Monthly Archives: October 2013

St Edwin

In recent years, God has revealed to us more about several saints of these Isles, most notably St Edward the Martyr, but there have been other miracles too, concerning St Alfred, St Edmund, St John of Beverley, St Botolph and St Birinus, for example. The Lord seems to be speaking through the local saints of old to a modern society that has utterly lost its way in unsaintliness. The latest in this series of revelations may concern St Edwin (584-633), whose feast day it is today according to the Orthodox calendar (12/25 October).

With the help of a professional archaeologist, a group from a village called Cuckney near Mansfield in Nottinghamshire may be about to find the true site of the martyrdom of England’s first Christian king. Cuckney could soon have a place in St Edwin’s story, with the possibility that this village, and not the town of Hatfield, located to the north east of Doncaster some 40 miles away, is the actual site of the Battle of Hatfield of 633. There have been clues before – at the time of the battle, the Cuckney area was known as Hatfield, while nearby Edwinstowe mean’s ‘Edwin’s shrine’. Then there is St Edwin’s Cross, which marks the site of a chapel erected in 1201, where a hermit prayed to Edwin, who had been proclaimed a saint by the people in the years after his death.

Tradition has it that St Edwin’s relics were taken from the battlefield by his own men and secretly buried to protect his remains from his pagan conquerors. But it was a discovery by a group of workmen at St Mary’s Church in Cuckney in 1951 that interested historians. As they dug down through the floor of the church to support the Norman structure against recent mining activity, they discovered skeletons. Not one or two, but hundreds – maybe up to 200, all laid out in rows, all with their feet facing east. Villagers who remember the discovery have described skulls being piled up in the corner of the church for weeks before their reburial.

This is the first problem for archaeologists and the Battle of Hatfield Investigation Society, who have joined up to try and prove that St Edwin was martyred in Cuckney and not in Yorkshire, as official history tells us. Andrew Gaunt, the director of Mercian Archaeology, who is working with the group, believes that the bodies represent the site of a massacre. He also believes that the most likely explanation for their current whereabouts is that they were simply put back where they were found. He said: ‘Often churches were built on the sites of burial mounds and it is reasonable to assume at this stage that the bodies pre-date the church. Where you get a lot of bodies buried together, it can suggest that they’ve been caught in a bottle neck during a battle, as people were typically buried close to where they fell’.

St Mary’s Church sits at the foot of a gentle valley, quite close to the river, and Mr Gaunt believes that the men were possibly driven down the hill in the battle and slaughtered, trapped between the invading force, steep hills and the river. A church at the site is mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086, but the present building dates from the twelfth century. Joseph Waterfall, from the Battle of Hatfield Investigation Society, said: ‘We believe King Edwin was slain in the fields near Cuckney, hence the reason for the 200 or so skeletons. But the history books state that he was slain north-east of Doncaster, but no evidence was ever produced to support this claim’.

With modern carbon dating technology, access to the skeletons would allow archaeologists to date them to a specific period – perhaps dating the remains to the approximate time of King Edwin’s death. And more importantly, along with the other evidence from the local area, it may pinpoint the site of the death of England’s first Christian king to Nottinghamshire. ‘Edwin is England’s first Christian king and he was killed by pagans, so historically that makes him hugely significant’, said Andrew Gaunt. ‘We know from the records that bodies were discovered from about 18 inches down and they may have gone down to about seven feet deep. If we can gain access to the bodies and date those bodies to the time of Edwin’s death, then with all the other evidence around us, we can reasonably conclude that Cuckney is the actual site of the Battle of Hatfield’.

What can the Church Outside Russia Give the Church inside Russia?

The Lord will have mercy on Holy Rus because it has suffered the dread and terrible period before Antichrist. A great host of martyrs and confessors shone forth, starting with senior clergy and laity, the Metropolitan and the Tsar, the priest and the monk, the child and the breastfed babe, ending with ordinary laypeople. They all beseech the Lord God, the King of Hosts, the King of Kings, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, glorified in the Most Holy Trinity. We must know quite clearly that Russia is the lot of the Queen of Heaven and She takes care of her and intercedes for her especially…Together with the Mother of God the whole host of Russian saints asks for Russia to be spared…

St Laurence of Chernigov (+ 1950)

Introduction

To some the above question may seem absurd. What can a tiny, émigré-founded part of the Russian Church (ROCOR – 500 parishes), their descendant and missions, scattered across the whole face of the world, give the huge Church inside Russia, with its tens of thousands of churches, hundreds of monasteries and dozens of seminaries? It sounds as if the little brother, so imperfect and with all his faults, is trying to patronise the big brother because he is blind to his own faults. This is not the case; we are well aware of our weaknesses, but perhaps ‘our strength is made perfect in weakness.’

In reality, the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) does have something to say, though perhaps only one thing, but a vital thing. Simply because we were never Sovietised, whereas, through no fault of its own, the people of the martyric Church inside Russia were Sovietised, we have one word to say to. It is: ‘Community’. It is most ironic, for this is the very thing promised, but not delivered, by ‘Communism’. Commun-ism failed to build a Commun-ity because it tried to do it without Christ. Starting from the bottom and working upwards through five levels, of Community we can say:

1. The Family as Community

Under Soviet atheism, Christian marriage came to an end and was replaced at first with ‘free love’, then with relationships of convenience, a method, for example, of obtaining a permit to work in Moscow or some other city. Divorce and multiple divorce became ‘normal’ and, with it, multiple abortion and the horrifying abuse of women and children and the irresponsibilisation of men as fathers. Virtually all sense of the family as the community of the small church came to an end. As a result, the demographic situation throughout all the Slav parts of the former Soviet Union is catastrophic.

