A Metropolia of Western Europe
It was in April 1988 that I first proposed in French a paper on a Metropolia of Western Europe, composed of six dioceses in six different linguistic and cultural areas (cross-border) which I called, Gallia, Germania, Iberia, Italia, Scandinavia and the Isles. (See, ‘A Vision for the Orthodox Churches of Western Europe’, published in Orthodox England, Vol 4, No 1, September 2001). My thought then was that this could become the foundation of a restored Local Church of Western Europe. This was a historic suggestion, as for well over 900 years this had ceased to exist.
Thirty Years Ago
The idea was dismissed in Paris, the historic centre of the Russian emigration in Western Europe, and the forward-looking project proved to be impossible then. There were only three groups who could realistically have contributed something towards it: the Rue Daru or Paris Exarchate group (RD); the Moscow Patriarchate Exarchate (MP) and the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). Of these three, the old Rue Daru had tied itself up in modernist knots (nothing can be built on compromises) and in any case under US-run Constantinople it was not politically free to do anything of the sort.
As for the old MP, it was tiny because it was so distrusted by all. Run in fact by part of the Soviet Communist Party, it too was not politically free and moreover it had dangerously renovationist figures in it. As for the old ROCOR, it was small, disorganized, elderly and above all, inward-looking, as it still defined itself as being a group opposed to the atheist regime inside Russia, rather than as a key part of a future Local Church. It was living in reference to the past, not the future. The situation was to alter radically only after the year 2000, for those with the vision to see ahead.
Fifteen Years Ago
After the Moscow Council of August 2000, with a new archbishop after 1993, the Rue Daru group fell into conversations with the by then largely politically free MP, which was still very small in Western Europe. It was virtually agreed that RD would at last return to the jurisdiction of the MP and become an autonomous Metropolia within it, as a foundation for a future Local Church. However, Archbishop Serge (Konovalov) of the Rue Daru jurisdiction was to die tragically on 22 January 2003 and the next archbishop, Gabriel (De Vylder), was a furious Russophobe and strongly modernistic.
Indeed, since then, having missed the boat and set on a suicidal path, the Rue Daru group has largely fallen into irrelevance, its vital forces having quit it for one part or the other of the Russian Orthodox Church. Looking back, there was Providence here, since Archbishop Serge’s hopes would in any case have been dashed by the dominant wing of the Exarchate, represented by his successor. Today Rue Daru represents only 60 scattered parishes and communities, most of them very small. Most of its living parishes are in fact Moldovan and Romanian, with priests loaned by the MP.
The MP Needs a Partner
Why did the MP enter into such negotiations with Rue Daru? Simply because alone it could do nothing. Thus, even though the once few MP parishes of 30 years ago today number perhaps 250 in Western Europe with six bishops, dwarving the one-bishop Rue Daru group (ROCOR has about 100 parishes in Western Europe with three bishops), it is essentially an ethnic group. It is composed of recent immigrants, often not understanding local languages and culture. The MP needs those who have this understanding. Let us compare as examples the MP and ROCOR dioceses in the Isles.
Although on paper the MP diocese here is much bigger, in reality most of its communities are tiny (less than ten!), often with only a few services a year, without property and without a regular priest. It is a paper empire, all its money expended on its ex-Anglican church in London. ROCOR probably actually has almost as many people, more property, is better established and tends to attract people who are better-established in these Isles. Often, those immigrants who have been here for more than ten years tend to drift across to ROCOR, their children more integrated into society.
The old, inward-looking and too often politicized ROCOR, which largely died out in the 1980s and 1990s, could not have been a partner for the ultimate aim of building a new Local Church: however, the new ROCOR, born after the reconciliation with the MP in 2007, can potentially be such a partner. The MP of the early 2000s, still with an old-fashioned, Sovietized cast of mind, could not see this and sought the wrong partner, one compromised in modernism. Today it needs a skeleton, a structure, solid Russian Orthodox people with local knowledge: ROCOR can provide this.
