Chapter 3. The Break with Tradition

Bowing down to verbal idols led to an unprecedented (to Orthodoxy) idolizing of Stalin, and the more Metropolitan Sergius and his accomplices flattered Stalin, the more sacrifices were demanded by the "Leader of all times and nations".

During the years of bloody Stalinist terror, many bishops, priests, monks and lay people disappeared without a trace in concentration camps and prisons. Only the Lord knows their number and their names.

Metropolitan Sergius and Patriarchs Alexi and Pimen who followed him informed the world of their joys appropos the fact that the USSR was the only country in the world where religion enjoyed complete freedom, and that not only was there in fact no persecution of believers in the USSR, but there could not possibly be any persecution.

Latently, and seemingly imperceptibly a chain of villainous substitutions has been woven, a chain which, according to the enemy of mankind could strangle the Church in its mortal grip.

New theological conceptions arise. From time to time the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate publishes "theological substitutions" of the unheard of lie about the state of the Orthodox Church in the black years of Yezhov's terror and in the years of the cruel persecution of Khrushchev's era.

When the Chairman of the Council for religious Affaiers K.M. Kharchev and his representatives repeat, in their numerous interviews, their long since developed "theory" - that the "religious leaders" in the USSR are combining their theological doctrines with the socialist ideal, it turns out that this "theory" contains no exaggerations. This is how it really is.

It is sufficient to familiarize oneself with the speeches and messages of Patriarch Pimen, metropolitans and bishops exposing this "theology" in order to make sure that the officials of the Council for Religious Affairs are right.

However, if the socialist ideal becomes part of the theological doctrine or "couples with it", this inevitably reveals RENUNCIATION OF THE TRUE FAITH, because, no matter how much the Council for Religious Affairs would wish this, neither Orthodox dogmas, nor theology contain ANY indication that such "coupling" is possible.

Although the enemy of mankind is monotonous in his methods of blaspheming the Truth, amongst the substitutes "soldered into the chian" destined to strangle the Church, there are not only crude lies, cunning, distortions, renunciations and perjuries. There is something else.

The favorite method of the enemy of the Church, of the "Church double" is the so-called "change of the sign, turning of meaning into its anti-meaning".

Teachers of the Church had become aware of this danger long ago, and its essence was revealed in the Gospels when Christ exposed "religious liars" and hypocrities: "your father is the devil, he is a liar, and the father of lies" (Jn 8:44) - Christ said to those who considered themselves to be "religious leaders".

Theocide became ripe in a religious people, in the people who were observing rituals and strove to fulfill the Law. Theocide became ripe in the Synhedrin amongst "religious leaders".

This fact does not only belong to history, it is the reality of meta-history, testifying to the Divine Providence regarding the Church. Theocide was justified by the Chief Priest Caiaphas in his "theology of compromises". By killing God he intended to SAVE the people. To save the people who crucified their God.

In order to make people obedient to their religious leaders, in order to make them consent to theocide, it is necessary not only to deceive them by offering them the chain of substitutions. To make the substitutes acceptable religious leaders have to instill into people reverence before them and their sanctity.

Our creators of myths need more than stories about captivity, they create myths about Patriarchs being fed pills (another variant of captivity!) by atheists, so that he would not understand anything. But the Patriarch, regardless, remains holy (a "bloodless martyr" he was called by someone from amidst the myth-makers).

The Patriarch has not once expressed his protest against closing churches, not once has he publicly expressed a regret that the Russian Orthodox Church has been deprived of an opportunity to teach her flock about the Church: there are no books, no journals, while those who dared to produce religious samizdat were even quite recently thrown into prisons and exiled to Siberia...

The Patriarch has NOT ONCE raised his voice in the defence of those who were incarcerated for the Word of God...

Apparently, the myth-makers consider it possible that pills may be made responsible for this, too. After all the Patriarch is not forced at pistol point to tell lies in his interviews.

When one of such interviews with the Patriarch, maintaining that there were no and are no persecutions of faith in the USSR, was made use of by my interrogator in the Lefortovo prison, I felt that Patriarch Pimen's false testimony was quite effectively employed as an "implement" of psychological torture.

PATRIARCH'S "martyrdom" must become a model for the flock.

One should humbly take pills and humbly give false testimony if this is required to "save the Church". However, the myths about pills and captivity, rumors, legends and gossip do not suffice. There is a need of "theological" validation of the new Christianity - or Renovationism, or whatever you want ot call it: it is necessary not only to validate its bond with the socialist ideal, but also to offer validation of martyrdom without the Cross.

For this purpose it would be best to choose out of the spiritual heritage of the Orthodox Church that which might help these two "branches" of the new-Christianity, firstly a comfortable and prosperous Christianity, and secondly a ritual centered Christianity. Substitutes of the spiritual kind, as is well known, are almost imperceptible until their fruit is manifested. The Gospels are given to us as a revelation about the fullness of life in Christ. With all the uniqueness of every individual and the uniqueness of the path of Christ to everyone, we are not given the possibility to exclude from the Gospels that which is beyond our strength, because EVERYTHING IS BEYOND OUR STRENGTH.