2. The Parish as Community.

Today, parish life as community life, as we understand it in ROCOR, hardly exists in the post-Soviet Church inside Russia. Parishes there are largely composed of people who do not know one another, of passers-by, of those who drop in. The repression of the Church in the Soviet period more or less destroyed normal parish life. The reflex of the former Soviet citizen is to erect high barriers around his property. He sees others as potential enemies. Mistrust of others has largely replaced community life. This is not the case in ROCOR parish life, where we try to build scattered individuals into communities.

3. The Diocese as Community

In our small ROCOR all who wish to can know our bishops, write to them and speak to them. Bishops have small if scattered dioceses. The bureaucratisation of bishops did not occur in ROCOR; they are not State functionaries; neither are they wealthy. On the contrary. In the Church inside Russia, even with a relatively small number of churches and today with 300 bishops, bishops do not know their parishes. If a bishop is to visit each parish once a year, surely there should be no more than 50 parishes in his diocese? Perhaps at least another 300 bishops are required inside Russia.

4. The Church as Community

In the Soviet period, not to mention the period before it which prepared it, the Church inside Russia came to be seen as an Institution, a Department of State, as ‘the Moscow Patriarchate’. Religion stopped being seen as Faith, and instead as a purely outward rite. Let us be clear. In 2007 the Church Outside Russia did not enter into canonical communion with ‘the Moscow Patriarchate’. The Community of ROCOR entered into communion with the Community of our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Church inside Russia. The Church is the Community of believers, living and departed.

5. Rus as Community

Today the East Slav peoples, the Multinational Community of Faith known as ‘Rus’, are illegitimately divided into three States: the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Belarus. To them can be added a fourth and Non-Slav country – Moldova. Moreover, many, many other countries also have many believers in the jurisdiction of the Church of ‘All Rus’. In these post-Soviet times, Rus has not been restored; we have only covered 5% of the path before us. We are not satisfied with this post-Soviet state of affairs: we look for better times, we look to the future, when Rus will exist not only spiritually as now, but politically also.

Conclusion

Today the world is being squeezed between a bankrupt but technologically dominant Western world, a decadent Roman Empire, whose secularist ideology appears to be motivated by the promotion of homosexuality, and the Islamic world. That Islamic world has been divided in terrible wars in one country after another throughout the Middle East, so that it can be ruled and exploited. Orthodox should be aware, for they too are divided and ruled, as happened long ago in the enslaved Patriarchate of Constantinople, as happened with new calendarisation and now EU-isation, and is now happening in Serbia and the Ukraine.

The Soviet Union has long gone, leaving ruins behind it. The Russian Federation, Ukraine and Belarus are all passing States, with no long-term future. The choice is not between Soviet and Russian. The choice is between the descent into a second-rate colony of vulgar Western consumerism and the restoration of Holy Rus. Holy Rus, ruled by a Tsar, is the spiritual tool for the salvation of its own peoples and other peoples. Holy Rus spread across the northern half of the Eurasian continent. In the past it stemmed the wild East and the wild West, Islam and the spiritually damaged Catholic/Protestant West; this is its task again today.

The Struggle for Holy Orthodoxy: Secularism, Nationalism and Nominalism

Introduction

‘The struggle for Holy Orthodoxy’ was a phrase of the ever-memorable Metr Laurus. No doubt the many who knew this saintly hierarch much better than us could speak more about how he used it. The phrase, however, is very apt to describe those who seem to be crashing onto the rocks around the Church, without ever attaining Her. Today Holy Orthodoxy is threatened by two external threats, but above all by one internal threat. Only by struggling against all three of them can we win the struggle. What are these threats?

Secularism

The first threat is symbolised by the recent announcement that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a pan-European group, has passed a resolution condemning circumci-sion of children as a violation of human rights. The resolution was passed a few days ago with 78 votes in favour to just 13 against. 15 abstained from the vote. This wave of anti-Semitism against all Semites, Jews as well as Arab Muslims, may seem to some Orthodox Christians not to be our concern. However, it is.

Now, as we have seen with the furore around the practice of homosexuality, all faith is under threat from Western secularism, which is being spearheaded by the EU. This ‘secularism’, in fact just another name for atheism, threatens the catholicity, integrity and freedom of the Orthodox Church. Today it is against Jew and Muslim, tomorrow it will be the banning of Orthodox baptism, which will mean that the prophecy of St Seraphim of Vyritsa (+ 1949), that Europeans will be forced to go to Russia for baptism, will come true.

Without the sense of catholicity, integrity and freedom the Local Orthodox Churches are threatened by the development of personality cults, which we saw developing when the Russian Church was not free under the Soviet yoke; then those who did not want the Russian Church to be reduced to a personality cult, left for freedom. But when the personality in question died, those who had created the cult also left, for their only attachment to the Church had been the dead personality whom they had culted.

Without the sense of catholicity, integrity and freedom, the Orthodox Churches are also threatened by homosexualisation, the result of the lack of monastic life. We saw this with the notorious Archbishop German Aav in Finland in the 1920s and the ensuing ‘Finlandisation’ of many parishes there, which have still not recovered. We have seen similar problems in the recent past in the USA and today the horrible problems created by homosexual plotters in the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, who slandered and ejected their Metropolitan.

Nationalism

Nationalism anywhere is a spiritual danger. Nationalism in the Church leads to the ethnic religion of the narrow and self-centred cultural ghetto, the petty religion of the pharisee and the sectarian. It belongs to a primitive world of isolation, for it says that one’s tribal group is above Christ. Soviet nationalism, still infecting Russia, is a good example of this. However, this is also a generational phenomenon which does not last, because it is incapable of bearing fruit in the next generation, which rejects it, unable to bear its constricting narrowness.

We well remember at the end of the 1970s studying at St Serge in Paris and the views of the late rector, Protopresbyter Alexei Knyazev, on the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the very Patriarchate to which he belonged. Having suffered in the 1960s from that Patriarchate’s three-year long abandonment of his diocese, he had been to the Phanar and asked for proof that the Patriarch there really did have universal authority among the Local Orthodox Churches as he claimed and was not simply, as he put it, ‘a petty Balkan bishop’.

