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History of ROCA

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/Istoria/0a.html (in Russian) Archbishop NATHANIEL The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia This article was written
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 29, 2003
      http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/Istoria/0a.html (in Russian)


      Archbishop NATHANIEL



      The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia



      This article was written under the auspices of the First Hierarch of
      the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Metropolitan Philaret
      (Voznesensky) (+1985)

      The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, headed now by
      Metropolitan Philaret, and earlier by Metropolitan Anthony and
      Metropolitan Anastassy, bears witness to itself as an indissoluble part
      of the historical Russian Church, which nourished and educated the
      Russian people and created her great state.

      The Church Abroad views with attention, love and devotion every
      movement of the life of the Church in our Homeland, rejoices at her
      successes, and grieves at her errors. She bows down before the
      spiritual feats [podvigi] of those martyrs and witnesses who fearlessly
      followed the name of Christ to indescribable sufferings in
      concentration camps.

      The representatives of our Church untiringly recount these podvigi of
      the Russian people in international and inter-confessional circles,
      where the latter often close their ears and refuse to hear of these
      sufferings, yet their half-slumbering consciences are still troubled.

      The Church Abroad carefully preserves the Divinely-inspired
      ecclesiastical legacy received from her thousand years of Orthodox
      Christian life in Russia, and does not succumb to those winds of
      modernism and reformation which buffet from all sides. The Church
      Abroad with all her might struggles for the purity of the faith and for
      her independence from the forces of evil reigning in the world.

      The Church Abroad does not recognize as lawful the hierarchical
      leadership of the contemporary official Russian Church, headed now by
      Patriarch Pimen, and before him by Patriarchs Sergius and Alexii,
      considering them enslaved by the God-battling forces and entering into
      impermissible agreements and compromises with the forces of evil.

      The Church Abroad has for a long time paid dearly for her
      uncompromising stance and the purity of her position in the depraved
      world. Some would like to force her either to submit to the Moscow
      Patriarchate or join the ranks of the existing Local Churches.

      But the Church Abroad does not retreat from her positions, highly
      valuing her complete independence from anyone, as well as her profound
      unity with the children of the martyred Church of Russia, with those
      archpastors, pastors and laypersons who witness their faith in Christ
      amidst persecutions, not compromising in any way with evil.

      Those faithful Russian people in the emigration who submitted to the
      church authorities of Moscow who are enslaved call us renegades and
      schismatics. Those Russians who left the Russian Church and joined the
      Church of Constantinople or declared themselves autocephalous call our
      position uncanonical.

      But we hold to this position with love, firmly and unwaveringly. We are
      an indissoluble part of the Russian Church, which does not recognize
      her uncanonical official leadership, and we are the only ones in the
      entire world who are completely independent representatives and
      spokesmen for the Russian Church.

      How did the Church Abroad come into existence? In November 1920, the
      remains of the defeated, but unsubmitting White Army left Russia. They
      departed into exile on Russian and foreign ships, hundreds of thousands
      of Russians, officers and soldiers, Cossacks, peasants, landowners,
      workers, tradesmen. Clergymen left for foreign lands with their flocks.
      But the clergy did not emigrate in disorganization. While still on
      Russian territory, on the open expanses formerly under White control, a
      Supreme Church Authority of the South of Russia was formed, with the
      blessing of Patriarch Tikhon.

      But finding themselves outside the borders of Russia, what were the
      representatives of the Russian Church to do?

      Were they to submit to the Patriarch of Constantinople? Were they to
      join the existing Local Churches? These Local Churches lived their own
      lives, they had their own concerns, their own interests. The pains and
      problems of Russian church life, which gripped the hearts of Russians,
      were not felt by them, for them they were not immediate, they were not
      of the utmost importance, as they were for the hearts of the Russian
      people.

      There were not only emigre bishops in the exiled part of the Russian
      Church, but those parts of the Russian Church that remained outside of
      the borders of Soviet Russia; many parishes in Western Europe, the
      diocese in America, two dioceses in the Far East (Vladivostok and
      Peking)--incidentally, from the Vladivostok diocese, which until
      November 1922 was under White control, a third diocese was carved
      out--that of Harbin, Manchuria. The Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in
      Palestine and a parish in Teheran also joined the Church Abroad.

