Truth About The Suzdal Schism


ARCHPRIEST LEV LEBEDEFF 
1994 OPEN LETTER TO METROPOLITAN VITALY

(This is a PRIMO explanation and a factual history of what is wrong with the 'Suzdalian-Schismatics' from their inception, and the questionable part that Bp. Gregory (Grabbe) played in it.  And, it is quite topical today, very! -Reader Daniel)

[The Suzdal schism is referring to ROAC under Met. Valentine -jh]


An Open Letter About The Schism of the Suzdal “ROAC”.
The Leaders of the Schism in the Russian Church, Lazar and Valentine.

To: His (titles)….
Metropolitan Vitaly, First hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church out of Borders
From: Archpriest Lev Lebedev

Your Eminence, 

On 16 May this year, I received by mail a package from Suzdal without any sender’s name or address to me, this package containing photocopies of a document entitled "Resolutions of the ROCOR Bishops Synod dated 5 Apr, 1994 № 7/90/76" on the "formation of a new organization, the “ROAC” and a reply letter to it from that self-appointed “Provisional Supreme Church Directorate of the Russian Orthodox Church” (ROAC) dated April 19, 1994, number 56. 

As can be seen, this newly founded "ROAC" finds it necessary to inform the ROCOR clergy on its actions.  Well, if it so begs for an answer, a response is warranted, with attention not so much to the schismatic leaders (Bishops Valentine and Lazarus), as they clearly, out of ambition "suffer and are saddened", as to those numerous ones who, by simplicity of mind or insufficient knowledge, could be tempted by the actions and publications of the first. 

Even a cursory reading of the "ROAC" letter № 56 strikes in this, that, in contrast to the “Resolutions” of the Synod, its tone is so rebellious, defiant, proud even gloating - angry, as though it replied, not to the most senior bishop in chirotonia and position relative to his brother-bishops, but to demonized enemies, while hypocritically and falsely calling them “inspired by God, the Bishops and the Fathers” (with obvious, irony though), and that it declares that they, the schismatic, remain in love, faith and hope that Christ, was, is and will be among us until the end of the times”. 

The tone and spirit of the letter, however, say that its authors are not guided by the Holy Spirit, but by the evil spirit of this world, and so, that not Christ is among them, but someone else is ... 

This is totally confirmed by their numerous stretches, tricks and subterfuges aimed at accusing the ROCOR Synod of the very sin of which the authors of the letter themselves are guilty, which is putting things "upside down" or falsely accusing ("falling from the sick head to the healthy one"). 

Such a "snake" tactic is well known; in their time, it was famously used by the renovationist. This is typical Bolshevism in the Church.  The authors of the “ROAC” letter, in their endeavour to wound the First Hierarch and the Synod at any cost, do not even disdain the use of old wives’ gossip (about the Metropolitan’s Secretary, L.D. Rosnyanskaya). In its polemic with ROCOR, even the Moscow Patriarchate did not fall so low in ignominy!

For those poorly informed, let us recall the essence of the case.  Archbishop Lazarus (Zhurbenko), followed by Bishop Valentine (Rusantsov), having received their episcopate from the ROCOR a while ago (in 1993) and dreaming about being autonomous, independent of the ROCOR hierarchy, rebelled against it. 

The occasion for them was the following.  The ROCOR First Hierarch and Synod initially accepted them with joy and helped them in all matters.  Gradually noticing however the capricious ambition and acts of their Russian colleagues, the ROCOR First Hierarch and Synod started not always to meet the requirements of the former, or not always to respond to their complaints and requests. 

It was neither Lazarus, nor Valentine, but Bishop Barnabas of Cannes, whom the Synod appointed as its representative in Russia, with the task of general guidance of the newly formed communities of the Free Church in Russia. 

