Hierotheus, Bishop And Hieromartyr Of Veliky Ustiug And Those With Him 2 of 3

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"The other priest, Fr. Anthony, was strict. He said:

"'Fr. Anastasius goes for meekness, I - for zeal.'

"With him not a single letter was left out. If you made a mistake with a single letter, he would shout at you through the whole church and correct it. And I was his reader. One had to learn the typicon quickly and well... Fr. Anthony was a great preacher. Once he went into the altar and then returned and said:

"'Listen, Orthodox, he who goes to the cinema or the theatre is not worthy to kiss the cross. He kisses the cross like a Judas traitor.'

"Fr. Anthony's fate was as follows. He spoke openly with the authorities. They exiled him to Siberia, beyond Irkutsk, to the banks of the river Irtysh. I was with him in 1934. The frost there was savage. He was fishing there - that was how he fed himself. And while he went to the river he completed his rule from memory. He didn't waste a single minute. But the people there didn't sympathize with him, they didn't help him.

"He finished his three-year sentence, but they didn't release him. They said that they didn't let people like him go. It was at that time, in 1938, that I myself was arrested, and I don't know what happened to him, I have no information."

From 1927 Vladyka Hierotheus became also bishop of Veliky Ustiug, a vicariate of Vologda diocese.

Vladyka rejected Metropolitan Sergius' declaration, which placed the Russian Church in subjection to the Bolsheviks. On January 12, 1928, he wrote to the clergy and laity of the diocese of Great Ustiug explaining why he was not in communion with Metropolitan Sergius:

"To all my co-workers for the name of the Lord in the spiritual field, the clergy and laity of the Great Ustiug diocese.

"Dear pastors and faithful children of the Orthodox Church!

"You know that without unity there is no salvation. The organism of the Church is one: Christ is the Head of the Church; the eyes, ears, arms and legs are the pastors and teachers, while the body of the Church is all the believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

"The whole body moves with one spirit and lives with one heart. A part of the body that is not fed with blood from the heart falls away and perished. Thus the renovationists have fallen away before our eyes: they did not want to have communion with the first person in the Church, his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, and now they are gradually decomposing, like a useless arm or leg cut off and cast onto the earth.

"After the renovationist 'livingchurchmen', the unity of the Church was rejected by the 'autocephalists', followers of Archbishop Gregory of Ekaterinburg (the Gregorians), who did not recognize the locum tenens Metropolitan Peter. Now the unity of the Church has been destroyed by Metropolitan Sergius, the deputy of Metropolitan Peter. As long as he was the faithful guardian of the patriarchal throne entrusted to him, the whole Church considered him her leader. But when he undertook arbitrary initiatives that were approved neither by the church people nor by the council of bishops, nor by the blessing of Metropolitan Peter - then nobody was obliged to go the way of his errors.

"Thus during the period of livingchurch renovationism, all the faithful children of the Church separated from the renovationist council of 1923 and from their synod, and gradually united around his Holiness the Patriarch and the bishops who had church communion with him. In the same way now Metropolitans Peter and Cyril, Metropolitans Joseph of Leningrad, Arsenius of Novgorod, Agathangel of Yaroslavl, the vicar-bishop of Moscow and former bishop of Serpukhov Arsenius (who is in retirement), Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich, Archbishop Athanasius of Kiev, and the bishops Demetrius of Gdov, Victor of Vyatka, Seraphim the former bishop of Dmitrov (Zvezdinsky, who is in retirement), Irinarch of Veliky Ustiug, the bishops in exile and many others, as well as a group of clergy in the capital and delegations representing communities of believers, have in various forms declared to Metropolitan Sergius that they do not agree with him and have separated from him.

"Some of them [the confessing bishops] declare that Sergius has stretched out his hands toward the Patriarchal Throne, striving to overturn it, inasmuch as in his Synod there are persons whom the Church does not trust.

"Others say that Sergius has introduced a political tendency into Church life (see his declaration in Izvestia, August 19, 1927 [probably he had the declaration of July 16/29 in mind]).

