861.404/2–2445: Telegram

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

544. ReEmbtel 494, February 21, 6 p.m.84 In conversation yesterday the Patriarch of the Orthodox Russian Church told an officer of the Embassy that satisfactory arrangement had been reached between the Moscow Patriarchate and the representatives of Theophilus, who are now en route to (the United States. He said that the terms offered Theophilus are, in his opinion, such that Theophilus can hardly afford to refuse them.85 Once the reconciliation has been effected the council of the North American diocese will meet to elect a new Metropolitan.86 He intimated that this Metropolitan will probably be Theophilus. He added that he hopes this reconciliation will terminate the very costly lawsuit which has been pending for so many years.

The Patriarch then went on to state that as soon as this question has been settled the Moscow Patriarchate will file suit to recover possession [Page 1125] of the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in New York to which the Living Church now holds title. The Patriarch maintains that this church is properly the possession of the Russian Orthodox Church and that Archbishop Kedrovski wished to hold it principally because his mother has a sentimental interest in keeping it.

The Moscow press yesterday announced that the representatives of Theophilus had been here and were now en route back to the United States.

  1. Not printed.
  2. The two American representatives had been presented, without prior discussion on Februray 16, with Patriarchal ukaz No. 94 to take home. This document presumed to set forth the conditions and procedures required in order to establish the reunion of the American church with the Mother Church. The ukaz proved to contain a number of provisions which were unacceptable to the American church now “flourishing in an atmosphere of democratic freedom” and the ukaz was rejected at a Bishops Council which met at Chicago May 22–24, 1945. A clear explication of the position adopted toward the ukaz by the Metropolitan Council of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North America was set forth in detail in a communication of July 10, approved by the Metropolitan Theophilus, to the Clergy and Lay People of the Russian Orthodox Church of America.
  3. The Archbishop Alexey of Yaroslav and Rostov arrived in New York on September 15, 1945, with his secretary, Anatol Nikolayevich Kozlovsky. Archbishop Alexey visited parishes of the American church as the representative of the Patriarch Alexey with the object of obtaining the submission to the Patriarch of the Church in America. Some objections were expressed against his activities, and some of his remarks seemed to indicate that he was actually a representative of the Soviet Government although outwardly he was supposed to be a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church. His mission to the American church was not successful.