Category Archives: Corruption

The Church and the Holy Spirit

Quench not the Spirit.

1 Thess. 5, 19

When the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?

Lk 18, 8

It seems strange that we should talk about the Church and the Holy Spirit, as if they were in some way contradictory. Surely the Church is the Body of Christ which radiates the Holy Spirit? Sadly, sometimes this is not the case, though only when we talk of the Church in the sense of the Church authorities. There is such a thing as the persecution of the faithful by Church authorities and this has been seen very many times in Church history.

This always happens whenever the Church authorities (not the Church) have allied themselves with the rich and mighty of this world, seeing the Church only as an opportunity for power and a well-paid career and church buildings as mere real estate, and not seeing the Church as the Body of Christ and suffering human souls who seek the Revelation of God.

Of course, this does not excuse the sectarian counter-reactions to them which often occur at the grassroots, at the present time in the form of old calendarist groups, which repeat the errors of Donatism of long ago. We have quite recently seen these phenomena even in the question of mask wearing.

Thus, just like atheists, the careerist, modernistic, liberal-inclined and secular-minded Church establishment, those who want and are the institutionalisation of the Church, are for masks. Seeing the Church as a mere corporate organisation, an anti-missionary business, they are also for many almost blasphemous practices which appear to deny the holiness of the sacraments. Some of them clearly think that the Body and Blood of Christ are merely bread and wine, just like those others who long ago lapsed from the Church, the Protestants and increasing numbers of Roman Catholics. Like secular people who so weakly believe, they fear death.

On the other hand, there are those whose faith is blind, having zeal not according to reason, and who behave irresponsibly. They would take no precautions whatsoever, sure that you can catch nothing from other people inside a church building. This is clearly a mistake. If there were an outbreak of cholera or the plague, they would not frequent other people, including inside the church building. Just because Covid-19 is less serious, it does not mean that we should not avoid it. We do not fear death, but this does not mean that we seek death.

We Orthodox, in the mainstream between the persecuting extremes, keep our churches open as far as State persecution, widespread now, allows us. We take reasonable precautions in obedience, but we do not avoid God’s Will, knowing that all is in His hands. In the past we have seen off perverts, freemasons, slanderers. We are not frightened of a new wave of persecution by the jealous. We shall stand up to the new persecution, wherever it comes from, left or right, with three unconquerable weapons:

The prayers of the Old Saints of Europe, the Saints of the First Millennium.

The prayers of the New Saints of Europe, the New Martyrs and Confessors.

The prayers of the Imperial Martyrs, the Royal and Holy Family of Europe.

Nobody, however jealous, rapacious and cunning they are, can take these away from us.

 

 

On the Contemporary Challenges Faced by the Russian Orthodox Church

Introduction: Excesses and Extremes on the Margins

After the fall of the militantly atheist Soviet Union nearly thirty years ago, the Russian Orthodox Church appears to have gone from strength to strength, both inside and outside Russia. In some respects this is clearly true, but in others it is not the case, as a whole set of enormous challenges remains. The Church suffers from the presence of many marginal individuals, including some clergy, and trends which are outside the mainstream of the Orthodox Tradition and so have little to do with Christianity. As a current example we have the case of Schema-abbot Sergei Romanov, whom I met in 2018 when I visited the Urals.

After meeting him, I was left with a whole set of questions: Why was such a man from a recent, violent criminal background ordained? Why did he have no qualifications? Where did all his great deal of money come from? Why was he left to conduct spurious exorcisms, humiliating his victims, creating obvious psychological damage and dependency? Why was he left in authority when he clearly set himself against Orthodox teachings? Why had he been allowed to set up a cult? Why did his bishop not act? Here are questions that are only now, two years on, being answered, only after much harm has already been caused.

  1. Organisational Temptations

Scandals

Like the case of Romanov, over the last thirty years many mistakes have been made. Desperate to cater to the spiritual needs of the scores of millions of newly baptised, the wrong people were sometimes ordained and consecrated. This is not an opinion, but a fact, as we can see from the number of defrockings and exiles of careerist bishops now in disgrace. There have been too many ‘young elders’, pseudo-elders, charlatans, money-extorters, perverts, careerists, obscurantists and also cultish sects, such as the neo-renovationist Kochetkovtsy. We cannot help thinking that at least some of these scandals are linked to money or else are sexual in nature.

Bureaucracy

The pre-Revolutionary Church already suffered from profound careerism and  bureaucratic centralisation, from the use of decrees and protocols – words that cannot be found in the Gospels. Today’s Soviet-style centralisation is even worse. Paperwork is one of the main complaints of parish priests in Russia. They are being made into administrators, ‘effective managers’, businessmen. This all means money: money-grasping bureaucrats have to be paid. The Apostle Paul did not suffer either from bureaucracy or money; he worked as a tent-maker, not as a careerist. Do we not confess the Apostolic Church? Should we not venerate the saints like him in deed, as well as in word? Why kiss the Gospels, if we are not going to live by them?

