Category Archives: Council

From Recent Correspondence (October 2017)

Pastoral Questions and Current Affairs

Q: There exist authentic Orthodox spiritual fathers whose disciples group around them. How can you tell the difference between them and cults?

A: Authentic spiritual fathers and their disciples are always diverse, everyone is different and free. However, cults produce clones, the members are all the same, with the same hairstyle, the same beards, the same clothes, the same glasses, like an army. Everything down to the smallest detail is identical, for their personalities are always suppressed and repressed. The spiritual children of real spiritual fathers are always diverse, alive and lively, the clones, zombies and robots of frauds are always the same, spiritually repressed and dying. This is because where there is love, there is freedom and self-expression, but where there is no love, so there is no freedom and no self-expression.

Q: How do you see the late Fr John Romanides?

A: I only met Fr John once, in 1981, and read his translated works about the same time. I was impressed by his knowledge of Western history and original approach. To my mind he was easily the finest and most Orthodox of the academic theologians of his generation. It is significant that Roman Catholics detest him and Protestants have no understanding of his Biblical basis because they do not understand the Bible. Unlike Metr John Zisioulas, he was fiercely but understandably opposed to ecumenistic Parisian Russian intellectuals, because of his bad experiences with them in the Church in the USA in the 1950s. As a result of them, Fr John did not always appreciate the real Russian Orthodox Church.

On the downside, some have accused him of a certain racism in his black and white approach to Franks and Greeks (Romans), where to some he gives the impression that the first are always bad because of their ethnicity and the latter are always good because of their ethnicity. That is very regrettable because Fr John did not have a racist bone in his body.

Q: In order to justify making sex change legal, the atheist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that ‘we (= Greece) belong to Europe’ and ‘nothing, no religion, can stand higher than human rights’. What does this mean, in your view?

A: It means that his religion is in fact the god of human rightism. This is a strange god because according to it unborn children have no rights and can be destroyed in the greatest holocaust of world history. This is because in this neo-pagan religion (reminiscent of the paganism of the Ancient Greeks), it is human sin that is worshipped.

Q: Roman Catholics often have a picture of the Pope in their homes and some Anglicans have a photo of Canterbury Cathedral. What do Orthodox have, as you are divided into different nationalities and have different patriarchs and styles of architecture?

A: We all have an icon corner, with an icon of Christ, and probably also icons of the Mother of God and close saints. This is because Christ, and no human being or church-building, is the Head of our Church.

Q: Is missionary work to be encouraged?

A: Only if it is Orthodox. All Orthodox parishes are missions in this sense. Sadly, all kinds of compromises get justified by the term ‘missionary work’, including the heresy of ecumenism. We have a huge amount of real missionary work to do with our own Orthodox people and those Non-Orthodox whom they choose to marry or befriend. I think it is especially pointless to talk to heterodox with the idea of converting them. Heterodox rarely convert to authentic Orthodoxy (of the few who do, most lapse or bring their heterodox baggage, including divisiveness, into the Church with them and then create problems and schisms for the rest of us). If we are to convert the world round us, it is much better to talk to the masses who have no religion at all. Heterodox form a small minority which is dying out anyway. We should leave the dead to bury the dead. We have too much else to do.

Q: St Ephraim the Syrian says that the Six Days of Creation were precisely that, six twenty-four hour periods. What do you say to that?

A: Like most Fathers of his era, he interpreted in that way, according to the scientific knowledge of the time. However, the Church does not dogmatize these views. What we should listen to is Church Councils and even then, only provided that they are real Councils, that is, inspired by the Holy Spirit. (We are against any kind of ‘Councilism’ or worship of meetings called Councils, for without the Holy Spirit any so-called ‘Council’ is only a conference, as we saw in Crete last year). And that is only revealed after the Councils have taken place and their teachings have been received by the faithful.

This is the meaning of the words ‘catholicity’ and ‘conciliarity’, groups of Church people inspired by the Holy Spirit throughout history and in all places creating spiritual consensus. I am sure you can find many personal opinions on secondary matters (= the matters that do not affect our salvation) of many Church Fathers that have been proved to be wrong. What do you not find is the dogmas of Church Councils, inspired by the Holy Spirit, that are wrong. Do not dogmatize or absolutize opinions. Only the Holy Spirit is infallible.

The History of the Western World:

Q: Is it true that there were no Jews in England until 1066? And if so, how did they get to Western Europe anyway?

A: Yes, that is so. As for your second question, the answer is that in the late eighth century, Charlemagne (c. 742 – 814), brought in Jews from Spain together with Jewish-trained advisors from Spain, including those who introduced the filioque, like the heretic Theodulf of Orleans. These Jews protected and helped develop commerce in his tiny ‘empire’. He saw the Jews as an economic asset and protected them. He realized the advantages and business abilities of the Jews and gave them complete freedom with regard to their commercial transactions.

Charlemagne was a gluttonous and superstitious illiterate, who was notorious for the murderous ruthlessness with which he treated his opponents. Moreover, his son, Louis (814–833), was faithful to the same lack of principles and also granted protection to Jews, to whom he gave special attention in their position as merchants. Spreading through the commercial centres of northern France, the Jews finally arrived in England from Rouen after the occupation under the heir to Charlemagne, William the Bastard, in 1066.

Q: What view does the Church have of feudalism?

