Report of the Committee
Holden at Philadelphia, in October, A D. 1865.
The Committee appointed at the last General Convention "to consider the expediency of opening communication with the Russo-Greek Church, to collect authentic information bearing upon the subject, and to report to the next General Convention," beg leave to report as follows:
At the first meeting of the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, of the United Church of England and Ireland, after the appointment of our Committee, a Petition was presented by the Lower to the Upper House of Convocation touching this matter, in the following words:
"To His Grace the President and their Lordships the Bishops in the Upper House of Convocation of the Province of Canterbury assembled: The humble petition of the undersigned members of the Lower House of the Convocation, Showeth:
"That your petitioners have learned with much interest that, in the recent Synod or Convention of the Bishops and Clergy of the United States of America, certain steps were taken with a view to promote Intercommunion between the Russo-Greek Church and the Anglican Communion:
"That your petitioners believe that the present time may be more favorable than former times have been, for efforts in that direction;
"They therefore humbly pray your Venerable House to use your endeavors to bring about such intercommunion.
"And your petitioners will ever pray," &c.
F. C. MASSINGBERD, Proctor for Lincoln Diocese.
EDWARD BICKERSTETH, Archdeacon of Buckingham.
G. ANTHONY DENISON, Archdeacon of Taunton.
JAMES WAYLAND JOYCE, Proctor Diocese of Hereford.
F. K. LEIGHTON, Proctor Diocese of Oxford.
H. A. WOODGATE, Proctor for Diocese of Worcester.
HENRY BURTON, Proctor for clergy Diocese of Litchfield.
JAMES KENDALL, Proctor Diocese of Ely.
ALWYNE COMPTON, Proctor for clergy Diocese Peterboro
AUGUSTUS P. SAUNDERS, Dean of Peterboro.
JOHN JEBB, D.D., Proctor for clergy Hereford.
W. B. OTTER, Archdeacon of Lewes.
E. HAROLD BROWNE, Proctor for clergy Diocese of Exeter.
J. BARTHOLOMEW, Archdeacon of Barnstaple.
K. W. JELF, D.D., Proctor for chapter of Oxford.
CHR. WORDSWORTH, D.D., Proctor for chapter of Westminster.
W. BOUVERIE, Archdeacon of Norfolk.
THOMAS MILLS, Proctor for Archdeacony of Suffolk.
GEORGE PREVOST, Proctor for clergy of the Diocese of Gloucester and Bristol
E. A. OMMANNY, Proctor for clergy of Bath and Wells.
JOHN BRAMSTON, Proctor Diocese of Rochester.
HENRY C. BAGOT, Proctor Diocese of Litchfield.
CHARLES F. KENNAWAY, Proctor for the Diocese of Gloucester and Bristol.
HENRY MOORE, Archdeacon of Stafford.
JOHN DOUGLAS GILES, Archdeacon of Stowe.
JOHN HUTCHINSON, Proctor for Litchfield chapter.
JOHN H. HORNER, Proctor Diocese of Bath and Wells.
S. BEST, Proctor Archdeaconry of Winchester.
THOMAS SANCTUARY, Archdeacon of Dorset.
H. T. FOWLKES, Archdeacon of Montgomery.
CHARLES LLOYD, Rector of Chalfort S. Giles, (Proctor Diocese of Oxford.)
HENRY MACKENZIE, Proctor for clergy of Lincoln.
JOHN DOWNALL, Archdeacon of Totness.
JOHN C. B. BIDDELL, Proctor for Diocese of Canterbury.
DOUGLAS H. GORDON, Proctor of chapter of Salisbury.
C. A. ST. JOHN MILDMAY, Archdeacon of Essex.
HENRY ALFORD, Dean of Canterbury.
HENRY THOMPSON, Proctor Archdeaconry of Lewes, Diocese of Chichester.
RICHARD BISCOE, Proctor Diocese of St. Asaph.
I. SANDFORD, Archdeacon of Coventry.
RICHARD SEYMOUR, Proctor for clergy of Worcester.
A. M. HOPPER, Proctor of clergy for Norwich.
JOHN GRIFFITH, Proctor of chapter of Rochester.
HENRY GLYNN, Proctor of chapter of St. Asaph
WILLIAM CRAWLEY, Archdeacon of Monmouth.
JAMES RANDALL, Archdeacon of Berks.
EDWARD A. DAYMAN, Proctor for Archdeaconry of Dorset.
Owing to the pressure of business, this matter was not reached by the Upper House during that session of Convocation; but during the next session, in July of the same year, it was moved by his Lordship the Bishop of Oxford:
"That his Grace, the President, be requested to direct the Lower House to appoint a committee to communicate with the committee appointed at the recent Synod of the Bishops and Clergy of the United States of America, as to intercommunion with the Russo-Greek Church, and to communicate the result to the Convocation at a future session."
The Bishop of Chichester seconded the motion, which on being put, was agreed to unanimously.
Pursuant to this action of the Upper House of Convocation, the Lower House appointed the following committee:
The Archdeacon of Taunton, (DENISON).
The Archdeacon of Buckingham, (BICKERSTETH, Prolocutor of Convocation.)
Rev. Dr. LEIGHTON of All Souls, and Proctor for the Diocese of Oxford.
Rev. Lord ALWYNECOMPTON, Proctor for Diocese of Peterboro.
Rev. Sir GEORGE PREVOST, Archdeacon of Gloucester.
Rev. Chancellor MASSINGBERD, Proctor for Diocese of Lincoln.
Rev. J. RANDALL, Archdeacon of Berks.
Rev. CANON MACKENZIE, Proctor of clergy of Lincoln.
Rev. J. FINDALL, Proctor for the Diocese of Ely.
Rev. R. SEYMOUR, Proctor for clergy of Worcester.
At the meeting of Convocation in February of 1864, this Committee reported progress, asking leave to sit again, and that Canon (now Archdeacon) Wordsworth be added to their number, which was carried by acclamation.
