Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Roman Catholic Crisis and the Orthodox Future

On July 18th, 1870, the (First Vatican) Council met for the last time. As the first of the Fathers stepped forward to declare his vote (on papal infallibility), a storm of lightning and thunder suddenly burst over St Peter’s. All through the morning the voting continued, and every vote was accompanied by a flash and a roar from heaven.

Lytton Strachey, on ‘Cardinal Manning’ in his ‘Eminent Victorians’

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI last week shocked many, not least Roman Catholics. Conspiracy theories are rife, all the more so since on the evening of his resignation a violent thunderstorm erupted over Rome and, dramatically, lightning struck St Peter’s Basilica. Some of these theories assert that the Pope of Rome is dying of cancer and has not long to live, others that he resigned in order to escape a deepening of the pedophile scandal, or else a financial scandal. Others believe that the next Pope will be the last Pope and will call a Third Vatican Council, which will be the end of millennial Roman Catholicism.

According to these crisis theories, this last Pope will either be a saintly man or else a profoundly evil one, and that either the Vatican will come under persecution and disappear, or else that a new Church will replace it. In the latter case, for us, this can only mean a Western European Metropolia under the Russian Orthodox Church, the only multinational Local Church, and the only Local Church large enough to establish such a Metropolia. One wonders if this Friday’s meteor that appeared over Russia and then exploded just south of Ekaterinburg, the place of martyrdom of the Royal Martyrs in 1918, is not linked with this.

Against this background do we not see the genocide of Orthodox Syria, organised and financed by the anti-Christian Western Powers and their Islamist allies? It is written: ‘Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…land fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven…’ (Lk 21, 10-11). However, let us remain sober. What practically are the prospects for such a Metropolia to come into being? The Orthodox Diaspora seems to be divided into narrow ethnic ghettos, generally unable to see beyond temporary nationalistic or political interests. Such ghettos have only one destiny – to die out. They are history.

A great move forward occurred six years ago, when the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church were reunited, after it had been proved that the Church inside Russia was free of State interference. Now together and growing with 824 parishes and monasteries in countries of the Diaspora, Russian Orthodox churches outside Russian Orthodox canonical territory are clearly a vital part of Orthodox life in the Diaspora. It is obvious then that no Metropolia can be built on political division, or on groups used for Cold War purposes and financed by Non-Orthodox Powers, who are at present orchestrating the destruction of Orthodox Syria.

The regular meetings of all local Orthodox Bishops in different countries or groups of countries (North America, Latin America, France, Great Britain and Ireland etc) only became possible after this reuniting of both parts of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2007. Until then the Russian Church of the Diaspora was excluded for political reasons and so any meetings were unrepresentative, political manipulations. The next step is an inter-Orthodox step to unite the Diaspora in regional Metropolias. Such regional Metropolias, in Western Europe, in the Americas and in Australasia, cannot be built on the lowest common denominator.

The fact is that Metropolias, the essential basis for new future Local Churches, will be built on the maximum of Orthodox practice, not on some artificially contrived minimum and compromise. The concept that a Church can be built on the lowest common denominator of different Orthodox dioceses (so-called ‘jurisdictions’) is surreal. It must be built on the maximum and only then can economy be applied. Any other ‘solution’ would be a grave mistake. Indeed, it was tried experimentally in the USA during the Cold War and has been a moral and financial fiasco. This is an experiment not to be repeated.

For example, all Local Churches believe that there are no sacraments outside the Orthodox Church; however, all regularly apply economy in their reception of heterodox. All Local Churches agree that there is only one Church calendar. However, all apply economy, that is allow temporarily for pastoral reasons, the use of the secular calendar for the fixed feasts, to those communities which are not spiritually strong enough to live the Orthodox calendar. Similarly, all Local Churches clearly need traditional monastic life, as with the Greek Archdiocese in the USA, which has been saved by the monasteries of Fr Ephraim.

