This Is Not The First Time, or Even the Second Time Our Bishops Have Been Slandered as Modernists and Ecumenists
The following text was posted to several lists by Fr. John Shaw to illustrate how those who now hold up Metropolitan Philaret as a Saint, were accusing the ROCA of heresy even during his time.
The reason I am forwarding this text is because the accusations it contains of ROCOR apostasy" date from over 20 years ago, and thus demonstrate that things have *not* "changed" as much as some of our contemporaries want us to believe.
If ROCOR was already "in apostasy" in the 1970's, and if that apostasy was approved by Metropolitan Philaret and by the Pan-Emigration Sobor of 1974, we could not have fallen into this apostasy in 1987, as claimed by HOCNA, or in 1996 as claimed by ROAC.
We have several times referred to the series of open letters sent by Vladimir Moss some 20 years or so ago. I have at times quoted some of their content from memory, but this has always brought fierce reproaches from Mr. Moss.
I also have not had, or cared to spend, long hours digging through old papers to see if I could unearth samples of what he wrote against ROCOR in 1981. However, today I took a few minutes, and came up with the following.
I think it important *now*, because it contains both reproaches against Metropolitan Philaret, of blessed memory, whom Mr. Moss now views as a Saint, and it closes with the words that "The Russian Church Abroad, in the persons of its administration, is falling into the same abyss of apostasy from the Truth as the others".
Here is the text:
THE WAY OF THE TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST
"And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein, But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not, for it is given unto the Gentiles..."
There is no doubt that the All-Russian Catacomb Church of the martyrs and the confessors, -- with at it head his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, the locum tenens of the Patriarchal Throne Peter, Metropolitan of Krutitsk, the locum tenenses Kyril, Metropolitan of Kazan, and Agathangel, Metropolitan of Yaroslavl, the deputies of the locum tenes Joseph, Metropolitan of Petrograd, and Seraphim, Archbishop of Uglich, and with them hundreds of hierarchs, thousands, thousands of priests and monks, and other millions of tortured and massacred Christians -- is the true Church of Christ, which we are bound to follow.
The all-Russian Local Council of the Orthodox Church in 1917/18 defined the spiritual path of the Catacomb, -- secret in form, true Orthodox in content, -- Church. In the third month of the existence of the Soviet State, his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon placed an anathema on it and all its accomplices, and the All-Russian supported this decision of his Holiness the Patriarch. This anathema, this cry to God and this curse, is the corner-stone on which the Catacomb Church stands.
The false "church" recognized by the Soviet Union called "the Russian Orthodox Church" rejects this anathema of his Holiness and the Local Council. But in view of the fact that this false-church, in the person of its administration, is a masked continuation of the Soviet State, it falls under this anathema-curse. More than that. The declaration of Metropolitan Sergei of 16/29th July, 1927, recognizes the God-fighting, antichristian and antichrist power as "lawful" and "established by God". In return, the Soviet State recognizes the "Soviet church" of Metropolitan Sergei founded by it as "lawful" and legal while under Patriarch Tikhon it was by no means legal! The "highest service" of Metropolitan Sergei, from the point of view of the Soviet State, consisted in his uttering before the whole world a blasphemous lie in saying to the antichrist (co-power): "You are of God!". And the Catacomb Church understands this blasphemy is the first beginnings of the heresy of the antichrist.
The most striking sign of the last times is in the prophecies of the Saviour, -- a Archbishop Theophan of Poltava and Pereyaslavl' writes, -- is that "the stars fall from heaven" (Mat. 24:29). According to the explanation of the Saviour Himself, "the stars" are the Angels of the Churches, that is, the bishops (Rev. 1:20). So the religio-moral fall of bishops represents one of the most characteristic signs of the last times. The fall of bishops is particularly terrible when they fall away from the dogmas of the Faith or, as the Apostles expresses it, when they "would pervert the Gospel of Christ" (Gal. 1:7). On such the Apostle commands "anathema" to be pronounced: "If any man preach any other Gospel unto you than that which ye have received", he writes, "let him be anathema" (Gal. 1:8-9). And it is not necessary to linger here, he continues:
"A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject: knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself" (Titus 3:10-11). Otherwise, that is for indifference to falling-away from the truth, the judgment of God may strike you: "because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold not hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth (REv. 3:16). (The letters of Archbishop Theophan of Poltava and Pereyaslavl, Letter 18, p. 29).
