(Report given by Protopriest Michael Ardov at the 8th Congress of the monastics and laity of the Suzdal Diocese of the Russian [Rossijskoj] Orthodox Church,

November, 2000)


     In the summer of this year copies of the weekly “Confines of the Age” began to circulate in Moscow. This production calls itself “a public Orthodox newspaper”, and tells us that its co-workers belong to the Patriarchate. In the third issue, which came out immediately after the end of the “Jubilee Council” of the Moscow Patriarchate, the “editor’s column” begins with the following words: “Several priests and bishops whom we know have asked whether we will comment in detail on the results of the past Council. We replied that no, we will not. And to their perplexed looks we replied and reply again as follows: If we set about commenting on the activities of the Council in a serious, honourable, Orthodox way, then we will have to write about such wild canonical violations, such unbelievable ecumenist and phyletist compromises, that the whole newspaper will not be enough to describe them.”


     I’m in a similar situation. If it were my task to examine in meticulous detail the 300-page volume called The Jubilee Hierarchical Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow, August 13-16, 2000, a collection of reports and documents, St. Petersburg, 2000, my talk would last for many days. And so I’ve decided to draw attention only to some of the most essential themes.


     As we know, the zealots of true Orthodoxy have for a long time been demanding of the Moscow Patriarchate the following steps: the condemnation of “sergianism”, a rejection of ecumenism, the glorification of the new martyrs of Russia and in the first place the Royal Family. And we shall try to look at their “Jubilee Council” in the light of these very important problems.


     The very term “sergianism” arose after 1927, when the “Deputy of the Patriarchal Locum Tenens, Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) of Nizhni-Novgorod and the Temporary Holy Synod under him” published their “declaration” of sorry memory, in which they affirmed their loyalty to the anti-theist executioners of Russia: “We wish to be Orthodox and at the same time recognise the Soviet Union as our civil homeland, the joys and sorrows of which are our joys and sorrows.”


     The appearance of this disgraceful document immediately elicited reaction from the people who remained faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. Thus the future Hieromartyr Hilarion (Troitsky) in his letter of July 16/29 of the same year of 1927 asked: “Has not the epistle of Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod, which elicited various and completely justified criticisms, thrust the ecclesiastical organisation headed by him into the disgusting, adulterous embrace of the atheist, blasphemous and Christ-fighting (antichristian) power, and has it not introduced a terrible dishonour into the depths of our Church?” (The Acts of his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon…, Moscow, 1994, p. 525).


     In the past seventy-odd years hundreds of pages have been written about “sergianism”. The general opinion can be reduced to roughly the following formulation: it is an ecclesiological heresy, whose followers suppose that not only does the Church save the man who becomes a member of it, but also men themselves – hierarchs, clergy and laity – “save” their own ecclesiastical organisation when they make inadmissible compromises and tell foul lies.


     But the concept of “sergianism” is not exhausted by the desire “to save the Church”. Compromises and lies are partly explained by the desire of one or another person to guarantee a prosperous and comfortable existence, not so much for the Church, as for himself. And this, as I would call it, “individual sergianism” has been present, alas, in Christianity throughout the ages. As an illustration I want to cite a small quotation from the works of the French writer of the 18th century, Chamfort:


     “The curé of Bray several times passed from Catholicism to Protestantism and back. When his friends were surprised at such inconstancy, he exclaimed: ‘Is it I who am inconstant? I who am inclined to betrayal? Nothing of the sort. My convictions have always remained unchanged: I want to remain the curé of Bray.” (Chamfort, maxims and thoughts, characters and anecdotes. Moscow, 1966, p. 144).


     And now let us imagine for a moment: tomorrow the communists or extreme nationalists or some kind of “Barashevites” come to power in our country… There can be no doubt that even with such a turn of event the so-called Patriarch Alexis II will as before occupy his numerous residences, go round in a bullet-proof limousine and with a bodyguard. In a word, he will remain in his post of “cure of Bray”…


     I am not the first to have noticed that the Bolshevik party was a satanic parody on the Church. Its congresses corresponded to our councils, they had their “martyrs for the faith”, their accursed heretics, their rites, and even their false relics – the embalmed corpse which remains to this day on the main square of Moscow…


     But there are few who realise that there is more to the resemblance between the CPSU and the “sergianist church”. Here there is a certain reverse relationship, insofar as the Moscow Patriarchate, which arose in 1943 on the ruins of the Russian (Rossijskoj] Church, was created by the Bolsheviks in the image and likeness of the Bolshevik Communist Party. This is graphically proved by the “Statute on the Administration of the Russian [Russkoj] Orthodox Church”, which was confirmed by the so-called “local council” in 1945. The document that was then approved annulled the corresponding decrees of the legitimate Local Council of 1917-18, and from that very time the highest court in the Moscow Patriarchate became the all-powerful, self-forming and responsible-to-nobody “metropolitburo” – the so-called holy synod, and its leader in the position of “general secretary” – the so-called patriarch.


