Can the Russian Orthodox Church Convert Russian Society and the Russian State, Renew the Local Orthodox Churches and Bring the Western World to Repentance?

At the turning of the tide

Hope and Truth abide.

Introduction

The list of three tasks set out above is ultra-ambitious and all-encompassing. Indeed, these tasks, to be undertaken by a Church which is still barely recovering from seventy-five years of the most vicious atheist persecution in world history, will bring many to laughter.

For example, regarding the task of converting Russian Society and the Russian State, most would probably say that no such things even exist yet; there are only a post-atheist Society and a post-atheist State. Moreover, both are marked by an extraordinarily incompetent, centralized bureaucracy, corruption and the immorality of atheism. The task of converting them seems absurd. As regards renewing the Orthodox Churches, the answer must surely be virtually impossible and in any case perhaps it is the Russian Church which needs to be renewed by other Local Churches. And as for bringing the Western world to repentance after its thousand-year apostasy from authentic Christianity, this surely is so impossible that it is senseless even to think about it.

However, the dismissal of these tasks as fantasy, seeming to be humanly impossible, needs re-examining in the light of one fact: Man proposes, but God disposes. After all, given the extraordinary and unexpected disappearance, almost overnight, of the atheist Superpower that was the Soviet Union and the beginning of the revival of the Church there since then, perhaps there are chances that something very unexpected can also occur in all these domains.

Converting Post-Soviet Society and the Post-Soviet State

100 years have passed since the ruthless Civil War which followed the betrayal of Orthodox Russia by the elite of generals, aristocrats and intellectuals in February 1917 and the Bolshevik takeover from their incompetence in October 1917. Over thirty years have passed since the atheist Empire controlled by the corrupt Bolshevik elite started to fall apart. Bolshevism, an import from Germany, totally failed, and the Soviet Union went bankrupt (in every sense). What have the alternatives proposed since then been?

The first proposal was to parrot Western liberal capitalism and secularism. This was adopted almost immediately by those who had claimed to be Communists. Many of them became rich overnight, as the nomenklatura became an oligarchy. They were supported by the mob, who, with their typically Russian inferiority complex vis a vis the West, imagined that the new Western Consumerism would be wonderful, the ‘bright future’ promised by Communism but not delivered. And indeed the mass of secular Russians, in especially vulgar ways, duly aped everything bad in the West, like so many chimpanzees rewarded for their treachery with Western bananas.

The second proposal was Orthodoxy and over a hundred million citizens of the ex-Soviet Union were swiftly baptized. Only a few million old-fashioned atheists resisted, quoting such discredited theorists and fantasists as Marx and Darwin – who were already discredited and old-fashioned 100 years ago! However, a real criticism was made by some: this was that since Orthodoxy had already been tried before the Revolution and had been found wanting, hence the Revolution, why repeat it?

Of course, this was nonsense. The whole point is precisely that Orthodoxy had NOT been tried before the Revolution, at least by the masses who had only been nominally Orthodox, formally baptised. In particular, the so-called ‘Orthodox’ academies of theology and seminaries, with their careerist students looking for well-paid jobs in the civil service, had been hotbeds of atheism before 1917. Indeed, one former seminarian and ‘cradle-Orthodox’ (whatever that means) later came to be known as Joseph Stalin. The fact is that the masses of nominal Orthodox before the Revolution after 1917 followed the elite and deserted the Church, going along with atheism and the persecution of the Church.

Today, we are in a similar situation, with an elite mainly anti-Church and the masses unsure which way to go: Western secularism with its expensive playthings, baubles, gadgets and Hollywood tinsel, or the fullness of Christianity in Russian Orthodoxy. It is commonly agreed that only 3% (about 5 million) of the 164 million members of the Russian Orthodox Church actually practise Orthodoxy to the letter, even though about 80% of the total population are baptised. In Ekaterinburg last year, on the centenary of the martyrdom of the Imperial Family, only 100,000 (0.06%) of the Orthodox population took part in the midnight pilgrimage to Ganina Yama. Among fringe Orthodox, clergy and laity, we can meet corruption through money, alcoholism, ritualism, phariseeism, praise for Stalinism or for Western liberalism, and every deviation inbetween. There are even those who propose an amalgam between ‘Red and White’, suggesting that atheism and anti-Bolshevism unite under the standard of xenophobia!

In today’s Russian Federation abortion is twice as high as even the abysmally high rates in Western countries (true, it has halved in the last thirty years, but only because contraception is starting to be used). Divorce is still just as high as in the USA because, like American materialism, Soviet materialism destroyed family life. Naïve Western converts to Orthodoxy, who have no idea of reality and the profound secularism of the mass of Russians, point out that the churches are full. But of course they are full: they, and priests, are so pitifully few in number (one for every 7,000 people!) that they cannot be anything other than full. In the UK, with less than half the population of the Russian Federation, there are two and a half times as many churches.

Some will say that I am being over-critical. After all, over 30,000 New Martyrs have been canonized in the last 25 years (far more than the 8,000 canonized by the Church Outside Russia 38 years ago). Over 100 million have been baptised, over 100 Metropolias have been created, the number of bishops has gone up from 40 to 400, the number of priests is heading for 40,000 from 6,000 30 years ago (and most of those were then in the Ukraine), people now take communion regularly, not as in the grim old days of the corrupt practice before the Revolution (unfortunately a practice until quite recently preserved in the Church Outside Russia), when communion once a year was considered the norm.

Some over-optimists even say that today the Russian Orthodox Church has reached the level of the Church before the Revolution. This of course is not at all true – there were over twice as many churches and priests then, proportionate to the then population, as now. However, that is not the point: the point is that the Church needs in any case to be even better than the decapitated and State-ritualized Church of before the Revolution. This had been rejected by the vast mass of the aristocracy and intellectual elite. If the pre-Revolutionary Church is restored as it was, the Church will simply be incapable of preventing another Revolution.

