The Moscow Patriarchate:
Why You Should Not Join It
To be a member of any church, one must accept and agree with its official acts and confessions of faith; what it is, you also are. As St. John the Almsgiver says, “Communion signifies one’s agreement in faith with him with whom one has communion.” Joining or communing with the so-called Moscow Patriarchate means consenting to and sharing responsibility for all its official acts and declarations. To be precise, this means accepting and endorsing that:
1. The ‘Church’ Can Be in Solidarity with Militant Atheism: You agree with its foundational 1927 declaration of its total solidarity with the Communist International and Soviet Bolshevism (militant atheism) in all its aims, programs, “joys, sorrows, successes, and failures”, and identity, “counting them as the Church’s own” programs, successes, failures, etc. You support its anathematizing of all Russian church-members that did not so believe. You also don’t care that the whole Russian Church in 1918 and 1923 had already issued anathemas against anyone who would do this, saying he is “dooming himself to Gehenna”. You support Met. Sergius’ Ukaz # 549 ordering prayers for the success and permanence of the Bolshevik regime and forbidding prayers for those imprisoned, exiled, or sentenced to death by the regime. You would have signed the same pledge your hierarchs did: “I promise, as a dependent of the Moscow Patriarchate, that I will not permit myself in either my social activities nor especially in my Church work, any expression that could in the least way be considered as being disloyal with regard to the Soviet government,” including making any admission about or criticism of its persecution of religion in the U.S.S.R., while millions of believers are killed and 93% of churches are closed.
2. A Schism Can Govern on the Authority of Bolshevism: You also endorse how the so-called M.P. was founded, as a secession from the established, real Moscow Patriarchate. You agree with its origin as four suspended clergymen who rejected and disobeyed the established Russian Church authority and declared “we have received authorization to takeover the administration of All-Russian Orthodox Church from the Soviet government”, in other words you endorse the right of antichristian Bolsheviks to remove the Church hierarchy and appoint their own hierarchy. You don’t care that the real Patriarchate’s hierarchy and leaders all condemned your own founders or that your Church condemned its critics to be shot by the Bolsheviks as ‘counterrevolutionaries,’ lending a hand in destroying 50,000 clergymen and monastics and millions of faithful laypeople. You’re not ashamed of this.
3. Hierarchs May Receive Episcopacy from and Vow Obedience to the CPSU/ KGB: You agree with the so-called Patriarchate’s official vow of obedience to a Council of atheist Communist Party members and KGB generals and that the Church hierarchy would not consecrate or appoint clergy or issue any decision whatsoever without the prior directive and approval of this Council and its agents (as stated in the 1974 report of KGB General Furov to the CCCPSU). You further endorse your hierarchy’s official vow to fulfill the Bolshevik’s “Decree of Separating the State and School from the Church” and subsequent Soviet laws, which took away the Church’s right to celebrate the Mysteries, print or preach the Gospel, catechize, baptize, or commune its youth, use its churches, keep relics of the saints, defend itself against atheist propaganda, congregate for worship, or have any rights whatsoever except by case-by-case grant of the antichristian Communist Party/KGB organs. You declare that it was fine to swear obedience to the same KGB General and “Cult-Commisar” Karpov who was already in charge of destroying religion in the U.S.S.R. when he was also named by Stalin to oversee and run your hierarchy. You are unanimous with your loyal Stalinist Patriarch Alexis Simansky in declaring “on behalf of the whole Russian Church, we intone ‘Eternal Memory’ to Josef V. Stalin, the great benefactor of the Russian Church,” as your hierarchy did in March 1953, forgetting his horrific “5-year plan” to make Russia godless by May 1, 1937. You support the choice that all your hierarchs had to be elected by a CPSU/KGB Council and you see no conflict between this and them being truly ordained of God and having apostolic succession. You are proud that Patriarch Alexei II was so faithful a communist spy as to receive the KGB’s “outstanding intelligence service” award in 1988.
4. Met. Sergius Is A Saint and the Church Sometimes Must Deny Itself and Its Practice of Christianity: You endorse the statement (1993) of the current Moscow ‘Patriarch’ Alexei II that “among the choir of martyrs and confessors we can in full measure name his Holiness Patriarch Sergius” for his “podvig” (ascetical struggle) of surrendering the Church to Stalin’s caprice to save his own skin. You believe with Patriarch Alexei II, as he declared in 1990, that “there is a certain Christian law that the Church sometimes has to take upon itself some great sin and deny herself for the sake of the people [?!]...compromises of principle had to be made...it is not permissible for the Church to function illegally.” Moreover, you can honestly agree with this statement being made in reference to the Church denying herself and her faithful the right to celebrate the Mysteries, to publish or preach the Word of God or to proselytize, to give alms (illegal under Soviet law) or do works of charity (this too was deemed “religious propaganda” – illegal under Soviet law), to say something in public to defend the Faith against State-sponsored antireligious propaganda, etc.
