History of the MP and the ROCA aka: ROCA, The Beacon Of Light by Archpriest Nikita Grigoriev Rector, Parish of St. Nikita The Confessor, Richfield Springs NY Instructor of Apologetics, Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville, NY 1986-2006
Oct. 25 / Nov. 7 2006. The day of the October Revolution in Russia. The day that plunged Russia and the rest of the world into darkness.
Some of the faithful are being confused by assertions that the ROCA
must necessarily unite with the MP at this time or face dire
consequences. These consequences include losing ROCA’s canonical
foundation, creating a schism in the Church, becoming a sect, losing
respect in the eyes of the world, partaking in the heresy of Donatism,
etc. The positive reasons for immediate union are usually given as the
claim that Communism has fallen in Russia, the MP has completely
renounced “Sergianism” as well as Ecumenism and above all, that Russia,
the long suffering Russian people and the MP need the ROCA now. In other
words, the best way for ROCA to help the Russian people is to unite
with the MP now. If they don’t do it now, ROCA will not get another
chance, and will become a sect and earn the contempt of the world.
It is worthwhile at this time to sort out some of these assertions in
the light of historical fact and to focus clearly on the real issues at
Donatism has nothing to do with why the Russian Orthodox
Church, whether abroad or in catacombs cannot join the organization that
calls itself the ROC, MP. Donatism was a heresy that taught that the
sacraments performed by a priest or bishop of low moral character, or
who had fallen into grievous personal sin were not valid. This was, of
course condemned by the Church because we're all sinners and none of us
would then be worthy to perform them, not to say that we shouldn't
strive with all our strength to attain to the high calling.
fact that many of the MP hierarchy are apparently of questionable moral
character is certainly not the actual reason why the Russian Church
abroad cannot unite with them. This is a misleading teaching that seems
to be generated to deflect the focus to a false issue that can then be
handled through accusations of Donatism etc... Our differences with the
MP had never been a matter of personal sins or moral character and
people should take care not to allow them to be reduced to that.
The reason why we can't "join the MP" is very simple. They are a
schismatic group that separated from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1927
under Metropolitan Sergius and to this day remains in that schism. The
fact that they have become very powerful, with the help and support of
the atheistic government, is entirely irrelevant. They are, from their
origin and to this day, a schismatic group that separated from the
It is extremely important to understand what a schism
is. A schism is not a division of the Church into two valid parts that
are no longer in communion with each other. Perish that thought! That
kind of teaching is the foundation of the heresy of ecumenism.
The Church is one. We believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic
Church. By its own self-definition, in the Nicean creed, the Church is
first of all One.
The unity of the Church is likened to the
indivisible unity of the Holy Trinity by Christ Himself in his prayer to
His Father, just before His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. The
Church is a living, breathing organism, not just a social, political or
even religious human organization. It cannot be contained, prohibited or
even destroyed. It is eternal and immortal because it is a body that is
imbued with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God Himself. It is the body
of Christ and as such, it is indivisible, in as much as the body of
Christ is indivisible. The living body of the Church is united and
vivified by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, that organically
unites all the members of the Church into one, indivisible body, united
in the Spirit of Truth, in God Himself.
A schism occurs when a
group of people leaves the Church and consequently, breaks communion
with the Church. This occurs, as a result of a falsehood or a false
doctrine, which is obstinately maintained by the schismatics in
opposition to the Spirit of Truth, Who is the very essence of the
Church. If the schismatics repent of the falsehood that separated them
from the Spirit of Truth, The Holy Spirit of the Church, then they may
be received back into the Church through a special rite of confession
and absolution and by the reinstatement of The Holy Spirit in them by
the Church. If they persist in their position that is in opposition to
the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit of the Church, they remain outside
of the Church. They certainly can never be considered as "another part"
of the One Church that happens to be not in communion with the "other
part" of the Church. No matter how big or how powerful they become in
the eyes of the world, they will always remain outside the Church until
they repent and are received back into the Church through the mystery of
The following is a brief synopsis of the actual
historical events that led to the schism in the Russian Church in 1927,
that resulted in Met. Sergius and his followers, who eventually became
known as the Moscow Patriarchate, to be outside the Russian Church.
From his youth, Met.Sergius was an extremely ambitious man who was
obsessed with power. When the February, 1917 revolution occurred in
Russia, he was quoted as saying that he hopes that perhaps now something
of the sort may also take place in the Church. He didn't have to wait
very long for his opportunity.
In the years of turmoil
following the revolution, he tried to seize power in the Church in 1922
by heading a radical renovationist group calling itself the "living
church". This was a group that sympathized with the Bolshevik revolution
and broke away from the Church under the leadership of Met. Sergius and
so it was, of course, in schism with the Church. But it did not get
much support from the faithful and soon petered out despite the great
efforts on the part of the godless government to arrest or shoot all who
opposed it. The “living church” bishops were trying to take advantage
of the time when Patriarch Tikhon was under arrest to usurp power in the
Church with the help of the godless regime. Patriarch Tikhon had
staunchly opposed all attempts by the Bolsheviks to gain control of the
Church and boldly spoke out against the godless atrocities and brazen
lies of the Bolshevik government.
Because of the enormous
authority that Patriarch Tikhon wielded not only in Russia but even with
foreign governments, the Bolsheviks were forced to release him, still
keeping him under very close observation and persecution. The release of
Patriarch Tikhon served to quell the “living church” revolution and
Met. Sergius then asked to be taken back into the Church, which he was,
unfortunately in the same rank, after a clear public confession and a
renunciation of the "living church". But he kept his eyes open for
The new Bolshevik government had a stated
agenda to destroy all faith in God. At first it began to physically
exterminate many of the faithful, starting with the bishops and priests,
and to demolish most of the churches. Soon they realized, just like the
Roman Empire did in the first three centuries, that it was hopeless and
that they were bound to lose. The Church, which comprised most of the
country, was only becoming stronger and increasingly more resolute.
