Category Archives: Church Teaching

The Battle for the Soul of the Russian Church

A Reply to Metr Tikhon of Pskov

Just a few years ago Metr Tikhon (Shevkunov) of Pskov asked what the specificity of the Church in the Russian emigration is and how it can contribute to the rebuilding of the much-ravaged Church inside Russia, where parish life was destroyed. Whether he asked through naivety or through intent, we do not know. He received no answer, for he did not contact the vital forces of the emigration. He only ever contacted those in the emigration who were of their own will falling over themselves to take on board all the evils of the Soviet and post-Soviet Church, its love of lucre and power.

The Trial of Pontius Pilate

The final days of the USSR in the 1980s were marked by a profound internal conflict between Communist Party bureaucrats and KGB (now called FSB) patriots. The first were Euro-Atlanticists, cowboys prepared to commit treason to Russia for a fistful of dollars. From them were born the oligarchs and mafia gangsters of the 1990s. The second were highly intelligent Slavophiles who wanted not the restoration of the bankrupt, anti-Russian and alien-inspired USSR, but the restoration of an independent Orthodox Russia.

Today the collapsing American Empire is suffering a similar profound internal conflict. This time it is between the US State Department and the CIA. The first are the social liberals, the internationalist, neocon LGBTQ propagandists, who are in love with Mammon. The second are the socially conservative, patriotic Americans, who are increasingly concerned by the Deep State of the American Establishment and its unpayable debts, accumulated over three generations by exceptionalist meddling abroad.

The first are those who stand behind Constantinople and the Zelensky regime in the Ukraine. The second are those who stand behind the ‘Gang of Three’, the bishops with their right-wing Evangelical contacts in the US, who use their base in Moscow and its very close contacts with the Patriarchate and even President Putin to undermine the Russian State (1). It is all of them who are now on trial like Pontius Pilate. They should tremble, for ‘God is not mocked’, which is what they have done. To all of those who quench the Spirit, I repeat: You cannot escape Divine Justice.

The Church of the Future

Today the identity of the Church is in the balance. Is it a politically-controlled, money-oriented institution, headed by elitist atheists and perverts, ‘princes of the Church’, who have no love for the people in their hearts. Or is it the uncorrupted Body of Christ? The Church of the future has long already been here. For us the uncorrupted Church:

  1. Is the Church of the Faithful, not of the money- and power-minded elite, the ‘effective managers’, who promote the Church as Business.
  2. Has no professional choirs, who as mercenaries only sing for money.
  3. Has priests who are pastors paid by the people, not a professional caste of business profiteers.
  4. Has parishes which are communities close to the monasteries, not railway station foyers, which are little more than religious supermarkets.
  5. Has bishops who are monastics, and not open or closet homosexual businessmen.
  6. Is politically independent of States and their secret services, whether CIA or FSB.

For such views churchpeople are accused of being criminals, excommunicated, suspended or defrocked! Yet here is the reply to Metr Tikhon, whether he wants it or not. On 11 March Archbishop Anastasios of Albania and his Synod have again shown these people the way, calling for a Pan-Orthodox Council to settle the neocon-initiated schism that has come about between Greeks and Russians. It is hardly the first such call, but this time Antichrist is now coming to Kiev. This is not the time for the theatricals of personal vanity on the part of patriarchs or of anyone else. The Beast is coming.


  1. We recall how the British MI5 did the same and used the British confessor of King George II (reigned 1935-1947) of Greece to extract information in the 1940s. In the 1970s we met that same very arrogant David Balfour, and after him the King’s British nanny, honest Charlotte. She confided to me. We conducted her funeral in Paris in the late 1980s. The ways of the world never change.



On the Birth of New Local Churches


Church life is at present in chaos because of the politicians of this world. But this is hardly the first time. We shall get through it. God can make light out of the present darkness, after the eclipse at Christ’s Crucifixion came the light of the Resurrection. The Russian Church and the Church of Constantinople in particular can come out of this present situation, renewed and purified. For if the Church is alive, new Local Churches will inevitably be founded outside the homelands of Orthodoxy. But what are the criteria for a Local Church? What pitfalls are there to avoid? Let us remind ourselves of the present significance of the four essential definitions of the Church of God, which remain just as essential for any Local Church as for the whole Church.


The Church is One. This means that any Local Church must be in communion with all others. If you are not in communion, then you are in some way not part of the Church, your Orthodox Faith is deficient. In order to know the limits of the Church, you simply have to ask others if they confess the One Orthodox Faith in the Creed. Either people confess it or they do not. The lack of the confession of the Creed, established for all time in the fourth century, is why the Roman Catholic/Protestant world, the first part of which was founded only in the eleventh century, was split off from the Orthodox Church and so has never been and will never be in communion with Her.

