Monthly Archives: December 2022

A Life for the Tsar: Gregory Efimovich Rasputin-Novy (1869 – 1916)

A Life for the Tsar: Gregory Efimovich Rasputin-Novy  



Origins: 1869-1893

Gregory the Wandering Pilgrim: 1893-1903

On the Way: 1903-5

The Wandering Pilgrim at the Emperor’s Court: 1905-1906                                                     

Eldership: 1907-1916 

Jealousy and Slander: 1907-1916 

Believers in Gregory: 1907-1916 

Unbelievers in Gregory: 1907-1916 

The Path to Victory: 1914-1916 

The British Establishment Intervenes: 1916 

The Murder: December 1916 

The First Shot of the Russian Revolution: 1916-1918                                                                   



Akathist to the Holy Martyr Gregory the New         



I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.

Psalm 117, 17

The stone which the builder rejected shall become the headstone of the corner.

Ps 117, 22

The wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand; but those who are wise shall understand.

Daniel 12, 10

Quench not the spirit. Despise not prophesyings. But test all things, hold fast to that which is good.

1 Thess. 5, 19-21

Of all the wretched stories that were told about him, I could believe in none, for there was not the slightest evidence in the man’s behaviour either at the Court or in the houses of his admirers to justify any suspicion of evil-doing…In a land of bribe-takers, robbers of state funds and corrupt officials, Rasputin stood out like the giant figure of a saint moulded in rugged iron. He, of all men in Russia, was immaculate.

Shelley, p. 65

I fight for the Tsar, the Faith and the Fatherland. While I am alive no harm shall ruin them, but if I perish, so shall they.

Gregory Rasputin-Novy (Shelley, p. 37)

Russia will not perish…it was and will be glorified; the tears of those who suffer, whoever they are, are higher than all idle talk.

Gregory Rasputin-Novy, 16 November 1916

Poor Russia bears a penance…It is our duty to cleanse the memory of the Elder from slander…This is vital for the spiritual life of the whole Russian Church…As Divine Truth begins to be revealed, everything will change in Russia.

Elder Nikolay (Guryanov) (1909-2002)

The West will never tolerate the rebirth of Holy Rus. It will always try to annihilate us, foisting on us as heroes its one-time agents of influence (to a greater or lesser extent): Lenin, Trotsky or Stalin. It will always strive by any means available to blacken and slander our Orthodox Civilisation and our holy Tsar, in order through them to besmirch and compromise our Orthodox Church and our present State, blowing them apart from inside.

Petr Multatuli, Contemporary Russian Historian


In around 1900 the elites of Europe took advice from all manner of charlatans, astrologers, occultists and table-turning mediums. Such was the fashion of the time, as also in Ancient Rome and Egypt, as also in the contemporary White House, under many a US President. However in 1905 at the Court of Imperial Russia, there appeared another sort of adviser. Like Christ come forth from Galilee, despised in the Capital of Jerusalem by the scribes and the high priests, come forth from a distant province, where supposedly only fools and bumpkins lived, from distant Siberia, there appeared at the Imperial Russian Court a peasant ascetic and prophet.

He was ignored and mocked both by the scribes, the intellectualist, modernistic, know-it-all careerists, and by the pharisees, the obscurantist, ritualistic, anti-Semitic nationalists. However, he was revered by the spiritual, many of them future New Martyrs. His name was Gregory Efimovich Rasputin. Over 100 years after his brutal murder his name is still taboo for most, as a synonym of depravity. This taboo comes from the sensationalist disinformation and slanderous fiction about Gregory, ‘the mad monk’, in all the standard and false histories in English. These lies were issued by aristocrats and journalists, right-wingers and Bolsheviks alike.

Therefore, something had to be done. Over the last few years I have been asked to write his life by several readers. Here it is. More than 100 years after his murder there are for the moment only lies about Gregory, written by some of his self-justifying murderers, Felix Yusupov and Vladimir Purishkevich, or by money-seekers, both Soviet and Western. More recently there have been the fictions written by amoralists. like the Soviet playwright and fantasist of obscenities, Radzinsky, with his absurdly-named book ‘Rasputin, The Last Word’ (in truth the last word in lies) and the mythmaker Varlamov, as well as those by similar Western novelists.

Then there is also the account of Gregory on the notoriously inaccurate Wikipedia site. None of the above pseudo-histories, all part of standard anti-Christian Western propaganda, is based on sources, and most of them seek to make quick money from invented accounts of debauchery. It is therefore high time to write down some facts about Gregory Rasputin for the Non-Russian speaker. The following has been compiled from the otherwise unknown 21st century Russian studies of once secret sources; for in Russia too the truth has only recently emerged. These studies, to which I am greatly indebted, include detailed articles both by Church writers like Yury Rassulin and Igor Yevsin and by political writers like Tatiana Mironova and Oleg Platonov.

However, there is also the 400-page study, ‘Rasputin’, by the well-known doctor of history Alexander Bokhanov and published in 2006. This proved to be a turning-point in understanding the truth about Gregory. After this came the invaluable and highly detailed seven volumes of ‘An Investigation’, written by the erudite Church writer, Sergey Fomin, covering some 5,000 pages, with some 2,000-3,000 footnotes in each volume, as well as two excellent complementary volumes. These nine volumes cover the whole background reign of Nicholas II, with detailed analysis of the issues and personalities of the period, aristocrats, ministers, writers, journalists and churchmen, as well as sources for Gregory’s life.

I have read all the above, though critically, and used them in this study, referring especially to Fomin’s Vol II, pp. 1-120, all of Vols III and VIII, ‘Our Dear Father’, which presents 600 pages of authentic source material, and Vol IX. Although precise chronology in the early years is sometimes difficult because of conflicting sources or lack of them altogether, below we have reconstructed the early years of Gregory’s life as best we can. We would be happy to correct any errors in chronology if more certainty can be proved.

What we have concluded is personal, it does not engage the rest of the Church; we are happy to discuss these conclusions with anyone who has read the same sources as ourselves, but not with those who have not studied the matter in hand and dismiss the question out of prejudice. The question of possible canonisation has not yet been raised officially. All is in God’s hands.


  1. Origins: 1869-1893

Gregory Efimovich Rasputin was born into a pious peasant family on 9/21 January 1869 (not on 10/22 January or in any other year, as can be read in several misleading publications). He was baptised the following day and was named after St Gregory of Nyssa, whose feast falls on that day. He saw the light of day in the prosperous little town of Pokrovskoe, with a population of about 2,000, on the River Tura in the province of Tobolsk in Western Siberia. (This is on the same latitude as the far north of Scotland). The town had been founded in the early 17th century, if not before. It had been named after its church dedicated to the Protecting Veil (‘Pokrov’) of the Mother of God, which had been due to a miracle worked by her there.

Pokrovskoe is only 50 miles from Ekaterinburg, less than 200 miles from Tyumen, 340 miles from Tobolsk and 1500 miles east of the then Russian Capital of Saint Petersburg, Gregory’s ancestors had been living there since at least the 17th century, but originally came from the north of European Russia, in the region of Vologda. The surname ‘Rasputin’ refers to a fork in a road, where his ancestors must have lived. This was a common surname and in 1887 no fewer than 33 families in Pokrovskoe bore it. His father, Efim, whose grandfather had been a priest, was a peasant farmer, courier and churchwarden, like his father before him. He had been born in Pokrovskoe in 1841 and married Gregory’s mother, Anna Parshukova, on 11 February 1863. She came from the nearby village of Usalka, along the road to the north-east.

Apart from working the land and fishing, like other local peasants Efim also worked as an official courier, ferrying people and goods between the nearby important towns of Tobolsk, some 340 miles away, and Tyumen. His son was to do the same. As was commonplace all over the world at the time, the couple had many children, but seven died in infancy and early childhood and only two, Gregory and his youngest sister Theodosia, survived. Gregory was a very sickly child, but was remarkable for his perspicacity. Like the vast majority of people then, he was not formally educated, as he was needed to work, and he remained illiterate into early adulthood. However, his father was literate and would read the Gospels and the Lives of the Saints to his family in the evenings.

It was from these that Gregory, with his excellent memory, came to know the Gospels by heart. He was pious and kept the commandments. The accidental death of a cousin in a tragic accident in childhood made him all the more serious. At the age of 15 or 16 he went off by himself on pilgrimage (a walk of two weeks) to the relics of St Simeon of Verkhoture, who became his favourite saint. These relics were venerated in the very large St Nicholas Monastery in Verkhoture, famous in Western Siberia, nearly 250 miles to the north of Pokrovskoe. Following this, it seems that Gregory stayed in this monastery as a layworker for some time but he discovered, as he later wrote, that his calling was to find salvation in the world.

It was on another pilgrimage, to the Monastery of the Sign in Abalak near Tobolsk in 1886, that Gregory met a pious peasant girl named Praskovya (Paraskeva) Dubrovina. She was three years older than him and came from a neighbouring village. After a courtship of a few months, they married on 2 February 1887. Gregory was eighteen. It was a happy marriage. Gregory was an excellent husband and father, an honest peasant, working the land, fishing and driving as a courier like his ancestors. The couple had seven children, though only three survived past early childhood: Dmitry (b. 1895), Matrona (b. 1898) and Varvara (b. 1900). (Like so many others, Praskovya, Dmitry and Varvara were all to die cruelly in Soviet conditions, but Matrona emigrated and died in Los Angeles in 1977, aged 79).

Gregory’s spiritual father was the locally renowned Elder Michael (from 1906 on called Makary) (Polykarpov) from St Nicholas Monastery in Verkhoture. From him he learned the prayer of the heart which he used. Later he would have other spiritual mentors. Later slanders that Gregory was a horse-thief (a very serious crime in Siberia which would have been severely punished) are baseless. In fact, his only weaknesses were that he smoked, considered normal at the time, and would on occasion drink a little too much, as was common among peasants. Praskovya remained in Pokrovskoe throughout Gregory’s travels, prolonged absences and rise to prominence, remaining devoted to him until his death, respecting his piety and his destiny.


  1. Gregory the Wandering Pilgrim: 1893-1903

After the upsetting death from scarlet fever of his first-born Adrian, aged four, in 1893 Gregory returned to the monastery in Verkhoture. Here he met more elders, Frs Adrian, Elias (now locally canonised), Evdokim and of course Elder Michael/Makary. His conversation with the latter gave him peace after his son’s death. It was Fr Michael who was to understand what Gregory’s destiny was and would later send him on his Imperial mission to Saint Petersburg. As Fr Makary, he was himself later to visit Saint Petersburg twice and in 1908 met the Tsarina and in 1909 the Tsar. He made an impression of simplicity, humility and holiness on all. He was to repose on 19 July 1917.

On Gregory’s return from the monastery, where he had stayed for perhaps as long as three months, all noticed a great change in him. Others found him ‘abnormally’ pious, he constantly prayed, giving up smoking and even the occasional use of alcohol. (However, it seems that he did accept some alcohol again towards the very end of his life from ‘friends’ who insisted on him drinking with them). His complete renunciation of alcohol for over twenty years would in 1907 lead him to found a branch of the Temperance Society in his little town and play an important role in the nationwide Temperance Movement (Fomin, Vol IX, p. 53). He considered that alcoholism was the curse of Russian life.

It was now, after 1893, that Gregory began visiting many holy places of Russia as a wandering pilgrim, always on foot, covering up to 30 miles a day, repeating the prayer of the heart and sleeping under the stars. For some nine years, like many others, Gregory made pilgrimages to Russia’s holy places, visiting Abalak, Tobolsk, Verkhoture locally, and, much further away, Sarov, Optina, Kazan, Kiev, Odessa, Mogiliov, Pochaev, Moscow and Saint Petersburg, fasting and praying as he went, living off alms, fighting against temptations, confessing and taking holy communion in the monasteries. In all the holy places he met bishops and well-known elders.

He related that he had had a vision of St Simeon of Verkhoture, met St Nicholas in the forest and that he had heard the voice of the Mother of God. He said that nature had taught him to speak to God and learn of His wisdom. For the first three years he wore heavy iron chains, but he stopped doing this, as he found the chains did not make him humble. Inbetween these pilgrimages, some of which lasted for months, he would stay at home with his wife and children, living the life of a peasant. During his absences, his father did his work for him. In these years a small group of other Orthodox, primarily family members and other local devout peasants, some ten in number, would pray with him on Sundays and holy days, listening to the accounts of his pilgrimages, changing their ways.

Digging out a cellar beneath his father’s stable, Gregory made a makeshift chapel, covering it with icons. Gregory would pray here, fighting against the devil. Metr Veniamin (Fedchenkov) wrote in his memoirs (p. 153) that it was here that Gregory obtained the gift of working miracles. His wife greatly respected him and never interfered, knowing that her husband had some special and unique calling and destiny, a mission to accomplish. In other ways, Gregory remained a peasant, direct and simple, taking great pleasure in fishing. However, he was renowned for his generosity and hospitality, helping the poor. His doors were open to all and in Pokrovskoe he was respected as a prosperous and devout peasant.

One day, it seems in 1902, working in the fields at home, Gregory had a radiant vision of the Mother of God, as in the Kazan Icon, and she blessed him. Gregory set up a cross on the site of the vision and set off for advice to his spiritual father, Fr Michael. The latter told Gregory: ‘God has chosen you for a great feat, in order to strengthen yourself for this, you must go to Mt Athos and pray to the Mother of God.’ Gregory set off with a pious close friend from a nearby village, also a wandering pilgrim, Dmitry Pechorkin, who had considerable influence on Gregory. Having arrived on Mt Athos, where his uncle was a monk, Gregory stayed for many months, his friend Dmitry becoming a monk with the name of Daniel. However, Gregory was not tempted to stay, being disillusioned at the monastery by the sight of monks sinning (as I saw in exactly the same place exactly three generations later, in 1979). But Gregory did give up eating meat after this pilgrimage.


  1. On the Way: 1903-5

On his return, most probably in November or December 1903, Gregory went to Saint Petersburg and met the future St John of Kronstadt at St John’s Convent, founded by Fr John. Gregory had with him a letter of recommendation from, it seems, Elder Michael in Siberia. Gregory made a profound impression on Fr John and stayed at the Convent for some time. Fr John said that he saw in Gregory ‘a Divine spark’ and that he had a special mission as ‘God’s chosen one’. He also gave Gregory his blessing to help others and be ‘his right hand’. (This meeting was later much misreported by Gregory’s slanderers). Another source says that Fr John asked for Gregory’s blessing and told him that his destiny would be according to his name – Gregory means ‘vigilant’ in Greek.

Those who knew both of them noted their same penetrating eyes, as can be seen in their photographs. Moreover, their destiny was similar: both were prophets, both were slandered as debauchees (Fr John had been ordained at the age of 26, but was not appointed rector of his own church until he was in his sixties; so history repeats itself) and both were loved by the friend of the Tsarina, Anna Vyrubova. Indeed, after Fr John’s repose at the end of 1908, Gregory was, in Anna’s words, to inherit from Fr John the prophetic task of delaying Russia’s suicidal slide into the atheist abyss. For once Russia had renounced its Christianity in favour of Western secularism, its self-destruction would be certain. In early 1905, Gregory went to see Fr Michael/Makary again. He confirmed that Gregory’s path would be to find salvation in the world and that ‘great feats awaited him’. Gregory did not stay at home for long, but set off for Kiev.

It seems that it was on his way home from Kiev that Gregory stayed for a while in Kazan. This may well have been connected with his earlier vision of the Kazan Mother of God, who was directing him. Here he met the future hieromartyr Bishop Theodore (Pozdeevsky) and the holy elder Gabriel (1844-1915) of the Seven Lakes Monastery (now also canonised) and other churchmen from the Kazan Theological Academy. These included four future bishops of the future Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia: Metropolitan Nestor (Anisimov), ‘the Apostle of Kamchatka’ (1885-1962), who also received and then ordained Nicholas Gibbes to the priesthood, Bishop Michael (Bogdanov), Metropolitan Melety (Zaborovsky) of Harbin, who came from near Pokrovskoe, and the saintly Archbishop Tikhon (Troitsky) of San Francisco (1883-1963). (The latter was succeeded by St John (Maximovich, + 1966), whose ancestor was St John (Maximovich) of Tobolsk, who almost exactly fifty years before his descendant’s repose, in June 1916 became the last saint to be canonised by Tsar Nicholas with the vital support of Gregory and against the views of certain liberal bishops).

Here he also met the famous and pious Korean missionary Bishop Chrysanth (Shchetkovsky – 1869-1906). Bishop Chrysanth gave Gregory a letter of recommendation to Bishop Sergiy, Rector of the Saint Petersburg Theological Academy at the St Alexander Nevsky Monastery (and future Patriarch), and to the Inspector of the Academy, Fr Theophan (Bystrov), the confessor of the Imperial Family. So it was that Gregory made his way on foot to Saint Petersburg and finally met Bishop Sergiy at the Monastery in October 1905, probably meeting Fr John of Kronstadt once more. Here he was introduced to a number of different churchmen, including Fr Theophan. The young Fr Theophan was at the time much admired for his spirituality and sincerity, even by atheists, and was well-known to spiritual-minded aristocrats in Saint Petersburg.

Fr Theophan was so overwhelmingly impressed by Gregory, of whom he had previously heard as ‘the prophet from Siberia’, that he invited him to stay in his home and Gregory became one of his most important friends in Saint Petersburg. He openly considered Gregory to be a saint. Fr Theophan told many that Gregory was quite exceptional, an Old Testament prophet and a man with gifts of prayer and holiness, which were usually granted only to the most experienced monks. As Shelley later wrote (p. 69): ‘There was so much of the Old Testament prophet in Rasputin that it may not be wrong to compare him to one of those strange, rugged seers who played so great a role at the courts of the kings of Israel’.

