Fr. Alexander Lebedeff wrote:
> Actually, times **have** changed.
> Metropolitan Laurus and the Bishops of the Church Abroad, unlike
> Metropolitan Anastassy, do **not** refer to the Moscow Patriarchate
> as "the Russian Church"--and do **not** refer to the current
> Moscow simply as "the head of the Russian Church."
> In fact, any bishop who would so state would probably be subject to
> Something to ponder.
JRS: What I have long opined (and this was an impression that I formed
during my years with Archbishop Nikon of blessed memory, the disciple
and biographer of Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky) -- is that until
recent times, the term "Moscow Patriarchate" was used by our bishops
when they had in mind the *central Church administration* -- the few
bishops who issued official public statements, and who gave interviews
supporting the Soviet state, and who claimed that the Church was not
persecuted in Russia.
They did not seem to be thinking of the parishes, the local clergy, or
of those bishops who, while belonging to the official Church, did all
they could to resist official atheism and persecution.
But the situation was complicated when the Soviets began allowing
*certain clergy* to travel abroad, and when the "Moscow Patriarchate"
became one of 3 rival jurisdictions found in the same countries, or
even the same towns (such as NYC, which had 3 Russian Orthodox
cathedrals, and, until 1970, 3 rival Russian Orthodox metropolitans,
all with basically the same title).
During the years when the Patriarchate was found only [or almost only]
in areas under communist control, and the Church Abroad only in non-
communist areas, there was no sense of "jurisdictional rivalry".
Therefore, when our bishops spoke of the MP, in those days they had in
mind only "church spokesmen", or a "captive public relations team".
What they said against those whose voices were heard in the West
as "that of the Russian Church", did not apply to the village priest
who was battling to keep his church from being closed -- or to those
who risked their lives to have their wedding solemnized, or their
children baptized, by a priest of the official Russian Orthodox Church.
Fr. John R. Shaw