How Will the Church in the Diaspora Survive Covid?

Introduction: The Orthodox Diaspora

Although the Orthodox Diaspora in Western Europe, the Americas and Australia has existed for well over a century, it represented little more than embassy churches until 1917. Then, after the overthrow of the Russian Empire by Westernised aristocratic atheists and then Westernised middle-class atheists, it grew enormously. Without the Russian Empire to protect them, there followed the political and economic collapse of Greece, Cyprus, Orthodox communities under the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem and more immigration, especially after 1945.

More recently the Diaspora greatly expanded after the fall of  the post-1945 Stalinist Empire all over Eastern Europe and, in 1991, the Soviet Union. This collapse has especially affected now EU countries, with Orthodox populations, like Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltics. But what spiritual, and therefore real, identity and significance does the Diaspora have? Does it have any long-term future or will it inevitably disappear into the Western atheist melting-pot of assimilation? What identity can the Orthodox Diaspora have in a spiritually alien and hostile environment?

Two Negative Identities

On the one hand, some look on the Diaspora as merely nationalistic entities. They see it as a mere conduit for cultural nostalgia for a distant and long-abandoned ‘old country’, for flag-waving. But those who hold processions headed by flags, and not by the Cross, are doomed to die out. It comes as no surprise that, generally, the more nationalistic the community, the more its churches closed during covid. After all, one can wave flags at home; why take risks by going to church? Only those who live by faith do not fear death and take communion. The rest, who live by nationalism, disappeared ‘for fear of the Jews’. Moreover, many of them may never return.

On the other hand, some look on the Diaspora as a set of groups which will be assimilated – inevitably. Diaspora-born children and succeeding generations lose their parents’ language and culture; what possible interest can they have in the cultures of countries which they do not know and whose languages they can barely speak? Either the children and grandchildren have adopted another language and another flag, or else they are indifferent to any language except the one they use at school and to all flags. Covid will hardly bring them back to church. If they have been given no spiritual identity, they assimilate.

Conclusion: A Positive Identity

The Church in the Diaspora can only survive, especially after covid, if it is a Local Church. This means a Church which brings together all the Orthodox of whatever nationality and language in the local area and gives them the Orthodox Christian spiritual  and therefore cultural – not nationalistic – identity. Moreover, such ‘local’ Orthodox can only be brought together on the basis of real Faith, on the basis of uncompromised Orthodoxy, and not on the basis of the lowest common denominators of a hotchpotch of folklore. That only produces the escapism of fakery, the irrelevant fairy-tale pretence of being something you are not.

If any jurisdiction is to survive in the post-covid Diaspora (and many are already dying out or have died out), it will be the one which by origin is multinational and also uses the local language – though not exclusively. Such a jurisdiction will give a spiritual identity to its people as the exclusive bearers of local and universal real Christianity, not of folklore or a foreign language – though many may speak one – but of the unique Christian Civilisation, of the unique Christian values which only Orthodox who go to Church hold and live by. Our Orthodox Christianity is a way of life, not an exotic hobby.

 

 

 

Sad News from Mount Athos

I have to say that, very sadly, the below confirms my impressions of my October pilgrimage to Mt Athos.

Fr Andrew

Elder Gabriel, disciple of St. Paisos: Mount Athos needs to wake up, Stop Obeying Anti-Orthodox Agendas

Mt. Athos, October 13, 2020

Holy Mount Athos, the cradle of Orthodoxy that has produced countless ascetic saints, is changing in many ways today, leading away from holy Orthodoxy as it more and more obeys anti-Orthodox orders from outside, believes Elder Gabriel of the Kelli of St. Christodoulos of Koutloumousiou Monastery.

Fr. Gabriel was a disciple of the great St. Paisios the Athonite and is himself one of the most revered elders on the Holy Mountain today. As is characteristic of holy elders, he does not shy away from speaking hard truths when he believes the occasion demands it.

Among the specific issues the Elder mentions in a new letter to the Sacred Community, the administrative body of Mt. Athos comprised of one representative of each of the 20 ruling monasteries, is the fact that several Athonite monasteries have willingly accepted and concelebrated with the Ukrainian schismatics, who are not being saved, he writes.

Elder Gabriel’s letter was published by the Greek outlet Pentapostgamma.

“It is both sad and heartbreaking to realize that the modern Mt. Athos is changing in many ways, from a cradle of Orthodoxy and civilization, from a workshop that produced great ascetics and sacred monastics, martyrs, and confessors of our Orthodox faith, heading towards secularization, the syncretism of ecumenism, and ruthless persecution of the traditional monasteries that resist those who push them off the rails on a slippery slope,” the Elder writes.

