Monthly Archives: June 2013

Saint Petersburg, Vienna, Paris: The Vestiges of Europe a Century on

When he was illegally deposed in 1917, the anointed Tsar-Prophet Nicholas II recorded that all around him were ‘treason and cowardice and deceit’. With these words he defined the attitude towards him of the elites of three nations and groups of nations and with these words he defined the whole history of the coming hundred years.

In speaking of treason, he referred to the majority of the Westernised upper classes in Saint Petersburg, who hated the Russian Faith and were so jealous of the Tsar that they blasphemously sought to seize his sacred authority for themselves, thus destroying their country and condemning themselves to death or exile, where many of them later apostasised from the Russian Church altogether.

In speaking of cowardice, he referred to the government in Vienna, and behind it in Berlin, which had sparked off the First World War through cowardice, the fear of granting justice to their peoples, and thus destroyed their countries, their empires and their monarchies, condemning them to abolition and themselves to collapse by 1945.

In speaking of deceit, he referred to Paris, and behind it London and Washington, who though supposed ‘Allies’, had hypocritically undermined Russia, even after the sacrifices of the Russian Armies, who had faced twice as many enemy soldiers and lost far fewer of their own than the Western Allies, miraculously saving Paris on the Marne in 1914 and the forces on the Western Front several times after this. By operating the palace revolution in Russia in early 1917, the Western Allies would bankrupt themselves, becoming colonies of foreign bankers in the USA.

Saint Petersburg, Vienna and Paris are the three centres of the old European culture.

Miraculously delivered and rebuilt after the destruction of Bolshevik atheism and of the later Nazi siege, Saint Petersburg still stands firm because of its Orthodox culture. Vienna, like Berlin, is much weakened, supported only by the vestiges of Orthodox culture feebly conserved in Catholicism. For the same reason Paris is even weaker – though not as weak as London and Washington, which have only the feeble vestiges of Catholicism, feebly conserved in secularist Protestantism.

Today in 2013, one hundred years on from 1913, the year before Europe fulfilled its death wish, the question is this:

Does Europe really want its new culture of atheist Apostasy, with its tyranny and perverted values, or does Europe still want its old culture of believing Tradition, with its freedom and Christian values?

The victory of the old culture of believing Tradition, however unlikely it may seem, is possible, but only if Europe refers back to its spiritual roots. This is why we Orthodox are being called on to gather together not only the faithful remnants among the peoples of Europe, but also to gather together the saints of Old Europe, who were faithful to Orthodoxy, so that they may intercede for Europe and for us. However, little time remains, for, as prophesied, all around are ‘treason and cowardice and deceit’.

What will happen to the Patriarchate of Constantinople once Russia has freed Istanbul?

In the nineteenth century France and Great Britain began a war of aggression in order to stop Russia freeing Istanbul and ‘Turkey in Europe’, i.e north-eastern Greece. This event, the Crimean War (= the second unprovoked and allied Western invasion of Russia of the four between 1812 and 1941), prevented the liberation of Constantinople. Even more dramatically and treacherously, in the twentieth century the British, with French and US support, carried out the coup d’etat or so-called ‘Russian Revolution’ of March 1917, partly in order to stop this same liberation, to which the Western Powers had hypocritically already agreed

However, all the prophecies, not least those of Elder Paisios of Athos, are unanimous. The liberation of Constantinople will happen, once Turkey has been split apart by the absurd policies foisted on it by the Western Powers, above all, the USA. Then the last liturgy in the restored Church of the Holy Wisdom, Agia Sofia, will be completed. Then the Kurds, the Armenians, the Greeks and the Syrians will all see justice. And the Turkish people themselves will find their rightful place. The question therefore that arises is what will happen to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, once the City has been liberated by Russia?

Clearly, Russia will hand it and the surrounding territory over to the Greek Nation, to whom it belongs. Russia will have no interest in keeping it, since its real interest is Jerusalem and the Holy Land, where one million Russians live. Once Constantinople has been restored to the Greek people and become their capital again, the historic injustice committed by the British in 1833 will be righted. This was when, under British pressure, the Church of Greece was split away from the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In this way the Patriarchate of Constantinople will once more become what it really is – the national Church of Greece.

In this way fantasies of modernistic world jurisdiction over Orthodoxy, foisted on that Patriarchate after 1917 firstly by British and then, from 1948, by American, imperialism, will utterly fade away. Then the remaining thirteen universally recognised canonical Orthodox Churches will be united under by far the largest of them, the Russian Orthodox Church. With this, we can expect the Patriarchates of Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria to become internationally Orthodox, and so much stronger, and the Church of Cyprus will enter into a fuller communion with the Russian Orthodox Church, with the Russian base in Paphos.

The Roads Not Taken

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Four roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one least travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

With Apologies to Robert Frost

Introduction: Four Roads

Reflecting over the last twenty five years of the history of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), we can in hindsight see clearly the four roads that the Church faced then and how the Church, in Her faithful bishops, clergy and people inspired by the Holy Spirit, came to reject three of the roads and take the fourth road, a road that time has proved to be profoundly right. Here we should not forget that it is only seven years ago, at the historic Fourth All-Diaspora Council in San Francisco in 2006 that the Church definitively chose this road under the saintly leadership of the Ever-Memorable Metropolitan Laurus. What were these three roads that the Church did not take and the road we did take?

1. The Sect

Sometimes to do nothing is actually right. However, when there is clear and radical change, for example the world-changing event of the collapse of the Soviet Union, to continue as before would have been absurd. To do nothing, not to react, the choice of passivity, would soon have become the choice of passivism and so the path of the sect and the nationalist ghetto. This became clear during the 1990s when Metropolitan Vitaly, already affected by Alzheimer’s, heavy medication and a sectarian and nationalistic entourage, accepted into the Church Outside Russia little groups inside Russia, and this to the horror of educated ROCOR clergy and laity. This act, which seemed quite uncanonical even then, proved to be disastrous in establishing tiny sectarian groups, sometimes led by rightly defrocked clergy.