Bishop Barnabas allowed many mistakes to be committed in the Russian Church affairs (this is actually true). Having understood that the ROCOR First Hierarch and Synod do not (and will not) allow them to be “masters” (“small princes”) in the Russian Church life, Lazarus and Valentine went as far as deciding that they would secede from ROCOR.  In this, Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) started increasingly to collaborate with them.  The Russian bishops more than once referred to the latter’s authority in his capacity of “most senior member of the Synod”, and in particular, in their letter N° 56. 

They ignore obviously the following.  On the one hand, Vladyka Gregory is known to be a really experienced canonist, having accomplished extraordinarily much for the Russian Church Abroad, especially in the polemic with the Moscow Patriarchate.  On the other hand, however, the whole world knows that he often acts against the First Hierarch and the Synod, because of a purely personal grievance that he has over his suspension as well as that of other members of the family Grabbe from the actual administration of the ROCOR! 

Bishop Gregory presented Valentine and Lazarus with an entire set of canonical arguments in favour of their separation from ROCOR.  Willing to secede, they understood that neither any imaginary nor even any true mistake on the part of the ROCOR leadership in the Church affairs, nor the grievance and injustice which, in the opinion of those separating, they might have suffered from the First Hierarch and the Synod, are not sufficient grounds for a canonical separation. 

Even the inability to manage the affairs of Russia “from over the ocean”, about what the new schismatic have been repeatedly criticizing the ROCOR Synod, is not a canonically sufficient cause for secession.  These are all "too human" things, as those which are very much present in the history of any local Church, but which were never and are not recognized as a valid reason for a violation of the unity of the Church! 

Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) too understood this. Therefore, he put the question differently: the ROCOR did not have the right to manage the Church affairs in the “Russian territory”, as he puts it!  According to Bishop Gregory and the Suzdal “ROAC”, it is not the Russian bishops who must obey ROCOR, but, on the contrary, it is ROCOR who must obey the Russian bishops. 

These ideas are contained in the report of Bishop Gregory to the ROCOR Synod, written on February 22, 1994, which is even before the "ROAC" letter № 56. 

In support of such an astounding position, they put forward UKAZ (Ordinance) of Patriarch Tikhon number 362 dated November 20, 1920 and the 1st paragraph of the document entitled “The position of the ROCOR”, issued in 1932, in which is stated that the Russian Church Abroad is an integral part of the Russian Orthodox Church and that its autonomous status is only temporary, until the abolition of the godless power in Russia and the restoration of the legitimate Church Highest Authority, and of its conciliatory court to which ROCOR, in due time will have to report about her actions, and will be in obedience to the Russian Highest Church Authority (VTsU), as per the ordinary rights of her eparchies out of borders. 

Nowhere and never, bishop Gregory argues, did ROCOR state that she claims to be the supreme religious authority for the “Russian territory”. 

Therefore, according to the word of the same bishop Gregory and the “Suzdalians” who follow him, the Russian bishops (having obtained their episcopacy from the ROCOR!) from the beginning were not expected to submit themselves to the ROCOR allegedly as per Decree number 362, but can and should act autonomously, while ROCOR should only help them as quickly as possible to consecrate as many new Russian bishops as possible, so that these bishops would create a Synod and a Highest Church Authority (ROAC) in Russia and do there that they wish, as now there is a “complete freedom” and “all possibilities” are open to “complete the revival of Church life in Russia”, which is what ROCOR always wanted. 

If the ROCOR leadership refuses this, but will “illegally” continue to claim the management of the Russian bishops, it will fail to fulfill the "historical mission" of the ROCOR with regards to the beloved motherland, will put itself in a situation of schism and even sectarianism (?!), will show to all that it is motivated by ambition, that it defies the canons! No more, no less! .. 

Inspired by Bishop Gregory (Grabbe)’s ideas, Lazarus and Valentine behaved accordingly.  Upon receipt of the ROCOR Synod decrees on their dismissal from the leadership of their dioceses for breaching the Church’s unity, they conspired and, without the knowledge or consent of ROCOR, whose power over them they had always recognized before (!), started to consecrate hastily new bishops, thereby committing an anticanonical, schismatic act. 

