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An Essay by Boris Talantov

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    The Church in Russia The Moscow Patriarchate and Sergianism An Essay by Boris Talantov This excerpt is from Ivan Andreyev s Russia s Catacomb Saints (Platina,
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 10, 2003
      The Church in Russia

      The Moscow Patriarchate and Sergianism

      An Essay by Boris Talantov

      This excerpt is from Ivan Andreyev's Russia's Catacomb Saints (Platina, CA:
      St. Herman of Alaska Press, 1982), 463-86. I encourage everyone to find a
      copy of this out-of-print, 600+ page masterpiece. It is powerful reading
      and extremely important for our day. Read the Introduction to this book . .
      .

      EDITORS' INTRODUCTION: The two texts that follow - they are actually two
      parts of a single essay - are of crucial importance for an understanding of
      the Russian Orthodox Church under the Communist Yoke. They were written by
      a true confessor of Orthodoxy, who died in prison in the Soviet Union in
      1971 for having written these and similar texts. They are presented here as
      a direct response to the plea of the author himself (p. 484 of Russia's
      Catacomb Saints): "This betrayal. . . must be made known to all believers
      in Russia and abroad, because such an activity of the Patriarchate. . .
      represents a great danger for all believers." The texts are primary
      documents exposing with direct and irrefutable proof the conscious betrayal
      of Russian Orthodoxy by its own hierarchs.

      Russian Orthodoxy today -betrayed by its hierarchs in the USSR, and
      represented only by the free bishops abroad and by a remnant of the
      faithful at home and abroad -lives in expectation of a restoration of true
      and canonical church order. This will doubtless come only at the longed-for
      Council of all Russian Orthodoxy after the fall of the Communist regime,
      when those who have kept the faith will be justified. For this restoration
      of true order the writings of Boris Talantov will be invaluable testimony.
      For they come from one who consciously experienced the Soviet Yoke from its
      beginning and they thus testify from within not only to the facts of
      Russian church life during those years, but more importantly, to the
      attitude toward them of the Orthodox faithful. Previously this had been
      known to some extent through those who had escaped from the USSR, but from
      within the country there was nothing to be heard but the repetitious
      propaganda of the Moscow Patriarchate, which attempted to drown out the
      truth and did indeed succeed in duping whole generations of gullible church
      figures in the West. But now as the culmination of a decade of protests,
      the true attitudes of the faithful who remain in Russia have become known.

      Boris Talantov, as these texts reveal, did not leave the communion of the
      Moscow Patriarchate; even though he was sympathetic to the members of the
      True Orthodox (Catacomb) Church whom he knew, he nonetheless repeats the
      standard Soviet terminology in calling this Church a "sect." Here surely,
      one may be allowed to disagree. Without passing judgment on those who
      remain in the Patriarchate, we abroad can nonetheless not help but see that
      the solution of the present crisis of the Moscow Patriarchate - which is
      actually the culmination, as Talantov points out, of the betrayal of 1927 -
      cannot come from within the Patriarchate alone, but must come from the
      whole confessing Orthodox Church of Russia: the believers in the Catacombs
      who remain faithful to the testaments of Metropolitan Joseph and the many
      bishops in 1927 who declared the "Sergianist" Church schismatic, the true
      believers who remain in the Patriarchate; and the Church Outside of Russia.
      About the latter it is hardly likely that Talantov could have had any
      unbiased information. It must be remembered, then, that these documents
      offer, not a complete picture of the state of Russian Orthodoxy today, but
      rather an authentic voice of the Orthodox faithful within the USSR, and
      specifically of the Moscow Patriarchate's own flock. These texts, however,
      are doubtless some of the primary documents from which the "complete
      picture" of 20th-century Russian Orthodoxy will one day be known.

      The two texts are here presented in full, without omissions or additions of
      any kind, as translated from the Russian manuscripts obtained in 1968 from
      an absolutely reliable source in Paris by the Rev. Michael Bordeaux of the
      Center for the Study of Religion and Communism. The two titles and all
      parentheses and emphases (italics) in the text are those of the original,
      all notes and comments of the translators have been confined to the
      footnotes. The texts are published here with the kind permission of Rev.
      Bordeaux.

      I. SERGIANISM [1], OR ADAPTATION TO ATHEISM
      (THE LEAVEN OF HEROD)

      IN ENGLAND there has appeared a book by Nikita Strove, Christians in
      Contemporary Russia,[2] in which he, like others also in the West, in
      general approves the activity of Patriarch Sergius, even comparing him with
      Sergius of Radonezh and Patriarch Ermogen. [3] In the West Patriarch
      Sergius is virtually considered to be the savior of the Orthodox Church in
      Russia. Such an incorrect evaluation of the activity of Patriarch Sergius
      is based on the fact that Western researchers are not familiar with the
      underground facts and manifestations of the life of the Russian Orthodox
      Church. The roots of the profound ecclesiastical crisis which has now been
      revealed were laid precisely by Patriarch Sergius.

      In his Appeal to the faithful of August 19, 1927, [4] Metropolitan Sergius
      set forth new bases for the activity of the Church Administration, which at
      that very time were called by E. Yaroslavsky [5] an "adaptation" to the
      atheistic reality of the USSR.

      "Adaptation" consisted first and foremost of a false separation of all the
      spiritual needs of man into the purely religious and the socio-political.
      The Church was to satisfy the purely religious needs of citizens of the
      USSR without touching on the socio-political, which were to be resolved and
      satisfied by the official ideology of the CPSU. [6] The socio-political
      activity of every believer, according to this Appeal, should be directed to
      the building of a socialist society under the direction of the CPSU. In its
      further development this Adaptation resulted in the theory of Soviet
      theologians, according to which the Communistic organization of society is
      the only happy and just one, one supposedly indicated by the Gospel itself.
      At the same time no criticism was allowed of the official ideology, laws,
      or actions of the authorities Any accusation against the actions of the
      civil authorities or any doubt of the correctness of the official ideology
      was considered a deviation from purer religious activity and
      counter-revolution. The Church Administration headed by Metropolitan
      Sergius not only did not defend the believers and clergy who went to
      concentration camps for accusing the arbitrariness and violence of the
      civil authorities, but even spoke out itself, with slave-like servility,
      for the condemnation of such people as counter-revolutionaries. In essence
      Adaptation to atheism represented a maniacal union of Christian dogmas and
      rites with the socio-political views of the official ideology of the CPSU.
      In actual fact all religious activity was reduced to external rites. The
      church preaching of those clergymen who held strictly to Adaptation was
      totally remote from life and therefore had no influence whatever on the
      hearers. As a result of this the intellectual, social, and family life of
      believers, and the raising of the younger generation remained outside the
      Church's influence. This concealed great dangers for the Church and
      Christian faith. One cannot worship Christ and at the same time in social
      and family life tell lies, do what is unjust, use violence, and dream of an
      earthly paradise. Subsequently, Adaptation to atheism culminated in the
      heretical teaching of H. Johnson concerning a new religion, which in his
      opinion was to replace the Christian religion and be a synthesis of
      Christianity and Marxism-Leninism (see H. Johnson, Christianity and
      Communism, Moscow, 1957). [7] Now the absurdity of H. Johnson's teaching is
      evident.

