RF declassifies documents on murder of Metropolitan Alexy by autocephalists

Metropolitan Alexy (Gromadsky). Photo: wikipedia.org

Metropolitan Alexy (Gromadsky), head of the Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox Church under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, was assassinated near Smyga in 1943.

The FSB of the Russian Federation has declassified documents on the murder of Metropolitan Alexy (Gromadsky) of Volyn and Zhytomyr, the exarch of Ukraine. From the materials published in the framework of the project "No statute of limitations", it follows that the murder of the hierarch in 1943 was organized by the Nazis together with Ukrainian nationalists who actively helped the schismatic Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), reports RIA Novosti.

Metropolitan Alexy headed the Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox Church under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate in the occupied territory in August 1941 to establish canonical church administration in Ukraine.

In the documents, there is a note, which in July 1944 Archbishop Pitirim of Kursk and Belgorod sent to the chairman of the Council for the Affairs of the ROC under the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR Georgy Karpov. It says that by 1943 "the struggle between the two ecclesiastical trends took on an even more acute form."

“Cases of the murder of autonomous priests by Bandera have become more frequent,” said Archbishop Pitirim. “The autocephalists went further. They decided to destroy their main enemy – Metropolitan Alexy. Apparently, the Germans did not object to such an event either. The growing power and influence of Metropolitan Alexy Gromadsky also became unfavourable for them."

He noted that rumours about these plans circulated constantly and long before the death of the metropolitan. Further, according to witnesses, he described the circumstances of the murder, which took place on 7 May.

“Metropolitan Alexy receives a call from the General Commissioner of the city of Lutsk to come to him on school matters. The Gebitskommissar of the city of Kremenets took an active part in sending <...> to Lutsk," reported the archbishop.

According to him, the Gebitskommissar hastily summoned Metropolitan Alexy from the Pochaev Lavra and on the morning of the murder he provided a car completely unguarded. Accompanied by the secretary of Archpriest Fyodor Yurkevich and translator Mark Zhikharev, the hierarch left at 8:30 for Lutsk. Also, added Archbishop Pitirim, local organizations received calls from unknown persons who expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the metropolitan was in no hurry to travel.

“20 minutes after the Metropolitan's departure, rumours began to spread that Alexy and his companions had been killed. The Consistory asked the authorities to make inquiries. The Commissariat somehow poorly reacted to this event and only in the evening a car with a doctor was sent. This car met a detachment of Germans on the way, carrying four corpses on a truck. Alexy's corpse was still warm and had seven wounds,” the priest said in the document.

Then he cited the story of one of the eyewitnesses who saw a wrecked car with the bodies of the dead in the local forest. According to him, the wounded metropolitan was alive at that time and asked for help. A passer-by turned to the peasants who were plowing a field nearby and asked them to take the killed to Kremenets, promising any pay for this. But the peasants, frightened by the nationalists, flatly refused. When the passerby returned to the car, he "already found Metropolitan Alexy dead with new wounds".

“None of those close to Alexy doubts that the murder was committed by the Polykarp followers (on behalf of the head of the UAOC Polycarp Sikorsky – Ed.),” reported Archbishop Pitirim.

He also cited the opinion of Archpriest Vladimir Kovalsky from Dubnо, who claimed that the so-called forest priest-nationalist Petro Melnik, "famous for his terrorist actions", had killed the metropolitan. Convincing evidence of Melnik's involvement in the murder, according to the archpriest, was a cross with an ornament found on him, removed from Archpriest Fyodor Yurkevich, who accompanied the metropolitan.

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that on May 7, 1943, Metropolitan Alexy was killed by the OUN (Melnik) militants when he was passing through the village of Smyga in Volyn. In 1961, a book by the UPA militant Maxim Skorupsky (“Max”), describing in detail how their “boivka” (“squad” – Trans.) under the command of “Khryn” shot the car with the metropolitan, was published in Chicago.

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