Russian Orthodox Church and the II Vatican Council

Russian Orthodox Church and the Second Vatican Council (after O. Vasilyeva)

Chapter 3

"These things do not come into orbit of our notions…"

A thousand times was right Kosma Prutkov (by this  name is inscribed the famous Russian collection of aphorisms dating back to the middle of the XIX century - transl.), who told once: "Many things can't be understood by us not because our notions are inadequate, but because these things do not come into orbit of our notions".
This aphorism depicts precisely the place of the event of the preparation and carrying out of the Second Vatican Council (1959-1965) in Russian historiography.  For many years this period was practically ignored, notwithstanding the fact that it coincided with the beginning of the direct political contacts between the Russian government and the Vatican.
At that time in the atmosphere of utmost secrecy an agreement was reached concerning the launching of the secret talks between the representatives of the USSR and the Vatican aimed at the normalization of bilateral relations. Yuri Karlov, who at that time worked in USSR Embassy in Italy, later remarked: "Without the idea how these contacts were developing, what were the true impelling causes, that forced Khrushchov to try to draw the Vatican into the orbit of Soviet foreign policy, we can hardly fully understand the character of the attitude of official Moscow to the [Second Vatican] Council and to the decisions taken by it".  We can't but agree with the conclusions formulated by the well-known diplomat. He is right in stressing the difficulty of finding the true answers, because the real interests of Soviet policy did not at all coincide with the official rhetoric.
The difficulties in the understanding of that historic period are redoubled by the fact that the Soviet state decided to use the Russian Orthodox Church as a tool of its secret diplomacy, forcing her to attend the Catholic council, without taking into consideration either the existing dogmatic differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, or the proselytism of the Vatican […]
25 January 1959 Pope John XXIII announced the convening in Vatican of the Council of the Catholic Church. Soviet authorities could form the idea about the first reaction of the Russian Orthodox Church on this initiative of the Pope from the address of Patriarch Alexis I to the bishop Basil (Samacha), the prior of the Antiochene Embassy-church in Moscow, given during the reception in honour of the 110th anniversary of the opening of the Embassy-church. Ambassadors of Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, and Greece were among the guests. Patriarch Alexis I emphasized in his speech that "the Russian Orthodox Church can't take part in the council, organized by Catholics and does not consider such council to be ecumenical". The ambassador of Greece supported the position expressed by Patriarch Alexis I and said that "Greek Orthodox Church has the same view on this issue, being sure that the Vatican will pursue its interests and dogmas on this council, which are unacceptable to the Orthodox". All this was set out in writing in the secret memo, composed by G. Karpov (important Soviet official, chairman of the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church - transl.) and directed to the Central Committee of the CPSU three days after the reception had taken place.
On April 2 1959 G. Karpov met with Patriarch Alexis I, metropolitan Nikolai (Yarushevich) and chief manager of Moscow Patriarchy senior priest N. Kolchitsky. The main theme of the talk was the attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church to the council that was going to be convened by Pope John XXIII. Patriarch Alexis emphasized that according to the existing canon law the Orthodox Church can't take part in this council or send its representatives in quality of guests or observers. […]
Meanwhile May 1959 brought from Italy the overwhelming news, provocative for [Soviet] government as well as for Church leaders from the Moscow Patriarchy.
Italian magazine "Il Tempo" in its issue dating 19 May 1959 published an article subscribed by certain Lamberto Furno. The title of the article was: "Will Russians Take Part in the Ecumenical Council?". In this article the author informed the world that "Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis VI (sic!) plans to take part in the Council. And in fact during the last two months the Apostolic nuncio in Vienna monsignor Delle Piane met several times with three Orthodox bishops…"
Moscow Patriarchy reacted swiftly and sternly. The official refutation was made by the Chairman of the Department of Foreign Church Relations of Moscow Patriarchy metropolitan Nikolai (Yarushevich), who not only expressly called the fantasies of the Italian journalist a "delirium", but also stressed that "we regard the forthcoming "ecumenical" council, of which Pope John XXIII spoke recently, as pure Catholic initiative, and in no such councils, called by Popes since 1054 did the Russian Orthodox Church take part, and neither does she plan to take part [in this council]". 
The Soviet authorities fully supported the decision of Moscow Patriarchy and of the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church to refute through the central Soviet press [the allegations of the Italian journalist]. 12 June 1959 the chief of the Department of Agitation and Propaganda of the Central Committee of the CPSU, one of the leading Khrushchov's ideologists - L. Ilyichov - recommended to give the refutation in "calm manner", because then "it would help to escape possible provocation on the part of the Vatican, elucidate the genuine causes that led to the publication of the article, and in future (underlined by Ilyichov), when Moscow Patriarchy will have enough facts at her disposal, prepare more substantial statement (underlined by Ilyichov) in press about the attitude of Moscow Patriarchy to the Catholic council".
Official statement of the Synod saying that "Moscow Patriarchy views the forthcoming Catholic council as pure Roman Catholic initiative and therefore has no reasons and even less the intentions to intervene into this matter" was released on June 31 (sic! - transl.) 1959.