"Still others indicate that Metropolitan Sergius has chosen a crooked path of diplomatic doubletalk, agreements, and compromises - as if for the salvation of the Church - and has left the straight but sorrowful path of the Cross, i.e., of patience and firmness.

"Finally, he has made use of deceit, calling his Synod Orthodox and Patriarchal, while in reality its organization is a trampling down of the Church's canons: Metropolitan Peter, the locum tenens, did not give his approval for such a thing, since it failed to obtain the blessing of his Holiness the Patriarch himself in 1924. What the Renovationists and the Gregorians could not succeed in doing - that Metropolitan Sergius very cunningly did: he bound the Church to the civil authority, expressing spiritual submission to it.

"The Decree on the Separation of the Church from the Government does not exist for Metropolitan Sergius and his followers. Therefore, for the realization of his plans Metropolitan Sergius, violating the 9th Canon of the Council of Chalcedon, even makes use of the non-ecclesiastical power.

"As for me, acknowledging my responsibility before God for the flock entrusted to me, I have declared on January 10/23 of this year to Bishop Sophronius, who has been assigned to the see of Great Ustiug by [Sergius'] Synod, that my flock and clergy of Nikolsk - except for the cathedral clergy, who have been rejected by the people - cannot accept him because we have separated from Sergius and from his Synod.

"On the other hand I have informed Metropolitan Joseph (of Leningrad) that I canonically join to him the clergy and laity of the diocese of Great Ustiug, in accordance with the blessing of Vladyka Irinarchus, whose lawful deputy I am at the present time for the whole diocese of Great Ustiug.

"I have had to suffer much in the way of every kind of slander and offense for my archpastoral labours for the good of the Church. If the Apostolic Canons say that clergy may do nothing without the will of their bishop, then my will expressed in the present epistle, is thereby all the more worthy of every acceptance.

"Nevertheless, wishing to hear from you, dear children, that you are one in soul and one in thought with me, and likewise respecting your freedom of self-determination, I propose that my epistle be read and considered at assemblies of the faithful, so that all might know the way the matter stands and freely enter into unity with me, remaining faithful to the locum tenens of the Patriarchal See, Metropolitan Peter, and to the entire Russian Orthodox Church; concerning which I request you to send me a written statement.

"Only the clergy of the Cathedral of the Meeting of the Lord in Nikolsk, the priest from the Renovationists Sergius Aranovich (in Kudrilo), and Archpriest John Golubev (in Shango) have openly come out against me, spreading every kind of evil report, slander, and absurdity. They have written unfounded complaints against me to the Synod, and Archpriest Michael Krasov (of Vokhma) personally took these to Moscow; for which they have been prohibited from serving and are in a state of excommunication from me until they shall show sincere repentance in the form established for renovationists, or until a complete council of bishops shall judge the case of Metropolitan Sergius and those who are with him (10th Canon of the Holy Apostles).

"I place before you these hirelings, who see the wolf approach and flee; do not follow them, my brethren and children, but let us have before us a different example: the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. Amen.

"On January 12/25, 1928, I received the reply of Metropolitan Joseph: 'Govern yourselves independently. Our justification: faithfulness to Metropolitan Peter. Joseph.'"

On January 28 / February 10, 1928, Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod issued a decree (no. 38) concerning the "schismatic" behaviour of Metropolitan Joseph and Bishop Hierotheus, and on March 29 / April 11 another decree (no. 76) was issued banning Bishop Hierotheus and Bishop Victor of Vyatka.

According to one (dubious) source, Bishop Hierotheus signed the decisions of the so-called "Nomadic Council" of the Catacomb Church in 1928 through Hieromonk Jerome (Vostryshev).

The last Great Lent and Pascha of Vladyka Hierotheus' life until his death in May (or June or July), 1928, are described by Mother Seraphima: "He promised to return [from Vyatka] by Forgiveness Sunday, but returned still earlier, and brought me a big prosphora from matushka and told how many adventures he had had on the way. The Vespers of Forgiveness Sunday went very well and triumphantly. The service was paschal. The clergy were in white vestments and they sang 'Christ is risen!'. Vladyka explained to the people that some of us might not live to Pascha and would not hear 'Christ is risen!', so we should rejoice and be glad on this day.

