At first glance Metropolitan Sergius's position seemed unshakeable: both the principle of personal rule and the mystical, blessed content of the Patriarchate had been preserved.
Only one timing had not been taken into account, namely, that division of these two aspects of the Patriarchate is totally inadmissible; that the only manifestation of the mystical nature of the power of First Hierarch is the actual, real exercise of this power; that the sole basis for personal rule of the church is precisely its blessed, charismatic character. By separating the mystical content of the power of First Hierarch from its real exercise, Metropolitan Sergius introduced the concept of the "actual leader" of the Church, who lacks the charisma of the First Hierarch. Thus, the nature of the actual power of First Hierarch was understood as being administrative-legal and without grace, or, at best, as patriarchal on the model of the family.
But no other power than the power of God should be in the Church, and therefore power which is uncharismatic and without grace is a foreign body in the Church, alien to its God-Man nature.
Unaccompanied by the action of Divine Power (Energy or Grace), the power of Metropolitan Sergius as "actual head" could be acceptable only with the voluntary agreement of those who wished to have him over them as an authoritative leader. In this connection it is becoming clear that those hierarchs who did not recognize Metropolitan Sergius's leadership over them did not cause any anti-church action or "schism": the fact that they did not always formulate the motives for their actions precisely did not change the real state of affairs.
In the official act of canonical separation from Metropolitan Sergius by the Leningrad bishops Sergius (Druzhinin) and Dimitri (Lyubirnov) dated 13/26 December, 1927 an earlier mistake is repeated, as Metropolitan Sergius is called "our former Head who exceeded his rights illegally and excessively", and a new ecclesiological error can be seen, in the statement that the bishops who have broken away are preserving "the apostolic succession through the Patriarchal Locum Tenens Peter (Polyansky)."
In fact a Bishop's "apostolic succession" has nothing to do with the First Hierarch; this succession is transferred through episcopal ordination (laying on of hands), which is also performed in Churches that do not have a First Hierarch at all (for example, with a Synodal structure). Tins unfortunate idea of "apostolic succession" was, nevertheless, the first attempt to understand in precisely what the charismatic nature of the power of First Hierarch manifests itself, which was so profoundly and directly experienced by church people.
This mistaken idea of "apostolic succession" was immediately taken up energetically by Metropolitan Sergius, who turned it to his own use. Thus, in
his letter of 18/31 December, 1927 he writes:
"We do not forget that for all our unworthiness we serve in the same canonically indisputable chain, by which our Russian Orthodox hierarchy is united at the present moment with the Ecumenical, through it with the Apostles, and through them with the Founder of the Church Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself."
In accordance with his conception, Metropolitan Sergius could, of course, have explained that he was exercising only "real succession" with the Apostles (it would be interesting to know in precisely what way), whereas the exercise of "mystical succession" remained with Metropolitan Peter. It would also not have been out of place to ask him through whom the Russian Orthodox hierarchy was connected with the Ecumenical Church in the period of 1922-27, when the Eastern Patriarchs were in canonical communion with the Renovationist SCA, but had broken off communion with the Patriarchal Church on learning that the Renovationists had "removed" His Holiness Tikhon from the Patriarchate.
And if we do not want to follow Metropolitan Sergius and adhere to a formal-juridical idea of the Church, but if we believe in Her, as in the living Body of Christ, we must recognize, in the spirit of Orthodox tradition, that union with Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostles and the Ecumenical Church is effected by each Bishop as the head of the Local Church. Otherwise we would be forced to assume that the compilers of the Decree of 7/20 November, 1920, who permitted the existence of the Local Church without a First Hierarch for an indefinite period, in the form of a number of independent dioceses, thereby doomed the Church to a break in "apostolic succession", to a break in the connection with Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostles and the Ecumenical Church!
We reject such an assumption categorically, both because it is clearly contrary to Orthodox reason and experience and because of our spiritual trust in those who compiled the Decree, our profound conviction that it is they who, in accordance with the Local Council, continued the development of genuinely Orthodox ecclesiology.
