Category Archives: Britain and Ireland

How a Church Was Divided

Introduction

Sadly, here have been several cases of decadence among Orthodox clergy in the Diaspora, especially since the 1950s, no jurisdiction excepted. Clerical scandals have at times turned people away from the Church. People have said: ‘If that is how certain clergy behave, then the Church is no different from the world’. Certain bishops and those ordained and then supported by such bishops have shown a lack of love through weakness of faith or even absence of faith. Such a weakness of faith or absence of faith has resulted in spiritual catastrophes.

Unprincipled careerist political compromises, simony, theft of Church money, moral iniquity and narcissistic jealousy leading to the persecution of honest priests and people, we have seen them all. As a result, the Church on earth has not been able to witness to the world as it could have. Terrifyingly, the culprits will have to answer at the Last Judgement. Thus, in this period, God gave an opportunity for all English-speaking Orthodox in the British Isles at least to be united, but the opportunity was lost. Where did those rejected go in order to survive?

ROCOR

Despite being brought up outside the Church, some of the most zealous and principled, with a sense of Truth and of the Tradition and missionary impulse, joined ROCOR. This was, after all, always part of the Russian Orthodox Church, where they would not have to compromise themselves. However, here, as non-Russians, they were sometimes treated as second-class citizens and also faced petty persecution by those who, under political and sectarian influence, wanted to make ROCOR into a sect. Today, such elements have mainly left ROCOR for their full-blown sects. Freed of them, the new ROCOR can return to normality, to being the old ROCOR with its pre-War roots in the Tradition, abandoning the theological and canonical absurdities of post-1945 Cold War polemics. If ROCOR can show leadership and love, repenting for the injustices and errors of the past, it will bring hope. In the meantime, as a result of the past, others went elsewhere.

The ‘Greek’ Church

As a desperate compromise rejecting ROCOR, Anglicans such as Timothy Ware joined the Church of Constantinople and, after a serious argument in 1965, Fr Sophrony (Sakharov) and his then three monks followed him. As well as them, others, living outside the London-Oxford corridor, were usually turned away and told to ‘go to the Greeks’. This was the result of the refusal to commit to Orthodox missionary work. Today, however, those who made these forced compromises are having to face canonical isolation, the consequence of the contemporary actions of the Phanar, which has trampled over canon law in the Ukraine. Here we see the results of compromising consciences, taking ‘the middle way’ (which is definitely not ‘the golden mean’), the way between Truth and lie, so ending up with Halfodoxy.

Serbian, Romanian and Bulgarian

Only very few joined these other Balkan Churches, realizing that they are mononational, so not for English speakers.

Belarussian and Ukrainian

A few joined uncanonical groups, Belarussian and Ukrainian, in protest at mistreatment. In general, they did not linger long, realizing that there was no place for them in temporary nationalist groups, which were the results of the Second World War.

Antioch

When in 1995 ten or so unhappy Anglican vicars with some 300 disillusioned Anglicans approached the Church, they were rebuffed and so set up their own ex-Anglican jurisdiction. But here, as they have told me themselves, they had difficulty learning the Tradition and so integrating the Church, remaining on the margins, often not learning how to think, act, serve and sing like Orthodox, still trapped in alien Anglicanism.

Sects

A few sectarian-minded individuals left for various curious sects, Greek or Russian, usually because their unrealistic idealism was dissatisfied with the mass of Orthodox who were ‘not strict enough’ for them. Cut off from the Tree of the Church by their own perfectionism, judgementalism and lack of forgiveness, they left themselves to die out.

Exarchate

The final result of compromise was a schism, when in 2007 some 300 joined the Russophobic Paris branch of Constantinople. This had itself been founded through schism by the selfsame aristocratic émigrés, who had betrayed the Tsar and the Christian Empire in 1917. This group now finds itself pitted against the rest of the Orthodox Church and the canonical foundations of Church life, as a result of current bribery and blackmail in Constantinople.

Conclusion

Do we belong to Paul or Apollos or Cephas – or to Christ? Whenever a strong personality, regardless of whether he is talented or not, takes the place of Christ, there is division. At the present time it does not seem likely that locally the Russian Patriarchal Church will recover. Lack of leadership and lack of love may have done long-term damage. The flock was scattered. The Mother-Church behaved like an unloving stepmother. However, if instead of compromise repentant leadership and love are shown by the Patriarchal Church, as it now faces its worst nightmare with the Phanariot schism and bloody persecution in the Ukraine, then there will be the miracle of unity. If it cannot show this, then little ROCOR, with its tiny means and sometimes still unresolved difficulties from the past, will be left to try and take responsibility for this Diaspora.

