Daily Archives: August 7, 2013

A Convent Conversation

From ‘The Herald of R.O.M.E’.
(The Herald of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe, No 8, 2026)

On 7 August 2026 we visited Sts Peter and Paul Convent just outside Rome and interviewed Archimandrite Pavel (Kirillov), the spiritual father, and some of the nuns.

Interviewer: Fr Pavel, you are an archimandrite and the senior priest and confessor here. Can you tell us something about yourself and the Convent?

Fr Pavel: I am Russian, but as a young man I worked as a cook in restaurants for many years in Ticino, the Italian part of Switzerland, before going back to study at seminary in Moscow. I became a hieromonk in Moscow in 2004 and, as I spoke Italian, I was sent straightaway to serve in Italy, where there was then a great shortage of Russian priests.

I am helped here by a young Italian priest Fr Ambroggio, who is married and lives near the Convent, and a Moldovan hieromonk, Fr Tarasy. Fr Tarasy serves a lot. Fr Ambroggio serves one week a month and the rest of the time looks after the main Italian-language parish in Rome as well as visiting many of the local families who come here for services. With the help of some laymen, he even set up a football team for the boys of the families who attend the Convent. The local boast is that we are the only convent in Italy with its own football team. And last year we even won our league!

I: What language do you use here?

FP: We use Italian as our main liturgical language, with Slavonic and Romanian as what I would call reserve languages. Most sisters speak at least one other language apart from Italian. At present we have 39 nuns of sixteen different nationalities, with twelve Moldovans and eight Italians. Moldovans have played a great role in Italy, helping to set an example and convert Italians. I think this is because the cultures and languages are so similar, but the Moldovans have Christ, whereas the Italians had lost Him.

I: Tell us something of the history of the Convent.

FP: Originally, there was a need for a Convent somewhere in Italy, but we did not know where to start and whom to dedicate it to. Once we had the buildings, the Abbess, Mother Paraskeva as she now is, had thought of dedicating the Convent to the Resurrection – Mother Paraskeva would dedicate everything to the Resurrection, if she could, since she says that Italians don’t know what the Resurrection is. That’s why there is always one Sister called Anastasia. In any case you can imagine what joyful Easter services we have here! However, when these buildings outside Rome came up for sale and we asked Metropolitan Nicholas in Paris about them, he decided that the dedication of the Convent should be to the great apostles and martyrs of Rome, Sts Peter and Paul. This year he came to our patronal feast together with Bishop Gregory, our diocesan bishop in Italy, and preached a sermon where he spoke of how very different Sts Peter and Paul are and yet how they complement each other. He said that this is what we have to do in our Convent. With so many nationalities, we have to complement one another. He told us that whenever we have an argument, we should look at the icon of Sts Peter and Paul embracing and pray to them to guide us.

I: What is the main problem for Italians in integrating the Orthodox Church?

FP: The same as for all people of a Western background. It is one thing to join the Orthodox Church and another to become Orthodox. And yet if you do not first become Orthodox, then you cannot remain Orthodox. That is why Metropolitan Nicholas and all the diocesan bishops of the Metropolia instruct their priests to prepare catechumens very carefully. The knowledge of facts that occurs in the head is of secondary importance. But Western culture puts knowledge first. What is in reality of primary importance is the understanding of facts. That is Orthodox culture. And since understanding is located in the heart, and not in the head, understanding therefore depends on the purity – or lack of purity – of the heart.

The greatest problem for Western people is to come to the understanding that Western culture must be subordinated to Orthodox culture. Culture is the world, not all culture can be absorbed into the Church. Whatever cannot be baptised into the Church, must leave – just as a catechumen leaves the Liturgy. If Western people do not do this, but idolise their Western culture instead and are offended when parts of that are rejected, they will never become Orthodox, for they are unworthy. The Gospel is what we always put first.

I: How do you maintain your own inner life?

FP: Every year I go to Optina in Russia for six weeks and there I am free to talk to my spiritual father. For me it’s very important to keep contacts with the Motherland.

I: I turn now to the Abbess of the Convent, Mother Paraskeva. Could you tell us something about yourself, Mother?

