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Fr Pavel Adelheim Remembered in Prayer at St Philaret’s Institute

Fr Pavel Adelheim, a confessor of faith and one of the best, most conscientious and truthful ministers of the Russian Orthodox Church, was killed a year ago at his home in Pskov. He celebrated his 75th birthday a few days before his death.
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“When a person passes away, his words and deeds remain’, said Andrey Vasenyov, a third-year student at St Philaret’s Institute and staff writer for the ‘KIFA’ newspaper, in his sermon following a Gospel reading. ‘The Lord promises us that those who already have eternal life will not be judged (John 5:24). Fr Pavel lived in a way that allowed God’s judgment to be poured out through him. We can say the same about anyone who lets Christ into their life and allows Him, who is Judgment Himself, to be the Judge. By tragic coincidence or worldly logic, God’s judgment for this world was pouring out through Fr Pavel at the same time as the judgments others were trying to bring against him, the latter being a caricature of sorts. Today, a priest has said about Fr Pavel that he had never insulted anyone with an untruth. The church drew round Fr Pavel, who was a holy man. This holiness is part of a very simple relationship between man and Christ, it is in learning not to add anything personal to God’s judgment”.

“Two days ago I returned from Pskov where I had been involved in setting up an exhibition about Fr Pavel”, said Lyudmila Komissarova, Head of the Mission and Catechesis Research and Methodology Centre at St Philaret’s Institute. “As we were installing exhibition stands with photos and text on them in the very ordinary working environment of a Soviet community centre with its shabby yellow walls, Fr Pavel’s journey was becoming tangible. One could feel the presence of this gentle, humble and very firm person”.

Fr Pavel committed his whole life to serving God and working for freedom and dignity of every person and the church. Son and grandson of "public enemies", he invested much effort into restoring historical truth and memory in society. He fought against abuse of law and power by Soviet religious affairs commissioners and for independence of parish communities, built an orphanage and opened a parish school.

In the last years of his life, Fr Pavel was sharply critical of the Regulations on Ecclesiastical Court, the new Parish Statute and other changes undermining the sobornost of the church. He was one of Russian Orthodox Church’s best experts on church law and taught it as a discipline at St Philaret’s Institute over a number of years.

Translated by Alina Patrakova; edited by Ekaterina Zvyagintseva

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