Three Truths from Childhood

Introduction

Most say that our earliest years are our most formative years, when all else is decided, and that much depends on the happiness or unhappiness of childhood, which determines all that follows. For my part, over six childhood years, between the ages of six and twelve I learned three truths, all the essential realities, that have shaped the rest of my life. You may argue with how I have interpreted those truths, interpretations patterned also by other events and meetings, but I do not think that the truths themselves can be denied, however attached to the world, its Establishment and its delusions people may be.

Western Civilization Has Destroyed Itself

The first truth came to me in a realization when I was still an innocent six years old. I had been brought up on the phrases ‘before the war’, referring to the Second World War, and ‘nothing has ever been the same again’, referring to the First World War. Brought up surrounded by a grandfather who had fought in Baghdad, Jerusalem and Thessaloniki in the First World War, not to mention a host of nineteenth-century great-uncles and neighbours, who had been similarly involved elsewhere from France to Russia, and maiden aunts, maiden because there had been not enough men to marry after the War, I knew all about the tragic results of the Great War.

Born a few years after the end of the Second World War and listening to the stories of my father who had fought in Egypt, Italy and Austria, not to mention to a host of uncles and neighbours, who had been similarly involved elsewhere from France to Burma, and maiden aunts, maiden because there had been not enough men to marry after the War, and living in a tiny town sandwiched between two former wartime US airfields, I knew about that War too. And my father assured me that, even though Nazidom in Europe had in fact been defeated by the extraordinary sacrifices of the Russian peoples, and not by the USA, ever since the War we had been occupied by the United States.

He taught me too that, on account of the above, those who seemingly ruled over us had no power at all, but were just as much puppets and figureheads as the Queen who reigned over us. All was a sideshow in the great American circus. My child’s conclusion was that there had been something wrong with that world, something wrong with a British Empire and a Western Europe, both now collapsed, that had been Catholic and Protestant and had created World Wars and so been dominated by the Far West of America. And it was also clear to me that any solution to such universal wars must also be universal, must come from outside the Western world and must not involve new wars.

English Christian Civilization Was Martyred

The second truth came to me in a realization when I was nine years old, in fact exactly 50 years ago. This was the discovery at my rural primary school of the only figure in English history to be called ‘the Great’, the ninth-century King Alfred the Wise of England. This discovery explained to me that there was something far older that stood behind the plastic falsity of the 1960s that was being unfolded then and behind all the falsity of the old Victorian England (apparent to me as a child), with its hopeless provinciality and Protestant sectarianism, narrow literalism, hypocrisy, philistinism and rigid moralizing, that passed for ‘religion’, but was in fact State-invented idolatry.

A recent invention, that Protestantism had no concept of the Church, and so no concept of Oneness (except with its fellow-sectarians), of Holiness, of Catholicity and of Apostolicity. Its only thought was to reshape the world idolatrously, in its own image, not in the image of the Kingdom of God. Alfred explained to me that England had been founded at a time when we belonged to something far greater, indeed universal, and yet also local, a sunshone Civilization. It explained to me all the mysterious names of local ‘saints’ that in hints and gleams had shone to me, of Edmund, in whose domain my father’s family had always lived, of Albright, Audrey, Botolph, Cedd and Felix, of whom nobody seemed to know anything any more.

And I realized that these legends that had survived were mere crumbs from a huge and now lost banquet table, the hidden and forgotten ruins of a whole Civilization, and that if we could somehow return to that, then there would be no more World Wars and so no more destroyed lives. Soon I discovered that all had been slain with the Norman Invasion exactly 900 years before and that through their ‘Establishment’ they still occupied and polluted minds and hearts and that their invasion had come about because of the spiritual decadence of the English, shown by the martyrdom of the English hero St Edward the Martyr and the slaying of the English hope, Edmund Ironside.

Russia Has a Universal Significance

The third truth came to me when I was twelve years old. This was through the film Dr Zhivago, which I saw at that time. Although there were many things in it that I did not understand, I realized that Russia (then cast as the ever-menacing bogeyman, the Soviet Union, the S.U.) had not always been so, but had also lost its sunshone Civilization, and only fifty years before, in a great betrayal. And that that Civilization had been betrayed because it had confessed the authentic Christianity that had not been invented by self-justifying powermongers, grand inquisitors, to control the masses, like Protestantism or, before it, Catholicism, but had been different and also universal, indeed messianistic, and non-destructively so. And ever since that great betrayal, the world had not been the same.