     Well, now a few words about the patriarchal enterprises which they call councils. Beginning with the first of these, when on the orders of Stalin eighteen sergianist bishops were hastily transported to Moscow and proclaimed their leader to be “the patriarch of Moscow”, all their gatherings have resembled the congresses of the BCP-CPSU. The present “Jubilee Council” was no exception – this enterprise lasted only four days, and the documents that were presented to those assembled were approved unanimously.


     The Moscow newspaper Radonezh, in its issue N 15-16 for the present year, included an interview of the so-called Bishop of Vladivostok and the Far East, Benjamin, in which he touched on the “Resolution of the Jubilee Hierarchical Council ‘On the Basic Principles of the Relationship of the Russian Orthodox Church to Heterodoxy’”:


     “… We didn’t even manage to get acquainted, as we should have done, with this document. They put it to the vote almost immediately after the text had been distributed to us. In general it is very sad when hierarchs who travel to the council do not know even what they are supposed to discuss until the last minute. And why am I talking about texts? They don’t even know the agenda. It was given to us only on the eve of the proceedings. I can’t understand the reason for this secretiveness…”


      Naïve person – he doesn’t understand! Well, we understand very well, you know, the delegates to the congresses of the CPSU were in exactly the same position.


     One of the most important documents was the “Resolution of the Council on Questions of the Internal and External Activity of the Russian Orthodox Church”. In the first point we read: “The Sacred Hierarchical Council gives thanks to God for the mercies He has showered on the Russian Orthodox Church in the 20th century, which has been marked at the same time by many historical achievements and innumerable woes and sufferings. The Council gives praise to the Lord for the feat of the martyrs and confessors, by which the Church of Christ was established. Thanks to this feat, and the self-denying labours and prayers of the hierarchs, clergy and laity, our Church has been able in conditions of freedom to regenerate her witness and service within a short period.”


     On “the feat of the martyrs and confessors”, we shall speak later, but now let us turn our attention to the last affirmation. The contemporary “sergianists” are clearly lying when they talk about “the regeneration of witness and service.” The very verb “regenerate”, according to the interpreter’s dictionary of D.N. Ushakov, has the meaning of “restore after a period of collapse”. If there had been a genuine regeneration in the “conditions of freedom”, then the administrative order which was laid down by the legitimate Council of 1917-18 would have been immediately re-established; a Higher Ecclesiastical Council of clergy and laity would have appeared, the Synod would have been elective, and the First-Hierarch would have been elected, as was decided at the Council of 1917-18, according to a lot drawn between three candidates. At the same time, they would have had to get rid of the name which Stalin gave the patriarchate in 1943 – the “Russian [Russkaya] Church”, - and return to its historical name of “Russian [Rossijskaya]”. But insofar as there is not even a mention of this, we can with confidence assert: the patriarchate has not “regenerated its service”, and in the new conditions it continues its servility before the powers that be, which is graphically proved by well-known facts.


     The deliberate forgetting of what was decided in 1917-18 shows that not one of the “sergianist councils”, including the very last one, the “Jubilee” council, can be recognised as lawful. In Orthodoxy the following canonical principle has been observed since ancient times: a smaller council cannot undo or correct the decrees of a larger one. And I suppose that nobody will think of affirming that any of the patriarchal gatherings is more representative than the Local Council of the Russian Church which took place in 1917.


     One of the longest documents of the “Jubilee Council” is devoted to “ecumenism” – “The Basic Principles of the Relationship of the Russian Orthodox Church to Heterodoxy”. This text was composed with the cunning that is habitual for the “sergianists”, that is, on the principle “both ours and yours”: it must win the favour both of the patriarchal “renovationists” and of those who consider themselves traditionalists.


