1. North Korean intelligence works with the Moscow Patriarchate.
President Putinís flirting with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il is kept in strict confidence so that the Americans would not find out about it, although the Moscow Patriarchate is aware of this flirting and actively participates in it.
In Pyongyang, the construction of the Moscow Patriarchateís church of the Life Giving Trinity is coming to an end, although the religion itself is prohibited in this country and faith is considered a political crime. But Kim Jong Il has made an exception for his Russian friend and has even graciously given about a million dollars from the budget of his poor country toward the construction. This gave him a right to be named "the Founder of such Temple".
"For the Founder of such Temple let us pray to the Lord!",a Russian deaconwill, henceforth, proclaim at every service. Putin has succeeded in making Kim Jong Il an object of religious worship. Not a single other president has ever managed to do this!The emergence of the Russian church in the North Korean capital is a sign of a great personal friendship between Putin and Kim Jong Il, in spite of America.
Kim Jong Il was so kind as to have even founded a new state institution specifically for this occasion: the Orthodox Committee of North Korea, although there hasnít been a single Orthodox believer for over half a century. The delegation of this fake Committee has recently visited Moscow.It has visited only one department of the Moscow Patriarchate, besides the one dealing with the foreign affairs. Which one, would you think? A Department for Cooperation with the Armed Forces and Law-enforcement Agencies! It is interesting, what business they had there?It seems, that Kim Jong Il considers the MoscowPatriarchate a militarized organization, intended for special tasks.
The appearance of the Russian church in Pyongyang provides both leaders with a channel of secret contacts, inaccessible to international control.Nobody would know what kind of messages the silent priests, dressed in the black robes, would bring to Pyongyang.
This channel is especially valuable due to the fact that all other channels might be officially of interest to Americans.For example, President Bush may ask Putin at one of the meetings:" Tell me, my friend Vladimir, if you have any shady dealings with Kim Jong Il?"
And Putin will have to give an exact explanation, as it might be verified by intelligence. But he will be able to answer the question about the church contacts like this:" It is no concern of yours, my dear friend! Faith is a sacred matter!"
And Bush wonít have a leg to stand on, as his government in reality does not interfere in church affairs.
But in the Moscow Theological Seminary there are presently four North Korean students. It is interesting, where could they have come from. If they were real believers, they would have been imprisoned. The answer is clear Ė from the Ministry of State Security only! Kim Jong Il is creating an Orthodox Church in his country like Stalin did it: through his security service.
Russian Foreign Intelligence Service merely supervises the officers of friendly security services, accredited in Russia.They are invited to health resorts, secret meetings and banquettes. It is interesting, that while leaving the Trinity Sergiev Monastery, are the North Korean students saying to their confessor something like this: "Father, bless our trip to the Receptionsí House of the Foreign Intelligence Service, located at the Kolpachny lane, Moscow"?
I wrote about all of this a year ago in my article "SpyChurch", which can be found on the Internet.
Presently, the North Korean KGB-seminarians, becoming the deacons of the Moscow Patriarchate, are serving at the cathedral of St. Nicholas in Vladivostok. Without embarrassment they openly speak of being engaged in Orthodoxy through the orders of lay authorities. They consider this quite natural, they have not been taught differently at the Seminary.
"Orthodoxy is very complicated and difficult for us, but our Great
Leader, Comrade Kim John Il, decided to construct an Orthodox cathedral in Pyongyang", announced deacon Theodore to the Russian journalists.
"It is a sin to be double faced in faith, for which God punishes harder than for disbelief. Christians canít worship Our Lord and the forces of darkness at the same time", explained to me Archpriest Mikhail Ardov, rector of the church of the Saint Tsar- the Martyr and all Russian New Martyrs and Confessors at the Golovino cemetery in Moscow.
"In North Korea there prevails a cult of the Kimís family, which follows ridiculous traditions", he continued." Bishop Benjamin of Vladivostok and Primorye should not have allowed the North Korean double-faced believers even to step over the threshold of his cathedral even at the expense of being forbidden to serve. His bishopís duty is not to follow orders like a soldier. But he has preferred the latter, exposing his sergianism. It is significant, that the very same bishop Benjamin, while being the professor of the MoscowEcclesiasticalAcademy, has been known as a devoted Orthodox. His example shows why there can not be any good bishops in the Moscow Patriarchate", emphasized Archpriest Mikhail Ardov.
