Κυριακή, 2 Αυγούστου 2009

HIEROMARTYR BISHOP MARK OF SERGIEV POSAD

By Vladimir Moss
Vladimir Moss was born in 1949 in London into the family of a British diplomat, and was educated in the British public school and university system. He has a first degree in Philosophy and Psychology, and a Doctorate in Psychology. He is married to Olga (the grand-daughter of Arseny Abramovich Morozov). He lives in England. He is one of the most important modern Church-Historians and authors, with works on Russian Orthodoxy, Russian Catacomb Church, Russian New Martyrs, Orthodox England, etc.

Bishop Mark, in the world Michael Alexandrovich Novoselov, was born in June, 1864 in the village of Babye, Domoslavskaya volost, Vishnevolochok uyezd, Tver province, into a family which had been linked for generations with the Orthodox country clergy. His mother, Capitolina Mikhailovna, was the daughter of the priest Fr. Michael Vasilyevich Zashigransky. His father, Alexander Grigoryevich (1834-1887), of noble descent, was also the son of the priest, and became a well-known teacher, the director of the Tula, and then of the fourth Moscow classical gymnasium.
Michael Alexandrovich lived with his parents in Tula, and received an excellent education, graduating from his father's school with a gold medal. He was well-built, and was renowned in Tula as a boxer. In 1886 he graduated from the historical-philological faculty of Moscow University. It was at this point that he got to know the famous novelist Lev Tolstoy, who often visited his father when he lived in Tula. Michael Alexandrovich became a close friend and disciple of Lev Tolstoy, and there exists a copious correspondence between them from the period 1886-1901. He was arrested on December 27, 1887, together with some young friends who had been infected with the ideas of the "People's Will" movement, for possessing some literature of this movement as well as Tolstoy's brochure "Nicholas Palkin", and might well have been sent to Siberia if it had not been for the intervention of Tolstoy himself. In February, 1888, Michael Alexandrovich was released but forbidden to live in the capitals.
Abandoning any thought of a career in teaching, Michael Alexandrovich bought some land in the village of Dugino, Tver province, and created one of the first Tolstoyan land communes in Russia. It existed for two years. However, the peasants' refusal to accept the commune, and their patient endurance of their hard life, gradually led Michael Alexandrovich to question his own beliefs and pay more attention to the world-view of the peasants - Orthodoxy. Moreover, on one point he could never agree with Tolstoy - his rejection of the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the element of mystery in human life. Finally, after responding to his appeal to help the starving in Ryazan province (at the end of 1891 to 1892), he broke with Tolstoy, and spoke against his teachings for the rest of his life, while acknowledging the very significant influence he had had on him. Tolstoy’s last letter, written in Optina desert, was addressed to M.A. Novoselov. Michael Alexandrovich did not succeed in replying to it, but much later said that if he had been able, he probably would not have replied.
After the break with Tolstoy, he became very close to St. John of Kronstadt, and then to the elders of Optina and Zosima deserts. His spiritual father was Igumen Herman of Zosima desert. Under their influence, he gradually acquired a firm, strictly Orthodox world-view, based exclusively on the teachings of the Holy Fathers. Michael Alexandrovich was a brilliant professor of classical philology at Moscow University. He was widely known in Russia as the publisher and editor of the so-called "Moral-Religious Library", the first volume of which, entitled "The Forgotten Path", was published in 1902 in Vyshny Volochok, where Michael Alexandrovich was living at the time. His publishing activity continued right up to the revolution - first in Vyshny Volochok, and then in Moscow and Sergiev Posad.
The philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev described Michael Alexandrovich as "a very strong believer, completely devoted to his idea, very active, even restless, very sympathetic to people, always ready to help, especially in a spiritual way. He wanted to convert everybody. He produced the impression of a secretly tonsured monk."
Michael Alexandrovich taught Greek in the fourth Moscow gymnasium until 1916, and was professor in the faculty of classical philology in Moscow University. His merits in the field of spiritual education and Christian apologetics were so great that in 1912 he was elected an honorary member of the Moscow Theological Academy. For several years he was a member of the Educational Council attached to the Holy Synod. In 1918, during the Local Council of the Russian Church in Moscow, he was invited to take part in the work of the section on theological educational institutions, which was to seek out new ways of developing theological education in the country.
