Category Archives: Covid

Questions and Answers from Correspondence (January-March 2021)

Faith or Works?

Q: What is more important for salvation in the view of Orthodox, Faith or Works?

A: Neither. This is an internal Protestant-Catholic debate.

Without faith, there will be no authentic works, as the Apostle says, ‘Faith without works is dead’. In other words, real Faith always transforms our attitudes to others, where there is faith, there are works. However, just as there are those who claim to have faith and have none and therefore have no works, there are those who claim to have works, but in fact their works are insincere. This emphasis on works is what lies behind the Protestant work ethic and workaholicism, which destroys and deforms the lives of both individuals and whole societies. This stress on works at any cost has given rise to the English saying, ‘as cold as charity’, for many works (of charity) are insincere, the product of those who do them, but they are done for their own ideology, glory and vanity. Not all that is done in the Name of God is actually done in His Name, as is well known and as Christ says in the Gospels.

As for Christians (= Orthodox), we believe that we are saved neither by faith, nor by works, but by Divine Mercy. The post-Schism Western debate is all about humanism, the adoration of the individual, which presupposes that human-beings can attain salvation without God. We Christians say that we are dependent on God’s Mercy for salvation, not on ourselves. Otherwise Christ’s Incarnation and Crucifixion are meaningless and lead directly to atheism, which is exactly what happened in the Western and then in the Westernised world.

Covid Vaccines

Q: Why do so many Eastern Europeans refuse to have an anti-covid-19 vaccine?

A: Every community, not just Eastern European immigrants, has people who will never accept any vaccine, let alone a completely new one, which naturally creates suspicion. However, there are specifics:

For example, in France, which has a very weak democracy, the State has tried to discredit any vaccine other than the French national one, yet even to be produced by Sanofi!, so creating a great deal of scepticism towards any vaccine. On top of that, French national statistics are distorted since those who die with covid in care homes are not counted in the figures for victims of covid (the situation of statistical manipulation and downright falsification is even more distorted in Germany). Worse still, the French State forces people to take the vaccine. This immediately produces massive resistance to it and public protests. There is no understanding by the French State of reverse psychology or representation of the people, just brute force. That is why there are so many violent street protests there.

In Russia and Eastern Europe, where Communist States blatantly and unashamedly lied to their people for 45 or even 75 years, the instinctive attitude towards anything the State proclaims is that it is a lie (which, true, it sometimes is). In other words, the problem here is a total lack of trust in the corrupt governments and in anything they recommend or, worse still, enforce.

Conspiracy Theories

Q: Do Orthodox accept any conspiracy theories?

A: No doubt there are such theorists among fringe and nationalist Orthodox, just as there are in every human group. However, conspiracy theories belong to and come from the atheist world. Christians (= Orthodox) believe and know that there is only one conspiracy against us, that of Satan. Satan of course may and does at various times use various ideological or ethnic groups against us, but Christians know that the world is not ruled by such groups (Bilderbergers, Nazis, Communists, the Vatican, the Franks, the Trilateral, international bankers, BigPharma, Zionists, the Illuminati, the Freemasons and all the other bogeymen). Members of such groups may imagine that they are all-powerful, but this is an illusion and the flattery of the demons, they are all merely puppets manipulated by Satan.

In the same way, every personal sin that we commit is not an expression of our freedom, but of our slavery to Satan. But even Satan does not rule the world – that is his illusion, which comes from his self-flattery. We Christians know that in fact the world is ruled by Christ, for He long ago defeated Satan, together with his death and suffering, through the Resurrection. This is why we Christians have hope, this is why we are fundamentally optimists, this is why we do not fear death, unlike the world and all its conspiracy theorist-manipulated and covid-manipulated zombies.

Q: Does the Orthodox Church believe that Jews murder Christian children ritually?

A: Of course not. This is a purely Roman Catholic invention, beginning in the late 11th century and ending as late as the 1960s. It began in England, spread to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and then, Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland, Bessarabia and the western Ukraine (the Beilis case in 1913). In origin it is linked to the First Crusade which murdered hundreds of Jews in the Rhineland at the end of the 11th century, though essentially it is all about Capitalist greed and jealousy of Jewish mercantile success.

