Author Archives: Father Andrew

Covid-19 and Covid-19 Vaccines

Ever since covid-19 appeared in 2019, the world seems to have gone mad. For some reason covid seems to have been identified with something like the bubonic plague, which killed between a third and a half of the population of Western Europe alone. To date fewer than three million people worldwide have died with covid. No comparison! Indeed, over the last year, far more than 3 million, some 50 million, have died from all the normal causes, above all, from old age. Death is natural and inevitable for everyone in our fallen world. Some seem not to know this tragic but obvious fact.

Worldwide we have witnessed extraordinary lockdowns, which have bankrupted hundreds of thousands of businesses, indeed whole sectors of  economies, made tens of millions unemployed, brought millions to near-starvation in many poorer countries, caused mass depression, and indebted the public of many countries for generations to come.

Instead of warning the vulnerable (that is, those with very low immunity, that is, the elderly and those suffering from serious underlying diseases, such as cancer, severe diabetes, severe asthma, heavy smoking, obesity etc) to stay at home as much as possible and take special care, governments have disrupted the lives of all. Instead of targeting the vulnerable through urgent advice, governments with their bullying lockdowns have forbidden by diktat the rest of us to get on with our lives, limiting our freedoms, enacting draconian laws, causing panic, depression and even suicide. Were such reactions by governments through panic or incompetence? We do not know. In any case, these government reactions have spawned the most incredible conspiracy theories about plots for social control, including that covid does not even exist!

Let us be frank: many of those who died would have died anyway. Probably many who died lost only a few months off the end of their lives. And even among the over 90s the survival rate of those infected in this country has been 85%. For the under 50s, the survival rate of those infected is incredibly high. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of elderly have died in thousands of care homes. Worse is the fact that some 10,000 deaths have been of much younger people who were perfectly healthy. Perhaps they had some previously unknown genetic immunity deficiency? We just do not know. It is these people, Mr and Mrs Anybody, who have been the real victims.

In this country one previously healthy 26-year old Russian woman died. Three weeks ago, her body was taken back to Latvia where she was buried by her grieving family. In a hospital in East London lay one of my parishioners. Aged under 40, he was on a ventilator for seven weeks, between life and death. Despite the incredible care of hospital staff which I witnessed on my three visits, despite our prayers and those of the many Christian hospital staff, and of his wife and two small children, he lay in a ward with many others of his own age. (On average over a third admitted to intensive care die and 70% of them are men). He passed away; please remember Oleg in your prayers.

Now we come to the question of vaccines. Naturally we ignore EU nationalism and isolationism, apparently provoked by their jealousy of the way in which the UK government has very efficiently protected its population through a vaccination programme. Thus it seems, the UK may avoid a third wave, as has begun in Continental Europe already, causing further strict lockdowns, bankruptcies, mental anguish and deaths.

The Astra Zeneca vaccine has been given at cost (£3 per dose). Clearly, sooner or later, airlines are going to refuse to take passengers who have not been vaccinated. Imagine the liability claims if an unvaccinated passenger gets on a plane and infects others and someone dies. Airlines will go bankrupt. The same is true for many sectors, from health and social care to hotels, even to plumbing companies, who know that people will not accept plumbers into their homes if the plumbers have not already been vaccinated.

Are vaccines made from aborted babies? Please read the following:

https://fullfact.org/online/foetal-cells-covid-vaccine/

https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-ingredients/fetal-tissues#

As we can see, the short answer is no. However, it is also historically more complex than that, as you can read above, because cell strains from two aborted babies are involved.

Why were human embryonic kidney and lung cells from two aborted babies needed to replicate viruses in the 1960s? I discovered that human embryonic cells – fibroblasts – must be obtained from embryos as they only exist in embryos. For example a lung fibroblast is a specialist cell (a stem cell) which has the ability to become lots of different types of lung cell. The cell still has 46 pairs of chromosomes inside it (not 23) so its job is to keep on dividing itself (so it can become lots of other lung cells).  That is why it is so useful if you want to use it to duplicate a virus, you insert the virus and its job is to copy itself lots of times. These cells are only available in the early stages of embryonic development, in a newborn they would have all turned into lung cells with 23 chromosomes. The most important fact, which some overlook, is that the two babies in the 1960s were not aborted in order to make the vaccines. They would, tragically, have been aborted anyway.

However, because of just a small number of cells taken from two embryos decades ago and then replicated artificially, millions of people have been saved from rubella and other diseases from which so many used to suffer and die. For it is not just covid-19 which has been developed from embryonic cell lines. Four such vaccines exist, including that against rubella. This is a fact – just as it is a fact that two aborted babies are at the origin of the cell strains involved.

These babies have saved millions. It is so easy for some to be confused and imagine that babies are being cloned for every batch of vaccine and the cells are directly inside each syringe. It is not at all true. If it were the case, the episcopates of each Local Orthodox Church would long ago have banned vaccinations. They have not. On the contrary, a good many bishops of all Local Churches have encouraged vaccinations against covid. The Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church has stated that all are free to choose. It is in that spirit that this article is written: to present facts and to leave all free to choose.

Everybody should have the choice and nobody should have to have a vaccine (unless it falls under essential for their profession, for example hepatitis vaccines for nurses in the UK). We wonder if people do as much worrying about every food, cosmetic, clothing, or medicine they come into contact with?

Let us not confuse cause and effect, as do the atheist conspiracy theorists. A cause can be bad, but an effect good. For we believe in the God, Who can always make good from bad. For example, many of us ultimately are Orthodox thanks to the Russian Revolution. Does that mean we approve of the genocide of tens of millions of Orthodox by a Marxist State after that Revolution? Of course not! In the same way, the cells of babies who died many years ago have saved millions. From bad, there is good. Now it is for each person to make their own choice about vaccination. This is already the case on Mt Athos, where vaccinations have started for the monks who wish. All must make up their own mind.

 

 

 

Global Iona

Freed from the EU nationalist straitjacket and ghetto after 47 years of slavery and despair, as a result of the treason of ‘Norman’ (= Establishment) politicians, the UK looks forward. No longer tied by the past in which it became disastrously entangled through two suicidal Continental European Wars and then a Continental European enslavement, we have now returned to our global future.

However, there can be no going back to the Imperialist past. We must rid ourselves of Britain and British. That has been discredited. It has been suggested that the four countries of the North Atlantic could be renamed IONA, the Isles Of the North Atlantic. If there were an Ionan Confederation of Great Britain and Ireland, there would at last be freedom for the long-oppressed peoples of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales from British oppression and hypocrisy. Independence, but also co-operation in a Confederation. If we can start at home, that in turn would create a Global Iona.

Firstly, as our historic and cultural links are with the Commonwealth, those links must be renewed. This would not at all mean a re-establishment of the old Empire, with its injustices and exploitation, but justice and prosperity for all. Here there is a chance for IONA to make up for the old British exploitation of the Indian Subcontinent, of Africa, for the racism towards native peoples everywhere, including in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Secondly, an Ionan Confederation should help Eastern Europe, which has been sold out by EU Western Europe. Its factories have been closed, its economies ravished and millions and millions of its young people have been forced into leaving their ancestral homes and families for work in the factories, hospitals, care homes, building sites and farms of Western Europe, where they often face exploitation, poverty and racism. Ionan aid would help to make up for the dastardly British betrayal of Czechoslovakia, Poland and Serbia, in particular during the Second World War.

Thirdly, as a direct consequence of resetting relations with Eastern Europe, an Ionan Confederation should reset its relations with the Russian Federation and its people, so cruelly and unjustly separated from their Russian Federation homeland after the collapse of the old Soviet Union. However, just as the Ionan Confederation has to divorce itself from associations with the elitist and discredited British Empire, its Britishness, so the Russian Federation has to divorce itself from associations with the elitist and discredited Soviet Empire, its Sovietness. Away with the mummies, statues and names of Bolshevik oppressors and murderers! Thus, Iona would have a chance to make up for its old racism, including the genocidal invasion by Britain of the Russian Empire in the mid-nineteenth century in the Crimea and the British orchestration of Russian aristocratic traitors leading to the 1917 overthrow of Tsar Nicolas II, which ensured the incalculable bloodbath of the Soviet period.

Fourthly, an Ionan Confederation should reset its relations with China. After the disgraceful and genocidal British opium wars of the nineteenth century and British racism towards China which lasts until this day, here there are opportunities for Iona to do good instead of the bad the British Empire did in the past.

Fifthly, there is the question of resetting relations with Iran. The British exploitation of its natural resources since the early 1900s and then the betrayal and overthrow of its legitimate government scarcely seventy years ago has rightly caused its people to dislike Britain and fall into the Islamist trap. It is time to put this right.

