Basil, Bishop And Hieromartyr Of Kargopol And Those With Him

Bishop Basil, in the world Vladimir Ivanovich Doktorov, was born in 1872 in the family of a peasant of the village of Gubachevo, Uglich uyezd, Yaroslavl province. At the age of 14 he entered the Nicandrov hermitage, founded in about 1530 by St. Nicander not far from the ancient town of Pokhov, Pskov region. After spending sixteen years there as a novice and monk (he received the name of Basil in monasticism), in 1901 or 1902 he entered the Kazan Theological Academy, graduating in 1905.

While he was serving as a deacon in the Spassky monastery in Kazan, he "observed all the people's anger against those whose mere appearance could turn this wrath of the people into a pogrom. In Kazan there was a pogrom against the Jews, and the clergy - by order of Bishop Andrew of Ufa - processed with icons and portraits of the Tsar, and tried, where possible, to prevent the pogroms. I also took part in this procession..."

In 1905, on graduating from the Kazan Academy, Fr. Basil was sent as a missionary to Semipalatinsk in Siberia, where he lived for several years. He was tonsured into the mantia and served in the Kirgiz mission.

Fr. Basil's attitude to the revolution of 1917 was unambiguously negative and apocalyptic: "I looked on the October revolution as a fact depriving the Church of her rights... The Church began to be persecuted... In all this I saw the speedy approach of the Antichrist."

Fr. Basil adopted a correct attitude also in relation to church events: "I approve of the anathematization of the Bolsheviks [at the Local Council of the Russian Church in 1918]... The Church's valuables are her inalienable property... and the actions of Patriarch Tikhon in this respect are justified in my opinion..."

Fr. Basil was ordained to the priesthood in 1923 and was sent to the Pinega monastery in Archangelsk province. In 1923, because of his opposition to the renovationists, he was exiled to the Altai.

In 1924, after a visit to Patriarch Tikhon, he was consecrated Bishop of Kargopol, a vicariate of the Olonets, but from August 16/29, 1924, he was temporarily in charge of the see of the High Altai, a vicariate of the Novosibirsk diocese. However, in 1925 he was transferred to the see of Pinega, a vicariate of the Archangelsk diocese, and then, later that year, to the see of Yaransk, a vicariate of the Vyatka diocese. In 1926 (according to another source, 1927) he became Bishop of Vitegorsk, a vicariate of the Olonetsk diocese; and in 1927 - bishop of Kargopol, a vicariate of the same diocese. According to another source, he was in exile in Barnaul from 1925 to 1927.

Bishop Basil rejected the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius, and at one time, as he later recalled, "I intended to create an autocephalous Church.. at whose head I thought to have Peter of Krutitsa." Sergius was not commemorated in Kargopol, and the deputy of the locum tenens, "hearing, as it seems, of my actions, removed me and sent Bishop Artemius (Ilyinsky) in my place." This took place on May 19, 1928. According to one source, Artemius was made Bishop of Petrozavodsk and Olonets.

Bishop Basil was sent to Pinega, but he did not want to go there and went instead to Leningrad, where he stayed with his friend, the former baker John Yevraphovich Bolshakov, who was the secretary of the Krasnogorsk podvorye and a zealous supporter of Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd.

According to one source, Bishop Basil was in prison in October, 1928.

The bishop did not himself join the Josephites immediately. First he visited Protopriest Basil Veryuzhsky. the superior of the cathedral of the Saviour on the Blood, the main church of the opponents of Metropolitan Sergius. From him he heard that "Metropolitan Sergius has sold himself to the Bolsheviks, is fawning on them and doing their work on the quiet. They [the Josephites] are standing on guard for True Orthodoxy, for the sake of the Church they go to prison and are ready to suffer for the Orthodox Faith." There he also met the well-known theologian M.A. Novoselov, who at that time was working on an anti-sergianist treatise.

Bishop Basil also met Archbishop Demetrius (Lyubimov), who was ruling the diocese in the name of Vladyka Joseph, and who shared with him the following thoughts: "We should not turn away those who turn to us for new tonsures, but should tonsure them, teach them and strengthen them in the struggle with the antichristian power... In order to preserve True Orthodoxy it is necessary to go underground, and for this it is necessary to create a new body of clergy.. and carry out secret ordinations."

Bishop Basil was in full agreement with this, saying later: "Monasticism is our support.. and helps us to explain that it is only we who are standing in defence of True Orthodoxy." He continued to tonsure laymen in the Moiseyevsky church on Porokhoviye and in his home. In all he tonsured twenty people. Most of them were women, at whose tonsure Abbess Veronica of the Vorontsovsky podvorye and Nun Dimitriya were usually present.

However, Bishop Basil wavered for some time, and even served with the sergianists in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. Since, on joining the Josephites, he did not want to repent of this, they did not at first allow him to serve, and he only prayed in the altar.