Of course, all can also agree that some extreme practices are simply unacceptable, even out of economy. We can think of intercommunion, the abolition of fasting and confession, cremation, or other strange practices of small marginal convert groups, who have never integrated the Orthodox Faith. These of course we exclude. The time is coming when new Orthodox Metropolias, composed voluntarily, will be born. Orthodox need them so as to be stronger together. But also the failing heterodox world, which is clearly in crisis, needs a canonical Church with a married priesthood and sacraments. It has only one choice.

Uniatism

Uniatism, also known as Greek Catholicism, is a hybrid form of Roman Catholicism, which tries to imitate the externals of the Orthodox Church. In reality, despite much inflated figures, there are few Uniats in the world – actual numbers may well be fewer than two million. This at least is positive because Uniatism is a spiritual illness based on alienation from the Church. Of course, I do not speak here of the average Uniat. Bribed, tricked and starved into an outward semi-submission, Orthodox remained in their souls Orthodox, but that is not the case of their latinised and shaven clergy.

For instance, I well remember the story of a friend who visited the Galician (so-called ‘Ukrainian’) Uniat church in London. When the priest began praying for the ‘Pope of Rome’, my friend turned to one of the parishioners and asked him: ‘So you’re Catholic then?’ He was insulted by this and answered, ‘No, no, we’re Orthodox’ – ‘my pravoslavnye’. My friend then said, ‘But your priest is praying for the Pope’. To which he received the reply, ‘Oh, but that’s just him, I don’t know or care what he believes in, but we’re Orthodox’.

I also recall the story of a convert from Catholicism. Taking up Orthodoxy with great enthusiasm, he began painting icons. However, once his initial burst of enthusiasm had died down, he began to lapse and so did his iconographical style. His ‘icons’ began to resemble Uniat ‘icons’. That is to say, his imitative technique was very good, but there was no content, they were empty shells, pictures before which no-one had any desire to pray. Similarly, so-called ‘Orthodox’ music, like that recorded by the Uniat ‘Theophanie’ group in France, is technically excellent, perhaps perfect, but it is just a background noise, an electronic ‘muzak’, which inspires no prayer.

The fact is that the Catholic world, with huge amounts of money and infrastructure, has a great intellectual tradition. Thus, for critical editions of texts of the Church Fathers the French ‘Sources Chretiennes’ must be the finest series in the world – but nobody reads them, except for a tiny number of academics, who play no role in real Church life. It reminds me of a rather pretentious Roman Catholic visitor to an Orthodox parish who boasted that Catholic clergy are far better educated than Orthodox clergy and that they studied for seven years before ordination. A simple Orthodox parishioner turned to him and commented: ‘You mean to say they study for seven years and still don’t become Orthodox? They can’t be very intelligent then’.

Uniatism may have near perfect techniques, a profound ability to imitate, but it is an empty imitation, acting. And being outward only without inward content, it is not something that inspires prayer. It is nearly 40 years since I attended the only Uniat service I have ever been to. At the time ill-informed, I still knew instinctively that something was not right in the service, that it was not Orthodox. It was only afterwards that I realised that I had been tricked, that it was not Orthodox. Even though they may not be able to explain it, Orthodox can smell falsity, however good the acting.

This externalism is proof that Uniatism is outside the Church. It reduces the Church of God to a mere rite – ‘Eastern’ or ‘Byzantine’ – whatever that is. For Uniatism the Church is a mere study, not a way of life. I remember some 25 years ago, we received an elderly Russian who had studied at the Uniat ‘Russicum’ in Rome. He continually criticised our Archbishop who had ordained him, refused to obey him or follow any of the practices of the Church, because ‘that is not what it says in the books’. The situation came to a head and the Archbishop was seriously considering defrocking him, when the man in question ran away to some Uniat group. The spirit of the bookworm, of the intellectual game, is not the spirit of the Church.

Roman Catholic rationalism, external knowledge, which so colours the spirit of Uniat clergy, does not fit in with the Church. It is all very well to know about the history of the structure of Orthodox services, but this is not what the Orthodox pastor needs to know at confession and for preaching. Did St John of Kronstadt know the history of the structure of the Orthodox services? Probably not, as it is irrelevant, it is only for the curious. What St John of Kronstadt, the model for all Orthodox parish clergy, knew, was how to save souls, how to become a saint. Now that is Orthodoxy, not Uniatism.

