Convergence through Purification: The Future of Post-Soviet and Post-Émigré Russian Orthodoxy

Introduction

Following the 2007 reconciliation of 90% of the Russian Orthodox world outside Russia and the much larger Russian Orthodox world inside Russia, some wondered how the two parts would converge. After all, the two parts had distinctive identities, and little wonder, given the ninety years of mutual separation. That separation had been forced on the faithful by the 1917 overthrow of the old, Faith-based, Imperial Orthodox Civilisation by power-seeking Westernised aristocrats and money-loving bourgeois. The main part of the Church inside the Soviet Union had been cruelly persecuted and its organisation taken hostage by the atheist State for three generations of captivity. As for the much smaller part in exile, it had suffered from those who had little interest in the Gospel of Christ, of Orthodox Civilisation, but much interest in the Gospel of Mammon, of the unprincipled Capitalist West.

The Two Sides of the Past

Both parts shared in ideologies which at times were totally irrational, and dominated by reflexes which were certainly not theological, but emotional, folkloric, psychological and even, in some cases, pathological.

On the one hand, the post-Soviet part could display immense nationalism – to the incredible point of admiring its persecutor, Stalin – and had a centralised and bureaucratic State mentality, reflected in the indifferent attitudes of some careerist paid clergy who perhaps did not even believe in God. Certainly these showed little visible signs of faith. This went hand in hand with the attitudes of secularist Westernisers who admired the power and wealth of the Vatican (another State-Church, or rather Church-State). Among the post-Soviet people, deprived of Church education for 75 years, could be found an incredible range of absurd extremes and phariseeism, superstitions based on extraordinary ignorance, resulting in misunderstandings and false problems, which had long ago been solved by Orthodox living in the Western world, from whom they refused to learn, blinkered by their nationalism.

On the other hand, the émigré part could also display immense nationalism, only an anti-Soviet nationalism, with a cultural nostalgia for a disappeared past and phariseeism. It refused to understand mass Orthodoxy, rejecting it, isolating itself in the cosy, inward-looking clubbiness of tiny ghettos. It would refuse any non-Russians, making absurd demands of them. To quote many real examples, there were those who preferred to see their church close rather than see non-Russians there. ‘After us, the deluge’. Others said: Let the church close, we will be dead soon and no-one will need it’. One elderly priest told his parishioners that there was no point in his baptising their children, as soon he would be dead and no-one would replace him. Indeed, he soon died and no-one did replace him. I also heard 35 years ago: ‘I would sooner see our church close than hear a word that is not Russian inside it’.

In the Here and Now

Today we live in a world which is both post-Soviet and post-émigré. Both died out and are buried. Those aged under thirty scarcely understand what the words Soviet and émigré mean. They live in the real world.

In the real Orthodox world we see small, provincial, Balkanised churches, in other words, mere nationalist clubs. In the words of members of the Patriarchate of Constantinople (including priests): ‘You cannot join us, you are not dark enough to be Orthodox’ (= Greek). Or: ‘Romanians only’. Or, in one Ukrainian church: ‘If you are not Ukrainian, go away’. Or in one Serbian church: ‘If you are not Serb, you may come in, but you may not kiss the icon of St Sava, as you are not Serb’. Or, as one Georgian priest told me: ‘God only speaks Georgian’. And an elderly Russian woman, sunk in her dark and unrebuked ignorance, told me that ‘God only understands Slavonic’. Such churches have no spiritual relevance and will, as they deserve, die out as most of them already have. Their disappearance is no loss, as their museum existence has no spiritual significance or justification.

The only Local Orthodox Church which is large enough and has the spiritual and intellectual breadth to overcome such petty and divisive nationalism, the curse of the small Local Churches, is the Russian Church. Three-quarters of the whole Church of God, the multinational Russian Church alone has the potential to overcome such provincial narrowness. Its imperial past, its double-headed eagle looking and uniting east and west, is the point around which both groups, inside Russia and outside Russia, and other Local Churches, can converge. For the Soviet period is just as much in the past as is that of the Russian emigration. We do not live in history books, we read them. We live, and are saved, in the here and now. Today, as never before, the Church faces a global challenge and it can only meet this by showing Her catholicity, Her unity in diversity, Her unity of faith at all times and in all places.

Conclusion

In order to overcome the nationalism, provincialism and parochial narrowness of many and to be relevant in today’s global world, the Russian Orthodox Church has to show Her multinationalism. In order to overcome Her former division, She has to show that She is above all provincial variations. The convergence of all requires the courage of purification. And there is no greater example of this than the courage and purification of the one figure who unites us unanimously, the Emperor and Saint, Tsar Nicholas II. He was of international origin, his mother Danish, he spoke five languages and intended to build a church in every European capital and translate the service books into the European languages. And his Tsarina was an Anglo-German convert. They, their five children and their servants, are saints. We need no greater example of multinational Churchliness for our future.

 

 

Evil Deeds Go to Washington

The US elite prides itself on its ‘democratic’ system. This is of course at best self-delusion, at worst delusion. ‘Democracy means that every four years two corrupt oligarchs fight to become the most powerful man in the world. This time two elderly men, who should both have retired years ago, have spent billions of dollars trying to obtain power. One, a doddery old man who can hardly walk, is the idol of the world’s liberal elite, composed among others of journalists and abortionists. The other, a narcissist to the core who appears to change his opinion about as often as he changes his clothes, has backed various extreme right-wing conspiracy theorists, including the gun lobby, to back him. If that is the democratic choice, the best that the US elite can offer its citizens, no wonder over one hundred million Americans refused to vote for either.

A Republican ex-President has compared yesterday’s scenes in Washington, which occurred on the eve of the day when Christians celebrate the Birth of Christ, to those in a banana republic. He should know. He created at least two banana republics. And sadly US spies have immense experience in creating banana republics, not just throughout Latin America, but in Greece (under the colonels), and more recently in Lithuania, Romania, Kosovo and, in 2014, in the Revolution of Indignity in the Ukraine. Here, nearly seven years ago, US-backed separatists usurped the democratically-elected government, when the CIA funded thousands of ultra-violent rioters to the tune of millions of dollars and supplied Lithuanian snipers on the roof of the US Embassy to murder Ukrainian policemen trying to contain the mob. Since then the Galician Fascists in Kiev, now headed by a puppet who is a good actor but cannot even speak Ukrainian, have slaughtered tens of thousands of Ukrainians in the east of the country, all the while funded by US dollars and weapons.