Pre-Revolutionary culture, the summit of Russian culture, has still to be restored. And that can only be done when Russian Society is permeated by an Orthodox culture which today it is not. As for the Russian State, it cannot be converted until Russian Society has been converted; otherwise there will just be mere hypocrisy (as in the Russian State before the Revolution). In a country where the State, like the media and the educational and medical systems, are dominated by practical, if not ideological and sometimes very aggressive, atheism, as seen in their corruption and immorality, there remains much to be done.

Real parishes have to be created (they do not exist) as local communities, where all can go and become members of the Orthodox family, belonging, not merely passing through as if in a railway station. Financial transparency, as is about to be implemented only in the Pskov Metropolia, must become the norm. The Russian Orthodox Church needs 130,000 new churches, 130,000 new priests and 1300 new bishops! Our Orthodox Revolution has only just begun! Only then shall we be able to say that Russian Society and consequently the Russian State have been converted. There is very, very, very far to go in order to recover from the dread consequences of the Soviet nightmare and the pathetic aping of Western money-money-money Capitalism which has patterned the last generation of life in the Russian Federation.

Renewing the Local Orthodox Churches

The Western calendar has over the last 95 years taken control of some 20% of the Orthodox world – Constantinople (except Mt Athos), Antioch, Alexandria, Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia and Albania have all been infected. Only those in the 80% of the Churches of Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, Georgia and Poland have remained faithful. Now many will say: So what? The fact is that though the calendar in itself may not be so important, it is a symbol. Once you have adopted the Western calendar, you have adopted the Western mentality. You are heading for the exit door of the Church. That is just a fact. As an example, of the fourteen Local Churches, one has even more or less completely fallen away, both theologically and therefore practically, from Orthodoxy, that is, the US puppet Church in Constantinople (Istanbul). And that is precisely the Church that, after a £100,000 bribe from the Anglicans nearly 100 years ago, introduced the Western calendar, so liturgically senseless from an Orthodox viewpoint. It has now reached the exit door, amid scandal after scandal.

There is worse to come. Playing the nationalist card of flattering the local chauvinists, the Western world is now trying its devil’s best to dismantle the Russian Orthodox Church, especially in Estonia and the Ukraine, but if possible in the Baltics, Belarus and Moldova also. The same tactic has been adopted against the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro and Macedonia. Attacks have also been made against the Churches of Antioch, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania. Can the Russian Orthodox Church, supporting and supported by, the best elements in the other Local Churches, win? Only if first, Russian Society and the Russian State have been converted. Ever since the Ukrainian crisis, we have been at a critical turning-point, living on a knife edge. Something has to change. We cannot go on like this much longer. This is make or break time for the Church of God. Either we shall live on, even by the grace of God prospering, or else the end of the world really is coming and this is it.

Bringing the Western World to Repentance

The Western world presents a sorry picture of spiritual emptiness and spiritual and therefore moral degeneracy. Its few remaining believers cannot even stand up for Christ, but sit down in their churches, as if paralysed (a spiritual disease that over the last 40 years has taken hold of the Greek and Arab Churches). Herded into inferiority-complex conformism, the puppet states of Western Europe are controlled by the US-run EU and NATO. Thus, symbolically, in Eurovision, which takes place not even in Europe, but in the US-financed Asian colony of Israel, Europeans, including supposed Orthodox Europeans, sing identically absurd and pointless songs in American English, not even in their own languages. And as for the crazed, trigger-happy, though bankrupt, US cowboy himself, obsessed by his control-freakery, seeking worldwide dominion and armed to the teeth with everything that technology can provide, he plans to destroy Russia, Turkey, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba and Iran. Apocalypse awaits.

Conclusion

And therefore, we say that it is now or never. Either Orthodox of all nationalities renounce our false selves and start converting ourselves and the Societies and States around us, so standing up and witnessing to Christ before the Western atheist elites, or else we shall be annihilated by them. Then we shall be swallowed up by the Western sea-monster like Jonah, only without Jonah’s faith and therefore swallowed up forever and so disappearing from the face of the earth. The choice is ours.

 

Q and A May 2019

The Corruption of the Constantinople Episcopate

Q: What do you make of the appalling allegations against certain members of the episcopate of Constantinople, which are now making their rounds on the internet? Is this fake news? Or, if is true, is it time for us to have a married episcopate?

A: When I first saw the allegations, clearly not fake news, I wondered what the fuss was all about: these stories have been well-known for decades, though, true, they have never been issued on the internet. The corruption of Orthodox bishops in the Diaspora is well-known. There was the Russian bishop in Paris, sent to Siberia, when Moscow actually got to realize it was all true, the Serbian bishop who had to ‘retire’, the episcopate of a certain group in the USA known as ‘the gay mafia’, who therefore fell under the thumb of a certain priest who had the dirt on them, the Greek and Russian bishops in Europe with their boyfriends or multiple mistresses, the one they called ‘Johnny Walker’ (we know how he died) and the chain-smoking bishops from the Middle East and the alcoholic Slavs. All this has been well-known for decades and generations. However, the latest stories with Rolex watches worth 400,000 euros and all the sordid details worthy only of British gutter tabloids, do bring it down to a different level (or depth).

Of course, the Protestant-minded immediately call for married bishops. I am completely opposed to this. First of all, it would be completely unfair on their wives. It is difficult enough for the wife of a priest to have her husband. The wife of a bishop would never see him. Then, secondly, it would introduce nasty careerism among married clergy. It is bad enough among certain hieromonks and archimandrites, without polluting the married clergy.

