Category Archives: Constantinople

It’s 1055 in Lubbock

By Dionysius Redington

The appointment (one can call it “election” only in the narrowest etymological sense) of Metropolitan Elpidophoros (Lambriniadis) as Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will no doubt be remembered as a significant turning point in the history of the twenty-first Century Church. Whatever hope might have existed that the schism between Constantinople and Moscow over Ukraine is merely a temporary, unimportant event has surely now been extinguished

Archbishop Elpidophoros is a distinguished and knowledgeable theologian. As a Turkish citizen, he is a leading and obvious candidate someday to succeed His All-Holiness Bartholomew on the Ecumenical Throne. In the major controversies of Bartholomew’s reign (the Cretan Council as well as the Ukrainian schism) he has consistently and staunchly defended the Patriarch’s positions and authority. While there is no reason to doubt the sincerity with which he has taken these stances, it is evident that he has a vested interest in strengthening a presently feeble jurisdiction which he is one day likely to command.

Thus his appointment to the second-most powerful post in the Ecumenical Patriarchate has a two-fold significance.

On the one hand, it telegraphs that there is unlikely to be any backtracking at the Phanar when Patriarch Bartholomew leaves the scene. On the other, it raises the theological stakes, because Archbishop Elpidophoros does not consider the Ukrainian affair a trivial matter of reasserting Constantinopolitan control over a wayward province illegally dominated for a few centuries by Moscow.

On the contrary, he uses the most serious term of opprobrium in all of Orthodoxy to describe his opponents, one the Phanar generally goes out of its way to avoid employing. He says they are heretics.

In 2009, then-Archimandrite Elpidophoros delivered a memorable speech at Holy Cross School of Theology which may still be found online, for example at https://www.aoiusa.org/ecumenical-patriarchate-american-diaspora-must-submit-to-mother-church/. In this speech he makes the following interesting statements, which he has elsewhere expanded into his well-known thesis that the Ecumenical Patriarch is “primus sine paribus”:

“Let me add that the refusal to recognize primacy within the Orthodox Church, a primacy that necessarily cannot but be embodied by a primus (that is by a bishop who has the prerogative of being the first among his fellow bishops) constitutes nothing less than heresy. It cannot be accepted, as often it is said, that the unity among the Orthodox Churches is safeguarded by either a common norm of faith and worship or by the Ecumenical Council as an institution. Both of these factors are impersonal while in our Orthodox theology the principle of unity is always a person. Indeed, in the level of the Holy Trinity the principle of unity is not the divine essence but the Person of the Father (“Monarchy” of the Father), at the ecclesiological level of the local Church the principle of unity is not the presbyterium or the common worship of the Christians but the person of the Bishop, so to in the Pan-Orthodox level the principle of unity cannot be an idea nor an institution but it needs to be, if we are to be consistent with our theology, a person… In the Orthodox Church we have one primus and he is the Patriarch of Constantinople.”

Note first the phrase “constitutes nothing less than a heresy”.

Note second the theologoumenon that the person who acts as the principle of unity for the Church Universal is not Christ Himself, but rather some bishop.

Note finally that the bishop in question is not (as a naively literal reading of the Holy Canons would seem to indicate) the bishop of Rome, but that of New Rome. (This latter is a serious point much neglected in the present controversy. Whatever the role of the Primus may be in Orthodoxy—i.e. whether the he is “primus inter pares” or “primus sine paribus”—there is no doubt that for centuries the historical Primus was the Roman Pope. The only reason for rejecting Roman primacy today is that the Roman Church has abandoned Orthodox teaching. And yet Constantinople, with its lifted anathemas, has more than any other Orthodox Patriarchate seemed to imply that no such apostasy exists. How then can the Phanar claim to be essential to the Church, when the Vatican would have to have a stronger claim? If the ecumenical movement were to succeed and full communion with Rome be re-established, would Constantinople gladly cede its primacy? And how does the existence, if only formerly, of Orthodox Rome agree with the Phanar’s claim that the Church “cannot exist” without the Patriarch of Constantinople?)

Perhaps his words are subject to misinterpretation, but Abp. Elpidophoros seems to believe that the Ecumenical Patriarch is a sort of Pope, the Vicar not of Christ, apparently, but of God the Father! He also seems to believe that those who disagree with this view are heretics.

This is a rather more serious claim than “You know, now that the USSR is gone, there really should be an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church free from Moscow.”

How can world Orthodoxy maintain communion with a Patriarchate that promotes an alien ecclesiology, and refers to those who object as “heretics” (a term it does not apply to Roman Catholics and Protestants)?

There is another aspect to Elpidophoros’s elevation that the 2009 speech also illuminates. Although the Phanar has historically been very opposed to ethnophyletism (in part to stop the incursions of the Bulgarian and other churches into its canonical territory), it is a matter of historical record that the Patriarchate has always seen itself as the bulwark of Greek nationalism. (Patriarch Bartholomew himself would probably neither deny this nor see any problem with it, as is clear from his 2018 remarks about the “predecence” of “our people”.)

In his speech, delivered at America’s only Greek seminary, Elpidophoros is largely concerned with this exact issue. He says that “ecumenicity is the heart of Hellenism and by definition alien to any form of nationalism or cultural chauvinism.” He adds that “diaspora” refers not to people temporarily living in lands beyond the Roman Empire, but to those who live there permanently. Nevertheless, in a seeming contradiction, his vision of these people is limited to immigrants from traditionally Orthodox countries and their progeny. His primary concern is the maintenance of (in this case Greek) culture and tradition without assimilation, and he has this to say about “converts”:

“Another great number of candidates to the priesthood come from converts, who possess little, if any, familiarity with the Orthodox experience and they are usually characterized by their overzealous behavior and mentality. It is of interest that the converts who become ordained into priesthood represent a disproportionally greater percentage than the converts among the faithful. The result of this disanalogous representation is that, more often than not, convert priests shepherd flocks that are bearers of some cultural tradition, but because their pastors either lack the necessary familiarity with that tradition or even consciously oppose it, they succeed in devaluing and gradually eradicating those cultural elements that have been the expression of the parishes that they serve.”

While this is a legitimate concern, it is notable that Elpidophoros nowhere talks about an evangelical mandate to bring Americans as an whole into Orthodoxy, nor does he discuss parishes which do not have a single (or any) ethnicity. In the context of a talk at a seminary (where the Dean at the time was named Fitzgerald) the speech seemed to have a clear message summed up in the sarcastic nickname some people gave to it: the “Too Many Xenoi” speech.

I am a xenos. So far as I know, the interaction of my post-Schism ancestors with Orthodox Christians was limited to fighting them on the Eastern Front. My wife and I converted to Orthodoxy in 1988 at the OCA cathedral in Boston. We were the founders and editors of the now-dormant Saint Pachomius Library, one of the first Orthodox patristics websites, in 1994. We used to teach Church history online, and I was involved for a number of years in Orthodox evangelical outreach to the Rastafarian sect. In 1997, we moved from Boston to Lubbock, Texas, where I was ordained a reader in GOARCH and served as a chanter at Saint Andrew Greek Orthodox Church until last October.

Lubbock is a university town with a population of about a quarter-million. It lies in the center of the Llano Estacado, a vast thinly-populated plateau straddling the Texas-New Mexico state border. The first Orthodox in Lubbock were probably Lebanese merchants who arrived around 1900, but there was no parish until a few Greeks decided to found one in the 1970s. They succeeded, after great struggle and many difficulties: Lubbock, although fairly large, is invisible to most Americans because of its isolation. St. Andrew did not have a priest until 1996; before that, people would drive over 100 miles to Amarillo for liturgy.

When my wife and I arrived, we were not sure what to expect. We found a parish that was part of the Greek Archdiocese, but also very multi-ethnic and welcoming. The liturgical rubrics and music were Byzantine, but the services were entirely in English, and every effort was made to accommodate people of different backgrounds: Greeks of course, and converts, and Arabs, Ukrainians, Russians, Serbs, Romanians, Bulgarians… and probably members of other nationalities I am forgetting. The “Greeks” in the parish were themselves a mixture of recent immigrants and families that had been in the US for several generations. Both of the priests who served in my 21 years at Saint Andrew parish were graduates of Saint Vladimir’s (OCA) Seminary.

The parish was not utopia, but it had its successes. Two of the parish’s young men (both of them converts, as Archbishop Elpidophoros might have predicted) went on to become priests of the Greek Archdiocese, a remarkable record for a parish so small and young by Greek standards. They are both, I might add, outstanding, even saintly, clergymen. One of them, whom I especially admire, was featured on the national GOARCH webpage in March. Neither of them answers to Abp. Elpidophoros’s caricature of the convert-priest as a fanatic ignorant of Greek culture (indeed, both of them married Greeks!)