The only Orthodox who support such dangerous nonsense are nominal Orthodox who are in fact anti-Semitic nationalists, rather than Orthodox. They love money and are jealous of rich Jews (strangely, they do not seem to resent so much rich people of their own nationality).

Blood libel first came to the surface in the Orthodox world in what is now Poland (a fundamentally Catholic country) with the case of St Gabriel of Bialystok at the end of the 17th century, a child-martyr, for whom was written a falsified legend, charging ‘the Jews’ with his death. The problem was not with the saint, a real martyr, but with the Polish legend written in his name. More recently the blood libel myth has resurfaced in Russia among a few post-Communist nationalists, like the sectarian, right-wing politico Mikhail Nazarov.

In self-justification such people have even started spreading the incredible (Communist) libel that Tsar Nicholas II was anti-Semitic! In fact, the latter did his best to protect ordinary believing Jews from the exploited and disgruntled citizens of other nationalities and built several large synagogues for them. His problem was with Jews who had lost their faith and renounced their traditions, worshipping money and power (in Marxism, for example) and ready to lie and kill at every opportunity, just as the atheist representatives of other ethnic groups, Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian, Latvian etc.

Today accusations of Jewish ritual murder of Christian children are much more common among Arab nationalists, who hate the Israeli persecutors. The only people today who actually murder Christian children are abortionists, few of whom are Jews and not a single one of whom is a believing Jew. Millions of future Christian children are murdered in Europe every year in this bloody ritual, performed on the altar of Satan.

Liturgical Notes

Q: Do we say Great Lent or the Great Fast?

A: We say either ‘Lent’ or else ‘The Great Fast’. Great Lent does not exist. It is a linguistic mistake introduced by the late Fr Alexander Schmemann, for whom English was a third language. Unfortunately, it was then adopted by American converts, who did not know the origins of English either. In English we say ‘Lent’, the Old English word for ‘spring’, so called precisely because it is the period when the days are ‘lengthening’. There is no such thing as ‘Great Lent’. Days lengthen, they do not great lengthen. The fast does not lengthen, it is fixed. If you do wish to translate, you can say ‘The Great Fast’, just as you can use the translations ‘Pascha’, ‘The Nativity’ and ‘Altar Feast’, or else use the English ‘Orthodox Easter’, ‘Orthodox Christmas’ and ‘Patronal Feast’. We Orthodox are different from Non-Orthodox, but we do not need to distort the local language in order to prove this, we need to respect it. As one kind reader has pointed out, this is mentioned in the early Orthodox Christian writing, The Epistle to Diognetus:

“For the Christians are distinguished from other people neither by country, nor by language, nor by the customs they observe. They do not inhabit cities of their own, or employ a peculiar form of speech, or lead a life in any way different from that of others …”

Q: Which colour of vestments is correct in Lent, purple or black?

A: I am not sure that we should use the word ‘correct’ in such matters. There are a hundred ways of doing the same thing. This is not a dogmatic question. Having said that, here is an answer: Although black is commonly used in Moscow and other parts of Russia as a liturgical colour in Lent, it was introduced there by the German Tsarina Catherine II who brought it in from Catholic Poland, where black in Lent was normal. Purple, not black, is the traditional Orthodox colour on weekdays in Lent. On Saturdays and Sundays in Lent some continue to wear purple, though others, perhaps ‘more correctly’ wear red.

Q: Why does the Moscow Patriarchate wear red as the colour of vestments at Pascha?

A: There are many different liturgical practices in the Russian Church, both inside Russia and also outside Russia (ROCOR dioceses are very, very different from one another, especially outside the USA), depending on the diocese. The Church is nowhere a monolith. True, red is worn in the Moscow Diocese at Easter. But the Church is much bigger than the Moscow Diocese! There are hundreds of dioceses. The red at Easter in the Moscow Diocese and elsewhere appears to come from the confusion between the Russian word for ‘red’, which in Slavonic means ‘beautiful’.

Thus, in the canon of Easter matins we have the expression in Slavonic ‘Paskha krasna’, which means in English ‘the Passover of beauty’. In modern Russian this sounds literally like ‘red Paskha’. Similarly in Moscow there is the central area called ‘Red Square’. This is a mistranslation caused by ignorance of Slavonic. Its Slavonic name actually means ‘Beautiful Square’. In the Church Outside Russia, which preserves pre-Revolutionary liturgical traditions general to the Church and not one particular Diocese, however central that is, only white is worn at Easter.

Q: As you know, I go to different parishes in and outside London. Even in the same jurisdiction, different English translations are used for the Liturgy. Why can there not be uniformity?

A: Why do you want uniformity? In the early Orthodox Church, long before printing, there was great variety. Indeed, many of the services were conducted without the written word and all was done and had to be done from memory. What piety! I think we only need letter for letter uniformity in ‘Our Father’, ‘Mother of God, Rejoice’, ‘O Heavenly King’ and the Creed.

Q: Why are Orthodox services so long?

A: Why are Non-Orthodox services so short?

Fr Sophrony Sakharov and Metr Antony Bloom

Q: When and why did Fr Sophrony Sakharov leave the Russian Church? Who was right?

A: In 1965, after his dispute with the then local Moscow bishop, Metropolitan Antony Bloom. Who was right? Read below:

I first met both of these personalities nearly fifty years ago. One was the ex-Hindu former librarian of St Panteleimon’s monastery, whose mother had been involved in pseudo-mystical movements like astrology, the other was the son of the famous hypnotist Boris Bloom and the nephew of the occultist composer Scriabin. I knew them both many, many times, before I left their philosophical and personal orbits to find bread and drink for my soul. Fr Sophrony Sakharov, the Parisian artist and philosopher, had had to leave Mt Athos in 1947 together with the future Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein) and Fr Silouan (surely a saint and a disciple of St Silouan) of Ste Genevieve. This was because they had fallen into disfavour with the Greek authorities for what they saw as their co-operation with the Nazi occupiers during the Second World War. Fr Sophrony’s knowledge of languages had put him into direct contact with the Germans. Going back to Paris, he left the Constantinople jurisdiction to go to the Moscow jurisdiction.

At that time, 99% of the Russian emigration, in Paris mainly under Constantinople, saw his move to Moscow from Constantinople as treason, and virtually accused him of becoming a Communist. Given Fr Sophrony’s writings in the 1950s about Church life in which he was militantly pro-Moscow and anti-Constantinople, he became even more unpopular with the mass of émigrés there. Even in the 1970s he was still accusing Russian emigres not in the Moscow Patriarchate of ‘lacking love’. This upset the vast majority as it was clearly untrue. In Paris Fr Sophrony also tried to set up a convent in Paris with three women. This was a well-known disaster and further scandalised.

When the Church of England offered Fr Sophrony as an ecumenical gesture a redundant village church and rectory in England for free, he saw this as an escape route, even though he would be forever ecumenically tied. (This is why the now more or less Convent at Tolleshunt Knights can never receive Anglicans into the Church). However, having arrived in England in 1959 with three followers he had found, a Swiss, a German and a Russian, he had not reckoned with Metr Antony Bloom. This local Moscow bishop was also a Paris intellectual from a very similar upper middle-class Russian convert background to Fr Sophrony.

In England Metr Antony had a tiny jurisdiction and only one priest with him, since the vast majority of the small Russian emigration in England belonged to ROCOR and saw representatives of Moscow as Stalinists, especially after one clergyman in Moscow had scandalously served a memorial service for Stalin on his death. However, Metr Antony was desperate to set up a diocese to justify his newly-acquired title as ‘Metropolitan of the Diocese of Sourozh’. This title was pure fiction and he knew it. In order to justify it, he needed to recruit Anglicans as people and recruit priests. A monastery was the easy source for priests. So instead of letting Fr Sophrony’s monks follow their ‘less practical’ pursuits, the typically Parisian anti-monastic Metr Antony tried to push them harder and use them as priests.

The split was inevitable and, despite his previous pro-Moscow writings, in 1965 Fr Sophrony walked out of Moscow for Constantinople and the new calendar. This caused such a scandal in the Moscow Patriarchate that even today there are virtually no Russians at Tolleshunt Knights. Personally, having seen some of the pre-1965 correspondence between Fr Sophrony and Metr Antony, I think it was all six of one and half a dozen of the other. As both characters are long gone, it is largely irrelevant, even though Patriarch Bartholomew has recently ‘weaponised’ Fr Sophrony against the Russian Church by unilaterally declaring that he is a local saint. That was with no investigation of his earthly remains, life, art nouveau painting and almost unreadable philosophical writings.

