After the October Revolution in 1917 and the Russian Civil War, millions of Orthodox refugees ended up outside their homeland and in need of pastoral care. In 1920, the Higher Church Administration Abroad was established in Constantinople. It was headed by a leading bishop of the Russian Church—the Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia, Antony (Khrapovitsky).
From 1890 to 1895, Archimandrite Anthony was rector of the Moscow Theological Academy and then the Kazan Theological Academy, until 1900.logical Academy and then the Kazan Theological Academy, until 1900.
From 1906 to 1907 he was a member of the State Council, and from 1912 on, a member of the Holy Synod and doctor of theology.
He won the most votes out of the three candidates for the Patriarchate, but the Moscow metropolitan Tikhon (Bellavin) was chosen by lot, and Antony was instead ordained Metropolitan.
In March 1920 Metropolitan Antony left Russia and spent some time on Mount Athos, where he intended to “enter a cell”—become a monk.
In September 1920 he was invited by General P. N. Wrangel to the Crimea, occupied by the Russian Army. But already in November 1920, he was forced to leave Russia forever and to share all the burdens of exile with his flock.
After a short stay in Constantinople in February 1921 with other bishops and members of the Provisional Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority, he moved to the town of Sremska Karlovci in Serbia (then the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes), on the invitation of the Serbian Patriarch Dmitry.
Metropolitan Anthony in Sremski Karlovci
Communication with members of the imperial House of Romanov in exile
Metropolitan Antony stayed true to the Orthodox monarchic ideal, and maintained close ties with the members of the imperial House of Romanov in exile.
The archival collection of the Solzhenitsyn House of the Russian Diaspora contains the correspondence of Metropolitan Antony and the chancery of the Synod of Bishops with Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, the head of his General Chancery Prince N. L. Obolensky, as well as other correspondents.
Metropolitan Antony was active in social and church activities related to the management of the Synod and the organization of the church life of the diaspora.
The orders and encyclicals of the chairman of the Synod of Bishops were issued, and his articles and books were disseminated in the centers of the Russian diaspora.
On June 29, 1927, under pressure from the Bolshevik authorities, the deputy of the Patriarchal locum tenens, Metropolitan Sergy (Stragorodsky) and the Moscow Synod issued an Epistle (declaration) “On the relations of the Russian Orthodox Church with the present civil authority,” in which a demand was made to the clergy abroad to “give a written commitment of their full loyalty to the Soviet government in all its public activities.”
These demands were summarily rejected.The necessity of opposing a former student and friend was a great personal drama for Bishop Antony.
The Metropolitan had great authority not only among the Orthodox, and he constantly drew attention to the tragic situation of the Russian people and the Church in Russia.
He performed church services, visited schools, and other Russian diaspora institutions, and gave public lectures on such figures as Vladimir Solovyov, Leo Tolstoy, and Fyodor Dostoevsky.
In the early 1930s, Metropolitan Antony fell seriously ill. His legs were paralyzed, and he could no longer stand or walk.
Death and burial of Metropolitan Anthony
From the funeral oration of the Serbian patriarch Varnava: “Metropolitan Antony should be placed in the same rank as the great hierarchs of the first centuries of Christianity… Only later can we appreciate him and understand what significance he had not only for the Orthodox Church, but for all of Christianity and all of humanity, as an individual in whom religious and moral principles found their highest expression in our time.”
Metropolitan Antony left a rich legacy. His works were published and continue to be republished in Russia and abroad.
From 1957 to 1963, a ten-volume biography of Blessed Antony was published in New York. It was written by the ROCOR Archbishop Nikon (N. P. Rklitsky). Interest in the works and service of the metropolitan is growing in Russia and abroad.
In May 2012, an exhibition was opened in Belgrade called “On the History of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia,” dedicated to the dramatic history of the Russian church in the diaspora, from Sresmki Karlovci (Serbia) to Jordanville (USA).
A central part of this exhibition is devoted to the First Hierarch of the ROCOR, Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky).
Archpriest father Vladimir Tzurikov (Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville, USA) with Vitali Tarasevym, rector of the church of St. Trinity in Belgrade, served requiem on the grave of Bishop Anthony.
Exhibition prepared by:
Father Vladimir von Tsurikov, member of the Council of Directors of the Holy Trinity Seminary, director of the Fund of Russian History;
Inna Yevgenyevna Rozanova: deputy director of the Solzhenitsyn House of the Russian Diaspora;project coordinator:
Tatyana Yuryevna Irinarkhova; artist: Yelena Valeryevna Abarenkova.
Curator — Solzhenitsyn Centre of Russian Emigré Studies