Anthony, Schema-Archbishop And Hieroconfessor Of Tauris And Those With Him

Schema-Archbishop Anthony, in the world Prince David Ilych Abashidze, was born on October 12, 1867 in the village of Bedzhiny, Signakhsky uyezd, Tbilisi province, Georgia. According to one source, after graduating from the Tbilisi theological seminary. In 1891 he graduated from the Novorossiyskij Imperial university (in Odessa), and then entered the Kazan Theological Academy. He was tonsured into the mantia with the name Demetrius on November 16, 1891, and was ordained to the diaconate on November 21, 1891. In 1896 he was ordained to the priesthood, and graduated from the Academy in the same year with the degree of candidate of theology. On August 16 he became a teacher of Holy Scripture at the Tbilisi theological seminary. In 1897 he was appointed inspector of the Kutaisi theological seminary, and in 1898 - inspector of the Tbilisi theological seminary. It was he who expelled Joseph Dzhugashvili, better known as Stalin, from the seminary.

From 1900 he was rector of the Alexandrovsky Ardonsky missionary seminary with the rank of archimandrite. On April 23, 1902 he was consecrated Bishop of Alaverd in the St. Alexander Nevsky military cathedral in Tbilisi. On November 4, 1903 he was made bishop of Gurijsko-Mingrelia, on June 16, 1906 - bishop of Baltsk, a vicariate of the Kamenets-Podolsk diocese, on January 20, 1906 - Bishop of Turkestan and Tashkent, and on June 25, 1912 - Bishop of Tauris and Simferopol. In 1914 he carried out pastoral duties in the Black Sea fleet. On May 6, 1915 he was promoted to the rank of archbishop.

When Archbishop Demetrius was in Moscow for the Local Church Council of 1917-18, he would walk along the streets with his first-aid kit and give help to those wounded in the battle for Moscow. He was appointed president of the section on the regulation of the Orthodox Church in Transcaucasia, and in view of the Georgian's declaration of their Church as autocephalous he was made a deputy member of the Holy Synod.

In May, 1919 he was a member of the Higher Ecclesiastical Administration in the south of Russia and helped organize the South-Eastern Church Council in Stavropol. In August, 1920 he took part in the decision of the HCA to appoint September 14, 1920, the day of the Exaltation of the Cross, as a day of general repentance with a three day fast for September 12, 13, 14. The response to this call was disappointing, as was noted by Archbishop Demetrius in an article he wrote together with Archbishop Theopanes of Poltava and Bishop Benjamin of Sebastopol. And it was perhaps not coincidental that he chose September 14, 1921 as the day on which he submitted his petition for retirement. He emigrated together with the White armies, but in 1922 returned, and was temporarily in charge of the Feodosiya diocese, living in the Toplivy monastery in Feodosiya. In 1923 he was imprisoned in Simferopol for two months. In May, 1923 he was exiled from the Crimea to Kiev, and chose as his place of residence Kitayevsky Hermitage, which belonged to the Kiev-Caves Lavra and was about nine kilometres away from it. In 1928 or 1929 he took the schema with the name Anthony. From 1929 he lived in private quarters in Kiev. In about 1930 he was arrested in Kiev, but was released after being forbidden to live in the six largest cities of the USSR. He remained in Kiev.

In Kiev he was revered as a great ascetic, a man of prayer and a Spirit-bearing, clairvoyant elder. Orthodox from Russia, the Ukraine, Belorussia and Georgia came to him for advice. "He did not live for himself," wrote Archbishop Leontius, "but for God, for the Church and for people. Every Orthodox bishop, and even some from the renovationists who later repented, came to his humble dwelling and dropped in for a spiritual conversation. At his place I got to know Metropolitan Anatolius (Grisyuk) of Odessa, Archbishop Pachomius of Chernigov, Bishop Paulinus (Kroshechkin) of Rylsk, Archbishop Arsenius (Smolenets) of Rostov, Bishop Damascene (Tsedrik) of Glukhov, Archbishop Paul of Baku, Bishop Luke (Voino-Yasenetsky) of Tashkent, Bishop Manuel (Lemeshevsky) and Bishop Parthenius (Bryanskikh) of Ananiev."