Similarly, at that time an infamous and incredible decree was issued in the Metropolitan’s name, using, or rather abusing, his signature. This decree forbade the use of English, including in parishes where there was not a Russian in sight! That this was the path of the sect and the nationalist ghetto was clear to the vast majority then and the decree was quietly but universally ignored. Moreover, that this was the path of the sect and the nationalist ghetto has been further borne out even more by all those tiny and mostly elderly groups, already dying out, often consisting of ungrounded neophytes, quite uneducated individuals or else CIA operatives, with peculiar names and even more peculiar theology, which left the Church Outside Russia between 2001 and 2007.

2. Go Under Moscow

Given that ROCOR was clearly part of the whole Russian Orthodox Church, which clearly had grace and sacramental life, a few considered submitting to the authority of Moscow and actually abolishing ROCOR. This would have been a huge mistake for a number of reasons. Firstly, there was the fact that the Church had been founded by St Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow, who as a former Bishop of San Francisco, well understood the need for a politically independent Church outside Russia. Thus, self-abolition would have been contrary to the wishes of this saint. Secondly, many of the parishes under the Patriarchate of Moscow outside Russia were scandalous. Many of their clergy were uncanonical or else had been defrocked by ROCOR and then reinstated by Moscow (the OCA used to do the same).

Thus, several of their bishops, especially in Europe) had morally scandalous lives (Archbishop Basil Krivoshein stands out as an exception). Paris and London are well known and most know the almost burlesque story of the former priest of the Australian Diocese of ROCOR, defrocked on any number of accounts, not least of which was adultery, who was welcomed into the arms of Moscow and ended up as ‘Metropolitan of Vienna’ and a proven KGB agent! But thirdly, it would have been a terrible error to lose the unique, multinational Church Outside Russia with its pastoral experience and linguistic abilities, which is now proving itself in teaching Patriarchal churches how to live in a multicultural and globalised world, while retaining the best, pre-Revolutionary Orthodox traditions.

3. Go Native

A ‘third way’ or radical alternative would have been to divorce altogether from the Mother Church, to renounce the Russian Church, despite all our history and canonicity as an integral if politically separate part of the Church, and go native. Thus in Western Europe there would have been founded a ‘European Orthodox Church’, in the USA an ‘American Orthodox Church’ and in Australia an ‘Australian Orthodox Church’. The justification for such an out of character and quite uncanonical operation would have been that as the flock was losing Russian as a native language, it was time to use instead the native languages of the countries wherever the Church existed, flying in the face of real pastoral needs and realities, let alone the canons of the Church.

Apart from a few recent converts, most were not at all attracted by this concept, since it would have destroyed the multinational unity of the Church out of phyletism and would also have led to the sect and the nationalist ghetto. Unlike in the first road, this sect would have been liberal and the nationalism would have been European, American and Australian, but still it would have been a sect and a nationalist ghetto. After all, the OCA, Paris and convert parts of the Antiochian Diaspora had already taken this erroneous road and proved this point. Furthermore, a new Local Church can only be created through blood, tears and sweat, monasticism and martyrdom, not through the superficial inanities of modernism, which is but a passing fashion without a future in the real, post-modernist world.

Conclusion: The Fourth Road

In reality none of these three choices attracted more than a few. In reality, the way of the Church, the fourth road, prevailed. This was to recognise the repentance of the hierarchs of the Church inside Russia, so wonderfully expressed in their August 2000 Jubilee Council and then gradually implemented. This was after all what the faithful monastics, clergy and people of the Church inside Russia, the real judges of the situation, had recognised. Once this had been done, it would be possible to negotiate and reunite the two parts of the Church, becoming a universally canonically recognised autonomous Metropolia of the whole Church. Thus, we would have our future and continue our unique multicultural and multilingual mission worldwide, in faithfulness to the Russian Orthodox Tradition.

For the Faith, the Sovereign and the People: The Spiritual and Incarnate Centre

The West hates Russia for its attachment to what is alien to it, that is, to Orthodox Civilisation. Western Europeans believe that they are the chosen heirs of Israel, Greece and Rome…Russia inherited – together with Orthodoxy and the title of the Third Rome – this hatred from the West.

Arnold Toynbee

The most important obstacle in achieving the aim of establishing the kingdom of Antichrist has been Orthodox Russia – the only strong and powerful bulwark of the true Christian Orthodox Faith in the world.

Archbishop Averky of Syracuse

There always have been and always will be those who are on the sectarian fringes of the Church. It is the Centre that holds these fringes together, patiently preventing them from falling away from the Church. At the Centre of the Church we believe in Orthodox Christianity. This is the Faith in Christ made Incarnate through the Sovereign in the People. The spiritual, Orthodoxy, the intellectual, the Sovereign, and the physical, the People, are key to the understanding of Christianity.

Thus, if there is no authentic Christianity, no Orthodox Christianity, but only some distortion of Christianity, some heterodoxy, the spiritual will be marred by impurity. If there is no authentic Sovereignty, no Sovereign under God, but some manmade distortion of Sovereignty, the intellectual will be marred by impurity. And if there is no authentic People, no faithfully believing humanity, but some distortion of the understanding of the People, the physical will be marred by impurity.

Thus, on the diplomatic and liberal left hand fringes of even the Church, Orthodoxy may be understood as some ecumenical Faith, little more than some mixed and compromised, disincarnate and pseudo-spiritualised, heterodox Catholicism/Protestantism. Sovereignty may be understood at best as a sort of liberal constitutional monarchy, a Sovereign subject to mob rule and bribery. And the People may be understood as some humanistic mixture of semi-faith and even faithlessness.

Thus, on the ritualistic and superstitious right hand fringes of even the Church, Orthodoxy may be understood as some conformist philosophy, little more than a Spiritless conformism fit only for the museum of nationalism. Sovereignty may be understood as some authoritarian and reactionary oppression, without any Divine sanction, not as a Sovereign beneath God. And the People may be understood as some mere nationalistic ideology, no more than a narrow and nationalistic race-worship.