We have quoted the dogmatic arguments of members of the Council concerning the fact that the office of First Hierarch is connected not with apostolic service in general, but with the special service of the Apostle Peter. Yet this service consists precisely of the real administration of the Church. "Tend my sheep," Our Lord said to the Apostle Peter. And if a Bishop's Petrine service in relation to his diocese is the essential foundation of the Church, then the Patriarchate in the Local Church is not an essential condition of Her being at any moment in historical time, but is the crown, the completion and summit of Her organization in history. Essential conditions of this completion are the confirmation of the
apostolic dignity of each Bishop, on the one hand, and the total expulsion from the Church of the administrative-bureaucratic spirit, on the other.
This task, begun by the Council, was worthily continued by the hierarchs of the Russian Church who fought for Orthodox spirituality against the bureaucratic decisions of Metropolitan Sergius. There is already a new ring in the words of Metropolitan Joseph about Metropolitan Sergius's orders which cannot be accepted by "the living souls of the true children of Christ's Church." In this rejection of dead administrating one can sense a longing for the sort of church administration and actions by church power which would be accepted not by "paper", but by "the living souls of believers."
"In order to condemn and neutralize recent actions by Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky)," wrote Metropolitan Joseph on 25 December/ 07 January, 1928, "which are contrary to the spirit and well-being of Christ's Holy Church, we have no other means, due to external circumstances, than to break with him resolutely and ignore his orders. May these orders be received only by all-enduring paper and the all-encompassing, unfeeling air, but not by the living souls of the true children of Christ's Church (our italics here and below - L.R.)
In disassociating ourselves from Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) and his acts, we do not disassociate ourselves from our lawful First Hierarch Metropolitan Peter (Polyansky) and the Council, should it ever assemble, of Orthodox prelates who have remained faithful. And this longed-for Council, our only Orthodox judge, will not hold our boldness against us.
Let it judge us not as those who scorn the sacred canons of the Holy Fathers, but only as those who fear their violation.
Even if we have gone astray, we have gone astray honestly, striving for the purity of Orthodox in our deceitful time, and if we are guilty, let us be specially worthy of indulgence, and not rejection. And so, even if all our pastors leave us, we shall not be left by our Heavenly Pastor, according to His promise to dwell in His Church until the end of time."
The Moscow arclipriest Valentin (Sventsitsky) (who subsequently recognized the "canonicity" of Metropolitan Sergius) wrote to the latter on 30 December/12 January, 1928 concerning the severance of canonical relations with him, with the blessing of Bishop Dimitri (Lyubirnov) of Gdov:
"Both the 'Living Church', which has seized the power of the Patriarch, and Gregorianism, which has seized the power of the Locum Tenens, and You, who have abused his trust - all of you are doing the same thing, anti-church Renovationist business, moreover you are the creator of its most dangerous form, since, while rejecting church freedom, at the same time you retain the fiction of canonicity and Orthodoxy.
This is more than a violation of individual canons!
I am not creating a new schism or violating the unity of the Church, but am going away and taking my flock from the subtle Renovationist trap: 'And let us not lose little by little and imperceptibly the freedom which was given to us by the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of all mankind' (from Rule 8 of the Third Ecumenical Council)" (and further this rule: …And let not the arrogance of worldly power steal in under the guise of divine service and let us not lose little by little..." - L.R.)
(our italics - L.R.).
A dangerous tendency in the struggle against Metropolitan Sergius was the accusation of "gracelessness" made by one of the bishops who refused to recognize his authority, namely, Dimitri (Lyubirnov), against the pro-Sergian clergy. This position was, essentially, the same sin against church brotherly love and against the dignity of a Bishop, that metropolitan Sergius was propagating: it gave the latter yet another argument for his determined and ruthless punishment of the most active members of the opposition and his compromising of that movement as a whole, punishment which now received a seeming moral and canonical justification. Inter alia, a letter written from exile by the authoritative priest and "spiritual elder", Father Vsevolod, was directed against these extremes:
"Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) and his Synod have issued an appeal in which they confuse church business with politics and they are transferring bishops against the latter's will, issuing orders which many Orthodox are prevented from obeying by their conscience, and exceeding their church rights - the rights only of a Deputy Patriarchal Locum Tenens.
All these measures are harmful for the Church. They make up the personal canonical crime of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) and those with him. But these crimes are not yet such that one could declare Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) to be lacking in grace and demand immediate severance of prayerful communion with him... Thus, there is wrong on both sides. Reciprocal banning on both sides has no force, because in issuing these bans neither side is basing itself on the Truth of Orthodoxy.
