Monthly Archives: October 2017

On the Draft Catechism Produced in Moscow

Russian Version: https://stbasil.center/2017/11/01/o-proekte-katehizisa/

A draft catechism has been compiled in Moscow and is now being discussed. We have seen it. It is very long and has clearly been composed by intellectuals (judging by their condescension to ‘ordinary Orthodox’ and lack of observation of how we ordinary Orthodox live our faith). And it is also clear that they have copied from the post-Vatican II Roman Catholic catechism, or versions of it, like the pseudo-Orthodox Parisian ‘Dieu est Vivant’ catechism, which dates back some 35 years to modernist Catholicism. This draft is based on an over-complicated, self-justifying intellectual approach, full of quotations from the Scriptures and the early Fathers, some of them taken out of context, some of them taken from a heretical document falsely attributed to St Isaac the Syrian. Rather than a question and answer approach, it has adopted a patronizing approach, ensuring that very few real Orthodox will ever read it, which is for the best.

This draft catechism is clearly marked by modernism, suggesting like the Parisians’ hero-heretic, Origen, that salvation is for all and that Darwin is also Orthodox. Its bureaucratic language and Western jargon about ‘human dignity and rights’ and ‘a social concept’ expresses not Orthodox theology, but the politically correct ‘scientific’ theology of Western doctoral students. Unlike ROCOR’s Fr Seraphim Slobodskoy’s simple and classic catechism ‘The Law of God’, which is also very popular inside Russia, this draft is not accessible to ordinary Orthodox. Clearly, the whole thing has been written by those closer to the humanism of Pope Francis than the Orthodox Faith and people. Someone in Moscow, who has studied in a Western University, wants a Vatican II-style Council in the Orthodox Church. For example, this draft never mentions our Russian Orthodox dress code and seems to think that fasting is not very important.

Marked by the language of secularist rationalists from outside the Church, the document presents the Church of God as a religious institution, not the Risen Body of Christ, radiated and penetrated by the Holy Spirit. The authors want to make this institution acceptable to the secular world by avoiding the dogmatic revelations of the Holy Spirit and all areas of controversy. Orthodoxy is just a ‘confession’ and heretical groups outside the Orthodox Church are also called ‘Churches’. It seems to prefer political correctness to the Truth that sets free. Thus, there is little about the Fall and its consequence of ancestral sin. A sign of Roman Catholicism comes in its attribution of papal-like powers to the Patriarch of the Russian Church and equally to its superficial description of the filioque heresy. A sign of Protestant-style Judaism comes in its over-emphasis on the Old Testament, as if the New Testament were just an extension of the Old.

The authors of this draft are clearly involved in the ecumenical heresy, which is conducted by intellectuals who have little or no contact with ordinary Orthodox and is conducted behind our backs, even behind the backs of bishops. There is here no dogmatic clarity at all, and yet that is the very thing we expect from a real Catechism. There is here no theology in the Orthodox ascetic sense. It would be better to throw away this draft of intellectuals and start again, this time employing Orthodox writers, who have ascetic, dogmatic and pastoral experience. They will know what is acceptable to us who strive to live an Orthodox way of life in our monasteries and parishes, where ordinary Orthodox strive to observe Russian Orthodox values and, for that matter, our dress code. Whoever the authors are, they need to realize that the 1960s are over and imitation Roman Catholic/Protestant Paris-Crestwood ‘theology’ with it. Get real! We live in 2017.

 

From Recent Correspondence (October 2017)

Pastoral Questions and Current Affairs

Q: There exist authentic Orthodox spiritual fathers whose disciples group around them. How can you tell the difference between them and cults?

A: Authentic spiritual fathers and their disciples are always diverse, everyone is different and free. However, cults produce clones, the members are all the same, with the same hairstyle, the same beards, the same clothes, the same glasses, like an army. Everything down to the smallest detail is identical, for their personalities are always suppressed and repressed. The spiritual children of real spiritual fathers are always diverse, alive and lively, the clones, zombies and robots of frauds are always the same, spiritually repressed and dying. This is because where there is love, there is freedom and self-expression, but where there is no love, so there is no freedom and no self-expression.

Q: How do you see the late Fr John Romanides?

A: I only met Fr John once, in 1981, and read his translated works about the same time. I was impressed by his knowledge of Western history and original approach. To my mind he was easily the finest and most Orthodox of the academic theologians of his generation. It is significant that Roman Catholics detest him and Protestants have no understanding of his Biblical basis because they do not understand the Bible. Unlike Metr John Zisioulas, he was fiercely but understandably opposed to ecumenistic Parisian Russian intellectuals, because of his bad experiences with them in the Church in the USA in the 1950s. As a result of them, Fr John did not always appreciate the real Russian Orthodox Church.