Outside the Church, they believe spiritually not in the New Jerusalem, but in enthroning Antichrist in the Old Jerusalem, in devil-worship made universal, the creation of the Religion of Antichrist; they believe intellectually not in the Third Rome, the Christian Empire, but in pagan Rome made universal, the creation of Antichrist’s Global Empire; they believe physically not in the defence of the People’s Faith and Home, but in the destruction of the Sovereign Empire of the People.

However, inside the Church, we understand Orthodoxy as the bimillennial Tradition of the Church as the Body of Christ, Apostolic, Martyric and Patristic, inspired by and confessed in the Holy Spirit. We understand Sovereignty as the Sovereign Ruler subject to God who protects the Church and prevents the coming of Antichrist. And the People we understand as composed of all the people of the world who are faithful to Christ and His uncompromised and ever-pure Church.

One Step Closer to Armageddon

With two wars lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, Western governments are apparently intending to continue their folly by meddling in Syria. Eighty people die there every day, as thousands of foreign Sunni mercenaries massacre the Christian, Alawite and Shia population. The terrorists are financed by Sunni Saudi Arabia and Qatar and trained by the USA, Britain and France. Now the West has fabricated ‘evidence’ of the use of chemical weapons – just as it fabricated ‘evidence’ of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq.

Iraq itself is now divided into three and racked by terrorist bombs; full-scale civil war draws ever closer. Iraqi deputies have asked for the heads of state of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to be tried at the international court in the Hague for supporting extremist terrorists and their unspeakable atrocities, notably in Iraq, Syria and the Yemen. As for Turkey, along whose borders there are training camps for the terrorists in Syria, trained by US, UK and French ‘Special Forces’, it has now too been racked by civil revolt.

The Jordan, once virtually a British colony and now a US protectorate ruled by King Abdallah II, nicknamed ‘Play Station’, has allowed hundreds of tons of arms and munitions to be transferred to its territory at the behest of the dictatorships of Qatar and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies. Arms shipments have been organised by the CIA, notably from Croatia. As a result, Jordan is now facing the same unrest as has broken out under the dictatorial regime in Turkey and may yet face territorial division.

Meanwhile, Egypt faces economic and constitutional chaos with daily demonstrations. The persecuted Copts are leaving in their tens of thousands, just as 80% of the Christians had to leave Iraq. In Libya, tribes and militias have divided the country into three and massacre one another daily, not least in Tripoli. Towns and cities of Tunisia are under curfew every evening and Tunisian soldiers are fighting Islamist terrorists near the Algerian border. As for Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Yemen and Bahrein, they are all in a state of unrest.

Two lost, bankrupting and disastrously disturbing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have left NATO forces fleeing for their lives (with ‘exit strategies’) from the hornets’ nests which they have stirred up through their meddling. However, the whole Middle East is now in a state of chaos after the Islamist winter, so absurdly called an ‘Arab spring’ and so encouraged by the mixture of purposeful cynicism, self-righteous naivety and stupid greed of Western governments. The Middle East is moving one step closer to Armageddon.

The Main Ecclesiological Problem of Roman Catholics is their Tendency to Nationalism

In reply to Cardinal Koch and his provocation, not his first, made at the Ukrainian Catholic University in L’viv, as reported by the CWN news agency on 11 June, it can be said that the main problem of Roman Catholicism is its nationalism.

Its schism from the Orthodox Church, justified by the filioque heresy, was based on pure Western nationalism, centred in pagan Rome and implemented by Germanic popes. The fact that Roman Catholicism has constantly tried for centuries to undermine and destroy the Russian Orthodox Church, the centre of the Orthodox Christian world, proves this nationalism. The fact that Roman Catholicism has constantly encouraged politically-inspired nationalism to enter into the Local Orthodox Churches, also proves its nationalistic spirit. The fact that its Ukrainian Uniat (Greek Catholic) branch, centred in L’viv, is a pit of nationalism only reinforces the evidence.

Cardinal Koch’s statement is the most anti-ecumenical and aggressive attack made on the Church of God for several years. We should thank God for it. It may be that his provocation will lead deluded Orthodox on the fringes of the Church – who actually believed in ecumenism! – back to their senses.

How do we Explain the Present Crises in Turkey and the Czech Lands?

At the present time Turkey is being rent apart by street protests against the current regime there. As for the Czech Republic, it is facing extremely serious flooding and parts of Prague are being evacuated at this very moment. We can explain these catastrophic events through politics, geography etc. But perhaps we should be looking at spiritual reasons for these crises.

As regards Turkey we have the incredible statement made on 29 May made by the arch-Conservative Prime Minister Erdogan, an anti-Chrsitian, pro-American puppet who has sided with Israel against Syria and allows his country to be used as a training ground for anti-Christian Islamist mercenaries and fanatics. On that day, 29 May, the 560th anniversary of the fall of the Christian Roman Empire in 1453 (the pagan Roman Empire fell a thousand years earlier in 476), Erdogan called Christian Rome ‘a dark chapter’ in history and called the Muslim massacre and succeeding grim 560 years of oppression and genocide ‘a time of Enlightenment’. (Source: Since that day Turkey has been rocked by rioting in what looks like more ‘Arab spring’ type events, which could easily end in civil war.

Meanwhile, the Czechoslovak Orthodox Church has in the last three months seen its first hierarch, Metropolitan Christopher, atrociously slandered and deposed in a vicious political and financial attack on the pro-Russian and Russian-founded Church. Since then there has been an attempt by American politicians to influence the Church through its US-financed Greek puppets in Istanbul. The injustice cries out to heaven. Since then almost all the Czech Lands have been flooded.

Our conclusion? When a country falls into national sin, it loses the protection of God’s grace. Some call this Divine retribution; we call it the spiritual law. Both countries have attacked their spiritual backbone; both therefore are under threat of spiritual destruction. A country which loses its spine collapses like a skeleton without a spine. It is not complicated.


What is the religious situation of the 143 million citizens of today’s Russian Federation?

