A devastating account of Sergianism in eschatological terms written by a confessor of the catacomb church who suffered in Stalin’s gulag.
This article was originally published in the Paris based publication Mepa (Russ.), where it was printed in abridgment.
Published to the internet in English translation by Protodeacon Basil Yakimov of Canberra (ROCA)
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!
Sergianism ought to be understood in the light of the prophecies concerning the latter times. It is said: wheresoever the body is, thither – will the eagles be gathered together (Lk. 17, 37). Precisely like a lifeless body is our mankind today, for our days and the events of our lives have attracted the terrible signs of the last days, speaking to us in the language of a secret mystery, imprinted by the Divine Revelation in the writings of holy Prophets and Apostles, and revealed in the divinely inspired words of God-bearing fathers of the Church. The great wrath of God is now vented on Russia because of its apostasy from the faith of Christ, the apostasy predicted by our Lord and Saviour Himself when He was speaking with the disciples on the Mount of Olives.
But if, because of the love and faith growing cold and the iniquity abounding within us (Mt. 24), the days of great sorrow are sent upon us, then because of our non-repentance, obstinacy and bitterness these days of sorrow are extended; and in order that the most secret things might be revealed, a new deepening of apostasy is permitted to take place within our Church.
The apostasy takes place by way of submission and obedience to the mystery of iniquity, by worshiping before the site of Satan’s throne, by instilling the spirit of Antichrist and placing of the abomination of desolation in the holy place, i.e. the Church.
And all this was actually done by the former Metropolitan Sergius, and is being perpetrated also today by the part of the clergy enticed by him.
One may understand the spiritual aspect of Metropolitan Sergius’ terrible deed and “Sergianism” only in the light of all the prophecies about the last days of the Church of Christ on earth.
The Path of Impiety and Apostasy
Although formally no damage was done to the teaching of the Orthodox Church through heresy with regard to dogmas in the path chosen by the former Metropolitan Sergius and Sergianism, there is something more terrible than heresy! It is exactly what the holy Apostle Paul warned about: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be… (here the Apostle describes the future state of these men, and he concludes): … having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2 Tim. 3, 1-5).
Alas, only the appearance has been preserved, while the inner content, the power of confession of Christian faith turned out to be trampled upon, substituted, destroyed! Can there be any doubt about the fact that joining the unjoinable and blending and combining the incompatible is possible only in the presence of the denial of which the Apostle speaks prophetically to Apostle and Bishop Timothy?! Because the deed of the former Metropolitan Sergius, i.e., his attempt to unite Christ, what is Christ’s, Christ’s bride – the Orthodox Church – with the impious cause of Satan, with Satan himself, is more terrible than heresy.
But – what communion hath light with darkness? – exclaims the custodian and defender of the Church, the holy Apostle Paul – and what concord hath Christ with Belial? (2 Cor. 6, 14-15).
External preservation of the forms of faith, both dogmatic and ritual, of Orthodox people in the presence of a complete inner substitution of this faith is possible only when a hierarch becomes profoundly impious, which is tantamount to rejection of Christ and crossing over to the camp of the “mystery of iniquity” being obedient to Belial.
But woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness… (Isaiah 5, 20).
And in this lies the essence of the path of the former Metropolitan Sergius and of those who know what they do as they continue on his path!
Deviation to the Side of the “Pale Horse” and “His Rider”
By the inscrutable ways of the Lord, but, of course, receiving what we deserve by our deeds, in our life we are witnessing the Lamb, right before our eyes, removing the fourth seal from what was meant to be: And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part off the earth, to kill with a sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth (Rev. 6, 7-8).
And the voice of God said (and still says to everyone living in these days and who bears the name of Christ and guards himself by the power of the Cross): come and see, that everyone might understand what is happening. And if this was said and imposed as the duty onto every Christian who lived and who lives now, than the more so onto the highest Hierarch of the Church! For he is a Shepherd, an Archpastor! For he walks in front, he leads and the flock follows him!
And there was the time (not just days, but years) when Metropolitan Sergius looked and saw as commanded, and understood everything that was going on and as being in agreement with the divinely inspired conception of the Church of God: as the time of the imminent end of the world, as the fulfilment and victory of the mystery of iniquity, as the glorification of the spirit of Antichrist and its bearers, as the time of building the throne of Satan!