Repentance is needed for the sake of justice, for justice and for the prosperity for all. Repentance is needed on behalf of the dead traitors who betrayed us the native people and all other peoples who fell under their tyrannical sway.

 

The Future

With apologies to ‘Wonderings’ by John Masefield, to whom any credit belongs.

 

Two different types long have trod our God’s earth:

The proud Norman lord and the English serf.

Though below hell, above stupidity,

We serfs look to the England still to be,

Some have hearts that glow with a star Divine,

Which no clouds dim and cannot cease to shine.

 

I think of the best of these lowly poor,

Who England built and will build once more,

Who built the churches in the long ago

And more will build when greed and folly go,

When the Spirit gleams through mere blood and bone

And men again will bring the Spirit home.

 

When death comes near, then England lets all see

Brave and patient souls changing destiny.

When death seems winning and disaster shows,

Then England lights and shows her sign’s the rose.

The rose that winter only makes more fair

Is the nature true of the sign they bear.

 

Not lucre, power, lies, deceit and marts

Create a nation’s wealth, but noble hearts.

Though not yet morning, the night is breaking,

The blackness weakens, England is awaking.

We want an England better than the last,

No longer the dead England of the past.

 

The Parish Problem

Christianity has always been spread by monastics and monasteries. This is universal. In normal conditions, what happens is that after their mission has been completed, monastics (some of whom are bishops – real bishops are always monastics) delegate the everyday running of churches to married clergy. These either run the local parishes founded from monasteries or else, in the absence of any support from monasteries or bishops, found parishes themselves.

For centuries and centuries this is how it worked, whether with St Nina in Georgia, St Martin of Tours in Gaul, St Patrick in Ireland, St Augustine in England, St Boniface in the German Lands, St Cyril and Methodius in Moravia, St Stefan of Perm, St Job of Pochaev in what is now the western Ukraine, St Cosmas of Aitolia in Greece or St Herman and St Innocent in Alaska. Today, this age-old system is in crisis everywhere, perhaps especially in the Russian Orthodox Church.

There are not only the massive dysfunctions of episcopal, monastic and parish life, mainly caused by 75 years of vicious Soviet persecution inside the ex-Soviet Union. Outside the ex-Soviet Union the situation is not much better in many places. The decadence in parts of the Russian Church before the Revolution, the chaos of emigration, the scattering of the flock, and the catastrophic lack of finance and infrastructure, have caused enormous problems. Thus, I can remember over 40 years ago the then rector of the Rue Daru Cathedral in Paris, where thousands would gather at Easter, telling me that they had only 25 registered parishioners. The number of people who took communion on Easter Night was similar – 25.

Many, though not all, Russian churches inside Russia and in capital cities outside Russia resemble little more than railway stations. Orthodox Russians call the passers-by who you may never see again ‘prokhozhane’ (as opposed to ‘prikhozhane’, the word for parishioners). Then there are the people who call in from time to time – ‘zakhozhane’. These people you may see only half a dozen times a year. An example: as a parish we have some 4,000 people who are attached to us, but our list of parishioners is just under than 600 and that includes children. And yet all 4,000 would claim to be parishioners!

Another problem, worse in some countries than others, but still common in Russia and the Ukraine, despite recent welcome changes, is the massive imbalance in age and gender. For every 100 women standing in church, there may only be 15 men (at most) and two children. I can remember at the old ROCOR Cathedral in London 40 years ago, there would perhaps be 400 people (average age 75) at the Sunday Liturgy, out of whom three-quarters were elderly women and the only children our own. Where are the men? Where are the young people? Why have the grandparents not passed on the Faith to their children and grandchildren? The situation of the Greek Church in this country today is very similar and very critical. Expect many of their churches to close over the next 20 years.

In the old ROCOR of the time, I can remember one elderly and prominent woman parishioner boasting that the children in their church never made a noise. I politely pointed out that there were no children in her church (and also no baptisms). She then boasted that they never had any divorces in her church. Again I politely pointed out there were no weddings either (the last had been thirty years ago) and that the average age of the parishioners was about 75. She then boasted that they had never had any problem with their clergy. Once more I politely pointed out that that must be because they had no clergy….The last one had died a decade or so before.

As one relatively young archbishop said to me in the 1980s: the fewer parishes we have, the better it is, because the fewer the parishes, the fewer the problems. He died soon afterwards.

Why is it that there are still  many churches (especially in Russia and Eastern Europe) which it is impossible to enter with a pram or a pushchair (let alone a wheelchair)? Is it because children (and young people in general) are not welcome and not wanted? (As also in so many churches outside Russia?).

Why are there no contemporary toilets (for children) and no changing facilities, attached to the majority of churches?

Why are there so few meeting places for parishioners to get to know each other and support each other, where children can play together and make friends, and where young people can meet (and perhaps marry)? Or do you want to die out?

Children are our future. That statement is neither new nor original, but blatantly obvious, and yet many people still do not understand it.

A parish is not a cow to be milked for money. A parish is a local community to which people have a sense of belonging, to which they want to belong, so important for a flock which is scattered.

A parish is a community (not a racist ghetto, as in the old emigration), where all are welcome and a community which will stand up to the frequent injustices, persecution, meddling and bullying from outside, and support its clergy both morally and financially. Where does that exist?

Until we have many more parishes, we will not make progress.

Consequences of Covid

Now that the covid epidemic, with perhaps finally three million victims worldwide, is beginning to come to an end, we can see certain consequences. For example, we have seen a huge acceleration in the inevitable growth of online sales and the use of plastic money. What perhaps would have happened over the next ten years in any case, will have happened in only one year.

However, there have been other consequences. These include the bankruptcy and unemployment caused by government deprivation of liberty (so-called ‘lockdowns’, in fact lock-ups). In order to protect the 5% of the vulnerable, the other 95% have had their lives upset or even ruined. And then there has been the psychological damage and distress caused by these lock-ups. Their extremity has given rise to countless paranoid conspiracy theories, which confuse cause and effect and attribute to panicky and hysterical governments and media an intelligence and competence which they clearly lack. These theories have been fatal to the mental health of those who have no faith and believe that sinister men successfully rule the world, and not the Divinity, as is the true case.

Another phenomenon has been vaccine nationalism. The ultra-nationalistic EU has tried to deride and deny the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine, with dire consequences for its peoples. And Western countries have derided the Russian and Chinese vaccines, which, if anything, seem to be superior to and have been produced faster than Western vaccines and will save the Third World from covid. Certainly, they must be superior to the only Western vaccine that has been associated with the cells of aborted babies, that of Johnson and Johnson in the USA. That vaccine is to be avoided at all costs.

However, another consequence of covid has been the accelerated and permanent closure of churches. For instance, the Church of England is preparing to close 20% of its churches, some 3,000 altogether. Having closed its churches and deprived its people of services during covid, many there have now become accustomed to ‘zoom services’. After the lock-ups are over, many will not bother to go back to real services. Why bother? It is much more comfortable to sit in your armchair and watch others. And having seen the clergy, especially the episcopate, so frightened of possible death, many, very many, have concluded that their clergy are mainly atheists anyway. And they are probably right. We fear God, not death. If, that is, we actually believe.

These scandalous deviations have also affected fringe Orthodox dioceses. Priests in one group in the USA have attacked their bishops who forbade them from giving the faithful communion. One bishop in Great Britain actually banned his priests from giving confession! And, again in the USA, one church in Chicago is up for sale, as the local bishop so upset his flock with his covid hysteria that they stopped going. After all, if a church is merely an ethnic club or an empty ritual, it may as well close down and cease existing. Its closure is no loss.

As for zoom services and zoom confessions, I have told everyone that there is no such thing. Physical contact is necessary for sacraments to take place. We are not Protestants. Zoom services are fit only for a consumer society, not for an Orthodox Christian society. The Church is not virtual, but real.

 

It is time the whole Orthodox Church offered robust opposition to the Patriarchate of Constantinople which has fallen into the grip of Washington’s atheist intrigues.

In 1917 the British Establishment through its ambassador and spies in Saint Petersburg at last overthrew the Christian Empire in Russia, ensuring its replacement by militant atheism and the massacre of tens of millions of Christians. On this the then British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, at once proclaimed, ‘We have now achieved one of our war aims’. For those who had thought that the only British war aim was the defeat of Germany, all was clear. However, as is usual with the collapse of empires and countries engineered by enemies, the repercussions were horrible for the engineers. Within 30 years the British had in turn lost their Empire and had to hand over world power to the American Empire. Instead of the Christian Empire of the Tsars, Britain created both the Soviet and the American anti-Christian monsters.