There is only one solution: to stop electing bishops from among candidates who are candidates simply because they are not married. Otherwise you will simply end up, at worst, with pedophiles and homosexuals who only have contempt for married priests, women and children (as among the Catholics) or, at best (?), with narcissistic professional bachelors who have no love for anyone except themselves and their favourites and operate a mafia against real pastors. We have seen enough of both sorts and suffered enough from them during 40 years. They are the only enemies of the Church and always have been. They wreck dioceses and ruin lives. There is only one solution: monastic renewal. If you are not living a monastic life in a monastery and you have no pastoral experience and love for the people, you cannot become a bishop.

As for the sort of bishops described in Constantinople, they must all be defrocked asap. We have had enough of them. All they do is bring the Church into disrepute and upset and persecute the sincere parish priests and the pious faithful. And, above all, they can be corrupted by the US State Department which has all the dirt on them all and so can blackmail them – just like the KGB did in the days of the Soviet Union, just like the CIA does in the Ukraine today.

Q: What do you think of the appointment of Metr Elpidiphoros as the new Greek Archbishop of America?

A: His name means ‘bearer of hope’. However, he is the bearer of despair. Expect schisms in the Greek Church in the USA, Australia and Great Britain. Indeed, they have already begun, with priests and parishes leaving them for canonical Orthodoxy. It is the beginning of the end for the rule of Constantinople. Sad though it is, it is inevitable and, ultimately, this will be a positive event. God is not mocked. We have to live for the future, not for the corrupt past. All will be providential. And Providence is God’s Love in history.

Russian Orthodox Church Matters

Q: I recently visited Russia and saw and heard some strange things from some people. For example, someone told me he knew an Orthodox man who was sure that Stalin will one day be canonized. An Orthodox woman I met said that she thought the Russian Church should become like the Catholic Church. Are such views widespread?

A: Today’s Russian Church is 90% a Church of converts, so inevitably you do occasionally come across extremes and marginals, or to put it very frankly, ‘weirdos’, nationalists, ecumenists and what have you. On top of this, you can also encounter among some clergy the hangover from the Soviet period – centralization and bureaucracy (though this was to some extent also present before the Revolution). I should not worry about it. This will all pass, it is all a phase of growing up. And it all only affects some; most are solid. Remember to look at the wood, not at the trees.

Q: The Russian Orthodox Church has for several months now an Exarchate in Paris. You had written a lot about this before it happened. Why does the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (including yourself) not participate in it?

A: The Russian Exarchate is for the moment very much on paper only. It is centralized, bureaucratic, missing bishops on the ground in Italy and Scandinavia, which like Germany is not included in it. The Exarchate is so far not real, not local, not skilled, not pastoral. And I know this from concrete contacts at the very highest AND the very lowest level. It is not at all ready to operate like the best of the Church Outside Russia (where it exists) and does not even want us to take part in it! Our offers of help have been rebuffed, several times, as they prefer to take orders from Moscow, where they understand nothing of the situation on the ground. It is not ready – by far!

When the Russian Exarchate is ready to be pastoral and to become a real Exarchate of (and not merely in) Western Europe, then we shall see changes. For now it clearly lacks the necessary pastoral skills and local knowledge, being a disincarnate  export from Moscow. It will need several years to grow up. The task, duty and mission of the local Church Outside Russia in Western Europe are precisely to prepare the terrain for this moment, filling the largely empty infrastructure created by Moscow, going before, like St John the Baptist.

Speaking as the only priest in the Russian Church who has ever been awarded a jewelled cross by Patriarch Kyrill (seven years ago) and a second such cross by Metropolitan Hilarion of New York (three years later), I believe that the Exarchate is not viable without ROCOR.

Pastoral Psychology

Q: What is the difference between low self-esteem and humility?

A: Low self-esteem comes from being humiliated, insulted and bullied. The victim of humiliation and bullying stops believing in themselves and doubts everyone and everything and can hate themselves and even self-mutilate. However, this is in contradiction with the last two words of the commandments, to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves. We must love ourselves. Not because we are anything other than sinners, but because God loves us. Anyone who believes or has experienced that fact that God loves them, will not fall victim to low self-esteem, but will become humble. Low self-esteem is the result of believing in the opinions and actions of nasty narcissists and sadistic bullies, whatever rank they may hold, more than in God.

Q: Is it true that there are only two choices in the Church, marriage or monasticism?

A: Only as an ideal. I would say, and I think I have said this before, that in reality there are two and a quarter choices. The quarter choice is for all those who for some reason do not fit in to either of the main choices at present. In other words, we must always be prepared for exceptions and exceptional circumstances. For example, there are, though they are very rare, celibate priests, neither married, nor monastic.

 

 

Eighteen Russian Orthodox Churches in the Eastern Half of England?

 Introduction: Pastoral/Missionary Experience since the 1970s

In reality, from the very beginning, Church life has always been a struggle against the world and its spirit, worldliness. This worldliness consists of politics, phyletism (a silly and complicated word for crude racism, Greek, Russian, Anglican, French and other, which has always treated us as third-class citizens), narcissism, guruism, phariseesism, sectarianism, favouritism, bureaucracy, sexual perversions, egomania, jealousy and all the other loveless and twisted pathologies.

I could not be ordained for four very good reasons: I was not ex-Anglican, not upper middle-class, I spoke Russian (so I could see through them) and, by far the worst sin of all, they knew that they could not buy me off as, Essex-born, I would always tell the Truth, the very thing they hated and hate the most, for ‘the Truth will set you free’. And the last thing they want is to be free; they prefer to be enslaved to their pathologies.

We can only hope that those who persecuted us in all these ways repented before they died or will repent before they die. The greatest sin of all of them has been their sheer absence of love. For without love, all of them, without exception, have been mere sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. We have not belonged to any ‘Church mafia’, but have been priests of God. I was not used until I was 50 and then it was all in spite of them. Persecution and internal exile were my lot, just as in the old Soviet Union, but I no longer have the energy of youth, when I could have done so much more. What a waste. But for that at least, I will not have to answer at the Last and Dread Judgement.

