The Pastor of Souls
Archbishop Andrew, in the world Prince Alexander Alexeyevich Ukhtomsky, was born on December 26 (according to another source, December 28), 1872, in the village of Voslom, Arefinskaya volost, Rybinsk uyezd, Yaroslavl province. His parents were called Alexis and Antonina. The Ukhtomsky Byelozersk princes were a very ancient family which traced its origins to the holy Great-Prince Vladimir himself. The young Alexander was brought up in childhood by his nanny, Manefa Fyodorovna, a former serf of the Ukhtomskys. She imbued him with a love for the Church and the feeling of sincere prayer.
In 1887, on completing the fifth class of high school, Alexander at the insistence of his parents entered the Nizhni Novgorod military school in the name of Count Arakcheyev.
Once, when Alexander's mother was bringing him and his younger brother home for the holidays, they met St. John of Kronstadt on a Volga steamer. The conversation with St. John made such an impression on the brothers that they both decided, in spite of the attempts of their mother to dissuade them, to enter the Moscow Theological Academy. In later life, Alexander often met St. John, corresponded with him, and often mentioned him in his sermons and articles.
In 1891, after graduating from the Nizhni Novgorod military school, Alexander entered the Moscow Theological Academy. His teachers there included E. Golubinsky, N. Subbotin, V. Klyuchevsky and I. Kapterev. The inspector of the academy at that time was Archimandrite Sergius (Stragorodsky), while the rector was Archimandrite Anthony (Khrapovitsky), who became his spiritual father and with whom he maintained contact for many years. When he was archbishop he remembered Vladyka Anthony with gratitude, saying that "he always firmly instilled in us the attitude that the Church must be free, that she must be ruled by Councils, and that without Councils there can be no Church life."
In 1895, Alexander Ukhtomsky wrote his course dissertation on the theme: "The Wrath of God", for which he later received the degree of candidate of theology. On graduating from the academy, on November 9, 1895 he became a teacher of Russian in the Kazan theological school, and on December 2 he was tonsured into the mantia by Archimandrite Anthony (Khrapovitsky) with the name Andrew. On December 6, 1895, he was ordained to the priesthood.
Subsequently, in his sermon before his consecration to the episcopate, Vladyka Andrew recalled with what fear he, a young hieromonk, had taken upon himself this responsibility: "I have suffered awesome torments ever since I first heard these words found in the rite for the consecration of a bishop: 'Take this Covenant (the Body of Christ) and keep it whole and untainted until your last breath - to Whom you must give an account at the great and terrible Second Coming of our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.' I thought, 'How can I preserve this great Covenant, which was entrusted to me, the Body of Christ, if I cannot even preserve myself?' I felt then that the Holy Mysteries of the Eucharist were, indeed, a fire burning the unworthy.
"For two whole years I found no peace, performing the Holy Mysteries in fear and trembling on account of my unworthiness, ready to forsake that terrible and awesome calling. But a meeting with the great Father John of Kronstadt saved my soul from further bitterness, torment and the prolongation of the almost sickening duel in my soul. When I asked him for counsel on this matter, Father John said, 'Yes, we are all guilty before the Holy Mysteries, but we must be true to our priestly calling, for we are in obedience to the Holy Church. Weeping over our own sins, we must, however, do the will of Christ's Church and follow the instructions of the Church which are made known to us through our Archpastors.'
"These words of Father John were, in truth, a soothing balm for my wounded and sinful soul which had been torn by various doubts; they made my outlook on life whole and indicated my path in life; I began to understand it only as the most precise fulfillment of obedience to the Church, as the most perfect way of serving the Holy Church, the nation and people of God who have been redeemed by the Precious Blood of Christ."
In 1897 he was appointed inspector of the Alexandrovsky (Ardonsky) missionary seminary. In 1898 he was promoted to the rank of archimandrite. In 1899 he was appointed overseer of the Kazan missionary courses.
