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Chapter 40: Metropolitan Valentine’s Unexplainable Change of Attitude

Throughout his stay in Colorado, Metropolitan Valentine was living at the home of one of Archbishop Gregory’s priests in Colorado Springs. When he returned to Colorado Springs after the feast, to complete his recuperation and prepare for his return to Russia, he inexplicably attempted to compel Archbishop Gregory to accept several uncanonical infractions. He imagined that since Archbishop Gregory was now elevated, he would submit to the metropolitan’s new ideas. These schemes were foreign to anything Archbishop Gregory ever heard before. They could only be described as demonic inventions which would hurt the Church, because “anything established against the canons is unlawful.”

The ideas that arose in the metropolitan’s head were: (1) that he, the metropolitan, has universal and supreme authority in all dioceses of his synod and he is above the canons; (2) the wrong opinion that some of the mysteries of heretics and schismatics are valid; (3) to receive 188 unbaptized Haitians, along with their unbaptized priest into the Church; (4) to seize several of Archbishop Gregory’s clergy and monastics without Archbishop Gregory’s consent. (He wanted to take three priests from his monastery and transfer them to other states in the country and ordain them bishops); and (5) to transfer the archbishop’s parish in Colorado Springs to his own authority and govern it from Russia.

Archbishop Gregory tried to reason with the metropolitan to change his mind. All of these practices were contrary to the laws of the Church, and the metropolitan failed to realize that Archbishop Gregory was not a clergyman who could be bullied into submission, especially into breaking the canons.

Concerning one aspect of his demands, he wanted to take one of Archbishop Gregory’s hieromonks from Dormition Skete, Fr. Andrew, and make him a bishop in New Jersey. Once there, he would live in the home of an elderly Russian priest and his matushka, and be a caretaker for them. The metropolitan had made his decision and wanted compliance from everybody involved. The archbishop took Fr. Andrew aside and asked him if he wanted such a change of life and dignity.

His answer was, “I came to Dormition Skete to repent of my sins, and this is what I desire.” The archbishop returned to inform the metropolitan that Fr. Andrew wished to remain at the monastery. The metropolitan then informed Archbishop Gregory that the only way he would withdraw his demand was if Archbishop Gregory would submit a written resignation from his newly elevated position as archbishop! This was obviously extortion.

It did not take Archbishop Gregory long to reason that he did not ask for this rank and for the sake of the soul of Fr. Andrew, he should resign the archbishopric and be demoted to the rank of bishop. This honor of the episcopal rank, whether bishop or archbishop, was not bestowed upon him by his own request, but by the desire of others. He therefore told the metropolitan that he was willing to resign to keep Fr. Andrew in the monastery.

The metropolitan did not expect this reply and said he would continue this discussion later. Father Andrew was the interpreter for the metropolitan throughout his ordeal of heart surgery and recuperation. He lived with him in Colorado Springs until he returned to Russia. When Archbishop Gregory left to return to the monastery, the metropolitan worked on Fr. Andrew to convince him to abandon the monastic life at Dormition Skete. He told him to disobey his abbot, Archbishop Gregory, and listen only to him and he would become a bishop. He told him that if he stayed in the monastery he would “rot” the rest of his life and have no future in the Church! Finally, Fr. Andrew could resist no longer, and he decided to follow the path of Judas.

Up until this moment there was never any indication that the bishops in Russia ever held such opinions as stated above. All their written confessions of the Faith were perfectly Orthodox. There were never even any complaints heard about Metropolitan Valentine concerning his confession of the Faith which was identical to that of Archbishop Gregory, which meant that it was a continuation of the unbroken Faith of the Russian Church Abroad, as expressed by its great Metropolitans Anthony, Anastassy and Philaret.

The only accusations against Metropolitan Valentine all came from the Moscow Patriarchate and its subordinates, who were persecuting not only the metropolitan but the other bishops of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church in Russia. Even on one of Archbishop Gregory’s trips to Russia to attend a synodal meeting, he saw the charred remains of a convent in the city of Suzdal which was set ablaze by arsonists of the Moscow Patriarchate. The Moscow Patriarchate did not want the existence of any other Orthodox Russian Church in Russia. It permitted other non-Orthodox denominations to exist, but the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church was considered an enemy to be eliminated.

