ROCOR-A: Parishes Harrassed in Russia, Abp Sofrony Appeal

Dear in the Lord Brothers and Sisters of the St. Petersburg and Northern Russia Diocese,
The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad continues to endure the persecution of our parishes in Russia from the government as well as from the Moscow Patriarchia.
The legal battle in the Pskov oblast continues to this day over the building erected through the efforts our parishioners.  Similarly, yesterday, October 20, 2011, the property of the Holy Protection parish and the St. Nicholas convent in the village of Dudachkino in the Volkhovskiy region were subjected to a search of the church, monastic cells and common buildings.
The search was conducted as a result of a ruling of the court in the city of Volkhov.  The ruling was based on a number of anonymous reports of an alleged, pending terrorist act.  The search lasted about 5 hours and was carried out by a group of over 20 people including, bomb squad technicians, investigators, criminal lawyers and photo and video correspondents, along with officials of the regional court led by the regional public prosecutor.  The search was unsuccessful in uncovering any planned terrorist act.  Members of our parish were repeatedly “advised” to turn over all the parish property to the Moscow Patriarchia.  The rector of the parish was was told verbally to appear before the prosecutor’s office.
Despite all of this, dear in the Lord brothers and sisters, do not decrease your efforts to pray and do not despair in the battle with the enemy of our salvation and bear in mind that we are foreigners in this world and citizens of the Jerusalem on high.  Always remember that on every continent in the world our Church Abroad exalts in prayer during the Divine Liturgy for all Her persecuted members.  As the Lord that loves us allows us these trials, may we patiently endure them.  Our steadfastness in the eyes of God are tested by these temptations.
Dear brothers and sisters!  Increase in yourself the love for one another, tolerance and forgiveness.  These are the virtues that show us the path to the Heavenly Kingdom.
+Archbishop Sofroniy