Large crowds were following priests who had been arrested, encouraging
them to stand fast and ripping off pieces of their cassocks to keep as
relics from the martyrs on their way to certain death for Christ and His
The Bolsheviks realized that they needed a new plan.
Comrade Tuchkov had been selected for the job of destroying the Church.
On Dec. 13, 1926 Met. Sergius was arrested and brought for a chat with
comrade Tuchkov. When Tuchkov met with Met. Sergius it was like a match
made in hell. Met. Sergius saw a great career opportunity and Tuchkov
saw a chance to create a schism in the Church: Exactly what they were
both looking for.
Met. Sergius emerged from jail on March 30,
1927 and was then free to live in Moscow with privileges that he did not
enjoy even before his arrest at a time when almost all the bishops were
being arrested and retained in jail. He began to be suspected of having
struck a deal with Tuchkov. It's not clear which one of them was the
actual author of that hideous document that entered history under the
infamous name of "Declaration of Met. Sergius". Most likely it was a
joint effort, with comrade Tuchkov dictating and Met. Sergius obliging.
The end result was that on July 29, 1927 Met. Sergius signed the
infamous "Declaration of Met. Sergius". This document not only created
schism in the Church and precipitated the most vicious persecution of
the Church in history, where millions upon millions of Christians were
butchered for their Faith in the most horrendous ways imaginable (I
personally heard some of the details from witnesses such as the new
confessor Bishop Leonty of Chile, for instance), but most importantly it
lay the foundation for the creation of nothing less than what may be
rightfully called the Antichrist Orthodox Church.
Consider the third temptation that Satan presented to Christ in the
desert. Satan took Christ atop a high mountain and showed Him all the
kingdoms of the earth in all their glory. And Satan said to Christ, "all
this I will give to you if you bow down before me". What did Satan want
from Christ? Only one thing: that Christ recognize Satan's authority
and submit to it. What did Satan promise Christ in return? Permission to
operate freely in the world, subject only to Satan's approval, of
course. What would have occurred if Christ had agreed to Satan's
proposal? There would have been many glorious churches built but they
would all have been subject to Satan and would therefore be incapable of
providing salvation. That church would have been founded and built not
on the Spirit of Truth but on falsehood and belong to the father of
When the Bolshevik government realized it cannot
annihilate the Church they decided to make it theirs, to own it. In
corporate business it's a well known principle that if you can't beat
your competition, you buy it, so that it works for you. The God-fighting
Satanic Bolsheviks demanded then that the Russian Church recognize
their authority and totally submit to them, just as Satan had done with
Christ in the desert. In exchange they also promised to grant the Church
permission to operate, entirely subject to their approval and
direction. What would have occurred if the Church had agreed to the
satanic government's proposal? Exactly what would have occurred with
Christ in the desert: some churches would be permitted to operate on a
limited basis but they would be headed by Satan, not by Christ, and
would therefore be incapable of providing salvation.
is so crucial that it cannot be over emphasized: If a church receives
its authority from Satan or through Satan's servants, then that church
is Satan's church and not Christ's. It may look like Christ's Church,
even try to act like Christ's Church in order to deceive, but the real,
living person of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with it. Such a church
is totally the church of Antichrist and subject only to Satan.
Naturally the Russian Church could not possibly accept any such offer
from the godless authority. Not only did the Russian Church flatly
reject this proposal from the Bolsheviks but, in the person of Patriarch
Tikhon, who had that authority, it anathematized the Bolshevik
government and all those who collaborate with it in their attempt to
destroy the Church of Christ. Anathematized means they were declared to
be outside the Church and no longer members of it.
found one bishop in the Russian Church who was quite ready, on his own,
to accept just such a proposal. That was, of course, Met. Sergius
Stragorodsky. What Met. Sergius agreed to and signed was the document
that he produced during those days in collaboration with Tuchkov in
1927, and this is what became known as the "Declaration of Met.
In that declaration Met. Sergius claims that he not
only recognizes the godless authority as legitimate and God given and
totally submits to it, he joins it in essence and in spirit to the point
of completely identifying with it. He then proceeds in the spirit of
Satan, the father of lies, to declare that there is no, and never had
been, any persecution of the Church by the Bolsheviks, and that the
Bolshevik government is only exterminating the enemies of the state. To
further demonstrate his oneness with the godless authority he then
proceeded to fully collaborate with them in identifying and condemning
to death all the bishops, clergy and faithful that had not submitted to
him and to the godless government.
Now, if Met. Sergius had
made such a declaration on his own behalf, it would have been bad
enough, but it would have been useless to the God-fighting Bolsheviks,
who were intent on destroying the whole Church. As such, it would have
been of no further consequence.
But although he had no right
and no authority to do so, Met. Sergius tried to make that declaration
on behalf of the entire Russian Church. And this was the crux of it. The
Bolsheviks thought that if they could have that declaration signed by
the highest-ranking bishop in the Church, they could insist that it was
binding for the entire Church. But they were mistaken on both counts.
First, Met. Sergius was not the highest-ranking bishop in the Church.
Met. Kyril, who had just been released, and Met. Peter, who was in jail
at the time, were superior to him. And second, even the highest ranking
bishop in the Church does not have the authority, on his own, to commit
the Church to any new course, especially one that is completely
unacceptable to the Church as a whole.
