Only in the opinion of a few fundamentalist schismatics, when it was they, not the Patriarchate of Moscow, who departed from the Christian Faith.
Source: Living Orthodoxy (A ROCOR Magazine); #146; Vol. XXV; #2, March-April 2005 (can be ordered from sjkp.org)
THE MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE:
TESTIMONY OF ORTHODOX BISHOPS
"The defenders of Sergius say that the canons allow one to separate from a bishop only for a heresy which has been condemned by a council. Against this one may reply that the deeds of Metropolitan Sergius may be sufficiently placed in this category as well, if one has in view such an open violation by him of the freedom and dignity of the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic."
- St. Joseph, Metropolitan of Petrograd (d. 1938),
Letter to an Archimandrite of Petrograd, 1928
"If you are helpless to defend the Church, step aside; clear the space for someone stronger than you."
- St. Peter, Metropolitan of Krutitsk (d. 1936)
(Locum Tenens of the Patriarchate)
Letter to Metropolitan Sergei, 1930
"... You are nothing other than a continuation of the so-called 'Renovationist' (Living Church) movement, only in a more refined and very danger now already criminal silence over your mistakes and incorrect actions and, with the blessing of Dimitry, Bishop of Gdov, to disassociate ourselves from you and those who surround you. Leaving you, we do not depart from the lawful Locum Tenens, Metropolitan Peter, and we shall give ourselves over to the judg ment of a future council."
- Letter of the Clergy and Laity of Serpukhov to Metropolitan Sergei, 1927
(Possibly written by St. Maxim, Bishop of
Serpukhov (d. 1931))
"As for me, acknowledging my responsibility be 10/23 of this year to Bishop Sophronius, who has been assigned to the See of Great Ustiug by [Sergius'] Synod, that my flock and the clergy of Nikolsk - except for the
cathedral clergy, who have been rejected by the people - cannot accept him because we have separated from Sergius and his Synod. And on the other hand I have informed Metropolitan Joseph that I canonically join to him the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Great Ustiug, in accordance with the blessing of Vladika Irinarch, whose lawful Substitute I am at the present time for the whole Diocese of Great Ustiug. (...) I propose that my epistle be read and considered at assemblies of the faithful, so that all might know the way the matter stands and freely enter into unity with me, remain ing faithful to the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal See, Metropolitan Peter, and to the entire Ortho Cathedral of the Lord's Meeting in Nikolsk... are in a state of excommunication from me until they shall show sincere repentance in the form established for Renovationists, or until a complete council of bishops shall judge the case of Metropolitan Sergius and those who are with him (10th Canon of the HolyApostles)." I place before you these hirelings, who see the wolf approach and flee; do not follow them, my brethren and children...."
- St. Hierotheus, Bishop of Nikolsk (d. 1928)
Letter to the clergy and laity
of the Diocese of Great Ustiug, 1928
"After the historic Petrograd Delegation Metro of Archbishop and temporary head of the Petrograd Diocese. Metropolitan Sergius thereupon placed Archbishop Dimitry un to accept this or any other decrees coming from Metropolitan Sergius, recognizing that by his `adaptation to atheism' he had placed himself in schism from the Russian Church."
- I.M. Andreyev on St. Dmitri,
Archbishop of Gdov (d. 1938)
"....I accept you into communion in prayer with myself and under my archpastoral leadership... until such time as a complete Local Council of the Russian Church, at which there will be represented the entire active episcopate - i.e., the present exiles-confessors - shall justify by its conciliar authority our way of acting, or until such time as Metropolitan Sergius will come to himself and repent of his sins not only against the canonical order of the Church, but also dogmatically against her person...."
- St. Dmitri, Archbishop of Gdov (d. 1938)
Letter to the priests of the Petrograd Diocese, 1928
"But if the temporary substitute of the Patriarchal Locum Tenens will stubbornly continue in his scheme, and will not free his post, we will depart from him as a whole Church, for the episcopate has the right and the foundation to deprive him of the authority in which it clothed him for building up and not destroying (II Cor 10:
the life of the Church. ... But if he (Metropolitan Sergius) dis policy and pretend to the authority of the chief hierarch, then he of course will turn out to be a church rebel and schismatic."
- St. Pachomius, Archbishop of Chernigov (d. 1937); and St. Averky, Archbishop of
Zhitomir (d. 1938?)
Epistle of 1927
"Let the whole visible world perish; let there be more important in our eyes the certain perdition of the soul to which he will be subjected who presents such outward pretexts for sin. "But if the hardness of your heart has gone far, and there remains no hope for repentance, even for this outcome we have a text to enlighten us: Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not their uncleanness; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
- St. Victor, Bishop of Glazov (d. 1934),
Letter to Metropolitan Sergei, 1927
"We, the bishops of the Yaroslav church region, acknowledging the responsibility which lies on us before God for those things which have been en freedom for the ordering of the inward church-religious life which Christ has given us as a testament - in order to calm the disturbed conscience of the faithful, having no other way out of the fatal situation which has been created for the Church, from this time onwards separate from you and refuse to acknowl right to the higher administration of the Church."
