Monthly Archives: February 2023

On Those who Betray the Church and Those who are Faithful to the Church

Tell everyone that the evil that is in the world will grow even stronger,

but that it is not evil that will triumph, but love.

Tsar Nicholas II 

The Tsar and the Tsarina thought that they were dying for Russia.

In fact, they died for all mankind.

Pierre Gilliard

The misfortune that has befallen Russia is the direct result of grievous sins and her rebirth is only possible through cleansing from them. However, so far there has been no real repentance.

Bishop (now St) John of Shanghai

I have been asked many times from North America and from far distant Australia, to explain what seems to them the unexplainable, the spiritual catastrophe that took place here over the last five years, when what once was the Persecuted Church became the Persecuting Church, and how we avoided it. We explain to you that the Church has and has always had only one parts, but that there are two parasitic parts which outwardly mask it:

The Quenchers of the Spirit

These are young, inexperienced, often homosexual, lovers of money and power, slanderers, but above all narcissistic lovers of themselves. They are swimmers with the tide, agreeing with any who have power and belonging to them and their intrigues. They love worldly success and titles for they have sold their souls for material things. They have no future and will die out because they have no principles and nothing spiritual to give. As our Metropolitan said of them: Such always end up outside the Church.

The Sectarians

Although there are many good, sincere, simple and naïve among them, they have been misled by leaders who are pharisees and who love wealth. They love to condemn others and isolate themselves. As a result, they create and live in inward-looking ghettos. They say: ‘We don’t want many people here. It is cosier together’. They are dominated by the elderly and, sooner or later, they will die out.

The Faithful

These love the Saints of all nations and of all times. With the Saints they are the World Resistance Movement. Although they are hated and persecuted, they are always victorious, like the Saints and like their Master Christ, Who says: ‘Fear not, little flock’!

Here is what we believe:

Our Creed

We believe that we now stand at a parting of the ways in world history with the millennial failure of the Western world and Western religion. Therefore, we live for the restoration of the integrity of Orthodox Christendom. Although some are betrayed by the young Judas with his hand in the money bag, riven by nationalist subservience, compromised by money-oriented careerism, strangled by bureaucratic centralism and reduced to sectarian ritualism, we follow the Orthodox Christian way, the way of the New Martyrs and New Confessors, the way of the Saints of God. For the King is coming and we must be ready to meet Him.

I have lived in several European countries, not only in Russia. Just as I recognised neither the Soviet Union and post-Sovietism, nor do I recognise the European Union and post-Europeanism. The latter Union was born just a few days after the funeral of the former Union, as the demons that had haunted the USSR for exactly 75 years from December 1916 to December 1991 crossed westwards and found another corrupted and rotting corpse to infest and consume.

I was brought up with Tsar Nicholas II, the man who is maligned far more than any other in history, and with the murdered Alexander Pushkin and Ivan Turgenev, but also with William Shakespeare, Johann von Goethe, Alphonse Daudet and Knut Hamsun. I listened to Piotr Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rakhmaninov, but also to Johann Strauss, Edvard Grieg, Charles Trenet, Amalia Rodrigues and Albert Ketelby. I lived in Saint Petersburg, but also in Oslo, Paris, Thessaloniki, Lisbon and Vienna, passing through Belgrade, Geneva, Berlin, Prague, Madrid, Rome, London, Helsinki, Budapest, Bucharest and some very obscure but far more significant places inbetween, for their significance is mystical.

There is a birch forest and dusty summer tracks just outside Ekaterinburg in the Urals, a log peasant house outside Great Novgorod, a village on the Slovak border with the Ukraine where they have never spoken either Slovak or Ukrainian, the whitest sandy beach in the Gaelic Outer Hebrides by a ruined monk’s cell, a special old farmhouse with an apple orchard in Suffolk, a fragrant pine forest on the ambered Baltic coast of Latvia, a dark backstreet in Porto where I did a funeral service, the woods of Thassos in the azure-blue Aegean, a secret, lilac-filled courtyard in north-east Paris, left over from another age, a path by Lake Balaton in Hungary and a path by Lake Naroch in Belarus, and a little wooden chapel in the Romanian Carpathians that belongs to hermit-shepherds. They have all played a part. All these places, and many others, form one continuous story. But that is the little epic of a family with branches scattered across Old Russia and Old Europe and which is yet to be told. The tale of that Resurrection is for another time and another place.

In all my wanderings through Russia and Europe I have always believed that Russia must return to its roots and identity in order to refind itself. Since 2014, by Divine Providence, this has been happening. However, I have always believed that Europe too must return to its roots and identity in order to refind itself. This can be so through the example of Russia’s return, but it will be very radical and it will hurt a lot. Just as it hurt and hurts Russia. Humility, like the Church, always hurts.

Nevertheless, all can still come right, injustices can still be righted. The thirst for justice and for restitution can still triumph over the conspiracies of the past. It is always the same sevenfold story: Repentance, return, redemption, rebirth, restoration, restitution and resurrection. They form one continuous story. But that is the great epic of all the families with branches scattered across Russia and Europe and which is yet to be told. The tale of that Resurrection is for another time and another place.

Our Life


Our one road is the road God made

And all that we gave is repaid.

And as we follow this chosen road,

We know the blessing for what we sowed.

And as we tread, so do we fight,

In this great war beneath God’s light.

For we know that the Night will cease,

And like a shining white-robed priest

Coming forth all bright from the East,

The streaming Dawn will break and sing

That God, our Wisdom and our King,

Will grant us Life and Light and Spring.












Heresies, Schisms, Divisions and the Consequences of the Ukrainian Tragedy

The misfortune that has befallen Russia is the direct result of grievous sins and her rebirth is only possible through cleansing from them. However, so far there has been no real repentance.

Bishop (now St) John of Shanghai

Death is the enemy of Life; and he has many friends among men, in all those authorities in whom a debased sense of Life is linked with temporary power.

Introduction: On the Misuse of the Words Heresy and Schism

The words heresy and schism have been much misused and even abused, for self-justifying nationalist and political reasons. For example, Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky) (+ 1936) was accused of ‘heresy’ (heresy is a Greek word meaning a wrong choice) for stating that not only Christ’s Crucifixion, but also His Agony in Gethsemane played a part in our Redemption. Those who unreasonably accused him of ‘stavroclasm’, that he had rejected the centrality of the Cross, either misunderstood his words or else deliberately distorted his words out of personal dislike or, more often, because of differences in political views. Or there is Patriarch Sergius of Moscow (+ 1944), who was accused of the ‘heresy’ of ‘Sergianism’, a ‘heresy’ named as such by a priest who was a CIA operative and freemason! Of course, that Patriarch sinned through cowardice, abject lies, subservience to militant atheism, careerism, bureaucratic centralism and ritualism. The same misuse and abuse have happened with the word ‘schism’. (A Greek word meaning a split). This word has been misused to describe parishioners who left a (corrupt) priest for a non-corrupt priest, or who left a schismatic bishop for a non-schismatic bishop. The only schism was that of the bishop they had left! The same is true of political ‘defrockings’ (See below).

For example, over the last century the Russian emigration and the Patriarchal Church inside Russia were at each other’s throats for generations and accused each other of being ‘heretics’, ‘schismatics’, ‘without grace’ and ‘defrocked’ one another’s clergy. However, when the time came for reconciliation a few years after the fall of the USSR, they suddenly both withdrew all charges, stating that they had all been politically motivated. In other words, both sides had been lying the whole time! No wonder that there are priests who have been ‘defrocked’ by the KGB or the CIA and are considered to be confessors and not defrocked at all. Such ‘defrockings’ are of course all reversible, unlike what is stated on a Kremlin-funded, English-language ‘Orthodox’ website, which carefully censors all disagreement with itself. There is nothing new here. St John Chrysostom (+ 407) was also ‘defrocked’ for political reasons, St Nectarios of Pentapolis (+ 1920) was suspended because of jealousy, slandered, exiled and later canonised. As for St John of Shanghai (+ 1966), in the early 1960s he was suspended by his own ROCOR Synod and put on trial as a common criminal by his fellow-bishops. Later they canonised him! Nothing has changed.


In the fourth century the Church became established, that is, it became closely linked to the State. There were many advantages to this, such as not being persecuted, being able to do missionary work freely, or receiving State financial aid to build churches. However, there were also many disadvantages, for example, officials were nominated as bishops by the State as part of an attempt at command and control, with centralisation, bureaucracy and protocols, clergy lined up in rigid ranks like soldiers, churches which were nationalist ghettos and not parish communities, and money charged for sacraments, all amid ritualism and superstition. St Basil the Great (+ 379) complained about bishops who had this mentality as not real bishops, they would side with anyone. Some of them did indeed know very little about Orthodox Christianity, some of them were probably atheists, or at least they behaved as the worst atheists. In any case, they compromised the Faith by their way of life, even though on paper they did not renounce the Creed, or Symbol of Faith, and so by inertia remained Orthodox Christians, but only nominally and formally, that is, only outwardly, and only for a time.