The Church, the Incarnate Body of Christ, has always been the central battlefield between God and the world, whose prince is Satan. It is for this reason that the world constantly tries to destroy and corrupt the Church, infiltrating it with those who foolishly and blindly do Satan’s will. History is full of notorious examples of internal enemies and traitors in Church life. Indeed this was the foundation of monastic life in the fourth century. All this is because the presence of Christ is abhorrent to Satan, who wants the world for himself, as we see in the temptations of Christ, related in the Gospel of Matthew 4. Satan has always tried to make the Church into the world, to make Faith into a mere State or institutional ‘religion’. He makes bishops and priests into anti-pastors, into scribes (vain and pompous intellectuals like Arius and so many pompous academics who, puffed up with futile knowledge as the Apostle Paul describes (2 Tim 3, 4), think that they know everything) and pharisees (ritualists), not to mention persecutors and bureaucrats. Thus, in Church history, every heresy and every schism has been an attempt, usually unconscious because of the spiritual delusion of those who lead heresy and schism, to compromise the Church with the world.
Thus, in the seventh century in these Isles, disorganized but holy Irish monks were bewildered by organized but cold Roman religion; during the later first millennium the zealous monks of New Rome (Constantinople) were cruelly persecuted by iconoclast emperors and empresses with their pro-Islamic political projects; in the eleventh century Old Rome fell into the temptation of making its bishop into a universal emperor who commanded armies and tortureers, replaced God and from whom, they said, proceeded the Holy Spirit and so all truth and authority; a few centuries ago in Russia a great debate arose between non-possessing hermits and those who ran monasteries as economic units with farmlands and peasants; a little over a century ago the Russian Church, though with great institutions, was compromised as part of State machinery and the people flocked not to wealthy bishop-bureaucrats, city career priests and professional Italianate opera choirs in stone city churches, but to poor spirit-bearing elders in wooden chapels in provincial monasteries; and in our own times the greatest saint of the Diaspora, St John of Shanghai, was put on trial by bishops who backed secular-minded people who had money and power, and not the faithful and the true.
What are we to do in the face of injustices in Church life?
Firstly, we may be wrong: we can only know that we are right, if we are persecuted. Christ tells us so (Lk 21 and Jn. 16). So let us accept persecution provided that it does not force us into breaking the commandments. If it does mean compromising the commandments, we must leave for another canonical, and not uncanonical, diocese. For persecution is no self-justifying excuse for falling away into schism. The Church is everywhere littered with little groups, or rather sects of extreme, for instance of new calendarists and old calendarists, who were often initially victims of episcopal injustices, but who now have no canonical status and so have discredited themselves. But the Church calendar is also everywhere littered with those who bore injustices, only recently St Nectarius of Egina and St John of Shanghai, and so became saints. They did not take off their crowns.
Secondly, while you stay in the Church with those who cause injustice, do not participate in that injustice, side with the victims of the injustice. They are anti-pastors, but you must remain pastors, your conscience clean. The bullies, narcissists and manipulators of the naive, with their ‘gaslighting’ lies, hypocrisy and attempts to discredit, will not win. They do not think of the Last Judgement and tremble at it, but you do think of it and tremble at it.
Thirdly, we must know that, as they say, what goes round, comes round. Our persecutors should be trembling – in any case, they soon will be. I have seen so many who have persecuted Church people, terrible things have happened to them all sooner or later, without exception. Over the last forty years and more, I have seen them, bishops and priests dying suddenly after acting outrageously. They thought they could get away with it: they could not. Be patient: the Truth will out. God is always on the side of the good and the faithful. Be patient, justice is always done, for man proposes, but God disposes: Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6, 7).
The news has come that last week’s Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow agreed to include the names of three Irish missionary saints in Western Europe, Sts Gall, Fridolin and Columban, into the Russian Orthodox calendar. It is yet another step in bringing the Church inside Russia into line with the practices of the Church Outside Russia, which has a far greater experience of local Orthodox life and missionary work.
The Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) began introducing such local saints into its calendar over 60 years ago with St John of Shanghai, his disciples Bishop (later Archbishop) Nathanael (L’vov) and Archbishop Antony of Geneva and then their disciples in England and the USA, just as it began using local languages in services. Thus, 40 years ago, the Church Outside Russia accepted St Edward the Martyr into its calendar, painted his icon and composed a service to him.
It now remains for the whole Church to accept all 10,000 Saints of Orthodox Christian Europe into its calendar, as was proposed by ourselves 43 years ago, in 1975, and has been ever since. The acceptance of the local languages and local saints of Orthodox Christian Western Europe into the Russian Orthodox Church’s spiritual and liturgical life and the rejection of divisive petty nationalism sets the Church against Western Europe.
Western Europe has consistently abandoned its saints, replacing them with popes, kings, knights, soldiers, philosophers, architects, conquerors, artists, explorers, inventors, writers, nationalists, dictators, scientists and mass murderers. It has, in other words, consistently abandoned the things of God for the things of man, it has abandoned the Spirit for the worship and justification of fallen man, of sin, of Heaven for Earth, of sacrifice for comfort.
As a result of this abandonment of Orthodox Christianity and the mixture of its vestiges with a host of isms issued from Roman paganism and barbarian heathenism, it did not adopt Orthodox saints into its calendar. Rather it set about attempting to destroy their Christian world and its civilization, notably in 1204 sacking and looting the Christian capital of New Rome, and then in 1917 sacking and looting the Christian Empire itself.
The European Orthodox thinker wonders and asks: ‘Where will all this end?’ And he receives the answer: ‘It will end with the end’.
Q: How can you belong to ROCOR, a Church that in the 1990s uncanonically opened parishes inside Russia and entered into communion with schismatic Greek Old Calendarists?
A: I could not and did not. I am afraid you have your facts wrong. Two (but possibly more) ROCOR bishops did what you describe. And in the Western European Diocese of ROCOR, to which I then belonged, we categorically refused to engage in either of the above because both these actions were and are uncanonical.
Q: Why do Catholics make the sign of the cross backwards?
A: Christ sits on the right hand of the Father. The Tradition has always been to start with the right – right foot first. Thus, just like Orthodox, even Catholics make the sign of the cross with the right hand and not the left. Priests turn to their right to say to the people ‘Peace be unto all’, we cross our hands left over right before communion, priests (as did laity once) receive communion with their right hand cupped in the left, which is how laypeople cup their hands to take a priest’s blessing.
The fact is that in the West people used to make the sign of the cross as Orthodox still do, from right to left. Thus, in the 1713 French ‘Simple, Literal and Historical Explanations of the Ceremonies of the Church’ by Dom Claude de Vert, Page 6, Rubric 1, we read: ‘The priest makes the sign of the cross with his five fingers (and not with the first three only according to the old practice – as some bishops, the Chartreuses and the Jacobins still do, being careful to extend only the thumb and the next two fingers, as in times past).
And if the priest touches the left shoulder before the right, it is not a matter of indifference, as we can see from a letter of Pope Leo IV (790-855) that formerly the right shoulder was indeed touched before the left’.
The question as to why Catholics changed from the Orthodox practice (after all, they keep Orthodox practices in many other domains) is unanswerable. However, the most likely suggestion is that Catholic laity wanted to do what they saw the Catholic priests doing when they face the people and bless them, that is, when they cross the people from left to right (which appears to laity as right to left, as they face the clergy). In other words, the change was caused by clericalism, by wanting to imitate the clergy.
Q: Why in the British Isles do you say ‘He is risen indeed’ in answer to ‘Christ is risen’? Elsewhere the response is ‘Truly He is risen’, which, after all, is the literal translation.
