"Give not which is holy unto dogs" (Mr. 7,6)
Life of the Church is divine and beneficial, and is therefore called
sacred. The Church manifests Itself visibly in the Holy Mysteries -- Sacraments), "while Its innermost life is contained in the gifts of the Holy Spirit: in faith, in hope and in love" .
"The gates of hell shall not prevail against" (Mt. 16,18) the Church which unfailingly preserves Holy Mysteries and spiritual sanctity.
Every Holy Mystery is a miracle of God's love for man. It demands the fear of God, i.e. the fear to offend God by an inappropriate attitude to that which is holy. All seven Mysteries of the Holy Church necessarily presuppose a special reverence, both on the part of those who administer and those who receive them.
Holy Mysteries which sanctify, transfigure and unite
faithful Christians with God Himself, may bring about not only one's salvation, but also damnation of those who would dare to abuse them. It is not for nothing that the Apostle, when speaking of those who receive Holy Communion unworthily, said that they are guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord:
"For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's Body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep" (1 Cor. 11,27-30)
The Word of God is eternal and always relevant. It occurred to us to use the reference of our Lord Jesus Christ to dogs in the title of this chapter, after seeing the photograph, unparalleled in its sacrilege, of "Patriarch Alexius II in the "Arguments and Facts" , one of the most read weeklies in Russia (and throughout the world). The photo, depicting "the First Hierarch" of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) with a dog in his arms, is accompanied by an almost improbable text of "canine" thought: "I am not the
lamb of God; when I grow up I will be a Caucasian sheepdog. One may say, I am growing on the beard of my master, Patriarch Alexius, and I while away my time playing with the rosary..."
(emphasis - L.P.)
Every Christian knows that the Lamb of God,
"which taketh away the sins of the world" (Jn. 1,29) is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We assume that the "Patriarch" also knows this, as well as the fact that dogs are not permitted to be either in a church (according to the Church Rules the church which a dog incidentally happened to enter, must again undergo the ritual of blessing), or wherever there are holy icons. The beard, along with the moustache, which Orthodox people wear in imitation of the image of Christ, is considered to be a sacred attribute on a clergyman .
This act (by far not an isolated one) of Alexius II once more testifies to the "abomination of desolation" within the MP and to the ill-intentioned abuse of the Patriarchal rank unlawfully carried by Ridiger.
Holy Mysteries are being increasingly profaned to please Ecumenism and universal Sergianism. The foremost blame for it rests on the "Orthodox" hierarchs-ecumenists and the clergy which they have raised. In his paper A.I.Osipov, Professor of the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary, speaks of detestable phenomena occurring in the Moscow Patriarchate today. He interprets the words of the Lord:
"For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together" (Mt. 24,28; Lk. 17,37) and applies them to the subject under discussion as follows. "No predators would gather to tear a body to pieces if the body itself is alive, a living, active organism. They begin to tear a body apart when it weakens and dies..." Prof. A.I. Osipov continues: "Little attention is paid to what happens within the Church. Such phenomena are inevitable if you consider what happens in our dioceses. Do you know whom they now ordain priests? Anyone they please. "I want to work as a priest". "Really? Are you baptized? No? Well, you will be baptized!" Thus they choose and ordain neophytes, recently baptized people who know nothing, who are not fully confirmed in their spiritual life, who have no theological education, who are psychologically inadequate. There is no shortage of facts..." .
The following thought occurs to us only too frequently: do all these "supreme teachers" of the Church, these "guardians" of faith and piety, these "blasphemers", do they believe in God?! and if they do, are they not afraid of the Terrible Judgment?!
Two most disgraceful and frightful types of apostate bishops are prevalent in the Sergianist and ecumenist "Orthodoxy". At the one extreme there are servile bishops whose principle is: "if you please". For example, during the Gorbachev's anti-alcohol campaign at the end of 1980-ies, Metropolitan Sergius of Odessa proposed to the Moscow Patriarchate, in the "spirit of loyalty" to consider celebration of Liturgy using grape juice instead of wine... At the other extreme there are those who, upon making into the ranks of the powerful ones of the world, are issuing orders themselves. Patriarch Bartholomeos of Constantinople and the Head of the MP's Department of External Affairs Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk undoubtedly belong to this category of "bishops". Between these two extremes are tens and thousands of those who cannot be fully ranked with either the slaves, or the rulers, but who would miss no opportunity to play the one, or the other role. But more often they are satisfied to simply pretend that they are playing some role. Today many of such pseudo-bishops, along with thousands of pseudo-clergy throughout the world, instead of guiding their flock towards salvation, are preparing them for general apostasy. The extent of their success is evident from the impunity with which they infringe upon the greatest treasure of the Church -- the divinely instituted Holy Mysteries. To train their flock to tolerate and accept lawlessness in that part of Church life in which the true Church should have the source of grace -- in Its Holy of Holies -- is the task the completion of which may probably be accomplished in the near future.