I am afraid I knew both personalities much too well to have time for 20th century émigré personality disputes. We long ago moved on to the future, which consists of helping to set up Local Churches in Western Europe, North America, Latin America and Oceania on a practical level, and not getting sidetracked into and bogged down in the fruitless byways of the personal philosophical quarrels of the past. Let us leave all these Russian émigré intellectual personalities and futile cults and manipulations, the Berdyayevs, Bulgakovs, Schmemanns, Zernovs, Struves et al and their abstract internal quarrels and ideologies, and their rights and their wrongs, and there were both, to the history books. They are the past.

We look to our future and the mainstream of the Church, the universal and the ancient local saints, to the New Martyrs and Confessors and to the Three Pillars of Orthodoxy outside Russia, St John of Shanghai, St Jonah of Hankou and St Seraphim of Boguchar. Let the past remain in the past, bygones are bygones. Our task and our relevance are to follow the principle of the Incarnation and to build and open new churches in the here and now, despite everything that the self-apppointed authorities, ideologists and dreamers have ruthlessly thrown and continue to throw at us in order to destroy us. All the worst enemies of the Church are nominally Orthodox, but they block out the light of Christ with the very long shadows cast by their own personalities and personal foibles.

A Local Church

Q: Why have all attempts to found a new Local Orthodox Church in the British Isles and Ireland/Western Europe so far failed?

A: The short answer is because no such attempt has ever taken place, for so far there have only been the dreams of individual intellectuals with their cults and often charlatanism.

The reality is that Orthodox life both here as elsewhere in Western Europe has been dominated either by administrative personalities who catered for immigrant communities/nationalist ghettos, or else by intellectual personalities who wanted to adapt Orthodoxy to their notions of Western culture, regardless of Dogma and the Tradition.

The flag-waving nationalist/immigrant communities, like the old nationalist ROCOR Church which completely died out but has been ‘restocked’ from the ex-Soviet Union, like all the other post-1917 Russian organisations, or like the Greek Church in England today, die. Once assimilation takes effect, the children of immigrants no longer wants to belong to a nationalist ghetto, which is foreign to them. Death is the result.

As regards the ‘adaptationists’, they too lose the way, making it up as they go along, and die out because they have neither the Tradition, nor a spiritual purpose, only the psychological one of making themselves feel at home in what was for their parents a foreign country. Often highly intellectual, even the titles, let alone the contents, of their books are incomprehensible. Unlike the apostles, they are unable to express the Tradition in the language of ordinary people.

A Local Church can only come into being, provided that it is faithful to real, and not a watered down version of, Orthodox Christianity and that it also uses the natural local language, and not a foreign language or some intense convert literalist translation into the local language. This golden mean has not existed – so far. But we are working on it.

 

Covid-19 and Covid-19 Vaccines

Ever since covid-19 appeared in 2019, the world seems to have gone mad. For some reason covid seems to have been identified with something like the bubonic plague, which killed between a third and a half of the population of Western Europe alone. To date fewer than three million people worldwide have died with covid. No comparison! Indeed, over the last year, far more than 3 million, some 50 million, have died from all the normal causes, above all, from old age. Death is natural and inevitable for everyone in our fallen world. Some seem not to know this tragic but obvious fact.

Worldwide we have witnessed extraordinary lockdowns, which have bankrupted hundreds of thousands of businesses, indeed whole sectors of  economies, made tens of millions unemployed, brought millions to near-starvation in many poorer countries, caused mass depression, and indebted the public of many countries for generations to come.

Instead of warning the vulnerable (that is, those with very low immunity, that is, the elderly and those suffering from serious underlying diseases, such as cancer, severe diabetes, severe asthma, heavy smoking, obesity etc) to stay at home as much as possible and take special care, governments have disrupted the lives of all. Instead of targeting the vulnerable through urgent advice, governments with their bullying lockdowns have forbidden by diktat the rest of us to get on with our lives, limiting our freedoms, enacting draconian laws, causing panic, depression and even suicide. Were such reactions by governments through panic or incompetence? We do not know. In any case, these government reactions have spawned the most incredible conspiracy theories about plots for social control, including that covid does not even exist!