 

In his view, the Holy Mountain has become “almost alien and unrecognizable” today, “consenting and obedient to other people’s worldly, always anti-Orthodox, orders,” that seeks to sow discord on the Mountain, and to encourage cruel attitudes towards the monks who “resist the appearance of new and very worldly ideas and models of behavior that are now clearly striving to change the Orthodox faith and the Holy Tradition of our Church.”

And Mt. Athos does not simply remain silent in the face of such ideas, but “favors and promotes” them, “and if we do not recover from this spiritual lethargy, the cost will be the final loss of our salvation,” the disciple of St. Paisios warns.

The Elder stresses that his warnings and admonitions apply mainly to the administrative bodies—the Sacred Community and the Holy Epistasia (consisting of the representatives of a rotating group of 4 of the 20 monasteries), while the monasteries and monks who oppose the secularization of the Mountain are pressured, threatened, and persecuted. This is due mainly to the fact that over the past few decades, the monasteries have accepted a new generation of monks who have no connection to the old fathers and do not know their teachings.

Elder Gabriel connects the present situation to the Council of Crete in 2016, when “Truth was overthrown by man” and heretics were no longer called heretics, “because it was in the interests of all the international, non-Church circles of the New World Order” that Orthodoxy profess only that it holds part of the truth.

We therefore cannot “prevent the reasoning that we may finally discover this divided and relevant ‘truth’ at some point completed in the person of the Antichrist!” the Elder warns.

In 2016, he headed a group of fathers who called on the Sacred Community to reject the Crete Council.

It is especially grievous that Archimandrite Tikhon of the Athonite Stavronikita Monastery was present at the Council, giving the impression that its decisions were acceptable to Athonites, he continues. The Sacred Community also adopted a statement pre-prepared by Archimandrite Vasileios, the former abbot of both Stavronikita and Iveron Monasteries, that proclaimed that there is no need to be concerned about the Council of Crete.

Thus, the Holy Mountain, once seen as the guardian of the Orthodox faith, “is now being dragged along the slippery path of globalization,” the Athonite elder believes.

The Council of Crete was evil, Elder Gabriel believes, and had grave consequences, in particular, the granting of “autocephaly” to self-consecrated schismatics and heretics in Ukraine, and the prayerful communion and concelebration with them by individual Athonite hieromonks and abbots. In particular, he names the abbots of the Xenophontos, Pantocrator, New Esphigmenou, Simenopetra, and Vatopedi Monasteries.

“I mention the abbots in question because … their personal choices have consequences for the salvation of those under their authority!” Elder Gabriel clarifies.

Last year, Elder Gabriel was among the 12 Athonite elders who addressed the Sacred Community in defense of the canonical Ukrainian Church, decrying Patriarch Bartholomew’s lack of respect for the canons. He spoke about the situation with the schismatics again in an interview earlier this year. The respected Elder said he believes that natural disasters that struck the Holy Mountain earlier in the year were Divine punishment for the monasteries that have served and prayed with the schismatics.

In his new letter, the Elder also points to cases of anti-canonical prayer, when the abbot of Dionysiou served a memorial in a Muslim cemetery in Trebizon in October 2018, and when the abbot of Xenophontos served with Catholics in November of last year.
The Holy Mountain “has been under intense pressure in recent years from local, but mostly foreign statesmen and international ecumenical centers to change its Orthodox identity.”

In conclusion, he emphasizes that those who strive for the purity of Orthodoxy out of love for the Lord bear persecutions and accusations as a cross, while the schismatics will go to hell. An Athonite monk “must first of all be a confessor of the faith and its custodian, when alterations and conscious deconstruction is taking place.”

“The schismatics of Ukraine will not be saved; they will go to hell. The monasteries (Athonite or not) that accept them, cooperate with them, pray with them, and commune with them, will also not be saved and will also go to hell,” the beloved Elder sums up.

From Recent Correspondence (September 2020)

Q: Very recently you returned to Mt Athos for the first time in many years. What changes have you noticed since you last went?

A: I went to Athos twice in 1979 and spent time there. Now again I have been there. There have been enormous changes.

I think it was better before because it was poor then and there were virtually no roads, no vehicles, no electricity, no telephones and of course no internet. Today there is all this. There are roads everywhere, new road-building is very noisy and disturbs both the holy silence and unspoilt nature, and there must be some 1,000 vehicles on the mountain now. All of this has been done with EU money. Each monastery, much refurnished and repainted, now has a shop and, ominously, a museum (always a sign of the end, because it shows that it is dead, not living). It is clear that the Greek government, whose flag flies everywhere on the mountain, even on monasteries (you will not find a single Russian flag at St Panteleimon’s) is preparing to open the mountain up to mass tourism some time in the future. Greek nationalism and money are killing the mountain. Instead of being a multinational Orthodox centre, it is slowly becoming a department of the atheistic Greek State.