In the previous chapter we already mentioned the fact, that during all the year 1959 the opponents of G. Karpov planned clandestinely his removal from the office, which according to their plans should have coincided with the removal of metropolitan Nikolai (Yarushevich) from the office of the Chairman of the Department of Foreign Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church […]
New Chairman of the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church V.A. Kuroedov 15 June 1960 during his meeting with the Patriarch Alexis I strongly criticized the activities of the Church on the international level: "Patriarchy during the last years has not conducted a single broad initiative for the unification of Orthodox Churches around the Russian Orthodox Church, headed by the Moscow Patriarchy, as well as initiatives, tied with unmasking of the reactionary actions of the Roman Pope and with the strengthening of the struggle for peace […] You all know the facts that show the active offensive actions of the Pope, his new tactics and methods of the anti-popular (the term "anti-popular" was broadly used in the Soviet propaganda and meant the activities conducted by "reactionaries" against the interests of the "people" - transl.) struggle". This activization, according to the opinion of the new Chairman of the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, should be displayed first of all in the opposition to the Vatican. V. Kuroedov personally blamed metropolitan Nikolai (Yarishevich) […] The Soviet authorities demanded through V. Kuroedov the immediate resign of metropolitan Nikolai. 19 September 1960 the Holy Council of Moscow Patriarchy took the decision to free metropolitan Nikolai from his office and advised him to retire […] On December 13 1961 metropolitan Nikolai died in the hospital under strange circumstances […].
The young successor of metropolitan Nikolai - bishop Nikodim (his worldly name was Boris Georgievich Rotov) was born on October 15, 1929. […] One of the first activities of the young Chairman of the Department of Foreign Relations [of the Russian Orthodox Church] was the preparation of the visit of Patriarch Alexis I to Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Syria, Israel and Lebanon in November-December 1960. […] After the meeting of both Patriarchs [Alexis I of Moscow and Athenagoras I of Constantinople] in Stambul (Istanbul) bishop Nikodim, who accompanied Patriarch Alexis I in this voyage, told the journalists during the press-conference: "Russian Church has no intention to take part in the [Second Vatican] council, because the union between Orthodoxy and Catholicism can not be achieved unless the Vatican abandons certain  principles as e.g. infallibility of the Pope, and embrace the dogmatic reforms (sic! - transl.), carried out in the Orthodox Church". […]
Patriarch Alexis I [speaking in Athens during his voyage] left no doubt about the position of Moscow Patriarchy concerning the council to be convened by Pope John XXIII: "Russian Church has absolutely no intentions to take part in this council, because the union between Orthodox and Catholic religions (sic! - transl.) can't take place, if the Vatican does not abandon beforehand some of its principles… Me repudiate all their novelties…" […]
[Meanwhile] on 30 March 1961 The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church took the decision to enter the World Council of Churches. […] In order to maintain the relations between the Russian Church and the managing center of World Council of Churches, senior priest Vitalii Borovoy, Victor Alekseev and Nikolai Afinogenov were sent to Geneva in summer 1961.
The 3d Assembly of the World Council of Churches, that took place in New Delhi in November-December 1961 was very representative. […] It was for the first time attended by the observers from the Vatican. The Russian Orthodox Church was admitted as a full member of the World Council of Churches on December 7, 1961. "For" admittance voted 142 member churches, 4 abstained and 3 voted "against".
This event was in general positively viewed in Western Christian circles. The notable exception was the reaction of certain American protestant leaders, who considered that henceforth the activity of the World Council of Churches will be closely followed by "eyes and ears of the Soviets". Catholic press also pointed at possible future dangers, scaring the readers by [inevitable] "enkindling of political passions", calling for "caution" and "vigilance" from the part of the members of the World Council of Churches, because "Russian Church, being admitted to the World Council of Churches, will try to direct the entire ecumenical movement in such a way as to implement the plans, prepared in Kremlin, which must promote the triumph of Soviet propaganda through worldwide Christianity".
Catholics, as well as protestants, were right, if we take into consideration the foreign policy aspects of state-and-church policy in 1943-1953. […]
On the 3d Assembly of the World Council of Churches in New Delhi there was made an attempt to denounce communism. But the representative of the Moscow Patriarchy suggested to include in the resolution also the list of the vices of capitalism. Finally both suggestions were declined, and one of the delegates from the American churches led the discussion in another direction, claiming that "we are more interested in the struggle with colonialism, racial and social injustice, that in stressing political anticommunism".
Yes, these political motives will accompany international activities of the [Russian Orthodox] Church all the times. But we should not forget, that behind the political facade of the meetings lay deep problems connected with the relations between the Churches. And on the Assembly in New-Delhi the Russian Church together with the Churches from other Socialist countries obtained the voting down of the resolution proposed by the leadership of the World Council of Churches about establishing of direct and close contacts with the Vatican, who in its turn wished and strove for those contacts in order to propagate its influence on other Christian Churches.
[…] As it was mentioned earlier, the autumn of 1961 was imbued by important events for the Russian Orthodox Church: they were the joining of the World Council of Churches and also participation in the All-Orthodox meeting on the isle Rodos. The latter was held from September 24 till October 1, 1961 […] the Russian Orthodox Church was represented by the Chairman of the Department of Church Foreign Relations archbishop Nikodim, archbishop of Brussels Vasili (Krivoshein), bishop of Tallinn Alexis (now Patriarch Alexis II - transl.) and archpresbyter Vitali Borovoi. […]
The discussion concerning the forthcoming Vatican Council was not among the main items of the agenda. Nevertheless the representatives of the 14 Orthodox Churches stressed their wish to reach unity on all principal questions. And the Second Vatican Council was by all means among those questions. [...]
Patriarch Athenagoras, perhaps, hoped that in case he receives the invitation from Rome (to attend the Council - transl.), he could represent the whole Orthodox world. But the possibility of such representation was not even mentioned by any of the participants.