Mother Paraskeva: Like many in the convent, I am Moldovan, but I came to Italy in the early 2000s, seeking work, sending money home to help my family. I was already at that time a Churchgoer and was thinking of monastic life, but could not find the right place. It was only after several years of searching that I found a convent in Moldova in 2012. It was a huge relief to me. I felt as though I had come home. Then I was sent here as an obedience when this Convent opened in 2019. I had no idea that after only one year I would be made Abbess – if I had known, I don’t think I would have come! When Bp Gregory made me Abbess, instead of congratulating me, Fr Pavel said to me: ‘My condolences’. He was right!

I: What Italian people come to services at the Convent?

MP: We have a whole group of Italian men who were in the Italian Army, sent as peacekeepers in Kosovo for NATO. When they saw the injustices that were happening there and the anti-Serb persecutions, many of them became Orthodox, some of them even married Serbian women. They have remained faithful even though all the north of Kosovo long ago returned to Serbia. But apart from these families, we have families from Romania, Moldova, Russia and the Ukraine in particular. But Italian is our common language.

I: What does the Convent live off?

MP: We sew vestments, bake prosphora, make candles and, above all, make soap. Soap-making is our most financially profitable activity. Thanks to it we have been able to restore all the buildings in the complex that we have and we can now take another twenty nuns, if there are suitable candidates.

I: I will now turn to some of the nuns who are here with us. Sister Clotilde, what about you? Where are you from?

Sister Clotilde: I am French, a Parisian, where I was born in 1996. I joined the Russian Orthodox Church in Paris in 2015 after realising that atheism brought no answers and is even irrational – for nobody can prove that God does not exist. Since I studied Italian and Russian, an unusual combination, and I felt that my future was in a convent, I came here after I had finished my studies in 2019.

I: And you, Sister Odile?

Sister Odile: I am from Germany, but my mother was Italian. I come from just near Alsace, across the French border. So I would say that I am Alsatian, which is why I have a French name. I have been here for four years. My background is in history and I worked for eight years as a history teacher at a university in Germany.

I: How did you come to the Church?

Sister Odile: As a historian I had a great interest in Napoleon, who was the first to try and unite Germany. Through him I became interested in Tsar Alexander I, the mystical Tsar who defeated Napoleon. My other great interest was in the Crusades. My conversion came about when I started reading about the Fourth Crusade and the sack of Constantinople in 1204, even though many ordinary people in the West opposed the Crusades. Then I read on the internet an Orthodox writer who said simply: 1204 = 1453 = 1812 = 1917. In other words, he was saying that the sack of Constantinople by the West led to its occupation by the Muslims in 1453 and that 1812, the occupation of Moscow by Napoleon and his 12 tribes, led to 1917, the sack of Moscow by the West through their Provisional and then Bolshevik agents. These historical connections and their injustices, 1204 = 1453 = 1812 = 1917, and their implications converted me. I ended up coming here four years ago, together with Sister Mauricia, who is Swiss and was also a history teacher.

I: Mother Thecla: I believe you are Russian?

Mother Thecla: Yes, there are four Russian nuns here. Myself, Sister Matrona from Moscow, Sister Lydia the choir director and Sister Marina, but she has gone on a pilgrimage to her patron in San Marino with the parish there. However, most of the Moldovan sisters speak good Russian and several others, like Sister Gabriela from Poland and Sister Maria from Austria, understand it. I was born in Ryazan but came to Italy in 2007. I became a spiritual daughter of Fr Pavel when he was parish priest in Turin and then followed him when he was appointed here.

I: Sister Lydia, how do you find the adaptation to Italian life?

Sister Lydia: That is something of the past for me. Today this is my place, my home. Sometimes I even find myself forgetting Russian words. I can only think of the Italian ones. I love singing in Italian. It is just as musical as Slavonic.

I: And you, Sister Agatha? You’re Italian, aren’t you?

Sister Agatha: I’d like to say not Italian, but Sicilian. We have another Sicilian sister here, Sister Pancratia from Taormina, as well as a Corsican sister, Sister Giulia, and we all feel the same, not really Italian. We’re pleased to be from the islands and to have this identity. But, of course, our real nationality is Orthodox.

I: How did you come to the Church?

