2 ARSONS IN SUZDAL
Late in the evening on the
30 of September 2 houses of ROAC were set on the fire in Suzdal.
One is the old wooden house (on Slobodskaya street) where Archimandret Irinarch lives along with some other monks and old people, including blind nun (mother of Hieromonk Symon) and paralyzed old man.
The enemies doused the whole house around with gasoline, surrounding all the house with gasoline "path", and then set fire. It was at 23:30. Luckily Father Symon was praying in his sell at that time, and the fire came to his window (because of the thin wooden decorations that surround the window). He saw the fire and immediately called everyone out. They used the water from the huge rain can standing nearby and the earth from the garden that is located near the house, so they managed to stop the fire quickly. Otherwise it would be difficult to avoid victims.
On the same night the wooden constructions surrounding the chapel that is being built by Vladyka at the cemetery of Suzdal was burned out. The walls of the chapel became black.
found a 5-liter empty can from gasoline near the house. But the police behaves
very strange. They say that there was no fire.
The situation with the latest
persecutions is getting a little better.
The press-conference was held in Moscow. Finally the attention of the journalists was attracted to the problem, and now it is more difficult for the communists of the region to act as they used to act. They prefer to work in a dark corner, but now it became impossible for them, and they feel uncomfortable.
Here are some extractions from the civil publications:
Moscow, September 3, Blagovest-info.
"They speak openly in Vladimir that behind the new persecutions of the
Church of Russia (outside of the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate) there
stand the local Communist authorities...The Communist core has spoken in governor
Vinogradov and he decide that the ideological idyll in the region is interfered
with by the independent "Suzdal Church", a press conference was told
here September 3 when it was attended by clerics of the Orthodox Autonomous
Church of Russia (ROAC) - Archbishop Feodor of Borisov (Administrator of the
Episcopal Synod), Fr. Arkady Makovezky (secretary of the Synod), and hieromonk
Grigory (rector of the St. Petersburg parish).
The conference was held after the beginning of "a campaign of persecution" of Metropolitan Valentine, the head of Russia's largest "alternative" Orthodox Church. The campaign was opened last June by the Prizyv newspaper, joined by the local attorney, and growing ever more wide. Blagovest-info was told by Archbishop Feodor that the Primate of the ROAC is in a serious threat of an arrest on two criminal counts based "exclusively upon calumnious publications of the 'Prizyv'".
That newspaper, as well as a number of other Vladimir publications, refer to "the elderly hierarch as 'criminal, defiling person and thief". The archbishop says that the "black PR" "has targeted the entire ROAC, the greatest suffering befalling young parishioners and their parents, because their names are run in dirty media publications without their accession".
The media publications of this sort are qualified by members of the Episcopal Synod as "calumny, insult of the honor of the Primate, and an attempt to instigate inter-religious enmity and discriminate the Church of Russia". Former ROAC cleric Andrey Osetrov was described as the main source of the invented "discrediting material".
Archbishop Feodor compares the events to the "Khroushchev persecutions of the 1960s when clergy were made objects of media comic and satirical stories. The Prizyv accusations are so absurd and repulsive that they, in the opinion of the hierarch, cannot be trusted by any sane person: "Our Church, which is thoroughly Orthodox, is likened to the Aum Shinrikyo sect".
Answering a question about the timing of the campaign, hieromonk Grigory said that "the organizers in Vladimir and Moscow are aiming to attract world attention to the problem of persecution of religious minorities in Russia, seemingly a matter of the past". Fr. Grigory said that when there began the process of unification between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), it was the ROAC that claimed she is "the only Local Church in Russia, which is the successor of the Underground Church". He thinks that the claim "changes substantially the religious map of our country". "When the monopoly of the Moscow Patriarchate is broken, many politicians' interests are infringed upon, including federal-level politicians". The hieromonk thinks that there are taking shape gradually in Russia "three types of Orthodoxy - the official one (the Moscow Patriarchate), the Old Ritualists, and the alternative Church (the ROAC".
Moscow, September 3, Blagovest-info.