The events that followed unfolded swiftly. In February 1962 the residence of the Patriarch Athenagoras in Istanbul was visited by Monsignor Willebrands, secretary of the Secretariat for the Promotion of the Christian Unity. He suggested to Patriarch Athenagoras to think over the possibility of sending the observers to the Vatican Council. Patriarch Athenagoras founded a special commission for the consultations with other Orthodox Churches on this issue. The commission was headed by Metropolitan Maxim of Sardy.
Moscow Patriarchy as well as Church of Greece and the Antiochene Church declined the idea of any form of participation in the Vatican Council. The Church of Alexandria declared that it would follow the decision of the Patriarch of Constantinople. Patriarch Athenagoras hesitated, but by summer 1962 declined the idea of sending the observers (The official refusal was declared by the Synod of Constantinople of October 8, 1962). 
News about Moscow Patriarchy observers coming to Rome on October 12, 1962 was for the Ecumenical Patriarch [Athenagoras] a blow and also complete surprise, and he even had a fit of nausea. But on the next day Patriarch Athenagoras was calm [as usual]. All that happened he estimated as a beginning of a new phase.
So what really happened in 1962? Why has the attitude of the Russian Church [to the Council in Vatican] changed so suddenly? […]

Chapter 4
 Khrushchov's menace

[…] On September 1, 1961 on the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site began a new series of tests of powerful nuclear weapons. From September till December 1961 there were more tests of nuclear weapons in USSR than during all preceding years […]
USSR diplomats were seeking for a weak link in the NATO block, and with some success. In August-September 1961 prime minister of Italy A. Fanfani visited Moscow […] Soviet diplomacy showed great interest in Italy. This interest was so open that the Italian periodical "Lo Speccio" on April 2, 1962 in the article called "The Maneuvers of Moscow" described the situation in the following words: "At present the Soviet Union makes a crude attempt to interfere into Italy's internal affairs. Kozyrev (the USSR ambassador in Italy - comment of the author) received a task from Moscow to inform the Italian high political circles about the Kremlin's opinion concerning the political situation in Italy with a special stress on the forthcoming presidential elections […]
[…] There were also Church problems that were touched in USSR-Italy relations. Several months before the visit of Fanfani to Moscow, a well-known mayor of Florence Giorgio La Pira wrote a letter, addressed to Soviet ambassador to Italy Semen Kozyrev. Among other things La Pira wrote: "Tell Mr. Khrushchov: it is a great political, spiritual and historical blunder to organize in these days, like Hungarian government does, the "processes" (law-suits - transl.) against Catholics - this is a symptom of political and historical senility".
Pope John XXIII couldn't remain indifferent to the destiny of the Catholics in the Socialist countries. And, being a brilliant diplomat, he got the best out of the situation, knowing that Fanfani badly needs his support. And Khrushchov, in his turn, needs Italy governed by Fanfani's cabinet. Suppose the leader of the Soviet Union agrees to slow down the process of dechristianization of Catholics in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. What does he get in return? Khrushchov makes more easy his activities in infiltrating the West. And, as the Italian analysts stressed, "The Soviet government always tried to play the role of global peacemaker. It would be easier believed if the governments of the Socialist countries- satellites came to a kind of an agreement with the Vatican". […]
According to the opinion of the same analysts, "Vatican gives some concessions in the West in order to save Catholicism in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia". In anticipation I wish to mention, that  certain gestures of Khrushchov as e.g. the presence of the Lithuanian Catholics on the [II Vatican] Council (true, not from the first session), release of the Uniate Metropolitan Joseph Slipyi issued in his coming to the Vatican, all these events were received with satisfaction by the Pontiff. […]
Already during the aggravation of the Berlin crisis on September 10, 1961 Pope John XXIII addressed all the peoples, reminding them that they all belong to God and Christ due to their origin and redemption, and called them to take part in the politics of disarmament and to decide difficult problems in the international relations only by means of peaceful talks. […] Leader of the Italian Communist party Palmiro Togliatti insisted on Khrushchov using certain fragments of the Pope's address […] According to Togliatti, the Soviet leader should have stressed that Vatican rightly estimates the world situation and sees the threat of nuclear war.
On September 21, 1961 Soviet leading newspapers "Pravda" and "Izvestia" published Khrushchov's communiqu;. Its text was prepared by Mikhail Suslov, the leading ideologist of the Communist party of the Soviet Union. One should think that it wasn't easy for him, a man formed during the Stalin epoch, to write a deferential and restrained text, in which the efforts of John XXIII were appraised as a good omen.
The next favorable gesture of Moscow towards the Vatican turned to be a letter of congratulations sent by Khrushchov to Pope John XXIII on occasion of the latter's eightieth birthday on November 25, 1961. The decision about sending the congratulation was decided upon by the Central Committee of the CPSU. […] In his return address the Pope expressed "cordial wishes of development and strengthening of worldwide peace by means of successful achievement of concord and human brotherhood". […]
In the beginning of 1963 there took place a meeting between Russian ambassador in Italy Semion Kozyrev and Cardinal Agostino Bea. […] On the 7th of March 1963 Pope John XXIII gave an audience to Khrushchov's son-in-law Alexei Adzhubei. […] Being certain in the positive solution of the problem of establishing diplomatic relations with the Vatican, Khrushchov gave an amnesty to Ukrainian Greek Catholic bishop Josif Slipyi, arrested in 1945 and his transfer to the Vatican. But what is most important - Khrushchov […] decided to foster the sending of the observers from the Russian Orthodox Church to the II Vatican Council. […]
Already in February 1962 Patriarch Alexis and archbishop Nikodim received the information that the Soviet authorities discuss the possibility of the presence of the observers from the Russian Orthodox Church at the II Vatican Council.[…] In the same month the archbishop [Nikodim] gave an interview to the Moscow correspondent of the Italian newspaper "Il Giorno" Rafaello Uboldo published on the 21 of February 1962. In this interview archbishop Nikodim stressed that if "in the agenda of the Council were not be included the doctrinal questions (e.g. the question of the infallibility of the Pope) with which the Orthodox Church can't agree, and if there were no place to hostile utterances in regards to the country which we love, then, I think, there would be no principal difficulties in sending to Rome the observers from the Russian Orthodox Church".