The Silent Exodus of Syria’s Christians

Posted GMT 2-9-2013 4:10:
http://www.aina.org/news/20130208221023.htm

In Syria’s rebellion, no religious or ethnic group has been spared horrific levels of loss and suffering, but its 2,000-year-old Christian minority is now facing a distinct persecution.

Under the cover of war and chaos, this group, which alone lacks militias of its own, is easy prey for Islamists and criminals, alike. These assaults are driving out the Christians en masse. This 2,000-year-old community, numbering around 2 million is the largest church in the Middle East after Egypt’s Copts, and it now faces extinction. Archdeacon Emanuel Youkhana of the Assyrian Church of the East, despite recent heart surgery, is now constantly on the road in Lebanon and Iraq trying to cope with the refugee crisis. He wrote to me today:

“We are witnessing another Arab country losing its Christian Assyrian minority. When it happened in Iraq nobody believed Syria’s turn would come. Christian Assyrians are fleeing massively from threats, kidnappings, rapes and murders. Behind the daily reporting about bombs there is an ethno-religious cleansing taking place, and soon Syria can be emptied of its Christians.”

Official information and media reports about the Christians’ fate has been sparse. A new report yesterday, by Nuri Kino, a Swedish journalist of Assyrian background, sheds valuable light on the atrocities visited upon the Christians inside Syria, and their ordeals in attempting to escape, relying as they must on exploitative human-trafficking networks that have sprung up. Entitled “Between the Barbed Wire,” the report resulted from a trip sponsored by a Swedish charity, the Syriac Orthodox Youth Organization, to assess the needs of refugees. It is based on over a hundred interviews this past Christmas with Christian refugees in Turkey and Lebanon. The refugees and the Lebanese bishops whom Kino and his team interview relate that Christians are leaving in a torrent. Once they cross into Lebanon, guided by Middle Eastern versions of “coyotes” through a harrowing series of checkpoints
guarded by various sides in the conflict, they mostly seek out the local Christian communities for help. A clearly overwhelmed Archbishop George Saliba, on Mount Lebanon, says about the refugees: “I want to help as many as I can, but it is not sustainable. We have hundreds of Syrian refugees who arrive every week. I don’t know what to do.”

Elsewhere in Lebanon, St. Gabriel’s monastery has opened its 75 unheated rooms to over a hundred refugees. In another Lebanese Christian town, the Syrian Catholic patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Josef III has converted a school building into a shelter for the hundreds of refugees there now and the others constantly arriving. The patriarch describes it as the “great exodus taking place in silence.” He also says he houses Christians who fled several years ago from Iraq. All of the Christian towns visited for the report are scrambling to keep up with the influx of Syrian Christians. Church
leaders were grateful for the beds, washing machines, heaters, and medicine brought by the Swedish visitors.

Some of the Syrians say they plan to stay in Lebanon until Syria “calms down” and they can return to their homes. Many others say going back is “unthinkable” and are making plans to try to get to Europe either on valid visas or by paying smugglers the going rate of $20,000. They are largely small-business owners and skilled
professionals — an engineer and his family, a jeweler and his, a hairdresser, a medical student, etc. Many hope to be smuggled to Sweden and Germany, where they can receive some state subsidies until they find work.

The town of Sodertalje seems to be a popular destination, with 35 new Christian families arriving from Syria each week. Kino, himself a citizen of Sodertalje, relates that there are already many Syrian Christians living there, and Arabic is more common than Swedish. The refugees were panic-stricken, pointing to some horrifying triggering event that forced them out — a kidnapping of a relative, a murder, or a robbery. They feel they are targeted for being Christian, which means that militants and criminals can assault them with impunity. Some point to a government that fails to protect them; others to Islamists rebels who want to drive them out. A refugee tells Kino: “Two men from a strong Arabic tribe decided one day to occupy our farmland, just like that. When I went to the police to report, I was told there was nothing they could do. The police chief was very clear that they would not act, as they didn’t want the tribe to turn against the regime.”