      The Appeal of Metropolitan Sergius of August 19, 1927, made a painful
      impression on all believers, as a cringing before the atheist authorities.
      Some made peace with it as an unavoidable evil, while others came out
      decisively with a condemnation of it. A part of the bishops and faithful
      separated from Metropolitan Sergius. The bishops who had condemned the
      Appeal of Metropolitan Sergius were soon arrested and banished to
      concentration camps, where they died. The ordinary believers who separated
      formed a special sect, called the True Orthodox Church, which from the very
      beginning of its formation right up to the present time has been
      proscribed.

      Contemporary influential atheists regard Adaptation as a modernization of
      religion which is politically useful for the CPSU and harmless for the
      materialistic ideology. "This (Adaptation?our addition. B.T.) is one of the
      paths to the dying out of religion" (Journal, Science and Religion,[8] no.
      12, 1966, p. 78).

      Many both among us and in the West regarded and regard the Appeal of
      Metropolitan Sergius as a statement made by the Church Administration under
      duress, with the aim of preserving church parishes and clergymen during the
      time of the despotism of J. Stalin. But this is incorrect. The Communist
      Party saw in this Appeal the Church's weakness, the readiness of the new
      Church Administration to fulfill unconditionally any instructions
      whatsoever of the civil authority, a readiness to give over to the
      arbitrariness of the authorities, under the guise of
      counter-revolutionaries, those clergymen who dared to accuse arbitrariness
      and violence. Here is how E. Yaroslavsky evaluated this in 1927: "With
      religion, even though Bishop Sergius may have adorned it in whatever
      worldly garb you may want, with the influence of religion on the masses of
      workers, we shall wage war, as we wage war with every religion, with every
      church" (E. Yaroslavsky, On Religion, Moscow, 1957, p. 155).

      Objectively this Appeal and the subsequent activity of Metropolitan Sergius
      were a betrayal of the Church. From the end of 1929 until June, 1941, there
      occurred the mass closing and barbarous destruction of churches, arrests
      and sentencing by Troikas [9] and secret trials of virtually every single
      clergyman, most of whom were simply physically exterminated in
      concentration camps.

      In 1930 Pope Pius XI came out before world public opinion with a protest
      against the persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union. How did
      Metropolitan Sergius react to all this? In the Theophany Cathedral in
      Moscow, with a cross in his hands, he came out with a declaration that
      there was no persecution at all against believers and their organizations
      in the Soviet Union, and there never had been any. Individual clergymen and
      believers, according to his assurance, were tried not for faith, but for
      counter-revolutionary manifestations against the Soviet regime. Such a
      declaration was not only monstrous lie, but also a base betrayal of the
      Church and believers. By this declaration Metropolitan Sergius covered up
      the monstrous crimes of J. Stalin and became an obedient tool in his hands.

      It should be noted that although the majority of bishops in 1927
      acknowledged Metropolitan Sergius as their head, nonetheless in their
      activity they did not hold to the "Appeal" and in their sermons they
      courageously accused the arbitrariness, lawlessness, and cruelty of the
      civil authorities, called on the people to stand firmly for the faith and
      help the persecuted. Therefore, for their sermons they were quickly placed
      in concentration camps and perished there. Of course, many clergymen and
      believers were placed in concentration camps for no reason at all, as
      potentially dangerous elements. In these circumstances a courageous
      statement by Metropolitan Sergius in defense of justice and faith could
      have had a great significance for the fate of the Russian Orthodox Church,
      just as the courageous battle for faith and justice of Cardinal Wyszynski
      had a great significance for the Polish Church at the end of the '40's.

      And what did Metropolitan Sergius save by his Adaptation and monstrous lie?
      At the beginning of the Second World War in every region, out of many
      hundreds of churches there remained five or ten, the majority of priests
      and almost all the bishops (with the exception of a few who collaborated
      with the authorities like Metropolitan Sergius) had been martyred in
      concentration camps. Thus Metropolitan Sergius by his Adaptation and lying
      saved no one and nothing, except his own person. In the eyes of believers
      he lost all authority, but in exchange he acquired the good will of the
      "father of the peoples," J. Stalin.

      The majority of the churches that remained did not acknowledge Metropolitan
      Sergius.

      The role of Metropolitan Sergius in the restoration of churches during the
      Second World War is greatly exaggerated in the West and, in particular, in
      the book of N. Strove. This evidently speaks of an ignorance of many
      underground manifestations and facts in the life of the Church in the USSR.

      The Appeal of Metropolitan Sergius to the believing citizens of the USSR on
      June 22, 1941, was received by true believers as a new cringing before the
      despotic regime and a new betrayal of the Church's interests. All believers
      in Russia regarded and regard the Second World War as the wrath of God for
      the immense lawlessness, impiety, and persecution of Christians which
      occurred in Russia from the beginning of the October Revolution. Therefore,
      not to remind the people and the government of this in an hour of dreadful
      trials, not to call the people to repentance, not to demand immediately the
      restoration of churches and the rehabilitation of all innocently condemned
      citizens of the USSR, was a great sin, a great impiety. Metropolitan
      Sergius again revealed himself to be an obedient tool of the atheist
      regime, which at that moment wished to use for its own ends the religious
      feelings of its citizens with the fewest possible concessions from atheism.

      The restoration of churches within limited and narrow bounds was the State
      policy of J. Stalin, and not the result of the activity of Metropolitan
      Sergius. At that time among the people and in the army there was open talk
      of fundamental changes in domestic regulations in the land. The people
      hoped that immediately after the end of the war there would be declared
      freedom of occupation and in particular the liquidation of the collective
      farms, freedom of party, and freedom of conscience. The opening of churches
      was the bone which J. Stalin threw to a people worn out by war and hunger.
      The very opening of churches occurred under the control of State Security.
      And these organs sought out often priests from among those who remained at
      liberty or had sat out their term of imprisonment. In the Western Ukraine
      there were cases when priests refused to celebrate in churches under
      Metropolitan Sergius, and later Patriarch Alexis, and these same organs put
      these priests in concentration camps. In many regions the Patriarchate ant
      the bishops took no part at all in the opening of churches. There were
      cases when new bishops under one pretext or another even resisted the
      opening of churches and the assignment to parishes of priests who had been
      in prison. The restoration of church life was incomplete, external, and
      temporary. From 1949 on the CPSU began imperceptibly to turn toward putting
      new pressure on the Church.

      Thus, the opening of churches within narrow bounds was not the work of the
      hands of Metropolitan Sergius or Patriarch Alexis, but rather this opening
      was done by the atheist regime itself under pressure from the simple people
      in order to pacify them.

      Patriarch Sergius, and later Patriarch Alexis, gathered and placed new
      bishops who, as distinct from the former bishops, who as a rule perished in
      the concentration camps (there were, of course, exceptions), were obedient
      to the Patriarchate and assimilated well the leaven of Herod, i.e.,
      Adaptation to the mighty of this world. Here is how, for example, Bishop
      Vladimir of Kirov expressed Adaptation in his sermon of May 28, 1967. "We
      must adapt ourselves to new conditions and circumstances of life like a
      little stream which, on meeting a rock in its path, goes around it. We live
      together with atheists and must take them into consideration and not do
      anything that displeases them."

      It is interesting that B. V. Talantov was told almost the very same thing
      at the KGB [10] on February 14, 1967: "You,"?said the KGB agent, addressing
      Talantov?"demand that all closed churches be opened; but you live together
      with atheists and must take their wishes into consideration, and they do
      not wish that churches be opened."

