Author Archives: Father Andrew

The Error of the Triumphalists

When in 1989 the Berlin Wall fell and then over the next two years the whole of the remaining Soviet Empire, including the Union itself, fell, there was rejoicing among Western triumphalists. But they were blinded by the error of their own hubris; the fall of Soviet State capitalism and its materialism was also the beginning of their own fall, of Western elitist capitalism and its materialism. This was because the two ideologies have exactly the same origin – in the anti-Christian denial of the fact that mankind has both a spiritual origin and a spiritual destiny. The only difference was that the Western system was more successful in its materialism.

Marxist Communism, imported into the former Russian Empire from the West which had lost its faith, had promised ‘a bright future’, ‘a paradise on earth’. Western Capitalism had promised the same, ‘progress’ and ‘a consumer paradise’. But both resulted in the same collapse of nations, families and personal lives in amoral and infantile self-indulgence, in alcoholism, abortion, constant wars for mineral resources, divorce, drug-addiction, ecological catastrophe, economic injustice, social inequality and suicide. Neither ideology could solve the problem of death; neither, vitally, could provide any meaning to life. Both therefore led to death.

In reality, the meaning of life is in believing in something that is worth dying for. If something is not worth dying for, it is certainly not worth living for. Life without a goal is meaningless. And who wants to die for a new brand of toothpaste and the right to vote for one corrupt fool rather than for another corrupt fool? Any Civilisation that is not worth dying for is doomed to degenerate and die. And this can be seen today all over the Western (and Westernised) world, which confesses only ignoble absurdity and bestiality. Western and Westernised society is not a Civilisation of creators, but of consumers, that is, of destroyers of resources.

Civilisation collapses when it is only a Civilisation of consumer well-being, of health and safety, without risk or challenge, a Civilisation of fear of illness, of lockdown and bankruptcy. However, as long as there is only one person who resists this pseudo-Civilisation and does not surrender his free will to pointless consumerist comfort, the devil has not defeated mankind, for one person has defeated the devil. After the fall of the monstrous Soviet Union, many there refound the meaning of life in the Christianity of before and the rebuilding and building of lives and churches of spiritual beauty, culture and art. Is the same possible in the Western world?

 

On Edmund the Martyred King

Men become devils and all dreams overthrown,

Shadows of moonlit trees and faces unknown.

Hope itself, with Edmund’s England, here lies slain.

Be warned: He will haunt you and come back again.

 

Bury King Edmund beneath the arrow shower.

Bury King Edmund beneath the fading hour.

Bury King Edmund beneath the stubble ground.

Bury King Edmund beneath the forest mound.

 

Bury King Edmund beneath the failing light.

Bury King Edmund beneath the thick of night.

Bury King Edmund beneath the stars that stand.

Bury King Edmund beneath his gentle land.

 

Bury King Edmund beneath the autumn bough.

Bury King Edmund beneath the snow and plough.

 

Edmund’s spirit is in little market towns,

Where we’d live as simple souls and win our crowns.

As a Saint, Edmund has shone forth through our tears,

Edmund’s prayed for us through all the clouded years.

 

Bury King Edmund beneath the spring green born.

Bury King Edmund beneath the standing corn.

 

Bury King Edmund beneath the hearts that cower.

Bury King Edmund beneath the lust for power.

Bury King Edmund beneath the greed for gold.

Bury King Edmund beneath the mind grown cold.

 

Bury King Edmund beneath the old faith lost.

Bury King Edmund beneath the darkness crossed.

Bury King Edmund beneath Empire that lied.

Bury King Edmund beneath the proud mind’s pride.

 

We who are Edmund’s people know only this:

There’s no help but in Edmund and his God’s bliss

And on the last day he will rise from his grave:

Edmund the Martyred King, risen bright to save.

All Around Treason and Cowardice and Deceit

Introduction

The above are the words spoken by the future martyr Emperor Nicholas II, after he had been treacherously stabbed in the back by almost all of the intelligentsia. That word defined the then deChristianised upper and middle class of Russia, made up of generals, aristocrats, including Romanovs, politicians, industrialists, lawyers, teachers and, sadly, many clergy.

As a result of the betrayal of the Christian Russian Empire by its internal enemies, keenly supported by its external enemies, the British, German, French and American elites, the Empire fell to the most vicious genocide known to human history. ‘Holding victory in his hands, he fell to the earth alive’, as Winston Churchill wrote of his betrayal in his work ‘The World Crisis’ (Vol I, p. 476). This betrayal was the Emperor’s Gethesemane, when he prayed for the cup to pass, but also ‘but may Thy will be done’. So his crown was removed and he went up to his Cross willingly, saying: ‘If Russia needs a sacrifice for its salvation, I will be that sacrifice’.

