Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

freedom but a greatly strengthened position against the Living Church. The government's motives are conjectural. Freeing the patriarch may have been useful to Soviet propaganda abroad, while at the same time it quickened the internal struggle within Orthodoxy. Moreover, Tikhon's break with the past and accommodation to the Soviet order, which seems to have been genuine, made him an acceptable instrument to advance government interests. The remainder of his life, devoted to battle against the schismatics, demonstrated loyalty to the regime. This appeal was addressed to the Supreme Court. Despite the confession of counterrevolutionary activity, the patriarch later denied the charge in a statement for the Manchester Guardian.

Appealing with the present declaration to the Supreme Court of the Russian Soviet Federation of Socialistic Republics, I regard it as my duty, dictated by my pastoral conscience, to declare the following:

Having been nurtured in a monarchist society, and until my arrest having been under the influence of anti-Soviet individuals, I was filled with hostility against the Soviet authorities, and at times my hostility passed from passivity to active measures, as in the instance of the proclamation on the occasion of the Brest-Litovsky peace in 1918, the anathematizing of the authorities in that same year, and finally, the appeal against the decree regarding the removal of church treasures in 1922. All my anti-Soviet acts, with the exception of a few inexactitudes, were stated in the act of accusation drawn up by the Supreme Court. Acknowledging the correctness of the accusations of the Supreme Court and its sentence as conforming to the clauses of the criminal code, I repent of all my actions directed against the government and petition the Supreme Court to change its sentence and to set me free.

I declare hereby to the Soviet authorities that henceforth I am no more an enemy to the Soviet government, and that I have completely and resolutely severed all connections with the foreign and domestic monarchists and the counterrevolutionary activity of the White Guards.

Source: Matthew Spinka, The Church and the Russian Revolution ( New York, 1927), pp. 250-251. Russian text in Izvestiya, No. 141, June 27, 1923.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

References for Document 127.

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