After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY



• RTOC moves to Autonomous Status

• Mother Juliana started this petition a week ago and asks our help
   (English appears below the Spanish)

•  Serbian-RTOC bishop report to GOC Metropolitan concerning fragments
   (Very confused. Etna adds to the confusion by denying that SIR renounced Cyprianism)

Historical letter of appreciation from Metropolitan St. Philaret

Митрополит Антоний: Вселенская Православная Церковь
Архив РПЦЗ: Благодарность Митрополита Филарета
Автор: Митрополит Агафангел вкл. 29 Ноябрь 2015 . Опубликовано в Архив РПЦЗ (Просмотров: 25)
Дорогой Петр Николаевич! 
Я лично от себя также выражаю искреннюю благодарность за Ваши многие труды на пользу нашей Русской Церкви!
Храни Вас Господь! 
 + Митрополит Агафангел

St. Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop of Neocaesarea

shared by a Reader reader...

The entry in today's Synaxarion (17 November) for St. Gregory the Wonderworker (AD 214-275) has the following remarkable passage:

        One night, the Most Holy Mother of God and Saint John the Theologian appeared to [St. Gregory], and revealed with great clarity the mystery of the unity of the divine Nature and the distinction of the three Persons in these words: “

There is only one God, Father of the living Word, of the hypostatic Wisdom, of the eternal Power and of the eternal Imprint.  He is the perfect Begetter of the perfect Begotten.  There is one only Lord, the Unique come from the the Unique, God come forth from God, Imprint and Image of the Divinity, all-accomplishing Word; Veritable Son of the Veritable Father, Invisible come forth from the Invisible, Eternal come forth from the Eternal.  There is one only Holy Spirit, who proceeds from God the Father and is revealed by the Son. He is the origin of life, the holy well-spring and principle of sanctification.  In Him, God the Father, who is above all and in all, and God the Son, who is through all, manifest themselves–perfect Trinity.   In the Trinity there is nothing created or subservient, nothing subsequent, which has not always been.  Thus, neither has the Son ever been lacking to the Father, nor the Spirit to the Son."

What is wrong here?

Serbian RTOC bishop petitions to have communion with the GOC

Fr. Akakije left the GOC in 2011 and joined the RTOC.  The RTOC made him a bishop.  Now, RTOC Bishop Akaije wants his part of the RTOC to go into communion with the GOC.  He sent this petition to the GOC Synod October 2015:
STOC = Serbian RTOC
Petition for the Establishment of Canonical Communion between the STOC and the Greek GOC


Petition for the Establishment of Canonical Communion

Your Beatitude, Your Eminences, and Your Graces, Hierarchs of the Holy Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece:

     Moved by the commandment of the Lord that unity and love between His disciples is one of the main confirmations of true loyalty to Him and His Divine Will, and zealous to fulfill the commandment of the unity of the Church, we humbly address You with a petition to undertake with us all that is within our power to establish canonical communion between our sister Churches to the Glory of God.

     We owe you immeasurable gratitude for the brotherly help which you have offered us from the very beginning of our holy battle for the rebirth of True Orthodoxy among the Serbian Christ-named Orthodox people by ordaining canonical, True Orthodox clergy for the needs of the Serbian Local Church, which due to the fall of the Belgrade Patriarch hierarchy into the heresy of ecumenism was left without a canonical episcopacy and clergy. 

     To the great sorrow of all of us, communion between our two Local Churches ceased owing to the arising of a misunderstanding and disagreement about our desire and urgent need for the establishment of a national (Serbian) episcopacy to shepherd the Serbian TOC. At the time these disagreements seemed unresolvable and insurmountable, which forced us to take measures which were not in accordance with your judgment and position. 

     Without your agreement we entered into communion with the Russian TOC, which, although canonical and Orthodox, is not in communion with your Church.  Also without your agreement, the Russian TOC granted us a hierarchy in the form of two bishops.  Such actions, though made with the best of intentions, with the vital interests of our Serbian Local Church in mind, were nonetheless inopportune, hurtful, and ungrateful towards you, our benefactors. 

     For this offence we humbly beg your forgiveness with the most sincere sorrow and repentance. Also with sorrow and repentance do we beg forgiveness, with a deep prostration, for all the rough and hurtful words that we have spoken or published about you.

     We hope that you will have merciful, magnanimous, brotherly understanding and condescension towards us. From our point of view, the above-mentioned actions were made purely in the interests of our Local Church, and were never consciously or with ill intention directed against you and your Church. You were and have remained our true benefactors and helpers in the great work of the rebirth of Orthodoxy within the jurisdiction of the Serbian local Church, which through the machination of tragic historical circumstances fell into a very difficult and nearly inescapable position.  It was inevitable that our Church would need the help of other Local Churches, without which even the smallest progress would have been impossible to realize. 

     We Serbian hierarchs sharply oppose every sort of fanaticism (zeal not according to knowledge), isolationism, and sectarianism, destructive and delusional phenomena which have inflicted painful, difficult-to-heal wounds in the True Orthodox world.  We admire your supremely God-pleasing work towards the establishment of unity among the True Orthodox which magnificently bore fruit with the great union made in March of 2014.  Our wish is that the Serbian TOC unite with the newly-established front of the True Orthodox Churches so that the battle against heresy and for the Truth of the patristic faith be strengthened to the joy of the faithful, the strengthening of the weak, and the shame of the ecumenists.

     In the coming year of 2016 we will celebrate the twenty-year anniversary of the beginning of the holy battle for True Orthodoxy in Serbia, and it would be a great blessing if this jubilee, so meaningful to us, would be marked by a concelebration of our hierarchs, which would be a great comfort to all of Orthodox-minded Serbia.

     With deep respect and gratitude as the youngest among hierarchs in the family of the True Orthodox Churches we greet you with the brotherly liturgical kiss of peace and love:


Hieromartyr Dionysius the Areopagite  1/16 October 2015
+Bishop Akakije of Uteshiteljevo
President of the Hierarchal Council of the Serbian True Orthodox Church
Bishop Nektarije

So, what is wrong here?  A lot.  First what is wrong is the idea that RTOC is canonical.  The ROCA deems the RTOC to be a Russian schism.  RTOC needs to return to ROCA and resolve its separation from ROCA before doing anything else.   Next what is wrong is that Fr. Akakije first needs to show sincere repentance for running off and joining the RTOC in 2011.  Sincere repentance would be if he renounces his RTOC "consecration" and asks the GOC to accept him back at least as nothing more than what he was when he left.

1. Fr. Akakije left the GOC in 2011 and joined the RTOC.
2. The RTOC made him a bishop.  
3. Now, Fr-Bp. Akakije wants GOC to go into communion with his RTOC as an equal.  
Do you see something here?...
...like Jurisdictional Ecumenism, maybe?

Watch and see how our Synods handle this petition from RTOC-Bp. Akakije and if there is a response.  Laymen understand that the Orthodox Church is not a democracy.  We laymen don't vote on issues and then expect our hierarchs to act according to our wishes, like in a democracy.   It is not for us to form an opinion and then pressure our hierarchs to act according to the will of the majority of laymen.  Instead, it is our job as individuals to understand our Holy Synods.