As a result we lived under the apocalyptic threat of nuclear war and the obliteration of the planet, under the brainwashing and self-justifying propaganda that the other side, in fact also cowering, was going to bomb us into oblivion. And I realized that if nothing had ever been the same again, it had not been due to 1914, terrible though that was, or even to 1917, but due to 1918, the martyrdom of the Christian Emperor. And that as a result of that, the S.U. and the U.S. now menaced the world with its end; it made no difference whether the white star or the red star would unleash that war, it would be the end. Only afterwards did I discover that all such stars were from Antichrist. This most unlikely revelation came to me in October 1968 in my native town, in a place that I can take you to this day.

All this was most unlikely, for how could one believe in the Christian Empire of Russia when that Empire had been overthrown and all but lost and there seemed no hope of its resurrection? Yet I found my path. In order to follow it, I had to go against all the odds, past the traps and rejections of those whom the world had put in control, past the Establishment snobs, the narrow nationalists (of all nationalities), the morally corrupt and compromised, the spiritually deluded dreamers, the self-serving backbiters, the jealously destructive narcissists, until I came to the saints, whom I met and who taught me to ignore all the rest, like so much flotsam and jetsam, and to follow only the holy. They taught me: ‘I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord’ and ‘Let the dead bury the dead’.

Conclusion

How much longer do we have to go? Perhaps not long, but perhaps we can still postpone the inevitable end. Now that the Russian leader has been greeted as a new Emperor Constantine on the increasingly Russian-dominated Holy Mountain, enthroned, unlike the petty EU freemasons who reign over Greece, standing side by side with the Russian Patriarch, celebrating a thousand years of presence there. He, of course, is not an emperor, but he may be the coming Emperor’s forerunner, lighting the way. Perhaps we may still be granted additional time, to restore what has been lost, and speak of mercy and truth and righteousness, those still unheard words of Christ, to the world.

Our Hope for a Russian Orthodox Church in Norwich (Update 12)

The Update

Finally, on 15 April 2016 we managed to buy the premises for our future church in Norwich. After a three and a half month wait to receive planning permission from the ultra-bureaucratic Norwich City Council, we had to wait an additional six months for exactly the same organization to send our solicitor the lease. On 9 May, building work starting inside in order to transform the building into an Orthodox church and on 25 May workers began knocking down internal walls. At last a permanent home for Russian Orthodoxy in Norwich after over thirty years of struggles. Thank you!

History

In the East of England there is at present only one multinational and multilingual church faithful to Russian Orthodoxy with its own urban premises. This is St John’s Church in Colchester. God willing and with your support, we have now been able to buy a second one, in Norwich, exactly 60 miles, 100 kilometres, to the north of Colchester.

Why Norwich? For the last four years I have been visiting Norwich and some of the 200 Russian Orthodox there, mainly recent immigrants from the Baltic States, especially from Estonia. I have baptized several in their homes, married couples in Colchester, buried, blessed houses, listened to confessions, visiting every few weeks, sometimes twice a month and am Orthodox chaplain at Norwich Prison.

We thought of dedicating our community to St Alexander Nevsky. We attempted to begin liturgies using the Greek Orthodox church building in Norwich, but were impeded. How are our people and English people and others interested in the witness of the Russian Orthodox Church, to be cared for pastorally? Only from a church building. And such life is required not only by Russian speakers, but also by Romanian, Bulgarian and English Orthodox. Most of our regular parishioners, only one of whom has a car, live within easy walking distance of this building.

On Friday 8 May 2015, Fr Andrew saw a leasehold property for sale on the rightmove website for £50,000 at 134, Oak Street, Norwich.

It measures 88 square metres externally and is at present used as offices and rooms for a cultural centre. It has electricity, heating and water and is in very good condition. It is so cheap because it is leasehold, in other words, you have to pay £100 rent per month for the ground it is built on. This amount is fixed until 2032. The lease itself is even longer – it lasts until 2047.

On Wednesday 13 May 2015 we organized a visit to these premises, attended by 9 local Russian Orthodox.

By Friday 15 May, Orthodox in Norwich had generously promised to donate £5,250.

On Monday 18 May Fr Andrew received Archbishop Mark’s blessing to buy the building if possible, meaning we could start obtaining pledges to donate.

On Thursday 21 May we heard from the surveyor that it would cost £3,000-£5,000 to knock down the internal walls and make good the floor and ceiling, so we could use this building as a church. This was lower than Fr Andrew had estimated.

On Wednesday 27 May we heard that our offer of £42,500 had been accepted. However, since conversion and furnishing costs will come to £12,500, this meant that we would need £55,000 in all.

