The following interview was published last week on www.pouke.org, a Serbian Church website.
- Being an Englishman and an Orthodox priest at the same time, how do people in your .neighbourhood perceive you?
With complete indifference. Very few people here are interested in any religion. A priest is generally viewed as perhaps rather eccentric, but harmless. Nobody is interested, people live however they want. It is all the same to them whatever I am.
- Please tell us, is there an interest in Orthodoxy, at least in the town of Colchester where your Church is? Who are the people from your parish? Where do they come from and what brings them to Orthodoxy?
I was born and went to school in Colchester, which is about 100 km north-east of London. However, interest from most English people living in Colchester, as anywhere else, is very limited. Most English people are atheists and have no interest in any faith at all.
Our parish is mainly made up of Russian immigrants from Latvia and Lithuania, Moldovans, Romanians, Ukrainians and Russians, as well as Bulgarians, Cypriots and Greeks, together with their English-born children. Most have come here over the last 20 years. True, we have small numbers of Orthodox English people and some other nationalities, but these are usually linked in some way to Russia or else are married to Russian women. They live in Colchester or around it, within an 80 km radius.
- Is there a Church choir in your parish? What are the specifics of your parish in Colchester?
Yes, of course there is a choir, a good one, between about 10 and 20 people sing every Sunday. All are volunteers, we do not have or like paid choirs. On an average Sunday there are only 150-200 people in church, though we have 600 regular parishioners and, in fact, about 3,000 local Orthodox come to our services during the year, but many are only nominal Orthodox and come only once a year, for baptisms or weddings.
Our church building is the largest Russian Orthodox church building in the British Isles, about the same size as the Serbian Cathedral, St Sava’s, in London. It is white and was built of wood 164 years ago. There are 24 nationalities, most people are under 40, with large numbers of children. On average we have about 100 baptisms, 10 weddings and 1 funeral a year. Our second priest, Fr Ion, is Romanian, but married to a Russian from Latvia. Our services are in three languages, Slavonic, English and Romanian. We have many confessions every Sunday with communion from two chalices, and 100-150 communions.
- You talked about St Edmund, can you please tell us about this Saint and his significance in your life?
The name Edmund will sound strange and not Orthodox to most Serbs. But just because some Roman Catholics may have his name, it does not mean that he was Roman Catholic. Firstly, he is a real saint (Roman Catholics do not have real saints) and, secondly, he lived before Roman Catholicism was invented. Many Roman Catholics are called Nicholas; does that mean that St Nicholas was Roman Catholic? Of course not!
St Edmund was King of Eastern England, where I and my ancestors were born and live, and he was martyred by pagan Viking invaders in 869. His memory is still alive here and a whole town locally is named after him. I have known about him and felt his presence here from childhood, since he is the main local saint and the original Patron Saint of England. I think I grew up beneath his protection in some mysterious way. St Edmund is the first saint whose spirit I felt in childhood.
The spirit of the saints is identical, wherever and whenever they lived. Many saints of the West have always been venerated by Serbs in the Serbian Church calendar. For example, St Tatiana, St Sophia and St Alexei of Rome, St Irenei of Lyons, St Hilary of Poitiers, St Vincent of Lerins, or St John Cassian and many Popes of Orthodox Rome, like St Leo the Great, St Gregory the Dialogist or St Martin I. However, saints in Western countries further from Serbia and who lived a little later are not known in Serbia. And yet these saints who lived at this time could travel to Jerusalem and Constantinople and take communion there and feel at home; the Church was One, whatever the difference of language and even rituals, the Faith was the same.
- Have you ever been to Serbia? If yes, what are your impressions of our country?
Unfortunately, I have never visited Serbia and there are no Church-going Serbs in this part of England.