     The latter may rejoice over such postulates as: “The Orthodox Church is the true Church of Christ, created by our Lord and Saviour Himself; it is the Church established by, and filled with, the Holy Spirit…”


     “The Church of Christ is one and unique…” “The so-called ‘branch theory’, which affirms the normality and even the providentiality of the existence of Christianity in the form of separate ‘branches’…  is completely unacceptable.”


     “But the ‘patriarchal liberals” will also not be upset, insofar as the heretics in the cited document are called ‘heterodox’, while the Monophysite communities are called the ‘Eastern Orthodox Churches’. And the “dialogues with the heterodox” will be continued, and it is suggested that the World Council of Churches be not abandoned, but reformed…


     As in every “sergianist” publication, in this document there are omissions, and direct lies. In expounding the history of the relations between the patriarchate and the World Council of Churches, the authors make no mention at all of some very well known facts: such as the non-acceptance of ecumenism by the “sergianists” in 1948, and the fact, on the other hand, that at that council their speeches were by no means defined by their own position, but by direct instructions which they received from the Central Committee of the CPSU and the KGB (MGB).


     But then came the Khrushchev “détente”, and on September 15, 1960 the president for the Council of Religious Affairs, V.A. Kuroyedov, wrote in an official document: “The patriarch accepted the recommendation of the Council concerning the entrance of the Russian Orthodox Church into the membership of the World Council of Churches and evaluated it as an important action on the part of the Russian Orthodox Church in her activity abroad.”


     (Both of the above citations are borrowed by men from the report of the priest Sergius Gordun, “The Russian Orthodox Church under their Holinesses Patriarchs Sergius and Alexis”, Vestnik R.Kh.D. N 158.)


     In the “ecumenist” document of the “Jubilee Council”, a remarkable quotation is taken from the decisions of the so-called “Pan-Orthodox Meetings in Salonica” (1998):


     “During the many decades of the Orthodox participation in the ecumenical movement, not one of the (official) representatives of one or another Local Orthodox Church has ever betrayed Orthodoxy. On the contrary, these representatives have always maintained complete faithfulness and obedience to their ecclesiastical authorities, acting in complete agreement with the canonical rules, the teaching of the Ecumenical Councils and fathers of the Church, and with the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church.”


     It will not be particularly difficult to demonstrate the falsity of this affirmation. It is sufficient to take three quotations. First, one paragraph from the book by Lyudmila Perepelkina, Ecumenism: A Path Leading to Destruction (Jordanville, 1992, p. 10): “The ecumenist blasphemy manifests itself in various ways. Thus the event that took place at the 6th Assembly of the WCC in Vancouver constituted a challenge even to the ecumenist programme of ‘gradualness’.


     “On July 31, 1983, the participants in this assembly served an ‘ecumenical liturgy’ (composed by the French reformer, Max Jurian and approved by the commission ‘Faith and Order’ in Lima (Peru) in January, 1982). The main celebrant of this ‘liturgy’ was the Anglican Archbishop Runcie together with six Protestants, of whom two were women ‘priests’: the reformer from Indonesia, Carolina Patiazina-Torch and the Lutheran from Denmark, Elizabeth Lidel.


     “Besides the above-named ‘presidents’ there took part in the reading of the Holy Scripture and the pronouncing of the litanies some ‘Orthodox’, Pre-Chalcedonians and Roman-Catholics. Thus the Roman Catholic Bishop Paul Werner from Germany read the Gospel, while the ‘Orthodox’ Archbishop Cyril (now Metropolitan of Smolensk, president of the Department of Foreign Ecclesiastical Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate) pronounced the following words of supplication: “Let us pray that visible communion in the Body of Christ may soon be attained by the breaking of Bread and the blessing of the Chalice around one altar.’”


     Secondly, the communication from the agency “Blagovest-Info” of August 18, 2000: “On August 18, at the eastern wall of the church of Christ the Saviour there took place the opening of a khachkar – a stone with an engraved representation of the cross in ornamentation presented by the Armenian Apostolic Church as a gift to the cathedral of Christ the Saviour. In the ceremony there took part Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia and the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicus of all Armenians Garegin II… Having sanctified the khachkar, Patriarch Garegin II said: “We have brought this token of love from Holy Echmiadzin. By opening the khachkar on the territory of the cathedral of Christ the Saviour, we pray that the cross – the symbol of our brotherhood – may give a blessing to the Holy Russian land, which in the course of centuries has received the spiritual children of the Armenian Church with motherly love…”


     And thirdly – the 45th Canon of the Holy Apostles: “Let a bishop or priest or deacon who only prays with heretics be excommunicated. But if he allows him to do anything as a Church server, let him be deposed.”