2. Colonel Gumenyuk gives his blessings.
The present Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk blessed the first stone of Life Giving Trinity church in Pyongyang in July 2003. There is talk that President Putin is planning to make him a Patriarch. Itís not accidental, that Putin has introduced him into the Public Chamber Ė a cautious talking shop under the president intended to become a substitute for civil society, which doesnít exist in Russia. And a luxurious palace for the aging Patriarch Alexis the Second is said to be under construction on the island of Valaam (Northern Russia). The Federal Guard Service, a ministry of Putinís personal bodyguards and a former 9th Directorate of the KGB, was the first to occupy a constructional site. Because, in fact, Alexis the Second is a high-ranking governmental official, supervising the loyalty of nation.
And Metropolitan Kliment, as everyone else, promoted by Putin, is a KGB man. It becomes clear from his biography: from 1982 to 1990 he was the head of parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in Canada and the U.S. Only a KGB collaborator could have been appointed to such a position during the Cold War. Why? Because he was required to be precisely aware of the fact, which of his subordinate clergymen was genuine priests, and which Ė the fake ones, from KGB, being careful not to punish them for mistakes in liturgy and absence from work.
But the list of names of intelligence officers is a state secret! And the Church is separated from state! How to entrust a state secret to a clergyman, a representative of the "enemy camp"? How to guarantee that he does not give it away? Only in one way Ė by recruitment, firmly hooking a man with compromising documents carefully gathered or falsified by the KGB. By 1982, future Metropolitan Kliment must have been considered an experienced and thoroughly investigated agent, as he was allowed to mix with foreigners even in 1977, taking part in ecumenical conferences.
But some of the Moscow priests consider him to be a regular KGB officer. Well, such is possible too: the shoulder-strapped priests, the full-time KGB officers, are not such a rare sight at the Moscow Patriarchate. I met one of them on the very first day of service at the headquarters of the KGB intelligence in Yasenevo, Moscow suburb, in the same year of 1977.
I remember how I was surprised by extremely long corridors there, almost a kilometer in length, where hundreds of plain-clothed men were pacing back and forth. Their jackets were buttoned up and hair parted neatly, and all this sleek appearance had to be proof oftheir extreme highest loyalty. But whatís that?! An officer with a large red beard passed by me!What a defiant appearance, unallowable for a communist and a KGB intelligence officer!
"Donít worry, he has grown a beard by the order of the General Kryuchkov, the Head of Intelligence. He is acting like a priest. Now he is serving at the foreign relations department of the Moscow Patriarchate, and soon will be leaving on his mission abroad", explained my friend with laughter.To which destination exactly my friend did not say, following direct rules of the KGB, but he told about his friend, a Professor of the Red-Bannered Institute of the KGB, now called the Academy of Foreign Intelligence Service, whose colonelís KGB uniform was hanging together with his black priestís robe in his home closet. When Patriarch Pimen would go abroad, the Colonel-Professor would put on his robe and joined his group.
During the same years, General Oleg Kalugin, a Head of the Exterior Counter-Intelligence, came to East Berlin to check KGB station there. One day Colonel Ivan Gumenyuk approached him, on the inviting him to visit the Russian Cathedral that evening.
"I will serve there tonight!"-explained Colonel Gumenyuk.
He served so professionally, that parishioners coming for his blessing were sure that they were kissing a hand of Father Ivan, and not that of Colonel Gumenyuk.
"You are just like a real one!" exclaimed General Kalugin with admiration next morning at the KGB station.
Such "just like real" priests joined the staff of parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate all over the world, but in the allied Arabian countries they practically composed the whole group. The local Moslem counter-intelligence services closed their eyes to it, because the KGB priests were working against the West. Therefore, if one of your familiar priests has ever served in the Middle East, this means, that he has also served in the KGB.
The destiny of those people was rarely happy. God was exposing them to difficult trials. The children of certain ones would start to believe in God, which was not allowed for the KGB officerís families, the others acknowledged the existence of God.Their KGB colleagues would sniff it out immediately and would ruin their careers. I have given a detailed description of the fate of these woeful intelligence priests in my book "KGB in Japan"(Moscow, "Tsentrpoligraph", 2000).
And where are they now? Are they still remaining amongst the clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate?
In the West it is considered that those people disappeared, but why?Have the KGB officers ever gone through expulsion from any Russian institution after the collapse of Communist system in 1991? Alas, no! The powerful Communist lobby suppressed it. Furthermore there could not have been any expulsions of the KGB officers in the Moscow Patriarchate, todayís leading glorifier of the Soviet past.
I am aware of only one such attempt.It was made by Igor Golembiovsky, chief editor of the leading newspaper "Izvestia" in August 1991, immediately after the failure of the Communist coup. He called into his office all of the KGB officers, who were working at "Izvesta" as journalists, and offered them retirement either from the KGB, or from "Izvestia". He refused to allow them to hold both of these jobs, any more.