On the downside, some have accused him of a certain racism in his black and white approach to Franks and Greeks (Romans), where to some he gives the impression that the first are always bad because of their ethnicity and the latter are always good because of their ethnicity. That is very regrettable because Fr John did not have a racist bone in his body.

Q: In order to justify making sex change legal, the atheist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that ‘we (= Greece) belong to Europe’ and ‘nothing, no religion, can stand higher than human rights’. What does this mean, in your view?

A: It means that his religion is in fact the god of human rightism. This is a strange god because according to it unborn children have no rights and can be destroyed in the greatest holocaust of world history. This is because in this neo-pagan religion (reminiscent of the paganism of the Ancient Greeks), it is human sin that is worshipped.

Q: Roman Catholics often have a picture of the Pope in their homes and some Anglicans have a photo of Canterbury Cathedral. What do Orthodox have, as you are divided into different nationalities and have different patriarchs and styles of architecture?

A: We all have an icon corner, with an icon of Christ, and probably also icons of the Mother of God and close saints. This is because Christ, and no human being or church-building, is the Head of our Church.

Q: Is missionary work to be encouraged?

A: Only if it is Orthodox. All Orthodox parishes are missions in this sense. Sadly, all kinds of compromises get justified by the term ‘missionary work’, including the heresy of ecumenism. We have a huge amount of real missionary work to do with our own Orthodox people and those Non-Orthodox whom they choose to marry or befriend. I think it is especially pointless to talk to heterodox with the idea of converting them. Heterodox rarely convert to authentic Orthodoxy (of the few who do, most lapse or bring their heterodox baggage, including divisiveness, into the Church with them and then create problems and schisms for the rest of us). If we are to convert the world round us, it is much better to talk to the masses who have no religion at all. Heterodox form a small minority which is dying out anyway. We should leave the dead to bury the dead. We have too much else to do.

Q: St Ephraim the Syrian says that the Six Days of Creation were precisely that, six twenty-four hour periods. What do you say to that?

A: Like most Fathers of his era, he interpreted in that way, according to the scientific knowledge of the time. However, the Church does not dogmatize these views. What we should listen to is Church Councils and even then, only provided that they are real Councils, that is, inspired by the Holy Spirit. (We are against any kind of ‘Councilism’ or worship of meetings called Councils, for without the Holy Spirit any so-called ‘Council’ is only a conference, as we saw in Crete last year). And that is only revealed after the Councils have taken place and their teachings have been received by the faithful.

This is the meaning of the words ‘catholicity’ and ‘conciliarity’, groups of Church people inspired by the Holy Spirit throughout history and in all places creating spiritual consensus. I am sure you can find many personal opinions on secondary matters (= the matters that do not affect our salvation) of many Church Fathers that have been proved to be wrong. What do you not find is the dogmas of Church Councils, inspired by the Holy Spirit, that are wrong. Do not dogmatize or absolutize opinions. Only the Holy Spirit is infallible.

The History of the Western World:

Q: Is it true that there were no Jews in England until 1066? And if so, how did they get to Western Europe anyway?

A: Yes, that is so. As for your second question, the answer is that in the late eighth century, Charlemagne (c. 742 – 814), brought in Jews from Spain together with Jewish-trained advisors from Spain, including those who introduced the filioque, like the heretic Theodulf of Orleans. These Jews protected and helped develop commerce in his tiny ‘empire’. He saw the Jews as an economic asset and protected them. He realized the advantages and business abilities of the Jews and gave them complete freedom with regard to their commercial transactions.

Charlemagne was a gluttonous and superstitious illiterate, who was notorious for the murderous ruthlessness with which he treated his opponents. Moreover, his son, Louis (814–833), was faithful to the same lack of principles and also granted protection to Jews, to whom he gave special attention in their position as merchants. Spreading through the commercial centres of northern France, the Jews finally arrived in England from Rouen after the occupation under the heir to Charlemagne, William the Bastard, in 1066.

Q: What view does the Church have of feudalism?

