Религиозная организация
Русская Древлеправославная Церковь

THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE RUSSIAN ANCIENT ORTHODOX CHURCH. P 2.

THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE RUSSIAN ANCIENT ORTHODOX CHURCH. P 2.

Holy fathers consider belief in dreams which fullycaptured Pyotr Velikodvorskiy as spiritual deception: "Devils often transform themselves into angels of light and take theform of martyrs, and make it appear to us during sleep that we are incommunication with them. Then, when we wake up, they plunge us intounholy joy and conceit. But you can detect their deceit by this very fact.For angels reveal torments, judgments andseparations; and when we wake up we find that we are trembling and sad. As soonas we begin to believe the devils in dreams, then they make sport of us when weare awake, too. He who believes in dreams is completely inexperienced. But hewho distrusts all dreams is a wise man. Only believe dreams that foretelltorments and judgment for you” (Saint John Climacus) 33.

On March 1st, 1836, being 27 yearsof age Pyotr Velikodvorskiy becomes a monk with the name of Paul. At the sametime, together with monk Gerontius, he begins his first travel abroad. Theytravelled to "Persia, Georgia and otherplaces near the mount Ararat where allegedly since ancient times Christians hadhidden away invariably keeping the ancient faith with bishops which had neveraccepted Nikonian novelties”34.

The next travel started only in spring of 1839 notwith the travel to the East but with movement of monk Paul with one fellowtraveller, monk Alimpiy, to Austria-Hungary, to the village of Belaya Krynista wherein an Ancient Orthodox monastery they planned to settle a future bishop. Havingsolved all necessary issues related to arrangement of a bishop’s stay monkswent to Moscow in 1842. Because of their arrival a meeting of the Moscowcommunity was organised at Rogozhskoye cemetery where "it was decided that establishment of a new ritual bishop office abroadto meet the needs of the current persecution times is a necessary and importantaffair, that the affair of establishing an office in Belaya Krynitsa monastery is worthy of unanimous approval and shall beassisted by all means… everybody agreed that, first of all, care shall betaken to find a bishop from Ancient Orthodox Christians and if such one is notfound eventually despite all due search it is possible to bring a bishop fromheresy”35.

It was this private decision of justRogozhskoye community and not the Council of 1832 as some erroneously believethat was the fundamental for subsequent establishment of Ancient Orthodoxhierarchy which went down into history under the name of Belaya Krynitsa.

In early 1845 monks Paul and Alimpiy havingreceived passports in Vienna started searching for a bishop who would have keptpre-Nikonian godliness. But that trip also ended with nothing: having travelledacross Slovenia, Montenegro and Serbia, by mid-April 1845, they returned toBelaya Krynitsa. On June 4th of the same year monks went to the East.Having travelled across several countries and having not found an AncientOrthodox bishop they started searching for a heretic bishop who would agree tojoin the Ancient Orthodoxy through an appropriate acceptance of rank.

After several failures they eventually found inConstantinople a bishop without an office who after long persuasion finallyagreed to join. That bishop was former metropolitan of Bosnia Ambrose who losthis office and lived in Constantinople on a small pension. This last factplayed the decisive role in his decision to join the basis of which was awritten condition (agreement) in accordance with which this metropolitan agreedto perform for Ancient Orthodox Christians ordination of a bishop in exchangefor a lifetime material support. Thus, the metropolitan wrote in this bilateralagreement dated April 16th, 1846, that he committed to "immediately to ordain another bishop as ourpriest”, while in exchange for doing so the monks on behalf of themonastery committed "to provide him withfull maintenance in the monastery, in all peace and satisfaction during his entirelife”. "This condition is made induplicate so that both parties keep it without any violation”.

Naturally, having taken decision to join onlydue to severe material needs, metropolitan Ambrose was far from consideringhimself to be a heretic. He did not look for eternal salvation of his soul inthe Ancient Orthodox Church, on the contrary, believing himself to be really anOrthodox sanctifier he joined the Ancient Orthodox Christians with an intentionto head them. He wrote about himself in this way: "I, Metropolitan Ambrose, notwishing any more to spend my life in idleness… to follow the words of JesusChrist spoken in the parable about spiritual production: «Occupy till I come», andsince «Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel” I wished tojoin the old ritual church in the rank of a Metropolitan above all otherpriests and laymen who are members of this religion as their supreme priest”.He stated his motivation quite clearly here – he is „a candle” and goes to Ancient Orthodox Christians only not “to spend my life in idleness” and to betheir supreme priest. And not a word that he goes from darkness to light, fromheresy to the truth. He went to save, not to save himself. Also, in his letterdated January 30th, 1848, to an Austrian minister, Count Insagi, MetropolitanAmbrose explained motivation behind his move by his reasonless deposition from aBosnian metropolitan office and meagre material support.

The metropolitan was accepted in communicationnot by the Council of the entire church as it had been envisaged before but byjust a meeting of old ritual communities of Bukovina. The metropolitanpresented no convincing evidence of his baptism which was an obligatory measureas pouring baptism was common in Greece: „Quitenumerous documents of Constantinople patriarchs of XVII, XVIII and even XIX centuries testified to common use and longexistence of such tradition”36. Moreover, no research was carriedout about baptism of patriarch Gregory who ordained metropolitan Ambrose. Also,there were other violations related to joining of metropolitan Ambrose, andthere is no necessity to dwell upon them here in greater detail.

After his joining metropolitan Ambroseimmediately fulfilled the condition of the Constantinople agreement andordained his successor, bishop Kirill of Mainos. That was the beginning of theold ritual hierarchy which received its name by the place of its origin —
Belaya Krynitsa hierarchy.

The first bishop ordained for RussianChristians — bishop of the Belaya Krynitsa hierarchy Sophronius (Zhyrov) —
turned out to be a dishonest man; he was admitted guilty of simony, trade ofchurch ranks. Zhyrov resorted to simony in Russian from 1849 to 1853 headingall Russian communities which acknowledged the Belaya Krynitsa hierarchy. Membersof Belaya Krynitsa wrote about their first Russian supreme priest: “Even before Archbishop Antonius, Sophroniuswas ordained as bishop for Russia from the Belaya Krynitsa Metropolitan underthe name of Bishop of Siberia. But beingthe only bishop in Russia for the Ancient Orthodox Church he did not wish togrow this grape of Christ duly, but, being overwhelmed with greed for money, hestarted to spoil the Ancient Orthodox hierarchy with simony”37.

