Membership in the Russian Church Abroad

Another translation of this is contained in the post: "Stand Fast in the Truth"

THE RUSSIAN CHURCH ABROAD

FOR us Russian Orthodox [Christians], our membership in the Russian Church Abroad is a resplendent symbol of our penitential turning to God and to the Protective Veil of the Mother of God, for only this Church is able, now, to grant the Grace of imparting unto us the strength for such a penitential approach, and to reinforce it. That is why we must take such care to preserve our Russian Church Abroad, and not consent to her being weakened or turned aside to "other ways."

Unfortunately, not everyone realizes this with sufficient clarity, and not everyone properly and thoroughly values the great significance of the existence of our Russian Church Abroad -- even amongst those who belong to her. Why does our Russian Church Abroad exist so alone, spiritually, in the modern world? What is the ideology that makes her so alone?

The essence of the ideology of the Russian Church Abroad consists of her complete and uncompromising refusal to accept that worldwide Evil which has spread broadly now over the face of the whole earth, and which, to a greater or lesser degree, has brought under its control all aspects of human life -- not excepting religious and church life.

Atheistic marxism-communism (or bol'shevism -- the struggle against which is the chief task of all nationally inclined Russian patriots) is just one of the offspring -- one evil product -- of this "worldwide Evil." To struggle only against it means merely to cut off the branches [of said Evil], without noticing the trunk and roots that gave birth to them and nourished them.

Unfortunately, many of us see only these branches, paying no attention to the trunk and roots. Moreover: this root source of the "worldwide Evil" appears, to some, to be quite inoffensive -- even favourably inclined toward us and our Church -- and many of us are even prepared to seek its aid and support in our struggle against communism.

What pathetic naivete -- if not conscious betrayal!

It has long since been time to understand and recognize all this!

This necessary vision and clear recognition is prevented most of all by material dependence and by the loss of spiritual freedom -- whether on this, or on other grounds.

That is why our Russian Church Abroad must, above all, value her spiritual freedom -- that freedom which was bestowed upon the faithful by the Church's Founder -- Christ.

More than anything else on earth, do we value our Church's freedom. And this is not at all because we do not have "love," as we are so superficially accused by the "ecumenists," who themselves are only too full of "love" for the enemies of the pure and unadulterated Truth of Christ -- and, sometimes, even for open enemies of our holy Faith (only for us, their brothers by blood and Faith, do they have no love!).

Rather, it is because we do have a love of the Truth; because we do firmly believe (having none of the doubts that the ecumenists evidently have) that our Holy Orthodox Church is, as the Word of God teaches, "the pillar and ground of the Truth" (I Timothy 3:15); and because we desire, as commanded by the Holy Apostle, to "walk in the Truth" (II John 4). Likewise, heeding the warning of that great Father of the Church, St. Gregory the Theologian, we do not want to "become betrayers of the teaching of the Faith and Truth," -- "communing in the leaven of the Evil One and joining ourselves to the plague ridden ... apostates from the Truth" (cf . "The Works of St. Gregory," Part I, p. 192). 

At the basis of the ideology of the Russian Church Abroad there is a fervent and sincere intention -- whatever might happen, regardless of any contemporary evil influences and tendencies -- to remain faithful to God's Truth; to remain totally devoted to the Founder of the Church, Christ the Saviour; to the Evangelical teaching on faith and piety which He brought to earth without any human corruption or distortion; and to preserve fully that spiritual freedom which Christ bestowed upon the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, that He founded on earth for man's salvation. 

The Russian Church Abroad is dear and precious beyond price to us, but only insofar as she truly remains the lawful successor of the historic Russian Orthodox Church -- an unwavering and faithful guardian of the God-given Apostolic teaching on faith and piety, and a zealous adherent of the traditions of the Fathers, the Sacred Canons, and all the pious ordinances and traditions of Holy Rus'.

The sacred motto of our Church is the declaration of that great confessor of Orthodoxy, St. Athanasius, the Archbishop of Alexandria, who said:
"We must serve not time, but God."

Amidst the general, already self generating mass movement: "Forward! Forward! To the Antichrist!" (although it might not be expressed so straightforwardly) -- for us, the members of the Russian Church Abroad, the age-old motto of the true Church of Christ remains in full force: "Stand firm -- remain unmoved!" (cf. The words of Bishop Feofan [the Recluse] in "Orthodoxy With Warnings About Errors Against It," p. 7)

Why is this so?

"Human teachings," writes this selfsame Bishop Feofan, "are always reaching out to what is new, growing, developing -- and this is natural, for they do not have the truth, but are just seeking it. And let them seek it, as long as they will find something stable. For us, however, both the Truth and the Way to the Truth have already been defined, once and for all. We possess the Truth, and all our efforts are directed toward its assimilation, not its discovery."(Ibid).

That is why we are not, at all, bound in the same direction as are the "modernists" and "ecumenists." Our gaze should not be directed "ahead," but "backwards" -- to the earthly life of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ; to the Divine teaching which He preached on earth nineteen centuries ago; to His act of redemption, His glorious Resurrection from the dead, and His Ascension into Heaven; to the great occasion of the Descent of the Holy Spirit; to the preaching of the Apostles; to the glorious host of Martyrs; to the Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Church, the establishers of the true Faith; to the righteous ascetics, those "angels in the flesh"; and, for us Russians, to the ideals of Holy Rus'.

For us "forward" -- as predicted by the Word of God and the Holy Fathers of the Church -- is only ever-increasing "Apostasy" and its crown: Antichrist, of whose near arrival so many are already speaking so openly; but, after that, there is the radiant triumph of our Faith: the Last Judgment, the eternal torment of sinners and the eternal blessedness of the righteous.

That is our ideology; that is the genuine Orthodox view of the world (without evil or deceit) which our entire Russian Church Abroad should hold fast to, in order to justify her existence on earth, and not to become that "salt which hath lost its savour."

Whosoever thinks otherwise -- whosoever is inclined to "march in step with the times" -- such a one has already entered into some sort of compromise with the "evil of this world," which leads to Antichrist; and such a one is not a member of our Russian Church Abroad, even if he formally continues to belong to her. 

-- Archbishop Averkii (Taushev), of Blessed Memory



Translated into English by G. Spruksts, from the Russian language version found in the Collected Works
of Archbishop Averkii (Taushev).

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