The events in Washington once more prove the old spiritual law: What goes round, comes round. There is only one way out of it. It is called repentance. No sign of that in Washington. Is this the end of the Union of North American States?

From Recent Correspondence – November-December 2020

Covid

Q: If you are offered vaccination, will you have it?

A: Now that nearly a million people in the UK have had the vaccination, yes I will have it. I have no fear for myself, especially as I had covid last February (just a bad cold with loss of sense and smell for a couple of weeks), but I feel personally that it is a question of responsibility towards others. This is a purely personal view and I cast absolutely no aspersions on those who do not want the vaccination because of fears about long-term consequences or other reasons. And I do not suggest at all that they are being irresponsible in rejecting the vaccine! I will certainly accept it and I recommend it, though everyone is of course free to choose.

Divisions, Schisms and Heresies

Q: What is a division inside the Church? Why is a division not a schism?

A: I can answer because there is the case of my own part of the Russian Church, the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). It is very interesting because the events here are current and I have lived through them and seen them and knew and know the people and psychologies involved on both sides. This was not a schism, let alone a heresy, but a division. A division is the stage before a schism and, unlike a schism, may be perfectly justified – providing it is for a positive cause and is therefore temporary. It happens in cases where pious clergy and people are unjustly persecuted by their own bishops, who represent not Christ, but, for example, in our own case, the Soviet atheist State which demanded through certain bishop-citizens that we tell lies. We refused. That was honourable.

Other cases of division are caused by other bishops who also obey purely secular, State interests, or simply their own vices, practising harsh injustices and displaying profoundly anti-Christian conduct. And this can happen and does happen. Tragically, quite often, and in all the Local Churches. Bishops choose to persecute the persecuted and protect the persecutors. We have experienced that.

Outside the Church, history gives another obvious example with the ‘Church of England’, with the creation of Methodism and any number of other Protestant sects. These were established by those who were persecuted by Church of England bishops, who were merely venal State employees and not Christians at all. But their divisions became permanent and so schisms, some of which then developed into heresies.

Thus, our particular division outside Russia was created by the persecution of the Soviet State. However, from the 1960s on, our division showed signs among a ‘super-correct’ few of developing into a schism of the Donatist style, a schism of the self-righteous and self-justifying pride of the Pharisees (backed by CIA funding they justified themselves by accusing others of ‘Sergianism’). Such a schism did not happen among over 95% of ROCOR because when the Soviet State collapsed, the vast majority of the Church Outside Russia only wanted to reunite with the Church inside Russia, as soon as it had been freed. We the majority had never had any hidden agendas; we had belonged to ROCOR only because there was ‘nowhere else to go’, in the words of the ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva. Our home had always been the Russian Church, and nowhere else, and especially not some pseudo-Orthodox pharisaic sect or a sub-department of some foreign political party.

The tiny minority which rejected our profound unity with the rest of the Russian Church were often of right-wing Protestant origin. They lapsed from the Church immediately, into multiple tiny Donatist schisms, one tiny fragment of which is now developing a new heresy. In other words, we can see in a concrete and contemporary case, how a division may then develop into a schism and how a schism may then develop into a heresy.

Q: What is the difference between a schism and a heresy?

A: A heresy is always the intensification or dogmatisation and justification of a schism.

Schisms, which sometimes develop into heresies, always happen because of pride, either personal pride, or else collective, racial pride. The greater the pride, the more likely a heresy is to develop.

We have personal pride in the schisms and then heresies of Arius, Nestorius, Donatus or the Old Ritualist Archpriest Avvakum. We have collective, nationalist, racial pride in the cases of the schisms and then heresies of the Copts, the Armenians, the Roman Catholics, the Protestants, or the present Ukrainian and Phanariot schisms. The Ukrainian schism says: ‘Glory to the Ukraine’, not ‘Glory to God’. That is a heresy. The Phanariot schism is interesting because we see how racial pride is now developing into the Greek phyletist heresy with the new and still developing dogma of Phanariot Papism, with its ‘first among equals’ ‘because we are Greeks’ now developing into ‘first without equals’ ‘because we are Greeks’. This is extraordinarily primitive and has been copied from the Pharisees, whose racism Christ so often denounced.

However, schisms and heresies can be provoked by the other side. For example, the Copts were provoked by Greek racism, the Protestants by Catholic persecution, Archpriest Avvakum by the persecution of the Russian State, the Greek old calendarists by Greek State persecution. Persecution always creates the martyr complex and so deepens a schism and makes a heresy more likely.

Q: What was the Old Ritualist/Old Believer Schism really about?

A: As regards the extreme Old Ritualists (I prefer to call them thus rather than Old Believers, since the belief never changed – all Orthodox are Old Believers), these are basically Russian Protestants, who match, sociologically, the Western Protestants 150 years before them. Their mercantile money-making had to be justified. Here is their heresy. And again we see racial pride, ignorance and ritualism, phariseeism and puritanism, exactly as with the extreme Protestants. It is no surprise that many of the Old Ritualists actually and suicidally supported the 1917 Revolution, which wiped most of them out, just as it wiped out most Bolsheviks. They died by their own hand.

The Catholic Schism

Q: As far as I know from seminary articles on the Schism from the Church in 1054, in England, France, and Germany they served on leavened bread for a long time after the Schism. Do you know anything about this? Moreover, Grand Duke Vladimir Monomakh, having married the daughter of the King of England, Gytha, was surprised that there were already some disagreements in the Church. This only confirms that the act itself was more of an intentional political phenomenon. East-West relations at that time remained united, and the “differences” themselves remained “unnoticed” for a long time for the sake of unity, and did not suddenly arise in 1054.

What about Catholic people in a village in the south of France, where they have been living for generations and do not want to emigrate anywhere, who do not “look at the horizon”, but have been going to pray in one local Church for 500-700 years? Are they Christians or “apostates” (rhetorically)? Do they live “the old way”? Do they have to “understand” anything? Do we have the right to “pity” them without fear of humiliating them? What if our distant relatives are among them?

A: Of course we always distinguish between institutions and people. Roman Catholicism is clearly a heresy, and was so from the start, but as for individual Roman Catholics, that is quite different. I would not call them heretics, as a heretic must be conscious of what he is promulgating. The average Catholic has never even heard of the filioque, but, on the other hand, most Catholic clergy are heretics because they have heard of it and still accept it. I have met individual Catholics who are basically Orthodox, though they have never realised it. Here we follow the wisdom of the old proverb: ‘A fish rots from the head’, in Russian: ‘Рыба гниет/воняет с головы’.

