"After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways .... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church." St. Philaret of NY 1985

Interview October 30, 1970

March 26, 2013, 5:00 pm

ARCHIVE: "Hasty actions do not contribute to a real overcoming the split .
Interview of sv. Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky), First Hierarch of the ROCOR, Catholic weekly "Public", October 30, 1970

- Your Eminence, what is the church canonical basis for the independence of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is not subject to the Moscow Patriarchate?

- Anticipating the approach of the situation in which "the Supreme Church Administration ... for some reason ceases its activities," the Holy Synod and the Supreme Church Council of the Russian Church, with the blessing of the most holy Patriarch Tikhon on November 20, 1920, by special resolution No. 362 imputed the duty to the bishops of the Russian Church which will preserve the freedom of action, "the organization of the highest authority of the Church Authority for several dioceses in the same conditions." Responsibility for the organization of such an instance Resolution of November 20, 1920 placed on "the oldest in the designated group by the rank of bishop."

The resolution of November 20, 1920 was exactly executed by the oldest of the 34 bishops of the Russian Church who were abroad at that time, His Beatitude Metropolitan Anthony of Kiev and Galicia.

The decree foresaw that the state of affairs that required such a decision "would take a long or even permanent character" and determined the duration of any measures and powers arising from the Decree, the restoration of a free, normally functioning central church authority in Russia.

The various prohibitions and interdictions to which the Moscow Patriarchate subsequently subjected the foreign organization were all imposed under the conditions of the imprisonment and captivity of the patriarchy and therefore cannot abolish the church-canonical basis for the existence of the free part of the Russian Church abroad — the Decrees of November 20, 1920. This document is not the “granting of rights” to free bishops for self-government, but imposing on them the duty of a completely definite way in which they must under all circumstances go until the Church in Russia itself becomes free and convenes a free Local Council, before which The foreign part of the Russian Church will have to report.

- What circumstances prevent the communion of the foreign part of the Russian Church with the Moscow Patriarchate?

- The Moscow Patriarchate in its current composition is formed from individuals selected by atheistic power, absolutely controlled by it and not free.

The main sign of the lack of freedom of the patriarchate is that it not only does not glorify the countless new martyrs of the Russian Church, but even scoffs at their memory, claiming that there has been no persecution of the Church in the USSR, and even never has happened. It is their lips that say not the Church, but "a liar and the father of lies." Communicating with them would mean communicating with him.

- Along with the officially recognized church organization in the Soviet Union, there are church opposition groups. What caused this?

- The reasons for the formation of secret communities "Tikhonovtsev", "Josephites", "True Orthodox Christians" are the same ones that prevent the free part of the Russian Church from communicating with the modern leaders of the patriarchate.

- Should we expect that the Russian Church in the coming decades will try to translate ethical and moral goal-setting of Christianity into social and political demands?

- The late Parisian historian of the Church, Professor Anton Vladimirovich Kartashev in his book "The Restoration of Holy Russia" put forward the idea that the traditional striving of the Orthodox consciousness to establish a "symphony" between the Church and the state, in the future, if the state remains secularized, will not have to look for its embodiment in the forms of relations between the Church and the state, and in the interaction of the Church and the public. The carriers of such an interaction, according to Professor Kartashev, could be fraternities of Orthodox laymen. The brotherhoods led by the Church, but independent in their specific actions, have often played a role in the history of Russia and the Russian Church.

The Orthodox Church takes the initiative in resolving social and political issues for the world. The beginnings of laypeople, consistent with the spirit and teachings of the Church, the Church can bless and support.

- The Roman Catholic Church is committed to fraternal dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church. Can we expect contacts and cooperation to go beyond purely formal relations?

- What the Orthodox Church is striving for is not defined by the word “dialogue,” since dialogue is usually perceived as a desire to find compromises. In the spiritual realm, compromises do not bring us closer to the Truth. We strive to live in Christian love, to respect the Christian soul in every baptized Christian, to overcome our differences that do not relate to the confession of faith, but can be viewed as remnants of historical misunderstandings.

Hasty actions, whether Moscow (for political reasons), whether Constantinople (for other, but perhaps also political reasons) do not contribute to truly overcoming the split, which is possible only by the mercy and grace of God in Spirit and Truth.

- How do you assess certain trends in the Roman Catholic Church that have arisen in connection with changes in the relationship between the Church and society?

- We are afraid of chasing the imaginary popularity, we see the dangers arising from the use of inadequate methods for the church mission and preaching, we are afraid of chasing the century. The church is timeless. The Church knows that there can be no heaven on earth, but that the kingdom of God is a reality. The only task of the Church is to bring its children to this Kingdom.

Source: "Orthodox case", issue 1, 1971