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|Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), first-hierarch of the Russian Church in exile, issued an encyclical (probably late in 1927) in which he wrote: "Now everywhere two epistles are being published in the newspapers and are being read in many churches which until recently were Orthodox epistles of two, alas, former beloved pupils of mine with whom I was once in agreement, Metropolitans Sergius and Eulogius, who have now fallen away from the saving unity of the Church and have bound themselves to the enemies of Christ and the Holy Church the disgusting blaspheming Bolsheviks, who have submitted themselves in everything to the representatives of the Jewish false teaching which everywhere goes under the name of communism or materialism
Let these new deceivers not justify themselves by declaring that they are not the friends of the Bolsheviks and Jews who stand at the head of the Bolshevik kingdom: in their souls they may not be their friends, but they have submitted, albeit unwillingly, to these enemies of Christ, and they are trying to increase their power not only over the hapless inhabitants of Holy Russia, but also over all Russian people, even though they have departed far from the Russian land." On July 5, 1928, the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA decreed: "The present ukaz introduces nothing new into the position of the Church Abroad. It repeats the same notorious ukaz of his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon in 1922, which was decisively rejected by the whole Church Abroad in its time."
The ROCA was in harmony with the Catacomb hierarchs. On August 22, 1928, her first-hierarch, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev issued "the completely definitive declaration of our Synod of Bishops that the Moscow Synod has deprived itself of all authority, since it has entered into agreement with the atheists, and without offering any resistance it has tolerated the closing and destruction of the holy churches, and the other innumerable crimes of the Soviet government That illegally formed organization which has entered into union with Gods enemies, which Metropolitan Sergius calls an Orthodox Synod but which the best Russian hierarchs, clergy and laymen have refused to recognize - must not be recognized by our Orthodox Churches, nor by our Synod of Bishops with its flock here abroad. Furthermore, the organization of the Moscow Synod must be recognized to be exactly the same sort of apostates from the Faith as the ancient libellatici, that is, Christians who although they refused to blaspheme openly against Christ and offer sacrifices to the idols, nevertheless still received from the priests of the idols false documents verifying that they were in complete accord with the adherents of pagan religion "
Metropolitan Anthony secretly distributed this encyclical with an appeal to all the faithful archpastors to join the ROCA; it was widely read among the Josephites.
In 1933 he wrote to Sergius: "We the free bishops of the Russian Church, do not want a truce with Satan, although you are trying to obscure the question by calling our hostile relationships only a policy, while we believe that in the struggle with them we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. We have no intercourse with the Orthodox archpastors, pastors and laymen who are imprisoned in Russia, except that we pray for them and know that they suffer only for the faith, though the persecutors charge them with State crimes which are alien to them, as the enemies of the Christians loved to do in ancient times
"You direct all your energies to living in the world with the revilers of Christ, the persecutors of His Church, and you even help them by demanding from them a statement of loyalty and placing the stamp of counter-revolutionaries on those who commit no wrong against the Soviet government other than steadfastness in the faith. I implore you, as a pupil and friend, free yourself from this temptation, renounce publicly every lie which Tuchkov and other enemies of the Church have put into your mouth, do not yield in the face of probably tortures. If you are counted worthy of a martyrs crown, the earthly and heavenly Churches will combine in glorification of your courage and of the Lord Who strengthened you; but if you stay on this wide path leading you to perdition (Matthew 7.13), on which you stand now, you will be ignominiously led to the pit of hell and until the end of its earthly existence the Church will not forget your betrayal. I always think of this when I look at the panagia of the Vladimir Mother of God with the engraved inscription which you presented to me twenty years ago: To a dear teacher and friend. Your further words in this inscription are: give us some of your oil, for our lamps are fading. Here we offer you the salutary oil of faith and loyalty in the Holy Church. Do not refuse it, but reunite with it as in 1922 when you solemnly declared to Patriarch Tikhon your repentance for your former wavering loyalty. Do not refuse the friendly appeal of one who tenderly loved you and continues to love you. Metropolitan Anthony."
Tsypin, op. cit., pp. 383-384.
Quoted in Orthodox Life, vol. 27 (2), March-April, 1977. And in his paschal encyclical of 1934 he wrote: "Unfortunately, some Orthodox laymen, even, alas, many priests (and hierarchs) have subjected themselves to this state of gracelessness, although still retaining the outward appearance of the church services and the apparent performance of the Mysteries "
On November 26 / December 9, 1979, writing to Abbess Magdalina of Lesna convent, Metropolitan Philaret of New York wrote: "Ponder these last words of the great Abba: the apparent performance of the Mysteries What horror! But these his words concur totally with my own conviction regarding the gracelessness and inefficacy of schismatic Mysteries" and he went on to make clear that he regarded the sacraments of the Moscow Patriarchate, and of the American and Parisian jurisdictions, to be graceless.
A Letter from Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) to Abbess Magdalena (Countess Grabbe), Superior of the Lesna Convent in France
November 26 / December 9, 1979
For a long time now I have been wanting to share some thoughts of mine with you on issues concerning which we proved to be of differing views. Of course, I write not in order to initiate sharp polemic, but rather an exchange of opinions.
You most likely recall that, not during my last visit to the Convent, but during the one previous to it, you and I had somewhat of an argument over the fact that the [Lesna] Convent receives into its church those who, in essence, are followers, members of the former Exarchate [the Parisian Schism], and not of the Church Abroad. And conversely, many of our spiritual children regularly attend [the churches of] the Parisians, and there they go to confession and receive "Communion". . .
You pointed out that the Convent acts thus for missionary purposes, in order to give the erring ones the opportunity to pray and be sanctified by the Mysteries in a true Orthodox church. But to this I will say: that may very well be so, just as the emissaries of Holy Prince Vladimir attended the Greek Orthodox Church. However... and it's a big "however"! The emissaries of the Prince reported to him concerning the beauty of the Orthodox Faith, and the result was that both they and the Prince himself did not remain in their error, but exchanged paganism for Christianity. And it seems clear to me that proper "missionary work" will exist in the Convent only then, when the Convent, while allowing "them" to visit the church, will, however, allow them to approach the Mysteries only upon the condition that, having received the Mysteries from us, they refuse the "Mysteries" performed at the "Rue Daru" [Evlogian St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral], and in general in the churches of the Exarchate.
Otherwise what is the outcome? The outcome is that everything with them is in order, and there is no need for them to change or correct anything. And we, by admitting them to the Mysteries and not demanding any integrity or constancy in this regard, confirm them more strongly in the conviction that everything is fine with them and that their path is the true and correct path.
At the Third Pan-Diaspora Sobor' they started making speeches about how we should unite with the Parisians and with the American False-Autocephalites "in a spirit of love". Love, you see, should unite us, and there is no need to emphasize our differences. But such talk ceased when I cited the words of one of the Holy Fathers which read thus: if we, supposedly in the name of love, so as not to trouble our neighbors, are going to keep quite about their error and not explain to them that they are on a false path, then this is not love, but hatred! Does he do well who, upon seeing a blind man approaching a precipice, does not tell him about it, so as not to "trouble" him? Is that then love?
At the latest Bishops' Sobor, Vladyka Anthony of Geneva began to deliver a speech in that vein... He said: as regards Paris, there we have a common flock (that is, we and the Exarchate). We both alike service one and the same Orthodox people.
At that point I could not contain myself and I burst forth with a speech...
First of all, I pointed out that we really do have a place where we have a flock in common with other ministers of the Orthodox Church. And that is Boston. We have our parishes there, and the monastery of Archimandrite Panteleimon is located there too. And it has Greek practices and Typicon. All the faithful there attend both one and the other equally, since that monastery is of our jurisdiction, is absolutely Orthodox, and has our Orthodox "spirit", despite the difference in Typicon and practices.
And to which I then added: but tell me, what sort of "common flock" could I have with the Parisians, when their head, Archbishop Georgy, while passing by our Memorial Church in Brussels [St. Job the Much-Suffering], spits in its direction with the words "Ugh, the Karlovci contagion!''. This was seen and heard by our people who were present there... But the Exarchate spits not only upon our churches but upon the Church Typicon and the canons. They perform weddings there on Saturdays, and generally whenever you like just so long as you pay the money. They served a funeral there for an unbaptized Jew as was reported to us with indignation by our "Zarubezhniki [Diasporites] What kind of "common flock" could there be here and what could we have in common with them? When I was serving in Brussels for the Day of Mourning, a certain woman started to approach the Holy Cup. I said: ask her whether she went to confession. The answer: "no". "Then you cannot receive Communion". She began to make a commotion... what is this, all that is needed is a clear conscience, and so forth... But I, I didn't get into an altercation with her, but only thought to myself: "Ugh, the Exarchate contagion".. . For she was one of the "Parisians".
I am accused of excessive strictness and of "fanaticism". But I have sufficient basis for holding to my point of view, for behind me stand great authorities, both ancient and contemporary.
I shall begin with the ancient ones. First and foremost... was it, then, in the present spirit of"condescension" towards those who have broken away that these words were spoken: "but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican"? (Mt. 18:17) We know Who said these words. Who then will dare to gainsay Him?...
Let us turn to the great authorities. Here we have the hierarch Saint Gregory the Theologian, the incarnation of meekness and pure Christian love towards all, and in particular towards those who have gone astray. However, he frankly states that not every peace is to be prized, nor is every war to be feared. "There is a shameful peace, and there is a good and praiseworthy division", says Saint Gregory. And the context of these words clearly indicates that he had in view those who had broken away... who had gone off into schism.
