About Met. Laurus' death
ABOUT THE DEATH OF VLADIKO LAURUS
By Protodeacon Herman Ivanov-Treenadtsati
Translated by Seraphim Larin
Our last article entitled “The lawless in cassocks”, was written after the visit to our cathedral during his last trip in February to Moscow by the late Met. Laurus - whose sudden demise occurred a month later. This journey somehow symbolically completes that path that Met. Laurus himself took and led the Church astray for nearly 10 years. Now, he stands before God’s Judgment, which awaits all of us. May God be merciful to him!
It is an appropriate saying that states you either remember only good things about a deceased, or say nothing at all. But it’s somewhat different when it comes to dealing with a public figure, which Vladiko Laurus indeed was. Had he remained a basic humble monk, involved in publishing Jordanville books that were very beneficial to everyone, then one could only speak well of him. However, as it happened, his destiny was proved to be otherwise…
Thus, we will not discuss personal qualities or the shortcomings of the departed, but of his “contribution” to history and to the fate of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, notwithstanding that in discussing Vl. Laurus, the following words from the Gospel can certainly be applied to him: “.. but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” (John 21:18).
Everyone understands, even his most vocal critics that if among the people that surrounded him, there were no somewhat strong – and we are not afraid to say it – detrimental individuals, who were able to exploit his weaknesses and the image many had of him as a “hierarch of the old overseas habituation”, he would not have plunged into such a venture. Although strange as it may seem, it was with remarkable frankness that he decidedly removed those circumstances that were justifying for him, by personally acknowledging his duplicity in advancing himself over 10 years as a “respectable figure of a White archbishop”. Meanwhile, this made it possible for him to lull people’s vigilance and deceive all and sundry, among which there were many that couldn’t believe to the end that he would betray them. When he nevertheless did betray them, they did not break off relations with him on the basis that he is not one of us. Who knows – maybe now they will come to their senses and realize that where they find themselves now, has nothing in common with the Overseas Church.
In Kursk, exactly 5 days after the signing of the Act and not being under any duress, Met. Laurus quietly expounded to the journalists as to why the unification with the MP could not have been realized earlier. His memorable declaration – quintessential revelation – provides the real key towards understanding who the deceased archbishop really was, regarded for many years as a member of the Overseas Church. Thus, according to the words of Vl. Laurus himself, if it took this long to wait for unification, it’s because “ the impediment came from the old émigrés, of which I’m not part of. There is a wide-spread feeling of distrust among their representatives toward the Soviet authority, and with everything that has been associated with it. It was difficult to bring them around in the psychological plan.”
There is a need to make 3 conclusions from this stunning revelation: He didn’t regard himself as belonging to the Old i.e. White Immigrants; being distinct from her, he had no prejudices toward the Soviet authorities and anything associated with them; it required especial treatment so as to break the White Immigrants psychologically.
Invariably, the question arises: through what miracle did a person with such non-émigré convictions and worldly outlook, occupy for many years responsible positions in a “White” Church?
One could find no better grounds in order to prove that even though he was the first hierarch, it was not of the Church Abroad but of a different Church, and he certainly was not a successor to the Blessed Metropolitans Anthony, Anastasius, Philaret and Vitaly, because they didn’t have the slightest trust in the soviet godless authority, a sentiment that they imparted to their flock.
Then who was the newly departed Vladiko Laurus? If one was to find a person with a similar fate, then you could draw a parallel - albeit with significant reservations – with the founder of the soviet Church, met. Sergius (Stragorodsky), notwithstanding that this person was of a totally different intellectual level. Both were respected by the Church that taught them in their calling; both showed ideological weaknesses, one fusing with the revivalists, the other with his ambiguity about the soviet reality; both occupied the role of First Hierarch of the Church, having declared their [H1] primacy while the legal heads of the Church were still alive, resulting in either one or the other enjoying a position of incontestable legitimacy; both, and this is the most important point, led the Church along an uncharacteristic path from which both had their followers and their denouncers; both, having altered the Church’s course, broke the continuing chain of the Church and they became – each in his area, founders of something new, which didn’t exist before them; both, despite the efforts of specialists to rewrite the Church History, and other likewise censers-sycophants, they will never be true successors and inheritors - one, of Patriarch confessor Tikhon, and the other, of the 4 pious and blessed First Hierarchs of the Overseas Church.
