The article is devoted to the decisions of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) on May 7–9, 1946, concerning the principles of joining the representatives of the Belarusian Orthodox Metropolia in the Diaspora. Formed during the German occupation, the Belarusian Orthodox Metropolia, after the evacuation of the episcopate and individual clergy, carried out its activities on the territory of Western Europe. Having made the decision to transfer to the jurisdiction of the ROCOR, the Belarusian hierarchs for several months hid their plans from their compatriots. During the work of the Council of Bishops on May 7–9, 1946, the decision was made to accept the episcopate of the Metropolia under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, with the exception of the former Bishop of Roslavl Pavel (Melentyev). This bishop was suspected of preparing for the transition to the Roman Catholic Church. Assuring the meeting participants that there were no such plans, he refused to confi rm his words with written evidence. Fearing repatriation to the USSR, Bishop Pavel ultimately refused to go to the Russian Church Abroad and soon converted to Catholicism. Contrary to the insistent recommendations of the Belarusian episcopate, Metropolitan Anastasy (Gribanovsky), who presided over the Council of Bishops, refused to establish a Belarusian church structure as part of the ROCOR. He argued about that the inadmissibility of applying the national principle in organising the system of church government. This decision led to the termination of the activities of the Belarusian Metropolia in the Diaspora, which caused a wide negative resonance and entailed a church schism among the Belarusian Diaspora. On the initiative and with the active participation of the Council of the Belarusian People’s Republic, which positioned itself as the Belarusian government in exile, the structures of the Belarusian Metropolia were restored, focused on establishing the principles of Belarusian autocephaly. An attempt made in 1949 to declare the preservation of the Belarusian Metropolis within the ROCOR did not lead to overcoming the Belarusian church schism.
Belarusian Orthodox Metropolia, Belarusian Orthodox Church, Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Diaspora, ROCOR Bishops’ Council of 1946, Metropolitan Anastasy (Gribanovsky), Belarusian autocephaly, schism
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Slesarev Alexander Academic Degree:
Candidate of Sciences*
in Theology; Academic Rank:
Associate Professor; Place of work:
Minsk Theological Academy; 27 Zybitskaya ul, Minsk 220030, Belarus; Post:
vice-rector for scientific research, head of the Department of Church history and Church-practical disciplines; ORCID: 0000-0002-4892-999X
*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.