Message on the Occasion of the 90th Anniversary of the Restoration of the Patriarchate in the Russian Orthodox Church

In honor of the centenary of the glorious event of the restoration of the patriarchate to the Russian Orthodox Church at the Local Council of 1917-1918, OrthoChristian.com takes a look back at the words of His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and All Russia on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the same event.

His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and All Russia His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and All Russia
Beloved in the Lord Right Reverend Archpastors, all-honorable fathers, God-loving monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters!

This year, 2007, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates a significant date—the 90th anniversary of the restoration of the patriarchate. The rebirth of the patriarchal ministry in the revolutionary year of 1917 united all the spiritually healthy powers of the people around the throne of the First Hierarchs of Moscow and proved to be salvific for the Church of Christ and the Fatherland.

At the Local Council of 1917-1918, after a 200-year suspension stemming from non-ecclesial reasons, the historic decision was made to fulfil the canonical rule of the holy apostles, which prescribes: “The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent.”1

One of those who by the providence of God were prepared for the path of service to Christ “even unto death,” Hieromartyr Mitrophan, Archbishop of Astrakhan and Tsarevsky, thus expressed in those restless days the Church’s urgent need for a singular leadership: “At all precarious moments of Russian life, when the helm of the Church began to lurch, the thought of the patriarch would resurrect with particular force… The times imperatively demand a podvig, boldness, and the people desire to see someone at the head of the Church who would unite the people.”

This truly unique event occurred at a critical moment of Russian history: On the eve of the terrible, almost apocalyptic events of the of the looming era of theomachism, the Lord, strengthening the people before the coming trials, gave His Church the opportunity to freely elect a primate.

Highly prophetic were the words of one of the participants of the Local Council of 1917-1918: “Recent events bear witness to the falling away from God not only of the intelligentsia, but also of the lower strata… and there is no authoritative force which could have stopped this phenomenon, no fear, no conscience, no first bishop at the head of the Russian people… Therefore, we must immediately elect a spirit-bearing guardian of our conscience, our spiritual leader—His Holiness the patriarch, who will lead us to Christ.”

The primate of Moscow and All Russia elected by the council, Patriarch Tikhon, truly became a good shepherd, laying down his life for the sake of the salvation of the Church of Christ. His podvig of confession is forever imprinted in the history of Christianity.

His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon clearly foresaw the coming tribulations and travails and spoke about it immediately after his election:

Your news of my election to the patriarchate is for me that scroll on which was written, lamentations, and mourning, and woe, which the prophet Ezekiel had to eat (Ezek. 2:10-3:1). How many tears must in I swallow and how much must I groan in my impending patriarchal ministry, and especially in these present difficult times!... From now on, the care of all the churches of Russia is laid upon me, and dying for them all my days awaits me. And who even among those stronger than I can have the strength for it? But may God’s will be done!

St. Tikhon was not just a zealous man of prayer and genuine hierarch of God, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15), but a reprover of unrighteousness, boldly raising his voice before the authorities in defense of the faith and the Church.

The successors of the Holy Hierarch and Confessor of Christ Patriarch Tikhon continued to walk the thorny path bequeathed by him, taking upon themselves the staggering burden of responsibility for the purity of the faith and the proper canonical structure of Church life. The evidence of this is the firmness and courage of many Orthodox Christians who received martyric crowns rather than apostatizing from truth.

“The blood of the martyrs builds the Church,” ancient Christians would say. Beholding the podvig of witness of Christ of many bishops, priests, and laity, receiving crowns of martyrdom during the years of godless persecutions, and also the confession of the successors of the primates of Moscow, who carried out their ministry in the twentieth century, we are again assured of the truth of these words.

The steadfastness, determination, and boundless patience manifested by the primates of our Church in the difficult years of persecutions made the subsequent spiritual rebirth of our Fatherland possible.

We raise up prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord Almighty, for the Church of Christ, going from strength to strength, lives and acts by His Divine aid, for “who is so great a god as our God. Thou art the God Who workest wonders.”