The American Establishment began taking over from the British as the world’s policeman immediately after the so-called Russian Revolution in 1917, the British having done the dirty work for them, thus spilling the blood of young Americans in World War One. Next the Us Establishment had to have its Wall Street financiers back Hitler’s Fascist regime as a counterbalance to the Soviets. They did not foresee that Hitler’s Fascist regime would invade the Soviet Union, carrying out the holocaust of 30 million Slavs, and that the Soviet Union would only be saved by allowing the Russian Orthodox Church to call to Russian Christian patriotism to destroy Hitler. This was not only the end for Hitler, who committed suicide in Russian-liberated Berlin in 1945, but also for the Soviet Union. Christianity, against the calculations of Britain and the USA, would with time win the day and duly, in 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed, conquered by the martyrs and confessors of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In recent years the financially, spiritually and morally bankrupt US regime, now in its last gasps, has decided to attack the Christian Orthodox world more cunningly, through the weak underbelly of the Church of Christ, in Istanbul. Here, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, is the political and spiritual leader of some 3 million Greek Orthodox. Now, thanks to the White House’s instrumentalisation of his tiny Church to advance its geopolitical ambitions, the Istanbul-based Patriarchate finds itself operating against the rest of the 220-million strong Orthodox Church, bringing worldwide condemnation on himself.

As the multinational Russian Church has over 160 million Orthodox Christians, in Turkey Bartholomew finds himself a very witting competitor to the vast majority of the Orthodox world. And, naturally, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of NATO-member Turkey, sees it in his interest to work against the tiny Greek nationalist community. After all, Bartholomew receives the backing of the White House which tried to assassinate Erdogan in 2016. Obviously, both the vast majority of the Orthodox Christian world and Erdogan see the Greek Patriarchate for what it is, a feeble puppet and extension of anti-Christian US influence that threatens Orthodox Christian ambitions, and in the case of Erdogan, political ambitions.

The Ukrainian Puppet Regime as the catalyst of the White House’s fury

On 5 January 2019, under intense American pressure, Bartholomew signed a tomos (decree), setting up a schismatic pseudo-ecclesiastical body in the Ukraine, the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church. All free Orthodox (that is, everyone except the very small numbers who had been bribed and blackmailed by the White House into submission) agreed that this was utterly uncanonical.

The White House’s 2019 interference mirrored its overthrow of the democratic government in the Ukraine in its Revolution of Indignity in 2014. Having murdered dozens of Ukrainian patriots using Lithuanian mercenary snipers firing from the roof of the US Embassy in Kiev, US-installed Fascist Galician gangsters launched a civil war in the east of the Ukraine (until 1922 part of Russia) that has so far claimed some 50,000 lives and forced over 1.5 million Ukrainians to flee from their homes to Russia and many others to Poland.

When the Greek Patriarch announced his intention to start his Ukrainian schism in October 2018, his statement sent shockwaves throughout the Christian world. His bigoted Greek nationalism was now meeting bigoted Ukrainian nationalism. Birds of a feather flock together! This led directly to bloodshed in the Ukraine with some 400 churches being snatched from the faithful by State-sponsored thugs and hooligans and then padlocked so that nobody could use them. The faithful, often beaten up by the thugs, now pray in the open air or else collect money to build churches they can use. And this was encouraged by Bartholomew who tried to justify it as founding ‘a new church!’ And Bartholomew calls himself a Christian! All know that the Greek Patriarch in Turkey is simply a proxy for American and NATO interests.

Why Erdogan may join the Christian campaign

 While Ukraine’s geopolitical importance in Christian eyes is clear, it is also obvious why NATO-member Turkey echoes Christian views. Erdogan sees Turkey as a Sunni Muslim power – and he views Bartholomew as an extension of US influence and thus a threat to his plans. As a result the White House attacks both the whole Orthodox Church and the Turkish government through disinformation, conspiracies and hacking.

One month after the US-mounted July 2016 failed coup attempt, the Turkish daily Aksam published a piece revealing that Fethullah Gulen, a CIA-financed and US-based Turkish cleric, had masterminded the coup together with Bartholomew, to murder Erdogan. Last year Gercek Hayat, a Turkish magazine portrayed Bartholomew as a member of a clandestine terrorist network involving Gulen, the CIA, Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad and freemasons. Nothing would surprise us.

The long fixation of the US with starting fifth columns

It is widely-held knowledge that Protestant ‘missionaries’ ­– many of whom were American at the turn of the last century – instigated the collapse of the Ottoman Empire 100 years ago. Nothing changes. After the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey a North Carolina pastor, Andrew Brunson, became the public face of such activity and spent two years in a Turkish prison on charges of coup plotting, military espionage and terrorism. Most likely he was simple a naïve stooge. However, the CIA is an expert at trying to use Protestant missionaries to engineer the collapse of governments in Latin America, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, post-Communist Russia, China, Iran and elsewhere. Some of these ‘missionaries’ are simply CIA spies dressed as pastors, some are simply naïve stooges, backed by huge amounts of US finance.

The Turkish government, meanwhile, retains leverage over the Greek nationalist Patriarchate in Istanbul. Turkish law stipulates that only a Turkish citizen can be the Patriarch of Constantinople. Given Turkey’s dwindling population of Greek Orthodox, now numbering fewer than 1,000 (there are some 15,000 Russian Orthodox in Turkey and at least as many Antiochian Orthodox), the Greek nationalist Patriarchate draws candidates from around the world who then receive citizenship by Ankara’s favour and US pressure.

Atheist Washington’s failure to take religion seriously

When the ultra-aggressive hawk and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Bartholomew in Istanbul in December 2020, a Turkish youth group accused Washington of ‘attempting to create a Vatican and a Pope from the Greek Church in Phanar’. Indeed, little wonder that the Patriarchate of Constantinople is now often mockingly called ‘The Patriarchate of Washington’. The Turks, all Muslims, were merely repeating the words of serious Orthodox Christian leaders worldwide. US leaders are so imbued with atheist secularism that they do not fully appreciate the role that politically free Churches, like the Russian Orthodox Church, can play, which vastly diminishes the White House’s support from Christians worldwide.

 

 

Why ‘Orthodox England’ and Why the Church Outside Russia?

Q: Why is the ‘Orthodox England’ site called that? Since you were born with British nationality and must have a British passport, why is it not called ‘Orthodox Britain’? And why are you, a Russophile, in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and not directly under the Patriarchal Church in Moscow?

A: Here there are actually four different questions. Let me answer each of them in turn.

  1. Initially, ‘Orthodox England’ was a quarterly journal, first published on 1 September 1997, after some 25 years of wonderings. The actual website was launched over three years later in the first year of the new 21st century. Although the journal continued for twenty years, appearing every quarter without fail until 2017 when the website took over altogether, today it is the website which is much better known.

When the journal was launched in 1997, interest in the Orthodox Church and Faith among the native peoples of these Islands, as indeed ever since the first real interest appeared in the 1960s, was still often, though not always, coloured by two small groups. Unfortunately, these groups were encouraged by some of the local Orthodox episcopate. Hampered by the inferiority complex of the immigrant and refugee, they wanted to be more Establishment than the Establishment and forgot the people.

On the one hand, there was a conservative faction, sometimes quite wealthy, who at times imitated false ideas of Russianness or Greekness. In extreme cases, some of them even dressed like Russian peasants with huge beards (the last Russian peasants had stopped doing that 100 years ago and real Russians were naturally astonished at such eccentric behaviour, as were we). They spoke English, scattered with mispronounced and misunderstood Russian words. Or else there were those who bought second homes in Greece and mixed in a few words of Greek with upper-class accents and thought they were Greek Orthodox. I saw all this and wondered at the strangeness of it all.

I think such people mainly saw Orthodoxy as oriental exotica, perhaps useful to bolster souls that had been hurt and wanted to be different. Some, bored with financially secure and humdrum lives, gave an impression of Orthodoxy as though it were not actually Christianity, but some escapist and esoteric cult. They certainly did not want the riff-raff joining them, but wanted tiny, exclusive, private chapels. Some were in love with an idea and were looking for an intellectual plaything, a cult with a ‘mystical’ guru or ‘starets’, an ashram and a mantra for those with more money and philosophical books than common sense. And they soon found the pseudo-mystical Russians to exploit their romantic fantasies and take their money. This was certainly easier than living a Church Christian way of life, that is, loving the Cross of the Orthodox way of life.

