Tuesday, September 01, 1998

Back Issue: September 1998


Dear readers of the English edition of "Vertograd-Inform"!
Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

Finally our dream has come true - by the mercy of God the first issue of "Vertograd-Inform" in the English language has seen the light. We attach a very great importance to this event: a lively exchange of our thoughts and anxieties concerning the destinies of True Orthodoxy in the contemporary world will serve the cause of the coming together and consolidation of those Orthodox Christians opposing the apostasy and the coming Antichrist, independently of where they live and which language they speak and pray to the One True God. The confusion of languages was a fruit of the Tower of Babel, whose continuation is the contemporary ecumenical movement, which is erecting its own 'tower to the heavens', so as to install 'its own' god there - the Antichrist. But we are called to unity in Christ, and this must not be hindered by linguistic barriers or national prejudices, which are features of 'the old man' who has not put on Christ. Our English edition will strive to add its mite to the witness that the fact that the True Orthodox Christians live in various countries and belong to various people is no obstacle to their spiritual unity. These differences are illusory if we are united in the Truth.

Our bulletin is published by a group of people who think alike; they are children of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad who are deeply disturbed by the present and future of our Holy Church, in which we see one of the last outposts of resistance to the apostasy. "Vertograd-Inform" is open to cooperate with any person who is striving to witness to the truth of unmutilated Orthodoxy, remembering that, in the words of St. Mark of Ephesus, such a witness is always accompanied by the exposure of heretical falsehood.

We wish to emphasize that "Vertograd-Inform" does not conduct any kind of "church politics" and fears above all the engulfment of the Church by the elements of this world. The publishers and authors of the bulletin take account of the fact that the present falling away from the Truth is allowed by God and that this can in no way be stopped by the infirm hand of man. "Vertograd-Inform" does nothing more than objectively reflect the life of our Church and analyses the events taking place beyond the Church's enclosure - in the Moscow Patriarchate, in "World Orthodoxy" and in the ecumenical movement.

It is precisely these forces that are issuing the main challenge to Orthodoxy in our time, and, as is demonstrated by bitter experience, they are capable of deceiving "even the elect".

We ardently call on your practical and prayerful support, dear readers of the English edition of "Vertograd-Inform", and we hope for your cooperation.
Editorial Board
Of the Orthodox Information Bulletin
Moscow - St. Petersburg, 22 September, 1998.
(Vertograd-Inform, Bari, Italy - Moscow,)

The Department of External Church Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate has made an official declaration concerning the future transfer of the Russian church of St. Nicholas in the city of Bari, which contains the honourable relics of St. Nicholas, to the administration of the Moscow Patriarchate. According to reports received, on May 9 Archbishop Clement [Kapalin) of Kaluga and Borovsk and the mayor of the city signed a protocol in Bari on the transfer to the MP of the church and part of the premises of the House of the Pilgrim. At present, the church is used by a community of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Already in May of this year the Ecumenical News agency ENI reported the opinion of the mayor of the city that the Russian church and the Catholic basilica of St. Nicholas should become a united ecumenical centre for receiving Catholic and Orthodox pilgrims. It is absolutely clear that for the conversion of the church into an ecumenical centre our church needs to be taken from the community of the ROCA.

In the interview to the newspaper "Radonezh" (N 11 for 1998) Archbishop Clement also reported that an agreement on the transfer of the church would be signed already by the autumn. Neither in the published interview, nor in the report of the Department of External Church Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate is their a word about the fact that the church belongs to a community of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Such an agreed silence cannot fail to arouse troubled recollections of the bold brigandage carried out in Hebron.

The city of Bari is gradually already becoming that ecumenical centre which the mayor of the city was talking about. It has become a tradition, that on the day of the translation of the relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (new style) Bari is visited by a delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate with the aim of participating in the Catholic celebrations and infusing them with an ecumenical character. On May 9 of this year, Archbishop Clement took part in an ecumenical procession on the streets of the city. A year before this, on May 7-8, 1997, the city was visited by a delegation led by Metropolitan Cyril [Gundyaev] of Smolensk and Kaliningrad with the aim of participating in the next session of the theological dialogue with the Catholic Church. The final communique of that session, which was published by the communications service to communications of the Department of External church Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate contained an agreement on the need to improve the Balamand Document (Unia), an agreement forbidding the publication in Orthodox newspapers of articles in the spirit of "confessional intolerance" and a call to speed up the "normalization" of relations between the Churches by the year 2000. Then Metropolitan Cyril meeted the mayor of the city and discussed the question of the church, the canonical position of which is supposedly a hindrance to the further progress of ecumenical unity. Meanwhale on the internet a special site has already been created devoted to the Catholic and Orthodox churches of Bari as symbols of the fraternal unity of the two Churches. The page offers readers quotations from the speeches in Bari of the Constantinopolitan Patriarchs Athenagoras, Demetrius and Bartholomew, who visited the city at different times. In particular, the patriarchs confirmed that the Orthodox and Catholic Churches are two parts of the One Church of Christ.

(Vertograd-Inform, Astrakhan' - Moscow)

On May 1/14 of this year, Deacon Oleg Spiridonov, a clergyman of the Church of the Reigning Mother of God Icon, was found dead in his apartment in the centre of Astrakhan, all indications being that his was a death by violence. According to eye-witnesses, Fr. Oleg might have been murdered by three persons-unknown, who came to the deacon's home on May 14 and set fire to his apartment. Fr. Oleg's body was discovered on the floor, in the middle of his burnt-out apartment. Despite bruises on the murdered deacon's neck and body, the local police refused to carry out a detailed investigation of the murder or formally to recognize the violent character of Fr. Oleg's death. The reasons for his death remain unexplained to this day.

Deacon Oleg Spiridonov -- one of the senior-most members in the Astrakhan community of our Church -- was ordained into priestly orders by His Grace, Bishop VENIAMIN (Benjamin), on August 29, 1995. He was married and had two children. Vladyka VENIAMIN expressed his condolences to the Astrakhan' community and called upon all the faithful sons and daughters of the ROCA to lift up their voices in prayer for the repose of the soul of a zealous servant of our Holy Church.

(Vertograd-Inform, Vyshegorod / Pskov region / - St. Petersburg)

On June 29 / July 12, on the day of the Holy and Pre-eminent Apostles Peter and Paul, the men's monastery of our Church in the town of Vyshegorod (Pskov region) celebrated its parish feastday. Clerics and pilgrims from St. Petersburg took part in the celebration.