A: Founded on the filioque, feudalism with its system of vassals is unique to the post-Schism medieval West, appearing in primitive and potential forms in the year 1000, or slightly before, and becoming full-blown after about 1050, when the Pope himself became just a feudal lord. The inward sign of feudalism is the filioque, but the outward sign of the presence of feudalism (and therefore of the absence of Orthodoxy) is in castles, what historians call ‘encastellation’. This is quite clear in Eastern Europe, where castles peter out along the Croat, Polish and Slovak borders. Orthodox do not have castles. In the Church we do not have feudalism, but independence and sovereignty, as expressed by the Greek word ‘avtokratia’, which does not at all mean ‘autocracy’. ‘Autocracy’ in English means tyranny and absolutism, which is very different from the people’s monarchy, the ‘autocracy’ of Orthodox Christianity.

Q: 100 years ago there were 100 million Orthodox, today there are just over 200 million. However, if you look at Catholics and Protestants they have probably quadrupled in numbers, if not more. Why has the Orthodox Church not grown as much?

A: Apart from the fact that Catholicism (1.3 billion) and the myriad of Protestant sects claim to have far higher numbers than they really have, I think there are several reasons:

  1. As the last representatives of the Church of Christ, Orthodox have in the last 100 years been subject to the greatest persecution known in world history. Carried out by the dual Western ideologies of Marxism and Nazism (both born in Germanic Western Europe), tens of millions died in their infernal invasions and persecutions and tens of millions more were aborted under the infernal Marxist ideology and then under the Western Capitalist ideology. If it had not been for this, the Orthodox population would easily have quadrupled in Russia alone.
  2. The vast majority of the growth of Catholicism and Protestantism has come about in former Western colonies in Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia. Orthodoxy does not have colonies, since they are founded on genocide.
  3. The Church is not a business with plans for expansion. Such businesses come and go, expand and contract, relying on superficial attraction. The Church is a tree and trees grow slowly, but organically.

Q: Recently a senior female cleric of the US Presbyterian Church said that God is not a Christian, meaning that anyone can be saved. What is your reaction?

A: Such Protestant clerics and laypeople do say things like this. I have also read them saying that ‘The Church needs to learn about Christianity’. It proves that words like ‘God’, ‘Christ’, ‘Church’, ‘Christian’, ‘salvation’, ‘priest’ etc have a completely different meaning for Non-Orthodox than for Orthodox. For them ‘the Church’ means ‘Protestant clergy’, many of whom are open atheists.

For Orthodox, all these words mean the same thing: God is the Holy Trinity, Christ is the Church, Christians follow the Church, salvation (from evil) is through Christ, priests belong to the Church etc. Christ is God and the Church is the Body of Christ and therefore Christians are people who try and follow Christ, belonging to Him. To say that Christ is not God or not a Christian simply makes no sense to an (Orthodox) Christian. Of course, it is true that there are plenty of people who call themselves Christians but who do not believe that Christ is the Son of God. However, they are not Orthodox Christians. Clearly, this female cleric is one of those. She condemns herself out of her own mouth.

As regards salvation, all we know is that inside the (Orthodox) Church, this is possible because billions have been saved, but that all who have been saved and will be saved have achieved this and will achieve this through the mercy of Christ, Who alone is the Just Judge.

Q: What is your view of Catalonian independence?

A: Free and unintimidated Catalans said yes to independence, the Western oligarchs said no. The Western ruling élites are heirs of the barbarians; when bandits in Kosovo proclaim independence, they call it good, but when Catalonia proclaims the same thing, they call it bad. Of course, that does not in any way mean that we support the Catalonian independence party and its leader. Like the Scottish nationalists, they are pro-EU, globalist and socialist. However, we support independence and freedom from centralist states for every viable historic people, like the Scottish and the Catalonian, who have in history been independent nations.

Russia

Q: Why did the Russian Revolution happen?

A: The Imperial Family lost their lives because the upper class elite, jealous of their power, turned against them in the 19th century and finally overthrew them in February 1917. If that had not occurred, Russia would have been victorious in the First European War. If you want to find the culprits who laid the groundwork for October and the murder of the Romanovs (recall who imprisoned the Romanovs in the first place), look among the families of the upper class.

Q: Why did former Russian Orthodox become Communists 100 years ago? Marx thought that Germans would become Communists and not Russians.

A: It all depends on the previous cultural values. As one elderly Romanian put it to me, ‘Communism is Christianity without Christ’, by which she meant that Communism has no love or freedom. It can be said that lapsed Orthodoxy = Communism, lapsed Roman Catholicism = Fascism and lapsed Protestantism = Capitalism. This is borne out by the last 100 years of history.

Q: Does Russia have a future in a globalized world?

A: Through its NATO and EU aggressiveness in Eastern Europe and especially the Ukraine, Washington and Brussels have thrown Russia into alliance with China. It has thus created the union of the most populous country in the world with the greatest manufacturing ability and the world’s highest GNP, with the largest country in the world and the centre of civilian and military technology, endowed with the greatest natural resources in the world. More than this, the Russian Federation is also the centre of the global Christian Tradition. Together, technology with the Tradition provide the alternative to the globalist ‘New World Order’ project of the Western elite. Tradition represents the opposition of all those who do not want to be enslaved to their modernist New World Order.

As the universal keeper and defender of Holy Orthodoxy, the Russia of Christ the Saviour is hated by Satan and his demons. That is why they carried out the Russian Revolution in order to efface the word Russia from the face of the earth, blew up the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, built to commemorate the defeat of the antichrist Napoleon, and were so bitterly angry at the rebuilding of that Cathedral after the fall of their Soviet Union. Russia is home to the Church, which is opposed to Trotskyite/Ukrainian Jewish, permanent chaos. This has again been implemented by the neocons as the New World Order.

