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? For the struggle for it is also 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.

The Spirit of St Edmund

Foreword

Our Orthodox Kingdom lives and prays beneath the standard of holy Edmund, the King and Martyr of East Anglia (+ 869), and the first Patron Saint of the English Land. His standard is made up of a crown, representing his kingship, his virginity and his martyrdom, against the background of a heavenly blue and crossed arrows. These arrows show how he defended his Kingdom and so won Paradise, being shot through with many of them by violent and heathen men who then beheaded him.

Introduction

St Edmund’s heavenly kingdom is the East Anglian corner in Paradise, but his earthly kingdom was and is made up of what is now Norfolk, Suffolk and the fenlands of eastern Cambridgeshire. However, it spread and spreads its influence across its marches into northern Essex, across the fens into the East Midlands, and in missions still further afield, thus taking his spirit outside his land. St Edmund expressed this spirit in life and in death in the values of Orthodox Christian Civilisation, which are:

  1. Faithfulness

The Old English word ‘geleafful’ (literally, faithful) was the word chosen by missionary monks to translate the Greek word ‘Orthodox’. Thus, faithful Christians are Orthodox Christians and vice versa. Through his confession of the Faith in his life and by his martyrdom in his death, there is no doubt that St Edmund was an Orthodox Christian, faithful to the end to the Gospel of Christ, which he imitated. It is this faithfulness, that is, Orthodoxy that we need and seek to follow today.

  1. Kingship

Edmund was of the noble and kingly line of East Anglia and its last King. He was also the faithful and trusted friend of the holy King Alfred the Great, unifier of England and its greatest Sovereign. Edmund fought alongside Alfred to defend Nottingham in the East Midlands. He was noble in blood, but also in conduct, fearlessly fighting the heathen, but not afraid to die, like the King of Kings, at his own Gethsemane and Golgotha in Hoxne, in the very centre of his Kingdom between north and south.

  1. Care for the People

His tenth-century life described him as ‘wise and honourable’, that ‘he ever glorified Almighty God by his noble conduct’, was ‘humble and devout’, ‘mindful of the true teaching’, ‘among men as one of them’, ‘bountiful to the poor and to widows even like a father’, that ‘with goodwill he ever guided his people to righteousness and lived happily in the true faith’. He chose ‘rather to die for his own land’, ‘never turning aside from the worship of Almighty God or from His true love, whether he lived or died’.

Conclusion

These Trinitarian values are essential as they represent all that is missing here today. Thus, there is little faithfulness and they only argue about how best to betray the Faith. There is little sense of Kingship as there is little nobility, spirit of sacrifice, they are only political opportunists and careerists who replace the Kingdom of Heaven with the Republic of Hell. And there is little pastoral care for the people as anti-missionaries are in power. Therefore, our mission now is to spread the spirit of St Edmund.

 

 

 

The Three Twenty-First Century Challenges for the Whole Orthodox Church

Introduction

The fourteen Local Churches, many of them recent foundations, which at present make up the Orthodox Church face many different challenges according to their local conditions. Basically, however, all these challenges can be grouped into three categories. These are:

Living in the Past

Here, we are talking, to put it crudely, about a sort of old fogeyism. At the extreme, for example, there are those in the Phanar in Istanbul, who still think that 1453 has not yet taken place – they are well over 550 years behind reality. Constantinople no longer exists and its flock is well under 1,000 people. Another Patriarchate, which only in the 20th century began to claim Africa and not just Egypt as its territory, is still stuck in Alexandria, where it has virtually no flock. Another Syrian group calls itself ‘of Antioch’, another place that no longer exists by that name and today is in Turkey. Another is run from the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens and the local Palestinian people, who do not speak Greek, have no say over the foreigners who are set over them and cannot speak their language. However, all the Local Churches can provide example of this backwards-looking mentality.

Equally, in all the Local Churches there are clerics and even a few laypeople who are so stuck in their youths in the 1960s and 1970s that they actually still believe in ecumenism, modernism and new calendarism! This is incredible; those absurd movements, in which we never believed in any case, died out in the last millennium. How can you possibly be a modernist in a post-modernist world?! How can you possibly be a syncretist when the whole world glorifies diversity?! How can you possibly claim to be Orthodox and yet live on the papal calendar – Muslims and Jews do not?! However, as the gerontocrats, often in their eighties and nineties, die out and are replaced by the new, forwards-looking generation, these movements will be forgotten, locked away in cobwebbed museums and the dustbins of history.