By the intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos, His grace is repeatedly shown to our people, now accomplishing a spiritual rebirth on the entire canonical expanse of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Behind all of this stands the prayerful boldness, archpastoral labors, and fatherly care for the people of God of the primates of Moscow who have departed this world for the Heavenly habitations, who implore the Almighty at the throne of God, obtaining for us His “great and rich mercy.”

Congratulating all with the 90th anniversary of the restoration of the patriarchate, I heartily wish all the hierarchs, presbyters, deacons, monastics, and laity of our Church to be attentive guardians of Church unity on all of life’s paths, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:2-3).

+ Alexei, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

Moscow
November 2007

1 Apostolic Canons 33 (34).
See also
Epistle to the Soviet of People’s Commissars Epistle to the Soviet of People’s Commissars
Patriarch Tikhon (Bellavin)
Epistle to the Soviet of People’s Commissars Epistle to the Soviet of People’s Commissars
Patriarch Tikhon (Bellavin)
We present this bold letter written by Patriarch Tikhon to the new rulers of Russia a year after the revolution.
The October Revolution: Prophecies on Russia’s Destiny The October Revolution: Prophecies on Russia’s Destiny The October Revolution: Prophecies on Russia’s Destiny The October Revolution: Prophecies on Russia’s Destiny
Why is this subject so important to us (and we must understand that it is of very serious importance to us) who may have nothing to do with Russians or Russia? Those who have ears to hear, let them hear; and those who have eyes to see, let them see.
On the Rebirth of Russia On the Rebirth of Russia
Archimandrite Naum (Baiborodin)
On the Rebirth of Russia On the Rebirth of Russia
A Homily for the Centenary of the Revolution
Archimandrite Naum (Baiborodin)
On October 13, 2017, at ninety years of age, the oldest monk of the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, the elder and spiritual father known throughout all of Russia Archimandrite Naum (Baiborodin) departed to the Lord. We here publish the words of the elder on the essence of what happened in Russia 100 years ago, and on the essence of our modern times.
“Our Nation Still Lives According to the Values of the Regicides” “Our Nation Still Lives According to the Values of the Regicides”
A talk with Fr. Job (Gumerov)
“Our Nation Still Lives According to the Values of the Regicides” “Our Nation Still Lives According to the Values of the Regicides”
A talk with Fr. Job (Gumerov) on the new martyrs of the Russian Church
Archimandrite Job (Gumerov), Maxim Vasyunov
Father Job, an experienced confessor of the Moscow Sretensky Monastery, speaks about the factors preventing some faithful from recognizing Nicholas II as a saint, the relationship between the Tsar’s abdication and the Russian people’s renunciation of the Church, how mass unbelief impedes the comprehension of the podvig [spiritual exploit] of the new martyrs, and the proper understanding of the people’s repentance for the sins of their ancestors.
A Word on the Day of the Centenary of the Russian Turmoil (+ VIDEO) A Word on the Day of the Centenary of the Russian Turmoil (+ VIDEO)
Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov) of Egorievsk
A Word on the Day of the Centenary of the Russian Turmoil (+ VIDEO) A Word on the Day of the Centenary of the Russian Turmoil (+ VIDEO)
A sermon at the Presanctified Liturgy at the Church of the Resurrection of Christ and the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church at Sretensky Monastery, March 15, 2017
Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov) of Egorievsk
God’s lessons are at times very heavy. God’s lessons lie in the fact that He endures the carelessness, cowardice, and infidelity of the people for a long time, but then comes the moment when the careless ones themselves and their descendants must settle their account with bitter but saving trials.
“Patriarch Tikhon is one of the greatest universal saints.” “Patriarch Tikhon is one of the greatest universal saints.”
A talk with Archpriest Vladimir Vorobiev
“Patriarch Tikhon is one of the greatest universal saints.” “Patriarch Tikhon is one of the greatest universal saints.”
A talk with Archpriest Vladimir Vorobiev
Patriarch Tikhon captained the ship of the Church through the bloody storm of anti-ecclesiastical persecution inspired by the godless leaders of the communist regime, who had seized power in much-suffering Russia.
Comments
Leonard Eisenstein11/18/2017 1:32 pm
A +ruely blessed, humble and righ+eous man of GOD. E+ernal Memory!!
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