[…] Next Vatican initiative was the well prepared meeting between Dutch prelate Willebrands, secretary of the Vatican Secretariat for Christian Unity and prominent Russian Orthodox priest Vitalii Borovoy, who was at that time representative of Moscow Patriarchy in the World Council of Churches. This meeting took place in May 1962. […] Willebrands told Vitalii Borovoy that "if Moscow Patriarchy wished to send observers [to the II Vatican Council] Vatican [who generally prefers to deal with Patriarchy of Constantinople] would make an exception and the Russian Church would receive an invitation". N. Filippov, chief inspector of the State Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, submitted to the competent authorities a memo concerning the talks between representatives of the Vatican and the Russian Church leaders. This memo he concluded with the phrase: "The [State] Council [for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church] is now studying in detail the question of participation of the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church in the II Vatican Council".
Willebrands came to Moscow on 27 September 1962. His talks with the archbishops Nikodim (Rotov) and John (Razumov), professor L. N. Pariisky, priest Vitalii Borovoy and officials from the Department of External Relations of Moscow Patriarchy, among which was A.S. Buevski (secretary of the Department of External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church), under the strict surveillance of the State Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church continued till 2 October. The first round of talks took place already on the day of Willebrands' arrival.
In general features Willebrands elucidated the problems to be discussed during the [II Vatican] Council: structural and organizational, liturgical, missionary. The representatives of the Moscow Patriarchy showed their interest mainly to the problem of the relations between Roman Catholics and the Orthodox. I'll give some excerpts from the verbatim report of these talks, that covered most burning topics.
A.S. Buevski: - Which will be (in what light will be discussed? - transl.) the problems of the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church to other Churches and to the Orthodox Church?
Willebrands: - The Pope doesn't wish the [future] Council to be like the Council of Florence, i.e. with the separate discussions. He wishes the doctrine to be elucidated in such direction, that the Christian life could be renewed and the basis for future rapprochement be prepared.
Prof. L.N. Pariiski: - The dogmas do not change. But you spoke about the new modes of opening the dogmas. In which way [will it be achieved]?
Willebrands: - During the I Vatican Council much was spoken about the role of the Pope, but almost nothing was said about the role of the bishops. There appears the danger of losing equilibrium. In the life of the Church there are periods when the truth being looked at under the certain aspect receives the scandalous character in future. Concordance of these images of truth demands the precision, and that will be discussed during the Council. For example, if one Council declared the Divinity of the Savior, the second can declare His two natures.
Senior priest V. Borovoy: Can one presuppose, that while the [II Vatican] Council clarifies the role of the bishops, it will be as if the second explanation and supplement to [the teachings of] the I Vatican Council, which stressed the significance of the Pope, at whether it means that there could be given quite another explanation of the role of bishops. Can that mean, that the Pope has power by himself and the bishops due to the consent of the Church?
Willebrands: - [During the II Vatican Council] there will be discussed not the question [of the power] of individual bishops, but of the episcopate of the single countries (e.g. France). In the East this is called Patriarchat.
[…] The next set of questions touched the problem of uniates:
Senior priest V. Borovoy: The Church of Rome has in the East the Patriarchates in union with Rome. They are to a certain extent parallel to the Orthodox Eastern Patriarchates […]
Willebrands: - There is no tendency to strengthen the Latin Patriarchates in the East. As for the Union Patriarchates - this question is very difficult and complicated. Till the present time the solution couldn't be found and I don't think it will be found on the [II Vatican] Council. (The solition isn't found in our days also).
Thus ended this first talk with the Catholic prelate. […]
During the next days Willebrands sparingly gave some new information about Constantinople's decision  not to send the observers, as well as about the Council not going to violate the interests of any country. And that an international peace is not to be the theme of a special [conciliar] document. In another words the emissar of the Vatican in subtle form informed that the II Vatican Council is ready to renounce the straightforward anticommunist position shared by part of the [Vatican] Curia, only to secure the presence of Russian observers at the Council.
And Khrushchov was comforted by the thought that the powerful Vatican a recent political enemy will for a time stop denouncing the Soviet system. And the garantee of it will be the presence in Rome of the observers from the Russian Church.
On October 1, 1962 vice-chairman of the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church prepared a draft of the resolution for the Central Committee of the CPSU which was adopted on October 10 under registration # 58/30 in the following redaction: "[We resolve to] allow the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church to give consent to Moscow Patriarchy to accept the invitation and to send to the Second Vatican Council in quality of observers [a delegation consisting of following members:] Borovoy V.M., Kotlyarov V.S. (at that time archimandrit, now metropolitan of Saint Petersburg - transl.), Sokolovsky P.S. and one interpreter for all the time of the work of the [II Vatican] Council". […]
Chapter 5

"As a spring flower, which I never hoped to see…"

Precisely in this allegoric form John XXIII used to recall the thought about convening the II Vatican Council, which came to his mind two months after he became the Pope.[…]
On January 25, 1959 in the inner appartements of the Roman basilica of Saint Paul he addressed the Cardinals in private allocution in which he […] announced his decision to convene the Ecumenical Council. […]
The II Vatican Council was solemnly opened on October 11, 1962.