On Friday 29 May we submitted the planning application for change of use from offices to a place of worship. This, we were told then, would take at least 6-8 weeks but should result in a positive answer.

On Wednesday 3 June we launched an internet appeal for £55,000 in order to set up our own church in Norwich.

By Wednesday 29 July, eight weeks after the appeal launch, total gifts and pledges had reached £55,000.

On Tuesday 29 September, after over three and a half months!, we finally received planning permission to convert the building into an Orthodox church.

On Friday 15 April 2016 we were at last able to complete the purchase of our premises and prepare to engage a builder to start work on the premises.

On Wednesday 20 April we received the keys and saw builders to obtain quotes to do the necessary work of knocking down internal walls and then making good the electrics, plumbing, floor and ceiling.

On Friday 22 April, the electricity and water were reconnected and supply contracts prepared.

On Tuesday 3 May, we chose the building contractor we wish to use.

On Monday 9 May, electrical and plumbing work began and the structural engineer called in.

On Wednesday 25 May, almost exactly one year after our offer had been accepted!, demolition of internal walls began and Fr Andrew saw a locksmith to replace the broken lock on the main door and a signwriter to replace the signs on the outside so that all will know that this is an Orthodox Church and new lighting was bought for installation.

Patriarch Kyrill: US / EU Elites ‘Uprooting Faith’ From Society (Video)

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/head-russian-church-brilliantly-nails-western-elites-uprooting-faith-society-video/ri14588?utm_source=Russia+Insider+Daily+Headlines&utm_campaign=0dc6e81dca-Russia_Insider_Daily_Headlines11_21_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c626db089c-0dc6e81dca-183204397&ct=t(Russia_Insider_Daily_Headlines11_21_2014)&mc_cid=0dc6e81dca&mc_eid=5c8d1856f4

The Imperial Orthodox Faithful

A generation on after the fall of the atheist government in the Soviet Union, the Russian Church has made extraordinary progress in rebuilding and restoring itself. However, as we have frequently written: as it took three generations to destroy Imperial Russia, so it will take three generations to restore Her and even longer to do better, only thus ensuring that the atheist nightmare can never be repeated. The atheists produced a country where all ideals, ambitions and hopes were destroyed and so male alcoholism and female abortion were both normal. Although the statistics show dramatic improvements in these areas, the country is still paying a very heavy price, as can be seen from the still relatively low life expectancy and demography. As for church-building, what has been done is remarkable, but we cannot be satisfied – at least another 100,000 churches are required and another 100,000 priests – and that is only in the historic Russian Lands, let alone in the many lands of mission for the Church worldwide. We have no illusions, we have very far to go in order to gather in the peoples before the now rapidly approaching end.

As ever, the Church, not of the world, but still in the world, is squeezed between two opposing tendencies, the two sides of the same superficial coin. On the one hand, there are the spiritually superficial and primitive, but intellectually sophisticated, the disincarnate dreamers and ‘heaven-dwellers’, liberals and ecumenists, philosophers in prelest and mantra-repeating name-worshippers, left-wing renovationists and modernists, Parisians and Kochetkovites, who love each other, new suicidal Gapons, essentially rationalistic Protestants, who are clearly not of this world, but neither are they at all, as they deludedly imagine they are, of the Kingdom of Heaven. On the other hand, there are equally spiritually superficial and primitive, but materially sophisticated, the worldly State-worshippers, pro-Stalinists, anti-Semites (yes 90% of the Bolshevik leaders were atheist Jews, but it was baptised but unChurched Russians and an apostate Georgian seminarist who obeyed their Satanic orders), ritualists (both Old and New Ritualists), fanatics, narrow sectarians, pharisees, superstitious and nominal, golden dome and gilt worshippers, who do not know that making the sign of the cross and sprinkling yourself with holy water before you sin does not bless that sin.

In the middle stands the Church, ever crucified and ever resurrected, not of this world, with the saints and martyrs in heaven and on earth, but committed to sanctifying this world and transfiguring State values into Church values, the balance kept by parish and monastic life together, both vital to any healthy Church, as we saw already in the fourth century and again in the nineteenth century. Carried by women for 90% of the time, the Church has yet to reach out to men and Church them. Too much is about attachment to externals, the reduction of the Faith to rituals, to putting the flesh above the spirit. Such superficiality is always followed by nemesis, the result of refusing Divine Protection and choosing human foolishness. The invasion of Kievan Rus by the barbaric Mongols and of Rus by the even more barbaric Teutonic Knights some 800 years ago, the Polish Invasion just over 400 years ago, Napoleon’s invasion just over 200 years ago, the so-called ‘Revolution’ nearly 100 years ago, Hitler’s invasion 75 years ago and the invasion of the Ukraine two years ago and the US-appointed junta in Kiev, all witness to the results of a merely superficial Orthodoxy.