A: Founded on the filioque, feudalism with its system of vassals is unique to the post-Schism medieval West, appearing in primitive and potential forms in the year 1000, or slightly before, and becoming full-blown after about 1050, when the Pope himself became just a feudal lord. The inward sign of feudalism is the filioque, but the outward sign of the presence of feudalism (and therefore of the absence of Orthodoxy) is in castles, what historians call ‘encastellation’. This is quite clear in Eastern Europe, where castles peter out along the Croat, Polish and Slovak borders. Orthodox do not have castles. In the Church we do not have feudalism, but independence and sovereignty, as expressed by the Greek word ‘avtokratia’, which does not at all mean ‘autocracy’. ‘Autocracy’ in English means tyranny and absolutism, which is very different from the people’s monarchy, the ‘autocracy’ of Orthodox Christianity.

Q: 100 years ago there were 100 million Orthodox, today there are just over 200 million. However, if you look at Catholics and Protestants they have probably quadrupled in numbers, if not more. Why has the Orthodox Church not grown as much?

A: Apart from the fact that Catholicism (1.3 billion) and the myriad of Protestant sects claim to have far higher numbers than they really have, I think there are several reasons:

  1. As the last representatives of the Church of Christ, Orthodox have in the last 100 years been subject to the greatest persecution known in world history. Carried out by the dual Western ideologies of Marxism and Nazism (both born in Germanic Western Europe), tens of millions died in their infernal invasions and persecutions and tens of millions more were aborted under the infernal Marxist ideology and then under the Western Capitalist ideology. If it had not been for this, the Orthodox population would easily have quadrupled in Russia alone.
  2. The vast majority of the growth of Catholicism and Protestantism has come about in former Western colonies in Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia. Orthodoxy does not have colonies, since they are founded on genocide.
  3. The Church is not a business with plans for expansion. Such businesses come and go, expand and contract, relying on superficial attraction. The Church is a tree and trees grow slowly, but organically.

Q: Recently a senior female cleric of the US Presbyterian Church said that God is not a Christian, meaning that anyone can be saved. What is your reaction?

A: Such Protestant clerics and laypeople do say things like this. I have also read them saying that ‘The Church needs to learn about Christianity’. It proves that words like ‘God’, ‘Christ’, ‘Church’, ‘Christian’, ‘salvation’, ‘priest’ etc have a completely different meaning for Non-Orthodox than for Orthodox. For them ‘the Church’ means ‘Protestant clergy’, many of whom are open atheists.

For Orthodox, all these words mean the same thing: God is the Holy Trinity, Christ is the Church, Christians follow the Church, salvation (from evil) is through Christ, priests belong to the Church etc. Christ is God and the Church is the Body of Christ and therefore Christians are people who try and follow Christ, belonging to Him. To say that Christ is not God or not a Christian simply makes no sense to an (Orthodox) Christian. Of course, it is true that there are plenty of people who call themselves Christians but who do not believe that Christ is the Son of God. However, they are not Orthodox Christians. Clearly, this female cleric is one of those. She condemns herself out of her own mouth.

As regards salvation, all we know is that inside the (Orthodox) Church, this is possible because billions have been saved, but that all who have been saved and will be saved have achieved this and will achieve this through the mercy of Christ, Who alone is the Just Judge.

Q: What is your view of Catalonian independence?

A: Free and unintimidated Catalans said yes to independence, the Western oligarchs said no. The Western ruling élites are heirs of the barbarians; when bandits in Kosovo proclaim independence, they call it good, but when Catalonia proclaims the same thing, they call it bad. Of course, that does not in any way mean that we support the Catalonian independence party and its leader. Like the Scottish nationalists, they are pro-EU, globalist and socialist. However, we support independence and freedom from centralist states for every viable historic people, like the Scottish and the Catalonian, who have in history been independent nations.

Russia

Q: Why did the Russian Revolution happen?

A: The Imperial Family lost their lives because the upper class elite, jealous of their power, turned against them in the 19th century and finally overthrew them in February 1917. If that had not occurred, Russia would have been victorious in the First European War. If you want to find the culprits who laid the groundwork for October and the murder of the Romanovs (recall who imprisoned the Romanovs in the first place), look among the families of the upper class.

Q: Why did former Russian Orthodox become Communists 100 years ago? Marx thought that Germans would become Communists and not Russians.

A: It all depends on the previous cultural values. As one elderly Romanian put it to me, ‘Communism is Christianity without Christ’, by which she meant that Communism has no love or freedom. It can be said that lapsed Orthodoxy = Communism, lapsed Roman Catholicism = Fascism and lapsed Protestantism = Capitalism. This is borne out by the last 100 years of history.

Q: Does Russia have a future in a globalized world?

