Info

the previous year. It was immediately interpreted as church intervention in secular affairs. The Soviet authorities responded by putting new pressures on the church 'at home'.15 Not surprisingly, the patriarch of Moscow and his council distanced themselves from the synod of the Church Abroad. A patriarchal decree of 5 May 1922 went so far as to 'liquidate' its structures.16 Not that Evlogii himself was to retain his patriarchate's favour for much longer. He had accepted his appointment to western Europe as the patriarch's representative. But increasing persecution of his mother-church had resulted in the patriarch's acting successor, Metropolitan Sergii Stragorodskii, submitting in 1927 to the state's demands. Hence his requirement that clergy in the Russian emigration should formally declare their loyalty to the USSR. In Sergii's words, 'We have demanded from our clergy abroad that they commit themselves in writing to be completely loyal to the Soviet government in regard to all its endeavours in the social field'.17 This put diaspora clergy into an impossible position. Evlogii proposed an alternative to suit them, which involved agreement simply not to use the pulpit for political ends. It was as much as the Moscow patriarchate could expect, and Sergii agreed.18 But he was not the master of his situation, and worse was to come.

When Evlogii participated in a day of prayer for persecuted Russian Christians which had been organised by the archbishop ofCanterbury in the spring of 1930, Sergii accused Evlogii of campaigning against the USSR. At the peak of Stalin's assault on religion, Sergii could no longer modify any of his earlier demands. Evlogii was dismissed that summer. More than that, he was suspended as a cleric.

Since his diocese refused to accept this ruling ofa subjugated Moscow patriarchate, Evlogii looked elsewhere for canonical support. Precedent argued for an appeal to Constantinople. In 1931 the ecumenical patriarch Photios II issued a tomos to his Russian petitioners. This took into account the emigres' 'abnormal and baleful position', and promulgated 'a temporary rectification of the church situation in the Russian Orthodox congregations of western Europe'. These were now to form a new exarchate ofthe patriarchate of Constantinople, while still remaining 'independent as a peculiarly Russian Orthodox church

15 Interrogation of Patriarch Tikhon (1922) in V Vorob'ev, Sledstvennoe delo patriarkha Tikhona: sbornik dokumentov (Moscow: Pravoslavnyi Sviato-Tikhonovskii Bogoslovskii Institut, 2000), 154.

16 M. E. Gubonin, Akty sviateishego Tikhona,patriarkhaMoskovskogo ivseiaRusi [Pozdneishie dokumenty i perepiska o kanonicheskom preemstve vysshei tserkovnoi vlasti 1917-43] (Moscow: Pravoslavnyi Sviato-Tikhonovskii Bogoslovskii Institut, 1994), 193.

17 Quoted in Lev Regel'son, Tragediia Russkoi Tserkvi 1917-1945 (Paris: YMCA-Press, 1977), 433.

18 Evlogii, Put' moei zhizni, 619.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment