Chapter 5. Division through Christ: Spiritual Schism

There are no unforgivable sins, so the Holy Fathers teach us; there is only an unrepented sin. At first there is only a bud, only leaves on a fruitless fig-tree, but leaves do not nourish, and the Lord condemns it for barrenness.

Any betrayal of the Word of God, even seemingly an insignificant one, inevitably causes moral decay.

And then, whatever happened to Saul, happens to us. Samuel said to Saul: "Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?" (Kings 15:19)... Because "thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee.." (Kings 15:23).

"But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him" (I Kings 16:14).

Saul was God's anointed one, and he had a special charisma. I shall repeat: grace is not a life-long rent, or a seal affixed to paper.

Therefore, when grace left Saul for "disobeying the voice of the Lord", the GATES OF HELL overpowered him and an evil spirit possessed him, the spirit of envy and hatred, the spirit of fear for oneself, compelling him to commit crimes.

"BY APPEARANCE" he still remained the king, he SEEMED to be the anointed one; but his kingdom was torn away from him.

Another man was already anointed the king.

Thus, the mysterious power of the Divine grace chooses those who are pleasing to God, who are not yet manifested to the world, and rejects the kings, the anointed ones of yesterday. People of the world, and rejects the kings, the anointed ones of yesterday. People of the world still continue to honor them as priests and kings, which they no longer are. The world is still pleased with them (as the men of high rank) but their contract with the keeper of this world has lost its power.

The history of the Church knows of many instances when apostates and heretics were a patriarch, bishops, and God-annointed sovereigns.

St. Maximus the Confessor showed an example of an uncompromising service to Christ's Truth in opposing those who, it would seem, possessed the charisma of bishops, seemed to have an indisputable authority. St. Maximus repudiated not only the lie of the Patriarch and the bishops, he repudiated the decisions of the false Councils: "All these Councils (inplying the Councils which confirmed the false teaching) were summoned by the Emperor's orders. However, these Councils were rejected and anathematized, because the definitions of faith drawn up by them were of a godless and anti-Christian nature. (Commemoration of St. Maximus 21 Jan.)

Refusing to communicate with the throne of Constantinople, St. Maximus declared that those who at their Councils repudiated the true faith by approving heretical and apostate resolutions, have "many times excommunicated themselves from the Chruch and exposed their un-Orthodoxy".

The Saint was declared "the Emperor's enemy" and slandered as a state criminal.

The devil is monotonous; he has no other variants of struggle against the faithful disciples of Christ.

Church Councils have a special meaning in the life of the Orthodox Church. Not only because of the struggle for the Truth, for the purity of faith taking place there, but also because Councils disclose dangerous tendencies in ecclesiastical life: heresies, betrayal of doctrine, spiritual splits with the tradition. The Church should certainly ASSEMBLE in order to learn about her ills.

In this sense the Council dedicated to the Millennium of Christianity in Rus' was essential not only as a festive meeting to mark the portentous event in the life of our country, but also as an assembly demonstrating the spiritual realities which God willed to reveal to the world today.

Anyone who adopted. or thirsts for partaking in a true life of the Church, who more or less knows her history, who seeks to learn of the mysterious meanings of Orthodoxy so inseparably linked with the invisible Church, with the power of saints, anyone will raise the question: how could it have happened that the council of the Russian Orthodox Church refused to canonize the new martyrs and confessors of Russia already canonized by the Russian Synodal Church abroad?

Metropolitan Yuvenali explained that if the new martyrs and confessors were to be canonized, "the sacred act of canonization mat be turned into an expression of 'political emotions' (BY WHOM, remained unclear) and may be used for some 'non-church' purpose" (BY WHOM? This also remained a secret.)*

*note: See Press-Release No. 1 11/5-88, publ. by the Moscow Patriarchate

How could it have happened that not one bishop ventured a different opinion on this subject? Don't they know that the new martyrs and confessors are revered as saints by many Orthodox people in Russia, and that the Church community is AWAITING THEIR CANONIZATION by our Church?!

