Blessed Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky)
Epistle of Archbishop
John of Western Europe and Brussels on the 50th Anniversary
of the Episcopacy of
Blessed Metropolitan Anastassy
We ask the
clergy of the Western European Diocese and the flock of
the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on the day
of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul this year to lift your
prayers especially fervently for the First Hierarch, Metropolitan
Anastassy, whose 50th anniversary as a bishop falls on that
He is the third Russian Hierarch since the Baptism of Russia
who has served for so long as a bishop.
Born on the Transfiguration of the Lord, he was as if from
birth called to ascend lofty spiritual heights. He embarked
on this path from his youth, during his school days already
excelling in his impeccable morality, his example influencing
Upon completing theological academy and being tonsured into
monasticism, he assumed positions in religious schools,
exhibiting talent, in a few years becoming the Principal
of the Bethany Seminary.
A profound piety, scholasticism, eloquence, multifaceted
activity and a sensitivity to everyone drew attention to
him from the Church administration as well as the flock
of the capital city of Moscow.
On 29 June, 1906, he was consecrated bishop of Serpukhov,
vicar of Moscow, where he stayed. Upon the canonization
of Bishop Hermogen in 1913, he was asked to speak, despite
the fact that there were some 20 bishops in attendance.
Loved and respected by all circles in Moscow, that is, besides
those antagonistic to the Church, on 20 May 1914, he was
appointed Bishop of Kholma, and two months later found himself
in the midst of military operations.
He exhibited bravery then, and a kind shepherd to the Russian
soldier. After the occupation of the area by the enemy,
the Church administration transferred him to the Kishinev
Diocese, where Russias direst days found him. He took
active participation in the All-Russian Council in Moscow.
He was, in fact, entrusted with preparing and composing
the ceremony of the elevation of Patriarch Tikhon to the
Patriarchal Throne that had been empty for over 200 years.
He was one of the five Members of the Patriarchal Synod
chosen by the Council and the only one to survive.
Upon the ceding of Bessarabia to Rumania, he preferred to
stay with the Russian Church and drink from Her cup.
Sent by Metropolitan Anthony to the Kharkov see, as
its most worthy heir, Archbishop Anastassy, following the
collapse of the Volunteer Army, fled Russia.
From that day forward he shares with Russian exiles their
sorrows and grief, remaining in his heart, his thoughts
and all his actions with the suffering and persecuted Russian
Church, at the same time showing his zeal in disseminating
and strengthening Orthodoxy the world over.
Upon the death of Metropolitan Anthony of blessed memory,
he became the heir not to the Kharkov Diocese, but
of the entire Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia,
scattered throughout the world.
Zealously seeking to preserve unity and concord among all
the Local Orthodox Churches, he exhibited a high degree
of love for peace, humility and concessions to a certain
degree, but in matters of purity and piety he was unshakeable.
Feeling special pain over the Russian Church tormented by
the Soviet State, the hierarchy of which the forces of darkness
are trying to coerce to their own ends, he decisively and
staidly protects the part of the Russian Church with is
abroad from the influence of that State. In the sorrowful
days of the Russian exiles, when they were being turned
over to the State for its revenge, from which they had fled,
he was their consoler and protector, doing everything possible
for their deliverance, personally visiting and spiritually
Now, in America, he continues to stand guard over the Russian
Diaspora, fighting all temptations, no matter whence they
come. On the 50th anniversary of his episcopacy he has become
a world-renowned hierarch, occupying a lofty lantern of
the Orthodox Church. The staid archpastor attracts like
a magnet those hearts that wish to remain, in exile, the
children of the Russian Orthodox Church, for which our First
Hierarch suffers blasphemy and slander from Her enemies.
On the fiftieth anniversary of his episcopacy, let us lift
our fervent prayers for him, and on that day may we sent
him our greetings as a testimony to the truth of the path
he shows us.