A woman from Hassake recounts how her husband and son were shot in the head by Islamists. “Our only crime is being Christians,” she answers when asked if there had been a dispute. A father says: “We’re not poor, we didn’t run from poverty. We ran from fear. I have to think about my twelve-year-old daughter. She’s easy prey for kidnappers. Three children of our friends were kidnapped. In two cases they paid enormous ransoms to get the children back, and in one case they paid but got the child back dead.”

Another man attests: “In Syria, you don’t know who is your friend and who is your enemy. The wealthy have it the worst. Criminals wait in line to kidnap them.” The refugees all fear the Islamists. When the jihadi rebel units show up and take over a town, like Rasel-Eyn, it loses its Christian population over night. One man from there tells Kino: “The so-called Free Syrian Army, or rebels, or whatever you choose to call them in the West, emptied the city of its Christians, and soon there won’t be a single Christian in the whole country.”

There is no complete data on the number of refugees. How many Christians have fled is not known and escapees continue to come across the border each day. We are only beginning to understand the peril they face. Archdeacon Youkhana pleads: “The world must open their eyes to the plight.”

By Nina Shea

National Review Online

Nina Shea is director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and co-author of Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians (Thomas Nelson Publishers,
March 2013).

Lightning in Rome

Yesterday’s sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI surprised a great many, not least in the Orthodox world, where bishops, let alone popes, do not voluntarily resign, except in exceptional circumstances. For Roman Catholics, it was perhaps even more shocking, for ‘infallible’ popes are supposed to continue their duties until the very end, as did John-Paul II.

Those of an apocalyptic frame of mind point out that the so-called ‘Prophecy of Malachi’ states that the next Pope of Rome will be the last one. According to this Prophecy, probably made up just over 400 years ago, this last Pope will be called ‘Peter’. Some point out that the frontrunner in the race to become the next Pope is the Ghanaian, Cardinal Peter Turkson.

Ironically, only a few hours after Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, according to Catholic traditionalists a freemason, had compared the resignation to a bolt of lightning in a clear sky, the dome of the Vatican’s Basilica of St Peter was struck by lightning. Photographs of this can be seen on the Internet.

Nevertheless, there is a feeling that the resignation must have been prompted by some extreme force. Speculation has begun that Pope Benedict XVI was forced into resigning by the pro-secularist and liberal protestantising party in the Vatican. Whether indeed the Vatican is finally to be swallowed by its own Western offspring, only time will show. If this is the case, it will at least force political ecumenists in certain Local Orthodox Churches to reflect on their real beliefs. In that way at least, this resignation may be salutary.

How Aleut Orthodox were sent to US Concentration Camps

There is a sad rivalry about who first invented the concentration camp. Some say that it was the Spanish in Cuba in 1896, others point to the British in South Africa in 1900. However, long before this, one can read of pagan Romans herding captive peoples into military compounds in the first centuries AD and castle-building Norman and Teutonic knights herding peasants into ‘villages’ for enserfment in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. And what, after all, was the fate of Native Americans? It was to be sent to ‘reservations’ – code for concentration camps. Only seventy years ago, the Native Orthodox people of North America also endured the same fate.

Many may know that some 120,000 Japanese Americans were sent to concentration camps in the American War against Japan for control of the Pacific rim between 1941 and 1945, even though some 60% of these were American citizens. However, after the Japanese attack on Unalaska, from 1942 on, the Aleuts of America received the same treatment, as recounted in a recent film, ‘Aleut History’. This concerns the nightmarish deportation of the native peoples of the Aleutian and Pribylov Islands to Alaska.

All those who had even one eighth native blood were deported by order of Washington. The natives were not told where they were being taken, but were packed onto warships by force and sent to four different concentration camps. Conditions were appalling – hunger, the freezing cold, disease and death faced them. One federal agent who expressed his indignation received an official reprimand. At one camp, in the village of Killisnoo, the deportees were forced to drink muddy water and sheltered from Alaskan temperatures in unheated hutments. Their salvation came from native Tlingits who gave them blankets, salt and medicine. The petitions of the women for food and warmth for their children and requests for humanitarian aid were ignored by the authorities. This camp recorded the highest rate of mortality of any of the camps.