For the way ahead we need to look to the best of Russian Orthodoxy, spiritual but also incarnate. This has always followed three (three because Trinitarian) tenets. These are: firstly, the Orthodox Faith in her integrity, so without the compromises that have befallen the modernists and ecumenists, who follow the secularist Western world and not the Gospel of Christ; secondly, the Imperial ideal, incarnate before the February 1917 coup d’etat of aristocratic Duma masons and treasonous generals, today only hinted at in prophetic gleams and shafts of light, but eagerly awaited in the coming Tsar; and thirdly, the Orthodox people, of all races and tongues all over the world, inside the Russian Lands and outside the Russian Lands, all spiritually united by and owing spiritual allegiance to Holy Rus’, the Christian Empire. We are the Orthodox Imperial Faithful, we are the Church, sinners but repentant, strict because faithful, but open because we know about human weaknesses. May God forgive us and lead us to victory before the end.

The New World Order and Humanophobia

Mr Cameron’s increasingly irrational and panicky anti-freedom campaign in the UK is speeding on at full strength. President Obama, the US-run IMF, the Pope of Rome, Chancellor Merkel, heads of the other EU client-states, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the former heads of the British spy services (MI5 and MI6), the ever-obsequious, State-run BBC and national media and any number of Establishment figures (including, as we now see, the unprincipled Mr Corbyn) as well as umpteen millionaire businessmen have all been called on to ‘advise’ (= intimidate) UK citizens to vote for continued slavery to the New World Order by remaining in thrall to EU (the New World Order’s political arm in Europe) and therefore to NATO (the New World Order’s military arm in Eurasia) oppression and tyranny.

The New World Order, whose elite such people form, has no care for any of the peoples of Europe or any other freedom-loving peoples, whether in Europe or North Africa or the Middle East, as far as Nigeria, the Yemen and the Himalayas, where the ruinous results of their neo-feudal policies are visible. In Europe the elite is Germanophobic, Hellonophobic, Frankophobic, Anglophobic, Russophobic; any people who counters their Fourth Reich dictatorship must be destroyed, for their project is humanophobic. This fact reveals the ultimate Satanic origin of the whole project, to build a New Babylon, a project that has been under way directly since power was transferred from Europe to the USA in 1916, but indirectly for millennia before that, ever since the misanthropic Fall in Eden.

None suffer as much as those in once Orthodox countries. Ex-Yugoslavia has been destroyed, Serbia dismembered, bandit-states set up in Bosnia and Kosovo, Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria ravaged by EU-imposed poverty and US political and media control. Moldova has now been invaded and occupied by US troops, Georgia is under threat, the Ukraine has been torn apart, sodomization is rampant. As for Russia, still the strongest Orthodox power despite a century of satanization which has made men alcoholics and had women aborted, it has been attacked on all sides and surrounded by missiles. As the ideologue Zbigniew Brzezinski has said: ‘The New World Order will be built against Russia, on the ruins of Russia and at the expense of Russia’.

Why this specific attack on Russia? Because, as some already knew 100 years ago, only if the sovereignty of Russia can be preserved, can the sovereignty of countries in Central and Western Europe be restored. Gallant Hungary, Slovakia, Czechia and Poland can all be preserved – but only if Russia remains. But outside them the sovereignty of over another twenty EU vassal states can also be restored, if Russia remains. Scotland and Catalonia can be liberated after centuries of slavery and other peoples can be freed from their oppressive and alien elites, 950 years old in England. The straitjacket of the New World Order does not want freedom, sovereignty or national identity. If we do want it, then we should all unite around the common Russian defence in a Union of the Peoples of Rus, of the Christian Empire.

Would You Like to Become a Spy, Sir? How I Failed to Become a British Spy (Twice)

My first vague contact with spies was when I was 16. This was when I was buying some Russian books in the now disappeared Collet’s Russian bookshop (the Collets were Marxists) in Museum Street London. There were two other customers in the shop, both Americans, talking in a low voice the need to spy on the Soviet Union. Unless they were acting, they were CIA spies, indiscreet, but obviously not afraid of a schoolboy overhearing them. Such were Cold War times; London was the off-duty base (Berlin being the front line; today it is Kiev) and it was full of American spies.

