Ozmitel Ekaterina

Central Asian pages of the biography of metropolitan Arseny (Stadnitsky): 1924–1936

Ozmitel Ekaterina (2022) "Central Asian pages of the biography of metropolitan Arseny (Stadnitsky): 1924–1936 ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2022, vol. 107, pp. 64-91 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII2022107.64-91


The article reconstructs the last period of the life of the outstanding bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Arseny (Stadnitsky). As Metropolitan of Novgorod, he was sent into exile in Central Asia, where he eventually spent 12 years. The data found in the letters of Metropolitan Arseny to the lawyer A.F. Koni and in the writings of Bishop Andrei (Ukhtomsky), for the first time made it possible to determine the dates and places of residence of Metropolitan Arseny in Central Asia: he lived in Krasnovodsk from mid-1924 until the summer of 1925; in Poltoratsk (Ashgabat) – from August 28, 1925 until the spring of 1927, and then in Tashkent.There was a change in the course of church policy pursued by the Deputy Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Sergius (Stargorodsky) in 1927. The attitude of Metropolitan Arseny to the new church policy was ambiguous. There are diametrically opposite opinions in the writings of church historians on this subject, therefore, it seemed important to determine the church-political views of Metropolitan Arseny on the basis of analysis of a large body of narrative sources (letters and memoirs). At first, this attitude was sharply negative. He did not break off communication with Metropolitan Sergius, did not criticize him publicly, but he fell into disgrace and was left in exile after its end. In 1933, Metropolitan Arseny, having accepted the appointment to the Turkestan department, returned to episcopal ministry and church administrative activities. He visited Moscow at least three times to participate in the sessions of the Provisional Patriarchal Synod. During this period, Metropolitan Arseny also had a negative attitude towards some actions of the highest church authorities, in particular, measures to exalt Metropolitan Sergius. Metropolitan Arseny did not hide this, but he did not publicly denounce anyone, fearing to strengthen the schism.The article makes a number of assumptions concerning the role played by the figure of Metropolitan Arseny in the question of the succession of the supreme church authority and in the plans of the OGPU, which sought the liquidation of the Russian Church. These hypotheses require further study on the basis of new documentary sources.


Russian Orthodox Church in Central Asia, Turkestan Diocese, history of Orthodoxy in Tashkent, persecution of the Church in the Soviet Union, exiled clergy in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky), church opposition


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Information about the author

Ozmitel Ekaterina

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in History;
Place of work: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for Humanities; 6/1 Likhov per., Moscow, 127051, Russian Federation;
Post: Senior Researcher in Research Centre for Modern History of Russian Orthodox Church;
ORCID: 0000-0002-3671-9493;
Email: k_ozmitel@rambler.ru.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.