On this day all Italian newspapers posted the information about the Council […]. It was briefly mentioned that two observers from Russian [Orthodox] Church will take part in the work of the Council.
And already on October 13 in the Cathedral of St. Peter there appeared the deputy of the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in the World Council of Churches, professor of Leningrad Theological Academy senior priest Vitalii Borovoy and the vice-chancellor of the Russian Mission in Jerusalem archimandrit Vladimir (Kotlyarov) in quality of the observers from Moscow Patriarchy.
The first routine conference of the [II Vatican] Council started on October 13 at 9 a.m. […]
After reciting the prayer [Cardinal Eugene] Tisserand suggested to elect the chairmen and members of various counciliar Commissions. (The list of the candidates was prepared and distributed beforehand). Nevertheless there followed the objections from Cardinals Frings, D;pfner and K;nig. They suggested to postpone the procedure of elections for the next meeting, in order to give the members of the Council the opportunity to think over the list of the candidates. The suggestion was taken and the elections postponed till Tuesday. And as Vitalii Borovoy noticed in his report, "thus the first meeting lasted about 30 minutes and ended shortly after 10 a.m."
Observers from the Russian Orthodox Church on that day were approached after the meeting by several Cardinals and bishops. Among them were Agagianian, K;nig and Montini (future Pope Paul VI - transl.).
[…] On 6.30 p.m. of the same day there was appointed an audience given by the Pope to all the observers. But before that the observers from the Russian Orthodox Church met with the ambassador of the USSR in Italy S.M. Kozyrev. […]
The interval from October 13 to the beginning of the next meeting of the Council appointed on October 16, was satiated by meetings and receptions. […] The observers sent to archbishop Nikodim the reports about each day spent in Rome. These reports are the priceless testimonies from the Orthodox about what happened at the II Vatican Council.[…]
The 1st session of the II Vatican Council took place from October 11 to December 8, 1962. From the start it became clear, that the Roman Catholic Church is no monolythe, but two mainstreams representing it in the Council - the progressist liberals and the conservative integrists - toughly confront each other.
Among the Cardinals, according to the opinion of Russian observers, the most liberal was Agostino Bea - chief of the Secretary for Christian Unity. To the progressive Cardinals, judging from the speeches and addresses, one could relate the French Cardinal Eugene Tisserand - the dean of the College of Cardinals and the chairman of the Central Draft Committee, as well as Joseph Frings from Cologne, Bernard Alfrink from Utrecht, Norman Gilroy from Sydney. All of them were in the presidium. Among other cardinals liberal positions shared: "Franz K;nig from Wien, Julius D;pfner from M;nich, Giovanni Montini from Milan, Paul L;ger from Montreal, Giacomo Lercaro from Bologna, Maurice Feltin from Paris, Pierre[-Marie] Gerlier from Lyon, Augusto de Silva from San Salvador, Valerian Gracias from Bombei, Laurean Rugambwa from Congo and partly Stefan Wyszynski from Poland" (Here and afterwards in double commas are the citations from the reports of Vitalii Borovoy - transl.).
As for integrists, they outnumbered the liberal and progressive minded Fathers of the Council, but the latter surpassed their opponents "by intellect, theological background, erudition and popularity among the theologians and clerics".
According to the opinion of Vitalii Borovoy, "as reactionaries and conservative in their speeches and activity during the Council recommended themselves the following Cardinals - among the members of the presidium: Ernesto Ruffini from Palermo, Antonio Caggiano from Buenos Aires; generally among the Cardinals - James McIntyre from Los Angeles, Richard Cushing from Boston, Albert Mayer from Chicago, Joseph [Elmer] Ritter from Saint Louis, Giuseppe [Antonio] Ferretto (from Curia), William Godfrey from Liverpool, Jos; Bueno [y Monreal] from Sevilla; the most reactionary among the Fathers of the Council was considered Alfredo Ottaviani, Secretary of the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office".
But the situation during the 1st session turned in such a way that no party could secure for itself the solid majority of 2/3 votes. The simple majority of votes during the voting of these or that resolutions was waving dependent on circumstances. In this situation the role and influence of Pope John XXIII rose immensely, and both parties resorted to his support. The Pope maneuvred among them, but more ofted took the side of the progressists. But after even small victory of the liberals Pope John XXIII made concessions to the conservatives. […]
A vivid example of the manoeuvring was the decision of the Pope to give the Secretary for [Christian] Unity the status of the permanent Commission. […] This concession to the liberals was connected with the conciliar activity of the so-called Commission for Extraordinary affairs headed by Cardinal [Amleto] Cicognani. This mysterious conciliar body without clear functions and goals played the role of the controlling and deterring force impeding many progressive proposals during the Council […]
John XXIII allowed many attacks on Cardinal Ottaviani from the part of the Fathers of the Council (The Cardinal was so much offended, that for several days he didn't attend the conciliar meetings). But during the celebrations of the 4th anniversary of his election Pope John XXIII placed Cardinal Ottaviani to his right showing him thus personal honour.
