Difference between revisions of "Sergius (Stragorodsky) of Moscow"

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'''Serguis I (Stragorodsky) of Moscow''' was the seventeenth [[Patriarch]] of Moscow and All Russia. He previously served as a bishop in three dioceses and as deputy and patriarchal ''[[locum tenens]]'' from 1927 to 1943, having ascended to this position following the death of Patr. Tikhon and imprisonment of Metr. Peter of Krutitsy, the previous locum tenens. He was particularly known and criticized for his allegedly willing submission to the Soviet government in Russia, often referred to as ''Sergianism''.
== Life ==
[[Image:Mitr_sergius.jpg|thumb|110px|Sergius as Metropolitan of Nizhny Novgorod.]]
Ivan Nikolayevich Stragorodsky was born in the town of Arzamas near Nizhny Novgorod on [[January 11]], 1867. His father, Nicholas, was an arch[[priest]]. After receiving the name Sergius when he was tonsured a [[monk]], he studied in the Nizhny Novgorod [[seminary]], followed by studies at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. Sergius became proficient in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. He was [[ordination|ordained]] to the [[deacon|diaconate]] and then to the priesthood. He was soon raised to the rank of [[archimandrite]]. In September 1890, he arrived in Japan to assist Bp. [[Nicholas of Japan]]. Here, while he taught at the [[Tokyo Orthodox Seminary (Tokyo, Japan)|Tokyo Orthodox Seminary]], he became fluent in Japanese before his return to Russia in 1898. Upon his return to the St. Petersburg Academy in 1899, he was appointed [[rector]].
In 1901, Sergius was appointed [[Archbishop]] of Finland and Vyborg. In 1911, he became a member of the [[Holy Synod]] of the [[Church of Russia]]. He was transferred to the diocese of Vladimir and Shuya on [[August 10]], 1917. Subsequently, he was raised to the office of metropolitan on [[November 28]], 1917 by Patr. [[Tikhon of Moscow|Tikhon]]. With the Bolsheviks now ruling Russia, Sergius was arrested in January 1921 and spent several months in jail before being exiled to to Nizhny Novgorod. Between [[June 16]], 1922 and [[August 27]], 1923, Sergius became involved in the Renovationist schism, the so-called [[Living Church]], but repented his actions publicly and was forgiven by Patr. Tikhon. The Patriarch appointed him Metropolitan of Nizhny Novgorod on [[March 18]], 1924.
In the uncertain atmosphere in which the Russian Church found itself in the early 1920s, Patr. Tikhon recognized that proper election of his successor may not be possible. Therefore, he presented in his will a list of three candidates, of which one would be elected to assume leadership of the Church after his death. After Patr. Tikhon's death on [[April 7]], 1925, Metr. Peter of Krutitsy and Kolomna was elected Patriarchal ''Locum Tenens'' and, following Tikhon's example, he produced a succession candidate list of three. These candidates, at the time, were not in prison or in exile. Eight months later Metr. Peter was arrested, and of those on Peter's list only Metr. Sergius was not imprisoned. Thus, he assumed leadership of the Church under the title ''Deputy Patriarchal Locum Tenens'' on the assumption that Metr. Peter was the ''de jure'' locum tenens and would resume leadership when he was released from prison. (Metr. Peter was never released.)
Metr. Sergius himself was in prison from [[November 30]], 1926 to [[March 27]], 1927. After his release Sergius strived for some way of obtaining a peaceful reconciliation with the Bolsheviks so as to stop the terror and persecution against the Church. In his most (in)famous attempt, Sergius issued a ''Declaration'' on [[July 20]], 1927 in which he pledged absolute loyalty of the [[Church of Russia]] to the Bolshevik regime. This declaration caused an immediate controversy among the Russian [[clergy]] and [[laity]], many of whom broke communion with him, both internally in Russia as well as abroad. This controversy has continued even after the fall of the Bolshevik government.
However, through his declaration he was able to establish a ''Temporary Patriarchal Council'' that received government recognition. In 1934, he  assumed the title of His Beatitude, Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna. In 1936, on the basis of reports of Metr. Peter's death, although in reality he wasn't executed until 1937, Metr. Sergius assumed the title of Patriarchal Locum Tenens. But arrests and executions of the Orthodox clergy and destruction of [[cathedral]]s, [[church]]es and other Church property continued. By mid-1941, only four [[bishop]]s remained free in the territory of the USSR.
With the serious strain on the USSR caused by the Nazi invasion in 1941, Joseph Stalin began scaling down on the campaign of militant [[atheism]] advocated by the Bolsheviks and sought the moral and financial support of the Church of Russia in the war. Stalin, on [[September 4]], 1943, met with the hierarchy of the Church and, in exchange for their loyalty and assistance, gave concessions to religion. Among these concessions were permission to open the [[Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary]], release of imprisoned clergy, and return of church property including the [[Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra]]. This was at the cost of increased control by government secret services.
Among the concessions was an important one: permission to convene a council to elect a new patriarch. At a formal meeting of bishops on [[September 8]], 1943, Metr. Sergius was elected to the [[see]] of the Patriarch of Moscow. Although of advanced age (he was 76) and ailing in health, he was enthroned on [[September 12]], 1943. He died eight months later on [[May 15]], 1944 in Moscow.
{{start box}}
title=Archbishop of Finland and Vyborg |
title=Metropolitan of Vladimir and  Shuya|
title=Metropolitan of Nizhny Novgorod|
title=Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna|
before=[[Tikhon of Moscow|Tikhon I (Belavin)]]|
title=[[Church of Russia|Patriarch of Moscow]]|
after=[[Alexei I (Simansky) of Moscow|Alexei I (Simansky)]]}}
{{end box}}
== External link ==
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarch_Sergius_I_of_Moscow  Wikipedia: Sergius I of Moscow]
[[Category:Patriarchs of Moscow]]

Revision as of 10:45, June 10, 2008