On Barnett Inlet the Aleuts were settled in the cabins of a long-abandoned canning factory. There was no heating, electricity, water or beds and hungry wolves roamed around them. Petitions were ignored and when, finally, the deportees were allowed to return to their homes in Unalaska in 1945, they found that their houses had been ransacked by American soldiers. Moreover, the soldiers had also ransacked the Aleuts’ Orthodox churches. A similar situation existed in the camp by Lake Ward. Deportees, both adults and children, in all the camps were infected by TB, pneumonia and skin diseases. Chronically undernourished, many died from hunger and lack of medicine.

The men were forced to work without pay in various sea-related tasks and told that if they refused, they and their families would have to stay in the camps for the rest of their lives. They were not allowed to move away or seek paid work elsewhere. To this day some visit the graves of those who died in this exile. They claim that the sheer cruelty of the US government was conditioned not by the state of war, but by inherently racist attitudes. One is reminded of the old cowboy saying: ‘The only good Indian is a dead one’.

Note:

1. ‘Aleut Internment Camps: The untold US atrocity’ (CENSORED NEWS, 8.11.12)

This article is based on that of 17.12.2012 written by Vladislav Gulevich: http://ruskline.ru/opp/2012/12/15/ssha_konclager_dlya_aleutov/

Why We do not Fear the Future

Introduction

The Church stands at the centre of the Universe. This is because the Church is the Body of Christ, the Body of the Son of God, the Body of the Maker of the Universe. His redemptive sacrifice on the Cross and His Resurrection from the dead are unique and unrepeatable acts, once and for all events that save the whole Cosmos, providing only that the Cosmos accepts this salvation. The Church Alone believes in Orthodox wise in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, according to the unchangeable Creed. Around the Church in concentric circles stands the rest of the world, nearer or further away.

Nearest the Church stands Catholicism, which fails to believe in Orthodoxy in the Holy Spirit, then comes Protestantism, which calls the Son of God the man ‘Jesus’, then the Non-Christian world, which however still believes in a Father. Those furthest away are those who have consciously rejected the Holy Spirit, Christ the Son, and God the Father, altogether. This is today’s atheist West, the once Protestant world now quite lapsed and secularised. The Church is Triumphant, having achieved two great victories, but the Church is also Militant, being engaged in two great battles. What are they?

The Church Triumphant

The Church, with some 220 million baptised, is said statistically to represent just over 3% of the world population. However, this overlooks the fact that the visible Church is only the tip of an iceberg. The statistics of this world overlook all the millions of saints and all the billions of faithful departed, who also belong to the Church. These are Her first great victory.

It can be said that the visible, earthly part of the Church actually grows smaller as history ‘progresses’, that is, as we approach the end of the world, whereas the invisible part grows larger. Hence the image of the iceberg. To see the Church as only 3% of the whole is a lack of faith, a worldly view, as it overlooks all the invisible part of the world, all the faithful departed and all the invisible creation of ‘the Maker of heaven (the invisible part of creation) and earth’, in Whom we believe.

The New Martyrs and Confessors Triumphant

The New Martyrs were martyred defending the full Christian Tradition against the ideology of materialism. The New Confessors lived and suffered defending the same Christian Tradition. We do not forget that the Revolution was financed and organised by the ruthless Western world. Some Russians and others naively believed in it under the Bolshevik yoke, until they finally realised that they had been manipulated by a fairy story.

Thus, the New Martyrs and Confessors provide us with the story of integral Christians defending spiritual values against the grossness of materialism, defending the Church against traitors and apostates who had sold out to Western materialism and idolatry. The New Martyrs and Confessors are Christian patriots. They defend the Truth against the idolatry of humanism that worships fallen humanity. After the aberration of the twentieth century, they are triumphant, for their enemies are now derided and despised by history. Their feat is the prefiguration of the final triumph of the Church and Her second great victory.