A: This relates to the King James translation of the words of Luke and Cleopas to the other disciples in Luke 24, 34, after they had come back from Emmaus and talked to Christ: ‘Saying, the Lord is risen indeed’. (In the Greek, ‘ondos’ – really, in the Russian ‘istinno’ – truly). This translation simply relates to the emphatic British English usage of the word ‘indeed’ (for example, the phrase, ‘Did he indeed?’), whereas other English-speaking peoples would use ‘truly’ or ‘really’. The merit of the translation ‘indeed’ is that it implies ‘in action’, not just ‘in theory’.
Q: Why are some converts eccentric?
A: I recently visited a ‘convert church’ which had a notice by the entrance with the words: ‘Warning: This Church May Contain Nuts’.
We are talking now about a small minority, an eccentric fringe, so we should not get things out of proportion. I think that those who consider that they are ‘converts’ are not Orthodox; those for whom Orthodoxy is a way of life and have forgotten a time when they were not in the Church are simply Orthodox. Orthodoxy is second nature to us. But ‘converts’ (that is, a minority of converts) seem to cultivate exotic eccentricity, especially strange dress and hairstyles. And yet the Mother of God was a ‘convert’, as were all the apostles. But they never spoke of themselves as ‘converts’ and we never think of them as ‘converts’. Of course not – because they were converted – i.e. finished products.
Here we come to the essence of the matter: there are ‘converts’ and there are the converted. The difference is that ‘converts’ are people who want to remain in a stew for beginners, for ever and ever, and there are people who have been converted and are trying to improve themselves. In other words, quite simply, there are neophytes and there are Christians.
Those who are neophytes want to remain at the Church doors, for ever ranting against their former beliefs (there is nothing so anti-Anglican as an ex-Anglican) and there are those who have entered the Church and really cannot be bothered by what goes on at the Church doors. Those who remain at the doors for ever read books for converts (Bloom, Ware, Schmemann, The Way of a Pilgrim, Kalomiros etc) and cultivate eccentricity and exoticism in dress, hairstyle or speech, sometimes for some pathological reason (to look different from others); they are ‘converts’. It is time for them to move on and become normal Christians, which is what the word Orthodox actually means.
The word ‘eccentric’ is another word for vanity, the desire to be different, to be attention-seeking. Such ‘converts’ need to move on from the first course to the main course, with its meat, which has the promise of the sweet dessert to come. Those who remain converts need to be converted. But they must first want to be converted and not remain ‘converts’.
Q: What do you think of the opinion ‘Religion is the opium of the people’?
A: Personally, I am against religion, that is, the artificial invention by States of religious establishments in order to repress people. However, I am for faith, that is, for spiritual experience, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which is the foundation of the Orthodox Church. To Marx, whose birth was 200 years ago and who wrote this opinion 175 years ago, I would say: ‘And atheism is the opium of the intellectuals’.
Q: Are some people chosen by God to carry out some special task, to fulfil some special destiny in this world? Are you such a person?
A: All of us without exception have been chosen by God for some special task, it is just that only some are aware of it. As for myself, I have been aware for over four decades that I have to preach Orthodoxy in Western Europe. This is in order to gather the lost sheep together, that is, to reintegrate at least a small number of Western Europeans and our saints back into the Church. This is to make ready for the restoration of the Christian Empire in Russia to resist Antichrist, whose coming the globalists are preparing.
Introduction: Local Churches
Over the years there has been much talk of creating Local Metropolias in the Orthodox Diaspora, which could with time become new Local Churches, uniting all Orthodox on their territory. Yet none has ever appeared. This is not only the case in North America, where there was once a (Carpatho-Russian) Metropolia, which then became the minority and for many uncanonical, but largely English-speaking ‘OCA’ (Orthodox Church in America), but it is also true of Western Europe. None of the talk of creating a new Local Church in any part of the Orthodox Diaspora has been fruitful, all the ideas have remained pipe-dreams. Why?