      The hierarchy of the Church Abroad appointed Archbishop Eulogius of
      Volhyn as the ruling bishop of the Russian churches in Western Europe,
      and Metropolitan Platon of Odessa as the Metropolitan of North America.
      These appointments by the Church Administration Abroad were confirmed
      by His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon in his Act of 26 March 1921.

      The Russian Church Abroad was then strong in her unity, and her voice
      was resounding.
      In April 1924, Patriarch Gregory of Constantinople, in the heat of the
      struggle of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon with the Living Church,
      appealed to our Patriarch with the request that he "immediately depart
      from leading the Church," that he dissolve the Patriarchate and hand
      over the fullness of Church authority to the Living Church. In July of
      that same year, the Metropolitan of Athens went even further,
      requesting that the Russian clergy in Greece recognize the "synod" of
      the Living Church, threatening otherwise to suspend all of them from
      their priestly functions.
      Both the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Metropolitan of Athens,
      taking up the side of the Living Church in their battle against the
      True Church, were guided by official government directives from Russia.
      We see in this example how valuable it is to understand church matters
      as they arose in Russia to have personal experience and a vital organic
      connection of the Russian people with the Church which is subjected to
      persecution.

      This example also shows clearly how far-sighted, how wise was the
      directive of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, who commanded the Russian
      Church abroad to preserve her independence from the Local Churches and
      her vital bond with the persecuted Church of Russia.

      Preserving her independence, and boldly expressing the defense of truth
      and the denunciation of lies, the Russian Church Abroad convinced the
      Patriarch of Constantinople and the Metropolitan of Athens of the
      correctness of Patriarch Tikhon and the deceit of the Living Church.

      The power of the witness of the Church Abroad grew also in that she was
      headed by Metropolitan Anthony, who was a renowned, respected and
      authoritiative throughout the Orthodox world. He raised his voice
      several times against the attempts of the Patriarch of Constantinople
      to introduce non-ecclesiastical reforms to the Church. As a result, in
      1936, Patriarch Varnava of Serbia said of the importance of
      Metropolitan Anthony: "When at the beginning of the post-war period, a
      wave of modernism washed over almost all the Churches of the East, it
      broke upon the cliff of Metropolitan Anthony."

      Yet the main strength of the Church Abroad was in her unity. Alas, this
      unity did not last long.

      In 1926, a division occurred between the Synod of Bishops and
      Metropolitan Eulogius as a result of the necessity to exclude the
      Russian parishes in Germany from the Western European Diocese. The
      decision of the Synod of Bishops was appealed by Metropolitan Eulogius
      to Metropolitan Sergius, who headed the Russian Church in Moscow at the
      time, following the death of Patriarch Tikhon and the arrest of
      Metropolitan Peter. During this initial period of his leadership of the
      Russian Church, Metropolitan Sergius still firmly stood on strict
      canonical positions, and responded to Metropolitan Eulogius' complaint
      with an epistle in the spirit of the Ukase of Patriarch Tikhon,
      touching in its earnestness: "In light of the absence of actual
      contacts between the Orthodox emigration and the Moscow Patriarchate,
      the bishops abroad should in general consent create for themselves a
      Central organ of ecclesiastical administration..." Further,
      Metropolitan Sergius says that the Moscow Patriarchate has enough of
      its own burdens, and could not assume the responsibility of problems
      abroad.

      Then Metropolitan Eulogius, and the head of the Russian Church in
      America, Metropolitan Platon, with whom he found solidarity, left the
      Russian Church Abroad.

      The Synod of Bishops corresponded with the schismatic metropolitans for
      a few months, encouraging them to making peace and submission. Finally,
      on 13/26 January, 1927 (Metropolitan Eulogius) and 18/31 March of the
      same year (Metropolitan Platon), the Synod came to decisive measures,
      replacing them in the cathedras they occupied and suspending them from
      their priestly functions.