They give a stone instead of bread and a serpent instead of a fish... (comp. Mt. 7,9-10). Being well aware of the departure of their practice from Church canons almost everywhere, contemporary Renovationists have long since been dreaming of introducing new Church statutes and a new canonic law for the purpose of simplifying them, or, to be more precise, of distorting them in the fashion of their Catholic and Protestant counterparts. But as long as the Book of Rules, the Book of Needs and the Service Books remain the same, everyone feels free to either acknowledge, or to abolish, to shorten and distort them according to his own discretion.
Unable to list all the scandalous deviations from the Church canons which take place during the celebration of the Holy Mysteries and other rites, we shall discuss only a few of those frequently observed in the Moscow Patriarchate.
- Baptism. This Mystery, as a rule, is administered through ablution or even sprinkling, although, as one knows, the threefold immersion of the baptized into the baptismal font signifies Christ's death and Resurrection on the third day. Therefore a negligent and needlessly hurried administration of this Mystery becomes an act of sacrilege.
Both the baptized and their godparents are usually admitted to the Mystery without any preceding catechization and testing of faith. As a rule, godparents remain in absolute ignorance regarding their spiritual obligations and their responsibility before God for the upbringing of their godchildren. The godparents attending mass baptisms of the Moscow Patriarchate are mostly irreligious, often non-Orthodox, or atheists in general.
An arbitrary abbreviation of the order of service may sometimes have very serious and
unpredictable consequences, as for example, when a priest
omits the incantation (against Satan). If a certain sacred rite (such as the washing off chrism on the eighth day, or the cutting of hair) calls for two or more prayers given in the Book of Needs, only one is read, at best. Even the three-fold circling of the baptismal font, accompanied by singing: "As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ", is often omitted. The usual excuse offered by priests is the excessively large number of people to be baptized. Having chosen this path, such priests in the big city churches of the MP, usually baptize several dozen people in half an hour's time.
Contrary to the custom established in the Russian Church, the newly baptized are frequently allowed to keep their non-Orthodox names. The absence of catechization is the reason why the majority of the baptized in the Moscow Patriarchate never come to church and never receive Holy Communion after their baptism. The crosses which are put on the newly baptized are often taken off at home, as something needless. Thus, the soul is deprived of the cross, and the sacred object itself is disdained.
Superstitious parents sometimes baptize their children several times ("to keep him from becoming ill..."); religious illiteracy accompanies many other superstitions as well. Lately there have been increased instances of
baptizing and even giving Holy Communion (!) to the dead. These awful phenomena are caused not only by the ignorance and covetousness of clergymen, but also by the fact that among the clerics of the Moscow Patriarchate there is an increase in the number of occultists, wizards, psychics. This is because there are not only neophytes among those ordained -- the fact which makes Prof. Osipov indignant -- but also converts from Eastern cults, Yoga, paganism, occultism and other demonic delusions. Having failed to renounce their former beliefs, the latter dissolve their "Christianity" in this contamination. There are "priests" who practice black magic and are a true horror to their "spiritual children" whom they have enslaved and reduced to becoming zombies.
In the Moscow Patriarchate they have long since forgotten the special rites to be observed when baptizing the non-Orthodox. To these a special rite of admitting former atheists to the Church should now also be added. As a result, the Moscow Patriarchate does not promote birth into eternal life through Holy Mystery of Baptism, but fills their pseudo-ecclesiastical structures with thousands of Latins, sectarians, Judaizers and idolatrous lay people and clerics. Thus the development of a pseudo-church is proceeding at full speed and at all levels.
"...teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" -- these words of Christ have, apparently, become completely alien to the Moscow Patriarchate. In almost all of its dioceses the priests who do not want to offend that which is holy and who refuse to perform baptism in an improper manner and without the necessary preparation, are subjected to persecution by their own diocesan authorities. For many of them this has become the motive for leaving the Patriarchate and joining the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad .
In the city churches of the Moscow Patriarchate Chrismation, which is administered immediately after Baptism, resembles a production line in a factory, rather than a Church Mystery. Since at the time of their baptism people have merely their heads sprinkled with water over the baptismal font, they have their clothes on. A priest then hastily goes round the long rank of the newly baptized who stand there in ignorance. Then, at the sacred moment of Chrismation, requiring a special reverence, when the Holy Spirit is received, there is a general hurried discarding of superfluous clothing. Not infrequently a priest may even anoint parts of the body still covered by clothing.