On the other hand, there was a liberal faction, also sometimes quite wealthy, who appeared to want a kind of Anglican Orthodoxy, the ‘Byzantine Liturgy’ (whatever that is) with a Protestant mentality and hymns and, obviously, the Roman Catholic (so-called ‘new’) calendar. Some of these basically wanted to remain Anglican, but to have more exclusivity than wishy-washy, ‘make it up as you go’, ‘believe whatever you want’, State-invented Anglicanism could ever provide. This could be called ‘Anglican vicar syndrome’, and at times it seemed indeed to be about a misogynistic rejection of lady vicars, without love for the real Church and Her sufferings.

A very strange reason for joining the Orthodox Church. Such were often especially devoted either to Constantinople Orthodoxy (much more acceptable to the British Establishment, which had already vetted Prince Philip and loved that freemasonry), or else to the curious liberal and aristocratic deviations from Russian Orthodoxy within the Church of Constantinople (which was already then controlled by the CIA and before that had been controlled by MI6). Such people had little time for real, down-to-earth and martyred Russian Orthodoxy. Today the few such people still like this still tend to be Russophobes and also Liberal Democrat Remoaners.

As for us plebs, we were harshly persecuted and slandered by both the above conservative and liberal factions. And factions they were, as can be seen by their ever-continuing factionalism, with tiny schisms and continual infighting, all about nothing really. These splits of the ‘three men and a dog’ type were about divisive backbiting. This was brought as baggage into their fringes of the Church from the infighting of Protestantism, which mentality they did not exchange for Christianity.

Unlike them, I wanted to make clear that Orthodoxy and England can and must go together. If Christ had come for everyone, then it meant that He had come for us too. Orthodoxy and England need not be separate and disincarnate. Just as Christ has a Divine and a human nature in One Person, so there is Orthodox Russia, Orthodox Romania, Orthodox Greece, and so too there can be Orthodox England (as also Orthodox Ireland, Orthodox Scotland and Orthodox Wales), something really English and also Orthodox (and not half-Orthodox, Anglican and Non-Orthodox). For no Church can be founded on the basis of the psychological factionalism of the bruised ego, but only on the basis of the theological Tradition of the Holy Spirit.

  1. As regards Britain, it does not exist – it is a purely political construct. True, the Romans had governed ‘Britain’, but that was before the English arrived. The Normans wanted to recreate pagan Roman Britain, but they failed to reconstruct what had by then already become a myth. After all, the vast majority of the population were by then English, the best of whose elite the Normans exiled and the rest of whose population they decimated. Similarly, in order to subdue the Celtic ‘Welsh’, who had arrived here over 500 years before even the Romans and joined the original inhabitants, the Normans had to massacre and oppress them too with their giant castles.

It was only in the eighteenth century, on the basis of Protestant Tudor imperialism and piracy and afterwards of the appalling genocide of the Leninist monster Cromwell, that the idea of Britain was reborn. First, in 1707 corrupted and bribed Scots voted for union with (i.e. repression by) the slave-trading, ‘Rule Britannia’, John Bull merchants who had beheaded the King, seized control of Parliament and dubbed themselves ‘British’. Corrupted and bribed Irish followed into ‘union’ in 1801.

Today, many English people themselves want freedom from British (= Norman/Establishment/ London) oppression, let alone the Irish (true, they partly obtained it 100 years ago), the Scots and the Welsh. There is no such thing as Britain, let alone ‘British’ saints or ‘British Orthodoxy’, indeed there has never been a ‘British Church’. Like ‘Britishness’ itself, this is all an Establishment myth. The only fully Christian project on the cards today or tomorrow is to be part of the Russian Orthodox Church and its newly-founded Patriarchal Exarchate of Western Europe, at present under Metropolitan Antony.

There is no doubt that this is the foundational structure of the future Western European Orthodox Church, of which all full-hearted and politically free Orthodox will in due course become part. Together, whatever our present diocese, we can build this new Church on the firm rock of real Orthodoxy. We cannot build it on the shifting sand of some CIA-controlled political compromise with politically-appointed bishops and immensely provincial nationalism, including English nationalism. That puts a mere language and a mere culture above Christ. Nationalism is always at heart pagan, because it reveres part of Creation, not the Creator. Christ is spiritually and morally irrelevant to nationalism, as we saw with Hitler’s nationalism.

  1. I am no more Russophile than I am Greekophile, Romaniaophile, Moldovaophile (though I do have a soft spot for Moldovans!) or Anglophile. I am an Orthodoxophile, that is, a Christophile. And you?
  2. In the early sixties there began a period of spectacular injustices in the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), which opened with certain loveless bishops putting our saint, John of Shanghai and Western Europe, on trial in the USA. Such a thing was another act of the Pharisees and Pilate. It continued with the ordinations of bad men to the priesthood and the suspensions of good priests. This tried the long-suffering of us all. We sighed in resignation and put all our hope in God, not in men, and waited for better times. These aberrations were all due to a powerful minority in ROCOR who had lost their roots and wandered off into a US-financed nationalist darkness.

This was the dark night of the narrow and censorious ritualism of the political pharisees. They had quite cast aside compassionate love, the very chiefest idea of the founding First Hierarch of ROCOR, Metropolitan Antony of Kiev, and the only idea which bestows spiritual, moral and canonical authority and meaning on the Church organisation. Battling us and persecuting us, those elements received their first major defeat only in 2007, when at long last ROCOR managed to begin its long return to its historic and missionary destiny. That destiny was and is to remain faithful to the Orthodox Christianity of Holy Rus, but with one vital difference – to be local at the same time. This is possible (and necessary) precisely because we are ‘outside Russia’ and not in Moscow.

The Russian Orthodox Church, centred in Moscow, cannot found new Local Churches in Western Europe and the New World (North America, Latin America and Oceania) without us (and of course without others). Yes, they have administrative abilities, central infrastructure and, at least sometimes, the necessary missionary vision, but we have the local knowledge, the languages, the translations and the cultural references of the people. The people are with us. These are what is needed to gather the people together around Christ and establish new Local Churches which are to become part of the restored Orthodox Commonwealth.

Without us at the grassroots, all that exists is a hollow structure, diplomatic links with elites and, less attractively, the sad consequences of the errors of the Soviet past, from which I and many others have so much suffered. Once Moscow is fully freed of the bad habits dating back to Peter I, so disastrously multiplied by the Soviet period (centralisation, bureaucracy, temptations of power and money and false ‘spiritual fathers’), we will be able to found the new Local Churches which are our inevitable future. In the meantime, we have to continue to serve the people whom God sends us every day from everywhere.

I may not live to be a priest of the coming Western European Orthodox Church. I may not live to see an England liberated from the British myth and so obtain an English passport. I may not live to see the dream of an IONAn (Isles of the North Atlantic) Confederation of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with a Confederal Assembly on the Isle of Man, looking out on the four nations. Nevertheless, I still believe that my direct descendants will see at least much of this. We work for a much greater idea than a bishop or patriarch or jurisdiction, we work for our common future, for the One Eternal Idea and Reality, for the Kingdom of God.

The Main Problem of the Contemporary Orthodox World

Introduction

From time to time over the decades I have heard conversations among Orthodox about ‘What the problem with the Orthodox world is’. Some I have heard say: ‘The episcopate’. Others say: ‘Lack of leadership’. Others: ‘Lack of pastors’. Others: ‘Uneducated clergy’. Others: ‘Infrequent communion’. Others: ‘There are not enough churches’. Others: ‘Politics’. Others: ‘There’s not enough money’. Others: ‘Too much money’. Others: ‘Ecumenism’ (how old-fashioned that word sounds now). Listening to such conversations among those older than myself, many years ago I came to my own much more radical, but perhaps also much more obvious, conclusion which I present below. Let me give some examples.

The Problem of the Episcopate

Here one of the great problems is that, with very weak monastic life, Orthodox bishops are drawn from a very small pool of candidates. Here we must also recall that, even if there were strong monastic life, most monks are in any case not at all suitable to become bishops: the very ‘monastic’ monk makes a disastrous bishop, as he has no concept of family life and the general realities of life in the world. If they do become bishops they make the most crass decisions out of naivety, ordaining bandits and perverts and not ordaining the suitable.

Indeed, real monks flee even the possibility of the episcopate and have to be taken kicking and screaming for consecration. In some Local Churches, the situation is so dire that just any celibate can become a bishop, especially if he belongs to the right local wealthy family (one of four?). His faith is not very important, but being celibate and being from the right local wealthy family are. As a result, there are a lot of bishops who are bureaucrats, diplomats or just academics. Faith in Christ really does not count very much with them at all.

The main aim of the bishop-bureaucrat, ‘administrator’ or ‘effective manager’ (the Russian jargon) is to collect money and property, so gathering power into his hands. After all, marble, gold and flashy vestments, flats and cars need hard cash. How else can you show off how prestigious and powerful you are? A few years ago we saw one who had been appointed to another diocese. His first act was to buy himself a very fancy car.