      It was at this time that Metropolitan Sergius, who had been arrested in
      November, was released from prison, having given a promise to closely
      cooperate with the atheistic state.
      If he had a few months earlier declined to make decisions on church
      disagreements in the emigration, here he decisively took the side of
      Metropolitan Eulogius in the latter's dispute with the Synod of
      Bishops.

      At the same time, Metropolitan Sergius requests of all the clergy of
      the Moscow Patriarchate, and that of the emigration, signed oaths of
      loyalty to the Soviet government.

      In his infamous declaration of 16/29 July 1927, Metropolitan Sergius
      writes: "We requested of the clergy abroad that they give their written
      obligation in total loyalty to the Soviet state in the entire scope of
      their social activity. Is it not time for them to review the matter of
      their relationship to the Soviet state, so as not to break from their
      native Church and Homeland?"
      Metropolitan Eulogius signed this oath of loyalty to the Soviet state
      on his own behalf on on that of all his clergymen. The Synod of Bishop
      decreed (27 August/9 September 1927): "To decisively reject the
      proposal of Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod to give a signed oath of
      loyalty to the Soviet state, as uncanonical and very dangerous for the
      Holy Church."

      And so the Church Abroad found itself divided into two parts. Two years
      later, the error of the position adopted by Metropolitan Eulogius
      became clear. A wave of protests spread throughout the world over the
      persecution of the faithful in Russia. There were prayers organized for
      the persecuted Christians in Russia, and the head of the Anglican
      Church invited Metropolitan Eulogius to take part in these prayers.
      Metropolitan Eulogius found himself in a difficult situation. To refuse
      to take part in these prayers was shameful, but to participate meant to
      violate the oath of loyalty to the Soviet state. Metropolitan Eulogius
      joined the prayers, and was summoned to court in Moscow. But instead of
      going to Moscow, he went to Constantinople, and transferred himself and
      his diocese to the authority of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

      Still, a part of the clergy under Metropolitan Eulogius did not follow
      him but remained under the Moscow Patriarchate. So the Russian Church
      abroad found itself divided into three parts.
      Those parts that separated from the Church Abroad had to change their
      main positions several times. The Church Abroad itself over the entire
      55 years of her existence remained unfailingly true to the path she had
      chosen for herself once and for all.

      The headquarters of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was
      located at Sremskije Karlovtsy, Yugoslavia, until World War II, under
      the fraternal, loving protection of the Serbian Church, which Russians
      in the diaspora always remember with a kind word.

      Over the course of several years, the Church Abroad tried its best to
      heal the wounds dealt to the work of the Church by the schisms. In
      1934-35, this goal seemed to be achieved.

      In 1934, Metropolitan Anthony wrote a friendly letter to Metropolitan
      Eulogius, calling upon him to make peace. Metropolitan Eulogius came to
      Yugoslavia and made peace with Metropolitan Anthony, the two reading
      prayers of absolution over one another. Thus was prayerful communion
      reestablished between the Church Abroad and Metropolitan Eulogius'
      group.

      The following year, in Belgrade, under the chairmanship of the loving
      friend of the Russian Church, Patriarch Varnava of Serbia, a meeting
      was held of the representatives of the Russian Church. Participating
      were: from the European group, Metropolitan Eulogius; from the American
      group, the successor to Metropolitan Platon, Metropolitan Theophilus;
      from the dioceses of the Far East, Archbishop Dimitri (the father of
      our present First Hierarch, Metropolitan Philaret); and from the
      parishes of the Church Abroad in the Near East and in Europe,
      Archbishop Anastassy, who had been elevated by Patriarch Varnava to the
      rank of metropolitan, and becoming the successor to Metropolitan
      Anthony after the latter's repose.

      This meeting reestablished order in the Russian Church Abroad, and all
      of the archpastors present signed the decrees of the Conference, and it
      seemed that the unity of the Russian Church abroad was restored.

