by Dr. Vladimir Moss
Today is Lazarus Saturday. I remember this day especially because on it I was supposed to be baptized in the Russian Church Abroad – and Archbishop Averky reposed in the Lord. Even at that time, nearly 30 years ago now, Archbishop Averky was insisting that the Moscow Patriarchate was a graceless organization, and lamenting the way in which the Russian Church Abroad’s relationship towards it was weakening. Archbishop Averky and his writings have a high reputation both in Russia and abroad. And yet how few people heed his anguished warnings today!
Fortunately at just the time that Archbishop Averky died, another zealot for True Orthodoxy took over as the “watchman of the Lord” (Ezekiel 33), warning the people against the coming of the enemy. This was Metropolitan Philaret. In 1977 he warned me: “Vladimir, I advise you to obey the anathema of the Catacomb Church against the Soviet church.” He was one of the very few who were not taken in by Fr. Dmitri Dudko, the dissident Soviet priest, warning in 1980 that although his courage was to be admired, since he was “confessing” from within a false church, he would fail. And sure enough: Dudko “repented” of his confession, and is now issuing passionate dithyrambs in praise of Stalin! Metropolitan Philaret sealed his righteous confession against both the MP and World Orthodoxy by heading the list of hierarchs that anathematized ecumenism and the ecumenists in 1983, and years later his body was discovered to be incorrupt. Two jurisdictions deriving their orders from the Russian Church Abroad have now glorified him among the saints. But not, alas, the Russian Church Abroad, whose present chief-hierarch buried his relics under concrete...
The next chief-hierarch, Metropolitan Vitaly, was not known to be a zealot in the mould of Archbishop Averky and Metropolitan Philaret; and his period as chief hierarch was characterized by uncertainty and wavering and several bad decisions which the consciousness of the True Church has not accepted.
Nevertheless, he authorized the founding of parishes of the Russian Church Abroad within Russia in 1990, thus providing a priceless lifeline for thousands of people inside Russia who wished to abandon the falsehood of the MP and confess the True Faith under a true hierarch. Moreover, in recent years he has asserted, in line with his predecessor, that the MP is a graceless organization (he even called it “the church of the Antichrist”), and led the Russian Church Abroad to reaffirm the anathema against ecumenism and the ecumenists in 1998 (it is he who coined the famous and accurate phrase to describe ecumenism: “the heresy of heresies”).
However, things have changed sharply for the worse under his successor, Metropolitan Lavr, the man who buried St. Philaret’s relics under concrete and attempted to drive Metropolitan Vitaly into an early grave through his law-suits. At the robber council of 2000, he and his fellow hierarchs officially applied to enter into communion with the heretical MP, asking the equally heretical Serbian patriarch to intercede for them in this. He has entered into negotiations with and praised KGB agent Putin, who toasts Stalin and says “there are no ex-KGB agents”, and who has turned the clock back to Soviet times. Lavr has buried the confession of the Russian Church Abroad under concrete, attempting to consign it to the tomb as thoroughly and as deeply as Lazarus’ body. He holds his nose at what he considers to be the stinking corpse of the Russian Church Abroad’s previous confession, calling it “pharisaical”. .