A: Through its NATO and EU aggressiveness in Eastern Europe and especially the Ukraine, Washington and Brussels have thrown Russia into alliance with China. It has thus created the union of the most populous country in the world with the greatest manufacturing ability and the world’s highest GNP, with the largest country in the world and the centre of civilian and military technology, endowed with the greatest natural resources in the world. More than this, the Russian Federation is also the centre of the global Christian Tradition. Together, technology with the Tradition provide the alternative to the globalist ‘New World Order’ project of the Western elite. Tradition represents the opposition of all those who do not want to be enslaved to their modernist New World Order.

As the universal keeper and defender of Holy Orthodoxy, the Russia of Christ the Saviour is hated by Satan and his demons. That is why they carried out the Russian Revolution in order to efface the word Russia from the face of the earth, blew up the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, built to commemorate the defeat of the antichrist Napoleon, and were so bitterly angry at the rebuilding of that Cathedral after the fall of their Soviet Union. Russia is home to the Church, which is opposed to Trotskyite/Ukrainian Jewish, permanent chaos. This has again been implemented by the neocons as the New World Order.

How they hate us! They write to me and accuse faithful Orthodox of being ‘worse than the Nazis’!! The word ‘devil’ does after all mean ‘slanderer’ in Greek. We prevent them from doing the will of Satan, so they hate us. The place of confrontation of these two visions of globalism, the Western and the Russo-Chinese, is in, of all places, North Korea, where the Chinese and Russian borders meet. That is where we shall see the pattern of the future.

Q: There seem to be quite a number of scandals in the Russian Church inside Russia at present. Is there a serious problem?

A: I think there is – that you read the internet too much! On the internet, with its forums and blogs, you only get scandals. If you go to Russia and meet some of the bishops, follow the priests who do the baptisms, weddings and funerals, who confess and celebrate the liturgy every day, who visit the hospitals and bless the homes, meet the nearly 6,000 who are at present studying in seminaries, and if you take part in the massive Church processions and pilgrimages of the ordinary faithful, you will get a quite different impression. The Church is alive; the internet only reflects the exceptions, the bad news. All the mass of good news goes, as usual, unreported because people who have time to waste only want the scandals and sensations, as it makes them feel self-important, which they, and the devil, like. Avoid scandal-mongering, it is bad for your soul.

General

Q: Are young people less mature than they used to be? Or am I just getting old?

A: Well, of course you are getting old! We all are. I am not sure, every generation of older people for thousands of years has been complaining about young people. And then the young people get older and complain about young people in their turn. The only thing is that many young people now live in the virtual world of the internet and that does hold them back. Only reality makes mature. Smartphones do not.

Q: Would you say that night clubs are hellish?

A: I have never been to one, but I have seen photos. I would call them advertising agencies for hell.

Q: What were your best years of being an Orthodox clergyman?

A: Without the slightest doubt the last nine, of which the best was 2017: the first twenty-five before these last nine were despairingly hard.

Q: Why the change in 2017?

A: Because after 30 years we have at last gained a bishop. ROCOR lost its South American Diocese because it did not have a bishop for only 20 years, but we here survived for 30 years without a bishop. I think we hold a record, if only for stubbornness.

Q: What words would you like to have on your grave?

A: Well, that is a very surprising question! I have never thought about it. I don’t have time. A grave near my parent’s grave says: ‘I told you I was ill’. That is English humour. Many Orthodox graves have ‘Eternal Memory’ on them.

After several days’ thought about an answer to this question, I thought I would like: ‘The truth will set you free’. I have always valued the Truth and Freedom and have fought for both of them all my life. Both are hated by Satan and his servants. Over a thousand years ago the early English preacher Aelfric wrote in his Colloquy: ‘It is most disgraceful and shameful when a man does not want to be what he is and what he has to be’. At least that particular sin is not mine.

 

 

 

 

 

On the 500th Anniversary of a Tragedy

A thousand years ago man sat down at an inn and ordered a vodka. A waiter came along and forced him to accept a glass of the local wine, telling him that it was much better than vodka, which was not ‘a true drink’. 500 years later another waiter, called Luther, came along and forced him to accept a glass of the local beer, telling him that it was much better than the local wine (he had never heard of vodka). The two waiters then began to argue about which was better, the local wine or the local beer. Rioting started, wars began, rivers of blood poured out. Eventually, all involved grew exhausted and decided to drink coca cola instead.

Meanwhile, the man at the inn is still waiting for his vodka.