- St. Agafangel, Metropolitan of Yaroslav (d. 1928) - St. Seraphim, Archbishop of Uglich (Vicar of the Yaroslav Diocese, former Substitute of the Locum Tenens) (d. ca. 1935)
- St. Barlaam, Archbishop of Perm (temporarily governing the Lyubinsk Vicariate) (d. 1942)
- St. Eugene, Bishop of Rostov (Vicar of the Yaroslav Diocese) (d. 1937)
Letter to Metropolitan Sergei, 1928
"Bishop Philip (Gumilevsky) [was] shot to death in the Krasnoiarsk prison in 1934 for refusing to accept the authority of Metropolitan Serge."
- Archpriest Michael Polsky
"With what joy I gave over to you my own rights as Substitute of the Locum Tenens, believing that your wisdom and experience would cooperate with you in the governance of the Church. But what happened? Can this fatal act really not be corrected? Will you really not find the courage to acknowledge your error, your fatal mistake, the issuance by you of the Declaration of July 16/29, 1927?"
- St. Seraphim, Archbishop of Uglich (d. ca. 1935)
Letter to Metropolitan Sergei, 1928
"Concerning the modernized church or concerning Sergian ‘Orthodoxy', I, a sinner, believe that, as regards such church activists, we must call them not only heretics and schismatics, but as those who have apostasized from God. After all, Metropoli heresy of modernized apostasy from God - of which the natural consequence has been confusion and schism in the Church. Can one, after this, affirm that the declaration and activity of Metropolitan Sergius concerns only the external life of the Church, and does not touch in anyway the essence of the Church's Orthodoxy? In no way can this be said. Metropolitan Sergius, by his self wise and evil-worshipping declaration and the anti-Church work which followed it, has created a new renovationist schism or Sergian renovation, which while preserving for the `little ones' a fiction of Orthodoxy and canonicity is even more criminal than the first two renovationisms of 1922 and 1925. And so Metropolitan Sergius has trampled on not only the external, but the very inner essence of the Orthodoxy of the Church, since his 'ho the very essence of Christian Faith and presents by itself clear apostasy, falling away from the Faith, and departure from God."
- St. Paul, Bishop of Starobela Epistle of 1928
"By his actions against the spirit of Orthodoxy, Metropolitan Sergius has torn himself away from unity with the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and has forfeited the right of presidency in the Russian Church."
- St. Alexei, Bishop of Kozlov (administering
the Diocese of Voronezh) (d. 1936)
Epistle of 1928
"...it is essential for an Orthodox Bishop or priest to refrain from communion with Sergianists in prayer."
- St. Cyril, Metropolitan of Kazan (d. 1937?) Epistle of 1934
"The chief priest of Soviet Russia, the head of the Moscow Orthodox Church, Bishop Andrew re betrayer of Christ."
Testimony of a fellow prisoner
regarding St. Andrew, Bishop of Ufa (d. 1937)
"All followers of the lying-Metropolitan Sergei are themselves filled with lies and evil, and have fallen away from the truth of Christ; they have fallen away from Christ's Church. The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is somewhere, in some other place, but not with Metropolitan Sergei, not with `his synod.' ...The holy Church will remember with horror the sins of Sergei and his fellow activists, having placed his name next to the names of ecumenical pseudo-Patriarchs Nestorius, Dioscorus, and other terrible traitors to Orthodoxy."
- St. Andrew, Bishop of Ufa (d. 1937), quoted in Zelenogorsky,
Life and Work of Archbishop Andrew
"If looking from afar I still supposed that there were some circumstances justifying his behavior, I have completely lost this belief."
- St. Damascene,
Bishop of Glukhov (d. ca. 1935)
After meeting with Metropolitan Sergei in 1928
"And we must not only teach others, but ourselves also fulfill, following the examples of the Moscow saints, whom we have commemorated today. They stand before us as Orthodox zealots, and we must follow their example, turning aside completely from the dishonesty of those who have now occu not only would not recognize any of their succes condemnation."
- Metropolitan Anastasy (Gribanovsky) (d. 1965)
Address to the Sobor of Bishops, 1959
"Those hierarchs who have compromised the free the State have committed in the words of Bishop Victor (Ostrovidov), one of the first Russian confessor bishops to speak out against Sergianism, `a sin that is not less than any heresy or schism, but is rather incomparably greater, for it plunges a man immediately into the abyss of de struction, according to the Unlying Word: 'Who Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven' (Matt. 10:33)."'
from Andreev, Russia's Catacomb Saints
"Bishop Hilarion, formerly of Smolensk, was a most irreconcilable enemy of the declaration of Metropolitan Sergei of 1927; he denied the sacra those already married in a'Soviet Church."'