The Battle for Catholicism

The first great battle faced by the Church now is Catholicism. However, after fifty years of Protestantisation imposed by the Second Vatican Council, is there anything left of Catholicism? In Western Europe and North America, it is dying on its feet. However, in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, there is still faith. There, many of the parish clergy are de facto married, so Catholicism there is not discredited by the compulsory clerical celibacy scandal of the Western world. Now that the US has lost interest in Catholicism as a political tool – because the use of a Polish Pope and American dollars to overthrow Communism in Eastern Europe was successful – the battle for Catholicism is to take place.

After the hiatus of Pope Benedict XVI, the elderly caretaker Pope, we shall see whether Catholicism wishes to become 100% secular and so spiritually irrelevant, or if it wants to choose the path of return to the Church and Orthodoxy. The new Pope, his baptismal name supposedly ‘Peter’, ‘Petrus Romanus’, the last Pope according to the dubious 400-year old ‘prophecy of Malachi’, may not perhaps be the last Pope, but he may be the last Roman Catholic Pope. However unlikely it may seem, after over a thousand years of Non-Orthodox Popes of Rome, we may, even in our lifetimes, see once more new Orthodox Popes of Rome, if, that is, we are to see any at all in the atheist West.

The Battle for the Non-Christian World

The second great battle faced by the Church now is the secularist Western world, which is ever more conditioned by atheist aggression and so the desire for world domination, domination of the Non-Christian world. Using the myth that it fights for ‘liberty and democracy’ against tyranny, thirty years ago it set out on a two-pronged attack, firstly against Communism and secondly against Islam. After the fall of Communism and the domination of Russia by materialist traitors, Gorbachov and Yeltsin, the Western world tried to occupy Eastern Europe with the tool and bribery of the EU, with its military assets and Muslim terrorists in Yugoslavia, then with bribery in the Ukraine and Georgia.

Although failing in certain parts of this attack, it next set out to defeat the Muslim world, weakening Iraq (by entrapment, promising but then withdrawing the lure of Kuwait), Afghanistan (where it had already trained and armed fanatics), destroying Iraq, sowing division and chaos in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Mali and Syria (by financing and arming Muslim mercenaries). Its intention, if it can destroy Syria by reducing it to anarchic bloodshed as it has done elsewhere, is to occupy Iran, using the colony of Israel with its US armaments. From there, the Western world can attain its final goal of occupying Azerbaijan, the Caucasus and Siberia and controlling all their immense mineral resources.

Conclusion

Today, we see the battle lines being drawn for some final confrontation that must take place in the Middle East. We see the growing alienation of the ex-Protestant, now secularist and atheist, world from the rest of the world, both from the Church, and from the world outside the Church, be it Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist. As we have seen even in this country in the last seven years, there are inevitably those who fall away from the Church, and are praised for so doing by the Western media and Western politicians, from Zbigniew Brzezinski to Madeleine Albright. Whose side are you on? Are you with the New Martyrs and Confessors – or are you with the materialist enemies of Christ?

Apostasy has made many mistakes in the last 100 years. First, it attempted to destroy Russia 96 years ago – and failed because of its New Martyrs and Confessors. Then it alienates China, now officially the greatest trading power in the world. Then it sets itself once more against the Muslim world, represented by Iran. Then against India. There are the faint-hearted who, drowning in faithless manipulations like that of ‘climate change’, despair. They despair because they do not know that God is Almighty and can change the climate in an instant. They do not know that the final battle is, as ever, between Good and Evil, between Right and Wrong, between Truth and Untruth. The faint-hearted do not know either that the final victory is Christ’s. We do not fear the future, even if it is apocalyptic sooner than we might think. Might is not Right, for God is in charge. As a great saint once said, God is not in worldly power but in a far greater power, He is in Truth.