And so, Met. Peter of
Krutitsk, who was the locum tenens of Patriarch Tikhon, and definitely
the superior authority of Met. Sergius, distinctly forbade the latter to
sign any such declaration on behalf of the Church. This fully
legitimate order was sent to Met. Sergius in a letter, which he did not
respond to. Then Met. Peter sent a second letter to Met. Sergius, which
was delivered to him by hand courier. Met. Sergius also ignored that
letter and did not respond to it. This was because he saw an opportunity
to seize power in the Church and, with the help of the ruthless
Bolshevik government, to extend and consolidate that power over the
entire Russian Church.
When the Bolsheviks realized that Met.
Peter was a superior of their Met. Sergius, they kept him in jail and
eventually shot Met. Peter. Then they proceeded to vigorously support
Met. Sergius by ruthlessly liquidating any and all who refused to sign
the Declaration of Met. Sergius.
Some of the bishops did join
Met. Sergius and signed his Declaration of oneness with the God-fighting
government. They formed their own synod, that by no coincidence
consisted of many of the old “living church” group, and declared
themselves to be the supreme authority of the Russian Church.
But here's the very crux of the whole thing. The Russian Church, as
headed by its legitimate leader, Met. Peter of Krutitsk, Met Kyril of
Khazan, Met Joseph of Petrograd and scores of other high ranking bishops
rejected the Declaration of Met. Sergius and emphatically did not join
itself to the God-fighting Bolshevik government. The Russian Church,
represented by its leader Met. Peter, strictly forbade Met. Sergius to
sign the declaration that joined him and his followers to the godless
authority. When Met. Sergius ignored this directive from his legitimate
Church authority and did join himself and his followers to the godless
authority, the Church broke communion with him. Met. Sergius and his
followers then fell under the anathema of Patriarch Tikhon that applied
to all those who collaborate with the God-fighting Bolsheviks. They
became an entity outside the Church and no longer part of the Church. In
other words, they were then in schism from the Church.
teaching that the infamous Declaration of Met. Sergius was a tragedy
because it created a schism in the Russian Church is right. But who was
the Church and who was in schism from The Church? Clearly, the group
that was led by Met. Sergius were the ones that left the Church to unite
themselves with the godless Bolshevik government, in direct
disobedience to their superior, Met. Peter and many other bishops and in
complete contradiction to all Church principles.
Two parts of
the Church, not in communion with each other on a matter of principle,
and yet both valid, but neither comprising the fullness of the Church is
the very definition of the heresy of ecumenism. Such a view has never
been considered in the Church to have any validity. Schismatics have
always been considered by the Church to be worse even than heretics,
because they rend the very body of Christ. They may only be received
back into the Church after they repent of the cause of their schism and
are absolved by the Church of the sin of schism.
never did repent of his sin of schism and never was received back into
the Church again, as he had been the previous time. Not only did he
remain outside of the Church, in schism, but also he helped to
precipitate a totally ruthless persecution of the Church in order to
wipe out any possible competition and to consolidate his supreme
position in this, his new Soviet church.
persecution, unprecedented in history in terms of scope and
ferociousness, was carried out by the secret police of the Bolshevik
government, the NKVD, with the help of Met. Sergius and his schismatic
church. NKVD agents would arrive at the residence or jail cell of a
bishop or priest, frequently pointed out to them by Met. Sergius himself
or by one of his accomplices. They would thrust a copy of the
Declaration of Met. Sergius at them to sign. When the faithful would
refuse, the agents would often shoot them in the head right on their
doorstep. Some of the bishops were dragged out into the street and
impaled on a sharpened stake. Others were taken away and sliced slowly
on a meat slicer.
All the while the Bolshevik government and
Met. Sergius kept insisting that there is no persecution of the Church
in Soviet Russia and that they are only exterminating the political
enemies of the state and of the people.
Their blasphemy against
the Spirit of Truth, The Holy Spirit of God could not have been more
obvious. It would be worthwhile to recall that it was Christ who said
that every sin a man commits may be forgiven him, but the sin of
blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven neither in this
life nor in the life to come. This is because when a man, through his
own volition, becomes totally committed to falsehood, then truth becomes
inaccessible to him, and repentance becomes impossible through his own
determination to cling to falsehood.
This great persecution,
carried out by the godless Communist government and aided by Met.
Sergius and his followers, did succeed in killing or imprisoning most of
the people of the Russian Church. A considerable portion of the Church
went underground and became the ultra secret Catacomb Church. The other
portion of the Church was forced to emigrate and organize itself into
the Russian Church Abroad by the order of Patriarch Tikhon, which he
issued on Nov. 7 / 20, 1920 as Ukase No. 362. The Catacomb Church and
the Church abroad was all that remained of the Russian Church.
This remnant of the Russian Church was then physically separated into
two parts, remaining completely in communion with each other in the Holy
Spirit of God, as the One, indivisible Church of Christ and separated
only physically by the godless regime but certainly not divided in
The bishops that were forced to emigrate were unable to
maintain contact with the Higher Church Administration in Russia and
were required to form an independent synod with Met. Anthony
Khrapovitsky, the senior bishop, as head of the Russian Church Abroad,
in accordance with Ukase 362.
Patriarch Tikhon died on March 25
/ April 7, 1925. The episcopate of the Russian Church Abroad issued
encyclicals to all its parishes worldwide to continue commemorating Met.