This is also to a lesser extent the tragic fate of old calendarists and other exclusivists like them, among whom there are some sincere and pious people, but who are not in communion with the rest of the Church. Many of them, most tragically of all, do not want to be in communion with others. Here we are not talking about people who do not want to be in communion with you personally or do not even recognise you because of their personal hatred, greed or jealousy. That is their problem. We are talking about deliberately cutting yourself off, being in isolation from the whole or even parts of the whole of the Church, which means that you have no long-term future and that you will eventually, in time, die out.

Being in communion with all others also means that you have to accept both calendars which are in use in the Church. You should not make the error of several in the OCA in the early days. Some showed aggressiveness towards those using the traditional calendar and even openly mocked them. Immediately they broke the unity of their own Church by being exclusive and so lost many to the OCA, which was supposed to become a Local Church, gathering all together. Instead of gathering together, they expelled. Fifty years later they are still paying the price for the foolishness of disunity caused by their contempt for others more traditional than themselves. But this works both ways. What has to be avoided is exclusivism, for it disunites.


The Church is Holy. This means that the spiritual, and not the material, power, money and property, must be the most important vector in the life of the Church on earth. For since the Church is One (see above), the source of that unity can only be in the Holy Spirit, away from any kind of human deviations. But what do the words ‘the Holy Spirit’, Who is invisible, mean? The Holy Spirit is revealed to us and made incarnate and visible for us in the acts of the Saints. There are those who call this Incarnation of the Holy Spirit, its visible manifestation in the life of human-beings and their creation, ‘spirituality’. This is too vague to be a Church term. The Church term is ‘Churchliness’.

Churchliness means the life of the Spirit in the saints of God, both old and new saints. The veneration of all the saints, of all ages and in all places (in every nation), not just of one or two saints (which can produce unhealthy cults) is the vital guarantee of Church life. Moreover, the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in human life is the authority of the Church. Thus, there have been periods in Church life when the voice of just one saint has carried the Church. We can think of St Athanasius the Great and St Basil the Great in their time, later St Leo the Great, St Maximus the Confessor, St Symeon the New Theologian and St Gregory Palamas.

However, more recently, only in the last century, there were St Nectarius of Pentapolis, St John of Shanghai, St Justin of Chelije and St Paisius the Athonite. They have been saints and are saints, despite all the voices of so-called ‘Church people’ who rejected them and persecuted them. Thus, the authority of the Russian Church in its older saints has been confirmed in Her New Martyrs and New Confessors. Much the same can be said about all the Local Churches which suffered persecution in the last century and produced New Martyrs and New Confessors.


The Church is Catholic. This does not mean that the Church is some centralised institution like Roman Catholicism. It means that the Church remains essentially, in Her spiritual ethos, the same in all places and at all times, but in other respects, in language and customs, She may be hugely varied. This means that we do not accept innovations which contradict the ever new Tradition, but we accept the renewing inspirations of the Holy Spirit which revive and make sense of our lives through the actions of the Holy Spirit for our own time.

‘Catholic’ also means that the Church is multinational – the Church is for all. The Church does not have national ideologies, whatever some individuals may declare. Such racism (in Greek, phyletism) with its flag-waving is not part of Church life, whatever some individuals may do and think. Ideologies are always divisive, but the Church is unitive, bringing together. This is what we pray for in the great litany: ‘For the peace of the whole world, the good estate of the holy Churches of God and the union of all Orthodox, let us pray to the Lord’.

We do not encourage or participate in offensive wars against other races or their languages and we do not mock others or feel superior to them. (Though we may defend others from aggressors). Christ calls all to come together in unity in diversity. He accepts us as we are, only moving us to live without sin, we must accept each other as we are, before we can improve ourselves. We do not want dictatorial, oppressive and centralised organisation, as the heterodox and political- and secular-minded Orthodox want, because we should be united in and by the Faith. That should suffice. Our unity is not necessarily outward, but it is inward, real and spiritual.


The Church is Apostolic. This means that the Church refers back to the Apostles and apostolic life, the life of the missionary. Apostolic also means apolitical, as the apostles were not bound to some State and worked both inside and outside the Roman Empire. This was the case in the first century, but also in the last century, for instance, in the case of St Nicholas of Japan, Equal-to-the-Apostles, who during the Japanese war against Russia in 1904-1905 simply shut himself away and was in no way anti-Japanese. He kept out of politics. The Church is not to be aligned with some political ideology, whether left-wing or right-wing, least of all with the ideology of some foreign State.

