Friday, November 18, 2005

Archpriest Michael Ardov. Important Explanation Concerning Anastasia Schatiloff

It has come to my attention that there have been some statements made on the internet to the effect that the recently reposed Anastasia Georgievna Schatiloff (née Countess Grabbe) "repented" on her deathbed, and received Holy Communion from one of the priests belonging to the part of the ROCOR that is headed by Metropolitan Laurus.

In connection with this, I consider it my duty to make an explanation. The deceased was the faithful progeny and assistant of her father—Bishop Gregory. And this ever-memorable hierarch was one of the founding fathers of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church. Several months before his repose, Vladyka Gregory visited Moscow and Suzdal, prayed together with us, preached sermons, and took Holy Communion in our churches, and furthermore, gave instructions that he did not want any of the bishops of the Church Abroad present at his funeral.

During the last years of her life, the late Anastasia Georgievna attended services and took Holy Communion at the St. Nicholas parish of our Church, whose rector is Protopresbyter Vladimir Shishkoff.

As far as her relationship with the Lavr-ite branch of the ROCOR is concerned, one can get an idea about it from reading some of the last issues of "Church News," of which she was the publisher.

I have the May issue before me, #5. Here we find an item under the heading "The Paschal Epistle of Bishop Alexander of Buenos Aires," which ends with the following words, "the Moscow Patriarchate is not a church, but a collection of heretics."

Then follows this item: "News concerning the unification of the ROCOR(L) and the Moscow Patriarchate." In this article, it mentions that several of the ROCOR bishops and clergymen took part in the detestable "All-Russia Council," at which a certain statement was adopted concerning the "Great Victory Achieved During World War II." Anastasia Georgievna’s take on it was, "By their presence at this meeting, the representatives of the ROCOR(L) ended up taking part in celebrating the triumphant victory of Communism!"

Now, let’s take a look at the June issue, #6 of "Church News." There is an article entitled "Changes for the Better" there that starts out by saying "the internet version of IZVESTIA newspaper for May 31st, analyzing the process of unification between the Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate, reveals, among other things, that during a meeting, which took place at the end of May, the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR came to the conclusion that big changes have taken place over the last fifteen years in Russia: "In light of the numerous positive developments in church life, and in life in general in Russia, the question concerning mutual relations between that part of the Russian Orthodox Church which is abroad, and the church inside Russia, stands starkly before us."

Further on, Anastasia Georgievna produced eloquent examples of the "positive developments," for example: "…a spontaneous desire for the "canonization" of a whole series of extremely dubious personalities can be seen in the Moscow Patriarchate, including Ivan the Terrible, (who was married seven times, murdered his own son, and sent Malyuta Skuratov to smother St. Philip of Moscow to death for daring to speak out about the atrocities of the tsar), and Rasputin (whose "icon" is even myrrh-streaming). To top it all off, there was an "icon" of Stalin, which was posted on a blog on the internet on June 5th. In this icon, this outcast of the human race was depicted wearing bishop’s vestments, complete with omophorion, and holding a Gospel book together with a sword!"

In the last sentence of this publication she writes: "Isn’t it amazing how the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, under the leadership of Metropolitan Laurus, can suddenly see "positive developments" in the church life of the Moscow Patriarchate today, and consistently seek to be united to it?"

After this item in "Church News," comes a large body of material under the heading "Publication of Some of the Documents of the Unification Committees." From here, I will cite only the first and last sentences: "The ROCOR(L) flock have been waiting for a long time now for the promised publication some of the documents worked out at the joint meetings of the MP and ROCOR committees concerning the question of unification between the "two parts of the one Russian Orthodox Church." Finally, on June 21st, 2005, the committee kept its promise. The only thing that can be said about the decisions that this committee reached is summed up by the words of one of our Russian proverbs: "Same old soup, just watered down a little." "And so, it is without any doubt that, by betraying the principles it held for eighty years, the representatives-traitors of the Church Abroad have not only done irreparable harm to it, but are actually helping to quash the few signs of life that are yet to be found within the Moscow Patriarchate! The present bishops and clergy of the Church Abroad have apparently forgotten the words of the Gospel: ‘But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea.’ (Matthew 18:6)"

In issue #7—alas!—the last issue of "Church News," Anastasia Georgievna devoted three items to the shameful topic of the "process of unification." In the first one, under the heading, "Finally, a Word of Truth," the eloquent opinion of Dimitry Kaplun, a clergyman of the ROCOR(L) who lives in Russia, is proffered.

Another item starts off: "Problems of Orthodoxy in Russia:" "Under this rather all-encompassing headline, the newspaper "Rus’ Pravoslavnaya" #1-2, 2005, published an excellent article by Michael Nazarov, "On the Deception of the Elect and the Church of the Last Times." The almost full-page article appears as a rather substantial and legitimate critique of the leader of the recent politics of the ROCOR(L). Below the photograph of Metropolitan Laurus there is a caption which reads: "Metropolitan Laurus, First Hierarch of the ROCOR: Spiritual Leader of Unification, or Undertaker of the Church Abroad?"

After this, there is an item called "Two Episcopal Interviews," referring to two bishops of the ROCOR—Mark and Cyril. Here is the last paragraph of the publication: "The Compromise Committee seems to be completely unimpressed by the fact that the Communist authorities and all who cooperated with it were first anathematized by Patriarch Tikhon, and subsequently by the Catacomb Church on two different occasions. And these anathemas apply to the Moscow Patriarchate as well. The Compromise Committee is equally unimpressed by the fact that the Council of Bishops of the ROCOR, after every election of a "Patriarch" of Moscow, declared them to be illegitimate on the basis of Rule #30 of the Holy Apostles, since they had received their positions of authority in the Church through the auspices of secular authorities. It was only after Metropolitan Vitaly became the First Hierarch of the ROCOR, that the Council of the Church Abroad made no reaction at all to the "election" of Alexei Ridiger—agent Drozdov!

From the item entitled "More on the ‘Process of Unification’ through the Eyes of the Moscow Patriarchate," we read the last statement made by Anastasia Georgievna on this topic: "…we see the shameful capitulation of the ROCOR, which has blatantly abandoned the conditions it had formerly maintained for unification with the Moscow Patriarchate! Not to mention that Metropolitan Laurus and his Synod have rejected the ideology which the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia had held for 80 long years!"

I repeat, Anastasia Georgievna was a faithful daughter to her father, and he, as everyone knows, never betrayed his principles. Shortly before her death, she made her confession to and received Holy Communion from one of our priests, Igumen Andrei (Maklakov).

Her funeral, which was performed at Novo Diveyevo by three clergymen of the ROCOR known as leading proponents for "reconciliation with the Moscow Patriarchate." In light of what has been said above, seems like a mockery and blasphemy. Her eulogy was delivered by Archpriest George Larin, a man who was branded by Anastasia Georgievna as a participant in the "celebration of the victory of Communism." (I have in mind here the item cited above from issue #5 of "Church News").

The dead are not able to speak out and protest from their graves. Different politicians have always taken advantage of this fact. And here, we must not pass over without mentioning the recent blasphemous incident, which took place in Moscow, and here I’m talking about the "reburial" of the remains of [White Army Genetal] Anton Denikin and of [Russian Philosopher] Ivan Ilyin. And so, the way is completely open for Mr. Larin and Co. to go to the Moscow Patriarchate, under the red banner of Putin’s new Russia.

Good riddance!