Based on past observation of my Holy Synod, my speculation is this:
If the GOC does go into communion with the RTOC, I expect that the ROCA will condescend to allow this without it changing the status of the GOC being our Sister Church.  ROCA in the past has always given much wiggle room to Sister Churches.  We allow them to make mistakes, we allow them time to learn from their mistakes, we suffer their trespasses against us.  The GOC going into communion with RTOC I doubt would be a deal-breaker.  But, there is no way our ROCA synod would also go into communion with the RTOC just because our Sister Church did.

And what else is wrong here?
Serbian RTOC bishop sends report to the GOC

If the GOC answered Serbian-RTOC Bp. Akakije's October 2015 petition, we do not know.  A month later, November 2015, Serbian-RTOC Bp. Akakije wrote an informal report to GOC Metr. Photios, signed with his initials, and published on his blog in English three days later.

Apparently he is getting the money from somewhere to travel around Russia and Europe.  The whole letter feels so staged to me...  For whose benefit was this written and published in English on Serbian-RTOC Bp. Akakije's blog?  What is the English reader supposed to take away from this report – what presumptions, what inferences?

Read what Serbian-RTOC Bp. Akakije says about our Metr. Agafangel and our Church, read what he is trying to do to our Church.  

What has been obvious for years and typical of the jurisdictional ecumenists is that they brush aside the fact that RTOC and ROAC are not in communion with each other.  There are "no serious obstacles", and that seems to close the case.  The focus, for some odd reason, is on ROCA which has an impossible obstacle: (we assert that we are the sole valid continuation of the ROCOR).  Notice how Serbian-RTOC Bp. Akakije gives one sentence to the unity of RTOC & ROAC, but then devotes the body of his report against the ROCA first and then the Cyprianites.  Why does he bother with the ROCA when there is so little hope?  Why not focus on unifying the groups that have hope for unity, and "no serious obstacles" to unity?

This has always been the unexplainable and irrational course of priorities taken by the jurisdictional ecumenists.  But now we can see, since the SIR-GOC union, that it becomes even more necessary for the jurisdictional ecumenist agenda to put pressure on ROCA.  And "pressure" is exactly what Serbian-RTOC Bp. Akakije suggests that the GOC do to Agafangel in his report below, he writes:  "...Thus we ask you from the perspective of the GOC (not from the perspective of the Synod in Resistance) to look into the entry into communion with Met. Agathangel or at least to put pressure on him to humble himself, admit and correct his mistakes towards the other Russian Hierarchs, the first and essential one of which was the way he created his Synod, by rejecting the brotherly help offered by the Russian bishops who were then and now canonical, and seeking help from the Greek Cyprianite bishops who at the time were neither canonical nor Orthodox..."  

Serbian-RTOC Bp. Akakije offers two solutions for the GOC: 
1.  "...look into the entry into communion with Met. Agathangel..."
2.  "...put pressure on him to humble himself..."

#2 destroys the ROCA via jurisdictional ecumenism.  #1 at least causes serious injury to the Sisterhood.   Honestly, can we really believe that Metr. Photios would take the suggestions of Serbian-RTOC Bp. Akakije on any matter, let alone this one?  The issue of the ROCA was painstakingly examined prior to the GOC-SIR union.  How is Serbian-RTOC Bp. Akakije – an unrepentant renegade priest from the GOC – going to have any influence on Metr. Photios and the GOC synod?  He's not.  This is what makes me think that this report actually has a different target.  It is addressed to Metr. Photios, but it is written for the English-speaking RTOC flock to read.  I suspect the same is true for the petition, too.

Report from the trip to Russia of Bishop Akakije to Metropolitan Photios Secretary of the GOC Synod

To the Secretary of the Holy Synod His Eminence Metropolitan Photios of Dimitriados

Your Eminence, Bless!

I am writing You from the road, on a trip to France and Spain, and I am writing on my telephone so I ask forgiveness if there is anything confusing.

My trip to Russia, that is my visit with the Hierarchs of the RTOC and ROAC was more of an informative character, and as such I can say that it was successful. For me the first question in our discussions was their stance towards union between the Russian jurisdictions.

Unity between the RTOC and the ROAC is not impossible – that is, for its establishment there are no serious obstacles – but as far as I can see there is no decisive initiative for this to happen from either side.  The more serious problem is with Agathangel’s synod, with whom the other two jurisdictions have nothing to talk about.  Their reasons are not small ones.  In the first place is the way in which the Agathangel synod was created with the help of the Greek (Cyprianite) bishops, avoiding the already-existing Russian bishops.  They consider that Agathangel in this fashion fell away from the inheritance of the Russian Church. More importantly, they consider that the main reason for his independence was Cyprianism, because he claimed that the other Russian hierarchs had an “extreme” confession of faith, while he with the help of the Cyprianite bishops created a Synod with the “correct,” “traditional” ie Cyprianite confession of faith.  Secondly, from the people that he collected around himself and made into bishops, he made his own personal Synod which quickly voted for him as Metropolitan (white klobuk), which for the Russians means the first hierarch, over everyone, as were Philaret and Vitaly.  Third, the whole time Met. Agathangel has been treating the other Russian hierarchs very arrogantly and insultingly, declaring all of them schismatics, and until only recently, extremists.  The irony is that with the union of March 2014, Agathangel was forced to accept what he had until only recently called an “extreme” confession of faith and thus invalidated his main accusation against the other Russian hierarchs of “extremism.”  The RTOC and ROAC do not have a good opinion of Agathangel and think that it was a serious mistake that you (the GOC) accepted him into communion and thus gave him an appearance of canonicity and legitimacy.  This even further confirmed him in his self-deception that he is some bishop in authority over others who during the period of the collapse of the Russian Church Abroad behaved the most canonically and correctly in comparison to the other Russian bishops who opposed the union with the Moscow Patriarchate.  With this idea he gives himself the right to consider the other Russian hierarchs schismatics and uncanonical bishops because they ceased communion with the Russian Church Abroad “before they should have” while it was under “Metropolitan” Laurus, which is entirely unreasonable, as he (Agathangel) in following Laurus “to the end” participated in the complete betrayal of the principles of True Orthodoxy, culminating in the official concelebration with Metropolitan Amphilochius of the Serbian Patriarchate. 

For our STOC Metropolitan Agathangel is a serious and nearly insurmountable problem.  An eventual entry into communion with the GOC would mean entry into communion with Met. Agathangel, which would mean recognizing him as a canonical part of the Russian Church, which he certainly is not, and entry with him into communion would be an openly unfriendly act towards the other parts of the Russian Church, which we wish to avoid if this is at all possible.  Thus we ask you from the perspective of the GOC (not from the perspective of the Synod in Resistance) to look into the entry into communion with Met. Agathangel or at least to put pressure on him to humble himself, admit and correct his mistakes towards the other Russian Hierarchs, the first and essential one of which was the way he created his Synod, by rejecting the brotherly help offered by the Russian bishops who were then and now canonical, and seeking help from the Greek Cyprianite bishops who at the time were neither canonical nor Orthodox.