From 1905 Michael Alexandrovich was at the centre of the movement for Church reform, the convening of a Church Council and the restoration of the parish community. However, he was against convening a Council hastily, without proper preparation and the canvassing of the opinions of both clergy and laity. And he was therefore in favour of a Pre-Conciliar Preparatory Convention, which in fact took place in 1906.
In 1907, he founded a religious society called the “Circle of those seeking Christian Enlightenment”, which met in Moscow and numbered about 200 people. They included Fr. Paul Florensky, Fr. Joseph Fudel, Sergius Nikolayevich Bulgakov, Vladimir Alexeyevich Kozhevnikov, Paul Demetrievich Mansurov, Theodore Dmitrievich Samarin, Sergius Nikolayevich Durylin, Vladimir Frantsevich Ern, Theodore Konstantinovich Andreyev, and others. This was not his first foray into this kind of activity. He had attended the meetings of the Petersburg "Religio-Philosophical Meetings" (1901-1903), at which he always expressed a strictly Orthodox position in opposition to Merezhkovsky and Rozanov. And he had also participated in the work of the Moscow religio-philosophical society dedicated to the memory of his friend Vladimir Soloviev (1905-1918). According to Constantine Sergeyevich Rodionov, "all the members of his society regularly went to church. They prayed in the church, and then read lectures in the society and discussed them. This was a purely Orthodox society, and M.A. Novoselov was the ideological leader of Orthodoxy in Moscow. The meetings of the members of the society took place in his flat. He lived with his mother opposite the cathedral of Christ the Saviour."
The society enjoyed the protection of the rector of the Moscow Theological Academy and future hieromartyr of the Catacomb Church, Bishop Theodore (Pozdeyevsky), and was spiritually led by the elders of the Zosima Hermitage.
According to Rozanov, "the essence of the bond of this circle is personal and moral. Its highest quality is considered not to put oneself forward, not to quarrel, and to publish as little as possible. But instead of that - to see each other more often, to mix, to live a certain common, or almost common life. Without any conditions or qualifications they call the one who is almost the oldest among them, Michael Alexandrovich Novoselov, 'Abba Michael'. And although some of them are immeasurably more learned and in general 'intellectual' than the honoured and dear M.A. Novoselov, nevertheless they revere him 'as a father' for his clear, kind character, for the purity of his soul and intentions, and not only listen to him, but almost obey him."
Michael Alexandrovich became one of the firmest and most clear-thinking Orthodox thinkers who were struggling with the poison of modernism. In this respect he undoubtedly betrayed the influence of his spiritual instructor, Vladyka Theodore. He was a conservative and a monarchist, but at the same time was prepared to fight the Church hierarchy when necessary.
Thus when, at the end of 1911, the affair of Bishop Hermogenes and Heliodorus became well known, and rumours spread about the possibility of Rasputin being ordained, Michael Alexandrovich, with the help of Grand Duchess Elizabeth, published a brochure exposing Rasputin, in which he said: "Why do the bishops, who are well acquainted with the activities of this blatant deceiver and corrupter, keep silent?... Where is their grace, if through laziness or lack of courage they do not keep watch over the purity of the faith of the Church of God and allow the lascivious khlyst [sectarian] to do the works of darkness under the mask of light?" Of course, the brochure was forbidden and confiscated while it was still at the printer's, and the newspaper The Voice of Moscow was heavily fined for publishing excerpts from it.
In 1912 there arose the movement of the “name-worshippers” among the Russian monks of Mount Athos. These monks were condemned as heretics by the Holy Synods of the Constantinopolitan and Russian Churches. However, Michael Alexandrovich defended them. For this reason he is sometimes considered to have been a “name-worshipper” himself. But a closer examination of his views reveals that he never agreed with some of the cardinal positions of the leading name-worshipper, Fr. Anthony Bulatovich.
Thus Bulatovich considered that all thought about God is the uncreated action of God and God Himself, writing: “Human thought is not the product of the human mind to the extent that that which the human eye sees is not a product of his vision… Forcing the mind to think about God is a human action, but any true thought about God is already a vision of God in some God-revealed property of His and is God Himself.” Michael Alexandrovich, however, rejected this idea, writing: “The thought and my object are not one and the same… The thought of a man about God remains a human thought… The power of God, penetrating the mind, elicit in him a thought about God, which is nevertheless a human thought, a condition of my mind.”
With the coming of the Bolsheviks, Michael Alexandrovich did not slacken his work for the Church. Thus from January 30, 1918 he was a member of the Temporary Council of the United Parishes of the city of Moscow, and in February, 1918 his name was on the appeal released by this Council which called on believers to defend the churches from the encroachments of the God-fighting power. Again, he offered his flat for the theological courses which began in the spring of 1918 with the blessing of Patriarch Tikhon, and himself taught patristics.
According to the oral tradition of the Catacomb Church, Michael Alexandrovich was tonsured as a monk in 1920, and in 1923 was made a secret bishop with the name of Mark and the title of Sergiev Posad, by Bishops Theodore (Pozdeyevsky) of Volokolamsk, Arsenius (Zhadanovsky) of Serphukov and Seraphim (Zvezdinsky) of Dmitrov. Although there are no documents proving the episcopate of Michael Alexandrovich, the following facts serve to confirm it: (1) on the protocol of his interrogation in connection with the case of the “All-Union Centre ‘True Orthodoxy’”, the words “Bishop Mark” are written in the hand of the interrogator; (2) in the interrogation of Natalya Andreyevna, the matushka of Hieromartyr Theodore Andreyev, mention is made of the episcopate of M.A. Novoselov.
When the schism of the "Living Church" broke out in 1922, Michael Alexandrovich was very probably a member of the "Brotherhood of Zealots of Orthodoxy" which published a "Brotherly Warning to the Children of the True Church of Christ" in which the following points were made: "...5. Therefore the 'guardian of piety' (speaking in the language of the Epistle of the Eastern Patriarchs), the Orthodox people, must decisively reject the usurpers of Church authority, not entering into communion with them and not allowing the prayerful commemoration of their names in the churches. 6. Those Orthodox priests and laymen who will continue to support ecclesiastical communion with the self-made schismatic hierarchy are thereby expelled with it from the body of the Church, that is, they have separated themselves from Christ."
This activity could not fail to attract the attention of the authorities, and on August 12, 1922, Heinrich Yagoda, the deputy president of the GPU, signed an order for the searching of Michael Alexandrovich's flat. He had gone to Optina at that time and so was not present at the search, which discovered nothing significantly incriminating. But it meant that from this time – although the case against him was dropped on March 19, 1923 - he could not return to his flat and was forced to live in an illegal situation, hiding in the houses of his many friends, mainly in Moscow and Petersburg. Thus he sometimes lives in the flat of Claudia Vladimirovna Nazarova, and in that of Valeria Liorko Prishvina and her mother. He also lived in Vyshny Volochok.
Thus Constantine Sergeyevich Rodionov writes: "When the Bolshevik persecutions against the faith began, Michael Alexandrovich Novoselov hid for a whole year. One night he would spend in my house, another - in the house of some woman whom I didn't ask about. I was unexpectedly sent on an expedition to the Caucasus as a bee-keeper. In my absence M.A. Novoselov and A.F. Losev walked down Nikitsky boulevard in the Arbat. Some people came up to them at the church of Saints Boris and Gleb and arrested them. Losev was soon released, but not Michael Alexandrovich. He was carrying my bread ration cards with my address on them. But my house was not searched. He was sent to Suzdal prison. From there Michael Alexandrovich let me know that we should be calm - he had not betrayed anyone. It seems that as a religious activist he was sentenced under article 58-10."
Once Bishop Mark said: “Now is a time when the righteousness of a person before God is defined not so much by his personal behaviour, his sins or virtue, as by his firmness in the faith, in his faithfulness to Church consciousness, his determination to stand in this faithfulness until death and martyrdom.”
From 1922 until the end of 1927, Bishop Mark wrote a series of twenty "letters to friends" which constitute one of the most important contributions to ecclesiology in twentieth-century theology.