Q: Is it likely that one day there will be new monasteries on Mt Athos for, say, English, French, German, Italian etc monks?

A: As long as Greek nationalism rules on Mt Athos, that is unthinkable. Out of some 2,000 monks today, 1800 are Greek. It is forbidden by the nationalists to have more than 20 monasteries, which is why the Romanians, say, only have a skete, though with more monks than a couple of the smaller Greek monasteries, why the Georgians lost Iviron to the Greeks and the Russians lost the huge so-called sketes of the Prophet Elijah and St Andrew to the Greeks. Then, there is also the fact that anyone who becomes a monk on Mt Athos must become a Greek citizen! For the moment Mt Athos is a fragment, albeit with some holy people, of the Second Rome, it still has to enter post-1453 reality.

Although I have met, seen or heard of two English monks, two French monks, two Finnish monks and two black African monks on Mt Athos, two is hardly enough to open a monastery. In any case, what we first need to do is to have authentic monasteries in Western countries, using the native language. So far this exists only in France and the USA. The number of vocations is tiny at present.

Q: Should people not leave the Patriarchate of Constantinople because their Patriarch acts heretically?

A: I think it is far more likely that the very elderly Patriarch Bartholomew will soon die. So he will be leaving, not his three million-strong flock.

Q: Recently the Greek Archbishop of America, Elpidiforos, stated to Roman Catholics that the unity of Orthodox and Roman Catholics is not a question of if, but when. What do you answer?

A: He was talking only about himself. His Uniatism is already well-known. In his personal case it is indeed just a matter of when and not if.

Q: Is the Russian Church the centre of the Orthodox world?

A: Like it or not, Russia is the centre of Orthodox Civilisation, even secular historians like Toynbee and Huntington recognised it. How blindly nationalistic do you have to be not to see this? On the other hand, the Russian Church must behave responsibly. It has often failed to do, treating Non-Russians as second-class citizens. Leadership simply because you are nearly ten times bigger than any other Local Church is not automatic, you have to earn leadership and deserve it. As I said – like it or not. The Russian Church still has to overcome suicidal Soviet tendencies and become the Third Rome again. The dead hand of the Soviet Union with its bureaucracy and centralisation is still too close.

Q: Is it true that the Russian Orthodox Church is heretical because it blesses icons and even crosses with holy water?

A: This is an old chestnut that comes up every decade, usually written by a crazy literalist convert or a polemical Greek, together with the accusation that the Russian Church is heretical because we bless icons and crosses!

Of course, it is not heretical. But of course it is not strictly necessary to bless icons and crosses, we do it out of piety. We do all sorts of things that are not strictly necessary – for example drinking a little wine after communion in the Russian Church, blessing kolyva at memorials, especially in the Greek Church, and kneeling on Sundays, especially in the Romanian Church. Such an accusation of heresy because of piety is all on the same level as the ‘no kneeling on Sundays’ convert pride syndrome. We are not supposed to do it, but we do it for piety’s sake. Let the semi-intellectuals, aggressive fault-finders and proud self-justifiers fall silent, also for piety’s sake!

Q: What is needed for unity in the Diaspora?

A: Trust in one bishop by members of every jurisdiction. At present the bishops of most jurisdictions are not even trusted by their own members, let alone by members of other jurisdictions. Trust will bring the leadership and authority essential for unity. A bishop who is subject to some nationalistic group, financial interest or political party earns no trust. Ultimately trust means holiness.

Q: A certain priest recently told me that anyone who chooses to belong to ROCOR is nuts. What would you answer?

A: The priest in question has clearly met such a person who is nuts. However, he has made the mistake of generalising. It is as if I said that you must not join, for example, the Patriarchate of Antioch because all its priests are heretics, when in fact only one is. It would be just as silly.

Q: What are the origins of the Greek priest’s chimney pot hat, the Greek monk’s headware and the Russian skufia?

A: The Balkan chimney pot hat for priests is simply the old Turkish top hat but black, the low cylindrical hat worn by Balkan monks is simply the Turkish fez but black, and the Russian skoufia is simply to keep you warm in the Russian winter.

Q: Where does the Roman Catholic anti-woman spirit come from?