Another important matter is the opinion of the RTOC under Archbishop Tikhon about the union of the GOC and the SiR:  they believe that an overly-large compromise was made which is unacceptable when the confession of faith is in question.  They especially point out the recent letter of Bishop Auxentius of Etna as a confirmation that Cyprianism continues freely to act, and that a public denunciation of the Cyprianite teaching by the former member bishops of the Cyprianite synod is urgently necessary in order to defeat this false teaching and end any confusion about the question.  In my opinion, the Russian Hierarchs’ desire is not ill-intentioned and judgmental towards the GOC – on the contrary, I think it is honest and well-intentioned.

I think that you should speak with them and explain the stances of the GOC about these matters, and not let the RTOC form its stance according to the writings of Vladimir Moss and the stances which Fr. Victor Melehov is pushing.  You must keep in mind they consider your (the GOC)’s acceptance of Met. Agathangel into communion uncanonical, incorrect and unfriendly, and thus any initiative from their side for a conversation is nearly impossible. 

I made protest before the RTOC hierarchs because of their acceptance of the defrocked Greek clergymen into the RTOC jurisdiction, and they said that they would re-examine that case.  They responded in the negative to my question about the rumor that the RTOC is planning to establish bishops for the Greek Church, and said that this rumor is slander.  On the contrary, they say that they never planned on establishing bishops for the Greek Church.

That is basically my short report on my trip to Russia and visit to the hierarchs of the RTOC and ROAC, to which I have also added some of my personal opinions. 

I also wanted to let you know that in Serbia we already are having some problems because of our initiative to be closer with the GOC.  Ten people are already very close to ceasing communion with us.  They think that our coming closer to the GOC is a betrayal of the faith because of the Cyprianite bishops who have not repented of that false teaching and are now in the GOC Synod.

I wish You every good thing from the Lord, and please convey to His Beatitude my greetings.

23 November 2015

Here is what Metr. Photios said about Serbian-RTOC Bp. Akakije as recently as October 2013:
- How do you see the future of the group of Bishop Akakios in Serbia 
- We shall see what will happen. For us his situation is uncanonical from its foundation from the Tikhonites. And, as it is written, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” (Matth. XIV 13).

Happy Thanksgiving!

from Fr. Paul in California

In my opinion Greek is the best option for the occasion:

Ευτυχισμένη Ημέρα των Ευχαριστιών !
Eftychisméni Iméra ton Efcharistión ! 
or Happy Thanksgiving !  

Akathist of Thanksgiving

What are We Now Facing!

Archimandrite Constantine Ziatsev
Memory Eternal
November 13/26, 1975

What are We Now Facing!
Archimandrite Constantine Ziatsev 
from Orthodox Life magazine 1964 (1)

The attention of the whole world has been drawn by an event which became the center of the pilgrimage of Pope Paul VI to the Holy Land: the meeting of the Pope with Patriarch Athenagoras, which has taken on the significance of a starting point of negotiations for unification of the Orthodox and Catholic churches.  This task is definitely posed.  The first steps on the way to its speedy realization are fixed.  The reaction to this event is essentially different.  Amongst people far-removed from true “churchness”, of which there are a great number today, this has been welcomed simply as the latest sensation on the way to world unity now so in fashion.  For those who live in the hope of the birth of a new era intended to benefit humanity, this was already a concrete beginning of this coming blessedness.  For those who consciously participate in Church life, this event evoked a diametrically opposed reaction.  For those who, —— be they Orthodox or Catholic — Truth is conceived of in no other manner than in the form of their respective churches, this could not be anything else but a heart-freezing catastrophe.  Of course, the Catholics could not openly reveal their feelings.  As to the Orthodox, the renunciation of the acts and even of the very person of Patriarch Athenagoras received at times most decisive expression.

In order to understand what really has taken place, one should clearly realize that here two irreconcilable mentalities are being crossed.  One is authentically Orthodox.  The Lord came to earth and here established His Church, which will continue up until His Second Coming; however, at the termination of times, it will be persecuted to such a degree that only as a small remnant will it greet the Lord coming in His glory.  This Church, persecuted from the start, but namely in these persecutions conquering the world, finally conquered its persecutors — in the person of the Emperor of the Roman Empire, who, having transferred the capital from Rome to Byzantium, became the sovereign protector of the Church.  Its era of flowering ensued, when even the deepest internal discords called forth by heresies, led to an increase in glory of the Church, leaving after themselves an exact definition of Truth.  Something new arose when Rome fell away from the Church, proclaiming itself as the Church.  Here there were elements of both heresy and schism, but this was no more an internal struggle as in the past, but at the same time a self-affirmation as the authentic Church, which considered the true Church as heretical and schismatic.  As is known, later in the midst of the Catholic church there arose an analogous struggle which gave rise to the so-called Reformation.  New church organizations started to arise, increasing in number: the protestant churches, and later on different church organizations where no traces of authentic Christianity were to be found: the sects.

Orthodoxy continued its long-suffering life.  Byzantium came to a fall.  Her heritage, however, could be assumed by the newly-arisen Russian Orthodox Kingdom, which from this time carried upon itself the great assignment of protecting the Church.  Amidst its bitterest enemies, equally as “the barbarians”, Orthodoxy saw Catholic Rome, which was ready to annihilate it with fire and sword, doing at the same time all possible and impossible to convert the Orthodox to Catholicism.  However, by God’s mercy, Orthodoxy continued to live and blossom, until the Russian Orthodox Kingdom did live and flourish, upon whose Sovereign rested grace of the “Withholding” power, the significance of which is revealed in the Second Chapter of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Thessalonians.

Everything changed with the fall of the Russian Orthodox Kingdom.  The pre-Antichrist time began: the so-called Apostasy.  The normal course of life can be restored only with the restoration of the Russian Orthodox Kingdom.  As far as this does not occur -— two paths appear before Christian humanity: the path of greeting Christ in faithfulness to Him, and the path of greeting the Antichrist in infidelity to Christ.  This infidelity reveals itself not only in open struggle with Christianity; it may also take on the character of revering a falsified Christ.  That already is an uncovered preparation for greeting the Antichrist, delusively assuming the likeness of Christ.  The open struggle with Christianity received the most striking expression in communism.  The falsification of Christianity, garbed in the form of devout reverence, takes on the form of the so-called ecumenism.  Recently these two modalities of Apostasy began to approach one another  more and more.  The process is favored by communism's concealment of itself by the false semblance of a church, as far as Christian churches being under the yoke of communism become dutiful instruments of communism.  

Such is the contemporary world, as it is seen by true Christians, that is by those who, in remaining in the bosom of the Orthodox Church, remain entirely faithful to Her.  Here everything is clear and there is no place for any misunderstanding, for here Truth reveals itself as it is revealed by the Lord in His Church.

This lucid and exact mentality, authentically-Orthodox, is countervailed by another mentality, at unity only in its incapacity of accepting the just mentioned Truth, and that for the reason of being influenced by Apostasy without any possibility of a successful reaction against it.  Even the Orthodox become sacrifices of Apostasy in so far as they fall under the influence of the age.  Only the Orthodox faithful to their Church have the capacity of seeing matters as they actually are, and for that reason possess the adequate power to oppose Apostasy.  Everyone else, seeking salvation in his church, does not obtain the fullness of Truth in it and therefore finally sees himself helpless before the temptations of Apostasy.