How they hate us! They write to me and accuse faithful Orthodox of being ‘worse than the Nazis’!! The word ‘devil’ does after all mean ‘slanderer’ in Greek. We prevent them from doing the will of Satan, so they hate us. The place of confrontation of these two visions of globalism, the Western and the Russo-Chinese, is in, of all places, North Korea, where the Chinese and Russian borders meet. That is where we shall see the pattern of the future.

Q: There seem to be quite a number of scandals in the Russian Church inside Russia at present. Is there a serious problem?

A: I think there is – that you read the internet too much! On the internet, with its forums and blogs, you only get scandals. If you go to Russia and meet some of the bishops, follow the priests who do the baptisms, weddings and funerals, who confess and celebrate the liturgy every day, who visit the hospitals and bless the homes, meet the nearly 6,000 who are at present studying in seminaries, and if you take part in the massive Church processions and pilgrimages of the ordinary faithful, you will get a quite different impression. The Church is alive; the internet only reflects the exceptions, the bad news. All the mass of good news goes, as usual, unreported because people who have time to waste only want the scandals and sensations, as it makes them feel self-important, which they, and the devil, like. Avoid scandal-mongering, it is bad for your soul.

General

Q: Are young people less mature than they used to be? Or am I just getting old?

A: Well, of course you are getting old! We all are. I am not sure, every generation of older people for thousands of years has been complaining about young people. And then the young people get older and complain about young people in their turn. The only thing is that many young people now live in the virtual world of the internet and that does hold them back. Only reality makes mature. Smartphones do not.

Q: Would you say that night clubs are hellish?

A: I have never been to one, but I have seen photos. I would call them advertising agencies for hell.

Q: What were your best years of being an Orthodox clergyman?

A: Without the slightest doubt the last nine, of which the best was 2017: the first twenty-five before these last nine were despairingly hard.

Q: Why the change in 2017?

A: Because after 30 years we have at last gained a bishop. ROCOR lost its South American Diocese because it did not have a bishop for only 20 years, but we here survived for 30 years without a bishop. I think we hold a record, if only for stubbornness.

Q: What words would you like to have on your grave?

A: Well, that is a very surprising question! I have never thought about it. I don’t have time. A grave near my parent’s grave says: ‘I told you I was ill’. That is English humour. Many Orthodox graves have ‘Eternal Memory’ on them.

After several days’ thought about an answer to this question, I thought I would like: ‘The truth will set you free’. I have always valued the Truth and Freedom and have fought for both of them all my life. Both are hated by Satan and his servants. Over a thousand years ago the early English preacher Aelfric wrote in his Colloquy: ‘It is most disgraceful and shameful when a man does not want to be what he is and what he has to be’. At least that particular sin is not mine.

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Points for the Agenda of a 21st Century Church Council

In the light of events in the Church over the last 100 years, it is clear that a Council of all the approximately 800 Orthodox bishops of the Church worldwide will need to meet in order to reverse the spiritual decadence of the period since the overthrow of the Orthodox Emperor in 1917. The approximately 80,000 Orthodox priests and the near 220 million flock of the Orthodox Church worldwide need light and direction from their bishops in order to counter contemporary militant secularism. Notably, ecclesiological and canonical errors have to be rejected, systemic administrative disorder overcome and Church life renewed. Below are ten points under these three headings, which we suggest might appear on the agenda of such a future Council.

Dogmatic and Canonical Measures

1. The whole Church hierarchy is to affirm the foundation stone of the dogmatic definitions of the Seven Universal Councils, as expressed in the Niceo-Constantinopolitan Creed, anathematizing especially anti-Incarnational trends which contradict it. This will obviously mean clearly condemning the incredibly old-fashioned, 1960s-style ecumenistic ‘branch-theory’ heresy implicit (when not explicit) in documents released for example by the 2016 meeting of a few Orthodox bishops in Crete and voted for by approximately 1.1% of Orthodox bishops. Those who signed those documents, which contradict the clear dogmatic teachings of Church Tradition and Teaching in general and notably the dogmatic ecclesiological definitions of St Justin of Chelije and other 20th century saints, should either take back their signatures or else face trial by Church courts.

2. The deposition of all ‘Orthodox’ patriarchs and bishops appointed by the US State Department. (In accordance with Canon XXX of the Apostolic Canons, Canon II of the Fourth Universal Council, Canons III and V of the Seventh Universal Council and Canon XIII of Laodicea). Similarly the deposition of all simoniacs. (Canon XXIX of the Apostolic Canons and subsequent anti-simoniac Canons).

3. The canonization of the last canonical Patriarch of Constantinople, Maximos V (+ 1972), unlawfully deposed by the CIA in 1948, who cried ‘The City is lost’, as he was taken at gunpoint to the airliner of the mass-murdering, atomic bomb president to be flown into exile.

Administrative Measures

4. The transfer of the title ‘Ecumenical’ (meaning of course, ‘of the Imperial Capital’, and neither ‘Universal’, nor ‘Ecumenist’!) from the Patriarchs of Constantinople to the Patriarchs of Moscow. This is already 564 years overdue at the time of writing.

5. The title ‘Patriarch of Constantinople’ to be transferred from Turkish citizens in Istanbul to Archbishops of Athens, who are the real Greek ethnarchs.

6. Admit the failure of the ‘Pan-Orthodox Assemblies’ in the Diaspora. The Orthodox presence outside Orthodox canonical territories, in the Americas, Western Europe, Southern Asia and Australasia, needs to be reorganized under the leadership and delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is the only multinational Local Church. In other words, the uncanonical ‘jurisdictions’ invented since 1917 by the Patriarchate of Constantinople and imitated by five other Local Churches, need to be abolished, so that we can return to our previous administrative unity, though retaining full ethnic and linguistic diversity within emryonic new Local Churches, which unity was lost to divisive, Balkan-style phyletism introduced after 1917.

