Daily Archives: February 7, 2013

ROCOR and the Future of the Western World

Never has the power of sin dominated humanity as it does today…And we know that if sin is victorious over all humanity, then Antichrist will appear.

His Holiness, Patriarch Kyrill, 1 February 2011, (http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/print/1398799.html)

Today we recall the prophetic words of St John of Kronstadt on the birthday of Tsar Nicholas II in 1907:

‘The Empire of Russia wavers, shakes, is close to falling…Hold firm to your Faith and the Church and Orthodox Tsar…If you fall away from your faith…then there will be no Russia or Holy Rus, but a collection of all sorts of people of other faiths, trying to destroy one another…’.

We can understand this prophecy in the light of later history, as recalled by ROCOR faithful:

In Paris the White Russian General P.N. Krasnov related how during the First World War Kaiser Wilhelm once asked a thousand Russian Muslim prisoners of war, for whom he had built a mosque, to ‘sing your prayer’. To a man they sang, ‘God, save the Tsar!’

The overthrow and the arrest of Emperor Nicholas II caused great sorrow to many of the Protestant Baltic Germans in the Imperial Army, such as Count General Keller and General von Rennenkampf, or the Muslim General, Ali-Hussein Khan Nachichevansky, who remained faithful to the Tsar, unlike so many other generals.

In Tobolsk, where the Imperial Family had been exiled, the local Tartars prayed with their mullah for the well-being of the captives in front of the house where they were under arrest.

In 1939, that faithful and most active layman of ROCOR in Western Europe, P.S. Lopukhin, wrote:

‘In this essence of Orthodoxy and Orthodox people lies the foundation of Russian expansion and the ability to join peoples to them, without crippling them. Foreigners perhaps sometimes even more than Russians have loved their ideals, for example, the idea of the White Tsar. This is of course a purely Holy Russian idea. ‘Don’t think’, said one Palestinian, ‘that the Russian Tsar was only Russian. No, he was also Arab. The Tsar is the all-powerful protector and defender of the Orthodox East. While he lived, millions of Arabs lived in peace and security’. Another man said: ‘When the news that they had killed the Tsar reached the Middle East, then in three countries (Syria, the Lebanon and Palestine) there was a wave of mass suicides. Already at that time Arabs felt that with the death of Tsar Nicholas human history was over and that life on earth had lost all its meaning’. A Russian Orthodox man recalled how when the news of the murder of Emperor Nicholas II first reached Kazan, a Tartar said in despair: ‘Russia is dead. We are all dead’.

Today, in many parts of the world, for example in Syria, we see the results.

Why do we recall these words today? Let us look at Western Europe today, first recalling events which took place in Portugal in 1917 – 96 years ago:

‘We will not dispute the miraculous nature of the original appearance of the Mother of God (in Fatima)…like other similar appearances. All these signs had one general task: to warn faithful Catholics of coming misfortunes and to call them to repentance, to change their lives and draw near to God – in order to avoid these misfortunes. To the unprejudiced consciousness, all these appearances, especially the miracle at Fatima, contain what is applicable to Russia, clearly and beyond argument’.

Fr Konstantin Zaytsev, Pastoral Theology, Vol II, P. 41, Jordanville 1961

And what has happened 52 years on since these words were written? Has there been repentance? Let us look at four items, taken from the news this very day, 7 February 2013:

It has been announced in Germany that the Catholic Archdiocese of Berlin is to reduce the number of churches it has from 105 to 30 in the next seven years.

Meanwhile a similar situation has developed in Brussels, (which within a generation will, it is said, have a majority Muslim population, where scores of its 108 churches are to be closed, including the central St Catherine’s church, which is to be turned by the Archdiocese into ‘a vegetable market’.

After being deluged with complaints from outraged religious groups, Obama’s health department has dug in its heels, saying its decision to force employers to provide abortifacient birth control drugs will continue as planned – although faith-based groups will be given a year reprieve. In response, U.S. Catholic bishops have not minced words, vowing to fight the order as ‘literally unconscionable’.

It has been announced that the government of the Russian Federation will review its policy of allowing Russian orphans to be adopted in countries like France and Great Britain, since legislation is being passed there to allow single sex ‘marriage’.