5. Recognizing the Validity of Papism, Monophyisitism, and Ecumenism: You endorse Patriarch Alexis I’s uniting the M.P. with the W.C.C. and the Ecumenical movement in 1960 on orders from his head-master, KGB General Kuroyedev (although it had officially rejected it as heresy in 1948). You endorse your church’s official recognition of the validity of Roman Catholic sacraments (1970; again in 1993) and sharing communion with the Papacy. You endorse the M.P.’s recognition that the 4th-7th ecumenical councils made schismatic errors, the Body of Christ ceased to be one and undivided, and you support its official decision to defy the anathemas of those Councils and establish communion with the Monophysite heresy (1990). You agree with Patriarch Alexei’s ecumenical sermon to the Rabbinical Council of New York (1992), including his claim that “we are not completely Christians because we are separate from you (Jews),” as well as his words to Iranian Muslim leaders (2001): “Orthodox Christians hold Islam in great respect as an ancient, Abrahamic faith, full of spiritual vitality.” You endorse his statements on behalf of the M.P. to the pan-denominational W.C.C. (1980), such as: “We, the Orthodox, are lovingly disposed to our non-Orthodox brothers, for we have all been baptized in one Spirit, and we have all been made to drink into one Spirit (I Corinthians12.13).”
In fact, if one were to mention all the unorthodox, anti-Gospel things you would be signaling agreement with by joining or communing with the so-called Moscow Patriarchate (which has officially repented of none of these things!), the list would be well-nigh endless. Such being the case, you who are seeking the Church faithful to Christ, having kept His Gospel intact and undefiled, you ought to ask yourself: if joining the M.P. means assenting to all this, then what will be left for me of the Gospel? How will you be confessing the Gospel if you incorporate yourself into an organization that officially said and did all these things and has retracted and condemned none of them? How will you bear the Faith of the Apostles who replied to the Sanhedrin’s threats and prohibition against preaching the Gospel by declaring: “We ought to obey God rather than men”, if you join those who obeyed the latter-day Sanhedrin? Or, how will you believe yourself to be in the Church of the Martyrs, which our Orthodox Church ever has been, if you join those who forsook the path of the martyrs and have forsaken fidelity to the Faith for which they died, having embraced well-nigh every apostasy and every heresy? The saints will be estranged from you, for they took a different path and the Church abides with them and those who follow in their footsteps, not with the Bolshevik fake, the Moscow Patriarchate.
The basis on which the M.P. was founded is worldly-wise disbelief in Christ’s care for His Church and in His promise – “I will found my Church and the gates of hades will not prevail against Her [Matt. 16:18]” And by joining them you would consent to the truth of that disbelief, that Metropolitan Sergius and his successors had to betray the Gospel as they have done to ‘save’ the Church. He could offer no other moral excuse for such a capitulation to Her enemies. That is the cry of disbelief. It implies that the Church is of this world and must follow this world’s way of survival. It implies that God does not exist or does not care for Her, that Her hope is in vain, and so the Church must be Her own savior and save Herself by whatever compromise She has to make with the mighty of this world. This is the direct path to the defilement and destruction of the pure, holy Faith, which no sincere Christian can consent to taking.
True Christian faith sounds more like this (from New-Martyr Metropolitan Benjamin of Petrograd’s last two testamentary letters before being shot ):
“The reasoning of some, perhaps believing, pastors is strange: ‘We have to preserve our living forces,’ that is, we must give in to everyone and anything for their sake! Then what is Christ for? It is not the Platonovs and the Chuprins and the Benjamins and those like them who save the Church, but Christ. That point on which they are trying to stand is destruction for the Church – it is wrong to sacrifice the Church for oneself. Now is the time of trial. People are sacrificing everything for the sake of political convictions... Cannot we Christians display a similar courage even unto death if we have some faith in Christ and the life of the age to come?”
“It is difficult, hard to suffer, but according to the measure of my sufferings consolation abounds from God. It is difficult to cross this Rubicon, this frontier, and give oneself over wholly to the will of God. But when this is done, then man abounds in consolation and does not feel even the greatest sufferings; filled as he is in the midst of sufferings by an inner peace, he draws others to sufferings so that they should imitate that condition in which the happy sufferer finds himself...I talked about this before to others, but my sufferings had not reached their full measure. Now, it seems, I have to go through everything: prison, trial, public mockery and demands for my death as if the people applauded it, the ingratitude of men, their betrayal, inconstancy and similar things, anxiety and responsibility for the fate of others, and even for the Church Herself.
“My sufferings have reached their height, but consolation has also increased. I am joyful and calm, as always. Christ is our life, our light, and our peace! With Him it is good at all times and in all places. I do not fear for the fate of the Church! We pastors should have more faith. We should let go of relying on ourselves, our intelligence and learning and (human) strength, and allow a little room for the grace of God.”
The true Russian Church, which endured illegally in the Catacomb Church in Russia even up to the end of the Soviet Union and abroad in the ROCOR and later in ROAC and in our diocese, has always believed in Him and His faithfulness to His promise and followed the path of fidelity, trusting in Christ “the Savior of the Body” [Eph.] and keeping to the path of the Cross, the path of martyrdom, that Christ set before them. You can read more about Metropolitan Sergius and the Russian Church at www.TrueOrthodoxy.Info under “Lives of the Saints: New-Martyrs of Russia” and in other articles being added to this page.
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