As regards ‘the 1054 Schism’ in general, it is vital to understand that this is NOT a date, but a process. There were people around Charlemagne who at the end of the eighth century had already undergone ‘1054’. On the other hand, there are Catholics today, true, perhaps not many, who have still not been affected by 1054 – for them it has not yet happened. And in general the final implications or end-results of 1054 are still in 2020 unfolding, for example, in LGBT. As an example, it is true to say that some had begun using unleavened bread before 1054, others continued using leavened bread afterwards.

In many places 1054 did not happen until the end of the 11th century. For example, it was then that the First Crusade began and that Anselm wrote the first defence of the filioque: ‘Against the Greeks’. That was the end for them. They were apostates and heretics. But even today, the average Catholic has never heard of the filioque or of the heretic Anselm and considers that the Crusades were totally wrong. There may not be much difference between them and us Orthodox. I have always considered Catholics as ex-Orthodox, but in fact many of them are more Orthodox than ‘ex’.

You asked me about the fate of Catholics from the south of France. That is interesting because my matushka has Catholic relatives who live precisely in the south of France. I pray for them all at every proskomidia and have done for the last 36 years, though obviously I do not take out particles for them. At every proskomidia, I also pray for various Non-Orthodox people, for example, for ‘William’. This is Shakespeare. Will he find salvation? I do not know. But I calculate that probably no-one else anywhere in the world prays for him. Therefore I must do it. I hope that in Russia priests pray for the tragic Alexander (Pushkin), killed in a sinful duel.

The Phanariot Schism

Q: Will the Ukrainian Schism spread worldwide or will it peter out once Patriarch Bartholomew is dead?

A: It is now clear – it was not clear at first – that this is both a political and dogmatic schism and does not depend on individual personalities. The present schismatic Patriarch is supported by others, perhaps even worse than himself. The schism can only end once the USA has lost its Superpower status and has been humiliated and its empire with its dollar-power has fallen. When there are no more planeloads of dollars to hand out, it will lose its influence. Then the American-backed Galician separatists who seized power anti-democratically and violently in Kiev in 2014 (with Lithuanian sniper-mercenaries murdering Ukrainians from the roof of the US Embassy) will fall. And that may happen much sooner than many think. For ‘those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind’.

Partly the inevitable fall of the USA will come about because of the incompetence of its elite, partly because of the scourge of God, covid. Thus, its administration is running out of steam and its plots, in Eastern Europe, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Georgia, in Syria, in the Yemen, in the Ukraine, in Belarus, in the war with Azerbaijan and now in its schemes in Moldova, are failing. That the atheist criminals in the US State Department and abortionists like Biden and Son are so desperate to promote the idea that a flockless bishop in a Turkish city could be the leader of World Orthodoxy would be laughable, if there were not a few deluded or bribed people to take it seriously.

However, the Phanariot schism (unlike the Ukrainian schism) is permanent and also worldwide. Both sides of the schismatic Westernised coin, both the nationalists (phyletists, whether Greek, Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Serbian or other), pharisees and ritualists, as well as their opposite numbers, the careerists, liberals and modernists, are all falling. Good riddance, as they have all long been compromising our witness to real Christianity.

This includes the schismatics of the Local Churches, which, with a few exceptions, have as a whole remained Orthodox. Thus, the renegade drug-dealing (yes, really), careerist former Russian Bishop Flavian (Maxim Mitrofanov), now defrocked and living in London after his interview on Radio Liberty (where else?), as well as other Kochetkov types inside Russia, and the two notorious pervert Russian Bishops Ignaty, and in Bosnia Herzegovina the Serbian Bishop Dimitry (Radzhenovich), who on 4 December nearly set fire to his own church through his lack of faith, as well as in Cyprus schismatic bishops, in Alexandria the schismatic Patriarch and his yes-men adepts, in Greece the schismatic Archbishop of Athens and his equally unprincipled careerist supporters, are out.

The Church is being cleansed. This cleansing is long, long overdue. Covid has had the effect of revealing the truth about each, about those who are traitors, cowards and deceivers because, despite their outward rite, they have no faith, as well as revealing the truth about those who are Orthodox and do not fear death and martyrdom, but only fear God.

Thus, only recently the Synod of the ROC defrocked Sergei Romanov, whom I met in 2018 at the Central Urals Convent, and it is now about to defrock Protodeacon Andrei Kurayev. I have not met him, but met many just like him in the old Paris group, many of whom were also schismatics (and freemasons) and have remained so. Both these cases are also a cleansing.

The first was an extremist of the right, an ignorant man, uncanonically ordained, who called people to suicide for Russia (not for Christ). The other was an extremist of the left, a liberal who had only the disrespectful pride of the modernist in his soul for the Church, because She does not reflect the values of his narcissistic self. Although his pride may yet result in a schism by his joining the Phanar, there is still hope that he may repent. Extremes cannot survive. Such people always destroy themselves through their passions.

Q: Since the Patriarchate of Constantinople has fallen into schism and is out of communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church, what should our attitude be to laypeople of the Patriarchate of Constantinople?

A: We should welcome them with open arms as refugees from the schism created by their still unrepentant bishops and give them confession and communion. As for repentant bishops and priests, they should be welcomed back into the Church by concelebration. Just because the father has put himself in prison, we do not punish the children.

Salvation

Q: Who will be saved? I am thinking especially about Old Ritualists and Catholics. Most of them did not choose to be outside the Church, that was simply the way their parents brought them up. And what about suicides? Can priests take out particles for any of them at the proskomidia? And what is the fate of those who died unjustly, even if they were outside the Church, like Richard III?

A: This is the old question of all us ex-seminarians: What will happen to the Amazon Indians who have never heard of Christ? Nearly 2,000 years ago the Apostle Paul said that such will be judged according to their conscience, in other words, according to what is the content of their hearts. We also have the story in the Life of St Gregory the Dialogist, who drew the pagan Emperor Trajan out of hell through his prayers. All is possible and God is Merciful. But He is also Righteous.

As regards prayer, there is private prayer and there is public prayer. In public prayer we commemorate only Orthodox. In private prayer we pray for everyone. Parishioners constantly ask me if they can pray for a Non-Orthodox person and I always say: ‘Not only you can, but you must.’ Who else will pray for them? And I tell them to go and light a candle. I remember 45 years ago one elderly Russian aristocratic émigré who always used to light a candle for ‘the servant of God Alexander’. This was Alexander Fleming who had discovered penicillin. That had saved her life in the early 1950s.

