner affairs of the Catacomb Church?' (Suzdalskij Palomnik, NN 18-20, 1994, p. 134). A good question, but one which should also have been posed to Bishop Lazarus himself, since his own consecration was the first concrete interference' of the ROCA in the life of the Catacomb Church, and he could have refused to have anything to do with it.
 Matushka Anastasia Shatilova writes: The ordination papers (including the certificate) for Archim. Lazarus Zhurbenko were signed by: Metropolitan Philaret, Archbishop Vitaly, Archbishop Anthony of Geneva (though whom the appeal was sent) and Bishop Gregory as Secretary to the Synod. The fifth person to know of this case was I, because I typed all the documentation' (personal communication, September 19 / October 3, 2000).
 Vladyka Valentin razskazyvayet', Pravoslavnaya Rus, N 17 (1446), September 1/14, 1991, pp. 9-10.
 Fr. Stefan Krasovitsky, Torzhestva v Suzdalye', Pravoslavnaya Rus, N 15 (1420), August 1/14, 1990, p. 3.
 Vladyka Lazar otvyechayet na voprosy redaktsii', Pravoslavnaya Rus, N 22 (1451), November 15.28, 1991, p. 6.
 Pryamoj Put, special issue; Vladyka Valentin vernulsa iz Ameriki', Pravoslavnaya Rus, N 3 (1456), February 1/14, 1992, p. 14. Italics mine (V.M.).
 Pryamoj Put, January, 1992, p. 5; Nyezavisimaya gazeta, January 18, 1992.
 Pryamoj Put, January, 1992, pp. 3-4; Pryamoj Put, March, 1992, pp. 3-4.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, NN 18-20, pp. 63-64.
 Pravoslavnaya Rus, N 17 (1470), September 1/14, 1992, p. 12
 Pravoslavnaya Rus, N 18 (1471), September 15/28, 1992, p. 11.
 Sergius Bychkov, Voskreseniye mifa', Moskovskiye Novosti, March 7, 1993; Ukazaniye Protoiereyu Viktoru Potapovu', February 4/17, 1993 (no. 11/35/39). The official publications of the ROCA shed little light on this about-turn, saying only that the Synod reviewed and changed certain of its decisions of December 12, 1992' (Tserkovnaya Zhizn, NN 1-2, January-February, 1993, p. 3).
 Emergency report to the ROCA Synod, May 16/29, 1993, Suzdalskij Palomnik, 18-20, 1994, p. 92. In a later report to the Synod (June 9/22, 1993, Suzdalskij Palomnik, NN 18-10, 1994, pp. 94-95), Bishop Gregory, after enumerating Bishop Barnabas transgressions, appealed that he be brought to trial.
 Bishop Valentines phrase was: such disturbance and division of the flock as the atheists and the MP could only dream about' (Suzdalskij Palomnik, 18-20, 1994, p. 5).
 Protocol no. 8, April 30 / May 13, 1993.
 Istoki Rossijskoj Pravoslavnoj Svobodnoj Tserkvi, Suzdal, 1997, pp. 19-20.
 Quoted in Suzdalskij Palomnik, NN 18-20, pp. 108, 109.
 Bishop Valentines accuser turned out to be Alexander R. Shtilmark, an assistant of the Pamyat leader, Demetrius Vasilyev. His motivation was clear. Later, several of Shtilmarks relatives witnessed to his mental unbalance. In spite of this, and Bishop Valentines repeated protests of his innocence (which appear not to have reached Metropolitan Vitaly) the ROCA, in the persons of Archbishop Mark and Bishop Hilarion continued to drag this matter out for another two years (Reports of Bishop Gregory (Grabbe), Suzdalskij Palomnik, NN 18-20, 1994, pp. 123, 126).
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, 18-20, 1994, pp. 89-90.