Pastoral Measures

7. All Orthodox are to return to observing the Orthodox calendar, abandoning the heterodox calendar which, incredibly, is still observed by some spiritually weak minorities.

8. Consequent to this return, to renew liturgical life, including restoring the integrity of the Divine Liturgy and services such as Vespers and Matins, virtually unknown in the parishes of some Local Churches.

9. Consequent to this renewal, renew sacramental life, especially the sacraments of confession and unction, which are virtually unknown in the parishes of some Local Churches.

10. Consequent to this renewal, renew the consciousness of the importance of ascetic and monastic life, prayer, fasting, the reading of the Holy Scriptures and missionary work to the Non-Orthodox world, which have been nearly abandoned by the parishes and dioceses of some Local Churches.

Crete

Last June’s meeting of some Orthodox bishops in Crete, ‘representatives’ of 20% of the Orthodox world, served only to produce schism in its Balkan corner. It left the fifteen million members of the six small Greek Churches (Constantinople, Greece, its Albanian satellite, Cyprus, Alexandria and Jerusalem), fragments of the ethnic Greek Empire that long ago disappeared and which in fact are only one, as well as the Churches of Romania and Serbia, bitterly divided between Orthodox and modernists. Since three of these eight Local Churches have US-appointed Patriarchs, this is hardly surprising.

On the other hand, it brought the mainstream of the Syrian/Lebanese Church of Antioch (in reality the Church of Damascus) much closer to the Russian Orthodox Church, which is 75% of the Orthodox world. The Churches of Georgia and Bulgaria were already close. As for the representatives of the small Local Churches of Poland and of the Czechs and Slovaks, although present in Crete, everyone knows that in reality they are merely fragments of the pre-1917 Russian Empire and so of the Russian Church, and so they can ignore anything that went on there.

The meeting in Crete made clear that those Orthodox who, it seems, are Orthodox only by reason of their nationality, who have fallen to Western humanist delusions (nowadays called ‘personalism’) are in danger of falling away from Orthodoxy altogether. Their essentially filioquist and so secularist desire to replace the Divine, the paradisiac and sinless Holy Spirit, with the human, the fallen and sinful human spirit, is leading them out of the Church. Therefore, this meeting was a catalyst, inasmuch as it means that the Orthodox must once and for all clearly define what the Church is. It must also define how the heterodox both fall outside Her and yet also, consciously or else by passive inertia, still preserve some vestiges of Her heritage. And it is this that leads them to labour under the delusion that their vestiges are Christianity.

There is then need for a genuine Church Council, gathering all fourteen Local Orthodox Churches with their 650 or so Orthodox bishops, including the 350 of the Russian Church, in order to define dogmatically the ecclesiology of the Church. These fathers can build on the theological foundations already laid, notably by St Hilarion (Troitsky) and St Justin (Popovich). This Council must anathematize not only the heresy of ecumenism, but also that of phyletism. For these heresies are closely interconnected, as those who confine the Church of God exclusively to a single race and language (phyletism) are by definition also utterly indifferent to dogma. It is precisely on account of this dogmatic indifference that they are willing to compromise the Church with any fashionable secular dogma, which promises money and power to those who are nostalgic for the money and power that they lost in the distant past.

Greek Metropoltan Calls Crete Meeting the Path to Schism

Metropolitan Ambrose (Orthodox Church of Greece), sent an open letter to Patriarch Bartholomew. AgionOros.ru published a translation of the most important provisions of the letter.

At the beginning of the letter, Metropolitan Ambrose reports the “deep sorrow and astonishment” that he experienced when he learned that the Patriarch of Constantinople in a letter to the Archbishop of Athens Hieronymus called to protect the Church from the “radical opinions of the Metropolitans of Kalavriti and Piraeus.”

Metropolitan stressed that such a letter can be viewed as a violation of the canons and “an attempt to carry out the primacy of power in relation to a fraternal Local Church”, although in fact the Patriarch of Constantinople has “primacy of honor, and not the primacy of power and values.”

According to Metropolitan Ambrose, the result of “the notorious” Holy and Great Council “in Kolymbari in Crete was that the Orthodox Church is divided into many parts, and the Christian people have fallen into confusion and a new schism “is actually developing.

Metr Ambrose believes that the so-called “Holy “and” Great “Council in Kolymbari has caused Orthodoxy the deepest wound.” “Erroneous decisions” in particular have been the recognition of the existence of several Christian Churches:

“So, there are many Churches? Then why in the Creed do we profess “One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”? Is that not an ecclesiological contradiction, or even serious dogmatic distortion? Then what is the theological meaning and content of the dialogue (which you encourage) “with other Christian Churches and confessions”? Is remaining unwithdrawn and dogmatic deviations of the latter (despite decades of ongoing dialogues) to justify the possibility of non-Orthodox being called “church”? “.

Metropolitan Ambrose underlines that he would never accept such an “ecclesiological deviation”:

“Do not renounce, beloved Orthodoxy! We do not deceive you, honor, passed from the fathers! In you we are born, and you live and you die! And if you take time and die a thousand times for you ” (Joseph Monk Bryennios 1350-1431).

In the final part of his open letter, Metropolitan Ambrose calls on Patriarch Bartholomew “not to insist on a heretical and blasphemous position, according to which both Papists and Protestants make up the “Church. ” They are just the branches that have fallen away from the Church tree. Today the Church is only the Orthodox Church! “.

