Blessed Philaret Cover-Up

Excerpt from an article taken from Vertograd-Inform #15 is written by Nun Tatyana Senina
January 2000
On the anniversary of the finding of the honourable relics of the holy Hierarch Philaret (Voznesensky)
     .....The holy hierarch Philaret always commanded that the true faith should be preserved and that one should not be disturbed by the reproaches of those around, and should not pay attention to the fact that very few people remain faithful to the Church. However, now we hear more and more frequently the voices of those who say that it is time, at last, “to get out of our shell” and enter into communion with “the whole Orthodox world” – which already long ago lost its understanding of what true, patristic Orthodoxy is…
     Looking at all these phenomena, one involuntarily asks oneself the question: are we not obliged – we, the True Orthodox Christians in Russia and Abroad – to Vladyka Philaret for our very existence?.. The last years have been marked by several sad events in the life of our Church: the Myrrh-streaming icon of the Mother of God, which was for many years the glory and adornment of the Church Abroad, has disappeared; the guardian of this icon, Brother Joseph (Munos) has been killed; the majestic cathedral in Montreal has burned to the ground; Fr. Alexander Zharkov has been killed and Fr. Lev Lebedev has died in mysterious circumstances; the Holy Trinity monastery in Hebron has been seized; the church of St. Nicholas in Bari has been given up to heretics… Are not these sorrows a warning and reproach from the Lord to His people? All this is very reminiscent of the Gospel parable of the vinedressers: “A certain man who planted a vineyard, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. And at the season he sent a servants to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty… Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be that when they see him they will reverence him…” On October 28 / November 10, 1998 the incorrupt relics of the holy hierarch Philaret were revealed – “it may be that they will reverence him” on seeing that he whom they considered “an unfitting metropolitan” has turned out to be a holy one pleasing to God…
     It was arranged that the remains of Vladyka Philaret would be transferred from the burial-vault under the altar of the cemetery Dormition church of the Holy Trinity monastery in Jordanville into a new burial-vault behind the monastery’s main church. In connection with this, it was decided, in preparation for the transfer, to carry out an opening of the tomb. On November 10 Archbishop Lavr of Syracuse and Holy Trinity, together with the clergy of the community, served a pannikhida in the burial vault; the coffin of Vladyka Philaret was placed in the middle of the room and opened. The relics of Vladyka were found to be completely incorrupt, they were of a light colour; the skin, beard and hair were completely preserved. Vladyka’s vestments, Gospel, and the paper with the prayer of absolution were in a state of complete preservation. Even the while cloth that covered his body from above had preserved its blinding whiteness, which greatly amazed the undertaker who was present at the opening of the coffin – he said that this cloth should have become completely black after three years in the coffin… It is noteworthy that the metal buckles of the Gospel in the coffin has fallen into dust on being touched – they had rusted completely; this witnessed to the fact that it was very damp in the tomb; and in such dampness nothing except these buckles suffered any damage! In truth this was a manifest miracle of God.
     The news of the incorruption of the relics of Vladyka Philaret quickly spread around the world. However, judging from later events, not everyone rejoiced at this; Archbishop Lavr’s reaction was quite reserved…[xvii]
     … The coffin with the relics was again closed. On the eve of the reburial of the relics, November 20, at the beginning of the fourth hour of the day, the coffin of the holy hierarch was taken from the Dormition church to the monastery church of the Holy Trinity in a car. The serving of the pannikhida was led by Archbishop Lavr, with whom there concelebrated 20 clergy. None of the other hierarchs of the ROCA came to the translation of the relics of the holy hierarch Philaret (only Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan wanted to come, but he was hindered by a sudden illness). After the pannikhida the coffin with the body of Vladyka Philaret was placed in the side wall of the church, and at 19.00 the All-Night Vigil began. The next day, November 21, Archbishop Lavr headed the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the church. With him concelebrated 18 priests and 11 deacons, several more clergy who had arrived prayed with the laypeople in the church itself. About 400 people gathered in the over-crowded church. All those present were greatly upset and grieved by the fact that during the pannikhida, as during the All-Night Vigil and the Liturgy, the coffin with the relics of the holy hierarch Philaret remained sealed. In spite of the numerous requests of clergy and laity, who had specially come to Jordanville so as to kiss the relics of the holy hierarch, Archbishop Lavr refused to open the coffin. He also very strictly forbade making photocopies from the shots that had already been taken of the incorrupt relics of Vladyka or even to show them to anyone. Archbishop Lavr called on those assembled to pray for the peace of the soul of the reposed First Hierarch until the will of God would be revealed concerning his veneration among the ranks of the saints… After the Liturgy a panikhida was served, and then the coffin with the relics of the holy hierarch Philaret were taken in a cross procession around the Holy Trinity cathedral and taken to the burial vault to the prepared place, where Archbishop Lavr consigned the honourable relics of the holy hierarch to the earth.
     A year has passed since then. However, there has been no decision taken concerning the lot of the relics, and the question of the canonisation of the holy hierarch has not even been raised.
Holy Hierarch Philaret, pray to God for us!

-To read the full article, click here

-To see nice color photos - the ones Met. Laurus "very strictly forbade to be copied or shown to anyone" - cut and paste this link:

1 comment:

Joanna Higginbotham said...

See another Blessed Philaret Cover-Up post May 18, 2008