Daily Archives: July 2, 2024

What Went Wrong with the Russian Church?

After fifty years of faithfulness to the Russian Church, that Church literally abandoned us, just as in the last three years it has abandoned so many tens of millions of other Orthodox, who were also once part of its jurisdiction. Thus, today we live in the very kind, generous and homely Romanian Church, awaiting the day of the restoration of freedom in the Russian Church. Then it can come out of its self-imposed isolation and take part in the fullness of catholic life and the concert of all the Local Orthodox Churches once more. Why did it abandon us?

The short answer is that in the thirty years after the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 the Russian Church turned from a persecuted Church into a persecuting Church. It is the same old sordid story from Church history (read for example the life of St John Chrysostom or of St Martin of Tours, who lived at the same time), the story of how persecution and poverty were supplanted by power and money. This meant the same old inevitable financial and moral corruption, that is, the theft of the people’s assets and homosexualisation. And all this is displayed in a sheer lack of love, which is a scandal in the Church. It means that millions of Russian Orthodox are now boycotting their Church administration, whom they rightly see as politicians and not pastors, wolves in shepherds’ clothing.

Although, I had been well aware of many stories from the Church inside Russia from the early 2000s onwards, I first saw it there with my own eyes quite obviously in 2012. (Several times over the following years I was to see exactly the same thing in the Ukraine and again in Russia in 2018). For example, as one of many experiences I could quote, as part of an official delegation we visited a bishop’s palace (yes, palace) in provincial Russia. It was like a five-star hotel and the tables were groaning with luxurious food. There were about 20 of us. There was enough food for 200. What sort of monasticism was this? Why was the food not given to the poor? In general, the whole trip, including a flight on a private jet from Moscow to Saint Petersburg and gifts of an expensive Swiss watch to everyone, was an experience of luxury that you only usually see in films.

I was astonished and also very disappointed. Holy Rus? There had been far more Holy Rus in the poverty and persecution of the very modest émigré Church. I have always belonged to the Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors, of St John of Shanghai and Western Europe, where he spent 13 years before being sent to the USA for the last three years of his life, where his fellow-bishops suspended him, put him on trial and basically martyred him. St John’s is the only Russian Church we will ever know. We are Non-Possessors, not effeminate and wealthy semi-Catholics who make of the Church just another State bureaucracy and lord it over clergy and people alike.

But there was far worse than that. The delegation I was part of was composed, except for me, of American-Russians and the Americanised who were impressed (!) by the decadence of bishops, who were in fact mini-oligarchs. I did not at first realise to what extent they were impressed. I could not have believed that they would actually want to imitate their decadence! But gradually between 2012 and 2020 I saw it with my own eyes, as this decadence spread to the Church outside Russia. However, those outside Russia were not corrupted by Moscow, instead they corrupted themselves, quite freely and voluntarily.

Instead of siding with the faithful poor of Russia, clergy and people alike, who sided with the Martyrs and Confessors and those who followed in the footsteps of St John of Shanghai, they freely chose to side with the corrupted and homosexualised in Moscow and their imperialist cruelty. We remained the same; they did not, and from the Church of St John, whom they had crucified, they turned into the Nasty Church. This is composed of those who hate everyone else outside their sad and ever smaller nationalist and schismatic ghetto. How sorrowful. They betrayed St John and all the Saints.

But there was far worse even than that. With this decadence in the leadership of the Church inside Russia, with power and money gone to the heads of certain leaders, inevitably an explosion took place: a terrible civil war which divided the Church and the people of Rus’. For when there is no repentance, there always follows a crisis, the Greek word for judgement. God is not mocked. 600,000 Ukrainian soldiers are dead, 60,000 dead among Russians and allies, militias from the Donbass, Chechens, Uzbeks and others. Millions have been wounded, either physically or else mentally. The majority are nominally Orthodox. This dreadful war is the chastisement and retribution for a nominal Church. It has been judged and it has been found wanting.

The reform of the governance of the Russian Church is now inevitable, as that governance, fallen into politics and militaristic nationalism, has shown itself incapable of being multinational. It is inadequate for the multinational Russian Federation, which is also the leading nation in the multinational BRICS. Regardless of the imminent Russian victory against the USA and its NATO vassals and their decadent and corrupted Constantinople thugs in the Ukraine, the cleansing of the Russian Church from corruption is to follow. Just as President Putin, strengthened by a new and highly popular mandate, is cleansing the Russian Army with the arrest of four generals for corruption, attention will turn to the corruption in the Church.

From there the decentralisation of the Russian Church for Russian Orthodox who live in fully independent countries (just as previously those in Poland and the USA had received decentralisation) is now also inevitable. This will lead to the birth of many new Autocephalous and Autonomous Churches, in the Ukraine and elsewhere. Moreover, this movement is largely supported by other Local Churches, who have sided neither with the imperialist corruption of Russian leaders, nor with the imperialist corruption of Greek leaders. The latter belonged to WEF-style anti-nation and anti-family globalist religious sect of modernism, syncretism, sexual perversion, covid propaganda and the green agenda, just like that of the Vatican and that of Soros and Schwab.

However, the Churches of Romania, Albania, Poland, Serbia, Macedonia, America, Jerusalem and now the Church of Bulgaria too are on our side, following the golden mean, ignoring the imperialist, Roman Catholic style, thisworldly pretensions of the Second and Third Romes. Freedom is in the air, as the Holy Spirit wafts over the Church of God.

Archpriest Andrew Phillips

St John of Shanghai and Western Europe, 2 July 2024