     And so the so-called Metropolitan Cyril, who has prayed with heretics, should be excommunicated from the Church, while the so-called Patriarch Alexis II, who allowed the heresiarch-monophysite “to sanctify the khachkar” “on the territory of the cathedral of Christ the Saviour” is subject to defrocking. The most noteworthy of all the “acts” of the “Jubilee Council” was the glorification of the Holy Royal Martyrs headed by the last Russian Emperor, which was expected for many years by thousands and thousands of Russian people. But this also was not done without omissions and cunning, that is, not in a Church fashion. In the “Report of Metropolitan Juvenal of Krutitsa and Kolomna, the president of the synodal commission for the canonisation of the saints”, we read:


     “The Bolsheviks methodically and one after the other killed all the members of the Emperor’s Family who fell into their hands. They were guided in this, first of all, by ideology, and then by a political calculation – after all, in the popular imagination the Emperor continued to be the Anointed of God, and the whole Royal Family symbolised a Russia that was departing, a Russia that was in the process of being exterminated.”


     “In its approach to this issue the commission did its best to ensure that the glorification of the Royal Martyrs was free from every political and other kind of consideration. In connection with this, it is considered necessary to underline that the canonisation of the Monarch is in no way linked with the monarchist ideology and, still more, does not signify the ‘canonisation’ of the monarchical form of government, to which it is possible, of course, to have various views.”


     Evasive passages such as these take the place of calling things by their real names. It is embarrassing to read that, to quote, the Tsar Martyr “continued to be the Anointed of God”. He was the Anointed of God not only “in the popular imagination”, but in actual fact! And the sacrament of Holy Anointing was performed on his Majesty in the Dormition cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, in the main church of that very Russian [Rossijskoj] Orthodox Church in whose names the “sergianists” make bold to speak. And how can one keep silent about the fact that on March 2, 1917, at the moment of the Tsar’s abdication, there came to an end that many-centuries-long period of universal history which began in the times of the Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine the Great? From that day there was no longer any Orthodox Empire on the earth, that is, “he who restrains was removed from the midst” (II Thess. 2.7).


     After all, it is well known that the “ideology” of the Bolsheviks was anti-theist and satanic, so that in getting rid of the Orthodox Tsar they not only annihilated a certain symbol, but they killed Him Who, amongst all his other titles, was called “Defender of the Faith”.


     The naïve supporters of the Moscow Patriarchate are in no way able to comprehend why the long-awaited glorification of his Majesty was carried out so unintelligibly. I can provide a completely satisfactory explanation for this perplexity. In 1993 the superior of the Moscow church “Nikola v Pyzhakh”, Protopriest Alexander Shargunov, placed a large icon of the Tsar Martyr in his church. Two days later he was phoned from the Patriarchate and ordered to remove the icon, while the superior himself had to Chisty Pereulok [the Patriarchate’s headquarters] to discuss the matter. There Shargunov had a conversation with the secretary of the so-called Patriarch, the so-called Bishop Arsenius. In a fit of sincerity the latter declared: “We all, including the Patriarch, venerate Tsar Nicholas as a saint. But we cannot glorify him – both the communists and the democrats would attack us…”


     This phrase explains all the subsequent events. In fear of the communists and democrats, the “sergianists” for many years have dragged out the affair of the glorification of the Royal Martyrs, and the canonisation took place only now, in the year 2000, after the election of President Putin, when the chances of the communists returning to power are precisely nil – one can finally stop being frightened of them. But the Patriarchate’s fear of the democrats remained, and has, perhaps, even grown stronger.


      That is why the “acts of the Jubilee Council speak about the Ekaterinburg crime in 1918, but there is no word about what happened in March, 1917. But we know why: the Tsar Martyrs was forced to renounce the Throne, not by the Bolsheviks, not by Lenin or Sverdlov, but by the traitor-generals Alexeyev and Ruzsky, and by the conspirator-parliamentarians Rodzyanko and Guchkov, that is, by the “democrats” of those days. And out of fear of their descendants at the “Jubilee Council”, not a word was said about the so-called “February revolution”.