The following should be noted. Not so long ago a certain degree of confidence in the Patriarchate's Chrism was based on the fact that every time it was sanctified, a part of Chrism of the previous years had to be added. Thus, the chrism of the Soviet period must have contained the part of Chrism sanctified by the Holy Patriarch Tikhon. However, in the most recent years many in the Moscow Patriarchate have been confused, and not only because the Chrism now in use was sanctified by the apostate Patriarch Alexius II (Ridiger). From many areas of Russia priests of the Moscow Patriarchate have reported that by its fragrance this Chrism is indistinguishable from ordinary oil although it should have a very complex fragrance due to the fact that it should consist of a multitude of fragrances symbolizing the manifold gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The Mystery of Confession and the Mystery of Baptism elicit the most criticism. Practically everywhere the so called "general confession" is performed, which is not stipulated by the Church canons and which was not permitted even in the Moscow Patriarchate and even in the first years after the Second World War, when there was an acute shortage of clergy. At the present time many young priests, accustomed to practice insipid and formalized "general confession", refuse to hear individual confession even if it is a question of only one or two people (who want to be confessed individually), not scores of them. A priest only covers the head of a penitent with his epitrachelion and recites the last short prayer of absolution, or simply makes the sign of the cross over him in silence. In 10 minutes time scores of people go through confession in this manner.
The practice of such "remission of sins" cannot be called anything but criminal! After all, many people, who for 70 years lived in the militantly atheist country where
sin had become the norm, and who only recently learned to make the sign of the cross over themselves, often have no idea what sin is. Thus, the overwhelming majority of women who have undergone abortion do not know that they are murderers who have committed a mortal sin . The same happens to other people who seek healing of their soul in the Church, but do not find it. Is this not the reason why there is such an unprecedented number of all kind of sects in the post-Soviet Russia?
Through the efforts of Renovationists of the Moscow Patriarchate, its theological academies and seminaries for years have been preparing a complete break between the Mysteries of Confession and Communion, and a rejection of the obligatory Confession before Communion resulting from such a break.
Recently some hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate and of the other ecumenical churches have been openly discussing the redundancy of Confession.
Rejection of the Mystery of Confession has become commonplace in the Finnish Orthodox Church. This Church, which has created a precedent among the National Orthodox Churches by accepting not only the "new calendar style", but also the "Gregorian Paschalia", has for the last 25 years permitted the partaking of Holy Communion without prior Confession. This dangerous innovation, blessed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople to whose jurisdiction the Finnish Orthodox Church belongs, has become widespread in Finland. It was the late Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople, an ardent ecumenist, who allowed Orthodox Finns to partake of Holy Communion without Confession .
In his episcopal Epistle the former Head of the Finnish Orthodox Church said that one should go to Confession only "when one feels a particular need for it" .
As we can see, a person himself turns out to be the criterion of his own spiritual state, and in particular of his sinfulness. He
may go to Confession, if he feels the need for it. Taking into account man's natural inclination to self-justification, it is easy to understand, why some people, without any feeling of embarrassment, call themselves sinless, while the Church teaches that God alone is holy. "He alone is sinless", as we read in an Orthodox prayer.
Should we not remind ourselves that the rejection of the Sacrament of Confession is fraught with serious consequences for priests and lay people alike, corrupting them and also undermining confessional church discipline?
Due to their loss of spiritual vision, pseudo-elders often cause penance, as a means of spiritual healing after confession, to achieve the opposite results. They fall into one of the two extremes: they either completely reject penance, or the one they choose to impose is so harsh that it may seriously traumatize, or even enslave the trusting spiritual children of such "elders".
The Moscow Patriarchate promotes the conviction that "obedience is more important than prayer and fasting", than Canons and Patristic teaching. This conviction has been turned into a means of personal dependence and of subjugation of church-going people to pseudo-clergy, pseudo-elders and pseudo-Patriarch. All this has nothing to do with the true institution of elders and spiritual fathers, whose task is to lead their charges to salvation and life in God.
- Holy Communion.
The most profound Mystery of the Church is that of Holy Communion, or Eucharist. "The God-man Jesus Christ has brought about the inconceivable reality on the earth: we, who are so fond of sin, have through Him entered into a blood relationship with God, for His God-man's Blood is the source of our eternal life, of our God-man-like immortality... If all the mysteries of the New Testament, of the Church, and of the Godman could be expressed by one mystery, then this should be the Holy Mystery of Eucharist" .
The gravest sin of apostates is profanation of this Mystery. They turn the Divine Liturgy, which only true believers are permitted to attend, into a show, a spectacle for the crowds of tourists and television viewers, and the Holy Gifts -- Christ's Blood and Body are given to anybody and at random. How can one measure the depth of degradation, the abyss which separates us from our pious ancestors, who would not share even a simple meal with heretics and unbelievers, according to the words of the
Beside the corrupting influence which the distortion of the Mystery of Confession, or its rejection has upon Orthodox Christians, this innovation is instrumental in achieving the ecumenical objective of allowing access to the Orthodox Mystery of Holy Communion to the non-Orthodox. The resolution of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate concerning admission of Catholics to Communion in Orthodox Churches in Russia had been in force from 1969 to 1986. Subsequently this resolution has not been abolished, it has only been suspended (although only on paper). The Patriarchate of Constantinople has gone still further in this respect by allowing Orthodox Greeks to partake of the Catholic Communion causing an unsuccessful protest on the part of Athonite monks. At the end of the 1970ies and the beginning of the 1980-ies one could regularly observe crowds of Western tourists being admitted to Communion (without prior Confession, of course) in the church of St. John the Theologian at the Theological Academy of St. Petersburg. A Jesuit hieromonk Michael Arranz, a Professor of Eastern Institute in Rome, who in those years was lecturing on Liturgics at the "Orthodox" Theological Academy in Leningrad, would partake of Communion in the Sanctuary of that church along with the clergy.