We can say that of 1,000 citizens of the contemporary Russian Federation, approximately:

80 are indifferent to all religion or else belong to minor religions or philosophies like Buddhism, Judaism, Protestantism and Catholicism.

70 are atheists.

60 are Muslims.

However, 790, 113 million, are Orthodox Christians (1). On average approximately each 5,000 of these is served by one church centre.

Of these 790 per 1,000 of the Russian Federation, approximately 700 hardly ever attend church, though some of them they may occasionally call in at a church at Easter or even Christmas and certainly observe some vestigial Chrsitian folk customs. They would certainly be baptised and certainly wish to be buried as Orthodox. However, most of them do not mar-ry in church and confession and communion are unknown to them.

Of these 790, approximately 50 are regular but not constant churchgoers.

Of these 790, approximately 39 are constant churchgoers.

Of these 790, approximately 1 is an exemplary Churchgoer, a pious person who witnesses to holiness.

With these last three groups, approximately 90 people per 1,000, lies the future of the 900 others. It was ever thus….


1. These 113 million form the majority of the 164 million of over 50 nationalities who make up the Russian Orthodox Church. Over another 30 million Russian Orthodox live in the Ukraine, over 6 million in Belarus, 4 million in Kazakhstan, 3.5 million in Moldova and an-other 7.5 million are scattered across countries in Central Asia, the Baltic Republics, Western Europe, North and South America, Australasia, Japan, Thailand and elsewhere throughout the world.

Thoughts on Difficulties Facing the Church outside Russia


Of problem areas facing the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia in regions outside Russia, there now remain perhaps four of the original five. The first problem was what to do with the three tiny communities in Australia, still irregularly under the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia, which had to be canonically unified with the far larger Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). Here the solution was simple, to hand over one community that was happy to come to ROCOR and grant temporary stavropegia (peculiar status) to the other two until they and their problems have been absorbed. What then are the other three problem areas that remain?

1. Asia

Problem One is what to do about China, if the Chinese government does after all grant freedom for Non-Western Orthodoxy in China, as we all hope. Here the problem is even greater because it is clear that at the present time, whichever hierarch is responsible for China, he will also have to be responsible for the moment for a further extension to Russian Orthodox canonical territory – in North Korea, Indo-China (Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia), Thailand and India. In other words, we are saying that the Russia Church may soon face the question of whom it can appoint as Metropolitan of China and beyond. However, there is perhaps an excellent candidate in Moscow, at present an Archbishop.

2. North America

In North America, the situation is far more complex since this is an area of mixed jurisdiction in which other Local Churches are present. Thus, the first problem is the much disputed autocephaly granted during the politically highly difficult Cold War period to the so-called English-speaking and new calendarist OCA (Orthodox Church in America). Controversially, its territory includes former Russian America (now Alaska) as well as Canada. Moreover, according to the Tomos of autocephaly, the Church inside Russia no longer has any right to found new parishes in North America.

Therefore, it now falls to ROCOR (not party to the Tomos) to open such new parishes and cater for the huge pastoral needs of the many new Russian Orthodox immigrants to North America, as it does already to all, of whatever nationality, who remain faithful to the Russian Orthodox Faith. In this matter ROCOR will certainly therefore need financial help from Russia. The future for the small number of parishes in North America still irregularly under the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia, is to pass to the appropriate – and only – canonical part of the Russian Church outside Russia – that is, to ROCOR. Except for those who do not wish to go to ROCOR (like the two communities in Australia) and those whom ROCOR refuses as uncanonical (and there are some – perhaps they will join the OCA), the vast majority of parishes at present under the Church inside Russia will in time do exactly this.

This should be particularly easy in Canada, although none of this solves the problem of the huge territory granted to the OCA, including even Alaska. The OCA now also has a huge number of bishops, including four Metropolitans, yet probably numbers fewer than 30,000 active parishioners. We can only pray that in time the Church inside Russia, which is historically responsible for this situation, will find a canonical solution to it. Perhaps this will take the form of a revised Tomos, which will be canonically acceptable to all the Local Orthodox Churches.

3. Western Europe

Here is the most complex problem of all. Western Europe is not dominated by ROCOR, as Australia is, or for that matter North America. Instead the Russian Church presence here is divided into two halves, that of the canonical ROCOR and that of numerous parishes still irregularly under the Church inside Russia, even though they are outside Russia. For historical reasons it is only the German-speaking and French-speaking areas of Western Europe where ROCOR has a real presence and even here limited. Clearly, according to the Russian Orthodox canonical accords of 2007, the parishes of the Church inside Russia will have to be transferred and absorbed into the Church outside Russia with time. But how?

One of the major problems here is the weak episcopal presence on both sides, especially on the part of the Patriarchate. It urgently needs younger bishops who speak the local languages in Italy, Iberia, Scandinavia, Austria-Hungary and perhaps Benelux. It needs younger bishops who are not only bilingual, but also bicultural, thus understanding local people; the disastrous Sourozh episode of the early 2000s, of which the distracted Patriarchate in Moscow had been repeatedly alerted would happen, proves this point of the lack of understanding of the episcopate of local situations. Otherwise, it will simply be a Church of the ghetto, as ROCOR often used to be. As for ROCOR, it urgently needs a bishop in Great Britain (perhaps he could also cover Benelux, thus solving the problems of all Russian Orthodox parishes in Benelux). In Great Britain there has been no resident bishop in good health for nearly fifty years. It is a miracle that anything is left of the diocese here at all. All new bishops, of whatever background, should be trained at least to ROCOR pastoral standards.

Apart from the problems of elderly bishops or bishops who cannot communicate with and do not understand parts of their flocks, there are other Cold War canonical compromises that remain in several parishes in Western Europe which are still under the Church inside Russia – not least among these are also financial problems. However, with time, all these problems can be overcome. The absorption of these parishes into ROCOR can be managed, providing that time is taken over it.