"'Forgive me the sinner and unworthy one,' he said, and our dear intercessor bowed to the feet of everyone. It was touching to watch it. The service came to an end, and having received his blessing and forgiveness the people dispersed. On Monday evening the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete was read with prostrations. Vladyka read it himself, standing on the cathedra and making prostrations to the ground. We all prayed together with him in unity of spirit. Lord, how good it was, how it touched the soul. Recognizing our nothingness with contrite heart we prayed with repentance in this way until Thursday. In the sermons we were told how we must spend the time of the Great Fast, repenting and fleeing sin and trying not to anger God. He terrified us by describing what the Judgement of God would be for sinners, and what awaited the righteous. It was quite something to listen to him. He became threatening, terrifying impenitent sinners with the wrath of God, but also consoling and calming us, telling us that ear has not heard nor has it entered into the heart of man what the Lord has prepared for those who love him, if we work for the Lord and do His holy will. What blessedness awaits all those who follow Christ. We listened to him with rapture and tears flowed in hope of the mercy of God. There was a general confession with many penitents. Three chalices were used. Everyone wanted to receive Communion from the hands of the hierarch, although he himself said that we should go to the priests, it doesn't matter to me. But the people somehow did not hear him and they all thronged to him, saying they wanted to receive Communion from Vladyka. Finally, at the end of the service Vladyka was very tired, and we were very sorry for our worker, and when he still needed rest there was still a crowd of people waiting for him to give them advice and a blessing. The indefatigable worker and intercessor did not give himself any rest, but strengthened his failing powers a little and was ready to serve again.

"The GPU had summoned him more than once already. They had even asked him to go to Ustiug, but Vladyka didn't even think of going there. He said in the church that he wasn't going anywhere, but would stay with us:

"'Let them take me from my cathedra with candles!"

"The whole fast they pestered him. Sometimes they ordered him not to live in the church but to go to his flat, where they could take him at any time. Once Vladyka went into a village and was arrested by a policeman. At that moment the prosphora-baker Agrippina came up and took him away. Then some other peasants came up and took Vladyka away to the church. They frightened Vladyka very much, but the Lord preserved him, and they only imprisoned N.I. Ryshkov because he took part in this affair, together with Novice Andryusha and the watchman Andrew. That was the end of it. But since they had failed to get him that time, they became still more spiteful and thought up various ways of taking him. On the Monday of the last week Vladyka came to me (I had sewed some vestments for him) and said:

"'Matushka, I've come to rest in your house.'

"'I'm very glad,' I said.

"'Will you sew me the vestments by Pascha?'

"'I will.'

"He walked around the room and said:

"'The feast of Pascha is the most joyful of all the feasts. What chants they sing, for example: Now all the heavens are filled with light, heaven and earth, and the nethermost parts of the earth. Let all things visible and invisible keep the feast. How happy we believers are. The unbelievers and sinners cannot rejoice and be glad so much. What sorrow awaits all the impenitent sinners at the Terrible Judgement!'

"He spoke so movingly that as I listened I wept and said:

"'O Vladyka, what will happen to me then? Where will I the accursed one turn?'

"'Don't be sad, matushka,' he said with a smile, 'your path is all covered with flowers. You have nothing to fear...'

"Vladyka himself served the whole week. What services those were! The shroud was brought out and then came the burial. Lord, what sermons he gave! How the soul was touched on seeing Christ God lying, all wounded and bloody. The Lord God Himself suffered for the sins of men. I sewed his vestments and brought them on the Saturday. Vladyka was pleased and thanked me, and when he blessed me and held my hand he said:

"'Tomorrow, matushka, I will come to you first.'

"There had never been so many people at Paschal Mattins. Vladyka said:

"'I thought they would crush me, but everything turned out alright.'

"After the Liturgy, it is true, Vladyka soon came to me, we sang 'Christ is risen!' and began to eat and drink. He rested, and was very joyful. They said that there had been many people.