In England today, Orthodox make up exactly only 1% of the population and I am talking about all Orthodox, both practising and nominal. So what? Does that mean we cannot do anything? Do people really think that the apostles did not pray for everyone? There were only 11 of them at one point. How did they convert the world? Read the Acts of the Apostles and the epistles! Millions were converted through the apostles directly and indirectly. We can do the same.

Mixed marriages have always been very common here, including in the first post-1917 emigration – there were and are so few Orthodox. Moreover, most of our Orthodox Russian speakers today, mainly from the Ukraine, are women who entered into internet marriages to come and escape the poverty and corruption of the countries of the post-Soviet Soviet Union, not to mention escaping alcoholic Russian men. They want their children to be baptised and their husbands to join the Church. (Some of these do join and some don’t). Of course these women pray for their husbands. Therefore, outside Russia our commemoration books officially contain two sections, one for Orthodox, one for Non-Orthodox.

I do the proskomidia, taking out particles only for Orthodox. But I also stand before the table and pray for the Non-Orthodox, without taking our particles for them, as that would be theologically illiterate (they are outside the Church and so remain outside the chalice). Does my prayer help them? I hope so. God is merciful.

Most Orthodox are Orthodox, simply because they were born in a certain country. The same is true for Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus etc. And the same is true for the Old Ritualists. Like the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons, they belong to this sect because their parents belonged to it. They live in a ghetto and psychologically it is very difficult to escape such manipulative sects because they are made to feel guilty if they disobey. What of their salvation?

All I can say is: God is Merciful. One who has left the Old Ritualists, repenting for them, can and must pray for his parents and ancestors. What will God’s judgement be? We must be humble and accept that we do not and cannot know, at least until the Last Judgement. Speculations are a waste of time. We must concentrate on our own salvation, which we can do something about. I would not take out particles for Old Ritualists and other Non-Orthodox at the proskomidia, because they were not in communion with the Church in this life, but I certainly pray for them.

Similarly with suicides. We have to pray for them in our private prayer. As you know, the Church has always made a sharp distinction between the few who commit suicide because they hate God and the vast majority who have lost their minds. What will happen to them? We do not know. But God is Merciful. This is our only hope. Our prayer is so feeble. All we can do is rely on Divine Mercy. Some suicides are martyrs. I have no doubt of this.

As regards those who died unjustly, like Richard III, I think we can have even greater hope in God’s Mercy. They are Non-Orthodox martyrs. God always recognises sacrifices, whoever makes them. But again, I only take out particles at the proskomidia for Orthodox. Otherwise, we disobey the Church in our presumption and pride. God knows, not us.

Let us recall the saints of the Old Testament and the Holy Innocents slaughtered by Herod. None of them was baptised. But they found salvation and were freed from hell by Christ on Great Saturday. And let us recall the good thief, who repented just before the end and was promised Paradise that very day. He was not baptised, except, like so many martyrs, in his blood.

Pastoral Practice

Q: Do you practise frequent communion in your church? Is frequency of communion normal? And how frequent should confession be?

A: Yes, we do definitely practise frequent communion in our church, but we also practise more or less weekly confession, which we can do as we have two or three priests confessing and one priest in the altar.

The old State Church mentality was ‘confession and communion once a year because you have to’. This was the nominalist mentality that brought about both the atheist revolution in Russia and the modern apostasy in Greece. The now very old-fashioned 1960s modernist mentality (the Protestant Schmemann, Archbp Leo of Finland, Greek Orthodox in the USA etc) is ‘obligatory communion every time but confession once a lifetime and only if you insist’.

The mentality of these modernists is that the Eucharist, holy communion, is somehow magical, it is at the centre of the Church. That is not the case. Christ is the Head of the Church and it is repentance that takes us to Christ. It can be said therefore that repentance is at the centre of the Church. When there is no more repentance, then the Church on earth will no longer exist.

The Orthodox view is frequent confession and frequent communion. It is not one versus the other, it is both together. Otherwise the medicine does not work. This is a virtuous circle. The faithful should try and have confession and communion at least twice a month. Communion at every liturgy is more difficult and of course younger women cannot have communion every Sunday in any case.

Western Aberrations

Q: If the ‘evil empire’ (the USSR) fell in 1991, when did the USA become the new evil empire?

A: I think this is a debatable point, as it is more a process than a single event. So, to date it, some people would go right back to the genocide of the American Civil War nearly 160 years ago which centralised the US State, or to that State’s imperialist war against Spain in 1898. Others might refer to the barbaric US use of Atomic bombs in 1945 (no other country has dared to use them) or to the still unexplained assassination of Kennedy in 1963 and the barbaric genocide of the Vietnamese people which followed. However, the USSR still existed both in 1945 and after 1963, still enslaving the former Russian Empire and Eastern Europe until 1989.

I think the turning point was precisely 1991. Even before the obvious imminent fall of the USSR in December that year, in summer 1990 the USA had turned its attention to Iraq and the concept of world domination. It seems to me that, spiritually, the demons that had created and then tormented and haunted the USSR for nearly 75 years, fled to Europe and America, Eurosodom and Gomorica, during this period of the early 1990s, seeing the coming fall of their Communist delusion. People had seen through the demonic idolatry of Communism, but most had not yet seen through the equally demonic idolatry of Capitalism. The demons fled there. After all, in 1993, soon after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the European Union was formed. However, it is the USA that has always clearly pulled the EU strings, which is a political and military dwarf.

Q: I know the Church is outside politics, or should be, but are there any general political trends among Church people?

A: I think most, if not all, Orthodox are socially conservative. Indeed, it was interesting to note that most Soviet Communists (Orthodox who had lost their Faith) remained in many respects social conservatives. This social conservatism is inevitable, simply because we are Christians. However, being socially conservative does not mean that we are puritans and prudes who condemn the weak for their errors. We are to have compassion for them.

On the other hand, unlike many other social conservatives, Orthodox are not secular conservatives. This is because as Christians we also have a sense of social justice. That is why Orthodox reacted badly to right-wing Fascism, which was always associated with the authoritarian bullying of Catholicism, which largely supported it. Thus, it was in Catholic Poland, including in Western Galicia in the far west Ukraine, and in Catholic Lithuania and Croatia, that the Nazis received the most enthusiastic support for their appalling slaughter of the Jews. The Orthodox did not support this, but had compassion for the ordinary Jews who were victims of the Catholics and ex-Catholic Nazis

All this is of course general and does not mean that we have to vote for any particular political party, especially when all ‘mainstream’ parties without exception, for example, appear to be in favour of such horrors as abortion.