He began his work of Orthodox enlightenment in his native Kazan as a young hieromonk, being in charge of a seminary and a missionary school, highly respected and loved by all. He soon became a popular figure for his deeds of mercy to the poor and needy and for his asceticism. It was known that he spent his nights in prayer, using a hard bed with no blanket or pillow for his brief rest. In the midst of his social activity he always fasted, never eating even fish. When his wealthy admirers presented him with crates of fresh fruit he immediately gave it away to seminarians and children. People were astonished to see him eat only two or three prosphora and a few glasses of tea a day, never complaining of frailty or loss of energy, yet his activity was enormous. When raised to the rank of archimandrite he became abbot of the ancient Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Kazan, ably governing it, delivered flaming sermons, founded a convent for Tatar girls, was an excellent spiritual adviser, published a magazine and booklets, and organized missionary conferences.
Once in the revolutionary year of 1905 the workers of a gunpowder factory eight miles from Kazan rose up in revolt, as a result of communist propaganda, and killed one of the eight directors of the factory. A barrel of explosives was blown up, breaking all the windows in the neighbouring houses. Archimandrite Andrew immediately mounted a horse and, fearlessly risking his life, galloped to the factory. There he mounted a high place and silently waited for the mob to quiet down. They laughed at him, cursed, threw handfuls of dirt and rotten apples; but he stood quietly, looking at the mob and praying silently. The mob, seeing him fearless and peaceful, gradually calmed down; and then Vladyka began to talk. His talk was short, but so powerful that the whole mob came to repentance, realizing what a sin they had committed in killing an innocent man. They released the other directors and resumed work, after accompanying Fr. Andrew with great respect back to his monastery quarters.
On October 4, 1907 he was consecrated bishop of Mamadysh, the third vicariate of the Kazan diocese. This see was specially established for missionary work among the Tatar population. Vladyka's spiritual daughter, Nun Tabitha, writes that when he left Kazan, "a crowd of thousands accompanied him. His carriage headed for the steamer quayside. The workers and soldiers unharnessed the horses from his carriage and transported him themselves. Everyone wept... Non-Russians wept like children as they accompanied their beloved 'batka', and they strewed their clothes in his path..."
On July 25 (according to another source, June 25), 1911 he became bishop of Sukhumi, and on December 22, 1913 - archbishop of Ufa. He immediately started attracting more and more people of all ages to the cathedral. During the services he would be completely immersed in prayer, and was an example of a true pastor caring without ceasing for the salvation of souls.
As a bishop, Vladyka continued his missionary activities among the Tatar Moslem population. Many remembered his speeches at missionary congresses in Moscow, Kazan and Kiev, and his brilliant, unforgettable appeals to unite around the Church and the Tsar. Once he wrote:
"What can save us, preserve our Orthodox fatherland, and return to Holy Rus' her former glory?
"I believe and am firmly convinced that, just as Holy Rus' grew around the Orthodox Church, so only her native Orthodoxy can regenerate her. That is why I await that great day in Rus' when a Council of the Russian Church will be convened in the presence of our most meek and Christian Tsar, Nicholas Alexandrovich... It is not a faithless gathering of self-appointed arrogant people, not crowds of people united by nothing and hating each other, that will point out for us new paths of public and state life, but a Council of Church hierarchs... who come together in complete concord and love and speak the truth to the most truth-loving of tsars with Christian firmness."
At the same time, Vladyka Andrew was outspoken in his opposition to the rich exploiters of the poor and showed himself to be a faithful disciple of Metropolitan Anthony in criticizing the Synodal system of Church government and calling for the restoration of the Patriarchate.
In 1915-16 he distributed pastoral epistles attacking the use of tobacco by priests of the Russian Church.
On April 14, 1917, after the restoration of the Holy Synod by the Provisional Government, Archbishop Andrew became a member of the Holy Synod. However, he did not believe that the Provisional Government had changed the situation for the better. "The Provisional Government," he wrote, "appointed a revolutionary Over-Procurator, but the problem of having the Church ruled by a government official was not resolved."
In May, 1917, Archbishop Andrew had a conversation about the future of the Church with A.T. Kerensky, and in August he sent him a big letter, in which he declared that "the separation of the Church from the State is not frightening for the Church, but for the State its own separation from the Church is frightening."