Money

This brings us to money problems. Some bishops and priests appear to be extremely rich and many think that all clergy live in their way, with 4 x 4s, Mercedes, yachts and villas. In reality, many clergy are poor. Here there is a total lack of transparency and also a poor distribution of resources. Partly this is to do with the post-Soviet nouveau riche class. They like to donate money to the Church – which is good – but why this obsession with gold, marble and luxury in church? They should first read the Gospels and find out about mammon, as their money so often acts as a source of temptation. For every ‘monumental church’ with its kilos of gold, ten plain but community/ congregational churches could have been built. Money is the rot in the Church today, an infectious disease that spreads everywhere.

  1. Internal Temptations

Churching Society

Three generations of militant atheism and violent persecution left Soviet society completely spiritually ignorant, ready to believe everything and anything, extraordinarily superstitious, with at one time almost African levels of animism at the extremes. In a society of converts, often ritualistic, and with very few experienced clergy and people, all kind of primitive errors still abound. The task of baptising society was not so difficult, but to change the faith of the people from nominal-instinctive to active-conscious is far more difficult. All the more so today when some representatives of the Church have discredited themselves through their careerist love of money and luxury and so made most indifferent.

Liberals

The educated extremes of Russian society (the masses are indifferent and look only to survival) have long been divided into Westernisers and Slavophiles. The very small but very active minority of extreme Westernisers are often highly-educated, with doctorates, and are liberal, modernistic, ecumenist. They condemn the Church, hate piety and support LGBT (they are often themselves homosexuals). As regards coronavirus, they are faithless and so wear masks at every opportunity. Clearly, they have no interest in missionary work, converting others to Christ, as they long ago rejected Christ in favour of the Secular West.

Conservatives

The conservatives are also very small in number but narrow and nationalistic. The extremists among them still think that Lenin and Stalin were wonderful. They rarely attend Church, which is just a nationalistic banner or flag for them to hide behind, so that can like the pharisees condemn others, in self-justification. Often Third Romists, they can often be paranoid in relation to the Western world, confess anti-Semitism, indeed, anti-everythingism, and love conspiracy theories. They would certainly never wear a mask, probably not even believing in the existence of coronavirus. Clearly, they have no interest in missionary work, converting others to Christ, as they consider that Christianity is purely nationalistic and probably think that God is Russian anyway.

  1. External Temptations

Dealing with the Post-Soviet State

The main problem here is the refusal of the State to change, to give up its Sovietism. There is post-Soviet, but there is also outright Soviet too. Thus, in Moscow still lie the remains of that revolting mass-murderer Lenin and in Ekaterinburg, where the Royal Martyrs were massacred 102 years ago, as everywhere, there are street names and statues of the murderers and the whole region is still named after one of them. The media and the education and health sectors (after all there is an abortion industry to support) are full of those opposed to the Church. The State still has little practical concern about the chronically low birth-rate, the chronically high divorce rate and does little to further the cause of ecology.

Relations with the Other Local Churches

Half of the Orthodox Local Churches basically support the Russian Church, but the other half, undermined by petty nationalism, has been bought out by US aggression. This is clear with regard to obvious US imperialism in the Ukraine, the Baltics and the Balkans, where its ambassadors, like pagan Roman governors, new Pilates, have bribed and blackmailed the tiny Greek Orthodox world into the crudest infringements of Canon Law and simple human justice. That world, only a few million in number, has thus discredited itself and it remains a mystery as to why anyone voluntarily belongs to it any more. This is the final Greek tragedy.

Relations with the Non-Orthodox World

Here too the tensions are purely political. The Protestant world, consciously and unconsciously, has long been instrumentalised by the Western secret services to destroy the Orthodox world, in order to divide it and rule it. Since its 1960s protestantisation, much the same has happened in the Roman Catholic world, most obviously under the CIA-appointed Polish Pope. However, it was already opposed to Christ anyway and prepared to invade and destroy the Orthodox world at the drop of a hat, as can be seen in the history of the Crusades, in Uniatism and then in co-operation with the Bolsheviks. All this provokes Russian nationalism and makes many unable to appreciate the remnants of Orthodoxy in the Western world.

Conclusion: Towards the New Jerusalem (1) through Churching the Masses

The Russian Orthodox Church is three-quarters of the whole Church. Thus, its main challenge is that of responsibility. How can the mainstream, often paralysed by such excesses and extremes among certain bishops, priests and people, bring the world’s seven and a half billion people to Christ and His New Jerusalem without compromise? The answer is the same as that when the Twelve Apostles, opposed by all and compromised by Judas, also set out to do the impossible. The few must first Church the masses, the 2% of the Churched setting the example by converting the 98% of the unChurched and showing them that the Church is not about the money-grubbing of the new Judases. And how is that possible? Only by the Holy Spirit.

Feast of the Royal Martyrs, 4/17 July 2020

Note:

  1. The Cathedral of the Wisdom of God in Istanbul was long ago made into a mosque, then a museum and now is to become a mosque once more. Why? Because the local Orthodox have for 567 years failed to convert the local people to Christ. Failing to love their enemies, they have hated them and so made enemies for themselves. What are we to do? We are called on to create a new Church of the Wisdom of God, a New Jerusalem.

 

 

Samaritans, Scribes, Pharisees, Saducees and Prophets

The coronavirus epidemic has, officially, infected 0.02 % of the world population, 5% of whom, officially, have died from it. It has now taken as many victims as swine flu did in 2009-10. According to UK government statistics, 85% of victims are aged over 70, the average age of victims in the UK is 84, the over 90s have an 85% chance of recovery and 96% of victims had serious underlying health problems. The lives of most of these victims have been shortened by several weeks and even months.

However, the virus has also revealed that there are those who are called Christians, including certain clergy, who are actually afraid of death. The scandal among the faithful is naturally enormous. Clearly, there are those who claim to be Christians who do not seem to be in reality. All has been revealed.

What can we say of these false or weak Christians? As I have grown older, I have realised that there is indeed nothing new under the Sun. Human nature and the results of spiritual impurity do not change and we can categorise those who call themselves Christians into exactly the same categories as those whom Christ encountered when He lived on earth. Namely:

The Samaritans

These are the nominal masses who identify the faith with a particular place, like the Samaritans who would only worship on Mt Gerizim. Their faith decides events because, with their mood swinging one way or the other depending on the elite, it affects the whole of history, as we saw in Russia in 1917. The battle is to Church them –our Faith does not depend on a place or a nationality. We have to bring them onto the side of Christ, telling them that ‘God is a spirit and that they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth’ (Jn. 4, 24).

The Scribes

These are the modern intellectuals and dreamers, who make the faith into some sort of Protestant personal opinion in a completely disincarnate way. They will refuse to baptise babies until their parents and godparents have been made into intellectuals like themselves. They love to read and write books, whose titles are barely comprehensible. However, they despise others and consider themselves to be ‘very spiritual’, far above the common masses, who for them are just peasants not clever enough to understand them. In fact, the Scribes are not spiritual at all, because they live in their brains and imaginations. They do not supply spiritual food, but only wordy, academic food, nourishment for the brain in clubs for intellectuals. Woe unto them.

The Pharisees

These make the spiritually living faith into a mere institutional religion, the manipulating arm of the State. In history the Pharisees, rich men who lived luxuriously next to the Temple in Jerusalem, operated a money racket. Why else did Christ overturn the tables of the moneychangers in His Temple? (Matt. 21, 12). The Pharisees co-operated closely with the Roman oppressors, shouting ‘We have no king but Caesar’ (Jn. 19, 15), since their interest was to be next to money and power wherever it was. Today, the Pharisees represent the episcopal tyranny of the ‘princes of the Church’, clericalism, and love being close to the State, to orders, protocols and driving fancy cars. They have no love for the people, for the faithful parish priests whom they persecute and for the monks. They hate confessing and mixing with the flock. They seek the support of the nominal masses by asserting only their ethnic, that is, worldly, identity. Woe unto them.

The Saducees

The Saducees rejected the Resurrection, for it was a miracle too far for their narrow and unbelieving minds. These are the liberals, modernists and ecumenists who follow the secular tide, whatever it is and wherever it goes. They are ‘woke’, supporters of LGBT, they are the politically correct who follow health and safety rules and the recommendations on coronavirus to the letter, making them into legally binding laws, which they are not, masking themselves and masking others, preventing them from worshipping Christ. They can have no principles because they have no beliefs. Conformists to the core, they will obey whatever the spiritually impure tell them to do.

The Prophets

These are the faithful, the Orthodox, who venerate the persecuted Saints of God. They may not be Prophets as such, but they are infused with the spirit of prophecy, the Holy Spirit. These are the spiritually living, the real Orthodox, the pillars of the Church, who live the faith despite the oppression of bishops and false pastors, who are Scribes, Pharisees and Saducees. The Prophets spend their time fighting for and maintaining the Faith and Churching the Samaritan masses. We are responsible and do not seek death, but we certainly do not fear it, for Christ long ago defeated it and all the machinations of the Scribes, the Pharisees and the Saducees.