However, as usual, when you start living in a way that differs from the Creed, you fall into heresy. Now a heresy is a teaching that contradicts the Creed, which was drawn up at the two Universal Church Councils at Nicea in 325 and Constantinople in 381. Those who follow heresies are called heretics. The contents of the Creed, agreed on by all for all time, are dogmas of the Church. To apply the words ‘heresy’ and ‘dogma’ to anything outside the spiritually-revealed Creed is a misuse or abuse of the term. So a heresy is a separation from the Church for a dogmatic reason and leads to new dogmas and a new way of life, opposed to the Church. Many of the above nominal Orthodox Christians duly became heretics, called Gnostics, Arians, Nestorians, Sabellians, Donatists, Monophysites, Monothelites, Iconoclasts etc. Generally extremely proud and self-justifying, they all essentially denied that God is the Holy Trinity or that God had become man. All of these groups therefore denied some part of the Creed. Some of their naïve adherents, ‘heretics’, did return to the Church, but others, not naïve, did not.

The Roman Catholic Example

As an example of heresy, it was out of the situation of a State Church that in the eleventh century a new heresy (a heresy because it changed the Creed) called ‘Catholicism’ was born. This is a religion which is actually a State in itself. Its promoters who were greedy for power (unlkei its unconscious victims), wanted all the advantages of being a State Church, without the disadvantages. They did this by creating a ‘Church-State, that is, they put themselves above the State, making their institution into a Superstate. At the origin of this was their alteration to the text of the Creed, adding the word ‘filioque’, which implies that their Pope of Rome replaces Christ and the Holy Spirit. Thus, Orthodox Christians in Western Europe were forced to leave the Church by the invention of this new ‘Roman Catholic’ religion. Those who were conscious of this change were heretics, as they replaced Christ, present through the Holy Spirit, by mere men, with the title of Pope of Rome. The consequences were almost immediate.

At once bloodthirsty military campaigns were organised to obtain power, conquering lands and resources. The Popes of Rome promised the men who took part in them that whatever they did, murder, rape, theft, pillage, they would go to heaven because they were doing it in the name of the new Roman Catholic god. These expeditions were called ‘Crusades’ and started in what is now Italy, Spain and England (in 1066) and were then taken to Palestine, southern France and Eastern Europe (in the thirteenth century). These then developed into internal crusades with the bloodthirsty Inquisition and were spread in the sixteenth century to what is now Latin America. Certain Roman Catholics were still murdering and pillaging in Croatia and the western Ukraine only three generations ago and were still being promised a ticket to heaven by their Roman Catholic clergy for their Fascist deeds. This is what happens when you replace the Holy Spirit with some manmade teaching. In other words, false teaching always becomes a heresy and so leads to an evil and deformed way of life.


A schism is a permanent separation from the Church for a non-dogmatic reason. Often these reasons are nationalist and sectarian, though there is also the risk of schisms becoming heresies. For instance, from an Orthodox Christian viewpoint, Protestantism is a schism from Roman Catholicism. Although Protestantism confessed the same heresy as the Roman Catholicism through the same filioque deviation from the Creed, it did not agree with Roman Catholicism in other respects and so split away from it. Therefore, in the sixteenth century dissident Roman Catholics separated, calling themselves Protesters. Then, as is always the case with schismatics, they disagreed with each other and have since separated into a myriad of sects. For sectarianism, usually accompanied by personality cults, is the result of schisms. Of course, apart from this classic case, there have been a multitude of other schisms. And just as heresies lead to an evil and deformed life, so schisms also result in hatred, jealousy, lies and slander.

For instance, in Russia in the seventeenth century there took place the ‘Old Ritualist’ schism. This was about minor changes in ritual, but because the changes were imposed by the State, they led to a schism, which soon became violent and split into multiple schisms, just as in the Protestant model. A more recent example is in the last century when those in Greece who did not want to accept the dating of the Western calendar for the fixed feasts, as the Greek State was insisting under pressure from Western governments, operated schisms from the Orthodox Church. They called themselves ‘old calendarists’ and they in turn also split into a multitude of sectarian groups that hated one another. As the calendar is not a dogmatic issue (the Creed never mentions it), separation on this basis is a schism, not a heresy. And finally there is the case of the nationalist and Sovietised US-based Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russa (ROCOR), which instituted a schism from the multinational Archdiocese of Western Europe. Although they are both groups under one and the same Moscow Church, yet they are now not in communion with one another.


Finally, there are divisions. These are neither heresies, as Church teachings are not involved, nor schisms, as they are not permanent. These are temporary separations from the corrupted administration of a Church, usually for nationalist or political reasons. In other words, a division is due to differences of opinion between bishops or groups of bishops. Divisions have existed and exist within the Roman Catholic and Protestant worlds. For instance, Liberal Methodists separated from Tory Anglicans and so far only some have returned, and various groups of Traditionalists have separated from liberal Roman Catholics and, again, so far only some have returned. The danger here, as with all divisions, is the risk of them developing to schisms, that is, they become permanent, and so full of nastiness, hatred, jealousy, lies and slander.

In the Orthodox Church there have also been several divisions for nationalist or political reasons, especially over the last two centuries. For example, the Bulgarians separated from the Constantinople Greeks, the Macedonians from the Serbs, three different groups of Russian emigres separated from the Church inside the USSR and Serbian emigres separated from the Church inside Yugoslavia. Most of these issues were resolved, divisions overcome, even if it took decades and generations, almost a century in some cases. Despite these generally positive resolutions, today there is a new cause and outbreak of such divisions and they risk turning into schisms, that is, becoming permanent. These divisions are all centred around one single subject: the highly centralised and profoundly corrupt ex-Soviet (and not very ex-Soviet) multinational Republic of the Ukraine

The Ukraine

The first new and serious division here (there had been old divisions) took place in 2018 between the most powerful Local Orthodox Churches, the Greek (7% of the baptised, or four Local Churches) and the Russian (70% of the baptised and one Local Church). This left the vast majority of the Local Orthodox Churches (23% of baptised and ten Local Churches) in shock. When in 2018 the Greeks set up a new Church on Ukrainian territory, which has been under the Moscow Church for nearly 350 years – shocking enough – the Russians replied by refusing to concelebrate or co-operate with the Greeks – just as shocking. Then the Russians in turn set up a Church on the territory of Africa which, apart from Egypt and Libya, had been Greek Church territory for nearly 100 years – more shocking. Thus, a separation in the Ukraine had spread to Africa, a territory which the US and China with Russia are directly battling for political influence in. The consequences of this division are now escalating even further.

It seems that power does indeed corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. For of course, behind this division lies power politics, the desire for control of territory and so for money. The small Greek Churches are heavily financed and even controlled by the US, and the much larger Moscow Church is heavily financed and even controlled by the Russian State. Yet another new escalation took place one year ago in February 2022, as a result of the war that had begun between the US-controlled Ukraine and the Russian Federation in 2014. This had followed the violent US-organised coup which overthrew the democratically-elected Ukrainian government. The result was the present highly centralised, puppet regime in Kiev, financed and armed by the West, and threatening to complete its genocide of those of Russian language and culture in the east of the Ukraine. In response, in 2022 Russia sent in troops to protect those of Russian language and culture in the east of the Ukraine. A war had begun.

The Tragedy of the War

After Russia’s vastly superior forces had defeated the Kiev forces within a few weeks, the Kiev regime was about to conclude a peace agreement, but it was forced by the US to break off negotiations. Thus, in a second escalation, the US made its vassals send old, mainly Soviet, military equipment to re-equip the Kiev forces. By summer 2022 Russia had destroyed that equipment too. Then, in a third escalation, the US-led West began sending huge sums of money ($150 billion in twelve months so far), huge amounts of its own military equipment, training Kiev troops and also paying tens of thousands of mercenaries to fight on behalf of the beleaguered Kiev regime. Russia will destroy that too, but of course it will take even longer and even more will die. The proxy-war is being fought until the last Ukrainian and the last mercenary who wants to fight is dead. It is a giant war crime.

The result is that today Kiev dead number between 160,000 and 300,000 (including several thousand foreign mercenaries). Russian dead number 19,000. And this does not include the hundreds of thousands of physically wounded and psychologically wounded (traumatised). This does not include the damage to the infrastructure of what was already one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in Europe, which is still the battlefield for this proxy war between Washington and Moscow. This European war is unspeakable in its horror. Nor have we mentioned the millions of refugees who have fled to Russia and to various countries in Western Europe. Millions of lives have been disrupted and there are hundreds of thousands of widows and orphans. How could anyone possible approve of this tragedy? And yet…..

