Category Archives: Britain and Ireland

Some Missionary Notes

Introduction: Pastoral Work

There is a common myth that there is a difference between parish work and missionary work. In fact, they are exactly the same thing. All parish work is missionary work and all missionary work is parish work, because both are pastoral work. There are two impediments to real parish/ missionary/pastoral work. The first is practical and involves the disastrous lack of Orthodox infrastructure in Western countries, the second is ideological and involves what may politely be called ‘mononationalism’ – making those of other nationalities into second-class citizens.

Lack of Infrastructure and Mononationalism

Today, the Orthodox Church is faced with the interrupting and disrupting consequences of a century of persecution, apostasy and so decadence. With few devoted to the Church and knowledgeable about the Tradition, we lack premises, priests, singers and finance – and so we lack infrastructure. The second problem is one of racist mononationalism, the refusal to accept those of other nationalities into the Church. And yet we are called on by St Matthew (Matt. 28, 19) to ‘go, teach and baptise all nations’, that is, to accept all people, regardless of nationality, background and class.

We are called on to have no ethnic prejudices (for example, the abuse of accepting only Anglicans, only Greeks, only Russians etc into our churches). We are called on, for instance, not to impose alien customs like the Roman Catholic calendar, obligatory communion without confession, chairs and pews and other anti-Orthodox practices. Such novel customs just put off real Orthodox and are just as phyletist and divisive as using only a single, non-local language in services. Either we are Christians and obey the commandments (Matt. 28, 20), or else we are not,

Negativity and Realism

Some find us negative. In fact, we are realistic. Like Russians, we of the people, tell the truth, however unpleasant it may be to naïve idealists and those in a state of illusion. Nothing is ever built on illusion. That is building on sand. Evil is real. Indeed, if I wrote down all that I have experienced, then you would be shocked. But I do not write it down. St Paisius the Athonite said that when walking on Mt Athos you should remove the excrement of wild animals from the paths, so that others do not tread in it. That is my task here in the world, to remove such unnecessary and distasteful realities.

The Orthodox Church will again be seen to be the only Christianity, as in the Beginning

Today Anglicanism, like all other forms of Protestantism, and like their source in Roman Catholicism, is dying and in some places already dead in the first (Western) world. (In the second world, Eastern Europe, as in the third world, they are still very much alive, though in traditional local forms: thus, in this country, Anglicanism survives thanks largely to Africans and Afro-Carribeans and Catholicism largely thanks to Poles. But this will only last for another generation. All who participate in the Western secularist and supremacist myth are corrupted and destroyed by it sooner or later.

Therefore, we are seeing the end of the old movement of Anglican/ Episcopalian Halfodoxy, called ‘Anglicanism with icons’ etc. Where it is not dead, it is dying, except in places where it has been taken over by Eastern Europeans, Romanians, Moldovans and Baltic Russians, but is therefore no longer Halfodox. Both wings of such ex-Anglican convert groups, the moralizing liberals (liberals are always moralizing because they have no spirituality) and the sectarian, ultra-conservative Anglo-Catholics, have painted themselves into corners. We are English Orthodox, not Anglican Orthodox.

Conclusion: Real Missionary Work

Real missionary work is not conducted by shouting on street corners or ramming the Gospels down people’s throats like Protestant sectarians. The results, if any, are superficial and never last. We do not have plans, we simply have hope, faith and love. We do the services together and pray. The rest will come. This was how 75 years of Western atheist tyranny ended in the Russian Lands and 400 years of Turkish occupation ended in Greece. We will do the same here and end the 1,000 years of occupation by anti-Christian and Russophobic (the two go hand in hand) Western Establishment elites.

 

 

The Good New Days

28 January 2018 will go down in our local Orthodox history. Two dynamic, young Russian Orthodox bishops in this country were celebrating in parishes in the provinces, in Cambridge and in Colchester. In the bad old days, there were never two bishops and even if there was one, he would have been found only in London.

27 January 2018 was also a historic day. 33 people gathered at the London church of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russsia (ROCOR) for clergy training. Only 7 were priests; nearly all the others were future priests and deacons. Last year the number of priests in the new ROCOR Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland doubled. More are coming. Tripling? Quadrupling? More? Everything is possible.

In the bad old anti-missionary days in 1994, I can remember being summoned from the Western European Diocese in Paris to go and serve in London, where there were no priests available. By that time the whole of ROCOR in England had been reduced to just two priests, both of whom later left it. How times change.

Some question why the two spiritually united Russian Orthodox Church still has two parallel dioceses on this island territory. Perhaps we are like two trees, growing side by side in the jungle. The more we grow, the greater the canopy we can produce together over the jungle. That is Providence, which is the Love of God manifested in human life.

 

Iona and Jerusalem

Christianized from various sources, including:

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2017/14-july/news/uk/test-lends-credibility-to-find-of-columba-s-cell

Experts on the famous Scottish monastery of Iona have long speculated about whether a rock in the ancient monastery was the site of St Columba’s cell (St Columba was Abbot of Iona from the date of the monastery’s founda­tion in 563 till his repose in 597). The location of the tiny wooden building was described by St Adamnan (Adam), the seventh-century abbot of Iona and writer of St Columba’s life.

Sixty years ago a team exca­vated the summit of the outcrop, found the burned remains of a tiny wooden hut and proposed that the building had been St Columba’s cell. Most scholars rejected the idea. However, two archaeologists from the University of Glasgow have now tracked down the scraps of burned timber (excavated in 1957, but long presumed lost) and ar­­ranged to have them radiocarbon-dated. The results demonstrate that the hut was not a later structure but did indeed date to somewhere between 540 and 650.

New research sug­gests that a now long-vanished stone cross that had once stood on the rocky outcrop had been erected there, probably shortly after St Columba had reposed and therefore potentially in com­memoration of him. This new evidence, together with Adomnan’s description of the location (and the traditional Gaelic name of the rock outcrop: Tòrr an Aba [Mound of the Abbot]), makes it almost certain that the “Tor” was indeed the site of Columba’s cell, and that the wooden hut, excavated 60 years ago, was the centre of the monas­tery.

It is also likely that it was the place where he wrote one of the world’s oldest surviving manuscripts of the Age of Saints, the Cathach, a collec­tion of psalms. During much of that period, Iona was of crit­ical importance in spreading the know­ledge of God throughout large areas of Western Europe. It was probably at Iona that the famous early illumin­ated manuscript, the Book of Kells, was produced; and it was from here that the epicentre of northern English Christianity, the monastery of Lindisfarne, was founded.

The archaeologists have also discov­ered evidence that Iona’s pil­grim­age road was established in the eighth or ninth century AD. It would make it one of the earliest Christian pilgrimage roads in the world. It is now considered that the whole plan of Iona was based on Jerusalem. It is believed that Iona’s version of the Jerusalem pilgrimage road was eventually up to 600 yards long, and, by the ninth century, may have begun at Martyrs’ Bay (the probable location of the martyrdom of Iona monks by the Vikings in 806), and ended at the tomb of St Columba, where the monastery is now located.

 

The Deconstruction of the EU and the Construction of the Europe of Nations

The European elites learned nothing from Brexit, just as they learned nothing from the democratic self-determination of the Crimea. The people had spoken by referendum and the elites simply denied reality, declaring that the people had been wrong. Instead of undertaking to listen to the people who did not want their centralized bureaucratic nightmare of a Superstate, patronizingly they instead justified their tyranny and decided to speed ahead with their dictatorial nightmare. Now in Catalonia another referendum has, just, taken place. Again the European elites are in denial, sending in paramilitary police from the semi-Frankist government in Madrid to assault the voters. Are the European elites listening this time? Of course not:

Esteban Gonzalez Pons, an MEP from Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s so-called ‘Popular’ Party, said: “If today you let Spain break up with Catalonia, a domino effect will follow across the continent. Instead of a Europe of 27, we will have a non-Europe of mini-states”. Italian politician, Gianni Pittella, declared: “A unilateral declaration of independence would amount to a further provocation, which would throw oil on the fire after Sunday’s meaningless referendum”. Philippe Lamberts, a Belgian politician, said that the threats of revolt coming from Catalonia “threaten the spirit of European integration, even more than Brexit”. Thus speak the anti-democratic, anti-people representatives of the elites of the European Union.

 As the fake nations of Britain and Spain divide into their natural parts, the slow but inevitable crumbling of the centralist EU nightmare should be viewed as an opportunity. For example, Brexit should lead to Irish unity – the absurd and unnatural partition of the single island of Ireland cannot continue. Then all four newly independent countries of Anglo-Celtia can co-operate freely, as unity in diversity. The old word ‘Britain’, an 18th century invention in imitation of earlier Roman and Norman tyranny, can be dropped, and the whole can work together in a four-country Confederation, called ‘IONA’, the Isles of the North Atlantic. But far more than this, other peoples throughout Europe can likewise be allowed their long-awaited self-determination.

Other artificial conglomerates like Germany, Italy, France and the Ukraine can fall apart, like the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia before them, the failed, British-invented buffer of Belgium can disappear, absurd borders in Eastern Europe can be rearranged. Everything is possible – and in peace. And, at long last, Eurasia can work together, the Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis, destroyed by Western European tribal rivalries of 1914, can be revived. The anti-elite revolt, the long-awaited European Spring, is not far. Suddenly, everything is possible, as the dead hand of the EU Establishment risks being overturned by the real peoples of Europe. A Europe of False Unity is deconstructed: let the True Europe of Nations be constructed.

 

 

The Betrayal of England

I can remember about fifteen years ago meeting a very posh lady who belonged to the Liberal Democrat Party, as she never tired of telling us, who had ‘come to the Orthodox Church through her practice of Buddhism and her villa on Patmos’. Explaining how important she was and how many important people she knew, she asked me, ‘And what do you do?’ Answering in my best Essex accent (which is not difficult), I replied, ‘I’m a Saxon peasant’. She swiftly turned from me in horror that someone so unEstablishment had been allowed to frequent Her Pompousness.

Meeting such individuals was not unusual then. However, the same lady, like others of her ilk, soon left the Orthodox Church and returned to her Buddhism, whatever that was. (I rather doubt that it resembled at all the real Buddhism of, say, today’s Myanmar. It was rather a patchwork of intellectual exoticism that made her feel virtuous, justifying her very condescending psychology). This hatred of the people, ‘plebs’, is characteristic of the Establishment, of which she was so obviously a part. This patronizing attitude, which underpins for example, the upper middle-class, chattering class ethos of the BBC or MI5, goes back a very long way.

Certainly, it was present among the alien governing class in Romano-British times, renewed by the British-loving Normans and their Francophile mythology. It was renewed in the eighteenth century, when the cruel and racist anthem ‘Rule Britannia’ was written to justify the enslavement of Africans and anyone who got in the way of the rich becoming richer, it was celebrated in the Victorian hypocrisy of the British penny coin with its image of Britannia, while contemporary politicians like Blair and Brown have tried to enforce the selfsame Establishment mythology of ‘Britishness’, even trying to teach it as a brainwashing ideology in State schools.

Essentially, this ‘Britishness’ is the betrayal of England – and also of Wales, Scotland and Ireland and all our peoples. This is because the Establishment, the parasitical elite, which promotes this ideology is alien to us, the peoples of these isles. The antidote to it is to be faithful to ourselves, to our Anglo-Celtic roots. The word ‘Britain’ and ‘British’ are abhorred by the Irish: it should not surprise us, given the history of genocidal massacres there under the ‘British’ Elizabeth I, Cromwell, then the Potato Famine and the 20th century. It is time to drop the words Britain, British and Britishness from our language. But it is even more time to drop the practices that lie behind such words.

More Historic Developments in the ROCOR Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland

At the Clergy Meeting and first ever meeting of the Diocesan Council of the ROCOR Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland, presided over by the Diocesan Administrator, Bishop Irenei, on Saturday 2 September, it was resolved to hold a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St Alban every year. Also, in another historic event, all parishes were blessed by Vladyka to keep the third Sunday after Pentecost as the Sunday of All Saints of the British Isles and Ireland, using the service composed by Archpriest Andrew Phillips fifteen years ago.

It was notable that the Clergy Meeting was for the first time ever attended by representatives from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as from England. Both meetings were informed that the finally magnificently frescoed London church (with images of the local saints) will be consecrated on Friday 21st September 2018 and that the church in Colchester will at last be consecrated, probably in 2019, on its eleventh anniversary. There were also lengthy discussions about new missions, among several other places, including in Kent and Cambridgeshire, the need to found a monastery, about publications, websites and the involvement of the young people of the Diocese and the need to nurture their faith, as with the new Searchlight youth magazine.

The Diocese now has thirteen priests, a number never exceeded even in the 1950s. Moreover, they are multinational in background and ROCOR seems to becoming the only multi-ethnic Orthodox Diocese in these lands. Bishop Irenei’s visit to the reborn Diocese is the fourth episcopal visit this year, and not the last. Other candidates for ordination are coming forward, encouraged by Bishop Irenei who will not reject worthy candidates. One parish which had only had two episcopal visits in nineteen years has now had four episcopal visits in eight months.