Those who still today, incredibly, write that the Tsar and his Family and friends were weak-willed, inept, debauched or stupid are still stabbing him in the back in the same way. And so they are still preventing the Church from implementing Her Providential and Apostolic mission and destiny of Christianising and reChristianising the world. But the Tsar forgives them: they know not what they do. Worse still, however, they do not want to know what they do. Only God can forgive that, if they repent. So much for them, but whose side are we on? There are some, hopefully very few, among the international clergy of the Church, who number nearly one hundred thousand, who also still behave as traitors, cowards and deceivers to the Church, who are the enemies of the Church. Among them we can discern three types, often mixed together:

  1. Treason: The unprincipled careerist and the faithless bureaucrat.

These will do anything to further their passion of ambition, their careers, their lust for wealth and power. They may be political appointees or secular failures, who have been found jobs through influential relatives and demonstrate great nationalism. They will steal Church money, buy property for themselves, tyrannize others with absurd paperwork (‘control and command’), and threaten, bully and transfer them, if possible. They generally make themselves disliked and even feared by alienated clergy and people who instinctively distrust them as thieves. The people see through the amoral and immoral attitudes in their souls and vote with their feet whenever they turn up. We knew one bishop in England years ago who spent Church money on equipping his mistress, other clergymen are homosexuals or moral degenerates. Such characters are very divisive and are soon forgotten when they die, but first cause great damage.

  1. Cowardice: The cowardly diplomat and the dreaming academic

Conformists to the core, these suffer from weak faith and will always swim with the tide, failing to stand up for the Truth and defend the faithful. Often they cannot make any decision or give any concrete answer to anything, let alone do anything, as they are lost in long-winded conversations and writing long documents. Words not actions. In fact, they persecute zeal and want the Church to wither. One bishop we knew in France, where such are called ‘library bishops’, said that it was better to have fewer parishes because then there were fewer problems. A truly apostolic attitude! If they are vicar bishops they are fairly innocuous and can be left to their books and theories, even if they are homosexual. However, if given power as diocesan bishops or deans, disasters ensue. One we know had to be defrocked: the wrong man in the wrong place. That was a personal tragedy for him; not a bad man, just incompetent and ineffectual.

  1. Deceit: The fraudulent charlatan and the self-admiring narcissist

In some respects the charlatans are the worst of all. Claiming to be ‘spiritual’, which they most certainly are not, as is apparent to anyone with Church experience, they persuade the lonely, spinsters, widows and bachelors, that they have some sort of ‘charisma’. These self-appointed ‘spiritual fathers’ are generally narcissists with a personality cult and so are manipulators, preying on and abusing the young, especially students, the naïve and the weak, making them feel guilty, taking their goodwill and money through l manipulations. Some of them are sexual predators, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Worst of all are the pedophiles. We have seen several of these charlatans in various countries: they are more common than is thought. As narcissists, they are always right, never listen to advice, never consult (though they may pretend to do so) and, if bishops, ordain disastrously because they do not ordain pastors but yes-men.

Conclusion

It is clear that creating a clergyman just because he is unmarried will lead to disasters, more precisely, to treason, cowardice and deceit. Only real monks should be consecrated to the episcopate or ordained, not single men who become monks formally merely so that they can be consecrated or ordained, but those who live monasticism, like the Russian bishops of the past.

Given the present condition of the worldwide Orthodox episcopate, with the chronic shortage of candidates for the episcopate, what can be done? The ideal solution is more monasticism. But that cannot be created artificially, only organically. You cannot somehow manufacture ‘monasticism’. And then not all good monks make good bishops, though all good bishops are good monks. And candidates for monasticism generally only appear out of parishes where zeal is encouraged. And candidates for monasticism generally come out of families who live an Orthodox life. This solution to the problem can only come in the long term. What can be done now?

The alternative proposed by some is to return to having married bishops, with tiny dioceses of ten to twenty parishes, as in ancient times. However, such a radical change, which could only be decided by a Church Council, is highly unlikely in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, with few bishops, there is a realistic and canonical compromise solution. This is for the bishops who do exist to delegate whatever they can to trustworthy deans. Though not without risks, deans could consult and request bishops to ordain as needed by the grassroots. Treason and cowardice and deceit must be overcome by all clergy. We all need to say: ‘If Russia needs a sacrifice for its salvation, we will be that sacrifice’. Otherwise we too will prevent the Church from implementing Her Providential and Apostolic mission and destiny to Christianise and reChristianise the world.