My wife and I were very impressed by the generosity of the Greek parishioners at St. Andrew, their commitment to the religious education of their children, and above all by their sheer persistence in keeping alive a parish in an uncomprehending Protestant fundamentalist town, ignored by the rest of the country, always on the edge of financial collapse. At least twice, the parish seemed certain to close; once it was saved by an “anonymous” donation actually from the diocesan bishop, a very good and holy man.

Then in 2018, the current schism happened. My wife and I had been unhappy with the direction of the Greek Archdiocese for some time (I had been parish council president during the Council of Crete) but had always managed to convince ourselves to stay, if only because there was nowhere else to go: The Amarillo parish 100 miles away was still the nearest, and it, too, is Greek. Moreover, we did not want to cause a division in the already embattled local community; we respected our metropolitan; and (as I remember saying on more than one occasion) “If this were really heresy, and not just rhetoric, surely at least one of the other Orthodox churches would break communion over it”.

The Ukraine issue, however, made Patriarch Bartholomew’s more-than-papalising claim of being “primus sine paribus” impossible to ignore. We decided to leave the parish, and to hold reader’s services privately. We did not however tell anyone what we were doing except for the parish priest. We did not wish to be seen as sowing dissension, and we still hoped that the affair would be resolved in a few weeks. Then we found out that other people had noticed our absence, and eventually we decided to announce publically that we were starting a new parish, under the protection of St. Catherine of Alexandria.

At first we had no place to meet, so we met outdoors, at a park bench on the university campus, with the dome of heaven over our heads, flocks of pigeons (and the occasional hawk) circling above us. A few joggers looked at us in amazement, but for the most part we were ignored. For three months, this was our church.

I had imagined that once we announced our existence, many of our fellow-parishioners at Saint Andrew would wish to join; after all, the theological issues seemed rather clear-cut. This did not happen. Instead, the old parish split along neatly ethnic lines. Nearly all of the parishioners who came from the former Soviet Union joined our group; almost no-one else did. (It might interest Archbishop Elpidophoros that the converts have—so far—stayed with GOARCH.)

This is the tragedy of what is happening: an already barely-viable multi-ethnic parish has become two. Our parish is, I am confident, the Orthodox one, and the other is under a Patriarch and an Archbishop who are in communion with schismatics. But this is not the fault of the remaining parishioners of Saint Andrew. Few if any of them care at all about Constantinopolitan hegemony, much less Ukrainian autocephaly. For them, the parish of Saint Andrew is the Orthodox church, the church they or their parents built from nothing with sweat and sacrifice, the church where they were baptized or married or where they expect their funerals to be served. It is where they have met the Lord every Sunday in the Eucharist. Perhaps it is as impossible for them to leave GOARCH as for French peasants in the twelfth Century to have repudiated papism; for them, it would be “leaving the Church”.

But with the elevation of Archbishop Elpidophoros, surely that is what things are coming down to.

At the mission parish of Saint Catherine, we have had rapid progress.  We were accepted into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia almost immediately. The Dean of Texas, Fr. John Whiteford, has been named our acting Rector; although distance has prevented him from yet visiting in person, we have had two liturgies served by Hieromonk Aidan (Keller) from Austin.

We no longer have to worship on a park bench; an Anglican parish allowed us the use of their abandoned Sunday School chapel, complete with amusing stained-glass windows depicting happy 1930s children from around the world. A parishioner (Alexey Ageev, who deserves mention by name) built a traditional wooden altar and donated some hundred icon prints. God willing, through the prayers of St. Catherine the Great Martyr (and of St. Andrew the First-Called!), we will perhaps, despite our sins and weaknesses, be able to ensure a witness for Christ on the Llano Estacado.

But what about the other parish? What about the Greek “diaspora”? How will they fare under Archbishop Elpidophoros?

The year is now 1055.

 

New Schism of a Schism in the Ukraine

When last January the Patriarchate of Constantinople under strong US State Department pressure on its puppet regime founded a new schismatic religious grouping (‘Church’) in Kiev, it isolated itself from the rest of the Orthodox world. Today this schismatic group has itself split into two, much to the embarrassment of its founders in Istanbul and Washington. One of its pseudo-bishops, ‘Patriarch Philaret of Kiev’ has split away from another, the so-called ‘Metropolitan Epiphanios Dumenko’, and promised to consecrate yet more pseudo-bishops throughout the Ukraine. It will soon have more pseudo-bishops than people. This small group will almost certainly split further.

It seems to be a spiritual law that the sectarian spirit which creates schisms always then creates more schisms. Rabbits breed rabbits.

This can be seen to be true in the history of Catholicism, which, having split from the Church in the eleventh century, continually splits into various sects, from medieval ‘orders’ and groups, persecuted by crusades and inquisitions, to Protestant groups, to Jesuitism, to Uniatism, to Old Catholicism, to Traditionalism and various liberal ‘charismatic’ groups, which appear to have nothing to do with Catholicism. There are now said to be up to 40,000 such sects, all born from the original split in Rome in 1054.

This can be seen to be true in the Greek Old Calendarist schisms. Many years ago I was told that there were no fewer than thirteen Greek Old Calendarist ‘Churches’. I have no idea how many there are today. This can be seen to be true in the tiny sects, a few hundred in each, which broke away from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in 2007; those infected with the sectarian spirit immediate split into four groups, apparently there are even more today! This can be seen to be true in the tiny modernist Paris Rue Daru group, which has already split into three (some returning to the Russian Church; some going to the Bulgarian; the remnant for the moment staying with Constantinople, though it is widely rumoured that the remnant will split into two by or in September this year.

Now we see the same in the Constantinople-founded ‘Orthodox Church in the Ukraine’. The crisis will deepen until Constantinople renounces its error. Already it is facing serious divisions in the ‘three As’ (in America, Australia and ‘Anglia’ – the Greek word for England). Here the Turkish-led Greek nationalist Church has imposed, without consulting the grassroots, three hardline bishops, who already have scandalous reputations. It would seem a good time for all concerned to leave the sinking ship of the Phanar in Istanbul. Not everyone wants to be playing in the band on the deck or rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

Sources:

https://spzh.news/ru/news/63015-v-seti-opublikovano-postanovlenije-pomestnogo-sobora-upc-kp

https://spzh.news/ru/news/63005-filaret-na-pomestnom-sobore-upc-kp-my-postavim-mnogo-novyh-arkhijerejevhttps://spzh.news/ru/news/63018-upc-kp-otobrala-u-pcu-vse-imushhestvo-v-kijevehttps://spzh.news/ru/news/63022-filaret-v-ukraine-tepery-tri-cerkvi-upc-pcu-i-upc-kphttps://spzh.news/ru/news/63025-konstantinopolyu-nuzhno-reshity-chto-delaty-s-filaretom–religiovedhttps://spzh.news/ru/news/63027-filaret-my-postavim-stolyko-jepiskopov-skolyko-budet-nuzhno

Fantasies and Reality: Towards a Local Orthodox Church of Western Europe

Introduction

Since at least the 1970s, there has been talk of founding a Local Church in various parts of Western Europe, especially in France under the Fraternite Orthodoxe, but also in Great Britain and, strangely enough, in faraway Turkey.

The Continental Fantasists

French intellectualism, expressed mainly by descendants of Russian aristocrats, freemasons and dreamers in the Rue Daru emigration of those who had betrayed the Tsar, proposed a Paris-centred (how could it be otherwise in the land of Napoleon?) Jurisdiction. Naturally, they themselves would be in power. Their models were political – the deeply-troubled OCA and the highly controversial parishes in Finland under Constantinople. Lost in clouds of philosophy, they expressed words and not deeds and forgot that such a Jurisdiction would need the canonical support of at least one Patriarchate, financial backing from the grassroots and also an infrastructure in the form of a property network of monasteries and parishes.

Of course, it never had any of these and today has no candidates even to be its next bishop after the present 75-year old ex-Catholic Archbishop Jean. Neither the Patriarchate of Constantinople nor anyone else was ever going to support autocephaly for such a tiny and inward-looking group. Financial backing to any appreciable extent was quite absent. And one Rue Daru parish or family after another returned to the Russian Church, went bankrupt, fell into disrepair or simply closed down, forcing the ever smaller group to rely on rented premises. The whole arrogant project, not passed on to the following generation, isolated from the Orthodox mainstream and marred by aggressive new calendarism and ecumenism which mocked the values of faithful Orthodox, seemed more like just another irrelevant sub-department of the Vatican’s Uniat fantasy. Perhaps it was.