Next is Saint Basil the Great... a man stricter than most. Yet we know that when it was a question of a schism that had only just begun to form, then the hierarch was in favor of showing the maximum condescension and, for the sake of facilitating for the fallen the matter of their return to the fold of the Church, strove in every way so that the least possible demands be made upon them as the condition for their return. But how drastically he shifts his position when he speaks of an obstinate and prolonged schism. "Such a schism", says Saint Basil, "is already in all things like unto heresy, and one must treat such schismatics as one would heretics, not permitting any communion with them. [In like manner, Canon VI of the Second Ecumenical Council reads in part: "We call those heretics... who, though pretending to confess the sound faith, have schismatically separated and have gathered congregations in opposition to our canonical bishops."
Severe and categorical. But even more severely and more categorically speaks the third of these great authorities, Saint John Chrysostom. It's a pity that I do not have here at hand with me on the ship his marvelous sermons, preached precisely concerning schismatics. But I remember them well and shall strive to convey them as accurately as possible. [Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, Homily XI]
Saint John Chrysostom begins his talk on schism by citing the ancient testimony of that great saint, Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer. Saint Ignatius says that there is no sin worse than that which brings division into the Church, and he warns that this sin is so great, that not even the blood of martyrdom can wash it away! [cf St. Cyprian of Carthage] Corroborating this, Saint John Chrysostom says: I say this for those who indiscriminately go to all churches... both to ours and to those of the schismatics. If they teach differently than we do then for that very reason, of course, one ought not go to them. But if they teach the very same as we do then all the more cause why one ought not to go to them, for here is the sin of lust of authority...
Was it not for this very cause that Evlogy, of sorry memory, broke away and be came a schismatic leader, because he could not endure the seniority of Metropolitan Anthony? Alas, it is so! I recall how my late father, Bishop Dimitry, upon returning to China] from the famous "conference of the four" [the Sobor in Serbia in 1935 at which the North American Metropolia - what is now the OCA - and the Parisians returned to unity with ROCOR] for all his customary caution in making comments, said in grief: " I did not imagine that an Orthodox hierarch could be as insincere as this Evlogy, whom one simply has no desire to call 'Metropolitan"'. And Bishop Nestor [of Kamchatka], who, as a hierarch, received the minutes of the conference, showed them to Fr. Nathaniel. They contained, incidentally, these words of Vladyka Dimitry: "Inasmuch as His Beatitude Evlogy is today saying the exact opposite of what he said yesterday, then I too am forced today to likewise say the opposite and I hereby declare my total disagreement with him"...
Saint John Chrysostom continues: Thou (he is addressing his interlocutor) sayest, "We are all the same they serve, pray, and teach the same as we do." Very well why then are they not with us? One Lord, one Faith, one baptism! (Eph. 4:5) They have broken away. In that case, one of two things must be so: either all is well with us and they are in poor straits; or else all is well with them, and we are in trouble!
What do these clear and categorical words of this Holy Father signify? They indicate nothing other than that schism is graceless. Christ was not divided, and His grace is one. If one is to believe in the "state of grace" of schism, then one must either admit that we do not have grace those who broke away having taken it with them; or else admit that there are two graces (and obviously two true Churches, for grace is given only in the true Church).
Continuing to expound his thoughts, Saint John Chrysostom finally draws his conclusionÑinevitable and incontrovertible: "I do say and affirm that schism is just as terrible an evil as heresy."
And heresy separates the human soul from the Church, from God, and from salvation.
Here are some more voices from antiquity. Saint Peter of Alexandria saw the Saviour in a torn robe the Lord was clutching it in His hands. The hierarch made so bold as to inquire: Who has rent Thy garment, O Saviour? There followed the mournful and indignant reply of the Saviour: Arius the madman he has separated My sheep from Me which I have purchased with My blood...
In the lives of the saints it is related that the righteous Gregory once had a revelation. He beheld the future Dread Judgment of Christ. And at that judgment the Lord summoned Arius to Himself and threateningly asked him: Am I not the God-Man Christ, equal in Divinity to the Father and the Holy Spirit? How is it that you reduced My Divinity to the level of creation and have brought this assembly deceived by you (the followers of Arius) to eternal torment?. . .
What do these terrible words tell us? That the heretic leads his followers to eternal torment!... We have already seen that not according to the present spineless reasoning, but according to the teachings of the Holy Fathers schism is just as terrible an evil as heresy, and that obviously the end of it will be the same. I do not dare to pronounce judgment on our contemporary founder of schism, Metropolitan Evlogy; but I fear for his soul and I fear for all those who have been deceived by him and his successors and have been carried away into schism.
