Saturday, November 24, 2018

“And an Angel Appeared unto Stalin…”

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 24 – Along with the traditional Orthodox cult of Russia’s tsars, Pavel Pryanikov says, “there is beginning actively to be developed in the Orthodox milieu now the sanctification of Stalin,” something the Russian blogger describes as “a good example of historical Tolkienism.”

            It is only to bad that this is beginning in the 21st century and not in the 19th when it would have been much easier to fabricate the necessary “documents’ and thereby “easily convince the illiterate mass of the population of the truth of such legend mongering.” Now, it is happening in a less trusting age (

            In the November issue of the Orthodox newspaper Rus Derzhavnaya, an issue that has not yet been posted on the paper’s webpage (, there is reproduced what purports to be quotations from Patriarch Aleksii II about how Stalin became a monk of the Orthodox Church.

“This was in 1941,” the quotation begins. “The Germans were only 40 kilometers from Moscow. And an angel appeared unto Joseph Vissarionovich. And said: ‘Take the tonsure, and you will save both Moscow and the entire world. Call Patriarch Sergii.’” In 1941, of course, Sergii was not yet the patriarch but “the angel already then called him that.”

And Joseph Vissarionovich asked what name he should take after tonsure. And “the angel said, ‘Your name will be Georgy.’ ‘Have Sergii come and tonsure you,’ the angel continued.” And when the patriarch came, “Stalin asked him: ‘What will be my service as a monk?’ The latter responded that he will serve as he has up to then,” only dressing modestly, not eating to excess or drinking too much. “’Only what is necessary for life.’”

And Stalin’s new status was to be kept “’secret.’”

            “How beautiful and elevated is our history!” Prayanikov exclaims. “The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the USSR takes the tonsure under the name Geogry – and on the day of the great martyr, Georgy the Bringer of Victory, and then on Easter, we ended the war in Berlin!”

            “The first person of the Bolshevik state bowed his head before the truth and power of God and repented in the name of the entire people. And Russia was forgiven although it passed through fiery tests. Here is who is the real marshal of Victory! How great and victorious is the Russian Orthodox tradition of combining monasticism and militarism.”

            In a way, Pryanikov continues, as the blessed Matrona of Moscow, whom Stalin saw in the same fall of 1941 and quite possibly after he had become a monk, said, “Perhaps the Lord will forgive him.” And he notes that there is additional “evidence” for Stalin’s change of status in the memoirs of Yury Solovyev, the leader’s personal bodyguard.
            In his 2005 book, The Kremlin from the Inside, Solovyev relates that there was a small chapel in the Great Kremlin Palace that Stalin often visited but always alone, apparently to “fulfill his spiritual requirements” and clear evidence that the Soviet leader was “a believer” and not an atheist.

            “If one considers the historical personality of Stalin without any ideological filter, one can see,” Pryanikov says, “that he was a classical empire, a real Russian tsar, the student and continuer of the work of the tsars Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Nicholas I, and Alexander III.”

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