Sunday, October 01, 2006

A New Book Has Been Published on the Hieromartyr Joseph, Metropolitan of Petrograd

(Vertograd, St-Petersburg)

“Hieromartyr Joseph, Metropolitan of Petrograd: Life and Works”, compiled by M. S. Sakharov and L. E. Sikorskaya; preparation of texts, commentary and introduction by L. E. Sikorskaya: St. Petersburg, “Kifa” publications, 2006 (in Russian). 342 pages.

The St. Petersburg publishing house “Kifa” has released a book on the Hieromartyr Joseph (Petrovykh), Metropolitan of Petrograd — one of the leaders of the opposition to Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky). This publication inaugurates a new series “The New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia Before the Face of the Godless Regime”, and it is not coincidental that it was decided to feature the life of Metropolitan Joseph first of all. The position taken by him provokes controversy even until now. The Moscow Patriarchate refused to glorify him amidst the choir of the New Martyrs of Russia; whereas for the True Orthodox Christians this Hierarch is dear as the founder of the Catacomb Church, as a symbol of the struggle for the purity of the Faith — a struggle which is not so much political, as it is spiritual.

One of the compilers of this “Life” of the Saint is the New Martyr’s own great-nephew, M. S. Sakharov. He was able to gather together extensive and unique materials from State archives and from the works of contemporary historians. The personality of Metropolitan Joseph is illuminated from the most diverse, and at times, unexpected, perspective. The reader will see not only an uncompromising champion against Sergianism and godlessness, but also a distinguished scholar, an ascetic, and one of the most respected and revered hierarchs of the Russian Church.

A significant part of the book is devoted to excerpts from his composition — so popular among the Orthodox faithful at the beginning of the twentieth century — “In the Father’s Embrace: the Diary of a Monk”. The future hieromartyr began keeping this diary a few years before his tonsure, while still a layman, Ivan Semyenovich Petrovykh, and he continued it for the course of several decades. Unfortunately, this “Diary” has never been re-printed, which is much to be regretted, once one has read the excerpts given here. Imitating, to a certain degree, the “Diary” of Fr. John of Kronstadt, the future hierarch writes: “In possessing this present book, know, dear reader, that in a certain sense, you possess my soul! Do not mock her; do not judge her; do not reproach her. For she is revealed here before you as she is revealed only to ones spiritual father, or to ones closest friend. She is revealed in all her hidden movements, daily moods, emotions, defects and infirmities…”

It is precisely the reading of these heartfelt passages which makes it possible to grasp how the character of such people was formed who were prepared to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the Church’s freedom. The entire path of Metropolitan Joseph’s life, which is related in detail in this book, testifies to one thing: a correct ecclesiology is impossible unless one lives according to the Gospel.

The “Life of Metropolitan Joseph” is furnished with rare photographs, extracts from archival files and the episcopal documents of Metropolitan Joseph himself.

The book can be obtained from the publisher “Kifa”: St. Petersburg, No. 23, Ul. 4 Rozhdestvenskaya (formerly Sovetskaya). Telephone: + 7 (812) 717-34-86, fax: 717-94-71. Or visit their web-site: