Monthly Archives: April 2021

How Will a Church of the Isles Be Created?

Introduction

So far there have been, or there are under way, four attempts to create a semi-autonomous, autonomous or even autocephalous Local Orthodox Church in the British Isles and Ireland. These attempts have been or are, for various reasons which we shall look at below, doomed to failure. This is why these attempts have never advanced further than fantasies. For example, there has even been basic ignorance of the name for such a future Church by foreign bishops. Some of them do not understand that the term ‘Great Britain and Ireland’ excludes the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands etc. Others even refuse to understand that the term ‘the British Isles’ excludes Ireland. Yet others have no concept of the countries which make up Western Europe. Basic geographical and historical ignorance appear to be commonplace. How will a semi-autonomous Church of the Isles (a possible reality, but only as part of a future Autocephalous Church of Western Europe) NOT be created? Let us look at the four tried and failed models.

  1. The Elitist Model

Already in the 1970s, as I remember well, there was an attempt to create an independent, in fact, semi-Orthodox, Church. This was a Parisian model, as its origin was among Saint Petersburg aristocrats in exile there. It was supported, at most, by a few hundred generally rather effete, upper-class and disincarnate intellectuals, who followed almost Buddhist or Hindu guru personality cults and pursued a pseudo-mystical, esoteric ‘Way’. The ethos was clearly ecumenical and modernistic, without roots in the Christian Tradition. This was not surprising as the original Saint Petersburg aristocrats had lived far from the Church, being more interested in philosophy than in Christ. This attempt failed because it was personality-driven, so disincarnate and abstract that it even dismissed ordinary people. Indeed, in 1975, one of its leading ideologues actually told me that ‘there is no such thing as ordinary people’!

  1. The Establishment Model

This model was put forward in the 1990s by Anglicans and ex-Anglicans, who were nostalgic for the Anglican Establishment. Only formally Orthodox, as they had been received into Orthodox Christianity without training or preparation, they wanted a clericalist ‘British Orthodox Church’, that is, an imitation of State-run Anglicanism. This ignored the reality that the mass of Orthodox Christians in the British Isles and Ireland are Eastern European immigrants who have nothing in common with the British and Anglican Establishment, as nor for that matter do most native Orthodox. This attempt failed because it was not interested in Holiness, but in the British State and the worldly advantages which that State could offer. It was a top-down project of the clericalist few over the people.

  1. The Ethnic Model

This is the present Phanariot model, with bishops in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff. This model is intent on becoming a racially exclusive sub-department of the Vatican, designed only for Greeks and people who want to be ‘Greeks’. Lacking an Orthodox Christian and so multinational ethos, it is based on compromises which reduce the Christian Faith to a nationalist project.

  1. The Psychological Model

This refers to escapist forms of Christianity from somewhere else and from sometime else. It appeals to those who from insecurity or an inferiority complex need to cling to and act out something different, making it into an exclusive and self-justifying ideology. It seems to forget that Orthodox Christianity was never exclusive, but the faith of illiterate Galilean fishermen, who became the apostles through the Holy Spirit, not through illusions. The psychological model is intensely delusional, narrow, rigid, arrogant, pharisaical, bureaucratic and psychological, if not psychopathological. It can attract extremists attached to ultra-conservative ideologies, even, as recently, two Nazis, who were received into the Church through extreme naivety. This model is anti-local, anti-now, anti-missionary and anti-Holy Spirit.

All these attempts have failed or will fail. Why?

The Elitist Model failed because it proclaims that the Church is not One, but is esoteric.

The Establishment Model failed because it denies Holiness, replacing it with a version of the purely manmade British Establishment.

The Ethnic Model will fail because it denies the Catholicity of the Church, limiting Her to one ethnic group.

The Psychological Model will fail because it denies the Apostolicity of the Church, limiting Her to one type of unhealthy human psychology.

Conclusion

What are the criteria for a Local Church? Any new Local Church must be:

One – united, not divisive.

Holy – putting the Kingdom of God above all the kingdoms of men.

Catholic – part of the universal Church.

Apostolic – faithful to the Apostolic Tradition.

Any Local Church must keep the Faith, but also be open, as She is both Local and Universal.

President Biden and Organised Western Violence

Eighteen months ago I had a conversation with a retired British ambassador who speaks fluent Russian and had at the start of his career many years ago been a diplomat at the British Embassy in Moscow. He asked me why I thought it was that Western relations with Russia, which had been so excellent after the fall of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, then deteriorated so rapidly that many now speak of a new Cold War. What had gone wrong? I answered him in the following way:

We have to understand this degeneration of relations in the context of continuing Western banditry, such as in the past the Crusades and later Western colonisation. Thus, Russia was invaded by the ever-aggressive West five times within the last two centuries or so. Napoleon invaded in 1812, France, Britain and Turkey in 1854, British-backed Japan in 1904 and Germany in 1914 and 1941. Five times in five generations, in 130 years. Two of these invasions, in 1812 and 1941, became disasters for the Western invading forces, and the three others were only Pyrrhic victories, which had disastrous consequences for the West in the longer term.

What of Western aggression and banditry since 1991? Since then Russia has been ringed by US bases and missiles and NATO constantly sends its warships into the Black Sea. It then complains that Russian forces inside Russia are too close to NATO military, which are many thousands of miles from their home countries! The West has thrown Russia into the arms of China. The latest round of American bullying and illegal sanctions by Biden pushes further towards two expectations:

Expect the possibilities that Taiwan, artificially separated from China by the West, to be absorbed back into China and the four fifths of Russian Ukraine, artificially separated from Russia by the West, to be liberated from their oppressors in American-governed Kiev by Russia and to be renamed Malorossiya, as it really is. There will remain a ferociously nationalistic but desperately poor Ukrainian State, in fact Galicia, along the Polish border, as is only right. That is the only real Ukraine. So much for the achievements of Western aggression.

 

 

On the Late Prince Philip and the Orthodox Church

The late Prince Philip, God rest him, had no Greek blood. He was rather a typical representative of the descendants of Germanic princes who were sent, mainly by Great Britain, to be constitutional monarchs in Eastern Europe in the 19th century. This was in order to spread British Imperial control and prevent Russian princes taking their places in newly freed countries there. As his family had been sent from what is now Germany to Greece, he therefore nominally became Greek Orthodox.

However, Philip never seems to have practised this Faith at any point and when he married Princess Elizabeth, he nominally became a member of the Church of England. In reality, this did not mean anything as the Church of England has no method for receiving Greek Orthodox. Many children of nominal Greek Orthodox parents who immigrated here after 1945, having lost their knowledge of the Greek language and Greek ghetto culture and been assimilated, have done the same thing. Indeed, I can number twelve Anglican ministers who are of Greek and Cypriot origin in just this part of England.

Technically, therefore the late Prince Philip was an apostate. However, since he never practised Greek Orthodoxy, does this mean anything? True, in 1992 he did talk about religion to some Orthodox bishops, including the late Parisian Metropolitan Antony Bloom and he is alleged by some to have received communion from him. However, the religious views expressed by the late Prince both before and since then appear to have nothing Orthodox about them at all. They express rather the apostate views of those who believe in some vague Deity and the universality of religion. Certainly he was not a practising Orthodox Christian, but a syncretist who thought that all that religion could tell us is that there is some ‘Divine force’ in the Universe.