Category Archives: Crisis

Change and the Church

Politics used to be about left and right. However, negative attitudes to the EU, for example, Brexit, are supported by both those on the left and those on the right. This is because politics today is no longer a division between left and right, but between patriots who love the people and so are social conservatives who desire social justice, and globalists, who love their passions and so are social liberals who desire personal wealth.

We are living through a period of generational change. Just as the social changes beginning in the mid-1960s resulted in revolutions in Paris and Prague in 1968, the US defeat in Vietnam and revolution in Lisbon and invasion of Cyprus in 1974, just as the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 led to the collapse of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, the invasion of Iraq in 1991, war in Yugoslavia, famine in Russia and the Twin Towers attack in 2001, so today we are going through generational change. We have seen the anti-democratic seizure of power in the Ukraine, the appearance of ISIS in the Middle East and North Africa, terrorist attacks in France, the debt crisis in Greece, the refugee crisis, Brexit and revolt in Turkey.

Who knows what is next? The implosion of the fragile EU as it limps from one self-made crisis to another is just one possibility. After all, Brexit came about because of the refusal of the anti-populist EU bureaucratic elite to be flexible and concede to the popular will. The possible election of Trump in the US or Le Pen in France are others. The collapse of NATO, ex-Yugoslavia and the Ukraine are yet others. And then there is a host of unpredictable events.

In times of generational change, in times of political turbulence, the only thing we can be sure of is the Church, even though it too can be victim of the fashions (‘politics’) of this world. The Church is like a flotilla of fourteen ships, big and small. The Russian Church is the flagship of the flotilla, by far the largest, the multinational 75% of the whole, and attached to it are three small and dependent ships, those of the Church Outside Russia, the Church of Japan and the Church of China, as well as a large lifeboat temporarily launched from the mother-ship for some North Americans in danger. In fairness to those who criticize, it must be said that there are indeed some strange, liberal-looking characters clinging on to the sides of the Russian ship.

Just by it, but quite separately, are the small ships of the Churches of Bulgaria, Georgia and Antioch. Not far off sail the smaller ships of the Churches of Poland and Czechoslovakia. Near them sail the ships of the Churches of Greece and Cyprus. They are followed by the ships of the Churches of Alexandria, Jerusalem and Serbia. They are followed by the large ship of the Church of Romania, at times in difficulty because of simony, and then the small ship of the Church of Albania. Finally, zigzagging some way behind and bringing up the rear because of damage to its American-made steering, sails the small ship of the Church of Constantinople. If it is still in the flotilla and afloat, it is only because of the prayers of Athonite fathers. For on prayer we all depend.