Two processes of struggle with Apostasy can be observed.  One signifies the organization of external resistance.  This — is a general front, a heterogeneous coalition, unified only by a task of a negative nature: a struggle with outright Evil, which takes on the form of communism.  Here everyone is defending his own Truth without any pretension of converting one’s brothers-in-arms, having no other aim but resistance to communism.  This front, however, remains only in outline form and never becomes a reality, being eaten away from within by apostate influences.  Experience shows that one can not count on anything more in this direction.  In theory such a unified front against “ecumenism” can be conceived of, but here even an outline is hardly to be expected.  Another process signifies an internal struggle which has, so to say, a separate character.  Here a confession of one’s Truth is manifested, giving at times a rise to real martyrdom.  By the force of events. with the growth of Apostasy, this struggle has a chance of giving birth to a rise of spiritual regeneration, opening to members of other faiths the possibility of a conscious return to the true faith.  In the pre-Antichrist perspective an image arises of a unified, —— of course, “small” —— flock, unified at last in a true, not in an “ecumenical” sense. 

Keeping in mind all that has been said, one can understand the meaning of the event that took place in the Holy Land.  It has a twofold meaning.  If one views that “dialogue” between the Pope and the “universal” Orthodox Patriarch, so to say “confessionally”, then we see here a capitulation of Orthodoxy before Catholicism, analogous to those two which took place in past history.  We mean the Lyon and the Florentine “unions”, which already have been mentioned by Catholic commentators of the rising rapprochement between the Vatican and the Orthodox primates, as precedents, unsuccessful in the past, but now, at last, having the chance of being realized.  The position of capitulation is clearly expressed by Patriarch Athenagoras in his continued disdainful evasion of the dogmatic content of the divergences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, at times taking on the character of simply discarding these differences, as something history has shaken off.

This is what we read in The Word: 

     After the meeting, Patriarch Athenagoras, who was housed at the Orthodox patriarchal residence after arriving in Jerusalem from Istanbul via Rhodes, Greece, declared that "there are no differences except theological ones between us."
     Implying that the differences were often more a matter of words than of meaning, he said many of the phrases and words used in the theology of both East and West had lost their "meaning over the centuries."
     Patriarch Athenagoras said that he hoped as soon as possible to send an Orthodox delegation to Rome to talk over problems. “From now on." he added, "we mean business.”
The Word, No. 2, February, 1964.

On the contrary, faithfulness to Catholicism personified in the papacy shows itself with sufficient clarity in the various statements of the Pope and his collaborators.  However, this “confessional” character of the started “dialogue” sinks without a trace in the abyss of ecumenism, which forms the real essence of the historical meeting, equally detrimental for both, Orthodoxy and Catholicism, as well as for protestantism, which, though indirectly, yet likewise has been brought into the started “dialogue”.  This tendency receives formal expression in one point: all members of the “dialogue” in principle and demonstratively give the first place not to the task of serving Truth, but to the task of unifying humanity and this in the name of a certain  n e w  revelation of Truth which often takes, if not always directly, the appellation of a “Second Pentecost”, then, in any case, a declaration of an awaited action of the Holy Spirit.

The Church knows of the Second Coming of Christ, but the Church knows of no Second Descent of the Holy Spirit.  In the awaiting of this one can only see the confession of the coming of the Antichrist.  This already is an evident victory of Apostasy, in its figure of a triumphant welcome of the coming Antichrist. 

A striking temptation for the Catholics, first of all, becomes papacy in its new tint of ecumenism.  Papacy becomes the central figure of Apostasy, in its organizational task of preparing that all-embracing throne upon which the Antichrist could sit.  From this point of view the very institute of papacy takes on a mystically foreboding character, in its essence of creating upon earth a infallible substitute for Christ.  From this point of view the possibility opens for allowing all kinds of deviations from “Latinism”, as the historical inheritance of Catholicism, in the present unification headed by the Pope.  From this point of view there opens in all its ineffable depth the tragedy into which the children of historical Catholicism are submerged: on the one hand they are tempted by their infallible head, covered by the name of Christ, in the direction of Apostasy, and on the other hand traditional Catholicism confessed by them is losing its meaning as the absolute Truth in which one cannot but believe, becoming one of many conditional modalities of Christianity, all bearing in the eyes of an infallible pope the same relative weight with regard to their essence.

It is difficult for one to realize the real significance of the dead end that the conscious Catholic is brought to by the now arising “ecumenical” transformation of the institute of the papacy.  On the one hand the institute of the papacy is preserved, it would seem, in all its power; the Pope deemed it necessary to formulate this in a definite manner on his return to Rome. “What is the Pope?” —— this question was posed by Paul VI in his following sermon.  This is what we read in The Register

     ". . . it is evident that Jesus gave His chosen one a particular virtue and a particular office, enshrining the one and other in the image of stone, of rock, that is the virtue of firmness, of stability, of solidness, of immobility and of inability to be defective, both in time and in the vicissitudes of life."
     The Pope declared that "the thought of the Lord is most clear, and it is that which gives the Papacy its unique nature and its wonder.  For those who have some knowledge and some experience of the fragility of human beings, the words of Jesus to Peter appear thus, (showing) His divine daring which triumphs over human weakness and which challenges the frailty of constructions built in the sands of time.  It is a miracle of equilibrium, of resistance, of vitality, which finds its explanation in the presence of Christ in the person of Peter."
     "St. Peter speaks of it in his first letter, calling Christ the Living Rock, the cornerstone. By Jesus the figure of the rock is then attributed to the first of His Own Apostles. St. Leo the Great well says, ‘Jesus willed that Peter should bear the very name that He Himself gave him.’
     “A meditation upon the design of God, upon the thought of Christ, upon the function of His Vicar must come from having an audience with the Pope, so as to understand and confirm our common vocation of being Catholics, of being men and women who know and live the great plan of salvation offered to the world by Divine Goodness.”
The Register, Vol. XL, Feb. 16, 1964.

The authority of the Pope was not shaken but only increased during the Vatican council.  Not only was the final word always left to the Pope, but there was a tendency to do away with all which in the order of the routine of many ages preserved a continuity that locked the authority of the Pope within the framework of specifically Catholic tradition.  The institute of the papacy is elevated to an unheard of height, on the threshold of the renewal of the whole internal content and the entire external form of Catholicism.  