He did not receive any proof and so in the 1970s tried to bring his jurisdiction back to the Russian Orthodox Church. Today’s paranoid misreport in the ‘EU Greek Reporter’ (http://eu.greekreporter.com/2013/10/21/conflicts-in-the-orthodox-ecumenical-council/) says indeed that the Patriarchate of Constantinople missed its unitive vocation during the Cold War through its nationalism. The article confirms that petty nationalistic jealousy on the part of the US-run Greek Patriarchate is delaying the convening of an Inter-Orthodox Conference.

The political jealousy of the Phanar with regard to Russian Orthodox Ukraine, which it recently tried to take over with US and EU backing, with regard to Russian Orthodox missionary work carried out for well over a century in Japan, China and the USA (as also in Poland and Czechoslovakia) and with regard to Russia’s present vital role in the Middle East in supporting the now Arab-run Patriarchate of Antioch against American interventionism, is not conducive to inter-Orthodox co-operation.

Nominalism

Despite the external irritants of Secularism and petty Nationalism – and not only Greek – the real enemy of the Church is internal. It is called Nominalism. This is the spirit that decides that membership of the Church is defined as three visits to church per lifetime, for baptism, marriage and funeral. This is the spirit that decides that membership of the Church is defined as a fifteen-minute visit on Easter Night. This is the spirit that decides that membership of the Church is defined as a thirty-minute visit once a month to ‘listen to the choir’.

This is the spirit that decides that membership of the Church is defined as belonging to the 80% who sometimes attend but do not contribute, and not the 20% who take an active part in Church life and without whom the Church would not exist. This is also the spirit that decides that membership of the Church is defined as living the consumerist lifestyle of this world; the Church is a supermarket, from which the consumer is free to choose whatever they like, that is, only ‘the nice, comfortable parts’.

Such a consumerist distortion of Church life in particular affects the demographics of any country that has fallen to nominalism, including once Orthodox countries. There, a large family is considered to be a burden, even a curse, by the consumerist. They say: How can you ‘enjoy’ life when you have a large family? Thus the world has fallen to the greatest holocaust in human history, greater than that of Hitler, Stalin and Mao; this is the holocaust of abortion, the greatest genocide and suicide in history.

All the once Orthodox countries have been infected by this holocaust. Thus, Russia cannot populate its expanses; China will do it instead. It has been calculated that if the atheist Revolution had never taken place, Russia would today have a population of over 600 million. How then can it be that in such a country the prophecies of rebirth will come right? Those who ask this question forget that prophecies are always conditional on repentance. Even so, it is true that Russia may not have quantity, but it may at least have quality.

Conclusion

Today Europe has finished its history. By its own choice it has nothing more to say; so it is no longer a civilisational choice. As for the USA, it has, like its films, only technology, the ‘shock and awe’ of special effects. As for other lands, they have people and productivity, but their cultures, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto, Animist, have lost the original impetus that came from faith and have only nationalism or violence. Only the multinational Church of Rus still bears a creative civilisation. The world will choose that – or die.

On Recovering the Lost Provinces of Western Europe

In the fifth century the westernmost provinces of Europe were lost by the Christian Empire to barbarian Germanic invaders. However, in the sixth century St Justinian the Great was Emperor in the Christian capital in New Rome from 527 to 565. The last Roman Emperor to speak Latin as a first language, Justinian sought ‘renovatio imperii’ or the restoration of the Empire by recovering the lost western provinces. This ambition was expressed by reconquering the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa as well as the Ostrogothic Kingdom, and restoring Dalmatia, Sicily, Italy and Rome to the Empire after more than half a century of barbarian control. His forces then reclaimed most of southern Iberia, establishing the province of Spania. Unfortunately, this recovery was to be all too short-lived

At the end of the sixth century, seeing that physical recovery was impossible, in Old Rome, itself provincialised, Pope Gregory the Great set about the spiritual recovery of the provinces, starting with Britain. This recovery succeeded and spread, but was fragile. Already towards the end of the eighth century the Germanic leader Charlemagne had changed the Creed and fallen into iconoclasm. Although he soon died, in the mid-eleventh century the Germanic iconoclasts not only returned to power, but took over the Roman see, creating the definitive Schism of 1054. No help could come from those who had remained faithful in New Rome, so oppressed were they, and indeed in 1204 the Christian capital was sacked by the barbarians, finally falling in 1453, its leaders having compromised themselves with the barbarians.

At this, the task of the spiritual recovery of the lost Western provinces fell to small and oppressed Russia as the only free country in the still Christian world. It, however, was faced with the hostility of the rulers of Western Europe and it was not until the nineteenth century that Russia was able to begin to preach the Christian Faith to the captive peoples of the Western provinces. However, the leaders of Western Europe became even more aggressive and invaded Russia in 1812, 1854 and again in 1914. This last invasion led to the fall of Christianity there in 1917, which came about through the treachery of the westernised upper classes, who betrayed their own ruler. In 1941 Western countries again invaded now fallen Russia, but with the sobering result that it began a fifty-year process of return to Christianity.

It is since 1991 then that Russia has been undergoing a long period of regeneration, painfully striving to re-establish at least something of Christianity. Although this process is far from complete, it provides hope that the spiritually sensitive in the lost Western provinces can return to the Church of Christ, especially if Russia is regenerated in full. This return can neither be on the basis of an uninteresting nationalistic form of Russian Christianity, nor on the basis of a minimal and opportunistically compromised form of Russian Christianity, as among some in North America, Paris, Finland and Estonia. It can only be on the basis of the maximal Christianity, the fullness of Orthodoxy. In this way, the lost provinces of Western Europe, including our own East of England province, can reintegrate the Church of God.

Regeneration or Degeneration

Spiritual nihilism is a major threat to European civilisation…yet not all values can ever be destroyed among mankind. There are still those who care who will kindle the flame and pass it from hand to hand until the country is flooded by a new wave of regeneration.