 

 

The Consequences of Coronavirus

Many changes, including temporary mass unemployment and the mass bankruptcy of many businesses, due to the lockdown imposed by governments in the name of coronavirus are hastening the end of a number of traditional practices.

Firstly, the trend to buying online, which means the end of the Victorian-invented High Street, has been accelerated.

Secondly, the end of the use of cash and its replacement by plastic cards, has been accelerated. This is as is prophesied in the Book of Revelation.

Thirdly, deChristianisation has been accelerated in Western and Westernised (for example, Greece), countries. Thus, many Catholic/ Protestant churches in particular, already in existential crisis and dying out through the complete loss of faith and which were closed down almost with zeal by atheist clergy even before they had to, will now go bankrupt and close.

Fourthly, the manipulators who thought that they could try and turn the people into zombies, blindly obeying any State propaganda, and that the whole coronavirus lockdown would serve as preparation for the foundation of a World Government, controlled by them, the billionaire elite, have been disappointed by their attempts.

Their disappointment comes as a result of the frustration of the poor underclass after three months of lockdown. The injustice that they have experienced during this time has sparked off the powder-keg of accumulated historical injustices and led to violent rioting and looting in the USA. This has spread to a lesser degree to Western Europe.

In Britain too there have been demonstrations. In the city of Bristol, this turned into an unlawful act. For some this was disgraceful. However, this unlawful act simply overturned a national disgrace: the statue of a slave-trader (he had the same profession as an ancestor of the former Prime Minister Cameron) was removed and thrown into the river. Some people found this unacceptable. Would they also have objected if the demonstrators had toppled and ‘desecrated’ a statue of Hitler?

The fact is that this country is full of statues of mass-murderers, like that of the Norman William the Bastard, who founded the whole concept of Britain and the Establishment, or that of the appalling Henry VIII. Then there is the statue of Cromwell outside Parliament in London. (He massacred up to one million people with 17th century technology). London and other cities are littered with statues of the wretched suicide and mass-murderer Clive (of India) and various Victorian military men and criminals like Rhodes. Then there is the honour given to Kitchener, the murderer of 70,000 South Africans for the sake of the British imperial lust for gold and diamonds. More recently, they have erected a statue of ‘Bomber’ Harris, ultimately responsible for 500,000 civilian deaths in Germany.

All these monsters are honoured by having dozens of streets, squares and schools named after them, in almost every British town and city. Many books consider them as national heroes.

Here there is no difference with post-Soviet Russia, where Bolshevik monsters are still honoured by statues and place-names.

We have always called for the de-Sovietisation and ‘re-Nationing’ of Russia. We also call for the de-Britainisation and ‘re-Nationing’ of the oppressed peoples of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who are conscious of our pre-Norman past. An oppressed minority, we too cannot breathe.

Conspiracy theorists see in the coronavirus crisis only negative phenomena. They are always wrong because they think only in human categories. They are apocalyptic pessimists because they exclude God from their theories. They do not know that although man may indeed propose, it is God Who disposes. God can always make good from bad. Is the long-awaited cultural liberation of this country at last beginning?

The Day of the Holy Spirit, 2020

 

 

 

Leadership and the Church Fifty Years From Now

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19)

Quench not the Spirit (I Thess. 5:10)

The Truth will set you free (Jn. 8:32)

For the peace of the whole world, the good estate of the holy churches of God and the union of all, let us pray to the Lord. (The Great Litany)

 

I first read the Gospel just over fifty years ago. It came as a revelation as it at last made sense of the world around me. So then I began looking for that mysterious Church which Christ had founded in the Gospels and against which ‘the gates of hell will not prevail’. I realised that this could only be a Church which was historic, whose roots went back to these very words of Christ in the first century. Clearly, this excluded all the man-invented Protestant groups, including the Church of England, all of which went back, at best, only to the sixteenth century. I also realised that this Church must be both universal and local, in other words, open to all peoples, languages, nationalities and backgrounds, that is, local in its diversity, though also universal.

Clearly, this also meant that anything narrowly ethnic would be excluded, for example, once again, Anglicanism (the State Church of the British Empire, an Empire that had begun with Elizabeth I and her father and had ended with Elizabeth II and her father, and so was an anachronism). This also excluded all the mononational Local Orthodox Churches, let alone tiny nationalistic or schismatic offshoots, like Ukrainian, Belarussian and Old Calendarist groups. Thus, the only choice could be between centralized Roman Catholicism and the persecuted Russian Orthodox Church. Since the former was clearly a construct of barbarian European imperialism which had finally taken on a recognisable shape only as late as the eleventh century, I had to be Russian Orthodox.