Sister Agatha: I’m a cradle Orthodox, my parents converted. They were Catholics but were so disgusted by various compromises that they became Orthodox in Palermo. That’s where my brother is an Orthodox priest. However, we realised that we must have Orthodox origins. My father’s mother, Sicilian born and bred, spoke a dialect of Greek. Once all Sicily was Orthodox, it’s in our folklore. Catholicism was imposed on us, it’s superficial. So Orthodoxy is like a liberation for us, it is what is underneath us all, our buried identity.

I: And you, Sister Theodora? Are you Italian?

Sister Theodora: I’m Greek, but was born in Italy, actually in Venice, where my parents studied, met and then stayed on to work. So actually I speak better Italian than Greek. I feel at home here. So to be an Orthodox nun in Italy is the best of both worlds.

I: What about your, Sister Tatiana, Are you from Moldova too?

Sister Tatiana: Not at all. I am Italian, a pure Roman, like St Tatiana herself. Mother Paraskeva likes to give us the names of the saints who lived in the places where we lived before we came here. She says that the saints are our spiritual identity, so we must carry that identity in our names. So we have Sister Sofia, Sister Lorenza and Sister Alexia, who are all from Rome like me and Sister Januaria, who is from Naples. Then many of the Moldovan sisters, Sisters Anastasia, Sabina and Melania, also from Rome, Sister Agnes the Hungarian, from Rome too, Sister Paula who is Maltese, and other Moldovans, Sister Ambrosia from Milan, Sister Nicola from Bari and Sister Apollinaria from Ravenna.

I: And what about you, Mother Eulalia?

Mother Eulalia: I am Catalan from Barcelona, but I have been living in the Convent since the beginning. Because I spoke Italian, Mother Sebastiana sent me from the Convent in Madrid right at the beginning in 2019 to help. I look after novices and guests.

I: Mother Paraskeva, if I can return to you, what are your relations with local Roman Catholic convents like?

MP: We don’t really have any relations. That does not mean that they are bad, it’s just that there are so few Catholic convents left nowadays and most of the nuns in them are in their eighties. It’s like two parallel worlds, we just do not have much to talk about. Their life is totally different from ours, for us they are like retired social workers, devout laywomen who live in retirement homes. Our nuns are young. We only have three mothers, the other 36 are still sisters, riasophore nuns, and then there are seven novices at the moment.

On the other hand, we have a lot of contact, and not only by e-mail, with other Orthodox convents in the Metropolia, in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Austria, England, Germany, the two in France, the Netherlands and also the new convent in Copenhagen, where we have just sent our Danish sister, Sister Anna, and our Swedish sister, Sister Olga. We also have a lot of contact with other ROCOR convents in the USA and Australia, not to mention with two convents in Moldova and one in the Ukraine. Metr Nicholas is very keen for us to have these contracts. He says it is especially important for us in our Metropolia, so that our different countries are bound together by bonds of spiritual love. This is why we have a meeting of all the abbesses of the Metropolia once every two years, in a different convent each time. The abbots from the Metropolia monasteries do the same. Metr Nicholas says the Church is a family and we must keep together and see each other, like a family.

Last year we had our meeting in Paris, during which Vladyka’s namesday fell, on 17 July. Thanks to the meetings we realise how different our situations are. For example, here we are very multinational, but the Convent in Germany is nearly all Russians and Ukrainians. In Portugal, they have three Brazilians and two Angolans, in Spain they helped set up the Convent in Peru and train a lot of Peruvian and Bolivian nuns. In England the Convent was founded from the USA and they have two Australian nuns. One of the Convents in France is half-Romanian, whereas we only have one Romanian, Sister Paisia. The new Convent in Denmark has two Norwegian novices and one Icelandic novice. And so the differences are enormous.

Sometimes we also have visits from hieromonks and monastic fathers. For example, last December Fr Columba came to us from his hermitage on Iona in Scotland. He is a fascinating man, a real ascetic, but also well-read. He knows the Psalter by heart – but more than that, he understands it and can interpret it too. He has read the Fathers.

He spoke to us in English, but our English sister translated into Italian. He said that for our Metropolia of Europe to be successful, we must, ‘Take the Napoleon out of the French, the Prussian out of the German and the British out of the English’. We all laughed when he said that last part because he is Irish and so he would say that! But Sister Elizabeth, who was interpreting and is English, reminded us how in the life of her patron, the martyred Grand Duchess, her parents were very upset when the Prussians forced unification on her native Hesse. Sister Ursula, who is German from Cologne, agreed and said that the Prussianisation of Germany was its downfall. With Prussianisation German people went from music and opera and culture and dancing to warfare in less than two generations.