 There were objective grounds for such a suspicion. Thus the protocols of this Council for June 9/22 record: Hieromonk Vladimir, superior of the Borisovsk church, says that three months before the Session of the Hierarchical Council, his relative said that he should abandon the Suzdal Diocese since they were going to retire Bishop Valentine at the Session of the Sobor in France. She knew this from a party worker linked with the KGB. And three years later he learned that this question had indeed been discussed. He is interested to know how it happened that the GB realized its intention in real life?' (Suzdalskij Palomnik, 23, 1995, p. 54; letter to the author by Hieromonk Vladimir (Ovchinnikov) of June 23 / July 6, 1993).
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, 18-20, 1994, p. 121; letter to the author by Hieromonk Vladimir, op. cit.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, NN 18-20, 1994, pp. 128-129, 130.
 Later, on June 26 / July 8, 1994, Bishop Barnabas was forbidden from travelling to Russia for five years (Tserkovnaya Zhizn, NN 3-4, May-August, 1994, p. 5).
 Tserkovnaya Zhizn, NN 5-6, September-December, 1993, pp. 7, 9.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, NN 18-20, 1994, pp. 159-160.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, NN 18-20, pp. 168-169.
 Tserkovnaya Zhizn, NN 1-2, January-April, 1994, pp. 14-16; Suzdalskij Palomnik, NN 18-20, 1994, pp. 196-198.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, NN 18-20, 1994, pp. 198, 200-201.
 Tserkovnaya Zhizn, NN 3-4, May-August, 1994, pp. 60-65.
 Bishop Gregory, Pisma, Moscow, 1998, pp. 123-125; Suzdalskij Palomnik, 23, 1995, pp. 21-23.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, NN 18-20, 1994, p. 149.
 Tserkovnaya Zhizn, NN 5-6, September-December, 1994, p. 13.
 A severely truncated version of this Act' was published in Tserkovnaya Zhizn (NN 5-6, September-December, 1994, pp. 13-14), but the whole Act' has never, to the present authors knowledge, been published in the ROCA press, in spite of the decision to do so in all organs of the church press' (point 9 of the Act', see below). In fact, Bishop Valentine reported that the ROCA chancellery had told him that the Act would not be published (Suzdalskij Palomnik, N 22, 1995, p. 12).
 This account is based Archbishop Valentines own words to the present writer, together with his letter to the Suzdal Council dated January 11/24, 1995 (Suzdalskij Palomnik, N 22, 1995, pp. 6-10).
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, N 22, 1995, p. 12.
 Tserkovnaya Zhizn, NN5-6, September-December, 1994, p. 16; Suzdalskij Palomnik, N 21, 1995, pp. 44-46.
 Tserkovnaya Zhizn, NN 5-6, September-December, 1994, p. 10; Suzdalskij Palomnik, N 21, 1995, p. 49.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, N 21, 1995, pp. 42, 43.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, N 21, 1995, p. 32.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, N 22, 1995, p. 12.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, N 22, 1995, pp. 15-16.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, N 23, 1995, p. 15.
 This refers to the ukaz dated November 18 / December 1, 1994, quoted above, which reinstated Vladyka Valentine as Bishop of Suzdal and Vladimir. It should be pointed out that Vladyka Valentine had been raised to the rank of archbishop by the THCA in the previous year.
 The comments of the FROC were published in Suzdalskij Palomnik, N 22, 1995, pp. 26-27.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, 23, 1995, pp. 32-33.
 This Decree, dated February 9/22, also stated that the Odessa-Tambov and Suzdal-Vladimir dioceses were declared widowed' (a term used only if the ruling bishop has died) and were to be submitted temporarily to Metropolitan Vitaly. See Suzdalskij Palomnik, N 23, 1995, p. 31; Tserkovniye Novosti, N 1A (43), February, 1995, p. 3.
 Witness' of February 15/28, 1995, Suzdalskij Palomnik, 23, 1995, pp. 35-36.
 Tserkovniye Novosti, N 1A (43), February, 1995, p. 5.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, 23, 1995, p. 34.
 Vladyka was probably thinking of the incident, a little less than a year before, when Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles declared that in its session of February 21-24 the Hierarchical Synod had banned both Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop Valentine from serving at the same time that Metropolitan Vitaly was writing to Bishop Valentine that he was in no wise banned from serving' (Suzdalskij Palomnik, 21, 1995, pp. 28-29).
