Return to Home Page


Пора, мой друг, пора! покоя сердце просит

It is time, my friend, it is time! The heart begs for peace

Alexander Pushkin

The Interfax-Religion agency reports an extraordinary attack in the 'Daily Diary' (Yezhednevny Zhurnal) website of the seventy-five year-old retired Paris professor of literature, Nikita Struve. The Diocesan Council member of the Rue Daru Exarchate has stated that he is 'somewhat frightened' by the 'present process of unification' between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and the Moscow Patriarchate (MP). Well-known for his extremist liberal views, the modernist and ecumenist editor of 'The Herald of the Russian Christian Movement' and director of 'YMCA Press' appears to fear 'the reinforcement' of what he calls 'conservative (Liberalspeak for Orthodox) tendencies' in the Russian Church.

Professor Struve, whose uncle was the well-known ROCOR monk, Fr Savva Struve, has said that the 'Karlovchane' (a term of abuse for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) separated themselves from 'the pleroma of Orthodoxy' (!) and that 'they have no universal dimension' (!). This is an extraordinary attack on the worldwide ROCOR from one who belongs to a breakaway group in a corner of Western Europe. He also states that 'they need to return where they came from' (!). That ROCOR, founded by St Tikhon of Moscow, receives such abuse is extraordinary, but it is far, far worse that the holy Patriarch Tikhon also receives abuse. The professor also declares that ROCOR has no 'theological or cultural creativity', since it denies 'freedom'. Perhaps he is not familiar with this and dozens of other such websites, journals and books by ROCOR authors.

On top of this, in a talk given at a pastoral meeting of the Paris Exarchate entitled, 'What does the Russian Tradition mean in the Church', Mr Struve denies that there is any 'special Russian tradition' (!). 'The Russian Church shares with all the other Orthodox Churches the one Syrian-Byzantine tradition'. Perhaps Professor Struve should allow Byzantine chant into his Cathedral in Rue Daru and the replacement of its Russian icons and frescos with Greek ones, and then we will see what he thinks. Alternatively, he could return the Rue Daru Cathedral to its original Russian owners and then attend the liturgy at the Greek Cathedral in Paris instead.

To crown it all, the Professor then calls the 2003 initiative of His Holiness Patriarch Alexis to form a united Russian Metropolia in Western Europe as 'meddling' in the internal affairs of his own breakaway Paris jurisdiction! He also characterizes 'the Moscow Church' as being dominated by 'authoritarianism and clericalism with all the temptations of power and holding sway'!

This extraordinary and unwarranted aggressive outburst sums up the inferiority complex of the tiny and ageing Paris Exarchate (about one sixth of the size of ROCOR). At the present time, it continues to lose clergy and people to the youthful Moscow Patriarchate and is therefore desperately trying to aggrandize itself by poaching small communities of the Moscow Patriarchate Sourozh Diocese in Great Britain. The pensioner professor naturally supports these communities' tiny schismatic Amphipolis Vicariate in Great Britain, whose bishop was suspended last month. At this very moment, indeed, the Rue Daru Archbishop is planning to celebrate in one of the churches that has been stolen. The consequences look dire in the face of this unprecedented provocation.

The present quite uncalled for attack appears to be that of a tiny, isolated, ageing and increasingly jealous group which knows that the end is near but, tragically, still refuses the inevitable. It is a sad day indeed when a Russian attacks Russian Orthodox Church unity, the Russian Orthodox Tradition and Russia, and yet this is what has happened. It is time, Professor Struve, it is time - to wake up, to stop living in the past and enter the present, in order to prepare the future and unity. The heart, indeed, really does beg for peace.


  to top of page