And I cannot understand the position taken on this issue by the late Vladyka John a true minister of God and a man of God. [St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco] Why didn't he "dot the i " from the very beginning and explain to the Evlogians the total falsehood of their path and position? For it is precisely because of this, because it was not stated at once and clearly where the truth is and where falsehood (for two truths there cannot be), where is white and where black, where light and where darkness, which path is correct and which incorrectÑthere would not now exist this "interjurisdictional hodgepodge" and the position would be clear.
That fact, that many from among the "Orthodox" indiscriminately attend what ever church, what does it tell us? Why simply that people do not hold the truth dear. For this very reason they don't bother giving the matter much thought. "The services are identical, everything is the same what need is there to philosophize?" Or, as our Fr. John Storozhev in Harbin (the last spiritual father of the murdered Imperial family), one of the best pastors of the Diaspora, used to say with poignant irony: "the bells ring; the popes [colloquial Russian for simple village priest] serve; the singing is good what more do you want?" To which may be added the oh, so familiar "After all, God is one!"...
If only people loved the truth and cherished it would they really be content with such indifference? No, and a thousand times no! Their soul would ache, and it would not rest content until it had discovered where is the truth, which can only be one for two truths cannot be. How correct Vladyka Nektary [of Seattle] is when he always affirms: there is no such thing as "different jurisdictions"; but there is only the Orthodox Church Abroad, and outside of her are schisms and heresies.
Now I should like to cite a contemporary authority, one not ancient, but an authority before whom we all must bow. This, of course, is that great "Abba of all abbas", His Beatitude, Metropolitan Anthony [Khrapovitsky].
Vladyka Anthony, when presenting the abbess' staff to Abbess Paula said to her: "Be condescending to all, know how to converse with those weak in faith and with scoffers. Behave wisely with heretics, but never agree with them that they supposedly have the grace of the Holy Spirit; know that the Roman Catholics, the Mohammedans and all other heretics are without grace." And we have already seen that the Holy Fathers equate obstinate and prolonged schism with heresy. Consequently?...
A quotation from a Paschal encyclical of Vladyka Anthony's (1934): "The present age is rich not in ascetical feats of piety and confession of faith, but in cheating, lies, and deceits. It is noteworthy that several hierarchs and their flocks, for the most part Russians, have already fallen away from Ecumenical unity, and to the question: "What dost thou believe?, reply with references to self-proclaimed heads of all sorts of schisms in Moscow, America, and Western Europe. It is clear that they have ceased to believe in the unity of the Church throughout the whole world and do not wish to admit it, attempting to bear calmly the refusal of the true Church to have relations with them, and imagining that one can supposedly save ones soul even without communion with Her. . .
Those who have cut themselves off from Her deprive themselves of the hope of salvation, as the Fathers of the Sixth Ecumenical Council teach concerning this, having recognized the renegades as being totally devoid of grace, according to the word of Christ: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."
"Unfortunately, some Orthodox laymen, even, alas, many priests (and hierarchs) have subjected themselves to this state of gracelessness, although still retaining the out ward appearance of the church services and the apparent performance of the Mysteries."
Ponder those last words of the great Abba: the apparent performance of the Mysteries... What horror! But these his words concur totally with my own conviction regarding the gracelessness and inefficacy of schismatic Mysteries.
When at the Sobor I cited these words of Vladyka Anthony in support of my conviction, the hierarchs received them in silence Vladyka Anthony [of Geneva] likewise held his peace. While Vladyka Philothei thanked me on behalf of the entire Sobor for such an exceptionally important explanation.
Peace and God's blessing be with you. May the Lord and His Most-pure Mother preserve you and the Holy Convent in health and prosperity!
This letter has turned out to be rather long. But having re-read it, I see that I have not said all that I consider neeessary to say, and so I add this enclosure.
You, Matushka, have no doubt caught the basic trend of my thoughts. I consider (I speak, of course, only for myself) that the schismatics American and Parisian do not have grace, for otherwise one would have to admit the absurd: the existence of several true Churches, which do not recognize each other, nor have any spiritual communion among themselves. This is already manifestly absurd because the Divine Founder of the Church said: "I will build My Church", and not "My Churches". I was led to this conviction both by the words of the ancient Holy Fathers (cited by me above) and by the words of Abba Anthony concerning the apparent performance of the Mysteries among those who have broken away from the true Church To such a degree do I not believe in the grace of the schismatics' "manipulations", that in the event that I were dying and it was necessary to give me Communion, I would receive it neither from the "Parisians" nor from the American False-Autocephalites, lest in place of the Holy Mysteries I should swallow a piece of bread and some wine.
But I have neglected still to emphasize that, the situation being such, it must considered a most grievous thing that our "Zarubezshniki" also frequent the temples of the schismatics to "confess" and "commune" there. Of what are they communing? If the Holy Mysteries, then that means that we do not have the Holy Mysteries, as Saint John Chrysostom has elucidated so clearly. But if we do have the Holy Mysteries, then they do not, and these poor people go there in vain. "Apparent" Mysteries, according to the definition of Abba Anthony that is what the ministers of the schism offer to these credulous people.