Together with these bishops that they illicitly consecrated, they formed “The Provisional Highest Church Authority of the Russian Orthodox Church” and, on behalf of the entire (!) Russian Church, declared their independence from the ROCOR, providing falsely, that they recognize her as a “sister” Church, (an expression of Lazarus), that they retain Eucharistic communion with her and will use statutorily the name of Metropolitan Vitaly (in what capacity?). 

The Suzdal impostors have no right to claim all of this on behalf of the Russian Church, because the Russians who still are in sound mind, the Russian members of the Free Church, recognize the canonical authority of the ROCOR over them and are not going to secede from her! 

What is actually happening?  In reality, from the canonical point of view, what is the situation of ROCOR relative to the people of whom she takes care in Russia and what is the situation of the latter relative to the ROCOR? 

First of all, is it true that the decree of Patriarch Tikhon N° 362 gives a basis to Valentine, Lazarus and those with them to behave as they do? 

The "Resolution of the Most Holy Patriarch, of the Holy Synod and of the Church Supreme Council of the Russian Orthodox Church", dated 7/20 Nov., 1920 number 362 was issued as a response to emergency conditions which were those of the revolution and the civil war in Russia of those days. 

Its objective was to give a canonical basis for the uninterrupted existence of a Central or Highest, as it is called in the resolution, authority in the Russian Church, no matter which external circumstances. 

Paragraph 2, therefore, provides that "in case a diocese (as a result of war) finds itself cut away from any communication with the highest ecclesiastical administration or in case the highest church authority headed by the Patriarch, for some reason ceases to be active, the diocesan bishop must immediately enter into relations with the Bishops of the neighbouring dioceses, with the objective of organizing a highest instance of Church authority for that number of dioceses that find themselves in identical conditions". 

Clause 3 states: “Taking care of the organization of the highest ecclesiastical authority for the whole group of Dioceses caught up in the position set out in paragraph 2 is an indispensable duty for the Bishop who is most senior in that dignity in the group in question." 

Clause 4 provides that, if a diocese will be in complete isolation from other dioceses, then the ruling bishop shall assume "the full authority granted to him by the ecclesiastical canons." 

Clause 7 specifies: "If, in the circumstances set out in Clause 2 and Clause 4, a diocese will be deprived of its Bishop, the Bishop who is the nearest or most accessible for easy communication to the diocese" shall assume the care of its administration. He either “sends to the management of the widowed diocese a vicar, or he himself undertakes to do the management". That means, in this case, that paragraph 7 explicitly provides for the management of the diocese from out of its borders, from the side. 

Furthermore, clause 9 states that, if in such a "widowed diocese" some individuals and parishes will not recognize the power of that external bishops, then the latter must organize the management for those individuals and parishes that are loyal to him, "breaking ecclesial communion with the disobeyers." 

Lastly, clause 10, says: "All locally taken... measures, consequently, in case of restoration of the central Church authority, must be reported for confirmation by the latter." 

It is obvious that Resolution 362 uses the concepts of "central" and "highest" church authority in two different meanings. 

In the normal state of affairs, the Patriarch and Synod in Moscow are the highest and the central Church authority. In the eventuality of their isolation or destruction, any "highest ecclesiastical authority" organized by the bishop most senior in dignity for a group of dioceses, "finding themselves in identical conditions" is, naturally, "central" too. 

But, if the central authority of the Patriarch of Moscow and his Church institutions is restored, then, in relation to him, the aforesaid "most senior in dignity" again finds himself in the situation of being "local" and, naturally, must submit his actions to the confirmation of that central or highest authority. 

Thus, Decree N° 362 does not give any (!) basis to any bishop or group of bishops, to act on their own, without the knowledge and consent of that "most senior in dignity” bishop, who, in extraordinary conditions, organized the supreme ecclesiastical authority, if they are able to communicate and have connection with this highest authority to them! 

On these canonical grounds indeed, ROCOR was established and then developed a "Decree" about her existence. 

In that time, in the early 1930's, the Russians abroad still believed that "the restoration of the central church authority” in Russia, which is provided for in paragraph 10 was possible. 