Peter and not to commemorate Met. Sergius. When Met. Peter was killed
in prison, the Russian Church abroad commemorated Met. Kyril, the other
locum tenens chosen by Patriarch Tikhon. Met. Sergius and his followers
were never commemorated by the Russian Church neither in catacombs nor
abroad because he was regarded as a schismatic who joined the enemies of
the Church and collaborated with them in the persecution of the Church.
When it became known that Met. Kyril was also killed, The
Russian Church abroad continued to commemorate "the Orthodox episcopate
of the persecuted Russian Church". This clearly did not mean Met.
Sergius and his followers and successors, who had actually joined the
persecutors and were even assisting in the persecution of the Church. It
referred to the Orthodox episcopate of the persecuted Russian Church,
the Catacomb Church. This was always completely clear in the Russian
Church abroad and the fact of it was never in doubt until very recently,
when an order was issued in the Church abroad to drop the word
"persecuted" from the traditional phrase in litanies, etc... and to
begin commemorating only "the Orthodox episcopate of the Russian Church"
The Soviet government succeeded in slaughtering most
of the visible Church that remained in Russia. But it was not satisfied
with this. It also killed many of its own hierarchy, the followers of
Met. Sergius that had joined them, who were no longer useful to them.
Met. Sergius and his followers joined the godless government that was
persecuting the Church in an effort to save their own lives.
They claimed that by joining with the God-fighting government they could
remain alive and out of prison, thereby saving the Church from being
wiped out. This idea of saving the Church by actually joining with its
persecutors, whose ultimate aim was the complete eradication of all
faith in God, was not only absurd but completely foreign to Church
teaching and practice during its entire history.
This is truly
Satan's idea as can be clearly seen from the words of Christ to apostle
Peter when the latter begged Christ to not go to the Cross and Christ
rebuked him sharply saying, "get thee behind me Satan". Christ created
the Church precisely by going to the Cross, not by joining with his
enemies. This is why the sign of Christ and of His Church is the Holy
and life-giving Cross and not a negotiating table. His apostles, with
the exception of St. John, all died a martyr's death for Christ and His
Church. If there was ever a time when the Church would seem to be
totally dependent on the apostles, it was in those first few years of
its young life. But the Apostles certainly did not join the pagan Roman
government or the God-fighting Pharisees saying that they could not
afford to die or go to prison then because they need to remain free and
thereby save the Church.
The Church always grows and is
strengthened by its martyrs who confess their faith in Christ fearlessly
before Satan and his world and triumphantly go to their death, only to
live forever in Christ. The blood of the martyrs has always been called
"the seed of the Church". To this day the Divine Liturgy can only be
performed on the relics of martyrs who died for Christ and His Church.
So Met. Sergius certainly did not save the Church by recognizing and
submitting to the Bolshevik government, but very likely he did help save
that satanic godless government from collapsing. This became even
clearer during World War Two, under Stalin's regime. Stalin unleashed
such a reign of terror in Soviet Russia that he succeeded in liquidating
practically all of the remaining communists that had actually committed
the revolution in the first place. Ironically, communist Russia under
Stalin had practically none of the communists left who were actually
involved in the communist revolution. This also extended to many of
their collaborators, among them the group under Met. Sergius, because
the godless Soviet government had no particular interest in preserving
even their own collaborators after they were of no further use to them.
Such is the nature of the satanic beast. By the time WW2 broke out very
little remained even of the schismatic group under Met. Sergius that the
Soviet government called Church. The Soviet government had used them to
help them annihilate the visible part of the Russian Church that
remained in Russia, and were coming close to liquidating them as well.
They had considerable difficulty in dealing with the catacomb part of
the Russian Church because the latter was not centralized, not organized
and extremely difficult to infiltrate. The part of the Church that was
outside the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad was easy to
infiltrate, very difficult to influence (at that time) and impossible
to control, because its bishops remained steadfast in their refusal to
recognize the legitimacy and authority of the Soviet pseudo-church, as
they called it.
Then something unexpected happened that fundamentally changed the attitude of the Soviet government towards the Church.
As the German army began to advance into Russia, the Russians refused
to fight for the Soviet government and, without firing a shot, began to
give themselves up by entire divisions. The Germans were overwhelmed by
the countless thousands of prisoners they had to deal with unexpectedly.
But if the Nazis were bewildered, Stalin was absolutely
shocked and terrified. He clearly understood that his goose was
definitely cooked, unless he came up with some amazing new idea to
motivate the Russian soldiers to fight. And that's exactly what he did.
Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. And Stalin was
definitely in a tight spot.
Stalin had been at one time a
seminarian of sorts, and he remembered how near and dear was the Church
to the Russian heart. So he went on nationally broadcast radio with a
heartfelt appeal to all Russians to defend their Church and their
fatherland. To make his appeal seem all the more convincing, he began to
open churches that had not yet been completely destroyed. Stalin and
his "communist" party even began to select suitable individuals to be
made into bishops and priests under Met. Sergius. The Russian people
were so desperate that even this pathetic ruse worked. The Russians
began to fight and despite the phenomenal Soviet inefficiency and
staggering loss of life and resources, they were eventually able to beat
the Nazis back.
But a very important change had occurred.
The godless Soviet government realized that the Church could be very
useful to them, as long as it was their Church and they controlled it
completely. Stalin then even went as far as to make his Met. Sergius
into a patriarch. A year later Met. Sergius died.
But the "Moscow Patriarchate" was born.
The Soviet government organization, that is still now called the MP,
originated from a schismatic group of bishops that joined themselves to
the godless Soviet government and were eventually made into a
patriarchate by the Soviet government and subsequently greatly expanded
by the Soviet government strictly for their own nefarious purposes.
