Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (II Tim. 4:2)
“In our confused days, when a hundred conflicting voices claim to speak for Patristic Orthodoxy, it is essential to know whom one can trust as spokesman for true Orthodoxy. It is not enough to claim to speak for Patristic Orthodoxy; one must be in the genuine tradition of the Holy Fathers, not merely ‘rediscovering’ them in a modern academy or seminary, but actually receiving their tradition from one’s own fathers. A merely clever explainer of the Patristic doctrine is not in this tradition, but only one who, not trusting his own judgment or that of his peers, is constantly asking of his own fathers what is the proper approach to an understanding of the Holy Fathers. Archbishop Averky…is in this genuine Patristic tradition …. A disciple of the great 20th century theologian and holy hierarch, Archbishop Theophan of Poltava (+1940) (who himself ended his days as a literal cave-dweller), Archbishop Averky is a bearer and transmitter, in a direct and unbroken line of Orthodox theologians, of the genuine Patristic doctrine which is in danger of being eclipsed by today’s generation of Western-educated -proud ‘young theologians’. 
Born in Russia in 1906, the future Abbot and Rector of Holy Trinity Monastery and Seminary, left his revolution-torn homeland for Bulgaria in 1920. There he completed his studies and departed for Czechoslovakia, where he was tonsured a monk in 1931 and given the name Averky.
The next year he was ordained a priest and, during the pre-war years became editor of a religious publication, abbot, diocesan administrator and missionary. The end of World War lI found him with the Synod of Bishops Outside Russia in Munich, Germany, where he headed a Missionary Educational Committee.
Coming to America in 1951, Archbishop Averky taught at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jardanville, NY, and also organized a youth organization. The following two years he was appointed rector of the seminary and Bishop of the Syracuse-Holy Trinity Diocese. In 1960 he became Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery and, the next year, Archbishop.
Archbishop Averky had the gift of being able to explain basic Orthodox Christianity in a specially clear and effective way. He could quickly penetrate to the heart of a question and make it understandable. An example is the theme to which he often re:turned: what is the essence or “chief thing” :in Christianity?
He saw that few people any longer have a concept of the purpose of Christ’s Church, and even among Orthodox Christians there has begun to be a tragic lack of awareness. Archbishop Averky was able to explain to those who would listen that true Christianity consists first in bearing the cross. This means not only patient long-suffering with regard to one’s daily trails, but also “self crucifixion, consisting of ceaseless ‘unseen warfare’.
He was fond of quoting St. Isaac the Syrian: “The way of God is a daily cross. No one will ascend to heaven by living lukewarmly. We know about the lukewarm way and where it ends up.” But Archbishop Averky also wrote:
“Truly never before has the cross of each person who wants to be a true Christian been as heavy as in this time of the triumph of falsehood which we are experiencing. Never before on this earth has there been such a huge number of people who freely and easily, without any shame, without any pangs of conscience ‘call evil good, and good evil’ ! (Is. 5:20)”
But in order to hear this cross without lukewarmness or discouragement, one must have, as Archbishop Averky put it, “holy zeal “:
“The chief thing in Christianity, according to the clear teaching of the Word of God,
is the fire of divine zeal, zeal for God and His glory, the holy zeal which alone is able to inspire man in labors and struggles pleasing to God, and without which there is no authentic spiritual life and there is not and cannot be any true Christianity. Without this holy zeal Christians are ‘Christians’ in name only.”
To those that speak of the Saviour only in terms of meekness, peacefulness, and love, the Archbishop replied that Christ “sometimes found it necessary to manifest great strictness and had recourse to severe measures, teaching us also by this very fact, that meekness and humility do not mean spinelessness and should not yield before manifest evil, and that a true Christian should be far from sugar-sweet sentimentality and should not step away in the face of evil…”
Himself filled with this divine zeal, he explained that Orthodox Christians “do not dare to remain indifferent” to their Faith, that ‘!we must show ourselves to be completely uncompromising” and not “enter into any sort of cunning compromises or any reconciliation, even purely outward” with the spirit of this world, with the spirit of lukewarmness toward Christ and His Holy Church. “Friendship with the enemies of God,” he wrote, “makes us ourselves the enemies of God; this is a betrayal and treason towards God.”
