Q: How do you understand the current civil war in the Ukraine?
A: Whenever the Orthodox world is on the brink of victory, the West intervenes and undermines it, carrying out its genocide. So it was in the mid-eleventh century, a brilliant time of military victory and spiritual prosperity for New Rome and the whole Christian Empire. So it was in Kiev in the twelfth century, when the West tried to undermine its brilliant Orthodox civilization, so it was in Russia when the barbarian hordes from the West invaded in 1612 and in 1812, then again in 1854 in the Crimea, yet again in 1917 when Russia was on the verge of victory, and so today in the Ukraine, where we are witnessing yet another Western invasion and occupation of Kiev. The Western elite cares nothing for the Ukrainian people or history; the Ukraine is just a tool to gain more power, destroying all opposition to its domination by bread and circuses. Thus, its new President-elect is only a puppet – the real governor of the Ukraine, the next state of the USA, is the US ambassador in Kiev.
Q: This is not the version of the Western media.
A: The propaganda being pumped out day and night by the BBC, for example, is quite astounding. They have quite lost their conscience and all integrity. People are turning more and more to alternatives, especially the Internet, which is not censored – not yet anyway. It is worse than in the days of the Cold War; then you knew that the Soviet Union was atheist and persecuted the Church. Now the Russian Federation is becoming Christian and it is the West that is atheist and persecuting the Church and indeed any spiritual or traditional values at all.
Q: Who do you think was originally responsible for the problem in the Ukraine?
A: Stalin and his borders were responsible. Can you imagine a country made up of eastern Poland and western Russia? It was never going to work. It is as though you made one country out of France and Germany. It is not possible. Now a civil war is going on in the Ukraine, with Ukrainian killing Ukrainian. Little wonder that most of the Ukrainian Army refuses to take part or has surrendered to the free Ukrainians in the east; the junta in Kiev has had to bring in foreign mercenaries in the east, the same as those that brought it to power by violence last February. The civil war in the Ukraine will be interminable – until the country falls apart into its natural and quite different parts.
Q: Has the West won anything by meddling in the Ukraine?
A: No – just as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only has it lost a lot of money, which has been poured into the corrupt black hole of Kiev, but also the events in the Ukraine have affirmed post-Communist Russian identity. Before there were many in Russia who wavered in loyalty and were pro-Western. Now 82% support President Putin. I can think of one Church figure, who not so long ago was an ecumenist and papophile, but who is now appealing for faithfulness to the Tradition – like everyone else has always done! Such is repentance for the errors of youth.
President Putin has adopted the Church and its values as his emblem. This is not the Church being taken over by the State, as in the West – it is the Church influencing the State. President Putin has realized that there is nothing else. The US has made a colossal mistake by meddling in the Ukraine. It has lost all support in Russia and also now lost China, so isolating itself even further. Moreover, the US has little support in many parts of the EU itself, even in Germany. It looks as though the West has been following instructions on how to make enemies; at least that is the effect of Western imperialist meddling over the last 25 years. The West has lost international respect.
Q: Are there any other repercussions?
A: Yes, a huge one. The aggressively expansionist West has brought Russia to create the Eurasian Economic Union, with the very wealthy Kazakhstan and Belarus. Now Kyrgyzstan and Armenia want to join the EEU as soon as possible. Armenia is all the more interested since its neighbour and enemy, Azerbaijan, has become a US colony through its Turkish proxy. Other countries have expressed great interest, notably Vietnam and above all China. Generally, the stupidity of the West has thrust Russia into the arms of China. Russia is already one of the largest Christian countries in the world, but China within a generation is due to become the largest Christian country in the world.
Q: But Christian in the sense of Protestant or Roman Catholic, and not Orthodox.
A: Yes, but the spiritually sensitive there will migrate to Orthodoxy, having seen though the Western myths of Protestantism and its parent Catholicism, just as has happened in the West itself. For the moment the Chinese are not spiritually ready, but this will come and they will move to Orthodoxy and to the Russian Church, to whose canonical territory China belongs. I think the same may happen in North Korea (not in South Korea which, like Japan, has since 1945 been a US colony). In addition, once Communist ideology has collapsed in despotic North Korea, as it inevitably will do, as it already has done in China, there will be a need for another ideology and a religious one – certainly not the Western one which is atheist.
Q: Why are both Greek new calendarists and Greek old calendarists at one in condemning the Russian Church and generally being Russophobic?
A: There are five reasons for this. The first is Greek nationalism – both new calendarism and old calendarism are a purely Greek problem. The second is jealousy. For instance they accuse the Russian Church of ‘imperialism’ (!), when they really mean Greek imperialism. The third is extremism – they do not like moderation because they represent two extremes, two isms. The fourth is self-justification; if Russia is ‘imperialistic’, then that would mean that they are not. The fifth is the CIA, which finances both groups to varying degrees. Indeed, one old calendarist bishop in America actually wrote to me a few years ago vigorously defending the CIA and openly told me that many of his parishioners worked for it.
