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Benjamin (Kazansky) of Petrograd

34 bytes added, 02:19, December 5, 2012
On [[January 24]], 1910, he was elected [[Bishop]] of Gdovsk, [[vicar]] of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, and became involved in charitable activities in the diocese including organizing the establishment of the Mother of God for the Care of Abandoned Women. In March 1917, Bp. Benjamin was elected [[Archbishop]] of Petrograd and Ladoga, replacing [[Gregory Efimovich Rasputin |Rasputin’s]] appointee, Metr. Pitirim. In August, he was named Metropolitan of Petrograd and Ladoga and named also to the [[Holy Synod]] by the [[All-Russian Church Council of 1917-1918|Local Church Council]]. Then, on [[January 26]], 1918, he was appointed [[abbot]] of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra and named Metropolitan of Petrograd and Gdovsk.
In 1921, when the Bolshevik government began a campaign of confiscating Church valuables for the purported purpose of buying food for the starving population, Metr. Benjamin did not protest as he believed it his duty to save people’s lives, but he wanted this sacrifice to be voluntary and under the control of the Church. While the Communist press in Petrograd at the time praised his position, the Bolshevik hierarchy did not approve and continued to confiscate the valuables. On [[March 24]], 1922, twelve priests, who later became part of the pro-Bolshevik Living Church movement, called for the unconditional surrender of all Church valuables. While his [[clergy]] were outraged at the position of the twelve, Metr. Benjamin tried to calm his priests so as to avoid a confrontation with the Bolshevik authorities. For a time an agreement worked to allow substitution of other property of equal value, but members of the twelve objected and attempted to gain control of the Church from [[Patriarch]] [[Tikhon of Moscow|Tikhon]] and his bishops, a move that Metr. Benjamin refused to allow. Refusing to accept this threat, Metr. Benjamin declared that [[Alexander Ivanovich Vvedensky|Vvedensky]], their leader, was outside the Church and published this decree in the newspapers.
Having refused to rescind the decree, Metr. Benjamin was arrested and placed into prison. He, with other clergy and friends, was placed on trial. After a trial of two weeks, during which many witnesses were called both in accusation and defense, the defendants were found guilty. Recognizing that any pleas that he may offer would be useless, the defense attorney addressed the the court declaring, “Political considerations come first with you, and all verdicts must favor your policy.”

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