Our Hierarchs Are In Danger

From The Shepherd, January 2008:

"Bishop Andronik has been known to our brotherhood and to some of the congregation here for many years.  We ask the faithful to remember him and Bishop Sophrony in their prayers as they undertake the most onerous ministry within the Church.  At all times and in all places the responsibility of the Bishops and the burden they bear is great, but it will be especially so for these brave men.  When a year ago, one of the hierarchs who was advocating the union with Moscow was asked what would happen to those hierarchs who disavowed it and might constitute a continuing ROCA, his response was crystal clear and unambiguous: “We shall annihilate them!”  This response itself did very  little to allay our fears that Soviet influence had not altogether departed from the post-Soviet Russian Church, and was perhaps more worthy of a wolf than a shepherd, but it does indicate how, for the love of Christ’s flock, Bishops Andronik and Sophrony have exposed themselves to dangers.  May the Chief Shepherd Himself guard them, keep them, strengthen them and guide them, and grant them Many Years!"

1 comment:

Joanna Higginbotham said...

Why should we think the killings are going to stop? They are not going to stop. Nothing has changed, except the political venue. The game (to destroy the Church) is still the exact same. -jh


Our community recently learnt that His Grace, Bishop AMVROSII of Habarovsk (Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church) and the priest DIMITRY accompanying him were savagely attacked and beaten on 26 March 2001. They had just celebrated the Divine Liturgy and the attackers were ready and waiting for them.

What becomes apparent when the details of the attack are considered, is that this was not a random incident. The unknown young men who attacked the clergymen handled police batons very skillfully, hence the condition of Vladyka AMVROSII, who was placed in intensive care and remained unconscious for several hours. The motive of the attack was not theft, but to scare the Bishop. The criminals demanded that he immediately leave town. Who would gain from this? The answer is simple: the Moscow Patriarchate. No doubt the attackers will never be caught and a connection between them and the Patriarchal Authorities will never be established, but for non-patriarchal Orthodox believers and outside observers alike, it is an all too familiar story.

The above incident is indicative of the attitude and actions of the Moscow Patriarchate in the last few years. The processes of Glasnost and Perestroika made religious freedom possible not only for the Moscow Patriarchate, but also for the many Orthodox who wanted to free themselves from the corrupt, collaborationist, Soviet-created patriarchal authorities.

This was, of course, a thorn in the side of the Moscow Patriarchate. Since Metropolitan SERGEI’s (Starogorodsky) 1927 declaration of loyalty to the Soviet government and Stalin’s re-establishment of the patriarchate in 1943, the Moscow "church" authorities had been used to a troublesome, but none-the-less real monopoly. Dissident Orthodox Christians of the True Orthodox Church were ‘liquidated’ as ‘counter-revolutionaries’, and on the eve of the 1987 millennium of the ‘Baptism of Rus’, "Patriarch" PIMEN was still denying the existence of any Orthodox Church organization in Russia, apart from the Moscow Patriarchate. Of course, everyone knew that this was a lie.

When Russian Orthodox Christians started to leave the Moscow Patriarchate, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad was begged to accept pastoral oversight of parishes in Russia. This was irregular, but in the circumstances of the time what else could be done? The Catacomb Orthodox were still in the "catacombs".

On 11 June 1997 Archpriest Alexander Zharkov of St. Petersburg was accepted into the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad from the Moscow Patriarchate. He became the Rector of the Church of the Holy-Nun-Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth. The local Moscow Patriarchal authorities obviously saw him as a great threat and were undoubtedly behind the events of 6 September 1997 (new style). The militia stormed the chapel of the Holy-Nun-Martyr Elizabeth, abusing the clergymen during the Liturgy and forcibly searching the fully vested Father ALEXEI Tarkhov. The militia demanded the keys and the state authorities confiscated the parish finances. The parish was charged with being "unregistered". However, they had been seeking registration for seven years. Who could possibly gain from this? Again, only the Moscow Patriarchate.

The sad story of Fr. ALEXANDER and his parish did not, however, end with the confiscation of the finances. Fr. Alexander ZHARKOV’s body was found near Tsarskoye-Selo on 1/14 September 1997. His murderers were never found. This puts us in mind of another dissident: Fr. Alexander MEN. His murderers were also never found.

Since these sad events we have heard of the armed seizure of monastic properties of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in the Holy Land. The "cleansing" of these monasteries and the expulsion of monastics is horribly reminiscent of the closure of Russian monasteries during the 1920’s and 30’s but even worse is the fact that those expelling peaceful monastics were the Moscow Patriarchal Authorities themselves. Furthermore, this was not on Russian territory, but on the soil of another sovereign state.

How can this happen?

The answer is simple: The Moscow Patriarchate is "armour-plated". Whilst it has the backing of the state, and whilst Patriarch ALEXEI (Agent Drozdov) has the backing and friendship of Vladimir Putin and his government everything and anything remains possible!