      His Holiness Patriarch Varnava said at the time: "Among us are
      Metropolitan Anthony, this great hierarch, an adornment of the
      Universal Orthodox Church. This great mind reminds one of the first
      hierarchs of the Church of Christ in the early days of Christianity. In
      his mind is ecclesiastical truth. All of you, not only those living in
      our Yugoslavia, but those in Europe, in America and in Asia and in all
      the countries of the world, must form an indivisible whole, headed by
      your archpastor, Metropolitan Anthony, and you must not succumb to the
      assaults and provocations of the enemies of the Church." Unfortunately,
      returning to Paris from Yugoslavia, Metropolitan Eulogius rejected the
      unity that had been achieved. Still, these efforts, though
      unsuccessful, were beneficial. The American part of the Church remained
      within the Church Abroad until 1946, and the lifted suspensions in
      Europe allowed Russian clergymen to concelebrate during the war, and
      when waves of Russian prisoners of war, and the so-called
      "Ostarbeiters" (that is, those workers who were forcibly brought to
      Germany from Russian and the Germany-occupied territories), washed over
      Europe, the Russian Church was able to greet them as one, and did not
      demonstrate for them division, which could have led many astray.

      In 1936, the founder of the Church Abroad, the great bishop
      Metropolitan Anthony, died, and his place was taken by Metropolitan
      Anastassy, the eldest of the bishops of the Russian Church, who had
      been consecrated into the episcopacy in Moscow in 1906.

      During the war, all the efforts of the Church Abroad were devoted to
      the spiritual care of the many millions of Russians who found
      themselves in territories seized by the Germans.

      Some 5 million persons, "Ostarbeiters," were transported from Russia to
      Germany for forced labor. Even more Russian soldiers and officers
      suffered in prison. It was difficult to penetrate both types of camps
      for representatives of the Russian emigre clergy, since Germans
      categorically prohibited contact between Russian emigres and those
      Russians who suddenly found themselves abroad.

      In 1943, German authorities requested of Metropolitan Seraphim of
      Berlin (a German by birth) that he prohibit Ostarbeiters from entering
      emigre churches. Vladyka Seraphim replied: "I am an Orthodox bishop,
      and my obligation is to call upon all Orthodox people to attend church.
      For this reason, I cannot hinder anyone from participating in divine
      services. If you feel that this is necessary, post your own guards to
      prevent Ostarbeiters from entering our churches. I can do nothing about
      that." But the German authorities could not bring themselves to do so.

      Knowing that such demands would be made of parish rectors, and having
      no ability to issue directives to them not to obey the authorities in
      this matter, Metropolitan Seraphim found a way out by publishing a
      description of this exchange in his diocesan bulletin, hoping that
      parish priests would reach the correct conclusion. And so it happened.

      Ostarbeiters were forced to wear insignias reading "Ost," meaning East.
      A priest gave a good sermon on this in Berlin once: "You have been
      labeled with the word "Ost," with the hope that you would be
      humiliated. "Yet they don't understand what a great honor they give
      you, for until now, only One Person was referred to in this way "East
      is His name."

      The Monastery of St. Job, part of the Church Abroad and located at the
      time in Slovakia, at the very border with Galicia, printed a
      significant number of religious books. They printed Gospel books, in
      several editions, reaching 100,000 copies, 60,000 prayers books.
      Various apologetic brochures were published, each in an edition of
      5-15,000.


      The Germans strictly prohibited the sending of any sort of literature
      to the territories they occupied. But thanks to the fact that the
      Russian population paid a high price for such books, many Slovak
      soldiers came to the Monastery of St. Job before departing for the
      front and took religious publications, passed them on to the population
      living in German-occupied territories, and the Monastery received
      touching messags of gratitude, even from as far as Stalingrad.

      During the second World War, the ecclesiastical headquarters of the
      Church Abroad remained in Serbia. The Serbian Church during was
      persecuted by the Germans during this time. To a lesser degree, they
      also pressured the Russian Church leadership, which had strictly
      preserved a fraternal, loving relationship with the leadership of the
      Serbian Church. Patriarch Gabriel of Serbia spoke of this in London in
      1945 during an interview with British and Polish journalists:
      "Metropolitan Anastassy, with great wisdom and tact, held on under the
      German occupation, he was always loyal to the Serbs, for which he did
      not gain the trust of the Germans and was subjected several times to
      humiliating searches."