Its heritage and spirit was what Christ had spoken of – the mere fact that it was persecuted was proof enough. Therefore, I began looking forward to the day when the Russian Church would give birth to a Local Western European Orthodox Church. I had no desire to see a national, merely English, Church, for there had never been such a thing in history, apart from State-run Anglicanism. (That nationalistic variety of temporary British Establishment culture held no interest for me, indeed was quite alien to me and in any case was rapidly dying out). Authentic English Christianity had come from Egypt via Gaul and Ireland and from Italy and Western Europe and had converted the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia – it had always been multinational.

Western Europe needed a multinational Church for all the repentant and searching in the one common cultural area of post-Roman Catholic and post-Protestant Europe. This would be both Universal (multinational) and Local, both Orthodox and, in my case of local, English, and not Anglican. At that time the Russian Mother-Church inside Russia found itself in a tragic political captivity. Thus it was rejected by 95% of Russian Orthodox of all nationalities living in Western Europe as obviously unfree, enslaved by an atheist State. From this realisation on I waited for one part or another of the Russian Orthodox Church to found an Exarchate of Western Europe, which would serve as the foundation for such a multinational Local Church..

I hoped that the émigré fragments of the Russian Church in Western Europe, whose temporary existence was justified by the existence of the Soviet Union, would found this Exarchate. It was surely their responsibility and destiny. In April 1988 I first wrote about the need for just such a Russian-founded Western European Orthodox Church and how it could be structured. This I wrote in French and was subtitled ‘Vision ou Reve’ (Vision or Dream) (1). It was thrown by a visionless Archbishop into a wastepaper bin in Paris. In reality, some émigré churches in Western Europe were by 1990 dying. If you become ever smaller, ever more inward-looking and backward-looking, ever more nationalistic and without a missionary purpose, you will die out.

Thus, some lost spiritual and moral authority either by weak and conformist compromises with secularist Western values or else by remaining stuck in the past. The Exarchate was finally founded by a freed Church from inside Russia in December 2018. The Exarchate, no doubt to be modified and remodelled over the next fifty years by our contributions to it, will become the future. It is clear that, precisely because we keep the living Tradition, we cannot live in the past. Over the next fifty years the Exarchate will become the foundation for the new Local Church of Western Europe. The Mother-Church can provide the necessary leadership, vision, episcopal infrastructure and goodwill to construct this future, together with the help of others.

The Russian Orthodox Church is canonically the Northern (‘Hyperborean’) Church of Eurasia, apart from those small territories of the mononational Churches. Russia itself is Eurasian, with tens of millions of Russian Orthodox of many tongues living west and east of the Urals, as well as beyond in Western Europe and Asia, in Japan and China and in the South-East Asian Exarchate, stretching from what was Indo-China to Singapore and Taiwan to the Philippines. This Eurasian missionary destiny is shown by the surrender of parishes in Indonesia to the Exarchate there. (Only Africa remains the heritage of Greek Orthodoxy. However, if it should fail in this responsibility through nationalism, the Russian Church would have to set up an Exarchate there too).

Some may ask, but what then in fifty years from now of the remaining fragments of the Russian Orthodox world, of those who have long lived in and were born in the Americas and Oceania? As the polarised and polarising elements of the past, the extremist secularists and the extremist sectarians, die out, what will happen? Their huge responsibility and destiny will surely be within fifty years from now to unite to form the foundations of three future Autocephalous Local Orthodox Churches on the three continents of the New World: North America, South America and Oceania, using English, Spanish, Portuguese and French, together with Dutch and native languages, uniting all Orthodox of all backgrounds there.

Here is the future Orthodox world which is calling us to move forwards. Let us not be hidden behind anachronisms, behind bureaucracy, behind imperialist reflexes and nationalist provincialism. Let us look and go forwards and not backwards. Let us show leadership and not stand in the way of the future.

Ascension Day, 28 May 2020

Note:

  1. Published twelve years later in English in ‘Orthodox England’, Vol 4, No 1, September 2000

 

The End of the Western Delusion: 1990-2020: History Begins Again

Since Protestantism denied any sort of collective ‘Church’, it was always concerned with ‘personal’, individual salvation. Therefore it was precisely out of this curious understanding of salvation, that we are not saved together, that modern Western individualism grew up. For as time passed and Protestantism degenerated into Secularism in the revolution that began in the 1960s, individualism rapidly turned into self-interest, self-indulgence, self-flattery, ‘the feel good factor’ and infantilism. This is ‘personal salvation’ according to the individualistic, atheist gospel of Secularism. Everyone is their own god – the ultimate millennial result of the filioque.