Archbishop Andrew took a very active part in the elections for a patriarch in the Council of 1917-18, and his admirers put his name forward as one of the candidates for the patriarchal throne.
Archbishop Andrew considered the February and October revolutions to be the natural result of, and just recompense for, the people's loss of faith, whose roots he saw in the process of the destruction of Christian consciousness in the Russian people that had taken place over the previous 200 years. And he refused to accept the superficial excuses given by many: "In defence of the Russian people, they try to say that the people have been confused by the Jews, or deceived by their own leaders... A bad excuse! It's a fine people and a fine Christian religious disposition that can be confused by any rogue that comes along!..."
Already in the spring of 1917, clashes took place between Archbishop Andrew and the new socialist authorities. The newspaper of the Ufa social-democrats accused him of monarchist sympathies, pointing out that the bishop who had previously prayed fervently for the autocratic power did not want to do this for the new revolutionary government.
However, it is clear from the bishop's articles that when, during the first months of the revolution, the socialist movement was dominated by fairly moderate elements, he tried to establish contacts with the movement and even wrote about its positive sides:
"Is it possible for the parish councils to form a block with the social revolutionaries?.. This party is the closest for me of all the parties. The Church-parish councils and the party of the social revolutionaries must form one whole..."
But as the violence of the socialists grew, the bishop sharply changed his attitude towards the movement. Thus in one of his sermons in the cathedral, he said: "The socialists have taken for our original Apostolic Church her holy teaching on the community, brotherhood and equality... and have departed from us with this teaching."
"The socialists," wrote the bishop, "do not have enough love, and so at the base of their theory and practice they have placed the idol of class struggle, which on Russian soil has given 'freedom to hooliganism'."
And again: "Our homeland and the whole of our Russian people is confused, and is now living the last weeks of its existence. One page of Russian history has come to an end, and another, terrible one is beginning..."
In his speech before the opening of the state conference of members of the Constitutional Assembly, which took place in Ufa in April, 1918, Archbishop Andrew gave a clear basis to his judgements on the events that were taking place. He referred to Biblical history, when the judges of Israel led the people along the path of spiritual regeneration and national renewal:
"And now," he said, "for the salvation of the fatherland we need one particular fine, patriotic name, and an inspired leader who is powerful in word and deed, and who could incarnate our unfortunate Homeland and incarnate it in himself."
Later, in 1933, Archbishop Andrew expressed his final opinion on socialism and the revolution in the final chapter of his book, The Story of my Old-Believerism, in which he wrote:
"I must finish - I have used all my material relating to the story of my old-believerism. Now I consider it my sacred duty to say firmly and openly: I am an irreconcilable enemy of caesaropapism, and of all violence... I am not a revolutionary, for in the revolution there is a large element of spite and vengefulness. But I well understand the revolution as a protest against injustice and violence... I am not even a Christian socialist, for in so-called Christian socialism there is something from the evil one in the form of useless human verbiage and contradictions. Christian socialism, like social democracy is the fruit of Roman Catholicism, just as Bolshevism is the fruit of Petersburg caesaropapism."
Between the Old Believers and the Renovationists
Archbishop Andrew was the President of the All-Russian Congress of Yedinovertsy, converts to Orthodoxy from the Old Believers who were allowed to retain the Old Believer rite, and in January, 1919 (according to another source, 1918) he was elected bishop of Satki and the first-hierarch of the Yedinovertsy. He was also very concerned to reconcile the Old Believers who were not members of the Orthodox Church - the Byelokrinitsky hierarchy, which derived from the Greek Metropolitan Ambrose, and the priestless beglopopovtsy. At first, just after the revolution, he recognized neither branch of the Old Believers; but he gradually acquired a more positive attitude towards them, and entered into negotiations with them in Bashkiria in accordance with the line approved in 1917 by Patriarch Tikhon and his mentor, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky).