Apparently the "delegates" to the Council were just as strictly selected as are the "aspirants" to the rank of bishops. This alone may explain the fact that ALL participants of the Council dutifully approved of the stand regarding the innocent martys for Christ's sake, the stand unprecedented in Orthodoxy. In this they were unanimous, thus revealing their own un-Orthodoxy. They exposed themselves by disputing the truth expressed by the Holy Patriarch Tikhon at the Council of 1917-18.

In those years of severe persecution of the Church, Patriarch Tikhon testified that those victims of execution SUFERED "FOR FAITH AND THE ORTHODOX CHURCH"*

*note: see ISERKOYNYE vedomosti 1918 15-1

The decision of the Council and the opinion of the Holy Patriarch Tikhon have never been disputed at any of the subsequent Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church. May one now think that the Council of 1988 has subjected to REVISION the spiritual direction of the 1917-18 Council regarding the new martyrs and confessors?

In Christianity there are no such concepts as subordination. The lesser is blessed by the greater, but it is God Who blesses. In the Church there is no such concept as discipline. The Church is not a party. In the Church, as is well known, one sinner, one errant soul may be preferred to ninety-nine righteous ones. And decisions of Councils, even if they were passed unanimously, may not be considered infallible by the Orthodox Church.

In Orthodoxy only Christ, the Head of the Church, is infallible. Christ - the moral authority in Orthodoxy, Who is above all "hierarchial authorities". Therefore the history of our Church knows many instances when unanimous resolutions of Councils were acknowledged as erronous and were anathemized.

In the struggle for Truth neither subordination, nor discipline have any advantages. The Church lives by her unity and acts through her love. In her spiritual life (canonization of saints is an event on the SPIRITUAL plane) the Church takes no account of political emotions, they SHOULD NOT even be discussed by her members.

There are no prohibitions in her doctrine to revere as saints those who may seem to the world to be politcial criminals, because according to the true promise of Christ all those persecuted for faith will be SLANDERED.

The keeper of the world and his servants are concerned with slander, the concern of the Church is not to heed any slander.

This "qualification" originated at Golgotha. The Chief Priests, while demanding theocide, kept telling Pilate that Christ was Caesar's enemy.

Christ was the FIRST (in the new history of mankind), Who aroused "political emotions" with his executioners. After Him the Apostles were punished as political villains, and they were followed by a host of martyrs declared as state and political criminals.

The early Christians worshipped at the tombs of martyrs, revering them as saints; the latter were canonized without "voting" and any special Councils. Christians would COME TOGETHER at the relics of martyrs and pray to them. The Holy Apostolic Church lived and still lives in the most profound prayerful UNION with martyrs and confessors; "she is sanctified by martyrs and her altar rests on their holy relics" (St. Herman, Patriarch of Constantinople).

This has always been the treasure of the Church, which passes not away, her seed, her glory, her love.

Confessors were invested with a particular moral authority in the early Christian Church. Twenty centuries have passed and we are ashamed to acknowledge our SAINTS as saints, so as no to arouse "emotions"!

This fact reaches out far beyond the framework of the "incident" which occurred at the Council in connection with the statement of Metropolitan Yuvenali. In this incident, we see in precise focus the new trends of the Russian Orthodox Church. This incident reveals precisely an essential difference between FAITH (faith cannot tolerte such a thing!) and the system of RELIGIOUS opinions, the system "substituting" its already lost or not yet acquired faith.