The Tragedy of the Moscow Church

The tragedy here is that the Orthodox faithful both in Russia and in the Ukraine used to belong to one united Church. The Church, centred in Moscow, used to be multinational, with faithful not only in the Russian Federation and the Ukraine, but also in Belarus, Moldova and Kazakhstan, and with millions of others in over sixty other countries around the world, especially in the Western world, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, the countries of Western Europe, Northern America and Australia. However, almost the whole episcopate of the Moscow Church inside Russia has failed to condemn what is now a nine-year long civil war, in which nominal Orthodox are killing nominal Orthodox. The result is that the once multinational Moscow Church is rapidly becoming a national, not to say, nationalist, Russians-only, Church. Why would Non-Russians want to belong to a Russian-controlled Church, where they cannot even express their own opinions? Most don’t, not to mention many Russians themselves, for whom the Church should have nothing to do with war. The Russians will surely win the war in the Ukraine, but the far, far greater challenge was to win the peace. Sadly, that seems to have been lost already and inevitably an independent but canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be born there.

Thus, left-wing liberals in the USA and the Roman Catholic politician Cardinal Koch have accused the Russian Patriarch of ‘heresy’ for saying that ‘the Russian World’ (wherever there are concentrations of ethnic Russians) must be united and that the Russian soldiers who die to unite Orthodox will go to heaven. (The accusation by Cardinal Koch is particularly hypocritical, since for its whole existence Roman Catholicism has claimed that those who murder others to make them Roman Catholic will go to heaven). Although clearly not heretical but just nationalistic, the Russian Patriarch’s words do invite profound disagreement, and not only among fringe liberals. Few, if any, agree with the Patriarch. These words are his personal opinion. They are especially strange, given that the leader of what used to be a multinational Church is seen to be promoting militant nationalism, just as his Greek Orthodox enemies do through their nationalist racism, which they call phyletism. Where is the difference between Greek and Russian leaders? Six of one and half a dozen of the other?

The Break-Up of the Moscow Church

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of both sides in the war and of its final outcome, the result is that everywhere, outside the tightly-controlled Russian Federation and Belarus, the faithful have been leaving the once multinational Russian Church. Either they have left for other Local Orthodox Churches or else they have declared themselves ‘fully independent’, as in the Ukraine and Latvia. Most recently there has been the case of five Orthodox priests in Lithuania, four of whom are ethnic Lithuanians. Not surprisingly, as Non-Russians, they find that they cannot agree with the Russian Patriarch and do not want to belong to the same Church as him. The result of this is that they were ‘defrocked’ (forbidden the priesthood) by the Moscow Church, even though they are not in Russia or Russians. However, they have now been allowed the priesthood by the Church of Constantinople, which had jurisdiction in Lithuania some 350 years ago. (Ironically, Constantinople, today called Istanbul, is now the largest city in Europe and with a population of Russians probably fifty times greater than its Greeks).

Apparently, these priests are not allowed the right to freedom and self-determination, they must obey what has become a foreign, since no longer multinational, Church. This situation is unthinkable in a Western country which has a culture of freedom. And of course, you cannot be defrocked for a difference of opinion about nationalism or politics! Real defrocking happens only when a priest behaves immorally, for example, he steals money or he is involved in sexual impropriety. Clearly, ‘defrockings’ like those in Lithuania are not canonical, they are purely political, and are not recognised by anyone except the present Moscow authorities. The irony is that those who defrock in such cases, though not in this one, are often guilty of real causes for defrocking! For instance, over the last fifty years in North America and Europe, only very recently in the Antioch jurisdiction, we have seen priests ‘defrocked’ for being whistleblowers because:

Their bishop was a pedophile.

Their bishop was heretical or schismatic.

Their bishop was homosexual.

Their bishop was committing fornication.

Their bishop wanted to sleep with the priest’s wife.

Their bishop was jealous of a priest’s church and tried to steal it from him.

Their bishop wanted a priest to spy for a secret service.

Their bishop was an atheist and ordained atheists.

Their bishop was a careerist and ready to commit any crime in furtherance of his career.

In each case the priest left his bishop and was duly ‘defrocked’! Of course, the ‘defrocking’ was completely ignored and the priest continued to serve, transferring to a normal bishop. As a result, the persecuted priest gained respect and his ‘defrocking’ bishop lost all respect, together with much of his flock – and also his career.

Conclusion: The Dogmatisation of Personal Opinions

As we can see, these new divisions are not at all theological, but nationalist and political. Here we are in the world of personal (political) opinions, the world of intolerance. Differences in personal opinions have nothing to do with heresies and schisms. Personal opinions are here being treated as dogmas. The Faith is the same. When Church authorities intolerantly impose nationalist and political opinions, they automatically divide their flock, as we see today in the Ukraine. Thus, the Moscow Church has lost moral authority in most of the Ukraine, not to mention in most of the rest of the world outside the Russian Federation and, one day, in Belarus too. The Moscow Church is rapidly ceasing to be the multinational Russian Orthodox Church and becoming a mononational Church. You cannot be a multinational Church and be a national (and nationalist) Church at the same time. You must decentralise yourself, as the USSR was decentralised (but astonishingly the Church was not decentralised), and grant other nationalities freedom and independence.

Only two bishops of the present Moscow Church have remained traditional, that is, multinational Russian Orthodox, by diverging in their opinions from the authorities. One of them, Metr Hilarion (Alfeev), was disgraced and exiled to a church in Budapest, the other, Metr Jean Renneteau, a French national, has courageously expressed his total disagreement (1). As far as they are concerned, through unequivocal support for the war in the Ukraine the Moscow authorities have confused the Church with politics, thus discrediting the Church which they represent, as well as themselves. These divisions are only about nationalism and politics. A dispute about territories and whether they belong to or do not belong to a Local Church has nothing to do with the creed and heresy and schism. Through their centralisation the Church authorities have dismissed the right to freedom and self-determination. And sadly, despite constant warnings, the centralisation of these Church authorities is not a case of Resovietisation, as there never was any Desovietisation.


Reading the above there are those who will fall into despair. They are mistaken to do so, for they have forgotten Church history. Now is the Gethsemane of the Church, that is, the moment not of Her defeat, but of Her victory has begun. Christ is deserted by His disciples, who have fallen asleep, but as time and time again in Church history, when cast aside and deserted, this is the moment when Christ has overcome the world. The arrogance, narcissism and sense of impunity of the crazies who, even in complete freedom, sell their souls for a mess of Soviet pottage, accepting brainwashed ‘obedience’ for the sake of their careers, more Soviet than the Soviets, are cast down. Throughout the Russian Church, exactly as St Seraphim of Sarov prophesied, there will be a great cleansing from corruption, a generational change among the episcopate. From that will follow the repentance and restoration of the Russian Orthodox Church (which, it seems, now no longer exists) and the resurrection of the Russian Lands. But first they must go through this Great Tragedy, the Crucifixion of the Ukraine, the war that has happened on account of the apostasy of those who denied the Church of God. They reduced it to the sins of cowardice, abject lies, subservience to militant atheism, careerism, bureaucratic centralism and ritualism. Did they really think they could get away with it? We follow another way, the way of the New Martyrs and New Confessors. For the King is coming and we must be ready to meet Him.



  1. See:












News from Lithuania

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has announced that his Synod has unanimously reversed the defrocking of five priests in Lithuania who were defrocked for disagreeing with the conflict in the Ukraine and the apparent support for it by the Russian Church authorities. As the vast majority of Orthodox bishops agree, defrocking cannot take place because of a difference of political opinions. This is a question of basic human rights. The priests in question have been received into the Patriarchate of Constantinople, meaning that there are now two jurisdictions in Lithuania, as there have been for nearly thirty years in Estonia. Of course, in Western Europe there are multiple jurisdictions and have been for over a century. The five priests also expect that others in Lithuania will follow their example.

Some will object that the priests in question did not receive letters of dismissal to leave from their Russian bishop (they were defrocked after they had already asked to leave). However, it is the common practice of at least one part of the Russian Church, ROCOR, to receive any number of clerics and parishes from the Patriarchate of Constantinople without letters of dismissal. This seems to be because ROCOR claims that it can receive clerics without letters of dismissal when there is an issue of conscience. And yet when clerics are leaving for reasons of conscience a ROCOR schism, as, for instance, the clerics who left ROCOR because of its schism with the Paris Archdiocese of the Russian Tradition (part of the same Local Church!) and were received into it without letters of dismissal (merely because ROCOR refused to write them!), ROCOR still defrocked them after they had been canonically received. Here we have the same situation and practice in reverse, from the Russian Church to Constantinople.