"'Yes,' said Vladyka, 'when I said "Christ is risen!" to them, the reply resounded like a trumpet in the church, it was as if I was lifted off the ground.'

"Some peasants came from Vozdvizhenye, and everyone was happy, joy was in everyone's soul. Vladyka blessed them to stay a little longer and eat.

"'Matushka," he asked, 'do you have any Theophany water/'

"'Your water?' I asked.

He smiled and said: "'Yes, the water I consecrated.'

"'There is,' I said.

"'Keep it then,' he said. 'I will not consecrate it again.'

"I began to groan. 'O Vladyka, what are you saying?'

"'The times are hard,' he said. 'Anything could happen now. I may even die...'

"On the third day of Pascha he went to the warden and stayed there until the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers. He served the Liturgy, but was somehow unhappy. It seemed as if the people could not have enough of looking at him. They all stood and wanted to accompany him, and since he wanted to leave he let them all come to the cross again. Then he closed the royal doors. But the people still stood where they were. Then Vladyka again opened the royal doors and blessed everyone again. Then he closed them and went into his cell. That was the last blessing he gave. That was how Vladyka said goodbye to his flock. Our beloved knew it, he knew that he was seeing his children for the last time. Having drunk some tea and strengthened himself with some food, he got ready to go the country. When Vladyka came out, everyone rushed up to him so as to receive his verbal blessing.

"After a while he stopped blessing, saying that he had blessed us all today, and sat down. I went up to him and said:

"'Bless me, Vladyka.'

"He blessed me with a smile and said:

"'Be with God, matushka. Remain here.'

"Then he got up, looked round again, saying: 'Don't forget me', and left... When he left I sent my novice Matrona to him with something, and she walked with him round the village. That was in Rystyug. Then he went to Makretsevo. That was his favourite village. Then some peasants from Kipshenka arrived and began to ask him to come to them. For a long time he refused, but they insisted, complaining that they kept asking for him, and he kept promising but did not come. Then he said:

"'Alright, you go home, I'll come.'

"When they had left, Vladyka became sad and silent. Then he went to Rystyug and began to prepare to go to Kipshenka. Many people tried to persuade him not to go there. They said that he would be arrested. But he said:

"'No. The people there are believers, they will not give me up.'

"Then he went with Kolya [his twenty-year-old novice] to Kipshenka and after that to Kema. Kolya for some reason did not want to go there, but they persuaded him and he went. What sorrow Kolya brought to the whole people!"

"The communists were trying with all their might to catch him. They even said that if he went to Kema he would be theirs. Then we heard that the bosses had gone there to arrest Vladyka. Lord, what sorrow all the believers experienced! And they did arrest Vladyka, but the people took him away and locked him in a cabin. What a horror it was! Many of the people defended Vladyka. Women with babes at the breast even stood in the way. The authorities sent to Ustiug for help, and when a detachment came they surrounded the house and looked for Vladyka everywhere. Kolya asked to go home, but Vladyka tried to persuade him to stay if only for a day. But he said he was going, so they gave him a girl as a guide. But immediately he set off he was arrested, his hands were tied behind him and he was led to the town, where he was questioned about Vladyka's whereabouts. At first he said nothing, but then they began to promise him a good job, and with alternate threats and endearments they dragged out of him where Vladyka was. [Fr. Cyril says that Kolya gave in after being tortured.] Then Satan entered into him, and the wretched one dared to say:

"'Give me a revolver and I'll kill him myself.'

"To think that our dear archpastor suffered as Christ suffered, and as Christ was betrayed by His disciple, so Vladyka was betrayed by his cell-attendant! How much love he showed him, how many favours he showered on him! And how he repaid him!

"Then they brought Kolya there, confident that when he showed them where he was they would arrest him. But when they saw Kolya coming, they led Vladyka away into the wood, so that noone knew where he was except the two girls Paula and Alexandra. Then Kolya went up the peasant Basil and asked:

"'Where's Vladyka?'

"'What business is it of yours, Kolya?'


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