The Vladimir inter-district attorney's officials investigating the criminal
cases suspecting Metropolitan Valentine of the ROAC of "inducing minors
to anti-social action", are psychologically pressurizing and threatening
minor parishioners of the Suzdal parish of the ROAC, a press conference was
told here September 3. It was held by clerics of the Orthodox Autonomous Church
of Russia (ROAC) - Archbishop Feodor of Borisov (Administrator of the Episcopal
Synod), Fr. Arkady Makovezky (secretary of the Synod), and hieromonk Grigory
(rector of the St. Petersburg parish), Suzdal parishioners and children.
Irina Filatova, the mother of reader Vanya Saavelyev, 11, said they received a summons writ addressed to "Ivan Savelyev". When she attended a questioning, she was surprised that the investigator should explain in detail to her son what 'sexual exaction" is, supposedly on the part of Metropolitan Valentine. When the boy understood, he said: "I will not answer this question, nor any other". According to the woman. Her son stayed in a state of deep psychic shock a long time after the questioning.
Roma Kupriyanov, 11, related that he was told, in absence of his parents: "If you do not tell us everything, you will be put into a cell for 24 hours".
Hieromonk Grigory described the facts as "a clear violation of the procedural code and other laws".
The unknown criminals broke open the Church of "Joy of All who Sorrow" in Suzdal and stolen an old beautiful icon. Vladyka called the militia (police) but they refused to investigate the matter and said that Vladyka had stolen this icon himself.
On the next day, after 9 p.m., 4 people (2 in militia uniform and 2 in civil) came to Synodal house on Vasilievskaya street. They asked for the book of registrations and said that they will heck the documents of all the people who live in the house (this is a large building, with a monastery on the firs floor and a number of people leaving on the second floor). Vladyka said that the house is new and they still did not get the book of registrations. "OK, then we shall just check the documents of all the people here," -- said the guests, but Vladyka showed them out. "We shall investigate by other means," -- said the guests instead of "Good buy".
A number of old catacomb
nuns (who never received soviet passport) live or come to Suzdal. In Russia
living without a passport is a sort of crime.
EPISTLE OF VLADYKA VALENTINE COMCERNING THE RECENT EVENTS
Vladyka Valentine addressed June 5 his clergy, religious and flock with a message "in connection with the danger of disorganization of the Supreme Administration of the Church. Vladyka reminds to the worshippers that Last May "there was formed a splitting group led by formerly banned archpriest Andrey Osetrov who is now relieved of all his obedience and who has been defrocked". The former archpriest attempted "to make a film" compromising Metropolitan Valentine and other hierarchs. The message goes that he failed in finding "the coveted compromising material, so he had to supplement his interviews with a number of opponents of our Church with 'commentaries' distorting people's words in the desired sense". The film has been provided to the attorney, the Federal Security Service, the mayor, the region administration, and the diocesan authorities of the MP. Despite the fact that the film carries "not a single actually compromising still", the Vladimir Region attorney thinks it sufficient to open criminal proceedings.
Vladyka sayi ih the epistle: "All my life goes on in plain view of my brothers and my flock. Any reports of such kind represent clearly yet another round of persecution of our Church".
Metropolitan Valentine states with profound sadness "a close connection of our former clerics with persecutors of True Orthodoxy - the Moscow Patriarchate, and with the law-enforcement authorities. This connection was clearly demonstrated on the day of the meeting of the Church Court (May 31), when the Synod and the Diocesan Houses were surrounded with police vans, buses with riot policemen, and even an armored personnel carrier - ready "for action" in case of any collision between our parishioners and our former clerics".
Noting that the attempt to provoke a clash failed, Metropolitan Valentine says: "However, the schismatics, and the powerful forces supporting them and directing their pernicious combat against the Church, are not going 'to put down their arms'". Resorting to a criminal prosecution, unlawfully opened by the Vladimir Region attorney, they scheme to deprive me of the possibility to administer the Church, and to remove the organizational pivots of our Church - the Episcopal Synod and the Suzdal Diocesan Board".
Citing words of former archpriest Andrey Osetrov, theVladyka Valentine speaks of plans of the law-enforcement authorities active in the campaign against the ROAC. Thus, Andrey Osetrov has sent messages to ROAC dioceses, reading that "Metropolitan Valentine is arrested and will be convicted to a long prison term, so his post must be taken by some other bishop".