That was him finished. Half the flock turned away at once and never returned. And frankly, why should they have? The previous bishop had travelled by public transport and had been respected for that, though admittedly he had travelled very little. The new bishop still could not understand how he had alienated half his flock in his first week (he only realised this about a year afterwards). Some years later he was removed after a large amount of money had disappeared……Another failure in a long line in that particular diocese, which appears to have a suicide wish, ordaining the incompetent and banishing the competent.

But why does a bishop need a chauffeur or a cook or a chancellery and to issue decrees (which are usually ignored anyway)? Ordinary people do not have a chauffeur or a cook or a chancellery and does not issue decrees. If they did, they too would soon find themselves as despised and ignored as their bishops.

Bishops are given power, which some of them think means suspending, depriving of living and home or defrocking righteous priests (and others) and ordaining their corrupt yes-men favourites in their place. Some cultivate this power into a kind of feudal arbitrary rule, the ability to strike terror and intimidate. It is impossible to pray with such bishops because they are bullies who simply traumatise. Little wonder that in one Local Church there is actually a trade-union for priests to defend themselves against such bullies.

The fear of some Synods of bishops to stand up to such bullies whom they themselves appointed discredits the episcopate because there are whole Synods which fall into cowardice and let the corrupt go on for years. There has to be another way, the way of justice. Let us make clear that we are not talking about those who deserve suspension and defrocking according to the canons. The very real fear of priests of being utterly unjustly suspended and defrocked is not their fault. It is the fault of tyrannical and unChristian bishops, who do not know the word Love. Trauma reigns. As for trust, that went out of the window decades ago.

Then there are the bishops who are mere diplomats or book-lovers, who hide in their cathedrals, never visiting their crumbling dioceses, and remain unknown to their flocks. They prefer speaking at conferences for intellectuals.

We have witnessed the disgraceful conduct of certain bishops in the last year in relation to covid. Terrorised by the vague possibility of death with covid, they have closed themselves down and closed down their dioceses, threatening their priests with suspension and defrocking, if they so much as serve the liturgy or visit the sick, as in one group in one Diaspora country.  These conformists are those who, wishing to swim with the atheist State tide, go over and above even the demands of the atheist State in closing down their churches. The concept of churches in the catacombs is totally alien to such bishops, as they are totally integrated into the local Establishment (and local masonic lodge). I have had people asking if such bishops have any faith at all. In answer, I shrug my shoulders and look to the heavens. The fact is, I just don’t know.

On ordination 36 years ago I was told by an elderly Russian priest that ‘whatever you do, don’t contact the bishop unless it’s an emergency, you will annoy him’. Indeed, there are bishops I have heard of who actually forbid their clergy to contact them or make contact impossible because they refuse to answer any form of communication. They don’t want problems, and yet they are happy to interfere in the details of pastoral life and upset clergy and people alike, thus creating problems. Their heavy-handedness defies definition. One new and power-crazy bishop we know managed to alienate his whole diocese in just nine months. A quite remarkable feat. Surely a record? Unless you know better….

The Problem of the Priesthood

There are priest-careerists. You can tell them a mile off. Even the most unchurched person knows them. It is as though they carry an odour about them. And the odour is not that of eau-de-cologne, but the foul stench of money.

On the other hand, if you allow a married priesthood, as Christ did, it is only natural that the priest should earn enough money to look after his family. There are Orthodox bishops who condemn the cash-saving Roman Catholic solution, that is, imposing celibates only (sometimes homosexuals, sometimes worse). And that is exactly what some bishops do: ordain a 22-year-old, make him archimandrite and there you have it: a cheap parish priest.

Only, as happens quite often (I have known many examples), by the time they are 30 they want to get married. And they do. Not so far from here, we know a married archimandrite with two children, though his bishop left him priest. And actually I don’t blame him for doing so, but the bishop who ordained the married archimandrite at an uncanonical age. Another bishop we met, in the then Rue Daru group, would only ordain priests with two children or fewer. Those who did not use contraception could not be ordained: they were too expensive. The hypocrisy.

The problem is that such events do nothing to create respect for the clergy and parish life. The simple solution: in a small parish with 100 wage-earners, ask them to contribute 1% of their salary to the priest’s salary. This would mean that the priest would earn exactly the average salary of all his parishioners. If it is a medium-sized parish with 200 wage-earners, they will contribute 0.5% of their salary. Etc.

This brings us to the next and massive problem.

That is the lack of parishes. There are quite a few (though probably only a fifth of the number required) church buildings, but a parish is a different matter. A church is a building you ‘go to’ as often or as rarely as you want, for five minutes once a year (like the thousands who, I am told, ‘go to…’ (a church where there are never more than 200 present at any one time). There are others who attend a church at least three times a week and come before the start and leave after the end. Only they are parishioners. A parish is a community to which you belong, of which you are a member. And parishioners are people who socialise and help each other outside Sundays.

In Russia and most of ex-Communist Eastern Europe, parish life was almost completely destroyed by the Communists. Though, in truth, often parish life was very often very weak even before the Communists came. Which is precisely why the Communists came…..

To create a Church family, which is what a parish is, is not easy. It takes years. There are different nationalities, different ages, people live in different places, often far apart. And this brings us to our next section.

The Problem of the People

Most Orthodox Christians the world over are only nominal. This nominalism is the ‘hatch, match, dispatch’ variety. In other words, they go (at best) to church three times in a lifetime, for baptism, wedding and funeral. They are not Churched Orthodox, who belonged to the Church, whose priority is the Church. Some people ask why a Revolution in ‘Orthodox Russia’ took place. It was because of nominalism. When there is an attack on the Faith, the first people to lapse and even overnight become enemies of the Church are the nominal. Thus, in Soviet Russia, most of the militant Communists, from Stalin downwards, were baptised Orthodox. They were obviously not Churched Orthodox. Thus, we can see the fragility of ‘Orthodox countries’, where the majority are only nominal Orthodox. We can see the same fragility today in Greece and Romania, where the clergy are State-paid. A fragility which worries. Those countries hang by a thread.

Nominalism is precisely why confession and communion are infrequent. Confession and communion, though two separate sacraments, together form a statement that we are Christians, that we repent and that we partake of Christ, the Head of the Church. Both are equally important, which is why they are so frequent and so closely linked. Some common questions of the baptised but unChurched are: What is confession? What is communion? I have never had them. Why can’t you give communion to my (unbaptised) baby? We now have the extraordinary Roman Catholic practice in the Greek Churches of communion always, but confession never. And they actually justify that as normal! What is this world that we live in?

Many people like to blame ‘the Church’ for everything. This sounds like a blasphemy, as the Church is Christ’s, His Mother’s (Who is the Mother of the Church), His saints’ and His angels’. However, by ‘the Church’, they do not actually mean Christ (which is what ‘Church’ means), but the clergy.

Yes, we are aware of the faults of the clergy (see the extensive lists above), but what about the faults of the people? The people statistically make up 2,444 out of every 2,445 Orthodox (90,000 bishops, priests and deacons out of 220 million), 99.945% of the Church. Where is the responsibility for the Faith of the people, their consciousness of belonging to ‘the royal priesthood’? Why this passive, consumerist attitude? This is not the attitude of Church people.

Some people blame the clergy for the obvious lack of missionary work. But it is much more their responsibility, as they are the vast majority. If nothing is done inside parishes, in internal missionary work, nothing can be done outside parishes, in external missionary work. Why is that we have to wait for bishops and priests to set up parishes, buy church buildings, do missionary work? All should start at the grassroots. And where do the clergy come from? They come from the people. Clergy are not born clergy! Is there truth in the old and harsh saying that: ‘The people get the clergy they deserve?’ The lack of zeal among the people for upright bishops surely results in what we have. We should not complain about our situation when it is our own fault.

Conclusion

What is the main problem of the Orthodox world? In my view, it is undoubtedly its sheer lack of Orthodoxy. At all three levels, as described above. This means the lack of dogmatic understanding and the lack of works of love, in other words, the lack of love, which in fact are the result of each other. For if you do not love God, you will not love your neighbour or yourself. Put simply: No respect for God = no respect for others = no self-respect.

Whenever in Church history the faithful people, most parish priests and monastics and the freely-appointed bishops have combined to defend the Faith against tyrants and monsters, they have created an unstoppable force, a force which radically changes the course of history. Why? Because they realise that they, only together, are the Church.

 

A Centenary Icon for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

Introduction

Our Russian Orthodox Faith in the Holy Trinity has long been expressed by the words: ‘For the Faith, For the Tsar, For Rus’, which represent the actions of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit throughout the Russian Orthodox Lands all over the world. These words were expressed in recent history in the lives of the Three Saints of the Russian Emigration, the Three New Hierarchs, the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy.