The New Martyrs and Confessors
28 January / 10 February 2013

The Stumbling-Block and the Foolishness of Millennial Western Cultural Prejudice

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
(Matt 5, 8)

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.
(I Cor I, 23)

The culture of Western Europe began as Orthodox Christian. The history of the first millennium AD confirms this bold but factual statement. Thus, the Apostles Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome, an event followed by the martyrdom of thousands of others in Rome and all over Western Europe, veneration of whom is fundamental to the Orthodox Church. Thus, there are great Orthodox Church Fathers in the West, such as St Irinaeus of Lyons, St Cyprian of Carthage, St Hilary of Poitiers, St Ambrose of Milan, St Vincent of Lerins, St Leo of Rome and St Gregory the Dialogist. Thus, Orthodox monasticism from Egypt and Palestine entered into European life through those like St Martin of Tours, St John Cassian, St Benedict of Nursia and St Columba of Iona. Thus, the whole territory of Western Europe, Portugal and Spain, Italy and France, Switzerland and Austria, Germany and the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, Britain and Ireland, Denmark and Sweden, Norway and Iceland, became patterned by monasteries and churches and their Orthodox Christian life and the place names they left behind them.

Of course, there was another element in Western culture – the paganism of the pagan Rome Empire and of the pagan Celtic, Latin and Germanic peoples. This element always existed in the first millennium, alongside the Orthodox Christian one. However, this does not explain the reasons why the descendants of the once Christianised peoples of Western Europe are so little drawn to the Orthodox Church of today.

For this we can identify three reasons. The first is that many Western people may not live anywhere near an Orthodox church. Until very recently, there were very few Orthodox churches in Western Europe outside the capitals and major cities. The second reason is that even when such churches do exist, they may cater only for foreign-language immigrant communities, who consider that their task is precisely to conserve their foreign language and customs, which are not to be watered down with a local language. It must be said, however, that, whatever the excuses of the past, both these factors are much less relevant today than twenty-five or fifty or seventy-five years ago. Indeed, it is now obvious that there is a third reason – ultimately a factor which is far more important than the first two, because it is a spiritual reason. What is this?

This is that any who have been subject to Western culture, by birth or by assimilation, must first divest themselves of anything in that culture which cannot be baptised into the Church of God. This means ten layers of anti-Christian cultural prejudice, ten centuries of a false messiah, which have, like a parasite inside the body, become attached to the original Western Christian culture. What are they?

1. 11th century: This is the fundamental layer, which asserts that Western man can replace the Holy Spirit, that fallen and mortal man, whose immortal destiny by throwing off the Fall is heaven, is already a god on earth.

2. 12th century: This is the layer of the arrogant mind, the layer of the proud and aggressive and unrepentant individual human reason, which asserts that it knows all mysteries, that it knows better than the Church.

3. 13th century: This is the layer of false spiritualism, of the emotional pietism of the soul, of the self-exalted psyche, which imagines in its illusion that it sees God, when in reality it sees only its own fallen reflection.

4. 14th century: This is the layer of violence, of war and plague, which brings the spirit of morbidity into the Western soul, which fears death because it does not know of the Resurrection and even denies it.

5. 15th century: This is the layer of clerical corruption, which brings hatred and mistrust, the misperception that a mere human institution is the Body of Christ and that therefore it cannot exist anywhere else on earth.

6. 16th century: This is the layer of protest and revolt of the individual, the individualism which is in fact the egoism that lies at the root of the self-loving bubble of consumerism, which it claims as its ‘human right’.

7. 17th century: This is the layer of the puritanical witch-hunt, of the rejection of superstition, but which also rejects all that is beyond the narrow and limited understanding of the fallen mind as politically incorrect.

8. 18th century: This is the layer of irrational reason which claims enlightenment, but which in its darkness justifies its arrogant and imperialist desire to enslave others in its all-conquering quest for power, land and gold.

9. 19th century: This is the layer of delusional triumphalism, which asserts that the idolatrous Western domination of the whole world, through arms and industry and science, is messianic and will bring paradise on earth.

10. 20th century: This is the layer of the abandonment of God and His replacement by technology, which asserts the primitive superstition that, despite now recognised weaknesses, human knowledge is all-saving.

Thus, the first five centuries of the second millennium saw Orthodoxy as a stumbling block in the process of reducing the Faith to a mere human institution. That is why it sent out its troops to destroy the Church, which remained as a living reproach to the imperialist Western substitute for it. The second five centuries of the second millennium saw Orthodoxy as foolishness before the so-called triumph of the individual human mind divorced from God. That is why it despised as superstition and idolatry the Church, which remained as a living reproach to the rationalist Western substitute for it.

What then can we say of the 21st century?