By what is this renovation inspired, and what is its task?  ls it the strengthening of the Truth of Latinism, as it revealed itself in the secular practice of the Vatican?  No!  A different task has been set — an ecumenical one!  So the Catholic sees before himself not only a picture of the crumbling of that whole by which he was accustomed to exhaust his understanding of Truth.  He sees a notorious, obvious, boundless transformation of the very concept of Truth, which finally turns out to be nothing more than the papacy itself.  The papacy is ready to cover over everything that bears the name of Christianity; it will find a common language with Judaism; it will include in the sphere of influence of its infallibility finally all within the world which “believes” in one way or another — not excluding in principle, in expectation of their “evolution,” even those who now struggle with Faith and have as their task the establishment of universal atheism.  And it is in this direction that Pope Paul is in unanimity with Patriarch Athenagoras, who, without any reservation, also awaits a renewal of the whole world-complex of “faiths.”  If he was so anxious to meet the Pope, it was not because he looked for unification on these or other foundations of Orthodoxy and Catholicism: with his inspired gaze he envisages a new era, in which both Orthodoxy and Catholicism, and in general all faiths — will disappear in the rays of a New Pentecost. 

This is what we are now facing!


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• Vechnaya Pamyat Natalia Kazmierczak - ROCOR-MP
  St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral 200 Alexander Ave Howell, NJ.
  Saturday Nov. 28 Funeral Service

Remembering the Sign given to us

on St. Michael's day 1998

The following astonishing candid statement is found in the January-February 1999 issue of Orthodox Life: page 40

To those who criticized and denounced the firm and strictly ecclesiastical spirit which was connected with the name of our First Hierarch Metropolitan Philaret, to those who called his primacy "a time of stagnation," the proof of his undoubted sanctity has now been made manifest.  It was made apparent at the very same time when, among some of our pastors and members of our flock, there arose doubts as to the rightness of this course, and even the temptation to cast themselves into the deceptively open embrace of the Moscow Patriarchate. 

A Sticheron Vespers St. Michael

Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and All Angels
8/21 November

Great Vesper tone IV special melody, "Thou hast given a sign..."
last sticheron on "Lord I have cried..."

Quell the ragings of the Moslems that often fall upon thy flock;
cause the schisms of the Church to cease;
calm the surging of the countless temptations;
from perils and evil circumstances 
deliver those who with love honor thee
and have recourse to thy protection. 
O Gabriel, supreme commander, intercessor for our souls.
page 71 November Menaion

• ROCOR-MP translates "Moslems" to "Hagarenes" for this sticheron.  

• St. John of Damascus gives 3 names to Moslems: Ishmaelites, Hagarenes and Saracebes

Enthronement of Metropolitan Philaret

from Orthodox Life magazine 1964 #3

Epistle of the Sobor of Bishops
of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad to the Faithful
Christ is Risen!

With these ever-joyful words do we greet you, our beloved flock.  In the holy, after-Pascha days, when all of God's creation rejoices spiritually; when the Church's children, enlightened by the solemn feast of the Resurrection, embrace and forgive each other, and when in our earthly existence Our Saviour’s wish receives fulfillment: as thou, Father art in me and I in them that they also may be in us... we, bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, free from the yoke of godlessness, obedient to the call of our Primate, the ever-honored and beloved by us, Most Eminent Metropolitan Anastassy, gathered in Sobor (General Council) in New York City on May 4/17, 1964.

The main task of our Sobor (in accordance with the expressed desire of the Lord Metropolitan,) was the election of his successor.  This election was carried out under his chairmanship with his blessings, and on our part — in full brotherly harmony and love.  On Sunday, May 4/ 17, we bishops jointly celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Synod’s cathedral and all received the precious Body and Blood of Christ, so that all of us, as communicants from the one Chalice, be united by Our Lord in the Holy Spirit.

By singing a Te Deum before the miracle-Working icon of Our Lady of Kursk, we left the act of electing the metropolitan to the will of Our Most Pure and Most Gracious Queen of heaven and earth. “Most Gracious Mother of God, save us and guide us!” — we invoked her with faith and hope.  And We believe that we were heard.

Knowing that it is not mortals who decide the fate of Christ's Church but that it is the Almighty who leads her with a firm hand and divine strength; that human life is edified not on human devices but on the blood of martyrs, on selfless deeds and on prayer, we raised as from one mouth and one heart our burning prayers to those of God’s great saints, whose memory was celebrated on the days of our sobor conferences.

On May 8/21 we invoked the aid of the great Apostle and Evangelist, St. John the Divine, that Apostle of Love and divinely-inspired foreseer of the entire fate of Christ’s Church.  On May 9/22 we prayed to the great Prelate and Miracle-Worker, St. Nicholas, knowing how closely he took to his heart the establishment of good order in the Church at the First Ecumenical Council.  On May 11/24 we glorified the great organisers of the Slavonic Churches, those co-equals of the Apostles and saintly brothers, Methodius and Cyril.  On May 12/25 we invoked assistance in our sobor labors of Russian's great and holy martyr, His Holiness Hermogen, Patriarch of Moscow and of all the Russias.

Finally, on the day of mid-Pentecost, having been strengthened by the prayers of these saints, we unanimously elected as metropolitan and head of our Church, Philaret, the Bishop of Brisbane, Australia.  At the same time the Sobor unanimously decided to elect His Eminence Metropolitan Anastassy honorary chairman for life of the Sobor and Synod of Bishops, with the title of “His Beatitude”.

We believe and profess that this is good to the Holy Spirit and to us.  We summon you, our beloved flock, to view this election as the obvious will of God, manifested through us sinners.  We beseech you to remain in complete obedience to the newly-elected metropolitan, so that in our brotherly unity of mind and love, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, may remain with us all.

May 14/27, 1964           New York City.

Honorary Chairman of the Sobor of Bishops 
Metropolitan ANASTASSY

Chairman of the Sobor of Bishops Metropolitan PHILARET

JOHN, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America. 
ALEXANDER, Archbishop of Berlin and Germany. 
ATHANASIUS, Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Argentina. 
STEPHEN, Archbishop of Vienna and Austria. 
PHILOPHEUS, Archbishop, Comptroller of the North-German Vicariate. 
LEONTY, Archbishop of Santiago, Chile and Peru. 
SERAPHIM, Archbishop of Chicago and Detroit. 
NIKON, Archbishop of Washington and florida. 
VITALY,-Archbishop of Montreal and Canada. 
ANTHONY, Archbishop of Los Angeles and Texas. 
AVERKY, Archbishop of Syracuse and Holy Trinity. 
NIKODIM, Bishop of Richmond and England. 
SERAPHIM, Bishop of Caracas and Venezuela. 
ANTHONY, Bishop of Geneva and Western Europe. 
ANTHONY, Bishop of Melbourne. 
SAVVA, Bishop of Edmonton. 
NEKTARIUS, Bishop of Seattle.

The Enthronement of Metropolitan Philaret

The enthronement of Metropolitan Philaret, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, May 17/30 — 18/31, developed into an unprecedented solemn feast which left a deep and abiding impression upon all.  To a degree perhaps never before experienced by such a multitude, participants in this feast felt themselves engulfed by the grace-endowing and holy mystery of the Church.  Of great influence was the fact that the entire service, both on Saturday and on Sunday was, so to say, spiritually imbued with the continuing act of elevation to the head of the Church of the new metropolitan.

It was Dimitry Alexandrov, graduate of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary and firm worshipper of the Russian Church’s ancient traditions, who was fortunate enough to come upon the original text of the enthroning ceremony which was used in old Moscow.