And M., like any Christian, when facing the powers of hell, should have remained a firm rock and a fortress of a fearless Christian faith. For the Lord said to His follower: Fear none of those things which thou shall suffer… be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life (Rev. 2, 10). It is the duty of every Christian to remain fearless and firm like a soldier, because it has been commanded: Thou, therefore, endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2,3). For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love (2 Tim. 1, 7). The more so it is the duty of a Bishop, especially of the one who is in charge of Christ’s army, of the Church of God! We say: “the status obliges” (even for the sake of the worldly concept of duty and honour – according to the law of military, or any other service valour) to die at one’s post in the firm resolution to obey one’s superior, be it a commander of a fortress, or a ship’s captain. Should not even greater firmness be manifested by a church hierarch? Especially at the time of war against faith and against the name of the All-Mighty when he is entrusted with steering the vessel of the Church in the turbulent waters of atheism, apostasy and struggle against God!..
After all, every priest repeats the words of the Master and Perpetrator of our faith, as being also the words of his oath: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father Who is in heaven; but whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before my Father, Who is in heaven” (Mt. 10, 32-33).
But alas! As the substitute for Metropolitan Peter, who was truly indestructible in Christian firmness and archpastoral fidelity. Metropolitan Sergius failed to stand his ground when facing torments and the possibility of death for the sake of Christ. He yielded to the mystery of iniquity, he was frightened by its intimidations and threats, its terrors and violence!.. He accepted all its demands and, having spiritually bent his knees before the site of Satan’s throne, he worshiped it! The more terrible is Metropolitan Sergius’ deed, as all his nightly discussions and persuasions were conducted at his place not by the apostates from Orthodoxy, but by Christ-hating Jews who crucified Christ, as was admitted by the former Metropolitan Sergius himself. Thus it was namely before the Jewish sanhedrin that the Metropolitan failed to stand his ground and betrayed Christ. Thus was accomplished the greatest betrayal with regard to the Church as Christ’s host on earth. The apostasy and betrayal unprecedented in the history of mankind. Even the betrayal perpetrated by Judas Iscariot is inferior to it! Christ was equally betrayed in both instances, but while Judas’ deed stayed with him for only three days, tile treacherous deed of the former Metropolitan Sergius is still alive, having spread and consolidated for over a quarter of the century (the author died in 1956, transl).
Being Christ’s servant and a high ranking Hierarch of Christ’s Church on earth which is always militant (for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephes. 6, 12)), the ill-fated Metropolitan Sergius became a servant of the perpetrators of the mystery of iniquity, an obedient tool of their objectives!.. And as a reward for this obedience the traitorous false shepherd received from the hands of the satanic host his hierarchical vestments and the staff of the ecclesiastical power, sprinkled by the mystery of iniquity.
Subsequently this false shepherd who renounced that which is sacred, and found his power as a basis only in the approval on the part of the perpetrators of the mystery of iniquity, began his service not as the substitute of the locum tenens of tile Most Holy Patriarchal Sea of All Russia, but as the custodian of the throne of Satan, and he began to speak in the language of blasphemously apostatic lies, full of delusions and deceit in the spirit of Antichrist!.. The Christian world has never heard such lies, for the lies and harm of all the heresies put together lag far behind the lies and harm inflicted upon the Church by the deed of this false shepherd.
In the days when the whole world was terrified by the appearance of the pale horse and his rider, and by the terrible things they were perpetrating on the fourth part of the earth, because the horse and its rider were followed by death and hell, in those days the false Hierarch – wolf, stood in the holy place and raising his voice called on people to worship both the horse and the rider.
The Church of Christ was sprayed by the blood of martyrs and shaking from the sobs brought on by the sorrow of these days, that great sorrow of which the Saviour spoke on the Mount of Olives and the onset of which was revealed in all its fullness and in all its spiritual essence to the wonderful saint of God, St. Seraphim of Sarov who was glorified in Russia as a harbinger of this sorrow. Divinely inspired he foresaw the happenings of our days: And then there will be such sorrow as there were none from the beginning of the world! The Angels of God will hardly be able (have time?) to receive the souls of martyrs for the word of God. And saying this – the eyewitness added – Fr. Seraphim burst out in tears!..
And in these tears, in this crying and sobbing of the Saint were the tears and crying of the entire Church of Christ, overwhelmed by the feeling of the greatest of sorrows!..
However, the impious Hierarch did not share these feelings; he did not know the sorrow and tears caused by the martyrdom of those slain for the word of God and witnessing of Christ.