Further developments are expected.

On the First Anniversary

The following wide-ranging compilation of nearly 4,000 words provides answers to several questions posed over the last twelve months by various correspondents. Here those answers are made public on this, the first anniversary of our life within the Patriarchate of Romania and among its saints.


Q: Was it difficult for all your parishes to transfer to the Romanian Orthodox Church on 16 February 2022?

A: No, it was very simple, very straightforward. The negotiations with the Metropolitan and the Patriarchal canonists took only four hours. The letters of reception were issued two days later and are available for all to see and the antimensia singed by Vladyka were issued ten days later. All was clear and the correctness of our reception was only confirmed by the contrary reactions and astonishing untruths told by certain individuals in ROCOR and even in the MP after our departure in the two weeks that followed, namely that we had not in fact been received! Metr Joseph was very shocked by that. Those untruths totally discredited their authors and the websites they operate.

I am afraid to say that ROCOR now does not have a good reputation among the Local Churches. Other Local Churches know what it has become and are happy to accept persecuted clergy and churches from ROCOR, providing that the vast majority of the people in the parishes want such a transfer. Our vast majority was 4,853 for and 15 (very naïve) people against. Of those 15, most only came to church from time to time and were not listed as parishioners. Tragically, one was persuaded not to come because a certain bishop, under political control, told her not to come here. The result of this is that she has deprived herself of Church life.

Q: Has anyone come back after leaving you?

A: Only one person. She said that she had been misled and was very regretful. But we welcomed her back with open arms and do not mention her mistake to her.

Q: Has the loss of 15 people affected you financially?

A: Collections have increased by over 20% since they left. This is probably because they have been replaced by 47 new parishioners. In order of numbers and nationality these are Russians, Moldovans, Romanians and Ukrainians.

Q: Had you thought of transferring to other Local Churches other than the Romanian?

A: We had not, but they had! We received various offers, but there was only one place we wanted to go after being forced to leave the Russian Church, and that was the Romanian Church, which is outside both Greek/American Democrat politics and Russian/American Republican politics.

Q: What fundamentally forced over half of the English Diocese of the Russian Church Outside Russia to leave it after decades of faithfulness? Was it a question of keeping your property, as some have said?

A: The last straw was its uncanonical actions and schism even with part of the Russian Orthodox Church. Now all that is left is the London Russian parish and a tiny set of mainly convert-run groups outside London with a total of under 200 people in them all told.

Q: Who forced you to leave the Russian Church?

A: Our departure happened through, but not because of, our old family friend, the then 78-year old Metr Jean Renneteau in Paris, although he himself very much wanted to keep us, as he has confirmed in several phone-calls over the last six months. He was very sad to lose us and wants us back. It was all against his will. Let you remind you that it was Metr Jean, whom we backed to the hilt, who finally brought 57%, the non-masonic part, of his Archdiocese, the part where we always had family, close friends and allies, out of schism back to the Russian Orthodox Church. His feat has gone down in history and we greeted it enthusiastically at the time in 2018, as you can read on this site.

However, to get back to the answer to your question, the problem was his superior, who is younger than our three eldest children! It was he who forced Metr Jean to abandon us against the interests of the Russian Orthodox Church, for purely political reasons. When he was informed that if he forced all 16 clerics and their parishes out, we would all go to the Patriarchate of Romania, he replied: ‘Too bad for them’. He had no interest in keeping us because we were not Russian. That is very significant.

For it means that the Russian Church in its present form does not want to do missionary work, does not respect or want to keep its clergy and people, even after a lifetime of unpaid service. It wants to disunite and scatter, rather than to gather together, to destruct rather than to construct. This is suicidal on its part because it means that there is no point in anyone joining or being part of the authentic millennial Russian Orthodox Church, especially those who follow its real Tradition, speak fluent Russian and are its greatest friends!

This is the end for the Russian Orthodox Church anywhere outside Russia and, for the moment, Belarus, for many years to come, depending on the new Patriarch. The Church as it is now will only attract the naïve, who will soon fall away once they see through it, or else right-wing converts with illusions. They were not even born when we were living Orthodoxy in the times of Martyrdom for the Faith and Confession of the Faith in the Soviet Union.

Q: 16 February marks the first anniversary of the transfer of the ‘mini-diocese’ of which you are part, from the Russian Church to the Patriarchate of Romania. Apart from no longer being in schism, what are the differences you have noticed?

A: I think I can sum it all up in just one word: Freedom. For example, in order of the least important to the most important:

Firstly, we can now use our own liturgical English and do not have to use American. So we are no longer being forced to use a foreign language and can carry on using the same liturgical language as we have always used for the last fifty years before others were even born! So we are not being forced to renounce the Tradition, as was definitely the case before.

Secondly, all our websites can operate freely, without censorship. Censorship and threats to free speech are over.

Thirdly, we can now do missionary activity, we are no longer prevented from doing so, with the result that we have already opened two new parishes in the past year and have hopes of opening others elsewhere, especially in the Midlands. Our main problem is lack of funds, so here we appeal to all those who support us to help with fund-raising.

Fourthly, we can now follow in everything the legacy of the ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva, who ordained me to the priesthood in 1991 after seven years serving as a deacon and which represents the old multinational ROCOR, the ROCOR of Orthodox Tradition, the Russian Orthodox Church, and not some administrative divisions of it made up over the last century. We so knew and loved the real Russian Orthodox Church so well, but it no longer exists. Archbishop Antony had under him the then only Romanian parish in Paris, which of course was on the new calendar. (In those days, there were several new calendar Orthodox parishes in ROCOR, even in the USA, and that raised no problems).

Now the favour is being returned with what is basically a multinational Russian/Moldovan deanery under the Romanian Church. This means that we are on the old calendar, but if some want to do services on the new calendar, that is possible. Though it does not interest me personally, I can understand that for some it may be important and I say: Please go ahead. It is a pastoral matter. We have Vladyka Joseph’s blessing. All this expresses the spirit of the future Local Church, and not of some ghetto-sect. There is no room for micro-management in such situations, you have to be broader-minded.

In general, I think this freedom to live as normal Orthodox comes from the fact that we are no longer held under by converts, who have only been Orthodox for a few years and are so insecure in the faith that they hold to rigid manmade rules, which nobody else holds to, including in the Moscow Patriarchate. One of the things that recent and inexperienced converts do not realise is that Love is much greater than narrow manmade rules, which are only guidelines.

Their disease is called convertitis, you know that defensive narrowness and headborne dryness of spirit that can also come from doctorates. That disease belongs to the pharisees, who think too much. It has become common in parts of ROCOR, where before it never existed, especially since about 2016. It is what Fr Seraphim Rose fought against in California – for that was and is where the evil began and is spreading from – in the 1970s, quite rightly calling it ‘super-correctness’. It is sounding brass. Now we are in communion with all and are not threatened by the sectarian trends and schismatic pressures of before.

Then, of course, already by Divine Providence in the Romanian Patriarchate, we avoided all the politics connected with the American-Russian war in the Ukraine, which reflects so badly on the Russian Orthodox Church because of its political involvement through its centralisation. At the time several of us said that we had ‘got the last flight out of Kabul’. We have Russians and Ukrainians in our churches, as well as many other nationalities. We can welcome all to our churches. You don’t have to belong to the grim and depressing, right-wing, Protestant-style, pseudo-Russian group of people who do not speak Russian.

Another thing that worries me is that aggressive Western governments may ban the Russian Church in their countries, as those governments have already done in the Ukraine and Latvia, where the local Orthodox have accepted a de facto (though highly providential) autocephaly of the Church, an independence from the highly centralised Russian Church, even though it may not officially be called ‘autocephaly’. If such a ban does happen in the future, at least we are already out of the mess and so will have been saved from such unpleasant problems and political manipulations. God saved us before time.

Q: What do you think the Russian hierarchy should have done on 24 February 2022?

A: Today is the feast day of St Nicholas of Japan, Equal-to the-Apostles. His icon is one of the twelve on the Colchester church iconostasis. He is the key. When in 1904 Japan, armed to the teeth by the Russophobic Western Powers, attacked an unprepared and unmilitarised Russia, Bishop Nicholas, a Russian living in Tokyo, simply locked himself away and prayed for peace. Here is our model. The Russian Church has to return to its multinational itself.

Q: Do you regret anything in the events around you and ROCOR?

A: For us, not at all. All this was the best possible thing that could have happened in those circumstances and all on the eve of that terrible war. For ROCOR, however, I regret greatly.