4. Latin America

The difficulty here is that of the Great Britain Diocese writ large – the absence for many years of resident episcopal supervision. Gallantly Bishop John of Caracas carries out his duties in his now small diocese; but the horse has bolted. Meanwhile the parishes under the Church inside Russia that exist in South America have been left without a bishop at all. Latin America desperately needs bilingual Russian Orthodox Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking clergy; a dozen of them, with adequate finance, would make a huge difference. However, that is only the start, millions of Maya in Guatemala and millions of Brazilians want Orthodoxy, but there is no infrastructure to take pastoral care of them. Nowhere are problems as great as in Latin America – South, Central and North (Mexico).


Since the fall of atheist rule in Russia, an enormous amount has been done to sort out the problems of the Russian Church both inside Russia and, in recent years, outside Russia. However, much still remains to be done. A brief outline of the problem areas has been given above. As long as all takes place peacefully and in freedom, in due course the worldwide situation of the whole Church outside Russia, at present with over 820 parishes, many monasteries and two seminaries, will continue to improve.

Archpriest Andrew Phillips
Moscow, 31 May 2013

Six Days in Moscow: Thoughts from Outside In

‘…On the days of their commemoration tens of thousands of the faithful, come to the scene of the sufferings of the holy passion-bearers, have asked for their help for our people in its spiritual rebirth, in the straightening of its historical paths.

Let us be firm in the hope that the Lord will make us worthy to overcome all the consequences of the tragedies, controversies and crimes of the 20th century, raising up Holy Rus from strength to strength.

May God fulfil the words of St John of Shanghai over Her, when in the menacing year of 1938 he said: Blessed art thou, O Russian Land, cleansed by the fire of suffering! Thou hast passed through the baptismal waters and now thou art passing through the fire of suffering and then thou wilt enter into thy rest’.

His Holiness Patriarch Alexis of Moscow
Nativity Epistle 2008/9


As I prepare to go to Moscow from London, I wonder about the love-hate relationship between Russian and English people and between Russian and British governments respectively. As the Grand Duchess Olga, sister of the martyred Tsar, commented over fifty years ago, and hundreds of others before and since: ‘Many of my best friends are English and I love them dearly, but as for the policies of successive British governments towards Russia, they are contemptible’. As an Englishman, I can say the same. From the assassination by the then British ambassador’s friends of Tsar Paul I to the assassination of Rasputin organised by the awful Lloyd George, who then greeted the Revolution in public, or of attitudes of successive, contemporary British regimes, the role of successive British governments in trying to destroy Russia has been appalling.

Monday 27 May 2013

One of the first impressions of Moscow, beyond its ultra-spacious, ultra-clean and ultra-orderly airports, is shortage of space, dirt and disorder. The individualism that entered Russia from the West after the brutal and disastrous, Western-engineered collapse of Communism in the 1990s is such that most here today are interested only in their own lives and own well-being. This perhaps sounds good, almost like responsibility, but it ill conceals ill-concealed social ills and decomposition, discourteousness and cheating, lack of basic health and safety, packs of abandoned dogs that bark the night through and ubiquitous corruption – even more ubiquitous than in Western life. And, believe me, it is ubiquitous in Western life – even though the Western media like to deny that – no doubt because they are the most corrupted of all.

Self-interest is revealed in the contemporary Russian contempt for public life, traffic rules and parking (through the ironic lack of provision of parking space in by far the largest country in the world), contempt for the state of its Krushchev-era trains, post offices (parcels six months late!), roads, pavements, public land and forests where piles of rubbish are dumped, contempt for lifts (if they work) and the entrances to blocks of flats, where the masses live. Civic pride in Russia today must be at an all-time low. Potholes and mud, flooded roads when it rains, hot water that is suddenly cut off for days on end ‘for pipe cleaning’, wooden railway platforms out of Africa, the almost Third World appearance of many public buildings, the smoking at garages and tram stops, the drunks – often youngish – lounging by the side of the road, all witness to this.

Worse still, the contempt which the disabled are held in and the pocket-money pensions offered to them and to pensioners, who are humiliated and forced to beg to survive, speak of the contempt of the State for those who are not able to slave for its needs. It is no good that some political websites and nationalistic media sources suggest that all is well in Russia, whereas in the West, with its gay parades and empty and vandalised churches (all a reality, it is quite true), all is decadent. Such statements show a mixture of boorish xenophobia and provincial ignorance. If they were true, then there would not be the clamour in contemporary Russia to introduce ‘European standards’, which is more than just a desire to imitate, but discloses a real need and a real frustration at the lack of provision, that is, lack of pre-vision, that is, lack of planning.

All this dirt and disorder is real, but such criticisms are superficial and come from the spoilt inasmuch as they show no analysis or understanding of the deeper and essential problem of contemporary Russia. The real question is why all this exists and yet at the same time why the airports are superb (much better than most in the West), the airlines and the high speed trains excellent, why you can go to wonderful Tsaritsyno, the former estate of Catherine II on the southern outskirts of Moscow, or to Tsarskoe Selo, the beautifully restored estate of the martyred Tsar Nicholas II outside St Petersburg, and you can truly say that this is the best in the world. And I mean not in the Third World, not in the Second World, not even in the First World (a title so arrogantly and egoistically invented by and for the Western world), but simply the best in the world.

The answer to the above question lies, it seems to me, in what Russians often say of themselves, sometimes rather shockingly, that, ‘Russians need the knout’, that is, the whip. In other words, they say of themselves that we need to be whipped in order to make something of us, to ‘lick us into shape’. In other words, they are saying that ‘we are natural anarchists and need a strong man or woman (perhaps the historically-minded may think of a Varangian?) to rule over us’. However, this answer is, I believe, very badly formulated and shows a real lack of seriousness. In reality, only those with no self-discipline and no self-control need a whip. Those who can control themselves, who have self-discipline, need no whips. The problem then is how first to discipline and control ourselves, and not others. And that is a spiritual question.