In the prisons, and in the catacombs, there were still many legitimate Russian bishops and priests, who had not taken the path of betrayal of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky), including the Metropolitan - priests Martyrs Peter and Cyril. 

Under their omophor, in one way or another, there were a lot of "catacomb" congregations of the ROC, or the Catacomb Church. 

And if then the godless power had been abolished and all would have become free and would have left the camps and the catacombs, then, naturally, Metropolitans Peter, Cyril, other faithful bishops, together with the ROCOR bishop would have constituted a common synod and restored a legitimate highest Church Authority (perhaps immediately with a newly elected legitimate Patriarch) in Russia, to whom the bishops abroad too would have submitted. 

But by God’s providence, things developed differently.  Metropolitan Peter and Cyril were shot, then the remaining faithful bishops being in Russia lost their life too. Consequently, the Catacomb Church was widowed, that is to say, fell into the situation of a "widowed diocese". 

The communications with the ROCOR first Hierarch and Synod were not existent for many years (except for rare contacts). 

And yet, in 1981, the ROCOR found an opportunity secretly to consecrate Lazarus (Zhurbenko) as bishop for the Catacomb Church, as provided for by the letter and intent of the relevant paragraphs of regulation number 362. 

What, if right after his consecration, Bishop Lazarus had said to the ROCOR Synod that he considered himself as being "autocephalous" and would stop obeying ROCOR? … Perhaps he would have been considered as not totally sane.  At that time however, nothing like that came to his mind! ... 

Over time, it became clear that the sergianist Moscow Patriarchate had become a totally consenting, and not unwilling agent of the atheist regime in Russia and moreover, in the 1960's, it leant towards the heresy of “ecumenism," which made communication with it quite impossible, as it had become a heretical community and had deprived itself even of the appearance of a legitimate Supreme Orthodox Church Authority in Russia. 

In this state of affairs, it turned out that the only legitimate Orthodox Church Authority for the Local Russian Church was actually the Authority of the First Hierarch and Bishops of the ROCOR Synod. 

So it was perceived and understood by all truly Orthodox in Russia, although the First Hierarch and other ROCOR bishops did not in fact call themselves that way. 

The situation changed dramatically in 1990. 

The "iron curtain" was taken away. Formally at least, the power of the CPSU in Russia disappeared, the game in democracy started as well as the various "freedoms", including the "freedom” of the Church. 

And still suffering from the apostasy and heresy of the MP, the people in Russia, received a real possibility to have permanent links and communication with the ROCOR and her hierarchy. 

These people, priests and laity, whole parishes, individual groups or individuals, turned to the ROCOR Supreme Church Authority to be taken into her care. And they were taken care of! 

One may ask: in which canonical position at that time were all these people (and parishes) in Russia, relative to the ROCOR Church authority? 

Certainly not in the position of the Church centre relative to the periphery or vice versa, and not as an independent, autocephalous Church, but in the position of "widowed diocese”, requesting the appropriate bishop to take them under his authority, in accordance with paragraph 7 of Decree number 362. 

In turn, the Highest ROCOR Church Authority the canonicity of which nobody doubts, even her current enemies, now becomes the highest, and, hence, as shown before, also the centre not only for the Russian Orthodox dioceses abroad (overseas), but also for the "widowed diocese” (or even a group of dioceses) occurring in Russia itself. 

By the blessing of the ROCOR First Hierarch and Synod, first Valentine of Suzdal and Vladimir, later Bishop Benjamin of the Black Sea and Kuban were ordained as bishops for Russia. 

Vladyka Lazarus ceased to be a catacomb bishop, and was legalized in 1990 with the title of bishop of Tambov and Morshansk (then, of Oboyansk). 

The Dioceses had a largely conditional character, as they did not have defined territorial boundaries.

But each of the bishops had a more or less defined number of parishes-congregations.

Together with some surviving catacomb communities and individuals, all those parishes with a bishop that they commemorated, constituted what became often known as the Free Russian Orthodox Church, or, in a simpler way, the Russian Orthodox Church. 