     In his report “the president of the synodal commission for the canonisation of the saints”, the so-called Metropolitan Juvenal said: “We have also tried to take into account the fact of the canonisation of the Royal Family by the Russian Church Abroad in 1981, which elicited by no means unambiguous reactions both in the Russian emigration, some representatives of which did not see sufficient basis for it at that time, and in Russia itself…”


     Again an omission. In the Patriarchate itself, the glorification of the Royal Martyrs and the whole host of the New Martyrs and Confessors elicited a complete unambiguous reaction: they decisively condemned the action of the Council of the Church Abroad and declared it to be a purely political act.


     Blasphemies against the new martyrs and confessor of the 20th century were contained in the speeches of the “sergianists”, beginning in 1927. Already in the notorious “declaration” there is a condemnation of the “political sympathies” of those who did not recognise the legality of the atheist authorities. And in an interview which Metropolitan Sergius gave in 1930 to the newspaper “Izvestia”, the martyrs for the faith were declared to be political criminals:


     “The repressions that have been carried out by the Soviet government in relation to believers and clergy have by no means been undertaken because of their religious convictions, but in the normal course of events, in the same way they have been to other citizens, because of various anti-state actions.” (Izvestia TsIK, February 16, 1930).


     And so on in the same vein. The so-called “local council” of 1945 spread the following blatant lie through the Telegraph Agency: “Never in Russia has Orthodoxy been subjected to systematic persecutions, never have there been murders of Christians, as in ancient Rome. There was nothing of this kind… Antireligious work has never received the immediate support of the government… To speak about intolerance and persecution of religion in the USSR is to go against the truth.”


     This declaration is quite enough to call the “sergianist enterprise” of 1945 a “robber council”: The Church of Christ – “the pillar and ground of the truth” – can in no circumstances utter a witting lie.


     But it is not a matter of simply of lies and blasphemies against the new martyrs and confessors. Metropolitan Sergius and his acolytes hurled unlawful bans against the hierarchs and clergy who did not agree with them. Here are some examples (I am quoting from the book Acts of his Holiness Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, latest documents and correspondence on the canonical succession of the highest ecclesiastical authority, Moscow, 1994).


     On March 16, 1928: We read of the “Act of the deputy of the patriarchal locum tenens and the temporary holy patriarchal synod under him” – “Bishops Victor (Ostrovidov), Demetrius (Lyubimov), Sergius (Druzhinin), Alexis (Buj) and others were banned from serving by a council of bishops – the temporary patriarchal synod…


     “Their Graces Metropolitan Agathangelus (Preobrazhensky) of Yaroslavl, Archbishop Seraphim (Samoilovich) of Uglich, the former Archbishop Barlaam (Rayshentsev) of Perm, the vicar of the Yaroslavl diocese bishop Eugene (Kobranov) of Rostov, the former Bishop Demetrius (Lyubimov) of Gdov, Bishop Sergius (Druzhinin) of Kopora, bishop Victor (Ostrovidov) of Shadrinsk, Bishop Hierotheus (Afonin) of Nikolsk and Bishop Alexis (Buj)… are subject to ecclesiastical trial and the fitting punishment.


     “…. The indicated bishops, including Metropolitans Agathangelus (Preobrazhensky) and Joseph (Petrovykh)… must, in accordance with Church custom, be deprived of every clerical honour, and be subjected not only to being banned from serving, but also to defrocking, as apostates who have created a schism.”


     And now let us look at the list of the new martyrs and confessors of Russia which was confirmed at the “Jubilee Council”. There we with amazement discover the names of those “deprived of every clerical honour” by the “sergianists”: Metropolitan Agathangelus (Preobrazhensky), Archbishop Seraphim (Samoilovich) of Uglich, Bishop Victor (Ostrovidov) and many other martyrs, who decisively rejected the servility and lies of the Moscow Patriarchate…


     The questions naturally arise: But what happened in the Russian church in those distant times? Who was right – the Bolshevik lickspittle Metropolitan Sergius, or those whom he “banned” or “deposed”, calling them “apostates, who have created a schism”? The “Jubilee Council” passed over these questions in complete silence, and thereby the Patriarchate once more demonstrated its lack of principle and absolute disdain for the canonical law existing in Orthodoxy.


