(Interfax) – Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain doesn’t agree with accusations against the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad of trying to justify General Andrey Vlasov and turn him in an unambiguous hero.
“The Synodal decision doesn’t mean to glorify Vlasov and present him as the only alternative to what was before. It wasn’t meant at all,” Archbishop Mark told Interfax-Religion in his interview.
According to him, when the Synod of Bishops Abroad commented on Protopriest George Mitrofanov’s book The Tragedy of Russia. Forbidden Themes in the History of the 20th Century, they tried to “help open a discussion on what had really happened” in Russian liberation movement of Vlasov’s allies, especially as such a discussion “has never been held in Russia before.”
“As hierarchs abroad, we just wanted to express our opinion that deceitful opinion about Vlasov needs correction and objective analysis that couldn’t be done before,” Archbishop Mark said.
According to him, the Russian Church Abroad speaks against “considering each person who wasn’t on Stalin’s side a traitor” and welcomes “open discussion based on facts rather than on any ideology.”
Last week, the Synod of the Russian Church Abroad made a statement where it expressed disagreement with those who considered General Vlasov a traitor of Russia.
[In response, notable Moscow Patriarchate Deacon Andrei Kuraev publically flogged the ROCOR, labelling them as “justifying the sin of Judas” because of Vlasov’s assistance to the Nazis against the Soviets. NFTU]
Former Soviet General Vlasov was taken prisoner in 1942, organized the Russian Liberation Army that helped Nazis on occupied territories. The Moscow Patriarchate noted that some old Russian emigrants traditionally sympathized with Vlasov and this Synodal document was adopted with regard to their position.