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Forty years ago, the well-known scientist and theologian, Professor Ivan Andreyev, who had been a confessor of the faith in the Solovki camps, posed the question: does the Moscow Patriarchate have grace that is, the grace of true and valid sacraments?
After a thorough examination of the question from a dogmatical and canonical point of view, he gave a clear and categorical reply: no.
As the Soviet Union began to collapse in 1989-1990, its faithful ecclesiastical slave, the Sovietised Moscow Patriarchate, also began to break up.
The Catacomb or True Orthodox Church, which had always refused to recognise Soviet power or its Soviet church, emerged from the underground, and the Russian Church Abroad created parishes on Russian soil into which both catacombniks and former members of the patriarchate entered.
These essays reflect that process by one who participated in it both inside and outside Russia.
Since writing these essays, I have changed my attitude towards some of the church figures mentioned in them.
It was a time of great hope for the resurrection of Russian Orthodoxy. From the mid-1990s, and especially since KGB colonel Putins rise to power in 2000, the MP has recovered its position in society while its opponents have warred amongst themselves and fragmented.
Most recently, the Russian Church Abroad led by Metropolitan Lavr has started negotiations for entering into union with the MP, thereby reversing the ecclesiastical course of his predecessors, Metropolitans Philaret and Vitaly.
However, I have decided to make only minor editorial changes to the texts, insofar as I believe the arguments set out in them remain valid.
Although the picture here drawn may be depressing, the purpose of this book is constructive.
It is hoped and believed that by studying the history of the last 15 years, we, the True Orthodox Christians of Russia may repent of our sins and learn from our mistakes and unite again on a firm basis of faith and love.Then, through the prayers of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors, Holy Russia will rise again from the ashes of the present neo-Soviet catastrophe, to the glory of Christ and the salvation of very many throughout the world!