The Anglican Fantasists

So much for the navel-gazing in Continental Western Europe. In Great Britain, actually England, insularist Anglican academic Establishmentism proposed a ‘British Orthodox Church’. Made up largely of elderly upper middle-class people, retired vicars and academics, with direct or indirect links to the Rue Daru elite, its philosophy was equally unreal. Born from the tiny elite of the British Establishment, it took no note at all of the fact that the oppressive Establishment is alien to most people who live in the British Isles, and even more in the inherent geographical part of the Isles, in Ireland. After all, the Establishment is originally a blood-soaked import from the barbaric Norman elite in 1066. This compromised itself successively in the oppression of the English, the Welsh, the Irish and the Scots, and then the rest of the world, in slave-trading and exploitative imperialist genocides. In a word, there is no such thing as Britain. Like ‘the Ukraine’, it is a purely political construct and therefore there can never be any such thing as ‘British Orthodoxy’.

Curiously for academics so closely linked to the failed Rue Daru fantasy, these fantasists never noticed that the number of active Orthodox in the British Isles and Ireland is so small that to build a Local Church here is fantasy. And without canonical backing from a Patriarchate, grassroots financial support from large numbers and property infrastructure, the whole project is impossible. This is why no Local Church has ever contemplated founding an Autocephalous Church in the British Isles. The failure was encapsulated in the city of dreaming spires (and lost causes), Oxford. Here the professorial fantasy of combining different groups of Orthodox, new calendar, old calendar, in a modernist chapel, part-financed by Anglicans, with little to do with ordinary people, came to nothing. I said so in 1975, whereupon the fantasist priest (who was later defrocked) told me that ‘there is no such thing as ordinary people’. Later a dozen or so disgruntled and mainly pensioned-off Anglican vicars, ordained overnight and with little concept of the reality of Orthodoxy and how to do the services, sealed the failure. The fantasy was not passed on to the following generation. Time to move on.

The Turkish Fantasists

With the vast majority of Orthodox in the Russian Church paralysed for most of the twentieth century, but reviving dangerously, in their view, since the official fall of atheism in Moscow in 1991, in Turkey the Greek racist Phanariots panicked. So these pro-LGBT gerontocrats and Young Turks further extended and developed the use of the code-word for Greek Imperialism, ‘Pan-Orthodox’. How could these fantasists justify the universal rule of a non-universal Empire which in any case had been wiped off the face of the earth five and a half centuries before? They spent a large amount of US dollars on a pseudo-Council in Crete and then set about shamelessly invading the canonical territories of other Local Churches, under US State Department orders. (This was instead of sending out missions to the 7.3 billion of the Non-Orthodox world; no doubt they can wait another millennium to hear the Gospel).

However, today Phanariot corruption by embezzlement, bribery and blackmail, has been displayed before the whole world. Their megalomaniac and navel-gazing talking shops, ‘Pan-Orthodox’ Episcopal Assemblies, agreed to by Russian naivety, are now thankfully dead. Phyletist (the Greek word for racist) Greek grandstanding is dead with it. The Papist project of making the whole world into Greek-controlled ‘autonomous’ parts of the absurdly-named, Turkish ‘Oecumenical Patriarchate’ has become the laughing-stock of the whole still Orthodox world. The days of treachery, cowardice and deceit, to use the concise and precise formula of the martyred Tsar Nicholas II, are over. Another fantasy has bitten the dust. So where do we go from here?

Conclusion

One thing is clear: no Local Orthodox Church of Western Europe will ever be built on fantasies. Three such fantasies have been tried and all failed miserably. No more fantasies, just reality. Since the Phanariot project is now well and truly in the dustbin of history, we have to look at the other six Local Churches present in Western Europe. Of these six remaining Orthodox groups in Western Europe, five, the Romanian, Antiochian and Serbian, as well as the tiny Bulgarian and the newly-appeared Georgian, are not going to do anything to promote a Local Church. This is because they are all mononational and have only one interest: preserving their own national identity and national flags. Their outreach, if it exists at all, is virtually only to their own nationality.

Reluctantly, despite the incredible incompetence, frustrating irresponsibility, paranoid centralization, personality cult narcissism, contempt for local people, waste of human resources  and alcoholism, there is therefore only one alternative. This, like it or not, is ‘the only show in town’, the Russian Church. Under two administrations, the largest one centred in Moscow thanks to its presence in Italy, Germany, France, Iberia and Scandinavia, this is now setting up an Exarchate, with a group of bishops and a network of parishes, some newly-built. It is early days yet, but this is the only hope – and, actually, long has been. May the Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe at last be empowered to take the multinational responsibility for Orthodoxy which it has always so sadly refused and shown itself incapable of.

 

Can the Russian Orthodox Church Convert Russian Society and the Russian State, Renew the Local Orthodox Churches and Bring the Western World to Repentance?

At the turning of the tide

Hope and Truth abide.

Introduction

The list of three tasks set out above is ultra-ambitious and all-encompassing. Indeed, these tasks, to be undertaken by a Church which is still barely recovering from seventy-five years of the most vicious atheist persecution in world history, will bring many to laughter.

For example, regarding the task of converting Russian Society and the Russian State, most would probably say that no such things even exist yet; there are only a post-atheist Society and a post-atheist State. Moreover, both are marked by an extraordinarily incompetent, centralized bureaucracy, corruption and the immorality of atheism. The task of converting them seems absurd. As regards renewing the Orthodox Churches, the answer must surely be virtually impossible and in any case perhaps it is the Russian Church which needs to be renewed by other Local Churches. And as for bringing the Western world to repentance after its thousand-year apostasy from authentic Christianity, this surely is so impossible that it is senseless even to think about it.

However, the dismissal of these tasks as fantasy, seeming to be humanly impossible, needs re-examining in the light of one fact: Man proposes, but God disposes. After all, given the extraordinary and unexpected disappearance, almost overnight, of the atheist Superpower that was the Soviet Union and the beginning of the revival of the Church there since then, perhaps there are chances that something very unexpected can also occur in all these domains.

Converting Post-Soviet Society and the Post-Soviet State

100 years have passed since the ruthless Civil War which followed the betrayal of Orthodox Russia by the elite of generals, aristocrats and intellectuals in February 1917 and the Bolshevik takeover from their incompetence in October 1917. Over thirty years have passed since the atheist Empire controlled by the corrupt Bolshevik elite started to fall apart. Bolshevism, an import from Germany, totally failed, and the Soviet Union went bankrupt (in every sense). What have the alternatives proposed since then been?

The first proposal was to parrot Western liberal capitalism and secularism. This was adopted almost immediately by those who had claimed to be Communists. Many of them became rich overnight, as the nomenklatura became an oligarchy. They were supported by the mob, who, with their typically Russian inferiority complex vis a vis the West, imagined that the new Western Consumerism would be wonderful, the ‘bright future’ promised by Communism but not delivered. And indeed the mass of secular Russians, in especially vulgar ways, duly aped everything bad in the West, like so many chimpanzees rewarded for their treachery with Western bananas.

The second proposal was Orthodoxy and over a hundred million citizens of the ex-Soviet Union were swiftly baptized. Only a few million old-fashioned atheists resisted, quoting such discredited theorists and fantasists as Marx and Darwin – who were already discredited and old-fashioned 100 years ago! However, a real criticism was made by some: this was that since Orthodoxy had already been tried before the Revolution and had been found wanting, hence the Revolution, why repeat it?

Of course, this was nonsense. The whole point is precisely that Orthodoxy had NOT been tried before the Revolution, at least by the masses who had only been nominally Orthodox, formally baptised. In particular, the so-called ‘Orthodox’ academies of theology and seminaries, with their careerist students looking for well-paid jobs in the civil service, had been hotbeds of atheism before 1917. Indeed, one former seminarian and ‘cradle-Orthodox’ (whatever that means) later came to be known as Joseph Stalin. The fact is that the masses of nominal Orthodox before the Revolution after 1917 followed the elite and deserted the Church, going along with atheism and the persecution of the Church.

Today, we are in a similar situation, with an elite mainly anti-Church and the masses unsure which way to go: Western secularism with its expensive playthings, baubles, gadgets and Hollywood tinsel, or the fullness of Christianity in Russian Orthodoxy. It is commonly agreed that only 3% (about 5 million) of the 164 million members of the Russian Orthodox Church actually practise Orthodoxy to the letter, even though about 80% of the total population are baptised. In Ekaterinburg last year, on the centenary of the martyrdom of the Imperial Family, only 100,000 (0.06%) of the Orthodox population took part in the midnight pilgrimage to Ganina Yama. Among fringe Orthodox, clergy and laity, we can meet corruption through money, alcoholism, ritualism, phariseeism, praise for Stalinism or for Western liberalism, and every deviation inbetween. There are even those who propose an amalgam between ‘Red and White’, suggesting that atheism and anti-Bolshevism unite under the standard of xenophobia!