Noting that without zeal “there is no true Christianity,” he also saw that an amazing and easily recognizable phenomenon was taking place in our own times and before our eyes–”the ‘winnowing’: some will remain with Christ to the end, and some will easily and naturally join the camp of His opponent, Antichrist, especially when the hour of threatening trials will come for our faith, when precisely it will be necessary to show in all its fullness the whole power of our holy zeal, which is abhorred by many as ‘fanaticism’.”
Stand fast in the truth.
In an essay on apostasy, Archbishop Averky made this even clearer: “Not everything that bears the most holy and most dear name of Orthodoxy really is Orthodox–there is now also pseudo-Orthodoxy, which we must fear and from which we must flee as from fire. True Orthodoxy is only that which does not accept and does not permit in anything, neither in teaching nor in church practices, any sort of innovations opposed to the Word of God and the decrees of the Universal Church. True Orthodoxy does not bless and does not indulge in modern fashion–the morality and customs of the modern corrupt world …. True Orthodoxy considers only pleasing God and saving souls, not arrangements for temporary, earthly happiness, a career, and earthly advantages and possessions. True Orthodoxy is spiritual, not natural and carnal.”
But, equally important, Archbishop Averky saw that there is also a false zeal, .a “zeal without understanding,” a zeal without discernment. He explained that “Orthodoxy is not only the sum total of dogmas explained in a purely formal manner. It is not only theory, but practice; it is not only right Faith, but a life which agrees in everything with this Faith. The true Orthodox Christian is not only he who thinks in an Orthodox manner, but who feels according to Orthodoxy and lives Orthodoxy, who strives to embody the true Orthodox teaching of Christ in his life,”
Behind the mask of purely formal, outward Orthodoxy, behind the mask of “false zeal,” lies “the foaming of ordinary human passions –most frequently pride, love of power and honor, and the interests of a party politics like that which plays the leading role in political struggles, and for which there can be no place in spiritual life…and is a chief instigator of every imaginable quarrel and disturbance in the Church, the managers and instigators of which…(are) zealous not for God’s glory but for their own glory and the glory of the colleagues and partisans of their own party.”
In a short essay sub–titled “A Reminder for Everyone Who Considers Himself an Orthodox Christian,” Archbishop Averky further discusses the danger of allowing this false zeal to enter into church life:
“The Church is not an arena for the struggle of power, nor any other political or partisan struggle, in which the opponents, for the most part, are governed by their pride or ! vanity, by their ambition to ‘play a role’,… The Church exists not for the mutual antagonism of those who seek honor and prominence, not for partisan squabbles, nor for the sowing of enmity, intrigue, calumny, and slander, nor for the earning of scores.”
Archbishop Averky was very concerned lest “dead formalism” become the motivating spirit of Orthodox Christians. In Orthodoxy there can be no “blind adherence to the ‘letter of the law,’ for it is ‘spirit and life.’ Where, from an external and purely formal point of view, everything seems quite correct and strictly legal, this does not mean that it is so in reality.”
Clearly he saw the two dangerous extremes in church life today, both of which involve ‘playing a role’ and not letting Orthodoxy penetrate deeply into the heart: on the one hand are the ecumenists, playing the “role” of brotherly-love at any price, no matter how great are the compromises demanded of them; and on the other, the elitists, playing the “role” of knowing better than anyone what Orthodoxy is, of constantly correcting and belittling all that do not agree with their “party.” These are the ones, Archbishop Averky explained, that act as though there is no one to defend the Church but themselves, and to defend it they adopt or borrow quite worldly elements and passions “which are hostile to the Church and will rather hasten its fall.”
