Today, the MP marks one of the most significant days in its history. Five years ago, the MP and the ROCOR overcame a Church schism by signing an Act of Canonical Communion at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The signing of this historic document not only put an end to an almost century-long rift between these Churches, it also reunited Russian people scattered by fate throughout the world. Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, Deputy Chairman of the MP Department of External Church Relations, said, “Yes, it was difficult to overcome our ideological estrangement, but it was necessary for both Churches and for all believers around the world. Ten years ago, it was difficult to imagine that we’d pray and take Communion together, and that nothing would separate us. Today, it’s hard to believe that only five years ago we couldn’t serve the Divine Liturgy together and receive Communion from one Chalice because so many things separated us. This is a great and happy day not only in the history of the Church in Russia, but in the history of Russia too, because the Church reunion meant that the Civil War’s effects were finally over”.
After the 1917 Revolution, some clergy fled because the Soviet government opposed religion, it didn’t recognise the Church. In their places of exile, Russian clergy set up their own Church, which became the ROCOR. In 1927, the ROCOR broke all links with the MP because the Church in Russia maintained relations with the atheist authorities. Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger of Moscow and all the Russias and Metropolitan Laurus Škurla of New York and Eastern America began the process of overcoming this rift, ending in the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion in 2007. Archpriest Seraphim Gan, the Private Secretary of the First Hierarch of the ROCOR, believed, “Still, several more years passed before the rift was overcome not only on paper but in people’s souls. At first, many people doubted the need for us to be in communion, but later, their attitude changed. They see what benefits came with the reconciliation. They began to travel to the homeland, visit the holy places, and talk to priests and believers in Russia. Now, this process has led many of them to review their attitude towards the MP”.
Today, the leaders of the united Russian Orthodox Church are facing a difficult and important responsibility. Russian theologian Yuri Tabak said, “The survival of the Russian Orthodox Church all over the world depends on how we address this task. We can’t overcome the schism (раскол) definitively until before both Churches resolve certain historical facts associated with the schism (расколом). This is hard to achieve, as it implies providing answers to several questions. To what degree must the Church remain independent of society and to what extent should it show flexibility to survive under a persecutorial régime? Was Metropolitan Sergei Stragorodsky’s recognition of the Soviet government an unavoidable necessity? Was that step justified by the need to preserve the Church or was it evidence of weakness? Until we answer these questions, we can’t achieve full unity in the Church”.
A ROCOR delegation headed by its First Hierarch, Metropolitan Hilarion Kapral of New York and Eastern America, will take part in the celebrations marking the fifth anniversary of signing the Act of Canonical Communion in Moscow. The delegation will visit the Butovo Poligon in Moscow where tens of thousands of people were shot by the organy in the first decades of the Soviet rule, and will serve a Pannikhida for Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger. After visiting Moscow, plans call for the delegation to proceed to the Diveyevo Convent and St Petersburg.
17 May 2012
Voice of Russia World Service
The most important part of this, for us as diaspora Russian Orthodox Christians, is the submission by Professor Tabak. Take for instance, the heart of his proposition:
We can’t overcome the schism (раскол) definitively until before both Churches resolve certain historical facts associated with the schism (расколом). This is hard to achieve, as it implies providing answers to several questions. To what degree must the Church remain independent of society and to what extent should it show flexibility to survive under a persecutorial régime? Was Metropolitan Sergei Stragorodsky’s recognition of the Soviet government an unavoidable necessity? Was that step justified by the need to preserve the Church or was it evidence of weakness? Until we answer these questions, we can’t achieve full unity in the Church.
Firstly, note that Professor Tabak uses the strong word раскол, which always takes the meaning “schism” in Church contexts. This means that the ROCOR has a responsibility to abjure, publicly and without guile, its Cold War schism, which was the result of Hard Rightwingers hijacking it, not having a basis in matters of faith at all. In terms of “classical” heresy, it was closest to Donatism, with VERY STRONG elements of actual Sergianism (in its abject dog-like devotion to the woollier elements of the Mammon-worshipping US Republican Party). That is, “Sergianism” didn’t exist in the USSR, but it did in the USA (interesting titbit that, no?)!
The degree of pollution from rightwing politics depended on where one “came from”, in Australia and on the US West Coast, the people came from the interwar China ROCOR, which meant that they were less contaminated with the contagion brought by the Vlasovtsy and KONR collaborationist pigs than people in the Eastern US and South America (the worst pesthole of neo-fascism) were. Jordanville was the centre of this soulless rot in many ways (and the centre of great holiness at the same time… go figure… the flowers of Holiness and of Evil grew up together). Jordanville in its Classical Period (1948-2007) had all too many Fruit Loops rightwingers… they accepted Langley’s money freely; they lied about the existence of a crackbrained Fairy Tale “catacomb Church” (something that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn debunked in the ‘60s).
Yet, what the ROCOR has most to bow in repentance for is its filthy theomachistic actions after the Fall of the Soviet Union (it advanced the cause of the foes of the Motherland and the Church, in exchange for filthy lucre). I remember the fanatics at Jordanville saying, “The communists are still in charge”… and they savaged anyone who advocated reunion mercilessly, in the most unchristian and nasty manner. I know… I advocated reunion, then… I expect never to hear, “I’m sorry” on this side of the veil. NEVER… it’s why it shall take another generation or two for the break to heal properly. The ROCOR refuses to repent for its consecration of schismatic filth such as Valentin Rusantsov and Agafangel Pashkovsky, it refuses to repent for its uncanonical formation of an anti-Church on the canonical territory of the Mother Church, and it refuses to repent for its collaboration with godless forces such as the Nazis and the CIA. It does NOT undo the holiness that’s obviously there… but it DOES delay proper healing by adherence to manifest lies (such as the refusal to admit that Vitaly Ustinov was booted out… he did NOT resign).
We must stand for the truth… but that’s HARD, so, we’ll probably take the “easy route”. That’s why the healing is going to take so long… because we will it so by our actions. God have mercy on us all.