These new trends are no less dramatic for the Church, than the iconoclasm, schisms and heresies experienced by the Church in her history. A.S. Khomyakov wrote: "There were heretical councils, as, for instance, those which produced the semi-Arian Creed: Councils where the number of subscribing bishops was twice as high as of those at the Nicean Council. Councils where Emperors approved heresies. Patriarchs proclaimed heresies, Popes submitted to heresies. Why then repudiate the Councils which externally did not differ from the Oecumenical Councils? Soley because their resolutions were not acknowledged as the voice of the Church by the ENTIRE CHURCH COMMUNITY, by the people and the milieux where in the questions of faith there is no difference beween a scholar and an ignoramus, a cleric and a layman, a man and a woman, a sovereign and his subject, a slave owner and a slave; where the need arising, at the Divine discretion, a youth is granted the gift of vision, an infant - illiterate shepherd, in order that there should be oneness in the free union of faith which is the manifestation of the Spirit of God" (Vol. 2, 3rd ed., p.71-72).

God rests in His saints. Therefore the failure to acknowledge out of political considerations, those saints who He chose to die a martyr's death oir the glory of the Church, means not only an insult to the saints but also to God resting within them. "Holy before the Lord is the death of His saints" - we chant during the Divine services. Is it possible to insult the Spirit of God out of political consideration? Isn't it frightening, isn't it bitter to be aware of a heavy trouble among those whose rank arouses our reverence?

And, finally, was this blasphemy uttered by Metropolitan Yuvenali on his own initiative?

It would be absurd, even for our myth-makers, to think that this followed as the result of someone's instruction, or order, and that the list of the saints' names subject to canonization was "passed down" from the higher instances! Even a prisoner in the dock, guarded by a convoy, is free to say whatever he wants to say.

Feeling awe before the rank of Metropolitan Yuvenali and his brethren in faith we cannot even assume that a bishop might lie to please the regime, or accomodate any inferior motives, that he might be frightened by a rejection on the part of the authroities in power, be they ecclesiastical or secular.

May our statements not be reckoned as contempt orcensure of the Church hierarchy!

Undoubtedly, this was the manifestation of Metropolitan Yuvenali's PERSONAL freedom, of his attitude to Russia's new martyrs, which coincided with the opinions of those bishops who were present at the Council and who did not dispute this point of view.

After all, bishops having the task of Apostolic service are free in the Lord, as is anyone confessing Christ's Divinity, and there is no power which could force a Christian to blaspheme saints if he is not willing to do so.

But is this a blasphemy? Is persecution a blasphemy?

Persecution is always bound with defamation,slander, blasphemy, hatred.

The Lord disclosed the meaning of persecution: "Blessedare ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner o evil against you falsely for My sake", i.e. accuse you in what you have not done, only because you were faithful to Me, confessed Me. "Why persecutest thou Me?", -heard the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:4). Whoever persecutes, reviles, slanders, and finally, REPEATS someone else's slander, he persecutes and disgraces Christ. "Why persecutest thou Me?"

"If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and ofGod resteth upon you; on their part he IS EVIL SPOKEN OF, but on your part he IS GLORIFIED" (IPeter 4:14).

Here, in the Gospel teaching on persecution everything is laid bare and all meanings are disclosed. Only the loss of faith may deprive one of an oppportunity to hear these meanings: to hear that blasphemy directed at the disciples of Christ is blasphemy against the Spirit of God. It is He, the witness of Jesus' suffering, Who reminds Christ's disciples that if evil is spoken against you and you are called political criminals, you are blessed, i.e. you are granted happiness, for God knows WHY you are presecuted by those who hate His name.

However, those who do not have happiness always want to take possession of it, being of the opinion that happiness lies "within the competence" of those in power and that they who possess either the ecclesiastical of secular power can deprive one of happiness by means of slander and blasphemy...

For Metropolitan Yuvenali canonization is not a mystical, or spiritual act, but rather a political one, and it cannot deal with the blessedness of those persecuted for Christ's sake. Firstly Metropolitan Yuvenali supposes that only those should be canonized who would not arouse "political emotions". Secondly, canonization of saints, who MAY BE acknowledged as saints according to the Metropolitan, "reflects a responsible and reasonable approach to comprehension of the most recent history". Sad as it may be, all these formulations testify to the fact that Metropolitan Yuvenali disregards the principles of the true faith within the Church.

