MONITORING THE MEDIA:Three anniversaries. The MP solemnly noted Sergius Stragorodsky's anniversary, after beginning the gradual preparation of their flock for his "canonization".

In January-February of 2007 in many dioceses of Moscow Patriarchate celebrations occurred on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the birthday of its "father-founder", the author of the Declaration of 1927: the first Soviet Patriarch Sergius (Stragorodskogo), put in this post in 1943 by the God-hating tyrant Stalin's order. As the official Internet site of the MP "Pravoslaviye.Ru" noted in its eulogy: "January 24 sees the accomplishment of 140 years since the birthday of the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Sergius (Stragorodsky - 1867-1944). This outstanding theologian active in church and society, by the will of God, governed the Russian Orthodox Church for a period of almost twenty years".

With such typically emotive dithyrambs the instigator of "the Sergianist Schism" was honored in all official publications of the Moscow Patriarchate. Many of them noted the "special episcopal wisdom" of Metropolitan Sergius, manifested in the publication of the Declaration of 1927 so tragic for the fate of the Russian Church and millions of Orthodox Christians. In connection with the anniversary, with the blessing of the present Soviet Patriarch Alexis (Ridiger), on some Russian television channels was shown a new film about Sergius Stragorodsky under the symbolic name "Angel of the Russian Church", in which the founder of Sergianism was represented as "an outstanding hierarch", "who saved the Church", "a confessor", worthy of "canonization", "to be numbered among the choir of the Saints", etc.

Conferences dedicated to the 140th anniversary of the birthday of Metr. Sergius (Stragorodsky) were held in the dioceses of the MP and the academic world. Thus, in the Nizhny-Novgorod State Teachers' College a special conference dedicated to this anniversary took place. Its organizers presented the Nizhny-Novgorod Diocese of the MP together with the administration of Nizhny-Novgorod and Nizhny-Novgorod region, representatives of the President of the RF in PFO, the Nizhny-Novgorod State Teachers' College, and the Arzamassky State Teachers' College. The first presentation read at this forum was the report of the professor of the Moscow Ecclesiastical Academy Nikolai Gavryushina on "The Theme of the Soteriological Personality of Patriarch Sergius (Stragorodsky)". Other reports were heard dedicated to the memory of the first Soviet Patriarch.

It should be noted that with the blessing of Patr. Alexis (Ridiger) in the Nizhny-Novgorod MP Diocese the personality cult of Metr. Sergius (Stragorodsky) is especially commemorated. [Sergius was a bishop of Nizhny-Novogorod - trans. note] Thus, in 2003 in Arzamas on the building of the former ecclesiastical school (now it peduniversitet) a memorial plaque was put up in honor of Met. Sergius. In connection with the 60th anniversary of his decease after a petition by Nizhny-Novgorod Diocese on June 2, 2004, at a session of the city council Annunciation Square (very symbolically!) was officially renamed Patriarch Sergius Square. Moreover, with the blessing of Patr., Alexis, in Arzamas is planned the opening of a memorial complex, which will immortalize Sergius Stragorodsky's memory.

In connection with this on April 22, 2005, in Moscow a meeting took place of the Mayor of Arzamas Anatoly Migunova and the business leaders of the city with Patriarch Alexis (Ridiger). At the meeting the Bishop of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas Georgy also participated. As reported in the secular media: "In the course of the meeting with the Mayor of Arzamasa the Patriarch blessed the creation in Arzamas of a memorial complex, dedicated to the memory of Patriarch Sergius (Stragorodsky), born on January 11, 1867, in Arzamas... The memorial complex includes a square dedicated to Patriarch Sergius, a museum of his life and a monument to Sergius.

Patriarch Alexis II gifted to the museum Patriarch Sergius' (Stragorodsky) 'message to the pastors and flock of Christ's Orthodox Church', written by Sergius himself on a typewriter on June 22, 1941, and affirmed by the patriarchal signature and by his seal. In this famous document the head bishop of the Russian Church of those days called for the Soviet people to join in the fight against Fascism ".