Archbishop Andrew believed that the Old Believer schism, which arose and took root in the reign of Peter the Great, when the Church fell into submission to state power, was precisely a protest against this unlawful encroachment on the freedom of the Church. In other words, it was a protest against caesaropapism - the process which had led, in Vladyka's opinion, to the Russian revolution and to the renovationist and sergianist submission of the Church to Soviet power. Therefore Vladyka Andrew's attempted rapprochement with the Old Believers must be seen in the context of the times - the struggle of the Church against State power and renovationist caesaropapism.
In May, 1917 he visited the Rogozhskoye monastery in Moscow and suggested to the Byelokrinitsky bishops that they join the Russian Church. In September of the same year, having come to Moscow again for the 1917-18 Moscow Church Council, Vladyka approached the beglopopovtsi with a request that he become their bishop. After the Council, at a meeting of representatives of the Moscow communities, Vladyka declared his intentions and plans to enter the Old Believers' church and, having read the Symbol of Faith and an extended confession of Faith, to anoint himself, in accordance with their suggestion, with the chrism that the Old Believers considered to be remaining from the time of Patriarch Joseph (1642-1652), the last Moscow Patriarch recognized by both the Orthodox and the Old Believers. Thus it was that Vladyka began his negotiations with the Old Believers - negotiations which both Patriarch Tikhon and Metropolitan Anthony knew and approved of.
In 1919-20, Vladyka took an active part in leading the clergy serving under the White leader, Admiral Kolchak. The commander of one of Kolchak's armies, Lieutenant-General Sakharov, wrote of Vladyka's work during this period: "His idea was simple and great. His arguments were incontrovertible and taken from life itself. He said: 'We must organize the people... around the best people in each village and town, around the most honourable, moral and hardworking people. And we do not need to go far; there are many such Russians, they are everywhere, in every church parish - only give them the chance.'
"Archbishop Andrew often appealed to Admiral Kolchak himself with his plan for organizing parishes throughout Eastern Russia. But he was rejected, and sometimes even persecuted. And this in spite of the fact that the supreme ruler himself greatly respected him.
"And so this major Russian activist and patriot failed until almost the very end to find an application for his abilities."
In 1920 (according to another source, 1921), after the collapse of Admiral Kolchak's armies, Vladyka Andrew was arrested by the Bolsheviks in Novonikolayevsk and accused of inciting class hatred and aiding the Whites. He was in prison in Omsk from March 8, 1920 to November, 1920. On February 28, 1921 he was again arrested in Omsk on a charge of calling on the peasants to organize themselves into peasant unions. From March to October, 1921 he was in prison in Omsk. On November 1, 1921 he was sent to Moscow, and from November 5, 1921 to November 11, 1922 he was in the inner prison of the GPU, where he fell ill with tuberculosis. However, he was cured in a private clinic, after which he was transferred to the Butyrki prison.
From this time until his death, Vladyka was only rarely out of prison or exile. Nevertheless, the people did not forget him, and many managed to see him in prison or deliver food parcels to him; and every time he was released and returned to his flock, it would cause a whole 'event' among the people. The Secret Police sought to use his popularity as bait to fish out the more fervent church people, but Bishop Andrew was so cautious and prudent in his behaviour that these attempts always failed.
At the end of 1921 Patriarch Tikhon appointed Vladyka Andrew Bishop of Tomsk. In August, 1922 Vladyka was cleared by a Moscow revolutionary tribunal "because of insufficient evidence", after officially declaring that the Church was loyal to Soviet power. On November 14, he was sent under supervision to Ufa. Already on May 18, 1922, just after the appearance of the renovationist heresy, he had declared the Church in Ufa autocephalous on the basis of Patriarch Tikhon's ukaz of November 7/20, 1920. And now, in December, he organized a diocesan congress in Ufa and consecrated a group of bishops for the main regions of his diocese. These included Bishops Habbakuk and Rufinus.
The renovationists, who sought every opportunity to accuse Vladyka, immediately labelled this group of bishops "the Andrewite schism". Thus in an article for Vlast' Truda a certain P. Pravdin rejected the "schismatic" bishops' right to rule their flock. And he went on to say that Bishops Mark, Trofimus and Habbakuk "act under the banner of Patriarch Tikhon, which prompts Soviet power to think of arresting these bishops".
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