After the reconciliation with the rest of the Russian Church in 2007, which I witnessed and I had worked towards for decades, ROCOR for a period of about ten years enjoyed unprecedented global prestige in the Orthodox world. We were the Church which had canonised the New Martyrs, the Church which had been the politically-free voice of the Russian Church during its Soviet captivity, we were the Church of the Faithful Confessors, of St John of Shanghai, we had returned to communion with all and were welcomed and thanked for our witness. We received grace. The potential to help develop missions and work towards Local Churches, co-operating with other politically-free Orthodox, was there. Icons gave off myrrh in those days. Today it is a very different story. The acquisition of grace, which St Seraphim of Sarov explained is our aim, has been replaced by the acquisition of money, power and property.

Instead of nurturing that grace and co-operating with others, the grace was step by step misused and abused amid the sectarian spirit of exclusivism. This excluded even the then First Hierarch Metr Hilarion, well before his dementia. As a result, ROCOR is now mainly becoming a historical footnote as the American Synod, which is being even further discredited by the Belya affair, yet another affair of forged signatures. ROCOR has voluntarily Sovietised itself. It is very important to understand that this was all voluntary, it was never forced on ROCOR by Moscow. Certain figures are not so much interested in humility, fasting, poverty and prayer, as in power, luxury, money and property. The problem is lack of pastors. Some have been replaced by bureaucrats, ‘effective managers’, as the Russian jargon goes.

Its hope of survival in Northern America today is in being absorbed into the Moscow-founded OCA, which is about five times bigger. That is what Moscow wants and it is logical. Outside Northern America, ROCOR hardly exists in Latin America, where forty years ago it had, if I remember rightly, six dioceses. As for the thirty or so parishes of Australian ROCOR, they will now have to follow the fate of the Indonesian Mission which ROCOR handed over wholesale to Moscow. It abandoned its mission there, the same as it did here, only here to the Romanians. Australian ROCOR may as well become part of a new Autonomous Church, but under Moscow and linked up with its South-East Asian Exarchate.

Q: What about the ROCOR churches in Western Europe? There are still nearly 90 parishes or small communities there.

A: In Western Europe ROCOR is only really present in Western Germany and Switzerland. In the other Western European countries there is only a handful of parishes and communities, one, two or at most three in each country, if any at all. There is nothing in Scandinavia and Portugal has now been abandoned. In Spain there is one tiny convert group, in Italy there are two parishes on the French border and hardly anything is left in the Netherlands and France. Logically, the ROCOR parishes in Germany, which are in any case mainly peopled and clergied by expatriates from the ex-Soviet Union (and a few convert groups, with often fewer than 10 or at most 20 members) should join Moscow.

This is what Moscow asked for five years ago in exchange for its parishes in the Americas to be given to ROCOR. Sadly, ROCOR refused, missing the boat, the once in a lifetime offer, which will probably not be made again. Then it claimed that it will not join up with Moscow for 50-100 years! Moscow was very angry with the individual who said that. Moscow looks on Western Europe as its territory, as an integral part of Eurasia.

However, the situation has become very complex in Western Europe since the war in the Ukraine, as most of the Moscow parishes are themselves peopled by Ukrainians and especially Moldovans, as in Italy (70 out of 72 parishes). With over thirty new canonical Ukrainian parishes independent of Moscow in Western Europe founded in the last nine months and the possible mass defection of Moldovans to the Romanian Church, as is beginning to happen in Moldova itself and has in fact happened in England, it is difficult to see a future for the Moscow Exarchate. Russian nationalism rules and that means isolationism, being in communion with no-one. It is returning to the times of its tiny Exarchate of Soviet patriots of the 60s and 70s and the war in the Ukraine has isolated Most of the faithful have left its new Cathedral in Paris. Security men frisk you as you go in, as in an airport. I am told that congregations number about thirty. Even my friend Nikita, the very Russian nephew of the late Archbishop Basil Krivoshein, has left.

Q: Surely you regret having to leave the Russian Orthodox Church after nearly fifty years?

A: You misunderstand. We never left the Russian Orthodox Church, that is, we never left the spiritual world of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is part of the whole Orthodox world. All that happened is that we were forced to leave the administrative world, the bureaucracy, of the Russian Church. We are exactly the same as before and continue as before. Nothing has changed. When the administrative world with its protocols frees itself of politics and the spiritual world takes over once more, as it will, and sooner than some think after President Putin, then we shall see what will be decided. The mess will end and the injustices will be sorted out, but not yet. Then those who swim with the tide will swim in the opposite direction, as we have seen so many times before. In Russia they still have many things to suffer in repentance for the Soviet period.

Q: Did you know that your faith would be challenged in this way?

A: In September 2020, we went to Mt Athos to see the clairvoyant Fr Evthimios, the closest disciple of St Paisios the Athonite, whom I met in 1979 together with the ever-memorable Fr Ephraim of Arizona. We met him at the skete where he had built the first ever church dedicated to St Paisios and asked him what we should do, given the internal persecution against us. He said he would send me an answer. In May 2021, after the ROCOR schism had begun, I received a message from him and that was: ‘Do not fear the courts of men. Your case will be decided in the highest court’. And this is exactly what we did and exactly what has happened.

Q: You set up a church in Norfolk and two churches in Cambridgeshire for the people there. So effectively the Colchester parish is for Orthodox in Essex and Suffolk, your home counties, the other two counties in the East of England. Do you still visit Orthodox outside these counties?

A: Of course, I do. I visit my parishioners in many parts of the country among all those rendered Churchless by the absence of Church life which pervades the spiritual desert of modern England. Not just the new and young, but also the old, including the grandchildren of those who came here after 1917, who as adults had known the old Russia. Their parents departed over the last generation, so these grandchildren of emigres are now themselves elderly. These are the people who, like me, knew the traditional ROCOR priests like Fr George Sheremetiev (+ 1971), Fr Alexander Trubnikov (+ 1988) and Fr Mikhail Artsimovich (+ 2003). (Fr George was the one who advised the late Timothy Ware not to join ROCOR because it was being ‘taken over’.

Like them, my godfather, Nikolai Mikhailovich Zernov (+ 1980), however much I disagreed with him, would never have accepted the present situation. Even someone like the equally liberal, non-ROCOR Metr Antony Bloom (+ 2003), despite his well-known human weaknesses which scandalised so many, must be spinning in his grave at what is going on in the Russian Church today. Several of his disciples, for example in Amsterdam and Madrid, have actually left the Russian Church or been suspended by it and his disciple Metr Hilarion (Alfeev) has been exiled to Budapest. He would have been exiled also. As for the equally liberal, late Metr Kallistos (Ware), you can imagine….

In the days of the traditional ROCOR, there were no converts who wanted to rebaptise everyone. You know, the ones who are more Orthodox than the Orthodox, but have no idea that Orthodoxy is Christianity, just an exotic sectarian cult with its cultish podcast and zoom gurus. In the old days, there were few ill-educated, ritualist clergy with superstitions, money-grubbing, politics and phariseeism with as much spiritual refinement and subtlety as a Soviet tank, incapable of confessing or preaching. Lumps of cast iron against antique timepieces.

I recently visited and gave communion to just such a Russian daughter of White emigres in Esher in Surrey, who gave a lot of money in the 1990s to help build the church in Chiswick (like the late Golitsyns), but received bad treatment there. I knew her mother in Paris and have known her and her family for 35 years. Like so many rather aristocratic Russian émigré women, her mother, a child in pre-1917 Russia, became a seamstress in Paris in the 1930s. After the war she had opened her own fashion house and had the Audrey Hepburn elegance, style and class that no longer seems to exist anywhere today, though her daughter has inherited it:  ‘Elegance is the only beauty that never fades’. No botox and tooth-whitening for such people, unlike several Orthodox bishops and priests of all jurisdictions in California.

A spiritual daughter of the wonderful Fr Alexander Trubnikov from Tsarskoe Selo and Meudon, but now deprived of the Church, she talks to God in her garden. That is where she can pray. There are churches, but she cannot go to them, some people who control them are unChristian. But she remains Christian, Orthodox Christian.

Q: Were you hurt by the slanders against you?

A: No. Our first reaction was one of astonishment. Next came laughter at the attempts to manipulate the naive and ignorant who did not know us. These were so ridiculous. The came sadness that people who called themselves Christians could do such things, their souls full of hatred, covetousness and above all jealousy. All this only discredited their authors. It is called the boomerang effect. They reflect very badly on those who issued them. Did they really think that such novel New World manipulations could work among experienced Orthodox in old Europe?

Q: How would you sum up what happened to you last year?

A: I would say that ROCOR fell into a trap of its own making, it was put to the test and failed. In 2007 it was given an opportunity to behave like Christians, but instead, the culprits revealed who they are (both the ones in ROCOR and the few others elsewhere who repeated the untruths of ROCOR). We know their names. The internet knows their names. And above all God knows their names.

It is a tragic warning that if you desert God, He will desert you. And that is what is happening to it through its self-discrediting. The waste of potential is enormous. God gave them everything and they squandered it. What must St John of Shanghai be thinking of this spiritual suicide? Like the apostles, we have shaken the dust off our feet and moved on. May God grant them to know love for others before they reach their death-beds. I tremble in their place. But this is how the Church is cleansed.

Q: Do you feel as though this chapter is closed and you can slowly retire?

A: Now you make me laugh! That chapter was closed a year ago, but slowly retiring?! You haven’t seen anything yet. There is so much more to do. If God grants me life to do it all. The pastoral catastrophe in this country is such that I need another fifty years to contribute towards remedying it just in my little corner. I have only just started!

16 February 2023



























Belya (and all the other defamation cases in the long pipeline) versus ROCOR

Court won’t revisit ruling allowing priest to sue church for defamation

February 8, 2023

By Daniel Wiessner

Split court says lawsuit doesn’t implicate religious matters

Dissenting judge says ruling will destroy church autonomy

(Reuters) – A sharply divided U.S. appeals court on Wednesday declined to reconsider a ruling that said a former Russian Orthodox priest could sue the church for defamation without interfering with its internal governance.

The Manhattan-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 6-6 vote denied en banc review of a three-judge panel’s September ruling, with the dissenting judges claiming the decision would eviscerate church autonomy protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The panel had rejected the Russian Orthodox Church’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit by Alexander Belya, who claims church officials’ false accusations of fraud and forgery led to him losing an appointment to become the bishop of Miami.

Lawyers for Belya and the defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The panel, affirming a New York federal judge, had held that because the lawsuit focuses on “neutral principles” and not matters of faith or religious doctrine, the church was not shielded from Belya’s claims.

But in a dissenting opinion on Wednesday, Circuit Judge Michael Park said church autonomy applies not only to religious matters but issues involving internal governance.

“It is difficult to see how a court could assess [Belya’s] claim without considering the reasons for the church’s decisions, including whether Defendants correctly determined that Belya was never elected Bishop of Miami and whether they acted in good faith,” Park wrote.

Park, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, was joined by four other Republican appointees and Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes, who was appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton.

In an opinion backing the denial of en banc review, Circuit Judge Raymond Lohier said Park had improperly implied that Belya purposely styled his lawsuit as a defamation case to get around the doctrine of church autonomy.

“At this stage, Belya’s claim is a genuine defamation claim that, as the dissent’s refusal to take it at face value suggests, would not implicate church autonomy,” wrote Lohier, an appointee of former President Barack Obama.

Lohier was joined by fellow Obama appointee Circuit Judge Denny Chin and four appointees of President Joe Biden.

The case is Belya v. Kapral, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 21-1498.

For Belya: Bradley Girard of Americans United for Separation of Church and State

For the defendants: Diana Thomson of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty


Case 21-1498, Document 297, 02/08/2023, 3465457, Page 2 of 12

“First, the Dissent writes that “[t]his case arises from a minister’s suspension

by his church,” and that the lawsuit “is styled as a defamation claim.” Dissent at

  1. The suggestion is that this case is not really a defamation case, but instead

seeks to intrude on a church’s autonomy by subjecting Defendants “to litigation

over religious matters.” Id. at 10. In fact, this is a defamation case and not a case

over religious matters. If Belya’s allegations are true — and we must assume they

are for now — this is, as the first amended complaint (the “Complaint”) declares, “a

case of egregious defamation.” J. App’x at 87. If the allegations are true,

Defendants made public accusations that Belya forged and fabricated certain

documents, including accusations that Belya forged the signature of the “ruling

bishop” of ROCOR onto two letters, that he fabricated or otherwise improperly

obtained official letterhead, and that he falsely affixed to the letters what appeared

to be the ruling bishop’s official seal. See id. at 95-97. The allegation that Belya

committed forgery was posted on the church’s social media site by one or more of

the Defendants and was re-posted and circulated by religious news outlets and

publications. Id. at 98.


Case 21-1498, Document 297, 02/08/2023, 3465457, Page 3 of 12

“Simple, non-ecclesiastical factual questions are presented: Did Belya forge

the letters in question? Or did the ruling bishop actually sign the letters? Were

the letters on the ruling bishop’s official letterhead? Were the letters stamped

with the purported signatory’s official seal? Or were the purported letterhead

and stamps a fabrication? These are factual questions that a fact-finder could

answer without delving into matters of faith and doctrine.

Significantly, the Complaint seeks only damages (and attorney’s fees and

costs) and not injunctive or declaratory relief. The Complaint does not seek an

order declaring that Belya was in fact elected to the position of Bishop of Miami or

an injunction requiring Defendants to install him into that or any other position;

nor does it seek to vacate Belya’s suspension from the church. See Belya v.

Hilarion, No. 20-CV-6597, 2021 WL 1997547, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. May 19, 2021) (district

court noting that “Belya does not ask this Court to determine whether his election

was proper or whether he should be reinstated to his role as Bishop of Miami”).

Rather, the Complaint asserts only three defamation claims and a fourth claim for

vicarious liability related to the defamation claims, and it seeks only damages.

This is, indeed, a defamation case.”



A Romanian Proposal for the UOC: A Wake-up Call for the Ukrainian Government

06 February 10:53


Author: Konstantin Shemliuk

The Romanian-speaking communities of the UOC have been invited to move to the Romanian Church.

Romanian public organizations have called on the Romanian-speaking parishes of the UOC to join the Romanian Church. Why is this a signal for the Ukrainian authorities?

At the end of January, a number of Romanian public and political organizations published an appeal to the Romanian-speaking Orthodox parishes of Ukraine with a call to join the Romanian Patriarchate. Among the signatories are the Romanian East Association, ProVita Bucharest Association, ROST Association, MORE Association and others.

The reason is the repression of the Ukrainian authorities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. After all, out of 120 Romanian-speaking parishes in Ukraine, 110 belong to the jurisdiction of the UOC. So given the pressure that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is under today in Ukraine, the possibility of Ukrainian Romanians going under the leadership of the Romanian Patriarch appears quite probable. So what is really happening with these parishes, and is it only about them? Let’s figure it out.

Persecution of the UOC and the reaction of Romania

Tough statements from Romania about the persecution of the Orthodox in Bukovyna by the authorities are becoming increasingly louder. On January 15, 2023, ex-MP Gelu Visan spoke on Romania TV about “the crimes that they (the Ukrainian authorities) commit against the ministers of the Lord.” A week later, his rhetoric became even tougher. On television, he compared Zelensky’s actions against the UOC with the policies of the Nazis.

“I see that Zelensky, as the commander-in-chief of the army and law enforcement agencies, is committing an act of Nazism. This footage (SBU searches in the dioceses of the UOC – Ed.) should be sent directly to the European courts, because the most flagrant violation of religious and human rights, ethnic and religious cleansing can be seen here. All this is extremely serious,” the politician said.

At the end of January, Romanian politicians began to study the situation on the ground. MP Dumitru-Viorel Focsa came to Ukraine on purpose to meet with priests. He recorded several video interviews with them, blurring their faces and changing their voice.

According to Foksa, Zelenskyy’s repressions against the UOC are “complete madness.” He said that “Romanian priests are being terrorized and forced to leave the autonomous canonical church of Ukraine to enter the new political church.” The deputy of the Romanian parliament also said that the interviewed clerics of the UOC are “very scared” and “in need of protection”, but remain faithful to their Primate and do not want to go over to the Romanian Church.

But maybe Foksa is exaggerating and, in fact, no one touches the Romanian-speaking believers and their parishes in Ukraine?

No, he isn’t.

Because most of the “Romanian” churches in our country are located on the territory of the Chernivtsi-Bukovyna diocese. And we all remember very well that it was precisely this diocese that was demonstratively “nightmarized” by the SBU officers – with breaking down doors, stripping everyone who was in the diocesan premises to their underpants, throwing dirt on the Chernivtsi bishop, and so on. We also remember that simultaneously with the “searches” of the security forces, an incredible number of almost identical publications appeared in the media discrediting the clergy of the Chernivtsi diocese.

It is quite obvious that the searches and, moreover, the publications, and later also the scandalous video of Quarter 95, are links in the same chain. In other words, a political command.

And if so, is it possible to say that the defendant (Chernivtsi-Bukovyna diocese) of this order was chosen by chance? Of course not.

Firstly, this diocese is led by the head of the DECR UOC, Metropolitan Meletiy, who has already opened several dozen parishes of the UOC in Europe.

Secondly, this diocese is notable for its faithfulness to Orthodoxy. For reference, there is an UTC in the Chernivtsi region where not a single Uniat or Catholic parish is registered, and the parishes of the OCU exist only on paper.

Thirdly, this diocese is the birthplace of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.