In today’s Russian Federation abortion is twice as high as even the abysmally high rates in Western countries (true, it has halved in the last thirty years, but only because contraception is starting to be used). Divorce is still just as high as in the USA because, like American materialism, Soviet materialism destroyed family life. Naïve Western converts to Orthodoxy, who have no idea of reality and the profound secularism of the mass of Russians, point out that the churches are full. But of course they are full: they, and priests, are so pitifully few in number (one for every 7,000 people!) that they cannot be anything other than full. In the UK, with less than half the population of the Russian Federation, there are two and a half times as many churches.

Some will say that I am being over-critical. After all, over 30,000 New Martyrs have been canonized in the last 25 years (far more than the 8,000 canonized by the Church Outside Russia 38 years ago). Over 100 million have been baptised, over 100 Metropolias have been created, the number of bishops has gone up from 40 to 400, the number of priests is heading for 40,000 from 6,000 30 years ago (and most of those were then in the Ukraine), people now take communion regularly, not as in the grim old days of the corrupt practice before the Revolution (unfortunately a practice until quite recently preserved in the Church Outside Russia), when communion once a year was considered the norm.

Some over-optimists even say that today the Russian Orthodox Church has reached the level of the Church before the Revolution. This of course is not at all true – there were over twice as many churches and priests then, proportionate to the then population, as now. However, that is not the point: the point is that the Church needs in any case to be even better than the decapitated and State-ritualized Church of before the Revolution. This had been rejected by the vast mass of the aristocracy and intellectual elite. If the pre-Revolutionary Church is restored as it was, the Church will simply be incapable of preventing another Revolution.

Pre-Revolutionary culture, the summit of Russian culture, has still to be restored. And that can only be done when Russian Society is permeated by an Orthodox culture which today it is not. As for the Russian State, it cannot be converted until Russian Society has been converted; otherwise there will just be mere hypocrisy (as in the Russian State before the Revolution). In a country where the State, like the media and the educational and medical systems, are dominated by practical, if not ideological and sometimes very aggressive, atheism, as seen in their corruption and immorality, there remains much to be done.

Real parishes have to be created (they do not exist) as local communities, where all can go and become members of the Orthodox family, belonging, not merely passing through as if in a railway station. Financial transparency, as is about to be implemented only in the Pskov Metropolia, must become the norm. The Russian Orthodox Church needs 130,000 new churches, 130,000 new priests and 1300 new bishops! Our Orthodox Revolution has only just begun! Only then shall we be able to say that Russian Society and consequently the Russian State have been converted. There is very, very, very far to go in order to recover from the dread consequences of the Soviet nightmare and the pathetic aping of Western money-money-money Capitalism which has patterned the last generation of life in the Russian Federation.

Renewing the Local Orthodox Churches

The Western calendar has over the last 95 years taken control of some 20% of the Orthodox world – Constantinople (except Mt Athos), Antioch, Alexandria, Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia and Albania have all been infected. Only those in the 80% of the Churches of Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, Georgia and Poland have remained faithful. Now many will say: So what? The fact is that though the calendar in itself may not be so important, it is a symbol. Once you have adopted the Western calendar, you have adopted the Western mentality. You are heading for the exit door of the Church. That is just a fact. As an example, of the fourteen Local Churches, one has even more or less completely fallen away, both theologically and therefore practically, from Orthodoxy, that is, the US puppet Church in Constantinople (Istanbul). And that is precisely the Church that, after a £100,000 bribe from the Anglicans nearly 100 years ago, introduced the Western calendar, so liturgically senseless from an Orthodox viewpoint. It has now reached the exit door, amid scandal after scandal.

There is worse to come. Playing the nationalist card of flattering the local chauvinists, the Western world is now trying its devil’s best to dismantle the Russian Orthodox Church, especially in Estonia and the Ukraine, but if possible in the Baltics, Belarus and Moldova also. The same tactic has been adopted against the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro and Macedonia. Attacks have also been made against the Churches of Antioch, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania. Can the Russian Orthodox Church, supporting and supported by, the best elements in the other Local Churches, win? Only if first, Russian Society and the Russian State have been converted. Ever since the Ukrainian crisis, we have been at a critical turning-point, living on a knife edge. Something has to change. We cannot go on like this much longer. This is make or break time for the Church of God. Either we shall live on, even by the grace of God prospering, or else the end of the world really is coming and this is it.

Bringing the Western World to Repentance

The Western world presents a sorry picture of spiritual emptiness and spiritual and therefore moral degeneracy. Its few remaining believers cannot even stand up for Christ, but sit down in their churches, as if paralysed (a spiritual disease that over the last 40 years has taken hold of the Greek and Arab Churches). Herded into inferiority-complex conformism, the puppet states of Western Europe are controlled by the US-run EU and NATO. Thus, symbolically, in Eurovision, which takes place not even in Europe, but in the US-financed Asian colony of Israel, Europeans, including supposed Orthodox Europeans, sing identically absurd and pointless songs in American English, not even in their own languages. And as for the crazed, trigger-happy, though bankrupt, US cowboy himself, obsessed by his control-freakery, seeking worldwide dominion and armed to the teeth with everything that technology can provide, he plans to destroy Russia, Turkey, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba and Iran. Apocalypse awaits.

Conclusion

And therefore, we say that it is now or never. Either Orthodox of all nationalities renounce our false selves and start converting ourselves and the Societies and States around us, so standing up and witnessing to Christ before the Western atheist elites, or else we shall be annihilated by them. Then we shall be swallowed up by the Western sea-monster like Jonah, only without Jonah’s faith and therefore swallowed up forever and so disappearing from the face of the earth. The choice is ours.

 

Q and A May 2019

The Corruption of the Constantinople Episcopate

Q: What do you make of the appalling allegations against certain members of the episcopate of Constantinople, which are now making their rounds on the internet? Is this fake news? Or, if is true, is it time for us to have a married episcopate?

A: When I first saw the allegations, clearly not fake news, I wondered what the fuss was all about: these stories have been well-known for decades, though, true, they have never been issued on the internet. The corruption of Orthodox bishops in the Diaspora is well-known. There was the Russian bishop in Paris, sent to Siberia, when Moscow actually got to realize it was all true, the Serbian bishop who had to ‘retire’, the episcopate of a certain group in the USA known as ‘the gay mafia’, who therefore fell under the thumb of a certain priest who had the dirt on them, the Greek and Russian bishops in Europe with their boyfriends or multiple mistresses, the one they called ‘Johnny Walker’ (we know how he died) and the chain-smoking bishops from the Middle East and the alcoholic Slavs. All this has been well-known for decades and generations. However, the latest stories with Rolex watches worth 400,000 euros and all the sordid details worthy only of British gutter tabloids, do bring it down to a different level (or depth).

Of course, the Protestant-minded immediately call for married bishops. I am completely opposed to this. First of all, it would be completely unfair on their wives. It is difficult enough for the wife of a priest to have her husband. The wife of a bishop would never see him. Then, secondly, it would introduce nasty careerism among married clergy. It is bad enough among certain hieromonks and archimandrites, without polluting the married clergy.

There is only one solution: to stop electing bishops from among candidates who are candidates simply because they are not married. Otherwise you will simply end up, at worst, with pedophiles and homosexuals who only have contempt for married priests, women and children (as among the Catholics) or, at best (?), with narcissistic professional bachelors who have no love for anyone except themselves and their favourites and operate a mafia against real pastors. We have seen enough of both sorts and suffered enough from them during 40 years. They are the only enemies of the Church and always have been. They wreck dioceses and ruin lives. There is only one solution: monastic renewal. If you are not living a monastic life in a monastery and you have no pastoral experience and love for the people, you cannot become a bishop.

As for the sort of bishops described in Constantinople, they must all be defrocked asap. We have had enough of them. All they do is bring the Church into disrepute and upset and persecute the sincere parish priests and the pious faithful. And, above all, they can be corrupted by the US State Department which has all the dirt on them all and so can blackmail them – just like the KGB did in the days of the Soviet Union, just like the CIA does in the Ukraine today.

Q: What do you think of the appointment of Metr Elpidiphoros as the new Greek Archbishop of America?

A: His name means ‘bearer of hope’. However, he is the bearer of despair. Expect schisms in the Greek Church in the USA, Australia and Great Britain. Indeed, they have already begun, with priests and parishes leaving them for canonical Orthodoxy. It is the beginning of the end for the rule of Constantinople. Sad though it is, it is inevitable and, ultimately, this will be a positive event. God is not mocked. We have to live for the future, not for the corrupt past. All will be providential. And Providence is God’s Love in history.