Fr Nicholas Lossky

Last Monday we learned of the death in Paris of the son of Vladimir Lossky, Fr Nicholas Lossky, at the age of 87. Coming after the deaths of Fr Elie Melia, Elizabeth Behr-Sigel and Olivier Clement, we are seeing the dying out of the generation of Paris ecumenists and modernists, those born in the 1920s and 1930s. We can only think of two remaining bishops in the Constantinople jurisdiction, both ill and in their 80s, who still represent this viewpoint. This is the end of old-fashioned ecumenism.

Long before he was ordained, as a liberal academic Nicholas Lossky represented the Anglicanophile element among the Paris Russians. Thus, as a true Anglican, in his lectures at St Serge he defended the Norman Occupation of England in 1066 (completely unlike Fr John Romanides who in Thessaloniki at the same time supported Robin Hood against the Normans). Nicholas was also a clear supporter of the centralist European Union, even though he had remained faithful to his father’s memory and through him to the Moscow Patriarchate, though only in its strictly ecumenist and new calendarist form as it could exist in the past. The piety of the Russian Orthodox faithful in Russia was alien to him, as was the veneration for the Imperial Martyrs.

It is a warning to us all to move with the times and not to get stuck in the past. Eternal Memory to Priest Nicholas!

 

How Do We Deal with Injustices?

Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices (Proverbs 1, 31)

The wages of sin are death (Romans 6, 23)

Injustice is inevitable. The past and present are littered with injustices – and the future will be as well. Injustices have happened as a result of the Fall of Adam and Eve and their foolish pride. We can think of Cain who killed Abel, an immediate consequence. But injustices can be national, social and personal. We in England can think of the fateful injustice of 1066, from which we still suffer, in Greece they think of 1204 and 1453, and in Russia, and throughout the Church and the world as a whole, no-one has ever recovered from the fateful injustice of 1917. Some people fight against injustices with wars and revolutions. These always seem to do more harm. So how should we deal with injustices, so we do not become obsessive and have ‘bees in our bonnets’?

First of all, we know that God is the only Just Judge, as He is the only Knower of the human heart. We know nothing, for we see only the outside, we are poor judges. And we know that God will judge all at the Last Judgement, all without exception. And we know that we already have a foretaste of His Judgement now. Just as the foretaste of heaven and hell begins now, as people choose and create their own little heaven or hell, so His Judgement begins now. Wars are His judgement of the nations. For evil is always punished – sometimes sooner, sometimes later. God’s Judgement alone is just, because all our human judgements are tinged with vengeful pride and vanity; only His Judgement is objective because it alone is the pure judgement of humility.

We can see this clearly in the Life of St Job the Much-Suffering in the Book about him, in which only his humility was justified. We can see this clearly in the Life of St John Chrysostom, who died in cruel exile from an evil empress, uttering the words: ‘Glory to God for all things’, words which the vengeful world does not understand. We can see this clearly in the Life of the much-slandered and Job-like St Nicholas the Tsar-Martyr (still slandered today), who in cruel exile wrote before his martyrdom that ‘it is not evil that will conquer evil, but only love’. A few years after that we can see this clearly in the Life of the much-slandered St Nectarios who died in cruel exile (when he would have been the Patriarch of Alexandria who had at last baptised Black Africa).

But what about when injustices happen to us personally, at work, in the family and especially in Church life? How do we deal with them? Ascetically, injustices are very dangerous because they can make the hearts of the victims hard, vengeful, bitter, cynical, full of negativity and sarcasm, thus poisoning the victims of injustice, making them into ‘damaged goods’. We must protect ourselves from such sinful feelings. We should know that we have survived not because of those who call themselves Christians but are not, but in spite of them. We follow Christ, His Holy Mother and the Saints, not corrupt men who have no love, whatever clerical rank they may have. We do not deal with such people: God deals with them. He always does. Be patient, you will see.

I have in over forty years of Church life suffered four cases of injustice in Church life. One ROCOR archbishop told me that if he had suffered what I had had to, he would have left the Church and never returned. However, I do not leave, but tremble when the perpetrators are unjust to me. And I do not tremble for myself, I tremble for them, because I know that they will suffer, for they are bringing awful punishment on themselves, as they always end up badly, sooner or later. I fear for them. I do nothing against their injustice, that is, I only pray for those who do me injustice, because they will suffer the most horrible punishment, they always do. They burn themselves, for they put their hands into the all-consuming fire of God (Hebrews 12, 29).