She, of course, obeyed the ROCOR Supreme Church Authority, and even more, voluntarily. 

Therefore, saying that ROCOR illegally "claims" power, or in an even less substantiated way, "usurps" power in the Russian Church, as do the authors of this letter of the Suzdal 'ROAC "- shows that they have a pathological fantasy, or that they deliberately lie and are wicked, which is the case here. 

In what canonical situation is the SRPTS now relative to ROCOR? 

In fact, in the same situation, with the only difference that now the SRPTS is no more "widowed dioceses”, but dioceses with their bishops having received their episcopacy and authority from the ROCOR Supreme Church Authority and are, therefore, dioceses in a normal position with respect to the ROCOR, to the Metropole (Patriarchate), to their First Hierarch and Church Authority, with all the canonical consequences. 

And the latter are determined, inter alia, by the fundamental canon of the Holy Apostles for the life of the Church number 34, which states: 

"The Bishops of each people must know the first of them and acknowledge him as their head, and must do nothing in excess of their authority without his approval: 

They must only do things that concern their diocese, ... As in that way only will there be unity and will God be glorified in the Lord in the Holy Spirit, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. " 

In 1971, in his explanations on this "fundamental position," as he said, nobody else than Bishop Gregory (then - protopriest George Grabbe) beautifully established the rights of “the First Hierarch-Metropolitan” and of “the Synod of the bishops of his territory”. 

But that, for Bishop Gregory was another time! 

But now, inspired by the Suzdalians in their letter number 56, they prefer to call Metropolitan Vitaly not “the First Hierarch”, but the “Chairman of the Synod”... 

In this matter, however, it is difficult to blame bishop Gregory, because he did not author letter number 56, as is clear from the style and character of that document. 

The author deftly (as it seems to him) uses bishop Gregory’s idea, but adds something of himself. 

It is no coincidence that this author does not put forward the 34th canon of the Holy Apostles, but instead absolutely irrelevantly puts forward canon 35th and a few other rules, which have no bearing to the case. 

Playing with words and concepts ("central authority", "highest directorate", “highest power”, "centre of church authority"), the letter of the Suzdal “ROAC”, pretending amazement, “catches” the ROCOR Synod of Bishops on this that it now “for the first time openly and officially declared himself the Central Church Authority, thus expressing the claim to be the Supreme Directorate of the Russian Orthodox Church." 

The Synod was not in any need of "expressing" this in any particular way before, or of "claiming" anything, because this itself derives from Decree number 362, as we have seen. 

The authors of the Suzdal schism claim that, allegedly, as per Decree number 362, only the Patriarch and the Local Synod in Moscow can be called Highest and Central. 

And since there is no such Centre, then there is no, for the Russian Orthodox Church, highest and central Church Authority! And therefore, the Russian bishops can act on their own. 

What is this, stupidity, or deliberate deception, intended for the ignorant? Apparently, the latter is the case. 

From all of what was considered above, it is clear that Decree number 362, rightly called by the schismatic "wise" and "prophetic", was meant to create such canonical standards that would forever, in any environment, maintain the "highest ecclesiastical authority" for all of the Russian Church. That authority might be temporarily that of any, but more probably that of the local most senior bishop in dignity, who organizes the authority (for a group of dioceses which are in identical conditions)! 

This deeply corresponds to the dogma of the “catholicity” (conciliarity, universality) of the Church! 

One should not only read the Canons, one must also understand them, and then, honour them. 

Feeling the weakness of their loud exclamation about the “illegitimate demands” of the ROCOR Synod and his "usurping" authority in the Russian Church, the letter of the Suzdalians reminds that, effectively, Decree (Ukaz) 362 “prescribes the establishment of a Provisional Supreme Church Directorate for the dioceses which are in identical conditions” (and again, they godlessly lie! It is not “temporary” and not “directorate”, but simply, as we have seen, “the highest Church authority”!). "

But the living conditions of the dioceses out of borders and in Russia are too different", so the Suzdalians say. 