We live in an unhappy time, when "the salt loses its savour", ceases to be salt, loses its strength, when "the Angels of the Churches", the bishops, fall away and drag down their flock with them... Metropolitan Sergei and those bishops and priests who came after him and agreed to work together with the antagonist of Christ, were the first at that time to "lose their salt", they lost their spiritual strength, breaking the holy canons and dogmas of the Church and submitted, "not only out of fear, but from conscience" (Rom. 13:5), to the God-fighting antichrist. The infection or contagion did not remain within the borders of the U.S.S.R., but also extended abroad. Metropolitan Evlogy, who was elected before for schism, and those with him, entered into compromises and submitted to red Moscow. "The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad" remained without compromise. But with the death of some, and the arrival of other "Angels of the Church", this Church" also lost its freedom from compromise. Here is an example. The present Archbishop Anthony of Geneva and Western Europe, in his "Messenger of the West-European Eparchy of the Russian Church Abroad", no. 14, September, 1979, pp. 50-51, writes to a "priest" of the red false-church, Dmitri Dudko, as follows:
"Dear in the Lord Batyushka, Father Dmitri, -- I write to you by reason of your letter to Vladyka Metropolitan Philaret. First, I hasten to reassure you that the part of the Russian Church which is free beyond the frontiers of our homeland has never considered the Moscow Patriarchate, which is officially recognized in the U.S.S. R., to be without Grace..." Further on Archbishop Anthony writes: "...We are governed in recent times by the opinion of the late Archbishop John, who is respected and well-thought-of by all, who said that "the official Church in the U.S.S.R. is, of course, Grace-bearing, although the hierarchs who stand at its head conduct themselves in an inadmissible fashion"... One could say much about this letter if one had space and time. But we limit ourselves to a little. It is completely inadmissible to allude to the unproven opinion of someone, when the matter touches the dogmas of the Faith. Show us a conciliar decision on this question! There is none. But even a "conciliar decision" does not settle the question. "Not every meeting of bishops is a council, but only a meeting of bishops standing in the Truth", says the great confessor of th Faith and of Christ, St. Theodore the Studite. And as regards the Archbishop of Geneva, he has repeatedly declared that the "episcopate" and all the "priesthood" of the red false-church is completely canonical and all its "mysteries" have grace-bearing power, in spite of the fact that the "bishops" and "priests" appear to be pluralists, being also generals and officers of the K.G.B.!
An edited version of the above letter was published in the periodical "Posev", no. 12 for 1979. And lo and behold, in the last eighteen months nobody, neither Metropolitan Philaret, as the head of the "Russian Orthodox Church Abroad", nor individual bishops of this "Church", nor any priests, have refuted this monstrous affirmation as if it were a "slander" of Archbishop Anthony... It is perfectly clear: "the salt has lost its savour" in this "Church" also... But there is a still stronger witness!
