Metropolitan Theophilus of San Francisco, spiritual head of 1,000.000 communicants of the Russian Orthodox Church in America, formally announced yesterday that he would not submit to trial as ordered by the Communist-dominated Holy Synod in Moscow.
He will neither return to Russia, "which would mean certain death," nor undergo trial in the United States, a possibility suggested by Ralph Arkush, general counsel for the church in this country.
The 73 year old prelate, who yesterday received the official ukase containing various charges, recalled the present situation of the church in Russia - under the influence of NKVD - trained "priests" - and observed:
"These charges are not legal. They are placed, and in vain, to plead the cause of godless authorities".
He added that he would ignore them and declared that "this simply drives farther apart the two churches, in Russia and in America - the demand for a trial will be completely ignored."
Among other charges, all of them objecting to the loyalty-to-America attitude of the 350 parishes under the guidance of Theophilus, is an accusation that he refused to "cooperate" with Metropolitan Gregory of Leningrad.
Gregory visited San Francisco several months ago, in a futile effort to obtain a pledge of loyalty to Russia from Theophilus, Archbishop Leonty of Chicago and Bishops John of Alaska, John of Brooklyn and Nikon of Philadelphia.
All five prelates have fought against repeated Soviet efforts to gain control of the 350 parishes in this country.
The ukase, announcing the "trial", was released two months after Theophilus predicted that a "religious underground" eventually will destroy the Soviet regime.
San Francisco Examiner, January l 4, 1948
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