Monthly Archives: October 2022

Q and A October 2022

Q: Why do all the Local Orthodox Churches accept the baptisms of Non-Orthodox, but not give them communion?

A: Baptism is the first sacrament and the only one that can be given by laypeople, that is, by those who have been baptised by water in the Name of the Holy Trinity. All other sacraments are different, as they require a priest, such as chrismation and confession, only after which can communion be given.

As regards the form of baptism, the norm in the Church is by immersion (different from submersion!), but emergency baptisms by sprinkling are also accepted, as in countless Orthodox baptisms of new-born babies in hospitals and in homes. Here it is the intention that is important, not the ritual.

Q: Can Non-Orthodox receive a gift of the Holy Spirit?

A: Obviously, yes! Why else would people come to the Church asking to be received, when they are still outside the Church? The Holy Spirit has called them, they have had some spiritual experience. The Holy Spirit can come to us from God the Father in two different ways, through (but not from) the Son (= through the Body of Christ, in the sacraments of the Church) and directly and independently, as to the Apostle Paul on the Road to Damascus and to so many others.

Q: What do you think will happen in the Ukraine and in Church life once the war there is over?

A: Let us look at reality. Rightly or wrongly, 87.5% of the world either supports the Russian campaign or else remains neutral towards it. This shows the increasing isolation of the USA/Western elite. In Italy, Germany, France, Moldova, the Czech Lands, Romania (the former Defence Minister), Bulgaria, Serbia, even in the UK, dissident voices are protesting. For God’s sake, negotiate with Russia! The Ukraine is their business, not ours. We want gas and food! This Hell-begotten war must end. Europe needs a common economic home, from Reykjavik/Dublin/Lisbon to Vladivostok. The USE (United States of Europe, that is, the EU) has been USED. It is over.

There are very many and very unanimous Orthodox Christian prophecies on the war, like those of the very well-known and quite recent St Laurence of Chernigov, St Kuksha of Odessa, Elder Zosima of Donetsk, Elder Nikolai (Guryanov) and also Elder Jonah (Ignatenko) of Odessa (+ 2012). The latter, who said that Odessa will be liberated last, said: ‘After President Putin there will come a Tsar and there will be peace for a time’. The same prophets say that the new Tsar will then cleanse the Church of its unprincipled careerist-bishops, so disastrously corrupted by the Western money of the 1990s, exactly as St Seraphim of Sarov prophesied 200 years ago. According to him the Persecuted Church would become the Persecuting Church, the Church of Altruism would become the Church of Mammon. Exactly as it has turned out.

After this momentous Battle for the Holy Spirit, could then the whole Russian Orthodox Church be cleansed and transformed into the Patriarchate of New Jerusalem and All Rus? The at present Fifteen Local Churches of today could become Twenty-Four, with new Autocephalous Churches in the New Ukraine, in the three Baltic States plus Finland, with the restitution of those unjustly defrocked in Lithuania, in Moldova, an NAOC, Northern American Orthodox Church, including all Orthodox there, excluding none, and a WEOC, Western European Orthodox Church, including all Orthodox here, excluding none, a South American Orthodox Church, a Central American Orthodox Church, and a Mexican Orthodox Church, with a Metropolia for the Caribbean, and an Oceanic Orthodox Church for Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Q: What is the significance of the Battle of Hastings in the European context?

A: The Norman Invasion and Hastings was only a detail in the whole apostasy of the Church of Rome in the eleventh century. What began with the expulsion or persecution of Orthodox from Moravia, Hungary, Mozarabic Spain, Sicily, Southern Italy and Croatia ended with the same in England, Milan (the Ambrosian rite) and later in Scotland and Wales, then spreading to Scandinavia and Ireland.

Let us take just one example, the persecution of the Church in Croatia, which happened on the very eve of Hastings. (I quote from ‘The Early Medieval Balkans’ by John Fine): ‘In the mid-eleventh century the Slavonic liturgy became an issue in Croatian Dalmatia.

Written in Glagolitic, it was widely used particularly
in northern Dalmatia, where its chief centres were on the islands
lying in the Gulf of Kvarner, formed by the Istrian peninsula. In this
regard the island of Krk was the most important. In the 1060s, when
the Pope was demanding general Church reform, many high clerics in
the old Roman towns of Dalmatia, which had always used the Latin
liturgy, wanted to prohibit Slavonic and standardise church practices.
Kresimir IV, a religious man who had founded a Benedictine monastery
at Biograd, his favorite residence, sympathized with the Latinisers.
One wonders why: perhaps he wanted papal support; perhaps he
sought support from the Latin Dalmatian cities, toward which he may
already have had ambitions; perhaps it was a result of his Venetian
upbringing. (His mother was a Venetian and he had been educated in

In any case the reformers or Latinisers were upset by the situation
in the Croatian Church; many priests (like the Greeks) married and
wore beards. Many of them did not know Latin. A Council was held in
Split in 1060 which declared that priests must know Latin and declared
it the language of the church. The Council condemned Slavonic. It also
banned priestly beards and marriages. Some churches were closed as a
result and there seems to have been a degree of unrest. Parties developed
for and against Latin, with the high clergy and nobles tending to
support Latin. In 1063 the Pope demanded application of these decisions
and he too called Slavonic heretical.

In 1064 a rebellion for the Slavic church broke out on the isle of
Krk under a man named Vuk. He set up an autonomous church under
its own bishop and wrote to the Pope. Various misunderstandings followed
and envoys from each side were rebuffed by the other. Kresimir
then sent a naval expedition against Krk (whose church was branded
heretical by the Pope). By the end of 1064 Vuk’s rebellion was crushed
and Latin clerics were in control of the church of Krk. Thus the national
Church organisation suffered a further blow and its organisation
rapidly died out. Surely, however, in inland villages Slavonic priests
continued to function over the next several centuries, owing to the lack
of an educated clerical class there. In addition, though the established
church opposed it, Slavonic seems to have survived in places along the coast presumably because the local population wanted it. Glagolitic
manuscripts from Croatia survive from each subsequent century
throughout the Middle Ages. But as an established accepted movement
the Slavonic Church collapsed and the main reason for its collapse
was that the leading Croatian political and religious figures opposed it.
In 1074 a second Council was held in Split which reissued the edicts of
1060 against Slavonic. This second Council also re-established the bishopric
of Nin’ (Pp. 280-281).





Will the Russian Orthodox Church Be Forbidden in Western Countries?

At the Peace Forum in Rome on 23 October, President Macron of France spoke in front of an audience of many Church leaders, including Metr Antony (Sevriuk), reckoned to be the No 2 of the Moscow Patriarchate. The President stated that the Russian Orthodox Church (both the Moscow Patriarchate and ROCOR) is manipulated by the Russian State.

This was said in front of many other Orthodox clergy, including our friends from the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and our own Metropolitan Joseph (Pop) of the Romanian Orthodox Church, whose Autonomous Metropolia numbers 4 million Orthodox in Western Europe. (This makes him the bishop with by far the largest Orthodox flock in Western Europe, far larger than the total flock of many Local Orthodox Churches). Is the Russian Orthodox Church manipulated by the Russian State, as President Macron claimed? Whether it is true or not is irrelevant, the fact is that this is the Western Establishment perception – and has long been. For them the Russian Orthodox Church is no more independent of the Russian State than the Church of England is from the British government, whose new and entirely expected Hindu Prime Minister will nominate all its bishops.

The only exception to this possibly true claim of subservience to the Russian State is the small but much-persecuted Russian Orthodox Western European Archdiocese under Metropolitan Jean of Dubna. There clergy are allowed to commemorate or not the Russian Orthodox Patriarch. The Archdiocese is where we were not allowed to stay by Metropolitan Antony (Sevriuk). Thus, highly providentially, we were safely received into the above-mentioned Romanian Patriarchal Metropolia of Western and Southern Europe eight days before the Special Military Operation in the Ukraine began on 24 February 2022.

Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Patriarch has been banned from visiting his flock in four countries through a personal ‘sanction’. These countries are the Ukraine, Canada, the UK and Lithuania. As well as this, the Russian Church has had to withdraw its bishops from Northern America (the USA and Canada) and from the UK. Bishopless churches are churches that will die out. What is to be done? You can sit it all out and wait till the war in the Ukraine is over. This appears to be the policy of many. However, that does not solve the pastoral problems in the here and now or the problems in the future, which will be even greater.

The Russian Orthodox Faith first came under persecution in the Ukraine in 2018, when the CIA with the help of Poroshenko and certain Greek Orthodox individuals who set up an uncanonical Church, so that Ukrainian Orthodox would not belong to the Russian Orthodox Church. Few fell for this trick and the new ‘Church’ failed. This year the canonical Church in the Ukraine has come under even greater persecution and was forced to declare itself ‘fully independent’ of Moscow. Of its 12,000 churches, 2,000 have been taken away from it by force and nearly all of them now stand locked and empty. The US-sponsored Ukrainian nationalist persecution resembles very closely that of the Bolsheviks.

Only recently a curious though different fate has befallen the Russian Orthodox Church in Latvia, which was declared independent by the Latvian government. It has no choice other than to accept this imposed independence. It looks as though the same is about to happen in Lithuania and Estonia. However, we note that the Russian-founded Orthodox Churches in Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and in the USA (the OCA) are not suffering from any persecution from their States because they are associated with the Russian Orthodox Church. Why? Because they are all ‘Autocephalous’, i.e. canonically fully independent.

Surely this is the way out for the whole of the Russian Church, which is not inside the Russian Federation and Belarus? In any case, the difference between Orthodoxy and Papism is surely that we do not have a Pope, that we do not claim some sort of universal jurisdiction. When a Local Church sets up a mission in another country or a country becomes politically independent from the one where the Local Church is based, and that mission is successful, inevitably, that country ends up having its own Local Church. And the new Local Church is independent of political pressure from foreign governments (and from its own government).

A Patriarch is not a Pope. We ignore any ‘Eastern Papist’ temptations or claims of any Patriarchate (e.g. the deliberate misinterpretation of Canon 28 of Chalcedon, for instance). We know that the hubris of power is always punished. We do not confess any universal jurisdiction, but missionary autocephalies, as in the Local Churches of Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae and Thessalonica. Let us be frank: There is room for very many to stand on the moral high ground in the Orthodox Church. If some want to compromise themselves politically or have little integrity or conscience and do not wish to stand there, that is not our business. We shall continue to stand there, waiting for others to join us, whatever the stones they cast at us.



The Future of the Ukraine and the Church

What is going to happen in the Ukraine? Some say that the Russian winter campaign in the Ukraine that is due to start in November will result at the very least in the provinces of Nikolaev and Odessa being taken by Russia, as foretold by Elder Jonah of Odessa (+ 2012). That might bring this nightmare conflict to a swift end. It will mean that the remaining Ukraine will become a landlocked state.

Others refer to another prophecy of Elder Jonah of Odessa that there will be a ‘bloody Easter (= 2022?), a hungry Easter (2023?) and a victorious Easter (2024?). It means that the war will continue for another eighteen months yet. Others refer to the prophecy of St Seraphim of Sarov: ‘Towards that time the bishops will become so impious that in their impiety they will surpass the Greek bishops of the time of Theodosius the Younger (401-450), so that they will no longer believe in the main dogmas of the Christian Faith’.

We should recall that all prophecies are conditional, dependent on repentance – or lack of it.

Whatever happens in the war in the Ukraine, and there are many predictions, it is clear that the canonical Church in the Ukraine will have to become autocephalous. Russia can, and we believe will, win militarily, but that does not solve the pastoral problem. No mother, father, aunt, uncle, wife, sister, brother, children of a dead Ukrainian soldier will frequent a church where the Russian Patriarch is commemorated. Many in the Russian Church are in denial about this: we are not.

At the mere mention of the name Patriarch Kyrill in churches in the Ukraine or here, people walk out. Russian Orthodox churches, Moscow or ROCOR, all over Western Europe, as in the Ukraine itself, have lost a great many of their flock. If we had been under the Russian Church (by Divine Providence we got out exactly eight days before the Special Operation began), we would certainly have lost half of our parish. At present, under the Zelensky government, any Ukrainian priest who concelebrates with the Russia Church in Western Europe (either branch) faces five years of prison on his return for ‘collaborating with the enemy’.

In the Moscow Patriarchate in Lithuania four priests have been defrocked for not commemorating Patriarch Kyrill. And yet in the Western European Archdiocese of the Moscow Patriarchate, priests are free to commemorate the Russian Patriarch or not. Patriarch Kyrill is banned by sanction from visiting Canada, the UK, Lithuania and of course the Ukraine. He would not be welcome anywhere else in Europe outside the Russian Federation and Belarus. If he cannot visit his churches, then independence must be granted to them.

It has come to our knowledge that there are those in Russia who are praying that Metr Onufry of Kiev will become the next Patriarch of Russia. No doubt his first act will be to grant the Ukrainian Orthodox Church autocephaly. The same is surely inevitable in the Baltic States (today the Latvian Orthodox Church has officially asked Patriarch Kyrill to grant it autocephaly). We think that autocephaly, or at least autonomy, will have to be given to the Russian Orthodox churches in Moldova and also in Western Europe. As for the Moscow parishes in Northern America, they have no bishop and so no future at present. Here too a solution is required.

The situation is chaotic, Nothing, indeed, will be as it was before.


The Church of Scandals?

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

Psalm 145, 3

Moscow refuses to give independence (Autocephaly) to the Churches in the Ukraine, Moldova, the Baltics, Western Europe, and so its churches empty. People vote with their feet. Reality takes over. In Latvia even the State grants the Latvian Orthodox Church Autocephaly!

Some are scandalised by this. Why? Nobody should be surprised at this. In the 19th century Protestant British politicians gave the Church of Greece its Autocephaly and later the secular and nationalist Bulgarian government gave its Church Autocephaly. It took time for others to recognise it, but eventually those who objected just had to face reality and recognised it. In the last century the Churches of Poland and Czechoslovakia went through similar trials and in Brno in the Czech Lands the tribulation continues to this very day. The recent case of the Serbian Church and the Church of North Macedonia is just one more example of politicians declaring Autocephaly and a Mother-Church just having to accept a fait accompli after 60 years. Reality is always stronger than any theory or ideology, just as the pen is always mightier than the sword.

Bishops closed churches because of State orders regarding covid. Some faithful were scandalised by such bishops. Our church, like others, just went into the catacombs and we remained secretly open, faithful to Christ. ‘Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither allow them that are entering to go in’ (Matt: 23, 13).

In the USA many are scandalised today by the actions and words of Archbishop Elpidiforos. Others are scandalised in the USA by the actions and words of Metr Joseph of Antioch, by his mistresses and his money. In England a bishop stays at a hotel with his boyfriend. They spend the Saturday evening drinking beer in the bar before going up to their rooms. They did not know that the hotel manager who saw it all was Orthodox, a parishioner of the local church. The scandal was endless. Ordinary people are better than bishops. That is how it seems to so many simple believers, who are certainly not saints, but neither are they hypocritical pharisees. But we still pray for the salvation of all of them.

As one commentator put it: ‘It seems that bishops impose one set of standards and canons on clergy and laity, but they do not observe those standards and canons themselves and even cover up for each other’.

The number of well-known bishops of ALL jurisdictions whom I have known personally over the last fifty years who stole money, were freemasons, had boyfriends, had mistresses (and children), or caused schisms is almost endless. So what? Why are you scandalised? They will have to answer for their souls at the Last Judgement. As for us, we should be working on the salvation of our own souls and our answers at the Last Judgement.

For decades I have said that either bishops should be real monks, who have spent a minimum of ten years living the monastic life day in, day out, and learning how to love others through poverty, chastity and obedience, or else they should be allowed to be married, as in the first six centuries, indeed in some parts of the Orthodox world, for the first twelve centuries. You cannot have it otherwise. The Church is not a Californian cult. To paraphrase the bishop St Basil the Great: ‘O self-proclaimed Princes of the Church, your skulls pave hell’.

What can be said to the people who are scandalised by all this?

First of all, just remember that of the Twelve one was called Judas and he was a traitor. Do we celebrate him? Of course not. But we do celebrate the Eleven who remained faithful and Matthias, making again the Twelve. Stop looking at the negative. The negative you will always have with you if you keep looking at it. And look at the Positive, Christ, Who is always with us.

I will not throw away my basket of apples, just because one of them is rotten. And even though there are a thousand baskets of apples and in each basket there is one rotten apple, I will still not throw away the thousand baskets of apples because of a thousand rotten apples.

I go to church to meet Christ because He is there. I have no other reason to go to church. As for those who have other reasons to go to church, all we can do is to pray for the salvation of their souls.

The Church of Scandals? No, the Church of God.







The New Cold War Also Affects the Church

America is a great country, but it will fall because of money and lust.

St John of Shanghai

Introduction: Compromised Elites in Two Local Churches

Over the last century the elites of the two most important Local Orthodox Churches, the Patriarchate of Constantinople (the most prestigious) and the Patriarchate of Moscow (by far the largest), have often fallen victim to various secret services. This was the case of Constantinople already in the century before last, and even before that, when under Ottoman oppression British and French ambassadors corrupted it with their paid-for candidates for Patriarch. However, political interference, threatening the independence of Church life, has become especially apparent over the last three generations since the end of the Second World War. This political interference has been directed from the USA, notably by the CIA, with the left-wing aiming especially the Church of Constantinople and the right-wing aiming especially the anti-Communist Russian emigration. As for the Russian Church inside the old USSR, it became a victim of KGB manipulations and all its bishops were despite themselves given KGB code-names – as also were Western leaders like Thatcher and Reagan (though nobody suggested that Thatcher and Reagan were KGB agents!)

On the other hand, since 1947, with the aid of Truman, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has become the favoured church plaything of the CIA: ( Moreover, various Russian Orthodox immigrant groups in the USA in particular were infiltrated in the same way, some were recruited into the CIA and received large amounts of money in order to oppose Communism (for instance, the Grabbe group). With Papist attitudes put into the heads of some inside the Local Churches of Constantinople and Moscow, some there even began to think that all the 13-15 other Local Churches should be subject to them! This is instead of behaving pastorally and creating new Autocephalous Churches, as missionaries should. Such money-hungry and power-hungry individuals can always be exploited by State-run secret services. Here is why we have always avoided and opposed such money and power hunger, carefully protecting the people and steering the ship of the Church away from the reefs of geopolitics and political meddlers. We are pastors and protectors, not wolves in shepherds’ clothing.

The New Cold War

Old enough to recall the illusions of the old Cold War, we now face those of the new Cold War. Nothing essentially has changed today, the manipulations are just as strong and devious. The CIA continues to run the elite of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which today loves to be photographed with Biden, and it also tries to corrupt the elites of the Russian immigrant groups inside the USA, and even elsewhere, from within, through its ‘assets’. These assets are carefully vetted (a father who worked for NATO is recommended) and their handlers are to be found inside the appropriate US embassies under their Pontius Pilate governors.

What do the governors care if Christ’s Church is crucified? Hand the Church over to the Pharisees – their only concern is the greatness of their ‘Roman’ Empire. Thus, today, we see once more the purely political opposition between the left and the right, both sides operated by the same CIA puppeteers, their slogan the same old ‘divide and rule’. Thus, two groups of ‘useful idiots’, as they are seen by the spies, are financed and manipulated by them. Thus, they fund the Orthodox Times (romfea) website and orthochristian. Both sites censor opposition and commentaries and none appears to have the honour, nobility or integrity to leave them. There are now other groups too.

The Extreme Left

On the one side, we now have a group called ‘Public Orthodoxy’. This is a typical CIA-conformist name. It means a form of Orthodoxy which is acceptable to the secular and secularist Western public, zombified by the State-run Western media. Apart from a majority of naïve and misled idealists, it has liberals, syncretists, feminists, ecumenists and woke ‘scholars and theologians’, with Jesuit links. In fact, it does not really have any scholars or theologians, just politically-minded left-wing activists from the professions. Its ethos is deliberately anti-Russian, to the extent of racial prejudice and with no respect whatever for the piety of Christian Civilisation. The only standard they know is aggressive Americanisation. Bidenite and pro-LGBT, it is difficult to see anything other than left-wing secularism in the values of this small group. This is politics, not the spiritual.

Whereas our task is to be Christians, spiritual, without being wishy-washy and disincarnate, their task is to swim with the tide. With this group we are in the virtual world. This group has built no churches, has no churches. Where are its families and its children? This is an intellectual fantasy, the desire to feel fully integrated into the American/modern Western way of life, yet still claim an Orthodox identity. Christ stands outside and above their political correctness and woke ideologies, which are the mere intellectual fads of those who have lost their anchor in the Faith. The two things are in fact irreconcilable. You cannot be with Christ and Mammon. Christ was not a contemporary American, He was an Asian. If you want to go and preach secularism, go and join some political party or social organisation. Do not try and drag the Church of God into it.

The Extreme Right

On the other side, we have extreme right-wing, ex-Protestant crazy converts, for ever quoting the ‘holy’ canons. Some of them, operating under the so-called ‘Russian Christian News Syndicate’ (an invented front name), have attacked ‘Public Orthodoxy’. The pseudo-Russian group, none of whom appears to be Russian (the only one we know of speaks the most appalling Russian) appears to consist of the usual majority of naïve and misled idealists, but also of incels, conspiracy theorists, closet homosexuals and misogynists (unlike open homosexuals, closet ones are always misogynists). They adore their imaginary idol of President Putin, though the real Putin cannot be an idol of the far right, as he is definitely not a right-winger. He is just a Russian patriot, who unites left and right, wants social justice, allows divorce and abortion laws and presides over a country where statues of Lenin are still common.

Like a number of US Evangelicals, such individuals are much concerned with money (tithing) and power, and all the external trappings of men with huge beards, women enveloped in huge headscarves, clergy with bling, all the usual convert paraphernalia associated with ‘infallible’ self-righteous sects and narcissistic cults. (Claims of infallibility are always at the core of self-worship). Deeply schismatic, they appear to be tolerated by the present (not by the next?) Russian Patriarch for political reasons. The worst ones start off mainstream, then go extremist. The danger is when such moralising conservatives, crazy converts from Lutheranism or some other Protestant sect, are ordained priests or consecrated bishops and start acting at being ‘ethnic’. Alternatively, there are those like the Antiochian Metropolitan Joseph in the USA. Another moralising and very wealthy conservative, who defrocked faithful clergy for political reasons, his scandal is all over the internet, given among others by ‘Orthodoxy in Dialogue’. Such is the fate of pharisees.

Conclusion: Standing Firm

The CIA handlers of both extremist sides must sit in their offices and rock with laughter. Non-Americans say ‘Only in America’. Indeed, the political polarity of these extremisms does not export. Americans should be aware of that, from Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Ukraine and England. We stand steadfast against all political manipulations, whether from the left or from the right. We hold the middle ground, the mainstream, because we adhere to the Tradition. The Tradition, apparently unknown to quite a few Orthodox in the USA, is very different from mere conservatism, just as it is different from mere liberalism. The Tradition for us is not a museum-exhibit, it is spiritually living, ever renewed by the Holy Spirit. We do not want either sort of Extremist American Religion. In Europe we just want to be Orthodox Christians. We do not want spiritual swamps here. Keep them in America or take them back there, where you will have to drain them. You made them, you sort them out.

Recently, I was telephoned by the BBC Radio’s ‘Beyond Belief’, on which programme I have taken part three times in the past, about the situation of the Russian Church today. I explained to them that all our parishes and people had left the Russian Orthodox Church after nearly 50 years because of its recent politicisation and we had joined by far the largest Orthodox Church in Western Europe, the Romanian Orthodox Church. It is because we wish to protect ourselves and our people from schismatic and sectarian politics beneath the protection of the largest and increasingly most multinational Local Church in Western Europe. The mainstream saves us from sectarian and political extremes.




Autocephaly, Autonomy, Exarchates and Missions


There are surely many suggestions as to how the Orthodox Church can move forward out of its present state of crisis. We recall that this crisis is essentially one of disputed and also discredited authority, especially of the post-Cretan Patriarchate of Constantinople and of the post-Ukrainian Operation Patriarchate of Moscow. So many of their acts that have been ostensibly justified by the ‘canons’ have in fact been purely political acts and thus are anti-canonical. Therefore, this is a crisis of division. I have little confidence that the following suggestions will be heard, let alone acted on. But still I dare to make them, if only for the record, as one set of solutions among others put forward from the grassroots.

Three Recent Autocephalous Churches

The post-1917 Russian Orthodox Church gradually recognised that the fall of the Russian Empire, the consequent reconstruction of Poland and the inability to care for the pre-Revolutionary mission in North America, meant that new Autocephalous Churches would have to be established there. Thus, there came into being the Polish Orthodox Church (1924 and 1948) and the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) (1970). As a result of the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, there also came into being the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia (1951). The first and the last of these Churches, though quite small, have undisputed territories and have been revitalised by the recent arrival of many Ukrainian refugees.

However, the vaguely-named ‘OCA’ (where is America?), founded in 1970, has had many difficulties which have undermined its authority, both moral and financial. Moreover, although it is heir to the original and undivided Church in Northern America, it exists today on a shared territory and the much larger Archdiocese of the Church of Constantinople does not recognise it. As a result, the OCA has remained smaller than the Church of Poland and the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. Perhaps it could be revitalised by the Mother-Church in Moscow which could add to its Moscow’s now bishopless parishes in Northern America? And perhaps it could be renamed more accurately as the ‘Northern American Orthodox Church’ (NAOC)? (The term Northern America means the USA, Canada and Greenland and a couple of islands, so that Mexico and the Caribbean are excluded from its territory). The NAOC should move towards having Greek, Serbian and native-born bishops, who are therefore truly representative of the new Local Church. Only in this way could the flocks of other Local Orthodox Churches be drawn to take part.