Thus, Gregory became known to the future Patriarch Sergiy and the future Metropolitan Benjamin (Fedchenkov), who was then a young student, and many other bishops and churchmen, as well as aristocratic laypeople. They were all of the same opinion that Gregory was a man of God and an elder. All noticed his simplicity, frankness, truthfulness, sincerity, purity, unusually penetrating eyes which looked straight through people, with a remarkable perspicacity and visionary power of prophecy. They were also astonished by his knowledge of the Scriptures and even more by his understanding of them. Although Gregory had not studied, he understood much more than those who had studied.


  1. The Wandering Pilgrim at the Emperor’s Court: 1905-1906

Soon Gregory met some of Fr Theophan’s spiritual children, the Montenegrin women involved with the Tsar’s cousins, the Grand Dukes Peter and Nikolai Nikolayevich, whom they married. All four of them, like many European aristocrats of the time, were obsessed by the supernatural. Naively trying to draw them away from the dangers of the occult, Fr Theophan warmly recommended Gregory to them as a man of God. Thus it was that the self-interested and highly ambitious Grand Duke Nikolai introduced Gregory to the Tsar and his family on 1 November 1905 at the Peterhof Palace, hoping to gain some advantage from this introduction. (When he did not, he and his previously divorced wife from 1908 on began slandering Gregory, just as the Grand Duke, like many others, had also slandered the future St John of Kronstadt as a debauchee).

The Tsar recorded his first meeting with Gregory in his diary, writing that he and Alexandra had made the acquaintance of a man of God – ‘Gregory, from Tobolsk province’. They had been deeply impressed by him and indeed the meeting had lasted for three hours. The meeting occurred at a critical moment in his reign, during the barbaric, anti-Russian terrorist campaign, which murdered thousands and came on top of the treacherous Western-backed Japanese attack on Russia and sabotaged Russia’s victory. It also notably came after the Tsar’s offer to abdicate and become Patriarch had been refused by the bureaucrats of the Holy Synod, who did not want to have a Patriarch. Shortly after this first meeting Gregory returned home to Prokovskoe.

His second meeting with the Imperial Family took place eight months later, on 18 July 1906. On this visit to Saint Petersburg, Gregory also met Fr John of Kronstadt publicly again, though it seems that they also met several times privately; Gregory openly considered that Fr John was a saint and wrote about him as such. At this time Gregory stayed for some months with the future New Martyr Fr Roman Medved and his family in Saint Petersburg. Fr Roman was a friend of Fr Theophan, well-connected at the time, and he greatly valued the healings and the extraordinary prophecies of Gregory, all of which came true. It was while staying with them that in August 1906 Gregory healed the daughter of the Prime Minister Stolypin after a terrorist bomb attack on his home in which 24 people had died.

After this, Gregory asked to be allowed to present the Tsar with an icon of St Simeon of Verkhoturye, the much-venerated Siberian saint. This he did at their third meeting on 13 October 1906, when he met the Imperial children for the first time. Here too was a prophecy, for an icon of this very saint stood in the shrine outside the Ipatiev House where the Imperial Family was to be martyred on 4/17 July 1918 – only fifty miles from Gregory’s home. This third meeting was Gregory’s first visit to the Palace and the Tsar again recorded the very strong impression made on the Imperial Couple by Gregory in their hour-long conversation. Gregory’s attitude to the Imperial Family was to be not just respectful, but full of love. He never boasted of his acquaintance with them and was always discreet.

On 15 December 1906 Gregory petitioned the Tsar to be permitted to modify his very common surname to Rasputin-Novy (not Novykh, as some mistakenly have it). The new name meant ‘Rasputin the New’. This was so that others in the village of Pokrovskoe or nearby, some also called Gregory Rasputin, would not confuse him. Tsar Nicholas swiftly granted the request, little knowing that almost exactly ten years later Gregory would be assassinated. At the end of 1907 the Tsar’s infant son and heir, Alexei, then aged three, had a crisis of haemophilia (passed down from Queen Victoria, Alexandra’s grandmother). His doctors could do nothing for him. However, Gregory, alerted by the Empress, stopped the bleeding and eased the pain of the Tsarevich. Gregory was to heal him again on several other occasions, for example in March 1912, October 1912 (see below), July 1913, September 1914, December 1915 (see below), February 1916 and April 1916.

The Tsarina and her closest friend, the devout Anna Vyrubova (1884-1964), who in Finnish exile became a nun and is venerated by some as Mother Maria of Helsinki, soon became convinced that Rasputin had miraculous powers. His enemies, left without any explanation for the miracles, nonsensically suggested that Gregory had used hypnosis or some secret herbs to stem the flow of blood! The conviction that he had miraculous powers became especially strong when Gregory healed at a distance, without even being present. Moreover, Gregory correctly foretold that once the heir had reached the age of twelve in 1916, his illness would dissipate and that he would be able to live a normal life as an adult. This was a great consolation to his parents and indeed after 1916 the prophecy came true. Even after his murder, Gregory would appear to Alexei in dreams and comfort him. The link between the two was very close indeed.


  1. Eldership: 1907-1916

After the first meeting in 1905 and the two meetings in 1906, altogether three meetings between Gregory and the Tsar and Tsarina took place in 1907, five in 1908 and five in 1909. They became even more frequent after this, whenever Gregory was in Saint Petersburg and not at home. In 1911, 1912, 1913 and 1914 Gregory was invited by the Tsar to the Crimea, beloved by the Imperial Family, where he visited them. At some point now the Tsar granted Gregory the right to wear a small priest’s cross, which he wore around his neck on a cord (not a chain); his service was that of a pastor. Their meetings would usually take place in the modest home of Anna Vyrubova, the Tsarina’s friend who lived near the palace in Tsarskoe Selo. Anna, a woman filled with compassion and much mocked for her simple piety, became a close disciple of Gregory, so much so that during the First World War she would see him at least once or twice a week.

At this time, whenever he was in Saint Petersburg, Gregory lived with various families until he moved into a modest apartment with very modest furniture, which did not even belong to him. In 1910 his two daughters moved in with him so that they could receive a good education in Saint Petersburg, which Gregory greatly valued. Gregory would get up early every day to go to church. His diet consisted of black bread, dried bread, sometimes with jam he had been given, sometimes with fish and vegetables, such as cabbage, gherkins, radish and onion. Cabbage with gherkins was his favourite dish. He never ate meat or dairy produce. Here and in these conditions he received those who came to him for advice. Gregory received those who came to him for advice for hours, from eighty to several hundred people a day.

He especially received the poor, but also generals, students, priests, journalists, ministers, officers, aristocrats, merchants and pious women of all sorts. Some of Gregory’s visitors were sincere and deserving; others were intriguers and crooks. Any money that visitors gave him he always passed on to those in need. With gifts of money he also built the school and an extension to the church in his native Pokrovskoe. The Grand Duchess Anastasia, wife of the Grand Duke Peter Nikolayevich, gave him money specifically to build a solid two-storey house for his family, when she visited him there in 1907. (This house was purposely destroyed by the atheist authorities in 1980, fearful that it would become a place of pilgrimage, just like the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, demolished just before this by the drunkard Boris Yeltsin).

Gregory was like a breath of fresh spiritual air amid the stultifying bureaucracy of the State Church world of Saint Petersburg. Here, even more than elsewhere, the Church suffered on the one hand from spiritually suffocating moralism and ritualism, and on the other hand from spiritually suffocating liberalism and modernism under its notorious careerist Metropolitan, the liberal Antony (Vadkovsky). This was spiritual death. This was clear in the Theological Academies, which had become ‘the graves of Orthodoxy’ (in the words of the prominent churchman, Prince N. Zhevakhov), and the seminaries which produced atheists, as described by Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) and Zhevakhov of the Holy Synod in their memoirs. Gregory soon gained many disciples in this spiritual desert. From 1910 on he was talked about by all.

In October 1912 the Tsarevich Alexei developed a haemorrhage in his thigh and groin after a fall while getting out of a boat at the royal hunting grounds at Spala near Warsaw. For three weeks he lay between life and death, in severe pain and delirious with fever. In desperation, the Tsarina asked Anna Vyrubova to send Gregory (who was at home in Siberia) a telegram, asking him to pray for Alexei. Gregory wrote back quickly, telling the Tsarina that ‘God has seen your tears and heard your prayers. Do not grieve. The Little One will not die. Do not allow the doctors to bother him too much’. To the astonishment of the doctors, who had been quite unable to do anything, Alexei’s bleeding stopped the following day. It was another miracle.

Gregory’s many healings seemed to come straight out of the Acts of the Apostles. Among others he offered to heal Prince Yusupov, one of his future murderers, of his illness, but he refused. Gregory became well-known, receiving many invitations to speak at aristocratic salons. He gave advice, he consoled, acting as an Elder, both to simple peasants, merchants and aristocrats, as well as to the Tsar himself, speaking with the authority that many clergy – bureaucrats, ritualists and careerists – then quite lacked, as the Tsar noted. Little wonder that in 1913 Gregory was to consider that the bureaucratic Synod had been excessive by far and downright wrong in its violent persecution and repatriation of hundreds of simplistic but still profoundly pious ‘Name-Glorifier’ monks from Mt Athos. Gregory interceded for them and made their lot easier. The repatriated Name-Glorifiers included Monk Daniel Pechorkin, who was later martyred by the Soviets.

In 1907, 1911, 1912 and 1915 there appeared booklets of Gregory’s writings, consisting of short works on Christian piety and reflections and on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Constantinople, taking in Ephesus, Patmos, Rhodes, Cyprus and Beirut, from February to May 1911. These were written down and edited from the words of the semi-literate fisherman Gregory (like Peter of Galilee) by various disciples, including the Tsarina herself, from 1911 on. These works have been collected and republished in our own days. Totalling over 100 pages, they show that Gregory was fully Orthodox, a sincere and righteous man who knew the Holy Spirit. Gregory did not mention political matters in his writings or indeed in his talks, as he had no interest in either the political left or right. He simply supported the Tsar and wanted all to be reconciled under him. For him the Tsar and Russia were the same, according to his mystical faith in the Tsar as God’s Anointed.


  1. Jealousy and Slander: 1907-1916

Social climbers and aristocrats were frustrated that Gregory was unbribable – not least the Prime Minister Kokovtsov, who was to offer him a colossal bribe of 200,000 roubles to leave Saint Petersburg, and saw it rejected. Whenever given honest money, Gregory devoted it to others and to the church and school in Pokrovskoe. His home there became a centre of hospitality for wandering pilgrims and local people, who long after recalled Gregory as ‘a holy soul’. However, even in 1907 the local clergy, well-known for stealing money and getting drunk (the two besetting sins of the worst clergy at the time), had become jealous. They never did services on time, when they did them at all, and their attitude was dry and ritualistic. Unable to preach, they never gave any spiritual food to their flock, who duly ignored them and the village church. These local clergy invented various slanders, such as that Gregory belonged to a strange (possibly by then fictitious) sect of orgiastic flagellants, called ‘khlysty’.

Although their slanders were supported, as does happen to the righteous, by their Bishop, Antony (Karzhavin), a dry formalist who was also jealous of Gregory’s real faith and popularity, there was no truth in them. Fortunately, Gregory was strongly defended by the pious clergy of his Diocese as ‘a righteous and holy man, a benefactor and man of zeal’ (these clergy are listed by Fomin in Vol III, p. 481; one of them, Fr, now St, Augustine (Pyatnitsky), a friend of Gregory, was to be martyred in 1918). However, these slanders were eagerly picked up in Saint Petersburg by those of ill-will and jealousy, who by discrediting Gregory thought to discredit the Tsar. They had been influenced by others and Gregory had come too late for them. For well before Gregory’s arrival in Saint Petersburg, various charlatans with their occultist movements, such as spiritualism and theosophy, had become popular among the capital’s pagan aristocracy. Many of them were intensely curious about the occult and the supernatural generally.

Thus, despite their initial fascination with the peasant Gregory and invitations to their salons, the decadent Saint Petersburg elite never accepted him. They were notable rather for their intense hatred of the Tsar and their desire to seize power for themselves. Gregory was far too loyal to the Tsar and too strict an Orthodox for the aristocrats and bureaucrats of Saint Petersburg, who were intensely jealous of him. Of them Gregory said: ‘These people will ruin Russia. They hate the Russian peasants like cattle. They are not Russians. They speak our tongue and cross themselves in the Orthodox way, but their hearts are foreign’ (Shelley, p. 67). Gregory was appalled by the belief of these aristocrats that grace can be found through self-flagellation. Often heavy drinkers, the aristocrats were shocked by Gregory’s vigorous and successful combat against alcoholism in the Russian Temperance Movement from 1907 on.

At first, Gregory had literally been lionized in the Capital like an exotic animal, but Gregory disturbed the aristocrats by telling the truth. Jealousy gradually came to the fore and by 1910 jealousy had turned to open slander. Foul slanders concerning Gregory began from 1910 on, becoming ever more vile, especially from 1912 on, insinuating depravity between Gregory, the Tsarina and Anna Vyrubova, using forgeries, fake photos, fake memoirs, a fake diary, fake letters, fake photographs and at least one double of Gregory to support their lies. These lies are repeated to this day by Radzinsky, but hack-writers had a field day even then. Interestingly, the slanderers always accused Gregory of precisely their own vices, especially alcoholism and sexual depravity. As Shelley says in his memoirs on p. 53: ‘I realised that the fearful things attributed to Rasputin were, in many cases, the actual doings of his accusers. Perhaps no man in history has been so furiously calumniated’.

The well-connected slanderers enlisted the support of their friends in the Secret Police, who had in any case as a matter of routine been following Gregory since 1909, whenever he met the Imperial Family in Saint Petersburg. As their predictable reports had initially consisted of tedious lists of dates and times of Gregory’s meetings with his various spiritual children of all conditions, from 1912 on fictional episodes were inserted, with accounts of salacious meetings (Bokhanov, Chapter XI). The corrupt General Dzhunkovsky had overall responsibility for these fictitious episodes, which seem to have been written by Beletsky, the Director of Police, or by a hack-writer employed by him, perhaps a journalist called Duvidzon. In any case, they ceased in February 1916, when Beletsky was fired.

These episodes also introduced lies about gross interference by Gregory in matters of Church and State, appointing Ministers and Metropolitans alike for bribes. The reports also invented the lie that Gregory wished to become a priest. These episodes, held in Russian State Archives, are all in typed form, having been edited from the original handwritten notes. Platonov gives an extensive analysis of these reports, noting that there is absolutely no corroboration of them, for example, from supposed prostitutes. They are badly constructed and the scandalous episodes, both salacious and political, are clearly interpolations, as they describe completely bizarre events, which have no logical link to observations before and after them and many can clearly be disproved.

It was only when these reports became available at source in quite recent times was it realized that they are entirely fictitious. In slandering Gregory, both right-wing aristocrats and bureaucrats and left-wing journalists and politicians, members of the ‘Duma-Sanhedrin’ (the description used by Elder Nikolay (Guryanov)), saw an opportunity first to discredit and then to depose the Tsar and so to seize power for themselves. Regardless of whether the slanders came from right-wing aristocratic money-grubbers (some of these even dared to call themselves ‘monarchists!) or left-wing terrorist power-grabbers, the two sides of the same worldly coin, they were all designed to make Gregory into their scapegoat – an excuse to attack the Monarchy.

A few who did not know Gregory actually believed these slanders out of naivety, but most believed them out of sheer ill-will. For example, in one notorious rigged-up incident in June 1915 in a Moscow restaurant/night-club called ‘Yar’ (‘Fury’) a Gregory look-alike disgusted everyone with his debauchery and drunkenness (Bokhanov Chaper IX). Naturally, the tabloid press and all others haters of the Monarchy reported that this was Gregory, although in fact Gregory was not in Moscow at the time (Mironov, pp. 120-127 and Platonov, Chapter 5). Other reports made out that Gregory frequented prostitutes in Saint Petersburg. In reality the figure in question was a look-alike, for at the time Gregory was at home in Siberia 1500 miles away (Dehn, p. 95). The use of doubles became especially common in the last year of his life (Platonov, Chapter 7).


  1. Believers in Gregory: 1907-1916

Gregory remained tenaciously single-minded despite all the attacks; he knew that he had to do what God had sent him to do (Fomin, Vol IX, p. 162). Those who knew him by far the best, the Tsar and Tsarina (and their Children, inasmuch as they were aware of anything), never for one moment believed the slanders about their ‘Friend’ (See pp. 349-352 of Vol VIII of Fomin’s research). As Shelley wrote (p. 26): ‘To the vast majority of the Russian aristocracy, and especially to the intelligentsia, he (Gregory) was a monster of iniquity. To  a very select few – those, in fact, who had personal relations with him – he was a saint and the protagonist of a great ideal’. His plan of action: ‘The rejuvenation of Orthodoxy and Autocracy and the welding of the throne with the Russian people’ (Shelley, p. 32).

It was impossible for the Tsar and Tsarina to see in one who was clearly a prophet, healer and miracle-worker a man of evil life. Like Gregory, the Tsar and Tsarina were profoundly hurt by the treachery of the aristocracy around them, expressed in their ability to believe such fabrications. The Tsar and Tsarina were both slandered in exactly the same way as Gregory. A few, like Anna Vyrubova, restored to life by Gregory after her train crash on 2 January 1915, or the Imperial chaplain Fr Alexander Vasiliev, remained faithful, considering Gregory to be a saint.