KGB didnít forgive Golembiovsky such a liberty, in Putinís Russia he is being persecuted. While Patriarch Alexis the Second enjoys the peak of his glory. From which one may conclude, that he has not expelled any KGB officers from his midst.
It seems that even American authorities are beginning to understand that the union of the Russian Church Abroad with the KGB-governed Moscow Patriarchate directly threatens the national security of the U.S.A.
A lot of the Russian Americans are working for the government and have access to secrets. They wouldnít be happy at all to confess their sins to Colonel Gumenyuk. Some of the Russian Church Abroad parishes are located near the secret installations, where their parishioners work. If Gumenyuk comes there also, they will face American prisons for cooperation with the Russian intelligence.
But the most valuable subjects for recruitment are still not the Russian immigrants, but the natives of Western countries, who converted to Orthodoxy Ė Americans, English, French. Their intelligence capabilities are much greater. Not knowing the true facts of Russian life, like most Westerners, they trust greater, completely believing their priests. They will become an easy target of Russian intelligence, its scrumptious dessert.
Americans are deeply religious people. There is a greater respect for clergy here than in Russia. The very notion that a clergyman might become a spy is regarded blasphemous. Such is an old-style prejudice here. Even counter-intelligence should overcome some psychological complexes before investigating a clergyman, suspected of being a foreign spy. The principle of separation of church and state is strictly observed here, and surveillance of a clergyman can be interpreted as interference of the state into church affairs
The Russian intelligence could only dream of such a situation!Its officer, clothed in a robe, feels much safer in America, than his colleague, wearing diplomatic tailcoat or a business-suite.
The leaders of western states might have expressed their concerns to Putinregarding the forthcoming massive arrival of the Gumenyuks to their countries. This became one of the reasons of a very strange recent message by Metropolitan Laurus to the clergy of the Australian and New Zealand diocese, in which, as some people think, he went back on his word.
The core of the Australian clergy has risen against the immediate unification with the Moscow Patriarchate.They originated from that Russian immigration in China, which refused to return to the Soviet Union after the Second World War. Convinced anti-communists, they preferred a new immigration, headed by Saint John of Shanghai.
Also Australia is famous for its tough counter-intelligence regime. Police there have always blocked the KGB intelligence stations, and Soviet spies could not work actively. They did not like to go to Australia in spite of its luxurious life, because it was almost impossible to recruit agents there in order to create a great career. Thatís why the Russian immigration in Australia luckily did not suffer from a great demoralizing affect of the KGB, as in the U.S. and Western Europe.
Metropolitan Laurus rushed to calm down Australians. He assured them of administrative independence from the Moscow Patriarchate, which the Russian Church Abroad will preserve. But still, he is not severing with it, allowing the joint services, which are under way, already, now. One could argue that it would be permissible from the theological point of view, if the taking over of the Russian Church Abroad were purely a religious action, and not a KGB one.
And for KGB, administrative subordination of the Russian Church Abroad to Moscow and their common chalice is just the same. They donít even care about such small details. They need only a hook up, and all the rest is a matter of operative technique.Metropolitan Laurusís message gives the KGB such a chance. Therefore, it may be regarded as an attempt to lull the vigilance of the opponents of unification. Itís interesting, that the closest subordinates of Metropolitan Laurus, his bishops, continue to insist on the unification, and not on common chalice.
3. KGB is preparing heavy artillery.
Moscowís immediate takeover of the Russian Church Abroad has awakened the Russian immigrants, realizing that Putinís Russia is not free. In fear of enslavement, they chose freedom, as it is common in the West.
The clergyís eyes opened also, fearing for their future. They got worried about their future. Now many of them are saying as follows:
"We began to call the Soviet church Moscow Patriarchate exclusively because of propaganda.This name is illegal, because Patriarch Tikhon created the actual Moscow Patriarchate in 1917, while Stalin founded the Soviet church in 1943. All of its leaders have been appointed by the Communist government and should be defrocked.We must return to its old name, which we have always used before: "the Soviet church".
The dissatisfaction with Archbishop Mark, who stirred up all this trouble, is growing. He walks ahead of progress and behaves as if the official unification with the Moscow Patriarchate has already been concluded. He sends his priests for communion to its parishes, and there is talk that those who refuse shall be defrocked. It is high time to do so with Archbishop Mark himself for his serious violation of canons! Many believe that his behavior should be discussed by the Forth All-Abroad Sobor (Council) of the Russian Church Abroad.