First of all, there have frequently been what may be called ‘ethnic projects’. This is the idea of granting autonomy, or even autocephaly, to an Archdiocese or Metropolia in a territory of the Diaspora. This simply amounts to treating the territory as an extension of another and foreign country. Notably, this means creating a Church in a place, rather than a Church of a place.
For example, the old translation of ROCOR (the Church Outside Russia) was ROCA (the Church Abroad). This is an absurd translation – unless what we mean is a temporary extension of a Church, which has been set up for immigrants who will sooner or later return to ‘the old country’ and their Church will then disappear. Those born locally who are part of ROCOR, whatever their origins, are not abroad. Officially, this translation was dropped in the 1970s – and yet is still frequently heard and used! Other national groups have done no better, everywhere it has been the same problem.
Only a Metropolia of a certain territory, and not in it, is the beginning of a Local Church, as by definition it uses mainly the local language or languages, since, in other words, it has integrated and cannot be transplanted elsewhere. If its members want to return somewhere else, always harping after a childhood home, then they will never become local – they will have no roots there. Thus, today, there are Russians, Romanians, Serbs, Bulgarians, Greeks etc in Western Europe who have no intention of staying here, of becoming of Western Europe. They can never form a Local Metropolia, let alone a new Local Church. They are certainly Orthodox, but they are definitely not Local.
On the other hand, there have also frequently been what may be called ‘local projects’. These have always been marked by what can be called ‘autocephalism’ or ‘autocephalitis’. This is the desire to assimilate the local culture, whether it be Catholic, Protestant, Muslim or whatever. In any words, they gain local-ness, but lose the Faith – they are no longer Orthodox.
For example, we have the case of Finland, where many parishes that I have seen appear not to be sure whether they are Lutheran or Orthodox. They say: use only the local language (a dogma more important to them than the Holy Trinity), take out the iconostasis, do away with fasting and confession (and any other ascetic discipline) and give communion to all. Be local, be like the others – conform. This often happens when the locally-born second generation comes to power. Fleeing their parents’ ghetto, they suffer from an inferiority complex. But in desiring the local, they lose the Faith.
Thus, they end up with something local, only it is not Orthodox. I remember forty years ago hearing a recording of an OCA Liturgy. It was not just American, it was super-American; at moments it seemed like listening to a cowboy film. Clearly, this had been done deliberately by people who were second-generation Americans, who wanted to be more American than Americans. Russian intellectuals and aristocrats in France did the same, making Orthodoxy into a bourgeois French philosophy. This was also the case in the old Sourozh project, which was Parisian pretending to be Russian. Phyletist to the core, they threw out anyone who was not ex-Anglican or was Russian-speaking.
Conclusion: Orthodoxy and Integration, Not Heterodoxy and Assimilation
In the real world, Local Churches start by learning Orthodoxy and then become Local. They have to keep the Orthodox Tradition, but also have to be local, inculturated, integrated, using the local language and not ‘translationese’. All must keep faith with the One Orthodox Tradition, without compromise, without assimilation, yet all must prove themselves to be Local, that is, as Churches that cannot be transferred elsewhere. Thus, all must start with the maximum, never the minimum, that is, we start with monasticism, whether it is Sts Cyril and Methodius among the Slavs, St Herman in Alaska or St Nicholas in Japan.
Israel was proclaimed an independent State on 14 May 1948: exactly seventy years later the crazed elite of the USA has recognized its capital as Jerusalem: in one day over 50 people are dead, 2,000 are injured. According to Israel, it is ‘a glorious day’. This does not include those who have already died under illegal Israeli bombardments in Syria. There are those who consider that Israel is a US puppet-State; others consider that the USA is an Israeli puppet-State.
Why has the US elite done this, knowing that Israel has illegally occupied Jerusalem, setting the Muslim world against itself? It can only be because once Israel controls Jerusalem with the support of the world’s only Superpower, it can then at last start building the third Temple so that Antichrist can be enthroned there. His horns are already visible in globalism, both political and electronic, which is only the preparation for his global rule, and in the acceptance of dehumanizing perversions which destroy family life and so increase dependency on Antichrist.