On the one hand, I have the impression of Orthodox in Serbia who are very faithful to the Tradition. On the other hand, I have the impression that few Serbs are really Orthodox, most are atheists and very nationalistic. I suppose this is the result of fifty years of brainwashing by Communism, mainly under the Croat Tito, and then of a generation of the ‘Soft Power’ brainwashing of Western Consumerism, which has produced the Facebook generation. They dress like Americans, listen to American music, watch American TV programmes and films and so think like Americans. I have read that 30% of the Serbian media is now American-owned. How can people resist?
I also have impressions from Serbian Orthodox I know. For example, I studied with the Serbian Bishop Luka in Paris at the Russian St Sergius Institute in the late 1970s and liked him a lot. The only other Serbian bishop I know is Metr Amfilochije. I much admire him. I greatly venerate St Nikolai of Zhicha (called in Russian St Nicholas the Serb) and have read many of his books, which have been translated into Russian and English. I also venerate St Justin of Chelije, a real Orthodox philosopher, as well as Patriarch Pavle. The latter has not yet been canonized, but this is only a matter of time.
- Since I know you that you have relations with the SOC (Serbian Orthodox Church) and that you have visited the Saint Sava Church in London, tell us please, how do you feel in the company of our people in England?
Perfectly at home. We have exactly the same Faith and values. We belong to the same Orthodox Civilization and are proud, in the good sense, of this. In today’s Europe, there are only two Civilizations: Anti-Christian, Secularist Western Post-Civilization and Christian, Orthodox Civilization. We are opposites. We should ask ourselves every day: Which Civilization and Empire do we belong to and confess: to the Anti-Christian Globalist Empire or to the Christian Empire, to the Secularist Empire or to the Orthodox Empire?
We have our own Civilization, our own Empire, stretching from Bosnia to the shores of the Pacific, with dependent outposts and oases of Orthodoxy all over the world, as in Colchester. We belong to this, it is our identity, regardless of our nationality and language, because we have the same Faith and Church. We Orthodox do not have the same values as the rest of the world and our Civilization and Empire is the only Alternative to Western Anti-Civilization.
A Serb who is not Orthodox is not a Serb, but either some sort of Titoist or else an American of the MacDonald’s Post-Civilization. In the same way a Russian who is not Orthodox is not Russian, but Soviet. And an Englishman who is not Orthodox or not close to Orthodoxy in some way through faith, is not English, but British. He is, consciously or unconsciously, an imperialist who has little time for truth or love, only for self-interest and imaginary superiority over others whom he can exploit.
- Please tell us your views upon the latest events regarding the actions of Greek Church recognizing Ukrainian Orthodox Church?
It is all very simple. As you may know, the present US ambassador in Athens, Geoffrey Pyatt, used to be the US ambassador in Kiev. So it is clear that this is all just another American game, started by Obama, using flattery, threats or bribery, as is their technique. However, whatever the great pressure the US elite exerts on weak Greek bishops to recognize these Fascist schismatics in the semi-Uniat western Ukraine, I am ashamed of them. Whether because they are cowards or they have been bribed with dollars, these bishops are wrong. How can these bishops be so racist and weak and trample underfoot the basic canons of the Church, which every first-year seminarian knows? This is shameful. If there is no repentance, a terrible event will visit Greece for the apostasy of some of its bishops. God is not mocked. May the Orthodox bishops of Greece, like my contemporary, Metr Seraphim of Piraeus, triumph.
- What are your relations with the ROC like?
Relations with it?!! But I belong to the Russian Orthodox Church!
There is only one Russian Orthodox Church, whatever the administrative differences of its various parts. There are several autonomous parts of the Russian Church, the Churches of Japan and China, the self-governing New-York-based Church Outside Russia which I belong to, the Ukrainian, Moldovan and Latvian Churches, the Belorussian Exarchate etc. But we are all one, we all belong to the same Church and commemorate the same Patriarch.
- What are your views on Constantinople?
