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30-11-2007 15:39
Protopriest Pavel Adelheim (Pskov Diocese MP-ROC). The Nostalgia of the Church Abroad

Nostalgia and the promise of reuniting the "Church in Russia" after its liberation from the Soviet regime torment the Church Abroad. Reasons have accumulated that hasten one to believe that the time has already come. The Soviet regime has played with the feelings of the Russian émigrés many times and each time has won. And they lost brutally and paid dearly for their trustfulness, because their feelings were sincere.

The MP ROC [Moscow Patriarchy, Russian Orthodox Church] has always played on the side of the Soviet regime. Not because it loved the Soviet regime, but because it loved power as such, and was flesh of its flesh, as was the whole Soviet nomenclatura.

The naïve West understands the "Soviet regime" as an ideological construct, which will end when they rename it. The "Soviet regime" constantly changes its skin—its own and that of its punitive institutions. The West believes that the punitive "Cheka" changed when they called it the "GPU"; that it was reborn when they called it the "NKVD"; that on becoming the "MGB", it became kinder; that when it was called the "KGB", it became humane; and as the "FSB", that it has become completely democratic. Now it is engaged in the work of defending human rights and with philanthropy, and it loves kiddies.

In the twinkling of an eye, the CPSU [Communist Party of the Soviet Union] disappeared in the country, as if it never was. Where did the multi-million-member party suddenly go? There never was a CPSU. The CPSU was a myth. The nomenclatura really existed, which never went anywhere: It was, is and will be, changing its skin, preserving its people and its essence.

The term "Soviet regime" expresses the content of social consciousness, which changes slowly—may God grant it—over centuries, under the influence of objective reality. This internal process goes on in our days too; but in it an ethical imperative is absent. It is oriented on the collective, and not on the individual, who is always indebted to the former. We use to sing, "where a man breathes so freely," while half of the country was perishing in the camps. The West was enraptured by our humanism. In Tula, they make samovars. The workers take parts away on the sly. When they assemble them, a machine-gun inevitably results. To us, it is understandable why; but the West does not understand.

Many times our emissaries persuaded the émigrés to return. Always successfully. Metropolitan Nikolai (Yarushevich), a sincere patriot and a remarkable preacher, took an active part in these actions. When he was asked, "Vladyka, why do you lie, saying that we have freedom of conscience in our country?", he would reply, "If your mother were a drunkard, would you shout this to the whole world?"

The consequences of the repatriation have been described in the West. Remember the fate of Marina Tsvetayeva, who returned before the war [World War II]. Remember the Cossacks, who were [forcibly] returned after the war. Can you enumerate them all? What else do you need? Facts are not pleasing; people want to have hope. To each his own.

Why has the ROCA [Russian Orthodox Church Abroad or ROCOR—"Outside Russia"] not analyzed the experience of the Orthodox Church’s "non-commemorators" to the MP ROC? These were confessors, who had returned from the camps and from exile, whole generations thrown overboard from Soviet reality.Many of them have now been glorified as new-martyrs. What was their fate? Some did not live to our days, others joined in, others could not. The schism was formally overcome. The confrontation between "Soviet" and "anti-Soviet" consciousness outlived the Soviet regime. Politics has nothing to do with it. The "anti-Soviet" consciousness meant conformism, it justified falsehood and offered up man as a sacrifice. The two vital positions were reflected in worldview, religion, art and science.

By 1927, two tendencies in church consciousness had appeared, which defined the interrelation of the church with the state in different ways. The bishops confined in the Solovki Concentration Camp expressed one position in the "Solovki Epistle". The contrary position was set forth in the "Declaration" of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky). The opposition of the positions was principled, and it pre-determined the split of the Church into "Sergianists" and "non-commemorators".

After returning, the "non-commemorators" remained second-class people in secondary roles. Archbishop Hermogen (Golubev) gave his heart and all his strength to the MP ROC. He finished his life in confinement, deprived of the divine services and freedom. People had deceived him, locked him up until the end of his days in the Zhirovitsky Monastery and did not respond to his appeals.

The West also did not understand what happened in London. The 1988 Charter of the MP ROC allowed Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) to amend the Charter of Surozh (British) Diocese on condition that it be confirmed by Moscow. The Charter was never confirmed. Bishop Basil (Osborne) became convinced that Metropolitan Anthony’s hopes would not be realized, and he departed to Constantinople.

The "Act of Canonical Communion" has been constructed on the principle of the Russian expression "yes and at the same time—no"—"I allow it, but I forbid it." One point contradicts another and requires additional explanations; for example, the third contradicts the ninth. The eleventh and twelfth points annul the sense of the tenth. This is a direct repetition of the London history. Moscow confirms the election of the First Hierarch and of each hierarch and the establishment of dioceses. And what happens if Moscow does not confirm? A coordination or grievance procedure has not been stipulated, so Moscow will make the final decision concerning the appointments.

Can an abbreviated outline, where nothing is agreed upon, possibly become the legal basis for the existence the ROCA under new conditions? These are completely uncharted areas that provoke arbitrariness. The declaration concerning independence is not defended by any mechanism and remains an empty pretense. What a kindergarten!

Could they not find a competent legal expert? Have the professors of cannon law died out? The law always defends the weak. Everything that is not written in the law, the powerful will interpret to their advantage when the time comes.

It is useless to explain to the émigrés the truisms of Soviet psychology. Experience teaches them nothing: "Experience has not yet saved anyone from calamity." The descendants of the émigrés believe that Russia is, as before, that country from which their grandfathers departed. We live in another Russia, which is ill from the loss of moral fundamentals. They have been destroyed both in the state and the Church, and in society. When the conscience has been lost, even the law cannot help. If repentance does not weaken the conscience, the outcome will be fatal. The age-old call for repentance, which ROCA had directed toward Russia has now fallen silent…


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