There are those who say that all this is inevitable because the last remaining faithful Christians are few in number. So what? The pagan Roman Empire was brought down by twelve men. The remains of the Christian Empire, Holy Rus, are rising up despite the vicious Soviet culture which tried to suffocate it. It exists in order to counter the rising culture of Antichrist, to be a place of refuge for those who flee the world outside it, all those who still believe in the real Christ.
The responsibility of Holy Rus for the future of mankind is enormous. First the Russian Lands must themselves be fully transfigured, throwing off the old materialistic Soviet culture. Only then can its influence spread elsewhere. Only then can the coming Christian Tsar be chosen. His coming was already prepared by the self-sacrifice of the last Tsar and His Family, Who have been glorified. Only the presence of a new Christian Emperor, representing the Messiah, can stop Antichrist, the false Messiah. The Orthodox task is the opposite of that of the genocidal Israel-USA.
The coming Christian Emperor, the restored Tsar, will continue the work of his spiritual forebears. He will gather all the Orthodox lands and peoples together, opposing the new Sodom and Gomorrah, proposed by those very agents who have built an Embassy in Jerusalem and by the new Euro-order which has thrown out Christ from its money-changers and tells hateful lies about Russia. The coming Christian Emperor and his repented people will be able to counter Antichrist. So he will serve all the peoples of the earth who seek refuge from the demonic rule of him who will sit on his throne in the Temple in Jerusalem, the capital of the New World Order.
Q: Why did you end up in ROCOR (the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) and not in the Sourozh Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is now bigger?
A: As regards size, that is not the main thing, it is quality that counts. There were only 12 apostles, not 12,000.
The short answer is because the Church Outside Russia had a saint, St John of Shanghai, the Sourozh Diocese did not. Instead, it was renowned for intolerant renovationism that persecuted the faithful Orthodox minority, the real core of the Church. 25 years later, when there were more Orthodox faithful, this led directly and inevitably to an anti-Orthodox and anti-Russian schism from it by the new minority (which had been the persecuting majority earlier). And that led directly to the entry of the Sourozh Diocese into communion with ROCOR. There is nothing so intolerant as liberalism.
However, there were also all the usual reasons: For example, how could we outside Russia face lies about the nature of the Soviet regime in the Soviet-controlled Patriarchate? For example, the Church Outside Russian canonized the saints, St John of Kronstadt, St Xenia of Saint Petersburg, the New Martyrs and Confessors, which the enslaved Patriarchate could not, so who wanted to be subject to an enslaved Church, which was so weak that it could not even recognize its own saints? For example, quite a few of the senior clergy of the Patriarchate outside Russia were renovationists or in other ways corrupt.
Beyond all this, however, there is yet another reason, which is in the very names: ‘The Sourozh Diocese’. Or ‘The Russian Orthodox Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland’ (And our first bishop carried the title: ‘Bishop of London’). Obviously, for anyone born in this country, the second option is the clear winner. It is time that the name ‘Sourozh’ be dropped. Either we are the foundation of a new Local Church or else we are just another immigrant group with the name of an unknown place in a foreign country destined to be assimilated and so die out, like all those in the past. I do not wish to belong to such a group.
Q: Who are the renovationists inside Russia today?
A: There are the ageing ultra-modernists and ecumenists Fr George Kochetkov and his handful of followers, the anti-Russian academic Fr George Mitrofanov, other superficial academics like ‘I. V. Smyslov’ and D. Anashkin and the scandalous gossip and sacked Protodeacon Andrei Kuraev. But there are few of them, despite their noisy blogs, and they are discredited by real theology (which they condemn as ‘revisionism’ (sic!). Real theology lives in the monasteries, among the parish priests and the faithful, who are the real backbone of the Church and are ready to die for the authentic Faith – unlike the renovationists. They are here today, gone tomorrow. Nothing to worry about.
Q: What are the two most dangerous temptations for Orthodox today?