Thus in 1925 he wrote: "I shall say a few words to reveal the positive path of Christ, which was, undoubtedly, forgotten by the Church SRs [the predecessors of the renovationists] and has now been openly rejected by the Church Bolsheviks [the renovationists].
"First of all, both relate to the Church as to a human institution, which is why the term 'revival of the Church' occupies the first place in their vocabulary. They suppose - this is clear from their writings and actions - that only human energy is needed, on the one hand, and a series of external changes in Church organization, on the other, in order that the 'paralyzed' body of the Church should revive and begin to function correctly. The source of Church revival is in the church activists themselves. What is required is a skilful choice of energetic activists so as to revive, give wings to and set into motion the dead organization called 'the Church'. I repeat: this point of view is common both to the renovationists and to the majority of what we shall call the Old Churchmen. Neither group suspects what a jungle of religious errors they have wandered into, where they themselves are going, and where they are leading other unreflective people away from the true, genuine preaching of Christ.
"So as to speak with sense about the revival of the parish or of Church society in general (but by no means of the Church, which is herself the source of ever-flowing life), it is necessary first to give oneself a clear answer to the question: 'What is life in the Christian meaning of the word?'
"Genuine life is eternal life, and it is in the Lord Jesus Christ, or the Lord Himself, the Son of God, Who is called Eternal Life in the holy Gospel. Hence Church revival is revival in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is a more or less deep immersion in eternal life - Christ the Son of God, or the reception of It inside oneself. In this acquisition of eternal life, or, speaking in the words of the holy Apostle Peter, in this 'partaking of the Divine nature', or in the deification of man, lies the main aim of the Christian life." (Letter 1)
One of Vladyka Mark's most important contributions to theological thought was the distinction he worked out between the Church as organism and the Church as organization: "It is necessary to distinguish between the Church-organism and the Church-organization. As the apostle taught: 'You are the Body of Christ and individually members of it' (I Corinthians 12.27). The Church-organism is a living person, and just as the cells of our body, besides having their own life, have the life that is common to our body and links between themselves, so a man in the Body of Christ begins to live in Church, while Christ begins to live in him. That is why the apostle said: 'It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me' (Galatians 2.20).
"The basis for the affirmation of the Church-organism is love for Christ. The Lord Himself saw the basis of His Church precisely in love for Him. He asked Peter: did he love Him? And He added: 'Feed My sheep'. The Church of Christ is the union of mutual love of the believers ('United by the bond of love and offering themselves to Christ the Lord, the apostles were washed clean', Canon of Holy Thursday). Only in the Church organism can true democratism, equality and brotherhood come into being; we are equal and brothers only if we are parts of one and the same living body. In the organization there is not and cannot be ‘organic’ equality and brotherhood" (Letter 5).
"Only to the Church-organism can we apply such titles as we meet in the Word of God, for example: 'glorious, holy, spotless' (Ephesians 1.4); 'the Bride of the Lamb' (Revelation 19.7; 21.9); 'the Body of Christ' (Ephesians 1.23; Colossians 1.24); 'the pillar and ground of the truth' (I Timothy 3.15). These concepts are inapplicable to the Church-organization (or applicable only with great qualifications); they lead people into perplexity and are rejected by them. The Church-organism is the pure 'Bride' of Christ (Revelation 21.2), but the Church-organization has all the faults of human society and always bears the marks of human infirmities... The Church-organization often persecutes the saints of God, but the Church-organism receives them into her bosom... The Church-organization rejects them from its midst, deprives them of episcopal sees, while they remain the most glorious members of the Church-organism. It is possible to belong externally to the visible Church (organization), while one belongs only inwardly to the Body of Christ (organism), and the measure of one's belongingness is determined by the degree of one's sanctity." (Letter 18)
Vladyka Mark also made an important contribution to the concept of the conciliarity [sobornost'] of the Church: "It is not the Council that is important, but conciliarity (the infallible teaching magisterium), which reveals itself by all means, whether at a Council or not. From the fact that the Church in definite historical periods convenes Councils, or that she does not convene them, one must by no means conclude that the infallible magisterium existed in such-and-such a period, but not in such-and-such a period. This simply means that in such-and-such a period circumstances demanded that the magisterium reveal itself in such a form, whereas in the other period circumstances did not demand precisely this form of revelation. As a result of this neither conciliarity nor the magisterium is in any way affected in its grace-filled and uninterrupted existence... Conciliarity in the Church of Christ is revealed in the agreement of all her members amongst themselves. This agreement is not assigned to any particular local Church, to any particular geographical point, or to any particular hierarch or meeting of hierarchs, but binds together all those who belong to the Church. Neither does it need any juridical regulations since its self-existent power acts beyond rules that our attainable by our reason. It simply exists, and itself defines all the remaining manifestations of Church life instead of being defined by them. One of these manifestations is the Ecumenical Councils...