Without firm faith and Divine grace we do not know anything and do no know how to do anyhting. And we will not attain to any perfection even if we should wish to repeat the ascetic labors of St. Anthony the Great, St. Macarius the Great, St. Basil the Great and St. Seraphim of Sarov. Even if we should succeed in doing something good, we will know that this was accomplished not with our strength but by the power of the Spirit and even then only because our will acted in accordance with the Will of God. Woe to us, if we should think differently!

Everyone of our great saints, who left to us the priceless experience of their sainthood, lived in a certain era of the Church's sojourn on the earth. If such saints as Seraphim of Sarov, or the recently canonized and greatly venerated Bishop Ignatius (Brianchaninov), who are so dear to us and near to our times, had lived in a period of terrible persecutions characteristic of our time, it is quite possible that they would bear witness to the fact that the acquisition of grace as the purpose of a Christian life, the acquisition of a humble spirit are in no way attainable by a hypocritically humble attitude towards the violation of the Gospel meanings of life, but only be the repudiation of satanic distortions of the foundations of the Church life by repudiation preached from the roof tops.

Indeed, how is it possible to acquire the grace of the Holy Spirit, to attain a peaceful spirit within oneself, so that "thousands might be saved around you", according to St. Seraphim, if the Grace-Giver's commandments are not complied with?! And who of us would dare to embark upon ascetic efforts of saints, without first having mortified our passions which compel us to feel SATANIC FEAR before the persecutors?!

Obedience means realized freedom, while sanctity is created through overcoming of fear. Saints testify that we receive true faith only when we go all the way "to the end"...

And yet, a comfortable safe Christianity is in search of sanctity for itself either through faith in rituals, or through an intellectual admiration of the ideals of monastic and ascetic labors.

Substitution of ideals deprives one of the possibility of living in accordance with the ideals. Asceticism is the requirement of faith, but it cannot replace faith.

The meaning of life, as preached by St. Seraphim of Sarov, has been desirable for a Christian soul throughout the historical life of the Church. However, it cannot eliminate the Cross and, as we are taught by the Holy Church, one may acquire the grace of the Holy Spirit only by keeping the Gospel commandments in their FULLNESS.

You cannot "acquire a peaceful spirit so that thousands might be saved around you" by disdaining the prisoners for Christ's sake and by fearing to defend them openly.

The Church stands on the blood of the martyrs, on the blood of those, who shed it for their faithfulness to the commandments of Christ, on the blood of those who keeping these commandments exposed their killers. For holy unity is the life of the Church, and only those may become disciples of Christ, according to His word, who do not renounce their unity with the victims of persecution.

False humility and false obedience, which are so frequently encountered in our ecclesiological milieux today, are the result of the "spiritual revision" of the Gospels and of the Tradition. The false asceticism is reminiscent of the "spirit of Iudushka"*

*>note: The main character of M. Salivkov Shchedrin's novel "The Goloviev Family" (Transl)

of Pharisaism and of the hypocrisy of ritualism.

It is impossible to live as a Christian: one may only die as a Christian, i.e. meet death in the earthly form of our existence. This, then, is the meaning of going "to the end", according to the Orthodox Ascetic of our times, Archimandrite Sophronius*

*>note: Archimandrite Sophronius (Sakharov) "To See God as He Is" England 1985 p. 70

the author of the book on the recently canonized Elder Siluan who, in our 20th century, has enriched us with his experiences.

One may not erect a dummy of a Golgotha for oneself in order to escape the real one. Sergei Iosifovich Fudel', who strove all his life to comprehend the incognizable fullness of the Church, who had experienced prisons and camps, destitution and sorrows, testified in his books about the suffering and the joy in Christ. Before his death he wrote: "We struggled and we fasted oblivious of the generous sacrifice of the love of Christ which is inaccessible without the Holy Spirit. The holy men told us that it was the Holy Spirit, Who witnessed the suffering of Jesus. If according to the Apostle, 'no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost' (ICor. 12:3), how can one approach the mystery and the power of Golgotha and its love without the Holy Spirit? But it is precisely outside and apart from Golgotha that we wish to establish a new 'not archaic' Christianity which should solve our social problems. The Apostle said: 'Jesus Christ - the same yesterday, and today, and forever' (Heb. 13:8). Here we are dealing not with a different opinion about Christ, which was usually solved by the Councils, here we have two different Christs".

At the end of these notes, entitled "The result of everything", S.I. Fudel' cited the Psalmist: "I have seen the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also shall rest in hope" (Ps. 16:8-9). St. Peter said these words to the crowd of people who were about to become the first Christians. We, too, the last Christians in history, stand before God and we must 'see Him' in order not to 'be moved', in order that our 'tongue would rejoice' seeing the dawn of the Spirit, which reveals and through which one may comprehend the true essence of Christianity.