Let us be frank: many of those who died would have died anyway. Probably many who died lost only a few months off the end of their lives. And even among the over 90s the survival rate of those infected in this country has been 85%. For the under 50s, the survival rate of those infected is incredibly high. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of elderly have died in thousands of care homes. Worse is the fact that some 10,000 deaths have been of much younger people who were perfectly healthy. Perhaps they had some previously unknown genetic immunity deficiency? We just do not know. It is these people, Mr and Mrs Anybody, who have been the real victims.

In this country one previously healthy 26-year old Russian woman died. Three weeks ago, her body was taken back to Latvia where she was buried by her grieving family. In a hospital in East London lay one of my parishioners. Aged under 40, he was on a ventilator for seven weeks, between life and death. Despite the incredible care of hospital staff which I witnessed on my three visits, despite our prayers and those of the many Christian hospital staff, and of his wife and two small children, he lay in a ward with many others of his own age. (On average over a third admitted to intensive care die and 70% of them are men). He passed away; please remember Oleg in your prayers.

Now we come to the question of vaccines. Naturally we ignore EU nationalism and isolationism, apparently provoked by their jealousy of the way in which the UK government has very efficiently protected its population through a vaccination programme. Thus it seems, the UK may avoid a third wave, as has begun in Continental Europe already, causing further strict lockdowns, bankruptcies, mental anguish and deaths.

The Astra Zeneca vaccine has been given at cost (£3 per dose). Clearly, sooner or later, airlines are going to refuse to take passengers who have not been vaccinated. Imagine the liability claims if an unvaccinated passenger gets on a plane and infects others and someone dies. Airlines will go bankrupt. The same is true for many sectors, from health and social care to hotels, even to plumbing companies, who know that people will not accept plumbers into their homes if the plumbers have not already been vaccinated.

Are vaccines made from aborted babies? Please read the following:

https://fullfact.org/online/foetal-cells-covid-vaccine/

https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-ingredients/fetal-tissues#

As we can see, the short answer is no. However, it is also historically more complex than that, as you can read above, because cell strains from two aborted babies are involved.

Why were human embryonic kidney and lung cells from two aborted babies needed to replicate viruses in the 1960s? I discovered that human embryonic cells – fibroblasts – must be obtained from embryos as they only exist in embryos. For example a lung fibroblast is a specialist cell (a stem cell) which has the ability to become lots of different types of lung cell. The cell still has 46 pairs of chromosomes inside it (not 23) so its job is to keep on dividing itself (so it can become lots of other lung cells).  That is why it is so useful if you want to use it to duplicate a virus, you insert the virus and its job is to copy itself lots of times. These cells are only available in the early stages of embryonic development, in a newborn they would have all turned into lung cells with 23 chromosomes. The most important fact, which some overlook, is that the two babies in the 1960s were not aborted in order to make the vaccines. They would, tragically, have been aborted anyway.

However, because of just a small number of cells taken from two embryos decades ago and then replicated artificially, millions of people have been saved from rubella and other diseases from which so many used to suffer and die. For it is not just covid-19 which has been developed from embryonic cell lines. Four such vaccines exist, including that against rubella. This is a fact – just as it is a fact that two aborted babies are at the origin of the cell strains involved.

These babies have saved millions. It is so easy for some to be confused and imagine that babies are being cloned for every batch of vaccine and the cells are directly inside each syringe. It is not at all true. If it were the case, the episcopates of each Local Orthodox Church would long ago have banned vaccinations. They have not. On the contrary, a good many bishops of all Local Churches have encouraged vaccinations against covid. The Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church has stated that all are free to choose. It is in that spirit that this article is written: to present facts and to leave all free to choose.

Everybody should have the choice and nobody should have to have a vaccine (unless it falls under essential for their profession, for example hepatitis vaccines for nurses in the UK). We wonder if people do as much worrying about every food, cosmetic, clothing, or medicine they come into contact with?

Let us not confuse cause and effect, as do the atheist conspiracy theorists. A cause can be bad, but an effect good. For we believe in the God, Who can always make good from bad. For example, many of us ultimately are Orthodox thanks to the Russian Revolution. Does that mean we approve of the genocide of tens of millions of Orthodox by a Marxist State after that Revolution? Of course not! In the same way, the cells of babies who died many years ago have saved millions. From bad, there is good. Now it is for each person to make their own choice about vaccination. This is already the case on Mt Athos, where vaccinations have started for the monks who wish. All must make up their own mind.