According to the Metropolitan the document on “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world” needs to be revised, otherwise there will be a possible split within the Orthodox Church.

Metr Ambrose calls on the Patriarch of Constantinople to stop the persecution of those who disagree with the decisions of the Council of Crete, and to hold a new “truly Holy and Great Council”, which will once again consider the “Church” and “Christian faith.”

May 4, 2017

Source: http://www.pravoslavie.ru/103201.html

Now We Do Need a Council

After the embarrassing failure of the 2016 Crete forum, attended only by heterodox and representatives from ten of the fourteen Local Churches, who disagreed among themselves, many refusing to sign, the Patriarch of Constantinople is angry. He is angry because his personal ‘pope-dream’ has failed and so he is now threatening all those who disagreed with his pet project with not concelebrating with them. This he can do within his own Patriarchate, but he cannot do with other Local Churches, except by excommunicating himself from them. As regards the four Local Churches, representing over 80% of Orthodox, who did not agree with the agenda of the forum and so did not even attend, they find the elderly Patriarch’s behaviour not just irrelevant but increasingly erratic. Some have raised the possibility that he and perhaps some of his geriatric aides have Alzheimer’s. Given all this, what is the future?

The fact is that the Crete forum has opened a wound in the Church, the wound of ecumenism, that is, the status for members of the Church of Non-Orthodox and the religious organizations to which they belong. The top-down attempt by the Patriarchate of Constantinople to impose a heretical understanding of this on the Church has brought only division. This issue must now be answered. Closely linked to this dogmatic erring which needs clearing up, but even worse than it, is the Crete forum’s deliberate failure to deal with the one real problem facing the Church in the real world. This is the refusal to send out missions to convert the world outside the Church. Many hierarchs seem to prefer inward-looking ethnic flag-waving to dealing with the largely ignored huge missionary territories where live seven billion Non-Orthodox. They need enlightenment by the Church. Here is why we now need a real Council.

The Peasants Revolt: Two Miracles in Two Weeks

In the week before Pentecost and the week after Pentecost two international miracles took place.

Miracle One

For fifty-five years the Church had been under the threat of a Vatican II-style Council. After many organizational meetings the proposed Council turned into a highly secretive, largely Greek, largely irrelevant, inter-episcopal conference representing fewer than 20% of the Church. The largely meaningless and secular-based agenda was forced on everyone, the organizers refused to listen or consult the ordinary clergy and people, and so it was a failure. The fact that the Russian Church and three other Local Churches did not take part is a miracle, thus keeping our Faith uncompromised. The wisdom of the fishermen of Galilee won the day over the rationalizing of the politicians and philosophers, as the much-despised peasants revolted.

Miracle Two

‘The nations of Europe must be guided towards a Superstate without their peoples understanding what is happening. This can be carried out in successive stages, each camouflaged as having an economic goal, but which will end up by leading them irreversibly into a federation’.

Jean Monnet 1952.

For forty-three years we the ordinary people of the UK have been dreaming of freedom from EU tyranny, after it had been imposed on us by the Unionist Establishment based in London. For at least twenty-five years the phrase ‘democratic deficit’ was used to describe the EU, and yet nothing changed. Indeed, even the accounts were so corrupt that they could not be audited. The EU elite was too arrogant to listen to ordinary people whom it mocked, patronized and insulted as mentally handicapped racist yobs. If the anti-democratic EU elite tries to take away our new freedom, revolt will only grow. That the EU is beginning to break up is because of its intransigeance, hubris and imperial overreach outside the original six founder countries.

Ever the successor to the medieval Catholic European Superstate, the EU was only ever popular in ex-Catholic countries, like France, western Germany, northern Italy and later Ireland or Poland. This can be seen very clearly in Northern Ireland where last Thursday the Catholics voted to remain in the EU and the Protestants voted to leave. The ex-Catholic EU club never managed to get the Protestant-minded British people, let alone ex-Protestant Switzerland, Norway or Iceland to join. Denmark and then Sweden and then Finland were forced into joining only because the British elite had betrayed the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) it had set up as a rival and instead of it had joined the future EU.

Thus, the whole Protestant North never wanted the EU, but was forced into it by their elites. And the same was true of the whole Orthodox East and South (including ex-Greek Sicily and southern Italy), whose elites were openly bribed (as was the British Establishment and the Prime Minister Heath) to join it. The Papist straitjacket of Brussels was never wanted and the ‘Holy’ ‘Roman’ Empire of Bonn/Berlin was rejected. 75 years ago Britain stood alone against Hitler’s Third Reich. It was saved – by Russia, with the madman’s attack on 22 June 1941. 75 years later, on 23 June 2016, Britain has been saved from the new Reich – by the people’s thirst for freedom. To paraphrase: The bureaucrats of the EU are haunted by a spectre – the spectre of freedom.

It is our hope that a third, local, miracle will now follow.

The Wisdom of God or the Rationalism of Man: The Church or Paris-Crestwood

But, lo, Thou requirest truth in the inward parts: and shalt make me to understand Thy wisdom secretly.
(Ps 50, 6)

For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart…Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe….Greeks seek wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified…unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto those who are called…Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
(I Cor 1, 19-24)

1. Introduction

First of all, I would like to thank Cornelia and all of you for inviting me here. I am honoured indeed to be among you. As I have subtitled this very brief talk ‘The Church or Paris/Crestwood’, let me just say as an introduction that I myself studied at the St Sergius Institute of Theology in Paris and that I know many who studied at St Vladimir’s Seminary in Crestwood. And let me say that I have met among those former students deeply Orthodox people. Therefore, when I speak of ‘Paris-Crestwood’, I am not talking of persons, but of isms, not of people, but of ideologies, not of sinners (I am first among us), but of sins. Just as many Church Fathers, the Cappadocians among them, as well as heretics, studied in Athens or Alexandria, so today a place does not create a heresy, it is a heresy that can infect a place. The main title of my address is indeed Wisdom versus Rationalism, which I believe are the two factors which lie behind all contemporary and also all ancient debate within the Church.