How to avoid either extreme? First, we can avoid the ecumenist pitfall simply by “standing fast in the truth”: “wherever the inherited spiritual link of grace going back to the holy Apostles and their successors, the Apostolic men and Holy Fathers, has been broken, wherever various innovotions have been introduced in faith and morals with the aim of ‘keeping in step with the times,’ of ‘progressing, ‘ of not getting out of date and of adapting to the demands and fashions of this world.., there can be no talk of the True Church.”
Secondly, in order to avoid formalism and phariseeism we must keep in mind that we Orthodox Christians of the last times “have neither the strength nor the authority to stop Apostasy, as Bishop Ignatius (Branehaninov) stresses: ‘Do no t attempt to stop it with your weak hand.., But what then should we do? ‘Avoid it, protect yourself from it. and that is enough for you. Get to know the spirit of the times, study it so that you can avoid its influence whenever possible.”
In his last years Archbishop Averky’s voice “resounded and thundered as never before,” guiding, warning, protecting, as only a true shepherd could do, until, finally he gave his soul up to the Lord, on April 13 (ns), 1976. (This month marks the fifth anniversary of his blessed repose.) But his message-the message of truth, of the Gospel of salvation, of Orthocoxy–lives on in his writings and in the memories of those many hundreds and even thousands that knew him and were formed by him. He consciously chose to be a pastor rather than a hireling, but he himself observed, in his last book: “It is not for me to judge how I fulfilled this. I will be judged as we all will be, by the impartial God. But, I can say one thing: I did everything honestly, according to my conscience and without regard for personalities.”
 Quotations in this article come from “Orthodox Life,” Vol. 26, No.3, ’76; “The Orthodox Word,” Vol. 11, No. 3, ’75; Stand Fast in the Truth; and Vol; II of “The Works of Archbishop Averky” (in English., available from “Orthodox America.”)
ARCHBISHOP AVERKY ON ECUMERNISM
Are the Terms “Christian” and “Orthodox” Accurate in our Times?
METROPOLITAN ANTHONY (Khrapovitsky)
Metropolitan Anthony was born Alexei Pavlovich Khrapovitsky on March 17, 1863, in Vatagino village of Kresteski district of Novgorod province, Russia. His parents were members of the Russian nobility. He was educated at St Petersburg, Russia, where he finished the 5th Classical Gymnasia with a gold medal. He owes the beginnings of his religious education to his mother and the influence of Fyodor Dostoevsky, the reading of Church Fathers and the Lives of Saints as well as interest in the ideas of the slavophile movement. In his young years, he was interested by the work of V. S. Solovyev, whom he later criticized for pro-Roman Catholic leanings. A final important influence was meeting St Nicholas, the enlightener of Japan.
In 1881, despite the opposition of his father, Alexei enrolled in the St Petersburg Theological Academy, where he became friends with M. M. Gribanovsky, the future Bishop of Tauria, who was the first of the academy students to become a monastic after a 20-year hiatus in tonsurings. This friendship strengthened Alexei’s desire to serve the Church as a learned monk. In his third year, he worked on his master’s dissertation “Psychological data in favour of free will and moral responsibility” with the oversight of A. Ye. Svetilin.
Before graduating, Alexei was tonsured on May 18, 1885, with the name of Anthony. That same year, he finished at the Academy and received his diploma. On June 12, he was ordained hierodeacon and on September 29, hieromonk. He then remained at the Academy as part of the teaching staff. In 1886-1887, he was appointed to teach homiletics, liturgics, and canon law at the Kholm Theological Seminary. In 1887-1889, Hieromonk Anthony was an instructor at the Academy in the department of Old Testament Studies and beginning in 1889 served as the Academy’s inspector. A result of this work was his 1890 book “An Exegesis of the Book of the Prophet Micah.”