      At the end of the war, Metropolitan Eulogius, succumbing to the
      enthusiasm of certain emigres for Soviet victories and rumors of the
      complete change of ecclesiastical policy in Russia, ended his
      subjugation to the Constantinople Patriarchate and submitted to the
      Patriarch of Moscow. But after his death, his successor, Metropolitan
      Vladimir, once again returned to Constantinople.
      At the same time, the Church in America once again broke apart. One
      part, headed by Metropolitan Theophilus, broke with the Church Abroad
      and attempted to submit to the Moscow Patriarch, placing as a condition
      its complete practical independence. When these attempts failed, this
      part of the Church, headed by Metropolitan Theophilus' successor,
      Metropolitan Leonty, was left without any canonical authority over it.

      Jumping ahead, we will say that in the 1960's, a similar fate befell a
      part of the Church in Europe which submitted to the Patriarch of
      Constantinople.

      In response to a demand from the Moscow Patriarchate, the Patriarch of
      Constantinople refused the Western European Russian Exarchate and
      ordered Archbishop George, who headed it at the time, to submit to the
      Patriarch of Moscow. Archbishop George and his flock refused, remaining
      without any canonical authority over it.

      Chafing under this situation, the archbishopric of Vladyka George more
      than once appealed to the Patriarch of Constantinople with appeals to
      accept them once again under his authority. Finally, the Constantinople
      Patriarch agreed and accepted this part of the Russian Church, but not
      as a Russian exarchate, but simply as a vicariate of the Greek
      Metropoliate in Europe.

      The part of the Church in America separating from the Church Abroad
      turned to the Moscow Patriarchate with an appeal to grant them
      autocephaly. With the permission of the Soviets, this appeal was
      granted, but almost none of the Local Church recognized this
      autocephaly.

      And so, at the present time, the American group of former Russian
      dioceses considers itself an autocephalous Church, the European
      Archbishopric is a part of the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople in
      the capacity of a vicariate, and only the Church Abroad continues to
      witness itself as an inseparable part of the much-suffering Russian
      Church.

      After the end of World War II, the Russian Church Abroad also underwent
      the temptation to submit to the Moscow Patriarchate.

      In the final days of the war, the Germans, not wishing to leave
      Metropolitan Anastassy in Soviet hands, yet still indifferent to his
      fate, transported the Metropolitan from Karlovtsi to Fussen, a small
      town in southern Bavaria, and left him with an old man as his
      cell-attendant, who spoke German and could not help the Metropolitan at
      all.

      At first, Vladyka did not even have a roof over his head. Only on the
      next day, due to the fortunate help of a believing Russian youth in
      Fussen, who spoke German, Vladyka Metropolitan was given an attic room
      at the local Catholic priest's home. Here, Vladyka Anastassy received a
      letter from Patriarch Alexii of Moscow, addressed to "Their Eminences
      the representatives of the so-called Karlovtsy orientation," calling
      for reconciliation.

      It would have been sufficient to make one conciliatory step towards
      this offer, and the impoverished, post-war situation of the Russian
      Church Abroad would have become glorious, for the Western Allies were
      eager to please the Soviets. But such a step would have lost for the
      Church Abroad her Divinely-granted freedom, and she would have become a
      coconspirator with the enslaved Moscow hierarchy.

      Metropolitan Anastassy replied to the call of Patriarch Alexii with the
      dignity suited to an archpastor, as worthy as that of the archpastors
      of the ancient Church of Christ.