In 1919 the Johnnites (heretics who worshipped St. John of Kronstadt as Christ) had repented and been received by Hieromartyr Benjamin, metropolitan of Petrograd, into full communion with the Orthodox Church, and during the persecutions they showed themselves to be her firm and zealous members. In 1928 some of them supported Metropolitan Joseph, and Archbishop Demetrius entrusted Bishop Basil with "secretly raising to the rank of hieromonk in his flat" four former Johnnites from Oranienbaum: Nicetas, Cyril, Clement and Faina, who "by their devotion to the Church and their fiery faith in God are helping us to wage war against the enemies of the Church of Christ."

Hieromonk Nicetas Zakharovich Sergienko was born in 1873 in Astrakhan province. He was tonsured and ordained to the priesthood, and then secretly raised to the rank of archimandrite in Orienbaum. On January 13, 1931 he was arrested in connection with the Leningrad branch of the True Orthodox Church, and was sentenced on April 12 to ten years in the camps. He was sent to Solovki.

According to one (dubious) source, Bishop Basil signed the decisions of the so-called "Nomadic Council" of the Catacomb Church, which took place between March and August, 1928.

After Archbishop Demetrius' arrest in November, 1929, the Josephites' cautious attitude towards Bishop Basil changed, and since they now had only one bishop in Petrograd, Bishop Sergius (Druzhinin), Metropolitan Joseph decided to draw Bishop Basil into more active work. As Bishop Basil himself admitted: "During the time of Bishop Demetrius (Lyubimov) I was on trial; they did not entrust me with work in the Kargopol diocese... After the arrest of Demetrius I went to Metropolitan Joseph, who blessed me to rule [my diocese]..." (Bishop Basil constantly emphasized: "I consider myself to be the Bishop of Kargopol to the present time", even though his see was occupied by a sergianist hierarch.) In 1930 Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd said of Bishops Basil and Sergius: "He who is not with them is not with me."

Bishop Basil zealously administered his diocese, persuading sergianist clergy to leave Metropolitan Sergius and join Metropolitan Joseph. He told the superior of the Chelmogorsk hermitage, which had a podvorye in Leningrad, about Metropolitan Joseph's position; and he raised Hieromonk John from the Lemsheozersky parish to the rank of abbot. Moreover, he won over the priest Olsky.

After the arrest of Archbishop Demetrius, the Josephites considered it dangerous to worship in church by day, and began to conduct their services secretly in flats and churches by night. Bishop Basil led one of these services which lasted from midnight to 5 in the morning outside the closed doors of the Nikolsky yedinovertsy church in the centre of the city. Later the chekists considered this night vigil to be a counter-revolutionary assembly.

On December 7, 1930, Bishop Basil was arrested together with Bishop Sergius, Protopriest Nicephorus Strelnikov, Fr. Victorin Dobronravov and 73 other Petrograd Josephites. During his trial he said: "Seeing and hearing the trampling of the holy Faith of Christ by apostates from God, I firmly decided to suffer with the people of God. I am ready even to shed my blood and die for Christ."

On October 8, 1931 the OGPU sentenced him to five years in prison, which he carried out first in the political isolator in Yaroslavl, and from September 16, 1933 - in the same isolator on Solovki. Exactly at the end of his term, on December 7, 1935, he was released, and went to live in Marioupol - evidently under surveillance. According to one source, he was arrested again in 1935 and sentenced to three years in the camps. In 1938 he was arrested and shot.

(Sources: M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyateishago Patriarkha Tikhona, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994, p. 965; Russkiye Pravoslavniye Ierarkhi, Paris: YMCA Press, 1986; Lev Regelson, Tragediya Russkoj Tserkvi, 1917-1945, Moscow: Krutitskoye patriarsheye podvorye, 1996, p. 595; Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Istoki i Svyazi Katakombnoj Tserkvi v Leningrade i obl. (1922-1992)", report read at the conference "The Historical Path of Orthodoxy in Russia after 1917", Saint Petersburg, 1-3 June, 1993; "Katakombnaya Tserkov': Kochuyushchij Sobor 1928 g.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 3 (7), 1997; "Episkopat Istinno-Pravoslavnoj Katakombnoj Tserkvi 1922-1997 gg.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 4(8), 1997, p. 4; Victor Antonov, "Svyashchennomuchenik Episkop Sergij (Druzhinin)", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', 48, N 2 (554), February, 1996; "Dva Petrogradskikh Ispovyednikov", Russkij Pastyr, 25, II, 1996, pp. 17-21; Za Khrista Postradavshiye, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1997, p. 223; I.I. Osipova, "Skvoz' Ogn' Muchenij i Vody Slyoz", Moscow: Serebryanniye Niti, 1998, pp. 258-259, 290)

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