It is remarkable what an episcopal presence can do, just as we had always thought, and all look forward to Bishop Irenei’s permanent return to this country in the near future. All are grateful to him and especially to the Most Reverened Metropolitan Hilarion and the Very Reverend Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco, without whom none of this would ever have been possible. It has taken a great deal of effort over the last nine years to arrange all this after a long and dark period in our 300-year history.

A Cornish Orthodox Parish?

The pagan ‘Celts’, a group of cruel and warring tribes, invaded the British Isles and Ireland only a few centuries before the Romans came, some arriving not much before them. However, by the first centuries AD these ‘Celts’, some Christian, some, according to St Gildas, definitely not, had separated into two main groups. These were the Irish (in Ireland, and then by emigration, in what is now Scotland) and the Brittonic (in Wales, Cornwall, and then by emigration, in Armorica, the future Brittany in France, and also in Galicia in Spain). The Church in all these lands was represented then by Irish and Brittonic, both Latin-speaking, but both with a strong monastic ethos. So much for the ‘Celtic Church’ myth, about which so much new-age nonsense is talked.

What can we say of Brittonic Cornwall specifically? The word Cornish (Cornovii) is itself Latin, meaning those who live in the ‘horn’, that is to say, those in the horn-shaped peninsula of south-west Britain. Later, by deformation, ‘Corn-wall’ came to mean the land of the ‘Welsh’ (= Non-English) who live in the horn. Cornwall was first taken into England, though only on paper, in the tenth century by King Athelstan. However, in some ways it would be truer to call Cornwall an island, for, surrounded by the sea on three sides, on its fourth side it is separated from Devon and so from England by the River Tamar. Only 70 years ago, and perhaps still today, those who lived on the Cornish side of the Tamar and crossed it spoke quite naturally of ‘going to England’.

Today, it is true that those who have grandparents born on the Cornish side of the Tamar have very different DNA from those born on the English side in Devon, even though the Cornish language has been lost. This is because, Cornwall lies between Wales and Brittany and so became a land through which saints passed, coming from north and south. Thus, Cornwall is a land of local saints and of their names – 140 in all unique to Cornwall. Unfortunately, most of these names are precisely only names. Usually, virtually nothing is known of the saints behind the names, sometimes if they were even saints at all, not even the correct form of their name, not even the century when they lived (usually the sixth or seventh), and sometimes even their gender is unknown.

As for their Lives, when they exist – and that is rare – they were often written over 600 and up to 1,000 years after the saints lived. In other words, most of their Lives are almost completely untrustworthy and sometimes absurd. All that remains is speculation without edification, ‘games with names’, as in the booklets on them, written by the Anglican researcher G.H. Doble in the last century. Here we see all the sadness when people forget their saints, their tradition of holiness. All we can say is that a large number of mainly Welsh monks, nuns, hermits and ascetics came to live in Cornwall in the fifth, sixth and seventh centuries, and that that was a golden age of holiness. In all this two Cornish saints stand out, St Piran and St Petroc.

St Piran (Perran) (+ c. 480) came from Ireland or Wales and settled in the north of Cornwall, giving his name to Perranporth, where he had his hermitage. He is commemorated on 5 March and is now considered to be the patron saint of Cornwall. St Petroc (Peter) (+ c. 564) was a sixth-century abbot who for long was considered to be Cornwall’s most famous saint. He came from south Wales and lived near what is now Padstow (Petrocstow), where he founded a monastery. He later founded another monastery and then lived as a hermit on Bodmin Moor. He was famed for his closeness to the natural world and founded other monasteries. At his repose his relics were venerated in Padstow and later at the main Cornish monastery in Bodmin. His feast is on 4 June.

Any Orthodox who wish to set up a parish in Cornwall would perhaps wish to start in Truro, the capital of Cornwall and which is located relatively centrally. As for a dedication, we would suggest, quite simply, All Saints. However, in any such parish there should be a large icon of Sts Piran and Petroc.

All the Saints of Cornwall, known to the Lord, pray to God for us!

Towards a Social Brexit

The UK election results once again show the blind over-confidence and imperialistic hubris of the Conservative leadership. The Conservative Party may be trusted to negotiate Brexit (though that is not certain, since they have already wasted a whole year doing nothing about it), but they are not trusted to deliver social justice. And yet decent infrastructure, good roads and, above all, a proper health system, educational system, police force, prison service and proper regulation of privatized railways, telecom and water, electricity and gas companies are demanded. Perhaps, as it is seen by many as the party of the rich and NATO warmongers, the Conservatives should go into coalition with the Labour Party, so creating a government of national unity in this time of national crisis.