Orthodox believers are united with their saints not FORMALLY, but in reality; and these real relations in no way depend on the comprehension of not only "the most recent history", but any history, because sanctity, according to the true faith, lies outside history; sanctity is the perfection of the perfect ones and is not subject to the criteria promoted by Metropolitan Yuvenali and undisputed by anyone of the participants in the Council.

The political thinking of Metropolitan Yuvenali not only contradicts the principles of Orthodoxy, but it also serves a certain purpose in the political interpretation of events bound up with the persecution of the Church. It turned out that the organization of ecclesiastical life on the principles of loyalty, as declared by Metropolitan Yuvenali at the Councuil of the Russian Orthodox Chruch, has been hindered by an "insufficient awareness of the part of a certain section of the Russian Chruch of the seriousness of what happened in our country in 1917."

If one were to remove verbal husks off the meaning of this phrase marked by its political double meaning, it would become obvious that it dealt with the apology for persecution. "Insufficient awareness" on the part of the victims of persecution??

It follows thus that they themselves were to blame for their execution!! And hieromartyr Metropolitan Philip also had himself to blame! He asked for it. He has even more to be blamed than those who had an "insufficient awareness".

Metrpolitan Philip, humblest of the humble, dared say to God's annointed, the Tsar Ivan the Terrible, that he was a murderer. If it were in the Metropolitan Yuvenali's power he would not permit the canonization of the hieromartyr Philip. By the way, Metroplotian Philip of Moscow had suffered from his fellow-bishops as much as the hieromartyrs Veniamin, the Metropolitan of Petrograd and Vladimir, the Metropolitan of Kiev, together with the host of the new martyrs and confessors have now suffered from the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Chrurch.

"There is still another path leading to irreverence - namely insensitivity to the loss of virtue" said St. Maximus the Confessor.

It was precisely, bishops who tore off the vestments from Metropolitan Philip, as ordered by the Tsar. He, too, was declared the state villain, and was suffocated, to the disgrace of those bishops who betrayed him.

However, the time came when, by the grace of God, the Church realized the disgrace of the betrayal and repented...

The act of rejection by our bishops of unity with the new martyrs, unity with the Church in Heaven, may possibly conceal the sin of a SPIRITUAL SCHISM SPLIT with the Orthodoxy of ther Fathers. "Whoever does not choose and desire with all his love and in all humility to unite with the most recent of all the saints, and is mistrustful of him, he will never achieve union with the previous saints and he will not find his place among them, although it may seem to him that he has full faith and love for God and all his saints" - wrote St. Simeon the New Theoloian is ... Theological chapters, - "HE WILL BE REJECTED BY THEM..."*

*note: St. Simeon the New Theologian Vol 2, p. 560

No one of the earthly powers is responsible for the renounciation. It was made voluntarily. Insensitivity to the loss of virtue resulted in double-dealing and a "theology of compromises".

Spiritual ruptures and betrayals, heresies and schisms. Fiery severance by Christ. And the Cross.

This was and still is the life of the Church. It is precisely in these trials that her invincible power gains strength.

Does this mean, then, that our "candlestick has been removed out his place"? (Rev. 2:5)

And the gates of hell have drawn so close to the gates of the Church that we find ourselves poised between life and non-existence?

Does this mean that the hope for Holy Rus' which Holy Mother of God had more than once told about in Her revelations to those to whom She appeared that this hope will not come true, not yet?

