THE EPISTLE OF BISHOP ALEXIS BUI OF KOZLOV ADMINISTRATOR OF THE DIOCESE OF VORONEZH
Greater joy have I none than this, to hear that my children walk in the truth(III John 1:4).
Standing on guard for Orthodoxy and vigilantly following all manifestations of church life not only in the diocese entrusted to our humility, but in general in the whole Patriarchate, to our great distress we have discovered in the latest actions of Metropolitan Sergius of Nizhegorod, who has returned to his duties as Substitute of the Patriarchal Locum Tenens, a rapid descent towards renovationism, an exceeding of the rights and authority reserved for him, and a violation of the holy canons (resolution of questions of principle independently, transfer and removal of bishops without trial or investigation, etc.; see Canonical Epistle of St. Cyril, Apostolic Canon 34).
By his actions against the spirit of Orthodoxy, Metropolitan Sergius has torn himself away from unity with the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and has forfeited the right of presidency in the Russian Church.
The Orthodox hierarchs and pastors have attempted in every way to influence Metropolitan Sergius and return him to the straight and true path, but they have not succeeded.
Being zealous for the glory of God and desiring to place a limit to the further infringement by Metropolitan Sergius of the wholeness and inviolability of the Holy Canons and decrees of ecclesiastical order, and to preserve unimpaired canonical communion with their lawful head, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa, Patriarchal Locum Tenens, — the Most Reverend Metropolitan Joseph and the Orthodox archpastors one in mind with him have condemned the actions of Sergius and deprived him of communion with themselves.
Being by God’s will and with the blessing of the Substitute of the Patriarchal Locum Tenens, Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich, invested on February 6/29, 1927, with the high authority of being the guardian of the Church of Voronezh, remaining at the same time also Bishop of the Kozlov district, and entirely sharing the opinion and outlook of the faithful Orthodox hierarchs and their flock, from this time forth I separate myself from Metropolitan Sergius, his uncanonical Synod, and their actions, preserving canonical succession through the Patriarchal Locum Tenens, Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa.
I have chosen the Most Reverend Joseph (Metropolitan of Petrograd), assigned by the Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsa, on December 6, 1925, as the third candidate to the post of Substitute of the Patriarchal Locum Tenens, as my highest spiritual guide.
I entreat the Lord “that He preserve our land in peace,” that He confirm and keep His Holy Church from unbelief, heresies, and schism, and grant zeal and courage to walk without reproach in His statutes.
”Administering the Diocese of Voronezh,
Bishop Alexis of Kozlov
January 9/22, 1928 St. Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow