The page I referenced, which seems to be from a very anti-ecumenical and traditional background says,
The “conversion” of the Serbian Church to Ecumenism had been made possible by the “election” of a puppet patriarch, Germanus, on the death of the weak Patriarch Vincent in July, 1958.
“All of his opponents were eliminated beforehand. Bishop Basil, at that time Bishop of Banja Luka, was arrested in Belgrade and threatened by the UDBA (the Yugoslav Secret Police) to be returned to Banja Luka and be tried by the ‘People’s Court’ for his alleged ‘counter-revolutionary activities’, if he did not endorse Bishop Germanus’ candidacy for patriarch. Once he endorsed Germanus’ candidacy he was released, through Bishop Germanus’ ‘gracious’ intervention.
“Father Macarius, abbot of the famed Dechani Monastery, was given 200,000 dinars ($650) as payment for his coerced vote for Germanus. He came back to his monastery after the election and threw the money at his monks, telling them that he ‘felt like Judas’.
“Many delegates to the Electorate were given a special pen and paper on which they were to cast their ballots, in order to show whether they had kept their promise to the agents of the Secret Police. (Two sworn statements by witnesses).”
According to witnesses who were in the patriarch’s house, he had a party card. And when he was once accused of embezzling a very large sum of money and was threatened with a court trial, the Serbian equivalent of the KGB saved him and paid the money themselves. Thereafter he was, of course, completely “their man”.
In 1960 Archimandrite Justin Popovich, who has been called “the conscience of the Serbian Church”, wrote: “… The atheist dictatorship has so far elected two patriarchs… And in this way it has cynically trampled on the holy rights of the Church, and thereby also on the holy dogmas.”
Having secured their own man as patriarch, the ecucommunists proceeded to use him against their most dangerous opponent outside Serbia – Bishop Dionysius of the American-Canadian diocese. In 1963 Germanus and his Synod decided to divide Bishop Dionysius diocese into three. Seeing a communist plot, Dionysius refused to accept this decision, announced that he was making his diocese autonomous and broke communion with the patriarch and his synod. On March 27, 1964 the Serbian Synod defrocked Dionysius. Then three pro-Belgrade priests were consecrated bishops -in his place. Dionysius and his supporters refused to recognize these acts, for which the patriarchate condemned them as graceless schismatics.
Cast out in this way, three dioceses and about forty parishes of the Free Serbs, as they now called themselves, applied to join ROCOR. Two archbishops – Averky of Jordanville and John (Maximovich) of San Francisco - supported them. However, other bishops, including Archbishop Vitaly of Canada, were opposed, and the Free Serbs’ petition was rejected. The quarrel was so heated that two Russians were excommunicated.
Archbishop Averky returned to the question of the Serbian Church later. On September 14/27, 1967, he wrote to Metropolitan Philaret: “With regard to the question of the Serbian Church, whose Patriarch German is a stooge of the communist Tito, as the Serbs themselves are convinced, calling him ‘the red patriarch’. We have heard this from many clergy and laity who have fled from Serbia. How can we recognize, and have communion in prayer with, ‘the red patriarch’, who maintains the closest friendly relations with red Moscow? Cannot our Hierarchical Council make erroneous decisions? Do we in the Orthodox Church have a doctrine about the infallibility of every Council of Bishops?”
However, Archbishop Averky’s attitude to the Serbs was not commonly accepted in ROCOR. Many hierarchs and priests of ROCOR had been brought up in Serbia, and out of gratitude felt that they should not be condemned or excommunicated. To what extent this attitude was truly motivated by gratitude, and to what extent simply by fear of ROCOR’s losing its last friends in “World Orthodoxy”, is a moot point. In any case, it was contrary to the canons of the Church, which require the breaking of communion with all those in communion with heresy, as well as to the spirit of true Christian love. For true love for the Serbs dictated that it should be pointed out into what an abyss their ecumenism was leading them, an exhortation which would have acquired greater weight by a full break in communion…
After being rejected by ROCOR, the Free Serbs then briefly came into communion first with two Ukrainian bishops of the Polish Orthodox Church and then with the Patriarchate of Alexandria. Fleeing the Ecumenism of the latter, they briefly found refuge with the “Florinite” Greek Old Calendarists led by Archbishop Auxentius, on September 11/24, 1981.
The communists were now in complete control of the Serbian Patriarchate. The result was predictable: “an alarming tendency on the part of the hierarchy of the ‘Mother Church’ to abandon true Orthodoxy and embrace heresy. For soon after the Belgrade bishops severed communion with Bishop Dionysius and us, the true Serbian Orthodox Christians in the Free World who remained loyal to him, they plunged with both feet into the murky waters of the worst heresy that has ever assaulted the Orthodox Church – the heresy of ‘ecumenism’.”
I am not sure if anyone here is able to dispute any of these facts, or the opinion of Father Justin Popovitch, whom I believe is regarded as a saint.
I guess my ecclesiological question centres on the way on which in both the case of ROCOR and the Free Serbs, there is a genuine resistance to a compromising national Church, indeed a firm rejection of those Churches, as documents from both ROCOR and the Free Serbs show. And in the case of the Free Serbs as I quoted at the beginning, the Patriarchal Serbs viewed them as utterly graceless, not just in a polemical sense but completely in reality.
My question is probably about how it is that in what seems to be just a generation the 'compromised' Churches appear to have all the legitimacy while those which stood firm against compromise seem to be presented as petitioning to be reunited with a Church which just a decade or so ago was considered an anti-Church.
I am not clear what it happening here ecclesiologically, especially since I would imagine that you and others would understand the unity of the Church in a formal and entirely visible manner. If the Church says that another part of the Church is graceless and rejects all of its sacraments how can it them be reunited with a non-Church?
And if a Church is understood as compromised by sergianism and ecumenism how can it then be considered just a few decades later as the Mother Church, when the catacomb Church remains in existence?
I would appreciate your thoughts and anyone else's on the ecclesiology here rather than the politics. My issue is to do with the fact that various groups have un-churched other groups, or considered them entirely compromised, but then are reconciled as if they had been the Church all along?