Way Of The Orthodox
Metropolitan Philaret Voznesensky, Holy Pillar Of Orthodoxy
"Like Unto One of the Ancient"
When, only a few weeks ago, we were printing a tribute to Metropolitan Anastassy, the second Chief Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, on the 20th anniversary of his death, we did not even suspect that the next issue would contain the death notice for the third Chief Hierarch, Metropolitan Philaret, whose repose on Nov. 8/21, the Feast of the Archangel Michael 1983, signals the end of an era. Although the Metropolitan, suffering from cancer of the prostate, had been in failing health for some time, his end came swiftly, only two months after a Bishops' Council in Canada.[IMAGE] Born George Nikolaivich Voznesensky at Kursk in 1903, the future metropolitan was first ordained a celibate priest and then entered monastic life. Much of his work was in the Far East, since his father, Archbishop Dimitri, served in China. He became bishop of Australia in the early 1960's and was elected Metropolitan in 1965. (Of the 18 bishops participating in his election, only five are still living.) Only the third Metropolitan of the Synod of Bishops since the Revolution, Vladika Philaret's 21-year rule was not without significance. It seems that to each Metropolitan God has assigned specific tasks, laying different burdens on each one as if giving a crown of thorns with the white klobuk. To the first, Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) was given the awesome responsibility of carrying our New Martyr Patriarch Tikhon's decree ordering the formation of a Higher Church Authority outside Russia in the event of contact with the Patriarch becoming impossible or nonexistent due to Soviet interference. Coalescing and organizing the vast numbers of emigre and exiled clergy and laity into a meaningful and functional church unit was a difficult accomplishment, one for which Metropolitan Antony had to summon all his many rich gifts. The second Chief Shepherd of the Church Abroad, Metropolitan Anastassy, reigned for nearly thirty years, and his life and achievements have been written about extensively in the past. Like an aged Moses, he led the exiled Russian Church through the wilderness of post-World War II conditions and difficulties. Heavy as were many of the burdens of those days, luminous as was the spirit with which Met. Anastassy confronted the labors given him by God, it has come to seem that to his successor, Met. Philaret, was given what has proven to be the most difficult and important destiny of all. Almost simultaneously with Vladika Philaret's election, massive changes in the spiritual climate of the world began affecting the Church Abroad. Modernizations in Roman Catholicism, innovations and ecumenism in other Orthodox jurisdictions , a thirst for genuine holiness even among people born and bred to the neo-paganism of modern life--all these forces manifested themselves in a veritable tidal wave of new people, new "tribes ," coming into the Church Abroad. And these came, not because they were Slavophiles or ethnic dilettantes in search of borrowed "roots," but because they sensed that the Russian Church in Exile had preserved the principles of other worldliness and ancient Christian tradition, and this living reality exerted an attraction compelling enough to bring hundreds, even thousands, of people into Holy Orthodoxy. One of the most respected writers of the Russian Church Abroad, the late Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose), himself a convert from Protestantism, was not a man given to exaggeration or overstatement, but Metropolitan Philaret's steadfast example so inspired him that in 1976 he wrote the fallowing evaluation of the Metro "Among the primates of the Orthodox Churches today, there is only one from whom is always expected--and not only by members of his own Church, but by very many in a number of other Orthodox Churches as well-the clear voice of Orthodox righteousness and truth and conscience, untainted by political considerations or calculations of any kind. The voice of Metropolitan Philaret of New York, Chief Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, is the only fully Orthodox voice among ail the Orthodox primates. In this he is like to the Holy Fathers of ancient times, who placed purity of Orthodoxy above all else, and he stands in the midst of today's confused religious world as a solitary champion of Orthodoxy in the spirit of the Ecumenical Councils." (Orthodox Word, vol. 12, No. 1, Jan .-Feb., 1976) Fr. Seraphim then explained that while those on what he called the "left" (liberal or reform-minded Orthodox) saw Vladika Metropolitan as an extremist, and those on the "right" with "zeal not according to knowledge" (Rom. 10;2) also misunderstood him, the Metropolitan was in reality only and simply "Orthodox," not knowing left or right "wings," wanting only to call back to Orthodoxy all those who have departed from the age-old Faith. Accordingly, in addition to his many pastoral letters as presiding bishop, Met. Philaret also wrote several "sorrowful Epistles to the hierarchies of other Orthodox jurisdictions in an effort to humbly but firmly remind them of their responsibilities as shepherds of their flocks and of the principles by which the Faith has always operated, in and out of season, when he saw signs of deviation from the True Faith. As Fr. Seraphim said, "The Orthodox stand of Met. Philaret is rooted in his experience from childhood of the age-old Orthodox way of life .... In his uncompromising stand for true Orthodoxy he is very like his namesake in 19th-century Russia, Met. Philaret of Moscow, the champion of Patristic Orthodoxy against the anti-Orthodox influences coming from the West..." Now the "second Philaret" is gone from our midst. This, the third great leader of a much-maligned and misunderstood Church, has gone ahead into the Kingdom of Heaven. We do not know what the future will bring. Of course, we believe that the Holy Spirit will guide our bishops in the selection of a worthy and wise successor, and there are several suitable candidates in the Synod. That ours is an historic time, a moment of utmost gravity in the history of the R.C.A.--and, indeed, of all Orthodoxy in the freWest, for which the Synod has often been a barometer of traditional Orthodoxy--is doubted by no one. Therefore, we pray that God will give our bishops wisdom to select from among themselves one who, while willing to stand above all factions, ambitions and family or "party" politics, will nonetheless be a man of righteous firmness, able and strong enough to help preserve the witness of our Church in the face of the many temptations that lie ahead. With a godly Metropolitan at the helm, our Synod may, by the Grace of God, remain as it has been now for so many difficult years, a beacon of genuine Orthodox otherworldliness and love of truth, and the Church Abroad may yet nourish the souls of many who thirst for the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us await the guidance of the Holy Spirit. as our hierarchs gather in council, that after He has spoken through our archpastors, it may be said of us, as it was said of the orphaned flock of Orthodox Gaul when God brought them Gregory the Wonderworker to fill St. Martin's place: "Applaud, O fortunate people, whose desire hath now been accomplished. Your hierarch arriveth; it is the hope of the flock that cometh. May lively childhood, may the old and bent with age celebrate this event; may each proclaim it, for it is the good fortune of all."May God grant it be so.