2. Wisdom

I have never liked the word ‘philosophy’. It has, to my mind, many negative, abstract connotations, like the word ‘philosophize’, which suggests futile hairsplitting. I would much prefer to translate the word ‘philosophy’ into English and say ‘love of Wisdom’ and would like to think that we here are not ‘philosophers’, but lovers of Wisdom. Our name is Sophia / Sapientia / Sagesse / Weisheit / Wisdom / Mudrost. We are devoted to Wisdom. Wisdom, as in the Books of Wisdom in the Old Testament, in the Book of Proverbs and in the Wisdom of Solomon, as also in the proverbial wisdom of all peoples, means understanding through experience, the understanding of the heart.

Here I speak of course not of the heart in the loose, emotional sense, but of the heart as nous, the eye of the heart, the doors of perception, the window into heaven, the spiritual essence of our being that connects us to the Divine. For when the heart is affected by an event, action follows because the seat of the will is in the heart, and not in the brain, mind or reason. The ignorance of this fact defines the fundamental error of Western civilization, wherein lie the seeds of its own self-destruction, which we are so tragically seeing today. This fact of course is why one learned professor can rant and rave against the Almighty, but another equally learned can praise Him as the Source of all our being: learning brings no conclusions regarding faith.

For Wisdom does not depend on the development of the mind, on how much we know or have read, not on Parisian ‘Sophiology’, but on the Galilean Wisdom of the heart. And that is also why an ‘unsophisticated’ peasant, a village greybeard, like a fisherman of Galilee ‘made most wise’, can be far wiser than any Parisian philosopher. If the heart is not affected, then all knowledge will remain theoretical, abstract, and without action, for only the experience of the heart leads to action. As we know, ‘actions speak louder than words’, and only personal experience and example can lead to conversion. As the Psalmist says: ‘The fool has said in his heart, there is no God’ (Ps 13, 1). Here we note that it is written ‘in his heart’, not ‘in his mind’.

Wisdom can thus be contrasted with knowledge, science and reason. The Apostle Paul describes the latter as ‘fleshly wisdom’ and opposed to the grace of God (2 Cor 1, 12), or, as he writes elsewhere, ‘to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life (Romans 8, 6). Here, of course, the word ‘flesh’ does not mean the body, but has the Pauline and Patristic sense of ‘fallen human nature’. The body does not sin by itself, it is merely an instrument of our fallen will, to be used for good or for bad, for example, to procreate saints or to procreate monsters; just as we can use our hands to bless or to curse. The body is directed not by itself, but by the will, and the will is directed by the experiences and so understanding of the heart.

This is why the aim of our Orthodox Christian life is not the cultivation of the mind, but the cultivation of the heart, whereby alone we shall ‘see God’. This happens through repentance and leads to enlightenment by the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, that is, Theosis or Divinization. Knowledge, science and reason are what belong to fallen human nature, they come from the five senses, they are rationalistic. However, Wisdom belongs to inspired human nature, it comes from what some call the sixth sense, it is meta-rational. Wisdom is the knowledge obtained not from books, but from the purity of the heart. And that motivates the will and so leads to actions and it is our actions, not our theoretical knowledge, that will be judged at the Last Judgement.

3. The Change from Wisdom to Rationalism: The First Millennium West and the Second Millennium West

Approximately until the end of the first millennium, as Western Europe was still largely Orthodox, it espoused Wisdom, whereas in the second millennium it reverted, in innumerable ‘renaissances’ or rebirths, to pre-Christian rationalism. This was that very pagan rationalism or Gnosticism, worship of knowledge, that the Church had battled against at the Seven Universal Councils. Who had Origen, Arius and Nestorius been? Who had the iconoclasts been? They had all been rationalists who could never accept the inherent antinomies that One is Three, that God became man, that God destroyed death by death, or that a painted board is not a mere picture, but can carry the Holy Spirit and work miracles, weeping, bleeding, pouring out myrrh and healing.

Later the Wisdom of St Gregory Palamas would again oppose in antinomy the rationalism of Barlaam of Italy by explaining how the energies or glory of God can transfigure mankind, while the essence of God is unknowable to mere creation. In any age the rationalist can never accept contradiction because he is shackled to the earth by his fallen mind and cannot see beyond the end of his nose, as far as his heart. The chief sign of this transformation in Western Europe is how in the eleventh and twelfth centuries the Wisdom of the Ascetic Monastery, where the heart was to be cleansed and so the mind enlightened, was replaced by the Science of the Scholastic University, where the potential of the heart was neglected and the fallen mind idolized.

As Abelard in the Prologue to his ‘Sic et Non’ put it: ‘The Fathers were guided by the Holy Spirit, but it is lacking among us’. Philippe Wolff, in his L’Eveil Intellectuel de l’Europe, p. 196, describes the early twelfth century: ‘Activity deserted the old monasteries and headed, in expanded form, for the Cathedral schools and the chapters of urban clergy’. This was the beginning of Scholasticism, rational analysis and discursive reason, applying the use of dianoia instead of the nous, applying the dialectic of the pagan Aristotle to Revelation, as did the late eleventh-century Anselm of Canterbury. He preferred the order of man to the order of God, replacing the quest for holiness with the quest for study, replacing the Monastery with the university.