This was the principle of the Russian emigration, where temporary Church independence was declared during the Soviet period, when the authorities of the Church inside Russia were scandalously forced to demand political subservience to the atheist State from those who lived in freedom outside it. Part of the emigration declared that it was self-governing and another smaller part took refuge under the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In the same way today, large parts of the Russian Church have been forced to declare independence (the Ukraine, Latvia), small parts have been forced to take refuge in other Local Churches (England, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy).

It is always shocking when State Churches go out and publicly tell their flocks which political party to vote for at elections. I have seen this in the Church of Greece. The 2020 elections in the USA were equally shocking, when the Greek Archbishop endorsed the Democrat Party, even having his photograph taken with the future President Biden. He literally told his people who to vote for. However, it is equally shocking when some right-wing ideology is endorsed by bishops of other Church groups. There are small, inward-looking parishes and dioceses which do not accept those who do not have the same political views as their totalitarian leaders. So the faithful are forced to leave them, simply because they desire faith and freedom.


The Church is and remains One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, whatever mere men may try and make Her into. The Church is all four of these together. For example, a group may be multinational, but if it is out of communion with the rest of the Church, or if it has renounced the Tradition, or if it has replaced holiness, with some political ideology, left or right, it is not of the Church. There are those of us in all jurisdictions, without exception, who are trying to build a Local Church. Why have we not succeeded yet? Simply because there has not been enough Oneness, Holiness, Catholicity and Apostolicity and instead there has been disunity, rejection of the saints, national or political ideology and politics. Today is such a time. But we shall win in the end and those who only care for power, money and property shall be vanquished, for the Spirit is not with them, and new Local Churches will be born despite them.


Some Notes on the Chronology of Christ’s Earthly Life

Usually it is said that Christ began his public ministry at the age of 30 (Lk. 3, 23) and was crucified and rose from the dead after three years, as can be calculated from the Gospels, at the age of 33. This has been taken to mean that he was born in the Year ‘0’ and died and rose in the Year 33. This is not the case. Apart from anything else, the Year 0 did not exist. Moreover, nearly all scholars now agree that Christ was born somewhere between 4 ‘BC’ and 8 ‘BC’. Can we be any more precise?

Here we examine the chronology of Christ’s life on earth in the light of the traditional Orthodox date of His birth, 5,508 since the Creation. This date is of course purely symbolic. The figure 5,500 refers simply to the tradition that as Adam fell in the middle (‘at noon’, for there was the noonday demon) of the sixth day (Friday), so Christ died for us and for our salvation in the middle of the sixth day (Friday), being crucified at noon (the sixth hour, Lk. 23, 44) and then giving up his spirit at 3.00 (the ninth hour, Matt. 27, 46; Mk. 15. 34). As a day is a thousand years, according to the Apostle Peter (2 Pet. 3, 8), five and a half days makes the number 5,500.

However, what interests us is not the symbolic 5,500, but the 8. It indicates that Christ was born in what mistaken Western dating calls 8 ‘BC’. Here it must be understood that in that mistaken system of dating, there was no Year 0. Therefore, that chronology goes from I BC to 1 AD in one year. In other words, if Christ was born in 8 ‘BC’, it means that He was born eight years before the end of 1 AD, not eight years before the end of ‘Year 0’.

We do not know Christ’s date of birth – though that too makes no difference to our salvation. The 25th December, as is well-known, is also purely symbolic and was chosen only because it is connected with the winter solstice of the northern hemisphere. Thus, some speculate that God was born as man in the summer, or at least between April and October, of not May and September, shepherds were in the fields with their flocks when he was born (Lk. 2, 8), so clearly there was no snow and it was not cold. (We recall how cold it still was in Jerusalem at Christ’s crucifixion in April, for ‘Peter was warming himself,’ (Mk. 14, 67). Christ was born in a shepherd’s cave/home/sheepbarn outside the village of Bethlehem, as there ‘was no room for them in the inn’ (Lk. 2, 7). The then village of Bethlehem (meaning ‘The House of Bread’), is 6 miles south of Jerusalem (meaning perhaps ‘The City of Peace’).

Later (see below) Wise Men (not ‘kings’) followed a ‘star’ and came from the East to give Christ presents (Matt. 2, 1-2). No number is mentioned but it is presumed, as Tradition relates, that there were three Wise Men because they came with three presents (Matt. 2, 11). The Wise Men had been guided to the house where the Christ-Child was by a light in the sky, called ‘a star’ (Matt. 2, 9). However, it is clear that this was not a star, since stars are so high in the sky that they cannot be followed and they cannot come and ‘stand over where the young Child was’ (Matt. 2, 9). The Church believes that this was not a star, but the same light of the Holy Spirit as guided the Israelites in the wilderness.