When celebrating Proskomidia and reciting litanies (ektenias), ecumenists would commemorate heretics along with the Orthodox in accordance with their sermon on "the church without frontiers", and during the Great Entrance of Divine Liturgy they would replace the words "and may the Lord God remember you
all Orthodox Christians in His Kingdom" by: "and all Christians..."
In 1994 the Bishops' Council of the MP left practically all matters concerning communication with the non-Orthodox to personal discretion of its bishops and clergy, merely pointing out to them the undesirability of bewildering their flock .
The instances of Protestants partaking of Holy Communion, unprecedented in the MP, have now become a regular phenomenon at least in the Novgorod diocese, where its ruling Archbishop Leo, openly admits Protestants and Catholics to Communion in the ancient Cathedral of St. Sophia in the city of Novgorod. In this and similar instances the obvious motivation is undoubtedly the material benefit gained as a result of attracting foreign tourists, along with their dollars, pounds and marks, into the Patriarchate's churches.
International Theological Conference on the "Church Unity" was held on November 15-16 of 1994 in Moscow. Besides the MP, among its participants there were delegates from the Orthodox Churches in USA, Canada, England, France, Bulgaria, Poland and the Republics of the former USSR. The
JMP reported apropos of this as follows: "The concluding document makes a note of an interesting fact, that foreign participants of the Conference (from USA and France) raised a question about the necessity of drawing to the attention of the entire clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church to the inadmissibility of offering Communion to the non-Orthodox. It was noted that such uncanonical practice in several parishes in Russia causes discord in the life of Orthodox parishes abroad" .
Following the example set by Constantinople and the Vatican, the altars of Orthodox churches in Russia are fitted with microphones, and journalists equipped with photo- and video-cameras unceremoniously scurry about the church and the sanctuary itself during episcopal services. Worshippers still feel offended, but are almost used to the fact that video-recodings of Divine services include the most sacred of its moments: reading of Gospel, the prayer and the rites of the Eucharistic canon, including the projection on the TV screens of Christ's Body and Blood contained in the Sacred Chalice.
Archbishop Laurus writes: "Only that Church is alive which lives a spiritual life, where communal prayers are offered in a proper manner and Divine service is conducted "decently and in order" (1 Cor. 14,40). The Church where service is performed negligently and where it is viewed as having a secondary meaning of a ritual which one should "attend" for the sake of decorum
(apostates often lack even this decorum! - L.P.) is dying spiritually". When discussing the fact that Liturgics needs to be a living study of the Church's living treasure which is contained in the Orthodox service books, Archbishop Laurus pays particular attention to church singing and iconography. "Divine service must raise the faithful in the spirit of Orthodoxy, not in the spirit of Western delusion. Western singing and western realistic painting which penetrated our churches in an illicit manner are capable of enlightening one only in the spirit of western exalted delusion which is perilous for the souls, but never in the spirit of the genuine Orthodox piety" . According to the New Hieromartyr Arseny, Archbishop of Novgorod, those who turn "kliros into a stage are responsible for the profanation of Divine service by their singing... Kliros is not a stage for actors. Everything must be sacred in church" . Not only an impassioned operatic singing which is alien to Orthodoxy, but also painting depicting "the world which lies in evil, is disfigured by sin and is enticing to sin" have nothing in common with Orthodox singing and icon-painting, which "must first of all be in harmony with the spirit of Orthodox ascetics demanding complete renouncing of the world, and with the Orthodox teaching on prayer, free of exalted delusion" .