Until the twentieth century, the Patriarchate of Constantinople was the plaything of the Turks and the British or French ambassadors in Istanbul. Everybody knew that the nomination to the Patriarchate could be bought for money. The bishops in Istanbul were finally bought by the Anglicans in the 1920s for £100,000 and so their freemason candidate, (he became a mason in a British Lodge on Cyprus in 1909), Patriarch Meletios Metaksakis introduced by force the Papist calendar. After the fall of the British Empire after 1945, its role was taken up by the American Empire, which continued its dirty work.
So the last legitimate Patriarch, Maximos V, was removed by the Americans by force in 1948 on the orders of the war criminal Truman, who had just slaughtered nearly 500,000 Japanese civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Patriarch Maximos was too Orthodox for American tastes and was kidnapped and taken in Truman’s personal aeroplane into exile in Switzerland.
I used to know a Greek deacon who was an eyewitness to these events. He later became the Greek bishop in Birmingham in England. In 1948 the Americans behaved like thugs, cowboys, they were very violent. Patriarch Maximos was replaced by the Greek-American Archbishop Athenagoras – and we know how that ended. Since then most of the bishops of Constantinople have just been American puppets, without any spiritual relevance. One of them recently held an LGBT Conference with a ‘transvestite Orthodox theologian’!
- English history is specific in many ways. Can we say that England was Orthodox until 1066 (12 years longer after 1054)?
The Western Schism was a gradual process, it spread over time and in some ways is not complete even today. It led to the invention of Roman Catholicism in 1054, but began much earlier than 1054, in the late eighth century under the heretic and iconoclast Frank Charlemagne. He was a barbarian who wanted to revive the pagan Roman Empire, with himself, naturally, as its Emperor. So that is what he did, setting up in 800 ‘the First Reich’. (Bismarck invented the Second Reich and Hitler the Third Reich; some say that the Fourth Reich is the EU). They called this revived paganism ‘The Holy Roman Empire’, but in fact it was Unholy and Anti-Roman.
This alien mentality of Schism spread from the Franco-German heartland (where later the EU began) all over Western and Eastern Europe, and eventually to the islands and so England too. It is clear that from about the Year 1000, and even before that, England was falling to these heterodox influences. 1066 marked the end of Orthodox influence in England, but the decadence was there already, especially under the half-Norman King, Edward (1042-1066). (Like Charlemagne, this traitor is called a saint by Roman Catholics!). 1054 (or in England 1066) is the end of the initial process of Schism, the conclusion of its fall from communion with the Church, not its beginning. Therefore we have to look carefully at what went on previously, before we can say whether it was Orthodox or not.
- Do you think there are things in common between Serbia and England?
Strangely enough, yes.
Serbia is like the front line of the Russian Orthodox Church, the first bastion of Orthodoxy, just a few hundred kilometres from Rome. This is why the West hates Orthodox Serbia and wants to destroy it – because it loves Christ, whereas it loves Antichrist, for whom it works to bring in his reign. On the other hand, England today is like the front line of the USA, the first bastion of Anti-Orthodoxy. Nobody can forget how British airmen dropped bombs on Serbia at Easter 1999, marked ‘Happy Easter’. That was Satanic. So any Orthodox in England survive like soldiers in the trenches; and actually that is the same situation as for Serbs today. You too are soldiers in the trenches under the spiritual bombardment of the anti-Christian barbarians every day. This is what we have in common, we are both on the edges, advanced posts in the struggle for the Church of God.
- Is there anything you would like to say to Orthodox Serbian people from your perspective?
Yes, just one thing: Stand firm in Orthodoxy! The more you resist the onslaught of the West, the US and its EU, NATO and IMF vassals, the greater the example of spiritual courage you give to Orthodox everywhere and, at the same time, the closer you draw to Christ and so to salvation. The West threw Communism and Nazism at us and we defeated both of them. For all extremes come from the demons, as the Holy Fathers say. We Orthodox shall defeat Liberal Secularism, which hates Christ just as much as Communism and Nazism, as well. Let us Orthodox show our courage, that we fear no man, that we fear only God. Then no-one can defeat us.