We consider that it is too early to speak of this unfinished layer. However, we predict that in this century so-called human freedom will be proved to be enslavement. Therefore, this is the century when millennial Western cultural prejudice will evaporate, as it is seen that in truth the only real stumbling block has been the reduction of the Church of God to a human institution and that the only real foolishness has been that of the individual human mind divorced from God. This is the century when the spiritually sensitive in search of spiritual purity will find the Church, but the spiritually insensitive in search of spiritual impurity will find Hell.

Russia Unprepared for Flood of Christian Refugees from Western-sponsored Islamist Winter

» 02/05/2013 10:18
RUSSIA
Syrian and Coptic Christians fleeing to Moscow, but Russia lacks shelters

by Nina Achmatova

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Syrian-and-Coptic-Christians-fleeing-to-Moscow,-but-Russia-lacks-shelters-27050.html

Human rights activists denounce inadequate facilities for the reception of immigrants and the bureaucratic obstacles.

A Copt tells AsiaNews of death threats of the Muslim Brotherhood for failing to convert to Islam.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – A flow of refugees from Syria and Egypt is pouring into Moscow to escape from wars and violence in their country of origin bringing to light the inadequacy of facilities for the reception of immigrants in Russia.

The complaint has been made by a veteran in migrant assistance, the president of the ‘Civic Assistance Committee’, Svetlana Gannushkina. In the past week a family of 10 Coptic Christians, including a child a few months old, presented themselves in their office. The family say they fled religious persecution from Islamist groups taking place in Marsa Matrouh, near the border with Libya. “They threatened us with death if we didn’t convert and make our women and girls wear a veil,” Reda, 26, who fled with his 19 year old pregnant wife told AsiaNews.

“After the revolution many activists of the Muslim Brotherhood came – added his brother Viktor, 30, – who put pressure on us Christians to convert. Our problems started already in late 2011, but are getting worse. ‘Last year, after an argument with the principal of the school who wanted to force my daughter to wear the hijab, we were told that the presence of Christians in the city was no longer welcome. ” “We sought shelter with a local priest – he concluded – but his church had already been burned once and so he did not want to further expose himself to attack.”

Now all 10 Egyptians, plus Iraqis and Sudanese, are forced to live in a room of 20 square meters, with only a few chairs and a table, because there is no temporary accommodation center for immigrants waiting to receive refugee status in the city.

“Everyone is waiting for an answer from the Federal Service for immigration – Gannushkina , who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times told AsiaNews, – which must decide on their possible transfer to Ochyor, in Perm region, where there is one of only three reception centres for refugees in the entire country.”

The process, however, can last for weeks and the authorities have not thought of any temporary accommodation for these people, who do not have a place to live.”The problem is much worse for the Copts – said Gannushkina – because for them here, unlike Syrians, there is no large community or network of countrymen ready to open their homes.” “It is winter, and in these conditions they are likely to die of exposure – she added – so we are forced to accommodate
these people in our offices, but they are not adequate facilities.” The small child Cirillus, who arrived with his mother, father and sister also from Marsa Matrouh, is already sick and was visited by doctors from Doctors Without Borders.

Last year 700 people turned for help to ‘Civil Assistance’, including 80 Egyptian Copts. The new arrivals are in addition to about 30 Syrians who in January of this year already made a request to Moscow for refugee status. One hundred Syrians arrived in the last six months of 2012.

Reception centers for refugees fleeing persecution and war are provided in all countries that have signed the UN Convention on Refugees. In Russia – denounced the Gannushkina – formally, there are three centers, but in fact only one works, that of Ochyor for more than 80 people. “This integration does not exist and the sanitary conditions are very bad,” she added.

According to rumors circulating in the press and among NGOs, the Immigration Service is considering even closing it down. The other two centers are located one in the Tver Region and the other in the south of Rostov, but are not working at full capacity. “In a country as large as Russia three centers for immigrants is virtually nothing, if you think that Poland, which much smaller than us, has 11,” added Gannushkina, who has always declared that if she ever wins the Nobel she will allocate the prize money to building at least another refugee centre near Moscow.

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.