Celebration of the Millennium of the Baptism of Russia in Vyshny Volochyok (Sergei and Aleksei Tkachyov, 1989)
Some think the liberation of Orthodoxy began with the fall of the Soviets in 1991. This is not true in the slightest. The rebirth actually began in the 1980s, and picked up steam with the celebration of the Millennium of the Baptism of Russia in 1988. Orthodoxy never actually died out; it never was destroyed despite the worst efforts of the atheist government to do so.
Therefore, the right-wingers who said, “The communists are still in power”, and who refused to come into unity with the Church were at best, misguided, at worst, evil. There are no other words fitting to the situation. Metropolitan Laurus Skurla (1928-2008) saw what had to be done. He acted boldly and saw to it that the Act of Canonical Communion was signed on 17 May 2007, even though his efforts took a toll on his fragile and frail health and may have hastened his death. He gave his all. May God glorify him as a result.
The scene depicted was a foretaste of that day. the Church was breathing freely, and communism was waning, not the Church. Many brave people in the rodina kept the Church alive at great risk. That is why I could never accept the accusations coming from some Western sources saying that Soviet believers were “collaborators with the communists”. Such voices were wrong in 1991; they are wrong now. I opposed such voices then; I continue to oppose such voices today.
I thank God for the great blessing he showered upon the believers in the USSR. They preserved Orthodoxy for us in the West. Those who wish to call them “Sergianists” were my enemies, are my enemies, and shall always be my enemies.
God preserve forever the shining memory of the Soviet believers. Their road was hard. I bow down before them in the deepest and most sincere respect.