"The material element in the magisterium (of such Councils) consists in the people who take part in the Council, in the external conditions of their working together and in the quantity and character of the matters they resolve. But the spiritual element lies in the identity of the conciliar witnesses with the faith of the whole body of the Church. It is this very identity which is nothing other than conciliarity itself, as expressed in the Council. And it alone defines in itself the ecumenicity and conciliar magisterium which are wholly included in it (that is, in the above-mentioned identity). For conciliarity, ecumenicity, magisterium - all these are terms with different meanings that define in themselves only various forms of one and the same whole, whose name is the Holy Spirit Who rules the Church...
"The conciliarity of each Council is established only from the following material historical phenomenon: its de facto acceptance, and the acceptance of the witnesses it gives, by the whole body of the Church as being its own witnesses. Thus this question is resolved on the basis of fact, and not on the basis of right. And so: if the whole body of the Church de facto accepts the Council, that means that the Council was Ecumenical. But if the Church rejects it, that means that for the Church it was nothing.
"The Council in and of itself has no significance. The only thing that is important is conciliarity, which depends, not on any particular meeting of people, nor, a fortiori, on any particular person, but on the whole Church. All this is historically proven. The ecumenical significance of a particular Council was by no means recognized immediately, but only after a certain time had passed, time that was necessary for the elucidation of this question.
"Of course, the Church herself and all her living members, to the degree of their participation in her, have no need whatever of a rational criterion of the ecumenicity of her own Councils. But in addressing errors, and in the sense of a rational support for those who need that, the Church in Council rationally justifies her witnesses, holding to popular criteria. And for that reason she also refers to such facts as are understood by the reason of all, even outsiders.
"The conclusion is as follows: the faith of the Church opposes this or that heresy not because this or that heresy was condemned by this or that Ecumenical Council, but rather the reverse: such-and-such an Ecumenical Council condemned such-and-such a heresy because it opposed the faith of the Church. This position cuts off the way for all further polemics because all further polemics are rendered pointless.
"And so, as regards conciliar infallibility, this lies, as we have seen, in the identity of the witnesses given by the Council with the faith of the whole Church body. The character of this conciliar infallibility, that is, of this infallible conciliar agreement, is by no means affected by the variety of those material means by which it is certified. Of course, the most expedient means of certification for outsiders is a material congress of a known number of physical people, which is called a Council. But conciliar agreement can also inspire any other witness, which is therefore a conciliar witness because of this identity with the opinion of the whole Church body. For conciliarity is one, unchanging spirit, whereas witnesses are subject to the law of material variety of external forms. From this it follows that ecumenicity, infallibility and conciliarity are everywhere, in every true witness that is identical with the faith of the Church, being given according to the participation in the Holy Church of whoever it may be: a Council, great or small, or an individual person, be he a fool-for-Christ or a child.
"And from this there follows the church thesis of the complete, absolute estrangement of the conciliar principle from any formal-juridical rules of its government. The Spirit witnesses of Himself in the Church of Christ when He wants, where He wants and how He wants, because it is not we who are measured for the Spirit, but the Spirit is measured for us.
"This is the Orthodox answer to the question: who in each case is the infallible organ of the Holy Spirit in the Church. The Spirit Himself chooses in each case. For it is not the organ which, by its own right, gives itself the Spirit, but the Spirit, by His mercy, gives Himself to the organ. This precludes, once and for all, all juridical means of defining conciliarity, which is accessible only to faith and love, and not to the reason.