However, Anselm’s ‘faith seeking understanding’ within just a few decades became the impossible ‘understanding seeking faith’, which in its ultimate phase descended into ‘absence of understanding caused by absence of faith’. As R. I. Moore put it in his ‘The First European Revolution’, pp. 190-1: (By the early twelfth century) ‘charisma had been replaced by institutional authority, or, in plainer language, intellectual status, and access to the power it could confer, were passed down from the top, instead of up from the bottom’. And as Haskins put it in his ‘The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century’: ‘In 1100 the school followed the master and in 1200 the master followed the school’. No mention here of the heart or of the monastery.

Later, at the Council of Florence, when a Georgian envoy was asked whose authority he accepted, he replied: ‘St Peter, St Paul, St Basil, Gregory the Theologian; a fig for your Aristotle, Aristotle’ (see Gill’s ‘The Council of Florence’, p. 227). The reasoning of the syllogism, the reasoning of the Hellenes, led in the nineteenth century to the dialectics of Hegel and so of Marx, and is not the language of the Church of God. The Orthodoxophile Kireyevsky wrote in the nineteenth century: ‘Rome preferred the abstract syllogism to Holy Tradition…Rome left the Church because she desired to introduce into the faith new dogmas, unknown to Holy Tradition, dogmas which were by nature the accidental products of Western logic’ (Collected Works, Vol I, p. 226).

4. The Church or Paris-Crestwood

Over the last thousand years neo-pagan rationalism has spread worldwide and is called ‘globalization’, in other words, the world, whose prince is satan. The Church opposes this rationalism with Her Wisdom. At this very moment the battle between the age-old Wisdom of the Church and the second millennium rationalism of this world, which is revived paganism, is reaching a peak. This is the culmination of the battle between the Church and the German-inspired, Gnostic, humanist philosophy that infected Russian thought in the 20th century, from mantra-like Name-worshipping to Renovationism, from Bulgakov to Afanasyev, from Schmemann to Zizioulas. Today’s essential opposition on an island in the Mediterranean is also between Wisdom and rationalism.

It is not a question of denying the uses of rationalism, it is rather making sure that we make use of rationalism, the human reason, where it is needed and appropriate and do not use it to solve problems where, not rationalism, but Wisdom, is needed and appropriate. If we are to solve a problem of electrical supply, or leaking pipes, or engine pistons, or software engineering, let us use rationalism. However, if we are to solve a problem of human relations, of the improvement of the character, that is, the spiritual problem of the acquisition of the Holy Spirit through prayer, fasting, askesis and repentance, or if we are to express the truths of the Faith in dogmatic form, let us use Wisdom, which is meta-rational, the Art of Arts and the Science of Sciences.

All the controversies around this present conference in Crete have revolved around the use of Wisdom and the use of rationalism. We can see this in one of the items which those invited are not going to talk about – the calendar. The rational see only the Earth revolving around the Sun, but the meta-rational see the Earth revolving around the Holy Trinity. In order to avoid this opposition, this item was dropped from the agenda. However, we can also see the opposition in what they are going to talk about, for example, about relations with the heterodox world outside the Church. Here we have seen much use of spiritually empty reasoning, but, it seems to me, very little use of spiritually beneficial Wisdom, much use of knowledge, but little use of understanding.

Truly, at this Crete conference we see once more the age-old discussion between the Wisdom of the Church and the rationalism of Paris-Crestwood, between Jerusalem and Athens, between the way of the kingdom and the way of the world. This conference in Crete may yet become a Council, but only if the Holy Spirit descends on it. In that case it will become Great and Holy. If not, it will remain merely little and secular. We believe that since all the Seven Universal Councils in fact defeated rationalism by Wisdom, defeated the small-minded logic of the created mind by the Love of the Creator, today after a millennium of rationalism, we could do no better in this third millennium than to reiterate the truths proclaimed at the Seven Councils.

Let us consider the Icon of the Descent of the Holy Spirit. It shows the disciples becoming apostles, mere men inspired by the tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit, as it descends from the heavens. At the bottom of the Icon is a crowned figure, the Cosmos, the knowledge of the world from all the ages. He is outshone, outclassed, by fire, by the Wisdom that comes from God, for Christ is the Word and Wisdom of God. He receives the slap of St Nicholas in the face of rationalism. This is expressed in Church Slavonic not by the ordinary word for Wisdom, Mudrost, but by the word Premudrost, meaning Supreme Wisdom, the Wisdom of God, so much greater than the rationalism of man, for ‘in Wisdom hast Thou made them all’ (Ps 103.24).

5. Conclusion
Premudrost, Supreme Wisdom, the Word and Wisdom of God, is the source of all Wisdom, Mudrost, for the Creator is the source of all creation, the Divine is the source of all human. Any other attitude is idolatrous. This is why we do not call the eighteenth century or a university education ‘enlightenment’, for the sacrament of holy baptism and the Feast of Christ’s Baptism are ‘Enlightenment’. This is also why in the ninth prayer before communion St John Chrysostom writes that, ‘Thou wilt come in and enlighten my darkened reasoning’. This is why at the first prayer of thanksgiving after holy communion we pray that the body and blood may be ‘for the enlightening of the eyes of my heart’ and ‘for the fulfilling of wisdom’. For without this purification by the Holy Spirit, we shall have no Wisdom, only knowledge, science and rationalism. And though these latter have their uses, they are on a lower level than Wisdom, which is on a lower level than Supreme Wisdom, the Source of all Wisdom.