A: It comes right from the beginning, in the second half of the 11th century, when the German Popes forbade married priests. Married men are not anti-woman; bachelors often are. This same innovation introduced institutional clericalism and also, incidentally, led to the disappearance of monks who were not priests and also of deacons; everyone had to be a priest – ‘a mini-pope’.

 

 

 

Covid 19 – The Avoidable Economic Disaster

Covid 19 continues to spread rapidly throughout the world, just as every new virus inevitably does.

The ideal situation would be 100% infection and 0% deaths. Today, unlike in April and May, there are thousands of cases of infection every day (and those are only the officially registered ones) and relatively few (although, tragically, still dozens of) deaths. Some health professionals reckon that between one third and one half of the UK population has already had the infection. This would explain the large number of cases but relatively few deaths.

For most, especially those under 40, there are no symptoms or else they experience it as a mild cold. In general, 90% of students who catch it do not even realise that they have it. However, those who are very frail because of extreme old age (the average of death is 83), or have chronic diseases, or are drug addicts, alcoholics, heavy smokers or are obese, suffer, and, sdaly, many of them die.

Those aged over 90 who are actually infected still have an 85% recovery rate. Most of the highly vulnerable have already tragically passed on – hence perhaps the low death rate today despite the high infection rate. Every day far more people die from other illnesses, including ordinary flu, cancer, heart attacks, road accidents, suicides (from depression brought on by government lockdown – in fact, a lock-up) than from covid.

Panicky governments worldwide have been putting off the inevitable spread of covid by imprisoning the naïve in the population and bankrupting their economies under pressure from the scaremongering and hysterical atheist media. Their reaction is in fact a spiritual problem. It has come about because those in government fear death, instead of fearing God. Through their scare-mongering, non-Christians and, more often, anti-Christians, in the media and in governments have created the real pandemic, the pandemic of depression, unemployment and bankruptcy. For generations this grave error will have to be paid for.

 

 

The Inevitable Struggle for the Inevitable Local Church

Foreword

The formation of new Local Orthodox Churches is inevitable, indeed it began long ago. One day there will be four new Local Churches in the world – for Western Europe, North America, South America and Oceania. This is not a prophecy, it is obvious and has been obvious to me for 45 years. When will they appear? This is a spiritual problem, all we know is that the struggle for them is inevitable. Not, I think, in my lifetime, perhaps not even in my children’s lifetimes, but perhaps in the lifetimes of my grandchildren. The formation of a new Local Church in Western Europe is what I have devoted my life to. I hope that, like many others, I will have contributed something positive, however modest, to its foundations.

Introduction

The bane of the Church is any attachment to the world and one of the strongest forms of attachment is nationalism. For example, the Jews could not accept Christ because of their attachment to Jewish nationalism as ‘the chosen people’. Then the Copts and the Armenians broke away from the Church because of nationalism, Western Europe broke away because of Western nationalism, inventing self-justifying ‘Roman’ Catholicism, and the future Protestants broke away from them because of Germanic nationalism. The most flagrant form of this nationalism was perhaps ‘the Church of England’, created by a murderous and power-grasping King.

In much more recent times the unity of the Church has been put under great pressure by flag-waving Greek nationalism, called phyletism, although we still await the repentance of the Phanariot episcopate. Nationalism is by definition worldliness and is therefore anti-missionary. God only speaks the language of the nationalists, be it Hebrew, Latin, Greek or other, and as every Victorian Englishman knew, ‘God is an Englishman’. Nationalist groups inevitably die out, as they are assimilated. Instead of obeying the last two verses of the Gospel of Matthew, they refuse to go out and baptise the world, rather trying to steal the flocks of others, as in today’s Ukraine.

Imperialism

The above is a list of examples of what might be called ‘uncanonical nationalism’, for its extremism always leads to schisms and heresies, that is, it leads to being outside the Church. This we can see with the case of the contemporary Patriarchate of Constantinople, whose schism has taken 100 years to prepare. However, there is also nationalism inside the Church, that is, it is ‘canonical’. Though obviously, by definition, more moderate than the extremist form outside the communion of the Church, it is basically imperialist. Its sign is national exclusivism, it will accept others only if they ‘become Greeks’ or ‘become Russians’, for instance.

This imperialism is marked by the imposition of a single language and a single culture, centralisation and bureaucracy. This is inevitably part of a controlling tyranny, of the bullying and intimidation of both clergy and people at the grassroots. By creating fear and injustice, it hopes to obtain the property and wealth of the people, their church buildings. By mistreating the clergy, this imperialist centralism discourages the missionary impulse, often persecuting any missionary initiative in the name of control and ‘protocols’. Such a mentality is death to the soul and death to the spiritual life of the Church: imperialism is always spiritual death.