Vladyka warns the hierarchs, clergy and the flock that "new attacks against our Church may follow any minute. The Vladimir Region attorney... intends to make searches in the buildings of our Church in Suzdal. They want to requisition church documents. There is no doubt that during a search some literature or some objects will be planted, which are necessary in order to arrest me and put me into prison". Metropolitan Valentine calls: "Do not believe any reports about 'compromising material', 'testimony' or 'indictment'. In case the administration of the ROAC is actually disorganized, Metropolitan Valentine asks his clerics "to be aware of your full responsibility before God and before the Holy Church, to continue to minister to Your flock on collegiate basis and remaining indomitably true to the Russian Orthodox Church".
It is very often, that something good if followed by the temptations from the enemy of our salvation. The same happened after the glorification of Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky).
What happened was that a certain senior clergyman, Fr. Andrei Osetrov, at a Synod meeting at the end of May demanded that our bishops do something that they were not prepared to do. He then, armed with a lot of money (where he got this money is a big question -- he is the father of 11 children who is usually asking for money from Vladyka) went out and bribed several Suzdal children to talk about Vladyka. They were asked questions such as: "Does Vladyka love you?" The children would answer: "yes", and then Fr. Andrei would provide his commentary insinuating terrible things. None of the children actually witnessed anything terrible about Vladyka -- everything was in the commentary. Fr. Andrei then took this film to the local procurator and demanded that he take action against Vladyka. The procurator refused, saying there was no evidence. He then took the film to the mayor, who also refused. Very soon the children understood what they had been used for, and all repented in tears and in writing to Vladyka. One little boy complained that he had been promised money by Fr. Andrei, but then had received nothing (sob, sob)! The parents of the children were, of course, furious that their children had been used in this way. They asked Vladyka to take Fr. Andrei and his co-conspirators to court, but he refused, although the procurator said that Fr. Andrei had broken the law and could indeed be taken to court with a good chance of a conviction. Vladyka cited St. Paul, who says we must not sue fellow Christians before secular courts.
Later, however, Fr. Andrei got together with the FSB (the contemporary equivalent of the KGB), who put pressure on the local authorities to take Vladyka to court. So far this has not happened, but a search of Vladyka's house in preparation for a possible trial is on the cards.
Fr. Andrei and his comrades tried various methods to get people to talk against Vladyka. When they failed, they resorted to violence. One subdeacon who refused to cooperate was beaten up on the steps of the church a few days ago - he was taken to hospital but is okay. Obscene inscriptions in black paint have been daubed by the conspirators against the walls of the newly built church of the Holy Russian New Martyrs.
Just recently our bishops called the conspirators to trial. In accordance with the canons, they sent notice of the trial to the conspirators three times. On the last occasion, the wife of Fr. Andrei opened the door and poured the contents of a chamber pot over the two priests sent by Vladyka. The conspirators have now been defrocked. These are 3 priests (Andrey Osetrov, Alexy Legostaev, Sergy Jumabaev), hegumen Paisy and deacon Dmitri Krasovski. They refused to attend the trial, simply hurling abuse and destroying the camera of a deacon. The FSB were watching the whole scene from their cars.
One note about Fr. Andrei's wife. Shortly before all this happened she wrote Vladyka a letter saying that she had literally DIED, but had then come to life again, and that the three first-hierarchs of the ROCA, Anthony, Anastasy and Philaret had then appeared to her and told her that our Church's glorification of St. Philaret, but not of Metropolitans Anthony and Anastasy, was displeasing to God. (One of Fr. Andre's demands was that all three metropolitans should be canonised. Our bishops said that they would study his request, but made no promises. That displeased Fr. Andrei and his matushka...) All this is quite clearly prelest.
Another point. Fr. Andrei has been at the centre of our Church's life as Synodal secretary for ten years. If there was any pederasty going on, why did he not mention it earlier? Up to a month ago he always praised our Vladyka. Now he is cooperating with the KGB and the Moscow Patriarchate... It's the Judas story again.
ROAC CANONIZED METROPOLITAN PHILARET (VOZNESENSKY)
Suzdal, Vladimir Region, May 3, Blagovest-info. The celebrations of the canonization by the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC) of Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) of New York and East America, the third First-Hierarch of the Russia Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), were held April 30 and May 1 at the Tsar Constantine cathedral here with participation of five bishops, about 30 clerics and dozens of laity from Russian provinces and former USSR.