At the meeting of Convocation in February of the present year the Committee reported as follows:
The Committee appointed by command of His Grace the President and their Lordships of the Upper House, 1853, "to communicate with the Committee appointed at a recent Synod of the Bishops and Clergy of the United States of America, as to intercommunion with the Russo-Greek Church, and to communicate the result to Convocation at a future Session,"
Report as follows:
That, as the limited power conferred upon your Committee by the terms of their appointment did not authorise them to enter into direct intercourse with the authorities of the Eastern Church, the Report of their proceedings will be mainly occupied with the account of their communications with the Committee of the Convention of the Church in the United States on the same subject.
The action of Convocation in appointing this Committee was hailed with great satisfaction by the American Church, and the intercourse between the members of the two Committees has been of the most friendly and cordial character.
Your Committee were favoured by the Honorable Mr. Ruggles, a distinguished Statesman, and eminent Member of the American Committee of Convention, with some particulars of his visit to Russia.
And at their first meeting they had the advantage of personal communication with the Rev. J. F. Young, the Secretary of the Committee of the American Convention, and whom, in compliance with the terms of their commission, they had invited to attend their meeting.
But your Committee, not being required by the terms of their commission to report at the next session, were induced, in consideration of the extreme delicacy of the questions involved, to defer their report until the present time.
They now proceed to record the progress that has been made.
Mr. Young and Mr. Ruggles were both received in the most cordial manner by the Metropolitans of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and other members of the Holy Governing Synod, who expressed their earnest interest in the question, and their desire to co-operate in any measures having for their object the restoration of unity.
The Committee of the American Convention have begun to issue a series of papers, with the object of recording their own proceedings, and giving information as to the principles and practices of the Eastern Church.
It is an instance of the increasing interest that is taken in this question at home that your Committee are enabled to state to the House that there has been formed in England an association called "The Eastern Church Association," which already numbers among its patrons the Most Reverend the Archbishop of Belgrade, the Most Reverend the Archbishop of Dublin, with several more of our English Bishops, the principal objects of which are to inform the English public as to the state of the Eastern Churches, and to make known the doctrines and principles of the Anglican Church to the Christians of the East.
Your Committee have been favored, at their last meeting, with the presence of the Very Reverend Archpriests Popoff and Wassilieff, Chaplains to the Imperial Embassies of Russia at London and Paris, from both of whom they have received the most cordial assurances of personal co-operation.
It would be premature to lay down any principles or conditions on which it may seem to your Committee that such intercommunion as is contemplated may be brought about: further than this,
To establish such relations between the two Communions as shall enable the Laity and Clergy of either to join in the sacraments and offices of the other, without forfeiting the Communion of their own Church.
That any overtures towards such an object should be made, if possible, in co-operation with those Churches with which the Church of England is in Communion. And
That such overtures, whenever made, should be extended to the other Eastern Patriarchates, and not confined to the Russo-Greek Church.
With this view, your Committee ask leave to site again, and suggest that, if the Convocation of York should think fit to delegate any of its members to sit with them, they should be authorized to confer with them, and also to co-operate with any Committees of other Branches of the Anglican Communion.
Your Committee, citing the words of the Venerable Patriarch and Synod of Constantinople, [ * Addressed to the Very Reverend Archpriest Wassilieff and the Very Reverend Abbe Guettee, editors of the Union Chretienne, and quoted at p. 291 of the first Paper of the Russo-Greek Committee of the American Convention.] that "the Orthodox Church of the East has never ceased to offer, with tears, fervent prayers to her God and Saviour, Who maketh of two One, breaking down the middle wall of separation between them, that He may bring all Churches into One Unity, giving them sameness of Faith and Communion of the Holy Ghost," conclude with the words of the Prayer familiar to us all, "That as there is but one Body and one Spirit and one Hope of our Calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may henceforth be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of Truth and Peace of Faith and Charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Signed, on behalf of the Committee,
F. C. MASSINGBERD.
In two Synods, at least, of the Dioceses of the Church of Scotland, resolutions have been passed responsive to the movement towards Intercommunion of our last General Convention.
At the Moray and Ross Diocesan Synod, on July 26th, the following resolution was unanimously agreed to:
"That the Synod of Moray and Ross, having taken into consideration the subject of Intercommunion between the Eastern Church and the British and American Churches, resolves to petition the Episcopal Synod of this Church to take such steps as may appear desirable for co-operating with the Committee of the Convocation of Canterbury, and the Committee appointed by the General Convention of the American Church for the effecting of this object."
The following motion was also passed:
"The Synod considering the great evils the Christian World is in through its unhappy divisions, and the great duty of promoting unity and concord among independent Churches, further resolves that the Bishops be requested to take into their serious consideration the question of the orders of the Scandinavian Churches, and aid, as far as in them lies, any project for intercommunion with the same, provided it can be done on Catholic grounds, and in accordance with Catholic principles."
At the Aberdeen Diocesan Synod, on August 8th, the following motion respecting Intercommunion with the Eastern Church was carried unanimously:
"That the Synod of Aberdeen, having taken into consideration the subject of Intercommunion between the Orthodox branches of the holy Eastern Church, and the British and American branches of the Church Catholic, resolves to petition the Episcopal Synod of this Church to take such steps as may appear desirable for co-operating with the Committees which have been, or may be, appointed by the Convocations of the provinces of Canterbury and York, and the Committee appointed by the General Convention of the American Church, for the carrying out of this great object."
Besides the Synodical action of the Churches of England and Scotland above mentioned, as one of the results of the great interest upon the subject of Intercommunion in our mother Church, a voluntary association has been formed in England for the promotion of this end, called the Eastern Church Association.
Its objects, as embodied in the Resolutions passed at the General Meeting of April 13th, 1864, are:
I. To inform the English public as to the state and position of the Eastern Christians, in order gradually to better their condition through the influence of public opinion in England.
II. To make known the doctrine and principles of the Anglican Church to our Christian brethren of the East.
III. To take advantage of all opportunities which the Providence of God shall afford us, for Intercommunion with the Orthodox Church, and also for friendly intercourse with the other ancient Churches of the East.
IV. To assist, as far as we are able, the Bishops of the Orthodox Church in their efforts to promote the spiritual welfare and education of their flocks.