We know that the "effectual administration of Mysteries requires 1) validly ordained priest or bishop; 2) a valid, i.e. divinely established, ritual of Mysteries" . Legitimacy of the Soviet episcopate, which had gone through the sieve of atheist regime and has become a part of the Soviet nomenclature, is highly doubtful in itself. Many candidates to priesthood were avoiding ordination by such bishops as the notorious Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) of Leningrad, who in 1978 died in the arms of the Pope in Rome. Many knew about his un-Orthodoxy and about the KGB and some secret influence being the source of his terrible power. Those who were not intimidated by this and received "grace" from the hands of Metropolitan Nikodim made up half of the Patriarchate's episcopate and a new generation of priests which today forms the basis of the Moscow Patriarchate. The present generation well remembers this period of evolution of the MP, although the preceding periods were no less significant. Nineteen bishops had survived Stalin's purges (15 of them were released from detention) and witnessed Metropolitan Sergius' (Stragorodsky) "election to the office of Patriarch" in 1944, and 3 years later there were already 66 "legitimate" bishops in the "Soviet" church. Archdeacon Germain Ivanoff-Trinadtzaty (Dr. phil.) writes: "We have biographical data of 47 of them at our disposal. Out of this number 36 were consecrated after 1944, 26 were previously married, 2 were former Uniates, and 3 have previously belonged to the "living" church among the members of which at one time was also Patriarch Alexius (Simansky) himself. Orthodox Church is
episcopocentric in its structure, i.e. the bishops are its mainstay, and such non-traditional influx of new bishops from non monastic environment which is thus remote from the spiritual source of Orthodox episcopate, naturally could not but cause fundamental changes within the Church itself" .
Accumulation of these "fundamental changes" thus constitutes the essence of the history of Sergianist Patriarchate and determines its present character. It is generally known that anyone seeking after high (or simply well secured) position in the MP under Communists, had to win, in one way or another, a special
favor of the God-defying regime.
All this is entirely contrary to the 30th Apostolic Rule which reads: "If any bishop comes into possession of a church office by employing secular rulers, let him be deposed from office, and let him be excommunicated. And all those who communicate with him too". (Compare Rule 3 of the 7th Ecumenical Council.) An unlawful tree cannot produce lawful fruit. Every year the ranks of the Patriarchate's clergy have been supplemented by those ordained in violation of the Church canons: those tainted by simony, by second marriage, known homosexuals, obviously un-Orthodox and even those married to sectarians (the wife of a Moscow priest A. Borisov, one of the leaders of the late Archpriest Men's group within the Moscow Patriarchate, is a Pentacostalist who
organizes her sect's meetings in his church).
Simony flourishes openly in some dioceses. Thus, it is well known that in Western Ukraine a prospective priest must remunerate his bishop with a sum of 10,000 roubles (the price of "Volga" car) for his ordination. Parishioners would collect the required sum and present it to their young priest on the day of his first church service. We have no reason to think that this "custom" has in any way suffered from anarchy which set in after the beginning of "perestroika".
Ordination of unmarried priests who are not tonsured monks (the so called "celibate" -- the word which is absent in the pre-revolutionary Russian orthographic dictionaries), which is alien to Orthodox traditions, has become a rather frequent and openly pro-Catholic phenomenon in the Soviet Patriarchate.
Contrary to regulations they also ordain very young men (20 years of age and younger), neophytes and persons without any spiritual preparation, as we said before.
The Patriarchate's clergy of the recent decades is characterized by their ecumenist inspired theological education which is alien to Orthodoxy, and by their ignorance which is often accompanied by their despotic and rudely arrogant treatment of their own flock. Even the Bishops' Council of 1994 in Moscow felt obligated to comment on this latter circumstance .
A careless performance of church rituals or domination of pseudo-elders over their flock, and numerous moral shortcomings, as a consequence of a lack of any genuine spirituality, have long since become the distinguishing features of the Patriarchate's clergy. Their parishioners constantly repent their sinful
criticizing of "priests", and aimlessly rush about in search of spiritual fathers and elders. They "find" them, but only after making a conscious or unconscious error. This is hardly surprising. According to Metropolitan Vitaly (Oustinov) "eldership is a result of the devoutness of the whole Church. Elders are a crowning glory of righteousness, a certain spiritual aristocracy of the Church in the best sense of this word. There simply cannot be any elders in the Moscow Patriarchate... almost entire episcopate of the Moscow Patriarchate is impious. How is it possible for elders to come into being if they certainly have to endorse those bishops, while all of these bishops are the accused? They have not simply sinned, they are in heresy" . Having become linked with ecumenical apostasy and Sergianist lies the Patriarchate's "elders" have been greatly increasing spiritual confusion of the Russian people.
The Sacrament of Marriage is almost always administered without any preparation and without prior Confession of the couple to be married. The determining factor is the payment of a certain sum of money (which in the recent years has increased to two, three and more times the average monthly wage). Contrary to the rules, several couples are wed at the same time and often on unstated days and during fasts. Marriage with non-Orthodox and with people of other faiths are allowed. For instance, some of St. Petersburg's clergy recall a case in the late 70-ies when one of the well-known Archpriests of that city married his own daughter to a Moslem. It should be added that the perpetration of these and other kinds of unlawful acts is often motivated by the financial and the social status of the parties to the marriage.
In the ecumenical "Orthodox" churches "marriages" of homosexuals are not yet permitted, as is the case in other denominations. However, the voices of the apostates are getting louder in
defense of those whom the Lord wiped off the face of the earth in Sodom and Gomorrah (Gem. 18,20; 19; 13,24-25).