      In the St. Seraphim church in Kirov on January 20, 1966?the day of
      commemoration of St. John the Baptist?one priest said in his sermon: "John
      the Baptist taught everyone very simply: obey the authorities in
      everything." From this it is evident that the new bishop, having
      assimilated Adaptation to atheism, has become an obedient tool in the hands
      of the atheist regime, and this is a most ruinous result for the Church of
      the long activity of Metropolitan, and then Patriarch, Sergius.

      Adaptation to the atheist regime was clearly and precisely set forth in the
      book, The Truth about Religion in Russia, published under the editorship of
      Patriarch Sergius in the last years of his life, with the participation of
      Metropolitan (now Patriarch) Alexis and Metropolitan Nicholas. [11]

      In this book Patriarch Sergius and Metropolitans Alexis and Nicholas
      categorically affirm that there has never been in the USSR any persecution
      of Christians, that information in the Western press about these
      persecutions are malicious inventions of the enemies of the Soviet regime,
      that bishops and priests during the years 1930-41 were sentenced by Soviet
      courts exclusively for their counter-revolutionary activity, and that the
      Church Administration itself at that time was in agreement with their being
      sentenced. The monstrous lie of this affirmation is apparent from the fact
      that very many priests who were executed or perished in concentration camps
      under J. Stalin were rehabilitated under N. S. Krushchev. The most
      courageous fighters for truth and Christian faith are declared in this book
      to be schismatics, "politicians," and practically heretics. This book
      should be anathematized; it will be an eternal shameful memorial of
      Patriarch Sergius. And now with full justification we can call Adaptation
      to the atheistic regime by the name of Patriarch Sergius?Sergianism.

      Did Adaptation (Sergianism) save the Russian Orthodox Church?

      From what has been set forth it is clear that not only did it not save the
      Russian Orthodox Church during the despotism of J. Stalin, but on the
      contrary it furthered the loss of genuine freedom of conscience and the
      conversion of the Church Administration into an obedient tool of the
      atheistic regime.

      Cardinal Wyszynski's categorical rejection of Adaptation to the atheistic
      regime and his subsequent and firm battle for Evangelical truth and genuine
      freedom of conscience has resulted in the fact that today in Poland the
      Church [12] in actuality is independent from the State and enjoys
      considerable freedom.

      Thus, one cannot defend the Church by a lie.

      Adaptation is little faith, lack of faith in the power and Providence of
      God.

      Adaptation is incompatible with true Christianity, because at its
      foundation there is a lie, servility before the mighty of this world, and a
      false separation of spiritual needs into the purely religious and the
      socio-political. According to the teaching of Christ, faith must direct the
      intellectual, family, and social life of every Christian. Ye are the salt
      of the earth; ye are the light of the world (Matt. 5:13, 14), said Christ,
      addressing His followers. In accordance with this Cardinal Wyszynski says:
      "In Poland the Church must penetrate everything: books, schools,
      upbringing, the people's culture... painting, sculpture and architecture,
      theater, radio and television... social and economic life" (quoted from the
      journal Science and Religion, no. 1, 1967, p. 63).

      II. THE SECRET PARTICIPATION OF THE MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE IN THE BATTLE OF
      THE CPSU AGAINST THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH
      (THE CRISIS OF THE CHURCH ADMINISTRATION)

      THE "ADAPTATION" which was planted by Metropolitan Sergius has resulted in
      the fact that, beginning in 1960, the Moscow Patriarchate and the majority
      of bishops objectively have secretly participated in all actions of the
      Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, a participation
      directed toward the closing of churches, the limitation of the propagation
      of the faith, and the undermining of the latter among the people.

      The majority of bishops in the period 1960-64 withdrew from the battle
      against the illegal closure of churches and the illegal removal of priests
      from registration. The numerous complaints of believers to the Moscow
      Patriarchate against the illegal closure of churches and the removal of
      priests from registration remained without any answer.. More than this, the
      Moscow Patriarchate itself issued a circular concerning the fusion of
      parishes which did not have sufficient income. As a result of abuse, many
      churches which did have sufficient income were closed by this circular. Now
      the atheists who hold power, together with Metropolitan Nikodim, affirm,
      relying on this circular, that supposedly all the churches closed in the
      years 1960-64 lacked sufficient income. This lie is repeated in an article
      in the Kirov Pravda of May 31, 1967: "With an Open Visor."

      Certain bishops, for example Bishop John, [13] have closed churches
      themselves and removed worthy priests. All this has become known now from
      the letters of the Moscow priests N. Eshliman and G. Yakunin, the "Open
      Letter of Kirov believers," and many other materials. An irrefutable proof
      that the Moscow Patriarchate has secretly participated in the closing of
      churches is the fact that neither the bishops (with some exceptions, for
      example Archbishop Ermogen, who, however, was removed from his See by the
      Patriarchate), nor the Moscow Patriarchate has ever come out anywhere with
      a protest against the illegal closure of churches and the removal of
      priests from registration, and what is more they have even come out with
      declarations that there was no mass illegal closure of churches in the USSR
      in the years 1960-64. Churches, according to their assertion, were closed
      because they did not have sufficient income.

      With the aim of limiting the propagation of faith and undermining it among
      the people, the bishops have unconditionally submitted to all the oral
      directives of the authorities, which have been directed toward the
      limitation and undermining of faith, and they have demanded the same thing
      of priests. Thus, for example, Bishop John of Kirov firmly declared to his
      priests that any one of them who will not unconditionally fulfill the
      directives of the authorities will be forbidden to serve as a priest. At
      the same time, the priests and bishops, in fulfilling the oral directives
      of the authorities, presented these directives to the people as if they
      came from the Church Administration and not from the civil regime, and they
      even uncanonically demonstrated their lawfulness and necessity. The
      Patriarchate itself issued a number of circulars directed to the limitation
      and undermining of faith, such was for example, Circular no. 1917, which
      demanded of priests as an official obligation to cooperate in the
      registration of passports while celebrating private services on request.
      [14] All this is discussed in detail in the letters of the Moscow priests,
      in the "Open Letter of Kirov Believers," and other letters and complaints
      of believers.

      Here are the chief measures directed toward the limitation and undermining
      of faith which are being carried out by the authorities of the Council for
      the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, with the participation of the
      clergy:

      1. Obligatory registration of passports before the celebration of certain
      services by request. [15] 2. Not allowing children of school age to receive
      confession, communion, or baptism. 3. Chasing beggars out of churches and
      church yards. 4. Forbidding believers to spend the night on church porches
      5. Institution of the time for celebrating services by request in village
      churches of the Kirov region, during the summertime, at from 10 p.m. to 5
      a.m. 6. Forbidding the administering of communion and unction to the sick
      at home without special permission. [16]

      Certain bishops, for example Bishop John of Kirov, by their amoral conduct,
      outrageous acts, and despotic willfulness have striven to undermine faith
      among the people; and the Moscow Patriarchate, knowing of the intolerable
      conduct of such bishops from the numerous complaints of believers, not only
      has not brought such bishops to ecclesiastical trial, but has even promoted
      them. Such bishops have removed worthy priests from parishes and placed
      unworthy persons in their place. All this has led to the moral corruption
      of the clergy and a total undermining of faith in the Church.