Russian Orthodox Church Matters

Q: I recently visited Russia and saw and heard some strange things from some people. For example, someone told me he knew an Orthodox man who was sure that Stalin will one day be canonized. An Orthodox woman I met said that she thought the Russian Church should become like the Catholic Church. Are such views widespread?

A: Today’s Russian Church is 90% a Church of converts, so inevitably you do occasionally come across extremes and marginals, or to put it very frankly, ‘weirdos’, nationalists, ecumenists and what have you. On top of this, you can also encounter among some clergy the hangover from the Soviet period – centralization and bureaucracy (though this was to some extent also present before the Revolution). I should not worry about it. This will all pass, it is all a phase of growing up. And it all only affects some; most are solid. Remember to look at the wood, not at the trees.

Q: The Russian Orthodox Church has for several months now an Exarchate in Paris. You had written a lot about this before it happened. Why does the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (including yourself) not participate in it?

A: The Russian Exarchate is for the moment very much on paper only. It is centralized, bureaucratic, missing bishops on the ground in Italy and Scandinavia, which like Germany is not included in it. The Exarchate is so far not real, not local, not skilled, not pastoral. And I know this from concrete contacts at the very highest AND the very lowest level. It is not at all ready to operate like the best of the Church Outside Russia (where it exists) and does not even want us to take part in it! Our offers of help have been rebuffed, several times, as they prefer to take orders from Moscow, where they understand nothing of the situation on the ground. It is not ready – by far!

When the Russian Exarchate is ready to be pastoral and to become a real Exarchate of (and not merely in) Western Europe, then we shall see changes. For now it clearly lacks the necessary pastoral skills and local knowledge, being a disincarnate  export from Moscow. It will need several years to grow up. The task, duty and mission of the local Church Outside Russia in Western Europe are precisely to prepare the terrain for this moment, filling the largely empty infrastructure created by Moscow, going before, like St John the Baptist.

Speaking as the only priest in the Russian Church who has ever been awarded a jewelled cross by Patriarch Kyrill (seven years ago) and a second such cross by Metropolitan Hilarion of New York (three years later), I believe that the Exarchate is not viable without ROCOR.

Pastoral Psychology

Q: What is the difference between low self-esteem and humility?

A: Low self-esteem comes from being humiliated, insulted and bullied. The victim of humiliation and bullying stops believing in themselves and doubts everyone and everything and can hate themselves and even self-mutilate. However, this is in contradiction with the last two words of the commandments, to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves. We must love ourselves. Not because we are anything other than sinners, but because God loves us. Anyone who believes or has experienced that fact that God loves them, will not fall victim to low self-esteem, but will become humble. Low self-esteem is the result of believing in the opinions and actions of nasty narcissists and sadistic bullies, whatever rank they may hold, more than in God.

Q: Is it true that there are only two choices in the Church, marriage or monasticism?

A: Only as an ideal. I would say, and I think I have said this before, that in reality there are two and a quarter choices. The quarter choice is for all those who for some reason do not fit in to either of the main choices at present. In other words, we must always be prepared for exceptions and exceptional circumstances. For example, there are, though they are very rare, celibate priests, neither married, nor monastic.

 

 

Apologia Pro Vita Sua: The Two Reasons Why We Are Faithful Members of the Russian Orthodox Church

Firstly, it is only when we have understood that Christ the Son of God is the Saviour of the World, Who Alone, unlike all the other founders of faiths in the history of the world, is Risen from the dead, are we Christians. And once we have understood that Orthodoxy alone is this Christian Faith that He gave us, then we have understood that all other institutions which call themselves ‘Christian’ or ‘Christianity’ are not this. They are not of the Church of God. In reality, they preserve only fragments and vestiges, the outward signs of the Church, and thus are only illusory substitutions for the Church. In reality, in the West the words Christianity and Christian have for centuries been abused and twisted for the self-justification of its elite and of those whom that elite has ‘Westernized’, that is, those who, flattering themselves, have fallen for their proud delusions of grandeur. Once it is realized that Christianity is Orthodoxy, and not some much later, second-millennium distortion, specific and local to the barbarian culture of the Western elite, then it is clear that the expression ‘The Church’ can only mean The Orthodox Church and nothing else.

The proof of this is in the history of the Western elite, with its repeated campaigns of mass organized violence against all others over the past thousand years. This proof is in its technologically highly advanced but actually extremely crude and cruel war machine, with continual invasions and highly aggressive exploitation of all peoples (serfdom, physical slavery and then economic and political slavery) and its specific attempts to destroy the Church and Her Christian Civilization: the ‘Crusades’, the sack of Christian Rome in 1204, the Teutonic Knights, the repeated Western invasions of Russia after 1453 by the Poles, the Swedes and Napoleon, then the Crimean War, the two invasions of Russia which were part of World Wars, the foundation of NATO, the Western manipulations of Constantinople, especially since 1948, and today’s creation of a fictitious Church in the Ukraine as a vehicle for Western propaganda. Real Christians would never have behaved murderously like this. So it is clear that these Westerners are not Christians, they are not of the Church, whatever they may claim to justify their self-aggrandizing delusions.

Secondly, history tells us that the Centre of the Church was transferred in 330 from Pagan Old Rome, on account of its interfering heathen heritage, to Christian New Rome (Constantinople). And also that after the occupation of New Rome, much weakened by its bloodthirsty sack by ‘Christian’ (sic!) Westerners in 1204 and Greek nationalist apostates (the same ones as today), by Muslims in 1453, the Centre moved again. This time it moved to Holy Rus, which therefore came to be called ‘The Third Rome’. Once you know this, you understand that for anyone who does not belong to one of the nationalities catered for on the territories of one of the thirteen small and mononational Local Orthodox Churches (Romanian, Serbian, Greek, Bulgarian, Georgian, African, Arab, Polish, Cypriot, Albanian and Czechoslovak) you have to belong to the multinational and multilingual Russian Orthodox Church. This has over 70 nationalities already. After all, the Church of Holy Rus is 75% of the whole Church and has a long and distinguished missionary history, founding new Churches around the world and then granting them independence, so that they can stand on their own feet.

However, it is also true that this title ‘The Third Rome’ has sometimes been abused as a slogan and excuse for Russian State interference, for chauvinistic nationalism, formalist ritualism and pharisaical fanaticism. Indeed, it was that hypocritical and formalistic spirit which aided in the Western-orchestrated overthrow of the Russian Orthodox world in 1917 and its handing over to alien atheists for martyrdom by Satanists. For the mere existence of the Russian Orthodox world was preventing the Western elite from its ultimate diabolical ambition of world domination which has burned in them ever since 1492 and so they had to attempt to destroy Her. That nationalist, ritualistic, false ‘Third Rome’ spirit is quite different from the actual Christian spirit of the Russian Orthodox Church. This is an Imperial, multinational Church, whose mission is to convert to Orthodoxy the whole Non-Orthodox world outside the territories of the thirteen small Local Churches. Hence our repeated suggestion that the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate be renamed The Patriarchate of New Jerusalem and All Rus. In this way Her new name will represent Her essence.

 

 

On the Phanariot Failed Church, its Hybrid Faith and the Cleansing of the Faithful Church

 

The US-backed Phanariot schism from the Orthodox Church had been under way for many decades. Indeed, its inevitability has been clear ever since the failed 2016 meeting of the failed Phanariot Church in Crete with its Obama-esque agenda. Spiritually and politically free Orthodox refused to attend it or agree with it. The Ukraine was only the last straw in their schismatic process, for the camel’s back had been breaking for well over a century. The charge sheet is very long; all the charges shaped by virulent Phanariot Greek nationalism, that is, by its racist phyletism. Some obvious landmarks were the British political pressures at the start of the last century, under which the Patriarchate of Constantinople buckled and set out on its first hesitant ecumenical activities under Patriarch Joachim III (+ 1912). Meanwhile, the future heretic Metropolitan Meletios Metaksakis was installed in a masonic lodge in the British vassal-island of Cyprus in 1909. And in Russia, apostate intellectuals and philosophers were preparing their renovationism with the aid of the weak-faithed and pro-modernist Metropolitan Antony (Vadkovsky – 1898 -1912) of Saint Petersburg. It was he who had protected the defrocked renegade and schoolgirl seducer, the murdered intriguer George Gapon.