New Martyr Alexander of Munich (+ 1943)

Russia

The greatest geopolitical and human catastrophe and the cause of the worst genocide in the last century was undoubtedly the Russian Revolution. It led to the satanically-inspired murder of all that was best in the near-millennial Christian culture of Rus, East Slavdom; this was indeed ‘spiritual nihilism’. For without the Revolution there would have been a Russian victory in 1917 and Russian troops would have freed Prussianised Germany and the peoples of Austria-Hungary from the tyranny of their emperors and upper classes. There would have been no fateful Versailles Treaty and no unjust mistreatment of the German and Austrian peoples, no Lenin and no Stalin in the former Russian Empire, no Hitler and no Second World War. True, there would have been the terrible losses of a three-year First World War, but they could at least have been repented for by the instigators of that war throughout the 1920s. Instead, they were never repented for and so were never made up for.

The atheist Soviet Union was an interruption of all East Slav history, a break with the destiny of Rus. Although the Soviet Union is no more, its utterly mismanaged collapse was yet another disaster and so the paths of Russian destiny have still not been resumed in full, far from it, and the effects of discontinuity are still present. They can for example be seen in the self-defensive and ignorant Soviet nationalism of the brainwashed elderly, which admires the genocidal war-leader Stalin. But this is a generational phenomenon that is dying out, just as the admiration of brainwashed, elderly Britons for their compromised war-leader Churchill is also dying out. However, the break with the destiny of Rus can also be seen in the fact that the remains of Lenin have still not been disposed of, in atheist place-names that still abound everywhere, in still existing admiration for all those who so shamelessly co-operated with Stalin, not to mention in the luxurious wastefulness of today’s Russian elite.

In criticising the wastefulness of that elite, we should not forget that there were also abuses before the Revolution. Oligarch is only a new name for aristocrat. That Revolution was caused by the self-serving, decadent and corrupted upper class. On the other hand, we should not think that all was corrupted before the Revolution – the problem was in the wealthy, westernised classes. If all had been corrupted, then from what trees could the spiritual blossom of the New Martyrs have come? The modernist Russophobes who think that all was corrupted before the Revolution are those who do not venerate the New Martyrs, who ‘have no space for their icons’, as in the former Sourozh Diocese. And if all had been corrupted, where also could the best of the culture of émigré Russia have come from? From where could the heartfelt music of a Rakhmaninov, the lament of the emigration for what was and what might have been, the endless melody of nostalgia for a vanished civilisation, have come?

What is the situation today? President Putin has been admired by some for his foreign policies. That admiration may perhaps be justified. But his internal policies seem to be little more than empty words, promises without substance – as we can see from the present Muslim immigrant troubles in Moscow. There still hang over Russia the old and huge problems of ABC, alcoholism, abortion and corruption, the first two vestiges from the atheist period, the last mostly from the abysmal decadence of the Capitalist Yeltsin period. All these problems lie behind the unresolved and severe demographic crisis. However, critics of contemporary Russia, and we have no illusions that there is much to criticise there, for we have seen it ourselves, tend to forget that what survives in Russia today survives miraculously, after the worst persecution of Christ known to history. All of us who seek a Tsar restored must show patience, recognising that the processes of repentance and regeneration are painfully gradual.

Europe

Once Europe was strong, but today it is degenerating, which in many respects makes it even more fragile than regenerating Russia. Through the European Union Europe is entering a period which resembles in its tyranny the old Soviet Union. Europe’s future survival as a living, and not as a dead, culture is dependent on its willingness to overcome the cumulative degeneration of its spiritual nihilism. This is exactly what the still fragile process of spiritual regeneration in Russia has come from – the willingness of at least some there to overcome the spiritual nihilism of the past. And this is what Europe must learn from Russia – if it wants to survive. Europe is a poem – in its little, hidden, underground parts dating from before the Schism, in the beauty of its nature and culture, from the mountains of Norway to the fado songs of Portugal, from the shores of the Hebrides to the forests of the Tyrol, from the palaces of Paris to the fountains of Rome. But now the very existence of that poem is at risk.

This is because Europe is also a gigantic museum of the effects of the Schism. Having forsaken the Church, it declined into Catholicism and from there descended to Protestantism and so to atheist Secularism. Europe is littered with the remarkable monuments of its millennial Schism, its cathedrals and its churches, its castles and its fortifications, its museums and its galleries, its statues and its adornments. All this it can and should keep, as witnesses to its past culture, both good and bad. But Europe’s cultural evolution has come to a dead end because its spiritual evolution has reached a dead end, the end of the process of its Schism, which has descended during a millennium from total faithfulness to total faithlessness. So now Europe is at a turning-point and faces a choice between total self-destruction and the renunciation of its atheist Secularism and the millennial process behind it and so the return to the fullness of its founding Orthodoxy of a thousand years ago.

Nowhere today can the threat of atheist Secularist Europe be seen in more black and white terms than in the Ukraine. For, bribed by the EU, the Ukrainian puppet elite is now turning its back on 1025 years of East Slav history and its choice of civilisation – the choice for Christ – made in 988, and is instead choosing Eurosodom. For what was a vulgar commercial union forty and more years ago, at first tyrannically removing the freedom for Europeans to be themselves, is now altogether destroying fundamental Christian morality. The EU tyranny has never had any respect for local culture, as we know from the recent past of Western Europe, and as can be seen in its present manipulation of the Ukrainian media, similar to its past manipulation of the media of one victim country after another. The Ukraine and its Church also are heading for ‘Europeanisation’, ‘Hellenisation’, the same illusions as in bankrupt Greece, the Baltic States, Hungary, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania.