     At the “Jubilee Council”, the direct descendants of Metropolitan Sergius sang magnifications to those who preferred persecutions and a martyric death to their communion with them and the dictate of the anti-theists… And this leads us to think of the angry words of the Saviour:


     “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, who build tombs for the prophets and embellish the memorials of the righteous. And you say: ‘if we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the shedding of the blood of the prophets’. In this way you witness against yourselves that you are the sons of those who killed the prophets” (Matt. 23.29-31).


     Throughout their history, beginning from 1927, the “sergianists” have displayed a striking inability to repent. In this they excel even their protectors the Bolsheviks, who during the congresses and plenums quite often declared their own decisions to have been mistaken and were not ashamed to criticise their predecessors. In the Moscow Patriarchate nothing of the sort can be observed. In not one of their “councils” was there a mention of their slavish submission to the executioners of Russia, nor of their treachery in relation to the new martyrs, nor of the lies which have sounded for decades from their ambons… The “sergianists” are sincerely convinced that in their history everything was always good and right.


      But the capacity to repent is that without which a man can in general not become a member of the Church. St. John the Forerunner began his sermon with the words: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3.2). This was repeated by the Lord Jesus Christ, when He Himself began to preach (Matt. 4.17). The holy hierarch John Chrysostom in his time offered the following definition: “The Christian is the man who repents”. And insofar as the “sergianists” neither can nor want to repent, there can only be one conclusion: the Moscow Patriarchate is a false church.


     In conclusion I want to say a few words about the “Foundations of the ROC’s Social Conception” – yet another document which was approved at the “Jubilee Council”. This lengthy text has quite a long history. According to the decision of the so-called holy synod, in October, 1996 a working group was created to prepare “a project for a social doctrine”, and in June, 2000 at the symposium, “The Church and Society”, the so-called Metropolitan Cyril of Smolensk published this project.


     In the Patriarchate itself there were people who, even before the “Jubilee Council”, subjected the suggested “conception” to quite severe criticism. Thus the newspaper Radonezh in N 12-13 for this year included a large article by Protopriest Vladyslav Sveshnikov, in which the defects of this documents were enumerated. I shall quote two passages from the publication Radonezh:


     “In the text there is much that is indisputable, but there is also much which is at least debatable (but then what kind of doctrine is this), not to say disagreements and outright perplexity.”


     “…. Is such a document in general necessary? Taking into account the fact that it claims to have a doctrinal, catechetical character, we can reply with complete definiteness: undoubtedly not.”


     As was only to be expected, the healthy voices were not heard by the “sergianist clerical leadership”, and the above-mentioned “doctrine” was approved at the “Jubilee Council” once again unanimously. In issue 9-10 (September-October, 2000) of the bulletin Vertograd-Inform, an excellent article by Alexis Muraviev entitled “Thoughts on the social conception of the ROC MP, accepted at the hierarchical council of the year 2000” was published. The author precisely indicates the main reason why this document appeared:


     “…. The concept of a social doctrine as such was crystallised in Catholic and Protestant theology, which is oriented on the world and life in it. Taking at times grotesque forms, such ‘the theology of liberation’ or feminist theology, it has continued to take root in the consciousness of the contemporary ‘Euro-Christian’, becoming an important means and form of ecumenist cooperation within the bounds of the WCC and beyond it. It is precisely their involvement in ecumenism that has forced ecumenist ecclesiastical communities to seek means of ‘starting up’ something similar on eastern soil, too. It was precisely when the processes of globalisation and integration into the new world order reached a certain limit that a new social doctrine began to worked out in the depths of the Department of Foreign Ecclesiastical Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate as something similar to the Catholic doctrine (’so that we should have nothing worse’).”


     At this point, how can we not recall a warning which sounded already in the 19th century from the lips of the remarkable Russian poet and spiritual writer, A.S. Khomyakov? In his work, The Essence of Western Christianity, he wrote: “There is a certain deep falsehood in the union between religion and social agitation; one becomes embarrassed for a Church that has fallen so low as no longer to be ashamed to recommend itself to governments and peoples, as if it were a hired mercenary band earning a monetary reward, protection or honour for its fervent service. That a rich man should demand for himself guarantees for its oysters and truffles, or that a poor man should want some better food than stale bread – all this is natural and even, perhaps, completely just in both cases, especially in the latter; but the resolution of this kind of task is a work of reason, not of faith. When the Church gets involved in talk about loaves and oysters and begins to flaunt a greater or lesser ability to resolve this kind of question, thinking in this way to witness to the presence of the Holy Spirit in its bosom, it loses every right to the trust of people.”

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