And if one asks: why all this suffering and cruelty?, the answer is to be found in Vladyka Theodore's writings: "One must remember that from the time of the descent of the Holy Spirit the Church entered the world as a new organization that was different from human societies and even opposed to them. That is why the representatives of Roman statehood persecuted the Christians. They saw what a threat Christianity represented for their public structures. The beginning of the organization of the Church, of a holy and pure society, was the beginning of another order. In the Church the spirit of man is transfigured, he becomes different. It is impossible to unite the Church (for it is spirit) with the State, but it is also impossible to disunite them. In order to separate the Church from the State it is necessary to make it composed completely of unbelievers. Then the separation would take place of its own accord. Juridical rights are not so important for the Church - the work of spiritual perfection can take place in external conditions that are very oppressive for Christians. Christianity calls man to salvation, but one must enter on this path freely, for the Truth makes man free.
"The new atheist religion calls man to slavery, to the worship of a new Idol. There is no choice in it, only complete slavery of spirit and body.A man suffers punishment not only for his acts, but also for his thoughts, and it is demanded that he slander and denounce others. In other words, this new ideology, this new religion demands the complete slavery of a man's soul and body....
"The Bible speaks of a constant battle battle between good and evil and sin. But people understand this battle only in the sense of a struggle of certain external economic, historical or social laws of life. They forgetor reject the living soul of man. Now they do not speak about moral evil, but about that which is useful and harmful, fitting or unfitting, etc. Only in salvation from sin can all these difficult questions of life be resolved."Archbishop Leontius writes: "Archbishop Theodore lived among the free population with his archdeacon, Ananius. Knowing from his own experience all the torments of being interrogated by the GPU, he did not accept a single person, clerical or lay, including Bishop Herman [Ryashentsev], his former concelebrant at the Moscow Academy, Bishop Serapion [Shevaleyevsky] of Kozelsk, the Kievan ascetic, Schema-Igumen Luke, and other good pastors. He decisively refused to go anywhere or pray together with them. Unfortunately, his premonitions were proved justified. A priest who had been exiled to the same city with them, Fr. Hieron, turned out later to be an unwilling informer for the local GPU. Unable to withstand the reproaches of his conscience, he later, in the sight of many women who were washing clothes, hurled himself into the river and perished."
An eye-witness from those years of exile writes: "I occasionally methis Eminence Theodore in the winter of 1935-36, sometimes on the street, at others in the post office in the town of Ust-Sysolsk - Syktyvkar in the Zyryansk language, where we all received letters addressed to us. Vladyka wore a tarpaulin dressing-gown-raincoat, not a rasa. He was distinguished from the surrounding population not only by the fact that he had a beard (his hair was hidden in his winter hat), but especially by his majestic and noble appearance. Outsiders took him for a university professor. One look was enough to inspire respect for him. When I say 'we', I mean a group of people exiled for the Church from various places. They included clergy, monastics and laity who were bound together by a feeling of comradeship. We went to church services, and talked with each other... His Eminence Theodore kept himself to himself. He had no contact with anyone. His sister [Olga Vasilyevna Timofeyeva], who was in freedom, looked after him."
According to Vladyka Theodore, Archimandrite Seraphim (Klimkov), oneof his most faithful disciples, had met him for the last time at the end of 1933 or the beginning of 1934 in Vladimir, in the flat of Archimandrite Simeon. Seraphim went to Syktyvar at the end of the spring of 1936. That may have been the case, and Vladyka simply did not want to give away the arrival of Fr. Seraphim.
In the spring of 1936 Vladyka was visited in exile by Archimandrite Polycarp (Solovyov), who stayed with him for ten or eleven days. He was accompanied by Polina Ivanova. In the autumn of 1937 Fr. Polycarp was shot in Ivanovo prison.
In 1935 there arrived in Syktyvar the former novice of the Danilov monastery, Hieromonk Tikhon Georgievich (Baluyev). He may have been the deputy of the Danilov monastery from 1929 to 1930. He died in Kharkov in 1952. In his time he had been a student at the Moscow Theological Academy while Vladyka Theodore was rector. On arriving in Syktyvar, evidently as an exile, Fr. Tikhon registered there and came to Vladyka.
Archbishop Theodore met Bishop Germanus (Ryashentsev), who was also exiled to Ust-Sysolsk at least twice: at the post office and during a visit by Bishop Germanus to Archbishop Theodore. However, when Bishop Germanus sent his messenger to Vladyka (evidently with a letter), Vladyka Theodore did not receive him. In part this unwillingness to meet Bishop Germanus and other clergy was explained by his very enclosed ascetic life. But we may suppose that another reason was the extreme right position occupied by Archbishop
Theodore in relation to Metropolitan Sergius. Although Bishop Germanus was an opponent of Sergius, he did not separate from him formally - at least until 1935, when his meeting with Archbishop Theodore took place. At their first meeting at the post-office, it seems that the two hierarchs spoke about how they had spent the time since their last meeting. They may also have spoken about Church life. 15 to 20 minutes later, so as not to attract attention, they parted. Soon Bishop Germanus unexpectedly visited the archbishop. This took place on one of the Church feasts, after the service. Archbishop Theodore described this meeting in a letter to Archimandrite Simeon as follows: "Bishop Germanus arrived.. offended that we had not received his messenger. He said that he did not approve of M.S. [Metropolitan Sergius], but could not separate from him, etc." Over a cup of tea they discussed Church matters and the possibilities of a reconciliation between the sergianists and the True Orthodox. As a result of the conversation Vladyka Theodore came to the conclusion that "a new page in the history of church life is being prepared I had in mind the union of the Old Churchmen and the renovationists".
