Film about Martyr Joseph of St. Petersburg Prohibited Because of Anti-Sergianist Content

November 17, 2014  (Source:

UPDATE: The film about St. Joseph is here, in Russian.

NFTU: How could a film about St. Joseph of Petrograd NOT be anti-Sergianist? You would in essence have to ignore everything that made him distinct and led to his martyrdom by the Soviets in 1937. For those unaware, St. Joseph refused to recognize Metropolitan Sergius as the legitimate leader of the Russian Orthodox world, since Met. Sergius inaugurated complete cooperation (in all matters) with the God-hating atheist regime of the Soviet Union.  The vast majority of Russian Orthodox bishops and clergy opposed Sergianism and did not recognize Met. Sergius. However, as a result, over 100,000 priests and monastics were executed by Soviet forces, and all the bishops who would not acquiesce to accepting the Declaration of Met. Sergius (where he declares that the joys of Militant Soviet Atheism are the ‘joys’ of the Church) were either executed or died in prison.  In 1942, Stalin officially approved an expansion program of the Met. Sergius’ organization (which only had 50 churches or so).  Met. Sergius and one or two other bishops who had gone along with his plan were given control of the vast majority of properties in Russia that were church related.  This was because Stalin needed to harness the powers of Russian nationalism in the fight against the Nazis (it was believed the many Russian peasants would not fight for the Soviet regime because of its violent persecution of Christians, as well as the distaste many Russian Orthodox Christians had to Met. Sergius; therefore a propaganda campaign was begun).   Met. Sergius and his few bishops in turn consecrated dozens of additional bishops, and replenished the supply of clergy.  At this point there was no opposition ecclesiastically to Met. Sergius that was legal, he was declared “Patriarch” by the Soviet government.  The only opposition was the Catacomb, or True Orthodox (as it called itself), Church, that was largely composed of bishops, clergy and laity that managed to hide from Met. Sergius and the Soviet forces.  St. Joseph had been the leader until his execution by the Soviet Atheist government in accord with the wishes of Met. Sergius and others, for his opposition to the Declaration declaring Atheism and Orthodoxy had the same ‘joys’.

(machine translation)

Tatiana Kanayeva commented: “To all who were going to the showing of my a documentary about St. Joseph of Petrograd on November 20, it is to be reported that the showing will not take place – I received from the festival (I do not want to write specific names) this message:

“In accordance with the regulations of the festival, all the theological issues raised in the films announced for participation in the festival, tested at the higher clergy of each church participating in the festival.

Films having a religious orientation, are reviewed and approved by representatives of Christian denominations participating in the festival. In order to prevent inter-religious and inter-ethnic differences, the festival organizing committee has the right to exclude the film from the festival program at any stage of its preparation.

The Organizing Committee of the International Festival of the Christian movie “Nevsky Blagovest” forced to withdraw from the show your film – “Martyr Joseph, Metropolitan of Petrograd,” due to the fact that the concept of the film does not meet the generally accepted view of the conciliar specified period of history and the role of individuals in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church .

We apologize in connection with the situation.”


Continue reading…. (Original Russian)

3 thoughts on “Film about Martyr Joseph of St. Petersburg Prohibited Because of Anti-Sergianist Content

  • November 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Let’s find out how to obtain this film. I hope someone will do English subtitles.

  • November 23, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Apparently there are a number of videos on youtube (in Russian) about the life of Metropolitan St. Joseph the New-Martyr.

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