Not only Sophronius Zhyrov was caught in agreed for money and a vice of simony but also metropolitan Kirill who ordainedhim. At least, archbishop Antoniy (Shutov), the second by rank priest ofRussian communities in the Belaya Krynitsa hierarchy, wrote this evidence aboutKirill. In his letter to a head of Neokruzhnik communities, bishop Antoniy(Klimov), Shutov accuses his metropolitan of the fact that he had ordainedKlimov for money:»Remember thatyou bought yourself a rank of archpriest for money given by Muravlyov: for your ordination Kryuchkov paid 1000rubles to metropolitan Kirill, 300 rubles to priest Sisoy for a church, so itmeans that Kryuchkov was paid 1500 silver rubles in total”38. In histurn, bishop Antoniy (Klimov) gave very bad reviews about archbishop Antoniy(Shutov): "You sent abroad your minionmessengers: bishop Justin andmonk-deacon Hyppolitus with lots of gold to dazzle our God-loving bishops withit and petition the Moscow throne for yourself”39; "You likened yourself to that heretic Cynic… you are ready to forgive all sins ofyour priests for money”40.

Thus, it is not a surprise that seeing allthese serious canonical violations and endless internal squabbling of theBelaya Krynitsa priests Ancient Orthodox Christians made their own appropriateconclusions about the Belaya Krynitsa hierarchy in general and decisivelyguarded themselves from any communication with it and its followers.

Having refuted this dubious hierarchy AncientOrthodox Christians remained in the former position and continued to receive pastoraldirection from priests who ran away from the new ritual church. That is why thename of "run-away priest Christians”was widely used by our enemies to call our Christians although they have neverused and never use this name to call themselves. The only true and acceptablename for our Christians is Ancient Orthodox Christians, i.e. anciently OrthodoxChristians. We were "run-away priestChristians” for the synodic church and the administrative authorities ofthe Russian Empire. We were also known under this name among the old ritualcommunities. But neither hatred nor contempt of enemies of the Church couldshake the faith of its sincere and loyal children.

As we have already said before, since it wasimpossible for long decades due to known circumstances to summon the AncientOrthodox Council attended by representatives of all Ancient Orthodox Christiancommunities both inside the Russian Empire and from abroad, our ancestors hadno due council ruling about numerous issues of canonical and liturgicalprocedures. Communities were practically autonomous and urgent religious issueswere solved there only by opinions of the most authoritative members ofcongregation: priests, readers, supervising merchants and senior choir singers.

It is quite probable also that in the secondhalf of the XIX century the most urgent issue for our fathers was the issuerelated to an attitude to the ruling Greek-Russian church. Acceptance ofrun-away priests to various Ancient Orthodox communities continued to becarried out in different methods under traditions which had been used in suchcommunities most often in the past. For example, deacons’ communities preferredacceptance of priests coming from the new ritual church under the so-calledthird rite, i.e. by renunciation of Nikonian novelties and confession. Whilethe major part of Ancient Orthodox Christians accepted priests looking for thetruth under the second rite, i.e. by renunciation from novelties and anointmentby holy consecration oil which our Christians had kept from the time of godlypatriarchs and diluted it, if necessary, with anointing oil (vegetable oil) inaccordance with the church canon41.

There also were disagreements about attitudetowards legal registration of church communities in state and administrativebodies of the Russian Empire and about praying for a ruling monarch, and others.

Nevertheless, all these disagreements werenever an obstacle for the major thing: coming to understand that we are AncientOrthodox Christians and brothers in Christ. Disagreements were never anobstacle for us to unite our powers to preserve the single Orthodox Church ofChrist using the solid foundation of the spiritual heritage of holy Russiabefore the schism.

The XX century came.

On April 17th, 1905, Emperor NicholasII signed a document which was very progressive for that time, his own ImperialEdict «On Strengthening of Fundamentals of Religious Tolerance” which actuallydeclared the freedom of religion.

Spiritual freedom was granted to everybody,including Ancient Orthodox Christians. Of special importance was the fact thatthis Edict on granting this freedom was enacted on the eve of the Holy Paschawhich was quite symbolic. Pascha in translation to the Russian language meanspassover: Passover from death to life, Passover from sorrow to joy, Passoverfrom slavery to freedom.

Words are not enough to reflect the unspokenjoy which all Russian Ancient Orthodox Christians felt at that day! Touchingwords of the paschal canon spoken at that time all over Russia acquired specialmeaning, special exultation: „When theywho were held by the chains of hell beheld Thy boundless compassion, O Christ,they hastened to the light with joyful feet, exalting the eternal Pascha”. It was the Pascha ofResurrection of Christ and, at the same time, the Pascha of liberation of Hisearthly Church from the yoke of Peter I’s Russia. Truly, the gates of hellshall not prevail against the Church of Christ (Matthew 16, 18).

Edict of Emperor Nicholas II “On Strengtheningof Fundamentals of Religious Tolerance” is comparable by its importance for theChurch of Christ only with the Edict of Milan on freedom of religion which wassigned in winter of 313 by Emperors Saint Constantine the Great and Licinius. EmperorConstantine’s edict put an end to the era of martyrs, pagan persecutionsagainst the Church, and proclaimed the spiritual freedom and equality foreverybody, while Emperor Nicholas’ edict put an end to old ritualistpersecutions against the Ancient Orthodox faith. Whatever the differencebetween these two monarchs they will always be remembered by Christians forthrough them merciful God granted peace to the Church of Christ in accordancewith the true words of the Holy Scriptures: „The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: heturneth it whithersoever he will”(Proverbs 21, 1).

It was the beginning of the time that went downinto history as the golden age of the Ancient Orthodoxy. Our Christiansreceived a possibility without any hindrance to organise the life of theearthly Church. During that comparatively short period of freedom preceded by thelong years of yoke of ungodliness the Ancient Orthodoxy made an enormousspiritual and material progress.

At that time the major task for AncientOrthodox Christians “who have beenscattered” becomes unification of communities under the single religiousmanagement and the search of a bishop sharing their views for full restorationof canonical church hierarchy which had been lost after the schism through thefault of our new ritualist persecutors.