Localism

Imperialism is also by definition an attachment to the world, nationalism, but the other extreme of this nationalism is what may be called ‘Localism’. This is the reaction to centralisation, the splitting movement of disunity in the name of some small country, often an artificial one, which has led over the last 200 years to the formation of a whole series of small, ‘Autocephalous’ Local Churches. The most recent example was that which was formed fifty years ago in North America , with the formation of the tiny ‘OCA’, the Orthodox Church in America, a group which in reality united fewer than 10% of Orthodox in North America, perhaps as few as 5%.

The brainchild and scheme of the very practical and frustrated activist Fr Alexander Schmemann, who had taken power from the academic theoretician Fr George Florovsky, the ideologists of the OCA tried to impose US culture, regardless of its lack of spiritual content, on all. Founded not on Orthodox Christianity, this mentality tried to impose the lowest common denominator of local culture – new calendarism, modernism, anti-monasticism, anti-asceticism and anti-spiritual moralism, at best a watered-down rationalistic intellectualism. However, Christ’s Church is founded not on some local human culture, but on His Universal Gospel made incarnate.

Conclusion

For nearly fifty years now we have battled for authentic Orthodoxy, but specifically in the local language (and not in foreign versions of that language!) and for the honouring of local saints, where they exist, and for local traditions which are not opposed to the Church. We cannot ignore the local language, geography and history, we must consult and not ignore experience. All else is arrogance. What we have observed in the last half-century is that every nationalist formation, whether of imperialist or localist nationalism, has died out. Thus, both Greek and Russian Churches have died out here, as has also the attempt to create an Anglican Orthodoxy.

This 21st century will not bring a nationalistic Neo-Anglican ‘British Orthodox Church’, as they wanted. However, it may bring an Autocephalous Western European Orthodox Church, led by His Beatitude Metropolitan N. in Paris. As regards the four peoples and nations of these ‘Islands of the North Atlantic’ (IONA), it would find itself an autonomous part of such a Metropolia. It could have four archbishops, one for England, one for a reunited Ireland, one for Scotland and one for Wales, possibly with vicar bishops. However, realistically, this can only happen under the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church, which alone founds new Churches. May God’s will be done.

 

From Correspondence – July-August 2020

Modernism

Q: There are those who assert that we can catch covid from communion? Is this your view?

A: Most certainly not. I would say that such a view is actually a modernist heresy, a form of Arianism, because it asserts that Christ is not Divine, but only a human being. We can be contaminated by other human-beings or things that they have touched, but not by holiness. Indeed, we never hear in the Gospels that at any point Christ was ill or made anyone ill. Our God is an all-consuming fire, as the Apostle Paul wrote. He burns away all sins, including illnesses and viruses. We have not had a single case of covid in our church, but have about 200 communions every single Sunday. If this were true, then all priests and deacons, who consume the remaining gifts at the end of the Liturgy, would long ago have died. St John of Shanghai gave communion to someone with rabies – he caught nothing.

Q: Why is there still a fascination among some inside Russia with the ideas of Fr Alexander Schmemann and others of his school?

A: Russia never went through the 60s and 70s of the last century and some there are still going through it now, rather late in the day. Hence the fascination with what for us here is old hat Paris School philosophy and the fascination with such old-fashioned modernism among semi-intellectuals, who have little or no experience of monastic or ascetic or family life. Here we have the attitude towards it of ‘been there, done that’. We quickly got over it, we are not stuck in the 1960s and 1970s, we are in a post-modernist age here. Those in Russia who have any spiritual sensitivity will also get over this crazy fashion and quickly. Many already have. The Kochetkov school of modernism is now dying out as the old-fashioned aberration it is.

Pastoral Matters

Q: I have read that there are some in the Church of Greece who consider that everyone in the Russian Church is in a state of phyletism, as they have refused to obey Constantinople. Do you think this is true?

A: This attitude comes from the nationalistic phyletists in the Greek Church. Jealous of the greater numbers in the Russian Church, which has given the Greek Church an inferiority complex, they are trying to justify their own racism. When they accuse others of phyletism, they are in fact talking about themselves. If they believed in their own words, they should start by themselves joining the Patriarchate of Constantinople, instead of maintaining their nationalist independence. We must obey Christ, not the US State Department. Tell that to the Phanar.

Q: Is the Church a source of sorrow or of joy?

A: It is both, but never a source of depression and mournfulness. Thus, repentance for the Crucifixion – the reason why monastics dress in black, is a source of sorrow, but the Resurrection is a source of joy.