In the first case of these four people, the perpetrator died, his vainglorious personality, which he had made all-important, is discredited and now they are attempting to erase it from history. Seeking popularity and fame, he found unpopularity and infamy. The second one, who was so weak that he stood by no principles and so despite himself betrayed the Faith, died soon after his injustice and is now forgotten, destroyed by his very weakness. The third, who wanted to gain everything, has put himself in self-imposed isolation, having lost everything. And the fourth was dismissed for his support of the powerful and evil and rejection of the good and faithful. Seeking prestige and power, he lost prestige and power, never listening to others, now he is not listened to.

As the Book of Proverbs says above, people are always punished by what they sin with. Their lack of love, their chosen instrument of hatred, becomes their own punishment. I have seen God’s Judgement and it is a terrible thing because those who put the things of men above the things of God and so, consciously or unconsciously, become evildoers, always die: ‘All who hate me love death’ (Proverbs 8, 36). True, the evil that men do lives on after them, but I tremble for them all, as I do for myself, when God judges, as He surely will, each one of us for our lack of love. ‘Be ye faithful, not faithless’. As we said at the start, injustice is inevitable, but inevitable also is the Judgement of God. ‘The paths of glory lead but to the grave’. I tremble.

On the Identity of ROCOR as a Self-Governing Part of the Russian Orthodox Church and On What We Can Offer the Church Inside Russia

‘We must fight for the purity of Holy Orthodoxy’.

Words said to me by the Ever-memorable Metropolitan Laurus at the Fourth All-Diaspora Church Council in San Francisco, May 2006

 Introduction

Orthodox from Russia very often ask us what the difference is between the very large Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia (35,000 churches, often called the Moscow Patriarchate, which paradoxically includes some parishes which are geographically outside the ex-Soviet Union) and the very small Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR with 500 churches), whose administrative centre is in New York and whose territory covers the Western world. ROCOR only came into existence by Patriarchal decree in 1920, but today, as then, both parts of the Russian Orthodox Church have the same Patriarch Kyrill. To most of us who live outside Russia, the difference and our identity are clear, even obvious, and they cover six different areas, both dogmatic and pastoral.

Political Independence

First of all, ROCOR has complete political independence from the Russian Federation. It particular, we thoroughly reject that form of political dependence known as Sergianism, which refers to Patriarch Sergius who died in 1944 and whom a great many Russian Orthodox, not only in ROCOR, consider compromised the Church with the Soviet State. Thus, inside Russia it is actually possible to meet Orthodox who admire Stalin! Such Soviet nationalism is unthinkable for us. Such Sergianism has led to careerism, papalistic authoritarianism and an admiration for Roman Catholicism among a few senior clerics inside Russia, such as the late Metropolitan Nikodim and his followers. Why? Because of their admiration for a all State institutions, which is what the Vatican is. Such a mentality is quite alien to ROCOR.

Keeping the Tradition

ROCOR has always remained faithful to the pre-revolutionary Church Tradition. It has not suffered Soviet-period alterations to the Tradition and relics, however liturgically minor, such as using different Paschal liturgical colours, and in particular it does not suffer from the form-filling bureaucracy, centralization and almost superstitious Soviet ritualism which can often be found in the Church inside Russia. On a more important level, ROCOR does not therefore suffer from the spiritual disease of ecumenism, which affects certain individuals in the Church inside Russia and which distresses many there and in ROCOR. In the same way, ROCOR has always looked forward to the restoration of the Monarchy inside Russia. This view is shared by many in the Church inside Russia, our allies, though not by all.

Veneration of the Saints

ROCOR has a strong love of the Saints, especially of the New Martyrs and Confessors, but also of the Local Saints, the ancient saints of Western Europe, few of whom were until recently included in the Russian Church calendar. ROCOR canonized the Royal Martyrs and some 8,000 New Martyrs and Confessors 19 years before the Church inside Russia. Indeed, many in ROCOR had very much wanted these canonizations decades before even this. These canonizations included some (but still not all) of the servants of the Imperial Family. Interestingly, two of these servants were not members of the Orthodox Church. For ROCOR this presents no problem at all. For us, they were simply baptised in their blood, like many ancient martyrs. This thought seems to be alien to some in the Church inside Russia.