Thus, after the Fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and then the collapse of the rest of the Marxist nightmare, the self-appointed task of Western ideologues assigned themselves a task. Sure that their ideology of individualism, ‘the free market’, had triumphed, it was simple. Under the delusional camouflage of their slogan of individualism, ‘freedom and democracy’, in other words, do whatever you want, they would conquer the rest of the world.

So they tried to mop up the remains of Imperial Russia (not much left there after 75 years of Western Marxism, they thought), finish off primitive Islam and stride forward, confident that China and India would also fall into their laps like so much ripe fruit. ‘History had ended’, so claimed the bullying triumphalists with their ‘The West is Best over the Rest’.

Now they would conquer the world through the crowd-pleasing, truly populist, idea of selfishness, backed up as usual, of course, with the usual Western organised violence. This hubris was nothing but the old pagan Roman bread and circuses, revamped as materialist consumerism and the Soft Power of Hollywood and modern music. The masses would, like zombies, swallow all this, and agree to be bombed by NATO and exploited by Western companies from the US and the EU, their heads zombified by Rambo, Michael Jackson, Spiderman, Lady Gaga and any other nonsense that the West could produce.

Only it was not as simple as that. Actually, not everybody is a selfish Western ideologue and will agree to anything, just because they have been offered flattery and a million dollars. Some people have principles, some people are not selfish, some people have values greater than the dollar, some people know that ‘freedom and democracy’ are myths. Like the early Christians in the Colosseum, some people still believe in greater things than vulgar consumer goods and Hollywood, they believe in collective, not individual, values, values like historical tradition, patriotism and national identity. And, just like our spiritual forebears, the early Christians, we do not fear death. Even under the threat of coronavirus, whether manmade or natural.

That people may believe in more than bread and circuses and do not live by bread alone has been demonstrated in recent years even inside the Western world, with the rise of what the venal elitists of the snobbish media condescendingly call ‘populism’, for example, as in Brexit and Trump. However, long before this, outside the Western world (the West is always spiritually backward), we already saw resistance to Western Secularism.

For example, although Russia fell into the hands of a drunken Western puppet in the 1990s and although his Harvard advisors created mass hunger, abortion, alcoholism and suicide, Russia has since raised itself up to sovereignty. It now has a certain dignity and we see there the long and slow return to national identity and the traditional Russian defence of peoples whom the West has tried to wipe off the map, for example, in Ossetia and Syria. As for the Muslim world, it too fought back after the anti-Muslim Wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003, where the West, despite its mass brainwashing propaganda, disastrously lost the last shreds of any moral authority. The world saw that the only weapons of mass destruction were those that the Western Powers massacred Iraqis with.

Historically, the West had no success in spreading its ideologies of Catholicism and Protestantism in Russia, India, Japan or China. Even after the collapse of Communism, when it sent out its evangelical missionaries to the former Soviet Union, bribing them with free English lessons, all they harvested were a few unstable, uprooted and neurotic souls.

Even successes in Latin America, the Philippines and Africa were very limited: Catholicism and Protestantism there are both anti-secular and have very little to do with wishy-washy, happy-clappy, baby-boomer, self-indulgent, infantile Western Catholicism and Protestantism, which today are simply forms of Secularism, with as much spiritual content as dishwater. The Non-Western world will accept consumer goods and Western Soft Power, its films and music, for amusement’s sake, but nothing on a deep and serious level. The elite may have its traitors, but the people remain loyal to their own age-old Civilisation and culture beneath the surface.

Some may point to the contemporary ‘successes’ of American evangelicals in China, who claim 120 million converts. This of course is nonsense. Just as in Japan, South Korea or Thailand, the only ones in China who ‘convert’ to Protestantism do so because they want to be rich ‘like Americans’ from the land of consumerism and Hollywood. For why are the Americans rich? Because Americans are Evangelicals, ‘God has blessed them’. By adopting the American religion, they too will be ‘blessed by God’ and so be rich. At least that is the myth that is peddled to the simple, ignoring the tens of millions of dirt poor, homeless, alcoholics and drug addicts in the real America, let alone the Gospel call to ascetic poverty and Christ’s statement that Mammon (i. e. the dollar) and God are irreconcilable opposites. All this is just American imperialism.

Today’s Western Secularism is as unexportable as yesterday’s Western religion was unexportable.

For instance, I remember a BBC journalist (and spy) declaring to me that Orthodoxy in Russia is unimportant because fewer than 5% of Russians go to Church. This statistic is true, but he had totally missed the point. Orthodoxy, i.e. Christianity, is important in Russia not because of such a statistic but because it is the Civilisational underpinning of Russian culture. Regardless of how many people go to Church, all (except the elite of English-speaking thieves/oligarchs/traitors who consort with Western journalists and spies) have Orthodox (i.e. Christian) values in some sphere or another. And those values, of the majority, are not those of elitist LGBT Western Secularism and never will be.