The use of the word ‘house’ clearly means that the Wise Men came after Christ was born. They did not come to the cave of His birth, but to a ‘house’ (Matt. 2, 11), where the Child lived with His Mother. Indeed, the lapse in time between the Birth and the arrival of the Wise Men would explain why, as the Apostle Matthew relates, Herod the King then ordered all male children under the age of two who lived in the region of Bethlehem to be killed (Matt 2, 16). This suggests that the Wise Men came to Christ about two years after He had been born.

Later in history the Wise Men were taken symbolically to represent the three Continents of the Old World, Asia, Africa and Europe (the New World too was and is populated only by those from the Three Continents of the Old World). However, the Gospels simply say that they all came ‘from the East’ (Matt. 2, 1), which is taken as meaning the Persian Empire, perhaps Babylon, where the science of astronomy/astrology was advanced. After all they were also called by the Persian word, ‘Magi’, meaning astronomers/astrologers.

Now Herod almost certainly died in or around 4 ‘BC’. Since he had already tried to kill Christ, and so killed all children under the age of two (traditionally 14,000), this means that Christ was born in 6 ‘BC’ at the very earliest. However, even that presumes that Herod died immediately after his massacre of the innocent children. We do not know that that was the case. Some time may have elapsed between the Massacre of the Holy Innocents and the death of Herod. All we know is that Herod died after an excruciatingly painful, putrefying illness.

Meanwhile, Herod failed to kill Christ because His Mother had fled with their guardian Joseph to Egypt (Matt. 2, 13), 120 miles to the south-west of Jerusalem, that is, several days’ walk. Tradition says that they stayed in Egypt for two years, though the Gospel says only that they returned when Herod had died (in 4 ‘BC’). If they did stay in Egypt for two years then Christ could easily have been born in 8 ‘BC’.

In order to avoid further persecution from Herod’s son, the new and ferocious ruler Archelaus, Christ was taken to live in Nazareth (Matt. 2, 22-23), a mountainous hamlet 93 miles due north of Jerusalem towards Galilee, the home of His guardian Joseph (Lk. 2, 4 and 39). The name Nazareth may mean ‘a watchtower’, which one might expect to find in a mountainous area. Here Christ grew up.

Later, during Christ’s public preaching, we hear of another place where he lived called Capernaum, a fishing village on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Thirty miles to the north-east of Nazareth, it means ‘village of comfort’ and is situated 100 miles to the north-north-east of Jerusalem. The Gospels refer to Capernaum, which was big enough to have a synagogue (Mk. 1, 21) and a Roman centurion (Lk. 7, 2 and 5 and Matt. 8, 5) and so a garrison, as ‘His own town’ (for example, Matt. 1, 9). This suggests that Christ had some time earlier moved to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee from Nazareth. At the very least, He centred the last three years of his life, the period of His public ministry, there.

If Christ was born in 8 ‘BC’ and was crucified at the age of 33, then he must have started his public preaching in 24 AD before he became 31. This means that April 27 AD would mark His Crucifixion and Resurrection at the age of 33, a few months before his 34th birthday. This is during the time of Pontius Pilate, the fifth governor of Roman Judea, who served under the Emperor Tiberius from 26 to 36 AD. Pilate’s cowardly fear of the mob is more understandable if he were a newly-appointed governor, still unsure of himself.

Some have tried to date the Crucifixion by finding the date of an eclipse. Of course, there was not an eclipse at Christ’s Crucifixion, for no eclipse lasts for three hours: ‘And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour’ (Mk. 15, 33). That event was metaphysical, not an eclipse. There is also the mystery of when the Jewish Passover fell on a Saturday/Sabbath, as it did in the year of Christ’s Crucifixion (Jn. 19, 31), for it was Sunday, the first day of the week when it was discovered that Christ had risen (Matt. 28, 1; Mk. 16, 2; Lk. 24, 1). Here different researchers provide different dates for the Jewish Passover. There seems to be a lot of uncertainty here, some suggesting that the Passover did not fall on a Saturday at any time between 26 and 36 AD.

This then is our suggestion for the chronology of Christ’s life on earth, that He lived from 8 ‘BC’ to 26 AD. It would mean of course that today we are not in the Year 2022, but in the Year 2029 AD. Here are only suggestions, in effect a defence of the traditional Orthodox Christian date. These suggestions are not and cannot be categorical. Probably we shall not know when Christ was born as man in earthly time until after the General Resurrection. These are mysteries as yet unrevealed; they are, literally, beyond time.