In the Ukraine, we see face to face the stark choice: Christ or Eurosodom. No group there faces a greater inner contradiction than the Uniats, with their hideous new Cathedral in Kiev. On the one hand, they claim to belong to Christ, but on the other hand, they support Eurosodom. If Stalin had left to Poland the largely Uniat, far-west Polonised provinces, the only ones which are truly ‘Ukrainian’, that is borderlands, none of this would have happened. If the European Union does invade the Ukraine, then the vast majority of the Ukraine may well join a regenerating Russian Federation, welcoming it as liberation. Then too, in the far south-west, faithful Carpatho-Russia, ‘Transcarpathia’, will at last be established as an Autonomous Republic of the Federation, righting Stalin’s historic injustice against it. The Ukraine may soon face a choice: Spiritual Regeneration with the Russian Federation or Spiritual Degeneration with the European Union. Whither goest thou, Ukraine?

6 October 2013: The Victory of St Constantine and Nish – the Emperor’s City

Nish, in Cyrillic Ниш, is one of the oldest cities in Europe and has from ancient times been considered a strategic gateway between East and West. Named after the River Nishava, in 75 BC it was taken from the Celts by the Romans, who called it Naissus. The great claim to fame is the birth of Constantine the Great (272-337) in Nish, which was also the native city of his father, Constantius Chlorus, who may have been buried in York, where Constantine was proclaimed Emperor in 306.

Besieged by the Huns in 441, Nish was restored by the Roman Emperor Justinian I, but then it was destroyed by the Avars. It came under Serbian control in 1241, succumbed to Ottoman rule in 1448 and was finally freed only in 1878. After the German occupation in 1941 over 10,000 Serbs were shot here. On 7 May 1999 the city was the victim of NATO cluster bombing and a memorial chapel was built in memory of those murdered.

Today Nish is the third largest in Serbia, with an official urban population in 2011 of 187,544. (The true population is unknown, since there are also tens of thousands of Serbian refugees from Albanian and NATO-occupied Kosovo). The local airport is called Constantine the Great Airport.

On Sunday 6 October 2013 the leaders of eight Local Orthodox Churches and representatives of the other six concelebrated there on the occasion of the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan. This was issued by the Emperor Constantine and his co-Emperor Licinius and freed Christianity from persecution.

Like the last Roman Emperor, St Nicholas Romanov, St Constantine, the first Roman Emperor, is one of the most slandered figures in Christian history. The origins of these slanders are in the works of a pagan sophist called Eunapius (345-414) who wanted to discredit Christianity and therefore especially St Constantine. He was a contemporary of the fiendish Julian the Apostate and a later pagan historian called Zosimas (450-510), a Hellenist from Antioch.

Many more recent Western historians also repeat the same slanders. Foremost among them stand Gibbon and several more recent anti-Christian authors, for example, A. H. M. Jones in his 1948 ‘Constantine and the Conversion of Europe’. All of these authors, pagan and neo-pagan, are vigorously opposed to the doctrine of the Incarnation which means that the State is to be Christianised by the Church.

The Liturgy on 6 October was conducted in eight different languages. Thousands of faithful gathered in the square in front of Sts Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Nish. Answering questions, His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and All the Russias explained that the Edict is the foundation stone of European culture. He warned Western European countries that if they continued in their present anti-Christian course, they would undermine that very culture.

This culture, he said, is the culture of Christian Europe, of Christian civilisation and it risked being replaced by permissiveness, hedonism and unbridled consumerism. His Holiness added that such materialism meant that the human personality could not develop, saying: ‘Today we live in an age of militant atheism, the result of the philosophic ideas of liberalism, but these ideas are being perverted and are trying to force people to renounce the Cross of Christ, the faith that it represents and the basic moral values on which European civilisation is founded’.

On the Importance of Sobriety (2)

Edited E-mail Correspondence Following the Questions and Answers of 17 September

Q: In your answers in the correspondence in ‘On the Importance of Sobriety’ (17 September) you seemed to be defending ROCOR as a Church of moderation, which is why the extreme Greek and convert old calendarists left it between 1986 and 2007. But surely there were extremists among the Russians in ROCOR, for example, people who actually seriously believed that there was no grace in the rest of the Russian Orthodox Church? And they did not leave in 1986.

A: On the ROCOR side I knew of only two Russians (admittedly very senior figures) who asserted that the Patriarchal part of the Russian Orthodox Church had no grace. But I met hundreds, if not thousands, of ordinary ROCOR clergy and laity who believed otherwise, freely gave the sacraments to anyone from Russia and indeed were scandalised by such an absurd thought of gracelessness. So let us look at all this in proportion. You will always find a few extremists in any group of human-beings, but that does not mean that the vast majority are extremists. By definition they are not.

However, it is also true that a few members of ROCOR at that time (I am speaking about the Cold War period before 1991) appeared to be more interested in anti-Communism than in Christianity. However, the members of that generation have either died out or else have left ROCOR since 1991. The problem for them after the fall of Communism was that they no longer had any motivation to be active in Church life. You cannot be anti-Communist when Communism is no more. They had lost their raison d’etre, and so they gradually disappeared from Church life. This was most regrettable for them, but on a human level it was a great relief to us because they had put us ordinary ROCOR laity and clergy under pressure, trying to politicise the Church, which we resisted.

And I would like to add to all this very important qualification. Those few who previously claimed that there was no grace in the Patriarchate after 1991 received several clergy from it without ordaining them, let alone baptising them! And they gave the sacraments to Patriarchal laypeople without dreaming of baptising them. So it had all been empty words, rhetoric, political propaganda and not actions. In reality, they full well knew that the Patriarchate preserved apostolic succession. They rejected their own absurdity, which had only ever been a purely political ploy. I seriously think that the ludicrous concept of a graceless Church inside Russia may even have been invented by the CIA. It is simply not theological, but purely secular.

Q: You have said before and also in ‘On the Importance of Sobriety’ that all Russian Orthodox parishes outside Russia will eventually come under ROCOR administration. But why should not all, including ROCOR ones, come under the administration of the Church inside Russia instead?