Clearly the present day "Moscow Patriarchate" is not at all the Russian
Church but rather a spiritual monster that was created by the
God-fighting Soviet government by taking advantage of the ambitions and
weaknesses of certain individuals in schism from the Church for their
own monstrous Soviet purposes.
This fact had always been
perfectly clear to the Russian Church in the catacombs in Russia and,
until very recently, to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in exile and
in the Diaspora.
Soon the MP became an extremely useful tool
for public control in domestic affairs and a potentially invaluable
asset for Soviet influence in the international arena. The MP not only
joined the ecumenical organization called the World Council of Churches,
they presently became members of its ruling body. But to realize its
potential for international influence the MP really needed to first
acquire the ROCA. There was one rather large problem though.
The Russian Church, whether in the catacombs or abroad, never recognized
the MP patriarch as a legitimate patriarch and, until very recently,
the MP as a legitimate Church. Even though the other Local Orthodox
Churches of the world, as they began to be increasingly more corrupt in
the twentieth century, began to recognize and accept the MP as the
legitimate Russian Church, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA) was
still holding out and was confessing to the world the illegitimacy and
the spiritual invalidity of the MP. This was, of course more than a
little awkward for the MP. It was completely unacceptable.
Immediately following WW2 the iron curtain was erected and the cold war
era began. The Russian Church Abroad expanded hugely due to the large
numbers of Russian refugees from the Soviet Union. Most of these people
knew next to nothing about the Church except that the MP was definitely
not the Church but rather a department of the godless Soviet government.
They integrated immediately, almost seamlessly with the ROCA, because
of their common aversion for godless communism, and zealously set about
buying or building new churches and establishing vibrant parishes.
The Soviet government continued to infiltrate the parishes of the
Church Abroad and made many attempts to get them to accept and submit to
their own "Moscow Patriarchate". Practically all of these attempts
resulted in nothing more than scandals and remained fruitless. The vast
majority of these "second wave" immigrants remained very resistant to
Soviet propaganda, having experienced the fruits of it first hand. The
isolation of the Soviet Union and its MP during the cold war years
helped to preserve the ROCA for two generations. Eventually, the Soviet
Union was exhausted by its own absurdity and collapsed. Ironically, the
MP stayed totally intact as the only remaining thoroughly Soviet
As the iron curtain was lifted, a vast number of
new immigrants, refered to as the "third wave", began flooding into the
ROCA parishes from the Soviet Union. Naturally, they knew nothing about
the Church, having grown up as the third and fourth generation in the
USSR where no Orthodox literature had ever been available and even MP
church attendance had still been vigorously discouraged. But tragically,
and this was of crucial importance, they were completely ignorant of
the origin and true nature of the MP. Naturally, they assumed that the
MP was the actual Russian Orthodox Church, as it was presented by the
Soviet government, and that the ROCA was simply the extension of the MP
Nothing could be further from the truth.
of them had no idea that the Russian Orthodox Church, whether Abroad or
in Catacombs, was not in communion with the MP group. Most of them had
never even heard of the Catacomb Church. Unfortunately very few of them,
and by then, few even of the ROCA knew that the MP was not the Russian
Orthodox Church but a department of the Soviet government that
originated from a schismatic group of bishops that joined themselves to
the godless Soviet government and were eventually made into a
Patriarchate by the Soviet government and subsequently greatly expanded
and groomed by the Soviet government for their own ends.
nonetheless, due in part to the sheer numbers of these new immigrants in
ROCA parishes, but mostly because of the spirit of worldliness and
spiritual laxness in many, a new kind of thinking began to take root in
many ROCA members and parishes. This was accompanied and supported by an
enormous propaganda effort on the part of the MP. The result was that a
new and erroneous concept of the Church began to appear in the ROCA.
The spirit of worldliness began to prevail among many in the ROCA,
regardless of their rank or position in the Church.
began to be viewed much more as a worldly political organization rather
than the mystical Body of Christ and the indivisible vessel of the Holy
Spirit. Forgotten were the words of Christ to His followers when he
said, "You are not of the world, as I am not of the world. I have chosen
you out of the world. The world will hate you as it hated Me. But be
brave, little flock, for I have vanquished the world".
worldly spirit, the spirit of the Antichrist, began to creep into to
hearts and minds of the members of ROCA including some of the clergy and
hierarchs, they began to view the Church more and more as a corporation
engaged in the business of building churches, ordaining priests and
"servicing the religious needs of the people", as the MP actually put
it. This corporation could now enter into negotiations and consider
mergers with other such corporations. As a worldly corporation, the
church now derived its validity from its acceptance and endorsement by
the world, not so much by unbroken Apostolic succession or adherence to
traditional pure Orthodox Christian doctrine and practice. Any
corporation aquires respect and validity in the eyes of the world, based
mostly on how large it is and how long it's been in business.
But the actual Church of Christ is not a worldly corporation. The Church
is very special, unique, otherworldly, absolutely precious and very
exclusive. It is exclusive because it is very different from the world
and its members, albeit in the world, are not of the world. The Church
is spiritually invincible, no matter how small the Church becomes by the
time of the Antichrist. This invincibility was promised to it by Christ
Himself when He said, "I will build My Church and the gates of hell
will not prevail against it". And membership in the Church is extremely
precious. It's compared by Christ to the pearl of great price that the
merchant found in the field and then sold everything he had so that he
could buy that field. But that membership can be very fragile and can be
lost very easily.