The Gospel of Western self-indulgence only works among the corrupt elite. The puppets, traitors and crooks, appointed by the West to run Latin America (Haiti, Cuba, Pinochet, Nicaragua), Greece (the colonels), the Philippines (Marcos), the Ukraine, Lithuania, Montenegro, the Phanar etc, are precisely that. The West has only one technique, corrupt the worst elements in the country and then appoint them as the ruling elite by force and they will allow Western companies to asset-strip the countries involved.

How will this Western perversion be defeated?

Whether the fight is against pseudo-Christian Western religion or one of the forms of Secularism which evolved from it, be it atheist Communism or consumerist Capitalism, there is only one value which can stand up to Western Secularism. And this is not xenophobia and crude nationalism, evil Stalinism in the case of Russia – even among some who claim to be Orthodox!; this is not Maoism in the case of China, where the ruling ideology long ago stopped being Chinese Communism and became Chinese Nationalism, upheld by savage Capitalism; and this is not Islamism in the case of the Muslim world, an Islamism created from the outrage of repeated Western invasions of and interference in Muslim Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

What then is the only value that can stand up to Western Secularism?

It is God, the One Universal Reality and Ideal. Not the false Western god, the idol made in the imagination and image of Western ideologues. The real God is not made in our image, we are made in His image. The Holy Spirit comes from God, not from Western man, nor for that matter from the Islamic god of Mohammed, but from the real God the Father, from Whom alone proceeds Holiness and Truth. This was revealed by Christ, not in Europe, but in Asia, of which Christ was in His human nature a native.

Just because the American elite has little understanding of history, culture, language and faith, it thinks it can impose its individualistic self-indulgence throughout the world. Insulated from reality in their bubble, it underestimates other people. Not all are as selfish as those ideologues. Most of the world has greater and stronger values than the individualistic self, it has a collective value, a belief in its own national identity and destiny, culture and history, values that go beyond space and time, beyond the here and now, back into history and into the future, a Civilisation that is greater than the self and goes on to eternity. Not the Western delusion, but God. Here is the answer. Thirty years have passed since Western ideologues began to claim that the West had triumphed, that History had ended. In reality, History is beginning again. For many around the world the West is not Best. In the age of coronavirus the West is Pest.

 

An Inspiration for the Colchester Parish of St John of Shanghai and Western Europe: His Spiritual Son, the Ever-Memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva and Western Europe

The future Archbishop Antony (Bartoshevich) was born into a pious family in Saint Petersburg in 1910 and baptised Andrei. After the illegitimate overthrow of the Tsar and his government by traitors from the aristocracy, intelligentsia and military in 1917, Andrei’s mother left with him for his grandmother’s home in Kiev, while his father joined the White Army. In 1921 the family emigrated, first to Germany and then to Yugoslavia. Here in Belgrade Andrei had initially thought of becoming an engineer like his father, but in the mid-1930s he abandoned engineering and chose instead to study theology.

Among his teachers was Fr (now St) Justin (Popovich) (+ 1979) and his mentors included Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky), First Hierarch of the Church Outside Russia and former Metropolitan of Kiev. Vladyka Antony told me himself in 1986 that if the great Metropolitan had not rid Russian academic theology of alien scholastic theology and the theory of satisfaction, he would not have come to serious Church life and to study theology. There was also the influence of the fathers of the Russian monastery in Milkovo and that of the icon-painter Pimen Sofronov, who taught Andrei iconography. In 1941 Andrei became a monk, taking the name Antony after St Antony of Kiev. He was soon ordained hierodeacon and in 1942 was ordained hieromonk by Metr Anastasy (Gribanovsky). He served in the Russian church in Belgrade and taught young people how to paint icons, drawing many to the Church.

In 1945 the church in Belgrade was placed under the Moscow Patriarchate. Patriarch Alexei I Himself made Fr Antony archimandrite on account of his zeal. Fr Antony wished to return to Russia to serve the Church there. However, here he was unwanted, his petitions ignored – no doubt providentially, because otherwise he would have been sent straight to the Gulag. Thus, after four years of patient waiting, Fr Antony accepted that it was God’s Will for him not to return to Russia, but to serve the Church in Western Europe.

In 1949 he went to Switzerland, where his saintly brother, Bp Leonty, was Bishop of Geneva. Fr Antony served in several parishes in this Western European Diocese of the Church Outside Russia. He painted the iconostasis for the parish in Lyon, including the icon of the local saint, the Church Father St Irenei. From 1952-57 he served in Brussels, taking care of all, travelling around and paying special attention to young people. After the repose of his brother, in 1957 Fr Antony was consecrated Bishop of Geneva by the future St John (Maximovich), who was then Archbishop of our Western European Diocese.