After the blood-soaked tragedy of the 1917 Saint Petersburg coup d’etat of deceitful Russian aristocratic traitors emigrated to Paris. The coup, orchestrated and backed by the scheming British ambassador Buchanan, gave the Phanariots a free hand. They opened dioceses and parishes, dividing the Orthodox Diaspora in North and South America, Western Europe and Australia, claiming Papist universal jurisdiction. Thus, they created ‘jurisdictions’, that is, divisions. Then they backed the Protestant-style renovationists in Russia against St Tikhon, accepted Anglican orders in exchange for £100,000 from Canterbury, introduced the Papist calendar, cut the services, created homosexual bishops, like German Aav in Finland where it meddled, as also in Poland and then in Czechoslovakia, where it created a schism. It set up the Paris Jurisdiction, encouraging the modernist and ecumenist Paris School of Philosophy and failing to condemn the Bulgakov heresy, meddled in the uncanonical Ukrainian Diaspora after 1945, adopted the modernist ‘neo-Patristic’ philosophies of Russians like Florovsky and Schmemann and the Protestantizing ‘eucharistic’ pseudo-theology of Afanasiev, created the absurd Phanariot schism in Estonia, and today swim with the US-imposed LGBT tide.

However, some individuals in Moscow are also compromised. They are still members of the Pan-Protestant World Council of Churches (WCC) and still in contact with the Vatican with its generations of pedophile scandals. The Vatican has been controlled by the US ever since its Protestantizing Second Vatican Council (1962-65). This has been especially so since the US installed the anti-Communist, PR-led Polish Pope, who hid pedophile scandals, after the sudden and highly suspicious death of the previous anti-US Pope. It is time to stop Soviet games from the past and act on principle. For the Phanariots and the Papists have agreed on uniting in 2025, the 1700th anniversary of the First Universal Council of Nicea in 325, when, according to some, the EU elite also plans to proclaim its long-planned United States of Europe. Today the future course of action for the Russian Orthodox Church in particular, and the whole of the free (= Non-US-controlled) Orthodox world in general, is clear. This is to return to the decisions of the quasi-Pan-Orthodox Council of Moscow in July 1948. The authority of this Council is such that it could be called the Eighth Universal Council. Unanimously then, real theologians like the ROCOR St Seraphim of Sofia, exposer of Bulgakov’s heresy of Sophianism, agreed on all.

Then the whole Russian hierarchy inside Russia and the hierarchies of the other Local Churches (except for the Constantinople, Greek and Cypriot bishops, who were not allowed to attend by their American puppeteers) were in agreement. They unanimously condemned Papism, which had openly supported Fascism during World War II, CIA-funded Ecumenism, and refused to recognize Anglican orders. Thus the WCC, founded by Anglo-Americans in their Cold War bid for religious power the very next month, August 1948, was recognized, on Protestant orders, only by the three Local Churches who had not been allowed to attend the Moscow Council. Now the Russian Orthodox Church and all the other Local Churches, except for schismatic Constantinople, has the opportunity to return to the decisions of the 1948 Council, thus uniting all faithful Orthodox of all nationalities. Fence-sitting among many Local Churches must stop. The unfaithful fringes in various Local Churches, many of whom have already fallen away in any case, can leave the Church. We do not need hybrid Protestant-Orthodox Churches. Then the Church will at last be cleansed of the deadweight of spiritual impurity. ecumenism, modernism and all the other isms in the spirit of atheist Western Secularism, will fall away.

 

Our Future: An Imperial Orthodox Church or an Imperialist Non-Orthodox Church?

 

Having rejected the Orthodox Christian teaching on the Holy Trinity, formulated by the Universal Councils of the Church, in the second millennium after Christ Western Europe was for centuries torn apart by the question of whether its ‘Church’ should be centripetal (centralizing), like Roman Catholicism, or centrifugal (centre-fleeing), like Protestantism. Indeed, whole very bloody wars were fought over this issue for centuries. Although today both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism have largely died out in most of Western Europe and been replaced by Secularism, the question has not gone away, for cultural patterns and reflexes have persisted.

Thus, three years ago, the arrogant and foolish centralized EU, a secular imitation of Roman Catholicism and going back to the Treaty of ‘Rome’, produced the reaction of the vote for centre-fleeing Brexit in the Protestant culture of the UK. It is clear that this is only the first step in the inevitable disintegration of the EU, which has already been under immense pressures from all sides for many years. All of this would have remained merely a political issue, except that in the Orthodox Church it has recently become a spiritual issue. For the US-founded EU’s centralization is being imitated and pursued by the US-financed secularists of the ‘Patriarchate of Constantinople’ in Istanbul.

Here modernist and ecumenist, pro-LGBT ‘Euro-Orthodox’ Greeks have created schism from the Orthodox Church. Made up of fourteen universally-recognized, Independent (‘autocephalous’ in Greek jargon) Local Churches, the Orthodox Church is thus threatened with the loss of part of its flock. For this tiny Greek Patriarchate in ‘Constantinople’ has, with breath-taking arrogance, openly declared its intention of taking back all the autocephalies of Local Churches and creating one ‘Super-Church’, with, naturally, itself in control. Thus, secular-minded Greek Istanbul imitates Brussels.

Having already done this in the small groups of the Diaspora (Western Europe, the Americas and Oceania) and in Estonia in recent decades, the Istanbul Greeks have within the last few months done exactly the same in the Ukraine also. Invading ancient Russian Orthodox territory against all the canons and traditions of Christianity, with full Ukrainian State and US financial and political backing, they have set up a semi-Fascist, ultra-nationalist organization, which it calls the ‘The Church in the Ukraine’, but which is under its full control. This is, of course, pure Greek Imperialist tyranny of the sort practised for centuries by the Istanbul Greeks in Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch and Bulgaria and elsewhere, but now extended worldwide.

In this Imperialist model, in its own words, this Greek Imperialist Patriarchate sees itself as a single ‘Church’. It will ‘take back’ the autocephalies (full independence) given to found several of the other Local Churches over previous centuries. And then it will grant them back a very, very limited self-government. In this way it will combine centralization with extremist local nationalism. In such a case, of course, it may well be asked, why Jerusalem, the first Church, does not take back the autocephaly given to Constantinople and take back all power for itself? Theologically and historically speaking, all of this comes from a purely Secularist Roman Catholic/Protestant mentality.

This is no surprise when we see where the bureaucrats and ideologues of the Greek Patriarchate were trained: at the Gregorian University in Rome (like Patriarch Bartholomew himself, together with very many of his bishop-acolytes) and in the faculties of Protestant Universities in Germany. The Orthodox model of governance of the Church is of course the Holy Trinity: Unity in Diversity, the Apostolic model evident from the first century in the Epistles, addressed to the various Local Churches. This is the meaning of the word ‘Catholicity’ (everyone doing things in their own way, but in the same spirit), which means something quite different from ‘Catholicism’ (everyone doing exactly the same thing under tyrannical and bureaucratic centralist control).

Today, in the Orthodox Church, we are now facing a choice between:

Constantinople: An Imperialist, Single-Nationality ‘Church’

Either belong as second-class citizens (because you are not Greek) to the tiny Church of a long-dead Empire, which governs all who belong to it tyrannically and nationalistically, regardless of whether they are Christians, regardless of whether they are canonically ordained, and regardless of whether they are involved in the violent and racist theft of churches from Christians and their persecution. In this case you will neither be Orthodox, nor Christian, indeed less Christian even than Uniats and Protestants.

New Jerusalem: An Imperial, Multinational Church

Or belong as first-class citizens (whatever your nationality and native language) to the very large Church of a living Empire, or to one of the Autocephalous Local Churches which are in communion with it, which governs all who belong to it justly and multinationally, because they are Christians, canonically ordained and do not steal by violence and racism churches from other Christians or persecute them. In this case you will be Orthodox Christians because you follow the Holy Trinity, living in the Catholicity of unity in diversity.

You choose.

Questions and Answers February 2019

Moscow/Constantinople

Q: What would you answer to those who claim that the present problems between the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow regarding the Ukraine are simply an ethnic problem?

A: No, it is not an ethnic problem, it is a dogmatic problem. It is all about faithfulness to Orthodoxy, that is, to the Oneness, Holiness, Catholicity and Apostolicity of the Church.

Just imagine if the Russian Church had backed atheist-promoted modernists in Constantinople against its persecuted Patriarch (as Constantinople did in the 1920s in Russia against the heroic missionary Patriarch St Tikhon), interfered in the internal affairs and territories of other Local Churches, insisted on a racist and nationalistic ethos and so had opposed itself to any missionary, apostolic work and multinational activity, had fallen away from the Orthodox calendar, messed about with the Liturgy, canonized dubious political figures, promoted freemasonry, practised simony, preached ecumenism and semi-Catholicism (as Constantinople had already done in the fifteenth century), got itself paid by the US State Department, but the Church of Constantinople had remained faithful to the Orthodox Tradition. In that case we would be supporting the Church of Constantinople and not the Church of Russia. Canonical crimes are canonical crimes, regardless of the ethnicity of the culprits.