I quite understand what turmoil it would bring into the lives of those Russian people who believe in the exarchate and the false autocephaly, if that which I have written here were to be published. But will it really be better to remain silent concerning all this and take comfort in the "peace and quiet", as Vladyka Anthony [of Geneva] would have us do? Why, people are on a spiritually false path! This is terrifying! And will not the awesome judgment of God fall upon our heads, if we do not enlighten our erring brothers?
Some might raise an objection and say to me: Did not the Third Pan-Diaspora Sobor address both one and the other, the Parisians and the Americans, with a call for peace and unity? Yes, it did address them, but it addressed them not at all as was needed, and for that very cause this appeal produced no results, or rather, it produced a negative result. I had been certain that such would be the result. For we should have told them: you have gone astray, you have fallen away from the ChurchÑstrive to return to Her! But the appeal as published speaks to them as though they were within the Church just as we are, with equal rights and position. Whereas what should have been told them then and there was: you are not some sort of "different jurisdictions"; you are simply schismatics, and have no rights whatsoever... Come to your senses and return in repentance!
Most likely such an appeal would have provoked only an outburst of rage from the leaders of the schism (God grant that I am mistaken; but then, we know their attitude). But among their "flock", many, very many may have pondered it over and come to understand that matters do not at all stand well with them just as the late Sandrik Filatev and many others who have broken with the schism came to understand after hearing the serious and convincing explanations of Fr. Gerasim'.
The question might be posed to me: why I didn't mention at the Sobor that I felt the appeal to be inappropriate. I would reply: because I saw the attitude at the Sobor and I feared an explosion and a possible catastrophe. For I had been forewarned that the enemies of the Church wished to arrange such an explosion, in order to "blow up" the Sobor from within. Therefore I was compelled to avoid issues which might have provoked heated exchanges.
I wish to return to the issue of heresy and schism. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Anthony asks: is it permissible to be stern with heretics, who perhaps sincerely believe in the righteousness of their cause? One must never idealize heretics, he replies, since the basis for their departure is not virtue, but the passions and sins of pride, obstinacy, and malice. Sternness towards heretics, says Vladyka, is beneficial not only for the sake of protecting people from their influence, but also for the heretics themselves.
We have seen that the Holy Fathers equate obstinate schismatics with heretics. Consequently, is it proper to coddle them as, unfortunately, occurs among us? And all this for the sake of an evil and false "peace". . .
If the Lord permits me to live until the next Bishops' Sobor [1983, When the Anathema Against Ecumenism was solemnly proclaimed] at it I shall pose this question "point blank".
[Written along the left-hand margin, in the Metropolitan's hand:] P.S. This letter was completed onboard the ship, but is being sent only today, December 14/27, since I could not send it earlier... the
A LETTER FROM METROPOLITAN PHILARET (VOZNESENSKY) TO A PRIEST OF THE CHURCH ABROAD CONCERNING FATHER DIMITRY DUDKO AND THE MOSCOW
Dear Father Victor,
For a long time now I have been intending to write a few words to you, but somehow I haven't managed to get around to it. But at last I have collected myself, and so I write.
When I, while still in Australia, began to receive information from America already post factum that here [in New York City] there had been protests, demonstrations, and even molebens in front of the Soviet consulate, I became quite alarmed and regretted that I was not here, since I would have decisively opposed much of what took place. In particular, holding a moleben in such a place. Did they not sing the Lord's song in a strange land? What cause was there to display the holy things of the Church's services before the gaze of the frenzied servants of Antichrist? Was it really not possible to pray in church?
I must say frankly that I am always seized by dismay when I hear of protests, demonstrations, and the like. In the USSR, life is governed by him (the one with horns) who fears only Christ and His Cross; and who fears nothing else in the world. And he merely chortles over protests and demonstrations. Public opinion? Why, the antichrist regime has nothing but the uttermost contempt for it! They wanted to seize Czechoslovakia and they seized it, paying no heed to the commotion that was raised. They wanted to invade Afghanistan and they invaded it, again paying no attention to the protests and threats of the various Carters & Co. All attempts to shape public opinion in the so-called Free World in favor of those suffering from Communism are powerless and fruitless, since the Free World stubbornly closes its eyes and imitates the ostrich, which hides its head under its wing and imagines that it cannot be seen...
In bewilderment did I read in the newspaper how one journalist approvingly cites your words: Father Victor is correct when he writes: Russia is arising from the dead! We must believe in this; for we believe in Christ the Saviour Who arose the dead.