Tuesday 28 May

I wrote yesterday that contemporary Russia is characterised by the absence of authority (in Russian, ‘bezvlast’e’, a word which suggest chaos, disorder and anarchy). Why is this dirt and disorder, this absence of authority so real? After all, the Western media’s favourite current myth is to insinuate that Russia is not a democracy, but a tyranny run by a dictator called Putin. I would suggest that this absence of authority is so real precisely because of the absence of legitimate authority. Yes, President Putin was elected by a majority of Russians – even allowing for local corruption, a majority greater than any Western politician could dream of having, and he is still more popular than any Western politician could dream of being, especially in a country where the street lights do not always work. However, in one sense, he does not have ‘legitimate’ authority.

The truth is that, despite such real popularity among a real majority (and real unpopularity among a real minority), and despite his PR machine, President Putin is only a man, a weak man. Spiritually and mystically, we must not forget that the President does indeed have no legitimate authority. We speak now about him not in the vulgar Western sense of him having ‘no legitimate authority’; Western hatred of him is based only on envy, the desire to steal Russia’s natural wealth, land, oil, gas and timber, the same that fatally attracted Napoleon, the Kaiser, Hitler and today the USA. We speak of the President’s lack of authority spiritually and mystically. There is only one legitimate authority in Russia and that is the authority of the Tsar, interrupted by the coup d’état of March 1917 and assumed temporarily by the Sovereign Mother of God.

The Holy Lady is patiently waiting for that time when Russia will through repentance be worthy of an earthly Sovereign, a new Tsar. Then there will no longer be this dirt and disorder, this absence of authority. Then there will be no need for the knout, there will be respect for an example set from on high – not just by a Tsar, but by the knowledge that, unlike in the PR-driven, media-driven and mob-driven pseudo-democracies of the West, above the Tsar reigns Almighty God. If the people are not worthy of a Tsar, then he will be taken away from them – as before. And instead there will either be bezvlast’e, primitive pagan Slavic anarchy, or else the knout, as was in the past imposed by Communism, or else in the future will be imposed again by some other equally awful ‘ism’, imposed from the West by fools, just as Communism was in 1917.

I go on now to think of the recent atrocity in London in which an off-duty soldier was horribly slaughtered in a revenge attack by two Islamist fanatics should serve as a lesson to the British government. Engaged today in the same policy as in the 19th century of supporting and arming fanatical Muslims against Christians (then in the Balkans, today in Syria and elsewhere), the risk is that the policy will rebound – as it has recently done. I think of this in Moscow because today a process similar to that in London over the last fifty years is taking place here too. Moscow is being invaded by Dagestan is, Chechens, Uzbeks, Kirghiz, Tadzhiks and others from the mainly Muslim Republics of the former Soviet Union. It is already facing racial tension, attacks by Muslims armed with knives or guns, and threats of mosque-building.

It is said that the Muslim immigrants, many of them here illegally through ubiquitous corrupt payments made to government ‘officials’, are doing the jobs that Russians do not want to do – or will not do without strong doses of vodka. The answer is simple: pay sober Russians proper wages for doing real jobs instead of £200-£300 per month, so that they can live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, and then they will do the work that needs to be done without vodka. Why is it that the Russian ‘authorities’ (as they inappropriately call themselves) cannot learn from the errors of the West? When every other citizen of Stuttgart, Hamburg, Marseilles, Lyons, Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Oslo, London and Bradford is called Mohammed or Fatima and every other church has been converted into a mosque, it will be too late. Learn now, not later.

Wednesday 29 May

What I wrote yesterday is not racist or Islamophobic; it is merely a pragmatic statement of reality. Christians and Muslims do not mix; the only way in which they can live together is separately. The Middle East knew this for centuries before the then Catholic West invaded peaceful but parallel communities of Orthodox Christians and Muslims in their jihadist Crusades, giving the Muslims the idea of using their old word ‘jihad’ in the Western sense of ‘Crusade’, that is to say, the sense of barbaric slaughter of all who are not of your own religion. Since then the now Protestant West has continued its barbaric slaughter, so that Iraq has now been all but deserted by its ancient Christians and is now on the verge of Somali-isation and Yugoslavisation – like Afghanistan and now Syria. The consequences are incalculable, that is, not apparent to the calculating, but obvious to those with common sense.

Moscow – and Russia – will be saved by not committing suicide. That sounds obvious, but in a world in which common sense is in short supply, it needs saying. This is the world that daily commits suicide through lack of common sense. When the mass of Muscovites – and the mass of Russians – go to church like Christians and so start treating each other like Christians, with courtesy, then the new Muslim immigrants will leave. In any case, by that time the Russian birth rate, instead of the Russian abortion rate (i. e. suicide rate), will be such that the work of even a single Muslim will no longer be needed. The same could of course be said of the West; but here it is probably too late because, unlike in Moscow, there are not enough faithful to stand up and speak common sense, let alone be heard by the few who are left with any common sense.

Recently I read how the stories of how the Red Army raped its way to Berlin were invented by Dr Goebbels. Then they were enthusiastically adopted by the Americans and British, some of whose warmongers were quite willing to continue the Second World War in 1945 by trying to take it to Moscow, just as Hitler had nearly done just before them. The West has always believed its own propaganda. But historians look at facts. The German Army, breaking into Russia in their unprovoked attack in 1941, raped as they went – one in two Wehrmacht soldiers claimed to have raped. Even worse, they usually murdered their victims after raping them. Millions of Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian women and girls so became martyrs. It is reckoned in contemporary Russia that only 100,000 children were born from these rapes. The others were murdered in their mothers’ wombs.

Compare this to what happened in the West. In the occupation of England by the friendly American forces, over 10,000 rapes of English women took place. The half-American Churchill had this hushed up. When the Allies invaded Western Europe, rapes took place all over. The British, as a nation of calculating shopkeepers, paid for their sad pleasures in the suddenly swollen brothels of Brussels. The rapes of the Americans in Stuttgart and later in West Berlin are well-known. The French too took part. Yes, some Russian troops raped on entering East Prussia and Germany. In one three-month period 72 cases were discovered among a million soldiers of the Red Army. Many of these soldiers were shot as a punishment. In reality, by far the worst cases of serial rapes committed were the revenge attacks by freed Soviet POWs, whom the Germans had treated far worse than animals.