In 1888, as a result of reworking his dissertation, Hieromonk Anthony was awarded the degree of Master of Theology. In 1888 and 1889, he taught a course on introduction to theological sciences. At around the same time, he became friends with St John of Kronstadt. In 1890, he was appointed as rector of the St Petersburg Theological Academy and raised to the rank of archimandrite. In 1891, he was appointed rector of the Moscow Theological Academy. This time marked his blossoming as a theologian, with the publication of his work “The moral idea of the dogma of the Holy Trinity” (report at the festivities marking the 500th anniversary of the repose of St Sergius of Radonezh). In 1893-1894, Archimandrite Anthony became friends with Archimandrite Sergius (Stragorodsky), the future Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. Archimandrite Anthony persuaded Archimandrite Sergius to publish his master’s dissertation, “The Orthodox Teaching on Salvation.” He also met L. N. Tolstoy, whom he frequently attempted to bring back into the Church by critiquing his religious and philosophical ideas.
His position on supporting monastic tonsure for academy graduates put Archimandrite Anthony into conflict with Metropolitan Sergius (Lyapidevsky) of Moscow. The conflict resulted in Archimandrite Anthony’s transfer to the post of rector of the Kazan Theological Academy in 1895.
On September 7, 1897, Archimandrite Anthony was consecrated Bishop of Cheboksary, vicar of the Kazan diocese (since March 1, 1899, Bishop of Chistopol’, first vicar of the Kazan diocese). On July 14, 1900, he was transferred to Ufa and became Bishop of Ufa and Menzelinsk. Because many residents of the Ufa province were Muslim, Bishop Anthony worked on missionary efforts in his diocese.
On April 22, 1902, Bishop Anthony was appointed to the Volyn and Zhytomyr cathedra, the largest diocese of the Russian Church at that time. The new energetic bishop worked to restore canonical order in the diocese, ending simony and bribery, promoting liturgical order and love toward the flock.
In 1907, Bishop Anthony headed a committee examining the Kiev Theological Academy. The committee’s findings were unpopular with academy staff, leading to Bishop Anthony’s publication of “The Truth about the Kiev Theological Academy” and the resignation of its rector, Bishop Platon (Rozhdestvesky), the future head of the American Metropolia. Many believe that this incident led to the subsequent antagonism among the emigré bishops, which resulted in the split between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).
In 1906-1907, Bishop Anthony was member of the State Council and in 1912-1916 of the Holy Synod. He worked on the preparation for a Local Council of the Russian Church; he responded to the 1905 questionnaire of Russian bishops by calling for the restoration of the patriarchy and the reform of theological education and other reforms in Church administration.
By the ukase of the Synod on May 19, 1914, Bishop Anthony was appointed to the Kharkiv and Aktyr cathedra. After the February 1917 Revolution, he was forced to ask for retirement because of poor relations with the new authorities in his area and the discontent of certain members of his clergy. On May 1, 1917, he was retired and assigned to the Valaam Monastery, where he wrote his book “The Doctrine of Redemption,” which later caused many arguments among Orthodox theologians. In August of 1917 he was again elected Archbishop of Kharkiv and Akhtyr by the Diocesan council of Kharkiv.
In 1917-1918, he was a member of the Local Council of the Russian Church, where he was a staunch supporter of restoring the patriarchy. His candidacy received the largest number of votes—159—but on November 5, 1918, Patriarch St. Tikhon of Moscow was elected by lot. On November 28, Archbishop Anthony was raised to the rank of metropolitan and on December 7 elected a member of the Holy Synod headed by Patriarch Tikhon.
In January 1918, Metropolitan Anthony was present at the All-Ukrainian Church Council in Kiev. He then fled the city before the Bolshevik invasion. Following the killing of New Hieromartyr St. Vladimir (Bogoyavlesky) of Kiev, Metropolitan Anthony was elected to the Kiev cathedra, and returned when the city was occupied by the Germans. However, his election was not approved by the authorities because of his opposition to Ukrainian autocephaly.
