Chapter 4. The Dark Shadow of Sin and Decay

In our churches we do not hear the word "freedom", although we are granted freedom in the Holy Spirit and taught to "stand in freedom" (Gal. 5:17) and "not to BE THE SERVANTS OF MEN" (ICor. 7:23).

In captivity, in ghettos everyone is afraid of another person. Should your hand accidentally touch someone, be he even of the same faith as you, he will recoil horrified, because perchance you may be harboring a devil.

Fear of devils is growing in the church community. It may compete in strength only with the fear of church informers, but one should never show them one's fear and withdraw the hand. On the contrary, one should pretend it's alright. Devils in church vestments and in civilian clothes are free in our churches, they are free to enter monastery refectories and church altars.

It is frightening.

It is generally thought that the fear of devils may be overcome by performing a certain ritual, by reading an akathist, and serving a 'moleben' (a short service).

"This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Mt. 17:21) taught the Lord. But who will teach me what is fasting in its true sense, and what is prayer?

Who has concealed the teaching from me? Why isn't it preached in churches?

Isn't that why an exposure of the fruitless deeds of darkness (Eph.5:11), commanded to us, has now been called JUDGING and is forbidden? Isn't that why it is now considered a sin to speak the truth, while lies, concealment and perjuries are considered as humility, obedience and happiness?

Do not bishops, the Heads of dioceses, know that "faith cometh from hearing" (Rom. 10:17)? Why are the foundations of faith not taught in our churches? Why don't the bishops insist on catechetical instruction of their flock? Those who speak of the necessity of religious instruction are declared by bishops to be "gone astray spiritually", they are called dissidents. It is precisely these "spiritual dissidents", rather than the "religious leaders" who try to obtain permission from the state for a wide and free publication of religious literature in all its canons and genres; they are the ones who speak of the necessity to establish religious broadcasts. The CHURCH HIERARCHS, HOWEVER, and apparently out of consideration for the "special wisdom", keep silent about all this, and if, occasionally, they repeat after the "spiritual dissidents" something along their lines, it sounds so unintelligible that it leaves no hope for success.

Bishops have excellent libraries, they do not need books, because the "traveling bishops" provide themselves and their fellow-bishops with everything that the West publishes for believers in Russia.

Bishops do not have to insist on publication of books. They have more than enough of them.

Maybe it is not secular authorities but bishops as well, who are afraid of religious books?

The language of Divine services exposes lies. God permitted that our sacred sites and objects, our monasteries and churches be taken away from us, that churches be left without crosses and belfries. He did not, however, take away our opportunity to attend church services, so that "the word might judge", as promised by Christ (Jn 12:48).

The liturgical word is as dangerous for false witnesses and pharisees, as Christ the Word of His Father was dangerous for those who crucufied Him.

Liturgical language, like a fiery sword, cuts off from the Church those who utter lies against the Truth.

But in order to receive and to interiorize the liturgical word, one should acquire strong faith, one should hunger and thirst for truth. Beatitudes are sung in churches at every liturgy, but the Lord gave them to us not just for a concert performance in a church. One needs to make an effort in order to interiorize them. The writings of the Holy Fathers of the Church are needed to explain them. Their meaning impels us to place ourselves before the Divine judgement. Maybe this is the reason why books are feared, and feared by those who do not insist on their publication?

Sweet captivity brings bitter fruit. If Christians seek prosperity and accept the conditions of the world, they inevitably invite illnesses and vices of the world upon themselves.

"Bow down to me. Not necessarily to the ground straight away; you may just lower your head a little bow lightly, almost imperceptibly to others, both you and I will know about it..."

No, the keeper of the world is not so harmless, although he does not ask for much to begin with; he is not so harmless even if he does not begrudge the reward for little things. He is generous with an advance payment, for he knows that he will be payed back in full.

A "contract" is always accompanied by pledges and belated regrets. Realization of a contract is guaranteed by a "dossier" containing materials compromising to a "client". According to the experiences of saints the souls of the departed will be confronted at the toll-houses by the devils holding their "dossiers"...

The joyous captivity of Metropolitan Sergius and his like-minded companions was not as sweet, as the captivity of his heirs today. As time progressed, the captivity became more splendid. Initially they bargained for life, but gradually fear for life became less acute. All bishops who refused to accept the conditions of the "contract", or who would be capable of rejecting them, disappeared from the face of the earth.

New bishops who embarked upon their service were protected against imprisonment and poverty.

The symphony of the State and Church sounded now in a new way. Only the firm "foundations" of the symphony remained.