      Vladyka Metropolitan wrote:
      "...Being always prepared to respond to thos asking what our hopes are,
      and possessing zeal for the good not only before the Lord, but before
      men, we feel that it is our duty first of all to declare that bishops
      as well as clergymen and laypersons under the jurisdiction of the
      Council and Synod of Bishops Abroad never felt and do not feel that we
      are 'outside of the fence of the Russian Orthodox Church,' for we never
      broke the canonical, prayerful and spiritual bond with our Mother
      Church. The representatives of the Church Abroad were obliged to break
      off communion only with the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority in Russia,
      since the latter began to depart from the path of the truth of Christ
      and in this way to tear away from the 'Orthodox episcopacy of the
      Russian Church,' for which we do not cease to raise our prayers during
      each service and are together with the believing people of Russia, from
      the days of old remaining the 'preservers of piety' in Rus. If most of
      the bishops, clergy and laymen followed them, this does not yet give
      them the right to be the true representatives and spokesmen of the
      spirit and will of the Russian Church, for most of the hierarchs there
      were selected for their unity of mind with them, and the removal of
      undesirable firm and courageous bishops, with threats and pressure upon
      the consciences of the weaker ones. Clergymen followed their bishops in
      obedience, but the people, or course, could not always discern the
      complicated situation of the Church.

      "...Since the present leader of the Russian Church emulates the example
      and legacy of his predecessor in his relationship with the Soviet state
      and goes even further in accommodating the spirit of the times, we do
      not deem it possible to enter into canonical communion with him and
      submit to his authority. We well know the price of ecclesiastical peace
      and unity and least of all wish to hinder it in any way on our part,
      but there are circumstances in the life of the Church when division
      becomes morally necessary, and so it is our duty, on the basis of the
      words of Her Founder and eternal Head: 'Think not that I come to send
      peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword (Matth. 10:34).

      "In view of these divine words, St. Gregory the Theologian says that
      there is evil peace and good discord...

      "...Only a free and lawfully-convened, independent All-Russian Church
      Council can be the rightful judge between the bishops Abroad and the
      present head of the Russian Church, a Council that includes the
      participation, if possible, of all the bishops abroad and especially of
      those now imprisoned in Russia, before whom we are prepared to give an
      accounting at any moment of all our acts during our time abroad. But
      such a Council is of course impossible under the present
      circumstances...

      "...In the thunder and fury we survived and a part of the continuing
      sufferings, we still hear the heavenly voice addressing the whole
      world: 'Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen
      thee in the furnace of afflication...O that thou hadst hearkened to my
      commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness
      as the waves of the sea" (Is. 48:10, 18).
      "In these words we must seek the key to understanding the fate of our
      Fatherland. Separated from direct communication with our native land,
      Russian exiles have yet never betrayed her and did not forget her heavy
      fate.

      "Even less could the Russian Orthodox archpastors and clergymen remain
      indifferent to her fate. It was for this that they left in voluntary
      exile, to remain faithful to the holy legacy of our history, the
      building of which our Church partook of with such life and
      fruitfulness...

      "...Our prayer is still as earnest, as is our love for our homeland. It
      is expressed in the following words; 'God, illumine, impart wisdom,
      pacify and unify us all with Thy grace, and those who seek Thee not, do
      Thou reveal Thyself, so that they would turn to Thee with all their
      hearts and witnessed Thy power and strength and glory, which Thou
      showed in the fate of our great Homeland.'"

      The first years after the war, the main goal of the Russian Church
      Abroad was to save Russians, whom the Western Allies, the Americans,
      British and French, returned to face bloody revenge to the Soviet
      Union.

      The priests of the Russian Church Abroad took risks, which they
      understood to be deadly, going to camps designated for return to the
      East, achieving the revocation of such repatriations. Sometimes, as in
      Hamburg, they were able to cancel the return to the USSR even of those
      people who were in Soviet transit camps.

      During the betrayal of the Cossacks by the British in Lienz, and of the
      Ostarbeiters by the Americans in Campton and Plattling, priests stood
      with crosses in their hands before tanks headed for the crowds.

      British and American soldiers beat them with rifle buts and rubber rods
      alongside other Russians who did not wish to be turned over to the KGB
      for revenge.

