A United diaspora?
Initial hopes had been for a unified archdiocese abroad. The 'temporary higher Russian Orthodox church administration abroad' which took shape in Serbia at Sremski Karlovci, and which at first was accorded the right to proceed with its affairs within the confines of the Serbian patriarchate, also hoped to reach out to other parts of the world. When Metropolitan Evlogii Georgievskii came in 1922 to consider the strategy required, he proposed a federal structure for the temporary church administration which had meanwhile been renamed 'the temporary holy episcopal synod of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia'.13 At this stage Evlogii had gained the singular advantage of sponsorship from 'home' as well as from the church abroad. At his patriarch's behest he had become the Moscow patriarchate's ruling bishop in western Europe, while he was yet unchallenged as a senior member of the Karlovci synod. This caused no more than a tremor at the time. But it was the kind of arrangement which was not to be repeated. Up to a point, the Evlogii plan outlasted this short-lived unity in the diaspora milieu. But it survived only in the context of a distinct and separate Russian Church Abroad. The opportunity was lost too early for Russian emigres to manifest their faith and order in a coherent fashion and throughout the world. As envisaged by Evlogii, the plan postulated semi-independent church provinces in western Europe, the Balkans, the far east and north America, with conciliar consultations between them once a year. But it hardly advanced beyond the drafting stage. Meanwhile, Evlogii's own status was questioned by the synod of the Church Abroad, from which he was to part company in 1926. Platon, metropolitan of the Russian archdiocese in North America, broke with the Karlovci synod at the same time and for similar reasons. Separate diasporas were now the order of the day.14
By this time the synod of the Church Abroad had already clashed with Moscow. It had involved itself in the monarchist cause and was thought to have prepared an appeal for the Genoa conference of 1922 to restore the Romanov dynasty by force. This was an impression that gained currency as the result of right-wing manipulation of the media in the shape of a press release on the need for a 'crusade' against the Soviets. It was, however, not based on any consensus, let alone any decision of an emigre conference held
13 Georgii Mitrofanov, Istoriia Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi 1900-1927 (St Petersburg: Satis, 2002), 419.
14 Put' moei zhizni: Vospominaniia Mitropolita Evlogiia, izlozhennye po ego rasskazam T. Manukhinoi (Paris: YMCA-Press, 1947), 606-7, 610-11. Evlogii was to repeat his proposals in 1935, but to no effect (ibid., 633-4).
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