The monastery is growing gradually; the number of its residents is increasing. The Cathedral of Archangel Michael, which is on a promontory in the centre of the monastery, is closed -- inasmuch as it had recently been taken over by the Moscow Patriarchate. Soon after seizing the cathedral, its new masters demanded that part of its belongings, earlier located within the church, be turned over to them.

In order to find this property, a cleric of the MP recently visited the monastery in the company of several bodyguards. The "visitors" were armed with tools for breaking into the cells of the monks. At the same time, they had no legal authority for carrying out such a search, in the course of which nothing that the "visitors" sought was found.

As has been reported, some of the monastic cells located next to the cathedral soon will be seized from the monastery. The brothers regard such events in typically monastic fashion - with meek humility.

(Vertograd-Inform, Irpen' - Moscow)

The priest Victor Sotnichenko, who is serving the community of the Russian True Orthodox Church (under the jurisdiction of the Synod of Bishops of the ROCA) in the town of Irpen (Kiev Region, Ukraine), has managed to rent a large property for the needs of the Church. The property was formerly occupied by the Ogonyok Pioneer camp and belonged to the Arsenal factory. It is a large parcel of land 22 hectares in size and has some large communal buildings as well as many smaller structures. Church services have been started in a large hall, formerly a dining room, where a church had been set up in honour of the Royal Martyrs.

The first attack on the new church was made by representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate on 12th April, on the feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, at around 12 noon. At this time a group of some 20 armed men appeared near the church, led by the local dean of the MP, Fr. Pamphil, and a certain Fr. Vladimir. The clergy of the MP and those accompanying them hurled abuse and threats at the rector of the church, Father Victor Sotnichenko, calling him and impostor, a sectarian, a pseudo-pastor and a wolf. One of the MP clergy, Fr. Vladimir, shouted for all to hear: "As long as Fr. Victor is here, I do not know God!" Soon, however, persuaded by Fr. Victor, the "visitors" took their departure, while still shouting abuse.
(Vertograd-Inform, Moscow)

Completing his visit to Cuba on the 29th July, Metropoliton Kyrill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad stated: ""In Cuba we have met the needs of the local Orthodox communities, at every level". The Metropolitan conducted meetings and conversations with the Cuban authorities as well as paying a visit to the head of the Catholic church, Archbishop Haime Ortega of Havana. "In order to help organize the religious life of the Orthodox people in Cuba, I had to have the support of both the Cuban Government and the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party", observed the Metropolitan in an interview.

During his five-day stay on the island, Metropolitan Kyrill served a molieben in the Russian embassy and placed a wreath at the "Eternal Fire" which marked the graves of Soviet soldiers in a suburb of Havana. "For a long time there has been a history of a relationship with Cuba, on a spiritual level too. This signifies that the Church as an authority concerned with spiritual and moral values, must support cooperation between Cuba and Russia. Up to now, this potential has not be realized among our compatriots."

On the 1st August, Metropolitan Kyrill arrived on an official visit to Canada. Answering the questions put to him by Canadian journalists, the Metropolitan touched upon two problems confronting the Moscow Patriarchate, the possibility of the canonization of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II and the relationship of the Patriarchate with the Russian Church Abroad (ROCA).

Concerning the first question, Metropolitan Kyrill said that this will be considered at "the next Council of the Patriarchate" in the year 2000. The Council will consider the canonization of the Tsar-Martyr as a passion bearer, similar to Ss Boris and Gleb. The Metropolitan could not predict beforehand what the outcome of the council would be, except to say that it will be an irrevocable decision.

In the opinion of the Head of the external church affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate," Today there is nothing to prevent an association between the MAP and RCA." However Metropolitan Krill declared that the majority of the clergy and believers in RCA "support an association of the churches". However "a small, but influential" group of bishops and laity are preventing this.

The Metropolitan believes that the clergy and laity of RCA , who are a repressed majority, are asking why the two Churches are divided. The union of these Churches is prevented by a biological factor, namely age. The average age of the bishops who make up the Synod of RCA is more than eighty years. It is impossible expect that these people, whose whole life saw the Moscow Patriarchate as the enemy, will suddenly change their opinion. Metropolitan Kyrill considers that the elderly bishops of ROCA even now still see the old political stereotypes. For them the Moscow Patriarchate is the "red" church.

Obviously, that great politician and leading ecumenist of the MP consciously covered up the real basis of the division between the MP and ROCA. For the division is not simply founded on "historical and political" factors or the consideration of the Patriarchate as the "red" church, but on more serious theological contradictions. The active and conscious participation of the MP in the ecumenical movement, the signing of the apostate union with the Monophysites at Shambezi and with the Roman Catholics at Balamand, demonstrate serious theological divisions.

(Vertograd-Inform, Simferopol (Ukraine) - Moscow)
"On the situation in the Crimean parishes" - that was the title of a petition addressed to Patriarch Alexis II and composed by active laypeople and representatives of the monastics and the Cossacks of the Crimea. "The ruling hierarch, Vladyka Lazarus has been ruling the Crimean diocese for 6 years," says the petition. "During his rule Orthodoxy in the Crimea has been wilfully and completely corrupted. The leadership of the diocese works on the principle: 'Divide and Rule'. The main signs characterizing decomposition of the priesthood and Orthodoxy in the Crimea are the formation of family clans, the commercial activity of the archbishop, the diocese and the clergy, and their relationships with criminal structures.

The main blow has been directed against the Crimean monasteries. The married clergy forbid the laity to visit monasteries and support them, under threat of excommunication. In 1995 Vladyka Lazarus personally conducted a campaign to destroy the one remaining women's monastery in the Crimea - the Toplovsky. The monastery of the holy martyrs Cosmas and Damian is now practically annihilated. Constant pressure is being exerted on the Holy Dormition monastery. The Crimean flock is groaning under the rule of this archpastor. Vladyka cares for his own authority only amidst politicians and businessmen. Vladyka Lazarus does not bless the opening of parishes, Orthodox societies and brotherhoods. The Crimean archpastor is exceptional in the scale of his open robbery, unlimited avarice, barefaced lying, caddish treatment of believers and moral degradation, which he does not hide from his flock. He is supported by bandits.