Thus, by the grace of God, our humble Church in Exile was, so to speak, especially called upon to feel Herself — even in Her present humble and exile-induced appearance — the very same Russian Orthodox Church of old, and that specifically by finding Herself today beyond the boundaries of Her beloved native land.  In the continuing act of enthronisation, the consciousness in the faithful of BEING THE CHURCH received incarnation.

Grace so abounded that the faithful became keenly aware of their abiding as the Heavenly Church even while abiding as the Church Militant.

All experienced quite an exceptional lifting of the spirit when at the end of the First Hour the whole church was suddenly plunged into the sea of lights, the Royal Gates swung open and Metropolitan Philaret emerged, arrayed in the usual bishop's violet mantle and a black cowl with its diamond cross.  All the bishops disposed themselves in a semi-circle on either side of him.  The metropolitan’s blue mantle was brought out by Archbishop John; Archbishop Alexander carried the metropolitan’s white cowl on a salver.  (Both the mantle and cowl had just then been consecrated in the altar by Metropolitan Anastassy.)  The subdeacons removed the bishop's mantle from Metropolitan Philaret’s shoulders and Archbishop John handed him the metropolitan’s mantle.  “Axios”. — was his cry. “Axios" — was the cry of all the bishops and clergy.  “Axios” — thundered the two choirs in succession.  The impression was that these words were coming from the breasts of all those present, who had approached close to each other right up to the ambo.  Archbishop Alexander presents the white cowl on the platter to the new metropolitan.  And again "axios" is proclaimed in the same order as before, making it seem as if immeasurably more was being done here than the normal elevation to the high order of metropolitan  . . . The subsequent congratulations of the new metropolitan and the receipt of his blessing by all was conducted in an uncommonly warm atmosphere.  All spoke of the great miracle that had been worked upon us by the Lord.  Many wept from happiness and emotion . . . . 

One cannot help mentioning the blessed effect of Paschal hymns which continued to sound through out the service.  Our spiritual joy took on a special tint which transformed everything we experienced into a second Pascha.

If the church had been sufficiently filled during vespers on Saturday night, then it was literally packed right from the beginning of Divine Services on Sunday morning for Divine Liturgy: worshippers stood close to each other right up to the ambo.

At 10:00 a. m. the new metropolitan was welcomed as he arrived in church.  All the bishops with their crozers and clergy arranged themselves on either side of the church entrance.  The metropolitan is escorted into the church by the two senior prelates — Archbishops John and Alexander.  After the entrance prayers and the singing of “Ton despotin. . . .” the same archbishops lead His Eminence to the cathedra in the center of the church.

“Axios.” — proclaim Archbishops John and Alexander, followed by the bishops and clergy, and finally by the choir.  The new metropolitan blesses the people on all four sides around him.  The arrayment of the metropolitan begins.  The mitre is brought out by the two senior clergymen — Archimandrite Panteleimon and Protopresbyter George Grabbe.

The usual service begins.  The Divine Liturgy flows on in triumphant and holy solemnity, peculiar to services conducted by a multitude of bishops — there are sixteen prelates!  But the solemnity is far from being a surface one: prayers rise to God from all hearts with a fervor perhaps never reached in this hallowed place of worship.  The Church, here and now, is living a full life, fusing all into one holy Entity . . . In such a spiritual state, physical fatigue is not felt, and the overcrowding itself is felt as outward sign of the inner spiritual closeness.  An endurance appears which will afterwards surprise many as they look back upon this solemn day . . Wonderful are Thy works, O Lord!

Metropolitan Philaret delivers a sermon. There is simplicity in all his words and actions: there is nothing artificial about him.  "Be and not merely appear to be” — this testament of his famous namesake seems to be incarnated in His Eminence.  “Why, he is a born metropolitan!” — could later be heard from many.  And the fact that there was not the merest trace of anything superficial in this simplicity forced one to not only admire the new metropolitan, but to become imbued with a feeling of deep personal affection for him.  Unassumingly, calmly, naturally and, with confident simplicity was each expected movement executed and each word delivered by him and this only increased the ineffable majesty of what was taking place.  For it was not only that the youngest among the bishops was being suddenly elevated to the highest position which was significant, but this very height received a new meaning, opening up for us perspectives which only yesterday seemed to have been antiquated.

Metropolitan Philaret delivered a sermon on the subject of the day’s Gospel reading.  In retelling with perfect accuracy Christ’s conversation with the woman from Samaria at Jacob's well, His Eminence underlined the extreme theological depth of this conversation, especially the unprecedented circumstantiality with which Our Lord replied to the woman’s questions: He had never spoken so openly even with His disciples!  And finally — those clear and great words of the Messiah, which also had not yet been heard by His disciples: 

“I that speak unto thee am he!” 

At this point the preacher turns his attention directly upon his listeners. 

To whom is Our Lord speaking in this manner?  Is it not to a wanton and sinful Woman?  Would we not have condemned her immediately, having recognized her as being depraved and morally worthless?  Our Lord and God is here teaching us a lesson: not to despise even the most terrible sinners.  For this follows from the first and most important commandment: love — which does not condemn anyone, but is forbearing and compassionate.  But there is yet an even greater lesson here.  Admittedly the life of the woman from Samaria was burdened with passions and great sins — her heart was not alien to what?  KNOWLEDGE OF GOD!  That is why Our Lord was able to reveal Himself as the Messiah specifically to her!  The preacher then reminds his listeners of the publican Zacchaeus — treated with contempt by all as a morally worthless individual.  In him, too, our Lord saw a spark of goodness, thus converting it into a roaring flame.  To all their environment, both the woman from Samaria and the publican were fallen souls: all around them could see nothing else in them.  Our Lord noticed this spark in them and how brightly did he make it burn!  This woman from Samaria – did she not become the first preacher of Christ?

Let us not, then, condemn anyone.  Let us try to discover a spark of goodness at least in each and every one.  Can there be such a person who would lack even this measure?  For this to be true, a human being must become a veritable demon!  Let us regard each other with love, for love does not condemn anyone; it regards everyone with forbearance and compassion.  And may the Lord of all be with us. Amen.

At the end of the service — another memorable event, without which that spiritual happiness and fervent hope which were increasingly enveloping everyone, could not have reached fulfillment.  The beatific “staretz”, the new metropolitan, all the bishops and clergy — all move out of the altar to the center of the church.  Archbishop John brings out the panagia on a salver.  Metropolitan Philaret makes an address to Metropolitan Anastassy.  He reminds him of how mindful were all the members of the Sobor of Bishops to the Holy Father’s word of farewell.  He reminds him how earnestly the Sobor had begged His Lordship not to carry out his decision to step down.  The Lord Metropolitan had remained adamant, and the Sobor had bowed before this decision.  A successor was elected . . . But Metropolitan Anastassy continues to be, spiritually and morally, the head and the father of all.  “All of us are your spiritual children. And the Sobor of Bishops has instructed me to place upon you, together with the title of Beatific, a second panagia. I ask you to submit to the will of the whole Sobor and to accept this expression of our filial love toward Your Beatitude.”