I: Mother, could you leave us with a parting word, something edifying?

MP: Well, I think I would end with Fr Columba’s words, which echo the words of the Gospel. In other words, in order to live an Orthodox life, especially nowadays, when the masses are atheists, we have to take out the old man out of our old identities and know that, whatever our native language and whatever our origin and background, our unity is in the New Man, in Christ. While we are in the world, we are all a little spiritual Prussians and spiritual Napoleons and spiritual British, but we all have to get rid of that and become true Orthodox Christians. Only so can we live in Christ, and not live in the world.

I: Thank you, Mother Paraskeva.

On the Reconversion of Europe

The peoples of Western Europe were betrayed by their elites and the elites of Western Europe were betrayed by their love of power and money.

Introduction: The Church of God in Western Europe

Why, when there is already a network of tens of thousands Roman Catholic churches all over Western Europe, is there a need for a smaller network of Orthodox churches covering the same territory? Roman Catholicism already has bishops, priests, sacraments and belief in saints. Why do Orthodox need their own structure? It is because the Roman Catholic structure is a post-Orthodox Christian structure of the second millennium and not one of the first millennium. This simple fact has many and complex ramifications, from the centralisation, clericalism, Inquisition and Jesuitry of the past to the scandals of Fascist Croatia and Kosovo, the Vatican Bank, the homosexualisation and pedophilia of the present.

Roman Catholic bishops and clergy, bachelors, often isolated and little known to the faithful, Roman Catholic ‘theology’ and ‘sacraments’, changed beyond recognition by dried out scholasticism, its ‘saints’, so often psychics or else inquisitors of a second millennium divorced from the Church, are not the same as those of the Orthodox. If it were otherwise, then the hopelessly old-fashioned ecumenical movement would have been successful, instead of being the failed, abstract project of elitist syncretists. Churched and even unChurched Orthodox of all nationalities who live in Western Europe simply do not feel at home in Roman Catholic churches. Why?

Free Grace, Acquired by Asceticism, not Moralising Law, Imposed by Guilt

To this question many would answer ‘because it does not feel right’, ‘there is something wrong in the atmosphere’, ‘it does not ‘smell’ Orthodox’. Certainly architecturally, it is uncommon to find a Catholic church that can be converted into an Orthodox church. They are often Gothic and colourless and feel empty, they are mournful, Crucifixion-, and not Resurrection-, focused, guilt-ridden and desacralised, not devoted to beauty; liturgies seem to be without spiritual food, not watering the spiritual desert. However, all these differences, obvious even to the least educated, ultimately go back to something profound, to the deformation of Orthodox teachings, the deformation of the heritage of the first millennium.

Firstly, outwardly, for Orthodox the Church means local authority and unity. It does not mean abstract authority and unity in a distant bureaucracy of eunuchs in the neo-pagan Renaissance Vatican Palace, built by lucre won from indulgences. The leader of a Local Orthodox Church, Archbishop, Metropolitan or Patriarch, is only the chief of a Synod – and it is the Synod that is the administrative guarantee of authority and unity. The chief of the Synod is not an imposer of dogmas who meddles in local affairs, sometimes by military force and bloodshed. It is the local diocesan bishop, one among many but still able even to canonise local saints, who is important above all, and the local married priest is simply one of us.

Secondly, inwardly, in the Church we live off the Holy Trinity, and therefore theology and sacramental life, as in the first millennium, are part of the continuous inspiration of the Holy Spirit, called the Tradition. Therefore, the immediacy and presence of the Spirit proceeding directly from the Father, is felt in the theology, practices and life of the Church. The Spirit is freely accessible to all, both in the sacraments of the Body of Christ, but also in personal and collective prayer, fasting and ascetic life, and revealed in the ‘coincidences’ that pattern Orthodox life, that is, in Providence, which witnesses to the fact that ‘the Spirit blows where it wishes’ – without moralising obligations and guilt.