The Holy Church teaches that this Mystery "grants the blessing to one's entire spiritual struggle on earth(...), that unction is the expression of divine
judgment over man's earthly substance, healing it when all other means of healing prove to be powerless, or allowing death to destroy the perishable body when it is no longer of any use for the Church on earth and for the mysterious ways of God" 
It is disquieting to think that such an important Sacrament is often administered by pseudo-priests in a very much abbreviated form. Thus, the seven-fold reading of the sections from Holy Scripture accompanied by prayers and anointing of ailing persons with holy oil is often reduced to a three-fold or even a single reading. But the main innovation is general unction.
In Imperial Russia, the so called "general unction" (Russ. "soborovanie") was performed only during the Great Lent in the Kremlin's Cathedral of Dormition. It was always performed by the Metropolitan of Moscow with the Cathedral clergy. In the Soviet times the "general unction" was freely available to all who wished to receive it (although this Mystery is intended exclusively for the sick) in all the churches of the Moscow Patriarchate 2-3 times a year, and, as a rule, without a bishop participating in it.
Now the Moscow Patriarchate increasingly practices general unction performed by one priest, and not only during the Great Lent, but at any time of the year. Thus, in the church of St. Job the Longsuffering in St. Petersburg it is performed almost every week. The young priest who introduced this custom has become known not as a violator of canons but as a great man of prayer of elder's fame (not to speak of a significant increase in the church collection, as the result of such "piety".)
We have already discussed the
profanation of Church prayer. We shall only add to the above that if in the previous years "Orthodox" ecumenists tried to keep the anti-canonical participation in the common prayer with heretics secret, or tried to justify it, today's open concelebrations of the Orthodox clergy (primarily the heads of the Church of Moscow, Constantinople, Antioch, Finland and other member churches of the WCC) with the Catholics, Protestants and Monophysites are widely known. Today concelebrations of a variety of special services (molebens) with the Catholics and Protestants take place openly within the MP without anyone being called to account before the Church authorities, the latter even encouraging such common prayers as a model of "ecumenical love" and "peacemaking".
Church prayer is being also profaned by the Patriarchate's clergy when they "sanctify" banks, restaurants, casinos, communist banners of the Red Army and Fleet, as well as buildings used by psychics and "healers". The apostate MP has entered into a special relationship with the "Orthodox" magicians in white coats (this problem will be the subject of the next chapter).
Such acts of profanation of that which is holy have become a regular phenomenon. We may mention also a widespread advertising and sale of "holy" water on the planes of Aeroflot, in shops and restaurants.
All this, together with "funeral services" for atheists and non-baptized persons (which an Orthodox clergyman may bring himself to perform only as a result of losing the fear of God), and a scandalous acceptance by the hierarchy of the MP (in the person of Metropolitan Pitirim) of a "donation" from the criminal sect "Aum Shinri Kyo" has become the means of replenishing the church funds by dirty money.
Such actions as the luxurious church ceremonies at the funeral of journalist Lisfyev, notorious for his immoral television programs (in particular those promoting incest), the burial of one of the mafia leaders in the sacred caves of the Pskov Monastery of the Caves, have become a rather symptomatic phenomenon in the Moscow Patriarchate.
Its clergy often performs memorial services for non-Orthodox persons. An example is set by the highest ranking bishops of this jurisdiction. Thus, in 1978, upon the death of the Pope, John Paul I, festive services for the repose of his soul were celebrated by the present "Patriarch" Alexius II (in the Moscow Cathedral of Epiphany) and by the present Head of the Department of Foreign Relations of the Church, Metropolitan Kirill Gundyaev (in the Holy Trinity Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky's Lavra in St. Petersburg).
The Moscow Patriarchate prayed for the repose of almost all red leaders. Sergius Stragorodsky had invented the "funeral service" for non-Orthodox (including the Protestants who, as is well known, do not recognize prayers for the dead in general). Today in the Patriarchate's churches funeral services may be performed for anyone, using the Orthodox Book of Needs. It should be added that in the MP the funeral service is very seldom performed without any significant reductions, except maybe when the dead person happens to be one of the highest episcopal rank.
During the long decades of Communist dictatorship an indulging attitude to all "weaknesses" and deviations of hierarchs and clergy had become firmly ingrained in the consciousness of the members of the MP. This justification of shortcomings was motivated by the alleged "captivity" of clergy (which from year to year was becoming increasingly voluntary). At the same time the episcopate succeeded in enhancing amongst the laity and clergy a peculiar kind of Papism ("The Patriarch is responsible for everything") and the cult of "blessed ignorance" which, allegedly, makes one's salvation easier to achieve. All these phenomena flourished and became the very essence of the Moscow Patriarchate, as the years of the "democratic" rule have been demonstrating, when discussions about "forced" acts of apostasy, about rejection of spiritual freedom and betrayal of the Patriarchate have become meaningless. Regrettably, the parishioners, especially those who only recently joined the Church, participate through ignorance in the unsightly deeds of the MP. May God be their judge. We believe that sooner or later they will have their chance, and their faith will bring them into the bosom of the true Orthodox Church.