 

 

 

Consequences of Covid

Now that the covid epidemic, with perhaps finally three million victims worldwide, is beginning to come to an end, we can see certain consequences. For example, we have seen a huge acceleration in the inevitable growth of online sales and the use of plastic money. What perhaps would have happened over the next ten years in any case, will have happened in only one year.

However, there have been other consequences. These include the bankruptcy and unemployment caused by government deprivation of liberty (so-called ‘lockdowns’, in fact lock-ups). In order to protect the 5% of the vulnerable, the other 95% have had their lives upset or even ruined. And then there has been the psychological damage and distress caused by these lock-ups. Their extremity has given rise to countless paranoid conspiracy theories, which confuse cause and effect and attribute to panicky and hysterical governments and media an intelligence and competence which they clearly lack. These theories have been fatal to the mental health of those who have no faith and believe that sinister men successfully rule the world, and not the Divinity, as is the true case.

Another phenomenon has been vaccine nationalism. The ultra-nationalistic EU has tried to deride and deny the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine, with dire consequences for its peoples. And Western countries have derided the Russian and Chinese vaccines, which, if anything, seem to be superior to and have been produced faster than Western vaccines and will save the Third World from covid. Certainly, they must be superior to the only Western vaccine that has been associated with the cells of aborted babies, that of Johnson and Johnson in the USA. That vaccine is to be avoided at all costs.

However, another consequence of covid has been the accelerated and permanent closure of churches. For instance, the Church of England is preparing to close 20% of its churches, some 3,000 altogether. Having closed its churches and deprived its people of services during covid, many there have now become accustomed to ‘zoom services’. After the lock-ups are over, many will not bother to go back to real services. Why bother? It is much more comfortable to sit in your armchair and watch others. And having seen the clergy, especially the episcopate, so frightened of possible death, many, very many, have concluded that their clergy are mainly atheists anyway. And they are probably right. We fear God, not death. If, that is, we actually believe.

These scandalous deviations have also affected fringe Orthodox dioceses. Priests in one group in the USA have attacked their bishops who forbade them from giving the faithful communion. One bishop in Great Britain actually banned his priests from giving confession! And, again in the USA, one church in Chicago is up for sale, as the local bishop so upset his flock with his covid hysteria that they stopped going. After all, if a church is merely an ethnic club or an empty ritual, it may as well close down and cease existing. Its closure is no loss.

As for zoom services and zoom confessions, I have told everyone that there is no such thing. Physical contact is necessary for sacraments to take place. We are not Protestants. Zoom services are fit only for a consumer society, not for an Orthodox Christian society. The Church is not virtual, but real.

 

Don’t Mess With the Church

In December 2018 the US government established a pseudo-Church for its Ukrainian satellite through its puppet Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul. Since then all has gone wrong for the evildoers.

On the one hand, having handed over the Cathedral of the Wisdom of God in Kiev to schismatics, Patriarch Bartholomew then lost his own Cathedral of the Wisdom of God in Istanbul to Muslims. Thus, he managed to create a schism throughout the Church of God, cutting himself off from the Church and isolating himself with schismatics in other countries, notably in Greece, Africa and Cyprus. He has only himself to blame. Actions have consequences. Here are the results of treating the Church as a tool for the sake of all kinds of erroneous isms, from nationalism to modernism, from ritualism to ecumenism. His name will go down in history, together with those of Arius and Nestorius.

On the other hand, having endorsed the anti-Christian regime in the Ukraine, the Western world has been attacked by Covid-19. Although relatively minor on the world scale – well over 50 million people in the world die every year and only just over two million, mainly very elderly and already in poor health, have died with Covid – the panic that has ensued has astonished. The mighty Western world, armed to the teeth with nuclear bombs which it alone has used, has bankrupted itself, laid low by a microscopic virus. In the same way, in 701 BC the Assyrian Army was mysteriously destroyed overnight while it besieged Jerusalem. How are the mighty fallen….