St. Seraphim cried while the impious apostate rejoiced, hi his self-anathematized and excommunicated soul he found words to address the grievous horse and rider, the death and hell following them, and the beasts of the earth, he spoke the words which assured them that “their joys” were also “his joys”, and “their sorrows” – “his sorrows” as well. “Your joys are our joys, and your sorrows are our sorrows” – thus resounded the voice of the one who excommunicated and anathematized himself by these words. This voice attempted to impose his impiety on the faithful of the Church and in their behalf spoke he – the false shepherd-apostate, tile wolf in hierarchical vestments. In him, the former Metropolitan, are realized the prophetic words regarding the destiny of the Church uttered by the holy Apostle Paul before the Presbyters of Ephesus. But this time these prophecies, although often having come true before, in the person of the former Metropolitan Sergius find their most vivid realization: For I know this – said the Apostle – that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock; also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things… (Acts 20, 29-30).
So, this “wolf, surpassing all in his ability “to speak perverse things”, i.e. that which constitutes a complete distortion of truth, has unreservedly announced before the amazed world his unconditional sharing of the joys and sorrows, in other words, aspirations, tasks and objectives of Antichrist in destroying the faith and the Church of Christ.
What an abyss of godlessness and apostatic betrayal!!!
Sorrow of the Church means joy for Antichrist!.. And where the holy Church in the person of St. Seraphim cries of grief, the false shepherd – apostate, the former Metropolitan Sergius, now siding with the mystery of iniquity along with the custodians of the Satan’s throne – is rejoicing, rejoicing.
Against the Martyrs for the Word of God
Before the face of all the world the great host of radiant and victorious new martyrs for Christ and passion-bearers who have stained the entire Russian land with their blood, have now appeared before the throne of the Most High wearing crowns, as it was foretold: And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held; and they cried with a loud voice, saying, how long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little time, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Rev. 6, 9-11).
And all this happened and is still happening in our days! And this is the conception of the Holy Church, based on the grace-filled prophecy of St. Seraphim and now proclaimed in the Church through God-bearing servants of the Lord.
Who can argue against, or destroy such conception, except the one, the father of lies – the devil? But alas! The former Metropolitan Sergius too, this obedient tool of the mystery of iniquity, who has taken the side of the fierce enemy of Christ’s cause, he too speaks out regarding the souls under the altar, that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they had, regarding the faith of the new martyrs for the name of Christ and all those who in our days were martyred and slain for faith – but he speaks in the language of satanic slander of people who have taken upon themselves their victims’ innocent blood – saying that they are “criminals” and deserve the punishment (!).
And – He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, Who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks (Rev. 2, 1), Christ, our true God, Who uttered the truth about them (confessors and martyrs), that they will be “brought before rulers and kings for His sake, for a testimony before them and the pagans” (Mk. 13, 9; Lk. 21, 12-13). And He spoke about this yet again when addressing the whole Church: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life (Rev. 2, 10).n
The traitor lies, speaking with venomous lips before the entire world, here on earth and in heaven, hiding the unheard of destruction of human souls and betraying thousands of the faithful, cross-bearing children of the Church who languish in bonds, attesting to the lies that “there are no persecutions for the faith in Christ”!.. But where are all the Metropolitans, Archbishops and Bishops, several hundred of them who served in the holy Patriarch Tikhon’s time? Where are the thousands of priests, deacons, monks, nuns?! What happened to the numerous desert-dwellers, hermits? And who of the truly faithful lay-people has escaped persecution and bonds for the faith in Christ?
Yes, their sorrows, profanations, tortures, lamentations, tears, groanings, endurance of their confession, their prayers on the deathbed and the manner of their death, their white garments and radiant crowns of justification – all this cries out to the throne of the Most High against the satanic slander directed at these victims, disgorged by the cunning lips of the false archpastor-apostate.
Profanation of the Sanctuary
… And arms shall stand on his part and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice.
Did not these words of Prophet Daniel (11, 32) come true? Did not the mournful words of the Psalmist come true in the days of the greatest sorrow, as the prophecy with regard to our days: 0 God, the heathen are come into Thine inheritance; Thy holy temple they have defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps. The dead bodies of Thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of Thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them (Ps. 79, 1-3). Even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary. Thine enemies roar in the midst of Thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs (i.e. instead of holy crosses)… they have cast fire into Thy sanctuary, they have defiled, by casting down, the dwelling place of Thy name to the ground. They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land. We see not our signs… (Ps. 74, 3-4, 7-9).
Yes, all this came now to pass with a striking precision. The Church-Slavonic text of the above Psalms makes it particularly clear; there the phrase they have laid Jerusalem on heaps is rendered as: they have turned Jerusalem into a storehouse for vegetables. Yes indeed: churches turned into storehouses for vegetables in our days!