My second contact was at University in Oxford. Now there it was known that some lowly MI5 operative used to search the rooms of students studying Russian at Oxford and Cambridge, no doubt in the hope of recruiting them. Certainly my room was searched, but I was never approached; no doubt they decided that I was too ‘religious’ for them. This was unlike two fellow-students, now well-known, who went on to work for MI6 and the BBC (BBC foreign correspondents double their salary in this way and also get some very useful inside information).

My third contact took place last Monday. To my surprise, I was stopped at Gatwick Airport as I prepared to board my flight to the Ukraine. A pleasant man dressed as a policeman looked at my passport. Seeing visas for Russia and stamps for the Ukraine, he explained that he worked for Special Branch. Would I like to speak to him since I had some time before the flight? Having obliged me to accept his offer, he told me that they were looking for people who were going to the Ukraine. ‘We need travellers to tell us about the state of the infrastructure, the mood of the people’.

To this he then asked if I would you like me to send my details to his superiors. This was quite simply a crass and desperate attempt to recruit me as a spy. After all they now advertise for spies in the national press and offer them very low salaries. Listening to him inform me that they were very interested ‘for obvious reasons’ in the Ukraine, as in ‘a number of other countries, you understand’, I answered him that this proposal did not interest me, that I did not want my details to be passed on, and that as he could see, I am a Russian Orthodox priest. Desperate times indeed!

Ten More Russian Orthodox Churches for the East of England?

Many of us Orthodox who were born in Western Europe in the twentieth century look to the future with hope – but to the past with despair. With hope because we believe in miracles, with despair because the past was the land of a lack of vision, foresight and leadership. It is due to this that the Church all over Western Europe is now suffering from a catastrophic lack of infrastructure. In England, for example, the only Orthodox bishop who established solid infrastructure was the bureaucratic Greek Archbishop of Athenagoras: what a pity that he compromised Orthodoxy…The result of that is that the parishes he founded are now emptying as his clergy and people have largely failed to pass on the unique Faith to the succeeding generations – like so many Russians before him.

I remember in the 1970s listening to an utterly sterile debate at the St Sergius Institute in Paris about whether it was better for a bishop to be ‘a good administrator’ or ‘a man of prayer’. Of course, the answer is that he must be both – any division is purely artificial, why ever should the two qualities be mutually exclusive? One who is only a good administrator, a bureaucrat, has little spiritual and pastoral understanding and his parishes sooner or later die out; one who is only a man of prayer has no administrative skills and chaos results. Thus, St John of Shanghai was both; no-one doubts that he was a spiritual man of prayer and a good pastor, but he also built two huge cathedrals on two different continents, established an orphanage, convents, parish churches, served, ordained, trained, wrote, organized…

I cannot speak for all of England, still less for all of Western Europe, in specific geographical detail, but I do know from other Russian Orthodox who regularly write to me from France, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Scotland, Portugal, Spain and Austria that we all desperately need churches, priests and choirs, let alone the dream of Orthodox schools (the Catholics have them…). However, in my corner of the East of England, about a quarter of the country, which I know well, I know from parishioners, whom I have visited and who travel to us from over a hundred miles away and more for confessions, communions, baptisms, weddings and the rest, that we need churches, priests and choirs. Where are the needs that so scandalously are not being met?

Essex and Norfolk are now catered for; there are large and accessible towns with some sort of permanent churches and centres. Now, please God, grant us the money and we will found the ten more churches needed in each county or area of this region, 100 miles from east to west and 200 miles from north to south, and with their possible dedications, in:

Hastings (Sussex) – dedicated to the Resurrection, in remembrance of all those who died defending Orthodox England nearby.

Canterbury (Kent) – dedicated to Christ the Saviour, as was done in the sixth century.

Stratford (East London) – dedicated to the Royal Martyrs, who will help the teeming tens of thousands of Orthodox immigrants who have arrived at the railway station there from Europe and live around it, seeking housing, work and happiness after their homelands have been ravaged by the EU.

St Albans (Hertfordshire) – dedicated to St Alban, a church which would also cater for all those in the north of London.

Bedford (Bedfordshire) – dedicated to the Holy Trinity, in rejection of the heresy of the local Cromwell, who had no understanding of the Incarnation and the Holy Spirit and and so became a genocidal maniac and iconoclast.

Cambridge (Cambridgeshire) – dedicated to the Three Holy Hierarchs, as this is a University city.

Bury St Edmunds (Suffolk) – dedicated to All Saints and St Edmund.