Four Future Autocephalous Churches

Over thirty years after the fall of the Soviet Union and its division into fifteen separate States, and following the conflict between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine and the refusal of many to commemorate the Russian Orthodox Patriarch, it is clear that a new wave of Autocephalies needs to take place. The parallel between the fall of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union should be clear to all. Ecclesiastical decentralisation must follow on from political decentralisation.

We suggest that four new Autocephalous Churches may need to be founded by the Mother-Church in countries where there are large numbers of Orthodox, but where the main language is not Russian. As all of these areas have at least four bishops (the minimum number for Autocephaly), this is quite realistic. This would bring the total number of Local Orthodox Churches, counting those of North Macedonia and the above NAOC, from sixteen to twenty. In order of size, these would be:

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church. 18 million? This would look after all Orthodox within the borders of the future Ukraine, even though the precise, permanent borders of that war-torn country are yet to be established for the moment. A genuinely Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church could at last put an end to all those nationalist Church divisions that have taken place there since 1917, including in 2018, both inside the Ukraine and in the Diaspora.

The Moldovan Orthodox Church. 4 million? This would look after all Orthodox within Moldova. An Autocephalous Church, on good terms with both the Russian and Romanian Churches, which might grant it Autocephaly together, its birth could overcome the present division there between the Russian and Romanian Patriarchates, the two largest Local Churches.

The Baltic Orthodox Church. 500,000? This would look after all Orthodox who keep the canonical date of Pascha within Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland. In Lithuania clergy, defrocked for purely political reasons to the scandal of many, will need to be reinstated. As in the Ukraine and Moldova, the Baltic countries should move towards having native-born bishops, who are therefore truly representative of the new Local Church. A genuinely Autocephalous Baltic Orthodox Church could at last put an end to all those nationalist Church divisions that have taken place in all these countries since 1917, as well as the Phanariot-provoked situations in Finland and Estonia.

The Western European Orthodox Church (WEOC). 400,000? Covering the 22 ex-Catholic and ex-Protestant countries of Western, Central, Northern and Southern Europe, which have no Local Church of their own (Andorra
Austria, Belgium, British Isles, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland). This Church is based on the present Russian Orthodox Exarchate of Western Europe, but includes Germany, Scandinavia (a bishop is required here) and Austria-Hungary. New bishops are also required for France, Benelux and the British Isles and Ireland and to resolve the pastoral problems in the latter. The Western European Archdiocese of the Moscow Patriarchate would surely wish to take part in such an Autocephalous Church. As in the Ukraine and Moldova, the WEOC should move towards having native-born bishops, who are therefore truly representative of the new Local Church. Only in this way could the flocks of other Local Orthodox Churches wish to take part.

Two Recent Autonomous Orthodox Churches

Rather than full independence (Autocephaly), there are smaller Churches in other countries which are dependent on their Mother-Church for their episcopate. Such Churches are known as Autonomous. The pre-Revolutionary missions in China (Autonomy granted in 1957) and Japan (Autonomy granted in 1970) are both such, although the latter hardly exists today on account of Chinese State persecution over the last 75 years.

Two Future Autonomous Orthodox Churches

The present Russian Orthodox Exarchate of South East Asia could become an Autonomous Church (SEAOC). True, for the moment it covers a huge territory. If its mission is successful, it could eventually form several Autocephalous Churches. However, before it can even become Autocephalous, it must first obtain native bishops.

The present Russian Orthodox Exarchate of Africa could become an Autonomous Church (AOC). Before it can become Autocephalous, it must obtain native bishops – and also resolve the territorial dispute with the Patriarchate of Alexandria. This could be overcome if, for example, the jurisdiction of Alexandria returned to its traditional territory of Egypt.

A Recent Exarchate

There are other regions which for various reasons do not wish or are unable to become either Autocephalous or Autonomous and may be particularly dependent on the Mother-Church. These are known as Exarchates. Thus, Belarus is established as an Exarchate within the Russian Orthodox Church.

Two Future Exarchates

There will soon need to be a Central Asian Exarchate for the ‘Five Stans’, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

There will soon need to be a Latin American Exarchate to cover South and Central America, as well as Mexico and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.

Two Future Missions

Missions and infrastructure for them need to be opened for two other areas of the world. These are:

Oceania – the whole, albeit sparsely-populated Continent of Australia and all the Pacific islands, where there is already some Orthodox presence. The opening of an Exarchate here would depend on the desire of local Orthodox to become a Local Church.

South Asia (The Indian Subcontinent and Indian Ocean islands), which has nearly a quarter of the world’s population, but hardly any Orthodox.


There can be no new Churches if they are not Autocephalous, that is, if they are not quite separate from and politically free of Mother-Churches. Otherwise, they are compromised and discredited. History bears this out quite clearly, both in the twentieth century and well before. Of course, all are free to take part or not in the life of new Autocephalous Churches which are located on shared territories. Some, still attached to Mother-Churches will not wish to do so. Time is all that is lacking for them. Others, with a schismatic or sectarian ‘OneTrueChurch’ Pharisee mentality, inspired by the spiritual impurity of the CIA and US-Protestant nationalist politics and not on the canons of the Orthodox Church, will not take part. But such are a tiny minority and can be ignored. The future is in new Autocephalous Churches.



