THE AWAKENING OF CONSCIENCE IN
The Moscow Patriarchate
After the Second World War the Moscow Patriarchate appeared on the international religious scene as just the kind of organization the Catacomb hierarchs had foreseen: as a propaganda mouthpiece for the Soviet government, not hesitating at the baldest lies to justify Soviet tyranny. Ac cording to representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate, repeating shame lessly right up to the present day, there is not now and never has been any persecution of religion under the Soviet government; any clergy who have suffered from the authorities are only “political criminals”; churches are closed only because the people desire this.
The Christian conscience, however, cannot for long accept such lies in the name of Christianity. And so it is that in the two decades, men o conscience within the Moscow Patriarchate itself (there being no other visible Orthodox church organization in Russia) have begun to speak out, at first in the form of protests against the new persecutions of the Khrushchev period (1959-64)—in which the Moscow hierarchs were at best passive spectators and at worst willing collaborators—and then in the form of profound criticisms of the whole Sergianist policy which the Patriarchate has followed since the time of the “Declaration” of 1927.
Here we present three of the critics of Sergianism from within the Patriarchate. These are not representatives of the Catacomb Church, and one may criticize their views as not offering the pure Catacomb position of separation from the Sergianist church organization. Still, their criticisms offer a remarkable confirmation of the truth of the Catacomb position, and they give us reason for hope that in the end—at least with the fall of the Soviet regime—the best part of the Moscow Patriarchate wil be restored to unity with the Catacomb Church precisely on the basis of uncompromising Christian principle.