Thirdly, the saints, like the Mother of God, are part of a living and continuing communion. There is no difference between the Apostles, the Fathers, the Martyrs, the Confessors of the first millennium and those of the second millennium. For there are new Apostles, new Fathers, new Martyrs and new Confessors, being canonised now or still alive today. And all of us belong to one continuous family, reigned over through the millennia by Christ, His Holy Mother, the Mother of the Church, the Mother of our whole Church family, and His multitude of saints, whose immediate presence and free grace are visible and tangible in the chain of miracles of daily Orthodox life, which is called Providence.


As we have predicted many times over the last four decades, with Western Europe in a state of apostasy, the hysterical rejection of its spiritual roots, as witnessed to by its very place-names referring to its founding saints, responsibility for the future spiritual destiny of its faithful will fall to the Russian Church. This means to a Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe (R.O.M.E.), part of the larger Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). No other Local Church can do this, for other Local Churches are either not politically free (the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Antioch), or else too small, too provincial, too mononational (the three Balkan Churches and the Church of Georgia).

Here it must be understood that ‘Russian Orthodox’ does not necessarily mean ethnically ‘Russian’. This fact may seem obvious to us inside the multinational Russian Orthodox Church, but to our astonishment, phyletist members, including clergy, of the Patriarchate of Antioch and of the OCA (see below) have often told the author that they do not understand the words ‘Russian Orthodox’. Let it be said clearly now: ‘Russian Orthodox’ already includes over sixty nationalities, it means multilingual and multinational, Russian Orthodox simply means the Orthodox Tradition, free and uncompromised by outside political meddling from Western or other Powers.

Of course, representatives and parishes or even dioceses of other Local Churches could take part in such a united Metropolia, if they wished, but on a voluntary and flexible basis, under the authority of the Russian Church, just as other Local Churches took part in the united ‘Russian’ (i.e. not necessarily ethnically Russian) Orthodox Church in North America until some ninety years ago. Such participation would depend on episcopal blessing and local consciousness. The territory to be covered by such a Metropolia means the whole of Western Europe, which can be divided into six parts, ethnic, historic, linguistic and geographical. These are:

Francia, the French-speaking Lands (France, Monaco, the southern part of Belgium (Wallonia) and Switzerland).
Germania, the German-speaking Lands (Germany, Austria, most of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Flanders (northern Belgium) and Luxembourg).
Italia, the Italian-speaking Lands (Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Ticino, San Marino).
Iberia (Spain, Portugal, the Azores, the Canaries, the Balearics and Andorra).
Britannia and Hibernia, The Isles (The British Isles and Ireland).
Scandinavia, The Nordic Lands, (Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark).


Many years ago a former Roman Catholic asked me the following: What would happen in the theoretical situation that all or most Roman Catholic believers in a particular Western European nation rejected the errors imposed on them by their elites and proclaimed that they wished to return to freedom and Orthodoxy after a thousand years? Thinking of the infrastructure problems of such a change, my first and humorous answer was, ‘I think there would be panic’. However, in reality, as I told her, there are people who would not panic and who could take control, accepting such a movement of grace and foreseeing what is necessary. It is a question of foresight and organisation.

First of all, we would earn from the two major mistakes of the small Cold War North American group known as the ‘Orthodox Church in America’, the ‘OCA’, which daydreamed of setting up a united Metropolia in North America. These mistakes were, firstly, its nationalistic (phyletist) demand for complete independence, that is, ‘autocephaly’ – which automatically meant that it would never win the canonical recognition of most Orthodox; secondly, there was its imposition of schismatic and divisive renovationism, including the secular calendar, made by clericalist pseudo-intellectuals, some of them ungrounded converts, from on high. These are two things not to be repeated.

As regards the chronic shortage of Russian Orthodox bishops who speak local languages, and even more importantly, know local mentalities, it is clear that present experienced and educated Orthodoxy clergy would have to be appointed ‘rural deans’, that is, deans over regions. These deans would have to be responsible for the reception of local people. Probably, as with the millions received back into the Church in freed Belarus in the 1830, or Carpatho-Russia in the 1920s, Roman Catholics would be received by chrismation or even communion. From them married men could be trained and ordained; it would be best not to ordain ex-clergy because of their alienating indoctrination in Roman Catholic ‘seminaries’.