Archbishop Antony was a model Archpastor, he loved the services, which he celebrated with great care and prayer, and wrote for and edited the Diocesan magazine. He lived as a monk, reading or singing all the services every day, fasting strictly himself, though always indulgent towards the weaknesses of others, and took particular care of the young. He directed pilgrimages both to the Holy Land and also to the holy places of Western Europe like Lyon, the city of several early martyrs. In this he had been inspired by his spiritual father, the future St John, who had promoted the veneration of forgotten Western saints. Archbishop Antony always listened to the advice of others, other bishops and especially Athonite monks.

While remaining firmly Orthodox in the face of such heretical deviations as ecumenism and modernism, Archbishop Antony never fell into any extremes. At the Third Russian Church Council in Jordanville in 1974, he played a critical role in quelling the divisive passions of highly politicised extremists and sectarian isolationists in the USA, among them those who had put St John on trial in San Francisco. Thus, Archbishop Antony kept the unity of the Church, which had been endangered by these American extremists, who had lost their roots. He asked for understanding for those who were hostages in Russia and urged all to keep close links with the other Local Churches of the Universal Church. He asked all to look not at a few individual and unworthy clerics in Russia who compromised themselves under political pressure, but to look at the faithful there, as also elsewhere. For Vladyka the Church inside Russia always had grace, despite unworthy ‘representatives’ there or elsewhere.

All this time he organised the sending of spiritual literature to Russia and informed the West of the persecution of the Church there. He knew that the Faith there was being reborn. The canonisation of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in 1981 under Metropolitan Philaret of New York was a great event in Archbishop Antony’s life and he played a key role in preparing their glorification, knowing that it would be a turning-point in history. For him the prayers of these new saints would give rebirth, as indeed they did. The Saints are the Unity of the Church. After the repose of Metropolitan Philaret in 1985, many bishops hoped that Archbishop Antony would become the next Metropolitan of ROCOR and indeed he received enough support to do so. Never ambitious, Vladyka did not want this, and ceded all interest to Archbishop Vitaly, as he related to me himself with great humour on his return from New York.

Always a man of unity, Vladyka worked hard to bring back the Rue Daru group, centred on his territory in Paris, from its schism. Thus, he concelebrated at the funeral of Metropolitan Vladimir (Tikhonitsky) and always concelebrated with others of the group, as had St John (Maximovich). Indeed, when he was still Bishop Antony, he showed quite willing not to take the title ‘Archbishop’ which had been offered him, and to cede that title to the Archbishop of the Rue Daru group once it had returned. At the Third Russian Council in 1974 he authored a message to the group, calling all back to unity. In this Vladyka was well ahead of his time, as we know that the Orthodox part of the group, some 60% of what then remained of it, did indeed return to the Russian Church, but only in 2019.

Just like St John, his predecessor as Archbishop of Western Europe, Archbishop Antony was a Russian patriot, but he was not some narrow nationalist or political bureaucrat. For him the Church was universal, as it was for his mentor Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky). He would serve in the Romanian and Serbian churches in Paris and loved to hear services in Greek. He was also very open to Swiss, Dutch, French and others who had embraced the Orthodox Faith and he served in French for them. He blessed the composition of the service to all the Saints of Switzerland for local use. He is remembered for his missionary work in Western Europe, keeping peace and love in his multinational Diocese, which he expanded to Portugal in 1992. True, he was let down by some. But when in 1987 a small group of extremist French people left him to join a Greek sect, he said to me, with a shrug of his shoulders, ‘ We’ll just have to start again’. Perhaps his missionary consciousness was partly due to the fact that his grandfather was a Polish Roman Catholic.

Almost exactly one year before his repose, the Archbishop had said that he had only one year to live. Just two weeks before he passed away, he consecrated two new bishops to replace him, Bishop Seraphim and Bishop Ambrose. He fell asleep in the Lord on 19 September/2 October 1993 and was laid to rest inside the Cathedral next to his brother, Bishop Leonty. Perhaps the greatest witness to his missionary efforts was the presence of ten different nationalities among the twenty-two priests who bore at various moments his coffin at his funeral: Russian, French, Swiss, Austrian, Serb, Romanian, Dutch, English, Spanish and Slovak, many of whom he had himself ordained since becoming diocesan bishop in 1963.