      In conformity with Adaptation to atheism, sermons in church as a rule have
      become scholastic discourses, remote from life, on religious themes.
      Because of their remoteness from time and space, they cannot act in any way
      on the hearers. In such sermons there is lacking even any mention of such
      basic vices, errors, and faults in contemporary life as lying, flattery,
      the breaking up of families, moral corruption, the atheistic upbringing of
      children, servile fear before the mighty of this world, and injustice.

      The Moscow Patriarchate has made the rejection of Christian apologetics, of
      the ideological battle with atheism, the chief principle of its activity,
      both within the country and outside.

      Such religious-moral instruction on the part of the contemporary Russian
      Orthodox Church cannot interest the younger generation or act positively
      upon it. Thus, the religious-moral instruction of the Russian Orthodox
      Church is such that it cannot lead to the propagation of faith among the
      younger generation. By this alone the continued existence of the Church is
      undermined.

      In every diocese there is felt an acute insufficiency of priests even for
      the small number of churches that are open. For the propagation of faith
      and its strengthening it is essential to strive to increase in each diocese
      the number of worthy priests who are devoted to the Church and qualified to
      spread the faith. But the bishops have absolutely withdrawn from the
      selection, instruction, and training of the clergy ranks, by which they
      definitively undermine faith and the Church.

      The number of theological schools and the number of those studying in them
      is so small that it cannot even make up the natural decrease of clergymen.
      Education and instruction in the theological schools are set up in such a
      way that out of them there come bureaucrats in cassocks who are ready to
      adapt themselves to external circumstances by any means whatever for the
      sake of acquiring a secure, easy, and undisturbed life in an atheistic
      State. In them the chief thing is killed: idealism, courage, and aspiration
      for justice. The spirit of the Seminaries (and Academies) is Adaptation. In
      the theological schools there is being conducted an intensified recruitment
      of students as secret agents of the KGB, especially in the foreign
      divisions of the Academies.

      This at the present time the Moscow Patriarchate and the majority of
      bishops are secretly participating in the organized actions of the atheist
      regime (CPSU) which are directed toward the closing of churches, the
      limitation of the propagation of faith and its undermining in our country.

      The activity of the Moscow Patriarchate abroad is directed, in the first
      place, to covering up, by means of shameless lying and slander, the mass
      illegal closure of churches, the oppressions of believers and their
      organizations and the secret administrative measures directed toward the
      undermining of faith within the USSR.

      In the second place, the activity of the Patriarchate is directed to
      defecting as much as possible, by means of deceit and lying, the
      development of the Christian movement in the whole world on to a fallen
      path and thereby undermining it.

      Such, for example, was the proposal of the Moscow Patriarchate at the
      Rhodes Conference of Orthodox Churches to renounce Christian apologetics
      and the ideological battle against contemporary atheism. [17] The activity
      of the Moscow Patriarchate abroad is a conscious betrayal of the Russian
      Orthodox Church and the Christian faith. She steps forth on the world arena
      as a secret agent of worldwide anti-Christianity.

      Metropolitan Nikodim is betraying the Church and Christians not out of fear
      but for conscience's sake; thus a complete unmasking of his and the Moscow
      Patriarchate's traitorous activity will mean the end of his shady career.

      But the time has come for the unmasking of the traitorous activity of the
      Moscow Patriarchate abroad, the hour of judgment upon Metropolitan Nikodim.
      [18]

      An irrefutable proof of the undermining, traitorous activity abroad of the
      Moscow Patriarchate is an event which arose in connection with the "Open
      Letter of Kirov Believers to Patriarch Alexis."

      In August, 1966, this letter was sent by believers to Patriarch Alexis. In
      it the believers expressed their support for the letter of the Moscow
      priests N. Eshliman and G. Yakunin and described the misfortunes which the
      parishes of the Kirov region had suffered as a result of the lawless deeds
      of the authorities of the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox
      Church and Bishop John of Kirov. This letter, which accuses the
      arbitrariness and lawlessness of the local civil authorities and the Church
      Administration, does not touch at all upon the Soviet social and
      governmental order and has no relation whatever to the organs of State
      Security. The letter was signed by 12 believers of the Kirov region with
      exact addresses given. Eight of those who signed the letter were from the
      city of Kirov (formerly Vyatka). Among their number was the author of the
      letter B. V. Talantov, whose signature and address stood first. He is well
      known to the Patriarchate and to Metropolitan Nikodim. Three of those who
      signed were from the city of Nolinsk, and one of these was the student of
      the Odessa Seminary Nikodim Nikolaevich Kamenskikh. The twelfth believer
      who signed the letter was Agrippina Dimitrievna Zyryanova, an elderly woman
      from the city of Belaya Kholunitsa. She had been constantly working for the
      opening of the All Saints church in the city of Belaya Kholunitsa, which
      had been illegally dosed in 1962.

      This letter became known abroad, and on December 8, 1966, BBC Radio
      revealed in brief its content. Although in essence the letter was not a
      complete unmasking of the unworthy activity of the Moscow Patriarchate
      nonetheless it threw a shadow abroad on all the assurances of Metropolitan
      Nikodim and others concerning the well-being of the Russian Orthodox
      Church. Evidently this very much disturbed the Patriarchate and the KGB.
      They began to act simultaneously and according to an agreed-upon plan.

      On February 14, 1967, B. V. Talantov was summoned to the Kirov
      Administration of the KGB. Here, after he had been threatened at first with
      prison, it was proposed that he renounce the "Open Letter" in the form of a
      written declaration that could be published in one of the newspapers.
      Evidently he was to have declared in writing that he had never composed or
      signed the "Open Letter" that had become known abroad. He categorically
      refused to do this and confirmed in written form that he was the author
      precisely of the letter that had become known abroad, and likewise of the
      letter to the newspaper Izvestia (received by the newspaper on July 19,
      1966), and that he was ready to bear responsibility for the content of
      these letters. At that time he did not understand at all why there was
      demanded of him the renunciation of his own signature in a written
      declaration which, what is more, was to be published in one of the central
      newspapers. Later events solved this enigma.

      On February 25, 1967, Radio BBC revealed the replies to questions put to
      Metropolitan Nikodim in connection with the "Open Letter from Kirov." He
      declared this letter anonymous and therefore not deserving of trust. To
      confirm the sincerity of his words he expressed his readiness to make an
      oath on the Cross and the Gospel. The name and address of B. V. Talantov
      without any doubt were well known to him from the previous letters of B. V
      Talantov. Then why did he make such a risky declaration? One would think
      that he was trusting in the impossibility for the Kirov believers to refute
      abroad the deceit of his declaration. But subsequent events compel one to
      think that he was trusting that the KGB by threats would force the
      believers who had signed the "Open Letter" to renounce their signatures.

      At the very time when, in London, in the pompous grandeur of his social
      position Metropolitan Nikodim was striving by a false oath to prove the
      anonymity and dubiousness of the "Letter from Kirov," in Kirov itself at
      the KGB Administration it was proposed to B. V. Talantov, with threats of
      prison, hat he renounce his signature under this letter. Evidently the
      coincidence of these events was not accidental.