As we have already said before our ancestorsmade several attempts to find a lawful Ancient Orthodox bishop. To this end,starting yet from the first decades of the XVIII century, godly AncientOrthodox Christians had been in search of such hierarchs. Authoriseddelegations from Ancient Orthodox communities travelled to Greece, theCaucuses, the Middle and Far East, even to Africa, to find them. Sometimes,such searches lead to some results but it became evident soon that a hierarchthey had found was unacceptable for some canonical reasons, his joining wasdeclared as erroneous and he was expelled from the Church according to theApostle’s words: „Therefore put away fromamong yourselves that wicked person”(1 Corinthians 5, 13).

The most sorrowful of these mistakes whichshook the Church with another schism which was comparable by its tragic resultswith the schism of the XVII century was acknowledgement by a part of AncientOrthodox Christians of Greek metropolitan Ambrose as their head. We have dweltupon this subject at length above. While the other part of Ancient OrthodoxChristians forming the long-suffering Russian Ancient Orthodox Church layingtheir hopes with the Providence waited and searched for such hierarch whichwould meet fully all Orthodox canonical requirements and would wish to join theAncient Orthodoxy not for mundane expectations but, first of all, for thepurpose of saving his own soul.

To fulfil both this objective and also theobjective of the church unification it was necessary to summon a council of theentire church. The organisational work on summoning of such Council thanks toefforts of numerous advocates of ancient godliness soon brought the successfulresult. The 1st All-Russian Congress of Ancient Orthodox Christiansopened in Nizhny Novgorod in May 1908. Representatives of all centres of the AncientOrthodoxy attended this Congress. Before this great event the Church had alsoheld periodical Councils or Congresses, but, as a rule, all of them were oflocal importance and were attended by representatives of communities form oneor two regions, subsequently, they could not represent opinions of the entireChurch. As an example, we may note the so-called Volsky councils which weresummoned several times by Ancient Orthodox Christians of the Lower Volga regionstarting from 1890. But all of these Councils and Congresses could not becompared with the 1st All-Russian Congress. Indeed, during theentire history of the Ancient Orthodoxy it was the first Congress with such awide representation: it was attended by deputies from all over Russia, evenfrom its most remote corners. Also, there were representatives from AncientOrthodox communities of Turkey and Romania. Of special importance was the factthat chapel old ritualists of the Urals also participated in this Congress. It wasoutstanding for the number of persons who attended it — 500 delegates with 200delegates with the right of a deciding vote. This very big number of attendees,moreover that the Congress was held at the time of start of agricultural works,vividly shows the great importance which our fathers attached to those issueswhich were raised at the Congress: the church unification, institution of theAll-Russian Brotherhood, a management body of the entire church, search of abishop, establishment of communities all over the country, educationalactivities, etc. All these issues which were the major points of the Congressagenda had been sent to communities in advance.

By the overwhelming majority of votes theCongress ruled on establishment of the All-Russian Brotherhood with the Councilinstituted in the stricture of this management body to provide organisationaland administrative management over Ancient Orthodox communities for the time ofabsence of bishops. The Charter of the All-Russian Brotherhood designed by acommission specially elected at the Congress was also approved unanimously.Further on, the Brotherhood Council of 30 people was elected so that theCouncil would include one or two authorised persons from every more or lesssubstantial area of residence of Ancient Orthodox Christians.

Later, upon a ruling of the III All-RussianAncient Orthodoxy Congress (1910) the Brotherhood was officially renamed to theAll-Russian Ancient Orthodoxy Brotherhood named after Saint Nicholas. Institutionof the All-Russian Brotherhood was not something new; the history of the Churchof Christ already there were periods when the Church organisational andadministrative body, for objective reasons, was headed by priests and godlylaymen. The last historic example in favour of institution of the Brotherhoodof Ancient Orthodox Christians which accepted priests from Greek-Russian Churchwas the positive experience of West Russian Orthodox Brotherhoods of the 15-16 centuriesin the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. At that time Orthodox Brotherhoodssuccessfully repelled heretical attacks of Uniates, Catholics, Protestants, Antitrinitariansand other heretical and antichristian communities. Besides, these Brotherhoodsbeing a form of preservation of traditions of the Holy Russia acted asadvocates of Orthodox Christians to civil rulers of the Polish-LithuanianCommonwealth in secular issues.

No less important and decisive act of the 1stAll-Russian Congress was the positive ruling on search of a bishop sharingoutlooks of Ancient Orthodox Christians from cathedral (not retired) new ritualbishops.

In those glorious days God brought to ploughthe field of church construction many kind labourers who made an invaluableinput in the case of restoration of the Ancient Orthodox Church aftermulti-year period of persecutions and miseries. Let us name just a few of them.Among priests – Father Philipp Petrin from Nizhny Novgorod, Father NicholaMikulshin from Volsk, Father Vasiliy Argentov from Khvalynsk, Father AndreyDmitriyevskiy from Moscow. Among laymen – the Chairman of the Council of theAll-Russian Brotherhood, one of the largest  bread manufacturers of Russia, Nizhny Novgorodmerchant, councillor, Nichola Aleksandrovich Bugrov, the Chairman of theCouncil of Nikolsk-Rogozhskaya community, Moscow merchant and manufacturerMikhail Fedorovich Yasashnov, Rostov merchant Nikolay Alekseyevich Panin,financier Timofei Nikitich Andreyevskiy, book publisher Lev AlekseyevichMalekhonov, lawyer Konstantin Grigoriyevich Rubanov who was the chairman of thefirst and of the three subsequent All-Russian Congresses, entrepreneurAlexander Mikhailovich Rybolov, reader Antonin Yakovlevich Vasiliyev and manyother Christians. Eternal commemoration of them all in Christ!

At that time our fathers just found the waywhich was supposed to bring them to the long-cherished goal. The fundamentalwas built and, that is why, the First Congress is so vital. But enormous workwas yet to be done: to fulfil the Congress decrees, to unite spiritual millionsof people into a single body moved by just God’s Spirit.

Many years of work and search, completions anddisappointments were yet ahead, but at that time, in 1908, our Christians madethe first certain step on this sophisticated but salvific path of church accomplishments.The first step was made; the first decisive word was spoken.

Ancient Orthodox Christians were creating theBody of Christ in one united powerful impulse. Beautiful churches andmonasteries, schools and publishing houses were built all over the country. OurChristians did not forget about the needs of their Motherland, those who wereable made generous donations to social works, to open hospitals, asylums, charityhouses, homes for the homeless, public and administrative buildings.