- Protopresbyter Michael Polsky,
New Martyrs of Russia
"We, the free bishops of the Russian Church, do not want a truce with Satan, although you are trying to obscure the question by calling our hostile relationships only a policy.... "Here, we offer you the salutary oil of faith and loyalty in the Holy Church. Do not refuse it, but reunite with it as in 1922 ..."
- Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) (d. 1936)
Letter to Metropolitan Sergei, 1933
(Alluding to Sergei's return to the Church
from the Renovationist schism)
"It is noteworthy that several hierarchs and their flocks, for the most part Russians, have already fallen away from the Ecumenical unity, and to the question: `What dost thou believe?' reply with references to self-proclaimed heads of all sorts of schisms in Moscow, America and Western Europe. It is clear that they have ceased to believe in the unity of the Church.... Those who have cut themselves off from her deprive themselves of the hope of salvation, as the Fathers of the Sixth
Ecumenical Council teach concerning this, having recognized the renegades as being totally devoid of grace.... Unfortunately, some Orthodox laymen, even, alas, many-priests (and hierarchs) have sub state of gracelessness, although still retaining the outward appearance of the church services and the apparent performance of the Mysteries."
- Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) (d. 1936)
Paschal Encyclical, 1934
"The mystical desert-like catacomb Church has anathematized the Sergians and all that are with them."
-St. Maxim, Bishop of Serpukhov (d. 1931)
quoted in Polsky, New Martyrs of Russia
"Since the Moscow Patriarchate initially was di intelligence, but, simultaneously, with a flexible conscience, it rejected the crude violations of Orthodoxy which could be recognized by the simple faithful.... But Patriarch Sergius also, per the Church at the disposal of apostasy."
- Protopresbyter George Grabbe (later Bishop Gregory) (d. 1995)
The Dogma of the Church in the Modern World
"Why did this calamity befall Father Dimitry Dudko? (...) "Because his activity took place outside of the true Church.... What then is the `Soviet church'? Archimandrite Constantine has often and insistently stated that the most horrible thing that the God-hating regime has done in Russia is the creation of the `Soviet church,' which the Bolsheviks presented to the people as the true Church, having driven the genuine Orthodox Church into the catacombs or into the concentra tion camps. This pseudo-church has been twice anathematized. His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon and the All-Russian Church Sobor anathematized the Communists and all their collaborators. This dread anathema has not been lifted till this day and remains in force, since it can only be lifted by a similar All-Russian Church Sobor .... When Met ropolitan Sergius promulgated his criminal Decla children of the Church immediately separated themselves from the Soviet church, and thus the Catacomb Church was formed. And she, in her turn, has anathematized the official church for its betrayal of Christ."
- Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) (d. 1985)
Letter Concerning Father Dmitri Dudko, 1980
"Then the True Church went into the catacombs, into a position of illegal existence. From that time to this day the Soviet Moscow Patriarchate is liable to judgment, and until that future true council there can be no kind of contact, not even in everyday matters, as Metropolitan Anastasy, re testament."
-Archbishop (later Metropolitan) Vitaly (Ustinov) (b. 1910)
On Father Dmitri Dudko, 1981
"Archbishop Nikodim was approached by one of the faithful who said to him `But Vladika, these poor people in Russia have no other Church to go to but the Patriarchal ones!' The bishop replied to her `Better no Church than a Soviet church!"'
- from a conversation with a seminarian, now a Synodal Priest (Monastery Press)
"This being the case, which of us is really the schismatic? Of course it is not those in the spirit of traditional Orthodoxy, but those who have apostasized from the true faith of Christ and re piety; even though all the contemporary patriarchs, who have altered our age-old, patristic Orthodoxy, may be on the latter's side ..."
- Archbishop Averky (Taushev) (d. 1976) “Are the Terms `Christian 'and `Orthodox' Accurate in Our Times?" (1975)
"But you know that the new church is a lawless church."
- St. Arseny, Metropolitan of Novgorod (d. 1936)
refusing to join the Sergianist schism
"In an edict of Metropolitan Sergei, concerning Bishops Dimitry Gdov and Sergei Korporsky, it is written that Bp. Dimitry had called `those churches which commemorated Metropolitan Sergei "inno priests as without grace; and moreover, that one of such churches he publicly called `a temple of satan."'
- Monastery Press (Montreal)
"According to many canonical rules, all of the so Patriarchate, being KGB agents, are apostates from Christ. The 621" Apostolic Canon deprives them of these titles, and if they repent, it calls for them to be accepted as laymen and not to be ordained. Similar orders are found in numerous (24) canonical rules. From this, we see that the Divine Canons do not admit the Divine Gifts to apostates - KGB agents. "
- Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles
"Last Will and Testament" (1995)
All this saints and blessed mans departed from the Christian Faith?