This Association numbers among its patrons the Archbishop of Dublin, the Metropolitan of Servia, the Bishop of Oxford, etc., etc., besides many of the most distinguished and influential of the Clergy and Laity of the Church of England. And for the diffusion of general information on this subject, they have commenced the issue of a series of Papers, similar to those issued by us.
And your Committee have learned, from various sources, and with the liveliest pleasure, that the movement towards Intercommunion has excited the interest, and enlisted the sympathies generally, of the whole Oriental Church. The Ecclesiastical Periodicals of Petersburg and Moscow, and other cities of Russia, those of Venice, Athens, Smyrna, and Constantinople, and other important towns in the Levant, have not only informed their readers, generally, in regard to this matter, but translated for their papers more or less of what has been published by us; and, so far as we have heard, the Oriental Church, in all its branches, is kindly and favourably predisposed in this matter.
During the summer of 1863, a member of our Committee, the Hon. S. B. Ruggles, having been commissioned by the Government of the United States as its Representative to the International Statistical Congress which assembled at Berlin, in Prussia, proceeded thence on a short visit to Russia. During his sojourn in that country he was favoured with several interviews with those of the highest official position, among whom was the venerable Metropolitan of Moscow.
In those interviews, the attention of the Imperial authorities was invited to the striking geographical analogies between Russia and the American Union, in the vast territorial extent of their lands and waters, physically constituting them the two great Continental Powers of modern days. The steadily increasing convergence of the two Nations in their march of civilization in the Northern Pacific, opening a new Hemisphere for inter-continental commerce, was also dwelt upon, and especially in connexion with the continental telegraphic enterprises so characteristic of both. It was claimed, that by their joint efforts, not only would New York and Washington be united, by daily intercourse, with Moscow and St. Petersburg, but that Asiatic branches, extending through Japan, China and Australia, practically placing the Pagan nations of the distant East, side by side with the Christendom of Europe and America, would ere long convert the Pacific into one vast theatre, not only of commercial movement, but also of religious advancement, triumphantly carrying the Cross and the Word of Christ into that long benighted portion of the globe.
In hastening such a final development, the peculiar importance of friendly and fraternal intercourse between the Orthodox Apostolical Churches in the two Nations, now presenting so many points of agreement, was respectfully but earnestly asserted. Expressly disclaiming any wish for the premature discussion of any theological or ecclesiastical questions, it was deemed to be neither ill-timed nor improper, to suggest to the ecclesiastical authorities in Russia, that any existing religious sympathies between the two Nations, would be materially strengthened by the mutual interchange, on the part of the two Churches, among the pioneers intermingling in those distant regions, of the religious offices common to both, and especially in the Christian duties of visiting the sick and burying the dead.
The General Convention will be gratified to hear that the venerable and benevolent Philaret, Archbishop, and Metropolitan of Moscow, to whom this suggestion was made, not only gave it his prompt and cordial concurrence, but, after listening with interest to the statement of the active efforts in progress for promoting the physical welfare of the two Nations on the Northern Pacific, expressed his willingness to submit, without delay, to the Holy Synod at St. Petersburg, the question of establishing a Russian Church at San Francisco.
We would add in this connection that we have been informed by the Bishop of Honolulu, since his Lordship's arrival here, that officers of the Russian Navy who visit the Sandwich Islands, eagerly avail themselves of the services of our church, in preference to those of the Papal or non-Episcopal Communions. To this we may add the fact, unimportant in itself, except as to the indication which multiplied instances of this sort afford of the practical importance this subject is assuming, that while our missionary to Mexico was temporarily sojourning last spring in the Capital of that Empire, he was called on to marry an Austrian Prince and Princess, both of whom were members of the Orthodox Church, and who sought and obtained permission of the Emperor Maximilian to be married according to the rites of the Anglo-Catholic instead of those of the Roman Catholic Communion; and the permission being granted, were married accordingly.
Just as Mr. Ruggles returned from Russia, the Secretary of the Committee, the Rev. J. F. Young, D.D., went abroad to remain for some months in Europe. While in England he enjoyed the privilege of meeting and conferring with the Committee of Convocation, by whom he was received with the most hearty cordiality, and whose deliberations he was invited to share in on several occasions.
From England Dr. Young, by desire of the Committee, proceeded to Russia, that he might officially, and in their behalf, acquaint the authorities of the Church in that Empire with our action in the premises, and learn, so far as might be done within the limits of our restricted powers, the disposition of those authorities respecting this movement.
On arriving in St. Petersburg he waited at once on the Ober-Procurator of the Holy Governing Synod of the Church of All the Russias; by whom he was courteously received, and referred, touching the matter of his mission, to his Eminence Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow.
On arriving in Moscow, he waited upon the Metropolitan as soon as due arrangements could be made for an interview, and, first of all, laid before him the letters of commendation and fraternal salutation in the Lord, with which he had been kindly favoured before his departure, by the Right Reverend the Bishops of Michigan, Western New York, Pennsylvania, Maine, New York, and the Assistant Bishops of Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and which were addressed to the Patriarchs, Metropolitans, and Bishops of the Orthodox Eastern Church. Dr. Young had the honor of meeting likewise at this interview, besides the Metropolitan, the Bishops Leonidas and Sabas, Vicars to the Metropolitan of Moscow, and also the Rector of the University of Moscow.
The interview was of some three hours' duration, and the subjects of conversation were, for the most part, matters of fact respecting the history, doctrines, usages, and practical operations of the Anglo-Catholic Communion since the Reformation. At the close of this conversation, the Metropolitan invited his visitor to another interview, on a subsequent evening. At the close of this second interview, which was more cordial and satisfactory even than the first, as the Metropolitan handed back the letters of the American Bishops which had been left for his perusal on the previous evening, he said: "Will you inform the American Bishops who have been so kind as to send us these fraternal greetings, that the perusal of what they have written has given me great pleasure, and that the Russian Bishops, generally, will reciprocate the sentiments they have so kindly expressed. And for myself personally, will you bear from me the kiss of peace to the whole venerable Hierarchy of the American Church. Assure them of my warmest sympathy and love, and of my prayer and hope that we may soon be one in mind, as we are already one in heart, in Christ Jesus."