Another Step Towards a Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe

On Thursday 20 September, the six bishops of the ROCOR Synod meeting in London established the Diocese of Richmond and Western Europe. This combines the former Diocese of Richmond and Great Britain and Geneva and Western Europe. The ruling bishop is Bishop Irenei (Steenberg), former Professor of Theology at the University of Leeds and venerator of St Irenei of Lyon, whose name he bears.

Make or Break Time for the UK’s Political Parties

Small political parties in the UK are mere one-issue protest groups in the anti-democratic First Post the Post electoral system in the UK (as also in the US). Thus there are the regional/nationalist Parties in Scotland and Wales, the regional sectarian parties in Northern Ireland, the Liberal Democrats for the upper middle-class drinking claret in their villas in Tuscany and Provence, the Ecologists (Greens) for the disinherited ecologists and the one-issue UKIP Party, the ‘party’ now over, was killed by its own success. However, very unusually, perhaps as never before, the two big Parties, Labour and Conservative, the only ones that can ever form governments in this system, are both at the same time completely split. Essentially, both are split on the same issue – not Brexit, but Zionism. Here there are many ironies.

Thus, the Prime Minister May, a remainer, is officially in charge of the government because Cameron, a remainer, considered that he could not stay on as Prime Minister after the people’s anti-remain vote on Brexit two years ago. Apparently, she can! As for the EU, it refuses to negotiate, as, if the UK succeeds in negotiating favourable terms, it is afraid that other countries will also seek freedom from its expensive dictatorship. This is a foolish policy because since the UK will leave the EU anyway, if it leaves without agreement, the EU will suffer even more than the UK. In any case, the Conservative Party is, just as it was in the nineteenth century on the Corn Laws, totally split, as to whether it is the English National Party that puts the national identity first or simply the Mammonist Party that puts money first.

The Labour Party, having returned to its socialist roots and stopped being an ultra-Conservative Party, as it was under ‘Tory Blair’, is split by attitudes to Zionism. Its leader, a man who appears to be stuck in the Che Guevara idealism of the 1970s, is, quite naturally, under attack by the Zionist UK media for being anti-Zionist. Of course, they do not say this, they say that he is ‘anti-Semitic’, as they hope that if they throw enough mud at him, some at least will stick. It seems curious that he, the most anti-racist person in the country, does not counter-attack and refer to the fact that many of his best friends are Jewish (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Jewish_anti-Zionism) and that by far the most important Zionists are not Jews at all – for example, President Trump, George Bush, Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher.

However, the fact is that globalism is simply a code-word for Zionism – in the 1960s it was called ‘Americanization’ and in the 1990s ‘the EU’. (In the same way, the old-fashioned mythical term ‘the Free World’ was changed to ‘the International (sic!) Community’ – translate as ‘the G7’ or ’the 10%’ or ‘the Western clique’). The code-words change, but not the realities. Regardless of whether people are Labour or Conservative, there is only one struggle in Europe today: for national identity and the survival of sovereignty, regardless of left or right, against One Worldism. The arch-conservative Catholic aristocrat, Jacob Rees-Mogg (‘the Honourable Member for the eighteenth century’) and the semi-Marxist Jeremy Corbyn are at one, as too are  the multi-millionaires, ‘Tory Blur’ and the slave-owner’s scion, David Cameron.

All we lesser mortals can do is pray for Divine Intervention.

Little Britain or Great England?

Brexit is supposed to take place next year, nearly three interminable years after the UK voted for it. This delay, and indeed Brexit will not even then take place in full, has given rise to various viewpoints: some still say that Brexit will be a disaster; some still say that Brexit will be wonderful; yet others say that it will never take happen at all, as the Prime Minister has never believed in it, she has cast out of her incompetent Cabinet most who firmly believed in it. In any case, the real men of power and finance, in Washington, London and Brussels, who stand behind all these party political puppets all over Western Europe, do not want it and will not allow it.

Whatever the case may be, the real question is not here. The real question is:

As Great Britain is no longer an option, will there one day be a Little Britain, a country of cynical post-modernists and amoral degenerates who do not believe in anything, a country of Third World infrastructure and narrow and conformist minds, serfs of secularism?

As Little England never was an option, will there one day be a Great England (and consequently a Great Ireland, a Great Scotland and a Great Wales), a generous-hearted country, (which is what true greatness is)? Will we repent and make up for the past, wrought by an alien British Establishment which trod underfoot the people of these islands for over 950 years, and then invaded almost every other country of consequence in the world, oppressing their peoples and stripping their natural resources?

Here is the real question.

700,000 Orthodox Now Live in the UK

The UK government has stated this week that 395,000 Bulgarians and Romanians (a good minority of the Romanians actually Moldovans – Romanian passports cost them $10) now live in the UK. This means that with some 160,000 Cypriots, about 100,000 Russians (only a few from Russia – a majority of them are economic and political refugees from the Baltic States and the Ukraine) and other Orthodox minorities (mainly Serbs), there are now some 700,000 Orthodox in the UK. This means that at least 1% of the population is Orthodox: a total transformation from ten years ago, since when at least 400,000 Orthodox have arrived here, let alone 20 years ago, when the Orthodox population was tiny.