Subsequent All-Russian Congresses were held inthe same atmosphere of unprecedented spiritual uplift gradually putting toorder all church issues, coordinating renovation of all aspects of the churchlife. The II All-Russian Congress was held on 10-15 May 1909 in Nizhny Novgorod.The III Congress was held on 12-15 May 1910 also in Nizhny Novgorod, the IVCongress was held in Volsk on 20-23 May 1912.

Without doubt, such activity of Ancient OrthodoxChristians could not but attract attention of various political parties whichwere especially numerous at those years in Russia. All of them tried to obtainthe support of our Christians; however, they were not interested in politicalgames of adherents of different faiths who were inebriated with an unexpectedfreedom. The Chairman of the Council of the All-Russian Brotherhood NicholaAleksandrovich Bugrov skilfully stated the attitude of Ancient OrthodoxChristians to the politics at that time. Politicians showed extreme interest inhim as a quite known and influential man in the state, for example, in 1907when the III State Duma was elected he found himself in the lists of twoparties: the Black Hundreds and the Octobrists. However, Nichola Aleksandrovichdefinitely refused from these political benefits and said that «until now I have not joined any politicalparty, but, wishing the soonest, ifpossible, salvation of our country and being a supporter of development oflegal order I shall oppose violence and arbitrariness whatever form they takeand whatever flag they raise, white or red”42. This is the politicalposition of Ancient Orthodox Christians up to date.

The V All-Russian Congress of Ancient OrthodoxChristians was held in the unique historic atmosphere, both for the Russianpeople and the Church of Christ, in Moscow, from 16 to 18 July 1917. Themonarch power in Russia fell, and this event of landmark scale affected allperceptions of the Russian society. Besides, the World War continued, and theCivil War just started.

Ancient Orthodox Christians did not consider itpossible to stay away from events which greatly influenced their Motherland.The Fifth Congress, apart from discussion of canonical issues, also consideredpolitical issues but only to the extent that such issues could be of importanceto the Church of Christ. The Congress passed several resolutions prepared by apolitical commission specially organised by the Congress relating to thepolitical situation of that time in Russia. In particular, about the war withGermany, the Congress declared: “admittingthat the war is burdensome and destroys the life of the country, it isdesirable to end it as soon as possible, but the peace may be made only in away which is beneficial for Great Russia in full unity with our valorous allies;yet, we are ready to make further sacrifices and continue the war to strengthenachieved freedoms and preserve the integrity of Russia not wishing to give awayto the enemy even a tiny part of our land and be enslaved; neither we wishenslavement of other nations”. According to the request of Ancient Orthodoxsoldiers the Congress took a decision to send priests to the fronts of theWorld War One for spiritual guidance of Ancient Orthodox Christians who „fought for their neighbours”. Monkpriests Saphronius (Popov), Clement (Logvinov) and Pansophius (Ivliev) as wellas priests Alexander Kovalevskiy, Alexander Sokolov, and IoannesTrakhonitovskiy volunteered to go the front for this purpose.

The Congress spoke about the new political andgovernmental order that under such order “thesituation of old ritualists has improved somewhat and we further wish that we,old ritualists, shall have equal rights with other citizens of Russia”. „We, old ritualists, wish thatRussia shall be a democratic and republican political system with a presidentelected from Christians”.

The attitude of our Christians to godlessBolsheviks who strived to seize power in Russia at that time was concisely butclearly and even prophetically stated in the official printed newspaper of theAncient Orthodox Church – “Brotherhood” journal: „Do not vote for Bolsheviks andinternationalist social revolutionaries for they lead the country to perish anddestruction”43.

Yet, without doubt, the Congress was summonednot only to discuss publicly important issues, but, first of all, to discussissues of the Church. Among them the most important ones were organisation ofthe Ancient Orthodox University, training courses for Ancient Orthodox teachers,opening of schools for children of Ancient Orthodox Christians all over thecountry. It was also decided to petition the Provisional Government to return “churches, monasteries, antimensions, icons,and other liturgical property, both movable and immovable” which had beentaken away from our Christians before.

The Congress also paid much attention to theissue of a search of a bishop: „Enjoyingfull freedom under the new government and absolute termination of anypersecution of old ritualists the Congress requests the Brotherhood Council toundertake the most energetic measures to find a Bishop with an office in the current rank and his adoption into our AncientOrthodox Church under the second rite in accordance with resolutions ofprevious All-Russian Congresses”.

And measures were really undertaken. A specialdelegation held negotiations with several bishops of the new ritualist church,however, the Bolshevik coup d’état which soon occurred in Russia threw thecountry into the bloody chaos and did not allow our Christians to make theirwishes come true at that time.

The V Congress also witnessed an event whichwas very important for our entire Church: reconciliation with Christians whoopposed establishment of official communities and who severed communication withother brothers in Christ after passing of governmental law on stateregistration of church communities on October 17th, 1906. At thattime some Ancient Orthodox Christians put such registration to doubtconsidering that the state would overtake management of church communities bysuch registration. Although, the law did not envisage anything like that in anyway, on November 30th, 1909, its opponents summoned their ownCongress where they officially declared severance of communication with allregistered communities.

Opponents of official registration ofcommunities were comparatively few and they were supported by just two priests:Sergiy Ilyakhinskiy and Pavel Knyazevskiy. However, all the treasures of theworld are not worth a soul of any one person (Luke 9, 25), thus, theAll-Russian Brotherhood Council for many years searched for a possibility forreconciliation so that no brother would perish staying in schism. The IV All-RussianCongress held in 1912, on behalf of the entire Ancient Orthodox Church, ruled: “Opponents of official registration ofcommunities shall be considered sons of the single Church, shall be accepted for common prayer, andopening of communities shall be the choice of every parish”. As forpersons sowing discord the Church made a strict verdict on them: „Clergymen and laymen who summon meetingsagainst communities, Congresses, and the Brotherhood Council and who bringdiscord into our Church shall be deemed the discordant”. Unfortunately, all these efforts turned out to be fruitless.

