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The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Standley) to the Secretary of State

1289. The Soviet press for September 5 published the following account of the “reception by Comrade J. V. Stalin of Metropolitans Sergius,85 Alexis,86 and Nikolai.”87

“On September 4 the President of the Council of People’s Commissars, Comrade J. V. Stalin, held a reception during which there took place a conversation with the patriarchal Locum Tenens, Metropolitan Sergius, the Leningrad Metropolitan, Alexis, and the Exarch of the Ukraine, the Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia, Nicholas.

During the conversation Metropolitan Sergius informed the President of the Council of People’s Commissars that the leading circles of the Orthodox Church are planning very soon to call a meeting of bishops to elect a patriarch of Moscow and of all Russia88 and to establish in the patriarchate a Holy Synod.

The Head of the Government, Comrade J. V. Stalin, regarded these proposals sympathetically and stated that on the part of the Government there would be no objection.

The Vice President of the Council of People’s Commissars, Comrade V. M. Molotov,89 was present at the conversation.”

  1. Sergey, Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna, patriarchal Locum-Tenens (Acting Head) of the Russian Orthodox Church since 1926.
  2. Alexy, Metropolitan of Leningrad (since 1933) and Novgorod (since 1932).
  3. Nikolay (Yarushevich), Metropolitan of Kiev and Galich, Exarch of the Ukraine, Exarch of the Western Ukraine and White Russia, director of the affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate in the absence of the patriarchal Locum-Tenens, the Metropolitan Sergey.
  4. The office of Patriarch had been abolished by Peter the Great in 1721. In 1917, the Metropolitan Tikhon had been elected by a council (Sobor) of the Russian Orthodox Church as the first Patriarch since that time. After many difficulties with the Soviet Government, the Patriarch Tikhon died in the Donskoy Monastery in Moscow on April 7, 1925, after which the office of Patriarch was again left unfilled.
  5. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.