Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

Source: Matthew Spinka, The Church and the Russian Revolution ( New York, 1927), pp. 196-197. Russian text in Izvestiya, No. 106, May 14, 1922.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

References for Document 127.


135
Clerical Memorandum to Tikhon May 18, 1922

The schism actually developed in the exchanges of the pro-Soviet clergy with Tikhon in May 1922. Three days after his indictment and arrest (May 9), a delegation of clergy visited the patriarch, charged him with counterrevolutionary policies and responsibility for the ruin of religion and demanded his withdrawal from ecclesiastical administration. Accordingly, Tikhon renounced his authority and named the conservative Metropolitan Agathangel as his deputy. On May 18 a further demand was made on Tikhon that he turn over the patriarchal chancery to the "progressive" party until the arrival of Agathangel. This petition was accepted by the patriarch who wrote across the top of the memorandum: "The persons named below are ordered to take over and transmit to the Most Reverend Metropolitan Agathangel, upon his arrival in Moscow, and with the assistance of Secretary Numerov, the synodical business; [administration of] the Moscow eparchy [to be entrusted] to the Most Reverend Innocent, bishop of Klinsk, and before his arrival to the Most Reverend Leonid, bishop of Vernensk, with the assistance of the departmental chief Nevsky." The metropolitan never took up his charge, and the socialist clergy, now organized as the Provisional Superior Church Administration, proclaimed themselves high canonical authority in the church. For a time the Living Church movement, encouraged by the government, won wide support in Russia and some recognition from foreign patriarchs. It was troubled with internal dissension and declined after 1925.

In view of the abdication of your holiness from the administration of the church until the time of the calling of the Sobor, and of your transfer of authority to one of the elder hierarchs, the church remains at present, as a matter of fact, without any kind of administration.

That circumstance shows itself extraordinarily detrimental to the course of general church life, and especially in Moscow, exciting thereby a great disturbance of minds.

From Matthew Spinka, The Church and the Russian Revolution ( New York, 1927). Copyright, 1927, by The Macmillan Company. Reprinted by permission of the author.

-348-

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