Please Dress Modestly

With the huge influx of Orthodox into the Colchester parish over the last two weeks after recent publicity (over 6,000 hits on Google per week instead of the usual 200), we have finally decided to put up a simple notice regarding dress. We had always been reluctant to do this. Some churches do have such notices, but they can sound either anti-woman or else rather pharisaical. This is what we have decided to put up. Possibly it will help others.


Please dress modestly for Church!

 Men: Please do not wear shorts. Put on something better than what you wear at work, at home or on the street. Church is a special place, so we wear our best clothes.

 Ladies: Please wear a dress or a skirt and cover your head, as the Apostle Paul says. Church is a place of prayer and modesty.

 Thank you!

On Spreading Love

As we approach the Church New Year in September, let us recall why we are here and what our mission is.

The sad fact in the Life of Christ is that there were many who refused to accept His greatest and most revolutionary message – that God is Love. We see this refusal in the ‘scribes, pharisees, hypocrites’ to whom Christ said ‘Woe unto you’. The great sin of the people of the Old Testament, constantly denounced by the fool-for-Christ prophets, was idolatry. There were many who preferred to remain in that Old Testament idolatry, with its punishing god, politicking, moralism, judgementalism, sectarianism, ritualism and nationalism, simply hatred for others. To accept Christ’s message of compassion was too much for them.

Let us in this Church New Year leave in the past anything that is not about spreading Love. As the English writer, G. K., Chesterton, wrote a century ago: ‘The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried’. Let us make sure that we are on the side of the prophets and not on the side of the pharisees.

1 September 2021

‘They will suffer a shameful end’: How St Laurence of Chernigov (1868-1950) foretold the end of the current reign of Satan in Washington, Kiev and Istanbul

St Laurence of Chernigov (Feast: 11 January) said that during ‘the little freedom’ (which we now know to be the period since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and which continues to this day – Ed.), ‘churches and monasteries will open and be restored, but all manner of false teachings will appear, through demons and secret atheists (Catholics, Uniats, self-consecrated Ukrainian schismatics). These will join battle against the Russian Orthodox Church and her unity and catholicity in the Ukraine. The schismatics will be supported by an atheist government’ .

He added that: ‘We must resist the invasion of ‘the civilized world’, that is, dark demonic forces, which will try and penetrate into spiritually undefended areas. They will seize church buildings from the Orthodox and beat up the faithful. Then the Metropolitan of Kiev (unworthy of his name) with his supporting clergy will shake the Russian Church to the foundations. The whole world will be astonished at his iniquity and stand in fear (just as we do today – Ed.). But he will go to eternal perdition like Judas. All these assaults of the evil one and false teachings will disappear in Russia and there will be One Orthodox Church of All Rus’.

‘Kiev, without the great Russia and separate from it, is anyway completely unthinkable. Kiev has never had a Patriarch. Our enemies in Poland so much disliked the word ‘Rus’ that they changed the name of this area to Little Russia and then to ‘the Ukraine’ (meaning ‘the borderlands’), so that we will forget the name Rus and so forever be torn away from Orthodox Holy Rus. In those who have erred or fallen away from Orthodoxy there is no grace of the Holy Spirit, salvation or obtaining of the Kingdom of Heaven’.

‘To break away from the Church is the greatest and unforgiveable sin, for it is the sin against the Holy Spirit’. Towards the end of St Laurence’s life the head priest of the Kiev Caves Lavra, Fr Kronid, said that self-consecrated schismatics and Uniats had disappeared. But St Laurence answered: ‘The demon will enter them and they will attack the Orthodox Faith and Church with Satanic malice, but they will suffer a shameful end and their followers will bear a heavenly punishment from the Lord and King of Hosts’.

‘Then all heresies and schisms will vanish from Russia. The Church will not be persecuted. The Lord will have mercy on Holy Rus because it suffered the terrible period before Antichrist. A great host of Martyrs and Confessors shone forth there, beginning with the highest levels of the clergy and society, the Metropolitan and the Tsar, the priest and the monk, the child and the babe in arms and laypeople. They all beseech the Lord…’.

‘You must be quite clear that Russia is the portion of the Queen of Heaven, She cares for it and intercedes for it especially. The whole host of Russian saints with the Mother of God will ask that Russia be spared. The faith will prosper in Russia and there will be rejoicing as before (though only for a short time, as the Dread Judge will come to judge the living and the dead). Even Antichrist himself will fear the Tsar of Rus. But all the other countries will be under Antichrist’s control and suffer all the horrors and torments described in the Holy Scriptures’.