Vladyka Anthony fought against the Ukrainian autocephalists, and was one of the authors of the "Kievan Appeal" of 1927 against Metropolitan Sergius' declaration. In 1928, according to one (dubious) source, he signed the decisions of the so-called "Nomadic Council" of the Catacomb Church through Archimandrite Spirydon (Kislyakov).

According to one source, Fr. Benjamin (Voznyuk), after 1927 Vladyka Anthony continued to commemorate the sergianist Metropolitan Constantine of the Ukraine. However, this is denied by another source, which asserts that he had a sharp disagreement with the sergianist Metropolitan Anatolius of Odessa in the presence of the Catacomb Bishop Parthenius of Ananiev. This source also asserts that Archbishop Anthony consecrated several bishops for the True Orthodox Church during the Second World War, while at the same time being in communion with the Ukrainian Autonomous Church.

In March or April, 1933 Vladyka Anthony was arrested and imprisoned in the Lukyanovsky prison in Kiev together with the future Archbishop Leontius of Chile, two hieromonks who were his cell-attendants and several of the brothers of the Kiev Caves Lavra. On June 29, 1933 he was sentenced to five years in the camps. But when the Bolsheviks saw that he was very weak and could die, they released him on July 22. He lived very simply in a little hut with a layman, the future Fr. Demetrius (Biakay), head of the Russian spiritual mission in the Holy Land, and two nuns, Mothers Xenia and Seraphima, who looked after him. One of the nuns worked in a hospital, while Fr. Demetrius worked on the railway.

In 1941, with the arrival of the Germans, he left the catacombs and together with a group of hierarchs formed the Ukrainian Autonomous Church, which was in spiritual communion with the Russian Church Abroad. In 1946, after fleeing to the West, the surviving bishops of this Church all joined the Russian Church Abroad. Schema-Archbishop Anthony, however, died in Kiev on October 19 / November 1, 1942, and was buried on the territory of the Kiev Caves Lavra. According to another source, he died in December, 1943.

Igumen John, in the world Demetrius Smurygin, struggled in the monastic life next to Schema-Archbishop Anthony, in a settlement near Kiev. With the arrival of passportization, he did not receive permission to live near Kiev and was exiled to the north, to Ust-Sysolsk. He perished in 1937-38. Also exiled to Ust-Sysolsk from Kiev was Schema-Igumen Luke, who was 84 years old. He also perished in 1937-38.

(Sources: M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyatejshego Tikhona, Patriarkha Moskovskogo i Vseya Rossii, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994; Pravoslavnaya Rus', N 13 (1490), July 1/14, 1993, p. 14; N15 (1492), August 1/14, 1993, p. 7; Bishop Ambrose (von Sievers), "Istoki i svyazi Katakombnoj Tserkvi v Leningrade i obl. (1922-1992)", report read at the conference "The Historical Path of Orthodoxy in Russia after 1917", Saint Petersburg, 1-3 June, 1993; "Katakombnaya Tserkov': Kochuyushchij Sobor 1928 g.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 3 (7), 1997, p. 20; Personal communication, October 11/24, 1997; "Episkopat Istinno-Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi 1922-1997gg.", Russkoye Pravoslaviye, N 4 (8), 1997, pp. 12-13; Andrei Psarev, "Zhizneopisaniye Arkhiepiskopa Leontiya Chilijskago (1904-1971 gg.)", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', NN 3 and 5 (555 and 556), March and April, 1996; Ikh Stradaniyami Ochistitsa Rus', Moscow, 1996, p. 65; Za Khrista Postradavshiye, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1997, pp. 93-94; I.I. Osipova, "Skvoz' Ogn' Muchenij i Vody Slyoz…", Moscow: Serbryanniye Niti, 1998, p. 251; "Uroki proshlago: Dni vsenarodnago pokayaniya v 1920 godu", Pravoslavnaya Rus', N 17(1614), September 1/14, 1998, pp. 8-10)

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