Another of Gregory’s defenders was the missionary preacher, monarchist and future New Martyr, Fr John Vostorgov (+ 1918), who called Gregory ‘a true Christian’. As one who was also slandered for being faithful to Orthodoxy, the Tsar and his Fatherland, Fr John defended Gregory, who in turn supported Fr John. Another defender was the new Bishop of Tobolsk, Bishop Aleksiy (Molchanov) (+ 1914), who in November 1912 concluded the then still unfinished diocesan report on Gregory started by his predecessor with the words that the accusation that Gregory belonged to an orgiastic sect was based on ignorance. As an expert on sects, Bishop Aleksiy had clearly seen through the jealousy of the former bishop and unworthy local clergy, who had accused Gregory of sectarianism. Bishop Aleksiy dismissed and replaced these clergy.

There were also other bishop-friends of Gregory, the devout Bishop Barnabas (+ 1924) (Nakropin) who like Gregory did much to promote the canonisation of St John of Tobolsk, Bishop Aleksiy (Dorodnitsyn) and Bishop Palladiy (Dobronravov), Bishops of Saratov and Tsaritsyn. They had both studied in Kazan, known as a missionary centre, and Gregory had met Bishop Aleksiy there in 1905. The latter would become the rector of the famous Novospassky Monastery in Moscow, which was closely linked with Gregory. The Bishop died in prison in 1922 and many consider him to have been a saint. Then there were Bishop Vladimir (Sokolovsky-Avtonomov – 1852-1931), who was shot by the atheists, and Bishop Seraphim (Golubyatnikov – 1856-1921), who much admired Gregory. Those who knew Gregory and knew him the best were the very ones who spoke and later wrote the most appreciatively of him.

These included, for example, his daughter Matrona, his spiritual children Anna Vyrubova and M.E. Golovina (whose invaluable record was published in Paris only in 1995, some 30 years after she died). Also, the pious missionary Metropolitan (now St) Makary of Moscow revered Gregory, recognising in him a righteous Orthodox and ‘a holy man’. In 1917 this Metropolitan was uncanonically deposed by the Kerensky regime, which notoriously meddled in the Church’s internal affairs and tried to manipulate the 1917-18 Moscow Church Council. Contemporary believers in Gregory include the ever-memorable Fr Dmitry Dudko and my late friend, Fr Vasily Fonchenkov, formerly the rector of our parish in Salzburg.

One who for a long time believed the slanders, but had also actually known Gregory, was Fr Theophan, his former admirer. Fr Theophan is a typical case of the intellectual from a well-off family who has read and understood everything theoretically, but has had it easy in life, living in a cocoon. Therefore he had never had to struggle and so suffer; as a result he did not have that vital spiritual experience which comes from suffering and which is called spiritual maturity. The result is naivety. The reason for his complete change of view was precisely his gullibility in believing slanders against Gregory made in 1909, something for which he would later bitterly repent as an archbishop in the emigration in France.

Another case of a churchman and former admirer who then believed the slanders but lived to repent was the future New Martyr, Bishop Germogen (Dolganov). He was renowned for his utter sincerity, but also extreme and sometimes blind zeal, passion, almost rude frankness and also poor administrative skills, for which he was later dismissed. Having met Gregory in 1908, he became upset by Gregory’s unwillingness to be manipulated by him for his then right-wing political plans. What he did not understand was that Gregory was neither of the right or the left, but a real monarchist. In any case, at the end of 1911 he fell out with Gregory.

After the Revolution Bishop Germogen repented for believing these slanders, following a vision of Gregory to him in his temporary exile (Zhevakhov and Platonov, p. 285) and so cleansed himself before he too was martyred – as Bishop of Tobolsk, the very diocese of Gregory. Here Bishop Germogen was drowned in the river by the Bolsheviks. The funeral service for him was to take place in the very chapel built onto the church in Pokrovskoe which Gregory had paid for. Such had become the mystical connection between the two. Bishop Germogen was buried in the very tomb that had contained the relics of the last saint canonised by Tsar Nicholas, St John of Tobolsk, the ancestor of our spiritual guardian, St John (Maximovich). Bishop Germogen is now a New Martyr.


  1. Unbelievers in Gregory: 1907-1916

Several politicians and aristocrats like the Grand Duke Nikolay, who during the War publicly threatened to hang Gregory, though even in 1915 still considering him ‘amazing’ (Fomin, Vol IX, p. 214), hated him. So did the powerful, scheming clique around him. These included the Ministers of Internal Affairs, the amoral social climber Khvostov and the notorious General Dzhunkovsky, the Director of Police Beletsky and the treasonous politicians Guchkov, Rodzianko and Lvov. There were also others at Court, like the disturbed intriguer Sophia Tyucheva, sent from Moscow to slander Gregory, who could not stand Gregory – though this spinster only saw him once and never once talked to him.

In self-justification these intriguers all deliberately slandered Gregory. Among churchmen who believed the slanders there was the highly political future Metr Evlogy (Georgievsky), who never met Gregory. Another case was the Metropolitan’s friend, the notorious modernist and freemason Fr George Shavelsky. Yet another was Metr Vladimir (Bogoyavlensky). However, he was cleansed, becoming the first bishop to become a New Martyr, in Kiev. All these relied on hearsay to form their opinions, just like the Tsar’s secular-minded Danish mother and his sister Ksenia and her lover.

Tragically, the Tsarina’s very naïve and undiscerning sister, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, who lived in Moscow, also believed the slanders. She too suffered from that selfsame disease as Fr Theophan – lack of experience. Never having met Gregory, she had been completely convinced of Gregory’s depravity by a whole clique of Protestant-minded individuals who surrounded and manipulated her with their rationalism (for the full list of them, see Fomin, Vol IX, pp. 392-395) and tried to persuade her that the Church needed Protestant-style deaconesses. These even tried, and failed, to compromise the trusting Gregory in restaurants in both Moscow and Saint Petersburg. The intriguers included two Moscow priests. Elizabeth’s unusual naivety would in time be cleansed by her sacrifices, confession of the Faith and victorious martyrdom.

However, by far the worst case of slander against Gregory was that of a former admirer and entirely unrepentant Fr Iliodor (Sergey Trufanov). Out of jealousy he fell out with Gregory in December 1911 and proceeded to slander him. In 1912 he renounced the Faith and the Church and fled the country. As a result of public slanders, especially those made by Iliodor, on 29 June/12 July 1914, the day after the assassination of the Austrian Archduke in Sarajevo and so on the eve of the First World War, another attempt to assassinate Gregory took place. A young peasant woman called Chionia Guseva, mentally deranged from syphilis, which had deformed her physically, attempted to murder Gregory by stabbing him in the stomach outside his home in Pokrovskoe.

As Fomin recounts in hundreds of pages in Volume VI of his study, Gregory was seriously wounded and for a time it was not clear that he would survive. Indeed, he suffered for long afterwards. However, certain newspapers rejoiced and even announced that Gregory had died. Nevertheless, after surgery in hospital in Tyumen, where in 1892 he had worked as an assistant during a cholera epidemic, he recovered. Guseva claimed to have acted alone, having read about Gregory in slanderous newspapers, which were in fact guilty of inciting her to murder. Believing him to be a rapist, a ‘false prophet and even an antichrist’, she had acted. In reality, Guseva was a follower of this self-exalted Fr Iliodor, the controversial and notorious extreme right-winger, immoral adventurist and the greatest of all of Gregory’s slanderers.

Once a close friend of the naïvely zealous Bishop Germogen, Iliodor too became a slanderer of Gregory, after the latter had refused to support him and fell out with Gregory at the end of 1911. A ferocious anti-Semite and political intriguer, Iliodor had been part of a group in the aristocracy who had attempted to drive a wedge between the Imperial Family and Gregory. The police believed that Iliodor had played some role in the attempt on Gregory’s life and he was banished from Saint Petersburg and defrocked, fleeing the country before he could be questioned about the attempted murder. Guseva was found to be not responsible for her actions due to insanity and was committed to a mental hospital. (When released by the equally insane Kerensky government, in 1919 she attempted to assassinate the saintly Patriarch Tikhon). As for Iliodor, he married and ended up as an impoverished janitor in New York, dying in 1952.


  1. The Path to Victory: 1914-1916

Like all practising Orthodox Christians, Gregory saw salvation as dependent on our seeking first the Kingdom of God. Therefore, he was opposed to war, both from a moral point of view, but also as something which leads to political, economic and social catastrophe. Thus, in 1912 he had already pleaded with the Tsar to oppose a potential war with warmongering Austro-Hungary. A war was being urged by the militaristic Germanophobe Grand Duke Nikolay Nikolayevich. Gregory’s opposition probably played the main role in avoiding war then. In 1914 he also directly opposed the Russian entry into the Kaiser’s War, though his influence was much limited by his enforced Siberian absence from the Capital.

Indeed, some have seen in the assassination in Sarajevo and the attempted assassination of Gregory on the next day not a coincidence, but an organised plot. However it may be, from his hospital bed in Tyumen in July 1914 Gregory sent some twenty telegrams to the Tsar (these are collected in the book of his writings, ‘The Chains of Love’), prophesying that if War broke out, it would be the end of Russia and the Tsar. He even considered that if Guseva had not nearly murdered him in Pokrovskoe, he would have been able to travel to Saint Petersburg and war could have been prevented. His prophecy (‘Just give us another ten years’), correct in every detail, as were all his prophecies, was not heard, such was the militarism of the aristocracy, especially of the ultra-ambitious and remarkably rude Grand Duke Nikolay Nikolayevich, who had always wanted to be Tsar.

Deliberately twisting Gregory’s peace-making Christian opinions, during World War I Gregory became the focus of slanders about unpatriotic influence at the Court. The Tsarina, who was of Anglo-Hessian, not Prussian, descent, was also slandered as acting as a spy in the enemy’s employ. In fact she was a Russian patriot and had long despised the Prussian unifiers of Germany for destroying her native and independent Hesse. Indeed, once war had broken out, Gregory stated several times that it had to be continued to the end and to victory, which was quite possible for Russia, though at great cost to the peasant-soldiers. The incompetent Russian generals (just like their French and British counterparts, ‘donkeys leading lions’), the other corrupt and ultra-rich aristocrats and meddling bureaucrats run by the aristocrats and their minions, all contributed to Russian losses in the War.

The jealous and anti-Christian politicians and journalists (most of them Non-Russians) were hostile to Gregory’s spiritual influence on the Tsar. And this in a land where there was no censorship or libel laws, unlike in Western Europe. Their intrigues and lies in the newspapers were to weaken support for the Imperial Family. Their lies were all aimed at attempting to seize power for themselves and destroy the Church, as they had been plotting for decades, as had already occurred in the failed Decembrist conspiracy of aristocrats in 1825. The situation was only saved when in August 1915 the Tsar himself successfully took over the command of the Army, as he had wanted to do from the very start.

When the Tsar assumed leadership of the Imperial Army, sacking his utterly incompetent uncle the Grand Duke Nikolay Nikolayevich, hope of victory came. The Grand Duke, whose disastrous military leadership had caused setback after setback at the Front, had in fact been planning a coup d’etat with the help of treasonous ministers and the notorious Protopresbyter George Shavelsky. They were much opposed to Gregory, who was supported by the living spiritual forces in the Church, so many of whom were to become New Martyrs. Thus, in November 1916 the Optina elder and now saint Anatoly (Potapov) had said in Petrograd that it was not God’s will for Gregory to be removed from his position.

On 3 December 1915 another incident occurred with Alexey. The boy lay bleeding profusely. On 4 December Gregory again intervened in prayer and reassured the Imperial Couple that all would be well. Again, to the astonishment of the powerless doctors, Gregory was to prove to be right. On 6 December Gregory was able to get to the Tsarevich’s bedside, made the sign of the cross over him and he was healed. The Tsar’s sister, Olga Alexandrovna, confirmed this in her memoirs, unable to give any explanation, but simply confirming the fact. Many others agreed with her. Meanwhile, the Tsar had greatly improved Army morale, stabilised the Front with a successful operation in September 1915 and rearmed the troops ready for 1916.


  1. The British Establishment Intervenes: 1916

There followed the Tsar’s hugely successful 1916 summer offensive, usually miscalled the ‘Brusilov Offensive’, which was by far the most successful Allied offensive of the War. In December 1916 the Tsar addressed his Armed Forces, underlining his determination to fight against the invaders until ethnic borders had been reached in Eastern and Central Europe. He was determined to ‘deprussianise’ Germany, restoring independent German principalities. Constantinople was to be freed after 450 years and a free, reunited Poland would be established. The British elite were by now greatly alarmed, seeing that a victorious and rearmed Russia was poised to win the war in 1917.

Given their own incompetence on the Western Front, bogged down in trenches in a murderous stalemate, the British saw that Russia would soon liberate Vienna, Berlin and Constantinople, their forces arriving on the border with France. Thus, Russia would control all of Europe as far as France and Italy, so becoming the main European Power. Although it had been delayed by the British and US-backed and armed Japanese attack on Russia in 1904, it would also become the main Asian Power. British Establishment jealousy of Russia, now on high alert, went back to Tudor times, but had reached a high point in the nineteenth century. Then in imperialist paranoia after the Indian War of Liberation of 1857-58, known in Britain as the ‘Indian Mutiny’, Britain had invaded Russia in the disastrous so-called ‘Crimean War’ in 1854 and invented ‘The Great Game’.

This imaginary and murderous scenario, not at all a game, had suggested that Russia was about to liberate British-enslaved India. This is what led to the repeated and failed British invasions of Afghanistan, the British massacres in Tibet in 1903-4 and the British arming of Japan with dreadnoughts, inciting it to war against Russia. This paranoia, led by Disraeli among others, had created an incessant campaign of ethnocentric stereotypes, racism and mythmaking to make out that ‘the Russian bear’ was ‘Asiatic’, ‘dangerous’, ‘primitive’ and its rulers were tyrants – unlike those of the British Establishment! Russian rulers were always the main objects of British propaganda, just as nowadays, with the absurd but self-justifying NATO propaganda that President Putin is about to invade today’s US-owned Eastern Europe!

Therefore, the British government, led by the notorious sexually-obsessed Lloyd George, hatched a plot against Gregory. It would use its spies in Saint Petersburg, including especially a certain Oswald Rayner (all of them are catalogued with their photographs by Fomin on pp. 302-325 of Vol IX of his study) to undermine the Tsar and so Christian Civilisation. The first step would be to assassinate the Tsar’s spiritual mentor, Gregory. For this their agents would naturally remain in the background, hiding behind the treasonous services of local Anglophile Russian aristocrats, who had always sought power for themselves (Zhevakhov, p. 197).

Thus, the Allies would be able to set up a puppet-regime in Russia, led perhaps by the Germanophobe Grand Duke Nikolay Nikolayevich and other traitors among the Grand Dukes. Thus, Russia with all its wealth would at last be theirs, achieving, as Lloyd-George openly proclaimed in Parliament after the overthrow of the Tsar, ‘one of our main war aims’. The main British helper would be the ultra-wealthy aristocrat, homosexual and transvestite admirer of Oscar Wilde, Prince Felix Yusupov.

Backed by many aristocrats, Yusupov actually knew Gregory and crucially had been at University College in Oxford (just over sixty years before this author; his daughter died in 1983 in the small town outside Paris where I then lived). Furthermore, it was in Oxford that Yusupov had already met Gregory’s future assassin, Oswald Rayner. Yusupov was heavily involved in occult practices (see his chilling drawings of demons in Fomin, Vol IX, p. 269). Moreover, he was married to the Tsar’s niece. (This marriage was obviously a disaster and after it the famous Yusupov family died out, for there were no male descendants. Yusupov continued to cause great scandal in the Russian emigration in France with his transvestite activities).


  1. The Murder: December 1916

There had already been several attempts on Gregory’s life. The first had been on 16 December 1911 (the same date as his murder five years later), the second was a plot involving General Dumbadze in the Crimea, the third was Guseva’s in 1914, as we have related, the fourth was on 7 January 1915 when a car had ‘accidentally’ collided with Gregory’s sleigh, and a fifth was an unrealised plot by the notorious Minister of Internal Affairs, Khvostov, in February 1916. This time was different. Rayner and the other spies in Saint Petersburg were under the command of the British spymaster and future minister, Samuel Hoare. All were supervised by the treacherous British ambassador Buchanan.

Realising that Gregory’s Faith made him a threat to their planned seizure of power, Yusupov, the Tsar’s cowardly nephew, the bisexual anglophile Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich Romanov, an extreme right-wing politician called Vladimir Purishkevich (‘only the wall is further to the right than me’), helped by a lawyer and senior freemason V. A. Maklakov and their friends, Sergei Sukhotin and Dr Stanislav Lazovert, concocted a plan. Purishkevich had for years been plotting to overthrow the Tsar and replace him with a weak puppet like Dmitry Pavlovich, whom he could control with his Fascist inclinations. He had been known to say: ‘As long as Rasputin is alive, we cannot win’ (Mironov, p. 107). Their plan, with British approval, was ready by the end of November 1916.

All of them wanted to dethrone the Tsar and replace him with a powerless, right-wing puppet of their choice, rather as in the case of the German-British monarchy. British spies were only too happy to support them. They would torture Gregory and then use the British spies to finish him off in December 1916 in the Yusupovs’ Moyka Palace, before the victorious Russian year of 1917 could begin. The forthcoming Russian victory would thus be turned into the Russian catastrophe, for without these traitors there would have been no mass genocides under Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and Khrushchev. Thus, shortly after midnight on 17 December 1916, Yusupov would and did lure Gregory, who remained trusting, but felt a dark premonition, to his Palace under false pretences.