The essence of what is happening in the Crimean diocese is perfectly reflected in the collapse of the community of the holy martyrs Cosmas and Damian. The first superior of the monastery, Archimandrite Sophronius, was driven out by bandit methods. The second was mentally and physically persecuted and defrocked. Archimandrite Augustine died in strange circumstances. In the summer of 1997 there took place the murder of Archimandrite Peter. They are preparing an attempt upon the life of the only worthy candidate for the rank of archimandrite in the Crimea. So as to intimidate laymen they use mercenaries, beatings and going through records. All this is done on the direct instructions of Vladyka Lazarus. Vladyka Lazarus does not hide that this is his last see, and is striving to squeeze everything out of it: dozens of houses-apartments, factories for his personal possession, and so on. Parishes are put up for auction, and sold to the highest bidder. There are no limits to his avarice. Feeling that the believers are against him, Vladyka Lazarus has begun actively to seek the support of politicians. Evidence for this was his awarding President L. Kutchma, at the end of January this year, with a secular award for regenerating Christianity."
Archpriest Alexander Zharkoff was born on 12th February 1946. He graduated from the Leningrad Theological Seminary. He served in various churches in the Leningrad region, and since 1981 he had served in the small wooden church of St. Alexander Nevsky in Shuvalovo, on the outskirts of the city. In 1990 he became the rector of this church.

Batioushka Father Alexander was very humble. He did not seek human glory. He had neither the desire nor the ability to make long impressive speeches - he spoke briefly. However, he never refused to give advice to those who came to him, never looked down on them, he was very simple and approachable and this especially drew people to him. Anyone who received any amount of guidance from him testified to the undeniable spiritual benefit they received from his advice and the power of his prayer. He dressed very modestly. He served simply, without pomposity, his faith was deep rather than on the surface, without vivid outward manifestations. Everyone, particularly people far from the Church and simple people, felt this deep faith in him and valued him precisely as a priest. There was no small number of people who turned more deeply to Orthodoxy due to the influence of a brief talk with Batioushka after a service or funeral. In fact almost everyone who had the good fortune to come into some close contact with him - be they believing, weak in faith or completely unbelieving and far from the Church, learned or simple and uneducated - all were drawn to him by feelings of respect and trust, although he never deliberately tried to make anyone like him. He simply had a certain light in him, and people perceived that with their hearts.

On 6th February 1993 Father Alexander blessed Municipal Hospital No. 3 in honour of the Holy Nun Martyr, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, and there in a little room set aside as a chapel regular church services were begun, at which the in-patients were given Holy Communion. A little before this, regular funeral services had been begun in the hospital mortuary. The chapel brought in virtually no income, and was maintained for purposes of religious instruction, while Batioushka used the money received from funerals for repairing the church. We should note that Father Alexander himself lived in poverty. He, his wife, his daughter, his mother-in-law, a huge dog and a cat lived in a tiny two-room apartment at the top of a five floor apartment building in Gatchina (almost 2 hours from the parish). Once there was a fire in the apartment; the entry door was burned through and the vestibule caught fire, and it was about a month before he could put in a new door.

After completing the costly work in the church (gilding the iconostas) Batioushka decided to build a new church next to the hospital he had blessed. On 9th March 1994 a cross was blessed on the site of the future church. The diocese contributed no money towards the construction, nor could major sponsors be found. Batioushka had started looking for sponsors, but then gave up and the building was paid for with borrowed funds.

Beginning in about 1993, Batioushka began studying the questions of ecumenism. He did not go very deeply into fine points of dogmatics, but rather intuitively and in simplicity came to the conclusion that union with the non-Orthodox is repugnant, that it is a betrayal of Orthodoxy. Here he thought that when the Patriarchate finally falls into impiety he would be able to separate from it with his new church. He had no doubt that sooner or later the Patriarchate would fall into impiety, and he could see that this process had been afoot for a long time.

For a while Batioushka remained rector of two churches, the old one and the one that was under construction. Then at his request a new rector was appointed to the church of St. Alexander Nevsky, and Batioushka continued the construction of the church of St. Elizabeth. Regular services began there at the feast of the Nativity of Christ in 1997.

After a while complaints were made to the diocesan authorities that Father Alexander was supposedly making huge amounts of money in the mortuary, "swimming in gold, not building a thing," and, most importantly, not sharing it with the Metropolitan. Figures were quoted of 18 funerals a day on average, at 200 dollars each. In fact there were no more than a few funerals each day, and none on some days, while they cost many times less, and were sometimes conducted for nothing. But surprisingly Metropolitan Vladimir Kotliaroff readily believed the report and appointed a new rector to the church, Father Valery Dorokhoff, an old and close friend from their days in Rostov. Batioushka was transferred to Vsevolozhsk (four hours' journey from Gatchina). The Metropolitan spoke very crudely to him. Batioushka immediately took official retirement and began to study the various ways of leaving the Moscow Patriarchate. Now that the very existence of the parish was threatened, the decision to leave the Patriarchate came naturally; its hierarchs had long since begun to depart from the purity of Orthodoxy, so there were no canonical hindrances to leaving.

Once Dorokhoff had familiarized himself with the material condition of the parish he was bitterly disappointed. There were not that many parishioners and the income from the church was small. Dorokhoff tried to take over the funerals, but financial inducements to the mortuary workers were of no avail - they knew and loved Batioushka. Father Alexander himself had no plans to give up the church, how could he abandon his own offspring? When those who loved him saw the persecution raised up against him and asked, "Surely your are not going to abandon us?" he always answered, "No, I am not leaving here, I will be here until death." It was clear that no one besides Batioushka would be able to carry on the building - the interior work had to be finished as well as the bell tower. They tried to appoint Batioushka as assistant priest, at which point the Metropolitan used threatening language towards him; it was veiled in humour, but the meaning was perfectly clear. Dorokhoff in turn made much more concrete threats, not only towards Batioushka, but also to some members of the parish, which they managed to record on a tape-recorder. Dorokhoff at first tried to lure each member of the parish individually over to his side, by first making various promises, then frightening them. Batioushka categorically refused to concelebrate with Dorokhoff, but did not take the threats seriously, in his innocent, kind hearted way he could not believe that such things were really possible. But his faithful children and helpers nevertheless became very concerned. Meanwhile Dorokhoff, seeing that they had no desire to leave Batioushka, decided to adopt radical measures. At the beginning of July all the members of the parish assembly were driven out without any explanation, so the planned meeting never took place.

Batioushka was received into the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad on 24th June 1997. The greater part of the parish transferred with him. At the same time the quantity of scandalous rumours surrounding Batioushka sharply increased. Besides accusations of being connected with the Russian "mafia" (although he had no mafia-related interests of any kind) he was accused of self-interest and of wanting to keep the church building for himself rather than showing obedience to the Metropolitan. In fact, in making this move Batioushka was attempting in the way he could to combat the embezzlement, corruption and profanation of Orthodoxy which he found in the Partiarchate. Besides which, taking account of the possibility that the Moscow Patriarchate would fall away from the purity of the faith in the near future, it would have been a sin to hand the church building over to heretics.