For this new unusual museum a building of the former government on the central square of Arzamas is being provided, renamed in honor of Patriarch Sergius. The creation of this museum is a joint project of the mutual collaboration between the Nizhny-Novgorod Diocese of the MP, the local administration and the state provincial museum. According to the results of the meeting in Moscow and with Patriarch Alexis' blessings, during April 2005 the administration of Arzamas and the Nizhny-Novgorod Diocese of the MP held a competition for the best design of a monument to Patriarch Sergius (Stragorodsky). Competition was conducted in one stage, from 20 May through 20 September, 2005. Those who entered the composition of commission were: Bishop George of Nizhny-Novgorod and Arzamas, the Head of the Administration of Arzamas Anatoly Migunov, the chief Arzamas architect Andrey Stolyarenko, the representatives of the Nizhny-Novgorod Department of the Union of Architects and Nizhny-Novgorod Department of the Union of Artists. On November 29 the sums in the competition were awarded for the best design for a monument to Sergius Stragorodsky, planned for the central square of the city (formerly Annunciation Sq.) renamed in his honor to be built in 2007 for the 140th anniversary of the birth "of the most prominent ecclesiastical and social activist of the 20th century”.

The perpetuation with monuments of the memory of the Soviet church and political leaders with the accession to power in Russia of Vladimir Putin have gained a systemic quality. Besides the restoration of the Soviet national anthem and other attributes of the Communist anti-God regime, in 2003 in the center of the city of Ishim of Tyumen Province, in the October Revolution Square, the local authorities decided to establish a monument to the real "father-founder" of Moscow Patriarchate – Joseph Stalin. The solemn ceremony of the dedication of the monument was held on the day of the 85th anniversary of Komsomol [Soviet Youth Organization - trans. note], exactly on the eve of the day of the memory of the victims of political repressions. On the Mamaev burial mound a museum dedicated to Stalin was opened. The busts of this bloody tyrant are set up in Kaliningrad, Chelyabinsk, Orel , Mirn (Yakutya), in North Osetia and Georgia. There are planned the installation of monuments to Stalin in Moscow, Volgograd, Krasnoyarsk, Yaroslavl ' and Crimea. Over the central area of Petrozavodsk the authorities set up a monument to the former chairman of the KGB of the USSR and to the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the CPSU Yury Andropov. It has been decided to place a similar monument also in Moscow on Andropov Prospekt, next to the park "Kolomna". The President of the RF V. Putin, an officer of the KGB and former subordinate of Andropov personally gave orders about the building of the monument. Previously Putin ordered restored on the building the KGB -FSB the Lubyanka a memorial plaque in Andropov's honor, which had been removed "at the dawn of the democratic changes". Following the perpetuation of the memory of "Stalin the Leader by God's providence", esteemed by the MP, of the Chairman of the KGB of the USSR Andropov and of other Communist activists, analogous measures have begun for the perpetuation of the memory of the first Soviet Patriarch...

It is remarkable that the veneration with monuments of Sergius Stragorodsky is being organized on the threshold of the signing of the "Act of Canonical Unity" between the MP and the ROCOR(L). Apparently, not by chance the fact that the signing of this report takes place precisely in 2007, which is the 140th anniversary not only of the birthday of the father-founder of Soviet Patriarchate, but also the 80thof the day of publication of his apostate Declaration of 1927, and what is more...the 90th anniversary of the Bolshevik God-hating Revolution in 1917.

The Act of Unia of the Synod of Metr. Laurus and the Declaration of Metr. Sergius thus become one both spiritually and chronologically. This "coincidence" is very symbolic, testifying not only to the complete capitulation of former hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad before Sergianism, but also to their terrible moral (and not only canonical) fall. However, concerning the Soviet Patriarchate, it appears, that the choice of 2007 was premeditated: the signing of the unia on the year of three significant anniversaries is a sign of the triumph of apostasy, the victory of anti-God forces in Russia and in the entire world, the symbol of the victory of the devil and his "church of iniquity" in the fight with the Church of Christ... One must reflect on this!

As is known, the Synodal commission of the ROCOR(L) on the union with the MP officially recognized the activity of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) as an "ascetic achievement [podvig] of first hierarchical service in the worst years of existence of the Church in the Soviet Union ". This was the first time such a high appreciation was heard from the side of the official representatives of the ROCOR in regard to one of the most offensive figures of recent church history, which marked the beginning of the division of Russian Church and falling away of its part from the purity of true Orthodoxy. In some recent statements of Patr. Alexis, (Ridiger) it is evident that the MP is prepared for Sergius Stragorodsky's canonization, in connection with this the acknowledgement from the ROCOR(L) side of his actions as this "exploit of service" is very far reaching. By this acknowledgement of the Church Abroad all actual obstacles are removed, which had existed until recently to the realization of this undertaking, so necessary for a "theological-canonical justification" of Sergianism itself.

