About Us

The Podvorie of St. Seraphim of Sarov, in Birmingham, Great Britain, was founded on 28 October 1986 with the blessing of His Grace Bishop CONSTANTINE (Jesensky) of Richmond and Great Britain.

Since that time it has remained a monastic centre and preaches the Gospel of Christ and the richness of the orthodox faith, thereby strictly adhering to the pre-revoiutionary tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church, rejecting the heresies of ecumenism and Sergianism.

After the betrayal and the forcible unification of the historic Russian Orthodox Church Abroad with the Patriarchate of Moscow, which proceeded despite protest raised by clergy and parishes in May 2007, our community decided to remain faithful to the legal First Hierarch METROPOLITAN VITALY of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. We are now under the omophorion of His Grace ANTHONY, Archbishop of Beltsy and Moldavi. We believe that divine providence has preserved the existence and continuation, of the genuine Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia: The Lord himself, Jesus Christ, has granted us His blessing to follow the narrow path of salvation.

Our Podvorie exists as a Russian Centre which caters for the spiritual needs of the many Russians coming to Birmingham for business and for Russian students studying at Birmingham University. It is also a centre of spiritual advice for all who are searching for traditional Orthodoxy which has been lost during the spiritual darkness of the Soviet period. We are also quite often been asked by the British authorities to provide help with translations for asylum seekers from the former Soviet Union.

Our monastic premises may be small and humble, but it is with love that we endeavour to preach the Gospel of truth within a world full of hatred and unbelief. We pray and hope that Christ the true Light, who enlightens and sanctifies every man may guide our steps in keeping His commandments.

Appeal by His Eminence, Most Reverend Metropolitan Vitaly First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

In 1920 in Crimea took place the so-called "All-Russian Great Exodus". The glorius Russian Army under the command of general Vrangel was leaving Russia forever and with her 3 million of refugees, general Vrangel, who was expecting this turn of events, had prepared 160 + ships and after a short church service (moleben) in which all those who were already on the ships and those who were remaining on shore made to each other a prostration (zemnoi poklon), we began our wandering. I was then a small boy, but deep in my heart I felt and realized, that I was seeing my homeland for a last time before it disappeared on the skyline. Somewhere within all those people the future First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was present: Metropolitan ANTHONY Khrapovitski. In the same year, Patriarch TIKHON, realizing the critical situation of Russia, of the Orthodox Church, and of himself, and the possibility of his death at any moment, promulgated his Ukaz No. 362 (of November 7/20 1920) concerning the creation of a new Synod outside of Russia. This was the beginning of the ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia). In Russia there remained another part of the Russian Orthodox Church -the Catacomb Church. It became the hated enemy of the communist party. The government tried with all means to destroy it, and is still trying to do it now, but, with the help of God, without success. Another problem which confronted Stalin and his company was the question what to do with all the orthodox people who were remaining in Russia? The communists understood that, in spite of all their efforts to destroy Faith in the people, they did not succeed; on the contrary, the number of believers was increasing. The Communist Party found, so they thought, a solution to this problem. They created the so-called Moscow Patriarchate, the members of which belonged - and still belong - to the KGB (Security Police and Intelligence Agency). During all those 80 + years of our existence we knew perfectly well with whom we were dealing, and the Communist Party realized that nothing could move us from our true Christian path.

Time was passing, and the bishops, the hierarchs who were faithful until death to the true ideals of ROCOR, were dying out. The time came when I realized that I was completely alone. I had a double choice: either to participate to the end of the ROCOR, or to go on a new journey and to lead again the true Orthodox Church to freedom. Our Church became small, but remained pure as a crystal. Nowadays, the diminished ROCOR, is passing through a difficult and terrible period of its history. The final downfall of the Synod of Metropolitan Laurus is the result of the downfall of humanity, which began a long time ago, i.e. we are living in the last period of the apocalypse. The gates of Hell have opened, and legions of demons are attacking an already weakened humanity.

I wish to appeal to all faithful members of ROCOR, and to remind them again about our glorious, wonderful and relatively recent past, and to describe how I see their future. With a pure conscience I can say in confidence that we have remained faithful to the ideology and principles of the Russian Orthodox Church, and to its free part, the ROCOR, created by Patriarch TIKHON. We may be criticized, but we know that we have not left the right path, and we have not capitulated to the enemy. Look around and look in the eyes of Truth. Your present hierarchs, can they do that? I do not think so. As in its time the American OCA had been seduced by the Moscow Patriarchate, and became enslaved to Moscow, so now this is happening to the Synod of Metropolitan Laurus. There is still time to return to the right path. If your spiritual leaders do not understand it, your duty is, as long as it is not too late, to show them how wrong they are. Do not let a few rotten apples spoil the whole basket. With respect to you personally, be aware that the doors of our churches are wide open for you. I am remembering a scene from my past. This was in Berlin (during the Second World War). During the service in church, two old men came in. They were all the time looking around, as if searching for something. Then they heard the name of Metroplitan Anastasii pronounced in an ektenia. Twe two old men smiled and crossed themselves, understanding that they had come to" the right church, their church". And for you one day can come, when in your churches you will hear the name of Alexei. Would not then your hearts be overcome with pain. Worse still, if you will be able to cross yourselves then. The Head of the Moscow Patriarchate once said:"As long as Vitaly is alive, no union of our churches will be possible!" In this only is he right. As long as I am alive, our ROCOR will not be devoured by Moscow!

The Lord gave me the strength to lead His Church through the right path, and I am trusting God that he will prolong my earthly fife so that I will be able to see our Church again and not divided any more.

Metropolitan VITALY
July 29/12 2004
Holy Apostles Peter and Paul

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