My direct Church experience over the last 45 years has been in England, in Oxford and Essex for 4 years, in Greece and Paris for one year each, in Cambridge and the Fens for 3 years and in France for 14 years until 1997. I have served in Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, USA and Australia and spent several months since the 1970s in Russia and the Ukraine and also in Belarus and Moldova. Since 1997 I have been back in England. Here I now cover up to 25,000 miles a year doing pastoral work all over the East, in five prisons and ten counties – Sussex, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

Two Problems in the Diaspora and the Need for New Missions

  1. a) The first problem is the ideology of what may be called mononationalism (racism/phyletism), which forbids the liturgical use of other languages. We saw how the old ROCOR quite died out in this country in the 80s and 90s because of its suicidal mononationalism and how other Orthodox groups are now also dying out for exactly the same reason. We have also seen mononationalism (this time Anglican-style) of those who impose English only, with obligatory communion, no confession and the new calendar, in other words, the old-fashioned convert-style ’Anglican Orthodoxy’, which should have died decades ago.
  2. b) The second is the chronic lack of infrastructure, due to the lack of missionary vision of the episcopate of the past, and so today’s disastrous lack of our own premises, priests, singers and finance.

Every few months I am contacted by someone to open a Russian Orthodox mission in the Eastern half of England. This means in the six official regions of the East of England, London, the South-East, the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North-East, with a total population of 37 million. (The Western half of England, meaning the three more Celtic official regions of the South-West, the West Midlands and the North-West, together with the three Celtic countries of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, totals 34 million. Thus, IONA, the Isles of the North Atlantic, has a total population of 71 million).

We recall that all missions must be in centres of population, where there is already a living and authentic Russian Orthodox presence, as in the three living parishes under Sourozh, that is, in the ex-Parisian one in London and the small ex-ROCOR parishes in Oxford and Manchester (which latter is outside our Eastern area). Also all new missions must be accessible to the general public, in places where Orthodox already live, and not be in isolated, essentially private, locations.

The Three Old Missions of the Two Russian Dioceses and Five New Missions

1-3. London and Oxford

The two churches in London, at present of two different dioceses, though not very big and not very central, have long catered for Russian Orthodox in central London, the West End and the western suburbs. However, it is clear that those who live in the east and north of the Capital are poorly looked after. The small church in Oxford, founded by Fr Nicholas Gibbes, effectively already looks after Orthodox in Oxfordshire, North Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

  1. Colchester (Essex and South Suffolk). St John of Shanghai. This parish is our property, bought in 2008 with £180,000 raised in an internet appeal through the orthodoxengland site. It was dedicated to our Archbishop in London (1950-1962), to whom our original mission in Felixstowe was also dedicated.
  2. Norwich (Norfolk and North Suffolk). St Alexander Nevsky. This parish is our property, bought in 2016 with £65,000 raised in an internet appeal through the orthodoxengland site. Since our first parishioners here were from Tallinn in Estonia, the parish was dedicated to the patron of the Tallinn Cathedral.
  3. Bury St Edmunds = Cambridgeshire (Cambridgeshire, West Suffolk, East Bedfordshire, North Hertfordshire). Sts Vera, Nadezhda, Lyubov (Faith, Hope and Love) and their Mother Sophia. Our hope is to move our mission from Bury St Edmunds to a suitable location in Cambridgeshire. In Cambridge itself land is far too expensive and parking nearly impossible. A new mission would cater for those at the present missions in Bury St Edmunds (though many here go to Colchester at present), Wisbech (though some here would go to Boston – see below), in Peterborough, and also for Orthodox in Ely, Chatteris and March, merging them. I served in Bury from 2000 to 2002 and have now been there again for nearly two years, as also in Wisbech. The area includes St Felix’s 7th century monastery in Soham, St Audrey’s birthplace in Exning and her monastery in Ely, St Huna’s hermitage near Chatteris, St Pandwyna’s hermitage in Eltisley and St Edmund’s monastery in Bury.
  4. Wisbech = Boston (South Lincolnshire, West Norfolk, North Cambridge-shire). St Matrona and St Botolph. Our hope is to move our mission from Wisbech to Boston for those in the present missions in Wisbech and King’s Lynn, but including Orthodox in Holbeach and Spalding. All around live thousands of Eastern European fen workers. I have visited Orthodox in Spalding and the area.
  5. Ashford = ? (South-East London, Kent, East Sussex). The Royal Martyrs. We must have a mission in Kent. At present we use St Christopher’s Church near Elmswell Manor outside Ashford, but this may not be the best location.

Ten Possible Future Missions, God Willing

  1. Northampton (Northamptonshire/West Bedfordshire, North Buckingham-shire, South Leicestershire, East Warwickshire). The Protecting Veil. There is a huge Eastern European population all over the East Midlands, as it is accessible from Luton Airport, where Easyjet flies to Vilnius, Riga and elsewhere. I have several contacts in Northampton and nearby Kettering and know the area from missionary visits there.
  2. York (Yorkshire). St Constantine and St Helen. In the centre of Yorkshire, St Constantine was present here when he was proclaimed Emperor in July 306. This idea follows from earlier contacts and a visit to York in March 2019.
  3. St Albans (Hertfordshire/East Buckinghamshire). St Alban. The historic centre of the First Martyr, where I have been on pilgrimage many times over the last 45 years. This location is also accessible for the many Orthodox who live in North London and those in Luton.
  4. Crawley (West Sussex/Surrey). St Michael and all the Heavenly Hosts. A centrally located position, not far from south London, next to Gatwick (hence the dedication) and not far from Brighton.
  5. Winchester (Hampshire, South Berkshire, East Wiltshire). The Resurrection. A centrally-located historic royal centre and the pre-Norman capital of England. Hence the dedication.
  6. Sheffield (Derbyshire, North Nottinghamshire, West Yorkshire). The Transfiguration. A presence in this heavily-populated industrial area, where raw materials were and are transformed (hence the dedication).
  7. Grimsby (North Lincolnshire, South Yorkshire). St Nicholas. A fishing port and hence the dedication.
  8. Derby (Derbyshire, South Nottinghamshire, North Leicestershire, East Staffordshire). (All Saints). A central, collective point and hence the same dedication as its ancient cathedral founded in c. 943.
  9. Durham (County Durham, South Northumberland, North Yorkshire). St Cuthbert. A presence in the city where the relics of St Cuthbert have lain for over some 900 years.
  10. Berwick on Tweed (Northumbria). (Sts George and Andrew). A pastoral centre between Durham and Edinburgh, near historic Holy Island, showing our spiritual unity in the saints of God. This mission takes us beyond north-east England into south-east Scotland and new territory.