When Christ was arrested in the garden of
Gethsemane, apostle Peter followed Him into the property of Kaifa, the
high priest, to see how it would turn out. One of the servants thought
she recognized Peter as one of the followers of Christ and she said to
him, "aren't you one of them?” Apostle Peter swore that he wasn't and
that he doesn't even know Christ. At that moment Peter lost his rank of
Apostle and ceased even to belong to Christ (he wasn't exactly a member
of the Church yet because the Church only came into existence
fifty-three days later). On two more occasions that night, when she
questioned him, he denied being "one of them".
Resurrection, Jesus needed to reinstate Peter three times, once for each
of Peter's denials that he was "one of them".
Soviet government demanded from all the bishops and clergy of the
Russian Church, "Are you with us or are you with them?" The bishops that
signed the Declaration of Met. Sergius declared that they were with the
godless government and not "with them", not with the Church that was
under arrest and was being crucified.
To this day they have not
been reinstated into the Church to say nothing of their rank of bishop,
successor of the apostles. Naturally, the Apostolic succession in the
group of bishops that followed Met. Sergius into schism with the Russian
Church was severed at the time of their schism from the Russian Church
in 1927. The fact that many of them were also killed by the godless
government that they had joined, does not make them martyrs for Christ.
They had already denied Christ and His Church and joined with the
godless government to save their lives and, ostensibly to "save the
Church". When they were of no more use to the godless government, they
killed many of them, as they killed all their collaborators who had
outlived their usefulness.
Now the MP is teaching that over
eighty percent of those who they call the new martyrs belonged to the
group that followed Met. Sergius and joined the godless government.
They're still denying the martyrdom of most of the real martyrs who were
put to death (with their help) because the martyrs did not deny Christ
and remained faithful to His Church. They are replacing them with their
own martyrs, individuals who denied Christ and His Church to join the
godless government only to become victims of that same government. This
is all to further create the impression that they really are the Russian
Church that emerged from the persecutions with their own host of
This is a total falsehood. The MP is not the real
Russian Orthodox Church. This is, as it always was, only propaganda and
disinformation propagated by the godless Soviet government. They are an
uncanonical, schismatic group founded on falsehoods and deception that
usurped power in the Russian Church and consolidated and developed that
power only by force and by brutal repression. The Russian Church Abroad
was always well aware of this and so every effort to get the ROCA to
"join the MP" remained unsuccessful. The phrase "join the MP" was
dropped and in its place new language began to be introduced to help the
deception become accepted.
"Reunite the Russian Orthodox
Church" became the new slogan. This had definite advantages over the
previous language. First of all, it finally granted the MP, a priori,
that elusive status of a legitimate, canonical Church. Second, the MP
became de facto the "other part of the Russian Church" separated from
the Church Abroad only by "historical circumstances". Those "historical
circumstances" then turned out to be nothing more than the iron curtain,
erected by the Soviet regime. When the iron curtain was removed and the
Soviet regime was reorganized and renamed, clearly there were no more
obstacles to the "reunification" of the Russian Church.
new deception was not accepted by the majority of the Russian Church
Abroad. Many voices rose up in protest demanding that the real reasons
and causes of the schism with the MP be addressed. Some of these reasons
were dismissed out of hand by the Church administrations as trivial and
of no consequence. The issue of "Sergianism" and the MP's vigorous
participation in the World Council of Churches seemed to remain.
The MP then simply declared that Sergianism was irrelevant because it
was all in the past and, as far as their participation in the WCC was
concerned, well, they really were there only to witness Orthodoxy. This
was perfectly clear and acceptable to some in the ROCA but completely
unacceptable to many others. The ROCA by then was becoming increasingly
polarized into three factions: ones who were in favor of immediate union
with the MP, ones who were completely opposed to union, especially
under current conditions, and a third group that just wasn't sure. The
pro union group (PU) began to claim that the MP had renounced Sergianism
and were obviously not ecumenists but rather witnesses of Orthodoxy.
The contra union group (CU) insisted on a clear renunciation of
Sergianism by the MP and their complete withdrawal from the WCC.
These objections were not a problem for the Church administrations
because they now had a completely new concept of the Church. They would
negotiate the differences between the two Churches, make the necessary
compromises, which are the essence of any negotiation, and arrive at a
new, mutually acceptable truth. That was, at least, the plan. Both sides
agreed to form negotiating committees and proceed as soon as possible.
To make sure the negotiations proceeded smoothly and successfully, the
ROCA team was carefully selected by the instigators of the union to
consist mainly of pro union (PU) personnel, with the probable exception
of one or two contra members who could be relied on not to create any
awkward moments and derail the negotiations.
The rules, under
which the negotiations were to proceed, were laid down from the outset
by the MP. The past, and nothing in the past was to be discussed.
"Sergianism" was off limits and the name of Met. Sergius was not to be
Having solved the problem of "Sergianism" in this
way, the committees could now proceed to address the real issues of
administration that needed to be resolved, or rather, that needed to be
explained to the ROCA. The ROCA negotiating team got the gist of it
right away but they had considerable difficulty explaining it to the
rest of the Church, that couldn't seem to understand that the MP
renounced Sergianism. So much so, in fact, that the MP didn't even want
to talk about it.
The contra union (CU) people still weren't buying it.