‘The Church inside Russia is just like the Church Outside Russia in that it is rich. I know I have been to two Cathedrals in Moscow and one in Washington’. The crass ignorance of such a statement sends us into fits of laughter. The concept that the Church Outside Russia is rich is in itself hilarious. But not only among us. I can think of one young priest not far from Moscow, married with two children, who is paid in chickens and eggs (which come first I do not know). Without his plot of land where he grows his own and without some part-time work (like the rest of us), he would not survive. No doubt, with time, he will build up his parish (like the rest of us). Maybe after thirty years or so (that is how long it has taken me), he will even be able to live as a priest without working on the side. The point is that you cannot ask for money from parishioners who are even poorer than you are. I don’t.

Thursday 30 May

Such were my thoughts yesterday on those twin human instincts – the instinct for survival (the gathering of the means to live), which is so often perverted into the amassing of money that you cannot take with you, and the instinct for the continuation of the race (sexual reproduction), which is so often perverted into sexual disorder. In the West, after, it is true, generations of hypocrisy, sexual disorder began to become acceptable fifty years ago. However, within a generation it had become perverted into the allowing and even encouraging of sodomy. Today, another generation on, the wild and seemingly almost untameable sexual forces that have been unleashed are set on pedophilia, the crime for which Christ said that it would be better not to be born than to commit, for it is the ultimate violation of holy innocence.

Today I am heading for Dmitrov, an ancient town some fifty miles to the north of Moscow. On the train I see my second and last Russian with a tattoo and red dyed hair; people here dress as in the West in the 1970s. (May Russia never ‘catch up’ with the West in this respect). It is important to see outside the capitals, to see reality. Otherwise you may end up with the same false impressions of those who visit London for a few days and imagine that they have seen England! Here you can see poverty, though you can also see prosperity. One of my first impressions is of the two statues on the central town square. One is of that Judeo-Russian monster from the Volga, whose corpse still wallows in its chemicals in Moscow, the other is of the Anglo-Russian founder of this town and also of Moscow, Yury Dolgoruky. They face each other. I just hope that Yury will cross the square one night and cut off the other’s head.

After visiting the slightly forgotten but beautiful little Cathedral in the town kremlin (fortress) with its huge earthen ramparts and lilac trees now out of flower, I visit the museums around it. In one of them there is an ancient wooden chalice from the Cathedral. It is tiny. I am reminded that Russia’s downfall came about precisely because of attitudes which led to the use of such tiny wooden chalices. They signify that in such towns as these, as all over Russia, Romania, Greece and elsewhere, Orthodox tend to be inert, passive, asleep. They say: ‘We are all Orthodox, therefore we won’t bother to go to church, to confession and to communion’. Yet it was this very attitude that led to the abolition of the Patriarchate, to icons being unnecessarily covered in gold frames and heavy, luxurious and uncomfortable vestments while the poor starved – and that led to Revolution.

Why is it that in Dmitrov, a pleasant town of 60,000, there are only three churches, though, true, the Cathedral does have three altars, though again one of the churches is only now being restored? The capacity of these three smallish churches cannot be much more than 600. This suggests that only 1 in 1,000 is practising here. That is few, but, honestly, it is enough to make the difference. Then I think of the state of the town. Why is it that in the largest country in the world, so it seems, all new blocks of flats have to be twelve or more storeys high? Why not limit them to, say, five floors? Or why not simply encouraging the building of traditional wooden houses with their own plots of land to grow and buy and sell food? Russian land is very fertile. Why not set up a modern railway network around Moscow instead of the desperate and archaic 1950s system they have at present?

In such a way overcrowded Moscow could begin to empty. Towns within a 200 kilometre (120 mile) radius of Moscow could be revitalised, 21st century railway infrastructure bringing them within an hour of Moscow. A whole region, two thirds the size of England and one third its population, could be renewed by an express train service. This would require investment from central government. And why does the government not send out official and incorruptible (good salaries and very harsh sentences for law-breaking) government inspectors to check on local authorities to see that they are implementing laws, abolishing dirty Soviet relics, their insignia and names, keeping public buildings clean and painted, renovating the archaic post office system and avoiding the dirt and disorder so common? Of course, those in small towns like this might pass the test fairly well, whereas in Moscow itself…

Friday 31 May

The one thing that marks out Russia today and gives hope to all is the New Martyrs and Confessors, led by the martyred Tsar and the holy Patriarch. Their resistance – and so our resistance through our veneration of them – to ‘the new world order’ is the only thing that stands between us and the end, that draws nearer every day. Here we each bear a heavy responsible for our canonical territory. For the Church inside Russia this means the vast territories and peoples of almost all of the old Russian Empire, together with China and Japan and probably in fact several other countries such as North Korea, Indo-China (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), Thailand, Iran, the Persian Gulf, Cuba, and Alaska, as well as witnessing to those in the canonical territories of the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem and of other Local Churches.

For the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia ‘canonical territory’ means the whole Western world, that is, Western Europe, the Americas, Australasia, and those in countries under their influence like Pakistan or Indonesia. Here two extremes must be avoided. The first extreme is that of setting up national ghettoes. This was done in the Church Outside Russia in the past, for example, in countries in Africa and also in Western Europe. Once Russian people left those countries through emigration or else died out, the churches died – for they had put down no roots among the native peoples. The second extreme is that of many a parish of the Church inside Russia, uncanonically outside its canonical territory, for example in France, England and North America. This extreme was of identifying so closely with the host country that the essentials of the Faith were forgotten.

The results were – and are to this day – in schism or in tiny parishes which have lost all their roots, so desperate was the Patriarchal Church to have any presence outside Russia during the Cold War. Today a heavy price is being paid for such errors of the tragically politicised past. Fortunately, in our own day, most Orthodox services are accessible, faithfully translated into several local languages. This means that there is no reason to be unfaithful. Moreover, inasmuch as those translations are mainly made idiomatically, there is no reason either why local people cannot enter into authentic Church life. Of course, parishes with such services are few, but they still exist and with God’s Will in time they will grow and spread. With time, God’s own good time, there is no reason why we cannot move forward together, spreading the word of authentic Orthodox Christianity in our canonical territory also.

