Autocephaly (15 of 20)

The answers in this section on autocephaly were provided by a seminary faculty member in a 1970 OCA publication.


Was not the acceptance of autocephaly from the Moscow Patriarchate a play into Russian hands? Was it not an act of cooperation with communists?


The bishops of the Metropolia, together with the members of the church administration and the Metropolitan Council of the church, considered very carefully all aspects of the question of autocephaly, not excluding the question of its political implications. The leaders of the church knew very well the type of accusations which could be made, particularly by those of Russian extraction who suffered under the evils of godless communism if the Metropolia should in any way whatsoever appear to be helping the cause of the communist struggle.

Even if the utmost care were to be exercised in this matter, the Metropolia knew that anyway some would be blinded to the real happenings and use the event for its own particular crusade against the Metropolia under the guise of its apparent capitulation to the Soviets.

Nevertheless, the Metropolia determined that in the final agreement it had acted in the most proper way and had committed no act which could be of any real use to the communist cause.

In virtually every official statement of the Metropolitan, the Synod of Bishops, and the Church councils, not to mention the sermons and the preaching and teaching in the parishes, the Metropolia, both before and after April 10, 1970, has consistently and unequivocally condemned atheistic communism and the persecution not only of the Orthodox Church, but of all religions in the USSR and the Communist bloc nations. The most cursory examination of the Metropolia documents, publications, messages and sermons will prove this beyond any question.

The granting of the decree of autocephaly to the Metropolia by the entire hierarchy of the Russian Church in the presence of the American Ambassador, the Honorable Jacob Beam, in the shadow of the very Kremlin where red stars still replace the cross of Christ, is to the glory of the Christian faith and Holy Orthodoxy.