Archpriest Andrew Phillips

Prepared for SOPHIE (The Society of Orthodox Philosophers in Europe) in Fulda, Germany, 24 June 2016, by the prayers of St Boniface.

Why the Orthodox Vatican II Failed Before it Even Began

I first heard of the concept of and preparations for a ‘Pan-Orthodox Council’ (= a Church Council) exactly forty years ago, in 1976. I found it all very strange, since no doctrinal issue was at stake. It was explained to me by a notorious modernistic and ecumenistic priest, who later (like the notorious George Gapon in pre-revolutionary Russia) defrocked himself and committed suicide. The sad fact is that any human group always contains traitors. Thus, among the twelve disciples there were Judas and Peter. However, although the latter denied Christ three times, he repented three times, affirming his love for the Saviour (Jn. 21). We now know who today’s traitors to Orthodoxy are. However, we also know that, like Peter, they too can repent.

Today, 16/06/16, representatives of 15% of the Orthodox world are about to meet in Crete. True, this will go down to 10% if the Serbian Church delegates, including even the ambitious and liberal Bishop Maxim of Western America, walk out, and 5% if the Greek Church delegates follow them. In any case delegates representing 85% of the Orthodox world are not taking part and even those taking part seem to have hardly any support on Mt Athos and elsewhere. The alien agenda, the masonic logo, the date of the opening and the absolute refusal to listen to the complaints of the mass of faithful Orthodox clergy and faithful all mean that the attempt to impose a Vatican II-style Council on the Church of God has failed most dismally.

Usually the unfaithful leave the Church after Councils, which always separate the wheat from the tares. This time the separation has happened before the Council. Did the power-crazed forces of this world really think that they could impose Vatican II-style Protestantization on the Church of God, as they did on Roman Catholicism over fifty years ago? To sabotage the monolithic manmade structure of the Vatican is easy; you simply elect your agent as Pope. It has been like that for well over a thousand years. To sabotage the Church, in which we have freedom, is quite a different proposition. The enemies of the Church only see fantasy in our Christian hope and faith and spite in our telling of the Truth with love. That is why they feel despair, faithlessness and hatred.

All Councils are called into being by what is called in Greek ‘crises’, that is, they are summoned in order to pass judgement, which is what ‘crisis’ means. And just as the Councils of old sifted the Arians or the Nestorians or the Monophysites or the Monothelites or the Iconoclasts from the Orthodox, so today we are seeing, even without a Church Council, a sifting. This time it is sifting the secular-minded from the Orthodox. The Orthodox are those who, led by the Russian Orthodox Church, believe in the multinational Worldwide Empire of the spirit, as is expressed by the phrase ‘I believe in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church’; the secular-minded are those who, led by the USA and its allies, believe in the multinational Worldwide Anti-Christian Empire of Eurosodom and Gomorrhica.

It is true that the Orthodox are being challenged from the left by traitors and from the right by schismatics and that these two groups sometimes work together, just as Judas co-operated with the Pharisees. However, the Church is much stronger than either of these groups. It is now time for all those who have not yet chosen which side they are on to choose, with the Orthodox or with the secular-minded, with Christ despite our sins, or with Babylon. The world may be shocked by division – but only because it thinks in terms of the superficial unity of Public Relations. We, on the other hand, are called to Unity through Truth, not through Untruth, for, ‘Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword’ (Matt. 10, 34).

Serbian Church Changes Mind

Torn between the EU/NATO and Orthodoxy, the Serbian Church authorities have, on the very eve of the Crete meeting, changed their minds and are now going to attend it. We suspect that the US ambassador in Belgrade and sums of money or else promises of power have played a role. Torn by the US-fomented schism in Kosovo and betrayed internally, it is difficult to see what those authorities believe in – a visit to the synagogue or Orthodoxy. One day they must make up their minds.

Multinational Council or Isolationist Sanhedrin?

Soon there will be a great council, called ‘holy’, but this will be precisely the Eighth (Impious) Universal Council.

St Kuksha of Odessa (+ 1964)

Now that, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and to the great relief of all faithful Orthodox worldwide, the ‘Great and Holy Pan-Orthodox Council’ has been reduced to an Inter-Greek monologue with 24 Romanians, whose presence has been ordered by the US ambassador in Bucharest, what lessons can be learned?

The first lesson is that if there is to be some meeting of all the Local Churches, then it must be carried out by consulting the faithful, listening to their wishes and talking about the issues that really matter, in an Orthodox way, rather than imposing some irrelevant top-down ‘agenda’, in a secular way, like some transnational corporation.

The second lesson is therefore that hubris and Eastern Papism are dead (was it ever alive?) and have been replaced by humility and the Holy Spirit.

The third lesson is that threats and intimidation from the US State Department, or anywhere else, do not work with free Orthodox.

The fourth lesson is that all Orthodox bishops must be invited to any Council, as is the Tradition. That half of the world’s approximately 700 Orthodox bishops present would be from the Russian Orthodox Church would be just a fact of life. After all, of the world’s 216 million Orthodox, 164 million, over 75%, belong to the multinational Russian Orthodox Church.

Therefore, the fifth lesson is that if you want to be a big Church, do not fall into flag-waving phyletism (narrow nationalism) and then you will find that other nationalities will want to be with you – over 60 nationalities make up the Russian Orthodox Church. Flag-waving phyletism is for football hooligans, not for Orthodox Christians.

The only beneficial result of the Crete meeting so far is that the Patriarchate of Constantinople has promised not to interfere in the Ukraine, unlike as it sadly did in Estonia. If we can learn the above lessons as well, perhaps this whole affair will, by the Providence of God, turn out to have been positive.