And then they explain what they have in mind: "In Russia, the dioceses are ... surrounded by the OMON, the Soviet" Cossacks "... and also ...by the bishops and clergy of the MP and their civilian and non-civilian agents. 

Even those who dream to become the Central Church authority in Russia did not dream of such conditions, looking at it from overseas, from the other end of the Earth. " 

In Decree 362, they have in mind not similarity in living conditions, but canonical similarity! 

If there are ties and communication between the SRPTS and the ROCOR, they are canonically in identical conditions, precisely because, for them there is no historic “centre” of the Church in the person of any legitimate Patriarch and his Highest Church authority in Moscow. 

With it, they cannot communicate with him, they can only communicate with one another. 

Hence, for the SRPTS and the ROCOR, only the "Highest ecclesiastical authority" remains, which is provided for by Decree 362 for extraordinary situations, such as those in which the ROCOR First Hierarch and the Synod find themselves! 

Can this authority be abroad, and from there can it manage the dioceses in Russia? Yes, it can!

This is also evident from the meaning of Clause 7 of Decree 362 about “widowed diocese” and of the historical and canonical precedents, for example, of the 39th canon of the 6th Ecumenical Council, which tells about the pre-eminence of Bishop John on the island of Cyprus. 

"With his people" (of course, with some part of his people), he had to "move" from Cyprus "to the territory of the Hellespont, because of the barbaric invasions, and in order to escape pagan slavery”. 

The Ecumenical council keeps for him all the benefits and rights to manage the Cyprus Church. 

The authoritative canonist Bishop Nicodemus (Milash) gives the detailed interpretation of this rule, the essence of which is that the bishops that find themselves forced to be in territories out of the borders of their historical dioceses bishops, under certain conditions, retain authority over those dioceses. 

The issue of the transfer of the name of the ROCOR First Hierarch seems to be anecdotic to the schismatic. 

They are very "disappointed" that the Synod determined the inadmissibility of such a commemoration, and cites the example of Russian catacombs, where the name of “the most senior Russian Bishop” was commemorated. 

In those days, in the catacombs, it was right because they considered that Bishop as canonical and as the head of the Church. 

The statutory transfer of the name of the bishop is an expression of subordination to him. 

But if the Suzdalians refused to obey the ROCOR First Hierarch, then in what capacity did they prepare to commemorate him? 

Now with regards to “those who dream to become the Central Church Authority in Russia” ... 

The ROCOR First Hierarch and Synod not at all dream about forever retaining the position of Highest Church Authority of the Russian Orthodox Church, which they rightfully hold now. 

Therefore they do not want to stress that this is their position! 

They, like all truly Orthodox Russian people in the homeland and in the Diaspora dream of something else, that in Russia, in Moscow, the legitimate Patriarchate and its central institutions are re-established for real! 

But for this to happen, true conditions are needed! And not what we see now! 

The present time showed that no mass (as expected) departure of the Russian people from the MP did happen.  And it will not happen in the foreseeable future, even if a hundred ROCOR bishops started to work here now! 

It depends on the deplorable spiritual state of the people, “having turned their back to the love of the truth” and therefore having received, according to Apostle Paul from God (“God will send to them”), “acts of delusion, such that they began to believe in lies.” 

At the present time, except for a few large parishes of Valentine in Suzdal and nearby communities, the SRPTS congregations in Russia are very modest in size. 

Their number is marginal in comparison with the parishes of the MP (about 150), the number of people in each of them is also negligible. 

They are hopelessly weak in material terms, and in spiritual terms (almost none can build even a small church)!  So there are no “all possibilities” for the “full revival of the Church life in Russia”!  One must not get distracted or distract others with chimeras, but soberly assess the situation and face the reality. 

And in this state of affairs, two (only two!) Bishops, Lazarus and Valentine, collecting a total of about 35 clergy, 14 monks, and 15 lay people declared themselves independent from the ROCOR, that is the autocephalous Russian Orthodox Church (!), led by a Provisional Supreme (!) Church Directorate! .. "All this would be ridiculous if it were not so sad." 

