Sunday, October 17, 2010

Vol. 1 Issue 4

Vol. 1 Issue 4
October / November 2010

The Strength of a Religious Authority
On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the repose of Metropolitan Anastasy (Gribanovskiy), the second First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (1936 – 1964)
From the book
The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. 1918-1968. Edited by Count A.A. Sollogub.
In 2 vols. Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. New York: Rausen Language Division. 1968. Т. 1: 200-205 
His Eminence Anastasy (Aleksandr Alekseyevich Gribanovskiy, 1873 – 1965), Metropolitan of Kishinev and Khotinsk, assumed leadership of the ROCA in 1936, after the repose of His Eminence Anthony (Aleksey Pavlovich Khrapovitskiy, 1863 – 1936) Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia, and was succeeded by Holy Metropolitan Philaret (Georgiy Nikolayevich Voznesenskiy, 1903 – 1984), Metropolitan of New York.  Like his predecessor, the Most Reverend Anastasy was a member of the Holy Synod and of the Supreme Church Council under Patriarch Tikhon (Vasiliy Ivanovich Belavin, 1865 – 1925, Patriarch of Moscow and of All Russia), and was a candidate to become Patriarch (77 votes out of 309).
 The future First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad was born into a family of a priest in the Tambov region and graduated first from the Tambov Theological Seminary, and later, the Moscow Theological Seminary.  He was tonsured a monk in Tambov in 1898, and by 1901, he was an archimandrite and rector of the Moscow Theological Seminary.
 Consecrated as the bishop of Serpukhovsk in 1906, the Most Reverend Anastasy served for eight years as the vicar bishop of Moscow, serving in the Assumption cathedral, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, and others, while also heading several religious schools.  He also led the committees overseeing the planning of the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino and the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov.  In May, 1914, before the First World War, he was named to the cathedra of Bishop of Kholma and Lyublinsk (the Lesna convent was located in his diocese).  He spent much time on the Southwestern front, for which he was awarded the Order of St. Prince Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles and the Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky.
 In 1915, the Most Reverend Anastasy was named to the Kishinev diocese, and as an archbishop (he was elevated in 1916), he once again found himself on the war front, where he tended to and cared for the soldiers of the Russian Army.  In the Spring of 1917, he facilitated the move of the sisters of the Lesna convent along with their hegumena from Petrograd to the Zhabkinskiy monastery in Bessarabia, which saved the Lesna convent from the fate meant for the monastics by the Bolshevik regime, as escape would not have been possible after the October Revolution of 1917.
 In 1917-1918, at the All-Russia Council in Moscow, Bishop Anastasy headed the commission for the enthronement of the Patriarch and helped establish the new church administration, for which he received the right to wear a jeweled cross on his klobuk.
 In 1918, with the blessing of the Patriarch, Bishop Anastasy set off towards Odessa instead of Kishinev, as Bessarabia was occupied by Romania, which demanded that the Kishinev diocese leave the ROC and join the Romanian church.  Romania offered the Most Reverend Anastasy to stay on as the bishop of Kishinev and promised to award him a medal, but he refused.  At the Athos Andreev Metochion in Odessa, he became acquainted with the honorable family of the Semenenkos, whose son Sergey was studying at the time in a college in America.  Sergey later became a banker in America, and in 1958, he bought a residence on 93rd Street in New York City for Bishop Anastasy and the ROCA Synod of Bishops, where the Synod is located to this day.
 Soon after the evacuation of Crimea in 1920, the Most Reverend Anastasy was put in charge of the Russian churches in Constantinople, so later, when the bishops of Russia led by the Most Reverend Anthony fled to Constantinople from Crimea with the Russian Volunteer Army, they became his guests.  There was a Russian church built in Constantinople many years prior, with an excellent library.  This church became the cathedral church for Bishop Anastasy.  Bishop Anthony also served there during his three months in Constantinople.  The Constantinople diocese became the first diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.  Almost twenty churches were established in Constantinople and more than ten in Gallipoli and Lemnos.  They were all regularly visited by Bishop Anastasy.  He also served in Greek churches at the invitation of local clergy.

A council of Russian organizations (of which there were more than 80) was established in Constantinople to preserve the Russian culture among the émigrés.  Bishop Anastasy was asked to head the council, which he did, but he did not believe as the rest of the council members in the possible swift return to Russia.
(To be continued.)                                                                                                                        
Bishop Seraphim
The New Kursk Root Hermitage 1956

Why do we light icon-lamps in front of icons?

First, because our faith is the Light. Christ said: "I am the light of the world." The light of icon-lamps reminds us of the light with which Christ illumines our souls.
 Second, to remind us of the bright image of the Holy Saint in front of whom we light the icon-lamp. The Saints are called: "Sons of Light."
 Third, to reproach us for our dark deeds, evil thoughts and desires and lead us
back toward the way of the Gospel light; so that we would labor zealously to keep the Commandments of our Savior: "Let your light shine so before men, that they may see your good works."
 Fourth, may it be our small offering to God, Who sacrificed Himself for us. Our minute token of great gratitude and pure love before the One from Whom in prayer we seek life, salvation and everything that the most boundless heavenly love can give us.
 Fifth, may it be a threat to the evil powers that attack us sometimes during prayer and distract our thoughts away from Our Creator; because evil powers love darkness and run away from all that is light, especially when it is designated to God and His Saints.
 Sixth, to motivate us toward selflessness. Just as oil and the wick burn in the icon-lamp by our desire, any our souls burn with a flaming love in all our sufferings, always obedient to the Will of God.
 Seventh, to teach us, that as the icon-lamp cannot be lit without our hands, so it is that our heart - our internal light - cannot be ignited without the Holy Light of God's Grace, even if it were filled with various good deeds, because all our good deeds are fuel; and from God is the fire that ignites them.
 Bishop Nikolai of Serbia
From: Missionary Letter, Volume VIII, page 33