Q: But there is such a thing as Russian nationalism, isn’t there?
A: Of course, there is. We have suffered from it over the last 40 years. There are unChurched Russians who have no understanding of the word ‘Rus’. They confound culture and language with the Faith. As I said at the San Francisco Council in 2006, Rus is the Orthodox reply to globalism. Rus means Orthodox multinationality. Whether among the 100 or so peoples of the Russian Federation, or in Russian canonical territory in Japan and China, or in Alaska (at least among the natives, not among the Anglos), in North Korea, Thailand and Laos, or in the 50 or so countries of the Western world and beyond, which are covered by the Church Outside Russia, you can find Russian Orthodox. Russian Orthodoxy is a world, not a single nationality.
Q: That sounds a bit Roman Catholic.
A: The concept of Rus is not one of papist centralized unity, it is Trinitarian, unity in diversity. As one Russian philosopher put it: ‘The choice is between the Holy Trinity and hell’. We choose the Holy Trinity, not Western (= pagan Roman) centralization.
Q: Doesn’t the support recently shown by the Russian government for anti-EU movements mean that it is allying itself with right-wing movements?
A: Not at all. Both the European left and the European right, all those with actual political beliefs and principles, are alike opposed to the EU, which, as they realize, is only a US colonial project, using Germany as its executive pawn. Those who oppose the neocon EU also want social justice. This is why, in the UK for example, UKIP is not only anti-Brussels but also anti-Washington. Most Russians today bitterly regret the ‘privatizations’ inside Russia in the 1990s, carried out by Harvard–trained or at least Western-style necons. Such asset theft created the oligarchs, who now mainly live in London and Tel-Aviv. The Russian Federation has not forgotten social justice and so also supports the left-wing anti-EU movements throughout the south of Europe.
Q: But surely that is left-wingery and is just nostalgic support for the old Soviet Union?
A: Not at all. If you believe that, you have swallowed one of the main myths of Soviet/Western anti-Russian propaganda. This is that the pre-1917 government did not believe in social justice, that it was against the people. The pre-1917 government was committed to social justice, the literacy rate was nearing 90% and huge strides had been made not only in education, but also in medicine and improving working conditions. Most, if not all, of what was good in the Soviet Union had been inherited from the Tsar’s Russia. By 1917 Russia had already overtaken the West in several areas. The Tsar’s rule was a popular monarchy. Do not forget that it was brought down by the aristocrats, who were losing money and land to the people, just as today the anti-Putinists in Russia are also pro-Western oligarchs (modern aristocrats) who are frightened that they will lose their ill-gotten gains back to the people through populist government.
Q: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the West?
A: I would say ‘cautiously pessimistic’, even though the rate of spiritual decline in the West has accelerated tremendously over the last 25, and even the last 10, years. The West has for a thousand years been held in a cycle of atheist logic. It is captive to it. Everything that we in the Church do is only a delaying action, something that puts off its atheist Babylon. But even delaying it is still a miracle.
Q: What will happen in the West in the end?
A: Today political correctness is already talking of making circumcision illegal. Soon it will be the same with baptism, especially baptism by immersion. We shall be forced to flee to Russia to get baptized, just as St Seraphim of Vyritsa prophesied in the dark days of persecution in Russia.
Q: Do you have any thoughts seven years on from the great events in Moscow on Ascension Day 2007, when the two parts of the Russian Church were administratively reunited after an interval of nearly 90 years, when before there unity had only been spiritual?
A: Our ROCOR Metr Hilarion was brought up in a Diaspora parish of the Church inside Russia. Our ROCOR Archbishop Mark wanted to study in the Church inside Russia. I would not compare myself to them, but I had the same ambition in 1976. However, it was all impossible. The Diaspora parishes of the Church inside Russia were simply not free. I realized this in 1976 in Russia, when I saw the authentic Church and could compare it with non-ROCOR parishes outside Russia and saw scandals in them. One of our ROCOR bishops told me that if he had been treated by representatives of the Church inside Russia as I was treated, he would have left the Church altogether. Today those who caused all the problems are all dead; they have become history in the bad sense, just bad memories. But such was the decadence of that period because of the lack of freedom. A Church cannot live without spiritual freedom.
Fortunately, there was the Church Outside Russia which had kept and cherished that freedom. And today both parts of the Church have spiritual freedom. And that is due to two great hierarchs: Patriarch Alexis II and Metropolitan Laurus. I firmly believe that one day there will be a feast in the Church calendar in honour of Sts Alexis and Laurus, Restorers of Unity. That was, is, and will be a spiritual ascension for us all.
Ascension Day 2014