Only a ban in accordance with the will of God can lead to a loss of grace (our italics - L.R.). If this accord does not exist, then not only is grace not removed and not sent, but church life itself shows that all such actions are not accepted by the Church, even if they have been committed by the great Ecumenical Councils and the Orthodox Patriarchs and Synods themselves.
...You can go freely into these or those churches, praying to the Lord that He will give canonical rectitude in relations between Orthodox and reconcile His Church..."
On 12/25 January, 1928 Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod again
committed the bishops Dimitri (Lyubirnov) and Sergius (Druzhinin), who had already been forbidden to conduct Divine service, on a charge of schism, and demanded of the Leningrad vicars, Bishop Gregory (Lebedev) and Bishop Seraphim (Protopopov) that they should immediately introduce the remembering of the Deputy's name.
The broad church movement against Metropolitan Sergius was only just beginning, however. On 13/26 January a group of clergy in the town of Serpukhov led by Bishop Alexis (Gotovtsev) announced their break with Metropolitan Sergius. Shortly after this Archbishop Seraphim (Samoilovich) of Uglich, formerly a devoted admirer of his, addressed a sincere admonition to Metropolitan Sergius:
"We used to suffer and endure in silence, knowing that we were suffering for the Truth and that the indestructible power of God was with us, which strengthened us and inspired us with the hope that in a time known to God alone the Truth of Orthodoxy would win, for it has been promised faithfully and, when necessary, will be given all-powerful Divine assistance.
By your Declaration and the policy based on it you are seeking to lead us into a sphere in which we are already losing that hope, for you are leading us from the service of the Truth, and God. does not help falsehood.
...Terrible groans are carrying from all corners of Russia. You promised to pluck out two or three sufferers and return them to the society of the faithful, but look how many new martyrs have appeared, whose sufferings are intensified even more by the awareness that these sufferings are the consequence of Your new church policy.
...And if dioceses and parishes are breaking away from You and Your 'Synod', this is a tocsin, a terrible tocsin of exhausted and believing hearts, which could reach Your heart, set it on fire with the flame of self-sacrifice and readiness to lay down one's soul for one's friends..."
Finally, on 24 January/6 February, 1928, voice rang out not only of the exhausted Orthodox heart and chaste conscience, but the voice of soborny wisdom and pastoral authority. In a letter to Metropolitan Sergius the arch-hierarchs of the Yaroslavl church district headed by the senior Russian hierarch and close associate of Patriarch Tikhon, Metropolitan Agathangel (Preobrajensky), wrote:
"In Your program the spiritual and Divine element in church management is subordinated entirely to the secular and worldly element; the cornerstone is not the utmost care to protect true faith and Christian piety, but a seeking to please 'those outside', which is no use to anyone or anything and leaves no place for an important condition of constructing internal church life according to the behests of Christ and the Gospel, namely, the freedom which has been granted to the Church by Her Heavenly Founder and is inherent in Her very nature.
...In place of the inner-church freedom proclaimed by Christ You practice
widely the administrative arbitrariness from which the Church has suffered greatly in the past also.
At your own personal discretion You practice the pointless and unjustifiable transferring of bishops, often contrary to the wishes of the bishops themselves and their flocks, the appointment of vicars without the knowledge of diocesan arch-hierarchs, the banning of bishops and priests who are not to your liking, etc.
...We henceforth separate ourselves from You and refuse to recognize the right of You and Your 'Synod' to the supreme adminislration of the Church."
Apart from Metropolitan Agathangel, the letter was signed by: Archbishop Seraphim (Samoilich) of Uglich; Archbishop Varlaam (Ryashenlsev), formerly of Perm, now temporarily in charge of the Lyubim vicariate; Bishop Evgeny (Kobranov) of Rostov; and also Metropolitan Joseph (Petrovykh) who was residing in Rostov Veliky at the time. Although this letter already casts doubt on Metropolitan Sergius's rights to administer the Church, it too contains no argumentation on tins crucial question. Knowing from experience how peaceloving Metropolitan Agathangel was and how ready to make concessions, Metropolitan Sergius took advantage of these qualities of his to save his own precarious position.