St Jonah

‘For the Faith’ was expressed by St Jonah of Hankou (+ 1925), the first saint of the Emigration. Fleeing as a refugee with other White Russians to China and absolutely faithful to the fullness of Russian Orthodoxy, within a very short time of becoming a bishop at a very young age in Manchuria, he established an orphanage, a school and a dining hall for the poor. Thus he combined the love of the Liturgy with practical love for our neighbour, as the Gospel calls us to do, for ‘Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you’ (Matt. 6.33). This is indeed the essence of the Orthodox Christian Faith. St Jonah expressed faithfulness in the face of the betrayal of the Faith by others.

St Seraphim

‘For the Faith and for the Tsar’ was expressed a generation later by St Seraphim of Boguchar (+ 1950). He fearlessly expressed the historic values of Russian Orthodoxy in his writings and was a Defender of Orthodoxy against the heresies of the renovationist Paris School in the 1930s and against ecumenism, notably at the Moscow Council of 1948. In his study ‘The Russian Ideology’, he asked: What is the role of the Tsar? He answered that the Tsar is the incarnation of our Faith in social, political and economic affairs. All this has become very relevant today, in the wake of the events that have followed the 2016 meeting in Crete organized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. St Seraphim lived for decades outside Russia, but never made any compromise with the Orthodox Faith at any time, including in the last few years of his life. He expressed bravery in the face of the cowardice of others before the political pressures of the powerbrokers of this world.

St John

All of these values, ‘For the Faith and for the Tsar and for Rus’ were expressed by St John of Shanghai and San Francisco (+ 1966) two decades after St Seraphim. The first ‘universal saint’, as St John has been called, he defended the Orthodox Faith and the Tsar from their enemies. He lived all over the planet, celebrating the Liturgy and preaching in many languages, extending the understanding and practice of ‘Rus’ worldwide far beyond East Slavdom, which itself stretches from Carpatho-Russia to the shores of the Pacific. Thus, outside those lands we speak of American Rus, Argentinian Rus, Australian Rus, Canadian Rus, English Rus, French Rus, German Rus, Irish Rus, Italian Rus, Peruvian Rus, Swiss Rus and so on. Wherever, worldwide, there is the uncorrupted Christian Faith of the people of the Russian Orthodox world, there is Rus. St John expressed the truth which sets us free from the deceit of those who do not love Christ and His Holy Church.

The Three Saints and the Six Continents

The Russian Emigration expressed the truths ‘For the Faith, for the Tsar, for Rus’ with a more refined purity and much more extended significance than ever before. The three values of faithfulness, bravery and truthfulness were above all expressed by the Three New Hierarchs, after apostates expressed the opposite of ‘For the Faith, for the Tsar and For Rus’ in their ‘treachery, cowardice and deceit’ which caused the 1917 Revolution and brought persecution to the faithful. And these Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy completed their lives on three different continents: St Jonah in China in Asia; St Seraphim in Bulgaria in Europe and St John in San Francisco in North America. It is this, the global reality of Rus, which the Church inside Russia is now learning from us in our outposts here.

It is for this reason that we now have their Icon in our Church in Colchester, showing the Three Saints full length against the blue and green background of the planet – St John walking and blessing North and South America (where his parents went to live), St Seraphim walking and blessing Europe and Africa (where some of his spiritual children went to live), and St Jonah walking and blessing Asia and Oceania (where some of his spiritual children went to live). All of them walk beneath the Protecting Veil of the Directress of the Church here, the Kursk-Root Mother of God, the Icon of the Sign, She Who Shows the Way.

Thus, in this global age, we see all six inhabited Continents of the planet beneath the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God, blessed by the Three New Hierarchs, the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy, the Three Saints of the Emigration, St Jonah, St Seraphim and St John. Their feasts, on 20 October, 26 February and 2 July respectively are spread almost equally, every four months, throughout the Church year, and each represents a new generation of Church life. Together they represent the essential identity, unique service, planetary mission and future of our whole Russian Orthodox Church, come forth from the past of Imperial Russia, now living in the present and worldwide.

Conclusion

All three saints are part of the historic contribution of the twentieth century to the common worldwide mission of our reunited Russian Orthodox Church now and in the future. We know that our Russian Orthodoxy – like all Traditional Orthodoxy – is being persecuted by the alien and secular mentality which has infiltrated parts of the Orthodox world. What better symbol of our common struggle for the Faith than this Icon of the Three Saints, all the fruit of Imperial Russia, all the fruit of the One Russian Church, and all of them our offering to the whole world for our common future?

Parish of St John of Shanghai, Colchester, Essex

Feast of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia

25 January/7 February 2021

 

Together in Life, Together in Heaven: Ten Questions and Answers on Martyrdom of the Russian Imperial Family

  1. Who ordered the murder of the Russian Imperial Family in 1918?

The seven members of the Imperial Family and their four faithful servants were shot and bayoneted to death in the very early morning, probably just before 1 a.m., of 17 July 1918. This took place in the requisitioned house of a military engineer called Nikolai N. Ipatiev in the city of Ekaterinburg in the Urals on the very limits of Europe and Asia. This house had been built on the site of the Church of the Ascension, which had stood there in the eighteenth century.

From studies in post-Soviet Russia, for example those by the senior official investigator,  V. N. Soloviov, it seems that the murder of the Imperial Family was carried out only on the initiative of the local Urals Regional Soviet. The Bolsheviks in the industrial city of ‘Red Ekaterinburg’ were particularly militant, hateful and also powerful, showing great independence from Moscow. In any case, no proof has been found of co-ordination between the local Bolsheviks in Ekaterinburg and Lenin in Moscow or anyone else.

However, it is clear that Lenin would have had the Imperial Family murdered in any case and with the backing of his financial and political sponsors abroad, for example in New York. However, Lenin had wanted some sort of show trial first. It is also clear that the Soviet leaders and ordinary Bolsheviks who did not actually order the murder were not upset when it did occur. Thus, although they did not order it, they were quite capable of doing so and would have done it anyway in time. Probably they even felt relief that others had done the dirty work for them so soon.

  1. Were their murderers Jews?

Although the top Bolshevik elite in 1917 was 90% Jewish by race (but militant atheists by religion and mocking their ancestral religion and mercilessly slaughtering Non-Bolshevik Jews), ordinary Bolsheviks were overwhelmingly Russian. As the Old Bolsheviks, largely Jewish, died (Lenin was only a quarter Jewish) or were murdered (like Trotsky), they were replaced by Russians or those of other nationalities, like the Georgians Stalin and Beria, or later the Ukrainian Khushchov. Of the ten murderers (not ‘executioners’, as the secular West calls them) of the Imperial Family, eight were Russian, one was, probably, Latvian and only one was Jewish, although he was in charge of the other killers. However, this latter, Yankel Yurovsky, was a Jew who had long before been baptised a Protestant and had nothing to do with his Jewish family or religion. Therefore, he was Jewish only by race.

Indeed, several foreign soldiers, perhaps Latvians or Austro-Hungarians, had categorically refused to pull the trigger and murder the Family, especially the children. The fact – however terrible – is that the ten murderers were all baptised Christians, eight of them Russians. Their names were: Yurovsky, Kabanov, M. Medvedev, P. Medvedev, Netrebin, Nikulin, Strekotin, Tselms (probably, and probably Latvian), Vaganov and Yermakov. This fact that they were all officially Christians should be reflected on.

This is also why the Church Outside Russia canonised the Imperial Family and their servants as martyrs, whereas in 2000 the Church inside Russia canonised only the Family as Passion-Bearers. The difference here is only that the term ‘Passion-Bearer’ is used only when the murderers are nominal Christians and not pagans. However, in reality the terms are largely interchangeable.

  1. Was their murder a ritual murder?

There is no such thing as a ’ritual murder’. This whole Non-Orthodox myth was invented in the Roman Catholic Middle Ages. It began in Norman England, with the notorious case of the murder of ‘William of Norwich’ in 1144, the first such case. The myth, based largely on jealousy of the wealth of certain elite-connected Jews, finally spread from Catholic Poland into the western Ukraine only in the late nineteenth century. Anyone who reads about the chaos of the murders at the Ipatiev House, carried out by militant atheists and Non-Jews, can see that there was no system (rituals are by definition always systematic) and had no connection with any religion whatsoever. The myth of ‘ritual murders’ is pure anti-Semitism, as is the myth of ‘kabbalistic’ signs on an inside wall of the Ipatiev House. They were simple scribbles.

  1. Why did many not believe that the remains of the nine victims, found in 1979, and those of the two victims, Alexei and Maria, found in 2007, were those of the Imperial Family and their servants?