      B. V. Talantov, indignant at the shameless lie of Metropolitan Nikodim, on
      March 19, 1967, sent to Patriarch Alexis a new letter, in which he
      confirmed the authenticity of the "Open Letter of Kirov.Believers" and
      sternly accused the impious action of Metropolitan Nikodim. At the same
      time he sent a copy of his letter to the Patriarch to Odessa to his young
      friend N. N. Kamenskikh, who at this time was a student in the second class
      of the Odessa Theological Seminary. Through N. N.Kamenskikh this letter,
      and likewise the impious statement of Metropolitan Nikodim in London,
      became known to almost all the students at the Odessa Theological Seminary
      and to many residents of the city of Odessa. From this moment on new events
      began to occur.

      The letter of B. V. Talantov to Patriarch Alexis of March 19, 1967, became
      known to the Kirov administration of the KGB at the end of March or in the
      first days of April, apparently through Bishop Vladimir of Kirov.
      Immediately after this the seven Kirov believers who had signed the letter
      were called to the Kirov city council one at a time for interrogation. Here
      the secretary of the city council, A. Y. Ostanina, together with a KGB
      agent (the latter was not present in all cases), threatened each one with
      prison if he would sign any other document composed by "the dangerous
      political criminal" Talantov. Notwithstanding all the intimidations, none
      of those interrogated renounced his signature under the "Open Letter."

      Bishop Vladimir of Kirov traveled to Odessa and on April 12 he visited for
      some reason Archbishop Sergius. On April 15 B. V. Talantov informed his
      friend N. N. Kamenskikh, by a letter sent to the Seminary, of the
      interrogations in Kirov of the believers who had signed the "Open Letter."
      But this letter N. N. Kamenskikh did not receive.

      On April 26 the Inspector of the Seminary Alexander Nikolaevich Kravchenko
      summoned N.N.Kamenskikh, read him B.V.Talantov's letter of April 15, and
      demanded of him that he renounce in written form his support of the "Open
      Letter" of B. V. Talantov. N. N. Kamenskikh had either to renounce the
      genuineness of his own signature (meaning that his name and address had
      been put without his knowledge), or declare that B. V. Talantov had somehow
      deceived him. A. N. Kravchenko warned N. N. Kamenskikh that if he did not
      make such a declaration he would be excluded from the Seminary. In order to
      win N. N. Kamenskikh to his side, A. N. Kravchenko made use of the
      following sly tactic. He said: "Write this declaration, and I won't show it
      to anyone. When you finish the Seminary I will give it back to you." But N.
      N. Kamenskikh saw through the Inspector's trick and categorically refused
      to sign the declaration that was demanded of him. At the same time he asked
      the Inspector to give him the letter of B. V. Talantov, inasmuch as it was
      addressed to him. The Inspector refused to give him the letter and ordered
      him to think about his fate. From this moment there began a battle between
      N. N. Kamenskikh and the leadership of the Seminary, which was fulfilling
      the will of Metropolitan Nikodim and the KGB. For a whole month the entire
      Seminary followed this battle with intense interest. One might call it the
      war of Nikodim the small with Nikodim the great. The first is small both in
      age (he is 24 years old) and in his position in society. The second is of
      mature years and high position in the Church and in Soviet society.

      Nikodim Kamenskikh is the son of a believing Christian who was banished to
      the Kirov region. Want and hunger in childhood and adolescence, constant
      endurance from the age of 17 of threats, insults, and oppressions for his
      open confession of Christian faith?have left their imprint on N. N.
      Kamenskikh. He suffers from a stomach ulcer. From the age of 17 he served
      as an altar-boy in the church in the village of Bais in the Urzhumsk
      district of the Kirov region. At this young age he courageously defended
      the church in the village of Bais against illegal closure. Twice on this
      account he traveled to Moscow to the Council for the Affairs of the Russian
      Orthodox Church (see the letter of B. V. Talantov to the newspaper Izvestia
      of July 19, 1966) and by this drew on himself the anger of the local
      authorities. When he was summoned for military service to the Urzhumsk
      district military committee, at his medical examination he categorically
      refused to take off his neck cross, and for this he was sent for medical
      examination to the psychiatric hospital in the city of Kotelnich. After
      many trials and abuses he was excused from military service on account of
      illness (stomach ulcer), but he was not left in peace. At the beginning of
      1963 the local authorities sent the "fanatic" Nikodim out of the city of
      Bais and he became a homeless laborer-stovemaker, earning his living by
      sporadic jobs. By performing work too difficult for the state of his health
      he earned 30 to 40 rubles a month. The militia of Urzhumsk district fined
      him at this time, as a "parasite," 30 rubles, thus depriving him of his
      living for a whole month. Finally with great difficulty he found work and
      registered [19] in the city of Nolinsk. But want, a wandering life, and
      overwork put him in a hospital cot for a long time. After all these
      adventures he succeeded in 1965 in entering the Odessa Theological
      Seminary. For the whole course of his conscious life he has seen around him
      and has himself personally endured insults and oppressions for his open
      confession of the Christian faith. In his own life's experience he became
      convinced that true believing Christians are the pariahs of Soviet society.
      He signed the "Open Letter of Kirov believers" not with ink but with his
      own blood. Therefore it is understandable that he could not renounce his
      support of this letter, and he began courageously to battle for justice
      with Nikodim the great, who, having by cunning Adaptation attained high
      rank, human glory and wealth, entered on the path of injustice. In this
      battle Nikodim the small placed all his hope in the invisible God, while
      Nikodim the great placed his hope in visibly-mighty human power and
      strength.

      On May 7 B. V. Talantov, surmising by the silence of N.N. Kamenskikh that
      his letter of April 15 had not arrived, sent him at the Seminary a new
      letter in which he repeated the content of the letter of April 15. At the
      same time he sent a letter to the Seminary to the seminarian of the third
      class, Ivan Ilyich Naumov, a friend of N. N. Kamenskikh, in which he asked
      I. I. Naumov to communicate to N. N. Kamenskikh the content of his letters
      of April 15 and May 7, if he had not received them, and likewise to give
      his greetings to seminarian Leonid Michadovich Beresnev.

      These letters were received by the Seminary not later than May 12 or 13 and
      were intercepted by Inspector A. N. Kravchenko, who did not even tell the
      addressees about them. From these letters he learned that I. I. Naumov and
      L. M. Beresnev were sympathetic to Nikodim Kamenskikh. Evidently the
      Inspector A. N. Kravchenko checked all letters coming to the seminarians,
      at the assignment of the KGB. In order to clarify the "freedom and secrecy
      of correspondence," one must point out that N. N. Kamenskikh, thinking that
      his letters sent to Talantov were not reaching the latter, sent him during
      May two letters addressed to D. I. Okulov, janitor of the St. Seraphim
      church in Kirov, who was well acquainted with B. V. Talantov. D. I. Okulov
      did not receive either letter. This means that someone working at the St.
      Seraphim church, at the assignment of the KGB, was checking all letters
      that came to this church and holding them back at his discretion. Thus,
      secret agents of the KGB control all correspondence coming from the
      Seminary, the churches and "suspicious" believers.

      On May 17 the Inspector, A. N. Kravchenko, summoned I. I. Naumov and L. M.
      Beresnev and demanded of them that they persuade Nikodim Kamenskikh to
      write a declaration renouncing his support of the "Open Letter." He told
      them that if they did not act on Nikodim in the direction he wished they
      would be excluded from the Seminary as his accomplices.