"I cannot find sufficiently strong words, - he wrote in a letter to Metropolitan Agathangel dated 28 January/ 10 February, 1928, - to beg You to stay in communion with Us and show a little patience for our weaknesses, until it becomes clear where we want to steer the ship of our Church: to a relatively tolerable existence in the given conditions, or to destruction; whether we arc striving to establish the faith or sacrificing it for our personal well-being. It is always possible to break off communion, if there are indisputable grounds for doing so, but to sever communion and to break up the Body of the Church for reasons which are imaginary and only anticipated and assumed, consider what a risky and responsible step this is and what consequences it could have for the Church and for the one who takes it."
Concerning this letter of Metropolitan Sergius the following points must be made:
1) Metropolitan Sergius was reproached not for personal weakness, but for imposing these "weaknesses" on the Church as a whole;
2) no one had stated that Metropolitan Sergius wanted the destruction of the Church, hut the point was that by his personal decisions, ignoring soborny judgement, he was actually leading Her to destruction;
3) to allow him to experiment with the fate of the Church was impossible, because by the time it "became clear" it would be too late;
4) no one had claimed that he was striving for "personal well-being";
5) the reasons put forward were not "imaginary", but perfectly real - the unlawful Synod, administrative arbitrariness, violation of Bishops' rights and the subjection
of the Church to the secular authorities;
6) disobedience of administrative orders contrary to the Bishop's church consciousness certainly did not mean "breaking up the Body of the Church" - one cannot agree that the unity of the Body of the Church rested on the chancellery of Metropolitan Sergius.
Yet Metropolitan Sergius persistently tried to remove the matter from the sphere of principle to the sphere of "personal old scores".
"You and I, - he continued, - have reached the point at which all earthly values, all earthly scores (how insulting this presumption of rivalry is in relation to Metropolitan Agathangel and how it shows up Metropolitan Sergius himself! - L.R.)
lose their absolute significance, and all that remains is to give a goodly answer at Christ's judgement. In the name of this our joint hope and in the name of the welfare of the Holy Church, I beg and beseech You, do not cross over to the side of our enemies, of whom there are many already. Stay with us and by your authoritative name and your wise counsel support our efforts to put church affairs in order and thereby stop those who strive for division... As for me, I am always ready to hand over my powers to you, provided only that I have in my hands sufficient grounds for so doing..."
Exactly what this "readiness" really was, Metropolitan Sergius had demonstrated not long before. And now also, he reinforced the "brotherly appeal" for help addressed to Metropolitan Agathangel with "arguments" of an entirely different kind.
On 29 March/ 11 April Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod passed a resolution to commit to a court of bishops, ban from divine service and retire Metropolitan Joseph (Petrovykh), Bishop lerofei (Afonik), Bishop Evgeny (Kobranov), Archbishop Seraphim (Samoilov) and Archbishop Varlaam (Ryashentsev). Concerning Metropolitan Agathangel it was decided, that although by his "schismatic" actions he deserved all these punishments, bearing in mind his "previous services to the Church" and "state of ill-health", he was given a month to repent, after which he would be prohibited from conducting Divine service... Meanwhile, in his letter of 25 March/ 7 April, 1928 Metropolitan Agathangel categorically denied the cliarge of causing schism:
"With regard to our statement about breaking away from Your Eminence and Your Synod, on careful perusal it cannot give grounds for accusing us, the signatories, of any schism. We have not said anything about breaking away from You because of different, ideas about faith, performance of the sacraments or prayer, but only in resect of administrative management (our italics - L.R.) and, moreover, until a definite time stated at the end of the letter. The reasons for our breaking away are set out, in my opinion, clearly and definitely and
cannot provide evidence of our schism. We remain with You in our union of faith and prayer."
Here in this polemic between the hierarhs one of the most important questions of Orthodox ecclesiology, linked with the idea of "dissent" is raised, namely, is the unity of the Church of a formal, juridical, administrative nature, or is the nature of this unity real, blessed and charismatic? The letter point of view was supported by Metropolitan Agathangel, the former by Metropolitan Sergius, who wrote in his reply:
"According to the canons schism is the name given to breaking away not because of faith, but because of questions permitting of demarcation or because of unwillingness to obey an order by the legitimate Church authority ('unauthorized assemblage'). As for preserving prayerful communion in administrative severance, it is most doubtful if it is possible at all, or, to be more precise, whether such relations are lawful between two arch-hierarchs who belong to one and the same Local Church and recognize over them one and the same spiritual head in the person of the 'First Bishop'. But even if such relations are possible somewhere in fact, it is only between arch-hierarchs who are administratively independent of each other and not connected with one another by any obligations. Whereas, on the orders of our "First Bishop", I have the onerous duty of replacing him; I bear all his obligations and therefore have the right to expect from my brother bishops the same canonical obedience, as they are obliged to show to the 'First Bishop' himself” (our italics throughout - L.R.).