Taking part in the rites were Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal, Archbishop Feodor of Borisov, Archbishop Seraphim of Suhumi, Bishop Antony of Yaran and Bishop Ambrosy of Khabarovsk.
The text of the Act of Glorification notes the deeds of the canonized, including the canonization in 1981 of the Synaxis of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, the denouncement of the ecumenical doctrine in 1983, the support of the Catacomb Church in Russia, and the "Sorowful Epistles" to the leaders of the Orthodox Churches. The Act states that after the passing away of Metropolitan Philaret, certain bishops of the ROCOR "took the Church astray and off the straight road that it traveled under Metropolitan Philaret". The Act expresses surprise that in 1998 the ROCOR rendered to the mould the uncorrupted relics of Metropolitan Filerat that were acquired at the Holy Trinity monastery in Jordanville, USA. It has been determined to celebrate the memory of Metropolitan Philaret on November 21, the day of his passing.
During the rite of the oils presented was an icon of Metropolitan Philaret embroidered by Elena Kudravzeva, a member of the Moscow Brotherhood of the ROAC. She worked over this icon for about 3 years, after her son was healed by the prayers to St. Philaret. The service of St. Philaret was written at the St. Petersburg parish of Grand Princess Elisaveta Feodorovna.
Metropolitan Valentine noted in his address the importance of the canonization in the context of the division of Orthodoxy according to adoption or non-adoption of the traditions of the Holy Fathers.
ROAC FORMS COMMISSION FOR ANALYSIS OF CANONICAL STATUS OF MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE
Suzdal, Vladimir Region, May 3, Blagovest-info. The Episcopal Synod of the ROAC decided in its session of April 28-30 to form a commission for theological analysis of the religious-canonical status of the Moscow Patriarchate, and another one - commission for canonization.
Both commissions have come to be presided by hierarchs who minister to so-called catacomb communities - formed during Soviet times by clerics and worshippers who did not recognized the authority of the official Moscow Patriarchate. The commission for theological analysis of the religious-canonical status of the Moscow Patriarchate is presided by Bishop Antony of Yaran, the commission for canonization - by Archbishop Seraphim. The main task of the theological commission consists in finding the answer to the issue of "lack of grace" with the hierarchs of the MP. Both commissions are to report to the Synod next October.
OF AUTONOMOUS CHURCH SEES AS SLIM HOPE OF UNION WITH MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE
April 23, Blagovest-info. Metropolitan
Valentine of Suzdal, the head of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC),
has expressed to (www.strana.ru)
the hope that лthere will be discontinued in our Fatherland the unlawful
arbitrariness in matters of religion, when all the privileges are granted to one
of the jurisdictions╗. Publishing April 23 the interview of the primate of one
of the largest лalternative╗ Orthodox Churches of Russia (the ROAC has more
than 100 open parishes with 9 bishops), the Internet publication is pointing out
that the editorial opinion is different.
the ROAC Primate: лWe believe and hope that the Russian people in quest for the
true Orthodoxy of the Holy Fathers, will be gathered under the gremial of the
Orthodox Church of Russia, and, with GodТs help, we shall restore her
canonical structure and normal church life - she may be not strong in numbers,
but be strong of spirit╗. Metropolitan Valentine expressed his readiness лto
provide canonical refuge to all those who want to live and confess
Orthodoxy...not merely in word but with oneТs very life╗.
church leader does not agree with the journalistТs suggestion about inevitable
division in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) where
contradictions have been becoming more sharp lately between лthe conservatives
and the liberals╗. He thinks that there are almost лno people to be divided╗
in the ROCOR because some have left the Church, and those that remain are
prepared лto take indifferently╗ any decisions of the Synod of Bishops. The
Vladyka of Suzdal that the ROAC originated лgenetically╗ from the ROCOR, but
she had to leave the ROCOR because лof the non-canonical╗ penalties imposed by
the Synod of Bishops on ROAC bishops in 1995.