In December 1918, together with Archbishop Eulogius of Volyn, he was arrested by the Symon Petliura government. The two hierarchs were held at the Uniate monastery in Buchacha. In the spring of 1919, when Buchacha was taken by Polish forces, they were transferred to the vicinity of Krakow. In the summer of 1919 they were freed through the work of the French diplomatic mission. Metropolitan Anthony lived in L’viv. In September 1919, he left for Kuban, then returned to Kiev, which was held by White forces of General Denikin. After Kiev was retaken by Bolsheviks in November, he left for Yekaterinodar, where he was elected as president of the Temporary Higher Church Authority of South-East Russia. After the defeat of the Denikin army, he left for Greece, where he received the support of Archbishop Meletius (Metaxakis) of Athens. In September 1920, he returned to Crimea, which was controlled by General Wrangel. After the latter’s defeat in November, he left Russia for the last time.
Between November 1920 and February 1921, Metropolitan Anthony was in Constantinople. At first he decided that the Temporary Authority should be abolished and pastoral care for displaced Russians handed over to other local churches. However, after learning of the decision of General Wrangel to retain his army for further battle with the Bolsheviks, Metropolitan Anthony decided to keep the Church organization abroad. The Temporary Authority met on November 19, 1920, aboard the ship “Great Prince Alexader Mikhailovich,” presided over by Metropolitan Anthony. He and Bishop Benjamin (Fedchenkov) were appointed to examine the canonicity of the organization. On December 2, 1920, they received permission from Metropolitan Dorotheos of Prussia, Locum Tenens of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to establish “for the purpose of the service of the population … and to oversee the ecclesiastic life of Russian colonies in Orthodox countries a temporary committee (epitropia) under the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate”; the committee was called the Temporary Higher Church Administration Abroad (THCAA). In February 1921, at the invitation of Patriarch Dimitry of Serbia, the THCAA relocated to Serbia, where, on August 31, 1921, the Council of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church decided to take the organization under its protection as an independent jurisdiction for displaced Russians.
With the agreement of Patriarch Dimitry, the “General assembly of representatives of the Russian Church abroad” took place between November 21 and December 2, 1921, in Sremsky Karlovtsi, Serbia. It was later renamed the First All-Diaspora Council and was presided over by Metropolitan Anthony. The Council established the “Supreme Ecclesiastic Administration Abroad” (SEAA), composed of a patriarchal Locum Tenens, a Synod of Bishops, and a Church Council. The Council decided to appoint Metropolitan Anthony the Locum Tenens, but he declined to accept the position without permission from Moscow and instead called himself the President of the SEAA. However, an Ukase of Patriarch St. Tikhon of Moscow, dated May 5, 1922, abolished the SEAA and declared the political decisions of the Karlovtsy Council as not reflecting the postion of the Russian Church. Meeting in Sremsky Karlovtsy on September 2, 1922, the Council of Bishops agreed to abolish the SEAA, in its place forming the Temporary Holy Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia with Metropolitan Anthony as its head by virtue of seniority. The Synod exercised direct authority over Russian parishes in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Far East. In North America, however, a conflict erupted with those who did not recognize the authority of the Synod, led by Metropolitan Platon (Rozhdestvensky); this group formed the American Metropolia, the predecessor to the OCA. Likewise, in Western Europe, Metropolitan Eulogius (Georgievsky) also did not recognize anything more than “a moral authority” of the Synod. Metropolitan Eulogius later broke off and joined the Ecumenical Patriarchate, forming the Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe, known colloquially as the Rue Daru.
In 1925, at the invitation of Randell Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan Anthony participated in festivities in London marking the 1600th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council. In October of 1925, at the invitation of Romanian hierarchs, he participated in the enthronement of Patriarch Miron (Cristea) of Romania.
Metropolitan Anthony presided over another meeting of the Council of Bishops of ROCOR in June 1926. The bishops decided to accept Metropolitan Peter (Polyansky) of Krutitsa as the lawful Locum Tenens following the repose of St. Tikhon. The Council once again called for Metropolitans Platon and Eulogius to accept its jurisdiction.