All extremes are to be avoided. On the one hand, whether inside Russia or outside Russia, we have to be open to the world around us without creating some kind of closed ghetto. On the other hand, we must never abandon our principles, the essentials that make up our Faith. Especially at this time, this tension is both creative but also difficult. We have to avoid a closed nationalism, since we bear responsibility for the whole world, given that the other Local Orthodox Churches are basically mononational. As we have said already, faithfulness to the sacrificial blood of the New Martyrs and the declaration of faith of the New Confessors are essential here. There is no room for politics of either left or right, for any ism, only for God’s Gospel Truth, suffered and died for by the hundreds of thousands of the faithful New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Lands.

Of course, were I not an Orthodox Englishman, all this would sound hypocritical. After all, I live in a country where Henry VIII and Elizabeth I are still not everywhere recognised as the monsters they were and the statue of the English Lenin, the murderous bloodsucker Cromwell (1 million dead in Ireland?), stands outside Parliament in London. However, I am an Orthodox Englishman. Only today I have read that on Mt Athos, Greek monks are now praying for the restoration of a Tsar in Russia. I am reassured; I feared that I and a few priest-friends and faithful scattered in our network across Europe were the only ones. Russia is on a knife edge, it can go either way; but perhaps you have, by God’s Providence, to experience dirt and disorder, material poverty, so that you can make the right choice, the one that the spoilt West therefore cannot make.

Saturday 1 June

The recent visit of Patriarch Kyrill to China, a country forbidden to the Pope, shows a possible way forward all over the East. The fact is that the East has rejected the Christianity of the West. The Muslims will never forgive the Catholics for the Crusades. The Hindus will never forgive the British Protestants for their exploitation of them. As for the Chinese with their philosophies, Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist, they may yet learn the new Philo-Sophia, the love of the Wisdom of God, from Russian Orthodoxy. They will not learn from mononational Churches, like the Greek or the Romanian or the Serb. They will not learn from strange sects, Old Ritualists or the just plain wrong ‘True Orthodox’ – it is time to gather in, to harvest, not to crawl away into sects – but they may learn from our great, multinational Russian Orthodox Church.

Who knows, perhaps we shall yet see the Patriarch in Tibet. Tibet has a fine and venerable monastic tradition – what it lacks is Christ to fill the empty space there. Let us recall that had it not been for the bloodshed of Revolution, the Russian Church today would number one twelfth of humanity, instead of one forty-second. Of course, the challenges are huge. The East has rejected the West; therefore unless it falls into rabid and fanatical nationalism, like the Muslims and the Hindus often do, or into a blind imitation of the West, like South Korea and Japan often do, the only way forward is to adopt Orthodoxy, which looks both East and West. Orthodox Russia had to fall because its mere existence prevented the powers from establishing their new world order. But suppose we can re-establish our old world order again? Is it not also written that the salvation of Russia will come from the East?

Dirt and disorder or Holy Russia because where there is Orthodoxy, there is no dirt and disorder. That is the choice that Russia faces. Just try and imagine the streets of Moscow clean, with orderly traffic, without layabout drunks, without smoking, cursing, beggars and chaotic parking, without posters offering ‘credit’ glued up on every wall. The choice surely seems clear. Some Russians have definitely already chosen Holy Russia – and you can recognise them in the street at once. Most have still to decide on how they want to live. However, there is something even more disturbing than all this. This is that people in the West also have to decide which Russia they want to see. And let me make it clear to all Western people now; there is only this choice: dirt and disorder or Holy Russia. And there is something even more profoundly disturbing than this.

This is that there are many in the West who would prefer to see dirt and disorder in Russia. And there is here another serious point. This is that until the West itself recognises that Holy Russia is the only choice, it will itself not heal, but slide ever more rapidly into its own depravity and degeneration, into its own spiritual dirt and spiritual disorder. This recognition that its well-being depends on the well-being of Russia is called repentance for a thousand years of error; it is the repentance of the once Catholic West that time and again, through mercenary Teutonic Knights, Poles and Jesuits, has tried to destroy Holy Russia; it is the repentance of the once Protestant West that time and again, though British sectarians and US Evangelicals, has tried to destroy Holy Russia; it is the repentance of the once atheist West that time and again, through Napoleon, Hitler and today, has tried to destroy Holy Russia.

The ‘new world order’ is a propaganda myth. The Polish-American propagandist, Zbigniew Brzezinski, put it truthfully, when in February 2012 he spoke not of ‘a new world order’, but of ‘The Greater West’. That in truth is all the slogan of the ‘new world order’ is about – vulgar and greedy imperialist expansion. And we Russian Orthodox can also put it truthfully: The world is divided between two Romes, two models; pagan Rome characterised by the classical temple and masonic portals of the eighteenth-century White House in Washington (not a church in sight) and Christian Rome, characterised by the golden domes of the Kremlin in Moscow (only churches in sight). The choice is between pagan and Christian, Babylonian and Jerusalemic. But I would remind all in Moscow that the word Jerusalem means ‘City of Peace’.


The West never expected the Resurrection of Russia and has done its best to deny it, to hush it up. Just like the readily bribable Roman soldiers of old who were paid to ‘say that his body had been stolen by his disciples in the night’, its media have silenced the story of the Russian Resurrection. They did not expect Russia to rise from the dead after it, like Pilate, washed its hands of Russia in 1917 and through cowardice allowed its Crucifixion and indifferently looked on. And yet the Resurrection is here, however much it still has to be announced. During the dark hours of the 1940s, St Seraphim of Vyritsa – and I tell you this now, so that you will remember it then – looked out on the Gulf of Finland and saw many ships sailing in from many lands and prophesied: ‘The whole world will head for Russia to repent’. This means that there will be Orthodox priests of many nationalities giving the sacraments there.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Archpriest Andrew Phillips
Somewhere over the Baltic