Valenitine sees as лquite hypothetical╗ the prospect of union with the Moscow
Patriarchate. He does not hope for лself-healing╗ of the Moscow Patriarchate,
although he admits that a miracle may happen and Orthodoxy, лseemingly chased
from the world, will be restored╗.
observes at the same time that the attitude of the ROAC towards the Greek
truly-Orthodox Churches (holding to the Julian calendar, is one of love. But he
points out that this Old Style movement in Greece is divided into a number of
groups, and the Church of Russia cannot establish communion with them лuntil
they are united among themselves or at least establish communion with one
asked if he regrets having left the ROC, the autonomous primate replies: лDid
Jews regret having left Egypt, the land of slavery? The ones that had been
accustomed to Egyptian meats, they did regret. But not those that thought of God!╗
ROCOR COMMUNITIES IN RUSSIA MOVED TO ROAC
In March a part of ROCOR parish from Gatchina (later being with Archimandret Alexei Makrinov) was received to ROAC. They formed a parish of St. Maria of Gatchina. One of the parishioners, Alexey Lebedev, was ordained a priest for this parish, he is serving his 40 liturgies in Suzdal now.
On the 10th of April ROCOR parish from Ryazan headed by priest Sergey Evchik was received to ROAC. The parish serves in the church of Theophany, that was the oldest church in ROCOR (XVII century).Several days before, when this parish take final decision to move to ROAC, the large old icon of St. John the Baptist in the church started to be fragrant. The beautiful fragrance was so strong, that all the parishioners felt it.
On the same day ROCOR 2 Brotherhoods from Moscow were received to our Church -- the Brotherhood of St. Apostol James, the Brother of God, and the brotherhood of St. Alexey, the son of St. Tzar Martyr Nicolas.
BISHOP AMBROSY THREATENED
Ambrosy of Khabarovsk, who was attacked physically last March, has received an
anonymous letter with threats. The
letter was delivered at bishopТs home although the envelope carried no address
or mail service stamps. The computer-printed text contains a number of insulting
expressions directed at the bishop, some of them, like лSatanist╗, being
clearly лreligious╗. The fact that the anonymous writer belongs to a religious
organization is also proven by specific phrases.
was your first and last warning. I give you one week to get out of our glorious
city. Or else you leave it in a cerecloth of wood╗.
Valentine thinks that the authors of the letter are seriously scared by the
appearance in the city of a bishop лof an alternative jurisdiction╗, whose
missionary work may лdamage the dominant confession╗. Bishop Ambrosy was a
cleric of the Khabarovsk Diocese of the ROC in late 1980s and early 1990s, he
was off the staff for several years, before he joined the ROAC. Last November he
was chirotonized to bishop.
March 22 unknown persons beat the hierarch and accompanying priest, and he was hospitalized, staying in a life-support unit for several days.
NEW MONASTIC TONSURES IN SUZDAL
During the Great Fast some monastic tonsures were performed in Suzdal. On the 7th of March 2001 priest Paul Lim was tonsured a monk with the name Augustine. His patron now is St. Augustine of Canterberry, the Enlighter of England. Soon Hieromonk Augustine will move to England to serve at the parish of St. Mochael in Guildford.
On March 28, after the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, the novice Sergei Basuk was tonsured with the name Kyprian, after St. Kyprian of Suzdal. On the same day after the evening service priest Leonid Ignatov was tonsured with the name of Parfeni, after St. Parfeni of Suzdal.
On March 29 priest Nicolaj Tarasov was tonsured with the name of Trofim, after St. Trofim, the miracle-worker of Suzdal. Hieromonk Trofim is a Chuvash by nationality. He was looking for Truth for many years, but it was Archimandret Timothy Sharov (now -- bishop of Orienburg), who converted him to Holy Orthodoxy. On the advise of Archimandret Timothy Nicolaj moved to Suzdal and later was ordained to serve in the church of St. Cosmas and Damian.
On April 4 priest Constantine was tonsured with the name of Simon Koretski, after St. Symon, the Holy Bishop of Suzdal. Father Symon is from a catacomb family. His family lived in the Kuban (one of the spiritual centers of Russian catacombs), staying in contact with nun Seraphima (schema-abbess Ioanna Sanina), who later became the head of a convert in Suzdal. The mother of Hieromonk Symon is now a blind nun Theophania, who also lives in Suzdal.