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, 22, 1995, pp. 30-31; Tserkovniye Novosti, N 1A (43), February, 1995, pp. 7-8.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, N 23, 1995, p. 42.
 As Protopriest Andrew Osetrov writes: The Church Abroad should either transfer its Administration to Russia and no longer call it the Synod of the ROCA (the more so in that one can enter and leave the Homeland now without hindrance), or, if the hierarchs of the ROCA do not want to return to the Homeland, they must recognize their Church administration to be subject to the administration of the Church in the Homeland' (Suzdalskij Blagovest, N 3, January-February, 1997, p. 3).
 Tserkovnaya Zhizn', NN 3-4, May-August, 1995, pp. 3-4.
 Suzdalskij Blagovest, N 3, January-February, 1997, p. 3.
 The full text of this resolution was as follows: There were discussions on the question of the fourteen clerics accepted into communion of prayer from the Catacomb Church who submitted their petitions to the Hierarchical Synod through Archimandrite Michael of the monastery of St. Panteleimon on the Holy Mountain, which were received on November 26 / December 7, 1977. At that time the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA in its session of November 26 / December 7, 1977 accepted the following resolution:
Trusting the witness of the fourteen priests that their reposed leader Archbishop Anthony (Galynsky) was correctly consecrated to the episcopate, and carried out his service secretly from the civil authorities, it has been decided to accept them into communion of prayer, having informed them that they can carry out all those sacred actions which priests can carry out according to the Church canons, and also giving the monastic clerics the right to carry out monastic tonsures. They are to be informed of this in the same way as their address was received.'
The following priests were accepted into communion: Hieromonks Michael, Raphael, Nicholas, Nicholas, Nathaniel, Epiphanius, Michael and Sergius, and Abbots Barsonuphius and Nicholas,
 E. A. Petrova, op. cit.
 See his (unpublished) letter to Metropolitan Vitaly, November 21 / December 4, 1992.
 V.K., Kratkij ocherk ekkleziologicheskikh i yurisdiktsionnykh sporov v grecheskoj starostilnoj tserkvi, St. Petersburg: Izdaniye Vestnika I.P.Ts. Russkoye Pravoslaviye', 1998, pp. 30-31.
 He died on Christmas Day, 1995/96. See Vozdvizheniye, N 2 (15), February, 1996; "A Biography of Archimandrite Gury", The True Vine, vol. 3, no. 3 (1992).
 Kritika zhurnala Vosvrashcheniye', Tserkovniye Novosti, N 11 (67), November-December, 1997, p. 10.
 Personal testimony of the present writer.
 E-mail message, 15 July, 1998. For more on Bishop Lazarus and Archbishop Anthony, see I vrata adovy nye odoleyut Yeyo', Suzdalskiye Eparkhialniye Vedomosti, N 3, January-February, 1998, pp. 17-18.
 Some years ago, Archbishop Lazarus insisted on renaming his Odessa diocese the True Orthodox Catacomb Church', thereby laying claim to being the sole heir of the historic Catacomb Church and implicitly separating himself from both the ROCA and the FROC.
 Suzdalskij Blagovest, N 3, January-February, 1997, p. 3.
 Suzdalskij Blagovest, N 3, January-February, 1997, p. 3; Stupenchatij protsess apostasii v Russkoj Zarubezhnoj Tserkvi', Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 4 (4), 1996, pp. 8-10.
 This phrase institution of the Antichrist' was applied by Patriarch Tikhon to the heretical Living Church' of the renovationists, which his Holiness anathematized and denounced as graceless on July 2/15, 1923. See Lev Regelson, Tragediya Russkoj Tserkvi, 1917-1945, Paris: YMCA Press, 1977, p. 313. The clear implication here is that the present-day Moscow Patriarchate is the same kind of organization as the Living Church' or rather, its direct successor.
 Suzdalskij Palomnik, 27, 1996, pp. 1-4.
 Suzdalskiye Eparkhialniye Vedomosti, N 7, March-May, 1999, p. 3 .