Sermon at the Burial of His Eminence The Most Reverend Philaret First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
by Archbishop Vitaly of Montreal and Canada A great page has been turned in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. An entire chapter of it has come to an end. The candle Of Our First Hierarch's life has been extinguished. The mouth which proclaimed the pure, inviolate confession of the Orthodox Faith has been closed. When word of his repose spread throughout the whole world, the Orthodox world was startled, for the voice of the conscience of the Orthodox Church had fallen silent. In accordance with the unfathomable ways of the Providence of God, our First Hierarch was destined to lead our Church to the very threshold of the Apocalypse, when in the thick darkness of our life, against the somber purple background of time's horizon, ominous flashes of the beginning of the end are visible. He stood still, like a lighthouse, and with the light of his righteous words he clove the darkness of the night which increasingly enshrouds us all around: yet his tender soul already began to grow faint because of the appearance of approaching trials. The torments of his soul were soon transmitted to his already weakened body, and he became utterly exhausted. Then the all-merciful Lord, seeing the inner sufferings of His servant, sent His angel, who, while he was asleep, made his repose peaceful, serene, and painless. And now, O our, First Hierarch, when you stand before the throne of God and bow down before the One God Who is worshipped in the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - pray with your glorious predecessors, Metropolitans Anthony and Anastassy, for the suffering Church of Russia, for her militant forces on earth, the ship of which is entering a sea of stormy weather and the contrary winds of men's passions. Pray to the Lord, that we who remain in the vale of trials may walk the same path which was traced for us by the great Apostle of the Gentiles for the life of Christ's Church and Her faithful children, when he wrote in his Epistle to the Corinthians so tersely and so powerfully: By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known;as dying, and, behold, we live: its chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet ever rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. (11 Cor. 6:8--10) Such a path did our First Hierarch tread; in such conditions does our entire good and faithful clergy live, the whole faithful flock of Our Church. Help us, O Lord, to travel this glorious path of witness until the end, that we also may hear the sweet voice of our Saviour say: "Good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things ... ; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." (Matt. 25:21)
HERE IS FEW PHOTOS FROM THE OPENING OF HIS MIRACLOUSLY INCORUPT AND HOLY RELICS. slika 1~picture slika 2~picture slika 3~picture slika 4~picture slika 5~picture
Generally speaking imagine to yourself that three men are travelling along a road, the correct road. They go along and one makes a wrong step and goes off into a swamp; two of the men proceed correctly. Then a second man veers off to the right and begins to proceed incorrectly . Now the third man proceeds alone. Voices ring out,"Why are you seperated? You must reconcile." How shall this be done? The one who remained on the correct path on which all the three had at first been travelling, ought he to turn off somewhere or not? Who should turn back? The ones who went astray, correct? So it is here. You yourselves know that our Church Abroad never split herself off from anyone, and has never swerved. She travels the same road as when she was founded by His Beatitude Metropoltan Anthony. Those who have deviated- let them return. Bishop Nektary always says very insistently: " I don't recognize the subject of three jurisdictions. There is only one jurisdiction-- the Church Abroad" The Church in Russia, whatever she may be there-- the Moscow Soviet hierarchy and the Catacomb Church-- that is another matter. At the present time we have no direct ties with them-- but here there is the one Russian Church Abroad and groups that have split off from her. The must think of returning, rather than our Church thinking of going over to them, and having swerved off the correct path, also allow ourselves to be pulled into the swamp. If people now argue so much about the subject of jurisdictions, it is, again, only for the reason that Truth is not dear enough to them. For the sake of some kind of external peace and reconciliation such persons are prepared to accuse us of not wanting to be reconciled, of harboring bad feelings toward those in error. People do not want to learn the Truth because they are essentialy indifferent to it. They want only external peace, like the peace about the communists shout so much; about peace for the whole world, in order to cast together in one heap principles which are totally irreconcilable and which cannot be reconciled. It is like trying to lump hot coals together with firewood. Will the lie quietly together? It is clear that a fire will flare up. So it is here. This artificial, external peace will never be achieved. The Lord spoke about the very thing through the Prophet: There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked Is. 57: 21 - and there will NOT be any!
Taken from Orthodox Life page 47-48 No 6 1999, Metropolite Philaret