A: There are three reasons why not. First of all, the agreement of 2007 was crystal clear: all parishes outside Russia will come under ROCOR, all parishes inside Russia will come under the Church inside Russia. Secondly, there is the name, ROCOR. It is only logical: only ROCOR is the Church Outside Russia, it is absurd to have parishes outside Russia that belong to the Church inside Russia. It is literally inside out or, if you prefer, outside in.

However, there is a third and moral reason. During the Cold War period (I mean, after 1945 and until well after 1991) the Church inside Russia was under KGB administration and there appeared outside Russia very many unworthy representatives of the Patriarchal Church, at best Soviet bureaucrats, at worst liars and renovationists, politically or morally compromised or just plain corrupt. (The notable exception was Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein) of Brussels). And I am afraid that the Church inside Russia lost all the trust of the world outside Russia at that time. In a word, it shot itself in the foot and ever since it has had to pay the price for the distrust that it created.

As a result, even today, I cannot think of a single person in ROCOR who would go under the Patriarchal administration outside Russia. Even today, virtually the only people under the Patriarchate outside Russia are those who have come out of the former Soviet Union over the last 20 years

I mentioned Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein) of Brussels as an exception, but it must also be said that his integrity was wasted, as that of other sincere people. He had the nominal title of Archbishop, but his diocese consisted of little more than two priests, two deacons and about a dozen laypeople. And in general, until 1991, the Patriarchate only had tiny churches outside Russia. Russian Orthodox outside Russia would have nothing to do with a KGB-sponsored organisation. That is not a secret and not a theory. It is simply a fact of history.

An example of such corruption is the case of the late Archbp George (Wagner), who was a victim of it. A priest of the Patriarchate in 1950s Berlin, he was asked by it to become a Soviet spy. To his credit he refused and left for the Paris Jurisdiction. He was just one in a very long series of sincere people who left the Patriarchate because of its corruption. Another even more striking example is the present Metr Hilarion of ROCOR, who was brought up in the Patriarchate in Canada and left it when he realised that it was not free.

And that was all a great loss of talent for the Patriarchate. But it was their own fault; they did it to themselves. In general, the Patriarchate, whether in Paris, Berlin, Vienna, London or New York, lost many people, the best friends of Orthodox Russia in the West, because of its unworthy representatives, with their political and moral compromises and corrupt personality cults. It lost the best friends of Orthodox Russia precisely because its representatives were not the best friends of Orthodox Russia. This is why ROCOR is an autonomous part of the Russian Church. If ever, things go badly in Russia again – as they could, the situation is still relatively fragile – ROCOR will retain its independence. That is very important.

Fortunately, virtually all such unworthy representatives had died out before the reconciliation of 2007, sometimes well before. Now we are waiting for a new generation. The Patriarchate outside Russia has been expanding with the new emigration. We believe that the majority of the new representatives are and will be more worthy, will at least be up to the standard of ROCOR and so prepare the Patriarchal churches outside Russia for their transfer to ROCOR.

Q: Do you feel bitter about this waste during the Cold War due to the captivity of the Patriarchate at that time?

A: Of course not! A Christian cannot feel bitter because he believes in Divine Providence, the ever-present, intervening love of God. This makes all mistakes into opportunities, all negatives into positives.

Q: What is your view of the murder of Fr Pavel Adelheim in Pskov last August

A: On average one priest a year is murdered in Russia and every murder is a tragedy and a crime, including that of Fr Pavel. I saw a Russian programme about the murder. His matushka appeared and spoke of the tragedy with great dignity.

However, Fr Pavel Adelheim himself was a well-known dissident and controversialist, a marginal figure and in that sense a bit like the late Fr Alexander Men, who is believed by many to have been a Catholic. The latter is a hero to all those who are anti-Orthodox, especially since he asserted that ‘it is better to be a Hare Krishna than to be like Fr Seraphim Rose’. (By the way, under the old regime the London Patriarchal Cathedral on Ennismore Gardens refused to sell his books, just as they refused to put up icons of the New Martyrs; that has changed now). Murder is a tragedy, but it is does not absolve anti-Church views. I am not saying that Fr Pavel was like Fr Alexander Men, he was not pro-Catholic, but nevertheless he was very much a fringe personality. It is very interesting that although deaths like that of the late Orthodox priest Fr Daniel Sisoev are hardly mentioned in the West, Fr Pavel’s was widely reported and by two groups.

The first group was the freemasons of the Russophobic Rue Daru with their Western supporters and the second was the equally Russophobic old calendarists. It is disgraceful that such anti-Russian-Church groups opportunistically and self-justifyingly try and make capital of a tragic murder, which was carried out by a satanist. You cannot justify schism. What such sectarian groups as Rue Daru and old calendarists, two sides of the same coin, do not understand is that the Church is not an exclusive club for those with eccentric views, but it is for all who believe in Christ. The fact that Fr Pavel had peculiar views and was then tragically murdered does not for one moment mean that those views are justified.

Q: Russophobia has been in the international spotlight recently. What would you say about the civil war in Syria and President Putin’s recent intervention that averted US missile attacks?

A: First of all, this is not a civil war. The original legitimate protests against the dictatorial Syrian government were hijacked by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey (all Israeli-backed). 1200 murderers, rapists and bandits were released from Saudi prisons, armed and trained by Western Special Services in camps in the Jordan and Turkey and paid over $1000 dollars a month to murder, maim and cannibalise innocent Syrians. Together with them there are tens of thousands of fanatical foreign mercenaries, Chechens, Tunisians, Libyans and many Muslims from Western countries like Britain, France, Belgium and Germany. (These terrorists, who use chemical weapons in Syria, are the same people who prepare chemical weapons in Somalia). The war in Syria is a war between Syrian patriots on the one hand and foreign-financed traitors and foreign mercenaries on the other hand.