Immediately after transferring into the Church Abroad, Batioushka set about having the parish registered. But despite all his lawyer's efforts, the registration was refused. More and more information was demanded, and it was obvious the process was deliberately being drawn out.

Meanwhile, Dorokhoff announced from the ambo in church that Batioushka had built the church with money "from the people Abroad" and that as a consequence they had naturally ordered him to go over to them. Dorokhoff actively spread propaganda against Batioushka among the parishioners of the church. Unfortunately, people believed him. Although the new rector drove an imported car and put all the money from the church into his own pocket each day, he still spoke beautifully and, as one female parishioner put it, "you could have a good listen." Various rumours began to spread about Batioushka among the people: "He's sold himself abroad," "He's gone to bury foreign dead people," "He's got involved with the American church." The choir director, who had gone over to Dorokhoff's side, came to just one service in the old church of St. Alexander Nevsky where Batioushka was remembered and loved and where she had herself sung in the choir at one time, and the parishioners learned with horror that Batioushka had become so heavily involved with the Mafia that he was now trading in human organs from the mortuary. It was indeed strange that such a stupid slander - you don't have to be a doctor to know that it is technically impossible - had such a strong effect on those that heard it and sowed seeds of doubt in them. A good deal of other nonsense was said about Batioushka. At first he was broken in spirit: "What malice there is all round!" But later he was less upset, and whenever he heard the latest news about himself, he just shrugged his shoulders at all these slanders.

On 6th September representatives of the commercial crimes unit paid a visit, acting on "information" received. At first they behaved very harshly. They pinioned one priest to the wall and searched him in the presence of mourners who had come to their deceased relative's funeral. Father Alexander and another priest of the Church Abroad, as well as the woman selling candles, were taken away to headquarters. There the interrogator said they would be locked up in a cell. "Well that's good, we will serve in there," said Batioushka. "Who will you serve for?" asked the astonished interrogator. "For the Lord God." "How?" "According to the typicon - the appointed order for church services." Half way through the interrogation, the policemen relented. One of them said to Batioushka, "We don't need you, you're just getting in someone's way."

They sealed the priest's room in the mortuary but did not seal the chapel in the hospital. The hospital administration was compelled to seal off the chapel on written orders received from the Metropolitan. Shortly before this, some supporters of the Patriarchate collected signatures from the patients. People far from the Church were asked questions such as, "Do you want the Orthodox chapel to be occupied by the Church Abroad?" The majority, reacting to the word "Abroad," answered in the negative, assuming that these must be Baptists or Jehovah's Witnesses. Metropolitan Vladimir wrote to the head physician of the hospital saying that "suspended priests" were serving in the chapel and "slandering the Patriarch." The chapel was sealed off, to the great astonishment and grief of the hospital workers and the patients, for whom this was virtually the only bright spot in the hospital, a place where they could confess and receive Holy Communion, pray, light candles, borrow books to read and receive some comfort through talking to the people working there.

Despite everything, the process of securing the registration of the parish of the Russian Church Abroad was moving closer to success. The attitude of the mortuary workers and hospital administration towards Batioushka had not changed, perhaps it had even become more favourable when they saw the campaign of unjust slander being unleashed by the Patriarchate. On 15th August the builders sealed off the church due to unpaid bills. The builders had come to the conclusion that only Batioushka would serve in the church, which was his life's work. They agreed to await payment by installments from Batioushka, but Valery Dorokhoff had no intention of either paying or continuing with the building. With a group of parishioners faithful to him, he tried to break in to the church, but the builders would not let him in; they just allowed him to collect his personal belongings, and then sealed off the church again.

Everyone was just waiting for the registration to come through so that the church could begin its normal life. Batioushka made plans for building a church house and for opening a Sunday school at the church.

The accusations that Batioushka belonged to the mafia grew stronger. Meanwhile the "mafia man" continued to travel every day from Gatchina and back on the electric train. In the morning he had to leave home at 6 o'clock in order to catch the early train, freezing in winter in the unheated carriage, before being pushed and shoved on the metro and busses. (One priest in the Patriarchate once said to him, "You should buy yourself an apartment and a car and live a normal life, but you have to go and build a church!")

On 12th September he celebrated his names day, the feast of St. Alexander Nevsky, and a day later he was no more.

On Sunday 14th September he left home at about 6 in the morning. He told matushka that he would be back in the afternoon. When he was not back by evening she became worried. When she phoned through to the mortuaries enquiry line, she was told that a corpse with similar features had been brought in the Tsarskoe Selo morgue - a motor vehicle accident, they said. In the morning she went there and identified Father Alexander's body. The pathologist discovered bullet wounds, which refuted the "MVA" theory. Probably they had been waiting for Batioushka on his way to the electric train. The examination showed that the murder had been carried out "by all the rules" - a shot in the chest and another ("just to make sure") in the head. After that the body had been driven over several times with a car, which made it look like a motor vehicle accident, so that the autopsy was only begun two days later.

Batioushka has departed to a better world where, we hope, he will receive a righteous reward for all his labours and sufferings which he endured in his earthly life; for enduring slanders, for his humility, his forgiving nature and his selfless service to the Church, which were always his distinguishing features, for the light which he gave to people, and for his martyr's end.

Batioushka has departed, and we are left. Who will be the next victim? And how much longer will we sleep?
Lord, enlighten and have mercy upon all of us!
Concerning the Seventh Issue of The Almanac "Orthodox or Death!"

Note: Stalinism is the ideology of the radical communist-revanchists who consider the ideal type of society and state for Russia to be that which was formed in the years of the rule of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (from the end of the 1920s to the beginning of the 1950s). The basic features of this type are - dictatorship by one man, "order", the absence of political freedoms and opposition, a powerful united state like an empire, a large and well-armed army, the minimum of social guarantees and subsidies, the absence of any division into the poor and the rich. The followers of Stalinism consider that Stalin conquered the "Jewish domination" amidst the first Bolshevik revolutionaries, who seized power in 1917, and that he was able, instead of the chimera of "world revolution" to concentrate his efforts on the creation of a powerful national state with the hegemony of the Russian people.

Ecclesiastical Stalinists add that, in strengthening the state, Stalin also trying to create a powerful united Russian Orthodox Church, so as in time to transform the Soviet state into an Orthodox empire, making himself emperor. In the opinion of the Stalinists, Stalin was killed by the Talmudic Jews, which allows us to consider him to be a martyr.