Fourthly, it is in the Chernivtsi-Bukovyna diocese that one of the most famous (including abroad) bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Longin (Zhar) of Bancheny, serves. To list all the merits of this man, a Hero of the Ukraine, is a thankless task. Suffice it to say that he fostered more than 300 children (many of whom are disabled) and that he is in charge of an orphanage in Molnytsia village.

An ethnic Romanian himself, Metropolitan Longin enjoys great prestige and respect among the local Romanian-speaking population, regardless of religion. Therefore, it is precisely for this reason that the blow to the Bukovynian diocese, to the metropolitans Meletiy and Longin, and indirectly to His Beatitude, echoes so painfully in Romania.

Thus, the authors of the appeal mentioned at the beginning of the article are sure that “taking note from the media of the dramatic reality that Metropolitan Longin (Zhar) faced”, he should “immediately become the head of the Romanian priests and believers in Ukraine and, together with them, demand re-jurisdiction with the Romanian Orthodox Church.”

MP Dumitru-Viorel Focsa published a video in which a priest of the UOC, an ethnic Romanian, said that representatives of the OCU “behave like nationalists.” “We did not unite with them, because we realized that this is a religious-political movement, and we are Orthodox. We don’t do politics. We preach Christ. We do not go against the state, but we cannot violate the Word of God and His commandments,” says the clergyman.

He also said that no one supports the Ukrainian schismatics, and therefore they decided to “destroy us, because when we are gone, they will come instead of us.”

“In this chaos provoked by the war, using nationalist slogans, with the help of the military, they are trying to instil fear in us. Ukrainian parishes are subjected to even more harassment, but we also hear threats, and we were promised that as soon as the war ended, they would take over us too,” the priest said.

Focsa, in turn, reminded the audience that the OCU is backed by the President of the Ukraine, while “armed people and SBU officers come to the churches of the UOC with searches and threats, instil fear in the priests, forcibly undress them and take pictures” (note that all this took place precisely in the Bukovyna diocese – Ed.).

Summing up the results of his visit to the Ukraine, Foksa says that violence is used against the UOC, and many priests are “threatened with expulsion if they use the Romanian language in worship.” He also said that they are accused of being pro-Russian and pro-Putin.

“This is Stalinist rhetoric without evidence, shameful and stupid. So I will report to the European Parliament Commission on Violence. Ukraine does not know how to respect minorities, and the European Commission, the European Parliament should know what these Kyiv politicians are doing,” the Romanian MP said.

How “patriots” are pushing Ukrainians into the arms of Romanians

It is clear that the situation evolving around the UOC clearly plays against the image of the Ukraine in Europe and in the world. Such appeals, and most importantly, moods are supposed to somewhat moderate the ardour of the “patriots” and cool the “hot heads” in the Ukrainian politicum. But we do not notice either the former or the latter.

Thus, the Bukovynian publication “BukInfo” devoted an entire “revealing” article to Metropolitan Longin “The double game of Metropolitan Longin, or Who did the dirty on whom in Bukovyna.” The authors, without any scruples, accused Vladyka Longin of lying and further stated that he “decided to simply skedaddle to the Romanian Orthodox Church, using Romanian right-wing radical organizations and journalists who are fed by the Kremlin.”

Of course, such publications only “add fuel to the fire” of the Romanians’ dissatisfaction with everything that is happening today in Ukraine regarding the UOC and its Romanian-speaking parishes. All this leads to the Romanian media urging the President of the country, Klaus Iohanis, to ban Ukrainian citizens from entering the country, and to send all Ukrainian refugees, “especially the rich and in luxury cars” back to the Ukraine. At the same time, Romanian journalists believe, “Romanians from Northern Bukovyna, Gertsa and the Odessa region should leave the Ukraine for Romania until the situation in this country is resolved.”

“We have shown more than humanity, we have shown brotherly love for the Ukraine, and this is how Kyiv reacts: they persecute Romanian parishes and priests, and the children of Romanians are sent to war,” say outraged journalists.

In the light of the foregoing, it is not difficult to guess that if the authorities of Kyiv still ban the UOC, then none of the Romanian-speaking parishes, priests and parishioners will transfer to the OCU. Given the attitude of Romanians towards the Orthodox faith and the Church, as well as the Ukrainian schismatics, they will definitely prefer to accept the proposal of Romanian politicians and ask Patriarch Daniel to enter. Moreover, the Council in Feofaniya gave such an opportunity and even the right of each diocese to decide its own fate.

However, it can also be assumed that the ban on the UOC may result not only in the migration of Romanian-speaking parishes to the Romanian Patriarchate, but also in the migration of Transcarpathian communities to the Serbian Patriarchate and Galician communities to the Polish Orthodox Church.

Moreover, our compatriots are directly pushed to such a migration by those who consider themselves “patriots” of the Ukraine. For example, Volodymyr Viatrovych, MP from the European Solidarity faction, said that those who reject the OCU should leave the Ukraine or answer according to the law.

What will happen to the Ukraine in this case? And how will our country look in the eyes of the world community? The answer is obvious.

Not less obvious is what a Christian, if necessary, is going to choose between the Church of Christ and the “religious organization” created by Poroshenko. Because the Church for people who believe in God is not a part of political or national discourse, but a question of the eternal destiny of their souls. In the literal sense of the word.






Prophecies and War

The Orthodox Church

200 million people belong to the Orthodox Church. Of these 140 million, 70%, are Russian Orthodox, though since that Church is multinational, only about 100 million of them are ethnic Russians, many others live or used to live in the Ukraine.

Most practising Russian Orthodox remain outside the artificial ‘left/right’ manipulation of politics, invented to hoodwink people into thinking that they live in democracies and have choices. True, the vast majority of Orthodox are social conservatives, making us in secular eyes, right-wing (‘Fascists’), but we are also for social justice, free health and education, making us in secular eyes left-wing (‘Socialists’). Just the opposite of those who are social liberals and economic liberals, LGBT anything goes plus law of the jungle capitalism, anti-Family and anti-Nation. Orthodox support pro-Family and pro-Nation policies which unite the people.

The Orthodox Church has 1,000 bishops. 300 of these are in Russia or Belarus. However, probably the most respected Orthodox bishops are in persecuted Serbia and in the persecuted Ukraine. However, those who have authority in the Church, who have the respect and reverence of the people, are the saints and righteous and those who are considered to be saints, elders and righteous, a few of whom are bishops, most of whom are not, and some of whom have made prophecies.

On Prophecies

We must be very careful now to distinguish between prophecies and the hoaxes and frauds of attention-seekers and money-seekers. Any fraud can get up in the morning and say in a podcast: ‘I received a message about the future, I had a dream about the future, and was told so and so’. No, I am talking about words said by those who have had authority for decades and generations, who are venerated for their humble lives, about saints or elders who will be declared saints by the people, if they have not already been. In other words, we are not talking about George Bush’s ‘God told me to invade Iraq’. We are talking about the spiritual.

Here it must be added that all authentic prophecies are conditional. Prophecies are only warnings, whose timings can be postponed by hundreds and even thousands of years. People can change their ways and then the realisation of the prophecies is postponed. The prophecies remain true, but their application may be delayed, depending on human reactions to the warnings they contain. Never doubt that people can regret, turn back and change. But also never doubt that the prophecies will come true, if there is no change in behaviour once the warning has been issued.

I have no prophecies, but I do know of prophecies that are relevant today. Those for example of St Seraphim of Sarov (+ 1833), St John of Kronstadt (+ 1908), St Aristocleus the Athonite (+ 1918), Archbishop Theophan of Poltava (+ 1940), St Seraphim of Vyritsa (+ 1949), Elder Seraphim of Belgorod (+ 1982), with whose blessing I act, St Paisios the Athonite (+ 1994), whom I met, Elder Nikolai Guryanov (+ 2002), whom I venerate, and Elder Jonah of Odessa (+ 2012), on whose tomb I pray.


Here are some of their prophecies: St John of Kronstadt said that ‘the deliverance of Russia will come from the East’. At the end of his life St Aristocleus said that ‘the end will come through China. There will be an extraordinary outburst and a miracle will be revealed from God’. Archbishop Theophan of Poltava said that there must be a Tsar forechosen by God and that the restoration of Orthodoxy in Russia would provoke hatred in the world, which ‘will take up arms against Russia’. This was confirmed by Elder Nicholas Guryanov, who predicted that President Putin will be succeeded by a Tsar, as was predicted also by St Paisios the Athonite.