On September 9, 1927, the Council of Bishops of the ROCOR, presided over by Metropolitan Anthony, decreed a break of communion with ecclesiastic authorities in Moscow after categorically rejecting a demand by Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) of Nizhny Novgorod, who was acting as Locum Tenens, to declare loyalty to the Soviet authorities. Metropolitan Sergius responded in 1928 by decreeing that Metropolitan Eulogius had canonical authority in Western Europe and that all actions of the Karlovtsy Synod were uncanonical. Then, on June 22, 1934, Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod passed judgment on Metropolitan Anthony and his Synod, declaring them to be under suspension. Metropolitan Anthony refused to recognize this decision, claiming that it was made under political pressure from Soviet authorities and that Metropolitan Sergius had illegally usurped the position of Locum Tenens. In this, he received the support of the Patriarch Varnava of Serbia, who continued to maintain communion with the ROCOR Synod.
During the course of his time abroad, Metropolitan Anthony continued to retain the title of Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia, an action recognized by Metropolitan Peter (Polyansky) of Krutitsa, who refused pressure from Soviet authorities to fill the vacant Kiev cathedra. In March 1931, the Synod of Bishops awarded him the title of “Beatitude.” In August 1932, Metropolitan Anthony proposed the election of a deputy president. The Bishops elected Archbishop Anastasy (Gribanovsky) of Kishinev, who was elevated to the rank of metropolitan in 1935. In 1935, the Council of Bishops of ROCOR, under the leadership of Metropolitan Anthony, condemned as heretical the teaching of Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov about Sophia, the Wisdom of God. This furthered the antagonism between ROCOR and the Western European Exarchate, where Father Sergius worked at the St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute (Paris, France).
Metropolitan Anthony reposed on August 10, 1936, in Sremsky Karlovtsi, Serbia, and was buried in Belgrade at the Iveron Chapel in the Russian cemetery. Patriarch Varnava officiated at the Divine Liturgy, Panikhida and burial services.
Metropolitan Anthony was a remarkable writer, author of many works in apologetics, dogmatic, pastoral and moral theology, hermeneutics, canon law and other disciplines. His ecclesiological opinions were influenced by A. S. Khomiakov; from Khomiakov’s view of the dogma of One Church, Metropolitan Anthony concluded that all heterodox churches were not part of the Church. He allowed the reception of converts through confession and chrismation strictly on the grounds of economy. Yet he taught that Orthodox bishops could receive Anglican clergy of that time merely by penance “in existing orders.”
He was opposed to Latin influence on the Church, and felt the Greater and Lesser Catechisms of the seventeenth century are “only by a misapprehension are called Orthodox.”
In his sotereological conceptions, Metropolitan Anthony held that Orthodox dogmatic views must be entirely rid of the idea of substitutional atonement of Anselm of Canterbury, which was popular in theological schools. Metropolitan Anthony wrote:
- We must think that during that night at Gethsemane, the thoughts and feelings of the Godman encompassed all fallen men in their many billions, and wept with loving grief for all of them individually, which, of course, was only possible to the Divine, all-knowing heart. This was our atonement … We are sure that the terrible sufferings of the Saviour at Gethsemane took place while beholding the sinful life and sinful nature of all human generations and that the words of the Lord “Let this cup pass from me” are not pointed to his upcoming Crucifixion and death, but to this, completely depressing to Him, feeling of profound grief for the sinful human race so beloved by Him.
Thus Metropolitan Anthony considered not Golgotha, but the sufferings in Gethsemane, as central to the Savior’s feat of redemption. The bodily sufferings and death on the Cross were necessary so that the faithful would acknowledge the degree of His suffering. This view received criticism from some theologians, including John Meyendorff and Georges Florovsky, with some going as far as to accuse Metropolitan Anthony of Pelagianism. Metropolitan Anthony wrote these views in prison, and when they were criticized, he withdrew them.  It is important to note that Metropolitan Anthony did not pioneer this theological view: it appeared in Russian theology in the 19th century as an attempt to counteract Anselmian atonement. Later theologians claimed that Metropolitan Anthony’s views were completely Orthodox, but that the way in which he expressed them led some to misinterpret his teaching.