Moreover, it is now clear that Constantinople will not repent, as it is still justifying its outrageous acts. It is even going to sack the old bishops and appoint new Bartholomew-esque bishops in North America, Australia and the UK and so everywhere dig an abyss between itself and us Orthodox. Therefore, it is clear that this schism is at least semi-permanent. Only repentance on the part of the proud of Constantinople can overcome the problem they have caused and there is absolutely no sign of this at present.

Therefore, given the paralysis and irresponsibility of others, the Russian Church is now reorganizing its administration of the Non-Orthodox world, as in the now 15 countries in the Russian Orthodox Western European Exarchate. (Since the Synod on 26 February Malta has been added to it, leaving only the five Nordic countries and Germany, Austria and Hungary to be added in due course). The same thing is happening in the Russian Orthodox South-East Asian Exarchate with its Metropolitan of Singapore and now four dioceses, Singapore, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines and Vietnam. South Asia, mainly India and Pakistan, is at present a no-go area. (South-West Asia is largely the canonical territory of Antioch, as Africa is that of Alexandria, just as North Asia is Russian canonical territory). In the remaining continents of the New World, maybe we shall one day see a Russian Exarchate for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean and possibly another for South America, leaving the rest of North America and Oceania to ROCOR, if competence is shown.

Thus, all faithful Orthodox of all nationalities will end up independent but in association with the Russian Church. This will recreate the canonical situation in North America before 1917, with all Orthodox united within the Russian Church, before Constantinople introduced division with its ‘jurisdiction’ 100 years ago. Only the modernists in the Local Churches will go under Constantinople. The tiny, modernist and unfaithful minority who want a Protestant, ‘reformed’ Orthodoxy, a Traditionless, gutless and saintless Halfodoxy, disunited, unholy, uncatholic and unapostolic, will follow the schismatics. This is simply a falling away from the Orthodox Church. In these latter times the chaff is being separated from the wheat. This is not some ethnic dispute, where there is truth on both sides, but a dispute in which there is right and wrong, Thirteen Local Churches against One evildoer. This is the great cleansing we have been awaiting for so long, the tares are leaving us.

Q: What is your policy regarding those who frequent churches under Constantinople and who want to take communion and other sacraments in the Russian Church? Do you refuse them?

A: Certainly not! We do not punish the people for the anti-canonical actions of an elderly US-run Turkish Patriarch, whom they never chose. As long as the Russian Church does not have a full network of parishes in the Diaspora, catering for all the faithful of all languages, we will give the sacraments to those who have no choice but to attend nearby Constantinople churches at times, even though they know that their Patriarchate is utterly wrong. Of course, if there are actually those among them who consciously support their Patriarch, then we cannot have communion with them because they are enemies of the Church of God. But such extremists do not approach the Russian Church anyway.

Q: The Patriarchate of Constantinople has only one Western Diocesan bishop, Metropolitan Athenagoras in Belgium. Will he stay with Constantinople?

A: This is none of my business, though I know that he fully shares in the Phanariot ideology. I also note that the only Non-Diocesan Western bishop under Constantinople, Metr Kallistos (Ware), has not expressed any indication that he will move either.

I remember Metr Athenagoras in the 70s when he was a young layman. He and his family left Rue Daru for the Greeks of Constantinople, if I remember rightly, in 1987, after the whole Bruges convert parish (and Peckstadt family) was mistreated by the tyrannical and unjust German Archbishop of Rue Daru, George (Wagner). (He was an ex-Catholic, who managed to alienate Russians with his Russophobia and Western Orthodox with his refusal to recognize any liturgical languages apart from Greek, Latin and Slavonic!! What a disaster – really Rue Daru never recovered from this German intellectual. I witnessed all this first-hand).

At that time the Bruges parish could have joined Moscow, though many of the Moscow bishops outside Russia were very corrupt. (I can still remember how in 2003 the Sourozh Diocese Cathedral was still refusing to have any icon of the Royal Martyrs (‘there is no space for them’, as they so eloquently said, in fact not about their empty walls, but about their empty hearts), even though Moscow had at last canonized the New Martyrs and was negotiating with ROCOR, and how that Cathedral also refused to sell books written by Fr Seraphim (Rose), who was very popular inside Russia.

Or else the Bruges converts could have joined ROCOR. However, to accept the Tradition and disciplines of the Church in all their integrity, as is normal for ROCOR, was far too much for them. They wanted a ‘pick and choose’ Orthodoxy for the consumer age. Such converts play a fantasy game and never want the real thing, skirting around it, like people who skirt around a lighthouse and are then surprised when they are wrecked on the rocks around the lighthouse.

Rue Daru

Q: What do you think is the future for this group after their meeting on 23 February?

A: Here the chickens have come home to roost and decisions have to be made at last after so many decades of putting off the question. These decisions cannot, like Brexit, be continually put off. A few will surely join one part or another of the Russian Church (as some already have), including perhaps the elderly Archbishop Jean himself. However, most will remain under Constantinople, and a few may go off to join various curious Protestant-style or New Age sects, where some of them originally came from.

Q: Will the Rue Daru parish in Rome join ROCOR?

A: I have no idea – you must ask those involved. What I do remember is how ROCOR lost this parish to Rue Daru in 1985 through the incompetent meddling of Bishop Gregory Grabbe, who had sent an old calendarist American convert priest there (he was later defrocked, like several other convert priests whom Bp Gregory had had ordained by the innocent and naïvely pure Metr Philaret). I was there at the time and remember it well. Rue Daru at once ordained a Russian-speaking man for the Rome parish and three months later made him an archpriest (such was the favouritism of Rue Daru also!)

Politics

Q: Do you think that Brexit will happen?

A: Only if the UK is democratic will it happen. Over 45 years have already been spent in the Brussels straitjacket. On the other hand, both the EU and the UK Establishments, including the Remainer Mrs May, are against Brexit. The mere fact that the people were once allowed to express their opinion was a miracle, but since then we have seen the battle of the people against the elite and anything can happen.

Q: Why do countries which have lost their monarchy veer between left-wing and right-wing governments?

A: Because such countries get governed by ideologies/philosophies of either left or right. Whenever this happens, injustices happen because such ideologies are based on ideals, not on reality. Idealistic intellectuals (like Lenin or Hitler) are ruthless because they always force reality to fit their personal ideology, slaughtering all the millions who refuse to accept it and silencing all others by fear. We can see this on a lesser level in recent UK history with the idealistic obsessions of Thatcher (‘the free market’), Blair (meddling in other countries and starting wars) and Corbyn (Stalinist socialism). The question these ideologues never answer is: Does my ideal actually work? And by definition no ideal ever works, precisely because it is ideal, not real, not realistic, not practical. If you govern with an ideology, you will always end up being tyrannical and being hated. You have to govern with a heart.

Q: There are only two faiths in the world which have always been persecuted, Orthodoxy and Judaism. Why?

A: Because they both contain Truth. Where there is no Truth, there is never any persecution. The Truth of Judaism is that God is One and that He is sending His Son to bring justice to the world (The Second Coming). The Truth of Orthodoxy we know (The First Coming).

Worldliness in the Church

Q: Why are there so many Orthodox in the Ukraine, Russia (and maybe other parts of the world, and this may have nothing to do with just Orthodoxy, but all religions) who can be heard saying, “My believing is inside me.  I don’t believe in Church but I believe in God.  I follow Orthodox traditions and go to church sometimes.”  Is this primarily a reaction to the influence and momentum of Communism, like the saying about how the Communists almost accomplished in Russia in 70 years what the Ottoman Empire failed to accomplish in the Balkans in 400 years?

A: You are indeed quite right, this saying is very common, but it is also universal. The reason for this is corruption (’institutionalization’) in the Church; clerics turning the Church and Faith into a business, a mere religion. This makes people cynical. We need churches which are free of the tables of moneychangers and we need bishops (the simoniacs are usually Greek and Romanian) and priests whose main concern is people’s souls, not their wallets. In the West no jurisdiction is free of this; I remember the old ‘pre-Revolutionary’ ROCOR of 45 years ago – it too sometimes had this money, money mentality, which was the bane of the pre-Revolutionary Church. Our universal Russian Orthodox task is not at all the restoration of the pre-Revolutionary Church (as some very ignorant people imagine), but the cleansing of the pre-Revolutionary Church.

Therefore, this is nothing to do with Communism. We need apostolic St Pauls, who work as tentmakers, not rich bishops with fancy cars. This has been the combat of my life; it is why I do not serve in a den of corruption. I have always refused to do so and for that reason they have never wanted me.

Russian Converts

Q:  Why are there personality tensions in the Church inside Russia, for example as in the recent internet conflict between Fr Andrei Tkachov and Fr George Maximov?