      When in Dachau, everyone, and in other camps, a part of the Russians
      committed acts of mass suicide to avoid repatriation, Metropolitan
      Anastassy gave his permission for funeral and commemorative services,
      saying: "Their actions are closer to the podvig of St. Pelagia of
      Antioch (8 October), who threw herself out of a tower to avoid
      defilement, than to the crime of Judas."
      At the same time, the Russian Church Abroad turned to the leaders of
      the countries of the New World asking that they accept Russian emigres.
      The government of Argentina responded most positively, where the wife
      of the President, Eva Peron, managed to obtain 25,000 visas for our
      Synod.

      In the early 1950's, the USA, Canada and Australia opened their doors
      to Russian immigration. In the late 1950's, Metropolitan Anastassy and
      the Holy Synod followed the majority of the emigres to the USA.

      By the 1960's, the bulk of the Russian emigration had settled in those
      countries that they had selected. Joining the emigres from Europe in
      the end of the 1940's and 1950's were a multitude of emigres from the
      Far East.

      In the Far East, especially in Harbin and Shanghai, church life
      blossomed between the wars. There were some 100,000 Russians in Harbin,
      emigres, Soviet and Chinese citizens. There were 26 Russian Orthodox
      churches, some fifteen middle schools and 6 institutions of higher
      learning. The Church greatly developed charitable work. Parishes had
      cheap or free cafeterias for the poor, there were 4 church orphanages,
      two church hospitals. The Higher Pastoral Theological Program, later
      the Theological Institute, graduated many young clergymen.

      Church building and church charitable work also flowered in Shanghai.
      Alongside the Russian Orthodox priests, Chinese Orthodox priests
      labored in the Lord's harvest fields, in Harbin, but especially in
      Shanghai.

      All this was destroyed, in Harbin in 1945, and in Shanghai in 1949,
      with the coming to power of the Communists.

      During the 1960's, the so-called Cultural Revolution, Chinese Orthodox
      priests were subjected to cruel persecutions. They were stripped naked,
      covered in tar, and dragged along the streets, then burned alive.

      Archbishop John (Maximovich) was able to obtain visas to the USA for
      emigres in Shanghai, which was a real miracle, because access to the
      USA for people from China was difficult to begin with, moreso for those
      of Chinese origin, for whom immigration was absolutely forbidden. Over
      the course of two years, with untiring efforts of Vladyka John, several
      thousand Russians from Shanghai came to await their fate on the
      Philippine Islands, until they received their visas in 1951 to go to
      San Francisco.

      The Harbin emigration happened slowly, from 1946 until 1962. That wave
      generally went to Australia. Archimandrite Philaret, now the head of
      the Church Abroad, joined this wave in 1962, when he went to Brisbaine.
      He had gained the love and pious respect of the people of Harbin
      through his courageous, fearless standing for the truth of the Church
      both before the Soviets and the Chinese Communists. He was then
      consecrated Bishop of Brisbaine.

      In 1964, Metropolitan Anastassy, hobbled by his 90 years of age,
      decided to pass on the leadership of the Russian Church Abroad to a
      successor, whom the Council of Bishops was to elect. The Council
      unanimously decided upon the youngest bishop by consecration, His Grace
      Philaret, Bishop of Brisbaine.

      One of the first acts of the new head of the Church Abroad was the
      glorification of the great man of prayer and miracle-worker of Russia,
      St. John of Kronstadt.

      The desire for his glorification was felt long ago in the Russian
      Diaspora, but the question remained: how would the Church in Russia
      respond to this act, not the official leadership, but the real Church
      in the persons of the bishops, clergymen and laymen faithful to God.
      Even before the Second World War, we began to receive information that
      the believers in Russia revere Fr. John of Kronstadt as a saint, and
      that this veneration was not fading away with the years, but
      strengthening and broadening in scope. Just before the war, a service
      written for St. John of Kronstadt the Miracle-worker was smuggled out
      of the country, prepared by witnesses of the faith in Russia.

      Then, expressing the will not only of the Church Abroad, but of the all
      of the faithful in Russia, the Council of Bishops of the Russian
      Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, on 5/18 June 1964, decreed to
      conduct a solemn glorification of St. John of Kronstadt, which was
      scheduled for the day of St. John of Rila, whose name Fr. John of
      Kronstadt bore.