Q: Why does the Church say about primitive man?

A: He did live in caves wearing animal skins a long time ago – that is what the Book of Genesis, and therefore the Church, says (Genesis 3, 21). As to when this was, no-one knows. As all the experts disagree, I have no idea. I think it was more probably this side of 50,000 years ago, rather than the other side, which is based on the speculations of those who found a few fossilized (monkey?) bones and dared to date them. That is unscientific.

We also know from history that ancient man was clearly not a grunting brute: that is the arrogant superiority complex of Western modernists. Pyramids, ziggurats, Stonehenge and aboriginal rock art prove the sophistication of the ancients. One thing that is certain about ancient man is that he did not have concentration camps, Atomic Bombs, cluster bombs and napalm. He was simply not primitive enough for all that.

Q: What do you think of gay conversion therapy?

A: I really don’t understand such secularist and anti-Christian language. It denotes an alien Civilisation to our Christian Civilisation of the Church.

First of all, there is no such thing as ‘conversion therapy’, there is only repentance. And repentance is always voluntary, never imposed by some institution. We do not believe in institutions. Now repentance comes from prayer, fasting, confession and communion (this presumes of course that the person in question is already a member of the Church of God, and not some pseudo-Christian Western religion). And repentance is open to all, whatever their sin.

Q: Why is fasting important?

A: Today two billion people in the world are obese or overweight: never has there been a time for fasting as now. The Scriptures and the Fathers are clear: in the last times people will eat and never be satisfied (the definition of McDonalds). Vatican II dropped fasting and obesity began (though others, including certain extremist ‘Orthodox’ modernists did not help in the 1960s). The rejection of fasting always leads to obesity (and an obsession with slimming, gyms, fitness and also sex and sport…): it is a spiritual rule. It happens in decadent monasteries too.

 

 

 

 

Covid-2019 at the end of 2020

And there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matt, 24, 7-8)

Nearly exactly 0.1 (one in a thousand) of the UK population has now died with covid-19 (in an average year the death-rate is 0.94%, nearly one in a hundred). How many real excess deaths there have been is debated, since how many would have died anyway is unknown. Notably, however, although the death-rates in the UK, the US, Italy, France and Spain are very similar, the death-rate in Germany is about one third of them. This suggests that the definition of ‘died with covid’ is totally different there. In Germany all those who are listed as ‘died with covid’ died because covid played a major role in their death rather than a minor one.

Now that there are 35,000 infections per day in the UK, even according to official statistics, it is a matter of debate, what will happen first by next July: will all have obtained immunity or will all have been vaccinated? Last summer an immunologist from a famous London hospital informed us that his guess was that a third of the population had already been infected even by then. The degeneration of the virus into a new, more contagious, but less harmful strain is a sign that the end of it is coming; it is always like that. Normality will return next year. Clearly, only the tiny minority with very low immunity has been tragically affected.

This largely means those already dying from serious illnesses, mainly the very elderly (the average age of death is 83), sometimes as the result of a poor diet and obesity, smoking, alcoholism and drug-taking, sometimes as the result of some tragic illness like cancer or diabetes, or else, fortunately very rarely, as the result of a genetically deficient immune system. These last cases are very tragic and account for 1% of the total numbers of deaths with covid and have largely occurred among those between 20 and 40 (the under 20s are basically not affected and 90% of them have no symptoms at all). This virus is ageist and the younger have suffered much less from it.

Nevertheless, there has been much tragedy and those who are vulnerable to the virus (probably 1% of the population) should take the utmost care. Others must behave responsibly, compassionately and considerately towards them. However, during the time of covid ten times more people than those who died with covid have, as every year, died of old age, illness and accidents. Some of these have died prematurely, as their treatment has been neglected by a covid-attacked health system that as a result of chronic underfunding has been in crisis for decades. Because governments have for decades refused to fund the training of healthcare staff, the NHS relies on cheap imports.

Thus the government policy of building and equipping emergency (‘Nightingale’) hospitals has been shown to be absurd – after all, there is nobody to staff them, which is why they have largely remained empty. Many have died by suicide at the prospect of no future, offered them by totally irresponsible media which have promoted despair. The suicides and frequent depression and anxiety among the non-believing population should remain on journalists’ consciences for the rest of their lives. True, however, many people switched off the media long ago and the impression is that journalists are largely talking to themselves in an incestuous feast of gloom.

Similarly, the government which has destroyed or damaged the lives of millions through its irrational lockdowns of the national economy. Clearly, as a result of government anti-democratic totalitarianism (not allowing the individual to choose how to live), irresponsibility, incompetence and sheer panic, it will take years for the country to recover. Western democracy is increasingly being seen as the myth it is. After the crass lies about Iraq and then Brexit, media and government alike are totally distrusted on covid. Few believe liars and the government and media alike have almost totally discredited themselves. The exceptions are the elderly and naïve, who still actually believe that the BBC tells the truth!!

The only real question is: will the virus bring repentance? Because if not, other pestilences will follow. This is a warning. Accept death as the only inevitable reality of human life and learn how to deal with it through faith and everything will take on a completely different perspective. Atheists find it very difficult to deal with this reality, as death is their taboo. That is why their reality is a living death, the zombified life of the undead. The taboo can only be overcome through faith, which alone brings hope. Until then Western societies will remain crippled by joyless faithlessness, cynical hopelessness and the sorrows that inevitably come to all atheist societies throughout history.

Towards a Network of Twelve Multinational Russian Orthodox Churches in the East of England

The Past

Non-Orthodox Western Europe is divided into 79 (NUTS-1) regions. Each has a population of between 3 and 7 million. Of these, nine are in England and our own region is the East of England, with a population of 6.2 million and consisting of six counties. In the east there are the large counties of Essex (1,417 square miles and 1.83 million people), Suffolk (1,466 square miles, but only 758,000 people) and Norfolk (2,074 square miles, but only 904,000 people), and in the west; the small counties of Hertfordshire (only 634 square miles, but 1.18 million people) and Bedfordshire (only 477 square miles and 670,000 people), followed by the large county of Cambridgeshire (1,309 square miles, but only 852,000 people).