If (supposedly), these bishops, aware that they received their episcopacy and authority from the ROCOR, and that they have the duty to obey her, managed to convince the First Hierarch and the Synod of the need to create a highest Church Authority in Russia at the present time (not taking anything into account!) and if, with the knowledge and consent of the ROCOR First Hierarch and Synod, they undertook such an establishment, then in such a case, on their part there would be no crimes, no schism. 

But the Russian bishops understood correctly that ROCOR authority will not give such a consent. 

And not for any other reason, except for the one that that Authority "from abroad" sees well what those who have eyes can see in Russia itself, namely, that now is not the time to create a highest Church Authority in Russia! 

Then, under the pretext of "saving the Church" (a very familiar excuse since 1927!), Valentine and Lazarus went another way. 

They obeyed themselves and impudently refused to obey the Church Authority and began to justify themselves with such “arguments” which, as we have seen, are entirely false and untrue, are a “distortion of the cards” of its own kind. And this caused a plain schism! 

"The Synod Resolution of 8 April 1994, paragraph 4 reads: "Without strict canonical interdiction (such are the indulgence and patience of the Church!) and waiting for an address on the part of those who separated themselves from the unity of the Church, the Synod of Bishops breaks with them every prayerful communion." 

Instead of an address, the schismatic declared that the ROCOR Synod caused a “break in relationships”, not with them, bishops Lazarus, Valentine, and several of illegally ordained false bishops, but with the whole Church in the Motherland" (no more, no less!) . 

And they added that it is an act of “blasphemy and humiliation to the Holy New Martyrs, including the Hierarchs-Martyrs, who do not live to see this time ....” 

No, on the contrary! The divisive laughable "ROAC" in Suzdal is indeed a blasphemy and a desecration of the feat of the Saint Martyrs, by those who were not, because of their ambition, able to reject it as other temptations and tortures! 

The schism threatens to spill over to the Russian Diaspora, as there are already some who support it, as was shown.  Maybe naïve and hotheads people will appear, who will be unable to fight for the union with Russia ... 

But this is the question is: who benefits from this? Who benefits from the schism in ROCOR? 

It is advantageous for the current authorities of the Russian Federation, as they have been for a long time united with the MP and also do not want to see in Russia any community being “free” from their Church, not supporting them (as “the Patriarchy”), but supporting the Synod, based in New York. 

For the moment, banning and forbidding these communities is impossible, one must pretend to be democrats. 

So, only one way out: they must arrange for ROAC congregations to be established here, in Russia, and change openly or secretly “their” people into a simple duplication of the MP! 

And since the ROCOR First Hierarch and Synod certainly will not go along with this, it would be very easy to tarnish them in the eyes of the Russians abroad as “ambitious” and “enemies” of the cherished Revival of the Church in the beloved Motherland! And thus they support the schism in the Russian Abroad. 

A schism in ROCOR is profitable to the antichristian international forces, as they also do not like the free voice of the true Orthodoxy which comes from ROCOR, the candlestick which is immune from the heresy of ecumenism, especially when, in recent time, Orthodox circles in Romania, Greece, and Serbia began to gravitate around the ROCOR. Breaking up and continuing to crack ROCOR, turning, washing it, as they say, in powder, that is in the direct interest of the world forces of evil. 

And they use as usually, the ordinary human passions of pride (personal grievances), ambition and self-love of the members of our Church. 

The Russians abroad who support the (ROAC) schismatics often "justify" them with all that can be combined to determine the external apparent weakness of the ROCOR, of her leadership, their numerical reduction, the alleged impoverishment of the forces of the Russian Church Abroad.  We must reply: "God is not in force, but in Truth," and: "the power of God realizes itself in weakness." 

