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100 years ago: Russian churches seized

10 May 2024

May 9th, 1924.

THE barbarous seizure of the Russian churches in Constantinople and their handing over to the Bolsheviks have already been recorded in The Church Times. If the Rev. R. Borough had not placed the Crimean Memorial Church at the disposal of Archbishop Anastasy for the festival, the Russian colony of exiles in that city would have been left homeless. As it was, they were able to sing their wonderful midnight service of the Easter Hours, to have the Procession of the Cross and the blessing of eggs, to kiss each other and cry “Christos Voskresye,” and to assist at the Paschal Liturgy. “How wonderful are the workings of Providence!” writes a Russian correspondent. “The church built in memory of the Crimean War of 1854 with Russia, when England was allied with Turkey, was now thrown open to her former enemies. This is another instance of British love of humanity and justice when those feelings triumph over political relations. Be the politics of the two nations what they may, they have a common tie — religion. The English and the Russian Churches are so similar that in the end they must be united. In his address Archbishop Anastasy said, ‘The fact that on our greatest holy day we meet here appears to be a prediction that our Churches must unite, and then they will be so powerful that no one will be able to vanquish them, and, as before the Risen Christ, all their enemies will disappear. The present and real enemies of the Russian Church are the Bolsheviks, who are doing their utmost to destroy its teachings, but they will not be strong enough to continue against these two Churches when united. Their tactics which they consider will bring them victory are only serving to strengthen the ties between the English and Russian Churches which, without doubt, will prove with God’s help far stronger than foes such as they.’ All Russians echo the Archbishop’s words.”

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