His Beatitude, Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky)
Metropolitan Anastassy was born to the family of Father Alexis Gribanovsky on August 6th, 1873. He graduated from the Seminary in Tombov and entered the Moscow Theological Academy. A year after his graduation, he took the vows and the name of Anastassy. On April 23, 1898 he was ordained as a Hierodeacon and soon was elevated to Hieromonk. He was invited to become an assistant inspector of the Moscow Theological Academy. In 1901, after being elevated to the rank of Archimandrite, he was appointed rector of the Moscow Theological Seminary. In 1906, Archimandrite Anastassy was consecrated as Bishop of Serpukhov, Vicar of the Moscow Metropolitan. In 1914, Bishop Anastassy was appointed Bishop of Holmsk and Lublyan. For his efforts during World War I he was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir and the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky. By the end of 1915, he was appointed Bishop of Kishinev and Hotin.
Bishop Anastassy was an active participant in the All-Russian Sobor of 1917-1918 and was one of those who supported the restoration of the Patriarchate. During the balloting, he was in sixth place for the office.
During the Civil War, Archbishop Anastassy was appointed the Head of the Russian Mission in Constantinople. He was an important member of the All-Church Sobor Outside of Russia in 1921 and a member of the Synod of Bishops. From 1924 through 1935, he headed the Mission in Jerusalem. In 1935, in view of the illness of Metropolitan Anthony, he was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan and at Metropolitan Anthony's death, elected as First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. In 1938, he presided at the second All-Church Sobor. At the end of World War II with the advent of the Soviet army in Yugoslavia, Metropolitan Anastassy moved the center of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia first to Vienna, then to Munich and finally to Geneva where he, in a short time, was able to restore communications with all parts of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. In 1946, Metropolitan Anastassy convened a Sobor of Bishops in Munich. In the fall of 1950, Metropolitan Anastassy immigrated to the United States.
Metropolitan Anastassy headed the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia for 29 years. Many of these years were filled with trial and tribulation, war and privation. Through all trial and temptation, Metropolitan Anastassy was an unwavering beacon and helmsman for true Orthodoxy and Russia. For us, he was indeed a God-given leader. In his last will and testament, he called on everyone to "stand firm on the rock of Holy Orthodoxy, to preserve the legacy of the Apostles and to practice brotherly union, peace and love between us". He willed that the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia have no canonical, liturgical or even temporal relations with the Moscow
Patriarchate, leaving the fate of those Bishops to an ultimate judgment by a Free All-Russian Sobor in a Russia, which will yet be free.
Metropolitan Anastassy reposed on May 9th, 1965.
Very touching is Metropolitan Anastassy's last will and testament. We will cite some examples for our edification. "Looking at my long life, with awe I prostrate myself before the inscrutable, most favorable and wise paths of Divine Providence, calling upon me on the lighted day of the Holy Transfiguration of our Lord, and protecting me under His blanket even until today. Death, silenced early all my brothers and older sisters during my early childhood, threatening myself along with them, but the Lord protected my life against the many childhood diseases, through which I with them endured. I thank God for all of His mercy's, which appeared to me during my travels on Earth for my loving parents, whom did not complain regarding my education. Deeply wise, moral and attentive teachers and deans, showing me great attention and love, when was on school benches, and kind, true and noble friends among my school mates. In communicating with them, my soul was uncovered and widened. I can reproach them, like many others close to me, for they overestimated my strength and capabilities, laying on me great hopes which I could not justify???I thank God for enlightening me and educating me of the world's vanities. My soul from its youth frequently yearned of this world, and I frequently was alone amongst the "foolish youth", enthusiastically addicted to life's delights. I accepted monasticism, after completing my last course at the Moscow Theological Academy, in 1898, at the Tambovsk Kazanskom Monastery???Leaving this world, I humbly ask forgiveness from all, whom I had the misfortune to offend whether by word, matter or having condemned in my thoughts, during my entire life. Mutually, from my heart, I forgive everyone, who in one way or another committed sin against me. All, who have done some kind of kindness or intended to make kindness towards me, but did not fulfill their aim because of their own reasons, may the Lord reward you sevenfold in His Blessed Heavenly Kingdom. I ask and beseech all sincere to me, especially my co-brother Bishops and devotional Clergy and monastics, to remember me in your prayers, for the Lord to forgive all of my transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary, as to not deprive me, a sinner, to be one of the chosen. To my dearest brothers, co-pastors and co-servers in Christ, I request for you to stand unwavering on the rock of Holiness and God saving Orthodoxy, holily protecting the apostolic traditions, to watch over the fraternal togetherness, peace and love amongst yourselves and to accord the one, whom God will indicate to be the one after me. To conduct the ship of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad Outside of Russia, accord such confidence and to maintain the same level of obedience reciprocated in love, that was always accorded to me??.With respect to the Moscow Patriarchate and its clergy, as long as they remain of one mind, inspired and willing to seek union with the Soviet powers, openly confessing its complete godlessness and aiming to sow the seeds of atheism in all of the Russian land and its people, then with them, the Church Abroad, in protecting its purity, must not have any canonical, liturgical or even temporal relations with the Moscow Patriarchate, providing that in due time, all of them will be judged by the Sobor of the future free Russian Orthodox Church".