Q: Why do many bishops fall ill and why do many die relatively young?

A: There are those who are frightened to die, who are cowardly, not brave, and who persecute the Church, but God is not mocked.

Q: How can you be a Christian but not support pacifism, I mean, support armies etc instead of pacifism? Russia has a strong military history – how can you justify that?

A: The key to this is whether your armed forces are used to defend or to offend. For example, if you saw children being attacked and murdered, surely you would defend them? On the other hand to go and invade someone else’s country, perhaps overseas, to occupy it and exploit it, stealing its oil, gas, diamonds and gold ‘in your national interest’, for example, is not defence, but offence. It is our duty to defend others, not to offend others.

As for Russian military history, it was spent defending, unlike the far stronger and much more aggressive military history of Western countries which was spent offending. Remember that Russia saved Western Europe from itself twice, defending itself and others against the atheist Western dictator Napoleon and, 130 years later, defending itself and others against the atheist Western dictator Hitler. Both of them had aggressively invaded Russia, having already invaded and occupied most of Western and Eastern Europe. And on both occasions Russian forces saved Britain, which was too weak to defend itself alone.

Western History

Q: Is it true that Gothic Architecture is Muslim in origin, as has recently been stated?

A: Yes, but this fact has been well established for at least a century, notably the arched Gothic window and the flying buttress come from Islamic architecture. They were stolen by the crusaders from Muslim architecture in Spain and the Holy Land. There is nothing new here, this has been known for a very long time.

Q: Did the first organ to be used in a Western church come from Constantinople?

A: Yes. In 757 the Emperor Constantine V sent an organ as a gift to the Germanic kinglet Pepin the Short to use for his amusement and for State ceremonies, as they already did at the Imperial court. Foolishly, in 812 Pepin’s son Karl, called Charlemagne, began using a second such organ inside a church! In the tenth century there were at least two organs in England, one in Winchester Cathedral. This too was used for State ceremonies. It was only in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that organs became the norm in Catholic and Protestant churches.

Q: Why do the German Protestant and Roman Catholic historians claim that the Greek Fathers were Platonists?

A: Because they are talking about themselves. Writers like Harnack were rationalists, Aristotelians. Therefore, for them anyone with any sort of spiritual sense was automatically a Platonist.

Q: Why are Protestants usually fundamentalist Creationists and Roman Catholics usually scientific Evolutionists? And what is the Orthodox viewpoint?

A: A lot of Protestants are literalists and have little spiritual understanding, for example, the fact that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit and that the revelation of the Holy Spirit did not stop after inspiring the Scriptures and its outpouring is continuous, is alien to most of them. On the other hand, modern science was born from the Roman Catholic rationalism of the Middle Ages (e.g. Roger Bacon) and the scientism of, say, the Jesuits, comes directly from this.

The Orthodox view is one of spiritual interpretation and understanding, neither unspiritual literalism, nor secular scientism, knowing that the Bible is merely a part of the revelation of the Holy Spirit. We worship the Holy Spirit, not the Bible, the Creator, not creation. We are neither Bible-worshippers, nor are we Pope-worshippers, we are worshippers of the Holy Trinity. That is mystical.

Q: You assert that we are faced with only two choices, Christianity (for you = Orthodoxy) and Secularism (for you = the Modern West). But surely it is not so black and white?

A: I never said it was so black and white, even if that simple choice is what it boils down to. It is true that the Modern West still has cultural fragments (sometimes important) of its Orthodox heritage and that most of the Orthodox world suffered 75 years of enforced Western atheism. Here there is of course an overlap, but nevertheless, the choice is clear.

Russian Church Matters

Q: The recent August Synod in Moscow made some very important administrative changes. Were these, especially the removal of Metropolitan Paul in Minsk, political?

A: Well, who knows? As I understand it, several bishops were removed because of their moral deficiencies (there are always one or two rotten apples in every basket of apples). As for Metr Paul, who is Russian, he was removed because it was felt that a local Belarussian, Metr Benjamin, was needed at this time of crisis in Belarus. Overall, we Orthodox are satisfied, especially by the changes in Moscow itself.

Q: Quite a lot of Russians inside Russia today consider that religion is just a business, a matter of making as much money as possible, and therefore has no importance or role. Do you have an answer to this?

A: Religion is always a business. My interest is not in religion, but in faith, the living experience of spiritual reality which comes only with repentance and the desire for purity.