Returning to St. Petersburg, Dr. Young was favoured with a protracted interview with his Eminence Isidore, Metropolitan of Petersburg and President of the Holy Governing Synod, to whom likewise he presented the letters he had the honor to bear from the American Bishops. On perusing the letters, and noting their contents, the Metropolitan proposed to lay them before the Holy Synod on the following day, inviting the bearer of them to be present, when he had the honor of being presented to the members of the Synod individually, by whom he was courteously and cordially received.
At the suggestion of his Excellency the Ober-Procurator, the letters were left in the hands of the Holy Synod to be deposited in its archives, accompanied by a memorandum written at the special request of the Metropolitan of Petersburg, explanatory of the circumstances which called them forth. The following is a copy of the letters and memorandum:
Beatissimis et Sanctissimis Patriarchis, necnon Praestantissimis Metropolitanis et Episcopis, Orthodoxae in partibus Orientalibus Ecclesiae, in nomine Domini nostri Jesu Christi, Salutem dat Guilelmus Heathcote De Lancey, S.T.D., LL.D., D.C.L., Oxon. Dioecesis Novi-Eboraci occidentalis Episcopus.
Quum nuper magna, Ecclesiae Anglocatholicae in Civitatibus Americae Septentrionalis foederatis, Comita collegium quorundam virorum nominassent, cui partes venirent qucerendi utrum consilia cum Ecclesia Russo-Hellenica communicare expediret, necnon de ea re omnia colligendi quae fide digna reperirentur: ego quidem et in meo nomine et in nomine collegii supra-dicti, cujus Praeses sum, vobis, Fratres dilectissimi, notum facio et commendo virum reverendum Johannem Freeman Young, artium magistrum et presbyterum, qui ejusdem collegii et scriba est et particeps, et pro eo vestram fidem et opem magnopere flagito.
Permultis quidem viris, qui in hac terrarum regione Ecclesiam nostraml diligunt, cordi vehementer est arctioribus fraterni amoris vinculis complecti Ecclesiam Sanctam Orientalem, dum sacra beati Evangelii Domini Nostri Jesu Christi principia constanter teneamus, sicut ea a Sanctis Conciliis OEcumenicis proposita sunt et definita.
Quare virum hunc reverendum, qui has nostras litteras vobis tradit, quique optimam inter nostros clericos voluntatem ad eas res pramoveandas pree se tulit, et egregium inter presbyteros Ecclesiae S. S. Trinitatis Nov-Ebor. locum occupat, Dei imprimis praesidio et favori, deinde vestrae benevolentiae, opi, humanitati, studiosissime et amantissime commendo.
Cujus rei in testimonium his praesentibus nomen meum ipse subscripsi, meumque sigillum affixi, MDCCCLXIII, Kal. Dec.
[L. S.] GUILELMUS HEATHCOTE DE LANCEY.
Diocesis Novi-Eboraci Occidentalis Episcopus.
Benedictissimis et Sanctissimis Patriarchis et Preestantissimis Episcopis Sanctae in partibus Eois Orthodoxae Ecclesiae, Salutem.
Salutem vobis in Christo plurimam ex animo nuntiamus et a Deo. O. M., assidue precamur ut beati vivatis et optimo successu Regno Dei Nostri et Salvatoris Jesu Christi consulatis.
Hodie autem vobis in Christianam curam et fidem commendamus egregium nostrum amicum, virum Reverendum Johannem Freeman Young, qui inter presbyteros est Ecclesiae S. S. Trinitatis in urbe et Diocesi Novi Eboraci.
Excedit ille vir a patria rein magnam pro virili provecturus, et Patriarchas Episcoposque Ecclesiae Oricntalis certiores facturus de fraterno erga ipsos Episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicem in civitatibus Americe Septentrionalis foederatis amore. Ex animo quidem cupimus arctioribus unitatis nexibus cum magna ista unius Ecclesiae Catholicae et Apostolicae parte conjungi. Tempus vero jam adest, in quo leviuscula omnia qua Ecclesiam dividunt aut negligenda sunt aut deponenda, et unitas Christianorum per orbem terrarum stabilienda. Huic nostro in Domino dilecto filio summam fidem et benevolentiam habemus, et magnopere a Deo petimus ut per ejus operam, vestris auxiliis provectam firmioribus fraternae voluntatis vinculis constringatur cuml venerabili ista et nobili Ecclesia Orientis Orthodoxa haec ejusdem familie pars, quae ex Eois plagis origines duxit, et sub Divini magistri tutela adhuc in hac occidentali regione permanet integra quamvis sub iniquo Patriarchee Romani imperio, dominium ejus injuste occupatum crudeliterque usurpatum per multa secula fuerit ei perferendum. Salvete, Fratres Dilecti, fausti este et felices in magno opere promovendo, quod vobis a Christo in manus permissum est. Ego sum frater vester in Christo amantissimus.
[L.S.] SAMUEL ALLEN McCOSKRY,
DETROITAE DATUM, A. D. MDCCCLXIII.
Mensis Novembris, die vicessimo quinto.
MY DEAR DR. YOUNG:
We have but just received yours of the 23d inst. We rejoice to hear that you are to visit the East, and hope that your intercourse with the Hierarchy and other Ecclesiastics, and members of their Churches may be pleasant and profitable. One's heart yearns for more of intercourse and good understanding, and we welcome everything which tends to it, provided it be on terms which do not involve on our part any surrendering of important principles. We beg you, as opportunity offers, and in quarters where it may not seem obtrusive or unacceptable, to tender our fraternal and most cordial salutations to any Patriarchs, Metropolitans, Arch-Bishops or Bishops, whom you may meet, and indeed to any Priests or other members of the Orthodox Oriental churches.
Commending you to God, and to the word of His Grace, we are
Faithfully your friend and Brother,
[L. S.] ALONZO POTTER,
Bishop of Pennsylvania.
[L. S.] WM. BACON STEVENS,
Ass't Bishop Diocese of Penna.
November 27th, 1863.
Benedictissinmis Sanctissimisque Patriarchis ac Praestantissimis Metropolitanis Episcopisque Ecclesiae Sanctae Orthodoxae Orientalis.