The second early investigator of the murder, N. A. Sokolov, (well before him the first investigator, I. A. Sergiev, had done nearly all the work) was appointed by the White Army in 1919. He could not find the remains of the Imperial Family and therefore concluded that the victims’ bodies had been consumed by fire, petroleum and sulphuric acid. In reality, only the martyrs’ clothing and shoes had been burned on bonfires. His ‘conclusion’ – although in fairness it was only a preliminary conclusion because he had not had time to finish his investigation – came about simply because he could not find the remains, even though he had passed by their site. Many, if not all, at the time and for long afterwards, believed in his conclusions/suppositions for lack of any other information, and a few still do believe in him today.

Sokolov was not a chemist or a forensic scientist, just a legal man – and also a convinced anti-Semite – and did not realise that you need very high temperatures – about 1,000 C – and huge amounts of sulphuric acid in order to destroy eleven human bodies. These had not been available. Others blindly repeated his suppositions, even adding the speculation that the bodies had been burned to cinders and their heads had been sent to Moscow. This latter wild and proofless speculation was made only because the investigators had found no teeth – by far the most difficult part of a human body to destroy. In reality, there were no teeth, simply because the bodies with their heads and therefore teeth had not been found. However, there are still a few who believe these suppositions, even today, though probably for ideological (anti-Semitic) reasons or out of personal vanity and wish for publicity.

  1. How can we be sure that ‘the Ekaterinburg Remains’ are indeed the relics of the Imperial Family?

We are 99.999999% sure of this just from the two sets of extremely thorough genetic studies on the unique remains, conducted internationally. If you add to this the locations and the number of bodies (eleven), the post-Revolutionary period when they were killed, their ages, the way they were killed, the type of bullets and other fragments found with them, as well as the dental records showing very clearly that the victims’ teeth had been treated by world-class dentists, I can see no rational way in which there can be any doubt about their identity.

  1. In that case, why have the Church authorities been so slow in recognising the remains as the Imperial Family’s relics?

The first genetic tests were carried out in the 1990s under the Yeltsin government, which of course no-one trusted, as it was notorious for its lies, just as all the Communist governments before it had been notorious for their lies. After all, Yeltsin himself had ordered the destruction of the Ipatiev House less than twenty years earlier, in September 1977, for the sixtieth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Since the remains could eventually be venerated as holy relics, the Church authorities, also distrusting Yeltsin, had to be absolutely certain of their identity. You cannot make a mistake if you are going to present remains as relics. This is why a second batch of genetic tests were made on the basis of even more advanced DNA science, their results being released on the centenary of the martyrdom in 2018. The findings coincided with the first ones.

Secondly, perhaps more importantly still, the Church authorities have had to face the opposition of sectarian elements inside Russia, who are largely anti-Semitic. Only now are the Church authorities dealing with them. The bishops have always feared a schism, however small, on the subject of the identification of the remains.

Thirdly, the Church authorities know that in post-Soviet Russia there are those of the other extreme, opposed to the far right anti-Semites. These are the liberal and atheist elements opposed to the enshrinement of the relics, just as they were – and are – opposed to the very canonisation of the Imperial Martyrs. Indeed, inside Russia itself, the Church authorities have still not canonised three of the four servants of the Seven Imperial Martyrs (see below).

Outside Russia we should not be surprised at this or, even worse, feel smug. Even the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), supposedly free, only made up its mind about canonising the Imperial Martyrs and four of their servants in 1981, 63 years late! This is scandalous. And even here there were some members of the Church Outside Russia who opposed the canonisation, as I well remember. Anyone who remembers the very hostile reactions to the 1981 canonisation outside ROCOR, on the part of the liberal Paris Russian Jurisdiction (founded by the very Saint Petersburg aristocrats who had overthrown the Tsar) and the Parisian-influenced OCA, let alone the mocking reactions of the secular media, will recall just how virulent the opposition to the canonisation was.

  1. Why are there no miracles from the relics, which do not give out myrrh or perfume?

I think there are many miracles from them. The fall of the Soviet Union was only the first one.

As regards the actual relics, not all relics give off fragrance or myrrh. In any case, relics need faith to work miracles. This we can see time and again from Christ’s words in the Gospels – ‘according to your faith be it unto you’ (Matt. 9, 29). Christ Himself could not work miracles in Nazareth, where he had spent most of his life, precisely because of the faithlessness of the inhabitants (Matt 13, 58 and Mark 6, 5-6). In the Gospels Christ says time and again: ‘Thy faith has healed thee’. In other words, there is no healing without faith. At this moment, nine sets of relics, which lie in the St Catherine’s chapel in the Church of St Peter and Paul in its Fortress in Saint Petersburg, are closed off and cannot be venerated by the faithful. Disgracefully, the relics of St Alexei and St Maria are not even enshrined in the church. We cannot even venerate these relics physically.

  1. In Moscow the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate has not canonised three of the servants of the Family, though it did recently canonise one of them, Dr Eugene Botkin. Many say that it cannot canonise all of them in any case, since one was a Roman Catholic and another was a Protestant.

These four servants were all canonised by the Church Outside Russia in 1981 together with the Imperial Family. I questioned the very conservative Archbishop Antony of Los Angeles about this matter, when I accompanied him to visit Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich in Paris in autumn 1991. He explained to me that this issue had been discussed by the ROCOR Synod in New York well before the 1981 canonisation. The Synod had accepted the age-old practice of the Church that anyone who was martyred for the Faith, even though unbaptised, was considered to have been baptised in their blood.

There are many such examples of baptism in blood in Church history. The fact that of two Orthodox martyrs, one was a Roman Catholic and another was a Protestant, should surely be considered as Providential: this is a call to the Non-Orthodox world to follow in the footsteps of the Imperial servants, as indeed is the canonisation of the converted Tsarina Alexandra herself, though she had been chrismated into the Orthodox Faith before her wedding in 1894. We are all called to be Imperial servants, servants of the Christian Empire, the Empire of Christ.

  1. If the remains are eventually accepted by the whole Church as holy relics, should the relics be enshrined at Porosionkov Log, where they were found?

The area a few miles to the north of Ekaterinburg where the relics were found in 1979 and, 67 metres away, in 2007, was renamed Porosionkov Log (‘Piglet’s Ravine’) only in the nineteenth century, as a result of the amount of mud there which attracted pigs. Originally there had been a large lake here, but when the railway was built across this area, the land around the large pond became very boggy with no drainage. It would not be possible to build a large stone church here, but only a small wooden church on piles. This is the case four and a half miles away at Ganina Yama (‘Gabriel’s Pit’), where the murderers burned the victims’ clothes and belongings and first and unsuccessfully tried to dispose of the relics in the early morning of 17 July 1918. Here there now stand wooden churches dedicated to each of the Imperial Martyrs.

  1. In your view what should happen to the relics now?

Tsar Nicholas II repeatedly said that he wanted to be buried in Saint Petersburg. He spent most of his life as Tsar at Tsarskoe Selo (‘The Tsar’s Village’), just outside Saint Petersburg. Here the whole family was happy, rather than among the mean-minded gossip, criminal slander and treasonous intrigues of jealous aristocrats in Saint Petersburg. Surely, it is here in the spacious grounds of Tsarskoe Selo, where the Family spent so many happy times together, that a huge Cathedral dedicated to the Imperial Martyrs could be raised up, with the relics of all of them at last reunited and enshrined inside. This would become a pilgrimage centre for Orthodox the world over. The Imperial Family: Together in life, together in heaven. From here tiny splinters of relics could be sent out all over the world, so that their veneration could be confirmed as worldwide, as indeed it already is, and for the repentance of all. Then clearly visible miracles would begin, including the transfiguration of Post-Soviet Russia into Orthodox Russia and the beginning of the realisation in Western countries that they cannot continue as they are now, in their state of apostasy from Christ.

Holy Imperial Martyrs, Pray to God for us!

Archpriest Andrew Phillips

St John of Shanghai Church, Colchester, England

 

Blessed Xenia of Saint Petersburg

24 January/6 February 2021

 

Two Questions and Answers on the Contemporary Russian Orthodox Church

Questions: I have two questions.

Firstly: As you surely know, there are several currents in the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church. For example, you mentioned elsewhere the recent defrockings of two diametrically opposed personalities, Sergei Romanov and Andrei Kurayev, who represented two extreme currents. Which current do you belong to?

Secondly: Do you think there has there been mass repentance in Russia with the hundred million baptisms that followed the fall of the Soviet Union?