As regards infrastructure, it would be most important to have suitable premises, premises where cradle Orthodox would feel at home, perhaps allowing a few chairs for the weak and using at first printed icons and frescoes. Initially, premises might be modest, former huts, wooden buildings and shops, even small factories – as we noted above, there are few Roman Catholic churches that can be converted. Generally, the simpler the premises, the more easily they can be made Orthodox. Although iconostases might at first be home-made and vestments home-sewn, clearly the Russian liturgical factory of Sofrino, which at present employs 3,000, would have to expand to cope with the demand.

Conclusion: When?

Many have asked when such a Metropolia will be formed. The answer to this is that no-one knows, for it will happen in God’s own time. However, people must be ready for it and there are signs that this future is being prepared, however slowly. The foundation of a seminary in Paris, albeit still in its early days and with a teething problem, is a sign. The building of a Cathedral and spiritual centre in Paris, its design thankfully now being revised, will be another step forward. After this there will be the appointment of a Metropolitan, someone who speaks local languages and knows local mentalities and cultures, but is also utterly faithful to the Russian Orthodox Tradition, like our great patron St John of Shanghai.

There have already been setbacks on the path to the formation of the long-awaited Metropolia. In 2003 the refusal of the Rue Daru group to leave freemasonry behind it and to take part in the Metropolia proposed by the Patriarch was a loss to everyone, but above all to itself. That was a suicidal path for it. However, the reuniting of both parts of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2007 was a huge and indispensable step forward, for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) is the basic building block of all Metropolias in the Western world. In 1986 we first put forward this vision of such a Metropolia with no hope of its realisation. Today, it is no longer a vision. Today the question is no longer if, but when.

The Chance of Redemption for Western Europeans

One thousand years of error and injustice will be made right. There will be a new Tsar in Russia and a new repentant culture in Europe, as it rediscovers its forgotten soul which it had busied itself burying for a thousand years beneath the ingenious but unnecessary.

Foreword: Faith on Earth

In 1914, nigh on one hundred years ago, Western Europe destroyed itself and all those whom it dragged into its great suicidal war. This was the fruit of the evils which its elites had wrought among their exploited peasantry, working classes and colonies. Little wonder that the country which suffered most in the Great War was Belgium, whose king had wrought so much evil in Central Africa, where perhaps 10,000,000 had perished. However, Great Britain everywhere, especially in the Indian subcontinent and in South Africa, France in Northern Africa and Indo-China, Austro-Hungary (Hitler, Stalin, Trotsky and Freud all lived in Vienna at the same time) in Central and Eastern Europe and Germany wherever it could, were all guilty. The catastrophe of 1914 had been heralded by the rebirth of European paganism, in Music by Stravinsky in the pagan dissonances of his Firebird and The Rite of Spring, in Art by the Futurists, as well as in Theatre by Strindberg, in Sculpture and Literature.

Indeed, it was ultimately in Alexander Blok’s poem ‘The Twelve’, in which the author saw Antichrist, pretending to be Christ, leading the Russian Revolution, that Europe could have seen its fate for non-repentance. Although the Great War would have left a great scar, the flower of much of its youth dead, it could have been reversed. Russia tried to reverse it, taking the brunt of the attacks in the East. However, it stopped being reversible in 1918 with the permanent installation in the Russian Empire, encouraged by the Western Powers, of a Western-inspired materialist regime and the martyrdom of the Russian Royal Family. The War could have ended in 1917, with Russian troops peacefully triumphant in Berlin and Vienna led by Tsar Nicholas II, as they had been by Tsar Alexander I in Paris in 1814, freeing Central and Eastern Europe from tyranny and restoring Poland and Finland. Instead of this, the War dragged on for another eighteen months and countless more young men died.

And as a result of this apostasy, today we ask the question: When the Saviour returns, will He find faith on earth? Fifty years ago, we thought this impossible – then there was still faith. Today this is not so, for over the last fifty years yet another chapter of the Book of Revelation has been enacted. At the present time we see the gradual development of a global surveillance society, controlled by what is becoming a world mafia-state, the fruit of the intolerance of the new Puritanism. On various false pretexts, freedom in the post-Protestant West is fast vanishing. With miniature cameras, drones, Google Glass, debit cards without which food cannot be bought, that world is fast heading for spiritual endarkenment. And yet over the last fifty years the Russian Church has offered spiritual enlightenment to the souls of this post-Protestant world, especially in the USA and the UK. At first slowly and cautiously and then more openly, Her witness to salvation in the Church of God has become ever more apparent.