The question raised so sharply can be reduced to the following basic problem: what is the nature of the power of the First Hierarch in connection with its actual exercise in the life of the Church? We believe, basing ourselves on the whole experience of the Russian Church after the collapse of the Christian state, that the "unauthorized assemblage" creates schism, precisely because it ignores those organizational actions of the First Bishop in which his human will obediently follows the will of God, as a result of which these organizational actions arc synergetic.
A refusal to perceive this church-organizational action of Divine Grace, which takes place through the First Bishop, is a falling away from the fullness of blessed church life and in that sense is schism. However, the concept of schism is not applicable to such a church administrator as Metropolitan Sergius, who did not have the office of First Hierarch received in a canonical way. His organizational actions, therefore, bear the nature of actions of human will only, in the same way as this happens in secular society. The concept of schism is not applicable even if an arch-hierarch does not recognize the organizational actions of the legitimate First Hierarch, when these actions are carried out only by the human will of the First Bishop and
are not in accordance with the will of God. In this case there is a separation from the sinful, erroneous or simply immaterial actions of the First Hierarch, but there is no separation from Grace, from the fullness of church life, which also includes the charisma of the First Hierarch.
From this point of view Metropolitan Agathangel was quite right in his remarks: since he had not separated himself from the charisma of church administration acting only through the First Bishop, i.e. through Metropolitan Peter (although temporarily this charisma could not be manifested, due to the removal of Metropolitan Peter from the real administration of the Church), Metropolitan Agathangel was not causing a schism. Non-recognition of the purely human administrative actions of Metropolitan Sergius who, by virtue of his position, did not possess First-Hierarchal charisma of administering the Church, is not schism.
Metropolitan Sergius, on the contrary, regarded the power of church government as administrative only, i.e., purely human and basically without grace (as we have already noted, neither the episcopal office nor personal spirituality means the existence of the specific, special charisma of the First-Hierarchal power). Therefore, in his view, the Body of the Church is also fettered by graceless this, namely mutual "obligations", including the general obligation to obey the First Bishop as the head of the church administration.
Church canons too are turned by Metropolitan Sergius from Holy Canons, which determine the structure of the God-man organism of the Church and protect this organism from harm, into simple "canons", i.e. a collection of juridical rules as in civil law. Thus, behind this conflict between two sections of the Russian Episcopate (those who recognized and those who did not recognize the indisputable administrative authority of Metropolitan Sergius) lay widely divergent views of the nature of church unity, the nature of the Church as a united organism. It is not surprising, therefore, that this conflict, which essentially remains unresolved to this day, took such profound, painful and long drawn-out forms. Let us remember what a long and painful process the birth of the Orthodox doctrine on God and Divine Embodiment (the Trinitarian and Christological dogmas) was. Now the birth of the Orthodox doctrine on the Church, the Church's understanding of Herself, is equally painful.
While giving way to Metropolitan Sergius on the question of acknowledging him as the legitimate administrator of the Church, Metropolitan Agathangel firmly adhered to his conviction that bishops had the right not to obey orders by this administrator which disturbed their religious conscience and were contrary to the holy canons and welfare of the Church. The Yaroslavl group of bishops formulated their final position in a letter of 27 April/ 10 May, 1928:
"In explanation of our declaration of 24 January/
6 February last and in addition to the letters of Metropolitan Agathangel (Preobrazhensky) addressed to Your Eminence, we find it necessary to state the following:
I. We have not severed and are not severing our prayerful communion with the Deputy Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky).
2. We have no wish to cause and not causing any schism.
3. We have not introduced and are not introducing any innovations into the church life of our diocese.
4. We do not deny Your authority as Deputy on principle.
5. We have not been able to and cannot carry out the orders of the Deputy which disturb our and the people's religious conscience and, in our opinion, violate the canons, by virtue of the situation which has arisen locally (our italics - L.R.).
