Book Review: A History of the Orthodox Church in America (1917-1934)
Reviewed by Michael Woerl
All the predecessors of Archbishop Seraphim in the position of Substitute of Locum Tenens were in prison, and he knew that the same fate was awaiting him as well as the successor he would choose in case of his own arrest. Therefore, when entering into the exercise of the authority of this position in December, 1926, he did not assign any successor. When, at his interrogation by the GPU, he was asked: "Who will be the head of the Church if we do not free you?" he only replied: "The Lord Jesus Christ Himself." At this reply, the astonished interrogator looked at him and said: "All of you Bishops have left substitutes for yourselves, as did Patriarch Tikhon and Metropolitan Peter." "Well, I myself have left the Church to the Lord God," repeated Archbishop Seraphim, "and I have done this on purpose. Let it be known to the whole world how freely Orthodox Christians are living in a free government." (p. 155).