On the Successor of St John of Shanghai and Western Europe: The Ever-Memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva and Western Europe

The future Archbishop Antony (Bartoshevich) was born into a pious family in Saint Petersburg on 17/30 November 1910 and baptised Andrei. After the illegitimate overthrow of the Tsar and his government by Western-orchestrated traitors from the military, aristocracy and intelligentsia in 1917, Andrei’s mother left with him for his grandmother’s home in Kiev, while his father joined the White Army. In 1921 the family emigrated, first to Germany and then to Yugoslavia. Here in Belgrade Andrei had initially thought of becoming an engineer like his father, but in the mid-1930s he abandoned engineering and chose instead to study theology.

Among his teachers was Fr (now St) Justin (Popovich) (+ 1979) and his mentors included Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky), First Hierarch of the Church Outside Russia and former Metropolitan of Kiev (+ 1936). Vladyka Antony told me himself in 1986 that if the Metropolitan had not rid Russian academic theology of alien scholastic theology and the theory of satisfaction, he would not have come to serious Church life and to study theology. There was also the influence of the fathers of the Russian monastery in Milkovo and that of the icon-painter Pimen Sofronov, who taught Andrei iconography. In 1941 Andrei became a monk, taking the name Antony after St Antony of Kiev. He was soon ordained hierodeacon and in 1942 was ordained hieromonk by Metr Anastasy (Gribanovsky). He served in the Russian church in Belgrade and taught young people how to paint icons, attracting many to the Church.

In 1945 the church in Belgrade was placed under the Moscow Patriarchate. Patriarch Alexei I himself made Fr Antony archimandrite on account of his zeal. Fr Antony wished to return to Russia to serve the Church there. However, there he was unwanted, his petitions ignored – no doubt providentially, because otherwise he would have been sent straight to the Gulag. Thus, after four years of patient waiting, Fr Antony accepted that it was God’s Will for him not to return to Russia, but to serve the Church in Western Europe.

In 1949 he went to Switzerland, where his saintly brother, Bp Leonty, was Bishop of Geneva. Fr Antony served in several parishes in that Western European Diocese of the then Church Outside Russia. He painted the iconostasis for the parish in Lyon. From 1952-57 he served in Brussels, taking care of all, travelling around and paying special attention to young people. After the early repose of his brother, in 1957 Fr Antony was consecrated Bishop of Geneva by the future St John (Maximovich), who was then Archbishop of our Western European Diocese.

Archbishop Antony was a model Archpastor, he loved the services, which he celebrated with great care and prayer, and wrote for and edited the Diocesan journal. He lived as a monk, reading or singing all the services every day, fasting strictly himself, though he was always indulgent towards the weaknesses of others, and took particular care of the young. He directed pilgrimages both to the Holy Land and also to the holy places of Western Europe like Lyon, the city of several early martyrs. In this he had been inspired by his spiritual father, the future St John, who had promoted the veneration of forgotten Western saints. Archbishop Antony always listened to the advice of others, other bishops and especially Athonite monks.

While remaining firmly Orthodox in the face of such heretical deviations as ecumenism and modernism, Archbishop Antony never fell into any extremes. At the Third Russian Church Council in Jordanville in 1974, he played a critical role in quelling the divisive passions of highly politicised right-wing extremists and sectarian isolationists in the USA, among them bishops who had put St John on trial in San Francisco. One of them, a CIA agent and future ROCOR bishop, would end up dying outside the communion of the Orthodox Church altogether. On his return Vladyka Antony said, ‘If Vladyka John had been there, we would have spoken quite differently’.

Thus, Archbishop Antony kept the unity of the Church, which had been endangered by these American extremists, who had lost their roots and been manipulated by the secret services. He asked for understanding for those who were hostages in Russia and, vitally, urged all to keep close links with the other Local Churches of the Universal Church. He asked all not to look at a few individual and unworthy clerics in Russia who compromised themselves under political pressure, but to look at the faithful there, especially the New Martyrs and Confessors, as also elsewhere. (There were no martyrs in ROCOR, only in the Church inside the Soviet Union). For Vladyka the Church inside the USSR always had grace, despite unworthy ‘representatives’ there or elsewhere.

All this time he organised the sending of spiritual literature to Russia and informed the Western world of the persecution of the Church there. He knew that the Faith there was being reborn. The canonisation of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in 1981 under Metropolitan Philaret of New York was a great event in Archbishop Antony’s life and he played a key role in preparing their glorification, knowing that it would be a turning-point in history. For him the prayers of these new saints would give rebirth, as indeed they did. The Saints are the Unity of the Church. After the repose of Metropolitan Philaret in 1985, many bishops hoped that Archbishop Antony would become the next Metropolitan of ROCOR and indeed he received enough support to do so at the election in 1986. Never ambitious, Vladyka did not want this, and ceded all interest to Archbishop Vitaly after a lot had been cast, as he related to me with great humour on his return from New York.