Conclusion: Eighteen Missions

With the three old missions in London and the South-East and the two new missions in the East of England, three missions under way and ten potential new missions we could provide access to Orthodoxy for 95% of the 37 million population of the Eastern half of England, and even beyond its borders, who live within a 30 mile radius (as the crow flies, more) of each centre. (It is our experience that people are willing to travel up to 40 miles, or one hour, regularly, but usually not more, to get to church).

Give me the tools and I will finish the job, as I wrote over 20 years ago.

Archpriest Andrew Phillips

Felixstowe, East of England,

12 May 2019

Apologia Pro Vita Sua: The Two Reasons Why We Are Faithful Members of the Russian Orthodox Church

Firstly, it is only when we have understood that Christ the Son of God is the Saviour of the World, Who Alone, unlike all the other founders of faiths in the history of the world, is Risen from the dead, are we Christians. And once we have understood that Orthodoxy alone is this Christian Faith that He gave us, then we have understood that all other institutions which call themselves ‘Christian’ or ‘Christianity’ are not this. They are not of the Church of God. In reality, they preserve only fragments and vestiges, the outward signs of the Church, and thus are only illusory substitutions for the Church. In reality, in the West the words Christianity and Christian have for centuries been abused and twisted for the self-justification of its elite and of those whom that elite has ‘Westernized’, that is, those who, flattering themselves, have fallen for their proud delusions of grandeur. Once it is realized that Christianity is Orthodoxy, and not some much later, second-millennium distortion, specific and local to the barbarian culture of the Western elite, then it is clear that the expression ‘The Church’ can only mean The Orthodox Church and nothing else.

The proof of this is in the history of the Western elite, with its repeated campaigns of mass organized violence against all others over the past thousand years. This proof is in its technologically highly advanced but actually extremely crude and cruel war machine, with continual invasions and highly aggressive exploitation of all peoples (serfdom, physical slavery and then economic and political slavery) and its specific attempts to destroy the Church and Her Christian Civilization: the ‘Crusades’, the sack of Christian Rome in 1204, the Teutonic Knights, the repeated Western invasions of Russia after 1453 by the Poles, the Swedes and Napoleon, then the Crimean War, the two invasions of Russia which were part of World Wars, the foundation of NATO, the Western manipulations of Constantinople, especially since 1948, and today’s creation of a fictitious Church in the Ukraine as a vehicle for Western propaganda. Real Christians would never have behaved murderously like this. So it is clear that these Westerners are not Christians, they are not of the Church, whatever they may claim to justify their self-aggrandizing delusions.

Secondly, history tells us that the Centre of the Church was transferred in 330 from Pagan Old Rome, on account of its interfering heathen heritage, to Christian New Rome (Constantinople). And also that after the occupation of New Rome, much weakened by its bloodthirsty sack by ‘Christian’ (sic!) Westerners in 1204 and Greek nationalist apostates (the same ones as today), by Muslims in 1453, the Centre moved again. This time it moved to Holy Rus, which therefore came to be called ‘The Third Rome’. Once you know this, you understand that for anyone who does not belong to one of the nationalities catered for on the territories of one of the thirteen small and mononational Local Orthodox Churches (Romanian, Serbian, Greek, Bulgarian, Georgian, African, Arab, Polish, Cypriot, Albanian and Czechoslovak) you have to belong to the multinational and multilingual Russian Orthodox Church. This has over 70 nationalities already. After all, the Church of Holy Rus is 75% of the whole Church and has a long and distinguished missionary history, founding new Churches around the world and then granting them independence, so that they can stand on their own feet.

However, it is also true that this title ‘The Third Rome’ has sometimes been abused as a slogan and excuse for Russian State interference, for chauvinistic nationalism, formalist ritualism and pharisaical fanaticism. Indeed, it was that hypocritical and formalistic spirit which aided in the Western-orchestrated overthrow of the Russian Orthodox world in 1917 and its handing over to alien atheists for martyrdom by Satanists. For the mere existence of the Russian Orthodox world was preventing the Western elite from its ultimate diabolical ambition of world domination which has burned in them ever since 1492 and so they had to attempt to destroy Her. That nationalist, ritualistic, false ‘Third Rome’ spirit is quite different from the actual Christian spirit of the Russian Orthodox Church. This is an Imperial, multinational Church, whose mission is to convert to Orthodoxy the whole Non-Orthodox world outside the territories of the thirteen small Local Churches. Hence our repeated suggestion that the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate be renamed The Patriarchate of New Jerusalem and All Rus. In this way Her new name will represent Her essence.