Here Yusupov ushered Gregory into the basement, where he offered him tea and cakes, some of which he thought had been laced with cyanide by the anti-Tsar Maklakov. To Yusupov’s surprise, Gregory was not affected. This was because the legally-minded Maklakov had not supplied cyanide, but aspirin, as he was frightened of being implicated and found out as a result of the talkative Purishevich’s inability to keep the plot secret. At around 2.30 am Yusupov excused himself to go upstairs, where his fellow conspirators were waiting. Taking a revolver from Dmitry Pavlovich, Yusupov returned to the basement. Here, pointing to a medieval Italian crucifix on a wall in the room, Yusupov told Gregory that he had ‘better look at the crucifix and say a prayer’. Then he shot him in the chest.

Probably it was at this point that the conspirators began torturing him. Wounds to his eyes, ears and sides can only be understood as torture. Believing him to be dead, they then drove to Gregory’s apartment with their accomplice Sukhotin wearing Gregory’s coat and hat, in an attempt to make it look as though Gregory had returned home that night. On returning to the Moyka Palace, Yusupov went back to the basement. Suddenly, Gregory, only wounded, staggered up and tried to defend himself against Yusupov, who freed himself and fled in cowardly terror upstairs. Gregory went outside to the Palace courtyard before being shot dead by a panicking Rayner and collapsing into a snowdrift. Gregory died of three gunshot wounds, the last of which was Rayner’s close-range shot to his forehead.

Thus, in the early morning of 17/30 December 1916, Gregory was murdered by British spies and jealous aristocrats, who opposed the prophet’s Christian Faith, the Christian Tsar and Christian Russia. Whether representatives of the Russian aristocracy or the British Establishment, they had all put themselves above Christ and so destroyed Russian Civilisation and its underlying authentically Christian values. The conspirators wrapped Gregory’s body, drove it to the nearby Petrovsky Bridge and dropped it into the Malaya Neva River, with the idea that people would think it had been a drowning accident. However, news of Gregory’s murder spread quickly, as the clumsy Purishkevich had spoken openly about Gregory’s murder to two soldiers and a policeman who was investigating reports of shots. Purishkevich urged them not to tell anyone.


  1. The First Shot of the Russian Revolution: 1916-1918

The next morning an investigation was launched. When two workmen noticed blood on the railings and a support of the Petrovsky Bridge and a boot was found on the ice below, river police began searching the area for a body. It was found under the river ice on 19 December/1 January, approximately 200 yards downstream from the bridge. Gregory was recognised at once. The frozen fingers of his right hand were folded in the form ready to make the sign of the cross. Large crowds, mainly composed of women, gathered to take water from the river which they considered had been made holy by the blood of a martyr. Popular veneration had begun; only the aristocrats and middle classes rejoiced at the death of a peasant. Ordinary folk were horrified at the murder of one of their kind. A few, instinctively, realised that the Monarchy was finished, for only Gregory had been supporting it. With his murder, all was over.

An autopsy was conducted by Dr Dmitry Kosorotov, the city’s senior autopsy surgeon. The report that he wrote was lost, but he later stated that Gregory’s body had shown signs of severe trauma, including three gunshot wounds – one of which had been sustained at close range and to the forehead. There was also a slice wound to his left side and several other injuries, many of which Kosorotov felt had been sustained post-mortem. Kosorotov found a single bullet in Gregory’s body, but stated that it was too badly deformed and of a type too widely used to trace. He found no evidence that Gregory had been poisoned and found no water in Gregory’s lungs – reports that Gregory had been thrown into the water alive were incorrect.

Gregory was buried on 21 December/2 January in the grounds of the Imperial Palace at Tsarskoe Selo. Bishop Isidore (Kolokolov), now a New Martyr, led the funeral liturgy. The burial site was next to the foundations of a small and unfinished church to be dedicated to St Seraphim of Sarov, who had been canonised on the insistence of Tsar Nicholas. Anna Vyrubova had wanted to build the church with compensation money she had received from her railway accident in 1915. The funeral was attended only by the Imperial Family, still reeling from the horror of the murder and the treason of those well-known to them, not least a Romanov, and by a few of their intimates. However, in March 1917 Gregory’s body was exhumed, his hands still like those of a living person, and incinerated on a bonfire on orders of the Kerensky regime which had replaced the rule of God’s Anointed (Bokhanov, pp. 31-34).

This destruction of the body was in order to prevent Gregory’s burial site from being a shrine for the faithful, as it had already become, and has become again since the fall of the atheist yoke in Russia. Already in early 1917 a brochure had appeared in Saint Petersburg about Gregory, calling him ‘The New Martyr’. Thus, his body met the same fate as the bodies of the Imperial Family, whose remains the Bolsheviks also tried to consume by fire. In life as in death, they shared the same destiny. Gregory had made several prophecies about his murder, which he had been expecting. Thus: ‘Do you know that I will soon die in terrible sufferings? But what can be done? God has assigned me the great feat of dying for the salvation of my dear sovereigns and Holy Rus’.

Significantly, he had also prophesied: ‘They will surely kill me and all of you will also die. They will kill all of you. And Papa and Mama’ (the Tsar and the Tsarina). ‘I have a premonition that I will leave you before 1 January (1917)…If Russian peasants, my brothers, kill me, then you the Russian Tsar have nothing to fear…But if aristocrats and nobles kill me and they shed my blood, then their hands will remain stained with my blood….’. (Platonov, pp. 159-60). The British Establishment and their equally amoral Russian aristocrat puppets had now opened a Pandora’s box. For Gregory was only the first martyr of the palace revolt of the traitors, deChristianised aristocrats, generals and politicians, which became known as ‘The Russian Revolution’. Their treason would lead to millions and millions of martyrs, an irremovable stain on world history and on their consciences.

On the eve of the Revolution, but before Gregory’s murder, Maria Golovina, one of his closest disciples, had asked him if there would be a Revolution. He had answered: ‘Only a small one, if I am here to stop it, but…’. (Fomin, Vol VIII, p. 340).  In other words, Gregory’s murder meant there was no longer anything to stop those processes of spiritual decay which in the end would lead to the deaths of tens of millions in the Soviet Union. As Tsar Nicholas himself repeatedly said: ‘If it were not for Gregory’s prayers, they would long ago have murdered me’ (Fomin, Vol VIII, p. 350). Just as they had murdered his grandfather, Alexander II. Those who finally succeeded in murdering Gregory would have the blood of far more than just one man on their hands. However, our hope is in the Lord: ‘Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you’ (Isaiah, 43, 5).



After his murder Gregory continued to be vilely slandered, both in Soviet Russia and in the Russian emigration. (And it is those who tried to censor even this modest work!). He was especially slandered by exiled Saint Petersburg and Baltic aristocrats in Paris and other Western capitals – not least by those bearing the surname Romanov. Instead of repenting for their treason and slanders, they blamed Gregory for the fall of the Russian Empire and, particularly, for the loss of their personal power and wealth. In reality, they were themselves to blame; like the Western Powers whom they represented, they had not understood that when Russia is no longer Christian, then it is militantly atheistic. Unlike in Western culture there is nothing inbetween; authentic Christian culture in Russia is not going to be replaced by Western secular culture. Destroy authentic Orthodox Christianity in Russia at your peril.

These slanders continue among their descendants to this very day, over 100 years later. Within my memory their descendants in Paris would refuse even to talk to Gregory’s great grand-daughter, Laurence, who lives there. Gregory is still slandered as a drunk and a debauchee in books, articles, plays and films, both in post-Soviet Russia and in the West. Today some extremist right-wingers with their pro-Nazi ideology use him as a peg for their anti-Semitic nationalism (their excuse being that most of the first Bolsheviks were Jews). Others, including contemporary, so-called ‘Orthodox’, academics, infected by anti-spiritual Protestant-style rationalism, use him as a peg for their Soviet-coloured anti-Tsar prejudices.

Pharisees and scribes, all of them. They are all merely repeating the errors of the murderers, the right-wing nationalist and pseudo-monarchist Purishkevich and the liberal Oxford graduate Yusupov, notorious for his scandalous depravity, both before and after the Revolution. They were supported both by anti-German British assassins and left-wing Bolsheviks. All of them, right or left, are in fact just the two sides of the same anti-Christian coin. That is why they all slander Gregory, as they also slander the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas and his Family, who was murdered not in Saint Petersburg or Moscow, but far away, along the road from Gregory’s Siberian home.

On the other hand, there are those Orthodox who love the Imperial Martyrs, especially in Saint Petersburg and Ekaterinburg, and who also venerate Gregory as a saint, usually under the name ‘St Gregory the New’ or ‘The Martyr Gregory’. The apartment where he last lived in Saint Petersburg, at 64, Gorokhovaya Street, and the place of his burial have become places of pilgrimage for them. However, there is very little veneration for him among the masses, among whom his name is still slandered. Among the episcopate there is as yet no call for his canonisation, despite some sympathy expressed by a few, icons painted (as early as 1931 – Fomin, Vol IX, p. 473), services composed and prayers invoked by the few.

Naturally, any possible future canonisation is out of the question until the facts are better known and veneration of the Imperial Martyrs themselves spreads, creating popular reverence. Until that moment, Russia will never recover from her apostasy and its resulting endemic corruption, injustices and poverty. As for the rest of the world, it will continue to be blinded by its delusions of self-belief and self-justification, which have now brought it to the verge of extinction. As Elder Nikolai (Guryanov) said: ‘As the Truth of God begins to be revealed, so everything in Russia will change’. For only once all has changed among the Russian masses, will the Monarchy be restored there, so that the vital changes in the rest of the world can then follow.

We cannot forget that in August 1917 the Imperial Family sailed past Gregory’s house in Pokrovskoe, as they were taken into exile. The next year, on Palm Sunday, 14 April 1918, the carriage which took the Tsar from his Gethsemane to his Golgotha, from his captivity in Tobolsk to his martyrdom in nearby Ekaterinburg, passed by Gregory’s very house in Pokrovskoe, again exactly as Gregory had prophesied (Dehn, p. 96 and Fomin, Vol IX, p. 411). In passing by, it was blessed by Gregory’s faithful widow, Praskovya. Later the Tsarina and the Grand Duchess Maria followed him along the same road. Gregory and the Imperial Family were inseparable, even now they followed the same road. May God grant repentance and spiritual purity to all to see that road and the Truth of God.


Although many books have been written about Gregory Rasputin, mainly in the last century, there are few in any Western language which bear a resemblance to the truth, being works of sensationalist tabloid journalism, anti-Russian political propaganda, or else forgeries. Exceptions are the reprinted ‘The Real Tsaritsa’ by Lili Dehn, Shelley’s ‘The Speckled Domes’ of 1925, and the now unobtainable Memoirs of Gregory’s daughter, Matrona, published in French in 1925, uncorrupted, unlike the German, English and particularly awful Russian versions, the latter published in 2002. Perhaps the most valuable document to translate would be the also now unobtainable 112-page Memoirs of Mounia (Maria) Golovina, who like the Tsarina expressed the mystical understanding of Gregory, first published in French in Paris in 1995, but written decades before. The works below are in Russian, except for those by Cook, Cullen, Dehn and Shelley:

Bokhanov A. N., Rasputin, Fact and Fiction, Moscow, 2006

Cook Andrew, To Kill Rasputin, 2005

Cullen Richard, Rasputin, The Role of Britain’s Secret Service in His Torture and Murder, 2010

Dehn Lili, The Real Tsaritsa, Nabu Press, reprint, 2011

Fedchenkov Metr. Benjamin, One the Edge of Two Eras, Moscow, 2004

Fomin S., Gregory Rasputin, An Investigation, 7 Volumes + plus an invaluable eighth volume of sources called ‘Our Dear Father’, which includes Gregory’s biography written by his daughter Matrona and the defence of Gregory by M.E. Golovina, and a ninth volume or album with all known images of Gregory and further information about his murder, Moscow, Forum, 2007-2015

Mironova T., From Beneath the Lie. A Slandered Life. A Slandered Death, Vesti, Saint Petersburg, 2005

Platonov O., A Life for the Tsar, Rodnaya Strana, Moscow, 2015

Rasputin-Novy Gregory E., The Chains of Love, Articles, Letters, Reflections, Sayings, Saint Petersburg 2017, (254 pages in Pocketbook Format)

Shelley G, The Speckled Domes, Episodes of an Englishman’s Life in Russia, New York 1925 (In 1950 George Shell, which was his real name and not Shelley, became an Old Catholic bishop).

Zhevakhov N.D. Memoirs, Saint Petersburg, 2014.


The best source for a very extensive number of articles on Gregory Rasputin-Novy, by authors like Yury Rassulin, Igor Yevsin, Fr Sergiy Chechanichev, Fr Alexander Zakharov and others, is the Russian national website:


Akathist to the Holy Martyr Gregory the New

Kontakion I

Called from the furthest bounds of East and West by the Most Holy Mother of God through her Image of Kazan to become a faithful servant of the Double-Headed Eagle, thou didst journey as a pilgrim to the holy places of the vast Orthodox Lands, even to the earthly Jerusalem, fearing God, honouring the Tsar and having compassion on the people. When the Spirit came down on thee, thou didst not forsake thy calling even unto death, acquiring boldness before the Lord and praying for those who sing to thee: Rejoice, O martyr Gregory, friend of the Emperor and guardian of the Empire!

Ikos I

Coming forth from the village of the Intercession of the Mother of God, thy destiny was revealed to be as an intercessor for the Imperial Family, O martyr Gregory, by thy prayers opposing the efforts of the dragon to overthrow the Christian Emperor and bestow his Empire on the beast from the bottomless pit. In wonder at thy service and protection beneath the veil of the Mother of God, we sing to thee thus:

Rejoice, thou who didst heal the heir to the throne after earthly doctors had laboured in vain.

Rejoice, thou who didst heal the future hope of the Christian Empire through thy prayers.

Rejoice, thou who didst turn the sorrow of the Empress into joy by the Holy Spirit.

Rejoice, thou who didst not seek any earthly reward for thy labours.

Rejoice, thou who didst imitate the mystical feat of the great martyr George.

Rejoice, thou who didst bear thy name as an evil for the sake of the Lord’s Anointed.

Rejoice, thou who didst obtain from thy Lord a new name that shines like a star in the heavens.

Rejoice, thou who didst speak words of the Lord as a prophet of the New Israel.

Rejoice, thou who made the slanders and blasphemies of the enemies of Christ into salvation.

Rejoice, O spiritual warrior and companion in the battle for Sovereignty.

Rejoice, O invisible companion of the Emperor’s prayer.

Rejoice, O good and faithful servant even unto death.

Rejoice, O martyr Gregory, friend of the Emperor and guardian of the Empire!

Kontakion 2

Seeing the Christian Empire troubled and shaken by the enemies of Christ, thou, O martyr Gregory, wast revealed after the repose of the Righteous John of Kronstadt as a new prophet to denounce the spiritual impurity of the Emperor’s foes and confirm the good estate of his faithful subjects, singing to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 2

Having the mind of the saints of old, whom thou didst love, and concealing God’s gifts from the world behind the foolishness of the Cross, thou wast beloved by the Emperor and Empress. Slandered by the spite of apostates and the jealousy of traitors, thou, O blessed one, wast no friend to the dark forces that hated Christ. Teach us also by the knowledge that God inspired in thee to withstand temptations, the enemies of Christ and the devil, singing to thee thus:

Rejoice, O man of God, honoured by Imperial friendship.

Rejoice, O messenger of the will of God, revealed to the Emperor.

Rejoice, O treasury of the Wisdom of God, hidden from the world.

Rejoice, O servant of Christ, whose nobility was far greater than that of princes.

Rejoice, O bee made wise by God, who gathered mystical nectar from the Emperor’s flowers.

Rejoice, O sweetness feeding the lovers of honey with holy honeycombs.

Rejoice, O faithful keeper of the Sovereign Empire against the servants of Antichrist.

Rejoice, O untiring guardian and zealot of ancient piety against the demons.

Rejoice, O converser with the Imperial Family.

Rejoice, thou who didst suffer for the good order of the Empire.

Rejoice, O meadow of virtue cultivated from generation unto generation.

Rejoice, O fool for Christ blessed by God amid the intrigues of Babylon.

Rejoice, O martyr Gregory, friend of the Emperor and guardian of the Empire!

Kontakion 3

Raised up from a distant province for thine Imperial destiny by the Divine Love of Providence, thou, O blessed Gregory, admiring the Redeemer, didst witness to Him. In thy vigilance, as prophesied by the Righteous John according to thy name, thou didst sacrifice thy soul for thy Imperial Friends, prophesying and calling out to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 3

In thee the Sovereign Family found a new intercessor, a new prophet and a new martyr, for thou, O faithful Gregory, wast revealed to be a forerunner of the Imperial Martyrs, like them slain in the darkness of the night by the base in a basement. As the offering of thy soul for the Emperor was accepted, now pray for those who call out to thee in this wise:

Rejoice, O trusted intercessor for the Imperial City come from a lowly village.

Rejoice, O protection against those who plotted to slay the Emperor.

Rejoice, thou who gavest thy life for the Tsar as a protomartyr.

Rejoice, thou who didst suffer at the hands of those who then martyred the Imperial Family.

Rejoice, thou who didst repeat the famed patriotic feats of old.

Rejoice, thou who didst mystically sacrifice thy soul for the Emperor.