However, whatever the politicians decide, the real question is that Western electorates everywhere are rejecting the rule of the neocon oligarchy, the global elite of banksters, warmongers and businessmen, of Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex. People are rejecting Anonymous Globalism, and choosing National Identity instead. However, parties that promote identity politics will only be successful if they also work for social justice and welfare. This was the error of the Conservative Party: it lost sight of the needs of the majority, over 50% of the population, who want those needs to be met, even if it will cost more. Especially, if the costs can be met by taxing the many rich and also businesses, who have so benefited over the last 35 years from rule by pro-business monetarists. What is needed is a Social Brexit.

100 Years On: The End of Anglican Orthodoxy and Reality

Within a few years of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the ensuing enslavement of the Russian Church inside Russia centred in Moscow, some 2,000 Russian émigrés had settled in England, mainly in London. They split into two Church groups, both independent of enslaved Moscow, a larger group of various origins, and a much smaller group, mainly of liberal aristocrats and intellectuals, mainly Anglophiles and mainly from Saint Petersburg. The first group formed a parish in London under the initially Moscow-established Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), which had four Metropolias, in China, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the Americas, catering for all emigres. The second group also formed a parish in London, but under the small Parisian Rue Daru breakaway jurisdiction, outside the Russian Church, under the then largely Anglican-run and financed (now US-run and financed) Patriarchate of Constantinople.

After the Second World War the first group, under ROCOR, formed more parishes for several thousand refugees with Polish nationality, mainly Ukrainians and Belarussians but also some Russians, who all awaited freedom in the Russian Church inside Russia. (This was to come in 2007, only after most of them had died, bringing reconciliation between the Church inside Russia and the Church Outside Russia). On the other hand, after the Second World War the second group returned formally to the still unfree Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia, but on a special basis under the unique Parisian personality of the then Fr Antony Bloom, and developed into an independent group of several small communities. After he died in 2003, this group split in 2006, the majority remaining under Moscow and as a result, by 2007, the majority in the second group and the first group had entered into the unity of canonical communion with one another.

However, some 300 people, often of Anglican background and in small scattered communities, returned to the breakaway Paris Rue Daru group in 2006. Why did they avoid the reconciliation of the vast majority? It was because their leading ideology was that of an English-language Orthodoxy, which was in fact a Russophobic Anglican Orthodoxy. This has largely been invented by an Oxford Anglicanophile academic called Nicholas Zernov. Indeed, it could be called ‘Zernovism’, though in truth many individuals were involved in its formulation. This consisted of a sociological dream, that of reconciling a certain ‘embourgeoisé’ Russian Orthodoxy, liberal, intellectual, aristocratic and conformist, with an upper middle-class Anglo-Catholicism. This was a phyletist (racist) ideology that put a bourgeois and effete Russian Orthodoxy and the Anglican ‘public school and cricket’ Establishment, first – above Christ and His Truth. For when all is compromise, there is no place for Truth….

Those who had never been Anglican felt totally out of place in this group, indeed rejected by such a narrow and forced sociological concept of the Church. Today, their dream (a nightmare for others) is over. It has been made irrelevant by reality – for we do not live in the past. It is not at all that English-language Orthodoxy in itself is irrelevant, in fact just the opposite, today it is all the more important. For in today’s England there are not 2,000 or even 5,000 Russian Orthodox, but 300,000 Russian Orthodox. These come mainly from the Baltics, Moldova and the Ukraine, not to mention 220,000 Romanians and 80,000 Bulgarians, totalling 600,000 Orthodox from these three areas of the Orthodox world. This recent immigration, together with their English-born children, dwarfs all previous Orthodox emigrations, including the mainly 1950s-1960s 200,000-strong Greek-Cypriot immigration, which is now largely dying out after almost complete assimilation.

With 600,000 new Orthodox and their children, mainly in England, there is a huge mission-field for English-language Orthodoxy. However, most of these immigrants work on building sites, in car washes, in hotels and catering, or in farming and horticulture and food-processing factories. They certainly have no interest in an effete and intellectual-dream philosophy of Orthodoxy, but rather in a hands-on, down-to-earth Orthodoxy, which alone meets their simple and practical needs. They need an English-language Orthodoxy to meet the needs of their children, who are being brought up on council estates and in rented flats in the East End of London and the crowded suburbs of modest working towns up and down today’s England. We clergy will be judged on how well we meet their needs, keeping faith with Orthodoxy, but at the same time speaking in the language that their children and increasingly the immigrants themselves, communicate and socialize in. History moves on.