      On May 19, Nikodim Kamenskikh gave to the Inspector of the Seminary A. N.
      Kravchenko an official declaration, wherein he once again confirmed the
      authenticity of his signature and his agreement with the content of the
      "Open Letter of Kirov Believers."

      On May 21 the Inspector told Nikodim that he must appear the next morning,
      May 22, at the KGB at the address 43 Babel, Bureau of Passports Garbus 3.
      Nikodim Kamenskikh, after writing down this address, calmly said that he
      would not go to the KGB Administration until he received an official
      notification. This caused the Inspector to lose his self-control, and he
      began to reproach Nikodim for going against the Patriarch, because he
      supported the Moscow priests. He concluded his discourse with the angry
      words: "If you do not leave the Seminary voluntarily, you will be turned
      out, and you will be sorry when you go home."

      On May 22 Nikodim was summoned to the diocesan administration and here by
      telephone an official of the Council for Religious Affairs asked him why he
      had not appeared at the KGB Administration. He replied that he would not go
      there until he received an official notification.

      On May 24 the Rector of the Seminary took from N. N. Kamenskikh his
      military card and passport and told him that he was to be expelled from
      Odessa. He replied that all blame for this rested on the Rector and the
      Inspector.

      On May 29 the Rector and the Inspector of the Seminary proposed to Nikodim
      Kamenskikh that he leave the Seminary "at his own wish." He refused to do
      this. In the evening the Faculty Council excluded him from the student-body
      of the Seminary for failing to conform to the spirit of the Seminary. He
      was given a roll in which it was stated that he is transferred in the first
      category to the third class, and a certificate of exclusion. On June 19 he
      sent a declaration from the city of Kirov to the Patriarch in which he
      again confirmed his agreement with the "Open Letter" and asked that he be
      allowed to undertake studies in the third class.

      On June 20 the militia of the city of Nolinsk refused to register him at
      the place of his former residence, and he again became homeless pauper. But
      the battle was not yet finished. On May 20 four of the persons who had
      signed the "Open Letter" sent a declaration to the Patriarch, in which they
      protested against the deceitful declaration abroad of Metropolitan Nikodim.

      In April A. D. Zyryanova from the city of Belaya Kholunitsa (the twelfth of
      the signers of the "Open Letter") was put in an insane asylum, from which
      her sister took her out.

      On May 31 in Kirov Pravda there was printed the article of S. Lyubovikov,
      "With an Open Visor," filled with slander and threats against the author of
      the "Open Letter," B. V.Talantov.

      All persons who signed the "Open Letter of Kirov Believers" were subjected
      to threats and repressive measures, but they did not renounce their
      signatures or their agreement with the Letter.

      Now the "Open Letter of Kirov Believers to Patriarch Alexis," broadcast on
      the BBC on December 8, 1966; the declaration of Metropolitan Nikodim abroad
      concerning the anonymity and unauthenticity of this Letter, broadcast on
      the BBC on February 25, 1967; the pressure subsequently brought to bear by
      the organs of State Security (KGB) and the leadership of the Odessa
      Theological Seminary on the persons who signed this letter, with the aim of
      compelling them to renounce their signatures; finally, their firm support
      of this Letter, notwithstanding threats and repressive measures?all this
      constitutes irrefutable proof of the traitorous activity abroad of the
      Moscow Patriarchate and their secret cooperation with the atheists who hold
      power.

      The documents confirming this are:

      1. Tape recording of the BBC Radio broadcast of February 25, 1967. 2. The
      letter of B. V. Talantov to the Patriarch of March 19, 1967. 3. The
      declaration of N. N. Kamenskikh addressed to the Inspector of the Odessa
      Theological Seminary of May 19, 1967. 4. The letter of a group of Kirov
      believers to Patriarch Alexis of May 20, 1967. 5. The declaration of N. N.
      Kamenskikh addressed to Patriarch Alexis on June l9, 1967. 6. A copy of the
      certificate excluding N. N. Kamenskikh from the student-body of the Odessa
      Theological Seminary, of May 29, 1967, notarized. 7. The article of O.
      Lyubovikov, "With an Open Visor," in Kirov Pravda for May 31, 1967.

      The Adaptation to atheism implanted by Metropolitan Sergius has concluded
      with the betrayal of the Orthodox Russian Church on the part of
      Metropolitan Nikodim and other official representatives of the Moscow
      Patriarchate abroad. This betrayal, irrefutably proved by the documents
      cited, must be made known to all believers in Russia and abroad, because
      such an activity of the Patriarchate, relying on cooperation with the KGB,
      represents a great danger for all believers. In truth the atheistic leaders
      of the Russian people and the princes of the Church have gathered together
      against the Lord and His Christ.

      The accusation by the whole people of the betrayal of the princes of the
      Church will inevitably lead to a crisis of the Church administration, but
      not to any kind of church schism, as certain ill-wishers of the Church
      affirm, as well as people who unconsciously follow them.

      Believers must cleanse the Church of false brethren and false pastors (the
      betrayer-bishops and priests) in accordance with the commandment of the
      Holy Apostle Paul: "Put away the wicked man from among yourselves."[20]
      Only after such a cleansing is a true regeneration of the Church possible.

      Many true believers of Russia have fervently prayed to God that He would
      show believers facts that would indisputably prove the secret betrayal by
      the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, if it exists. Now these facts,
      by God's mercy, are revealed to all who can really hear and see.

      About a hundred years ago the Optina Elders predicted that a time would
      come when in Russia there would be impious bishops. Now this time has
      arrived. But because of the corruption and betrayal of the bishops the
      believers should not disperse to their homes and organize separate sects,
      but rather preserving unity, they should begin the accusation by the whole
      people of the corrupt false pastors and cleanse the Church of them.

      August, 1967 (Signature) B. V. Talantov

      EPILOGUE

      Slanders and threats had a painful effect on the wife of B. V. Talantov,
      Nina Agafangelovna Talantova. As a result of her painful sufferings, and
      having suffered already for a long time from a hypertonic condition, on
      September 7 she had a stroke, and she died on December 16, 1967.

      Agrippina Dimitrievna Zyryanova, the twelfth of the signers of the "Open
      Letter," died in a hospital on December 27, 1967. The threats hastened the
      approach of death. All those who signed the "Open Letter" suffered in one
      degree or another, but they did not renounce their signatures.

      By the Ukase of Patriarch Alexis of June 6, 1967, the Inspector of the
      Odessa Theological Seminary, A. N. Kravchenko, was awarded the Order of
      Prince Vladimir, second degree (see the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate,
      no. 8, 1967).

      By decree of the Patriarch and the Holy Synod of April 4, 1967, the Rector
      of the Odessa Theological Seminary, Archimandrite Theodosius, was raised to
      the rank of bishop. By decree of the Holy Synod of October 7, 1967 (see
      JMP, no. 8, 1967), Bishop Vladimir of Kirov was assigned as Bishop of
      Berlin and Exarch in Central Europe, and by the Ukase of Patriarch Alexis
      of October 20, 1967, he was raised to the rank of Archbishop (see JMP, no.
      11, 1967).

      March 30, 1968 (signature) B. V. Talantov

      EDITORS' CONCLUSION: On June 12, 1969, Boris Talantov was arrested, and on
      September 3 he was sentenced to two years in prison for "anti-Soviet
      activities." He died in prison on January 4, 1971.