Rejoice, thou who didst accept royal hallowing from God.

Rejoice, thou who wast revered by thine Emperor and Empress as a man of God.

Rejoice, thou who wast crowned on earth with a crown of thorns.

Rejoice, thou who wast crowned in heaven with a royal crown.

Rejoice, O friend of the ancient and sacred union of Emperor and people against apostates and traitors.

Rejoice, O spiritual offshoot of the Imperial Family.

Rejoice, O martyr Gregory, friend of the Emperor and guardian of the Empire!

Kontakion 4

Rightfully spurning the wisdom of the world as vainglorious and impure and preferring the foolishness of the Cross, thou, O blessed one, didst denounce the lies and delusions, intrigues and evil schemings of those who had rejected Christ and didst pray with the greatest simplicity for those who sing to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 4

Hurling slanders and blasphemies at the Emperor who had been crowned by God, in their folly the traitors forced the Anointed of the Lord from his ancestral throne and led him like a lamb from his Gethsemane to his slaughter. Seeing the depth of thy love for the Emperor, who looks down on us now, we sing to thee, O Gregory, thus:

Rejoice, thou who in thy life with the Imperial Family wast falsely accused of every sin and vice.

Rejoice, O ever-watchful guardian of the Ruling Family who suffered for the sins of Russia.

Rejoice, thou who art not parted in death from their heavenly glory.

Rejoice, O gatekeeper in the heavenly mansions, guiding those who are called to speak of the Imperial mystery.

Rejoice, thou who denouncest unfaithful ministers before the Imperial Family.

Rejoice, O stumbling block for those gone astray from Christ, who even now scorn the Emperor’s glory.

Rejoice, thou who didst abide night and day in prayer for the Christian Ruler.

Rejoice, O never-slumbering eyes of the Tsar, delaying the appearance of Antichrist.

Rejoce, O holy standard of all the faithful servants of the Emperor.

Rejoice, O denouncer of treason, cowardice and deceit.

Rejoice, O humble ploughman who didst put thy hand to the plough of the Empire.

Rejoice, O mystical shield and protection of the Christian Emperor.

Rejoice, O martyr Gregory, friend of the Emperor and guardian of the Empire!

Kontakion 5

Like a star shining forth from the Russian Lands in the distant east and moving on its God-given course to Christ, thy soul, O martyr Gregory, burned like a bright flame amid the delusions of the spiritual night in the west, going before the Emperor who cried out to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 5

Seeing thee going before the Emperor as a prophet and fool for Christ, and witnessing to the grace of God resting on His Anointed, in their folly the traitors turned on thee like wolves in order to part thee from the Emperor. Wondering at the many miraculous acts of Divine Providence which guide the Christian Empire, we sing to thee thus:

Rejoice, O pilgrim who during many years prayed at the holy places.

Rejoice, O sower of the noble seeds of beauty, goodness and truth among the Orthodox people.

Rejoice, thou who didst mystically see the Imperial destiny of Holy Rus.

Rejoice, O fisherman, who gavest wise counsel to those caught in thy spiritual nets.

Rejoice, thou who didst come like a prophet unto thine own and wast not known by them.

Rejoice, O pearl of great price who was cast before swine.

Rejoice, thou who didst love God, Tsar and Empire.

Rejoice, O citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem.

Rejoice, thou who didst worship in the Holy Land and the earthly Jerusalem.

Rejoice, O pilgrim to Patmos, where John the Theologian saw the vision of the last times.

Rejoice, thou who didst eclipse the dark star of the enemies of the Tsar with the Sun of Righteousness.

Rejoice, thou who gavest sight to those made spiritually blind by the world.

Rejoice, O martyr Gregory, friend of the Emperor and guardian of the Empire!

Kontakion 6

False brethren, weak in faith and cold of heart, did not wish to honour the see of Tobolsk, but thou, O wondrous Gregory, zealous for the greater glory of the Empire, didst intercede before the Tsar for the glorification of the holy hierarch John Maximovich, who is wonderful among the saints, calling out to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 6

By thy prayers and intercessions before the Emperor, the light of Christ shone forth from the shrine of the holy relics of the sainted John of Tobolsk, for thou, O martyr Gregory, didst diligently labour to keep thy land faithful to the Tsar; through thy intercessions forsake not us who call out to thee such things as these:

Rejoice, O fulfilment of the mystical prophecies of Holy Rus for all the peoples of the world before the end.

Rejoice, thou who didst proclaim the city of Tobolsk to be Christ’s.

Rejoice, O hope of the land that suffered the blood of idolatry in former times.

Rejoice, O intercessor for the Empire made white by the red blood of the first martyred Tsar.

Rejoice, O spiritual guardian of the prison, which received the Imperial Captives.

Rejoice, O native of the land where mystically met the earthly and heavenly paths of Emperor and prophet.

Rejoice, thou who didst bear chains on thy body like a hidden schema.

Rejoice, thou who tookest the sanctuary of Tobolsk from its enemies with the sword of the Spirit.

Rejoice, thou who didst work many wonders and healings in thy lifetime.

Rejoice, thou who gavest repentance to the hierarch Germogen, appearing to him after death.

Rejoice, thou who didst mystically accompany the Tsar through the land of Tobolsk.

Rejoice, thou who lookest down on us from Heaven together with the Imperial Family.

Rejoice, O martyr Gregory, friend of the Emperor and guardian of the Empire!

Kontakion 7

Desiring that all should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, thou, O blessed one, didst guide both the good and the bad through life’s sorrows, giving spiritual treasures to the faithful, who call out to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 7

Christ showed thee to be a new passion-bearer, for thou didst not render any of thy persecutors evil for evil, praying for them and making ready for the Day of Judgement. Help us to escape the horrors of Gehenna that await Satan and his henchmen, as we call out to thee thus:

Rejoice, O generous almsgiver who didst love the poor.

Rejoice, thou who didst bar the gates of hell for the faithful.

Rejoice, thou who didst help the poor and naked.

Rejoice, thou who gavest every good gift for Christ and the Tsar.

Rejoice, thou who hast the exceeding great power to console in sorrow.

Rejoice, thou who didst call the rich and powerful to repentance from their spiritual impurity.

Rejoice, thou who dost ever sorrow for all who were guilty before the Tsar and sinful before God.

Rejoice, for none who came to thee with faith departed sorrowing and unconsoled.

Rejoice, thou who in wisdom didst conceal thy deeds from traitors with the foolishness of the Cross.

Rejoice, thou blessed by God who wast wiser than the enemies of Christ, the world and the devil.

Rejoice, thou who didst appear deaf and mute before those who insulted thee.

Rejoice, thou who didst pray for the enemies of God before the Day of Wrath.

Rejoice, O martyr Gregory, friend of the Emperor and guardian of the Empire!

Kontakion 8

Seeing thy life of struggles and labours in the world through the eyes of spiritual impurity, O holy Gregory, some fell into temptation, for they heeded the words of the enemies of Christ, whose slanders against thee described their own vices, raising up a persecution against thee and thy spiritual children, who call out to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 8

Thou didst endure all the filth and torment of the enemies of Christ with valour, O martyr Gregory. Struck by cutting words and piercing slanders sharper than swords and spears, thou didst accept bodily wounds, foreknowing thy violent death at the hands of enemies of Christ and traitors. As thou didst smite the old dragon, who rose up against the Christian Emperor with the Cross of the Lord, pray for us who call out to thee thus:

Rejoice, O protomartyr, against whom the demons inspired slander in every enemy of Christ.

Rejoice, thou whose life God had already preserved from death.

Rejoice, thou who didst bear the feat of martyrdom by the power of Christ.

Rejoice, thou who wast pierced in the side like the Saviour, with the cross in thy hands.

Rejoice, thou who wast thrown down beside a dead dog according to the evil custom of the enemies of Christ.

Rejoice, thou who wast cast into a freezing watery grave.

Rejoice, thou whose body was buried by the Imperial Family in a place of honour.

Rejoice, thou whose body was taken up and burned by the enemies of Christ, so having suffered both ice and fire.

Rejoice, for the enemies of Christ slew thee in a basement at night like the Imperial Martyrs.

Rejoice, for apostates and traitors of the Imperial line were guilty of thy peasant blood.

Rejoice, thou who wast raised up from afar for an Imperial destiny.

Rejoice, thou who didst beforehand show the Emperor a martyr’s end.

Rejoice, O martyr Gregory, friend of the Emperor and guardian of the Empire!

Kontakion 9

Having shared and passed through every temptation of thine Imperial Friends by the grace of God, thou didst confess the Imperial mystery of the Incarnation, O blessed Gregory, which none knows, save the pious Orthodox who truly confess Christ and so are faithful to the Tsar, singing to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 9

All the long words of orators and all the airy works of philosophers are unable to express the depth of the spiritual impurity of those in seats of authority, who had lost the Orthodox Faith and so fell into envy, spite, slander and treason against the Emperor, the Empress and thee; but as for us, we see and honour only the glory of thy cross and call out to thee thus:

Rejoice, thou who didst share the Imperial burden before their Golgotha.

Rejoice, thou who didst eat at the Emperor’s table.

Rejoice, thou who didst choose the path of loyalty to the Emperor, refusing the pieces of silver of the traitors.

Rejoice, thou chosen out of distant Siberia who becamest one of the Ruler’s own.

Rejoice, thou who didst look on the Emperor and Empress as a faithful son.

Rejoice, O holy new prophet blessed by God to protect Sovereign Rus.

Rejoice, for thou didst shame those who shamed Holy Rus in the sight of the whole world.

Rejoice, thou who wast rewarded by the Empress.

Rejoice, thou who voluntarily tookest on thyself the sorrows of the Emperor.

Rejoice, thou who didst gain the envy and spite of the enemies of Christ.

Rejoice, thou who wast the Emperor’s faithful servant.

Rejoice, for thou wast one of those of whom the world is not worthy.

Rejoice, O martyr Gregory, friend of the Emperor and guardian of the Empire!

Kontakion 10

God entrusted thee with the protection of the Christian Emperor, the faithful Empress and their godly children, O prophet and wonderworker Gregory. Thou didst stop the issue of blood of the heir, shedding thine own blood instead, that with the piety and holiness of the Orthodox spirit thou couldst feed the souls of thine Imperial Friends, who call out to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 10

In their cunning and jealousy the enemies of Christ, greedy for power, tried to build a dividing wall of slander and lies between the Emperor and the people, that they might slay first him and then them, but thou, O wise one, pulled down that dividing wall, interceding for the people before the Emperor and showing the people to him, thus interceding for us too, who call out to thee such things as these:

Rejoice, for the Imperial Family were among thy spiritual children.

Rejoice, for in thy person they mystically adopted the Russian people.

Rejoice, O wise and patient mentor of thine Imperial disciples.

Rejoice, thou who didst savour their souls with the salt of Divine grace.

Rejoice, thou who didst teach the Imperial Family prophecy and holiness.

Rejoice, thou didst bless them with the simplicity of wisdom.

Rejoice, O offshoot of the Church sacredly grafted onto the Imperial vine.

Rejoice, thou who by thy grafting dost break off the withered branches of the Church.

Rejoice, thou who gavest a good answer for thy sacred pledge.

Rejoice, for thou makest us too, who honour thee, the Emperor’s friends.

Rejoice, thou who mystically askest for the Tsar’s forgiveness for those who betrayed him.

Rejoice, for in thee we await the restoration of the nobility of old.

Rejoice, O martyr Gregory, friend of the Emperor and guardian of the Empire!

Kontakion 11

Loving the Church and partaking of the Holy Mysteries more eagerly than of all the treasures of the world, thou, O Gregory, tookest up thy cross of serving the Emperor in accordance with thy destiny appointed by Divine Providence, calling out to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 11

The hierarchy was divided; brave and humble-minded missionaries, serving the Tsar and the people in east and west, blessed thee with warm hearts; proud and self-admiring functionaries, serving themselves and the worldly in ease and wealth, despised thee with cold hearts. Praying for the enlightenment of scribes and pharisees, we honour thy memory and that of all those faithful to the Imperial Family, singing praise to thee in this wise:

Rejoice, thou who wast mystically raised up from among the people by the Emperor.

Rejoice, thou who wast blessed by many faithful hierarchs such as Aleksiy, Makariy, Pitirim, Barnabas, Isidore and Melchizedek.

Rejoice, O pleaser of God, who didst honour Christ our God in every place of His dominion.

Rejoice, thou who hadst spiritual power, shaming the powerless wisdom of this world.

Rejoice, O unmercenary builder of the church in thy home village.

Rejoice, thou who didst love the Mother of God and wast zealous for piety.

Rejoice, O resolver of disputes, not with the booklore of scribes and pharisees, but with simplicity of heart.

Rejoice, O peacemaker sent by God among the disorder of men.

Rejoice, thou who didst fulfil the prophecies of the holy wonderworker Seraphim.

Rejoice, O lover of the Scriptures through the Spirit, who gavest the name of God all glory and honour.

Rejoice, thou who didst receive from Christ the gift of discernment.

Rejoice, thou who didst fight the serried ranks of heretics.

Rejoice, O martyr Gregory, friend of the Emperor and guardian of the Empire!

Kontakion 12

By thy prayers increase the grace of intercession of Christian Emperors for the whole world, O martyr Gregory, for the prayer of the righteous avails much. After God had raised thee up from among the people to shame the apostasy and so lack of love of the rich and powerful, the treason of princes, the cowardice of generals and the deceit of the fleshly-minded ushered in an age of bitter persecution, but of sweet glory for the faithful, who called out to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

Singing of the wonders worked in thy life by the grace of God, the healing of infirmities, the casting out of evil spirits, the granting of victory in battle, the foretelling of things to come, the consoling of the sorrowing with a single word and wise counselling for all life’s needs and cares, we call on thee, O wondrous Gregory, cease not to pray for us who are scattered across the face of the earth, awaiting the coming restoration of the Christian Empire and the new Tsar, who will sweep away the unworthy and the unfaithful, and calling out to thee such things as these:

Rejoice, O wise husbandman of the Imperial garden.

Rejoice, O fence against the thorns of the rich and powerful.

Rejoice, for no man has ever been slandered in his life like unto thee.

Rejoice, for even after thy martyrdom those who honoured thee were slandered.

Rejoice, O spiritual cloth with which every tear is wiped from every eye.

Rejoice, that evil words against thee may be forgiven.

Rejoice, O mystery of peasant nobility, tilling the earth of the soul.

Rejoice, O faithful servant of the holy ones of God.

Rejoice, for by thy martyrdom the dragon was run through.

Rejoice, O bright star of Siberia and martyr for Holy Rus.

Rejoice, for the Imperial Family loved thee.

Rejoice, O fair flower from the Imperial meadow.

Rejoice, O martyr Gregory, friend of the Emperor and guardian of the Empire!

Kontakion 13

O glorious new martyr and wonderworker Gregory, by the cross of foolishness for Christ’s sake and voluntary suffering thou didst defeat the dragon, like the martyrs George, Theodore and Mercurius of old, and as the friend who fought for the Emperor of the Russian Lands thou dwellest with the holy ones in eternity, pray for the servants of Christ that by thine intercessions we unworthy sinners may also be accounted among the number of the friends of the Emperor, singing to Almighty God: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

The above kontakion is read three times, then the first ikos, followed by the first kontakion.


O holy new martyr and wonderworker Gregory, the Emperor’s friend who fought against the traitors who took Holy Rus to the depths, show the foes of the Orthodox Lands both on the left side and on the right side the might of the double-edged sword of Divine justice. May they not destroy the holy seed of Sovereignty, may the Christian Empire and Emperor be restored for all before the end, still mightier than before, according to the prophecy, through thine intercessions and the prayers of the Imperial Martyrs, that all who love the Name of God in Orthodox wise all over the world may make glad forever. Amen.

Troparion, Tone IV

O friend of the Emperor, who fought for Christian Rule, / thou didst appear as a fool for Christ to the world, / which did not know thee and evilly slandered thee. / O holy passion-bearer and martyr Gregory, / as thou didst offer thyself up as a sacrifice to Christ for the Emperor, / so pray for us that we too may be delivered from the injustices of enemies, / becoming the friends of the Sovereign Emperor // and seeing the Resurrection of Holy Rus.












The World and the Church after 2022

Introduction: After the Military Campaign

The date of 24 February 2022 has already gone down in world history. We come to the end of a vital crossroads year and a revolution that happens only once every 500 years. With the end of Western Conquistador Civilisation, we try to peer over the horizon into 2023 and beyond. What will come after the Ukrainian war is over? Some who follow Western reporting of that conflict may be surprised by this statement. However, that reporting has been a strange mixture of delusional fantasies/wishful thinking and straightforward propaganda organised by the secret services, omitting truth, logic and reality. Journalists have been ordered to report such nonsense from on high (otherwise, they would have lost their careers and their income). Such reporting has essentially been destined to try and keep Western peoples under control in the hardships they are facing as a result of the suicidal decisions of their pro-US political elites. The US elite is making use of the meagre resources of its NATO vassals (so-called ‘allies’), using as its battlefield the Ukraine and as its cannon fodder Ukrainians and mercenaries. But Russian victory is inevitable, even if delayed because the US wants to make the Ukraine into its Second Vietnam.