Those who sincerely believe that in the MP Sergianism no longer exists are profoundly in error. As the chairman of the Synod of the Russian True Orthodox Church Archbishop Tikhon of Omsk and Siberia notes in regard to this: "Rejected by Russian True Orthodox Church, Sergianism is not simply a political (or as it is now accepted to speak of it - a temporary) act of Metr. Sergius and his hierarchy of subordination of the Church to the Soviet regime, caused by a specific political situation. And that, therefore, with the fall of the Communist government in Russia , Sergianism allegedly ceased to exist.

No, this phenomenon is of a deeper apostasy. Sergianism is this spiritual cowardice, timidity, as the Ap.John explains. (Rev. 21:8). It is the rejection of the Cross of the Lord and the rejection of hope on the Lord. This is an inner readiness of Orthodox Christian for compromise with atheism, and in a broader understanding, for a compromise with any evil, with the elements of this world. This readiness comes from the heart, from the spiritual state of the person himself. By raising Sergianism (the compromise with the anti-God powers) into the standard for Church life, the Moscow Patriarchate already has prepared its flock for the acknowledgement of the authority of antichrist as the legal authority and for the adoption "of his mark on their right hand" (Rev. 13:16). For this very reason without the humble acknowledgement of the Sergianist fall and without the repentance of this fall true Orthodoxy in Russia will not revive, it is not possible to inherit salvation in the Heavenly Kingdom . And here it is necessary to note that Sergianism does not have geographical, national, or political boundaries. This swift fall of the ROCOR, its subordination to the "Soviet church" is evidence of the fact that Sergianism has proved to have infected a substantial part of the contemporary bishops, clergy, and flock of the ROCOR. This is the internal readiness of Christian for a compromise with the evil for the external comforts of existence.

"Again I will repeat, Sergianism is not political phenomenon, but spiritual, an apostasy. In its internal spiritual essence Sergianism can be seen as a manifestation of one of the subtle forms of ecclesiological heresy. However lamentable, this false doctrine became official doctrine of the MP, its way of life. Thus occurred "the dogmatization of Sergianism", that already cannot be understood as only the "error" of one person - Metr. Sergius, this is a form of a fall, a retreat of the entire Church society, moreover a retreat "that has been dogmatized", whose rejection is incompatible with remaining in the MP". [the word "retreat" here is also a Russian synonym for apostasy, or falling away from the Faith - trans. note]

Judging by the processes being actively developed in the MP, its hierarchy not only has no intention of repenting and foregoing Sergianism, but ever more and more it implants this form of spiritual apostasy in its midst, entangling its flock under the guise of false "virtues", of a special "achievement of service". Thus occurs the "dogmatization" of a distortion and the distortion of Holy Orthodoxy.

The entrance of the ROCOR(L) onto the path of a apostatizing confluence with Sergianism unavoidably leads to its spiritual degeneration and the renunciation of its own heritage and fathers - Metropolitans Antony, Anastassy, Philaret, Vitaly, whose place will have to be occupied by another "father-founder" - Metr. Sergius (Stragorodsky). Not by chance and term itself: the "exploit of first hiearchical service", was manufactured by hierarchs of the ROCOR(L) - for the purpose of justifying union with the unrepentant MP and to open for ROCOR a direct road for the union and respect of Sergius already found within the ROCOR itself. Therefore there is no doubt whatever about the fact that after the silent adoption of union with the MP and the commemoration of its heresiarchs, in the very near future in the newly formed so-called "ROCOR-MP" there will be established everywhere, in line with the acknowledgement of the "exploit of service", the veneration of the "holiness" of Metr. Sergius (Stragorodsky), whose "canonization" is so sought by his spiritual followers and successors in the former USSR . It is completely obvious that this "ROCOR-MP" will no longer be the Church of its hierarchs Antony, Anastassy, Philaret and Vitaly, who strictly stood on guard over the protection of the purity of true orthodoxy, the rejection of the heresy of Sergianism and other apostasies of the 20th century.

"Hold fast to what has been entrusted to you" wrote Metr. Philaret (Voznesensky, +1985), third First Hierarch of the ROCOR in his brief last will. This call of this hierarch to his spiritual children in the fatherland and in the diaspora has precisely become never as urgent as it is today!

Vitaly Shumilo
"Church Gazette"
March 15, 2007