Always a man of unity, Vladyka worked hard to bring back the Rue Daru group, centred in Paris, from its division. Thus, he concelebrated at the funeral of Metropolitan Vladimir (Tikhonitsky) and always concelebrated with others of the group, as had St John (Maximovich). Indeed, when he was still Bishop Antony, he offered not to take the title ‘Archbishop’ which had been proposed, and to cede that title to the Archbishop of the Rue Daru group once it had returned. At the Third Russian Council in 1974 he authored a message to the group, calling all back to unity. In this Vladyka was well ahead of his time. As we know, the Orthodox part of the group, some 60% of what then remained of it, did indeed return to the Russian Church, but only in 2019.

Just like St John, his predecessor as Archbishop of Western Europe, Archbishop Antony was a Russian patriot, but he was not some narrow nationalist or political bureaucrat. For him the Church was universal, as it was for his mentor Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky). He would serve in the Romanian and Serbian churches in Paris (the Romanian church was under him and kept the new calendar) and loved to hear services in Greek. He was also very open to Swiss, Dutch, French and others who had embraced the Orthodox Faith and he served in French for them.

He blessed the composition of the service to all the Saints of Switzerland for local use. He is remembered for his missionary work in Western Europe, keeping peace and love in his multinational Diocese, which he expanded to Portugal in 1992. True, he was let down by some. But when in 1987 a small group of extremist French intellectual converts left him to join a sect, he said to me, with a shrug of his shoulders, ‘ We’ll just have to start again’. Perhaps his missionary consciousness was partly due to the fact that his grandfather was a Polish Roman Catholic.

Almost exactly one year before his repose, the Archbishop had said that he had only one year to live. Just two weeks before he passed away, he consecrated two new bishops to replace himself, Bishop Seraphim and Bishop Ambrose. He fell asleep in the Lord on 19 September/2 October 1993, the day when Orthodox who use the new calendar commemorate St Andrew the Fool. He was laid to rest inside the Cathedral next to his brother, Bishop Leonty. Perhaps the greatest witness to his missionary efforts was the presence of ten different nationalities among the twenty-two priests who bore at various moments his coffin at his funeral: Russian, French, Swiss, Austrian, Serb, Romanian, Dutch, English, Spanish and Slovak, many of whom he had himself ordained since becoming diocesan bishop in 1963. Sadly, most of them had been forbidden by a certain Archbishop to concelebrate at the Liturgy before the funeral. It was an ominous sign of things to come.

Vladyka Antony is remembered for his faithfulness to the end to his Diocese, his wisdom and openness to others, his love for the young, his personal generosity, warmth of character, humour, pastorship, his love of his homeland and also his efforts to spread Orthodoxy in Western Europe. Nor can we forget his efforts to rekindle the fire of uncompromised Orthodoxy inside Russia, where he was never able to return, though he often spoke of visiting, especially Kiev, where he had family. St Paisios the Athonite (+ 1994) said of him: ‘Your Antony is a hero. He is neither with the ecumenists, nor with the others’ (the sectarian zealots).

This Archpastor’s very rare values, which coincided with our own and inspired us, were:

  1. To keep the purity of Holy Orthodoxy free from political meddling and bureaucracy, from love of power and money, from both the left (modernists and syncretists) and from the right (nationalists and sectarians), keeping to the royal path of the unity of Truth and Mercy.
  2. To be faithful to the best of Imperial Russia and the spirit of the Imperial Family, who stood above petty nationalisms, narrow-minded factions and personality-cults, confessing the Faith as protectors of the unique Civilisation of the Orthodox world and standing up to be martyred when required.
  3. To remain multinational, inevitable in the Western European context, carrying out the missionary task of the Russian emigration assigned to us by Providence among the peoples of the world, in faithfulness to the words of Christ (Matt, 28, 19-20).

A spiritual son of Archbishop Antony, I was proud (in the good sense) that he before me had also been named Andrei. I have a reflex of asking myself: What would Vladyka have done? What would Vladyka have said? Those who have been fortunate enough to have a spiritual father no doubt all have the same reflex, when their spiritual father leaves this world.

Today, as we approach the 29th anniversary of his passing, it is my thought, and that of others with whom I have checked, that he would have been heartbroken by the horrible demise of parts of Russian Orthodoxy, which have failed to keep the purity of Holy Orthodoxy free from political meddling, bureaucracy and love of power and money, they have failed to be faithful to the best of Imperial Russia and the spirit of the Imperial Family, to stand above petty nationalisms, narrow-minded factions and personality-cults. and they have failed to remain multinational, carrying out the missionary task of the Russian emigration assigned to them by Providence among the peoples of the world. They have been taken over by the American spirit, exactly as Vladyka and so many of us in the 1980s and 1990s feared, which before him St John had already prophesied: ‘America is a great country, but it will be destroyed by greed for money and lust’.

Vladyka always believed in Russia and the Russian people, but he would never compromise with Sergianists, for whom he did have compassion while they were under the Soviet yoke, but he would absolutely despise those who still behave in that way when they are in freedom.  As regards the Ukraine, he said that the eastern three quarters was Russian. As for the far west, it should be handed back to Poland, from which Stalin had stolen it, causing all the problems.

Today, Vladyka’s former flock is scattered to the four winds, betrayed by those who failed to remain faithful to the traditional Russian Orthodox ethos.

To the Very Reverend and Ever-Memorable Antony, Archbishop of Geneva and Western Europe, Eternal Memory!

2 October 2022

29th Anniversary of Vladyka’s Repose