CWN - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, paid tribute to his predecessor, Patriarch Sergius I, who governed the Church from 1925 to 1944.
Ninety years ago, Patriarch Sergius controversially declared his “absolute loyalty” to the Communist regime in an attempt to ensure the Church’s survival.
“Metropolitan Sergius took that step without violating by any means either the dogmata or canons,” his current successor said. “His did it to create prerequisites for possible development of relations with the state and for consolidating the situation of the Church in the then Soviet Union.”
Nonetheless, the Church entered “an epoch of terrible persecution” under Stalin, said Patriarch Kirill.
“It is the gravest page of our national history, the hardest page in the history of the Church,” he added, as he paid tribute to the “new martyrs and confessors, who remained faithful to Christ, did not waver in their faith and did not reject God and the Church.”