 

 

The Russian Orthodox Church and the Slanders of Western Hypocrisy

The current favourite anti-Russian Orthodox slander of the US-controlled Western media (obviously, this includes the State-run BBC locally) is that the Russian Orthodox Church is the lackey of the Russian government, notably of President Putin. Here they love to misquote the words of Patriarch Kyrill, that President Putin as a leader is a miracle. Clearly, he is a miracle, after ideologues like Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchov, Gorbachov or the shameful drunkard Yeltsin, all peddling their anti-Christian, Western ideologies, after their vicious and barbaric persecution of the Church, the greatest anywhere in human history. However, to conclude from this that President Putin meddles in Church affairs or that members of the Church hierarchy are his lackeys is so absurd that one can only marvel at the sheer brainwashed ignorance (or else lying cunning) of Western politicians and journalists.

Why do they peddle such lies? The short answer is that they are so stupid or else so venal that they believe their own anti-Christian propaganda. But let us look at the problem in more detail.

The Western Powers have always tried to meddle in the affairs of the Church of God. A whole quarter of the Orthodox Church in Western Europe (it was then at most a quarter) was interfered with and taken over by the secularist Western elite who wanted all power for themselves. We have only to think of 1054, 1204, the Crusades, the Teutonic Knights, the Inquisition, the Protestants, the 19th century games of the British and French ambassadors with venal patriarchs in Istanbul, the British creation of the Greek Orthodox Church, devious British manipulations in Cyprus, the appointment of German puppet-kings in Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. Their meddling continued into the 20th century (for example in the British-orchestrated Russian ‘Revolution’ (in fact a power-grab by decadent Anglophile and apostate Russian aristocrats), the notorious Meletios Metaksakis in Istanbul and the £100,000 he received for his repulsive anti-Church activities in the 1920s. In 1948 these operations were taken over by the CIA from bankrupt Britain.

Today, after the fall of the Western ideology of Communism, we have the extraordinary manipulations by the USA of Istanbul. Here money exchanged hands ($25 million?) in support of US interference in the affairs in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church through the local US-appointed oligarch-gangster puppet Poroshenko. What is the Ukraine to the CIA? Only a banana republic that is not in Latin America, but placed more strategically, there where nuclear missiles can be stationed on the Russian border and aimed at Moscow. However, the USA meddles wherever possible. It not only appoints patriarchs of Constantinople, but also of Bucharest and perhaps elsewhere. It holds ‘conversations’ with the Archbishop of Athens, putting great political pressure on him, it tries to implement a schism in the Patriarchate of Antioch between Damascus and Beirut, tries to reinforce the schisms in Macedonia (just as their friend the Croat Communist Tito did) and in Montenegro, not to mention in puppet-Estonia and Moldova. To suggest that the Russian State meddles in the affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church and that its bishops are lackeys of the Russian government is the most extraordinary hypocrisy. Only the most ignorant or brainwashed could possibly believe this lie.

There is a picture of the atheist President Macron standing amid the ruins of Notre Dame. It is a picture that symbolizes contemporary post-Christian Europe. Amid the firs of atheism, Western Europe stands amid the ruins of the vestiges of its Orthodoxy. Sadly, unless the West repents, Notre Dame is only the beginning. God’s punishment awaits. Not just in spiritually, morally and financially bankrupt Western Europe, but in the USA as well. An explosion in Yellowstone? Devastating hurricanes and floods on the Carribean or Atlantic coast? An earthquake or tidal wave along the Pacific? We wish it on no-one. May God spare the United States and Western Europe from any catastrophe. But it will happen – unless there is repentance, because when people turn their backs on God, refusing His help, He can no longer defend them from the activities of the demons and all their satanic glee. Be warned.

With God or Without God: Our Choice

 

In 1917 the Judgement of God was made on the Russian Empire; its elite and many of the people had forsaken God. Since God never forces Himself on others, he therefore forsook the Russian Empire. And so failing to follow the commandments and love God first, the peoples of the Empire also failed to love their neighbour; there followed a terrible persecution of the Church, a horrible Civil War, the exile of millions, genocide, unspeakable atrocities and cruelty, artificial famine, concentration camps and the routine invasion of savage and barbarian enemies from Western Europe. Tens of millions died.

Only last week we saw the Judgement of God in Paris. An atheist government and an atheist people saw their main Cathedral, Notre Dame, ravaged by fire. Why should such a nation have a beautiful Cathedral in its Capital, when it no longer confesses the Faith? The people abandoned God, so God abandoned them.

Yesterday God judged the Ukraine. Here there was an evil and corrupt multi-billionaire oligarch-President, who is responsible for well over ten thousand deaths in the war he fomented and who reduced his nation to the poorest in Europe, according to official statistics, a country where people starve and die young because they cannot afford medical care. He then performed his final blasphemy. Using foreign backing, he set up a gang of criminals dressed as clergy, which he called a ‘A Most Holy Church’, and which employed violence to seize church buildings illegally and issue threats against Christ, lost the elections. God judged him.

In the Scriptures we are clearly told that, ‘God is not mocked’. And, ‘As you do unto others, so will it done unto you’. Let us tremble. God’s Judgement is terrible indeed. It always has been throughout all history, is now, and always will be.

 

 

 

Q and A from Recent Correspondence (April 2019)

Notre Dame

Q: What are we to make of the fire?

A: In my view this is a judgement on the atheist government and people of France. Beware: here may be next.

The Heterodox Easter

Q: Why is there a difference of one week between our Easter and the Catholic and Protestant Easter this year? And why does their Easter often fall one week or more too early?

A: Sometimes there is a difference of several weeks between the Orthodox Christian Easter and the secular one; this is because the Catholic-Protestant world takes the wrong full moon and so is a month or more too early. This year the difference is only one week. This is because the Catholic-Protestant world has its Easter at the same time as the Jews have their Passover. For the Jews this year’s Passover begins on the evening of Friday 19 April and, as usual, will last one week until the dawn of Friday 26 April. Our Easter is therefore on the 28 after their Passover has finished

All this is because in the 16th century the then Pope of Rome, Gregory XIII, decided to ignore the canon of the Holy Apostles which says that the Christian Easter must not coincide with the Jewish Passover, since the Resurrection of Christ took place the day after that year’s Jewish Passover, on Sunday, which became the Lord’s Day. As Christians, and so not putting ourselves above the apostles and the Church, the Orthodox Church adheres to this canon.