Centralisation

Here is a more serious problem, as it concerns everyone, but especially the larger Local Churches. This is in fact the problem of power and money. The bureaucratisation of the Church through power structures and the taxing of parishes as a result to support these superstructures, whose very existence seems to many to be quite unnecessary, is a severe problem. Thus, during the covid crisis, many parishes received virtually no income, but in some places ‘Church’ bureaucrats still demanded large sums to run their palaces from clergy who already had to find secular work in order to sustain their families. There is now a great deal of discontent at the grassroots, all the more so, as many see such bureaucracy as parasitic in any case. There could soon be a revolt at this level. Reform here is beginning, as it must.

Moral Decadence

Here again is a very serious problem which, moreover, is structural and in fact institutional. This moral decadence means the dual problems of simony and sodomy. The former problem is a massive problem in several Local Churches, not least the Russian, the Constantinopolitan and the Romanian. Needless to say this practice is totally uncanonical, the canons on simony are very strict. The second problem has developed as a result of the lack of monastic life, and even worse, the refusal to consecrate good monks as bishops, even where there is monastic life, and instead to consecrate celibates of any stripe.

In one Local Church, one Metropolitan is only such because he and his parents belonged to the ‘right’ political party (they had the right surname) and he did not marry. Is that enough? Of course not. The emigrations have for decades been plagued by notorious gay mafias of bishops, who persecute married clergy, probably through jealousy. The scandals are endless. All we can say is, thank God, that, unlike in Roman Catholicism, most Orthodox priests are married and at least there are no scandals of that sort here.

Conclusions: Three Solutions to Three Challenges

The shape of the future seems clear. By the end of this century, if not by the middle of this century, three great changes will have taken place, because they have to take place, within the Orthodox Church. These will recognise that we now live in a global world and that the time of absurd anachronisms and petty and silly nationalisms is long past.

Firstly, in response to moral decadence, there is going to be, once more, a married episcopate, whether we like it or not. This will mean that, as before, dioceses will be much smaller, with only perhaps twelve parishes in each. The new bishops may, as before, have secular jobs and a simplification of their role will ensue. Thus, the dioceses of Local Churches will, as before, become truly local again. This means that there will at last be the leadership which we have so utterly lacked in the last centuries, when bishops acted as mere State functionaries.

Secondly, in response to centralisation, there must appear four new Local Churches, one for Western Europe and three for the New World: one for Western Europe (WEOC); one for North America (NAOC), one for Latin America (IOAL) and one for Oceania (OOC).

Thirdly, in response to living in the past, a number of very small, very fragile and therefore very dependent and very nationalistic Local Churches, some invented in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries for purely political reasons, others mere anachronisms, may well have merged. Thus, we may end up with only Twelve Patriarchates, Twelve Local Churches. Perhaps, as follows:

The Russian (of New Jerusalem and All Rus).

The Eastern European (of Bucharest and All Eastern Europe).

The African (of Nairobi and All Africa).

The Middle Eastern (of Jerusalem and All the (ex-Muslim) East).

The Japanese (of Tokyo and All Japan).

The Chinese (of Beijing and All China).

The South-East Asian (of Hanoi and All South-East Asia).

The Indian (of Delhi and All India).

The Western European (of Paris and All (ex-Roman Catholic and ex-Protestant) Western Europe).

The North American (of Chicago and All North America).

The Latin American (of Caracas and All Latin America).

The Oceanian (of Sydney and All Oceania).

 

The End of Covid?

The conspiracy theorists have had a field day with covid. These manipulators who enjoy intimidating the weak and making the naïve believe their nonsense have put out some very weird ideas. These included that China wanted to take over the world, that somehow 5G mobile phone masts were responsible for the flu or that Bill Gates was intending to put a chip into every anti-flu vaccine and inject it into everyone in the world. Thanks to the sheer incompetence of governments worldwide, some actually believed such nonsense.

Let us look at some facts:

– 85% of victims of this virus were aged over 65; 1% were aged under 40; the number under the age of 20 was virtually 0. (This is completely unlike ‘Spanish’ (= American) flu which affected above all the young. Incidentally, tens of millions of victims of this American flu caught it only because of the British-organised, so-called ‘Russian Revolution’. Only because of this did the USA enter World War I, so at once bringing infected US troops into Europe to spread their flu).

– 96% of all victims of all ages had serious underlying health conditions – the others had immunological problems.

– Those over the age of 90 who caught it had an 85% chance of recovery.

