Dr. Russell Produces Letters From St. Petersburg Recalling the Bishop.


Bishop Vladimir’s vigorous utterances in the Chronicle yesterday morning have considerably excited that part of the Russian population here opposed to his regime, and have called out certain important documents. One of these is a dispatch dated March 6, 1890, addressed to the Russian Consul-General in San Francisco and signed by the Ober-Procurator of the Holy Synod of Russia. Its purport is that Bishop Vladimir had been recalled and his anathema against Dr. Russell found null and void.

Dr. Russell furnished a letter received by him from Pobedonostzeff, "the friend of the Czar." It reiterates that Vladimir has been recalled to Russia. A letter from the same authority addressed to the Most Reverend Father Archimandrite, who was then in San Francisco on official business, reminds the Archimandrite that his "first duty was to take from the hands of the Bishop church, administration and all material property and capitals of the Bishop’s house. I do not know whether you have done this or not, since there is no report from you. In the mean time Vladimir constantly bothers me with letters testifying only of the abnormality of his mind and his incapacity of administration." The date is St. Petersburg, June 16, 1890.

In addition Father Levin produced a letter from Vladimir, in which the Bishop speaks highly of him and commends him to all good churchmen. Father Levin exhibits a medal from the Holy Synod as a proof of his good character and orthodoxy.

The Bishop’s charge that Father Joseph Levin misappropriated funds given him for a passage to Japan is also vigorously denied. The truth of the matter is, he says, that Vladimir wanted to get him off somewhere, because he (Levin) would not submit quietly to the Bishop’s corrupt practices. At that time the church owed him $198, as the books will show, said the accused priest. Instead of paying this cash to him the Bishop bought a ticket to Japan for $150 and gave it to Father Levin, alone with the $48 due of the church dept. Father Levin refused to go to Japan, and the steamship company gave him the money paid for the ticket.

Louis Sloss says the Bishop’s charges against the Alaska Commercial Company’s agents in Alaska are utterly false. "If we could get $16 a barrel for flour up there, or anywhere, we certainly would not be selling it for $12, the highest price we can get. We are not in the business for our health."

San Francisco Chronicle, Saturday, August 29, 1891.

Reprinted in the Holy Trinity Cathedral LIFE, Vol. 1, No. 12, August 1994.