Change of the governmental order and provisionof absolute freedom of religion by the Provisional Government affectedopponents of official registration of communities in the most favourable way. On14-15 May 1917, in the village of Frolovo44 of Don Army Region a Congress of opponents washeld: “Bearing in mind collapse of theold power the Council in the village of Frolovo passed a resolution about thewish of reconciliation and applied to the Brotherhood Council with areconciliation declaration”.At a meeting of the All-Russian Brotherhood Council held on 28-29 May thedeclaration of opponents was welcomed with great joy. A delegation of opponentsof official registration of communities headed by their priest IoannesYastrebkov arrived to participate in the V All-Russian Congress. No participantof the Congress remained indifferent to this issue, many wished to speak on itand they were unanimous, all speeches „containedwish and acknowledgment of the necessity of reconciliation and termination of thediscord alien to the Church of Christ”.“Elevated moods at the Congress, –wrote one of its participants in the»Brotherhood” journal, – ended in a moving and touching picture ofreconciliation of those who did not oppose registration of communities andthose who opposed it. Really, division into those who did not opposeregistration of communities and those who opposed it was caused by mistrust tothe old power. The power which was too omnipresent, alien, and hostile. Now,this power is gone. The source of all power in our Church and its constructionis now the Church itself with its canons. The reason for discord is gone, so,the discord is no longer needed! Reconciliation was accomplished by commonforgiveness with tears of rejoice”45.

All attendees made beginning bows in front ofthe icon of Nicholas the Wonderworker. The Congress chairman, Vasiliy NikitichSalishev, read the beginning prayers «God, Holy Father, and Our Father”, troparionof Saint Nicholas and the hymn to the Mother of God. Then a prayer of commonforgiveness was read followed by singing by all attendees of hymns: „The giftsof the Holy Spirit”, “Strengthen those who have hope for you” and „Byestablishing me on the rock of faith”. God, the Merciful, united brothers inthe Single Church by the single Bowl in this manner! This unity was of specialvalue bearing in mind the pending Bolshevik ungodly darkness in Russia.

The Russian synodic church and, in particular,its “united faith” part also was in for radical changes. Many of old ritualistshad some hope that new ritualists would restore the canonical churchconstruction at its local church council having chosen a patriarch and wouldrepent their persecutions against Ancient Orthodox Christians which lasted forseveral centuries. In particular, the V All-Russian Council of Ancient OrthodoxChristians put forward an opinion that the search for a bishop should not becontinued as the entire new ritual church would cancel oaths of Moscow Councilsof 1656 1667, would repent and unite with the Ancient Orthodox Church. But, aswe have already said above, the synodic majority of the Congress directed byGod Himself ruled to continue with all due diligence a search for a bishop forquick restoration of the three-rank hierarchy in the Ancient Orthodox Church inits completeness.

Further developments showed that such decisionswere quite justified.

From 1918 to 1923 the Ancient Orthodox Churchlived through all horrors of the Civil War, destruction, and communist terror.At this time all religious confessions suffered greatly from militant atheismregime. The formerly unshakable ruling church with patriarch Tikhon elected bythe Council ceased to exist as a single body having fallen into several partsand numerous divisions. It seemed that the end of the time came as it so muchresembled advent of antichrist, however, the most horrible 30-40s years of theXX century were still ahead.

According to the Divine Providence, during thetime of the new economic policy when the atrocities of the „reds” and anarchicterror somewhat subsided, namely, on November 4th, 1923, in the cityof Saratov in an Ancient Orthodox church named after Saint Martyr DimitriySolunskiy an event of the greatest importance for Ancient Orthodox Christiansoccurred. An arch-priest of this church, priest Nicholas Tikhomirov, byanointment, accepted archbishop of Saratov Nicholas (Pozdnev) who was formerlyunder renovated ritual supreme church management to the Church of Christ. BishopNicholas was ordained as a bishop in 1921 before the new ritual church wasdivided into the renovated part and the old church part. Thus, long, difficult,and sorrowful search of a bishop who would be of like-minded to AncientOrthodox Christians brought fruit with God’s help. And on December 19th,1923, the Council of Ancient Orthodox Christians from communities of the VolgaRegion and Central Russia was held which upon consideration of documentsconfirming Bishop Nicholas’ correct baptism and ordination ruled to find hisjoining canonically immaculate and decreed to name him ever after as “Bishop of Moscow, Saratov and entire Russiaof all Ancient Orthodox Christians”.

In his speech Bishop Nicholas said as follows: „I have been moved to the bottom of my heart withyour sincere welcome words and I also sincerely welcome all old ritualists whoattend this Congress personally and as delegates and I consider it to be my duty to state here my background to make it clearfor you that during my entire life I have searched for just one thing – to findthe truth and finally I have found it only in our Lord, Jesus Christ, and inHis Gospel teaching as well as in writings and traditions of Holy Apostles,such truth is kept integral and pure only in the single Apostolic Churchestablished by Christ Himself, and now this Divine Truth is kept only by theOld Ritual Church, that is why, by the end of my life, I decided to join you,old ritualists. In conclusion, I wish that the old ritual church shall keepthis treasure as it has kept it before, in its purity and integrity, and thatold ritualists shall help me in doing so while I shall try to help them to keepthis Divine Truth in purity and integrity and I call upon all old ritualists topray studiously to Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen”.

Soon after this event, the Ancient OrthodoxCouncil which was held in Moscow on 25-30 May 1924 ceremoniously stated thatthe earthly Ancient Orthodox Church was no longer a “widow church” but regainedits entire hierarchic completeness. Before this Council was held, a commissionspecially convened by the Council had meticulously studied canonicalcorrectness of acceptance of Bishop Nicholas and considered literally allmoments of his life. Various testimonies, including even rumours and gossips,were considered. As a result of this study the Council came to the followingunanimous conclusion: „henceforthconsider the three-rank hierarchy in our Church regained with observation ofall patristic canons. The Council inthe brother-like and Christian manner calls upon all old ritualists of othercommunities as well as followers of other religions to stop their falsethinking and join our Ancient Orthodox Church”46.

It is impossible to describe the joy of thisevent! A long and difficult search of a bishop who would be like-minded toAncient Orthodox Christians, with God’s help, was finally successful. Aftermany decades of sorrow of “church widowhood” the bishop rank in the Ancient OrthodoxChurch was finally regained.

The words of Prophet Isaiah came true – thewidowhood of the Church of Christ was gone: „Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song,shout for joy, you who were never in labour… Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace;you will not be humiliated. You willforget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of yourwidowhood, for your Maker is your husband… “For a brief moment Iabandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge ofanger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I willhave compassion on you,» says the LORD your Redeemer” (Isaiah, chapter54).