[…] The first session of the Council from the point of view of the concessions (to Russian observers - transl.) was most successful: Presidium of the Council and General Secretariate deprived of the possibility to speak out those, whose addresses could be dangerous for political causes. (This first of all related to Uniate bishops). According to the tacit instructions the Fathers of the Council were forbidden to use in their addresses polemical attacks and harsh criticism "against protestants as well as against Orthodox and against the Socialist countries. One of the bishops plainly complained that the Fathers of the Council are deprived of the liberty of speech" (In double commas are the words of Vitalii Borovoy - transl.)
[…] During the Cuban crisis John XXIII sent appeals for peace to confronting parties, but refused at the same time the request of US bishops to organize special prayers in Rome for president Kennedy. Being a brilliant diplomat, John XXIII organized a special audience for US bishops-delegates, showing thus his benevolent feelings to USA. But at the same time the Pope declined the invitation to visit USA (the invitation was given through Cardinal Spellman).
The military conflict between India and China provoked the sympathy to India from the Fathers of the Council, but the interests of millions of Chinese Catholics made the Council abstain from the harsh invectives against Chinese People's Republic.
[…] Closer to the end of the 1st session the presence of Russians at the Council began to provoke strong dissension among the integrists and direct accusations that the interests of the suffering Catholics in the Socialist countries are sacrificed for the uncertain goals of normalization of the relations with the East.
[…] As for the external politeness [towards the observers of the Russian Orthodox Church] it was shown by all those with whom the Russian observers had to meet. The exception were the 15 Ukrainian Uniate bishops. […] They represented the Ukrainian political immigrats from Jugoslavia, Austria, West Germany, Italy, France, USA and Canada. The non-formal leader of the Uniate bishops was a Canadian metropolitan Maxim Germaniuk.

Their conduct was discussed on the general meeting of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, headed by [the Secretary of the Congregation] Cardinal [Gustavo] Testa. During this meeting, as we were informed from several sources, the Ukrainian bishops had to listen to many bitter reproaches. Cardinal Bea publicly in presence of many other Cardinals and bishops officially apologized on behalf of the Vatican and on his own behalf before the observers of the Russian Orthodox Church and expressed his deep indignation about this provocation. Secretary of State Cardinal Cicognani also expressed his apoligies (but in more reserved manner)". Cardinal Bea also sent to Moscow an official telegram with the apologies addressed to the Holy Patriarch Alexis and Chairman of the Department of the Church External Relations archbishop Nikodim (Rotov). Offician Vatican newspaper "Osservatore Romano" published the refutation of the Memorandum [of Ukrainian bishops] and all Italian newspapers posted information about Vatican apoligies.
As for 15 Uniate bishops, they phoned Cardinal Bea and Cardinal Cicognani and informed them, that their names were abused without their consent. They asked Pope John XXIII and Cardinal Bea for the audience but they didn't receive it. And now the world "knew about the miserable failure of this malicious provocation" (in double commas are the excerpts from Vitalii Borovoy's report - transl.). Now when 40 years have passed, it seems unreal. But these are the facts. Powerful Vatican also yielded concessions while pursuing his purposes[…]

Chapter 6

"… I leave you my three main cares - about the Church, the Council and [world] peace".

These words of the dying Pope John XXIII were addressed to Cardinal Montini, archbishop of Milan, who came to say farewell to the Pontiff.
[…] On 19 of June 1963 the conclave was convened conprising 82 Cardinals, from which 45 were promoted to the cardinalship by John XXIII. All of them, relating to their attitude to the policy of the deceased Pontiff and to their stand taken during the I session of the II Vatican Council one could ascribe to three groups: "conservatives", "moderates" and "renovators" (in double commas here and afterwards are the direct citations from the reports of anonyme Soviet political analysts - transl.). And as noted the Italian press "the conservatives, to whom belong two thirds of Italian Cardinals, some Cardinals from Latin America, Cardinal Larraona from Spain and Cardinal Spellman from USA have no real chances to promote their confederate to the Papal throne. Their party line didn't find support either on the Ecumenical Council, or in the majority of the national church organizations. The only thing they can do is to attempt to block the election of the "renovator"-Pope".
Among the journalists the majority tended to believe that the candidate to the Papal throne should be rather sought among the "moderates", and with less probability among the "renovators". The following names of the Italian Cardinals were mentioned:
"Giacomo Lercaro, born in 1891, archbishop of Bologna, known for his interest to social issues, one of the minority who supports the "renovators".
Giovanni Montini, born in 1897, archbishop of Milan, has substantial diplomatic experience. Elevated to Cardinal by Pope John XXIII in 1958. Under Pius XII for many years was in charge of the Vatican's foreign policy. Occupies a prudent, temporizing position. During the [I session of the] Ecumenical Council didn't position himself clearly (- underlined by Olga Vasilieva), although previously was reckoned among the "renovators".
Carlo Confalonieri, born in 1893, Secretary of the [Sacred] Consistorial Congregation. In the past was the private secretary of Pope Pius IX (sic! -transl.). Has the support of Roman Curia, considered "moderate".
Giovanni Urbani, born in 1900, Patriarch of Venezia. Elevated to Cardinal by Pope John XXIII in 1958, being one of his active collaborators. He is regarded as one of the coauthors of the Encyclical Letter "Pacem in terris". Considered "moderate".
Paolo Marella, born in 1895, Cardinal[-Prefect] of Roman Curia, enjoys its support. Supported also by American Cardinals. "Moderate".
Francesco Roberti, born in 1889, Cardinal of Roman Curia, Prefect of Supreme Tribunal of Apostolic Signature. Known specialist in law. Named among the "moderates".
Among the possible candidates to the Papal throne were mentioned the names of several Cardinals of non-Italian origin. But everybody understood that their chances to be elected were scarce […] Italian press gave a good coverage to Cardinal Gregory Agagianian, considering him to be one of the most probable candidates to the Papal throne. "Cardinal of the Roman Curia, he is in chief of the important Congregation for the Promotion of Faith. From his youth he lives in Italy and is considered to be one of the most "italianized" among the non-Italian Cardinals. Due to his talents and broad erudition he enjoys support from different parties. During the elections of the successor of Pius XII in October 1958 he also was among the candidates. He is a cautious adherent of the course taken by John XXIII" (In double commas here and above is the information taken by Olga Vasilieva from the reports of the Soviet experts - transl.).
The death of  John XXIII left the Church of Rome with two unsolved problems: the Second Vatican council and the initiated by the deceased Pontiff new political course in the relations with the governments of the Socialist countries. […]
Contrary to the expectations, the conclave was very short, and on June 21, 1963 it elected as a new Pope the archbishop of Milan, notwithstanding strong opposition from the conservative wing. […]
The personality of the [newly elected] Pope Paul VI interested not only the Catholic world. All the events happening in the Vatican were closely observed from Moscow. The Pontiff and his encirclement got into the sphere of interests of the officers of the 2d Chief Department of the KGB. According to their opinion, "the new Pope Paul VI, elected in June 1963 adheres to the idea that the Vatican and the Catholic Church should develop more subtle and well-masked methods of struggle against communism. Paul VI and his followers are in favour of new forms of activity of the Catholic Church in the Socialist countries, and they permit to a certain extent the collaboration of the Church with the governments of these countries".
The Soviet leadership considered very important the information that "Paul VI will correct the 'mistakes' of his predecessor in the relation to the 'leftist course'. And his politics will be neither openly reactionary, nor reformatory, like the line of John XXIII" (same source as above - transl.). […]
The election of Pope Paul VI coincided with the regular Plenary session of the Central Committee of the CPSU, which was held from June 18 to June 21, 1963. On this Plenary session secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU L.F. Ilyichov made a vast address titled "On the Immediate Tasks in the Ideological Activities of the [Communist] Party". This is an excerpt from the stenographic report about the first meeting of the Plenary session:
"Ilyichov: The formation of the scientific worldview and communist morals is impossible without the struggle against religious ideology. Religion is in our country the main enemy of the scientific worldview, one of the most adhesive relict of old epoch, and broad strata of the population are not yet free of it. […] In some republics and regions the percentage of individuals taking part in the religious rites is still very high. I shall give concrete figures (not for publication). For example in Lithuania more than 60% of newborn children are baptized, and in some regions of Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic - more than 80%. Last year in Chuvash Autonomous Socialist Republic 59% of newborns were baptized, in Ryazan oblast - 60%, in Ivanovo oblast - 58%.[…]
On September 15, 1963 Russian metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) was received by Pope Paul VI. The importance of this meeting was evident for Soviet authorities as well as for the Russian [Orthodox] Church: there was an acute necessity to certify the position of Paul VI in relation to Socialist countries on the eve of the recommencement of the work of the Council. On September 18, 1963 in the secret memo addressed to the Central Committee of the CPSU the vice-chairman of the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church V. Furov wrote:
"On September 15 this year the Head of the Roman Catholic Church Paul VI received the member of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, Chairman of the Department of external relations of Moscow Partiarchy metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov B. G.) […] Speaking with metropolitan Nikodim, Paul VI tried to show himself s true follower of his predecessor John XXIII and asked what the Russian Orthodox Church would have wished from the Vatican.
In response to the statement of metropolitan Nikodim about the popularity of the realistic politics pursued by Pope John XXIII in international relations, Paul VI said that he hold in high esteem his predecessor Pope John XXIII and would like to continue his line in all [future decisions] but, speaking frankly, - he stressed, - it was sometimes very difficult. 'I'm sure and I hope, - said Paul VI, - that all the difficulties in the pursuing the course of the deceased Pope will be overcome, his line will triumph, and the second session of the Council will in this respect pass as smooth as the first'.
Then Paul VI asked metropolitan Nikodim to tell the Soviet government that he cherishes in his heart deep gratitude and thankfulness for the liberation of metropolitan Joseph Slipyi".
[…] On September 23, 1963 the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church submitted for consideration the invitation addressed to Holy Patriarch Alexis on behalf of His Holiness Paul VI about sending the observers from the Russian Orthodox Church to the second session of the II Vatican Council. In quality of the observers were chosen professor and senior priest, vice-chairman of the Department of External Relations of Moscow Patriarchy Vitaly Borovoy and senior priest of the Preobrazhenski Cathedral of Leningrad Iakov Ilyich.
As it happened before, this decision of the Synod was prompted by the [Soviet] authorities.
The second session of the II Vatican Council continued from September 29 to December 4, 1963. […] The proceedings of the second session was surveyed not only by the observers from the Russian Orthodox Church, but also by the agents of the Second Main Department of the KGB. [...] Moscow was among other problems ennerved by the call of 200 bishops from 46 countries which was made public at the end of November 1963.  The Fathers of the Council suggested to develop by the beginning of the third session the new scheme called "About the Struggle with Communism" in which "would be shown the errors of marxism, socialism and communism in the philosophical, sociological and economical aspects" (in double commas are the excerpts from the informational document prepared by the KGB agents working in Rome for the Communist party leadership of the USSR - transl.).
The Soviet side in commection with this action were the reasons to believe that during the next session [of the Council] there will be made an attempt to impose to the Council a sort of an anticommunist manifesto. Some adequate counter measures were to be taken. And these measures were elaborated. They were suggested to comrade Ilyichov by the group of the Soviet special correspondents, which were sent to report about the second session of the Council, and they were reduced to these:
"1. Through appropriate channels make clear to those in power in the Vatican that any attempt to condemn in any form Communism during the Council will provoke extremely negative reaction from the part of the Socialist countries and will lead to consequences which will not be profitable to the Catholic Church.
2. It seems opportunate to develop through the Union of Friendship the already begun contacts with the group of the leftist Catholics (La Pira group in Florence, "Il Mulino" [magazine and publishing house] in Bologna, "T;moignage Chr;tien" (France)) in order to demonstrate the possibility and fruitfulness of the "dialog" (double commas not added - transl.) between Communists and Catholics.
3. It seems desirable to publish [in Soviet press] a series of articles explaining that the collaboration of Communists and Catholics by no means leads them to the rejection of their ideological positions.
4. At the same time we should launch in our press the obligatory campaign of criticism of the ideology and politics of the Vatican… but at that the noisy offending tone shouldn't be used, for it is necessary to account for the political differentiation among the Church activists.[…]" (in double commas is the citation from the recommendations of the special correspondents of Soviet press agencies accredited in Rome to inform about the proceedings of the II Vatican Council - transl.) […]

   Chapter 8
"The past lives within us…"

[…] For Rome in 1965 Constantinople seemed to be more important [than Moscow], because here the success seemed more easily achieved. As for Moscow, one could wait, when the situation changes […]
The counterplans were built in Moscow too. Here it was considered, that the most important task should be the study of the real plans and intentions of Rome, covered from the curious eyes by the veil of the "Vatican secrets".
And so already in 1965 the main directions of the activities were defined:
"In order to really know, understand and foresee something, it is necessary to have the opportunity to operate with and to compare a sufficient amount of reliable data about the following sectors and factors, that determine the policy of the Vatican in the questions that are of interest to us:
1) The Pope and his immediate surroundings;
2) Secretariat of State and especially its Section for Eastern Europe;
3) Secretariat for [Promoting] Christian Unity;
4) Secretariat for Non-Belivers;
5) Secretariat for [the Church's Relations with] Non-Christian religions;
6) Future Secretariat for the Aid for Developing Countries and for Struggle against World Hunger (perhaps - Secretariat for Promotion of Peace);
7) Future Secretariat for the Apostolic Mission of the Laity;
8) Commissions for Means of Social Communications;
9) Congregation for the Oriental Churches;
10) Congregation for Propagating the Faith;
11) Coordination Committee of International Catholic Organizations (can't be identified with any of the existing Vatican institutions; may be what is meant is "International Catholic Organizations Information Center" - transl.) ;
12) Joint Working Group [established by] Roman Catholic Church [in dealing with] the World Council of Churches;
13) Russicum;
14) Chevetogne;
15) Center "Istina" in Paris;
16) Ecumenical Biblical Institute (can't be identified with any of the existing Vatican institutions; may be what is meant is either "Bossey Ecumenical Institute" or "Pontifical Biblical Institute" - transl.);
17) Jesuit Order;
18) Publishing House "Zhizn' s Bogom" run by [Irina] Posnova;
19) The Russian Program of the Vatican Radio;
20) Future radiostation in Wien for picking up radio broadcasts from the USSR;
21) United States Conference of Catholic Bishops;
22) German Bishops Conference;
23) Polish Bishops Conference;
24) [Metropolitan Joseph] Slipyi and Ukrainian Uniate bishops and activists;
25) [Bishop Ceslaus] Sipovich and Belorussian emigrant organizations
The best places for getting the timely and reliable information on all these topics are Geneva and, of course, Rome itself ". […] [In the same document] the idea of reanimating the former Russian Orthodox parish in Rome was also discussed. "It (the parish - transl.) was there once. It was headed by a certain Italian, whose name was Bancolini. Now it seems to fall into oblivion. There is neither the Church building, nor the parishioners, nor clerics. To reanimate all this will be a complicated and difficult affair. The main difficulty is to provide the parishioners. Once the parish is opened, it will be possible to promote someone among the talented young theologians to the post of the head of the parish, and in future this man in case he gets experience, establishes connections, learns the language and wins renown in the Vatican, can become, in case our relations with Rome develop further, and the interests of our work demand this, an official representative of our (sic! - transl.) Church in the Vatican."
But the main task consisted not only in gathering of information, but in the possibility to influence [the Vatican policy] in the direction needed. "In case there were no means to prevent or at least neutralize the phenomena and tendencies that are harmful to us, it would be important to inform Moscow timely about them. This is, so to say, negative side of [our] activities, [which can be characterized as] passive and defensive. The more important is the other - positive, offensive and constuctive side. It would be desirable to find ways and possibilities to exert positive influence on Vatican policy and its constituent parts, factors and personalities". […] "It is important that Rome not from our words, but in practice, from our actions and purposeful measures, could understand and feel, that we have in mind this line and that it will be pursued systematically and persistently".[…]
Persistence and stubborness were necessary, because the Roman Church, doubtless, became stronger after the [II Vatican] Council. […]
So, such difficult and sad turned out to be the results of the Second Vatican Council for Orthodox and Protestants. But the Russian Orthodox Church even in these most difficult circumstances withstood the Catholic pressure.
And as it already happened in the post-war decade of Soviet history, it coordinated its activities acting parallel with the State, that struggled against Vatican as an imperialistic enemy.