Now Archbishop Gregory was confronted with the demands of Metropolitan Valentine, which were not only uncanonical but also detrimental to the well-being of the whole Church in America. The only recourse he had was to submit a protest with accusations against the metropolitan to the Holy Synod because of these crimes. The archbishop was the accuser and the metropolitan was the accused. When the metropolitan, who was still residing in Colorado Springs, received word from the bishops of the Synod in Russia that Archbishop Gregory had made a formal accusation in writing against him, his anger was even more inflamed. When he returned to Russia a couple weeks later, he took all matters in his own hands, and cut off Archbishop Gregory from any contact with the bishops in Russia. No synodal meeting was ever permitted to convene by the metropolitan and hear the charges against himself.

Metropolitan Valentine was afraid to issue any punishment such as a deposition, knowing that he was the one guilty before God. According to the canons of the Church, anyone, including a bishop, who is under accusation, has no right to make an accusation against his accuser unless he first clears his own name. The serious accusations against the metropolitan were set aside and cast away as if they never existed, and new accusations against the archbishop were supposedly heard. What were these accusations? Accusations were of bribery, disobedience, incompetence, ambition, etc. The accused now became the accuser and judge of the accusations against Archbishop Gregory. This now became a new “Synod of the Oak” as happened in the life of St. John Chrysostom when his false accusers became his judges. It should be noted that no official documents of any judgment against Archbishop Gregory were ever sent to him. Months later, Bishop Anthony of Yaransk was contacted by phone by someone in Russia, and it was related back to Archbishop Gregory that there was indeed no synodal meeting convened against him and that Bishop Anthony never signed any document cutting off Archbishop Gregory from the Church in Russia. This was a comfort to us in America, because we felt that we still had a bond with the catacomb bishops in Russia. Even though Archbishop Gregory was “cut off” from the Russians, he always maintained communion with the Greek Old Calendarists. He even visited them a few times after his consecration and was received by them as a brother hierarch.

To justify his grievous sin against the Church and Archbishop Gregory, Metropolitan Valentine espoused something new. This was his adopting the “Kniga Consistorium”. The Kniga Consistorium refers to a church governance rule-book founded on a document promulgated by Tsar Peter I of Russia (“The Spiritual Regulation”). This document was later repudiated by the Russian Church when the Patriarchate was restored and the holy Church canons were again made the basis of governance. The “Spiritual Regulation” and “Kniga Consistorium” abolished the canon-based institution of the Patriarchate, replacing it with a mini-synod of four metropolitans themselves dominated by the ruler’s own lay official (oberprocurator). This five-person lay-metropolitan decision-making body (which called itself “The Holy Synod”, although it excluded most of the bishops - whose plenitude is rather called “the Synod” in the canons) arbitrarily ruled the Russian Church without the votes or consent of the other bishops. This dictatorial usurpation of the voice of the hierarchy is beyond what the holy Church permits to metropolitans. Basing himself on the ‘authority’ of the long-repudiated Kniga Consistorium, Metropolitan Valentine claimed that he, due to his metropolitan rank, had some kind of absolute monarchial (Pope-like) authority over all his synod’s bishops. Archbishop Gregory was the first not to submit to his ungodly and uncanonical mentality.

Metropolitan Valentine had willfully created a schism within his own Synod. Sadly, this grave sin, which was the result of his espousal of the Kniga Consistorium, spawned other schisms within the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church. If a bishop follows the Consistorium, he necessarily disobeys the canons of the holy Orthodox Church, which a bishop is sworn to uphold. A bishop gives solemn vows before the altar of God when he is consecrated, that he will uphold the holy canons of the Orthodox Church, not the dictates of Tsar Peter I!

For a list of canons that Metropolitan Valentine violated, and for a more detailed account of the 2004 schism we invite you to visit this web link: Repentance Requirements

Father Andrew Maklakov

As for Father Andrew, because of his willful and unrepentant violation of holy canons of the Orthodox Church he was deposed from the priesthood on December 15/28, 2004. His official deposition papers and the canons in which he violated may be found at this link: Deposition of Fr. Andrew Maklakov

Archbishop Gregory
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Last Updated: July 12, 2011