Financial independence

I remember how someone from Russia came here and saw a bishop sweeping the floor of his Cathedral. He was astonished and at once thought he was a saint! How absurd! Bishops and priests cleaning their churches is perfectly normal for us, though, sadly, we are not saints. For us it is the opposite that is abnormal. For instance, I can recall a few years ago how a bishop from Russia was appointed to a church that was geographically outside Russia. The first thing he did was to buy himself a luxurious black car. Automatically, he had lost all respect, he was finished and should have returned to Russia there and then. Clerical opulence with meaningless, militaristic pomp and ceremony are not for us. Our priests usually work in secular employment, even if only part-time, and choirs are hardly ever paid anything.

Closeness to the People

Just as in ROCOR we sing out of love for the church, we have no scandalizing price lists for baptisms, weddings etc. People simply donate whatever they can. Thus, simply by virtue of being in the Non-Orthodox world, ROCOR is adaptable, less insular, more multinational (just look at the nationalities of our bishops), much more even than the Church inside Russia. ROCOR adapts to local people, uses local languages and has a far more open and missionary outlook. In this way, although ROCOR keeps the Tradition, we are actually more ‘liberal’ in some ways because of the realities of life. For instance, as a small minority in Non-Orthodox countries, we pray for Non-Orthodox and welcome them to our churches, but we would not dream of making dogmatic compromises of the ecumenistic sort, such as intercommunion.

Real Parishes

One Russian from Russia told me: Our churches are like railway stations, people coming and going, staying for a few minutes and leaving, nobody knows anyone, people never belong. The fact is that parish life was destroyed in Russia by the Soviet period, whereas in ROCOR we have real parishes, communities to which people belong. Our parishes are smaller, our parishioners know one another, they receive personal attention, our churches do not operate like factories, we baptise individually, not en masse. Almost every week I do two or three baptisms, which are done properly and individually. We understand our parishioners, we accept prams, pushchairs and wheelchairs, we baptise babies in warm water, after the service parishioners sit down and socialize, drink and eat something together.

Conclusion

Members of ROCOR sometimes visit cathedrals and large monasteries in Russia or large churches in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Although we appreciate what we see, admiring the infrastructure and organization, wondering at the gold, marble, general ornateness, ritual and the singing, we tend to come back with the words: ‘It was good to be away, but it is better to be at home’. The words ‘Home Sweet Home’ are how we feel about ROCOR. We are a family to which we belong. Our churches may be small and modest, wooden and plain, our choirs amateur, our theology unsophisticated, but we belong to our Church, as did the simple fisherman of Galilee. Here we are at home and no-one can take that away from us. Here is something that the Church inside Russia can learn from us.

 

 

 

The Deconstruction of the EU and the Construction of the Europe of Nations

The European elites learned nothing from Brexit, just as they learned nothing from the democratic self-determination of the Crimea. The people had spoken by referendum and the elites simply denied reality, declaring that the people had been wrong. Instead of undertaking to listen to the people who did not want their centralized bureaucratic nightmare of a Superstate, patronizingly they instead justified their tyranny and decided to speed ahead with their dictatorial nightmare. Now in Catalonia another referendum has, just, taken place. Again the European elites are in denial, sending in paramilitary police from the semi-Frankist government in Madrid to assault the voters. Are the European elites listening this time? Of course not:

Esteban Gonzalez Pons, an MEP from Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s so-called ‘Popular’ Party, said: “If today you let Spain break up with Catalonia, a domino effect will follow across the continent. Instead of a Europe of 27, we will have a non-Europe of mini-states”. Italian politician, Gianni Pittella, declared: “A unilateral declaration of independence would amount to a further provocation, which would throw oil on the fire after Sunday’s meaningless referendum”. Philippe Lamberts, a Belgian politician, said that the threats of revolt coming from Catalonia “threaten the spirit of European integration, even more than Brexit”. Thus speak the anti-democratic, anti-people representatives of the elites of the European Union.

 As the fake nations of Britain and Spain divide into their natural parts, the slow but inevitable crumbling of the centralist EU nightmare should be viewed as an opportunity. For example, Brexit should lead to Irish unity – the absurd and unnatural partition of the single island of Ireland cannot continue. Then all four newly independent countries of Anglo-Celtia can co-operate freely, as unity in diversity. The old word ‘Britain’, an 18th century invention in imitation of earlier Roman and Norman tyranny, can be dropped, and the whole can work together in a four-country Confederation, called ‘IONA’, the Isles of the North Atlantic. But far more than this, other peoples throughout Europe can likewise be allowed their long-awaited self-determination.