A: From the left side, there is so-called spirituality and from the right side there is so-called zeal.
Spirituality because it is most dangerous (the demons are spiritual beings and have spirituality). Only recently I heard of a woman who had interested herself in Hinduism and started meditation and yoga. Within two weeks she was hearing a voice and had become mentally fragile. Meditation of such a sort is infinitely harmful since it sets the imagination (the haunt of the demons) to work. There is something anti-Incarnational and therefore anti-Christian in this ‘spirituality’. It always ends up badly.
Zeal is also most dangerous because if it is not according to knowledge, as the apostle Paul says, it can cause great harm. For example, Muslim suicide-bombers are zealous and look where it leads them. All sects began with zeal. Most recently we can see it with old calendarists of various nationalities. Such zeal, not according to knowledge, however much it may be based on book knowledge, is always emotional and so leads to pride and division; authentic zeal, according to knowledge, is always sober and so leads to humility and unity.
Q: Why are Eastern European Orthodox countries so corrupt?
A: I think your question should be why are all countries so corrupt. Thus, the UK is run by freemasons (if not the Rotary Club or the golf club) and instead of bribes you constantly have to pay fines. France and Italy are mafia-run. Yes, Eastern Europe is also corrupt (Catholic or Orthodox). For example, in Lithuania (a Catholic country), they say that ‘Lithuania is the second most corrupt country in the world, but only because it bribed the actual second most corrupt country in the world to take its place as the most corrupt country in the world’. The reason for this corruption is two or three generations of atheism. You can have no morality under amoral atheism with its persecution of all spiritual values. Until these countries return from post-Communist money-grubbing Capitalism, they will remain utterly corrupt.
Q: What is essential before a Church can become Autonomous?
A: Apart from the request from a local Metropolia on a specific territory which wants Autonomy and the consent of the Mother-Church, which presupposes a certain maturity of infrastructure in the Metropolia – such as numbers of Orthodox bishops, priests, churches and faithful – there must be monastic life, a monastery and a convent, both with numbers of monks and nuns. That is essential.
Q: What are the political tendencies of the Diaspora?
A: In the USA we can see clearly how poor immigrants (Greeks, but not only) vote Democrat, the OCA is Democrat (in the UK they would be centre-left Liberal Democrats), whereas many White Russians are vaguely or clearly Republicans. Some are extremists, thus in academic theology there are two tendencies, to be moralisingly Evangelical-fundamentalist (Antiochians) or liberal-modernist (the Greeks outside Fr Ephraim) and the OCA. It is all wrong. We should be above politics and worldly academic theology, in the realm of the grace of the Holy Spirit.
In the UK we can see this in the fact that disused Protestant churches often either become mosques or else night clubs. It is the same anti-spiritual fundamentalist/liberal modernist divide.
Q: What is the origin of St Silouan the Athonite’s saying: ‘Keep your mind in hell and do not despair’?
A: There is nothing new here, it is simply the New Testament. There comes to mind the Apostle Peter’s saying: ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, whom resist, steadfast in the faith (I Peter 5, 8-9). In I Peter 5, 12 the apostle actually refers to Silvanus (Silouan in Russian!).
Q: Why do we wear our neck cross inside our clothes and not outside?
A: Because our Faith is not about showy externals, like that of the pharisees. Our cross remains next to our heart, on the inside. True, priests wear an external cross, but only doing the services and at formal occasions with a bishop etc. Otherwise they take it off. If we want to witness to our faith, it is not about wearing T-shirts with silly slogans, growing long beards, wearing crosses on the outside, it is about living a Christian way of life, loving our neighbours, whoever they are. This is what we shall be judged by, as Our Lord tells us quite clearly in the Gospels.
Q: Why are there different traditions in the Church regarding confession and communion?
A: There are not! The Tradition is confession before communion – unless you have a blessing from the priest not to come to confession every single time before communion (in the case of children, for example, or with several liturgies in the same week). Any other custom is pure decadence, usually a recent custom adopted from heterodoxy (as adopted in many Constantinople churches in recent decades).
