Il'iashenko Nikolai

Hierarchs of the Russion Orthodox Church on the Eve of "Great Terror". The List of Hierarchs from the Investigation Case of Metropolitan Seraphim (Alexandrov), 1937.

Il'iashenko Nikolai (2014) "Hierarchs of the Russion Orthodox Church on the Eve of "Great Terror". The List of Hierarchs from the Investigation Case of Metropolitan Seraphim (Alexandrov), 1937. ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2014, vol. 58, pp. 114-146 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII201458.114-146


This article comments on the important source of information on the history of Russian hierarchy which is the list of bishops. This list belonged to Metropolitan Seraphim (Alexandrov) and is now stored in the Archives of the National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Akmola region in the investigation fi le of Metropolitan Seraphim. The list was composed in 1933-1934, and off ers the following characteristics of bishops : the date of birth and ordination , the rank, the academic degree, whether abroad, in offi ce or retired . The last parameter denoted those who did not actually rule the diocese. The work of keeping records on the changes in life of the Russian episcopate was conducted systematically; the list is remarkably full. The introductory article analyzes the principles of formation and changes in the list of the episcopate which took place under the change of the supreme ecclesiastical authority. It also compares the data of the list with the published documents of the Moscow Patriarchate of 1934. Thus we come to the following conclusions: bishops Renovationists, Gregorians and those ordained abroad are not found in the list with few exceptions. It is explained by the ignorance of the compiler. The fi rst and the second were not recognized as bishops of the Russian Church, and they didn’t have actual data on those abroad because of the diffi culties in dealing with foreign countries. Nonetheless, the list contains the hierarchy who were opposed to Metropolitan Sergius which means that de facto they were considered fullfl edged gracious bishops in spite of being reprimanded for “separating”. Mass ordinations allowed to hold back the decline of the episcopate for a while. The soviet authorities prevented the bishops from ruling their dioceses even under the compromise policy of Metropolitan Sergius ( Stragorodsky ) during the second period of his episcopacy. At this time much fewer bishops were ordained, and the new bishops were characterised as being in agreement with the Locum Tenens. The authorities still harassed them but less than the rest. The article also notes that after the Revolution of 1917–1918 there was a tendency to ease the requirements to the candidates for the episcopacy: the level of education was deteriorating.


Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate, episcopacy, church schisms, repressions, church records management, Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) Metropolitan Seraphim (Alexandrov)

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Il'iashenko Nikolai