The ROCA team then returned to the negotiating table with much hand
wringing and asked the MP if they could possibly state something a
little stronger concerning the "S" word. Some of their more challenged
brethren weren't getting it still. The MP commission then demonstrated
their great patience and condescension. They conceded that "The state
must not interfere in the inner structure, administration or life of the
Church". That would be rather difficult in the case of the MP,
considering the state still owns, literally owns the entire MP, body and
soul, down to the last brick and kamilavka. The MP also assures us
that, "The Church must support all good initiatives of the state, but
must resist evil, immorality and harmful social phenomena..." That's
exactly what Met. Sergius did. He completely supported all good
initiatives of the state, (as defined by the state, of course), and he
vigorously resisted the evil and harmful social phenomena that consisted
mainly of all those unrepentant enemies of the state, mostly the
bishops and clergy that did not support him.
And finally, to
completely assuage the doubts of the most apprehensive, the MP clearly
stated that the Church should always firmly confess the Truth, and that,
"when persecutions commence, to continue to openly witness the faith
and be prepared to follow the path of confessors and martyrs for
Christ". Such beautiful words. Met. Sergius, the founder of the MP,
could not have agreed more. He also clearly stated that there was
absolutely no persecution of the Church in Russia. Of course if there
had commenced persecutions for Christ and His Church, Met. Sergius would
undoubtedly have been the first to follow that path of confessors and
martyrs for Christ. As it turned out, though, according to Met. Sergius
and his MP, there weren't any persecutions of the Church then and only
enemies of the state were being dealt with.
So did the MP renounce Sergianism?
They will not even discuss it or even permit to mention the name of
Met. Sergius. Sergianism is buried in the past, they said, and quite
In a manner of speaking they are right.
Sergianism, as understood by most people today is a betrayal of the
Church, usurpation of Church authority and a hypocritical subservience
to a godless government. That did occur in the past, quite right. That
is how the MP was born. But what was born was a spiritual monster, a
baby Antichrist church.
Born of the denial of Christ, baptized
in the spirit of Satan, this church grew and developed on a steady diet
of lies and deceit and has matured into a ravenous spiritual predator
with a world-wide appetite. ROCA is not dealing with simply the issues
of “Sergianism” or “Ecumenism” in the MP anymore, those are only
symptoms of the spiritual condition of the MP. Besides, the MP is right,
it really is too late for that now. It was a little naïve of ROCA to
think they could “negotiate” with the MP. ROCA is up against a bona fide
Antichrist church. In the spirit of Antichrist, it lures its prey with
illusions and deceit. It even tries to panic its prey into submission.
These are the three great illusions and deceptions of the MP:
First, the MP is trying to deceive everyone that they really are the Russian Orthodox Church.
Second, that the current MP Patriarch is a bona fide ROC Patriarch and
the current MP administration is the bona fide Higher Church
Administration of the ROC, continuous with that of Patriarch Tikhon.
And third, they are trying to panic ROCA into believing that ROCA’s
canonical foundation is about to “expire” unless the ROCA immediately
“reunites” with the MP, or actually, submits to the MP.
The third illusion depends on the second, and the second illusion depends on the first.
Having become aquainted with some well documented historical facts, as
outlined above, which the MP understandably refuses to discuss, it’s all
too clear that the MP is not the real Russian Orthodox Church and that
the MP Patriarch is not the real ROC Patriarch. It is just as clear that
the current MP church administration is certainly not the Higher Church
Administration mentioned by Patriarch Tikhon in his Ukase No. 362.
Where does this amazing notion of ROCA’s canonical foundation “expiring”
come from then? Reverse logic confirmation of the MP as the legitimate
HCA of the ROC.
Ukase No. 362 of Patriarch Tikhon, which
provides the canonical basis for the ROCA, contains 10 paragraphs.
Paragraphs 2, 5 and 10 have a direct bearing on this question:
Paragraph 2 essentially states that if a diocese is out of contact with
the Higher Church Administration (HCA), or if the HCA, headed by
Patriarch Tikhon, for any reason whatsoever ceases its activity, the
diocesan bishops should form a temporary Higher Church government.
Paragraph 5 states that if the conditions in par. 2 become protracted or
even permanent, the diocesan bishops must institute new episcopal Sees
with the rights of semi-independent or independent bishops.
Paragraph 10 states that all measures taken in places in accordance with
the present instruction, afterwards, in the event of the restoration of
the central ecclesiastical authority, must be subject to the latter.
With regard to par. 2, the ROCA bishops were abroad and definitely out
of contact with the HCA of Patriarch Tikhon. The HCA of Pat. Tikhon
ceased its activity because Pat. Tikhon died and all the other members
of his HCA were arrested or killed. So the ROCA bishops formed a Higher
With regard to par 5, the conditions above
did become protracted and the ROCA bishops did institute new Sees with
With regard to par. 10, the central
ecclesiastical authority, refered to by Pat. Tikhon, has not been
restored to date and consequently the condition refered to in par. 2 has
become permanent as has the independent authority and canonical
foundation of the ROCA in accordance with par. 5 of the Ukase.
The notion that ROCA’s canonical basis is about to expire is an indirect
attempt to establish a priori the MP as the real ROC and its Patriarch
as the legitimate ROC Patriarch, just like Patriarch Tikhon was. The
underlying false assumption is that the MP Patriarch and his Synod are
the same Higher Church Administration that Pat. Tikhon referred to in
his Ukase No. 362 and that the Central Ecclesiastical Authority of the
genuine Russian Orthodox Church has been somehow restored in the MP and
therefore, the ROCA must now submit to this MP.
there is nothing of the sort. This is only an attempt to cloud the issue
and create a stampede of the ROCA into the hands of the MP.
