Moscow Honours Met. Sergius

THE “CHURCH GAZETTE” (15/3/07) reports

that in January- February of 2007, in many dioceses of the Moscow Patriarchate, celebrations occurred on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the birthday of its ‘father-founder.’ the author of the Declaration of 1927: Sergius, the first Patriarch put in this post by Stalin. The official Internet site of the MP “Pravoslaviye.Ru” noted in its eulogy: “24th January sees the accomplishment of 140 years since the birthday of the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Sergius (Stragorodsky - 1867-1944). This outstanding theologian active in church and society, by the will of God, governed the Russian Orthodox Church for a period of almost twenty years.” Conferences dedicated to the 140th anniversary of the birthday of Sergius were held in the dioceses of the MP and the academic world. Vitaly Shumilo comments: “It is remarkable that the veneration with monuments of Sergius Stragorodsky is being organized on the threshold of the signing of the ‘Act of Canonical Unity’ between the MP and the ROCOR(L). Apparently, not by chance the fact that the signing of this report takes place precisely in 2007, which is the 140th anniversary not only of the birthday of the father-founder of Soviet Patriarchate, but also the 80th of the day of publication of his apostate Declaration of 1927, and what is more... the 90th anniversary of the Bolshevik God-hating Revolution in 1917. The Act of Unia of the Synod of Metr. Laurus and the Declaration of Metr. Sergius thus become one both spiritually and chronologically. This ‘coincidence’ is very symbolic, testifying not only to the complete capitulation of former hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad before Sergianism, but also to their terrible moral (and not only canonical) fall.… As is known, the Synodal commission of the ROCOR(L) on the union with the MP officially recognized the activity of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) as an ‘ascetic achievement [podvig] of first hierarchical service in the worst years of existence of the Church in the Soviet Union.’ This was the first time such a high appreciation was heard from the side of the official representatives of the ROCOR in regard to one of the most offensive figures of recent church history, which marked the beginning of the division of Russian Church and falling away of its part from the purity of true Orthodoxy. In some recent statements of Patr. Alexis (Ridiger) it is evident that the MP is prepared for Sergius Stragorodsky’s canonization, in connection with this the acknowledgement from the ROCOR(L) side of his actions as this ‘exploit of service’ is very far reaching. By this acknowledgement of the Church Abroad all actual obstacles are removed, which had existed until recently to the realization of this undertaking, so necessary for a ‘theological-canonical justification’ of Sergianism itself.” The English of this translation is rather halting and one can regret the vehemence and intemperance of expression with which the commentator speaks, but his words do express a truth.

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