861.404/509: Telegram

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

1320. My 1298 [1289], 7th. Pravda of September 9th carries the following report on the assembly of bishops of the Orthodox Church.

On September 8th an assembly of the bishops of the Orthodox Church was held at Moscow to elect the Patriarch of Moscow and of all the Russians and to form in the patriarchate a Holy Synod.

The assembly of bishops unanimously elected Metropolitan Sergius as Patriarch of Moscow and of All the Russians.90

The assembly further unanimously accepted a message to the Soviet Government proposed by Metropolitan Sergius expressing appreciation for the attention shown to the needs of the Russian Orthodox Church. Grigori, Archbishop of Saratov, read a message to the Christians of the entire world.91 This document which contained an appeal for the union of all forces in the struggles against Hitlerism, was also unanimously adopted by the assembly.92 The assembly then proceeded to the election of the Holy Synod in the Patriarchate of Moscow and of all the Russians. The following were elected members of the Holy Synod: The Metropolitan of Leningrad, Alexis; the Exarch of the Ukraine and Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia, Nicholas; and the Archbishops of Yaroslavl, Krasnoyar, Kuibyshev and Gorki. The article also gives the following biographical note concerning the new patriarch.

The Patriarch of Moscow and of All the Russians Sergius was born at Arazamas in 1867. He studied at the Nizhgorod Theological Seminary and received his higher spiritual education at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. After completing the Academy he became a member of the religious mission in Japan and then occupied various posts as dean of the Embassy church at Athens; Director of the St. Petersburg Academy; Archbishop of Finland; Metropolitan of Vladimir; and Metropolitan of Nizhgorod. Since 1926 Metropolitan Sergius has been the Patriarch Locum Tenens.

  1. The investiture of Sergey as the 12th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia was carried out on September 12, 1943, with the traditional ceremonies in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Epiphany in the former village of Yelokhovo, now part of Moscow.
  2. The assembly of bishops (Sobor) expressed the hope that the “long awaited second front will at last be opened by the intensive efforts of the Christians in all Allied countries” thereby hastening the final victory and peace (861.404/515).
  3. The Sobor exhorted: “May the Divine Head of the Church bless the labors of the Government with His Almighty benediction and crown our struggle in a righteous cause with the desired victory and liberation of suffering humanity from the dismal bonds of Fascism.” (861.404/515)