The many millions of Stalin's victims are justified either by the fact that he fought with the Jews and their "hangers-on", as well as various agents of western influence of the "Trotsky-Bukharin" type, or by the fact that there had not yet taken place in it any inner spiritual turning-point or repentance (the date of the "repentance" is usually considered to be 1943 - the height of the Second World War).

The almanac "Orthodoxy or Death!" has been published in Moscow since 1995 by a group of anonymous "zealots of Orthodoxy" (the name of the chief editor - Andrew Ryumin - is in fact a pseudonym). The name was borrowed from the Athonite zealot monastery Esphigmenou, whose motto is the Greek slogan "Orthodoxia i Thanatos!" In 1995-97 a series of issues was published devoted to a criticism of ecumenism and renovationism. One of the almanac's issues was devoted to the Moscow Patriarchate's seizure of the Holy Trinity monastery in Hebron - the almanac was wholly on the side of the ROCA. At the beginning of 1997 the almanac became close to the Society of the Zealots of the Memory of Metropolitan John (Snychev) of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, headed by the deceased metropolitan's secretary Constantine Dushenov. The Society's pro- communist sympathies told on the almanac's content; it began to express "statist" ideas, to defend Sergianism and, finally, to conduct propaganda in favour of Stalin and "ecclesiastical Stalinism".

By Nikolai Savchenko

The seventh issue of the almanac "Orthodoxy or Death!" (Chief Editor-Andrei Ryumin) is wholly dedicated to the Conference of the leaders and representatives of the autocephalous Orthodox churches in Moscow from July 9th to July 17th in 1948. The issue has two large photographs: Patriarch Alexei I and the Soviet dictator Stalin.

In the editorial introduction to the almanac Stalin is called "the greatest politician of the twentieth century." The editors maintain that in 1943 he became a believer and worked for the rest of his life for the good of the church. The editors categorically characterize all who deny this with the word "liberal".

The editors' description of Stalin is ignorant and offensive. It is not entirely understandable how one can reconcile the assertion about the pretended "repentance" of Stalin with his directions to the Secretary of the Central Committee Suslov in 1947: "do not forget about atheistic propaganda among the people". One can also recall that, according to the information collected by the Ph.D. in history, Shkarovskii, out of the total number of 14,447 churches which remained in the Soviet Union on January 1, 1949, Stalin opened a little more than 1,300 while in the territories occupied by the German army more than 10,000 were opened. Furthermore, from 1948 to 1953 not one church was opened, but more than 700 were subject to closure.

If you add to these hundreds of churches which were closed before 1945 in the formerly occupied territories "liberated" by the Red Army, then it turns out that even from 1943 to 1953 more churches were closed by Stalin than opened.

It is also untruthful to credit Stalin with the beginning of publication of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate" and the opening of religious educational institutions. The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate of those years was filled with praises to the "God-appointed", "God-chosen", "God-endowed genius", "the Supreme Leader", "the pillar of social justice" who had "prophetic vision of the future", and so on. The articles and collegial decisions of the Moscow Patriarchate of that time were the first fulfillment of the words of the Apocalypse: "- and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast saying, who is like unto the beast?-" (Rev. 13:3-4)

Also incomprehensible is the delight of the editors in regard to the decisions of the Conference of Leaders and Representatives of the Local Churches. The documents found in the book by Shkarovskii "The Russian Orthodox Church and the Soviet State from 1943 to 1964", such as the Report of the Council on the Russian Orthodox Church in the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party" (Bolsheviks) from February 14, 1947 and the letter to the Central Committee from Council Chairman Karpov allows one to see that all decisions of the conference were planned a year and a half before the event itself, and were not all inspired by the Holy Spirit, but by the Central Committee of the theomachistic bolshevik party in its own interest.

From Newspaper Radonezh

It is not surprising that modernist-ecumenists activists call this Conference (Vertograd-Inform: The Pan-Orthodox Conference of 1948) Stalinist. But attempts to discredit this conference come also from the right. The almanac "Orthodox or Death!"- serves as a clear example of this. It is published by the so-called Moscow section of the Society of Enthusiasts of the Memory of Metropolitan Ioann (Snychev). The newly-appeared circle of "enthusiasts of piety" republished the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate with materials from the 1948 Conference and used this publication first for the glorification of Stalin, in whom a spiritual change allegedly took place, and who turned to faith, and second for open and most foul attacks on the hierarchy of our church. This mixture of apology for a godless dictator with pseudo-pietistic indignation at the shortcomings in contemporary church life is very characteristic. Obviously, you could not think of a better gift for the "Orthodox ecumenists". You can imagine to yourself how the modernists and ecumenists will rejoice: "Look, they are fighters against ecumenism, they are Russian patriots".

A similar glorification of Stalin is continuously carried out in the pro-Communist press, which not surprising, but it is completely out of place in Orthodox publications. A panegyric to Stalin is interpreted as an insult to the memory of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, who suffered in the period of his rule. Even more, the appearance and distributions of the almanac in Orthodox churches is a real provocation. The goal of which is the discrediting of the whole movement in the Russian Orthodox Church against ecumenism and is also an insult to the memory of Vladyka Ioann, behind whose name these authors hide.


In general, it is necessary to say that the time of the celebration of the five-hundredth anniversary of the autocephaly of the Russian Orthodox Church (Vertograd-Inform: that is, the dismal year of 1948) may be boldly called the moment of the highest flourishing of Russian Orthodoxy. This is attested to by the fact that, immediately after the cessation of the cruel external persecutions, our Church found the strength to overcome the internal disorders, which had lasted many years. (Vertograd-Inform: These strengths, as every schoolchild today knows, were found by the theomachistic Stalinist regime and they are "armed".) The modernist schism was ended and the Unia was overcome in Western Russia. and all of this, please notice, under a "totalitarian regime". and now, under the "democrats", she is again confronted with these problems: she is torn apart by schisms in Moldavia and Estonia. Modernism under the mask of "Nikodimism" has affected even the upper hierarchy and the Unia in the Ukraine has flourished as never before starting from the sixteenth century.

