Anniversary of the Repose of Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal

On January 16th, 2012 in Suzdal, Russia, a Divine Liturgy and memorial service were held on the 1 year anniversary of the repose of Metropolitan Valentine (Rusantsov) of Suzdal. The services were lead by the current primate of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, Metropolitan Theodore (Gineevsky). In accordance with the will of the reposed Metropolitan Valentine, he was interred in the crypt in the Church of St. Tatiana.

Metropolitan Valentine was widely known throughout the traditional Orthodox world for his bold stance for traditional Orthodoxy and his resistance to the control of the Sergianist Moscow Patriarchate. Prior to becoming a Priest in the true Church, he had been a clergyman of the Moscow Patriarchate, where he endured much persecution from its hierarchical authorities. For example, then Archimandrite Valentine openly criticized the Soviet government and the close cooperation that the MP had with it, during his visits inside and outside of the former Soviet Union.  On April 11, 1990, the then Fr. Valentine and his parish were received into the ROCOR.  In 1991, he was consecrated to the episcopate.

As time drew on, he came into increasing conflict with the over-seas run ROCOR.  As the canons of the Church (especially those approved by the Synod of Trullo, including the Carthaginian canons of the early 400s) explain, after a see is restored from heresy and/or schism, if there are no contestants recognized to that see, the see shall assume all the rights and privileges it held prior to the time it feel from unity of the Catholic (Orthodox) Church. Thus, from a canonical view point, it made little sense for the Metropolitan and Bishops of newly created sees in the new world to give direction to bishops of restored Russian sees in Russia.  This, and many other issues (especially the contentions being generated, it seems, over the future communion of the ROCOR with the SiR), led to a break in communion between the ROCOR and Met. Valentine and other bishops inside of Russia.

Nevertheless, Metropolitan Valentine continued his ministry, and, over time, was able, by God’s grace, to build up the Church in Russia. Restoring, rebuilding, and often completely building anew, churches and spiritual lives.  The MP and Russian government authorities would continually persecute him, accusing him of horrible crimes; yet, each time, the courts exonerated him.  However, near the end of his life, the ROAC, it seemed, was beginning to loose its battle to maintain the temples it had built and restored. In many cases, these were pre-revolutionary buildings that were little more than foundations or completely empty and ruins. Yet, it seems it was only after a tremendous amount of money, labour, and time was put into their restoration, that the MP (which had previously relinquished any claim) would draw interest in these structures. The MP even seized buildings that were not built completely from the ground up (along with “arresting” the vestments and icons made by the ROAC faithful).

Despite this, Met. Valentine and the ROAC proceeded with the apostolic mission to preach the Truth of Orthodoxy. Met. Valentine, in his last few years, experienced increasing health problems, most notably diabetes. After visiting spiritual children, Met. Valentine later died from complications due to diabetes, at the age of 73, on January 16th (ns) in Moscow. Just a few days short (according ot the Church reckoning) of the feast of Theophany.

On January 22nd, the anniversary of his burial, the majority of the ROAC bishops, clergy, and faithful will attend a large memorial service held in Suzsal.