However, the fact is that we are not at all settled evenly. Outside the London area Orthodox are still a tiny minority and the further from London, the fewer we are. Possibly 500,000 live in London and the south-eastern corner of England, with very few in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Moreover, the fact is that any parish can only count on a practice rate of 5%-10%. Even so, if there are between 35,000 and 70,000 practising Orthodox in the UK, we are faced with a challenge: to organize appropriate infrastructure, in order to keep our children in the Church.

It must be said that the past gives us no examples. Both parts of the Russian Church lost their flocks to ethnic exclusivity and the acid bath of modern Western culture. The Greek (Cypriot) immigration has done no better. And dreams of middle-class ex-Anglicans of an English Orthodox or even, absurdly, a ‘British Orthodox’, Church, made up of intellectual converts from the tiny minority of Anglicans have to be abandoned. the utter failure on the part of all Orthodox administrations to provide adequate infrastructure is scandalous.  We no longer need words – we need actions. On the other hand, never has the use of English in the services been so important. What is to be done?

Twelve Parishes, a Monastery?, and Many Hopes ROCOR in Great Britain and Ireland: Better Times Ahead

After almost dying out by 2007, the Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in Great Britain and Ireland has in the very recent past begun to be rebuilt. Now with twelve parishes (London, Colchester, Birkenhead, Norwich, Cardiff, Stradbally, Belfast, Mettingham, Cheltenham, Bury St Edmunds, Wisbech and Ashford), it has hopes of opening a monastery, new parishes in four more places in different parts of our four countries as well as many hopes beyond that. Moreover, it already possesses many premises of its own, including unique, purpose-built churches in the Russian Orthodox style and also the largest Russian Orthodox church in these islands, if not in Western Europe.

This September, the bishops of the Church Outside Russia will be meeting in Synod in London. This will be a historic meeting at which decisions may be made for the longer-term future. The saints of the Isles and of all Europe are calling us: The time for sleep is over, wake up!

 

 

7 July 2030: Historic Autonomy for the Ionan Orthodox Church

The Address of Metropolitan John of London and All Iona in the Church of the Four Saints on the Snowy Mountain, Isle of Man, Feast of All the Saints of the Isles, 7 July 2030.

 

‘It was in 1970 that our sister, the Japanese Orthodox Church, received its autonomy from our Russian Orthodox Mother Church. Its Metropolitan Nicholas of Tokyo stands here beside me today as an honoured guest. Now, sixty years later, our island archipelago, on the other side of the Eurasian continent from Japan, has in its turn received its autonomy from the Mother-Church. Today, our Church of the Isles of the North Atlantic – I.O.N.A. – has received autonomy from Patriarch Tikhon II and the Holy Synod in Moscow. The Patriarchal representative, our dear friend Metropolitan Seraphim of Volokolamsk, stands here beside me, together with the personal representative of Tsar Nicholas III, the servant of God Gregory Efimov. This is a most solemn day of victory, for which so many of us have waited and worked for so long.

From this place, the highest point on the Isle of Man, this isolated and yet central point, are visible the four nations that make up our Ionan Confederation. From here we can see England, for which I bear pastoral responsibility, and Ireland, Scotland and Wales, for which my dear friends and colleagues, Archbishop Patrick of Dublin, Bishop Andrew of Edinburgh and Bishop David of Cardiff, bear responsibility. Today we gather on this feast day of All the Saints of the Isles, who are present here with us spiritually, and we recall our long struggles. After and despite many false starts and many errors and many divisive events, our Church began to develop only over the last generation, when She at last started to obtain and build so many of her own churches and give financial help to our priests, thus rapidly expanding all through our lands.

Within a generation we have built a network of over 120 of our own churches and their full-time priests, one each in most counties and several in each capital city. We have even been able to build churches in Iceland and the Faeroes, also isles of the North Atlantic. From our pilgrimage centres in St Albans, on Lindisfarne, Skellig Michael, Iona and at St Davids, our first martyr, St Alban, the Wonderworker of Britain, St Cuthbert, the monks inspired by Egypt on Skellig Michael, the Irish monks of Iona, St David, consecrated, some say, in Jerusalem and now those from the Russian Church join with us. With autonomy, we have the best of both worlds, an ideal and balanced situation. On the one hand, no-one can suggest that we are a foreign colony, but on the one hand we receive vital spiritual support from our Mother-Church, for which we are so very grateful’.

 

After this address ‘Many Years’ was sung to His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon II and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, heartily thanking them all for all their assistance and generosity.

 

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.