Other prophecy also came true: "Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth;burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will havecompassion on his afflicted ones.But Zion said, «The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgottenme.» «Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have nocompassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forgetyou!” says the Lord. „See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; yourwalls are ever before me. Your children hasten back, and those who laid youwaste depart from you” (Isaiah 49).

According to God’s will, the Church of Christmade desolate by Russian Bishop Nikon was again decorated with its originalbeauty by another Russian Bishop, Nicholas. Thus, the Church was rewarded bythose who made it desolate – Russian bishops.

The words of Saint Hippolytus of Rome confirmthat we rightly understand this prophecy of Isaiah as being referred not toJews but to the Church of Christ: “DaughterZion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a cucumber field, likea city under siege. Beloved, you seethe vision of the prophet who foretold about this time many generations ago. Thisprophesy is not about Jews, not about the city of Zion, but about the HolyChurch, for Zion is the Church, that is, the bride brought from heathen peopleaccording to the testimony of prophets”47.

Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, also referredthe prophecy of Isaiah to the Church of Christ: «Isaiah prophesied much more than the rest about Christ and the Church,that is, about the King and that city which he founded; so that some say heshould be called an evangelist rather than a prophet… But let us now hear what follows about the Church. He says,«Rejoice, O barren, you that barest not; break forth and cry, you that did nottravail with child: for many more are the children of the desolate than of herthat has an husband, says the Lord. Enlarge the place of yourtent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen yourcords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to theleft; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolatecities. Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace;you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth andremember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband- the Lord Almighty is his name — the Holy One of Israel is yourRedeemer. He is called the God of all the earth” (Isaiah 54, 1-5), etc. Butthese must suffice; and some things in them ought to be expounded; yet I thinkthose parts sufficient which are so plain that even enemies must be compelledagainst their will to understand them”48.

Such events were not gone unnoticed byChristians of various divisions. If, for example,  some people of the same faith, „chapel”Christians, “luzhki” priest-free Christians gladly joined the Church, some of otherbrothers – Belaya Krynitsa Christians and „deacon” Christians — in all possibleways tried to malign both Bishop Nicholas and the entire Ancient OrthodoxChurch.

They resorted to the dirtiest methods trying toblemish in any possible way Ancient Orthodox Christians for restoration of thethree-rank hierarchy in the Ancient Orthodox Church for this would mean foropponents of the Ancient Orthodoxy an end of their own ambitions.

If the true reasons for discord actions of“deacon’ M.I. Chukhontsev are unknown, the causes of persecution of BishopNicholas all over Russia by Meletiy (Kartushin), bishop of Belaya Krynitsahierarchy, are stated in this story: „In 1924 we, 3 Cossacks, were in Moscowand went to the All-Russian Congress which was summoned on May 24thto consider documents of Bishop Nicholas Pozdnev and to acknowledge his lawfulcapacities, we had arrived three days before the beginning of the Congress andwe had no business to do, so we found our priest Meletiy Kartushin from ourvillage. He accepted us, his fellow villagers, he asked us to accept from him adelegation to the council for joint discussion of the issue of our separationand he told us that if your Councilfailed to accept our delegation and rejected it we would declare a war with youand would fight you without any mercy!But the Council rejected this delegation… and after this collision BishopMeletiy was offended and started to collect weapons for the war, by anypossible means with the only purpose – to blemish Bishop Nicholas and priestshe ordained looking for assistance of various “Chukhontsev deacon” people and»Seraphim” people only to blemish Bishop Nicholas. Bishop Meletiy did not careabout the trustworthiness of such people, he just wanted to take a pan of dirtfrom them and pour it on the head of Bishop Nicholas”49.

But even within the Church there was a man whoby his lack of mind almost put the church peace and unity to jeopardy. Thechurch discord could have been caused by archimandrite Clement (Logvinov) whoearlier made a great input in the case of restoration of the three-rankhierarchy. In 1925, in Ashkhabad, without council consideration and blessing,archimandrite Clement, with numerous canonical violations, «accepted” twobishops from the new ritual church: Andrei (Ukhtomskiy) and Rufin (Brekhov).Having ordained by them in such an unlawful way he dared to come to the AncientOrthodox Church Council in such a capacity. Such unauthorised act ofarchimandrite Clement was condemned by the Council and when the hope for hisrepentance was gone a decision was made „notto consider Clement as a member of our Church”. Being justly rejected by the Ancient Orthodox CouncilClement went to Moscow to Rogozhskoye cemetery where was ordained by the thirdrank by Belaya Krynitsa bishop Meletiy (Kartushin) into the Belaya Krynitsacommunity on October 31st, 1925. But he did not stay there for along time. In late 1927 he left the Belaya Krynitsa community and set up hisown “Clement” community, followers of this community named themselves „trulyOrthodox Catacomb Christians”. Having learnt about it Belaya Krynitsa bishopMeletiy wrote with bitterness: “While being with usBishop Clement did nothingworthy of praise. Despite the fact that at that time we had 4 „widow”archdioceses, he had to stay without an office as no archdiocese wanted toaccept him as a bishop. For some time he was a head of Irkutsk-Amur archdioceseand he did all he could to remain the head of this archdiocese. But thearchdiocese failed to accept him. Since he was not quite intelligent, he hadneither persistence nor truly strong faith, he tried to get into a group of BishopAndrei Ukhtomskiy, but, evidently, he failed there, too. Then he joined a smallgroup of “run-away priest” people where he is now a subject to mockery… Oncea man goes astray and becomes indecent, he is ready to do and accept anything”.50 Having separated himself from everybodyClement set up his own hierarchy which was a strange mixture of old ritual andnew ritual traditions. But God did not welcome this unlawful hierarchy; itdisappeared just several decades after its establishment as „bad fruit”.

Despite all efforts of malevolent people,through God’s blessing, the Ancient Orthodox Church made itself stronger insofaras it was possible in 1920s during the rule of godless people.

The issue of bishop ordinations was stillcritical as Bishop Nicholas was the only Ancient Orthodox Christian bishop atthat time. Nevertheless, striving to observe Ancient Orthodox canons at theircouncil Christians decided to postpone the issue of one-person bishopordination and ruled to do their best to find the second bishop like-minded toAncient Orthodox Christians. Efforts of a specially convened commission broughtsome fruit, but, unfortunately, new ritual bishops accepted to the Church, Philipp(Gumilevskiy) on December 26th, 1924, and Antonius (Milovidov) on April26th, 1926, turned to be inconsistent and capricious people. ThankGod that He freed our Christians from such regretful pastors! They went backafter some time with the Ancient Orthodox Church.