Elder Iona, beloved by Orthodox in Odessa, said: After me there will be a bloody Easter, a hungry Easter and a victorious Easter’. Of course, as with all prophecies, interpretations vary. Does a bloody Easter refer to 2022, a hungry Easter refer to 2023 and a victorious Easter refer to 2024? There are those who say that a victorious Easter may refer to 2023. If only it could be so…St Seraphim of Sarov predicted that: ‘Towards that time the bishops will become so impious that in their impiety they will surpass the Greek bishops of the time of Theodosius the Younger, so that they will no longer even believe in the chief dogma of the Christian Faith…There will begin the preaching of worldwide repentance’.

You can dismiss this if you wish. But you will still have to admit that there are some curious coincidences. We see that there are those who think only in terms of world supremacy by force. What secularists do not understand is that the long-term domination of the world does not come through secular power, which is only short-term, it comes through spiritual power, which is long-term. We are not like the Roman governor Pontius Pilate who asked Christ: ‘What is Truth?’ because he had a secular mind. There was no answer to his question because he had asked the wrong question. He was staring the answer in the face. His question should have been: ‘Who is Truth’?  And here we are, avoiding nuclear Armageddon and we shall continue to do so, however blind Pontius Pilate is.


A Message from a Churchman

When God wants to speak to men, at the beginning He whispers, only when they don’t listen to Him does He throw rocks.


Everything has fallen apart. Educated society has lost all understanding of what Christianity is. Every day I can see before my eyes the ongoing corruption of our clergy. There is no hope at all that they will come to reason or understand their condition. Everywhere among them there is drunkenness, debauchery, simony, extortion and secular interests. The last remaining believers are trembling with repugnance over the condition of their clergy. And there is no one to finally realise just what brink of destruction the Church is standing on or what is happening.

The opportune time was missed. A disease of the spirit has taken over the entire State organism. The moment of recovery cannot recur and the clergy is rushing headlong into an abyss, having no strength or desire to stop the process. Just one more year, just a little while, and there won’t even be any simple people left around us. They will all rise up and reject such insane and repulsive leaders. And what will happen to the State? It will perish along with us. It no longer makes any difference who is in the Synod, who is its Head, what seminaries and academies there are – our agony and death are near.

The future New Hieromartyr Seraphim (Chichagov) of Petrograd, 1910


The Russian Orthodox Church 2007-2023 and Peace in the Ukraine

The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the cause of the destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest….Instead of enquiring why the Roman Empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had subsisted for so long.

History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon


By the grace of God, all our international parishes, with their Romanian and Russian, Moldovan and Ukrainian, English and European parishioners, live safely within the second largest Local Church, the Patriarchate of Romania. Thus, we are shielded from Russian and Greek schisms and the tragic and divisive consequences of the bitter conflict in the Ukraine. Nevertheless, we cannot help observing the immense temptations that now beset the largest Local Orthodox Church, the Russian, and be concerned about its direction and the future after the Ukrainian conflict is over, which may be quite soon.


In order to understand why there is a bloody conflict in the Ukraine today, strangely enough we first have to understand why the Russian Empire fell in 1917. Over a century on, the reason for that is quite clear. The multinational Russian Empire fell because most of its people had lost their Orthodox Faith, the underpinning foundation which had cemented everything together. For when you stop believing in the foundation, you end up in suicidal self-destruction and cynicism.

We can see this today with the Imperial failure of Western Empires, British, French, American etc, also fallen because most have stopped believing in their underpinning ideologies. The Russian crisis in 1917 had been created by a nominal, superficial attitude to the Orthodox Faith, which underpinned all. Most had signed up to the Faith on paper, but did not live by it. They had rejected the consequences and ramifications of the Faith and so lived in hypocritical contradictions, Orthodox but not Christian.


In 2007 the émigré Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) was finally reconciled to the Patriarchal Church inside Russia. We personally considered that this was seven years late, but we had patiently waited for the inevitability, rather than leave for the Patriarchate as some did – better late than never. Having played an active part in the events of the 2006 ROCOR Council and reconciliation and attended the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion in Moscow, I have been asked if I regret it. The answer is crystal clear: Absolutely not. 2007 saved the Church, which kept a huge potential. The fact that it failed to exploit that potential has nothing to do with 2007.

Before 2007 ROCOR was on the verge of becoming a sect, which is why some had already left it. Certain individual ROCOR bishops had even allied themselves to schismatic old calendarist groups in Greece, Romania and Bulgaria! By allying ROCOR with the Patriarchal Church in Moscow, we delayed the possibility of schismatic sectarianism for a vital 14 years. We had gained a breathing space. Some object that ROCOR should not have reconciled with the Patriarchal Church, because it is ‘corrupt’. Of course, there were and still are problems in the Patriarchal Church, but only as there are today in the new ROCOR that has appeared in the last five years.


In both parts of the Russian Church the causes of corruption are very similar: the lack of repentance, the lack of the spiritual. Specifically, there is superstitious ritualism, the vain belief that the sacraments are like magic and require no personal effort to work, only precise ritual observation. This vain belief is essentially materialistic and therefore superficial, for we are not saved by superstitious ritualism, but by the Holy Spirit. Then there is money-oriented careerism, the concept that the Church is a money-making business. This is the very active and very visible temptation of graspingness and love of bling in both parts of the Church. Then there is centralising bureaucracy which puts protocols and forms above the Word of God and Love for our fellow-men. Then there are nationalist political ideologies, the temptation to obey the State, whether the American or the Russian, in other words, you abandon your conscience, integrity and principles because you prefer to swim with the tide for personal advantage, against Christ. This was not the path of the New Martyrs and New Confessors, whom we follow.

This last temptation is especially great for ROCOR, since the political pressures of the declining American Empire could now force all of ROCOR, and not just part of it, into full schism; there the situation is far worse than before 2007, for the unhealthy direction that the New York-based ROCOR has taken since 2018 is the opposite to the healthy one taken before 2007. The danger in all this is that the majority in both parts of the Russian Church, in Moscow and New York, will return to the vices that prevailed before the Revolution – superstitious ritualism, money-oriented careerism, centralising bureaucracy and nationalist political ideologies, all those faults that were present then, as they are now. All of them can cut off from communion with other parts of the Church, destroying the Catholicity of the Church, resulting in isolation. We hope that our Introduction now makes sense, for we are precisely facing another crisis in the Russian Church, as in 1917, the conflict in the Ukraine.

The Conflict in the Ukraine

The manmade catastrophe in the Ukraine has come about because of the lack of Faith, nominalism, on both sides. Do real Christians kill each other? Since this war broke out in 2014, between 160,000 and 250,000 Kiev troops (several thousand of them foreign mercenaries, notably Poles) and 15,000 – 20,000 Russian-Ukrainians and Russians have been killed, together with nearly 14,000 Russian-Ukrainian civilians and nearly 7,000 Ukrainian civilians. In other words, between 200,000 and 290,000 are dead because Kiev was suicidally forced to refuse, to make peace last spring, again last summer and now, when all could have been ended with compromise.

Since 2014 16 million Ukrainians have been displaced – 10 million to various countries in Europe, the majority to Russia and 6 million internally. It is not clear what proportion of those 10 million will ever return to the Ukraine, whose population is now only 18-22 million, given that 4 million have preferred to live under Russian administration in the south-east, an area the size of England and Wales. Kiev has also had about 50 percent of its energy infrastructure destroyed. It requires at least $3 billion a month in outside borrowings just to keep its economy afloat. This debt will never be repaid. Meanwhile a surrounding army of nearly 700,000 Russian soldiers, with, if necessary, their 15,000 tanks, waits to occupy and rebuild the Ukraine. All that NATO could muster against them is 100,000 and 59 tanks though, in any case, it is too frightened to deploy a single one of them, as it knows that it would lose them.


In other words, the conflict in the Ukraine is a call to return to the Faith – to avoid this suicide. That is the choice. It is a Divine warning, as at Siloam: ‘Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish’ (Lk. 13, 5). It is no coincidence that this conflict began in February 2022, the centenary of the founding of the Soviet Union in 1922. For the origins of this conflict are precisely in the unatoned sins of the Soviet apostasy that created February 1917 and the greatest atheist State and persecution of Christianity in world history. After all, to create another Revolution, all you have to do is to repeat the same sins, the sins of those who sinned against the New Martyrs and Confessors.

And it is no coincidence either that the path to reconciliation is in the life of the great twentieth-century Ukrainian saint, the New Confessor, St John the Wonderworker, also known as St John of Shanghai and Western Europe, the Saint of the old, pre-sectarian, pre-schismatic, faithful Russian Emigration. It was he who was persecuted and put on trial by the sectarians and schismatics who claimed to be his own. It was he put the Faith above all their concerns, above their superstitious ritualism, their money-oriented careerism, their centralising bureaucracy and their nationalist political ideologies, which so trouble all parts of the Russian Church again today. Only when Russians and Ukrainians do as he did and put the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first, will there be peace in the Ukraine.