Pax a Deo Patre, et Christo Jesu Domino Nostro!
Virum Reverendum Johannem Freeman Young, Presbyterum Ecclesiae Americanae, in terras Orientales peregrinantem, vestre caritati commendo, ut eum suscipiatis in Domino, et pro vestra benignitate in quocumque negotio ad Ecclesiae utilitatem unitatemque perficiendo adjuvetis. Nos autem, in littoribus his transoceanicis non cessabimus orare ad Deum omnipotentem Patrem Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, ut Ecclesia Sancta Orientalis, cum omnibus fidelibus in orbe terrarum, pacem habeat, et ambulet in timore Domini, et consolatione Sancti Spiritus repleatur.
Gardineri, in Republica Mainensi. Die vigesimo quinto Novembris, MDCCCLXIII
[L. S.] GEORGIUS BURGESS,
The original Greek version of the following letter, has through a misapprehension failed to reach us.
To the Most Blessed and Holy the Patriarchs, and the Most Excellent the Metropolitans and Bishops of the Holy, Orthodox, Eastern Church.
Health and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
MOST REVEREND BRETHREN:We desire to commend unto you our beloved in Christ the Reverend John Freeman Young, Presbyter, who, journeying to the East, desires to present himself to the venerable Bishops and Clergy of the Holy Orthodox Church, and to confer with them, they permit it, on matters pertaining to the Unity of the one Body of Christ, now so sadly rent and divided.
And we subscribe ourselves your unworthy Brother in Christ Jesus,
MIDDLETOWN, CONN., November, 1863.
Beatissimis Sanctissimisque Patriarchis atque Excellentissimis Episcopis, Sanctae Orthodoxae Ecclesiae Orientalis Gratia, Misericordia et Pax a Deo Patre et Christo Jesu, Domino Nostro. Nos, Horatius Potter, Sancte Theologie Doctor, Diocesis Neo-Eboracensis Episcopus, Fratrem in Christo dilectissimum Johannem Freeman Young, hujus Nostrae Dioecesis presbyterum, virum omnibus bonis artibus ornatum et sanctissima conversatione vitaque probatum, omnibus ubique Christi Servis fidelibus ex animo commendamus; omnesque Fratres dilectos in terris externis, pro amore Dei et benevolentia erga homines, ut Fratrem in Christo nostrum benigne excipiant, eique consilium suum atque operam praemebeant, oramus et obsecramus; ut legatio ejus Gratia Dei abundante ad Unitatem Spiritualem et Concordiam fraternam inter omnes in Jesu Christo Fideles promovendam multum valeat.
Quae omnia ad fidem confirmandam Subscriptione ac Sigillo Apostolico munivimus, in Urbe Neo-Eboracensi.
Kalendis Decembribus, Anno Domini Nostri Millessimo Octingentessimo sexagesimo tertio, et Episcopatus Nostri anno decimo.
Episcopus Dioecesis Neo-Eboracensis.
To His Eminence ISIDORE, Metropolitan of St. Petersburg:
MY LORD METROPOLITAN:I have the honor to present to your Lordship the accompanying letters of commendation, and fraternal salutation in the Lord, from several Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, which is, as your Lordship is well aware, an offshoot of the ancient and venerable Church of England.
His Excellency the Ober-Procurator of the Holy Synod suggested, when I had the honor to lay these letters before him, that as they are the first which have been written to the Hierarchy of the Oriental Church by the Canonical Bishops of any independent National Church since the great Schism with reference to reunion, it would be very gratifying to the Synod if, on my return to America, I would leave them to be deposited in its archives. With this kind suggestion it gives me great pleasure now to comply; begging to assure your Lordship that many others of our Bishops would have had great pleasure in joining in these greetings, had they known in due time of the opportunity for this, which my contemplated visit would afford.
The letters accompanying are from the following seven of our forty American Bishops.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. McCOSKRY, Bishop of Michigan.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. DELANCY, Bishop of Western New York.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. ALONZO POTTER, Bishop of Pennsylvania.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. BURGESS, Bishop of Maine.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. WILLIAMS, Assistant Bishop of Connecticut.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. HORATIO POTTER, Bishop of New York.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. STEVENS, Assistant Bishop of Pennsylvania.
Standing alone, amidst the numerous Protestant Communions by which she is surrounded, because of her tenacious adherence to the Apostolical Succession of her Priesthood, her Catholic Liturgy, Creeds, Traditions, and Ceremonies, the great Anglican Communion, of which the American Church is a considerable part, ever since her release from the thraldom of the Papacy, has regarded with interest, and lively sympathy, the venerable Orthodox Church of the East.
This sentiment was strengthened by the publication in our language, some fifty years ago, of Platons Catechism, Dr. King's Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek Church, and some other similar works. But it has received a greater impulse more recently, by the publication of the Primer and Catechisms of the Russian Church, Mouravieffs History of the same, and other standard Russian works, together with the well-known and invaluable labors of the Rev. Dr. John Mason Neale.
Yet the occasion for calling forth the expression of these sentiments by any action on our part was wanting, till the settlement of a considerable number of Russians in San Francisco, and the desire of several of them for the ministrations of our Priesthood (in the absence of their own), with the prospective increase of this intercourse on the Pacific, admonished us that the time had arrived when the two Churches should enter upon the consideration and definition of their mutual ecclesiastical relations.
Remembering our Redeemer's earnest prayer "that they all may be one," and knowing the charitable spirit which has ever characterized the Orthodox Church of the East, the American Church has not hesitated to take the first step in this momentous matter: and from the many important points of agreement and few of difference between us, the hope is entertained on our part, that without the surrender of fundamental principles on either side, and on a strictly Catholic and OEcumenical basis, with the blessing of the Great Head of the Church on our mutual efforts, a harmonious understanding may in due time be attained.