One must take into account the fact that ecclesiastical events of such truly universal dimensions cannot take place without a favorable attitude toward the Orthodox Church on the part of the highest state authorities. Many contemporary historians and publicists of liberal orientation maintain that Joseph Stalin, flirting with the Church, was trying to use it for his own purposes which were foreign to the believing people. Such a claim not only slanders the greatest politicians of the twentieth century who was admired even by his irreconcilable enemies during his lifetime, but also the Church of Christ itself. In fact, in 1943 a deep spiritual change evidently took place in Stalin, such as is well known to every Christian who has sincerely turned to the faith at a mature age. At least one must recognize that in the last decades of his life, J. V. Stalin devoted all his activity as a ruler to the many-sided strengthening of our country, to the intensification of the state-forming role of the Russian people and, accordingly, to the restoration of the Orthodox Church, no matter how contemporary liberals may want to deny this. We recall that precisely under Stalin thousands of churches were turned (Vertograd-Inform: A barefaced lie, but even if it were true, why doesn't the author praise, for example, Hitler, the Fuhrer of the German fascists and call him a great politician because he opened no fewer Orthodox Churches in the occupied territories, to say the least?) theological schools were reopened and the Unia in Western Russia was overcome by exactly the same means used under Tsar Nicholas II. Finally during the Great Patriotic War, the Russian people under the leadership of Stalin, was able to find solutions to those military-political problems which had already arisen at the beginning of the First World War.

=By the way, regardless of the verbose assertions of the contemporary "flourishing" of Orthodoxy under the wings of the Yeltsin regime, the facts confirm: the number of Orthodox parishes of the Moscow Patriarch today has not reached the level of 1948. There were more churches under Stalin than today!

A REVIEW OF "ORTHODOXY AND ECUMENISM. THE INTER-CHRISTIAN AND INTER-RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT AS AN ECCLESIOLOGICAL HERESY". By Metropolitan Cyprian of Orope and Fili, President of the Holy Synod of the Resisters. Volume 1. Fili, Attica, Sacred Monastery of St. Cyprian. 1998. 222 pages. No ISBN number given.
By Nicholas Savchenko, Basil Lourie.

The monastery of Saints Cyprian and Justina (Fili, Greece) has published a collection of articles by Metropolitan Cyprian of Orope and Fili, the president of the Old Calendar Holy Synod of the Resisters, under the title Orthodoxy and Ecumenism. The inter-Christian and inter-religious movement as an ecclesiological heresy. All the author's articles are argued in depth and from all sides, and are provided with numerous references, citations and photographs. In them the situation of the contemporary inter-religious movement is expounded very fully and in great detail; and its unrelenting development and the increased participation in it of the official local churches is demonstrated. There is a detailed review of the so-called 'theology of baptism' (the opinion concerning the unity of all 'Christians' through what the heretics call 'the sacrament of baptism', which has become a part of ecumenist dogmatics), of the role of the local churches in its working out, and of the tragic nature of their voluntary participation in this process.

Of great importance is the author's citation of documents of the World Council of Churches (WCC), in which the patriarchs of the local churches speak about all the members of the WCC as members of the one Church of Christ. The metropolitan's account of religious syncretism, and of the inter-religious prayers and declarations in which the leaders of ecumenical Orthodoxy participated, will shock every believer. The account of the ecumenical game in which the modernist Orthodox churches of the USA left and then returned to the National Council of Churches in America will be quite topical and opportune for the Moscow Patriarchate. The author of the collection shows the process of the ever more horrific moral fall of the Orthodox ecumenists and the criminal tolerance of their ever more terrible and serious sins on the part of the ecumenist 'Orthodox'. The author also notes with sadness the weakening of the anti-ecumenical pressure exerted by the zealots of Orthodoxy within the offical local churches themselves, which phenomenon elicits his just criticism.

Amidst the information that is worthy of particular attention, and which can in our days help many to come to an understanding of the truly disastrous essence of ecumenical 'Orthodoxy', we may count the witness of the author concerning the fact that the celebrated Archimandrite Justin (Popovich) did not consider the Serbian Patriarch German to be a true patriarch and did not commemorate him, insofar as he was involved in the heresy of ecumenism. There is no doubt that Fr. Justin could not have contradicted his written works by his deeds. Unfortunately, almost nobody among the church people in Russia knows this.

A very important addition can be made to the reasonings contained in this collection. This touches the question of the powers of a Pan-Orthodox Pre-Conciliar Conference to give definitions of the faith and canonical directions for all the local churches. We know from the ecumenical definitions of the Pan-Orthodox Conferences that ecumenism as the belief that participation in the ecumenical movement is the fulfilment of the words of the Lord concerning the unity of His disciples, is confessed at these Conferences as being the faith of the whole Universal Church, insofar as it has been expounded by them with full authority. Since this is the case, it follows that to remain in communion with such a 'Universal Church' is forbidden, since it is heretical.

Here the objection may be made that the ecumenical Pan-Orthodox Conferences do not have any canonical authority for the Universal Church, and so their unorthodox decisions do not constitute the voice of the whole Universal Church, but have only advisory and recommendatory powers. The justification of the ecumenists, who refer to the Third Pan-Orthodox Conference as being decisive for all the local churches, is rejected by Metropolitan Cyprian, who refers to the sixteenth paragraph of the Constitution of the Preconciliar Pan-Orthodox Conferences, where it is said that these conferences 'serve as a preparation for the Holy and Great Council' and 'do not have any direct, obligatory significance for the Local Churches before the resolutions of the Holy and Great Council are made'. Does this mean that the decisions of the Third Conference had only a recommendatory character and did not lay claims to any canonical authority - to which point of view Metropolitan Cyprian is inclined? It turns out that it does not mean this, insofar as the Third Pan-Orthodox Conference in a special definition went beyond the bounds of recommendatory decisions in its resolutions 'On the relationship of the Orthodox Church to the rest of the Christian world' and 'The Orthodox Church and the ecumenical movement', conferring on them a canonical force. Thus, for example, in the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate (N 6 for 1987, page 54) it is written: 'Although the Second Preconciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference decreed that any decisions taken before the convening of the Holy and Great Council do not have any canonical force, nevertheless, taking into account the character of the subject, the present Conference considers that the preliminary decisions taken in this manner can have an immediate application in life.' In other words, faithfulness to the ecumenical movement and its aims is declared to be a guide to action and is permitted for the whole Universal Church. Thus the heresy of ecumenism has already been defined as the faith of the whole Universal Church by the voice of all the local churches. This means that that 'Universal Church' which is represented by the local churches at Pan-Orthodox Preconciliar Conferences in the persons of their patriarchs, presidents and higher leadership, is heretical, and this is the bleak truth of our most recent times.