As regards the intervention of President Putin, the man who is so hated by Rue Daru and the old calendarists, what is remarkable is that for the first time, someone has stood up to resist the New World Order, that will lead to the enthronement of Antichrist in the rebuilt Temple on Zion. (Speaking of Russia, called the ‘Heartland’ in geopolitical science, Zbigniew Brzezinski said that the ‘New World Order’ would be built on its ruins). President Putin may even have averted a Third World War and certainly deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, unlike President Obama who should be stripped of his.

It was not a billion-peopled China or India or Africa, representing half the population of the planet between them, but Russia that stood up to the New World Order. President Putin has played the role of the Orthodox Tsar, of ‘him who restrains’ (2 Thessalonians 2, 6). This is remarkable on the part of a mere politician. Moreover on 19 September the President went on in his Valdai Speech to explain that the role of Russia is in Orthodoxy and that this is her Christian civilisational role against the secularist and suicidal West which has opted for Sodom.

The West has two great enemies in Russia today. The first is President Putin, the second is Patriarch Kyrill. It will do its utmost to bring them both down, as it has already done.

Q: Why?

A: Because the secularist West knows that if either of them is successful or both of them are successful, they will with time be replaced by even more powerful Orthodox figures in Russia. They will not only resist the New World Order even more successfully, but will actually reverse it, restoring the Russian Orthodox Empire in Eurasia and worldwide Orthodox unity. That will be the end of the Antichristic, unipolar global project, of Orthodox countries eternally indebted and enslaved to the European Union, the end of absurd new calendarism and masonic puppet Orthodox bishops, the beginning of freedom for Orthodoxy in China, financial support for the Orthodox missions in Latin America, Africa and Asia, the building of tens of thousands of churches there and, if God wills and the world lasts long enough, the foundation of new autocephalous Churches. In a word, this will be the great gathering of all Orthodox Christianity before the end.

Q: It is 20 years since the attempted coup of October 1993 in Moscow, with the bombardment of the White House and the Yeltsin era. What are your thoughts?

A: The 1990s were a disgraceful period, when Russia went from Communism to Consumerism, from lies to theft. Russian public assets were stolen by those whom we now call oligarchs through so-called ‘privatisation’. These oligarchs, international criminals, now live in asylum under British government protection in London and elsewhere in the Western world that so adored their stolen billions that so impoverished Russia. This was massive, State-sponsored theft. In the 1990s the West tried to dismember and destroy the Russian Lands, just as it had tried to do under the seven months of the Provisional Government of 1917. It is said that these new Kerenskys, Harvard-educated privatisers, the cowboys of the ‘Wild East’, actually rigged the election of 1996 so that the drunkard Yeltsin could win. It is possible. The CIA has plenty of experience in rigging elections all round the world. In 1917 the decadence lasted seven months; in the 1990s it lasted seven years until the Jubilee Council of August 2000 and the canonisation of the New Martyrs in Moscow.

Q: Some conservative convert Orthodox, especially under the Patriarchate of Antioch in the USA, would perhaps be shocked by your words. They think that privatisation is good. What would you say to them?

A: Conservatism is not the same as the Tradition. To use American vocabulary, neoconservatives or ‘neocons’ (unprincipled Money Tories or economic liberals in Britishspeak) worship God and Mammon against the Gospel. Indeed, monetarism is just another word for Mammon. And even the so-called Paleoconservatives (High Tories, UKIP, noblesse oblige, the Patriarchal) are not the same as Orthodox. Firstly, paleoconservatives have a tendency to racism. Secondly, unlike Orthodox, they have little sense of social justice. (If socialism exists, there are reasons). And thirdly, the paleoconservatives tend to attract a lunatic fringe, people who are obsessed with conspiracy theories, hate the Jews, admire Hitler and other such nonsense

Q: What are your hopes and fears for the revival of the Russian Church in Russia today?

A: We must understand that the revival of the last 25 years, although spectacular, has only just begun. As Patriarch Kyrill said last week, at the present rate it will take 100 years just to build enough churches to catch up with the number of churches that existed in the Russian Empire before the Revolution. Instead of building 1,000 churches a year, over the next ten years 14,000 churches need to be built every year. That is what would be happening if Russia were not nominally Orthodox, but actually Orthodox. Another example: at the Synod in Moscow on 5 October seven new bishops were nominated. That is very good and it should bring the total to more or less 300 bishops. But if Russia and the Church’s canonical territories were actually and not nominally Orthodox, there would be 200 times more bishosp being nominated – 1,400 new bishops. Then any future Inter-Orthodox Conference (falsely called a Pan-Orthodox Council by the Phanariots) would be Orthodox

Q: One last question. Earlier you mentioned Fr Seraphim (Rose). Do you think he will one day be canonised?

A: God makes saints, not men. It may be that one day God will reveal Fr Seraphim to have been a saint. It is quite possible, judging from his life. But, before this, the monastery at Platina will first have to return to ROCOR. That is what Fr Seraphim would have wanted. That would be justice correcting the historic injustice of Platina leaving ROCOR, something carried out after Fr Seraphim’s repose. I would even say that the main impediment to Fr Seraphim’s canonisation is precisely the fact that Platina has not yet returned to ROCOR. Then everything will fall into place.

Q: Would Fr Seraphim have agreed with the reconciliation between ROCOR and the Church inside Russia?

A: Of course, he would. He was a deeply anti-sectarian person, as you can see by the way in which the proud ‘super-correct’ persecuted him in the 1970s. He was a genuine monk who had no pathological complexes, like many of the super-correct converts at that time. He suffered greatly from them, especially when they insisted on being photographed with him – photographs that they now display in their self-justification! ‘Look at me, I’m standing next to Fr Seraphim, I’m a saint’. That is what they proclaim and yet in his lifetime they were his worst enemies. It was the same with St John of Shanghai. Some of his worst persecutors during his lifetime, those who put him on trial, proclaimed after his canonisation how much they had supported him!