The end contemplated by the movement of the American Church referred to in these letters, may be stated in a few words to be:The attainment of a more accurate knowledge of the Orthodox Eastern Church than we are as yet in possession of, making known to her Hierarchy at the same time, as opportunities may serve, our well established claims to recognition as an integral portion of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church; having ultimately in view (should it appear feasible and desirable when we come to know each other better) such mutual recognition of Orders and Sacraments, as will allow members of the Anglo-American Communion to avail themselves of the Offices of the Eastern Church, with the consent of its Bishops and clergy, without renouncing the Communion of their own Church; and as will permit members of the Eastern Church, with like consent, as occasion shall serve, to avail themselves of the ministrations of the Anglo-American Church, without forfeiting thereby the privilege of Church membership in their own Communion.
With assurances of the unceasing prayers of the Faithful of the American Church for the realization of so blessed a consummation, I beg to subscribe myself,
Your Lordship's very humble servant in Christ,
JOHN FREEMAN YOUNG,
Secretary of the Russo-Greek Committee of the American Episcopal Church.
ST. PETERSBURG, April 9/21, 1864.
The several interviews had with the high Authorities of the Russian Church were most satisfactory.
Their private and confidential character precludes our reporting anything beyond one or two remarks. And even these would not be given, but for the necessity of mentioning them, in order even to intimate justly the Catholic spirit of the Russian Hierarchy, and the fraternal feeling with which they regard our Communion.
One Metropolitan, opening the conversation by allusion to the movement of the Anglo-American Church towards intercommunion, and adding that it was very gratifying to hear of it, proceeded to say: "I think an understanding on some points may be had at once; on most points perhaps by the Hierarchy of the two Churches; but with the masses on both sides there will be more difficulty; and more with us than with you, as our people generally are less educated. Time will be required for the diffusion of information, the softening down of prejudices, and the conciliation of mutual regard."
Another Metropolitan, after the perusal of the letters of the American Bishops, remarked that " the feelings which prompted this movement, and the sentiments expressed by the Bishops in their letters, could not but meet with warm sympathy on the part of the Russian Church, which is always ready to negotiate with those who desire to stand on the basis of primitive Truth, and who admit the Apostolic claims and dignity of the Russian Church;" adding that "the cordial political harmony which has always existed between Russia and America, and the more intimate social relations which are gradually springing up, ought to lead to more intimate relations between the Churches, and the strengthening of those ties which bind heart to heart in the fellowship and love of our Saviour Jesus Christ."
The good will expressed so unreservedly by the highest dignitaries of the Russian Church, was found to be fully shared in by the Laity, many of the most influential of whom, in both Capitals, were met, and who are generally much better informed in regard to us than are we in regard to them. They desired to become acquainted, particularly, with the principles on which are organized, and the rules by which are conducted, our more important evangelical operations; such as Missions, Sunday and Parochial Schools, Church Hospitals, Sisterhoods, and the like.
They desired that we would send them our Journals of Conventions, Annual Reports of Societies, our leading Church Periodicals, and the fullest information, in fact, respecting all our evangelical and charitable operations. The President of the Holy Synod, during the interview with that body above-mentioned, requested that we would send him regularly, not only the Journals of our General Convention, but, if possible, full verbatim reports of the debates in that body.
These desires of our Russian brethren and friends have been, and will continue to be complied with, so far as practicable.
The enlightened and progressive policy of the wise and justly revered Monarch of that mighty Empire, has awakened to new life the Church of Russia, and her Hierarchy and members are alike profoundly impressed with the increased responsibilities which their enlarged opportunities unavoidably bring upon them. The education, and preparation for citizenship of 23,000,000 of emancipated Serfs, who are of the same blood and lineage of their recent masters, is, in itself, a work of appalling magnitude; while the almost annual acquisition of tribes and people, and not unfrequently of whole nations of Heathens or Mohammedans to the dominion of the Empire, gives a magnitude to the Domestic Missionary work of that Church, which has had no parallel since the conversion of the Roman Empire.
It is gratifying to know, in view of the vast work which lies before that Church, and the momentous responsibilities which rest upon her, that she has vast resources to wield in its accomplishment, and is addressing herself to her mighty task with a manifest love to Christ, and zeal in His service, which augur for her a resplendent and glorious future.
So little is known in detail amongst us respecting the Russian Church, and her statistics are so inaccessible to most persons, that the Committee deem it proper, in discharge of the duty assigned to them of " collecting authentic information bearing upon this subject," to give a few of the more important Statistics of this Church from the Report of the Ober-Procurator of the Holy Governing Synod to His Majesty the Emperor, for the year 1861, though made in 1864, a copy of which his Excellency the Ober-Procurator has been so kind as to send us.
From this Report we learn that the Russian Church is divided into 58 Dioceses, and numbers 87 Bishops, several Dioceses having one or more Vicar Bishops. The inferior Clergy consist of 37,950 Priests, 12,444 Deacons and 63,421 Clerks, 247 of the latter having received a complete theological education; making 103,815 in all. Adding to these the Clergy in Retreat, who embrace 3,513 Priests, 1,904 Deacons, and 6,932 Clerks, the Secular Clergy alone, not including Monks, number 126,164.
The number of Convents in Russia is 624. Of this number 477 are for Males, and contain 5,648 Monks, and 4,879 Novices. The Convents for Females number 137, and contain 2,931 Nuns and 7,6G9 Novices. Efforts are being made to utilize the Monastic establishments of the Empire by establishing in connexion with them Hospitals and Schools. They already number 67'Hospitals and 23 Hospices, while the Convents for Females have organized 33 Schools for the daughters of the Clergy.
The endowed Parishes number 17,615; 584 of these endowments having been made during the year ending in 1861. In connexion with Parish Churches there are 31 Hospitals, and 586 Hospices.
The offerings of the churches during the year preceding the Report, notwithstanding the very embarrassed circumstances of the Nobles, amounted to 7,640,029 roubles, or $5,730,021.75.
The Orthodox population exclusive of the Army and Navy is 52,034,650, of whom 37,612,978 received the Holy Eucharist at Easter. Among those who did not avail themselves of this privilege 9,150,358 were children, and 1,032,180 abstained from reasonable motives, so that only 4,239,134 persons failed through negligence.