The Western elite wants to fight ‘to the last Ukrainian’. (“We don’t care how many Ukrainians will die. How many women, children, civilians and military. We don’t care. Ukraine cannot take the peace decision. The peace decision can only be taken in Washington. But for now we want to continue this war, we will fight to the last Ukrainian.” Former US Senator Richard Blake). Therefore it is supplying all sorts of lethal arms for hundreds of thousands more of them to die and be wounded. Even if some in NATO dare to send more tens of thousands of their ‘willing’ to the slaughter in the Ukraine directly, and not in Ukrainian uniform, as with the tens of thousands of mainly Polish mercenaries at present, many of them already dead, that victory is still inevitable. Russia has been preparing for a full-scale Continental war ever since 2014. Even if next year the 200,000 strong Polish Army and reservists attack, armed to the teeth by the USA, Russia is ready. Although the prophecies of the saints and elders indicate May 2024 as the end of this ten-year long war (the US elite started it through their Ukrainian puppets in 2014), prophecies are always conditional on repentance and we should not try to determine exact details from them. Whatever happens, the next few years are going to see revolutionary transformations worldwide as a result of this war.

The New World Order

The most dramatic event after its defeat in the Ukraine will surely be the retreat of the USA, as it is expelled from Eurasia, a process which began in Vietnam and then continued in Iraq and Afghanistan. The nationalist Trump wanted to withdraw voluntarily, but he was not allowed to, therefore the humiliating US withdrawal will happen by force, as it did in Kabul. ‘Yanks, go home’, chants the whole world, including many in Western Europe, tired of US tyranny. In Eurasia the US now occupies only a few islands (Taiwan, Japan, Singapore), the tips of two peninsulas (Korea and Western Europe) and the seaboard edge Israel. It will have to leave all of these, except for the Non-Palestinian parts of Israel. Taiwan will naturally return to China, Japan will have to find its own way, reconciling itself to a reunited Korea and submitting itself to China economically. For Western Europe, see below.

Once home, the USA will have to lick its wounds and be deoligarchised by popular revolt. The dedollarisation of the world economy is already under way, with very serious consequences for the deindustrialised US economy. The American Empire will undergo deimperialisation, like the European Empires after 1945, and, if at all possible, have to find some sort of unity, identity and sovereignty in its highly polarised, highly indebted and highly fragilised situation. Outside the US, the world chants ‘Yanks, go home’, but inside the US, ordinary Americans chant: ‘Feds, go home’. It is the same thing. The swamp must be drained. The departure of the USA from Western Europe after its eighty-year long occupation will mean the end of the already much disarmed and futile NATO. The suicidal bankruptcy of the European countries will also lead to the end of NATO’s political and economic arm, the EU.

This will mean the reconfiguration of the tip of the European peninsula and its resovereignisation, a process which has already begun in Hungary. In the Western Balkans, Camp Bondsteel, the second largest US base in the world, will be abandoned, and Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Bosnia will rearrange themselves in the post-American world, the world of long-awaited justice. The future of Europe is not thousands of miles across the Atlantic, but eastwards, next door, in its natural sources of energy, food, fertiliser and manufactures. Europe as a separate Continent is after all a pure fiction, an artificial construct which was created from and cut off from the Eurasian landmass for purely political reasons. Europe is about to learn this, as it returns to its roots, which Russia alone has kept. A Russian-led Europe provides the prospect of a unity of sovereign but confederal Northern Eurasia ‘from sea to shining sea’, in fact, from Reykjavik to Tokyo. It is the future, in which the USA is utterly irrelevant. Its ‘lies-based order’ of genocidal chaos is over.

Inside Russia itself the transformation has already begun, with treacherous members of the ‘creative class’ gone to their spiritual home in Israel, with Pugachova and Zelensky, as well as across the borders to Georgia and Finland. This cleansing process and the ensuing Re-Russification of Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus will go far. After the deviations of 200 years of Imperial Russia – and there were very serious deviations then – otherwise Tsar Nicholas II would not have wanted to return to pre-Imperial Russia, to ‘Rus’ and there would never have been 1917 – 75 years of Marxist Sovietisation and 30 corrupt years of the Americanisation and so oligarchisation, the transformation has far to go. There will be a great and radical refreshing and cleansing of national identity after this unheard-of period of decadence and corruption, which ultimately stretches back over 300 years. All Russian institutions, including the still Sovietised Church, together with its small branches founded by post-1917 emigres, will be transformed. The uncompromised Russian Church, freed from the moneychangers, will arise from the embarrassing ruins of the past. The past is over. The arrival of the future in 2022 has made it all so irrelevant.

The New Christian Order

As regards the current versions of Western Christianity, Protestantism (1517-2017) is largely a spent force within the Western world, its 500-year best before date is up. Just as it was launched by printing technology, it has been ended by internet technology. Puritanism preached ‘Hate the sin and especially hate the sinner’, now its just as aggressive descendant, Wokeism, preaches, ‘Love the sinner and especially love the sin’. In other words, all is permitted. The once full churches of Protestantism close down in their hundreds every year in the Western world. It was what it was, a moralising and White Supremacist blip in history, both for good, as in keeping promises, honesty, integrity and moral uprightness, and for bad, as in the ruthless and unsustainable exploitation of human and natural resources, including slavery, the obsession with money and saving money, as well as boring and iconoclastic philistinism caused by narrow-minded bigotry, and the tragic, rigid, literalist, moralising, unnatural and pharisaical repression of human nature, causing crass hypocrisy and misogyny, to the point of the slaughter of women as ‘witches’.

As for Roman Catholicism, throwing out the baby with the bathwater, it was taken over by the CIA in the early sixties to be used as a political battering ram against the USSR. And it too is also largely a spent force (1054-2054?) in the Western world. Covered-up pedophilia and the misogyny of compulsorily unmarried and frustrated clerics, some of them perverts, now exposed, are killing it off. Little wonder that some say that the present Pope is the last one. However, if Catholicism can be freed of American and European political stooges and cleansed of its inherent millennial secularism, it at least can return to roots (Protestantism as a schismatic, splintering protest opinion movement has in itself no roots to return to). Liberated from Rome, the people now called ‘Catholics’ can reflourish in new forms, especially in Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia, providing that Catholicism goes native, yet remains traditional, and the Global South’s clergy’s almost universal, but hypocritically concealed marriages can be recognised officially. This will mean Catholicism divesting itself of the secularist and corrupt Western Middle Ages and returning to the spirit of the pre-Roman Catholic Faith of first millennium Western Europe.

As regards the Non-Western, Orthodox Church, the 200 million in the at present fifteen local branches of the Orthodox Church, the Dewesternisation revolution will be just as radical. At present there is the 7%, the 14 million of the Greek Churches of Constantinople, Greece, Cyprus, Alexandria and Jerusalem. Once the US Establishment, which stands behind them all and meddles intensively in their affairs, has retreated, freedom will come to them at last. As for the Russian Church, the 70% or 140 million, just as for the 23% or 46 million of the other Non-Greek Churches, in Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Antioch, Macedonia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Albania, the revolution will also necessarily be radical. They are all going to have to be freed from the Western disease of worldliness:

‘And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all those who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said to them: It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves’.

The Future of the Russian Church outside the Western World

The whole Russian political campaign over the last twenty-two years to move towards a multipolar/polycentric world is now coming to fruition. The Big Four, Russian, China, India and Iran, are being joined by many countries from all Continents in the Global South in huge and powerful Non-Western organisations like BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), the SCO (Shanghai Co-operation Organisation) and the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union), to form a new G20 to replace the failed American vassal one. Now this multipolar/polycentric world, inherently anti-centralist, will be reflected in Church life. The old and failed centralisation of Constantinople and Moscow especially, which has always brought corruption in its wake, will eventually disappear in the global internet age of transparency and diversity, where people are seen for what they are. This is a warning to all tyrants and bullies. Your secrets are being found out. Your time is up.

Russian nationalists and old-fashioned centralisers believe that once Russia has taken over the Ukraine, the Church in the Ukraine will return to being part of the Russian Church. This is absurd. The Russian campaign has made most real Ukrainians into disaffected enemies of everything Russian. A military and political victory is only military and political. In the New Ukraine (or whatever it will be called), with a majority Orthodox population of between 10 and 20 million, inhabited by real Ukrainians, the people will simply refuse to attend Russian churches. There are already over thirty independent Ukrainian parishes under Metr Onufry in the Diaspora. The insistence on Soviet-style centralism that has caused the appalling mess in the Russian Orthodox Church in the Ukraine, as also in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and in the Western world, will have to be remedied. Just as new Autocephalous Churches were eventually founded (as late as the 1950 and 1970s) in Poland, Czechoslovakia and ‘America’ (as well as Autonomous Churches for the very small flocks in Japan and China), Autocephalous Churches will inevitably be founded as a result of the break-up of the Soviet Union. Thirty years have passed. It is high time.

The many dioceses of the Russian Church outside the Union State of the Russian Federation and Belarus have lost their multinationalism. That has finally been destroyed in the last ten months in the Ukraine. Exarchates like that already in Belarus will not be enough elsewhere, though no doubt new Exarchates will be founded in countries like Kazakhstan. The Church in Moldova, already 20% under the Romanian Patriarchate, may perhaps not even become an Exarchate, but rather an autonomous part of the Romanian Orthodox Church, using the old calendar and with its own customs, just as our own Moldovan/Russian/ Romanian group of parishes in England already does.

The Russian Church is set to become a Family of Autocephalous Churches, perhaps relatively close to the Mother-Church, like the Church of Poland, the Church of the Czechs and Slovaks and the OCA in America, but still fully independent of it. This is the best left-behind Moscow can hope for now. The process has already long been under way. Moscow will just have to recognise reality as a fait accompli. Reality will dawn. The grassroots have voted. You cannot force people to belong to an alien Church. Thus, there will be formed a new ‘Byzantine Commonwealth’, not just of the Russian, Polish and Czechoslovak Churches, but, we think, perhaps with as many as eight more new Local Churches. This could bring the total number of Local Churches, recognised by all, from fifteen to twenty-three. We suggest that new Autocephalous, not Autonomous, Churches, because the numbers are too great for that, will be founded in the Non-Western world in:

  1. The Ukraine. Nobody knows what will become of the former 25 provinces of the typically Soviet-centralised, because wholly Communist-invented, Ukraine. It seems likely that between 7 and 12 of them will return to Russia, as 5 already have by large democratic majorities, 3 may return to Poland, 1 to Romania and 1 to Hungary. (The latter could in turn become the foundation for a future Hungarian Orthodox Church). But whatever the New Ukraine will look like, it will have its own, Ukrainian-speaking, Autocephalous Church.
  2. The Baltics. Finland (that is, all the Orthodox in Finland who want to live on the Orthodox Paschalia, which is a definition of canonical Orthodoxy), Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania together have a large enough Orthodox population and enough bishops to form their own Autocephalous Church. A Church for these Four Nations will put paid to any petty, provincial nationalism.
  3. South-East Asia. The present Exarchate of South-East Asia will in time become at least one Autocephalous Church, though its territory may be defined differently from now.
  4. Africa. Whatever may be thought of the recent Russian initiative there, it is now too late for the Russian Church to give up its Exarchate of some 200 parishes and clergy in Africa – even if it wanted too. The colonial Greek Church of Alexandria has had little future for a long time. It had many missionary chances and dismissed most of them over the centuries. A nominal flock of perhaps one million out of a population of one billion Africans is not convincing as a missionary effort. The at present Russian Exarchate in Africa will relatively soon have native African bishops – candidates are already studying in Russia – and it will in time become an Autocephalous, and genuine, African Orthodox Church, albeit 1,700 years late.

The Future of the Russian Church inside the Western World

At present the CIA and its daughter-agencies manipulate much of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Western world, just as it does the Patriarchate of Constantinople. It interferes in Orthodoxy, just as it does in Catholicism, there using the Papacy as its stooge, here bishops. Divide and rule is the slogan and it has successfully done that, polarising into liberal Greeks and conservative Russians. Both groups are manipulated and infiltrated by exactly the same secularism, according to their inherent political weaknesses. It is time to solve the Diaspora problem at last. 100 years late. We suggest that new Autocephalous Churches will be founded in the Western world in:

  1. Northern America. Unlike the term ‘North America’, this geographical term means the USA and Canada, together with some northern islands like Bermuda. Here missionaries can build on the OCA, renaming it the NAOC (North American Orthodox Church). The OCA was vital and brave, yet flawed, because of the Cold War and because it despised parts of the Tradition. If co-operation between Greeks, Russians, Arabs, Serbs, Romanians, Bulgarians, Albanians and others can be achieved without imperialist condescension and political and nationalist meddling from Greeks and Russians in particular, there is real hope that a new Local Church can be founded.
  2. Latin America. Stretching over a vast territory from Argentina to Mexico and including the Caribbean, here there is a great need for a new Local Church, though much input must come from the Arab Orthodox world.
  3.  Oceania. Centred in Australia, here there is a great need for a new Local Church, though much input must come from the Greek Orthodox world.
  4. Western Europe. This has far more Orthodox than any other part of the Western world. Now 80% are Romanians/Moldovans (a quarter of Romania, over 4,000,000 Orthodox, and a third of Moldova, 1,400,000 Orthodox, live in Western Europe, especially in Spain, Italy, Germany and England. There are also over 1,000,000 Greeks, Russians, Serbs, Bulgarians, Arabs, Ukrainians and others. It is really scandalous that there is not already a Local Church – the WEOC. First Greeks and then Russians have lacked the courage and will to follow the canons. The hopes we once had in them have been dashed by their nationalist politics. The great responsibility for the future now appears to lie in the hands of by far the largest and by far the most recent immigrant group, the Romanians and Moldovans.

Conclusion: Build Up the Church of God or Die in Irrelevance

New Local Churches are going to appear outside the Western world. This, outside the Western world, may be a fairly straightforward matter for the Russian Church. Inside the Western world, it is a far more complex matter because of the present multi-jurisdictional situation. It does not depend on Russians. They lost their chance. The solution will demand diplomatic talent and co-operation, between Romanian, Greek, Russian, Arab, Serbian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Macedonian and Georgian Orthodox. All of them have diasporas. National dioceses and deaneries can be set up within a multinational structure not dominated by any one nationality, as to a large extent Northern America lived under the future St Tikhon of Moscow some 120 years ago. So much time has been wasted through political meddling and nationalist despotism and it is still being wasted now. Russians refused to learn from the mistakes of Greeks and Greeks refused to learn from the mistakes of Russians.

Any extremists who do not want to co-operate because they are flag-waving nationalists (that is, secularists) will be left to one side. Any ecumenist modernists who do not even want to celebrate Easter on the Orthodox calendar will also be left to one side. The same goes for right-wing sectarian groups like the new ROCOR (the old ROCOR was sadly killed off in infamy by love of the dollar and greed for power) and other old calendarist groups who do not want to belong to the Church of 200 million, but only to tiny exclusivist ghettos. They too will be left to one side. The exclusivists who refuse to co-operate with other Local Churches, in the pharisees’ imagination of their proud hearts thinking themselves superior to them, have lost their purpose, their raison d’etre. As sectarians, they have made themselves irrelevant, discrediting themselves with cultish and hypocritical practices and attempts at intimidation, threats and guru-style mind control. As for us, we simply ignore them and continue to build!


Chaos or Order?

Over the last generation we have seen canonical chaos unfolding in Church life and over the last four years this chaos has grown exponentially. For example:

Twenty-eight years ago the Patriarchate of Constantinople opens for political reasons a jurisdiction on Russian canonical territory in Estonia.

Four years ago Constantinople takes on unordained clergy in the Ukraine, in another’s canonical territory, and those clergy start stealing church buildings from the Local Church with the support of violent and brutal atheist thugs (with the blessing of Constantinople?).

A fraction of the Russian Church in Western Europe starts taking priests and parishes from Constantinople uncanonically.

The same fraction of the Russian Church cuts off communion with another fraction of the same Russian Church. A schism begins within the Russian Church. There is no attempt to unresolve it after two years.

Two different sets of bishops appear in the once united Czech Republic, the new group is under Constantinople.

Russia takes some 200 clergy and parishes in Africa from the Patriarchate of Alexandria. Those clergy are threatened with losing their homes and food for their families if they do not return to those who threaten them.

We have come so far from the time of St Nicholas of Tokyo and St Tikhon of Alaska/New York/Moscow, yet both lived only a century ago. Both created unity in their respective jurisdictions, in Japan and Northern America. Why all these divisions?

All divide because they try and impose something alien – nationalism, Greek, American or other.

Chaos comes about because of a lack of authority. Here we speak about authority, which comes from the Holy Spirit. Authoritarianism with its hatred, bullying threats and harsh punishments is not authority, even though some bishops confuse the two. Authoritarianism come from the lack of the spiritual, it divides. It is precisely the opposite from authority, which unites because the Holy Spirit unites.

Here is the result:

No Holy Spirit means no authority and so chaos. Politics instead of the canons. Authoritarianism and bullying threats instead of authority.

Whether in the Ukraine, in Africa, in the Netherlands, in Lithuania, or in England, it is always the same story. Division caused by hatred for the clergy and the people. Lack of love.





How Papal Infallibility Became Protestant Infallibility

Papal infallibility was only dogmatised in 1870. However, it had existed for over 800 years before that. Probably in 1075 Pope Hildebrand, Gregory VII, dictated his beliefs about the Papacy, in which he claimed for example that:

The Roman Church was founded solely by God.

Only the Pope can with right be called ‘Universal’.

All princes shall kiss the feet of the Pope alone.

His name alone shall be spoken in the churches.

His title is unique in the world.

It may be permitted to him to depose emperors.

No Council shall be called a Universal Council without his order.

He himself may be judged by no one.

The Roman Church has never erred. Nor will it err, to all eternity – Scripture being witness.

He may depose and reinstate bishops without assembling a Council.

