Daily Archives: July 18, 2013

The New ROCOR: The Fourth and Fifth Generations of the Emigration

The first generation of émigrés were those born in c 1900 and who became adult at the time of the Revolution and Civil War. They left Russia together with others older than themselves, of the previous generation. This is the generation of St John of Shanghai and Metropolitan Philaret, preceded by the generation before them of Metrs Antony and Anastasy. The second generation are those of my parents’ age group, born in c. 1925. This is the generation of Metr Laurus. The third generation is my own generation born in c. 1950, that of Metr Hilarion.

The fourth generation is that of my children, born in c. 1975, and the fifth generation is that of my grandchildren born in c. 2000. Now that the old, first, generation of ROCOR, adult before the Revolution, has gone and the second generation, born in c. 1925 is dying out, there are those who wonder about the future identity of ROCOR. The next Metropolitan may well, after all, belong to the fourth generation, born in c. 1975. What are and will be the characteristics of the fourth and fifth generations that now live amid globalisation and Facebook?

First of all, these generations are often the fruit of mixed marriages. Their knowledge of Russian is not and will not be very good, in general, although there are already and in the future will be more opportunities for many of them to live or study in free Russia. However, they often communicate with friends in and from Russia in English, or at best, in a mixture of Russian and another language. However, the loss of fluency in Russian, which already affected the second generation, is not necessarily an impoverishment.

These generations are enriched by a balanced attitude towards their heritage and also their now native countries, the USA, Canada, France, Brazil, Australia, Venezuela, Germany, England or whichever it may be. Moreover, these fourth and fifth generations do not suffer from the political distortions of the Cold War period which so affected their forebears. These generations may be less Russian linguistically, but they may be more faithful as Russian Orthodox spiritually. This may yet prove to make them the best generation of missionaries that the Church has known.

This possibility will depend on their faithfulness to the Tradition and a consciousness of their identity. These generations must know that they are the descendants of those who keep the faith despite everything, by the grace of her Who Shows the Way, the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, the Protectress of the Emigration. Multinational, multilingual and able to serve and express themselves in local languages, these generations will prove themselves not by their Russianness, but above all by their faithfulness to what is greater than themselves, the Tradition.

The Tradition is that collection of shared values, which often go without saying, because we know them instinctively to be true. The flexibility and breadth of these generations is their strength. Their temptation is the egoism of the modern, consumerist ‘I’ culture, that of the ‘Me’ generation. As long as these generations are conscious of their heritage, conscious that their destiny is to pass on the Tradition received, what is greater than themselves, without veering off into the tangents of selfishness, then all will be well.

We idolised money and then went bankrupt – the Church of Greece

Athens 17 July 2013

Metropolitan Amvrosios of the Church of Greece has stated that the fall of Greece began in 1986. His statement coincides with that of the Greek deputy M. Voridis who blamed Greece’s plight on the governments of Andreas Papandreou of 1981-89 and 1993-96. The full text of the statement is given on the Agionoros.ru site.

The Metropolitan reminded people of Papadreou’s words, ‘Give everything to Tzovolas’ (the Minister of Finance from 1986-89). ‘The Metropolitan went to comment: ‘Today we have reached the bottom of the abyss and the present slogan of our creditors is, ‘Greece’ we have taken everything from you!’.

‘Our only salvation is to return to repentance to God’s ways. We idolised money and then went bankrupt! Let us return to God’s ways and correct our lives. May the example of the prodigal son in the Gospel parable inspire us. The Lord who loves mankind awaits us with open arms! Amen!

‘Members Only’: The Church is not a Club

It is well-known that small parts of the Church can degenerate into sects and cults. This can happen when a church is small, set up in private chapels or domestic dwellings, and also when there is no local bishop (stavropegic churches) or where there is contact with only one bishop in a very small diocese. Here it is vital that clergy and people alike have a consciousness of the synodality and broad catholicity of the Church, of what goes on outside their little world, – a particular and shocking problem on a small island like Britain.

Sects can be defined as small groups which put forward a personal opinion or opinions as Church dogma. For example, you may the find the sect of those who only use olive oil in lamps, or only use beeswax in candles, or only have handpainted icons, or in which all men have long hair and beards and all women wear a uniform of long dresses, and which condemn all others who do otherwise. To the normal, outside the sect, all this seems strange, but those inside the cult are cut off from normality and imagine that the4y are normal. Such is fantasy.

Cults can be defined as small groups which put forward a personality in place of Christ, ‘Apollo’ or ‘Cephas’, see I Cor 1, 12. If the personality is strong, self-willed or particularly ambitious, the cult becomes even more well-defined and isolated. Soon intolerance of others is bred and the cult becomes sectarian, casting out and condemning others, often with curious customs or its own uniform. Cults were a particular danger during the Cold War period in the lives of Moscow Patriarchal parishes outside Russia due to their isolation, but not only here.

All sects and cults, ‘private churches’, eventually die out, though it can take time. They generally become increasingly decadent as time goes by – thus sects often become cultish and cults sectarian, especially if the cult founder has died. There is a particular danger in an island like Britain and among ex-Anglicans. Anglicanism can often resemble an insular, middle-class club, with no concept of concelebration and a profound, if often unconscious, racism. However, this bourgeois mentality can also be found among the Continental-based Rue Daru splinter group.

We have already said that it is vital that there be a consciousness of the catholicity of the Church. This has been a problem in an immigrant splinter group, the OCA, in North America. Isolated and with its canonicity not accepted by most Orthodox in North America, some parts of it have wandered far from the Orthodox Tradition. Consciouness of the catholicity of the Church is manifested not by passively being in communion (everyone in the canonical Orthodox Church is in communion with one another), but by actively concelebrating.