Daily Archives: April 27, 2018


The Orthodox feast of the Iberian Saints will be added to the liturgical calendars of the Local Orthodox Churches. The list of saints was first compiled by Fr Andrew Phillips in 1993. It has taken 25 years to reach this situation.

The initiative to add such a feast was made by the Orthodox bishops of Spain and Portugal, which met in Madrid last Friday. The meeting was attended by His Grace Bishop Nestor of Korsun (Russian Orthodox Church), His Eminence Metropolitan Polycarp of Spain and Portugal (Patriarchate of Constantinople), and His Grace Bishop Timothy of Spain and Portugal (Romanian Orthodox Church).

The bishops decided to petition the primates of their Local Churches to establish a date for the Orthodox veneration of the Iberian saints. It was decided to celebrate the new feast on the Sunday before the Spanish National Day, which is celebrated on 12 October. Thus, the new feast of All Saints Who Shone Forth in the Iberian Peninsula will be liturgically proclaimed and celebrated for the first time this year on 7 October in Madrid.

Common Sense and Wisdom

It is often said that the modern world lacks common sense. If this is so, it must be because many people are no longer learning from life, because the source of common sense is experience of life. Indeed, this may be true, for people more and more live not in the real world, but in a virtual world, a world of artifice and so lack of experience and so of immaturity. Without experience of life there is no common sense, only ideology, or theory, or naivety, or else just plain stupidity.

Even more seriously, as our knowledge of facts has in recent times hugely increased (partly through the internet), there seems to be less wisdom. Wisdom is being replaced by mere factual knowledge and the latter guarantees no understanding, no ability to interpret facts. For there is no correlation between knowledge of facts, with its mere technological progress, and wisdom, with its spiritual, and so moral and cultural, progress. So what is the source of wisdom?

The answer can be found in two words in Church Slavonic. Firstly, there is the word ‘tselomudrie’. Although this means ‘chastity’, it literally means ‘wisdom from wholeness’. Therefore, in order to understand what chastity means we must go beyond the superficiality of Puritanism which understands chastity only in the outward sense. Thus, in the Orthodox wedding service we pray that the couple to be wed may preserve their chastity. Chastity is not necessarily about virginity.

For from the Gospel (as from life) we know that there are foolish virgins, just as there are wise married couples. In other words, what chastity actually means is integrity, keeping our wholeness with Christ, despite distractions, such as money or, for that matter, unrestrained (= unchaste) sexual activity. This is what we express in Church services by the words ‘let us entrust our whole life to Christ our God’. Chastity means wholeness, the integrity of our devotion to Christ.

Secondly, there is the Slavonic word ‘smirennomudrie’, which means wisdom from humility. This is the wisdom that angelic, pure and innocent children (still uncorrupted and non-sexualized) can have. They too are ‘chaste’, that is, they have wholeness and integrity, that is, they have humility. However, such wisdom from humility can also come from accepting life’s sufferings positively. For example, old soldiers, who have seen suffering and suffered, are often very humble.

We can see this also with academics. Some are humble and have wisdom, others are pompous and only have knowledge. The pompous are mocked openly or behind their backs; their level of wisdom is less than that of many children and they just seem childish and silly. Little wonder that in English the word ‘pompous’ goes with ‘ass’. They suffer from what the apostle Paul calls a ‘puffed up mind’. In fact such people, suffering from intellectual pride, become ‘humility-proof’.

Thus we see children who are wise, but old people who are not wise. In today’s world, the sources of wisdom, outward integrity (chastity), inward integrity, humility and suffering are all derided. Perhaps that is why there is less wisdom today. For wisdom does not come from experience of life, like common sense. Wisdom comes from inner purity. As we say: ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’. And Who is God? He is Supreme Wisdom, obtained only through inner purity.



Three Obstacles to Building Parishes


The vital pastoral activity of building parishes is both spiritual and practical, Divine and human, as it concerns both gathering the flock in the Name of God and also finding and preparing buildings. And gathering the flock means being open to all, not just to some particular nationality or class. And all Church buildings are the fruit of the Incarnation of the Faith, for a Church that does not have its own buildings is not incarnate, but is just an idea, a theory without foundation. There are three obstacles to setting up parishes. These are:

Gathering in the Name of Lack of Faith

The first obstacle is when there are those who wish to frequent the church not in the Name of Christ, but in the name of some social or ethnic activity. Such people have a welfare state mentality: they will not commit because of a lack of devotion and knowledge, they expect to be served, ‘the priest will do all that’. Thus, parishes often depend on an inner core of 10% or 20% of parishioners; the other 80% or 90% are initially visitors who do not wish to involve themselves in Church life, but may become involved only with time.

Gathering in the Name of Money

Secondly, there are those who consider that parish life is about gathering together in the name of money or, more simply, gathering money, not souls. For them the Church is a money-making operation, a mere business to make profits. Simony thrives among bishops with this mentality and greed among priests with this mentality. They do not gather, but divide and chase away the flock. Fortunately, they are a very small minority, but they do discolour the rest, who may then become unjustly tarred with their dirty brush.

Gathering in the Name of Power

Finally, there are those who gather to gain power over others, the self-appointed, ego-tripping gurus who want to manipulate others in their ‘private church’ and personality cult. These frauds are drawn to the Church because they have psychological (and sometimes psychosexual) problems or are social failures. They use the Church in order to try and exercise power over others through their personal ideology. They often fall into intellectualism, which is abstract, always sectarian, clubbish, cliquish, even snobbish.

Successful parish life is then built on and around Christ. Any deviation from the centrality of Christ will result in the collapse of any present or future parish. In the Gospels Our Lord says: ‘For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them’ (Matt. 18, 20). Thus, all the obstacles to the foundation of parishes are concerned with gathering together NOT in His Name, as we see above. ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you’.



Who Are We?

With a website, soon to be two decades old, called Orthodox England, we clearly believe that there is no England if it is not Orthodox England, i. e, an England returned to its historic roots (just as there is no Russia if it is not Orthodox Russia). So who are we for and who are we against?

We are:

Pro-English (and so pro-Irish, pro-Scottish and pro-Welsh) and so anti-British.

Pro-American and so anti-Washington.

Pro-Russian and so anti-Soviet.

Pro-European and so anti-EU.

Pro-German and so anti-Hitler.

Pro-French and so anti-Napoleon.

Pro-Greek and so anti-Hellenist.

Pro-Ukrainian and so anti Kiev junta.

Pro-Jewish and so anti-Zionist.

It is so simple. We are pro-humanity, because God made us all, and we are anti manmade ideological constructs.