I cannot understand what is the connection between the one and the other? Personally, I believe in the Resurrection of Christ for me this is the most precious thing in the world. But I absolutely cannot see why must I believe that Russia is resurrecting? I hope that she truly will rise, then all-powerful nod for it will be given by God. But at present, not only do I not share your enthusiasm, but I am greatly alarmed for the Russian people. The falsehood and emptiness of atheism is obvious to them. But alas, it is not true Orthodoxy that is being disseminated there. There, under the guise of Orthodoxy, the Russian people are being offered Bulgakovism, Berdyaevism, and similar rubbish of the Evlogian schism. The sects are flourishing there: the Baptists etc. The official Church preaches cooperation with the God-hating regime, lauding it in every possible way. The true Orthodox Church has gone to the catacombs, hidden from the common masses ... Is that, then, the rebirth of Orthodoxy?.. And are you not perhaps taking a bit too much upon yourself, proclaiming to the whole world that Orthodoxy is being reborn in Russia? God grant that the Truth should overcome all errors and should triumph over them. But for the present it is too soon to speak of it, since the influence of the anti-Orthodox elements is still so very strong there; not to mention the fact that the antichrist Soviet regime, as long as it rules Russia, will never permit the triumph of Orthodoxy. It is not without cause that the true Orthodox Church concealed herself in the catacombs and is fiercely persecuted.
Now a few words on the tragedy of poor Father Dimitry Dudko.
From the very beginning of his activities, when his name was being mentioned more and more often as a pillar of Orthodoxy, and moreover, the members of the Synod, the hierarchs, were joining their voices to this; I, however, the author of these lines, immediately kept out of it and forewarned my fellow hierarchs that a disaster might happen here. How so? Because in the USSR, according to the premise of Archimandrite Constantine, there is now a satan-ocracy. There rules he whom the Saviour called a liar and the father of lies. This lie reigns there. Therefore one cannot trust anything that occurs there. Any seemingly spiritually encouraging fact may turn out to be a falsification, a forgery, a deception, or a provocation...
Why did this calamity befall Father Dimitry Dudko? Let's assume the best, not suspecting him of conscious collaboration with the KGB and betrayal of his convictions, but simply noting the sad fact that he did not endure, but was broken; he capitulated before the enemies of the Church. Why? It would seem that he did display courage and daring; and then suddenly, such an inglorious end.
Because his activity took place outside of the true Church...
What then is the Soviet church? Archimandrite Constantine has often and insistently stated that the most horrible thing that the God-hating regime has done in Russia is the creation of the Soviet Church, which the Bolsheviks presented to the people as the true Church, having driven the genuine Orthodox Church into the catacombs or into the concentration camps.
This pseudo-church has been twice anathematized. His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon and the All-Russian Church Sobor anathematized the Communists and all their collaborators. This dread anathema has not been lifted till this day and remains in force, since it can be lifted only by a similar All-Russian Church Sobor, as the canonical supreme ecclesiastical authority. And a terrifying thing happened in 1927, when the head of the Church, Metropolitan Sergius, by his infamous and apostate Declaration, subjected the Russian Church to the Bolsheviks and proclaimed collaboration with them. And thus in a most exact sense was fulfilled the expression in the prayer at the beginning of Confession: having fallen under their own anathema! For in 1918 the Church anathematized all the confederates of Communism, while in 1927 she herself joined the camp of these collaborators and began to laud the red, God-having regime to laud the red beast spoken of in the Apocalypse.
As if that is not enough. When Metropolitan Sergius promulgated his criminal Declaration, then the faithful children of the Church immediately separated themselves from the Soviet church, and thus the Catacomb Church was formed. And she, in her turn, has anathematized the official church for its betrayal of Christ.
And it was within this very church of evil-doers that the activities of Father Dimitry Dudko occurred, who has frankly declared in the press that he is not going to break with the Soviet church but will remain in her. Has his spiritual eyes been open, and had he seen the true nature of the official church, he might have found within himself the courage to say: I have hated the congregation of evil-doers, and with the ungodly will I not sit I am breaking off with the company of the enemies of God, and I am withdrawing from the Soviet church. Why, then for us he would have become one of our own his courage would have destroyed the barrier which irrevocably stands between us by virtue of the fact that the Sobor adopted as its guiding principle the Testament of Metropolitan Anastasy. For in this Testament it is ordered that we must not have any communion whatsoever with the Soviets, not only no communion in prayer, but not even ordinary contact in daily life. But as long as Father Dimitry would have refused to remain in the Soviet pseudo-church, and would have withdrawn from membership in her the barrier would no longer have applied to him.
I recall a marvellous case of the direct and miraculous aid of God to those who remained faithful to the end. They banished a group of nuns belonging to the Catacomb Church to Solovki. The Chekists told them: Get settled now, and tomorrow you will go to some sort of work. But they received an unexpected answer: We will not go and work. "What, have you gone out of your minds? Do you know what we will do with you? screamed the Chekists. There followed the calm reply of people who in their faithfulness feared nothing: What shall be, shall be but what is pleasing unto God shall be, and not what suits you executioners and criminals. You may do with us what you please: starve us, torture us, hang, shoot, or burn us with fire. But we give you notice once and for all: we do not recognize you, you servants of Antichrist, as the lawful authority, and we will not fulfill your orders in any way!..