The Western country which has suffered the most from Covid-19 has been the USA, with over 400,000 deaths. After creating division in the Church of God, the US administration is now faced with political chaos and street violence, with unparalleled scenes, resulting in a ‘democratic’ Washington which is patrolled by 25,000 ‘National Guardsmen’. Nearly 75 million Americans feel cheated and unrepresented. Instead of complaining, nobody seems to have thought of repenting. The USA created schism in the Church of God, it is now paying the price. The Ukrainian schism has shown who is who in the Church, revealing who is who and the faith or lack of faith of each.

And Covid-19 has done the same in the world, revealing who is who and the faith or lack of faith of each. 2021 will be a year of change, of unexpected events, a time to pay for past mistakes.

Covid-2019 at the end of 2020

And there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matt, 24, 7-8)

Nearly exactly 0.1 (one in a thousand) of the UK population has now died with covid-19 (in an average year the death-rate is 0.94%, nearly one in a hundred). How many real excess deaths there have been is debated, since how many would have died anyway is unknown. Notably, however, although the death-rates in the UK, the US, Italy, France and Spain are very similar, the death-rate in Germany is about one third of them. This suggests that the definition of ‘died with covid’ is totally different there. In Germany all those who are listed as ‘died with covid’ died because covid played a major role in their death rather than a minor one.

Now that there are 35,000 infections per day in the UK, even according to official statistics, it is a matter of debate, what will happen first by next July: will all have obtained immunity or will all have been vaccinated? Last summer an immunologist from a famous London hospital informed us that his guess was that a third of the population had already been infected even by then. The degeneration of the virus into a new, more contagious, but less harmful strain is a sign that the end of it is coming; it is always like that. Normality will return next year. Clearly, only the tiny minority with very low immunity has been tragically affected.

This largely means those already dying from serious illnesses, mainly the very elderly (the average age of death is 83), sometimes as the result of a poor diet and obesity, smoking, alcoholism and drug-taking, sometimes as the result of some tragic illness like cancer or diabetes, or else, fortunately very rarely, as the result of a genetically deficient immune system. These last cases are very tragic and account for 1% of the total numbers of deaths with covid and have largely occurred among those between 20 and 40 (the under 20s are basically not affected and 90% of them have no symptoms at all). This virus is ageist and the younger have suffered much less from it.

Nevertheless, there has been much tragedy and those who are vulnerable to the virus (probably 1% of the population) should take the utmost care. Others must behave responsibly, compassionately and considerately towards them. However, during the time of covid ten times more people than those who died with covid have, as every year, died of old age, illness and accidents. Some of these have died prematurely, as their treatment has been neglected by a covid-attacked health system that as a result of chronic underfunding has been in crisis for decades. Because governments have for decades refused to fund the training of healthcare staff, the NHS relies on cheap imports.

Thus the government policy of building and equipping emergency (‘Nightingale’) hospitals has been shown to be absurd – after all, there is nobody to staff them, which is why they have largely remained empty. Many have died by suicide at the prospect of no future, offered them by totally irresponsible media which have promoted despair. The suicides and frequent depression and anxiety among the non-believing population should remain on journalists’ consciences for the rest of their lives. True, however, many people switched off the media long ago and the impression is that journalists are largely talking to themselves in an incestuous feast of gloom.

Similarly, the government which has destroyed or damaged the lives of millions through its irrational lockdowns of the national economy. Clearly, as a result of government anti-democratic totalitarianism (not allowing the individual to choose how to live), irresponsibility, incompetence and sheer panic, it will take years for the country to recover. Western democracy is increasingly being seen as the myth it is. After the crass lies about Iraq and then Brexit, media and government alike are totally distrusted on covid. Few believe liars and the government and media alike have almost totally discredited themselves. The exceptions are the elderly and naïve, who still actually believe that the BBC tells the truth!!

The only real question is: will the virus bring repentance? Because if not, other pestilences will follow. This is a warning. Accept death as the only inevitable reality of human life and learn how to deal with it through faith and everything will take on a completely different perspective. Atheists find it very difficult to deal with this reality, as death is their taboo. That is why their reality is a living death, the zombified life of the undead. The taboo can only be overcome through faith, which alone brings hope. Until then Western societies will remain crippled by joyless faithlessness, cynical hopelessness and the sorrows that inevitably come to all atheist societies throughout history.