      During the celebration, Metropolitan Philaret said that this
      celebration is one not only for the Church Abroad, but for all children
      of the Russian Church, of all the Russian Orthodox people.
      Since that time, the Church Abroad ceaselessly prays to the great
      pleaser of God, asking that he intercede through his all-powerful
      prayers before the throne of God for the much-suffering Russian people
      and their holy Church.

      Unfortunately, both the American Church and the European Archbishopry
      refused to recognize as a saint the righteous Father John of Kronstadt.
      The Russian Church Abroad also, as in the matter of the glorification
      of St. John of Kronstadt, reverently heeds the voices coming from
      Russia to learn what the attitude there is to the possibility of the
      glorification of the great righteous woman of Russia, Blessed Kseniya
      of St. Petersburg, Fool-for-Christ.

      A new area of activity opened for the Church Abroad in the early
      1960's. Correspondence with people in Russia increased, since the
      Soviet government, in its aim of strenghtening ties with the West,
      began to allow such communication. The fact of one's corresponding with
      someone in the West was no longer a crime, but of some benefit.

      Thanks to this, it has become possible to send letters of a religious
      nature, enclosing some religious brochures and leaflets. Alas, a great
      portion of these disappears, since these letters are sent to incidental
      addresses, while people in Russia, having grown accustomed over the
      preceding years to the notion that all contact with foreign countries
      was a crime, receiving an unexpected letter from France, Germany,
      America or Australia, would rush to the nearest KGB office and turn
      over the envelope. But still, one cannot say that these missives are
      completely lost, because those whose hands they fall into read them
      first, and this could have a sobering, inspiring effect on them.

      The reaction of the faithful to our sending of letters is cherished and
      touching. From very many letters we receive over the years, we selected
      one to share:

      A believer apparently unfamiliar with the Church Abroad writes: "Our
      region is basically under assault by Baptist literature. But now we are
      receiving yours?an Orthodox brotherhood. This has elated us Orthodox
      Christians. You should know that it is impossible to get anything here.
      Fro this reason, your booklets and leaflets are copies and distributed
      as much as possible. The Orthodox now know that they are not alone. Who
      are you? Frenchmen or Germans who have adopted Orthodoxy, or Russians
      living abroad? Judging from your letters, you have a Russian church and
      Russian clergyment there. Have your pastors write to our Patriarch, so
      that he has Gospels and other Church literature printed, which we don't
      have. And for the youth, they should write like you do, that all
      intelligent people should believe in God, that atheism is a lie, and
      ignorant. Where is Solzhenitsyn now? Is he with you or not? Where does
      he live? Your letters bring us great joy and hope. We will send you
      addresses of people to whom you should also send your booklets. We read
      them all together, and one of us explains them."

      Speaking of these letters, the person most involved in sending
      religious literature to the East writes: "I am filled with joy from
      such letters, and there are many of them now. The time has come when we
      must use all our powers to increase our packages to the Homeland. The
      ice has broken, all our gazes must be turned there. A great deal
      depends on us. We must, to the end, fulfill our duty before the Church
      and the Fatherland. We need good and pure religious and apologetical
      literature. We ned people who would assume the obedience to send
      letters with this literature. There is no other path for us now. Later,
      we believe, the Lord will show other ways..."
      The matter of sending religious literature to Russia is conducted
      mostly by the brotherhood "Orthodox Work," founded by the great
      righteous man and podvizhnik, Archbishop John (Maximovich), and is now
      headed by his successor, Archbishop Anthony of Geneva. This
      organization was created to attract laymen to Church work to aid our
      priests.

      Its work is concentrated mostly in two areas: the sending of religious
      literature to the East and the support of the Orthodox Palestine
      Society.

      This is the life and work, and prayer, of the Russian Orthodox Church
      Abroad.

      From the book Conversations on Holy Scripture and Faith, vol. V,
      Russian Orthodox Youth Committee, New York, 1995.
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