No other country in the world had so many churches of God, as there were in Orthodox Russia… And they were all defiled. Almost all of them were either demolished, or burned, or blown up!.. Some of them had become storehouses. All this was revealed to St. Seraphim of Sarov, but impious negligence has destroyed his prophetic words, as they were recorded by those who heard them. And yet, the following words of the Saint reached us: “The time will come when Antichrist will remove crosses from churches”… And the time has come! The time when the power of Antichrist defiled and destroyed churches and holy icons, removed crosses and replaced them by their godless signs… In His intention to make people understand what was happening the Lord sent abundant signs and miracles by means of icons, crosses and churches! (Such were the renewals of icons, cupolas, crosses; bleeding of defiled icons and crosses; God’s punishment sent upon perpetrators of sacrileges, etc.) But servants of Satan, despite the obvious miracles which they themselves had often witnessed, kept suppressing faith by force with even greater ferocity and consistently destroying all manifestations of miracles, thus revealing the straightforward blasphemy of the Holy Spirit within themselves, this abyss of Satanic struggle against God.
Where was the voice of the one who was the First Hierarch of the Church? His words shoul
d have come down like God’s thunder and lightning upon the world revealing the light and brilliance of Christ’s truth. But alas! The obedient servant and tool of the mystery of iniquity just stood there in the holy place defending the cause of atheists and blasphemous acts directed at the Holy Spirit! But how could he contradict that which was by now obvious to the whole world?.. And he told them that the closure and demolition of churches and monasteries, profanation of holy icons and crosses and destruction of the particularly venerated ones – if that was occasionally taking place (as he said) – is perpetrated not by satanic forces but, allegedly, “according to the wishes of believers themselves!” Are these the words one would expect to hear from an Archpastor, from a Hierarch, in the highest rank at that, or from the servant of Satan?
* * *
And so: what is Sergianism? It is apostasy and betrayal, and godlessness and denial, and treachery and heresy, and yet it is quite dissimilar to what these words have denoted until now.
What is it then? That which is now done to oblige the mystery of iniquity in the face of Antichrist’s power – could that all be expressed more briefly and clearly? Does not the divinely inspired word, the Scripture, have a name for it? For it is unlikely that all the extraordinary things which are now taking place within the enclosure of the Church, do not have the extraordinary name for it. Yes, they do!
It is the placing of abomination of desolation in the holy place!
For it is written: When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (who readeth, let him understand) then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains… (Mt. 24, 15-16).
But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand, then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains (Mk. 13, 14). And the holy prophet Daniel said: …and for the overspreading of abomination he shall make it desolate… (Dan. 9, 27).
The prophet says more about the matter when writing about the most impious “king” (NB)….therefore he shall… have indignation against the holy Covenant: so he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy Covenant… And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate (Dan. 11, 30-31).
Indeed, that which is perpetrated by the “apostates” from the Holy Covenant, the false Chief Hierarch Sergius and all the false bishops following along his path, means “placing the abomination of desolation”.
And although their deeds lack the final fullness of “abomination” as foretold by the Lord, it has been spiritually manifested in its abominable essence, as the closest prototype of that which is named “the abomination of desolation”.
If it would not be for all this happening within the Russian Church, say those whom the Lord permitted to see the invisible and to hear the inaudible, the blessed holy men and women of God – the days of sorrows would be lifted (at least “for a short time”). But for the time being the fulfilment of God’s words in our land which fell into sin – “is put off'” by the right hand of the Most High.
Priest Vladimir Krivolutsky, confessor of faith, member of the True Orthodox (Catacomb) Church was bom in 1888 in the city of Orel. In 1910 he graduated from the Law Faculty of the Moscow University. From 1915 to 1918 he served at the front. From 1918 to 1922 was in military service. From 1921 to 1922 studied at the National Orthodox Academy. On May 6, 1922 he was ordained a deacon and served in Moscow. On Sept 9, 1923 was ordained a priest. From 1924 to 1930 served in Moscow, in the Church of the Mother of God of the Sign. Was arrested in 1927, and rel
eased a few months later. He did not recognize the “Declaration” of Metropolitan Sergius. From 22 January, 1930 served in the St. Nicholas Church in Kotemiki. On December 28 of 1930 arrested again and exiled to the Northern Region (Pinega, Archangelsk) for 3 years. Shared this exile with St. Nikon of Optina. Released in 1933 and lived in Mozhaisk and Yegor’evsk. Being a member of the True Orthodox (Catacomb) Church, he served secretly in homes of the faithful. Once again arrested on April 21, 1946, and on Nov. 30, 1946 sentenced to 10 years in corrective-labour camps. Served his term in Krasnoyarsk, Moscow, Karaganda (in Kazakhstan). In 1955 released before the end of his term due to severe illness. Father Vladimir died in Moscow on March of 1956.