At first Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky did not sign the "Declaration" and was put in prison, but he was let out very soon after. This seemed highly suspicious to all the faithful. It turned out that now he had signed the Declaration. In other words, he had betrayed the Church to the Bolshevik government. He thereby deprived it of its own internal freedom in spiritual and administrative matters. When Metropolitan Peter learned that Metropolitan Sergius had signed this Declaration - in other words, that he had changed the whole course of the life of the Church - he wrote him two letters from prison, copies of which have been preserved. In these letters he said, very politely, "You, your eminence, had no right to change the course of the Church" i.e. to betray it to the Bolsheviks. He received no answer to these letters. And he was the real authority over Metropolitan Sergius. Clearly Sergius had concluded that by being arrested Metropolitan Peter had also been deposed from his position of authority in the Church, which is completely contrary to the Orthodox canons. Then Metropolitan Peter sent a letter by hand, thinking that it was the postal service that was at fault, and even then Metropolitan Sergius made no reply to his ecclesiastical superior, who was still his superior, even though confined to prison! For no Bolshevik government authority can deprive a single bishop or a single priest of his spiritual authority.
This is something which you should know. Despite this, Sergius decided that he need no longer reckon with him as someone in a senior position. When Metropolitan Peter returned from his exile, the Bolsheviks realized that Metropolitan Peter was senior to Metropolitan Sergius in the Church, and then they immediately arrested him and shot him. None of the ruling bishops (and there were about ten of them) submitted to Metropolitan Sergius as the successor to the Patriarch. So they were all arrested, sent into exile, and ultimately killed. The Bolsheviks did everything possible to smooth the way for Metropolitan Sergius. Thus Metropolitan Sergius set out on a path drenched in the blood of the martyred bishops of Russia. On one occasion Lenin said, "If you need a Church, we will give you one, we will even give you a Patriarch, but it is WE who will give you your Patriarch. And it is WE who will give you your Church."...At the moment when Metropolitan Sergius ceased to recognize Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa as his spiritual authority he deprived himself of the Apostolic Succession and became a usurper. Such was the path taken by Metropolitan Sergius, and after him by all the other patriarchs and metropolitans up to the present day, which is why we do not have any communion with the Moscow Patriarchate. It is a pseudo-patriarchate with a pseudo-patriarch at its head. This is the fundamental reason. So we do not point at it and say there, look what it's turned into, because the very heart of the matter is, that the Moscow Patriarchate has lost the Apostolic Succession, which is to say, that it has lost the Grace of Christ."
“It was difficult to anticipate a similarly full and representative gathering of same-minded members of the Church in the near future. Therefore those who had gathered decided immediately to open a ‘Sacred Council’, in order to make canonical regulations concerning vital questions of the Catacomb Church. The time of the Council was, as it seemed, limited to four hours, after which the participants in the Council were sent in different directions.
“The president was Metropolitan John (in one version: “Bishop John”), and the Council chose the layman A.Z. to be secretary. The resolutions of the Council were not signed: A.Z. gave an oath to memorize the decisions of the Council and to pass on to whom it was necessary whatever he remembered exactly, but not to speak at all about what he confused or could not remember exactly. A.Z. in his time succeeded in passing on the memorised decisions of the Church. His words were written down and became Canons of the Church. Among these Canons were some which are especially necessary for the Church:
“1. The Sacred Council forbids the faithful to receive communion from the clergy legalized by the anti-Christian State.
“2. It has been revealed to the Sacred Council by the Spirit that the anathema-curse hurled by his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon is valid, and all priests and Church-servers who have dared to consider it as an ecclesiastical mistake or political tactic are placed under its power and bound by it.“
3. To all those who discredit and separate themselves from the Sacred Council of 1917-18 – Anathema!“
4. All branches of the Church which are on the common trunk – the trunk is our pre-revolutionary Church – are living branches of the Church of Christ. We give our blessing to common prayer and the serving of the Divine Liturgy to all priests of these branches. The Sacred Council forbids all those who do not consider themselves to be branches, but independent from the tree of the Church, to serve the Divine Liturgy. The Sacred Council does not consider it necessary to have administrative unity of the branches of the Church, but unity of mind concerning the Church is binding on all.”
I. For the election of the Primate of a Local Church it is essential that such an election take place according to the laws of the given Church and that it be free, representing a genuine _expression of her voice.