It was probably after this meeting that Bishop Germanus again visited Archbishop Theodore, as the protocols for June 2, 1937 witness. On the basis of the protocols for July 25, there are grounds for considering that Vladyka Germanus later joined the antisergianist movement.
The protocols indicate that Vladyka Theodore and Archimandrite Simeon discussed a certain declaration made by Metropolitan Cyril of Kazan, in which the latter called on Christians to confirm his candidacy as the lawful patriarchal locum tenens in the event of Metropolitan Peter's death. This declaration was evidently composed in the middle of the 1930s. It again declared the metropolitan's non-recognition of Metropolitan Sergius as a lawful recipient of Church power. Vladyka Theodore appears to have been not very enthusiastic about this declaration, evidently because of his views on the necessity of administrative decentralization of the Church in conditions of persecution.
In 1937 Vladyka Theodore was arrested in connection with the affair of the Danilov brotherhood. This affair had begun in Kirzhach on January 9, 1937 with the arrest of Archimandrite Simeon (Kholmogorov), who confessed to the creation of "an underground Church of the True Orthodox faith" with house churches and sketes, at whose head stood Archbishop Theodore. "We considered that Soviet power in an organized fashion destroys religion and insinuates atheism among the believers". Groups of three to five trusted believers gathered round one of the archimandrites or hieromonks of the Danilov monastery. They served in secret without commemorating Soviet power and without registering. They prayed for the exiled clergy, helping them with parcels and money. "So as to preserve and support Church cadres", the superiors of these communities carried out secret tonsures into monasticism. All this was evaluated as counter-revolutionary and anti-Soviet.
One of the secret Danilov communities operated in Kashin and was ledby Archimandrite Polycarp. It seems that Archimandrite Stefan was also in Kashin at that time, as well as another Danilovite - Hieromonk Isaac (Ivan Alexeyevich Babikov), who, according to his interrogation protocols, "spent the whole time reading spiritual books and praying".
Also arrested in Kashin at this time was Bishop Gregory (Lebedev), who had been a member of the Danilov monastery in the 1920s, but who claimed not to have been linked with any of the Danilovites in Kashin. In Vladyka Gregory's words, Fr. Isaac had been with him two or three times: "he was interested in the question of mental prayer". However, Isaac said at the investigation that Bishop Gregory was a member of his "counter-revolutionary group", and at the same time admitted that he had conducted "illegal meetings", that is, house services.
According to one source, Bishops Herman, Serapion and Theodore, together with Archdeacon Ananius, were all arrested on the same day, taken out of the city and tortured. According to other sources, Archbishop Theodore was shot together with his closest disciples, Archimandrites Simeon, Polycarp and Stefan, in Ivanovo prison on October 10/23, 1937. According to yet another source, he was executed in 1938.
(Sources: Lev Regelson, Tragediya Russkoj Tserkvi, 1917-45, Paris: YMCA Press, 1977; D. Pospielovsky, The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 1917-1982, Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1984, vol. I, pp. 483-487; Bishop Gregory Grabbe, "The Russian Church in the wilderness", Orthodox Life, vol. 29, no., 6, November-December, 1979, pp. 33-35; E. Lopeshanskaya, Episkopy-Ispovedniki, San Francisco, 1971, p. 70; Russkiye Pravoslavnye Ierarkhi, Paris: YMCA Press, 1986, p. 76; Flovsky, V.A. Episkop Varnava (Belyaev), Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', 1993, N 2, p. 20; Otyets Arsenij, Moscow: St. Tikhon Theological Institute, 1994, p. 53; M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyateishago Patriarkha Tikhona, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994; M.I. "Arkhimandrit Simeon (Kholmogorov)", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', No.2 (541), February, 1995, pp. 12-23; Matushka Joanna (Pomazanskaya) "Ispovyednicheskij Put' Vladyki Fyodora", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', N 9 (549), September, 1995, pp. 1-29; Bishop Ambrose (von Sivers), "Gosudarstvo i 'katakomby'", in Filatov, S.B. Religiya i prava cheloveka, Moscow: Nauka, 1996, p. 108; "Episkopat Istinno-Pravoslavnoj Katakombnoj Tserkvi 11922-1997gg.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 4(8), p. 5; Lev Regelson, Tragediya Russkoj Tserkvi, 1917-1945, Moscow: Krutitskoye patriarsheye podvorye, 1996, pp. 535, 575-577; V.V. Antonov (ed.). Episkop Shlissel'burgskij Grigorij (Lebedev), Moscow: "Otchij Dom", 1996, pp. 3-16; Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Katakombnaya Tserkov': Kochuyushchij Sobor 1928 g.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 3 (7), 1997, p. 19; I.I. Osipova, "Skvoz' Ogn' Muchenij i Vody Slyoz", Moscow: Serebryanniye Niti, 1998, p. 271-72; "Noviye danniyek zhizneopisaniyu svyashchennomuchenika Fyodora, arkhiepiskopa Volokolamskogo, osnovanniye na protokolakh doprosakh 1937 g.", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', 48, N 8 (584), August, 1998, pp. 1-8; "Poslyedovateli Arkhiepiskopa Fyodora v Danilovom monastyre", .", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', 48, N 8 (584), August, 1998, pp. 9-14)
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