And the hope for Holy Rus' cherished by our brothers and sisters in faith who live far away from our Mother-Church and are scattered throughout the face of the earth, will that hope, too, remain unrealized? Does this mean that there is no Holy Rus', the City of Kitazh, the "holy remnant" who have not bowed their head, nor bent their knees before the Baal? A.S. Khomyakov wrote, "One feels ashamed for the Church which has fallen so low that she remorselessly recommends herself to governments and peoples, as if she were a hired brigade bargaining for payment in money, in protection or esteem - for the diligent service rendered."*

*note: A.S. Khomyakov Vol 2. 5th ed. p. 82-83

Does this mean that the Lord's promises about the invincibility of the Church have not come true?

Our faith tells us differently. Holy Rus' is indestructible. Our faith knows that there is no such power which could destroy her, that hell is powerless before her, who suffers immeasurably, who triumphs over the gates of hell through her sufferings and her thirst for Christ.

In his "Letters to Friends", Michael Novoselov, the well known church writer who, in all probability, died a martyr's death in the years of the Stalinist terror, *

*note: See "Nadezhda" Christian readings No. 10, p. 155

used to dwell on problems of the church life, which are actual even today: "Let us not be embarrassed by the faithlessness of many priests and archbishops, as some unexpected phenomenon; this is nothing new for the Church of God. Her moral upheavals which were always caused by her hierarchs, not by the faithful, were so frequent and so great, that they gave occasion to an edifying witticism: 'if bishops have not prevailed upon her, the gates of hell certainly will not'. Let us also not be puzzled by the fact that simple monks and ordinary lay people, often more than archbishops, show zeal for things Divine, as well as spiritual reasoning and in the past, too - acccording to St. Ilarius of Piktavia - 'the ears of people would turn out to be holier than the hearts of hierarchs'. Not by herarchs alone was the strength of the church
maintained, it is not they, and not learned theologians, who preserve her sacred treasure - the Spirit of Truth, who abides in her glorious first Elders. Passing on her heavenly treasure from one age to another the Church of Christ has watched over it with the help of those whose names are written in the book of life, not in the credentials of hierarchial rank and scholarly diplomas, because a genuine church consciousness proceeds not along the hierarchial and scholarly path, but along the course of sanctity."

The Church does not pay spiritual tribute to anyone, and it is in vain that the "religious leaders" declare themselves as the church, for there is no respect of persons with the Lord. The Church does not refuse to canonize saints out of fear of arousing "political emotions". She does not fear anyone, she fears only to insult God and His grace. And she "receives a Kindgom which cannot be moved..with reverence and godly fear: for out God is a consuming fire" (Hebr. 12: 28-29).

She has a different language, the LANGUAGE OF FAITH. She is hidden in the deserts of the heart, and no one may reach her by violence.

In the Letters already mentioned Michael Novoselov quotes excerpts from the research on the Church done by Prince D.A. Khilkov, an ecclesiastical apologist, as he is characterized by M. Novoselov.

"If, from the Gospel point of view, the Church is acknowledged to be - the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Body of Christ and the living Organism, then all our ideas about her change... After all, the Church is the life in Christ of hundreds of millions of people. why should we think that this life in Christ of these hundred millions, or of their part, is not the same life which was previously lived by the parts and molecules of the Body of Christ?

"According to the Holy Fathers, viewing the Church as a living organism and at the same time pointing to a Synod, or group of archbishops,*

*note: Probably , D.A. Khilkov's correspondent had pointed at some ugly act of the Synod "defining", as he thought, the sanctity of the Church and undermining her authority. (M Novoselov's note.)

would be the same as to walk up to an apple-tree, point at the hollow in it and say: you maintain that this apple-tree is alive and real, but look - there is an empty hole filled with dirt and dust... And another simile: a 'malignant growth' appeared on a man's body. Doctors diagnosed it. Now the question is: how does this growth relate to this individaul man? Let us say, our individual lives in our body, in our hand, foot, in ears. Suddenly a 'growth ' appears. I ask, do we live in this growth? Christ replies: as long as the growth is 'felt', as long as we feel pain when it is 'pricked', so long you undoubtedly live in this growth. If, however, the 'sensitivity is lost - let the growth be to you like a heathen and a publican. If it should 'disobey', and its sensitivity be lost, it is no longer part of the body."