A: The Church inside Russia has many converts. It sometimes reminds me of what I saw in the West in the 1970s: young women dressed in long drab dresses and young men with long beards, crosses or prayer knots on display. The neophyte mentality – imitating the external dress of monks and nuns – works regardless of nationality and even if the parents were nominal Orthodox. Converts have to show off – just like neophytes in any religion, from Islam (long beards and a uniform) to Buddhism (people dressed in saffron robes and with shaven heads). It is converts who create this hothouse mentality, usually on the internet. It is all so immature. It is time for teenagers to grow up.

The Future

Q: When will there be a new Tsar in Russia?

A: It is vital to understand that this can only come about when Russian Orthodox are worthy of the last Tsar. You cannot have a next Tsar, if you do not love and venerate the last Tsar and all those who served him – and were martyred for it. Read what others said of the last Tsar and his family:

‘It was the holiest and purest family’. (The Tsar’s valet Volkov, when interviewed by the investigator Sokolov 100 years ago).

‘There, in that house (the Ipatiev House), blossom the great souls of Russia, smeared with the mud of politicians’. (The Holy Martyr Eugene (Botkin)).

When this happens, then we shall see headlines like this:

‘Tsar restores the unity of the Russian Lands’.

‘Christian troops from Russia liberate Eastern Europe from EU tyranny’.

‘Afghans plead with Russian Imperial forces to free them’.

‘Russian Tsar stands on the Mexican border and demands: ‘Tear down this wall, Mr Trump’.

Do not be surprised; everything is still possible.

 

The Western God is Dead and Buried, but the True And Living God is Returning

Our God is a consuming fire

Heb 12, 29

I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things.

St Alban of Verulamium

Introduction: The Western God’s Funeral is Over

The thousand year-long funeral of the Western god is over. This much is clear to everyone. True, very small groups of the elderly still huddle in surviving churches, true, other buildings are packed with swaying crowds of happy-clappers – only in reality they are not attending churches, but feel-good American entertainment shows. Thus, former church-buildings have become fitness clubs, restaurants and shopping centres for the cult of the body and ‘wellness’. People are told to ‘spoil and pamper themselves’, because ‘you’re worth it’, with personal trainers, life coaches, leisure centres, spas, hot tubs, jacuzzis, beauty salons, massage parlours, cosmetic surgery, gourmet restaurants managed by ‘celebrity chefs’ and gastropubs with ‘fine wine’. Physical impurity of all sorts must be purged – go vegan and gluten-free; as for spiritual impurity, it has never been heard of. However, all manner of utterly irrational superstitions are available for mental wellness; mindfulness, gurus, astrology, magic crystals, feng-shui, tree-hugging – anything goes, providing it is fashionable. So all Westerners have become ‘fashion victims’. But how did the Western (and Westernized) world reach this point of killing its own god?

Some History

After the Western world had denied and then lost the knowledge of the real God a thousand years ago, it substituted its own rationalist and scholastic god for Him. This substitute god, represented by a Western man called ‘the Vicar of Christ’, from whom, they claimed, flowed all authority, was idolized for hundreds of years. This idolatry came because he justified all manner of Western aggression, from massacres in Western Europe (southern Italy, England, Iberia, Wales, southern France, Ireland) to ‘Crusades’, from Inquisitions to the ruthless genocides of Western ‘explorers’ (=murderous pirates and thieves) like Columbus, Da Gama and Cortez. After a few centuries the self-invented Western god’s authority was extended to others, ‘democratized’, and this justified the plundering and looting of the whole planet outside Western Europe with colonial empires, violent Revolutions in England, France and Russia (including the ‘Industrial Revolution’), World Wars, the Holocaust of the Slavs (30 million dead), the Atomic bomb and the invasion of and genocide in Iraq (which the Western god ‘told’ George Bush to do).

The Nature of Western Civilization

Thus, it can be said that the essence of Western Civilization is self-worship, the worship of Western man, which it calls humanism. After the Reformation this worship was, as we have said, gradually extended down the centuries in the name of ‘equality’, from one Western man to all rich Western men, then later from rich Western men to poor Western men, from Western men to Western women and, much more recently, from Western men to anyone of any colour, race, religion and ‘sexual orientation’, as long as they accept the Secularism inherent in Western ‘Civilization’. Therefore, today, the Western world no longer needs a god to justify itself; it is its own god. This was already recognized quite clearly by nineteenth-century intellectuals like Darwin and then Nietzsche, who openly proclaimed that the Western god ‘is dead’. Today this is repeated by spiritually empty intellectuals like Dawkins, who constantly proclaims that God is a myth. And he is right: the Western god, first proclaimed 1,000 years ago, is indeed a myth, but that god is in no way related to the True and Living God, as proclaimed by the Western Orthodox St Alban, who was martyred by Western pagans for proclaiming this well over 1700 years ago.

Dawkins’ arrogant and preening proclamation is true, but it is also suicidal. This is because, since the Western god, angry, vengeful, racially prejudiced, favouritist, puritanical, persecuting, spiteful, punishing, militaristic and just plain evil as he enjoys seeing the victims of death, is dead, this means that his own Western Civilization is dead, fit only for the museum. For it was this nasty-minded god who lay at the root of post-Christian Western Civilization after 1054. For with his so-called ‘atheism’, Dawkins condemns himself and everything he stands for. His ‘Western values’ are merely the ultimate and most logical development of Western Civilization’s own, self-invented god. This atheism, belief in self, has not brought progress, but simply a return to the old paganism, as among the globalist Romans, who believed in any gods, except in the True and Living God. The new gods of today are simply the old pagan gods revived. Western values mean believing in Anything. Christian values proclaim faith in Something, the Living God. However, only a few Western people have been able to step outside the ‘delusion’ (Dawkin’s word) of the self-justifying bubble of their Western ‘Civilization’ to understand this and accept Christ.

Why? Because repentance is far too hard for them; self-justification is far more attractive. Thus, only a few Western people (though it is quite obvious to those outside ethnocentric Western Civilization) have so far realized that the Western world has not buried the real God, just its own thousand year-old Western false god, its idol. Western people, who, amazingly, call themselves ‘atheists’ (which only means that they no longer believe in the Western myth of god) need to be warned: The real God is not dead and buried, but alive and acting and He is coming back. His return is coming from the Holy Spirit, Who ‘blows where He wishes’ and Who has reconnected the inspired in the West with Orthodox Civilization. This Civilization is quite different from Secularist Western Civilization because this is Christian, whereas Western Civilization has not been really Christian for a thousand years. To find a Western Civilization that was Christian, you have to go back a thousand years, in other words, go back to a time when there was no such thing as ‘Western Civilization’, when Western Europe was simply a small, provincial and little developed part of Orthodox Christendom, whose centre was and is in the East, close to Christ.

The Attempt to Destroy Orthodox Civilization

The essence of Orthodox Civilization is the True and Living God and its direction is heaven, and not some Western self-idolatry, whose direction is hell. For the last hundred years in particular (though it had been patently obvious since 1054 or 1204), we have seen how Western Civilization has tried to destroy Orthodox Civilization, betraying and usurping the most Christian Emperor when he was on the brink of victory in the Western-initiated Great War in 1917 and soon afterwards bribing the Patriarchate of Constantinople into enslavement. It even forced that enfeebled Patriarchate, and any others who were so weak that they would follow it, to abandon the Christian calendar! Thus, the schismatic events in the Ukraine of the last few weeks, actively and openly supported by the US and British ambassadors in Kiev and Athens, are only the latest results of the thousand-year attempt of Western Civilization to divide and rule, and eventually, as they hope, destroy and conquer, Christian Civilization. The centre of this Christian Civilization has for centuries, and at no time more than now, been the Russian Orthodox Church. It is why we belong to Her, defending Her against all and confessing Her faith without hesitation.

Conclusion: The Future

Today, the Russian Orthodox Church is as ever supported by all other faithful Orthodox, especially those in the Patriarchate of Antioch and the Serbian, Georgian, Bulgarian, Polish, Czechoslovak Orthodox Churches, by monastics everywhere and many others. The battle today is between two diametrically opposed Civilizations. On the one hand, there is Western Civilization, which is in fact not a Civilization at all because, unlike all other Civilizations in world history, it is not based on faith in God and the spiritual inspiration behind all culture. Its aim has always been the conquest of the planet (‘globalism’), justified by its imagined superiority, which is leading directly to the destruction of the planet – hell on earth. On the other hand, there is Christian Civilization, whose centre is without doubt the martyred Russian Orthodox Church, supported by all other faithful Orthodox. Our aim is heaven on earth. It is clear that although those on the fringes of the Orthodox Church may be falling away, as they have been for the last four generations, that the chaff is being sifted from the wheat (and so much the better), the Church will be victorious in the end. This is because the Church is not ours, but Christ’s and He is invincible.