A number of basically mononational, new calendar Orthodox missions exist in the East of England, some have existed for over five decades. These have largely catered for now mainly older Greeks or else, in much smaller numbers, for mainly older ex-Anglicans. Among them are for example Greek parishes in Great Yarmouth, Cambridge, Norwich and Southend and missions for ex-Anglicans in Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. There are also two new calendar Romanian missions in the region now and two old calendar Serbian missions have existed for several decades in Bedford and Letchworth.

A number of small and sometimes temporary Russian Orthodox missions have also existed. Notably, there was one which opened in the village of Walsingham in Norfolk in the 1960s and lasted for over 30 years (thanks to the pioneering work of a former Anglican, Fr David (Meyrick)). Much more recently, in order of date, there have been, or still are, small missions in Bury St Edmunds (2000-02 and 2017- ), in the village of Mettingham (founded in 2009 and with very regular services), a chapel outside Clacton (occasional services since 2010), and services in Ipswich (occasional services since 2015) and Wisbech (occasional services since 2016).

The Present

Apart from the above, from 1997 on permanent, multinational, Orthodox calendar and public-access Russian Orthodox churches have also opened. These are, together with their dedications:

1997 – Felixstowe, Suffolk – St Felix

2002 – Kings Lynn, Norfolk – The Nativity of the Mother of God (and holding in special memory the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas who visited the town in 1894).

2008 – Colchester, Essex – St John of Shanghai (also with a winter church dedicated to All the Saints of the Isles).

2015 – Norwich, Norfolk – St Alexander Nevsky.

2015 – Peterborough, Cambridgeshire – St Olga.

2021- Cambridge-Little Abington, Cambridgeshire – St Edmund (and holding in special memory the other local saint, St Audrey of Ely).

All the above are in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and three of these churches, Colchester, Norwich and Cambridge-Little Abington, have their own churches. Although the three other churches are yet to obtain their own premises for the moment, it is still time to think of working elsewhere also.

The Future

We can think of founding and dedicating churches as a priority, in:

Bedford. This could be dedicated to Sts Peter and Paul, following the dedication of its first ever church to St Paul, founded in the eighth century, situated centrally on the banks of the River Ouse. This church would look after all Orthodox in the small county of Bedfordshire.

St Albans. The dedication must be to St Alban the Protomartyr and a large church here would look after all Orthodox in the small but densely-populated county of Hertfordshire.

Romford (formerly Essex, now Essex in east London). In a working-class area of great and multinational immigration, we suggest that a large church here be dedicated to St John of Kronstadt.

Lowestoft, Suffolk. The dedication in this former fishing port could be to St Nicholas. It would look after all Orthodox on the Suffolk and east Norfolk coast.

Southend. In the largest town in Essex, with a densely-populated catchment area, and as a former fishing port, we suggest a dedication to the fisherman St Andrew.

Thetford, Norfolk. Here in the centre of this whole network of churches, we suggest a dedication to the Resurrection.

Such a list of churches, open, about to open and possibly to open, does not exclude the existence of old and new chapels and churches, both present and future, in places in addition to these centres. Obvious choices would be in the large town of Harlow in Essex, a town on the north Norfolk coast such as Wells-next-the-Sea and, albeit outside the East of England, Boston in Lincolnshire. Similarly, there should be both a monastery and a convent in the East of England, perhaps one near the Suffolk coast and one in the west on the opposite side of the region.

However, this network, with three churches in the most populous county of Essex (if we include Romford as still in Essex), three in the largest county of Norfolk, two each in the very similar counties of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, and one each in the small counties of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, would meet the needs of most Orthodox. It would bring all within a maximum 25-mile or 25-minute range of a church, the expression of our pastoral responsibility. Now we await the hand of Providence, the blessing of a bishop and the work of the people.

Towards the Worldwide Mission of the Church of God

This week’s long-awaited admission by a senior Russian Church diplomat that his astounding naivety in trusting Patriarch Bartholomew, who is in fact an untrustworthy and unprincipled US political pawn, was partly to blame for the Ukrainian Church schism, is to be welcomed. Fancy even suggesting that he thought that Patriarch Bartholomew was telling the truth! Of course, it had been obvious from the beginning, and indeed we had been warning him about precisely that for two decades. And now it is too late. The Phanariot schism is spreading worldwide. Worse still, this admission of guilt and responsibility follows the amazing (and by one person actually justified!) naivety in Moscow of blessing Bishop Ambrose (Munteanu) to attend and take part in an anti-Orthodox ecumenical jamboree on 20 October with Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew and other religious politicians in Rome. This is all extraordinary naivety. Diplomacy, yes, compromise, no. The faithful are scandalised. When will lessons be learned?

It would be good if the Church Inside Russia would listen to the experience of the Church Outside Russia. On the one hand, we get on very well with ordinary Non-Orthodox people and parish clergy, meet them and talk to them every day, are very open to them, far more so than those inside Russia, and welcome them, as we speak the same languages as they do. On the other hand, we have not the slightest illusion about the politicised powerbrokers and manipulators at the top of Western religious institutions and isms, and we refuse to compromise with them. Such has been our policy for 100 years, always sharply distinguishing between our friends, ordinary Western people, and manipulative Western religious leaders, so many of whom are pedophiles or else compromised and corrupted by politics and money. We understand that the Soviet Union was cut off from the reality of the Western world for 75 years, but the Soviet Union and both its extremes of ignorance, the liberal and pro-Western as well as the conservative and xenophobic, should have disappeared nearly 30 years ago. It is time to catch up with reality!

Let us return to the Tradition, to the time and values of the holy Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow. He wholly united us. He was not only an American citizen, a missionary, a diplomat, but also the Russian Patriarch, the uncompromising leader of the Orthodox world and founder of the Church Outside Russia 100 years ago, who was persecuted and died for the Orthodox Faith inside the Soviet Union. Let us all learn from him and leave the Soviet past where it belongs, in the past. We today must live for the future. Today Orthodox Christianity has to be preached worldwide before the end. Now that the tiny group of inward-looking Greek Orthodox nationalists, who have never had any international vision and always very little faith, have fallen into schism from World Orthodoxy, it is clear that the Russian Orthodox Church must take the lead. This is because it alone can preach the authentic and uncompromised Orthodox Christian Faith, not only in the deChristianised and anti-Christian Americas and Oceania, but also throughout Eurasia, including in Western Europe, as well as in Africa.