On the Present Campaign against the Orthodox World

The shockingly political appeal by the Phanariot Archbishop Elpidiforos in the USA to vote for the pro-abortionist Mr Biden in the US elections hardly comes as a surprise (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=8472&v=tcQjlQOA5dY&feature=emb_logo – Skip to 2:20:20 seconds) . Biden always supported the disastrously failed attempt of the Phanariots to take over the Ukrainian Church. And after all Biden’s executive son has been minting millions in the corrupt Ukraine.

The Phanar is prepared to go a very long way in its search for dollars; becoming a CIA pawn is a cheap price to pay for mercenaries. And now there is the possibility that the phyletist Phanar will with the usual US help be able to set up yet another absurd and tiny nationalist schism – this time in Belarus, where the CIA is backing violent demonstrators against the recent election results.

However, the reduced UK-free EU, now effectively limited to Merkel and Macron, is fed up with the CIA and its sponsorship of Polish nationalism. The French and German leaders have assured President Putin that they will not allow Poland to invade Belarus, as Polish hotheads want to. The EU’s (i. e. Macron’s and Merkel’s) anti-Lukashenko economic measures are purely cosmetic.

The CIA no longer has the support of the EU which naively supported the murderous revolutionaries in Kiev in 2014. All know that there is worse than Lukashenko, e.g. as in the Ukraine. Even some in the EU are losing their naivety, especially in 2014 after Victoria Nuland expressed the foul views of the US elite of the EU.

As part of the present phase of the well-orchestrated anti-Orthodox campaign in Belarus, in Russia the CIA agent, Alexei Navalny, is said to have been poisoned. If this is or is not the case, clearly it is due to the CIA realisation that he is more useful to them dead than alive, since he is a total political failure, recognised by the Russian public as the Western stooge he is.

Even in the White House there are those who are beginning to cotton on to the catastrophe it created in the Ukraine in 2014. Its illegal overthrow of the democratically-elected leader there threw Russia into the arms of China. Some there even realise this and know that the price to get Russian support against China will be the US evacuation of the Ukraine and compensation for the chaos it has caused there. The US is indeed divided.

 

Tragedy in Belarus

After ten days of demonstrations, protests are continuing in Belarus. True, they are nothing like as violent or as widespread as the riots in the USA, which have been going on for some two months now, but those in Belarus could topple the democratically-elected dictator Lukashenko. A yesterday’s Communist, a today’s Democrat and essentially a corrupt country bumpkin, like any number of other post-Communist oligarchs, his time is nearly up. Like the equally corrupt Ukrainian fool Yanukovich, who was toppled in 2014, he will surely, sooner of later, go. It is time for a new generation. Post-Sovietism is dead.

However, Western spy services, based in Lithuania (where the CIA has torture ‘facilities’)  and in territory-greedy Poland, are hoping that they will replace Lukashenko with some Fascist billionaire puppet like Poroshenko, as they did in the Ukraine. Thus, they would ensure permanent civil war, mass poverty and chaos in Belarus, just as they did in the Ukraine these last six years. The idea that the Western elite could position its NATO tanks and nuclear missiles along the Russian border, just 250 miles from Moscow, is very tempting to the greedy globalists. After all, their spiritual ancestors a hundred and twenty years ago were already eyeing the mineral wealth of the Russian Empire and so had its Tsar, and tens of millions of others, murdered by their Communist minions. However, this is unlikely to happen in Belarus. Why?

The modern Ukraine is an artificial country created since 1922 for purely political reasons by three Western-backed Communist monsters: Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchov. The eastern, northern and southern three-sixths of the Ukraine are more or less purely Russian and part of what was (Orthodox) Christian Civilisation; the west of centre area around Kiev, two-sixths of the whole, like Belarus, still has the same Civilisation and faith as Russia, though is different from it and mainly speaks a dialect of Russian called Surzhik; finally, the far western sixth (which Stalin stole from Poland in 1939) has nothing to do with Christian Civilisation and Russia. It is the former Hapsburg and virulently nationalistic province of Galicia. Though Polish-hating and once Nazi-supporting, it has far more in common with its Polish neighbour, including its majority religion (also once Nazi-supporting), than anywhere else. This sixth is the only real ‘Ukraine’ (= ‘border land’) and speaks the many dialects of the Ukrainian language, which resembles a very distinctive mixture of Slovak, Polish and Russian.

On the other hand, Belarus is in reality a provincial part of Russia. Over 70% there speak Russian virtually all the time; unlike in the Ukraine the other 30%, who speak Belarussian virtually only at home, also speak fluent Russian. In any case, the language is mostly understandable to Russians, unlike Ukrainian. Moreover,  80% of Belarussians have said that they would be happy to become an autonomous republic, like other such republics, within the Russian Federation.