Enlightening the Endarkened Post-Protestant World

Although this post-Protestant world is on the very fringes of Church consciousness, of authentic Christianity, the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia, then still captive to Communism, did witness here, showing great patience. Thinking that in its spiritual weakness the post-Protestant world, especially ex-Protestants, would find it difficult to adopt the Orthodox calendar, She allowed it by generosity, that is, by economy, the secular calendar; thinking that because of its Western political prejudices and lack of understanding the post-Protestant world might not be able to venerate the Tsar and the other Royal Martyrs, by generous economy She did not insist on this; thinking that in its narrowness, the post-Protestant world might suffer from phyletist nationalism, She translated the Orthodox services wholly into its languages. Over the last fifty years what was once inaccessible has become accessible – there are no more excuses.

It must be said that success has been limited, especially among those who had been practising Protestants, less among those who were blank sheets, starting from nothing. Even among those who have accepted the invitation, there are those who refuse to enter the Arena, and do not become integrated Orthodox, even after fifty years. Also, some ex-Protestants, having joined the Church, then abandoned Her to go off and found their own sectarian ‘churches’, chapels, ‘sketes’ or even deaneries, whether to the left extreme or to the right extreme. Both in the post-Protestant cultures of North America and the United Kingdom, the Church inside Russia suffered many setbacks in its missions, until quite recently politically unable to heed the local experience of the Church Outside Russia. Using less economy, the latter has sometimes had more success (though with disappointments also), because of its local understanding of the ex-Protestant culture.

Here, there are those who have agreed to enter the Arena even after only a few months and so become grounded Orthodox. There is even one Archbishop of the Church Outside Russia who is from such a background, not to mention many other clergy and laity. Why have the spiritually sensitive been able to do this, whereas others have brought first moral scandal and then Protestant-style schism, as in England, or else first moral and financial scandal and then Protestant-style modernism, as in North America? The reason is to be found in psychological motivation. Those who join the Church from a self-serving need, even pathology, do not bear fruit and leave for self-made sects and cults, according to their ‘old man’, their old Protestant culture. However, those who enter the Church because they wish to save their souls and so serve others, do bear fruit. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’. Therefore, ‘Wretched are the impure in heart for they shall not see God’.

Enlightening the Endarkened Post-Roman Catholic World

Today, having reached the limits of what is possible in enlightening the post-Protestant world, the now reunited Russian Orthodox Church is turning to the far vaster post-Roman Catholic world. This world had long been closed to the Church because of its illusion that it is itself the Church, so cultivated by its purposeful deformation of the call to the West to repent made by the Mother of God to Portuguese children at Fatima in 1917. However, its recent wave of moral and financial scandals has revealed the corruption that has existed inside it for centuries and brought at least some to humility. Now the Russian Orthodox Church must battle for the souls of this post-Roman Catholic world. Fifty years ago that world began to fall into the desacralisation and infantilism of secularist Protestantisation and yet, traditionally it had conserved from Orthodoxy the sense of the Mother of God, the communion of the saints and the sacramental sense. There is cause for hope somewhere here.

Unfortunately, Roman Catholicism in the Western world has almost wholly lost its way. According to the design of evil forces, which had long planned its ultimate downfall, and the horror and scandal of its rejected faithful, since the Second Vatican Council two generations ago it has adopted the desacralised sentimentalism of secularist Protestantisation. Whether in North America, the UK, France, the Netherlands or in the Germanic and Scandinavian world, Protestantised Roman Catholicism is in a state of almost total apostasy, its liturgical heritage dumbed down, infantilised and all but destroyed. Western Europe has largely kept only the relics of the Faith. Quite literally, the relics. Western Europe resembles a huge treasure chest of relics, to which modernist Roman Catholicism has thrown away the key. However, a new key is being rehammered and reforged on the anvil of Tradition by the smiths of Orthodoxy. This is the key to the best of the West, the literal relics of its former piety.