In 1927, during the Holy Week, an importantevent occurred in the Ancient Orthodox Church: in Moscow, in the NicholasChurch, Bishop Nicholas assisted by Ancient Orthodox clergymen made Holy Oilfor the first time in two and a half centuries. This event was ceremoniouslyannounced at the 1928 Council.

We ought to make some more special notes aboutthe 1928 Council. This Council was a remarkable event because it was attendedby a new ritual bishop of Tula, Juvenal (Maslovskiy), as an officialrepresentative of synodic Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodskiy). The purpose ofthis visit was quite unusual: on behalf of the new ritual church Bishop Juvenalvisited our Council to offer church unification through condemnation by newritualists of Patriarch Nikon and heresies brought by him into the Church.

According to recollections of witnesses, HisEminence Macarius (Kuznetsov), Bishop of Novozybki, and David Ivanovich Klimov,on behalf of the Council, archimandrite Pansophius (Ivliyev) asked BishopJuvenal about the attitude of Juvenal and the new ritual church on the whole tothe Ancient Orthodox Church. Juvenal replied that everything in the AncientOrthodox Church was just and correct and that no canonical rules were violated.He liked everything. So, a reasonable question was put forward: what impedesyour joining to the Ancient Orthodox Church? Juvenal answered that he had beenspecifically authorised by his synod to discuss with Ancient OrthodoxChristians the issue of acceptance of ranks of new ritual bishops who were notbaptised by pouring in the current rank through condemnation of heresies. Onbehalf of new ritualists he offered a rite of acceptance specially made byMetropolitan Sergius (Stragorodskiy) which, in particular, said: “We promise to keep these ancient rites withholiness and integrity, we also decisively defy those who defame them andproclaim that those who say that the sing of the cross made with two foldedfingers for the sign of the cross and blessing, three-part eight-pointed HolyCross, the tradition to say twice Halleluiah adding „Glory to You, God”, andother ancient church rites and traditions were borrowed from various heresies maythem be anathematised and cursed”.

Later this issue was debated at length at theCouncil which resulted in the following unanimous council resolution: “in accordance with the 8th canonof the 1st Ecumenical Council to accept Bishops from Nikonian churchby the 2nd rite until the condemnation endorsed at the NikonianCouncils of 1666 and 1667 is removed from us, old ritualists”. Furtherdiscussion of this issue was postponed for a year.

We ought to do justice to new ritualists; theyreally tried to fulfil the resolution of our Council of 1928 by the said date. On23 (10) April 1929 a synod of the new ritual church was held which discussedthe issue of cancellation of condemnations imposed on Ancient Orthodoxtraditions. On this matter Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodskiy) spoke to thesynod and suggested the following: „Nowadays,during the time of internal changes within old ritualists and changingattitude of old ritualists to the Orthodox Church, the necessity ofcancellation of the Council oaths is ever more evident and urgent. To expectsummoning of a new Local Council is equal to refusal to solve this issue. Theonly solution is to pass such resolution by the Synod and invite our otherBishops to join the Synodic resolution by way of written statements (inaccordance with Canon 4 of the 1st Ecumenical Council)”. Finally,the synod passed a resolution to acknowledge condemnations of Moscow Councilsof 1666 and 1667 as “invalid”. Also, all condemning statements relating to the AncientOrthodox Church rites and traditions spoken or written during the century of schismby many advocates of Nikonian reforms were cancelled. While the very canons andtraditions of the Ancient Church were proclaimed as salvific.

It seemed that this good beginning would havesome good continuation but another development of events was more acceptable toGod at that time.

In September 1929, by the grace of God, anevent about which our ancestors had prayed for many decades occurred. Thetree-rank hierarchy was finally restored in the Ancient Orthodox Church: asecond bishop was found and bishop ordination was performed for the first timeduring the last two and a half centuries.

On 16 (3) September, in Moscow CathedralChurch, Bishop Nicholas assisted by archimandrite Pansophius (Ivliyev) acceptedto the Ancient Orthodox Church by ointment Bishop Irginskiy, Stephan(Rastorguyev). Bishop Stephan, who was born and baptised by old ritualcommunity which admitted hierarchic jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate,was ordained in the city of Satki on 4 (17) July 1928 by acting head of Ufa newritual archdiocese Veniamin (Troitskiy), Bishop of Birsk, and Rufin (Brekhov),Bishop of Satki. Acceptance of Bishop Stephan was attended by many clergymenand laymen.

On 18 (5) September, in Nikolskiy CathedralChurch of Moscow, Archbishop Nicholas assisted by Stephan, Bishop of Urals andBuguruslan, ordained the first after the church schism Ancient Orthodox Bishop Pansophius(Ivliyev) to a newly established archdiocese of Rostov and Kursk51.

Thereafter, the life of the Ancient OrthodoxChurch was no longer dependant on exceptional circumstances and again became anormal canonical one.

Yet, the days of joy soon changed into the daysof sorrow. The time of new hardships came. Since late 1920s the Soviet Unionstarted an active militant atheism campaign. All over the country the faithfulpeople were persecuted, churches were closed, priests and bishops, activelaymen were arrested. The devil started the battle against the Church literallyin a month after the abovementioned events. On October 28th, 1929, Bolsheviksseized and robbed Moscow Cathedral Church which was a home for all importantchurch events of the last years. But God is merciful, at historical Rogozhskoyecemetery Christians were allocated a church (known as the Chapel of Nicholas)which had belonged to Ancient Orthodox Christians until 1854 but which was seizedand forcefully passed over to another faith.

Pressure was put on the faithful people allover the country but still it was short of open repressions, although, eventsdeveloped in such direction.

In early 1930s the Ancient Orthodox Church hadmore bishops. Bishop Filaret (Kharlamov) was ordained to Sverdlovsk(Yekaterinburg) archdiocese. His ordination was performed by Bishop ofBuguruslan and Urals Stephan assisted by Bishop of Rostov and Kursk Pansophius.In some time bishops Stephan and Filaret ordained Bishop of Volsk, Theodorus(Shashin), and Bishop of Gorodets, Pavel (Nosov).

On September 1st, 1934, ArchbishopNicholas died and was buried in Moscow at Rogozhskoye cemetery. Bishop Stephanbecame the Primate of the Ancient Orthodox Church.

