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The Soviet Church as a Church-organized Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

Archimandrite Konstantin (Zaitsev)
Translated by Dormition Skete, 2021

The "Soviet Church" stands in the distant background in our everyday life. The more we see ourselves on the opposite side of this terrible background, the more we truly realize the ineffable happiness of our freedom. We gaze sadly at the brothers in faith around us who do not want to comprehend either human tragedy or the spiritual wickedness of this phrase, which should have remained just an example of what in logic is called contradictio in adjecto. The contradiction between the epithet "Soviet" and the noun "Church" remains unavoidable: if "Soviet," then it is no longer the "Church"—and woe to those who do not wish to understand this. Our Church Abroad grew up on the consciousness of the evil demise of that “Church” that is capable of becoming “Soviet." But, in the conditions of our everyday life abroad, we usually see, as it were, only with peripheral vision these terrible perversions. Directly in front of us are flowing phenomena filling the horizon, arising in the fertile atmosphere of freedom. And then suddenly, like a living phenomenon, the "Soviet Church" appeared in front of us, wedged into our everyday life—and this coincided precisely with the work of the Diocesan Assembly.

The reaction to this phenomenon was significant.

On the one hand, the members of the assembly, almost unchanged in their composition from year to year, have probably never felt so closely united as it has now happened in their repulsion to the Soviet Church delegation, who dared to present themselves as the faces of Russia and Russian Orthodoxy. Some new desire was immediately born: the need to raise one’s voice and testify in front of the free world about the deception of which he himself becomes a victim, considering as a "churchly" phenomenon that which is only Soviet propaganda, covered by the semblance of a church.

On the other hand, besides the desire to "take to the streets," there is another need: to go deep into yourself, to confront yourself and test your inner conscience with the truth of Christ's Church. Are we really churchly? What makes one a genuine member of the Church, of the body of Christ?

In this combination of simultaneously arising polar-opposite movements of the soul—to go out to the streets and to concentrate inwardly on the anticipation of Christ's truth—the main thing that characterized the spirit of the assembly was reflected: the consciousness that the time of confession is coming. It has always been clear that confession defines the main task of the Church Abroad. The oppression of the satanocracy, suppressing one part of the Church, softens the responsibility of those crushed under this terrible yoke, and to some extent even removes it, since in particular, we are talking about a public manifestation of churchness; [in other words,] the concept of "catacombs" embraces a special way of life. All the more the responsibility increases, in particular, for the public and social activity of the Church, for the part of the Church that bears, by the grace of God, the obligations of freedom. But never before has the task of glasnost (openness, raising one’s voice) risen with such force as it has now happened in the form of the imperative practical task of today and, moreover, a task that unites everyone, from the leading princes of the Church to its most humble members.

The "Soviet Church,” since it is really blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, is receiving fraudulent ecclesiastical and organizational status. And what did the Lord say about this blasphemy? This is something to be horrified at—and recoil. We are not talking now about internal Russia, where terror and the corrupting influence of the ruling satanocracy operate—it is enough for us to be aware of the entire depth of the internal tragedy that the subjugated Russian people are going through. The Lord is their judge! But woe to those who are not apt to recoil from this wickedness, being free. But is it always enough just to recoil? In order to save the soul, one can recoil from something external, from which one can isolate oneself internally. And what if the spirit of flattering enters the very thick of life? Here it would be necessary to make a self-determination so that there is no tacit solidarity with evil. Let Metropolitan Nicholas go ahead and come to the free world as a representative of the USSR for propaganda and for cooperation with the forces of the free world that are sympathetic with communism—that is one thing. Quite different is it when Met. Nicholas, at the head of a delegation uniting different [religious] confessions, arrives on a return visit as an ambassador of a powerful ecumenical organization of Christian churches. There is already a solidarity of the world churches with the Soviet Church. It is comforting to see that at the ecumenical functions, even the most modest ones, a Protestant confession is starting to turn away from the Soviet Church and publicly testify to its rejection. But is it enough for us just to know? We also need to act! New tasks arise—huge, most responsible ones....

The world around us is still free. Do we now have the right to enjoy the benefits of this still-existing formal freedom only in order to remain faithful to the true Church in our inner life? Since the struggle with a deceiving spirit confronts us on a global scale, through the introduction to the Soviet false Church for both world Christianity and universal Orthodoxy, can we only remain spectators in it?

The dictates of Church conscience are ahead of abstract decisions. The public, social, even street reactions of the Russia Abroad to the appearance of Soviet churchmen as participants in Ecumenism has already become a reality. It is gratifying that the actions of the St. Vladimir youth brought to the attention of the local community, in the forms allowed by local laws and customs, the godless character of the Soviet Church delegation, in anticipation of the decisions of the Diocesan Assembly. It is gratifying that the prophetic word of the First Hierarch, which opened this assembly, already put all the dots on the I’s. There was nothing to debate: the conscience of the Church spoke through the lips of everyone, putting a pen in the hands of some, calling others to actions permitted by the law....

We are clearly entering a new era. Prudence will suggest the extent and forms of our participation in the growing resistance to the expanding evil, which is replacing the Church of Christ on a universal scale under the clear direction of the "Soviet Church." This godless phenomenon is no longer satiated by the horrors of the Soviet reality: it embraces the whole world with its tentacles. A slightly noticeable dotted line used to indicate the connections that led from the free world to Red Moscow, draped with a semblance of churchliness. These ties are clearly growing stronger now, sometimes taking on loudly demonstrative forms.

Let us carefully scrutinize the reality around us, in an effort to recognize in a timely manner both the ominous phenomena of the growing apostasy and the reassuring manifestations of firmness in standing in the truth. Let us be sensitively attentive to the phenomena that testify to the sobering of the hesitant and the enlightenment of those who are in error. It was comforting to read on the columns of the New Russian Word an inspired article by Ksenia Denikina, revealing to the motley multitude of readers of this newspaper, far from Orthodoxy, and even from any ecclesiastical thoughts, the whole depth of spiritual corruption of the so-called "Soviet Church." Comforting it was to read in the same direction of that article, Protopriest Kohanikaon in the columns of Russia. It is comforting to see, in various American publications, glimpses at an understanding of what a mistake, what a sin is committed by receiving Soviet guests, as if they were representatives of the Church.

Is it all set in stone? The future will tell. In this "future" which becomes "present" every day, it is incumbent upon us to choose our fellow travelers, friends, and associates carefully. Let us not recklessly reject those who have not yet said a definitive word in their relationship with the "Soviet Church," but we must only strengthen our ties with those who exhibit the ability to understand the ultimate horror of yoking Christian believers with the way of apostasy, which is already a church-organized blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Jordanville, 1956

Archbishop Gregory
Dormition Skete
P.O. Box 3177
Buena Vista, CO 81211-3177
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