2. In 1917 the All-Russian Council adopted a resolution restoring the Patriarchate in Russia, and elected to the Patriarchal See His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon. This council included all canonically consecrated bishops of the Russian Church, representatives of the monastic clergy and the Orthodox Theological Academies, invited by the Synod on the basis of the Regulation it had issued. All the representatives of the diocese were chosen freely at elections on three levels: parish elections, deanery elections and diocesan meetings. The actual election of the Patriarch took place in a fashion that guaranteed freedom in the nominating of candidates for election. The latter were established by a secret ballot, and at first a large number of candidates were named. From among them, by systematic balloting, the three who received the highest number of votes were picked, and of those one was finally elected by the drawing of lots. This system of election, guaranteeing complete freedom and confirmed by the All-Russian Church Council, was never abolished by a free council of equal authority. Therefore, and election of Patriarchs effected otherwise and not in a free manner, does not express the voice of the Russian Orthodox Church and is not lawful. Not only the election of the present Pimen, who claims to be Patriarch, but those of his two predecessors must also be regarded as unlawful. Their supporters can not defend these elections by saying that the external conditions caused by persecutions against the Faith prevented the realization of a lawful form of election, since, despite the obvious, they constantly insist on the supposed full religion's freedom in the Soviet Union. Similar decisions were made the now elected Patriarch Pimen. At all three patriarchal elections, no one attempted or had any possibility of nominating a candidate other than the one indicated beforehand by representatives of the secular authorities.
3. The lawful succession of higher Church authority in the Russian Church has been broken since 192 7, when the Acting Locum-Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne, Metropolitan Sergius of Nizhny-Novgorod, went against the order of the Metropolitan of Krutitsa whom he was replacing and signed an agreement with the atheistic secular authorities, to which neither Metropolitan Peter nor the other elder hierarchs agreed. The Soviet government began to throw all the hierarchs who did not agree with Metropolitan Sergius in prison, thus clearing the path for him to become head of the Russian Church.
He, for his part, taking no account of the elder bishops, formed a Synod by his own personal choice and, while Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa, to whom by position the Moscow diocese belonged, was still alive, he unlawfully gave himself the title of "His Beatitude the Metropolitan of Moscow" with the right to wear two panagias. In 1943, by order of the atheist and the malicious persecutor of the Church, Stalin, he hurriedly (in four days) pulled together, in fulfillment of the latter's political plans, a Council consisting of bishops specially chosen and freed from prison for the purpose by Stalin, a Council which, counting Metropolitan Sergius, himself, consisted of only 19 bishops, and which elected him Patriarch. In 1945, after the death of Patriarch Sergius, Metropolitan Alexis of Leningrad gathered a Council, to which representatives of the other autocephalous Churches were also invited. This Council, besides recently consecrated bishops, consisted of representatives of the clergy and laity, picked without elections and prepared for the election of a Patriarch, and, submissively following the directions of the atheistic authorities, unanimously elected as Patriarch Metropolitan Alexis of Leningrad. After his death, in the same illegal manner the so-called All-Russian Council was convoked this year for the election as Patriarch of Metropolitan Pimen, known not so much for his devoutness or theological education, but rather for his diligence in carrying out the orders of the atheistic government, which are directed toward the destruction of the Church and toward fulfilling the political plans of the Soviet Regime.
4. All of the elections of Patriarchs in Moscow, beginning in 1943, are invalid on the basis of the 30th Canon of the Holy Apostles and the 3rd Canon of the 7th Ecumenical Council, according to which, "if any bishop, having made use of secular rulers, should receive through them Episcopal authority in the Church, let him be defrocked and excommunicated along with all those in communion with him". The significance that the Fathers of the 7th Council gave to such an offence is obvious from the very fact of a double punishment for it, that is, not only deposition but excommunication as well, something unusual for ecclesiastical law. The famous commentator on Canon Law, Bishop Nicodemus of Dalmatia, gives the following explanation of the 30th Canon of the Holy Apostles: "If the Church condemned unlawful influence by the secular authorities in the ordination of bishops at a time when the rulers were Christians, then it follows that She should condemn such action all the more when the latter are pagans and place even heavier penalties on the guilty parties, who were not ashamed of asking for help from pagan rulers and the authorities subordinated to them, in order to gain the episcopate. This (30th) Canon has such cases in view". If in defense of this position examples are given of the Patriarchs of Constantinople who were placed on the Throne at the caprice of the Turkish Sultans, one can reply that no anomaly can be regarded as a norm and that one breach of Canon Law cannot justify another.