Q: Many people seem to say that Western Christianity is dead among native Western Europeans. Would you agree with that?

A: I can give an illustration from the town where I live. From a population of 25,000, this year about 200 nearly all elderly people gathered for a happy-clappy/pop-music Good Friday ‘service’, which was supposed to unite all Western Christians in the town. This is less than 1% of the population gathering for what for them is the key moment. For in their religion they do not cry ‘Christ is Risen’, but ‘Jesus is dead’. We can see that within 20 years no-one will be left. True, some Catholic churches live on thanks to Poles and other Catholic immigrants, including Polish priests, mainly from Eastern Europe, Portugal or Malabar India. True, some Protestant churches survive thanks to Afro-Caribbeans. True, there are patches of piety left, mainly in the south of Western Europe. But, on the whole, the game is over. Yes, I agree.

The Ukraine

Q: Do you think the new schismatic church in the Ukraine has a future?

A: It does, but only as long as people continue to put their (fictitious or non-fictitious) country in place of Christ – just like any other political, nationalist and xenophobic organization. So many individual churches and parishes of every single diocese have died out in the Diaspora for exactly this reason, that they put their nationality first – and many of them were not even schismatic but, on paper, canonical! It is not just in places like the Ukraine. Both Macedonia and Montenegro also have such nationalist myths which replace Christ with their provincial ‘nations’.

However, in this country too there are ungrounded converts who put forward a ‘British (i.e. an adjective describing a fictitious and politically constructed country, just like the Ukraine) Orthodoxy’. American nationalism also figures highly among some convert groups there and in France the French nationalism of some in the old Rue Daru group, which is now crumbling and will soon disappear as such, also plays a significant role. If it is Glory to your nation first, then spiritual death awaits you, inevitably. I saw this in the old ROCOR diocese in this country which completely died out as a result of its nationalist racism and Cold War politics. Let the dead bury the dead. This is the spiritual law of the withered branch.

The Contemporary Church

Q: One experienced archimandrite told me that in his view the greatest weakness in our Orthodox Church is the lack of leadership on the part of the episcopate. Would you agree with that?

A: I agree that this is a problem, but I think that the real problem is more radical than that. I think that the chronic lack of leadership is a result rather than the cause. In reality, the lack of leadership is caused by the lack of love (sometimes even outright contempt and hatred) of many bishops for the clergy and the people. Hence all the injustices, favouritism and the fact that so many leave the Church in disgust or else join old calendarist schisms: Why stay in the Church when bishops behave in such a worldly and unloving way? Make up your own Church instead – just like the Protestants.

This lack of love is itself caused precisely by the worldliness of many bishops, their view of the Church, its ‘bureacratization’, seeing it as a mere personality cult (like the old Sourozh diocese which disappeared into schism after the death of its worshipped personality), as a mere institution for paperwork (the temptation of contemporary and pre-Revolutionary Moscow) or as a personal empire of a network of spiritually empty buildings (the temptation of contemporary Constantinople and in the schismatic Ukraine). All these examples trample on the reality of the Church as a Divino-human organism and the spiritual needs of the clergy and their flock. This worldliness, seen for example in ethnic narrowness, is the denial of the Oneness, Holiness, Catholicity and Apostolicity of the Church. What we need is an episcopate which is Churchly, not worldly. All our problems are caused by the lack of the Church, the real Church, which means Love.

For instance, in ROCOR we will never forget (though foolish triumphalists, sectarian bigots and pharisaical self-justifiers do forget it) how it was politically-minded ROCOR bishops who put St John of Shanghai on trial. This was an event from which, 55 years later, ROCOR is still recovering and by which it was almost spiritually destroyed.  In the Greek Church you have the similar example of St Nectarios of Pentapolis (+ 1920), dismissed by his own Patriarchate and the scheming ambitions of its pseudo-Christian bishops. His Patriarchate of Alexandria only started spiritually recovering from this scandal after the canonization of St Nectarios, 41 years after his repose in 1961, when the schemers had died and at once missions to native Africans at last started, some thirteen hundred years late! This situation is exactly parallel to that of St John: ROCOR and the Church inside Russia were reunited in 2007, exactly 41 years after St John’s repose in 1966. This is spiritually significant.

We are always persecuted by false brethren, who are false precisely because they have no love. However, it must be added that the lack of love is displayed by everyone at times. We are all sinful, not just bishops, and we are all crucified for our sins and those of others. But this crucifixion is called salvation.

The Head and the Centre of the Church

Q: Where is the centre of the Church, Constantinople or Moscow? And who therefore is its Head?

A: The administrative centre of the Church changes over time. However, the spiritual centre of the Church is for all time Jerusalem, the place of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, and nowhere else. Her Head is Christ, the Risen God, and no-one else. Any other opinions are theological, historical and racist nonsense.

Orthodox Civilization

Q: People talk about ‘Orthodox Christian Civilization or Western Secularist Civilization’. But what practically is the difference?

A: (Orthodox) Christian Civilization proclaims the Gospel words, that we must ‘seek first the kingdom of heaven’ because that is our destiny after our inevitable death. In other words, we put God first. As a result the lives of men and women must be dedicated to churches and monasteries and bringing up in family life children, the rising generation, to fill them. Men are programmed to be providers, to sacrifice themselves to care for wives and children (this is called being husbands and fathers), mothers are programmed to sacrifice themselves to bring children into the world and bring them up.