And it is better to remember that the Lord Almighty says in the Revelation to the angel of the Philadelphia Church: "... I know your case ... you do not have a lot of strength, but you kept my word ... And, as you have kept the word of my patience, I protect you from the time of temptation which comes to the whole world to try the living on earth.  Behold, I will come soon; keep what you have, so that nobody take thy crown "(Revelation, 3, 8-11). 

The time of temptations has come!  Now, however weak we are, we are firmly in patience of confessing the word of God, we hold what we have, not falling in temptation to have more, we hold the trial of those who live on earth, to have the joy and boldness to exclaim to the Lord who is coming soon: "Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation. 22, 20) ... 

Archpriest Lev Lebedev. 
May 1994

(translated by Vladimir Kozyreff)

Related Post: A Tribute To Archpriest Lev Lebedeff

3 comments:

Reader Daniel said...

This 1994 Open Letter by Archpriest Lev Lebedeff, is a very important document and testimony about the founding of the illicit Suzdal Schism, which today we have to witness in it's two current manifestations, that under Valentine Rusantsov(with his vicar in America, of Andrew Maklakov) and that of Tikhon Pasechnik with his Stefan Sabelnik (in America). As is certainly true, there are more documents from other sources, which give light to these lamentable events and the rending of the ROCOR's former unity, even before it;'s massive betrayal to NMoscow, but none can surpass Fr. Lev for his knowledge and truthfulness. I highly recommend to all, to also read his other astute letters about church matters, as he sheds much light on the depths of the MP's tangled history, and on various related subjects, leading up to our ROCOR's dastardly betrayal to the KGB staffed and run, MP, in 2007.
I personally believe, that most likely, Fr. Lev was done-in by our church's KGB enemies, as they have silenced countless others also.
Could it be?...that when they had their full USE of Met. Laurus, that it was 'time' to silence him too, by his timely 'heart-attack'?
But why? some would ask. Perhaps, to make 100% sure, that he would never be able to spill the beans about what he truly had helped to engineer, i.e. in case he ever had publically repented? I suspect so.
This diabolical methodology, is well known for those murderers.
Just my thoughts......
Reader Daniel

Joanna Higginbotham said...

You are not the only one with that suspicion about Met. Laurus. I would not bet either way, but it just might be something he ate in Russia. Another reason the KGB offs somebody is if they made a "DEAL" with them, and they don't want to keep their end of the bargain. Poison is a favored method, arranged to look like illness. They are good at it. They have had lots of practice.

Joanna Higginbotham said...

Reading this it looks to me like both ROAC and RTOC were originated by 2 KGB agents. And those 2 agents pre-planned to split apart in their future. (ROCIE also followed this pattern)

Many of our best members, the cream of the crop, even the elect, were fooled. They are the wheat growing among the tares.

Can I prove it? No, but if it looks like a duck, if it...

Until we have proof we can only go on indications we observe such as inconsistencies which indicate ulterior motives, drastic changes in thinking (or jurisdictions!), uncontrolled passionate displays unacceptable in bishops/clergy, strange reactions or priorities, other confusing oddities left unexplained or swept under the "don't judge" rug, or the "trust your bishops" rug, or the "don't gossip" rug, or some other rug.

Let me give an example without mentioning any names. What would you think of a bishop in one of the R-splits who

1. prior to 2007 approached the SIR and asked the SIR to be in communion with them,
2. in 2007 warned the SIR not to consecrate any bishops for the gathering remnant, ROCOR-PSCA,
3. tried to get ROCOR-PSCA to be in communion with them but firmly refuses to join ROCOR-PSAC (or anyone else),
4. greatly over-reacted to ROCOR-A receiving two catacomb bishops with intense disapproval and unwarranted criticism which he continually repeats today, incessantly. [Why should this be such a major concern to him?]

This waddles and quacks. People who don't want to believe this can just say I'm making it up, and go their way.

This shows something about our church. It is not dependent on the validity of the clergy, (especially the bishops) as much as we might think. Christ is still in the midst of 2 or more who are gathered in His name, whether they are aware or not of what their "bishops" really are under their costumes and behind their "true" mask.