In 1942 the Moscow Patriarchate issued a book of 'conclusions', "The Truth About Religion in Russia" where it was written in black and white: "During the 25 years of the Soviet regime the Church experienced not persecution, but rather a return to the times of the Apostles". This "truth" belongs to Metropolitan Sergius and forms the foundation of the new eccesiology of the Moscow Patriarchate. The phrase itself contains not only the lie about the state of the Church "during the 25 years of the Soviet regime", but also the lie about "the times of the Apostles". As is well known, the times of the Apostles were marked by cruel persecution and martyrdom of these Apostles.

In the course of years the voluntary captivity indisputably became all the more joyful.

Among the joys of captivity were trips abroad, luxuriously appointed residences, summer houses hidden behind tall and inaccessible fences, black and colored cars; the joys of captivity brought respect, fame, adoration, and, finally, state decorations and awards; and together with all the luxury, awards decorations and respect - an impunity and protection on the part of the state authorities, protection from those who might dare to remind the church authorities of Christ.

Having become the sole managers of the billions of church money, the hierarchs became something like barons who could now without any control dispose of the wealth which did not belong to them.

Corruption and bribery, which flourished in the period of "stagnation" in our society, just as luxuriously blossomed in all sections of the church administration apparatus.

This has become evident from numerous letters and complaints of believers which were addressed to bishops, and which, as a rule, remained unanswered. "Thrown into samizdat" these letters cry out about the woes of the Church...

These letters tell us, for instance, about the fact that bishops, being monks but now obedient to the principles of the "new ecclesiology", had to subject to revision even the monastic vows of non-acquisitiveness and chastity.

"The success of a monk". - wrote St. Maximus the Confessor - "lies in nonacquisitiveness, ignominy, helplessness, temperance, evil suffering, deprivations and the like."

In Orthodoxy, spiritual monastic guidance is of extreme importance in its power of influence upon the life of the Church. Orthodoxy is monasticism in its essence, it is the path indicated by the Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Church, it is the path towards union with God, to becoming partakers of Divinity. Monasticism is the spiritual participation in the fight for the purity of Church doctrine; when taking their vows of obedience, monks did not think it possible for them to yield to false teachings and heresies wherever they might be coming from - from Patriarchs, or the annointed sovereigns.

Monks stood for Christ's Truth at the Councils, monks defeated heretics and false teachers.

St. Maximus the Confessor, the teacher of contemplation and silence, left the monastery and joined in the fight for the Truth when the need arose to defend the Orthodox faith from perilous heresy.

Today, when the Church finds herself in a disasterous situation, who but monks who have chosen the path of self-rejection and rejection of ther world, the royal path of obedience to Christ's commandment "to lose their life in this world", who are preparing themselves to endure slander, abuse and persecution, who but monks should find it befitting to fight against apostasy, heresies and any abuses of the Truth?

The Holy Fathers called monasticism the glory of the Church of Christ, her blossom, her beauty and her strength.

It is natural that those who consider monasticism as the glory of the Church and feel reverence for the holy rank of a bishop, cannot but feel horrified seeing the fruit of disgraceful practices, shown to us by the Lord today. Now we often hear the following said in praise of a bishop: "but, after all, he is not married", or of a priest: "they say, he is a believer"...

There were married bishops in the early Christian Church, but they did not take monastic vows. Today married metropolitans and bishops are nothing new for their flock. Moreover, they particularly flourish and stand high in esteem with the powers of this world. Apparently, this qualifies the gross violators of canonical norms of ecclesiastical life to be the most zealous "guardians" of canons and to subject their brothers in faith who are disobedient to them to all kinds of punishment. Today one may often hear that priests are afraid not so much of the atheistic authorities, as of the Church hierarchy.

Revision of the Gospel revelation has touched all spheres of Church life.

Nevertheless, at the Church Council dedicated to the Millenium of Christianity in Rus', despite its pomposity, the presence of foreigners and constant fear of "fouling one's nest", a few voices made a feeble mention of woes in the life of the Church.

Metropolitan Anthony of Surozh said that "we are true Orthodox believers in the narrow sense of the word, we speak the words of truth, but there is no truth within us, our life bears no evidence of this truth".

This topic - the impoverishment of faith in the Orthodox clergy who are spiritually unprepared for their service, unenlightened and indifferent, and losing their authority with the Church community - was barely touched upon in some speeches. But, obviously, it could not be brought up the way it should. The Council demonstrated the crisis of Orthodox consciousness. Its proceedings, which one should hope, will be published, will make their way into the history of our Church and will form an edifying testimony to ecclesiological fruitlessness and politicizing, of fruitlessness vainly concealed by a loud and empty verbosity, lacking both genuine pain and genuine love.