Let us interrupt D.A. Khilkov's reasonings and remember the Lord's advice to "cut off and cast away from thee the offending eye or hand, "for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not they whole body should be cast into hell" (Mt. 5:30). Isn't it the way the Lord protects His whole Body, His Church, cutting off her tempting members? It should be noted here that we often incorrectly understand the word "temptation", hiding temptation from ourselves and from others, considering that the truth about the woes of the Church is more of a temptaion, than lies. But there is nothing more awful and dangerous, than lies in the church life, nothing more awful and dangerous than an indifference towards the defilement of the sanctity of the Church by lies!

D.A. Khilkov continues: "Imagine that in our own time the things were to happen which are bound to happen: that out of 100 bishops 99 and out of 80 million - 79 million 999.990 would renounce Orthodoxy. What of it? Nothing at all! This would affect deserters, but not at all would the Church be affected. The Church would remain the Body of Christ and the New Organism, as it was before" (77).

Let us now continue D.A. Khilkov's train of thought>

Did they not talk in the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th centuries that the Russian Orthodox Church was "paralyzed"; had not Metropolitan Of Moscow Filaret (Drosdov) complained that the Church was enfeebled by spiritual persecution? Had not our saints expressed their sorrow about the decline of Christianity in Russia when the Church was obviously prospering externally? St. Tikhon of Zadonsk wrote: "One should fear lest Christianity, being life, sacrament and spirit, should imperceptibly disappear from the community which does not know how to cherish this invaluable gift of God."

The newly canonized saint, Bishop Ignatius Bryanchaninov, in his letter and works indicated that the "times are frightening...and there is no one who might restore Christianity! The vessels of the Holy Spirit have run dry everywhere, even in monasteries, these depositories of piety and grace, while the cause of the Holy Spirit may be maintained and restored only by His tools". " organs of the Divine grace have grown decisively scarce; wolves have appeared in their vestments deceiving and destroying the sheep...", "...St. Athanasius the Great said that one of the signs of the imminent arrival of Antichrist will be the transition from church management by bishops to secular bureaucratic management. A true sign indeed! This may eventuate, if the clergy should lose their essential spiritual meaning and their energy generated by a decisive renunciation fo the world...", "...secular officials have destroyed the essential meaning of the church hierarchy, they have destroyed the bond between priests and their flocks, while love for the world, an insatiable yearning for vain honors, for accumultation of capital - have destroyed Christians in pastors, leaving in them only contemptible and hated policemen..." "...the Scriptural predictions are coming true: the faith of our people and in all hitherto Orthodox countries has waxed cold"; "...the cause of the Orthodox faith may be considered as approaching a decisive denouncement... Only God's special mercy may halt the disasterous moral epidemic, for a while of course, because Scriptural predictions will have come true".

The Divine mercy hoped for by the saints stopped this "disastrous epidemic". The powerful wave of martyrdom and confession of faith unprecedented in the history of Christianity, which has manifested itself in this century in Russia, turned out to be an edifying lesson to the whole world, to the whole of mankind, which is losing Christianity as life, sacrament and spirit.

God reminds us of Himself by sorrows nad disasters, and being horrified by their painful blows we are unable to see their good fruits.

Our martyrs and confessors belong to mankind as a WHOLE.

Now at the end of times when Christianity, as never before, has become threatened by the danger of turning into the salt which has lost its savor, when mankind has been prepared by Satanic malice to accumulate enough fire for its own destruction, God has once again brought to the world the glory and power of His Cross.

