February 1, 2012  In this new year, controversy has ensued in the Moscow Patriarchate over the removal of 36 individuals from the calendar of saints.  Previously, these 36 had been classified as New-Martyrs, and the names for these new martyrs are given by MP Deacon  and commentator,Andrei Kuraev on his blog. This mysterious disappearance has been reported on several other Russian language news sites; here and here, and here, for example.

The general rationale given, it appears, is that some of these bishops, priests, etc, do not qualify as new-martyrs. As Deacon Andrei Kuraev points out:

“For example, Bishop Basil Kineshma arrested Nov. 5, 1943. During the investigation, he testified against Tikhov arrested along with him. Tikhov from five years of exile, and Bishop. Basil was sent into exile by Krasnoyarsk, where he died.

Tikhova was glorified as a confessor decision of the Synod of 10/06/2001. ( o_moi/1945_kineshma.htm )”

On the other hand, it is possible that this has disconcerted many individuals in the ROCOR-MP. Were some of these people canonized by the ROCOR in the early 1980s?  Portal-Credo published the letter of protest from ROCOR-MP archpriest, Fr. Vladimir Malchenko, of Toronto. In his letter, which is republished on other sites (here and here), Fr. Vladimir (who is archpriest at the ROCOR-MP Holy Trinity church in Toronto, Canada), asks why such de-canonizations were necessary.  He further makes, what may be considered scathing criticism of Patriarch Kyril, for example, Fr. Vladimir states:

Patriarch Kirill, seeing great indignation of those present at the council in 2009, on which he was elected,  promised that nothing in the Church is going to change. And what do we see in 4 years of his leadership: an attempt at Russification of Church Slavonic, friendly attitude to Catholics, rapprochement with the government commitment to the business, and now – decanonization some martyrs.

It is wondered how long will the Moscow Patriarchate, and its associated branch, the ROCOR-MP, allow priests to issue even such mild criticism. Furthermore, the question of de-canonization is an interesting one. The memory of some, for example, recalls the accidental canonization of three Lutherans who were servants of the Holy Emperor, Nicholas, who were murdered by the Bolsheviks. Yet, this was an accidental reading of names.  Yet, in the case above, it seems that they are dealing with Bishops and clergy of the 20s, 30s, and 40s, who were, at least in some cases, proved to have insufficient documentation that they bore their torture by the Soviet government and its allied Sergianist forces, with the appropriate attitude in order to please the Sergianist Moscow Patriarchate.

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