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Russia’s time of trial

by
23 February 2018

February 22nd, 1918.

THE contrast between the account of the anti-Christian activity in Russia, which we lately gave, and that of the enthronement of the Patriarch of Moscow, which appears in another column to-day, is emphasised in a remarkable dispatch by Dr Harold Williams to the Daily Chronicle of yesterday. He describes the first meeting of the Church Council in Russia since the abolition of the Patriarchate by Peter the Great. The new Patriarch had been elected while fierce strife was being waged in Moscow, the Council over which he presided sat, at the beginning of February, in a city which was still disturbed. It was representative of clergy and laity, learned and simple. It dealt with urgent matters. The reply to the Bolshevik decree for the separation of Church and State was read by Professor Prince Troubetskoy, whose writings are known to English Churchmen. It acknowledged that the time of sorrow and trial had come, that the decree destroyed freedom of religion not only for the Orthodox but for all. The property of the Church was confiscated, voluntary offerings were forbidden, the maintenance of churches and monasteries rendered impossible, the Church was powerless to keep her seminaries open, or even to print her books. The reply ended with a call to the people to defend the Church. It was adopted unanimously without debate. Then the members of the Council rose in their places, and turning to the altar sang — a great choir of men’s voices — a prayer to the unsleeping Virgin, part of the proper for the Feast of the Repose of the Mother of God. . .

 

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