Vladyka Antony is remembered for his faithfulness to the end to his Diocese, his wisdom and openness to others, his love for the young, his personal generosity, warmth of character, humour, pastorship, his love of his homeland and also his efforts to spread Orthodoxy in Western Europe. Nor can we forget his efforts to rekindle the fire of uncompromised Orthodoxy inside Russia, where he was never able to return, though he often spoke of visiting, especially Kiev, where he had family. St Paisios the Athonite (+ 1994) said of him: ‘Your Antony is a hero. He is neither with the ecumenists, nor with the others’ (the sectarian zealots).

This Archpastor’s very rare values, which coincided with our own and inspired us, were:

To keep the purity of Holy Orthodoxy free from political meddling and bureaucracy, from both the left (modernists and syncretists) and from the right (nationalists and sectarians), keeping to the royal path of the unity of Truth and Mercy.

To be faithful to the best of Imperial Russia and the spirit of the Imperial Family, who stood above factions, confessing the Faith as protectors of the unique Civilisation of the Orthodox world and standing up to be martyred when required.

To remain multinational, inevitable in the Western European context, carrying out the missionary task of the Russian emigration assigned to us by Providence among the peoples of the world, in faithfulness to the words of Christ (Matt, 28, 19-20).

To the Very Reverend and Ever-Memorable Antony, Archbishop of Geneva and Western Europe, Eternal Memory!

 

 

 

The White Guards’ Task in Helsingfors: 1920-2020

Behold, the wicked man conceives evil, and is pregnant with mischief, and brings forth lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole which he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head and on his pate his violence descends.

(Psalm 7, 14-16)

Russian history was interrupted in March 1917 by a murderous, anti-human, anti-historical, Western ideology, inspired by the enemy of mankind, Satan. This interruption of Russian history by an alien philosophy in turn interrupted world history. Ever since, it has been unable to continue on its natural and progressive course, as willed by the Maker. Thus, it has constantly veered ever further from the Christian Civilisation of the Orthodox Gospel with the passing of the decades.

This apostasy was made clear only weeks after March 1917, in May, in Fatima in Portugal, while a cannibalistic Western Europe, bathed in the sacrificial blood of its young, received a heavenly message through the most humble and innocent peasant children to be found. This message said that if Western Europe did not repent for the atrocious sufferings which it had inflicted through its agents on Christian Civilisation in Russia, those sufferings would rebound on it.

Having failed to heed these heavenly words, Western Europe duly punished itself. This is the mystical meaning of history. Nothing happens by chance, all are free to choose to create happiness or unhappiness through the consequences of their actions. In Russia both left-wing apostates, atheists and imitators of Western Secularism, and right-wing apostates, pharisees and imitators of Western Chauvinism, all enemies of Christianity, chose Satan’s materialist trap and fell.

Our task as White Guards, who have remained faithful to authentic, multinational Orthodoxy, to the Tsar-Martyr and all his loyal and still much-slandered followers, and to the life of all the Orthodox peoples of the world, is the restoration of what was lost in 1917. This task is to reverse the catastrophe chosen four generations ago. And the path to that lies through Helsingfors in 1920. This is our mystical appointment with destiny. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

 

Seventy-Five Years after the Unfinished European War 1945-2020

The Great Western European War, which spread to its neighbours in Eastern Europe and Russia and to its then colonies around the world and to its former colony in the USA, was called the First and the Second World Wars. In the part of that War called the Second World War there began at the same time as the original Western European struggle an Anglo-German war in North Africa for access to Middle East oil. Then there began a German war for control of the natural resources of the Soviet Union, which ended with the destruction of the German aggressor, but not with the downfall of Soviet atheism. And in the Pacific there began a war for control of the natural resources of the countries of the Pacific rim, which after Japanese massacres in China developed into a US war against Japan.

Although this Western European War began in 1914, it did not in fact end in 1945. True, it was paused in 1945, just as in 1918, but it continues because of the injustices that it caused. For just as the injustices after 1918 inevitably resulted in the War that began at the end of the 1930s, as was foretold at the ‘Peace Talks’ in 1919, so the injustices after 1945 have inevitably led to continuing conflicts until the present day. Thus, there followed immediately after 1945 the so-called Cold War, a series of bloody wars around the globe, which after 1989 changed into wars in the Middle East, the Balkans and the Ukraine. Today, this is largely a fight for survival against starvation in the ravaged countries of Eastern Europe, in what was once called the Soviet Union, in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Injustices will be righted, but we fear that much more bloodshed will follow before that day can come.

Indeed, the real Victory Day did not come 75 years ago, with its massacred and mutilated, its blind and its crippled, its millions of lives blighted and enslaved, its orphans and its widows. The real Victory Day will come only with the return of Christ at the end of this unjust world.