In the morning the infuriated Chekists drove the nuns up onto the hill of death. Thus was called a high hill where in winter an icy wind always blew. In that wind a man would freeze to death within a quarter of an hour. The nuns, clad in their shabby ryassas, are led up the hill by Red Army men in their sheepskin coats. The nuns go happily, joyously along, chanting psalms and prayers. The soldiers left them at the top of the hill and then descended. They hear how they continue their chanting. Half hour, an hour, two, yet more all the while the sound of chanting carries from above. Night fell. The guards approach the nuns they are alive, unharmed, and continue chanting their prayers. The amazed soldiers led them home to the camp. News of this spread immediately throughout the entire camp. And when on the following day the guards were changed and yet the same thing happened, the camp authorities were bewildered and they left the nuns in peace...
Is this not a victory? Behold what it means to be faithful unto death as the marvellous words of Apocalypse say: Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. In this instance it's an obvious miracle, as it was with the three youths in the Babylonian furnace, only there the death-bearing element was fire, but here a death-dealing and killing cold. Behold how God rewards faithfulness!
And hear my heartfelt conviction: if the entire mass of the many millions of Russians would evidence a like faithfulness as did those nuns, and would refuse to obey the bandits who have been oppressing the Russian nation, then Communism would collapse in a second. For the succor of God, which had saved in a miraculous manner the nuns while on their way to certain death, would come likewise to the Russian people. But as long as the nation recognizes the regime and obeys it, even if all the while cursing it in their hearts, that regime will remain in place.
Of course, the nuns were strengthened by the power of God, just as the ancient martyrs; without this aid they would not have endured. But their podvig [martyric exploit] was accomplished within the true Church, filled with grace and Truth. For the true Church, according to the apostolic teaching, is the Body of Christ the Lord abides in her and leads her as her Divine Head.
Will anyone dare to assert that the Lord and His grace abide in the Church of the evil-doers, which lauds His demonized enemies and collaborates with them, which because of this is found under a twofold anathema, as indicated above? Can a church which has united with the God-haters possess grace?! The answer is obvious!
The hierarch Theophan the Recluse in his own day warned that a terrible time was approaching when people would behold before their eyes all the appearance of church grandeur solemn services, church order, and such while on the inside there would be total betrayal of the Spirit of Christ. Is this not what we see in the Soviet church? Patriarchs, Metropolitans, all the priestly and monastic orders and at the very same time, an alliance with the God-haters, that is, a manifest betrayal of Christ.
To this company belongs also Father Dimitry Dudko. Of course, his sincere religious feelings compelled him to preach concerning God and not to condone many of the disgraceful happenings in the lives of Russian people. But for him, Pimen was, and likely still is, his spiritual head, the head of the Soviet hierarchy; while for us, it is not at all so. For our Sobor in 1971 passed a resolution: on the basis of such and such canons to consider the election of Pimen as unlawful and invalid, and to consider all his acts and decrees as having no force or significance.
How difficult is Father Dimitry Dudko's position now! What is he to do? Continue his pastoral work? And what can he say to the faithful? Say the same thing that he said before his repentance? But then, he has already renounced this! Say the opposite? Why, they believed him before when he preached that which won for him the trust and respect of the faithful and now, how will he look them in the face? One girl correctly said that there is one way out for him: make a genuine repentance in atonement for the one he just now made. But in order to do that he must depart from the church of the evil-doers for the true Church, and there make his repentance. However, in return, the red church will undoubtedly deal with him with particular malice and cruelty. Of course, by crossing over to the true Church, he will pass over into the realm of Divine grace and strength, which can fortify him just as it fortified those catacomb nuns. God grant that he find the true and saving path.
I should also like to note the following. The Catacomb Church in Russia relates to the Church Abroad with love and total confidence. However, one thing is incomprehensible to the Catacomb Christians: they can't understand why our Church, which realizes beyond a doubt that the Soviet hierarchy has betrayed Christ and is no longer a bearer of grace, nevertheless receives clergy of the Soviet church in their existing orders, not re-ordaining them, as ones already having grace. For the clergy and flock receive grace from the hierarchy, and if it [the hierarchy] has betrayed the Truth and deprived itself of grace, from where then does the clergy have grace? It is along these lines that the Catacomb Christians pose the question.