The converts to the Orthodox Church in 1861, were 17,733, of which number 1,457 where Pagans; 579 Mohammedans; 427 Jews; 1,109 Roman Catholics; 536 Lutherans, and 5,519 where Raskolnicks, (a class of Dissenters) reconciled to the Church. And besides these, the Report mentions an Embassy from Persia, making an application in behalf of 8,000 families of Nestorians, asking to be reconciled to the Orthodox Church. This application was held under advisement by the Holy Synod, till they could be fully assured in regard to the sincerity of the applicants.
The Missionary operations of the Russian Church we cannot pause to specify, but would only mention, as most interesting to us, that extending across the Eastern Hemisphere they have reached, to bless, our American Continent, by the conversion to Christianity and civilization of thousands of Pagans on its North-Western coasts. And the names of Benjamin, Sitviazen, Nezvetoff, and Innocent I., have been rendered immortal in the annals of this Continent, by the Apostolic zeal, labors and self-denials, of those noble servants of Christ, who have borne these names but to honour them, and which, as a sister and neighboring Church, we are happy to mention in our own records. The languishing Mission entered upon by Benjamin, in 1823, has grown to be the Diocese of New Archangel, with its own Bishop, 27 Priests, and 42 churches and chapels. It is yet presided over, happily, by its Founder and Apostle Benjamin, who, as Archbishop of Kamschatka, under the title of Innocent I., superintends all the Polar churches, and, although very aged, visits every part of his immense Arch-Diocese.
The Ecclesiastical Schools in Russia (which are mainly for the sons of the Clergy), as reported in 1861, are 255, supplied by 1893 teachers, and embracing 54,131 pupils.
There are four Ecclesiastical Academies (which are the highest grade of training schools for the Clergy), under the direction of 86 professors, and embracing 372 pupils. The Seminaries, which are the next grade below, and from the prize scholars of which the Ecclesiastical Academies are supplied, are 50 in number, with 636 teachers, and 1.5,060 pupils. The schools of the third grade number 201, with 1111 teachers, and 38,699 pupils preparing for admission into the Seminaries. And a project has been matured by the Synod for raising materially the standard of these schools.
Of Common Schools, for the peasants and other poor, up to 1861, there were only 7,907, embracing 133,666 scholars. But in the year 1861 alone (the year in which emancipation was proclaimed), 10,680 of these schools were established, embracing 184,777 pupils, and mainly by the personal efforts, and to a considerable extent by the personal contributions of the country Pastors. Such thoughtful care of these devoted men for the well-being of even the humblest of their flocks, and their readiness to embrace toil, and to give of their penury, to do them good, vindicates their claim to be true Shepherds of Christ's flock, and sufficiently refutes the slanders respecting them which ignorant reviewers, and compilers of books, persist in reproducing from the stale narratives of a century and a half ago.
And if it be remembered in this connection that, in the estimation of the great body of the Russians, the knowledge in comparison with which all other is valueless, is the knowledge of God and of His Word, and that in all these schools for the masses, which are multiplying with such rapidity, religious instruction, including the reading and study of the New Testament, is the first and last consideration, it is not difficult to predict the future religious character of that mighty and widely-spreading people, and their influence for good upon the human race.
The more important religious newspapers and Reviews published in Russia in 1861 were 12 in number, the character of which may be inferred from their titles, and the auspices under which they are published.
The Christian Lesson, by the Ecclesiastical Academy of St. Petersburg; Sunday Reading, by the Ecclesiastical Academy of Kieff; Labours of the Ecclesiastical Academy of Kieff, by the Academy of Kieff; Writings of the Holy Fathers (translated into Russ), by the Ecclesiastical Academy of Moscow; The Orthodox Interlocutor, by the Ecclesiastical Academy of Kazan; The Spiritual Covenantist, by the Seminary of St, Petersburg; Guide for Country Priests, by the Seminary of Kieff; The School of Piety, in three languages, by the Seminary of Riga; The Orthodox Review, by the Chaplain of the University of Moscow, Sergievsky; The Salutary Lesson, by a Priest of Moscow, Klutchareff, and others; The Pilgrim, by a Priest of St. Petersburg, Gretchonlevitch; The Spirit of the Christian, by a Priest of St. Petersburg, Florinsky. Besides these periodicals of more general circulation, many Dioceses have their own local gazettes.
There are several important subjects connected with the evangelical agencies now organizing, or operating, within the Russian Church, with which the Committee have become acquainted in the prosecution of their duty of "collecting authentic information," and which they are prevented from "reporting to the Convention," only by the fear of extending this report to an unreasonable length. And the Committee withhold what they would be glad to add to their already too extended report with the deeper regret, because what we should say on these subjects would bring to light the striking similarity in the position of the two Churches as to progress in the development of those active agencies with which each alike is looking forward to the subjugation of a Continent unto allegiance to our common Head. This circumstance itself is a great ground of sympathy and reason for mutual good understanding and aid. We will detain you but for a moment's reference to one of these subjects as a sample of them all; and that is, the institution of Sisterhoods, or the employment of Woman's aid in works of mercy to the poor of Christ.
At about the time our Church as a body began to interest herself in this matter from a general conviction of the importance of the subject, it received its first impulse in Russia likewise, from the pressing exigencies of the Crimean War. When Russia single-handed was challenged to combat by all the great powers of Europe combined, Her Imperial Highness, the Grand Duchess Helen, rising to the sublimity of the appalling hour, issued an appeal to the women of Russia, asking their aid for their Country in its trial. Personal service she invoked of those who would render it. and contribuitions for the Hospitals from those who would send them. Hundreds offering themselves. and tens of thousands their contributions, the Grand Duchess converted her Palace into a great rendezvous for organization, and storehouse for the reception of hospital supplies. Assisted by competent persons, including live eminent Surgeons employed by Her Imperial Highness at her own- cost, arrangements were perfected, and band after band despatched, till the Sisters were numbered by hundreds. And the record of those noble women has never been surpassed in the history of female heroism. Unwearied in devotion to the sick and the wounded, standing at times for hours in blood ankle deep, accompanying ambulances on foot for days through the mud and chilling blasts of a Crimean winter to minister to the sick, and assuage the pains of the wounded; or, in other cases, shut up for months, and worn down with labor, in typhus hospitals, it is no matter of surprise that, ere the end of the war, many of those who went forth with such fortitude on their mission of mercy, rested from their labors in that blessed sleep of which the resurrection of the just shall be the waking.