6. We have not taken away and are not taking away from the unity of the church any of the bishops or laity from other dioceses who have reguested us to lead them and receive them into prayerful and canonical communion and, as a contribution to peace, we direct them straight to Your Eminence and the Synod, after having, as far as possible, calmed their disturbed religious conscience.
And may these explanations of ours, with the help of God, serve the peace and good of the Church."
The letter was signed by Metropolitan Agathangel, Archbishop Varlaam and Bishop Eugeny. Archbishop Seraphim was at this time in exile in a monastery in the Mogilev diocese, from where he continued his denunciations, accusing Metropolitan Sergius of the grievous sin of
"leading our faint-hearted and feeble brothers into a new renovationism".
Although Metropolitan Sergius knew perfectly well that his whole practice of administrative coercion was undermining Metropolitan Agathangel's position:
“point five of the statement removes all hope of eliminating the temptation produced,"
says a Synod resolution of 17/30 May, - taking into account Metropolitan Agathangel's promised passivity and advanced years, he preferred to pretend that a reconciliation had been reached and announced this to the whole Church. His calculations were justified: Metropolitan Agathangel, having taken no more new actions, died six months later (in the town of Kineshma at the age of 74), and the version of ins "reconciliation" with Sergius still circulates to this day...
As proof that Metropolitan Agathangel accepted Metropolitan Sergius's point of view, Archimandrite John (Snychev) quotes Metropolitan Agathangel's reply to a question from an archpriest (from the town of Maikop):
"Is it true that you have united canonically with Metropolitan Sergius?"
"Yes, it is. Metropolitan Agathangel."
It is perfectly clear, however, that this is not
proof of any change in Metropolitan Agathangel's position, since in the document of 27 April/10 March he states that he is in prayerful and canonical communion with Metropolitan Sergius, recognizes his authority in principle and directs all the laymen who turn to him from other dioceses to Metropolitan Sergius, after first calming their conscience.
Metropolitan Agathangel was wrong to recognize the authority of Metropolitan Sergius as the head of the church administration, but this error gives even more significance to his main statement:
"We cannot carry out orders which disturb the religious conscience and violate the canons."
This statement takes on the nature of a norm of church life, even under a legitimate First Hierarch. And indeed, if the attitude to church authority is that all its orders must be obeyed, even those which are contrary to religious conscience and violate the canons, such an interpretation clearly reveals a blatant distortion of the basic principles of our view of the Church. And in the struggle to overcome this distortion an outstanding role was played by Metropolitan Agathangel, who in word and deed confirmed the principles of brotherly love and freedom in the Church.
As we study the blessed spiritual features of this associate of Patriarch Tikhon's, we cannot help remembering another Russian hierarch who was fighting for the freedom of the Church at the same time - in different conditions, but against the same stagnant spirit of administrative coercion and the involvement of the Church in secular politics, against the spirit that not only Metropolitan Sergius inherited from a bygone age. And in summing up Metropolitan Agathangel's spiritual exploit, we recall the words on the freedom of the Church with which Metropolitan Eulogy (Georgievsky) summed up his own life's path:
"Within the framework of church dogma and canons the freedom of the Church is the main element, the voice of God sounding in it: can one constrain or suppress it? The outer constraint and suppression of this voice leads to spiritual slavery. In church life there appears a fear of freedom of speech, thought and spiritual creativity and a tendency towards pharisaical adhering to the letter of the law, to the cult of form. All these are signs of a waning church freedom, of slavery, but the Church of Christ is a being full of life, eternally young, blooming and fruitful... It is with profound reverence that I bow before the great spirit-bearing apostle of Christian freedom, the Apostle Paul, and rejoice that our holy Orthodoxy has preserved this gift unharmed.
...The hardest struggle of all my life was for the freedom of the Church. A radiant idea, dear to my soul... I fought for it against everyone who wished to lay hands on it, never retreating when danger threatened, from the right or the left, from strangers or my own; and just as independently, from the right or the left, I was
ready to accept supporters and comrades-in-arms into the camp of fighters for the Church.
...Without the freedom of the Church there is no real church life, no goodly pastorship. I should like the words of Christ's Freedom to fall into the hearts of my spiritual children and for them to preserve and defend it from all attacks, no matter from which side, remembering always that spiritual freedom is the sacred treasure of the Holy Church.”
Put' moei zhizni. Pp. 651-657.
* * *