In spite of the fact that Metropolitan Cyprian does not draw such an unambiguous conclusion, there resound from the pages of his book constant appeals to 'the conservative new calendarists' and the anti-ecumenically minded believers of the MP to leave the heretical hierarchy: 'The People of God must- leave the pastors who have become immired in the great ecclesiological heresy of ecumenism' (p. 127 et passim). This is all very just: heretics can do nothing in the Church, not excluding even the most everyday and routine matters of parish and diocesan administration; such is the clear demand of ecclesiastical teaching expressed, for example, in the 15th canon of the First-and-Second Council. And such is the most important theme of the preaching of Metropolitan Cyprian. It is precisely against this background that Metropolitan Cyprian's ecclesiological idea concerning 'the general council of the Orthodox Church' appears so vexing. All the Orthodox must assemble together with the heretic-ecumenists at this council 'in order that', as he writes in the Foreword, unappositely citing the Seventh Ecumenical Council, 'those who are divided in disagreement may be brought to agreement and remove the obstacles of enmity' (p. 9). This Idea is expounded in detail by Vladyka Cyprian in his Ecclesiological Theses [1]. It is difficult to understand why, while refusing the heretic-ecumenists the right to carry out everyday affairs for the church administration, Metropolitan Cyprian not only admits them to the highest affairs of episcopal service - the formulation of dogmas and judgment of questions of doctrinal teaching, - but even considers that without their participation such affairs, and in particular ecclesiastical trial of heretics, can also not be carried out at all. Why is it necessary to put the question of the powers of the members of the court in this strange way - in dependence on the presence of those who are being put on trial?

In conclusion, we should like to point out that is issued in a beautiful publication and is provided with a portrait of the author.

[1] CYPRIAN, Metropolitan of Orope and Fili. Ecclesiological Theses, or an Exposition of the teaching on the Church for the Orthodox resisters of the heresy of ecumenism. Fili, Attica: Monastery of SS. Cyprian and Justina, 1993, pp. 7-9 (#5. Towards a Council of Union). The Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council had in mind the union with the Church of those who had fallen away from it; the iconoclast bishops who were received into communion by the Council did not have, and could not have any right to speak at the Council before their repentance and their reception into communion. But the Fathers of the Council before receiving the repentant heretics into communion would never have begun to deny that they constituted a Council of the One Church containing the whole fulness of the Church, - whereas Metropolitan Cyprian, on the contrary, declares that '- the Sacred Synods of those resisting the innovation in the festal calendar and ecumenism [this is what the author calls the True Orthodox Councils] also do not represent a Council of the united Orthodox Church in Greece' (p. 8). It turns out, according to Metropolitan Cyprian, that the Church lacks fulness without the heretic-ecumenists.

A REVIEW OF "THE STRUGGLE AGAINST ECUMENISM" / By the Holy Orthodox Church in North America. Boston, Massachusetts, 1998. 346 p. ISBN 0-943405-09-2
By Vladimir Moss

This book has two aims, the first explicitly stated and the second implicit. The first is to provide a history of the True Orthodox Church of Greece, the so-called "Old Calendarists", in its struggle against the heresy of Ecumenism from 1924 to 1994. The second is to provide an apologia on behalf of the "Auxentiite" branch of the Greek Old Calendarist Church, and in particular of its North American affiliate centred in Boston and calling itself the Holy Orthodox Church in North America. In its first, major aim this book must be judged to have succeeded; it is probably the best book on its subject to have appeared in English, and quite possibly in any language. With regard to its second aim, however, the present reviewer remains unconvinced that the book has proved its case.

The heresy of Ecumenism was first officially proclaimed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in its Encyclical, "To the Churches of Christ wheresoever they may be", dated 1920. In addition to recognizing the Catholics and Protestants as "fellow-heirs" of Christ with the Orthodox, this Encyclical made a number of proposals of a renovationist character, including the introduction of the new, papal or Gregorian calendar, all with the aim of bringing union between the Orthodox and the western heretics closer. That is why the introduction of the new calendar is regarded as the first concrete step (apart from the 1920 Encyclical itself) in the introduction of the heresy of Ecumenism.

In 1924, the new calendar was introduced into the State Church of Greece, and later in the same year into the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Romania. This provoked the emergence of the Old Calendarist movement in Greece, Romania and some other places where the Ecumenical Patriarchate had jurisdiction (e.g. the Russian monastery of Valaam, which was on the territory of the Finnish Church, which had been granted autonomy by Constantinople). From 1924 to 1935 the movement had a predominantly lay character, consisting of several hundred thousand Greek laymen and women with only a few priests (mainly hieromonks from Mount Athos) and no bishops. In 1935, however, three bishops from the new calendar State Church of Greece (two of them consecrated before 1924) returned to the Old Calendar and consecrated four new bishops. They then proclaimed that the State Church had fallen into schism and was deprived of the grace of sacraments.

The years 1935 to 1937 probably represented the peak of the Greek Old Calendarist Church, with a united and rapidly expanding membership that posed a serious threat to the official church. In 1937, however, after persecution from the State Church had reduced the number of Old Calendarist bishops to four, a tragic schism took place between two factions that came to be called the "Florinites" (after their leader, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Florina) and the "Matthewites" (after Bishop Matthew of Bresthena) respectively. The "Florinites" declared that the new calendarists were only "potentially" and not "actually" schismatics, and still retained the grace of sacraments. The "Matthewites" considered that this was a betrayal of the 1935 confession and broke communion with the "Florinites".

By the late 1940s the Florinites had only one bishop (Metropolitan Chrysostomos) but the majority of the clergy and laity, while the Matthewites had two bishops (Matthew and Germanos, the latter of whom was in prison). Attempts at union between the two factions foundered not only on the question of grace, but also on Metropolitan Chrysostomos' refusal to consecrate any more bishops (even after Bishop Germanos had rejoined him). So in 1948, fearing that the Old Calendarist Church would again find itself without bishops, Bishop Matthew was persuaded (not immediately, but only after several years of pressure from his supporters) to consecrate some bishops on his own, the first of whom was Bishop Spyridon of Trimythus (Cyprus).