Peterborough (the Fens) – dedicated to Sts Peter and Paul.

Lincoln (Lincolnshire) – dedicated to the Birth of the Mother of God and St Paulinus.

York (Yorkshire) – dedicated to Sts Constantine and Helen, since St Constantine was proclaimed Emperor there over 1,700 years ago.

Will it ever happen? I don’t know. A dream? Yes, but, as the Good Book says, ‘without vision the people die’. O ye of little faith, we live in hope, for our God is the God Who works wonders.

About Ionan Orthodoxy: An Interview with Archbishop George of London

12 May 2041

Q: What is the territory of your Archdiocese?

AG: As you know, our Archdiocese is part of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe under Metropolitan John. This stretches from Ireland to Austria and Iceland to Sicily and includes the Latin, Germanic, Celtic and Basque peoples of Western Europe. Our Archdiocese includes the four now sovereign nations of England, Ireland (which was finally reunited five years ago, if you remember), Scotland and Wales. At present we have four bishops, myself, Bishop Patrick in Dublin, Bishop Andrew in Edinburgh and Bishop David in Cardiff. For our Local Synods we always use our premises on the Isle of Man, the only place from which all our four nations are visible.

Q: Why did you take the name Ionan for your Archdiocese?

AG: Originally, the name ‘Diocese of the Isles’ was suggested for the Archdiocese, but this was considered too vague, since there are isles all over the world. Then the name ‘Isles of the North Atlantic’ was suggested, so forming the acronym I.O.N.A. This conveniently refers to the Ionan Orthodox monasticism of St Columba, which originated in Egypt and came to Ireland via Gaul. Since St Columba’s monastery on Iona spread to England via Lindisfarne and from there Orthodoxy went south, converting much of England, and authentic monasticism had always been the one thing missing here, we felt that this was a good name.

Q: How did ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ come into being?

AG: As you know even into the early 21st century there were two forms of Orthodoxy in Western countries. The first was that which looked back to the ethnic homeland, which meant that in each Western European country there was a multitude of dioceses, called jurisdictions, each living in a sort of divisive ethnic ghetto and using mainly a language other than English. This was all right for first-generation immigrants, but it did not work for second and subsequent generations, who were simply assimilated into the Non-Orthodox milieu. And after three generations, 75 years, abroad, the first generation always died out and so the Church with it. It happened to the Russians in England (arrived by 1920) who had died out by 1995 and to the Greek-Cypriots in England (arrived by 1960) who had died out by 2035.

Q: What was the second form of Orthodoxy in the West?

AG: Seeing the obvious short-sightedness and failure of the above form, there were second and third-generation Russian intellectuals who by reaction took the opposite stance. Their second form of Orthodoxy consisted of merging all Orthodox, whatever their background, into a melting pot. Their common point was the lowest common denominator, that is, the ethnic identity of the (Non-Orthodox) host country. Their policy was then to sell this as the new and substitute ethnic identity of a new Local Church. This second form only developed in full in North America, where immigrants had begun arriving much earlier than in Western Europe, at the end of the nineteenth century, and where people were far more cut off from the roots of Orthodoxy than in Europe. In Europe we did not want to repeat that mistake.

Q: What was that mistake?

AG: It was the attempt to create an ‘American Orthodoxy’. That was a mistake because it put a culture, Non-Orthodox at that, above the Church. This was not a theological movement, but merely a sociological movement of adaptation and conformism. For example, through the inferiority complex of immigrants, most Orthodox churches in the US adopted pews and many of them organs, one institution tried to use a guitar accompaniment to the Divine Liturgy and adapt the theme tune of the cowboy film ‘Shenandoah’ to it. In other places the Divine Liturgy would be stopped at Christmas in order to sing Protestant Christmas carols!

Someone at the time drew a cartoon of an ‘All-American Patriarch’, a clean-shaven man in a clerical collar with a foolish grin on his face and a glass of coca-cola in his hand, like an advert for toothpaste. Of course, this was only a carton, but it did sum up the situation. At that time when the USA still ruled the world, there were actually individuals in the US who arrogantly and blindly imagined that this second form of Orthodoxy there was the only true form of Orthodoxy, that it was at the centre of the world and that it was their duty to colonize the rest of the world with it! In reality, of course, it was a mere provincial backwater experiment, to be allowed to die out quietly because this experiment simply pandered to the weaknesses of the host country. It placed the Church of God below heretical culture. That was blasphemous, which is why it was racked with scandals.