“Axios!” — exclaims Metropolitan Philaret, and this echoed in turn by the bishops and the clergy, and by the choirs.

The fullness of joy has been attained.  The wise and beatific father remains close to the new Primate.  His Beatitude has not retired into seclusion.  His wise leadership has merely taken on a new form, now leaning upon the filial loyalty of the new head of our Church.  The Te Deum is sung with a new prayerful exhilaration. 

At the end of the Te Deum, Archbishop John hands Metropolitan Philaret his crozier, while Archbishop Alexander loudly repeats (mutatis mutandis) the very words which, many centuries ago, were heard by new metropolitans in old Moscow: 
“The Almighty and Life-endowing Holy Trinity, Immeasurable Dominion and Indivisible Kingdom, is granting you this great throne of prelates, the Metropolis and Primacy in the Russian Church Abroad, by the act of election by your brothers, Russian Orthodox bishops.  And now, Lord and brother, take this crozier of pastorship and ascend the throne of the holy primacy in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and beseech His Most Pure Mother on behalf of all Orthodox Christendom and those Russian people in exile who have been placed in your charge, and tend them like a good shepherd, and may the Lord God grant you the health and life for many years.”

The choir sings: “Ispolla etti despota.” 

Metropolitan Philaret replies:
“May the Almighty and All-containing Right Hand of the Most High protect and strengthen all of you.  May He grant peace and contentment to His Holy Church and deliverance to our native land.  And to you my brothers, prelates of the Russian Church Abroad, to all the Russian people presently in exile and to all Orthodox Christians, may He grant health and life for many years.”

The choirs again sing: “Many years.”  The enthronisation ceremony has come to its end.

All surge forward toward Metropolitan Anastassy to receive his blessing.  The fear of his early departure is so great that people push and jostle each other to get near.  Many are fortunate enough to receive the blessings of both metropolitans.  The love of all who have gathered is directed toward both: to the well-known and personally close to all, beatific father metropolitan, and to the new ruling head who, prior to this, was known to hardly anyone, but who, literally within the short space of a few hours, became just as close and just as dear.  This makes the flood of congratulations a natural conclusion to the blessed emotions experienced during this great and solemn feast.  A full hour went by for all to express their warm feelings to the new metropolitan.

The two metropolitans, bishops and clergy unite with some of the laity at a reception held in the refectory, where many have an opportunity to express their feelings. 

Archbishop Averky, on behalf of Holy Trinity Monastery, presented Metropolitan Philaret with an icon of Our Lady of Pochaev, and in a brief welcoming address, begged the new Primate's prayers and paternal attention for the monastery, with its printing-office and seminary, so that it may continue to fruitfully develop and strengthen its activities in the service of the Russian Church Abroad. 

Metropolitan Anastassy was the last to speak. With tender emotion he speaks of the grace Our Lord had sent. In the midst of unprecedented trials and tribulations, something also unprecedented arose, which elevated the youngest among us to the position of head over all. His Beatitude called upon everyone to rejoice in the firm belief that this event’s beneficent effects would be felt even by following generations. We must beseech God to further strengthen and increase the many noble qualities which Metropolitan Philaret, in his humility, refused to recognise in himself. Virtually glowing with happiness, Metropolitan Anastassy repeats these thoughts in various forms, as if to implant them firmly in the hearts of his listeners. In conclusion, he recalls how Metropolitan Philaret had always been joyful by nature, even in his school days; how he had been a comfort to all who knew him. His soul, ever sound, had always sought to be united with others in sound joyfulness, which he had the ability to transmit to others as no one else could. His Beatitude felt a deep satisfaction now over the fact that all members of the Church had immediately accepted Metropolitan Philaret as a shepherd after their own heart. May the good Lord not take him away from us! May our hearts rejoice in the Lord! Let us pray to Him so that now, when there is so little happiness on earth, He may preserve our Church in happiness. May the risen God defeat His enemies. Christ is Risen! . . . .

* *
A public assembly was arranged for 6:00 p. m. in a nearby building belonging to the Presbyterian Church.  The huge hall was crowded.  The Sobor of Bishops, headed by the two metropolitans, sat at the speakers’ table.  At the center of attention was, of course, Metropolitan Philaret, the first to speak.  After a few introductory remarks, His Eminence felt it incumbent upon him to direct particular attention of his listeners to the sad state of neglect of the Gospel in our time.  It would appear self-evident that everyone had to be familiar with the Gospels, yet in fact what do we find?  Whenever some specialist, such as a physicist or a mathematician, picks up a book dealing with his field, he is immediately able to find what he wants in it.  While we Orthodox, whenever some of us have to find something in the Gospels — do we not find ourselves helplessly lost in the Holy Book?  Do we not find it a stranger to us?  And yet it is only there that we will find an answer to all our problems, and nowhere else will we be able to obtain an answer.  Let us turn to the Holy Book with the questions puzzling us. 

In the Gospel according to St. John we will find recounted Our Lord’s conversation with Pilate.  The Roman governor asked Our Lord: “Art thou the King of the Jews?”  Jesus answered him: “Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?”  Pilate answered: “Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: What hast thou done?” 

And what did Our Saviour reply to this?  "My Kingdom is not of This world. . . ."

Here you have the clear and exact answer to the problem which is worrying all of us and which is worrying all of us and which easily becomes a dividing issue.  May the Church serve political ends?  Of course not!  This does not mean, however, that the Church should remain indifferent to what is happening around her.  To provide an example, His Eminence quite naturally referred to what was experienced in the Far East. 

Some high dignitaries of the Soviet Church appeared there one day.  They made public speeches and were excellent orators.  Many were charmed and delighted by their sermons.  Not so the present speaker: on him they had an opposite effect.  Things in no way deserving of praise were presented in glowing colors and any criticism was forbidden.  St Gregory Nazianzen says that by silence is the truth often betrayed.  Did not Metropolitan Philip accuse Ivan the Terrible?  Was that interference in politics?  No!  Philip had spoken out as a loyal subject.  He was not meddling" in politics, but illuminating what was going on around him with the bright rays of the Gospel’s eternal truth. 

Do we not, then, receive a clear indication in the Gospels as to the Church's attitude towards politics?

His Eminence returns to Christ's conversation with Pilate.  Pilate said unto him: “Art thou a king then?” Jesus answered: “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”  “What is truth?” replies Pilate, and leaves.  Truth Incarnate stood before Pilate, yet he turns away from Her, attempting to justify this action with his scornful question. . .  Once again, is it not directly to us that exact indication is given of the Gospel’s attitude towards what is today at the center of the world's attention?  Ecumenism!  What is its mission, toward the realization of which it is attracting everyone?  To search for the Truth!  It is alleged that fragments of this Truth are to be found everywhere and that it merely remains to bring these segments together for the fullness of Truth to be revealed!  How could our Church possibly agree to such a thing?  By so doing She would only be delivering the Truth up to abuse and ridicule.  No, our Holy Church has not committed, nor will She ever commit, this crime.  Let all around us seek after the Truth, let them unite in the name of this task.  The Orthodox Church is not a party to this quest: She has no need to look for the Truth — She possesses Her in full measure.