The devil is laughing at us, while we are grieving by the rivers of Babylon, grieving when we hear about the moral decay of our "bishop-monks", about sodomy, corruption, bribery, intrigues, power struggle, pleasing of men, which are being painstakingly concealed by those who are involved in these things, and by those who, for the time being may benefit from their moral decay. We are grieved and horrified when we hear the news from everywhere (there is nothing secret which would not become obvious) about the new style of RASPUTINISM being rampant at the residences of the Patriarch and his retainers, Rasputinism and blasphemy against the beauty of the holy rank of the Patriarch.

God is not slow in manifesting the fruit of disgracefulnes, however carefully hidden.

Things that one could not even think about yesterday and that may sound only as a hint today, will be, we are sure, announced from the "roof tops" tomorrow...

Another firm Gospel principle was subjected to revision by the Moscow Partiarchate. The principle of an absolute democracy.

It was formulated in a quite maximal way in the Gospels, leaving no place for any compromise. "Whosoever of you will be the CHIEFEST, shall be SERVANT of all" (Mk. 10:44).

In Sergianism, and in a certain brand of Renovationism another principle prevails: whoever wants to be greater, should subject others to himself, those who stand below him on the hierachial ladder.

Naturally such democratism is perilous for the Church, it hampers any manifestation of catholicity (Russ: sobornost).

The absence of any democratic principles in the Moscow Patriarchate leads to an authoritarian administrative bureaucratic style of ecclesiastical management. It leads to lack of control, impunity, and offers opportunity to make short work of the disobedient ones immediately. In other words, it creates an "ecclesiastical totalitarianism" alien to the nature of the Church.

The Church means, according to the Gospel principles, may belong only to the Church community, because it is the members of a community, parishioners who contribute THEIR OWN means toward the NEEDS of the Church. Even copecks spent after the immediate needs of the parish have been taken care of, must be accounted for before the people, for conscience sake.

Today it is the hierarchs who dispose of the church money. They dispose of it at their own discretion; the church leaders themselves channel the "money river" where they please. They give it to whoever they want to, and take from whomever they want to.

There is no money to repair the roof of a village church, which owes money to its diocese, to the Danilov monastery - thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of roubles.

In the Danilov monastery (referred to as a "spendid monastery" by a village priest), I saw a woman on the porch begging for alms (with the blessing) to pay for repairing the altar in a village church.

Danilov monastery is indeed too "splendid" for a monastery in our country where thousands of churches stand destroyed and crippled.

Our hierarchs maintain that there is no money for their re-establisment.

For the restoration of Danilov monastery, however, which has become a kind of advertisement for the freedom of religion in the USSR, money was obviously flowing from all dioceses, even from those that did not have money for their own needs. It's not for nothing that on the site of the Danilov monastery room was found for the "department of foreign affairs" of the Moscow Patriarchate, called officially the Department of Foreign Church Relations.

Here they are beseiged with foreigners. It is difficult to imagine greater inconvenience for a monastery. "All flagships will come to visit is". A new kind of asceticism! Not only will our Russian world intrude upon monastic life, but the "whole world in the world".

The Russian Church is suffering from the lawlessness of HER OWN, the Church community is suffering, people are seeking justice, knocking at the doors of their brothers in faith, appealing to their conscience, appealing for protection. In villages and towns, amidst the beauty of the created world, there stand the ruined and defiled churches with the crosses knocked off and the windows boarded up. Church bells no longer bless the vast spaces of our land with their ringing; the land is dotted with crippled churches, like open wounds.

The very soil is suffering. It does not produce grain, nor potatoes, nor enough other vegetables; they are brought in from overseas to feed us. The soil will not provide bread to satiety until our people move God to show His mercy for our repentance, until the prayers of the Russian Church bring down God's forgiveness for all our transgressions, for the fratricidal blood.

People exhausted by lies within their church enclosures travel along the roads of Russia to their diocesan centers, even to the Patriarchate, some because they are tired of lies, some asking for their communities to be registered, others seeking justice with the Patriarch, with bishops, with the Holy Synod. All in vain.

Our bishops were silent when the families of the prisoners for Christ's sake asked for their protection, they are silent today, when people ask them to bring plunderers and drunkards to their senses, so that they would stop defiling their clerical state. They keep silent.

"What's the matter with you? Don't you know that we are held captive?"

And there are many of those who have lost their patience and humility, who do not want to believe in the "captivity". Are there many of those intolerant to lies? Two, or three?

God will count his LITTLE FLOCK. Bishops love to count in millions, when they are invited to give interviews for newspapers, or television; when they are sent abroad to take part in symposia and forums. "Millions of believers, millions of copies..."

This is an altogether different, large scale statistics.

The question arises in one's mind: if millions of believers purchase millions of expensive books, then why are these billions of roubles gained through these millions of transactions not enough to repair an altar, or a roof on a village church?