Q: But did the same temptation not occur in Europe, even if it did not have time to develop to the same extent as in the USA?

AG: Yes, of course, it occurred; human nature is the same everywhere, it was just that it took on different forms according to the local heterodox culture. The same thing has happened among unChurched, semi-Orthodox people in Greece, Romania and Russia. It is simply the heresy of phyletism. And make no mistake, it is a heresy because you can lose your soul in it – that is what a heresy is.

For example, in France a whole jurisdiction catered for a kind of ‘philosophical and aesthetic Orthodoxy’, ‘l’Orthodoxie a la francaise’, as one might say. This theory of Orthodoxy, or theorizing about Orthodoxy, did not present the Church as the Christian way of life, but as a complex and highly intellectual philosophy, full of long words and isms, which no-one really understood. Of course, it could have been expressed in very simple language, which everyone knew already. But as long as it sounded theoretically and philosophically fine, ‘cosmique’ as they used to say, all was fine, but of course, it was not fine and that jurisdiction died out, as it was built on sand, not on the Rock of the Faith. This theorizing was about the god of the philosophers in the language of philosophers, not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the language of the fishermen of Galilee. You simply cannot build a Local Church based on Non-Orthodox culture! That is common sense, but you could not say that out loud to those who were taken up by such delusions.

Q: What about in other countries in Europe?

AG: It happened everywhere, not just in France. For example, in Germany the first liturgical book to be translated was the Typikon. In other words, Orthodoxy there was confused with the Non-Orthodox German mindset and produced an Orthodoxy of rules, a stubborn, black and white system, without any flexibility, any understanding of the human component, which is what it is all about. They lost their way by confusing the means (the services) with the ends (the salvation of the soul). For instance, I remember one German priest refusing to give a woman communion because she was dressed in trousers. Well, she was of course wrong, but a few decades ago there was a fashion for women to dress in trousers (fortunately, long since over now). That was bad, but what right did the German priest have to excommunicate that woman? Suppose she had died in the night after she had been refused communion? That sin would have been on the conscience of that priest.

Q: And in England?

AG: It was the same thing again. The national weakness here was not theorizing or creating a book of rules, but it was to adapt Orthodoxy to the British Establishment, to create a compromised ‘Establishment Orthodoxy’, a ‘British Orthodoxy’. This State-controlled and State-worshipping Orthodoxy, that of converts from Anglicanism, was of course just a repeat of the Anglicanism that had long ago been invented by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. There were even two whole but tiny jurisdictions dedicated to this State-approved pietism. It was all salt that had lost its savour. Some such people used the treacherous, half-Norman Edward the Confessor as the mascot of their ‘Establishment Orthodoxy’. Of course, it all came to nothing and has died out now, largely a fantasy of the late-twentieth century and the curious personalities who reigned supreme in the bad old days then. It was very oppressive because, as they were emperors in new clothes, you were not allowed to contradict them!

All these examples show the danger of compromising the Faith with local culture. And all those who did so have now died out, as withered branches. And that is the answer to your question, how did ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ come into being. It came into being as the only living alternative to the two false alternatives – the ghetto or worldly compromise.

Q: So what do you base ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ on?

AG: Simply, we put the Church and the Faith first. If we put the Kingdom of God, Orthodoxy, first, then all will fall into place, including the language that we use in services, which today is for about 90% in English, regardless of the ethnic origin of the parishioners, regardless of how well or how badly they speak another language. We are united by Orthodox Christianity, not by ethnic origins, and we are carried forward by the faithfulness to the Church and Her Tradition of the younger generations, who are all primarily English-speakers.

Q: You now have over 350 parishes in the British Isles and Ireland, all established quite solidly and with their own clergy and premises. Every city and town over 50,000 and the area around it is covered. This is quite unlike even 25 years ago, when the Russian Church, a small minority at that time, had mostly tiny communities with services once a month, borrowed premises and a suffered from a huge shortage of priests to go out and do vital missionary work in the area surrounding their churches. What about the other jurisdictions, which collectively still have over 50 parishes outside the Archdiocese?

AG: We live with them as good neighbours. People are free to join us and free to remain outside us. As you know, the parishes outside our jurisdiction are composed mainly of elderly people who settled here from various countries 50 years ago or more and they use very little English in their services. Virtually all the young people come to us. Time will show which way things will go. Live and let live.

Q: What is the future? Do you think of autocephaly?