In both instances, nobody will ever be able to ennoble these moral delinquencies and endorse wishful thinking as reality, so long as the dialogue is on violation of the Truth, which – as everyone knows – is not determined by superiority in numbers.
However, recently another similarity was uncovered that bound the two “initiators”: the possibility of glorifying them with the Saints!... In our fallen world, nothing is surprising, but after all…. With the possible glorification of m.Sergius – there are many within the MP that are pushing for it – ROCA(MP) has long ceased to fight this, having adopted the Sergianist principles. Just for show, and only for appearance sake, She at times appears to be continuing the struggle against ecumenism, while at the same time obediently swallowing all types of unacceptable escapades, perpetrated by Cyril Goondaev and other dignitaries from the Patriarchate. That’s why in no way has it been ruled out that in gratitude to Met. Laurus for recognizing the correctness of Sergius’ course in “saving the Church”, the MP will decide to glorify him as well. Why not humiliate the people another time… After all, it cost them nothing to glorify Saint Tsar-Martyr himself.
Incidentally, it’s not without interest to note as to who spoke out about glorifying Vladiko Laurus? – It was his evil minder by the name of fr. Seraphim Gan, unremittingly standing by his side these last few years, sullenly watching and directing everything. Clearly, not sufficient mention is being made on the lethal and dominant influence on the flow of events that this man had with his strange biography and with an understanding of the Russian psychology – much better than some German (Archbishop Mark). Hence, who is this taciturn archpriest? Among the family of Gans, there was one outstanding priest, a leading preceptor and liturgical scholar – Archpriest Rostislav, young Seraphim’s grandfather. Alas, the grandson shall not leave such noble memories of himself within the Overseas Church. Today, anyone wanting to familiarize themselves more thoroughly with Seraphim Gan’s biography, judging with what’s on internet about him, they will not find anything of significance. However, it is well remembered how a few years ago -before his “political upsurge” – talk abounded that after serving a certain time in Australia, he left ROCA and made his way to Russia, where after a short period, he returned to the Church of his fathers. While this fact alone is quite out of the ordinary, the most curious thing about it is that he didn’t return as disgraced priest that was to serve in some peripheral, provincial parish, but directly landed as Bishop Laurus’ secretary… and from that day on, he became like his shadow, always with him doing his thinking and talking for him!... If all this is true, then many issues become clear, and one shouldn’t be amazed that the requiem mass conducted for the so called “first hierarch of ROCA” in the Jordanville monastery – once the Overseas citadel – was carried out under the auspices of “met.” Juvenalis, widely-known KGB agent with an alias of “Adamant”, who became notorious during the Brezhnev era for his ferocious and brutal persecution of MP antagonists in the Moscow district.
We do hope that anyone who has been nourishing the illusion that notwithstanding the unification, the Overseas Church was still able to save the purity of Her vestments and retain a definite autonomy, will finally and completely sober up and refuse to obediently commemorate the future “first hierarch”, who will no doubt be appointed by the soviet patriarch. The reposed Bhp. Laurus didn’t live a full 10 months after capitulating his Church to the soviets. Having done his deed, he can pass the baton to someone younger.
Sadly, if it was possible to appropriate so easily a man of the old émigré who still enjoyed authority that of the old generation, then what can be said of the remaining complement of archbishops…
The fantasy about the former Overseas Church being just under the omophorion of the soviets, has now been completely perpetuated for a long time to come. Only those who want to be fooled, will remain fooled.