Q: What is the origin of the Russian triple kiss?
A: The Russian triple kiss was universal among peasants (not among aristocrats) before the Revolution. Today it is common among family members and close friends, but you rarely see it in churches in Russia, where the sense of the parish was all but destroyed by the Soviets. This is ironic because its origin is purely Christian, it is the liturgical kiss of peace.
Q: If a miracle happened and the Russian Empire were restored – an impossible daydream as far as I am concerned – what sort of political union could be formed?
A: Who knows? Clearly, a restored Russian Empire would certainly have to cultivate good relations with China, with which it would have a huge border. But I could also suggest a global Northern Alliance between the lands of a restored Russian Empire, reunited with Alaska, together with Scandinavia (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark), the British Isles and Ireland, Greenland and Canada. This northern quarter of the planet forms just over 25% of the world’s land surface, 37.7 million square kilometres out of the total of 149.6 million, but less than 6% of the world population.
Q: Is having a tattoo sinful?
A: I would say that it is a sign of suffering. The Gospel tells us that the whole of our faith consists in ‘loving God and loving our neighbour as ourselves’. Eight words. Do we really need a doctoral thesis to understand that? The modern world has ceased to love God (atheism), ceased to love its neighbour (genocide) and now hates itself – suicide and self-mutilation (that includes tattoos). Those who tattoo themselves are dissatisfied with themselves, they have a psychological problem, a ‘complex’, as they say. In other words, they are not simple, but complicated – like sin itself.
Q: Would you take part in an anti-abortion march or demonstration?
A: Only if I thought it would achieve something. I fear that in present-day post-Christian and anti-Christian society such outward displays of convert zeal might even be negative. Let us look to ourselves first. Only if inward mentalities change and a majority turns against abortion, should we hold processions behind the Cross held high.
Q: Who are the Jehovah’s witnesses?
A: They are Jews who venerate the prophet Jesus, never having accepted the New Testament, neither the Holy Trinity (which they regard as paganism), nor the God-man Christ.
Q: Why do so many Anglican churches fly the LGBT rainbow flag?
A: The Church of England is a State Church and was founded as such. It therefore does whatever the State orders it to do. Thus, now that the State, under Cameron and May, has approved LGBT, it flies their flag. What I have always wanted to know is why it is so strict on divorce when it was founded by Henry VIII, so that he could give himself a divorce.
President Trump has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Zionist State and now reneges on the US deal with Iran, Europe objects. Of course, the views of the governments of Britain, France and Germany count for nothing: they have been mere occupied US vassals ever since 1945L: we all know what one US ‘diplomat’, Victoria Nuland, said of the whole EU. Within hours another US vassal, on US orders, nuclear-armed Israel, attacked Iranian weapons systems in Syria with American planes and bombs. The territory-greedy Israelis are perhaps preparing an invasion of that sad land, where the US and its tyrannical and fanatical Saudi and Qatari vassals have spent $1 billion a year, training and arming Muslim terrorists.
So the neocon plan of 2001 to ‘take out’ seven countries in five years, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and lastly Iran, approaches completion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw). True, it has taken much longer than five years, but US terrorism (codenamed ‘shock and awe; Hitler called it Blitzkrieg) has been carried out. Chaos has resulted; millions are dead or mutilated; millions have become refugees; terrorist squads control most of the area, including Afghanistan, where the US puppet government controls little outside Kabul; the whole of the Middle East is at war. Oil and gas have been obtained, but the Zionist plan to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem is facing implementation.
The problem is that Iran is a large and powerful country, which may have nuclear weapons; in any case its two protectors, both Great Powers, Russia and China, do have nuclear weapons. China will not allow the USA access to Iran for strategic reasons. Russia will not allow the Zionists to rebuild the Temple for religious reasons. This time the world is on a knife-edge, brought to the brink of Armageddon by the US neocons.