In summer 1933 atheists arrested and put intoprison Bishop Pansophius (Ivliyev). In spring 1935 Bishop Filaret shared thesame fate. These priests never left the prison…

At the same time repressions became fiercer,atheists did not limit their actions to only exile and imprisonment; they triedto physically destroy Christ’s priests. Dozens of Ancient Orthodox priests wereeither shot or tortured to death in prisons. Almost all of our bishops obtaineda crown of martyrdom. Thousands of laymen were killed by the godless regime forthe Faith of Christ. But God did not allow full destruction of the earthlyChurch. Just as at the time of pagan persecutions the Church of Christ startedto exist under cover.

In 1935, seeing that persecutions against thefaithful ones picked up momentum, the Major Church Council took a decision toperform subsequent ordinations in secret from the godless authorities. Thefirst such ordination was held on 23 June (6 July) 1936. At that day in thecity of Gorodets of Nizhny Novgorod Region, in the church of Saint ProphetElijah, Archbishop Stephan (Rastorguyev) assisted by Bishop of Gorodets, Pavel(Nosov), ordained archimandrite Mikhail (Kochetov) to Romanovo-Borisoglebsk archdiocese.Later on, in secret from the godless, Trifon (Epishev), Meletiy (Krasilnikov),Iliya (Morozov) and others were ordained. Such practice of ordination in secretfrom the state was used by the Ancient Orthodox Church until the fall of theSoviet power. For example, in 1948 Bishop of Novozybkovsk, Macarius(Kuznetsov), was ordained, and in 1962 Bishop of Kamyshin, Jona (Izyumov) andothers.

In autumn 1937 Bolsheviks shot dead ArchbishopStephan and the burden of rule of the Ancient Orthodox Church was taken over byBishop of Romanovo-Borisoglebsk Mikhail (Kochetov). In late May 1938 BishopMikhail was ordained as Archbishop by Bishop of Azov-Chernomosrk Trifon andBishop of Grozny Macarius.

Archbishop Mikhail headed the Church at thetime which was the most difficult for Christians. Practically all clergymenwere under cover, real hunting started against Archbishop Mikhail. However, byGod’s grace, the godless failed to arrest Archbishop Mikhail although theyfollowed him for many years. „While ArchbishopMikhail lived in the Caucasus Region in the village of Nekrasovo 25 kilometresaway from the city of Kizlyar, thevillage of Nekrasovo was populated with descendants from Turkey, old ritualistswhose ancestors had run away to Turkey in the times of persecution during therule of Peter the First; the Turkish government gave them Turkish citizenshipand protection, they lived there until 1906 when Nicholas the Second passed adecree of religious freedom in Russia, then, these people moved from Turkey toRussia and settled in this village upon permission of the governor of theCaucasus, Count Vorontsov Dashkov. They settled in Dagestan near Kizlyar andlived there up to date. Archbishop Mikhail Kochetov was protected by people ofthe village of Nekrasovo”.

Without revealing himself to the secularauthorities, just like Saint Eusebius of Samosata, Archbishop Mikhail, “tookoff his cassock, clad himself in soldier's garb” and travelled around thecountry in secret, from one community to another, executing his archbishop’sduties, confirming Christians in their faith, and ordaining Ancient Orthodoxclergymen. The authorities could hardly notice this inconspicuous smallharmless old man who, together with the Church of Christ, carried on hisshoulders all the horrors of Stalinist persecutions.

People who knew Archbishop Mikhail in personremember him as a man with mercy and full of high Christian love. Although helived in absolute poverty he always found a possibility to help orphans and theneedy. The Archbishop gave away whatever he received as donations, food orclothes, to those people who, as he thought, were more in need. The ascetical endeavourof this remarkable archbishop was great, until his death Archbishop Mikhailwore iron chains on his body exhausted by fasts and life sorrows …

During the years of his rule Archbishop Mikhailperformed numerous bishop, priest and deacon ordinations, doing his best topreserve the Ancient Orthodox priesthood depleted by the sword of persecutionsand to maintain gracious ordination.

The Great Patriotic War began. Ancient OrthodoxChristians, just as their ancestors in the old times, stood up to defend theirMotherland given to them by God. At the same time, the Soviet regime under thepressure of external circumstances had to ease up somewhat its attitude to thereligion. Once more churches started to open in the country, blatantpersecution of clergymen stopped. But the horrible war had its harvest.

In 1943 the state policy towards the faithfulpeople eased up more. Clergymen and laymen started to return from prisons andconcentration camps where they found themselves for religious reasons.

And on April 6th, 1944, on the eveof the Annunciation, Archbishop Mikhail peacefully departed to God. TheArchbishop was buried in a cemetery of Malinovskiy monastery where he receivedhis religious education since he was 14 years old.

Bishop of Stalingrad (Tsaritsyn), Ioannes(Kalinin) became the Primate of the Church who was ordained as archbishop byArchbishop Mikhail who was under Bishop of Azov-Chernomosrk Trifon (Epishev) on21 (8) September 1939 in Georgia, in the village of Ureki.

Safeguarded by God Himself Archbishop Ioannestogether with his close people managed to save himself in the most horribleevents of the defence of Stalingrad and fascist occupation. But even in suchunbearable conditions he tried to perform his bishop’s duties. It is quiteprobable that Metropolitan Kyrill travelling around Russia desolated by Mongolinvasion did not see the Church in such a dire and sombre situation as it wasseen by Archbishop Ioannes. However, relying on God’s help the Archbishop didhis best to restore the full-fledged clerical life. Relations betweencommunities and priests destroyed by repressions and the war were restored, difficultieswere overcome, worthy candidates were found for church services, evenordinations were performed, too.

Archbishop Ioannes was ordained as Archbishopof Moscow and entire Russia of Ancient Orthodox Christians in the city of Volskon the festivity of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin on 14 (1) October 1944 byBishop of Kuibyshev, Pavel (Timonin), and Bishop of Volsk, Paisius (Feoktistov).

As we have already said before, at that timethe Church was in a dire situation, many clergymen and laymen died during theyears of repression and the war. Also, new problems appeared: two priests,Ioannes Sudakov from Moscow and Theodorus Arkhangelskiy of Novozybkosk, carriedaway by the spirit of wilfulness, did not want to subordinate themselves to theappropriate canonical order and brought turmoil in the life of the Church.

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