"This is the unshakeable Orthodox teaching of the Ecumenical Apostolic Church." (Letter 11)
Like his mentor, Vladyka Theodore, Bishop Mark criticized Patriarch Tikhon's compromises with the communists and renovationists, but did not break communion with him. When Metropolitan Sergius issued his notorious "declaration" in 1927, he took an ardent part in the protest against the metropolitan, giving advice to many bishops and priests who venerated him, and is considered by many to have been the leader of the Catacomb Church in Moscow. In his last letter to friends, written at the end of 1927, he said, obviously referring to the situation created by Sergius' declaration: "The whole ship of the Church has listed and is hanging over the edge of the abyss."
From November, 1927, Vladyka Mark was living in Leningrad and took part in the councils of the leading Josephite clergy. It was at this time that he wrote his “Apology for those who have departed from M. Sergius (Stragorodsky)”, one of the longest and most comprehensive of all exposés of sergianism. At some point in 1927 Bishop Mark was arrested, but soon released.
At the beginning of 1928 he wrote “A Conversation of Two Friends” with the help of Hieromartyr Theodore Andreyev. Here he compared Sergianism to an illness as follows: “The microbe of the illness of the higher Church authorities in the person of Metropolitan Sergius is the compromising thought that was born in the mind of Metropolitan Sergius during his isolation, after which he was freed [in March, 1927].
“The treatment of this sign of illness was the friendly advice of the most authoritative people not to take a step that would be harmful for the Church, and as a consequence of the ineffectiveness of this treatment, that is, the non-acceptance of the good advice, a red spot appeared. The external redness on the body of the sick person was the Synod composed of hierarchs with tarnished reputations and with the rights of a consultative organ, according to the declaration of Metropolitan Sergius dated May 5/18, 1927.
“An increase in the redness was the assumption by the Synod of the rights and authority to rule together with Metropolitan Sergius and the Synod’s transfer of bishops.
“A malignant growth was the appearance of the declaration of July 16/29, 1927. Various methods of treating the illness were employed: the condemnation of the declaration by the conscience of believers and the distribution of leaflets by the zealots of Orthodoxy reproaching the actions of Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod and explaining the correct relationship of the Church to the state in contemporary conditions.
“The formation of an abscess was the order of October 8/21, 1927 concerning the commemoration of Metropolitan Sergius and the civil authorities.
“A surgical cutting of the abscess with the aim of warding off further infection was the partial separation from Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod of whole dioceses and individual parishes.
“If there is no healing after this operation, then it will be necessary, with pain of heart, to make an amputation of the sick member, that is, for all zealots of the purity of Orthodoxy to separate finally from Metropolitan Sergius. God grant that this may not happen!…”
But it did happen, and Bishop Mark was among those who separated finally from Metropolitan Sergius.
In March, 1928 he wrote “Why we have Departed from Metropolitan Sergius”. And another of his brochures, which is mentioned in many trials of the True Orthodox Christians, was “What must a Orthodox Christian Know?” In this brochure he wrote: “Every Christian must look at the civil authority contemporary with us as allowed by God to punish us and bring us to our senses”; “Christianity and Communism mutually exclude each other, and the struggle between them is inevitable”; “there has been introduced civil marriage, which radically destroys the idea of the family that has been established by God Himself, and an animal life is the result”; “patriotism has been replaced by internationalism and class warfare”; “the civil authorities are demanding that the Orthodox Church justify their actions against Christianity, that is, recognize the revolution, which is violence and can never be justified by the Church”; “the reason for the persecutions against the Church on the part of the unbelieving authorities consists in the striving to submit the Church to their influence and through the Church prepare the people to accept the Antichrist as the political and spiritual head of fallen humanity”.
In regard to Soviet power, Bishop Mark expressed the following opinion: “I am an enemy of Soviet power - and what is more, by dint of my religious convictions, insofar as Soviet power is an atheist power and even anti-theist. I believe that as a true Christian I cannot strengthen this power by any means... [There is] a petition which the Church has commanded to be used everyday in certain well-known conditions... The purpose of this formula is to request the overthrow of the infidel power by God... But this formula does not amount to a summons to believers to take active measures, but only calls them to pray for the overthrow of the power that has fallen away from God.”