He who is not at peace with the Roman Church shall not be considered ‘Catholic’.


These claims all goes further back, not just to the ‘Reform’ of the 1050s, but, arguably, to the revival of the (pagan) Roman Empire in 800 and that in turn goes back to the absolute power of the pagan Emperor in that Roman Empire. After the pagan emperors in Rome had fallen, the Papacy inherited their infallible authority.

But what happened to all this at the Protestant Reformation?

The Protestants claimed that only the Scriptures are infallible. This, naturally, led to infinite arguments about interpretations, just as in Scholastic Europe. ‘My interpretation is right, yours is wrong’. And so begin new infallibilities. One Protestant disagrees with another and their absolutism leads to a multitude of new ‘churches’ and so to new hatreds in a chain of ‘logic’:

You don’t agree with me. Therefore, I hate you. Therefore, I am going to set up my own Church, where you cannot go because I will not allow you to come in. My moralising is correct because I am superior to you. I will not concelebrate with you because you do not agree with me. Such people with their petty hatreds soon find themselves outside the Church. They claim: ‘He who is against me is an enemy of the Church’. This is because they claim that ‘I am the Church’. It is certainly not Christian, rather a curious mixture of Papism and Stalinism.


On the Birth of New Local Churches


Church life is at present in chaos because of the politicians of this world. But this is hardly the first time. We shall get through it. God can make light out of the present darkness, after the eclipse at Christ’s Crucifixion came the light of the Resurrection. The Russian Church and the Church of Constantinople in particular can come out of this present situation, renewed and purified. For if the Church is alive, new Local Churches will inevitably be founded outside the homelands of Orthodoxy. But what are the criteria for a Local Church? What pitfalls are there to avoid? Let us remind ourselves of the present significance of the four essential definitions of the Church of God, which remain just as essential for any Local Church as for the whole Church.


The Church is One. This means that any Local Church must be in communion with all others. If you are not in communion, then you are in some way not part of the Church, your Orthodox Faith is deficient. In order to know the limits of the Church, you simply have to ask others if they confess the One Orthodox Faith in the Creed. Either people confess it or they do not. The lack of the confession of the Creed, established for all time in the fourth century, is why the Roman Catholic/Protestant world, the first part of which was founded only in the eleventh century, was split off from the Orthodox Church and so has never been and will never be in communion with Her.

This is also to a lesser extent the tragic fate of old calendarists and other exclusivists like them, among whom there are some sincere and pious people, but who are not in communion with the rest of the Church. Many of them, most tragically of all, do not want to be in communion with others. Here we are not talking about people who do not want to be in communion with you personally or do not even recognise you because of their personal hatred, greed or jealousy. That is their problem. We are talking about deliberately cutting yourself off, being in isolation from the whole or even parts of the whole of the Church, which means that you have no long-term future and that you will eventually, in time, die out.

Being in communion with all others also means that you have to accept both calendars which are in use in the Church. You should not make the error of several in the OCA in the early days. Some showed aggressiveness towards those using the traditional calendar and even openly mocked them. Immediately they broke the unity of their own Church by being exclusive and so lost many to the OCA, which was supposed to become a Local Church, gathering all together. Instead of gathering together, they expelled. Fifty years later they are still paying the price for the foolishness of disunity caused by their contempt for others more traditional than themselves. But this works both ways. What has to be avoided is exclusivism, for it disunites.


The Church is Holy. This means that the spiritual, and not the material, power, money and property, must be the most important vector in the life of the Church on earth. For since the Church is One (see above), the source of that unity can only be in the Holy Spirit, away from any kind of human deviations. But what do the words ‘the Holy Spirit’, Who is invisible, mean? The Holy Spirit is revealed to us and made incarnate and visible for us in the acts of the Saints. There are those who call this Incarnation of the Holy Spirit, its visible manifestation in the life of human-beings and their creation, ‘spirituality’. This is too vague to be a Church term. The Church term is ‘Churchliness’.

Churchliness means the life of the Spirit in the saints of God, both old and new saints. The veneration of all the saints, of all ages and in all places (in every nation), not just of one or two saints (which can produce unhealthy cults) is the vital guarantee of Church life. Moreover, the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in human life is the authority of the Church. Thus, there have been periods in Church life when the voice of just one saint has carried the Church. We can think of St Athanasius the Great and St Basil the Great in their time, later St Leo the Great, St Maximus the Confessor, St Symeon the New Theologian and St Gregory Palamas.

However, more recently, only in the last century, there were St Nectarius of Pentapolis, St John of Shanghai, St Justin of Chelije and St Paisius the Athonite. They have been saints and are saints, despite all the voices of so-called ‘Church people’ who rejected them and persecuted them. Thus, the authority of the Russian Church in its older saints has been confirmed in Her New Martyrs and New Confessors. Much the same can be said about all the Local Churches which suffered persecution in the last century and produced New Martyrs and New Confessors.


The Church is Catholic. This does not mean that the Church is some centralised institution like Roman Catholicism. It means that the Church remains essentially, in Her spiritual ethos, the same in all places and at all times, but in other respects, in language and customs, She may be hugely varied. This means that we do not accept innovations which contradict the ever new Tradition, but we accept the renewing inspirations of the Holy Spirit which revive and make sense of our lives through the actions of the Holy Spirit for our own time.

‘Catholic’ also means that the Church is multinational – the Church is for all. The Church does not have national ideologies, whatever some individuals may declare. Such racism (in Greek, phyletism) with its flag-waving is not part of Church life, whatever some individuals may do and think. Ideologies are always divisive, but the Church is unitive, bringing together. This is what we pray for in the great litany: ‘For the peace of the whole world, the good estate of the holy Churches of God and the union of all Orthodox, let us pray to the Lord’.

We do not encourage or participate in offensive wars against other races or their languages and we do not mock others or feel superior to them. (Though we may defend others from aggressors). Christ calls all to come together in unity in diversity. He accepts us as we are, only moving us to live without sin, we must accept each other as we are, before we can improve ourselves. We do not want dictatorial, oppressive and centralised organisation, as the heterodox and political- and secular-minded Orthodox want, because we should be united in and by the Faith. That should suffice. Our unity is not necessarily outward, but it is inward, real and spiritual.


The Church is Apostolic. This means that the Church refers back to the Apostles and apostolic life, the life of the missionary. Apostolic also means apolitical, as the apostles were not bound to some State and worked both inside and outside the Roman Empire. This was the case in the first century, but also in the last century, for instance, in the case of St Nicholas of Japan, Equal-to-the-Apostles, who during the Japanese war against Russia in 1904-1905 simply shut himself away and was in no way anti-Japanese. He kept out of politics. The Church is not to be aligned with some political ideology, whether left-wing or right-wing, least of all with the ideology of some foreign State.

This was the principle of the Russian emigration, where temporary Church independence was declared during the Soviet period, when the authorities of the Church inside Russia were scandalously forced to demand political subservience to the atheist State from those who lived in freedom outside it. Part of the emigration declared that it was self-governing and another smaller part took refuge under the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In the same way today, large parts of the Russian Church have been forced to declare independence (the Ukraine, Latvia), small parts have been forced to take refuge in other Local Churches (England, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy).

It is always shocking when State Churches go out and publicly tell their flocks which political party to vote for at elections. I have seen this in the Church of Greece. The 2020 elections in the USA were equally shocking, when the Greek Archbishop endorsed the Democrat Party, even having his photograph taken with the future President Biden. He literally told his people who to vote for. However, it is equally shocking when some right-wing ideology is endorsed by bishops of other Church groups. There are small, inward-looking parishes and dioceses which do not accept those who do not have the same political views as their totalitarian leaders. So the faithful are forced to leave them, simply because they desire faith and freedom.


The Church is and remains One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, whatever mere men may try and make Her into. The Church is all four of these together. For example, a group may be multinational, but if it is out of communion with the rest of the Church, or if it has renounced the Tradition, or if it has replaced holiness, with some political ideology, left or right, it is not of the Church. There are those of us in all jurisdictions, without exception, who are trying to build a Local Church. Why have we not succeeded yet? Simply because there has not been enough Oneness, Holiness, Catholicity and Apostolicity and instead there has been disunity, rejection of the saints, national or political ideology and politics. Today is such a time. But we shall win in the end and those who only care for power, money and property shall be vanquished, for the Spirit is not with them, and new Local Churches will be born despite them.


December 2018-December 2022: On Becoming a Local Church

After the Liturgy for the Feast of the Entrance into the Temple of the Mother of God on Sunday 4th December, Fr Andrew was interviewed informally about the present situation of the Orthodox Church. Below is the slightly edited interview.


Q: What would you say about the events in the Orthodox Churches over the last four years?

A: The present very tragic situation of the Local Orthodox Churches is such that I almost feel nostalgic for the first third of my Orthodox life, before 1989, during the Cold War. In those days there were two groups of Local Churches: those in front of the Berlin Wall and those behind the Berlin Wall. All was clear. You knew exactly why some spoke in one way (because they had a Communist gun in their backs) and why others spoke in another way (because they had an anti-Communist gun in their backs). The first were involuntary hostages, the second were voluntary hostages.

I did not think I would live to see the present chaos, which has accumulated as a result of the errors over the last thirty-three years. First of all, precisely in December 2018, exactly four years ago, the Church of Constantinople, backed by the USA, for purely political and financial reasons started a major schism with the Russian Church in the Ukraine (it had already started a minor one in Estonia, back, I think, in 1994). This 2018 event was the foundation of the OCU, or ‘Poroshenko’s Orthodox Church’ (PCU), as it is called in Ukrainian. Result? The Russian Church refused to concelebrate or have anything to do with the Church of Constantinople and all those who supported it, for example, the Church of Alexandria. In so doing, however, it locked itself into isolation.

Then, in 2019, the small New-York-based Diaspora part of the Russian Church began taking numerous clergy and churches from Constantinople. This caused even more division and controversy. Then, exactly two years ago, in December 2020, the same fraction started a schism with the other Diaspora part of the same Russian Church, which is based in Paris. So there developed a still unresolved schism inside the Russian Church itself! A Church in schism with itself. What have we come to? Then, a year later, in December 2021, the Russian Church formed a schism in Africa, taking nearly 200 clergy and parishes from the Patriarchate of Alexandria, nearly half of its total number of missions there.

As if that was not enough, on 24 February 2022 the Russian Federation invaded the Ukraine and most of the hierarchy of the Russian Church backed the action. From this highly divisive moment on, the once multinational Russian Church started splitting into different Churches, the Russian, the Ukrainian, the Latvian, and perhaps tomorrow the Estonian, the Moldovan and the Lithuanian (where the situation is already dire after the uncanonical defrockings of clergy for merely expressing a different political viewpoint from the Russian Patriarch).

As a result, the Russian Orthodox parishes in Western Europe are cruelly affected, for a majority of their clergy and people are not Russians from Russia, but Baltic Russians, Ukrainians, Moldovans etc. So people have left those parishes, many of which are now undermined. Therefore new parishes of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (not the tiny and uncanonical OCU) have been opened for the (so far) four million Ukrainian refugees in Western Europe. The situation is catastrophically divisive.

Oh, for the good old days of the Cold War! It was all so simple then.

The whole situation is in an out of control spiral. Where will it end? What has happened over the last four years – most of the events taking place every December – is that the century-old uncanonical chaos of the Diaspora, with its multiple jurisdictions, has been spread to Estonia, the Ukraine and Africa and may very well spread elsewhere. For example, it now looks as though Cyprus is going to be affected in the same way, with two jurisdictions developing there too.

This is all due to a problem of lack of authority in the Church, caused by those who are more interested in politics than in Christ. And here authority is very different from bullying authoritarianism. Authority comes from the Holy Spirit, whereas authoritarianism comes from a perverted human spirit.

Little wonder that the Vatican is looking on and saying: ‘What do you expect, look at the chaos of the Orthodox Churches, always at each others’ throats, because they do not have the Pope in control and guaranteeing unity’. Of course, that is nonsense. Anyone who knows anything about the schismatic situations within the Roman Catholic Church knows it to be nonsense. Nevertheless, there is a problem and that problem can only be solved by the highest organ of authority in the Church, a real Orthodox Council, free of politics. Sadly, at the present time the chances of that are probably as small as they were fifty years ago. We have not moved forwards at all. However, miracles do happen.

Q: What do you think will happen in the Ukraine?

A: The arms and army of Russia will win against the very weak and now even weaker NATO in the very risky war that the US began there in 2014. For there has never been a war between Russia and the Ukraine. The latter is just a location for the NATO battles. The war has always been purely between Russia and NATO. The Ukrainians and the huge number of mainly Polish mercenaries there have only been pawns and cannon fodder for the USA, just like the now increasingly arm-less NATO. The new cemetery for them in Poland has 1,200 dead so far.

However, the coming Russian victory in the face of the lack of real support for Kiev on the part of the now bankrupt West, does not solve the pastoral problem. You can conquer a country, but you cannot force its people to attend your churches. There will have to be an Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church, without mention of a Russian Patriarch. The only very unlikely chance of unity would be if there were to be a Ukrainian Patriarch of the whole Russian Church and the ‘Moscow’ title was dropped from it altogether. Then the once multinational Russian Church might be restored.

Q: But surely this is just another Cold War situation, with the Church divided as before into two, East and West?

A: Not at all. It is far more complex than that. There are now three groups of Local Orthodox Churches. There is the Russian Church all by itself in the first ‘group’ and the US-backed Constantinople/Alexandrian Churches in the second group. Those two groups are at daggers drawn. Then, there is the third group, the thirteen other Local Churches. The thirteen others are the only ones that are in communion with everyone, Greek and Russian alike, but still independent of both of them.

True, the Cypriot and Greek Churches may well be forced by political pressure from the local US ambassadors to join the Constantinople/Alexandria group. This would leave only eleven in the third group, independent of both Russian and American politics. However, it seems as if more new Local Churches will also be founded and increase the number of those eleven. Certainly, Autocephalous Ukrainian and Latvian Churches would join that group and any others that might come into existence, for example, perhaps in Moldova. Quite simply, nobody wants to be too close to the Russian or Constantinople Churches at the present time, but all want to remain distant from them and any schismatic actions.

Q: So there is great disunity in the Church?

A: Tragically, yes. For instance, if I think about the Russian-French parish where I used to serve in Meudon, a suburb of Paris, I can clearly see this disunity. In Meudon there used to be only one church, the one where I served. It united everyone locally. Now there are three small parishes in the same small suburb and none of them is in communion with each other! There is the one where I served, which sadly has become very closed, almost club-like and very much Russian only, excluding Non-Russians and even Russians who do not have a certain spirit. Secondly, there is a very modernist Greek parish, which mainly uses French, and finally there is an old calendarist Greek parish, which also mainly uses French. It is so sad to see this quite unnecessary disunity. This is not a local church, but three anti-local churches.

Q: How do you see your own situation in Colchester?

A: In Colchester we defended the church against the evil one. Let me explain.

I remember in 1976 the Belarussian priest in Cambridge, a dear friend, Fr John Piekarsky (Eternal Memory to him), telling us how in the late 60s all the people in his home village in Belarus near Dokshitsy, gathered together and stood around their village church which the atheists, instructed by the crazy Ukrainian Khrushchov, wanted to destroy. An armed militia faced them. The people made it clear that the soldiers would have to gun everyone of them down in order to close their church. The militia backed off and the church was saved.

We also have a Ukrainian parishioner, whose grandmother, Galina, also in the 60s, just lay down in front of the bulldozer which the atheists were going to use to destroy the village church. She made it clear they would have to murder her, the most respected person in the village, to close the church. The atheists backed off and the church still stands today.

Well, we did the same, using English Trust law as our defence. We too had to defend our church from those who wanted to take it away from us, demanded the keys (which we refused to hand over), persecuted and slandered us (only the weak in faith believed such nonsense), and then wanted to close it, just as the atheist nationalists of the OCU do in the Ukraine. We won with the support of many.

Now is the time to confess the faith, there is no need for martyrdom, that is not yet required. But we have to confess the faith against aggressive bullies, those with hatred and not love in their souls, whether Communist or Capitalist. They will have to kill us to steal our churches. We made that clear to them despite, and because of, their aggressiveness and they backed down and lost everything. That was visible to all.

Q: What sort of churches do you have in your group, which since last February has been inside the Romanian Church?

A: I suppose we are rather like Moldovan churches, not just in the sense that we all have Moldovans, but in the sense that we are Russian and Romanian. However, we are also more than that in Colchester, as we have 25 nationalities and our other churches, in Coventry, Little Abington just outside Cambridge, Wisbech, Bradford and Felixstowe, are all still multinational.

Q: Do you have any Greeks among your parishioners?

A: We have very few Greeks, only four in fact, for the simple reason that there are hardly any practising Greeks in any of those places.

Q: How would you characterise the Colchester parish?

A: As you know, our patron saint is in effect a Ukrainian from Poltava who lived all over the world and was multinational in his outlook, St John of Shanghai and Western Europe. He also accepted the Western rite, which at that time, over sixty years ago, was still a reality.

Now, all my life I have worked and prayed that we might be able to build a Local Church. Be careful what you pray for, because you might get it! Well, towards the end of my life, we have managed to avoid all ghettos, both ethnic and ideological, and have been given what we prayed for, a local church.

In the home countries of Orthodoxy, inevitably churches will be mononational. That is normal. In capital cities like London, Paris and Berlin, centres of immigration, you will also have embassy churches, that is, mononational churches. That is not the case here outside London. Here we have to go with the flow, to go with the majority. God sends you a flock of all nationalities, who knock at your door. You behave as the Good Samaritan, not like the priest who walked by on the other side. You have to accept them all, with all their diversity, but it is logical to be with the majority, providing that their hierarchy behaves canonically, and not schismatically.