Other artificial conglomerates like Germany, Italy, France and the Ukraine can fall apart, like the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia before them, the failed, British-invented buffer of Belgium can disappear, absurd borders in Eastern Europe can be rearranged. Everything is possible – and in peace. And, at long last, Eurasia can work together, the Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis, destroyed by Western European tribal rivalries of 1914, can be revived. The anti-elite revolt, the long-awaited European Spring, is not far. Suddenly, everything is possible, as the dead hand of the EU Establishment risks being overturned by the real peoples of Europe. A Europe of False Unity is deconstructed: let the True Europe of Nations be constructed.

 

 

The Fringes and the Church

Introduction

There are isolated individuals on the fringes of Church life. These marginal figures are either on the left side – the illusory optimists, the absurdly unrealistic, the deluded and exalted, who believe in Origen’s heretical salvation for all, for everything is wonderful and Christ is All-Merciful only – or on the right side – the merciless pessimists, the depressed despairers, the doom-laden and gloom-mongering, who seem to believe in the Apocalypse more than in the Second Coming of Christ, as salvation according to them is virtually impossible, for Christ is a strict and ruthless Judge only.

The Left

On the left side we find three interlinked groups:

1. The Careerists and Corrupt (in the Russian Church these are usually called Sergianists)

These dangerous people are obsessed with money, luxury, papal-like power (that makes them pro-Catholic), prestige and their own personal appearance. In the Russian Church, they can be recognized because they often have a cult of the late Patriarch Sergius. Their scandals involve money and/or sex (usually not the heterosexual sort, though the defrocked Metr Filaret of Kiev is an exception to this). Thus, simony and/or perversion are their chief domains.

2. The Modernists and Ecumenists (in the Russian Church these are usually called Renovationists)

These are obsessed with being as Western, and therefore as Russophobic, as possible. They hate Tsar Nicholas II and also Vladimir Putin and admire the EU and the US. Westernization used to mean protestantizing themselves, but now it means adopting politically correct secularism, including LGBT, an aping of the West, which is the result of their primitive, Third World inferiority complex, which in turn is the result of their lack of the independent Orthodox Faith.

3. The Intellectuals

With an over-developed intellect, but undeveloped faith, these are often so cynical that they run the risk of losing their already weak faith altogether. They may also suffer from sexual obsessions, as several of them are homosexuals. Some are involved with gossip and scandal-mongering on blogs and fora, which further develops their cynical attitudes and weakens their faith. They stain their own souls and the souls of others through their spiritual impurity.

The Right

On the right side we also find three interlinked groups:

1. The Pharisees

These include loveless monastics, or rather pseudo-monastics, whose religion is not Love, but that of the typicon, canons and ceaseless and needless rules that make the Faith into a mere religion. They call themselves traditionalists, but in fact they do not follow the Tradition because the Tradition is the continual inspiration of the Holy Spirit all down the centuries. These suffer from the temptations of sectarianism and judgementalism. This is pride.

2. The Nationalists

These follow an ideology which reduces the Faith to mere provincial folklore, with no international relevance. In Russia such nationalists can even defend Stalin. They are marked by profound theological and historical ignorance and narrow-minded bigotry, which means that they revert to a Protestant-like fundamentalism and literalism in their views. They have no real interest in Church culture or Church services and are very insecure and anti-intellectual.

3. The Pietists

These are sentimentalists, disincarnate and impractical dreamers, philosophers but also often strict moralizers. They like to group around gurus, mistakenly calling them ‘spiritual fathers’, ‘startsy’ and even ‘saints’, aping them like clones and condemning all others outside their cult. Like the Pharisees, their temptation is sectarian. Their spiritual disease is ‘prelest’, that is, spiritual delusion, which is merely vulgar pride in an elegant, philosophers’  envelope.

Conclusion

These six fringe groups, careerists, modernists, intellectuals, and their parallels, pharisees, nationalists and pietists, are those who make of Faith and the Church of God a mere religion, a mere manmade institution, a cult. They confuse the means and externals, services, canons, rituals, church buildings, knowledge, with the ends and internals, which is salvation, meaning the salvation of the human soul from evil, from all that is not Love. Such groups have always existed, under different names and under different guises, they are all part of fallen human nature.

The balance between all these fringes is among the masses, in the mainstream of the Church, which by definition is not to be found on the fringes and margins, but in the Church. This balance is to be found in traditional monasteries and good parishes, founded on loving and solid families. Good and true, loyal and faithful to Christ through the Tradition, those in the mainstream include bishops and monastics, pastors and people. All for them is built on love. For if a patriarch lacks love for his bishops, the bishops will lack love for their priests and the priests will lack love for the people.