Once again, everything depends on whether the MP is regarded as a
forgery, created by demonic powers on the basis of deceit and rebellion
against the ROC of Pat. Tikhon or as the genuine Russian Orthodox
Church, rightful heir to the ROC of Pat. Tikhon. Some people believe the
first and see joining in canonical communion with the MP as a betrayal
of Christ. Other people believe the second and build their arguments on
that belief. Bullion logic excludes the middle position, of the MP as
the legitimate ROC but its Higher Church Authority as illegitimate.
Either the MP is legitimate or its not. It can’t be both.
What does all this mean?
It means that there are two parallel realities, two worlds co-existing
here. One is the Kingdom of Christ, the Prince of Truth. The other is
the kingdom of the prince of this world, the father of lies.
Christ has built His Church, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Satan is busy building his own church of the Antichrist.
When the Apostles asked Christ about the end times, He started by
saying, "Do not be deceived, for many shall come in My Name and shall
deceive many". That is exactly the aim of Satan, to deceive as many as
possible by building a church that resembles the Church of Christ in
every possible way. But Christ said that fortunate are they who received
the love of Truth in their hearts and also that His sheep know the
sound of His voice and they will not follow a stranger's voice. This
idea of deliberate and intense deception in the Church is very prevalent
in the Holy Gospel in connection with the end times before the
appearance of the Antichrist.
Why will so many be deceived?
Very simply because of their love of this sinful world. Christ warned
that a person cannot serve God and Mammon (the world) at the same time.
The world, in this context, does not mean mankind or the beauty of
nature. Quite on the contrary, Apostle John wrote that, "For God so
loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever
believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life".
When Christ warns us about love for the world, He means the fallen world
that lies in sin. The corrupt, the ambitious, the greedy, the envious
world of pride and lust for power that runs on lies, deceit and flattery
belongs to Satan, the prince of this world. The church of the
Antichrist uses all that material for its construction. It is being
built on a foundation of pride, constructed of lies and deception,
cemented by laziness, timidness, carelessness, indifference, love of
comfort and convenience and energized by lust for power and hatred for
the Church of Christ.
The ROCA has always been as a lighthouse
on the shore of a dark and stormy ocean of the world. Its purpose has
been, and still is, to be a beacon of light and hope in a world
overwhelmed by spiritual darkness and despair. It served as a compass
and a direction for a world lost in the fog of compromise.
mandate has been to keep inviolate and pure the Holy Orthodox Faith and
Tradition, free from any compromise with the spirit of the world. It was
faithful to this calling and served it well by remaining separate from
the world. You cannot save a man drowning in quicksand by climbing in
after him. You must remain on firm ground and extend your hand or a
stick out to him. But to save him you must remain on solid ground
There is no question that the Russian people are in
great spiritual need. This is exactly the reason why ROCA needs to exist
and cannot afford to self-destruct now. ROCA has not carried the
precious pearl of pure, genuine Orthodoxy all these years in very
challenging conditions only to throw it away now, when the goal is
almost in sight.
Orthodox Russia was built and developed into a
great Orthodox empire on the principle that “God is in not in might but
in truth”. The Soviet government tried to substitute might for truth,
and so its might crumbled. Now it’s more desperate than ever to gain
acceptance and respect in the eyes of other nations. They wish to “join
the league of civilized nations” as they put it themselves.
That is why now, more than ever, they need to acquire the ROCA by hook
or by crook, not only to silence “the witness that got away” but to
reinforce the illusion of direct and legitimate historical continuity of
the modern day “Russian Federation” with traditional pre-revolutionary
Russia that ROCA represents to them. This new self-image and vision of
the Soviet government has naturally been extended to its MP department.
Once the MP acquires the ROCA, all questions of its legitimacy as the
Russian Orthodox Church and the heir to Patriarch Tikhon will finally be
put to rest. Unfortunately so will all hopes of a spiritual
resurrection in Russia. The MP has never given the Russian people any
spiritual nourishment and it never will. Not because it refuses to but
because it can’t. The MP is not a spiritual entity but only a political
The Russian people are depending on the ROCA to be there
when they will be ready for what ROCA has to offer. The Russian people
have been under a deluge of lies and propaganda for decades. They are
completely drenched. They are now only beginning to dry out. When they
dry out, ROCA will need to bring back the little flame of the true
Orthodox Church that it carried out at the time of the revolution. That
little flame must not be allowed to go out by putting it out into the
rain of lies that is the MP. It must be guarded carefully so it can
start a proper fire when it’s time. That can only happen when the
firewood is sufficiently dry and ready to catch fire. Otherwise, the
still wet logs will not catch and the showers will extinguish the little
The godless regime in Russia did not collapse after a
few years, as was expected by many, and ROCA found itself dispersed, by
the providence of God, throughout most of the world. And so now ROCA’s
responsibility is not only to the people of Russia but to all those who
seek the Kingdom of Heaven the world over, regardless of race or
nationality. Christ has many other sheep in other yards as well, that He
needs to bring into His flock.
And that is why now, more than
ever, ROCA needs to continue to live and to remain absolutely steadfast
in its witness of Holy Orthodoxy and absolutely resist the spirit of
this world that is trying to take it over and make it join the church of
† † †
Nothing written here is really
new. It has all been written many times before, and undoubtedly will be
written many times again.
Every one decides for themselves
based on what is in their heart. Pray, like you've never prayed before,
that God grant you the love of nothing but the Truth in your heart, at
any cost. If you are fortunate to receive such a love of Truth, then be
prepared to pay the price for it. The price is going to be very high,
but it will be worth it many, many times over. You will be one of those
fortunate few who will escape the delusions of the antichrist and live
forever with Christ.
In Christ, Νικολάος Διάκονος Saint Basil of Kineshma Russian Orthodox Church