Taking into consideration all the above mentioned reasons, the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, as the representative of the free part of the Russian Church, determines:
The election of Pimen (Izvekov) as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russias at the gathering calling itself an All-Russian Church Council in Moscow the 2nd of June of this year, on the authority of the 3rd Canon of the 7th Ecumenical Council and other reasons set forth in this decision, is to be regarded as unlawful and void, and all of his acts and directions as having no strength.
When Metropolitan Sergius gave his notorious interview for TASS on February 15, 1930, in which he denied that there was persecution against religion in the USSR and equated the Church confessors with common criminals, Archbishop Andrew wrote: "Such is the opinion of the false head of the false patriarchal church Metropolitan Sergius. Who, after all this, can recognize him as their head? For whom will this false head remain as such, in spite of his betrayal of Christ? Imagine, readers - they recognize him, many recognize him!.. They curse him, but recognize him as their 'canonical' head. As if it were better to sit in hell with such a canonical head than without any head at all... But tell me, reader, is it possible to consider this company of hierarchs, these universal deceivers, as followers of Christ? - It goes without saying: no and no! All the followers of the lying Metropolitan Sergius are themselves filled to overflowing with lies and cunning and have fallen away from the truth of Christ - they have fallen away from the Church of Christ. The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is in some other place, but not with Metropolitan Sergius and not with his 'Synod'. Let the reader himself search where she is... It is not so difficult to find her. But one can firmly say that Metropolitan Sergius has convincingly demonstrated that the Synodal government of the Church did not give, and could not give her anything but harm. Sergius has dug a deep grave for this kind of Church government. The Holy Church will recall the sins of Sergius and his co-strugglers with horror, placing his name next to the names of the ecumenical false-patriarchs - Nestorius, Dioscurus and the other terrible traitors against Orthodoxy. When the hierarch Athanasius of Alexandria was expelled from his see by an heretical emperor, then, of course, hierarchs were found who readily carried out all the unlawful commands of the tsar. These hierarchs were called by St. Athanasius, not episkopoi [bishops], but kataskopoi (i.e. tsarist spies) deprived of all the gifts of grace. Such are our contemporary kataskopoi; they are destroyers of the churches of God and of Church life in general. Such is Metropolitan Sergius."
The Moscow Synod has deprived itself of all authority, since it has entered into agreement with the atheists, and without offering any resistance it has tolerated the closing and destruction of the holy churches, and the other innumerable crimes of the Soviet government… That illegally formed organization which has entered into union with God’s enemies, which Metropolitan Sergius calls an Orthodox Synod – but which the best Russian hierarchs, clergy and laymen have refused to recognize - … must not be recognized by our Orthodox Churches, nor by our Synod of Bishops with its flock here abroad. Furthermore, the organization of the Moscow Synod must be recognized to be exactly the same sort of apostates from the Faith as the ancient libellatici, that is, Christians who although they refused to blaspheme openly against Christ and offer sacrifices to the idols, nevertheless still received from the priests of the idols false documents verifying that they were in complete accord with the adherents of pagan religion…"
The holy Martyr St. Patriarch Tikhon testifies to the same in his epistle excommunicating the soviet power; Blessed Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) does likewise when he condemns the Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius (Stargorodsky), as does Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky) in his last testament.
Hear Holy Patriarch Tikhon's words stated right after committing the God-fighting soviet power to anathema: "We exorcise you, faithful children of the Orthodox Church of Christ, in no way to associate with these fiends of humankind." Holy Patriarch Tikhon not only admonishes but exorcises. And exorcism is admonishment with the threat of punishment. His words turned out to be prophetic... How terribly believers were punished by the communism that so many of them had supported.In his letter to Metropolitan Sergius, Blessed Metropolitan Anthony called his (sergei's) declaration a betrayal. During those times (1927) Moscow bishops, archbishops and metropolitans had not yet become KGB agents. The main task of the KGB was the "eradication of religion". This makes the activities of the bishops, archbishops and metropolitans of the Moscow Patriarchate much worse than betrayal.In his last will and testament, Metropolitan Anastassy has said: "As for the Moscow Patriarchate and its bishops, archbishops and metropolitans, the Russian Church Abroad must not have any canonical, prayerful, or even simple everyday association, leaving them at the same time to the final judgment of the Council of the future free Russian Church."These words point out the first and repeated condemnation of the Moscow Patriarchate by the Russian Church Abroad. As the Apostle Paul teaches: A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject (Tit 3: 10)."