AG: The Western European Metropolia, with just over 2,000 parishes now, is united, with six archdioceses, Iona, Scandinavia, Germania, Gallia, Italia and Hispania. True, the Metropolia has autonomy, but at the present time there is no desire at all for autocephaly. True, 2,000 parishes is more than in some other Local Churches, like the 700 parishes of the Hungarian Orthodox Church which recently became autocephalous, but a lot fewer than in others. Take China for example. That is still also an autonomous part of the Russian Church, even though it now has over 25,000 parishes. And the Russian Church Herself did not become autonomous for centuries, only after the Empire had fallen in New Rome. At present, I cannot see any reason to become autocephalous. That situation may of course change, especially in China, but not yet. It all takes time.

Q: Are you saying that autocephaly granted prematurely can be dangerous?

AG: Definitely. And especially in Western Europe.

Q: Why?

AG: Because Western Europe has for over a millennium veered between extremes which we do not want to repeat.

Q: Which extremes?

AG: The first is that of despotic centralism. This was the extreme of the pagan Roman Empire, which Charlemagne foolishly tried to revive and fortunately failed to, but it was indeed revived after 1050, causing Western Europe’s schism from the Church, and that lasted until the anti-Latin nationalist outburst of the Germanic Reformation. After that, despotic centralism was tried again by warmongers like Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler, and then by the EU Fourth Reich – and we all know how that ended.

Each time there was a reaction to this despotism – nationalism, and that led to terrible fratricidal wars in Europe, like the so-called ‘Wars of Religion’ in the 16th century, just as centralism created the World Wars. We do not want those extremes, we must follow the golden mean of unity in diversity, which is what we have in Ionan Orthodoxy and in the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe in general. Europe has to be a Confederation of Nations, not a Union, a United States of Europe, but not a series of warring, nationalist states either.

In the same way, the Tsardom of Rus, as it is now called, successfully overcame provincial Ukrainian nationalism a generation ago and reunited huge territories, one sixth of the world. However, it only did this by rejecting the old centralism of the Soviet Union, which had done so much damage to its credibility. Once it had done that, again on the basis of unity in diversity, all of Eastern Europe joined in a free and mutually beneficial economic confederation with it, throwing off the shackles of the old European Union, which was in fact just a repeat of the Soviet Union.

Q: Will you drop the word ‘Russian’ from the name of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe? Most of your faithful are either not Russian or else do not speak it.

AG: In the bad old days of Western nationalism, for example in North America in the Cold War, they detested the word ‘Russian’ and dropped it. Now we are more enlightened and we all understand that ‘Russian’ does not mean nationalism and means uncompromised, unsecularized Orthodoxy. We exist because we have been helped to exist by the Russian Orthodox Church, the only multinational, Imperial Orthodox Church. I think we should keep it. Do you remember the old Roman Catholic Church, as it used to be called? Well, there were hardly any Romans in it!

Q: Why has the Western European Metropolia been so successful?

AG: Without doubt because of the sacrifices made to underpin it in the twentieth century and since. The Church is built on blood, sweat and tears. We should remember with gratitude the prayers and work of those who went before us. For example, I can remember decades ago, how people wanted more English in the services. So, one bishop said yes, do the service in English. What happened? The people who had been clamouring for more English could not even put a decent choir together to sing just the Liturgy! Some of them said that the singing was so bad that they preferred the Liturgy in a foreign language, in which it was properly sung. In other words, you have to make sacrifices in order to achieve anything. We owe a great deal to those who sang properly in English, showing others that the Liturgy in English could be just as beautiful as in Slavonic. Actions speak louder than words.

Yes, mistakes were made in the past, but we learned from those mistakes. Take for example our English translations which stretch back to the turn of the 20th century, nearly 150 years ago, those made in the USA with the blessing of the holy Patriarch Tikhon by an Episcopalian Isabel Hapgood and by Orlov in England. Those were foundation stones. Yes, those translations have been improved and on the way we have seen archaic translations in a Latinate, Victorian style like those of Hapgood or even with 16th century spelling, we have seen those made into street English as well as into soulless, jarring academic English, all sorts, but today we have definitive translations, avoiding all those extremes. It is easy to criticize, but the fact is that without those tireless efforts of the past, however mistaken they sometimes were, we would not be where we are now.

Let us first of all thank our recent fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters in Christ who went before us, who built our Church, our parishes and our souls. Our Metropolia, in effect, the Church of the Old and the New Europe, would not exist without them. But let us also thank the saints of the first millennium. Through venerating them, we have earned their prayers and because of their prayers we are here today. We are built not on dead souls, but on spiritually alive souls, whether of the distant past or of the recent past. Always on spiritually alive souls: Remember that.