Once Bishop Mark visited Metropolitan Joseph, who said: “Novoselov spoke with me about the situation in the Church that has been created by Sergius’ declaration. He said that the position of the declaration was unacceptable for the believing people and, in particular, for certain ‘church zealots from the intelligentsia’. However, he did not name any representatives of this kind of intelligentsia…” According to Metropolitan Joseph, Bishop Mark had some influence on Metropolitan Agathangelus and Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich.
On March 23 (or 17), 1929 he was arrested again by the OGPU in Moscow, and on May 17 (or 23) was sentenced as an especially dangerous “element” to three years in political isolators according to article 58-10 of the criminal code. First, from May 23, 1929, he was in the Suzdal political isolator. Then, on October 27, 1930, he was transferred to the Butyrki prison in Moscow. On September 3, 1931, he was condemned in accordance with article 58-10 as “an active participant in the church-political centre of the All-Union counter-revolutionary organization, ‘The True Orthodox Church’”. He was sentenced to eight years in Yaroslavl political isolator. This was part of the group case, “The Case of the All-Union Centre of True Orthodoxy, 1931”.
In the sentence of 1931 it was decreed that “in relation to M.A. Novoselov the resolution of the Special Conference of May 17, 1929 is to be considered swallowed up by the present resolution”. The indictment read: “In the course of several years he has been a participant in ‘The Church-Political Centre’ of the All-Union counter-revolutionary organization, ‘The True Orthodox Church’, and was in an illegal position. On the instructions of this centre, he, together with reactionary churchmen in Leningrad, created the ‘All-Union Church-Administrative Centre’ of this organization, and ruled the latter on instructions from the centre in a counter-revolutionary direction, demanding active counter-revolutionary activity from the organization. Going round the periphery in a systematic manner, he created a series of branches of this organization – in Tver, in Serpukhov and in a series of other places, and directed their counter-revolutionary activity. He wrote counter-revolutionary documents and was in charge of their distribution.”
On February 7, 1937 he was sentenced to another three years in Vologda prison for counter-revolutionary activity. He arrived there on June 26, 1937. On January 17, 1938 he was sentenced to death “for carrying out… anti-Soviet agitation in prison” and was shot.
V.D. Prishvina writes: “The old women who used to send M.A. Novoselov parcels in prison lost trace of him during the Fatherland war: parcels began to come back without explanation. Only once did they receive a living witness about him: an unknown Turk came to the old women on being released from prison and sent to his homeland. He carried out a promise he had given to Novoselov – to give them his blessing and thanks. The Turk met Michael Alexandrovich in the prison hospital, where he converted him to Christianity. He spoke about Michael Alexandrovich as about a saint.

Sources:
M.A. Novoselov, Pis'ma k druzyam, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994;
Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1949-1957, part 2, pp. 135-136, 272;
Monk Ambrose (von Sievers), "Nye khoronitye menya zazhivo", Russkaya Mysl', N 4031, 1 June, 1994;
"Terpeniye" (MS); Nun Joanna (Pomazanskaya) "Ispovyednicheskij Put' Vladyki Fyodora", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', N 9 (549), September, 1995, pp. 1-29;
Lev Regelson, Tragediya Russkoj Tserkvi, 1917-1945, Paris: YMCA Press, 1977;
N. Zernov, Russkoye Religioznoye Vozrozhdeniye;
M.V. Shkarovsky, "Iz novejshej istoriii Russkoj Tserkvi", Pravoslavnaya Rus', N 18 (1543), September 15/28, 1995, pp. 8-10;
Iosiflyanstvo, St. Petersburg: Memorial, 1999, pp. 291-292;
"Vospominaniya Konstantina Sergeyevicha Rodionova (1892-1991)", Vestnik Russkogo Khristianoskogo Dvizheniya, 164, I-1992, pp. 279-281;
"Primyety Vremyeni", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', N 5 (545), May, 1995, pp.23-24;
Pravoslavnaya Rus’, N 14 (1587), July 15/28, 1997, p. 3;
Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), “Katakombnaya Tserkov’: ‘Kochuyushchij Sobor 1928 g.”, Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 3 (7), 1997;
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