What is the purpose of ROCOR?

That I may not be accused of speaking from myself, I will quote again from that renowned Orthodox thinker and writer, Fr Konstantin Zaytsev, from page 136 of the very same book as above:

‘The world has previously been on the threshold of its end. Even now the end can be postponed. What is necessary for this? The Restoration of the Russian Orthodox Empire. The Restoration of Age-Old Church Consciousness’.

He continues on page 138:

‘As regards the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia…inasmuch as it remains by succession a surviving part of the Russian Orthodox Church, it thereby remains faithful to the idea of the Russian Orthodox Empire…’.

The West has westernised Russia. All aspects of modern, everyday life, from blast furnaces to railways, from electricity supply to television, from cars to smartphones, have been shaped by technology born in the West. However, all this belongs to the realm of the natural. But there is that which belongs to the realm of the supernatural, the miraculous: This is the bringing of the West to Christ and only a fully restored Orthodox Russia can do this. Here is the purpose of ROCOR.

Thoughts from inside the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

During the Cold War it is no secret that ROCOR suffered from conditioning by the anti-Soviet culture of the Western Cold War and the narrow mentality of being a small minority. These are now largely things of the past and ROCOR has been able to return to its older and broader culture from before the Revolution.

True, those who were adults before the Russian Revolution and then went into exile fleeing Bolshevik persecution have long since departed this world. However, we remember them and their words. Thus, the memory of the Tsar’s Imperial Russia is in many ways more alive with us than inside Russia. ROCOR has never suffered from conditioning by Soviet culture, such as Bolshevik nationalism and imperialism.

An example is ROCOR attitudes to the controversy around the suggested change of the name Volgograd back to Stalingrad. Naturally, the historic battle will always be called Stalingrad. It is this in history textbooks and in place names throughout the Western world. Thus, in Paris there is a famous Place de Stalingrad and even in provincial Colchester in England there is a ‘Stalin Road’. However, these in reality commemorate the great victory of the Allied peoples of the former Russian Empire over Nazism, not of the then Soviet leader, who was also a mass murderer.

What would we prefer then, Stalingrad or Volgograd? Naturally, it is not for us to choose, that is for the people who live there today. However, if it depended on us, Volgograd would be the clear peference but we would surely much rather choose the historic and pre-Revolutionary name of the city, Tsaritsyn, which recalls a tributary river of the Volga.

Another example of our thoughts concerns the recent praiseworthy decision of the Bishops’ Council in Moscow to add China and Japan to the list of canonical territories of the Russian Orthodox Church. Given that Russian Orthodox missionaries and local Orthodox, and no missionaries from other Local Orthodox Churches, have been present in both countries for over 150 years, this decision is perfectly natural. It is in fact a welcome return to the pre-Revolutionary situation.

We hope that that list may yet be extended to other territories and lands of the world where Russian Orthodox missionaries worked or would surely have worked, had it not been for the interruptions of the Revolution and its dread consequences. Alaska, which territory is for the moment in the hands of the OCA, Thailand and Laos, where Russian Orthodox missionary work is already in progress, and perhaps in the future, Mongolia and Tibet (the latter at present in any case under Chinese administration), North Korea, Iran and India, are countries that come to mind. In this ROCOR sees continuity with the pre-Revolutionary past and the internationalism of the Russian Empire, as it existed then.

Some may say that this missionary work is being carried out by the Church inside Russia. What of ROCOR? As regards China and other lands like Tibet, North Korea and Iran, ROCOR simply has no access for political reasons. But what of other countries?

Here it must be said that we are much hampered by our lack of funds. We have no oligarchs and no Gazprom to subsidise us. Church-building and salaries for clergy, in South, Central and North America, in Australasia and Asia (Indonesia and Pakistan), in Western Europe and Palestine are all much delayed and complicated by lack of funds. One solution, that already put forward by the late Metropolitan Vitaly, is the sale of the Synodal building in New York. Worth between $100 and $200 million, its sale would solve a host of problems, including the necessary work at the Jordanville Monastery. Of course, this is a matter for the Synod of Bishops to decide. May God’s Will be done.