As to the true Church people who are aware of canonical deviations and even transgressions of the MP, and still remain devoted to it despite the existence in Russia of parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, we think that because of their negligence (their failure to abide in truth) the Lord deprives them of the
gift of discerning the spirits.
Lately the Moscow Patriarchate has been trying to lift its prestige in the eyes of the faithful, often pointing at the major sacred objects in its custody. But the Tretyakov State Gallery also has in its "protective" keeping the miraculous icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir and Andrei Rublev's "Trinity"... Sacred objects belong to the Church, not to the apostates. Therefore the holy items which are in the hands of the impious hierarchs are nothing but "captive sacred objects" (similar to those once captured by Turks, or the Catholics).
Criminal power has come to replace the party power in Russia. This power has immediately secured the support of the MP and has occupied a appropriate place in its life. The MP itself is acquiring a criminal character with its "church" banks, multi-billion fraud and cooperation with the mafia. There were instances of attacks instigated by the Moscow Patriarchate upon small communities of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad accompanied by confiscation of church property and church buildings. Considering this background, trading in sacred objects in Patriarchate's churches (primarily selling the Holy Mysteries) looks habitual and commonplace .
We have not touched upon the fundamental question of grace, its presence or absence in Holy Mysteries in the MP and other ecumenical and Renovationists' "Orthodox" churches. However, already during the first days following the famous Metropolitan Sergius' (Stragorodsky) Declaration, hieromartyr Bishop Demetrius (Lyubimov) of Gdovsk had taken up the strictest position in relation to the Sergianist Patriarchy. He and some other followers of Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd openly declared the MP as being without grace, and its Mysteries -- "the food of demons" .
But even if we adopt a more cautious point of view we have to admit that the 20th century's movement towards apostasy has become the main substance of the historical development of the MP and of any other "Orthodox" member-churches of the WCC, which in the end will result in all of them becoming a heretical assemblage. More and more are they losing that which previously was attainable for them and that which was said in this book about those who left the unity of faith is increasingly applicable to them.
«That which is contrary to the will of God has entered the Church (...) When that which is contrary to the will of God guides the Church, the performance of rituals gradually becomes empty and turns into idolatrous ritualism (...) The Patriarch
(of Moscow - L. P.) often says: "We lack spirituality". Why not simply say: "We lack grace"» .
The fact that ecumenists "do not distinguish the true priesthood and the Mysteries of the Church from those of heretics but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation"  is a clear evidence that, first of all, they fail to distinguish their own priesthood and Mysteries from those of heretics. It is of no use that many console themselves saying that this applies only to bishops, while a part of clergy and laity of ecumenical churches are allegedly not privy to their hierarchs' heresies and schisms. Today none but the enemy of mankind himself forces us to forget that "without a bishop neither is church a church, nor Christian a Christian, but they cannot be even called that" . "Performing Church rituals as directed by the bishop" a priest administers Mysteries "not willfully, but as if by the power of the rank which imparted the Mystery of Ordination to him" , i.e. by the power of bishop. Likewise, a lay person is spiritually nourished through Mysteries by what this source can give him.
Not many people in the Moscow Patriarchate today are conscious of the fact that neither the episcopal rank, nor the name of Patriarch can by themselves, without faithfulness to Church dogmas and canons, guarantee the presence of grace and that ignorance of Divine laws, -- according to St. Epiphany of Cyprus, -- is a great betrayal of one's salvation" .
Ecumenical prayer of the New Valaam monastery. Finland, 1987.
 Although we are aware of our unworthiness, we take the liberty to write this chapter and the next, both very disquieting, remembering the words of A.S. Khomyakov cited in the Foreword.
 A.S. Khomyakov, "Tserkov' odna" (The Church Is One), 2nd ed., publ. by the Brotherhood of St. Job of Pochaev, Montreal, 1975, p. 64.
 Argumenty i fakty (Arguments and Facts), Moscow, 1995, No. 45 (786), p. 4. The mocking nature of this publication is emphasized by the "company" of famous animal lovers among whose photos appears on the left the photo of the "Patriarch".
 We wish to stress that in commenting on how inappropriate it is for a dog to rest on the Patriarch's beard, we have nothing against "man's best friend". On the contrary, in the Holy Scriptures and in Lives of Saints we read that dumb creatures, unlike humans, esteem their Creator and are incapable of reviling Him. All creatures shuddered when they saw the Lord crucified on the cross, while the cruel-hearted men mocked at the suffering Christ.
It is well known that even the most ferocious beasts showed their love and respect for saints, sensing their Christ-like humility and love which the saints had acquired.
 A.I. Osipov, Paper presented at the Scholarly-Theological Conference on "Orthodoxy and Renovationism", Moscow, 16-17. 2. 1994, p. 1, col. 2.
