(From the letters of Hieromartyr Nectary, Bishop of Iaronsk)
I wish to write a few lines for our mutual edification and strengthening in Holy Orthodoxy.
Five years have passed since several parishes in the Iaronsk region left metropolitan Sergius.
Many, both clergy and laity stood firmly against the Sergianist apostasy, but now, not feeling immediate success in their spiritual battle, are questioning and beginning to doubt the truth and salvation of their separating from the Sergianists, and those of like mind.
Let your hearts not be troubled! Our separation from metropolitan Sergius is not founded in some minor complaint or trivial self-will, but rather in steadfastness not to participate in the criminal betrayal of our faith by Sergius and other hierarchs to the soviet authority allowing the GPU to have any influence in the life of Christ's Holy Church. Allowing such influence in the Church by foreign elements can in no way be justified by tradition or canons - our Church has always been separate from government.
Our fight with metropolitan Sergius, who is a facilitator of soviet quasi-papist ideology is an honorable fight for God's truth in our Savior and the Holy Orthodox Church which has been sold for thirty pieces of silver to the godless ones to abuse, disassemble and ultimately liquidate.
Our threat is not metropolitan Sergius himself, but those who uphold him by blunt force. Without the godless authority behind him, he would have long been dismissed as a traitor of the Church and a deceiver. Long ago, the faithful would have ceased to follow him.
Our tragedy lies in the fact that those faithful hierarchs that stand against metropolitan Sergius fall under the boots of the GPU. This is why metropolitans Peter of Krutitsk and Kyril of Kazan are in the Siberian tundra. This is why metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd was martyred in the central Asian sands and arch-bishop Dimitri received isolation in Iaroslav. Bishop Victor is somewhere in the far North. One, praying before God for you, received ten years in a concentration camp, while Bishops Erofei, Alexei and Maxim were shot. Likewise for standing out against metropolitan Sergei and his supporters many Clergy and faithful laity received banishment torture and death.
At the time of my initial separation from metropolitan Sergei in February of 1928 I foresaw that our fight with Sergianism, albeit a struggle for Christ's truth, would be long be feeble and seem nearly unsuccessful. From the history of the Church it is evident that most fighters for the Church died in their fight and that only after their deaths the triumph of God's truth for which they fought became apparent. So it will be with our struggle against Sergianism.
People have become largely apathetic. Clergy for the most part are content to fulfill the rituals of the Church and to have food for their families and a peaceful life. Against us who fight Sergianism, in no small measure are found ugly tactics - false witness and alcohol fueled disturbers of parish gatherings and the like. Such an accusation was printed against me by Sergius - accusing me of ordaining one twice married, while in reality this was not even imagined. While our struggle is a holy one, we as yet have no strength. For my part I am not expecting freedom from this fight. More likely I will die and rot in a camp, relying on our Lord's promise …. Blessed are those that are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. We need to endure suffering. There is no other way, no other directive. Beloved, remain steadfast! For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil 1-21). I am continually asked be those zealously defending our faith in the apostasy of their pastors and not being able to pray in Sergianist Churches: "What shall we do? How shall we be"? The suffering of these souls is completely understandable, it is difficult to live without prayer in Church, it is a great deprivation for the faithful. Today many towns and villages have no Church and many that exist, are either Reform or Sergianist. Gather in small groups and pray at home. Sing the hymns of the Church, read the Word of God, bury the dead without Sergianist priests. Receive the mysteries only from proper confessing clergy - with God’s help such clergy will always be found. Now, as foretold in the Apocolypse, the Church has gone into the wilderness where we must serve in hiding and gather as possible for prayer. So it was at the time of the first Christians and during heresies in Greece and the East, when there was great persecution of those defending Christ's Church.
Our time is a time of preparation for the kingdom of antichrist. Satan, the enemy of God is attacking the Church of Christ and her faithful. And the Lord said to his disciples as He went to His Death on the Cross, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not (Luke 22:31-32). Likewise brethren pray one for another and for me that our faith should not falter and that the flicker which burns within many of us should not be extinguished. If we do not burn but become merely warm, our Lord will spew us from His Godly Lips - that is will reject us from His Church as ones who may be saved. What could be more bitter than this?
Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation (Matt 26, 41)!
(«Русский Пастырь», № 1/30, Сан-Франциско, США, 1998).