Answers: I am not keen on the word ‘current’, it suggests ‘school’, as though the Church were divided into different groups or subcultures. The Church has no need to be not divided and can still be broad on non-dogmatic questions. In other words, there is always diversity and different interpretations exist in the Church on non-essential issues. This is because we are not a sect, where only those with very narrow and intolerant minds are allowed. As long as we understand that these ‘currents’ overlap and are not rigidly self-exclusive, which would be sectarian and lead outside the Church, like the groups represented by the two extremists you mention above, then I can reply to your first question.

I can identify eight different ‘currents’ in the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church, in four groups of two. The first six currents are minority, even dying, currents, the last two are the majority currents.

A: Political Currents from the Past:

  1. Pre-Soviet Nationalist Nostalgia

Though they have now died, there used to be many aristocratic émigrés with their children who proclaimed that the pre-Revolutionary State was almost ideal. This was often really cultural nostalgia for a privileged childhood. It was precisely mainly the aristocrats and bureaucrats, often corrupt and some of whom emigrated, who betrayed and overthrew the Tsar. Once in the emigration, many of these people were more anti-Communists than Orthodox, all they wanted was their money and lands back from the Bolsheviks. The destiny and mission of the Church did not interest them. There was no theology here, just psychology.

Today, some of the descendants of those emigres follow in their footsteps, as well as some insecure converts in the ex-Soviet Union, who also suffer from nostalgia for an idealised past, which provides them with psychological security. They never ask themselves the question why the Revolution took place and why it was at least passively accepted by so many, if everybody had been so happy before it. If they studied the pre-Revolutionary Church in its 200-year state of enslavement to Germanic State bureaucracy, they would understand much. But many do not want to know about this because that would entail repentance on their part. They prefer to demand repentance from others, in the spirit of the Pharisees.

  1. Soviet Nationalist Nostalgia

There are still quite a few elderly or even middle-aged people inside the ex-Soviet Union who, though now baptised, have constructed a myth that the Soviet Union was Orthodox. This can even go to the extreme of idolising Stalin, whom they oppose to the foreign enemies of national Russia, Lenin and Trotsky (overlooking that Stalin was also a foreign enemy). This is largely nationalism, together with childhood nostalgia for the security and imagined prestige they had in the Soviet Union.

They forget the interminable queues, shortages, wastage, injustices and above all the red terror, genocides and Gulag, which were all inherent parts of Soviet ideology from Lenin onwards. Ultimately, such ‘Stalinist Orthodox’ are simply the victims of Soviet brainwashing. Their refusal to acknowledge the facts of history and the anti-Christian and other genocides carried out by the criminal monsters who ran the anti-Russian Soviet State from 1917 on is astounding. As usual with people like this, they do not want to know the truth because otherwise they would have to re-evaluate everything, above all their own lives.

B: Political Currents from the Present:

  1. Post-Soviet Russian Nationalism

There are those who are nominally Orthodox, but only because they are Russian and feel threatened by the wave of Westernisation that has unfurled on the ex-Soviet Union since 1991. You can read articles and books written by such people but they rarely attend Church services. Some of them revere imagined Slav paganism. For them the Church is often just an ideology which they try and use for their own ideological purposes and for defensive self-justification.

  1. Post-Soviet Euro-Americanism

Unlike the above, there are the rootless elitists who hate Russia. They are the spiritual descendants of the Westernisers of the nineteenth century. These modern Westernisers, like the CIA agent Navalny, want Russia to become just more American colonies, divided into various ‘protectorates’, as Hitler had intended, with the natives herded onto reservations, as the elite did to the natives of North America. They descend spiritually from the aristocratic and middle-class Europhile traitors who overthrew the Tsar in 1917 and had him and his family murdered, imagining they would retain their power and riches as Western puppets. They have clearly learned nothing from the recent Ukrainian catastrophe. For them the Church is irrelevant and has nothing to say to the world, but must instead slavishly ape the spiritually bankrupt West.

C: The Two Neophyte Currents:

  1. The Ritualist Neophytes

There are those who, new to the Faith, become very attached to external rituals to an almost superstitious or magical degree, that of folklore. They often elevate purely local customs such as bathing in holes in the ice on 19th January to some kind of obligation, far higher than holy communion. Sometimes this results in a certain phariseeism. In Greece such would be inclined to old calendarism, in the Russian context this comes out as an inclination to old ritualism. It is difficult to dissuade such narrow and closed neophytes that ritualism is to be avoided as we are saved not by rituals, but by Christ. This is because they are so emotional and irrational that they do not lend themselves to rational persuasion.

  1. The Modernist Neophytes

There are those who, new to the Faith, become very attached to a merely intellectual knowledge of the Faith. They are the modern saducees, renovationists, liberals and westernisers, intellectual neophytes – rationalists, who do not believe in very much, except their own intellectual concepts. Many of them follow the Moscow renovationist Kochetkov, whom the ex-Bishop Basil (Osborne) wanted to appoint rector of his London Cathedral before his Sourozh schism and who was adored by the late French modernist philosopher Olivier Clement, who so heartily detested the Russian Church. Such people may well read the CIA newspaper The Moscow Echo or listen to the CIA Radio Liberty and read books written by the notorious ‘Paris’ philosophers, whether they lived in France, England or the USA.

D: The Two Main Currents:

  1. The Bureaucrats

There are the bureaucrats, centralisers, careerists, who love money, power and protocols far more than Christ, who always slavishly follow the State, whether it is in Russia, Romania, Greece or, in England, the Anglican Establishment. These are the sort who put St John of Shanghai on trial because they hated the Truth. The diplomacy of lies prevails amongst them, for they have little sense of reality, for they have never suffered, living in clouds of naïve unreality, surrounded by flattering yes-men favourites. These are the anti-missionaries, who destroy Church life instead of spreading it, who suspend and defrock good priests and promote grasping bandits, discrediting the Church among the faithful.

These are the sort who, obsessed by paperwork, implement covid rules with more zeal than even the unbelieving Anglican elite. They refuse to understand that covid was sent to them to bring them to repentance. These are the anti-pastors, the anti-missionaries, the dessicated bishops, the dried-out and formalist monks, who have no love, especially hating married clergy and families. They have little pastoral understanding or sympathy, for they hate the truth about themselves and their persecuting jealousy. They prefer to fill their few churches with gold and marble, as hard as their souls, for they do not love the poor, even if they do understand that the poor exist; they prefer rituals. This is the type of dried-up bishop who was exactly portrayed by Paul Chavchavadze in his novel ‘Father Vikenty’ (London 1957).

  1. The Orthodox

We belong not to Paul, or to Apollos or to Cephas, but to Christ and His Saints and Martyrs, in the spirit of St John of Shanghai. We Orthodox are those whom the secular world calls ‘the mystically aware’, to whom Christ said, ‘As the world hated me, it will hate you’. Despite their very mean persecution for this faithfulness and even their censorship, we venerate all the saints, ancient and contemporary, including the recent saints, the Tsar, his Family and all his servants, together with all the New Martyrs and New Confessors, for the Church is founded on the blood of the martyrs and the faithfulness of the confessors.

However, the world and the worldly hate the saints and permanently rebuke us for our zeal. We follow the miracle-working St John of Kronstadt, whose bureaucrat-bishop appointed him rector of the parish that he had founded and built only after 40 years. We follow the holy elder Fr Nikolai Guryanov, alone on his island and ignored until great old age. We believe in the international mission and destiny of the Russian Orthodox Church to bring to Christ willing people from all the nations, regardless of nationality and tongue. We will always be persecuted by the truth-hating bureaucrats who have no love for us and our worldwide missionary work.

In reply to your second question:

In the ex-Soviet Union there has been mass superficial conversion, but no deep mass repentance. The latter has concerned perhaps only 5% of the population. This has been made clear by the facts that Lenin’s rotten corpse still lies by the Moscow Kremlin, where stands a monument to Stalin, and the whole Russian Federation is littered with statues and place-names celebrating the atheist brutes who murdered tens of millions of baptised Orthodox and other innocents. The refusal of many to discover and venerate the Royal Martyrs, to read and love the Lives of the New Martyrs in general, the failure to stop mass abortion and divorce, the existence of mass corruption, cremation and other pagan practices prove that Orthodox Russia does not yet exist.

This is why there can be no restoration of the Orthodox monarchy and so re-creation of the Orthodox Empire yet. The existence of the Phanariot nationalist schism in the Ukraine, the failure to bring to Christ millions of the peoples of the former Russian Empire, Kazakhs, Latvians, Yakuts, Mongols and so on, shows that all that exists is post-Soviet Russia, not Orthodox Russia. If Russia were Orthodox, its neighbours would also be Orthodox. They are not. There is far to go. The calls to repentance are to be repeated for long until the long-awaited day of justice and restoration comes.