Q: When you see what is being introduced in the Western world, what has been called ‘Eurosodom’, are you pessimistic or optimistic about the future

A: It is a strange fact that all empires end in sodomy because they lose faith, they no longer have any self-belief and so they commit suicide. It happened in Ancient Greece and Rome. And today we are seeing not the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, but the decline and fall of the Western Empire. It is a tragedy. And it is the duty of Orthodox to try and save the best of Western culture before it disappears altogether under the tidal wave of atheism.

Am I pessimistic or optimistic? True, it is quite possible that only very little of my above hopes for the future restoration of Orthodox Russia will be realised. I have no illusions. But even so, even despite all this, I remain optimistic because, although man proposes, God disposes, and God has already won, ‘trampling down death by death’. The worst that can happen is that we die. And if, I repeat if, we die repentant, and I underline repentant, we will go to Paradise! Who can be a pessimist? Fear not, little flock!

Neo-Hesychasm and the Struggle for Authentic Orthodoxy

Already before the First World War, British Establishment freemasonry in Cyprus, then 65 years ago, in 1948, the US State Department in Constantinople, and then 32 years ago, in 1981, the EEC (now called the EU) in Greece, have all taken part in their conscious Crusade to enslave the Church. They have wanted to create an artificial, politically correct Orthodoxy, acceptable to the secular powerbrokers of this world. This pseudo-Orthodoxy, a lightweight ‘Diet Orthodoxy’, persecuting of piety, Cross-less, fasting-less, comfortable, consumerist and anti-ascetic, is sterilised, diluted, degutted, neutered, castrated and disincarnate.

It is therefore new-calendarised, uniatised, anglicanised, protestantised, modernised, liberalised, finlandised, often beardless and homosexualised, confessionless and repentance-free because of its self-admiring pride, the sense of the sacred and mystery removed together with the iconostasis, and replaced by plastic, steel and chrome, salt that has lost its savour. The Neo-Frankish neo-colonialist process has so far affected some 20% of the Orthodox world, but not the vast majority of the Russian, Serbian and Georgian Churches, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, or parts of the Polish and Czechoslovak Churches and others.

There is conscious resistance to such humanistic modernism and renovationism. The latter have manipulated shallow, spiritually weak, uprooted and so disincarnate, nominally Orthodox intellectuals in the Diaspora in particular, victims of their own pride of mind and vanity. The ascetic alternative to the above Westernised and Western-supported and financed ‘Orthodoxy’, this alternative for which we have fought for most of our lives, comes in the form of the ever-renewed Tradition of the authentic Orthodox Faith – which we may call Neo-Hesychasm. This means the Trinitarian opposition to all of the above, implying:

The continuing recognition of the Fatherhood of authentic monasticism in Church and society; the Sonhood of conscious commitment to the Incarnational, Orthodox civilisational world view and ethos, with its sense of supra-national Orthodox unity (the Patriarch of Moscow taking on the unifying role of the Tsar until the election of the new and coming Tsar, the Patriarch of Constantinople having lost this role in 1453); the Spirithood of an unshakeable commitment to authentic Orthodoxy worldwide, with, implicit in this, the understanding and openness to heterodox to make missionary work among them possible.

Our Mission

It was under the Carolingian regime at the end of the eighth century that Western Europe first began the long process of abandoning the Incarnation, that is, of abandoning Sacral Orthodox Christian Civilisation. In its place it would put the disincarnate dualism of iconoclastic clericalism on the one hand and the secularised State and society on the other hand. For by clericalising the Church, making it into less than the Church under the illusion of making it into more than the Church, a Super-Church, the State and the rest of society were gradually desacralised. The illusion of spiritualising the Church by imposing celibacy on the clergy meant disincarnating the Church from society, thus creating secularism.

As we have said, the first movement to desacralisation can be seen under the Carolingians. This took place through their rejection of the Holy Spirit’s incarnational role in sacralising the material world, that is, through the Carolingian Trinitarian filioque heresy and its resulting iconoclasm. Fortunately the Carolingian Empire collapsed and the part of Western Europe subject to it remained in communion with the Church for another quarter of a millennium. Unfortunately, the Carolingian project was revived by Carolingian-descended, Germanic popes in the middle of the eleventh century and its next stage appeared as papism. And since then the desacralising apostasy has continued inexorably.

As a result, after a thousand years of the degenerative process have gone by, Western Europe has today become, on the one hand, a fascinating complex of tourist-filled, medieval cathedrals and menacing castles, of museums and monuments, where life is observed, but not lived, and, on the other hand, a disfiguring complex of consumerist, financial depravity and amoral technology, of Sodom and Gomorrah. It has been our duty and calling to encourage the reintegration of the last surviving fragments and vestiges of Orthodox Christianity in Western culture back into Orthodox Civilisation, as it has itself managed to survive in its homelands outside apostatic Western Europe.

This has above all involved the then crucified and now risen Centre of the Orthodox Church and Civilisation, Russia, where the Centre is slowly awakening and being restored, as it strives to throw off the old cultural reflexes of the Soviet period. In piercing the veil of Western history and explaining it, in scattering the confusing, in looking beyond and so looking forward to Orthodoxy, which means being radical, we have been hampered. We have been hampered by the political compromises of that part of the Church that was under Soviet Communism. And we have been hampered by the political compromises of that part of the Church that was and increasingly is under US/EU colonial administration.

We have also been hampered by individuals who have compromised themselves with extremisms and deviations of the left side and of the right side, which they have adopted from weakness, in preference to the purity of Holy Orthodoxy. The Church is above left and right, above margins and fringes, above both personal and nationalistic compromises. The Church is the Tradition of the Holy Spirit, transcendent yet immanent, beyond history, yet in history, beyond weak humanity, yet incarnate in weak humanity. As the world globalises and moves ever closer to its self-created Armageddon with ever new developments, the Church responds to them and gives the world here and now the choice and chance of Her eternal perspective.