At this point the authors of "The Struggle against Ecumenism" make their first error of fact. On page 64 they write: "The saintly Spyridon of Trimithus spent the last years of his life in seclusion, refusing to celebrate as a hierarch because he had repented of being consecrated in this completely uncanonical way [that is, by one bishop alone]." This is not true. In 1981 Bishop Spyridon's closest disciple, Abbot Chrysostomos of Galactotrophousa monastery, near Larnaca, Cyprus, told the present reviewer a very different story - which is supported by the letters to him of Bishop Spyridon himself. He said that shortly after starting to serve as the only Old Calendarist bishop in Cyprus in 1949, Bishop Spyridon was exiled from the island to Greece by the British acting at the behest of the new calendarists. After some years, the Matthewite Synod decided to replace Spyridon as bishop in Cyprus. They invited Monk Epiphanius to Greece and ordained him to the priesthood. Then, in 1957 an election took place in Cyprus at which Fr. Epiphanius was elected to the episcopate, which was followed by his consecration in Greece. All this took place, however, without the blessing of the still-living Bishop of Cyprus, Spyridon, who refused to recognize Bishop Epiphanius. And he told his disciples on Cyprus, including Abbot Chrysostomos (who had been his candidate for the episcopate), not to serve with Bishop Epiphanius. Meanwhile, he entered into seclusion in Greece and did not serve with the Matthewites as a protest. After some time Abbot Chrysostomos entered into communion with Bishop Epiphanius, for which he was punished by his spiritual father, Bishop Spyridon. So he again broke communion with Epiphanius. The Matthewites responded by defrocking Abbot Chrysostomos (although he was simply following the command of his spiritual father), but did not touch Bishop Spyridon until his death in 1963. A few years ago, shortly before his death, Abbot Chrysostomos' defrocking was rescinded by the Matthewite Synod. When his remains were discovered to be partially incorrupt...

In spite of this error the schism between the Florinites and the Matthewites is in general treated with admirable fairness by the authors of "The Struggle against Ecumenism". This is important, not only because the schism still exists (and has now been transposed onto Russian, American and West European soil), but also because existing accounts in English are heavily biassed in favour of the Florinites. But the Boston authors, while in general inclining towards the Florinites, not only note that "Bishop Matthew's integrity, personal virtue, and asceticism were admitted by all" (his relics are very fragrant, and he was a wonderworker both before and after his death in 1950), but also give reasons for supposing that a union between Chrysostomos and Matthew could have been effected if it had not been for the zeal without knowledge of certain of Matthew's supporters. They also do not conceal the fact that in 1950 Metropolitan Chrysostomos repented of his confession of 1937 and returned to his confession of 1935, declaring that the new calendarists were deprived of sacraments. In fact, this remained the official confession of faith of all factions of the Greek Old Calendarist Church until the appearance of the "Synod of Resistors" led by Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili and Oropos in 1984-

The Boston authors continue their history of the Old Calendarist movement by relating how the Florinites, after the death of Metropolitan Chrysostomos in 1955, eventually received a renewal of their hierarchy through the Russian Church Abroad in the 1960s, and how the Matthewites also achieved recognition by the Russian Church Abroad in 1971. Again, the treatment of this phase in the history is objective and fair. Especially valuable is the translation of all the relevant documents in full and with a helpful commentary.

The rest of the book is mainly devoted to a defence of the Florinite Archbishop Auxentius of Athens, who was defrocked by a Synod composed of the majority of the Florinite bishops in 1985. The Boston authors do not hide the fact that Auxentius made many mistakes; but their account of these mistakes, and especially of his trial in 1985, is sketchy and biassed. They write: "Some of His Beatitude's mistake were notable, while others were debatable- His errors were often mistakes made in good faith, often on the advice of clergy who wittingly or unwittingly misled him." (pp. 125, 129). However, it is one thing for the Boston authors to try and see extenuating factors alleviating the guilt of their archpastor - charity (and the canonicity of their own ecclesiastical position) demanded that. But it is another to slander those other Orthodox bishops who tried to introduce canonical order into the Church in the only canonical way open to them - by a hierarchical trial conducted according to the holy canons. Whatever the personal virtues of Auxentius, in the opinion of the present reviewer the Boston authors have not succeeded in demonstrating that his defrocking in 1985 was not canonical and just.

In conclusion, this book can be recommended both as a history of the Greek Old Calendarist Church and as a good introduction to the ecclesiological issues surrounding the great heresy of our time, Ecumenism. However, for those seeking to know to find a clear answer to the question: which of the many Greek Old Calendarist jurisdictions is the most canonical and true?, this book will provide a mixture of light and darkness. Such seekers for clarity and truth will have to conduct further research, and investigate other points of view.
(Nezavisamaya Gazeta -Vertograd-Inform)

The data from a census of the population of the U.S.S.R. in 1937 are published here. Of those who responded to the question, 56.7%, that is, 55.3 million adults, identified themselves as believers. The non-believers numbered 42.2 million.

The census took into account the sex, age and literacy of those questioned. Among the illiterate members of the population, there turned out to be about 4.6 million atheists. Forty-five percent of the men called themselves believers and, among the women, 66%. There was not one age group of the population in which there were no believers. Even among the literate 16 to 19 year old young people, the believers were one third, and among the illiterate of the same age, 70%. The notion that believers were, with rare exceptions, elderly people did not correspond to reality. The greater part of the believers was between the ages of 16 and 49. Among the Orthodox, the older people became, the more believers there were among them.

Altogether, believers named nine large confessions spread out on the territory of our country. Thus, the majority of those questioned were Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants, Armeno-Gregorians, Moslems, Jews, Buddhists, Lamaists and Shamanists.

Among the Moslems, Catholics and Protestants, some of the believers were young people, but among the Buddhists and Shamanists, elderly people predominated.

(According to the Data of the Ministry of Justice)

On January 1, 1998, there were 8,653 religious associations in the Moscow Patriarchate. Among this number were primarily local parishes and also organizations such as monasteries and theological seminaries. The Free Russian Orthodox Church (Vertograd-Inform: In the statistical reports of the Ministry under this name are united parishes in the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and the so-called "Suzdal Group") in January, 1998 had 131 registered groups in comparison with 118 a year earlier. During this same period the number of registered Old Believer groups rose from 185 to 203.

The number of parishes and other institutions of the Roman Catholic Church rose from 206 to 223. The Union of Evangelical Christians - Baptists - the largest Russian association of Protestant churches - increased from 717 to 750 members, but the largest association of Pentecostals, evidently, grew more quickly, from 445 to 524.

The data speak of the quicker growth of Orthodox Judiaism - or at least of Jewish organizations, officially classified as Orthodox. The number of Orthodox Jewish organizations grew from 53 to 60, of Reformed to 33. The number of registered Moslem organizations of all kinds grew to 2,891, of Buddhists to 160.


The "New York Times" conducted a sociological survey of American youth aged 13 - 17. The results showed the level of religiosity of the growing generation of America was much higher than expected. It must be noted that this greatly surprised the organizers of the survey.

In fact, 94% of the respondents acknowledge that they believe in God. The majority of them do not use alcohol and drugs. On the contrary, they respect their parents and want to be, in some way, even better than them.

Replying to the questions, almost 40% of young people noted that they considered the most important problem facing young people to be drugs. Seven percent of the respondents referred to violence and crime.