 See, for example, Russkiy Pastyr' San-Francisco, 1994, No. 17-18, pp. 110, 120121, 123-125.
 In an article published in Pravoslavnoe slovo, No. 12 (49), 1995, priest Timofei Selsky writes that in the MP cathedral of a small town he noticed ... a PRICE-LIST displayed at the candles' counter. "The column reading "Prayer after Abortion 8,000 Roubles" caught my eye. What sort of a new rite was this? As I learned later, a woman who would pay the required sum at the candles' counter would have a certain prayer read over her, a prayer which allegedly should be read after having killed one's own child in the womb. Whence all this? What is the mystery of such an easy remission of a mortal sin unknown to any of the Holy Church Fathers? Have we lived to see the day when the forgiveness of the sin of infanticide is bought just like that for a mere 8,000 roubles and without any confession at all?"
 Archbishop Paul of Finland maintained, undoubtedly under the influence of Patriarch Athenagoras, that "one does not necessarily have to go to Confession each time one wishes to partake of Communion". See his book -- Archbishop Paul, "How We Believe", YMCA-Press, Paris, 1986, p. 59.
 Ibid., pp. 55-56.
 Archimandrite Justin (Popovich), "Pravoslavnaia Tserkov i ekumenizm" (Orthodox Church and Ecumenism), pp. 29-31.
 Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. "Dokumenty" (Documents), Moscow, 20.11 - 2.12. 1994, p. 26.
 JMP, Moscow, 1994, No. 11-12, p. 20.
 Archbishop Laurus of Syracuse and the Holy Trinity Monastery. "Znachenie prakticheskago izucheniia Liturgiki" (Significance of the Practical Study of Liturgics). Orthodox Russia , Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, USA, No. 19 (1544), 1/14 October, 1995, pp. 1-3, 15.
 New hieromartyr Arseny, Archbishop of Novgorod. Speech delivered at the Conference of teachers of church singing. Novgorod diocese, 1911. Quoted in Archbishop Laurus, op. cit., p.3, col. 1.
 See Note 1.
 Metropolitan Makary (Bulgakov), "Pravoslavno-dogmaticheskoe bogoslovie" (The Orthodox Dogmatic Theology), v.11, St. Petersburg, 1857, p. 39.
 Archdeacon Germain Ivanoff-Trinadtzaty, op cit., p. 27.
 See "Opredelenie Arkhiereiskago Sobora RPTs 1994 g. O voprosakh vnutrennei zhizni i vneshnei deiatel'nosti Tserkvi" (Decision of the Bishops' Council of the ROC of 1994. On the Problems of the Internal Life and the External Activity of the Church), p. 3, point 16: "Completely inadmissible are manifestations of rude, negligent and arrogant treatment of anyone on the part of bishops and servants of the Church".
 Pravoslavnaia Rus' , Jordanville, 1992, No. 17, p. 5, col. 2.
 A. S. Khomyakov, op. cit. p. 64.
 In the priest T. Selsky's article concerning the "price-list" in an MP church quoted above we read also the following: "In the price-list the prayer "Whom should I entreat" is appraised at several thousand roubles. As the attendants of the candles' counter explained to me: having paid the sum required, one takes the receipt to the kliros where the "workers of the kliros" are obliged to sing the ordered prayer after the service. The prayer "My Queen Full of Grace" is cheaper because it is shorter (...). The last item which I managed to decipher was the column marked "blessing of a house". It was divided into two sections: "for private individuals" and "for organisations". The latter was five times more expensive. It turns out that today's grace has a rather materialist, and so to say, commercial dimension. Organisations need somewhat more grace. May the Lord forgive me these words, which logically follow from the statutory price listed. I no longer had any desire or strength to work out this terrible and sacrilegious statutory price in trading in God's grace.
 See Ioann (Snychev), Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, "Tserkovnye raskoly v Russkoi Tserkvi 20-kh i 30-kh godov XX stoletiia"... (The Church Schisms in the Russian Church of the 20-ies and 30-ies of the XX century)... 2nd supplementary ed., Sortavala, 1993, p. 176.
 Metropolitan Vitaly. Interview given to Orthodox Russia, Jordanville, 1992, No. 17, pp. 45.
 Text of the anathema against ecumenism. See Chapter 1. of the present work.
 Epistle of Eastern Patriarchs, Moscow, 1848, p. 22. See The Rules of the Orthodox Church as Interpreted by Nikodemus of Dalmatia-Istria, St. Petersburg, 1911, v. 1, p. 45.
 Archbishop Benjamin (Krasnopevkov), "Novaia skrizhal'" (The New Table of Commandments), St. Petersburg, 1908, p. 28
 "Dostopamiatnyia skazaniia o podvizhnichestve sviatykh i blazhennykh Ottsev" (Memorable Stories about the Spiritual Struggle of Holy and Blessed Fathers), publ. by Vechnoe, 1965, p. 58.