Fortunately, there is hope of redemption among the simple faithful, often Orthodox in all but name, in Black Africa, in Latin America, in remoter parts of Southern Europe, in Eastern Europe, in Poland, Slovakia and Hungary and elsewhere, where piety and the veneration of icons have survived and not all are very aged. Here interest in Orthodoxy comes from the faithful of the mainstream, not from extremes, whether of left or right. It is this mainstream that has been rejected by its clerical elite. Thus, pro-Protestant modernists in Poland who seek self-destruction, have no interest in authentic Orthodoxy, at best only in a fake and sanitised Orthodoxy; nor do Roman Catholics in the extreme west of the Ukraine who have joined the Lefevrist group, unable to accept the Second Vatican Council’s Protestant-style, clericalist modernism. However, their extreme right-wing politics, Russophobic and pro-Hitler, prevents them like the rest of the Lefevrist movement from joining the Orthodox Church.

Today it is little wonder that various refugees from the spiritual desert of the Western world, whether post-Protestant or post-Roman Catholic, from the American whistle-blower Edward Snowden to the French actor Gerard Depardieu, look, consciously or unconsciously, to Russia for hope. Since the glorification of the New Martyrs and Confessors in 1981, confirmed in 2000, the Church has been renewed, a process which continues as more New Martyrs are canonised. Only a few weeks ago in Paris thousands of demonstrators at mass rallies against ‘homosexual marriage’ and the adoption of children by same-sex couples, chanted ‘Russia, save us’, knowing that such perversions are forbidden here. For fifty years and more the Russian Church has tried to redeem the post-Protestant world, suffering with limited success. It is now our turn to try to redeem the post-Roman Catholic world, a more serious proposition, revealing to it, to its astonishment, its long forgotten roots in Orthodoxy.

Afterword: Redemption by Suffering

In 1917 the West was warned of the evil it was exporting to Russia by the Revelation of the Mother of God in Fatima. ‘Until you stop spreading the evil that you are spreading to Russia and consecrate yourself to Orthodoxy, the Holy Father (the Patriarch) will suffer and all will go worse’. It refused to listen and deformed the message of the Mother of God into self-justification. Then, in 1919, as prophesied, it guaranteed a Second Great War by afflicting the German and Austrian peoples, and not their elites, with an unjust peace. Thus, Russian troops would be triumphant in Berlin and Vienna – but only in 1945 and after the most barbaric of wars, with its camps and genocides, the greatest of which was that of 30 million Slavs, imposed by racist Germany. And even after all this Western Europe still refused to repent and so has gone on with its abortion holocaust beginning in 1964, and in 1989 its destruction of an unfree Eastern Europe, which it had itself created in 1917 and 1945.

However, God gives many opportunities for repentance, up unto seventy times seven. Every generation has its chance. The chances were refused in August 1914, in September 1939, in October 1964 and in November 1989. In December 2014 there is coming yet another chance. Four horrible scars will be left, but there is still time. Since 1914 the old Protestant culture has fallen, its decadence becoming apparent after two generations in the 1960s. Since 1964 the old Roman Catholic culture has fallen, its decadence becoming apparent after two generations today. Once blinded by arrogant hubris, its delusion of self-belief, the old Protestant culture has over the last fifty years disintegrated. It is now the turn of the old Roman Catholic culture. If it understands its error of hubris, it will have the chance to listen to the real message of Fatima, the call to the West to repent of its pride and its poisonous materialist ideology and accept the restoration of Church Orthodoxy in its integrity.

It is by no means certain that this will happen. The post-Protestant world is still offered Orthodoxy, but few accept it. It may be the same with the post-Roman Catholic world. It may be that no restoration of Orthodoxy in the Western world, however partial, will be possible until there is the example of full restoration in Russia. It may be that until the House of Romanov, through the son of a Romanov mother, is restored, even until another War, the fallen Western world will not be ready to listen, understanding at last that its own propaganda about Russia before the Revolution was merely lies. It may be that the Merciful Mother of God must yet appear again, as She did in her Myrrh-Giving Iviron Icon in the 1980s, again witnessing to the New Martyrs and Confessors and confirming her words of Fatima. Only then will the Western world start to repent of the materialist ideology which it has spread and return to the clean Gospel of Christ and His Holy Church in the purity of Orthodoxy.