Q: Isn’t it difficult to have different nationalities together?

A: It can be, but it does not need to be. Nationalists and racists do not come to us (but nationalists and racists tend not to be Christians and, if nominally Orthodox, do not set foot in church anyway), but those with a little tolerance do come. And they learn to accept each other, with the result that you end up with mixed marriages, mixed in the positive sense of inter-Orthodox. For instance, our second priest who is Romanian is married to a Latvian and that is only the tip of the iceberg. We have couples who are Scottish-Cypriot (yes, he did get married in his kilt), Estonian-Nigerian, Moldovan-Guinea-Bissau (that must be unique!), Romanian-Slovak, Ukrainian-South-African, Lithuanian-Serbian, as well as the really rather ordinary English-Russian.

Sad to say, I have seen very many Orthodox parishes all over Europe closing in my lifetime. Why? Because their flocks died out. The original immigrant-parents, the first generation, died and as their children were assimilated and gave up attending a church which to them was foreign, the parishes died out. We must not do the same here. We have hordes of children at our church, between 50 and 100 at every liturgy. I am told that this is more children than in any other church in this country. They are our future. We must not lose them to narrow, bigoted, right-wing ideologies, relating to the past or to the present, or lose them to attempts by exclusivists to grab our properties, as they are the properties which belong to all the local Orthodox of all nationalities, or to some ethnic narrowness, which refuses to preach Christ in the local language.

In the last three months we have chrismated two English people (former Protestants) and baptised another one (who had not previously been baptised) into the Church. May this continue. So, despite the great changes and the chaos caused by politics over the last four years, we continue. We continue despite them all and despite their opposition.



Q and A on the Shipwreck of the Russian Orthodox Church, 1 December 2022: Follow the Money or Follow the Saints

The darker the night, the brighter the stars.

Q: Why did the émigré Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), based in New York, enter into communion with the Moscow Patriarchate (MP), based in Moscow, in 2007? I heard it was for money.

A: It was definitely not for money. No money was involved. This story comes from the self-justification of old calendarists, who left ROCOR rather than enter into communion with the MP and had to give a reason for it. Ironically, some ignorant people in Moscow at the time – and I was there – said that the link-up was because Moscow wanted ‘all the ROCOR money’! Of course, that was an inherited Soviet fantasy, which imagined that all emigres were wealthy aristocrats. ROCOR, which was and is in any case only 1% of the size of the MP, had very little money in those days and Jordanville had survived till the mid-1980s only thanks to handouts from the CIA.

Q: Why did Moscow want to enter into communion?

A: Moscow wanted the link-up for political prestige: if the anti-Communist ROCOR entered into communion, it would mean that Moscow was clearly no longer tainted by Communism, which had fallen 16 years before 2007 in 1991. They needed the ROCOR rubber stamp on that. Patriarch Kyrill himself told a Russian Orthodox Metropolitan whom I know well this very fact.

Q: But surely the MP bishops had KGB code-names?

A: When it still existed, the KGB gave everyone code-names, including Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Neither of them was a KGB agent – as far as I know! Who knows, maybe they had a code-name for you!

Q: But weren’t the old calendarists justified? Surely the MP was corrupt and controlled by the KGB?

A: The MP? You mean the MP bishops? Bishops are not the Church. The MP hierarchy had been held hostage before under the Soviets, yes. And it is true that bishops then were forbidden to speak freely under the Soviet Union, when the KGB still existed. But actually ‘controlled by the KGB’? I spoke to many bishops, priests and laypeople of the MP in private conversations and they were quite free with me! In any case, all that was over 30 years ago. The KGB no longer existed in 2007 and most of the men who were bishops in the KGB’s time are no longer alive today.

True, some of the MP bishops were then, and are now, corrupted by power and money, but that is nothing to do with Soviet rule. Some of the Russian bishops before the Revolution – and judging by their behaviour after the February Revolution perhaps most of them – were corrupted by power and money. That is just human, not systematic. That is and that was their personal choice, not a Church dogma or because of a political system.

For instance, one of the present defrocked MP bishops, Maxim, is in London now. He was already notorious as a loose-living young priest in London a few years ago, but he still got made a bishop, after which he was accused of drug-dealing (no surprises there, for those who knew him) and ran away from police arrest in Russia. Of course, here the authorities gave this criminal asylum. All he had to say to get asylum was that he was against Putin! Two other bishops, both called Ignaty, are in monasteries in Russia, for repentance after moral crimes. What is remarkable is that all three unworthy candidates somehow got made bishops. How was that possible? That is the real question. Why are there so many clearly unworthy bishops in both parts of the Russian Church?

Q: So why did the link-up take place in 2007, if no money was involved? What was in it for ROCOR?

A: It was to stop the already very isolated ROCOR becoming a Protestant-style right-wing sect of the old calendarist variety (which it has now largely become). Unity was the great desire of Metr Laurus and all the Church wing in ROCOR, who could see the danger and temptation of becoming a sect. ROCOR’s only remaining friends, the Serbian Church and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, both advised ROCOR to enter communion with the MP, or else it would become a sect and fall out of communion even with them.

However, the desire of the political wing in ROCOR was to be sectarian, they liked their isolation and life in the ‘One True Church’ ghetto. So some of the isolationists left in 2007 for multiple old calendarist-style, sectarian ‘One True Church’ groups, one of them CIA-financed. Others stayed behind. Those who stayed behind have contributed to some of the present problems. For example, they took in an extremist priest who was with the right-wing mob at the Capitol on 6 January 2021 (the OCA quite rightly did not want him any more after that). Then there were the open recommendations to vote Trump from ROCOR bishops. In other words, American ROCOR refused to keep out of US party politics and even told us, Non-Americans, to support Trump!

Q: Where exactly do the problems and scandals in ROCOR today come from?

A: The problems come from the corruption by power and money of individuals in ROCOR, which at one time was mostly above and outside that. There was, after all, in those days, no money to be corrupted by in ROCOR. There was still nobility and honour, bishops were still servants of the Church, and nobody mentioned the dread phrase, ‘we bishops are princes of the Church’. ROCOR decided to be corrupted, it was under no obligation to be so. In other words, individuals in ROCOR corrupted themselves with American money, the dollar.

This was a tendency that was already present among a few in the 1960s (the ones who put St John of Shanghai and Western Europe on trial in the fleshpots of San Francisco), but the trend grew enormously in the 2000s. The younger generation, who never knew the old, principled and poor emigre ROCOR of St John of Shanghai and others, fell, and they took ROCOR down with them. This will go into the history books and be marvelled at by future generations.

Going to the USA after World War II finished ROCOR, not going to the post-USSR. ROCOR was corrupted by the USA, not by the USSR! That is the irony of it. ROCOR’s corruption was nothing to do with the MP. That is not to say that there are not parallels or that the MP does not have the same problems and even worse. As we have said, what is sad is that corrupt individuals have been made bishops in both parts of the Russian Church, rather than being exposed beforehand and dealt with before they could bring their corruption up to the episcopal level. These anti-pastors and anti-missionaries who with their profound desire for money and property, are mini-oligarchs and have wrecked whole dioceses. They are wolves in archpastors’ clothing

How did they get away with it? How did they deceive those above them? Were those above them blind? Did these individuals corrupt or bribe those above them? Here there are many, many unanswered questions. We understand that the Russian Church only had 150 bishops at the time in 2007. Another 250 have been made since then. But was there no examination of the candidates first? We have indeed returned to the scandals of the fourth century when most bishops were corrupt.

Q: Is the Ukraine affair and ROCOR support for President Putin the end of ROCOR?

A: Yes, it probably is, but only as the last nail in the coffin, which ROCOR had already decided to make for itself long before 24 February 2022. If the Ukraine had not happened, there would have been something else. ROCOR was already on its way out, as it had refused to take the only logical path of survival, that of helping to build up Local Churches. With so little humility, mercy and love, it had become spiritually irrelevant, a tiny Church of tiny ghetto communities in rented properties and wooden sheds, with very little idea of the authentic Russian Orthodox tradition, let alone other Orthodox traditions.

Q: What about the Ukraine and the MP?

A: Above all, the Ukrainian affair is the end of the highly centralised Soviet and post-Soviet Moscow Patriarchate, as it developed after 1925, after the repose/martyrdom of the holy Patriarch Tikhon, who was also, by the way, an American citizen and after whom a New York street has now been named. It is the end of the ‘Soviet Orthodoxy’ of Metropolitan Sergius and those who admire him, the end of erastianism, the end of that strange mixture of centralised bureaucracy, protocols, narrow nationalism, ritualism and superstition that was accepted on account of the ignorance of people, who had been held captive by Soviet atheism for three generations.

Q: What is the future?

A: Today the whole Russian Church, the MP and ROCOR, has to be recast. Both will have to change names, restructuring themselves completely and granting autocephalies, founding new Local Churches. They will both have to stop living in the past, whether centralising Soviet or CIA-funded anti-Soviet. That period is over. Both terms, MP and ROCOR, are purely Soviet and anti-Soviet, purely political and belong to a historical period in the past. They are not relevant today. An anti-corruption purge among senior clergy must take place before both parts of the Russian Church can recover and become credible once more. Now is an incredibly decadent period, when both the Church hierarchies are living under the shadow of the money-money corruption that began in the 1990s. However, great potential is still there, the potential of the New Martyrs and the New Confessors. All the corrupt have to do is to recognise and to repent for their huge errors and only then can they both move forwards.

Q: How could ROCOR have avoided compromising itself on the Ukrainian question?

A: As I said, by providing three foundation-stones for new Local Churches, that is, in Western Europe, North America and Australia. Instead of that, ROCOR continued to make out that it was Russian and a kind of super-territorial Church, refusing to work together with other local Orthodox, pridefully placing itself above them and persecuting its own clergy and people, siding with Moscow like obedient slaves. The fall from grace, from the moral high ground, has been great. But, as ever, a fall is always preceded by pride and it was the towering pride of the pharisees that destroyed ROCOR.

The refusal to help build Local Churches, to live in the here and now, thus losing generations of young people who found it all so alien, is in defiance of the Dogma of the Incarnation. The rejection of the implications of that Dogma has been an open invitation to cultivate phariseeism, sectarianism and Californian-style cultishness. And that is precisely how it has ended up: a right-wing, Protestant-style sect, like so many others in the USA, only with the folklore of exotic, purposely untranslated words to mystify the uneducated, with vestments, ritual and incense.

It is also hypocritical because today the language of the New York Synod is English. Most of its bishops cannot speak Russian correctly or grammatically. It grates on the ears of real Russians. In conversation they break into English as soon as possible. Thus, we have a pretend-Russian Church. Why not be honest and co-operate with other Orthodox locally and help build up new Local Churches? Instead of that, ROCOR has pridefully said that it is better than others, superior to them, whom it despises.

It has also been uncanonically stealing priests from Constantinople and uncanonically ‘defrocking’ pastors and even attempting to close down the communities of the canonically-minded, who with integrity object to ROCOR’s uncanonical and schismatic activities, as well as to ROCOR’s illegal attempts to seize property. (This is exactly what the present regime in Kiev is doing to canonical churches in the Ukraine, seizing them in order to close them down. Nobody will go to the seized and uncanonical churches. So that is the same situation as here).

As a result, other Local Churches are, quite rightly, refusing to concelebrate with this new ROCOR. In Europe, ROCOR is not even in communion with the MP’s own very small Parisian Archdiocese of Western Europe. It is sheer hypocrisy.

Q: But isn’t the MP also corrupt, perhaps even more so?

A: Individuals in both parts of the Russian Church have been corrupted by power and money. In the MP it is only worse because it has access to greater temptations – more power and more money. That is why all the mini-oligarchs now face the same chastisement – the war in the Ukraine. This has for ever divided both parts of the Russian Church. The Russian Church is no longer an agent of unity between Russia and the Ukraine, but an agent of division.

Most Orthodox no longer want to go to Russian churches. The Cathedral they built in Paris ten years ago for 50 million euros is virtually empty, the oligarchs gone, the local people rejected, no parish community has been formed. The same in the Cathedral in Nice, where they spent 20 million euros on restoration. They have all put their petty nationalism and ritualism above Christ. The fact that they can have a war with each other shows how low the spiritual level is in both countries. I have seen this coming over the last fifteen years on frequent visits to Russia and the Ukraine, as well as here. Golden or blue cupolas, gold decorations, colourful frescoes, but empty churches. No pastors, and so no parishes, just priests carrying out rituals.

Q: When did the situation for ROCOR change?

A: I think the turning-point here came in 2018. That was the beginning of the end. The leader of ROCOR, the meek and weak Metr Hilarion, became prey to dementia and cancer. Others around him, lacking the traditional Orthodox Christian spirit, read and signed his letters in his place and he had no idea what was going on behind his back.

Q: And in the MP?

A: In the MP the weight of careerists hit a tipping-point around the same time too, in about 2018, having, just like ROCOR, also failed to drain its swamp. The results: lack of prayer, the refusal to take the sacraments, churches like railway stations with people going in and coming out, the lack of any parish communities, the need for paid choirs (or else there will be no-one to sing) and no sense of belonging. Superficiality and folklore, passed down from great-grandparents. Money, money, money. No wonder so many Russian Orthodox have become Protestants, especially in the Ukraine and in the West. In the Ukraine it is said that up to 18% are Evangelicals. Outside San Francisco there is a huge Russian Protestant/Pentecostal church. In London, UK, too.

All of this is the result of almost total pastoral failure, which has brought with it the persecution of the pastors who do exist. There are clergy, whether MP or ROCOR, who are clergy simply because it is a career and they would fail or have failed in a secular career. The careerists are notable for their ‘Popeness’, their narcissism and total lack of love. They are heartless. Some of them are not even believers, let alone were pious laypeople before ordination.

Now they are paying the price. How did they think they could ever get away with it? The only solution is repentance. Because otherwise: ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord’ (Rom. 12: 19). And that vengeance is terrible, as we can already see in the Ukraine and it is not finished yet. Once you cut yourself off from God and commit blasphemy, like these careerists have, you have no more spiritual protection from the demons.

Q: How do you feel about having left the Russian Church after nearly 50 years?

A: I think we all feel the same – we feel a huge sense of relief. We got off the Titanic eight days before it hit the Ukrainian iceberg. We left a nightmare, which has become far worse since last February. We got out just in time and feel sorry for those who did not leave then. We were on the last flight out of Kabul. That was Divine Providence for us. But we still hope that good can come out of evil. We await the great cleansing of the Russian Church and so its re-formation, reconfiguration and restructuring. The old is completely compromised; they decided to follow the money instead of following the saints. The Russian Church has to return to being a Church of the Saints, of the New Martyrs. Otherwise it has no reason to exist, except as a money-making business organisation, if you consider that that is  a reason to exist.

Today, more and more are coming to us, refugees from the Russian Church, Russians and Ukrainians, who put Christ above their passports. They are all disgusted with what is happening there. So we have become an oasis for the refugees from the very real shipwreck that is the Russian Church today.



The Latest Statistics on Religion and Language in England and Wales

59.6 million people, 89% of the UK population, live in England and Wales. According to the 2021 national census, 46.2% of these are nominal Christians. This is down from 59.3% just ten years ago. It comes as no surprise at all, as the various churches here have for decades been frequented almost only by old people and those churches are therefore quite unsurprisingly dying out. We would fully expect a drop of at least another 13% in ten years’ time, bringing the number of nominal Christians down to 33% and in thirty years’ time the figure for Christians could well reach 7% of the population.

The census also reveals that the second largest group in the country is those who have no religion, at 22.2 million people, or 37.2%. Their number was only 25% ten years ago. This will in ten years from now probably become the largest group.

The situation reflects that in other Western countries. Some are ahead of this (Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Czechia, Canada, Australia), others still some years behind (USA, Poland), though rapidly heading in the same direction. So this is the suicidal direction of the whole Western world, unlike in other civilisations, where traditional religious values, national identity and family life are important.

As regards the two most common languages in England and Wales apart from English and Welsh, these are Polish and Romanian. 612,000, 1.1% of the population, speak Polish, and 472,000, 0.8% of the population, speak Romanian. Ten years ago there were only 68,000 Romanian speakers in England and Wales. This means that over 400,000 Romanians and Moldovans have settled here in the last ten years, the vast majority of them Orthodox Christians. It would suggest that there are at least half a million Romanian-speaking Orthodox in the British Isles and Ireland, with perhaps 450,000 Romanians and 50,000 Moldovans.

Protestantism (which includes the so-called ‘Church of England’) is dying out, as it is a culture of the past, and Roman Catholicism has largely been destroyed by pedophilia and lack of normal priests. In the Orthodox world, Greek Orthodox churches are emptying, as the mainly Cypriot immigrants who came here largely in the 50s and 60s are dying out, their children assimilated into secularism, though they leave behind them an excellent infrastructure of churches and property which belongs to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. However, of its clergy that Archdiocese has 100 elderly clergy and only 3 candidates to ordain to replace them. Though far smaller, the Russian and Antiochian Orthodox are in the same situation, indeed there is no longer a single Russian bishop in the UK. Other Orthodox groups are far smaller still.

All this explains why there are so many Romanians in all Orthodox churches. Generally, where there are children, you know they are Romanian. For example, we usually do about 120 Romanian baptisms a year and about 40 of all other nationalities, Moldovan, Greek, Russian and English. However, in the Northampton Romanian parish they did 850 baptisms last year.