The answer to this is simple. The Church has the authority in certain cases to employ the principle of economia condescension. The hierarch Saint Basil the Great said that, in order not to drive many away from the Church, it is necessary sometimes to permit condescension and not apply the church canons in all their severity. When our Church accepted Roman Catholic clergy in their orders, without ordaining them, she acted according to this principle. And Metropolitan Anthony [Khrapovitsky], elucidating this issue, pointed out that the outward form successive ordination from Apostolic times that the Roman Catholics do have; whereas the grace, which the Roman Catholic church has lost, is received by those uniting [themselves to the Church] from the plenitude of grace present in the Orthodox Church, at the very moment of their joining. The form is filled with content, said Vladyka Anthony.
In precisely the same manner, in receiving the Soviet clergy, we apply the principle of economia. And we receive the clergymen from Moscow not as ones possessing grace, but as ones receiving it by the very act of union. But to recognize the church of the evil-doers as the bearer and repository of grace, that we cannot do, of course. For outside of Orthodoxy there is no grace; and the Soviet church has deprived itself of grace.
In concluding my lengthy letter, I should like to point several things out to you, Father. The Bishops' Sobor resolved to be guided by and to fulfill the Testament of Metropolitan Anastasy, in which the late First Hierarch bade us not to have any communion with the Soviet church whatsoever, not only no prayerful communion, but not even ordinary contact. On what basis then have you and other clergymen had direct relations with Father Dudko? And have written him letters, etc.? No matter how sincere a man you may have considered him to be, nevertheless, can your private opinion annul a ruling adopted by the Church? Now, had Father Dudko said: I am breaking with the official church and leaving her then you could have entered into lively contact with him. But in the absence of that, your actions constitute a violation of ecclesiastical discipline. Dudko wrote to me personally, but I did not answer him although I could have said much. By the way, on what basis did you, even before this, take into your head to commemorate an archbishop of the Soviet church during the Great Entrance? Who gave you the right to do that, which hierarch who, how, where, when?.. Be more careful, my dear, zealous, but, ah, too impetuous fellow minister!
Peace to you and the mercy of the Lord. To Matushka and the children too.
The Lord has destined us to live in an extremely hard time unlike any other in the history of the Russian Church. That is why in the last will and testament one should speak of the most important thing. When a living organism is dying, all thoughts are concentrated on how to survive. So should we. In our times of predominant apostasy from God and the Truth, we should be concerned with two questions: how to keep faithfulness to the True God and how to save our souls.
2. Our Lord destines us to a great blessing: to belong to the Holy Orthodox Church, for only here can we obtain Salvation, if we do not waste the time of preparing ourselves for eternity.
Archbishop Nikodim was approached byone of the faithful who said to him " But Vladika, these poor people in Russia have no other Church to go to but the Patriarchal ones!" the bishop replied to her "Better no Church than a Soviet church!" (from a conversation with a seminarian now a Synodal Priest)
The Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on September 1/14) 1971 considered the gathering which, calling itself an All-Russian Church Council, met in Moscow from May 30 to June 2 of this year for the purpose of electing a Patriarch of Moscow and all Russias. This gathering declared that Metropolitan Pimen was elected to the Patriarchal Throne. After considering all aspects of this election, the Council of Bishops, representing the free part of the Russian Orthodox Church, came to the following conclusion:
|Blessed Archbishop Theophan of Poltava: "Archbishop Theophans meeting with a group of modernist clergy and liberal professors, who came to the Moscow All-Russian Church Council of 1917-1918, was a remarkable event. Vladika himself often liked to recall the conversation he had with those liberal churchmen who fought for modernization of the Church and for changes in keeping with the spirit of the times. These modernists approached Vladika very politely and reverently, obviously sensing his great spiritual authority. "We honour you ,Vladika" they said. "We recognize your ecclesiastical wisdom........ But the waves of time flow swiftly, changing everything, changing us. We must yield to these waves which overtake us.... Otherwise, with whom will you be left? You will be left alone." With whom will I be left?" Vladika answered them humbly , " I will be with left in the company of the Holy Prince Vladimir, enlightener of Russia. With the Venerable Fathers Antony and Theodosy the wonder-workers of the Kiev Caves, with the Holy Hierarchs and wonder-workers of Moscow, with Saints Sergius and Seraphim, with all the holy Martyrs, Saints, righteous pastors and wonder-workers who are glorified in the Russian land. And you , brothers, with whom will you be left, despite your majority, if you give yourselves over to the will of the waves of the times? These waves have already carried you off to the drabness of Kerenskyism (Democracy! ed.) and soon you will be engulfed by the yoke of the cruel Lenin (Communism,ed.) into the claws of the red beast." These modernists of the Church withdrew from Vladika in silence, having received the decisive answer.
Elsewhere he writes:
Honorable Brother in the Lord!
You said that the ultimatum of metropolitan Sergius of Nizhegorod has provoked great alarm in our Church family and in our Russian colony in general. What is at stake here and what should be our attitude toward it be?
The Bolshevik authorities are in essence Antichhristian and there is no way that they can be recognized as being established by God.