A 20th Anniversary Present from the FSB

Portal-Credo reports that while Bishop Andrei of Pavlovskoye and Tatiana Beltchev, church warden for Geneva, were visiting Suzdal for the 20th anniversary of Metropolitan Valentine’s episcopal consecration on February 15 (NS), officers of the FSB from the Vladimir region arrived during official examination by the local police department of their documentation to ask a few questions concerning the “museum of the white war”, a museum of items from the revolutionary period and civil war and the first Russian emigration.

Bishop Andrew acted as a translator, as Tatiana Beltchev was interrogated on the fate of the items in the museum, originally bequeathed to her by her mother. The museum was first housed in Nice, France, in a Russian Church under Constantinople; however, according to the will, the museum’s items were meant to return to Russia when the opportunity arose. The FSB officers argued that the items were in fact the “property of the Russian people”, and not “a religious organization known as ROAC”. These claims, however, were not based upon the will and testament of the original owners.

Consequently, since the 1990’s, the Suzdal diocesan house has been the home of the museum, and was open to the public until very recently, in light of the attacks and attempted arson on the building, when Metropolitan Valentine moved the items into storage. For his part, Metropolitan Valentine noted that the interest on the part of the FSB indicates there could be a new series of attacks on the Church, with items like the museum being used as a pretext.