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concerning members of the Moscow Patriarchate in no way reflects any support of
its official position or of those hierarchs who act in willful complicity with
the atheist government.
Death of a Senior Hierarch
One of the senior hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate Church, Metropolitan ANTHONY of Leningrad and Novgorod, died on May 29, 1986. He had been in poor health for some time. Metropolitan Anthony (Anatoli Melnikev in the world) was born in Moscow in 1924 and belonged to the "first generation" of clergymen to be educated in the theological establishments reopened in the Soviet Union after the Second World War...
"As Metropolitan, he had (from 1961) been sent on numerous church [diplomatic] political assignments for the Moscow Patriarchate abroad as well as participating in the work of numerous ecumenical and international forums, including various committees of the World Council of Churches. However .... in recent years [he] was known to find these duties increasingly irksome; it was generally known in church circles that he had firmly requested not to be sent on any more "diplomatic'' missions which would entail having to make public statements which are untrue, preferring to devote himself to the internal needs of his diocese.
"With this in mind, it is easier to understand why, even back in the first half of the 1970's, the so-called "Furor Report,"(a series of secret reports by the State' s watchdog body on religion, the Council for Religious Affairs) placed Metropolitan Anthony in the "second category" of bishops, i.e., those who only cooperate with the authorities when it is unavoidable.
"Keston College sources in the Soviet Union have noted that Metropolitan Anthony was becoming increasingly concerned by the degree of control exercised by the State authorities over the Russian Orthodox Church and rejoiced greatly to see the growing numbers of young people coming to religion in the past decade. Something of this is echoed in an interview he gave the Italian Christian magazine Gesu in 1980 when he said:
"' Faith in the USSR has never diminished · ..there are indeed new manifestations of an upsurge of interest in religion.., this gladdens us... there are young people who are deciding to dedicate their whole lives to the Gospel and the Church.'"
(An excerpt from a longer "Obituary," by Alyona
Kojevnikov, Information Director of Keston College, in KNS No. 252)
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