President Putin is dissatisfied too. He is upset by the fact, that the merging of the Russian Church Abroad is going too slowly.Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), nicknamed"the KGB Archimandrite", has fell from grace for his failure to accomplish his task on proper time. Metropolitan Kirill has suffered the same fate. He is a "KGB Metropolitan" also, which makes him far more vulnerable, because a position of the KGB collaborator does not provide him with life stability, making him dependent on the KGBís play up for the rest of his life.
But these two are not the key figures in unifying the Russian Church Abroad. They are only a covering of the main heroes: Putin and his Foreign Intelligence Service. We can only guess, how many of its generals were reprimanded by the President. But, according to the rules of the military, they must immediately demonstrate that they started to improve.Moscow will surely respond with a strike. The question is will this succeed.
Moscow is preparing a strike by heavy artillery. There are rumors that Metropolitan Laurus will retire after the forthcoming Forth All-Abroad Council, and will be replaced by Archbishop Ilarion, who openly works in favor of Moscow.
In 1986 Moscow crowd has succeeded in retiring bishop Gregory (count George Grabbe), an uncompromising opponent of the union with the Moscow Patriarchate. For a few decades he was Secretary of Synod of the Russian Church Abroad. A young bishop Ilarion was appointed as his successor.
Once, when bishop Gregoryí daughter, Anastasiya Shatiloff, came to his office to gather her personal belongings, she met there a stranger, dressed in robe.
"Your Eminence, who is that?" she asked with puzzlement, for she knew all the clergy in Synod, where she has been assisting her father for many years.
"Oh, we are so much obliged to him! This is an officer of the Moscow Patriarchate, whohas kindly agreed to verify our archives!" bishop Ilarion said.
But why couldnít the priests of the Church Abroad have done it?! Moreover, in that period it was officially in confrontation with the Moscow Patriachate, which made any contact between them unthinkable!
As Mrs. AnastasiyaShatiloff told me, four most valuable folders have disappeared from the Synod archives after the "verification". They contained the documents concerning the property of the Russian Church Abroad in the Holy Land.
KGB people donít understand the West. Deep in their hearts they are sure, that Western liberties and rights are only mere words, just like in Russia, and that the people in the West also love the authorities in the same way.Having substituted the leading bishops of the Russian Church Abroad, Moscow became sure that the parishioners would follow them like sheep. And realized much to its surprisethat the flock doesnít wonít to unite. Moscow is incapable to recruit it.
Three bishops of the Russian Church Abroad oppose the unification with Moscow.
According to the newspaper "Our Country", bishop Alexander of Buenos Aires and South America, who recently died from cancer, continued publishing appeals, glorifying the unification with Soviet church until the last days of his life, although he was suffering from agonizing pain.Just before his death he complained that those appeals were, in fact, written by pro-Moscow priests, Fathers Lebedev and Perekryostov, and he was only signing them obediently. But why? The newspaper "Our Country" has proposed that bishop Alexander was afraid that some compromising facts, concerning him, could become public.
But not that long ago Archpriest Alexander Lebedev was an irreconcilable enemy of the Soviet church!He has even written a book called "A sly fruit", published in 1994. And later, he suddenly changed his mind without any logical reason. Anyway, this reason is widely discussed by Russian immigrants.
Not only Archpriest Lebedev, but also a number of prominent priests of the Russian Church Abroad, who had fiercely and cleverly criticized the Soviet church, have unexpectedly fell in love with it in 1990s. They explain this by saying that the Soviet church has changed entirely in its nature, has confessed and abandoned its Soviet past, but this is not so!I think that their metamorphosis is not religious, but lay in nature. We may only guess, how many hundreds of officers are working in Moscow and its embassies on the seizure of the Russian Church Abroad!Theycover all its priests with their surveillance, trying to find their weakness! Putin is playing a big game.
But even the pro-Moscow bishops understand, that if Moscow seizes their Church, a lot of its rich parishes will move to other jurisdictions.This is just what Moscow wants, as it does not need a united Russian Church Abroad, a spiritual center of Russian immigration. But what about the bishops? Donít they need their Church either? Do they want to lose the incomes?Putin will hardly compensate them, and, by the way, his position is not eternal. What will be the most important issue for the bishops at the Fourth All-Abroad Council: to salute Putin or to maintain their Church at least for financial reasons? This is the main secret of the traitorous unification.
Putin will not be able to punish all of the bishops. And the KGB officers can retreat also. If they realize that they canít cope with their task, then they will take a step backwards, telling each other that this is necessary for the common cause.