      And thus it would seem, as the world judges, that evil triumphs. Boris
      Talantov and his courageous fellow-confessors are persecuted, suffer, and
      die; while for Metropolitan Nikodim not only has the "hour of judgment" not
      come, but his status seems still to rise. The Moscow Patriarchate gains new
      prestige and a new ally by its sponsorship of the "autocephaly" of the
      American Metropolia [OCA]. And Orthodox Christians in America do not even
      suspect that they have become passive accomplices of a diabolic program of
      betrayal and anti-Christianity in the name of Orthodoxy.

      But evil triumphs only in the eyes of men of little faith. "One cannot
      defend the Church by a lie." The True Orthodox Christians of these last
      days are defeated on every hand: mocked by the world and by the betrayers
      of Orthodoxy, despised, persecuted. And yet for one thing they are
      unconquerable: they stand in the truth. And thus, as our God is Truth,
      their ultimate victory is certain. Only, may the "hour of judgment," come
      soon for the betrayers of Orthodoxy!

      (Metropolitan Nikodim, in fact, died suddenly in 1978 in Rome during an
      audience with Pope John Paul I, literally in the arms of the Pope, and the
      first prayers for his repose were performed by Roman Catholic clergy. His
      sudden death among those foreign to Orthodoxy, and who indeed seek to draw
      the Orthodox Church into another false "union", can only be interpreted by
      true Orthodox Christians as a proof of Metropolitan Nikodim's betrayal of
      Orthodoxy.)

      ENDNOTES

      1. Sergianism: Sergievshchina. This word is not precisely translatable into
      English, but is approximately "the Sergianist affair," with a pejorative
      connotation.

      2. London, 1967; original edition in French: Les Chretiens en U.R.S.S.,
      Paris, 1963. Nikita Struve is a Russian intellectual of the "Paris" school
      and present editor of the Vestnik of the Russian Student Christian
      Movement.

      3. Outstanding Russian saints of the 14th and 16th centuries.

      4. The Appeal (Declaration) of Metropolitan Sergius was actually issued on
      July 16/29, 1927, but it was first published in the official Soviet
      newspaper Izvestia on August 19.

      5. Head of the League of Militant Atheists, in charge of the anti-religious
      propaganda and activities conducted by the Soviet regime.

      6. Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

      7. Hewlett Johnson, the notorious "Red Dean of Canterbury," a "Christian"
      apologist for Communism, wrote his book in English under the title
      Christians and Communism (London, 1956). That Soviet authorities should
      immediately have this book translated and printed in Moscow reveals that
      they are not entirely opposed to "religion"?not to a Communist form of
      religion!

      8. A leading official Soviet anti-religious periodical.

      9. Troika: a committee of three secret police officials who sentenced their
      victims without hearing or appeal.

      10. State Security-Secret Police; known earlier under the initials NKVD,
      Cheka, and (originally) GPU.

      11. Of Krutitsk, notorious apologist of the Moscow Patriarchate and the
      Soviet regime abroad after the Second World War. He later fell from favor
      and died under mysterious circumstances in 1961.

      12. I.e., the Roman Catholic Church, which is dominant in Poland.

      13. Of Kirov; see below.

      14. Treby: baptisms, funerals, etc.

      15. This important rule is a part of the general system of terror that
      still prevails in the USSR for behevers. These records are transmitted by
      local authorihes to places of employment, etc., and the believer who dares
      ask for a baptism, funeral, or some other open service finds himself soon
      out of a job end in general ostracized from society.

      16. A few months after this was written, this very rule was applied against
      Talantov's dying wife, as Talantov himself describes in his "Complaint to
      the Attorney General of the Soviet Union" of April 26, 1968 (English text
      in Religion in Communist Dominated Areas, Aug. 15/31, 1968): "On the day of
      her death, I wished to have the rite of unction performed for her, as she
      desired. But the Dean of the sole remaining open Orthodox church in the
      city of Kirov, that of St. Seraphim, told me that the local authorities
      forbade the rite of unction to be performed in homes. This deplorable case
      demonstrates that believing Christians in the city of Kirov are deprived
      nowadays even of those rights that they were given by J. V. Stalin."

      17. This occurred in 1961. The question of atheism and the means of
      battling against it were on the agenda of this Conference but at the
      objection of Metropolitan (then Archbishop) Nikodim the question was
      dropped.

      18. Here Talantov seems to be expressing the fervent hope of many in the
      ideological "underground" in the USSR, rather than any immediately
      impending event. This is corroborated by the report of a Russian Orthodox
      student from America concerning a meeting of members of the widespread
      "Democratic Movement" which he had the rare privilege of attending in
      Leningrad early in 1970 Some of those present expressed their opinion on
      the subject of the "autocephaly" which was just then being granted the
      American Metropolia by the Moscow Patriarchate. Their attitude was summed
      up by one member who, mentioning that outspoken protest against the
      Patriarchate was finally becoming evident in the USSR, castigated the
      "naive Americans" thus: "What are you Americans doing?! Here for 50-odd
      years we've been trying to minimize the popular authority of any and all
      such governmental agencies as the Moscow Patriarchate, and you, in
      conditions of freedom, undo all our work by accepting their authority!"

      19. There is no freedom of movement in the USSR. Each citizen must have a
      passport in order to live anywhere, and he must register with local
      authorities on entering or leaving any town?and this registration may bc
      refused at the whim of the local authorities.

      20. I Corinthians 5:13.

      The Church in Russia

      The Moscow Patriarchate and Sergianism

      An Essay by Boris Talantov

      This excerpt is from Ivan Andreyev's Russia's Catacomb Saints (Platina, CA:
      St. Herman of Alaska Press, 1982), 463-86. I encourage everyone to find a
      copy of this out-of-print, 600+ page masterpiece. It is powerful reading
      and extremely important for our day. Read the Introduction to this book . .
      .
      EDITORS' INTRODUCTION: The two texts that follow?they are actually two
      parts of a single essay?are of crucial importance for an understanding of
      the Russian Orthodox Church under the Communist Yoke. They were written by
      a true confessor of Orthodoxy, who died in prison in the Soviet Union in
      1971 for having written these and similar texts. They are presented here as
      a direct response to the plea of the author himself (p. 484 of Russia's
      Catacomb Saints): "This betrayal. . . must be made known to all believers
      in Russia and abroad, because such an activity of the Patriarchate. . .
      represents a great danger for all believers." The texts are primary
      documents exposing with direct and irrefutable proof the conscious betrayal
      of Russian Orthodoxy by its own hierarchs.

      Russian Orthodoxy today?betrayed by its hierarchs in the USSR, and
      represented only by the free bishops abroad and by a remnant of the
      faithful at home and abroad?lives in expectation of a restoration of true
      and canonical church order. This will doubtless come only at the longed-for
      Council of all Russian Orthodoxy after the fall of the Communist regime,
      when those who have kept the faith will be justified. For this restoration
      of true order the writings of Boris Talantov will be invaluable testimony.
      For they come from one who consciously experienced the Soviet Yoke from its
      beginning and they thus testify from within not only to the facts of
      Russian church life during those years, but more importantly, to the
      attitude toward them of the Orthodox faithful. Previously this had been
      known to some extent through those who had escaped from the USSR, but from
      within the country there was nothing to be heard but the repetitious
      propaganda of the Moscow Patriarchate, which attempted to drown out the
      truth and did indeed succeed in duping whole generations of gullible church
      figures in the West. But now as the culmination of a decade of protests,
      the true attitudes of the faithful who remain in Russia have become known.