We look forward to the future, when the Russian Church will establish Exarchates in all the continents and subcontinents, where they do not yet exist, to bring the faithful among the nations into the authentic Christian Church, of which most of them have never even heard. Let us not waste any more time and begin now. This is the work of Love.

On Fake Orthodoxy

At last a Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church Is in agreement, word for word, with what so many of us have been saying for decades!

   A CHEAP IMITATION OF WORLD ORTHODOXY IS BEING BUILT BEFORE OUR EYES

Recent events in Cyprus bear witness to a fact that is unfortunately no longer in doubt: Pan-Orthodox unity no longer exists. Moreover, the Orthodox world is facing a new and very dangerous schism. Its basis is the thirst for individual power, and its main tool is the willingness to ignore the canons, the truth, and the conscience in the process of achieving this goal.

A defective and malicious copy of world Orthodoxy is now being built before our eyes. In this parallel system, such aspects as the perversion of the canons, the legalization of schismatics, concelebration with people who have no valid ordination, and the trampling of the conciliar format of Church governance are considered natural and normal.

That is, everything that until only recently seemed unthinkable and impossible.

But behind this reality, new landmarks are already looming. We are talking about the further erosion of Orthodox ecclesiology, open concelebration with representatives of other confessions, agreement with the imposition of LGBT culture, and so on.

Do the leaders who are guiding their Churches into this cheap imitation of world Orthodoxy understand that it will be simply impossible to avoid further decline? After all, if you’re already jumping into the abyss, you certainly won’t be able to stop on the way down.

Do the leaders of these Churches understand that taking part in big geopolitical and political games has its price? For example, will they be able to refuse certain external forces if they demand that they guarantee Church support for the promotion of LGBT interests? Will they have enough courage to say “no?” I doubt it very much, given how some primates have already caved on the question of recognizing the schism.

Therefore, we must speak of the crisis taking place in world Orthodoxy not as some kind of confrontation between the “Greek” and “Slavic” worlds, or as a battle for ecclesiastical administrative boundaries.

Everything is much more complicated and more acute. In fact, a great schism is taking place, which is dragging more and more Local Churches into the funnel of this system that runs parallel to the real Orthodox world.

That is why the essence of the current crisis can be reduced to the struggle of those who want to create their own comfortable version of Orthodoxy that corresponds to their own interests with those who want to remain faithful to Orthodoxy.

This should be understood by every cleric and every believer in any Orthodox Church, and on the basis of this understanding they must make their choice—to remain among those faithful to God or to compromise with their conscience and become a member of the imitation of Orthodoxy.

Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) of Boryspol and Brovary
Translation by Jesse Dominick

Vesti.ua

12/1/2020

Spirituality or Moralism?

I spoke recently to a Romanian parishioner who had lived for a very long time in the Middle East and married a charming man, originally a Muslim. Taking him to a certain Romanian elder, who is still alive, she expected whom she supposed to be a very conservative elder to condemn her for marrying a Muslim and berate the Muslim for being such. Instead the elder came out and warmly embraced the Muslim and treated him as a brother. It was not long before the Muslim had joined the Orthodox Church. The story illustrates the old saying that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

The point is that the Spiritual is not conservatism. The Spiritual is the Tradition, the ever-renewed Inspiration of the Holy Spirit over the millennia, which is quite different from conservatism. Indeed, it is precisely in the absence of the Spiritual that conservatism, with its killing moralism and dead ritualism, takes over. Moralism is a sign of the end of the living, not of life. Both modernists and conservatives (‘traditionalists’) are moralists, because neither has the Spiritual, both lack Love, the very thing that they both claim in their self-delusion to have.

We saw it in the time of Christ with the Pharisees with their censorious judgementalism. We saw it with the Calvinistic Puritans, so intolerant that they could find nowhere to live in Europe and so had to go to America, where they slaughtered the native people and hunted innocent women to death as witches. We saw it with the Jesuits who preached hatred in the Name of God. We saw it with the Zoe and Sotir brotherhoods in Greece, who turned so many against the Church. We saw it with psychopaths and fanatics who tried to turn the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia into a mean and nasty sect. None of them knew that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Moralists always exploit the naïve and weak, manipulating them and making them feel guilty for not being ‘conservative’ enough. They lecture and berate others, who have experience of the inner life. This is all because the moralists themselves have no inner life. And because they have no inner life, they pre-judge and condemn all others. And they pre-judge and condemn because they have no compassion and love for human weakness, only hardness of heart which destroys both themselves and others. Moralism is spiritual death; only the Spiritual gives Life, for only the Holy Spirit is the Giver of Life.

Who Betrayed the Europeans?

Who Betrayed the Europeans?

By the geographical centre of Europe, at Dilove in the Carpatho-Russian hills, an Orthodox shepherd, clad in his embroidered Hutsul sheepskin, plays his mountain pipe and sings of all the sorrows and of all the joys of the Europeans.

 

Far to the north-west, in the wild Hebrides, where the Atlantic wind comes blowing over the sunshone and deserted shell-white strand, bagpipes play out the tunes of the old piety for Mary and her servants Brigid and Columba, whose servants in turn brought the Word of God here nearly twenty thousand moons ago.

Far to the south-east, on the dry hills of eastern Cyprus, looking across the azure sea towards the centre of the world in Jerusalem, just over the horizon, a choir sings the folk songs about Christ, whom the old ones on the island loved and revered before the times changed.

On the cliffs of Cabo da Roca, not far from Lisbon, the most westerly point of the Eurasian landmass, by the old lighthouse, where twenty-five years ago I stood with Archbishop Seraphim and our Russian parishioners sang to him Many Years, they pray for the Europe which lost its soul and still seeks it.

Far to the north-east, in Romanov na Murmane, for now still miscalled Murmansk, by the Arctic shores of the White Sea, where St Tryphon of Kola converted the Lapps, a balalaika lament and a triumphal hymn can be heard for all the churches that the enemy of mankind began to burn and for all the saints that the enemy of mankind began to make, these one hundred years ago.

 

In the Ural foothills on the border of Asia and Europe, just outside Ekaterinburg, which became the spiritual capital of martyric Europe on that fateful night of 4/17 July 1918, a choir sings in praise of the Great Martyrs, a Russian-Dane and an Englishwoman from Hesse and all their beautiful children and faithful servants, who showed Europeans the path of repentance they must take for the salvation of their souls. Let him who has ears, hear.

Who betrayed the Europeans?