The Ukraine has now become a largely third-world country, poorer than Kenya; its wealth has been stolen by some thirteen Western-backed oligarch-thieves, who spend most of their time laundering their cash in Tel Aviv, London and New York. Today’s Ukraine resembles the Soviet Union of 30 years ago, only nothing has been done there since, so it is even shabbier than then; the roads are ruinous, as are most of the unrenovated buildings. Its infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, is largely in an unspeakable condition and it survives on handouts from the US puppet called the IMF. As a country with a huge demographic crisis (who wants to have children in a desperately poor, utterly corrupt and Fascist-controlled backwater?), it is possible that its people could actually die out within a century. Millions of young people have fled it for Russia and Poland.

In comparison, Belarus is clean, orderly, has full employment and is more prosperous (thanks to trade with Russia) than the catastrophically poor and run-down EU Lithuania and Latvia or the US puppet state in Kiev. This makes its leader popular with many who vote for him because they fear worse than him. However, Belarus, like the old Soviet Union which it so resembles, only is more prosperous, is also sinsiterly Orwellian.

For Lukashenko is no angel. He is a dictator with a violent streak (just like so many CIA-backed Latin American and Asian puppets) and clearly suffers from North Korean style megalomania. He is also, at times, profoundly anti-Russian. President Putin is fed up with his anti-Russian actions and his oligarch corruption, just like that of the Ukrainian idiot Yanukovich with his golden toilet. But that does not mean that Lukashenko is about to be replaced by some Western puppet, who will make Belarus into just another divided and ruled, CIA-run vassal state. Even the stupidest members of the bankrupt Western elite, now obsessed by the covid virus, realise that they made a terrible mess in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and the Ukraine. They cannot afford to repeat the same mistake in Belarus. The bankrupt EU does not want Belarus, any more than it wants the Ukraine. The EU cannot even absorb hopelessly corrupt and poor Bulgaria and Romania. The West needs President Putin to do something for Belarus.

Let us be clear, there is much better than Lukashenko. But to be honest, there is also much worse – you only have to look at the utterly corrupt Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia for examples. God forbid that worse should happen than Lukashenko. Three (officially) Belarussians have died so far at the hands of  Lukashenko’s thuggish riot police – it is getting almost as bad as the situation in the USA. Let us pray that the Belarussian obscenities, with both sides committing acts of violence, will cease and that Belarus will no longer be a (post-) Communist dictatorship, will not be transformed into just another corrupt and poor CIA/NATO colony, and be transfigured into an Orthodox Christian country. Then a tragedy would become an example to its neighbours.

The Feast of the Transfiguration 2020

The Battle for the Holy Spirit

All who are hostile to the Orthodox Christian Faith, whatever label they may carry, including a superficial label of ‘Orthodox’, are hostile to the Holy Trinity, though in different ways.

Thus, Pagans reject God the Father, preferring instead to make idols of mere creation, so worshipping itself. Like the Hindus, in a multitude of gods and goddesses, a sun-god, a moon-god, an earth-god, a king-god, a wind-god, a sea-god, a river-god etc. As animists, they worship spirits, including their own bodies and minds, like the Buddhists, not understanding that any such spirits are fallen human spirits or else, worse still, the fallen spirits of the demons. The only Spirit we can know and worship is the Holy Spirit.

Thus, Heretics reject God the Son, rejecting either His Divinity, like the Jews, the Arians, the Nestorians and the Muslims, or else His humanity, like the Monophysites.

Thus, Western Secularists reject God the Holy Spirit, preferring the values of this world. Therefore they replace the Holy Spirit, Who is the Authority and the Power and the Spirit of the Church, with a Pope in Rome, then with any white man, including Stalin or Hitler, and finally with any human-being who thinks himself equal to the Holy Spirit according to his ‘human rights’. So the world turns full circle and reverts to Paganism, under the humanist delusion of being clever, it narcissistically worships itself.

Thus, lapsed Orthodox replace Him with worldliness, disguised either as a flag-waving nationalism, or as a post-Soviet, get-rich-quick culture which in all practical terms is atheist, or as a spiritually feeble imitation of Western culture, or as a mere right-wing conservative ideology of dictatorial power. All these reject the Revelation of the Holy Spirit.

In order to battle for the Holy Spirit, for nearly 50 years we have called on Christ, the Mother of God and on the Saints of all ages and lands. For though not of this world, the voices of the Saints are the bearers of the Holy Spirit in this world, and in all ages and in all lands, thus witnessing against Pagans, Heretics, Western Secularists and lapsed Orthodox.