– According to official statistics, the number of victims is now greater than in the swine flu virus a decade ago, though then there was no lockdown or economic catastrophe.

– Hysteria has been created by an irresponsible and sensation-seeking media, which talk of second and third waves. In reality, most of the new cases and ‘spikes’ are due to the existence of testing, which is picking up what before was not detected. In one recent case, it was said that infections had increased in one city by 100%; in reality the number of cases detected had indeed gone up – from 6 to 12.

Most of those who died from the covid virus would have died anyway; it is expected that there will now be a sharp fall in the death rate in months to come, as this flu has brought many who would have died in any case to a slightly premature death. Thus, in the UK the number of victims, equivalent to a thirteenth month of deaths for 2020, may simply mean that in the second half of 2020, there will be some 50,000 fewer deaths than would otherwise be expected. In other words, the death-rate for 2020 may well end up being comparable to other years.

The two problems that create conspiracy theorists is, firstly, that they believe that governments are sufficiently intelligent to create conspiracies and, secondly, that they do not believe in God. The second problem means that they do not know that although man proposes, God disposes. In fact, incompetence (including even the inability even to record accurately the number of deaths), panic and political correctness are the only explanations for governments, of left or right, bankrupting their economies and carrying out absurd lockdowns, threatening and intimidating the naïve, as if covid were the bubonic plague. The absurdity of closing schools, creating lasting psychological damage to a generation of schoolchildren, bankrupting millions of businesses and whole sectors of the economy, creating poverty and mass unemployment, especially among the young, is something that will never be forgotten. The remedy, which is in any case not a remedy, is indeed far worse than the problem.

Why such incompetence, panic and political correctness which have killed the economy and messed up hundreds of millions of lives? Only because people have lost faith in God, meaning that, as humanists, they cannot cope with the only inevitable fact in human existence – that we are all going to die, whether from covid, or, far more likely, from any of a thousand other causes.

 

The Church and the Holy Spirit

Quench not the Spirit.

1 Thess. 5, 19

When the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?

Lk 18, 8

It seems strange that we should talk about the Church and the Holy Spirit, as if they were in some way contradictory. Surely the Church is the Body of Christ which radiates the Holy Spirit? Sadly, sometimes this is not the case, though only when we talk of the Church in the sense of the Church authorities. There is such a thing as the persecution of the faithful by Church authorities and this has been seen very many times in Church history.

This always happens whenever the Church authorities (not the Church) have allied themselves with the rich and mighty of this world, seeing the Church only as an opportunity for power and a well-paid career and church buildings as mere real estate, and not seeing the Church as the Body of Christ and suffering human souls who seek the Revelation of God.

Of course, this does not excuse the sectarian counter-reactions to them which often occur at the grassroots, at the present time in the form of old calendarist groups, which repeat the errors of Donatism of long ago. We have quite recently seen these phenomena even in the question of mask wearing.

Thus, just like atheists, the careerist, modernistic, liberal-inclined and secular-minded Church establishment, those who want and are the institutionalisation of the Church, are for masks. Seeing the Church as a mere corporate organisation, an anti-missionary business, they are also for many almost blasphemous practices which appear to deny the holiness of the sacraments. Some of them clearly think that the Body and Blood of Christ are merely bread and wine, just like those others who long ago lapsed from the Church, the Protestants and increasing numbers of Roman Catholics. Like secular people who so weakly believe, they fear death.

On the other hand, there are those whose faith is blind, having zeal not according to reason, and who behave irresponsibly. They would take no precautions whatsoever, sure that you can catch nothing from other people inside a church building. This is clearly a mistake. If there were an outbreak of cholera or the plague, they would not frequent other people, including inside the church building. Just because Covid-19 is less serious, it does not mean that we should not avoid it. We do not fear death, but this does not mean that we seek death.

We Orthodox, in the mainstream between the persecuting extremes, keep our churches open as far as State persecution, widespread now, allows us. We take reasonable precautions in obedience, but we do not avoid God’s Will, knowing that all is in His hands. In the past we have seen off perverts, freemasons, slanderers. We are not frightened of a new wave of persecution by the jealous. We shall stand up to the new persecution, wherever it comes from, left or right, with three unconquerable weapons:

The prayers of the Old Saints of Europe, the Saints of the First Millennium.

The prayers of the New Saints of Europe, the New Martyrs and Confessors.

The prayers of the Imperial Martyrs, the Royal and Holy Family of Europe.

Nobody, however jealous, rapacious and cunning they are, can take these away from us.