Popes, Luthers, Napoleons, Marxes, Kaisers, Hitlers and all who were deluded by the promises of the evil one and went and followed them over this thousand years. They preferred the spiritually ugly to the spiritually beautiful. That is why all of them are called apostates.

 

How the Orthodox Church Was Restructured

From the Introduction to the Online Encyclopedia of the Orthodox Church, 1 December 2045

Introduction: From Moscow to Jakarta

The potential beginning of the solution to the century-old canonical problem of the Orthodox Diaspora first glimmered in the Year 2000. After the repentance for its politically-enforced paralysis expressed at its Jubilee Council in Moscow in August 2000, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) was reconciled to the Synod of ROCOR (the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) in 2007. Both sides had dropped nonsensical Cold War political claims and lost the often naïve extremists who had actually believed in those claims. Following their liberation from politics, new horizons for the unity of the whole Church were gradually opening up.

Thus, the first little-noticed step towards structural canonical unity at last came twelve years later. Then, in November 2019 the ROCOR Synod gave up its parishes in Eurasian Indonesia to the new South-East Asian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, as the ROCOR Synod was no longer able to care for them. However, the very next month phyletist Constantinople and Alexandria fell into schism and in 2020 other Greek nationalist organisations in Greece and Cyprus fell in the same way. This happened during the chastisement of all the Local Churches by the Covid pandemic. All had now become possible. In just one generation, between 2020 and 2045, long anachronistic Church structures were to be wiped away, like a house of cards collapsing.

Africa and the AOC: 2025

After the phyletist Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria had fallen into schism in 2019 under pressure from the US-manipulated Greek Foreign Ministry, pleas from the African faithful eventually forced the pastoral conscience of the ROC to set up an African Exarchate. This was done in 2022. At last freed of Greek nationalist control from Alexandria, a Patriarchate which a century before, already absurdly enough, had claimed the territory of Egypt, let alone all Africa, at last African Orthodox set out on their path of destiny to their own Continental Church. For the ROC at once set about consecrating twenty African bishops for the Exarchate.

Finally, in 2025 the autocephalous African Orthodox Church (AOC) was at last born. Only the historic title ‘of Alexandria’ was retained by the new black Metropolitan Nectarios in Nairobi. He was enthroned 105 years after the repose of the great and much slandered frustrated Alexandrian missionary St Nectarios of Pentapolis. The old schismatic and now bankrupt Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria finally died out altogether in 2029, ten years after its fall into schism. At last the black African people and clergy now had their own black African Metropolitan and Synod of bishops of All Africa. Since then promising talks have been taking place between it and the Miaphysite Coptic, Ethiopian and Eritrean National Churches.

Western Europe and the EOC: 2028

In 2025 ROCOR parishes in Western Europe, at the other end of Eurasia from Indonesia (see above), became part of the by then decentralised and internationalised Western European Exarchate, originally set up by the ROC in 2018. They were soon after joined by hundreds of parishes from other Local Churches. Together they formed a large and multinational Exarchate and in 2028, exactly ten years after the Exarchate had been born, the new European Orthodox Church (EOC) was born, its first Metropolitan, John of Paris and Western Europe.

Oceania and the OOC: 2031

In 2028 the ROC set up an Exarchate for Oceania. Three years later, in 2031, ROCOR and other parishes in Australia and New Zealand, as well as those on Pacific islands, formed the Oceanic Orthodox Church (OOC). Its first Metropolitan was Thomas of Sydney and All Oceania.

Latin America and the LAOC: 2034

In 2031 the ROC set up an Exarchate for Latin America. At last, in 2034, much neglected Latin America also came to have its own Latin American Orthodox Church (called IOAL in both Spanish and Portuguese). Centred in Rio de Janeiro, its first Metropolitan was called James.

North America and the NAOC: 2037

In 2034 ROCOR and ‘OCA’ parishes in North America joined to form a new autonomous North American Orthodox Exarchate under the ROC. ROCOR had made up with the OCA, both Cold War structures, but only once the OCA had rid itself of its Schmemannite Protestant modernists. (They had left for the then still existing, but ultra-modernist and much diminished schismatic Greek-Protestant Archdiocese – much to everyone’s relief). Only with such mutual maturity, at last freed of Cold War politics, was this unity possible.

This unity was sealed by hundreds of parishes of other Local Churches which joined the united Exarchate. They had also abandoned both the backwards-looking petty nationalism of the immigrant ghetto, so much exploited by impoverished Mother-Churches, and the new calendar inferiority complex imitation by Orthodox immigrants of American Protestantism. In 2037 all the Orthodox-believing elements in North America in this Exarchate became part of the new North American Orthodox Church (NAOC). Centred in Washington, its first Metropolitan was called George.

Conclusion: The Ten Local Churches

Thus, in a matter of only twelve years, both the tens of millions of Orthodox of Africa and the tens of millions of Orthodox of the New World Diasporas found themselves belonging to five new Local Churches. It was not long before the twelve other Local Churches in Eurasia, chastised by Covid, regrouped themselves canonically into five Patriarchates. Thus, the old anachronisms and nationalisms disappeared before the worldwide mission God had called on the Church to undertake.

In 2037 in the Balkans a new multinational Church was formed. Calling itself the Patriarchate of Constantinople (the Greek nationalist version of which had died out in Istanbul in 2034), it was centred in Bucharest. It included six former Local Churches, those of Romania, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Albania and their canonical territories. In 2039 the Patriarchate of Antioch helped organise large-scale missions to Turkey and the Arab World, its headquarters at last moving back to Antakya in Turkey, the real Antioch. In 2041 the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, at last freed from Greek colonial status and with a new multinational episcopate became the international centre for Orthodox pilgrims to the Holy Land.

In 2043 the now decentralised Patriarchate of New Jerusalem and All Rus (formerly ‘of Moscow’) was joined by the former Churches of Poland and Czechoslovakia, which became Exarchates, like that in Belarus. At the same time the Patriarchate also granted autonomy to its missions in South-East Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, making altogether four Autonomous Churches in its jurisdiction (Japan, China, South-East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent). As for the once small Patriarchate of Georgia, in 2045 it took responsibility for the great mission to Iran. The Orthodox Church had remoulded itself as a family and confederation of Ten Local Churches, five Patriarchates and five Metropolias, covering the whole world, and looking forward to the birth of four more Autocephalous Metropolitan Churches from the Autonomous Churches in due course.

1 December 2045