This is the "Epistle of the Third All-emigration Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad", addressed to "the Orthodox people in the Homeland" (1974). In this "wise" epistle (it would be interesting to know who edited it!) the canonical boundary which separates by an unpassable chasm the True Church of Christ from the fasle-church of the antichrist which works together with the Soviet State, is crossed. The blood of the holy martyrs are on this false-church!.. "And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held (Rev. 6:9)... And to place a mark of equality between the martyred hierarchy of the Catacomb Church (his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, the locum tenens Metropolitan Peter, Metropolitan Kyril of Kazan and Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd) and the persecuting "hierarchy" of the sergianist false-church, headed by generals of the K.G.B., means to expunge entirely the anathema of Patriarch Tikhon, delivered on January 19th, 1918 against the Soviet State and its accomplices, as well as all the anathemas of the Secret Councils of the Catacomb Church, and to cover everything with the declaration of Metropolitan Sergei. And one may ask what "clear boundary has been drawn in recent years by Archbishop Ermogen and the (glorified abroad) priest Dmitri Dudko", if they remain in canonical submission to the Moscow false-patriarchate, and to its "heir", Metropolitan Sergei? And how, after this, are we to understand the declaration of the "Third All-emigration Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia", when the "Council" gives in this epistle such a confession of its "faith":
"... The faithful arch-pastors, pastors, monks and laity on both sides of the iron curtain are one. Together they constitute the Holy Russian Church -- undivided, like the undivided, seamless robe of Christ"!
With whom does the Church Abroad declare its unity? Surely it is not the Catacomb Church here! This is a clear appeal to the Soviet, red false-church. So it follows that Archbishop Anthony is right in his opinion that the "Russian Orthodox Church Abroad" recognizes that the God-fighting power has established in the country a genuine "Orthodox Church". this is flagrant nonsense. The Archbishop of Geneva and Western Europe witnesses that the R.O.C.O.R. is an unofficial exarchate of the "Soviet church". By "Orthodox people" the author of the epistle had in view only those who go to Pimen's churches and not at all the millions of those whom the emigration calls "catacombniks". Or perhaps the epistle speaks about "unity" wishing to unite that which cannot be united, a "Soviet and Catacomb Church"?! But the holy hieromartyr of the Catacomb Church, Bishop Maxim of Serpukhov, declared, almost on the eve of his death:
"The Soviet and Catacomb Churches are incompatible!"
"The secret, desert, catacomb (cave) Church has anathematized the "sergianists and those with them"!
(Protopresbyter Michael Polski. The New-martyrs of Russia. vol. 2, p. 30).
The All-Russian Catacomb Church, which appeared in the first days of the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks, exists now as She has always existed. On Her is the blessing of his Holiness Patriarch TIkhon, the locum tenenses of the Patriarchal Throne Metropolitans Peter, Kyril and Joseph, Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich, Archbishop Dmitri of Gdov, Bishop Maxim of Serpukhov, Bishop Damascene of Glukhov and all the other hierarch martyrs of the All-Russian Church. One must understand that if She gave millions of holy passion-bearers in such a short period of time, then one can be sure that, by the Grace of God, She has not been annihilated. She rests on two confessions of the Faith of Christ, two denials. The Catacomb Church rejects both the Soviet State and the Soviet "church" created by it. In the given case the Catacomb Church is obedient to the anathema hurled by Patriarch Tikhon and the Local All-Russian Council of 1918 and the secret Councils of the Catacomb Church... "The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad", in the person of its administration, is falling into the same abyss of apostasy from the Truth as the others. But it cannot be that in this Church there should not have remained a healthy root of the true Faith, although at the given moment it is not visible. Many suffer and groan from such a disordered state of affairs and do not know what to do. What escape is there from this situation? There remains a final escape: temporarily to submit to the unofficially existing True Orthodox Church of the old calendarists in Greece, under the omophorion of his Beatitutde the Archbishop of Athens and All-Greece Andreas, with the Holy Synod under him.
30th January, 1981.
% East House, beech Hill, Woking, Surrey.
Commemoration of the Holy Three Great Hierarchs and Universal Teachers.
1. His Beatitude Andreas, Archbishop of Athens and All-Greece,
Athens T.T. 308,
GREECE. Tel. 353.925 - 352.144
2. Very Rev. Archimandrite John Lewis, Exarch for North AMerica,
Holy Theotokos Monastery,
355 Edmor road,
U.S.A. Tel. (305)655-4222.
Father ANTHONY CHERNOV was a member of the CATACOMB CHURCH in Russia from 1948-1978, when in that year he came to the West.