Western Secularist (anti-Christian) Civilization is an Anti-Civilization because it alone is not based on spiritual values. It puts money (mammon in the form of the dollar or capital, worshipped in the idolatry and ideology of Capitalism) and material well-being first. The result is that it destroys and pollutes the planet through raping its natural resources with incessant wars for the sake of capitalist consumerism. As regards the lives of men and women, they are subject to individualism, another word for narcissistic egoism, which is the curse of modern Western society, with its indulgences and permissiveness, which result in sexual debauchery and disease and very common mental and physical illnesses, resulting from the consumption of drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, anti-depressants and narcotics. To hell with bringing up children; the vanity of narcissism has no place for them – hence abortion. This is why Western (and Westernized) societies are literally dying out, with populations shrinking and female fertility and sperm counts rapidly falling.

Neophytes

Q: Why does such a high proportion of converts lapse?

A: Simply because many embrace Orthodoxy only with their heads and not with their hearts. To embrace the Church with your head, intellectually, means that as soon as a problem appears, you lapse. To embrace the Church with your heart means that you overcome problems because you are there for Christ, not for simple ideas or mere personalities.

Q: Should laypeople take monastic names when being received into the Church?

A: I am against this. Over the last 45 years, I have noticed time and time again that those who take monastic names, like Seraphim or Silouana, often later lapse. This is because to take a monastic name without the humility that comes from monastic discipline and obedience is always a sign of spiritual illusion (‘prelest’). The same people tend also to dress as monks and nuns, pretending that they are what they are not; they usually lapse relatively quickly because they have made the mistake of associating the outward with the inward; they have built their house on sand and it falls when the storm comes. As the French say: ‘The habit does not make the monk’.

Happiness

Q: Is personal happiness possible in this world or is it a sin?

A: Of course it is possible – and desirable – but you have to fight for it. You will not obtain anything through passive fatalism. It is passive fatalism that is the sin. Satan wants you to be unhappy, God does not. To believe otherwise is to believe like the Jews in God, Who was misunderstood by them in the Old Testament and Who is misunderstood by those other fatalists, the Muslims. (Indeed, the very word ‘Islam’ means ‘submission’). Life is too short not to fight for even the relative happiness which we can have in this life. Don’t give up in despair and fight for happiness even here below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the Mother of God in Eastern England

Between 2 and 9 April 2019, for the first time ever, all of a long-neglected region, that of Eastern England, was visited by the Wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. The faithful gathered in Kent, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, bordering on Lincolnshire to the north and Bedfordshire to the south. 1500 miles were covered in eight days, 38 molebens were served in our five churches in the region and in the homes of the scattered faithful and £2,210 was raised for the Synod of Bishops of the Church Outside Russia. If we had had longer we would have visited even more faithful in this forgotten backwater outside the Capital. (For photos see the ROCOR Diocesan website).

The Icon gave off Her very strong myrrh-like fragrance, wafting in waves, in churches, homes, hospitals and cars, even filling streets while being taken in Her carrying case just the few yards to the doors of houses and flats. This was the fragrance of the Mercy of Mother Mary, for then the long-abandoned felt valued, consoled by this scent from Paradise. The highlights were perhaps the evening moleben and akathist in St Matrona’s chapel of the Lithuanian Orthodox community in Wisbech, the Capital of the Fens, at the Sunday Liturgy of the Annunciation in Colchester, and especially in one home, where two faithful, long-suffering and isolated converted Orthodox were able to pray before Her, showing that they had embraced Orthodoxy with their hearts and not with their heads.

In the first case we felt how, although the people may have had little knowledge, their spirit was great and the Mother of God descended on account of their humility, for they are absolutely devoid of any pretensions. In the second case, we felt how the hundreds of people came from far away with many small children, with all their huge pain at all the past injustices, and cried out to the Most Holy One and She heard them and consoled them, giving them courage. We three priests could barely cope with all the confessions and over 200 communions. In the third case we saw the greatest sincerity, piety, humility, unseen anywhere else here, and intense suffering, and how the Mother of God came and comforted. We have all become Josephs, guardians of the priceless treasure of the Most Pure One.

After a hospital visit to a young married Romanian man who did electrical work in the altar of the church some years ago, but who is now dying of cancer, we saw him comforted by a wafting of fragrance, which all in the hospital ward felt. We saw an elderly Russian parishioner kissing the Icon and her two Romanian carers, who happened to be present, kneeling and joining her. After one akathist, two pious Greek priests who had attended apologized for the behaviour of their Patriarch. Will the autocephaly of Constantinople be revoked by a Council of the thirteen canonical Local Orthodox Churches? Then the Greek Diaspora can be taken under the care of the Greek Orthodox Church in Athens and return to Orthodoxy. Then all in the Church can once again be confirmed as truly One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, that is, in one word, Orthodox.

Our Mother in heaven sees everyone, righteous and sinners alike, our parishioners, Bulgarian and English, Moldovan and Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Russian, Greek and Turkish, French and Italian, Indian and Romanian, Australian and Kazakh, Polish and Latvian. She acts as a magnet to all, Her presence so strongly felt by all. For the unbeliever the Icon is haunted; we know better. Her fragrance is Her Mercy. In the absence of any others, the Mother of God is truly our champion leader. She is in this Her Icon of the Sign, Who Shows the Way. In the Eastern provinces the rejected are being accepted, the persecuted are being comforted, the despised are being recalled, the long-forgotten are being remembered and the long-neglected are being visited.

We have little money or importance in the eyes of the world, our churches have no gold or precious stones, no ancient icons or precious artefacts, we have no great theologians or brains, but we do have faith and hope. The region is waking, as the very long and very dark night ends in the glimmer and hope of the long-prayed for dawn, which we long to see before we die. We feel that in heaven our prayers have been heard and our decades of tears have been noted. Can it be much longer now? Her fragrance still fills our clothes, homes and cars even days after She left us. We live by faith in Christ and by hope for the better.