Metropolitan Philaret returns to the Far East in his recollections.  There the Church had been preserved unimpaired.  Only the vaguest rumours were heard of Western disagreements.  The terrible trials arose with the coming of the Japanese.  Great courage was displayed by the frail and ailing Metropolitan Meletius when the Japanese began to demand obeisance from all before their goddess Amaterasu.  Even worse trials arose with the name of this task.  The Orthodox Church is not a party to Far Eastern Church’s absorption by the Moscow Patriarchate, but pointed out a number of mitigating circumstances behind the tragedy.  This made him all the more grateful to our Church in Exile for Her continued loyalty to Orthodoxy.  And all of us must likewise become completely imbued with this feeling of gratitude.  It is only the Russian Church Abroad which today continues to openly denounce godlessness.  Her way is that of the Cross, but it is also the road to salvation.  And here too, the Gospels will serve as our guide — so long as we remember that there is only one purpose in the Church’s eixstence: to prepare souls for eternity.

A number of other speakers followed, and all were heard with undivided attention by the vast auditorium.  All were imbued with the one spirit.  And the heart felt expressions of goodwill were equally warm as the speakers addressed themselves to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Anastassy, and to his successor who was now being honoured.  There was no loss felt because both metropolitans were regarded as one in the public eye.  This conception was fully justified in the closing addresses of the two metropolitans. 

The meeting was coming to a close.  Of deep significance was Metropolitan Philaret’s reply to the many welcoming addresses he had received.  Having thanked all for their kind words, he cast his mind into the future.  It was unknown to us.  But do not all of us see what is happening in the world?  Attempts are being made to reconcile the irreconcilable, everything is being dumped into one pile .. . . for what purpose?  For the sake of material welfare and prosperity!  Everyone keeps talking about peace —but will Our Lord grant peace to the wicked?  We can only expect things to get worse in the future.  Great trials and tribulations await us.  High spiritual qualities, great courage and an unshakable faith will be required of all of us in order to withstand.  And all these qualities — to the highest degree — will be demanded, first of all, from the head of the Church.  He will have to possess the combined virtues of Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory Nazianzen and John Chrysostom .. . . His Eminence is unable to discover the barest trace of these gifts within himself.  But he does not lose courage: prayer can do anything!  Through the prayers of many even the weakest receive the strength of the Holy Spirit .. . . He implores all to remember him in their daily prayers . . .

The final note was sounded in the gentle words of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Anastassy.  Let there be darkness ahead; his radiant and joyful outlook remained unclouded. 

The Lord had heard our prayers.  Our Lord had not abandoned His Church and had given us great comfort at the very time when we were in the direst need of it.  We all manifestly experienced His grace.  Our new head has brought us not only love, but strength of the Holy Spirit as well.  Let us take his words close to heart and let us pray the Lord to grant us all that spiritual strength without which a rebirth is impossible.  May the Lord multiply His life-giving strength in His Church, — He alone works miracles! He alone has the power to restore Holy Russia. 

Many good wishes we have heard here today, emanating from the fullness of heart.  But all these wishes come to but one thing, without which we will show ourselves powerless of doing anything truly good: we must be reborn in the Holy Spirit and unite in Him.  For Satan himself has now appeared in the world.  Terrible times are approaching.  Only the grace of God can help us, and we have every reason to firmly believe we will receive His assistance.  This day is a famous and historical day.  Our Lord has manifestly extended His help to us.  All around us the very depths of Hell are rapidly destroying all the foundations of the world.  But the Lord is our strength.  What can we ourselves do?  Our strength is not in us, but in God.  And He is with us.  Let us pray to the Lord not to abandon us also in the days to come and to crush the head of the serpent with His power.  Christ is Risen! 

Thus ended this truly “historical and famous day”, opening up a new era in the history of our Church in Exile . . . Her only? . . . .


The newly-elected Metropolitan Philaret was born George Nicolaevich Voznessensky in Kursk, Russia on March 22, 1903.  His father, a priest, was later a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, His Grace Dimitry of Hailar, China, and lived in Harbin, Manchuria.  Metropolitan Philaret lived with his father’s family in Blagoveshensk, Russia from 1909, where he completed his secondary school education.  In 1920 he arrived in Harbin, where he graduated from the Russo-Chinese Polytechnical Institute with the diploma of electro-mechanical engineer.  In 1931 he completed a course of pastoral theology in Harbin.  A year prior to this, on May 5/18, he was ordained deacon, while on Dec. 22 / Jan. 4, 1931 he entered the priesthood.  A few days after this he became a monk and was given the name of Philaret.  In 1937 he was raised to the grade of archimandrite, performing various duties in the Harbin diocese.  After the occupation of Manchuria by soviet troops, Harbin fell upon troubled and difficult times.  Having been deceived by false information about the position of the Church in the USSR, the very old Metropolitan Meletius recognized the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate over himself and his clergy.

Now, while Archirnandrite Philaret was a member of the clergy at that time, he absolutely refused to accept Soviet citizenship.  When, in an interview by a newspaper reporter, he was asked how he regarded “the wise move of the Soviet Government in offering the Russian population of Harbin the right, once again, of becoming citizens of their native land”, the reporter received the following bold reply: “I do not consider it possible to accept soviet citizenship, nor will I accept it, until such time as I am one hundred percent convinced — by facts and beyond any shadow of doubt — that the persecution of religion, anti-religious propaganda and baiting of the Church‘s servants have ceased completely; when the Church, which is not merely “separated” but has in fact been banished from the State, once again takes Her rightful position within it.”  And His Eminence never did take out Soviet papers throughout the many years of his stay under communist rule in China, despite the grave danger in which such a stand placed him.

On another occasion Archimandrite Philaret was subjected to certain disciplinary measures for his outspokenness.  Haying read in an issue of the Moscow Patriarchate's Journal the name of Lenin included in a list of geniuses and benefactors of the human race, Archimandrite Philaret expressed his indignation openly in a sermon from his pulpit which became widely known.

In spite of frequent warnings and threats, Archimandrite Philaret repeatedly urged his flock to refrain from all pro-Soviet declarations and demonstrations.  In his own words, he "never defiled his mouth and his prayers by praying for Antichrist's servants.”  At the same time, in the course of quite a number of years, he had kept in touch with His Eminence, Metropolitan Anastassy by various means, disregarding the real danger connected with these activities.

The Holy Synod had been taking all possible measures to get Archimandrite Philaret out of China since 1953.  Visas to various countries were obtained for him repeatedly, but no advantage was taken of them.  Sometimes this would be owing to the fact that he refused to leave his flock to the mercy of fate; at others, the communists would not issue an exit permit.  And so His Eminence remained in a position which he himself described as that of a hunted rabbit being pursued by a pack of hounds.

His Eminence Metropolitan Anastassy always wanted to have Archimandrite Philaret with him in New York, but yielded to Archbishop Savva’s insistent pleas to retain him as his suffragan bishop in Brisbane.  Exactly a year ago Archimandrite Philaret was ordained Bishop of Brisbane, Australia.  His labors there led to the fruitful development of many of the Church’s activities.
* * *