      Boris Talantov, as these texts reveal, did not leave the communion of the
      Moscow Patriarchate; even though he was sympathetic to the members of the
      True Orthodox (Catacomb) Church whom he knew, he nonetheless repeats the
      standard Soviet terminology in calling this Church a "sect." Here surely,
      one may be allowed to disagree. Without passing judgment on those who
      remain in the Patriarchate, we abroad can nonetheless not help but see that
      the solution of the present crisis of the Moscow Patriarchate?which is
      actually the culmination, as Talantov points out, of the betrayal of 1927?
      cannot come from within the Patriarchate alone, but must come from the
      whole confessing Orthodox Church of Russia: the believers in the Catacombs
      who remain faithful to the testaments of Metropolitan Joseph and the many
      bishops in 1927 who declared the "Sergianist" Church schismatic, the true
      believers who remain in the Patriarchate; and the Church Outside of Russia.
      About the latter it is hardly likely that Talantov could have had any
      unbiased information. It must be remembered, then, that these documents
      offer, not a complete picture of the state of Russian Orthodoxy today, but
      rather an authentic voice of the Orthodox faithful within the USSR, and
      specifically of the Moscow Patriarchate's own flock. These texts, however,
      are doubtless some of the primary documents from which the "complete
      picture" of 20th-century Russian Orthodoxy will one day be known.

      The two texts are here presented in full, without omissions or additions of
      any kind, as translated from the Russian manuscripts obtained in 1968 from
      an absolutely reliable source in Paris by the Rev. Michael Bordeaux of the
      Center for the Study of Religion and Communism. The two titles and all
      parentheses and emphases (italics) in the text are those of the original,
      all notes and comments of the translators have been confined to the
      footnotes. The texts are published here with the kind permission of Rev.
      Bordeaux.

      I. SERGIANISM [1], OR ADAPTATION TO ATHEISM
      (THE LEAVEN OF HEROD)

      IN ENGLAND there has appeared a book by Nikita Strove, Christians in
      Contemporary Russia,[2] in which he, like others also in the West, in
      general approves the activity of Patriarch Sergius, even comparing him with
      Sergius of Radonezh and Patriarch Ermogen. [3] In the West Patriarch
      Sergius is virtually considered to be the savior of the Orthodox Church in
      Russia. Such an incorrect evaluation of the activity of Patriarch Sergius
      is based on the fact that Western researchers are not familiar with the
      underground facts and manifestations of the life of the Russian Orthodox
      Church. The roots of the profound ecclesiastical crisis which has now been
      revealed were laid precisely by Patriarch Sergius.

      In his Appeal to the faithful of August 19, 1927, [4] Metropolitan Sergius
      set forth new bases for the activity of the Church Administration, which at
      that very time were called by E. Yaroslavsky [5] an "adaptation" to the
      atheistic reality of the USSR.

      "Adaptation" consisted first and foremost of a false separation of all the
      spiritual needs of man into the purely religious and the socio-political.
      The Church was to satisfy the purely religious needs of citizens of the
      USSR without touching on the socio-political, which were to be resolved and
      satisfied by the official ideology of the CPSU. [6] The socio-political
      activity of every believer, according to this Appeal, should be directed to
      the building of a socialist society under the direction of the CPSU. In its
      further development this Adaptation resulted in the theory of Soviet
      theologians, according to which the Communistic organization of society is
      the only happy and just one, one supposedly indicated by the Gospel itself.
      At the same time no criticism was allowed of the official ideology, laws,
      or actions of the authorities Any accusation against the actions of the
      civil authorities or any doubt of the correctness of the official ideology
      was considered a deviation from purer religious activity and
      counter-revolution. The Church Administration headed by Metropolitan
      Sergius not only did not defend the believers and clergy who went to
      concentration camps for accusing the arbitrariness and violence of the
      civil authorities, but even spoke out itself, with slave-like servility,
      for the condemnation of such people as counter-revolutionaries. In essence
      Adaptation to atheism represented a maniacal union of Christian dogmas and
      rites with the socio-political views of the official ideology of the CPSU.
      In actual fact all religious activity was reduced to external rites. The
      church preaching of those clergymen who held strictly to Adaptation was
      totally remote from life and therefore had no influence whatever on the
      hearers. As a result of this the intellectual, social, and family life of
      believers, and the raising of the younger generation remained outside the
      Church's influence. This concealed great dangers for the Church and
      Christian faith. One cannot worship Christ and at the same time in social
      and family life tell lies, do what is unjust, use violence, and dream of an
      earthly paradise. Subsequently, Adaptation to atheism culminated in the
      heretical teaching of H. Johnson concerning a new religion, which in his
      opinion was to replace the Christian religion and be a synthesis of
      Christianity and Marxism-Leninism (see H. Johnson, Christianity and
      Communism, Moscow, 1957). [7] Now the absurdity of H. Johnson's teaching is
      evident.

      The Appeal of Metropolitan Sergius of August 19, 1927, made a painful
      impression on all believers, as a cringing before the atheist authorities.
      Some made peace with it as an unavoidable evil, while others came out
      decisively with a condemnation of it. A part of the bishops and faithful
      separated from Metropolitan Sergius. The bishops who had condemned the
      Appeal of Metropolitan Sergius were soon arrested and banished to
      concentration camps, where they died. The ordinary believers who separated
      formed a special sect, called the True Orthodox Church, which from the very
      beginning of its formation right up to the present time has been
      proscribed.

      Contemporary influential atheists regard Adaptation as a modernization of
      religion which is politically useful for the CPSU and harmless for the
      materialistic ideology. "This (Adaptation?our addition. B.T.) is one of the
      paths to the dying out of religion" (Journal, Science and Religion,[8] no.
      12, 1966, p. 78).

      Many both among us and in the West regarded and regard the Appeal of
      Metropolitan Sergius as a statement made by the Church Administration under
      duress, with the aim of preserving church parishes and clergymen during the
      time of the despotism of J. Stalin. But this is incorrect. The Communist
      Party saw in this Appeal the Church's weakness, the readiness of the new
      Church Administration to fulfill unconditionally any instructions
      whatsoever of the civil authority, a readiness to give over to the
      arbitrariness of the authorities, under the guise of
      counter-revolutionaries, those clergymen who dared to accuse arbitrariness
      and violence. Here is how E. Yaroslavsky evaluated this in 1927: "With
      religion, even though Bishop Sergius may have adorned it in whatever
      worldly garb you may want, with the influence of religion on the masses of
      workers, we shall wage war, as we wage war with every religion, with every
      church" (E. Yaroslavsky, On Religion, Moscow, 1957, p. 155).

      Objectively this Appeal and the subsequent activity of Metropolitan Sergius
      were a betrayal of the Church. From the end of 1929 until June, 1941, there
      occurred the mass closing and barbarous destruction of churches, arrests
      and sentencing by Troikas [9] and secret trials of virtually every single
      clergyman, most of whom were simply physically exterminated in
      concentration camps.

      In 1930 Pope Pius XI came out before world public opinion with a protest
      against the p<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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