The Holy Rus' lives in time, in history, but like the Body of Christ, she belongs to neither time nor history. Christ was the Same yesterday as He is today. When we read the Apostolic Epistles that in the times of the Apostles there were false apostles, false bishops and cunning people who tried to spiritually weaken the Church, this referes no only to those times, but to ours as well. This is our "church time". And when we learn from the Revelation that the Ephesian Church, famous for it patience, faithfulness to Christ, for its non-acceptance of depravity by the church community, has in its midst liars who called themselves apostles without being such (Rev.2:2), then this also is our "church time" repeating itself in the history of the Church dispensation of God. The words of St. John Chrysostom: "I fear no one in the world, I fear only bishops", also belong to our times. As well as the bitter, prophetic words of St. Seraphim of Sarov, saying that the time will come when archbishops willbecome so impious, as to betray dogmas of faith...

And the beast will be allowed to overcome the saints, as we read with trembling in Chapter 13 of the Revelation. "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world " (Rev. 13:8). We are not given to know, how this BOOK OF LIFE is being written. But it is possible that the reason for the beast being allowed to overcome the saints, is that those who will not want to worship the beast and receive his mark on the forehead - on mind and action - might be entered into this book of eternal bliss and joy.

It is possible that the "mystical revolution", permitted by the Divine Providence for the salvation of those who will thirst for God, the confrontation of world Christianity with the apocalyptic beast, marks the beginning of the new era in the life of the One Catholic and Apostolic Church.

This new era may require the unraveling of the most complex ecclesiological and anthropological problems bound up with the 20th century cataclysms in the life of the Church. It may require spiritual clarification of interrelationships between the Church hierarchy and the Orthodox people, and the return to the type of interrelationships characteristic of Early Christianity and based on an absolute democratism. Only this kind of church democratism may give grace-filled strength for catholicity (Russ: 'sobornost'), love and unity before the face of the apocalyptic beast.

Constantine's era during which many of the Church's still existing regulations came into effect, is a thing of the past. Our time carries us towards the "end of history", and its meanings will inevitably impel the Church to perfect her external and internal life.

Things that happened to us during recent decades have not yet been given ecclesiological meaning in the context of METAHISTORY, in the context of the Gospel revelation about the destiny of Christianity.

We have witnessed the fact that "political emothions" turned out to be of greater importance to Russian bishops that the Gospel realities. We have witnessed the fruits, produced by "selection work" by atheistic powers. May we doubt that the Satanic hatred of God and of the Church will not run dry, cannot run dry during the earthly sojourn of the Church? And that it may rule over not only the godless mind, but also the minds of those who think themselves as the servants of Christ?

This malice knows no limits and national boundaries, it knows of no laws and canons. today it flares up. God permitting, in one part of the world, tomorrow it may toss its flames to another part. Hence, during this earthly times, this dreadful struggle for each soul between the beast and the Holy Apostolic Church will never cease.

And never, not an iota, will the unshakable Kingdom move.

And no matter how distressing the spiritual break of individual servants of the Church from Orthodoxy might be, no matter how ugly the fruits hiding under the dark shadow of sin and decay - it is essential in these troubled times to strive fervently to achieve unity while defending the teaching of the Holy Church.

"If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place (Ec. 10:4)

...The Russian Church weeps on the rivers of Babylon. She laments burdened by sorrows, betrayals, desecrations; she laments, harbored by the Lord from ruinous temptations, and pleads for the faint-hearted. Pilgrims wander along the roads of Russia in search of truth.

"Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory" (Ps 115:1)

By God's will the Church lies concealed in the inmost recesses of the souls of His faithful and the righteous, for the sake of whom the world is protected, for the time being, from the all-consuming fire. She lies hidden in the innermost deserts of the heart. She cannot be reached, no matter how thick the darkness, enslaving those who want to be enslaved.

it is impossible to burn her in the furnace of Babylon, or to take her away from anyone of us, because we carry her on our hearts.

The Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos, 1988
March 1989 "Orthodox Action" in Australia, P.O. Box 159, Thomastown, Vic. 3074
Printing Press of St. Xenia of Petersburg