Thirty-one returned to Petersburg, and reported to the Grand Duchess, with their zeal only quickened for their holy work by all which they had endured and, by the mercy of God, survived. Their ministry of love had become too dear to them to be abandoned, while to the great and noble woman who had projected and superintended all, its blessed results had rendered it doubly precious. It was therefore determined that, what was temporary only in its organization and aims, should be reorganized on a permanent basis, as a blessing to suffering humanity for all time to come.
Addressing herself to the Managers of the St. Petersburg Hospitals, and soliciting for these Sisters the privilege of serving them, the Grand Duchess was unsuccessful in every attempt Undaunted by these discouragements in the carrying out of her purpose, she assigned to the Sisterhood a portion of her own Palace. Here they remained till her Highness could make provision for a suitable home, who, after two years, at her own cost, procured for them such an establishment in all respects, as the organization required. At length the influence of the Grand Duchess gained for them a toleration in one of the poorest Hospitals for the working classes, where the management was the worst, and the mortality the greatest. This opportunity was sufficient to open to them ere long, the Naval Hospitals of Petersburg, which were under the enlightened direction of the Grand Admiral Constantine, brother of the Emperor. Then they were installed at the Children's Hospital, then at the Maximilian Hospital. Soon the War Department asked for their services in the Military Hospitals. The Synod, like our General Convention, gave the Order its formal sanction, and proclaimed its approval to all parts of the Empire, throughout which now it will rapidly spread.
Some features in the administration of this Institution we would do well to adopt; and among them the "ambulance", or as we would call it, the clinical department. It consists in the proffer of gratuitous treatment by its physicians, including medicines, to the poor who are only partially disabled by sickness or accident The growing popularity of this feature of the work may be judged of from the statistics of the last four years; those who availed themselves of its benefits in 1861 being 8000 persons; in 1862, 14,000; in 1863, 19,400; and in 1864, 23,000.
The Municipality of St. Petersburg, which has learned at length to appreciate the labors of these sisters, voted them last year a donation of 5,000 roubles; and unborn millions of the Russian people will bless the memory of the noble Christian woman whose great heart, resolute purpose, and munificent hand, have achieved such a triumphant success for an organization which, in all time to come, will honor her only less than it will bless the poor of Christ, for whom exclusively its merciful beneficence is designed.
While collecting information as a basis for their own conclusions, the Committee have endeavoured to impart of the same to the Church generally, so far as has been rendered possible by the means placed at their command. The proposal which they put forth soon after their organization, to issue a Series of Papers bearing upon the matter entrusted to them, met with such a response as to enable them to issue up to the present time Seven Numbers. This Series includes, besides other things, the Primer authorized by the Holy Synod of the Russian Church, with the Longer Catechism in full, and other quotations from the highest authorities on all points of difference touched on in the Primer, wherein the Russian Church is not in perfect agreement with us. The Series includes likewise the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which is ordinarily used throughout the Oriental Church, and besides this, the Offices of Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination of Deacons, Deaconesses, Priests and Bishops, and the Office of Confession. They desired very much to publish expositions by the Orientals themselves, of the differences between them and the Protestants from their point of view, such as the Essays of Chomiakoff, Alexander de Stourdza, &c; and above all, we were desirous of making accessible to our Church a translation of the "Duty of Parish Priests," by Konissky and Sopkoffsky, which is the Text-book on the Pastoral Office, wherever the Slavonian dialects are spoken, and is the Manual for the guidance of all Priests of the Russian Church in the daily performance of their various duties. By the publication in English of such Russian works, which are of the highest authority and of the most comprehensive scope, it seemed to the Committee that they could make known to the members of our Communion most justly and truly the status of that Church, both as to dogma and practice. All these works would have been published, and circulated throughout the Church before the meeting of this General Convention, had the contributions for which we appealed, been afforded for this purpose.
Under existing circumstances the Committee feel that they have, as yet, but fairly entered upon their labors. They are sorry to have done so little, and only have not done more because the means for this have not been contributed. They would be glad still further to prosecute what so much interests them, should the Convention desire them to continue their services. In this event they would suggest the expediency of an enlargement of their powers so far as is necessary to enable them to correspond with the authorities of the Russian, or other branches of the (Oriental Church, for the acquisition of still further authentic information, and to report the results to the next General Convention.
It will be necessary in the event of continuing the (Committee that the vacancies in it should be filled which have been caused by the death of Bishop Delancey and the resignation of Bishop Williams; and your Committee at the same time submit respectfully in connection with the increased responsibility of an enlargement of their powers, that the number of the Committee should be increased.
All which is respectfully submitted.
HENRY J. WHITEHOUSE,
J. FREEMAN YOUNG,
SAMUEL B. RUGGLES,
The Committee, with the increase of members which was granted according to the suggestion of the foregoing report, is now as follows:
ON THE PART OF THE HOUSE OF BISHOPS.
The Right Rev. WILLIAM ROLLINSON WHITTINGHAM, D. D., Bishop of Maryland.
HENRY JOHN WHITEHOUSE, D. D LL. D., Bishop of Illinois.
WILLIAM HENRY ODENHEIMER D. D, Bishop of New Jersey.
ARTHUR CLEVELAND COXE, D. D., Bishop of Western New York.
ON THE PART OF THE HOUSE OF CLERICAL AND LAY DEPUTIES.
The Rev. HENRY M. MASON, D. D., Diocese of Maryland
MILO MAHAN, D. D., Diocese of Maryland
A. N. LITTLEJOHN, D. D., Diocese of New York.
S. C. THRALL, D. D., Diocese of New Jersey.
MORGAN DIX, D. D., Diocese of New York.
J. FREEMAN YOUNG, D. D., Diocese of New York.
The Hon. S. B. Ruggles, New York.
MURRAY HOFFMAN, New York
SAMUEL ELLIOTT, LL. D., Massachussets
GEORGE C. SHATTUCK, M. D, Massachussets
JOHN H. SWIFT, ESQ., New York.