Category Archives: DeSovietisation

On the Possible Reconfiguration of the Russian Orthodox Church

Foreword: Russia and the Ukraine in Conflict

The possible military, economic and geopolitical consequences of the conflict in the Ukraine are much discussed. But what can we say of the ecclesiastical consequences? Both Russia and the Ukraine are ethnically more or less identical, both have majorities which are nominally Russian Orthodox Christians, so that both are dependent on the same Russian Orthodox Church, centred in Moscow. And yet a military conflict is under way between the two countries and there are many in the Ukraine who now do not want to recognise any administration in Moscow, even stating that the Russian Orthodox Patriarch should be tried for war crimes. Let us look at the general background to this situation.

Introduction: The Orthodox Church and Geopolitics

The Orthodox Church is a Confederation or family of 14 universally recognised Autocephalous (= fully independent) Local Churches, with some 200 million adherents in all. Each Local Church is led by a Patriarch, Metropolitan or Archbishop, depending on its size. With 142 million members, over 70% of the total, the Russian Orthodox Church is by far the largest of these Local Churches, followed by the Romanian (19 million), the Greek (10 million) and the Serbian (8 million). The remaining 19 million Orthodox belong to the other 10 very small Local Churches, each numbering on average about 2 million members. Although these Churches are based in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, several of them have ‘diasporas’, that is, emigrant minorities and missions, often going back several generations, in Western Europe, North America, Australia and outside their Eurasian homelands. These diasporas number millions.

Most of these smaller Local Churches are precisely that – local, that is, national. Thus, it is extremely rare, for example, to find a Non-Albanian member of the Albanian Orthodox Church or a Non-Georgian member of the Georgian Orthodox Church. The largest exception is the Russian Orthodox Church, which is multinational, with over sixty nationalities inside and outside the Russian Federation. Indeed, well over a quarter of all Russian Orthodox churches and clergy are to be found in the Ukraine, even though the Russian Orthodox administrative centre is in Moscow. That administration, known as ‘The Moscow Patriarchate’, is led by its Patriarch, whose title is ‘of Moscow and All Rus’ (‘Rus’ meaning the East Slav lands).

For well over a century, the Western Powers, with their State-controlled religions, have been trying to control the Orthodox Church. This has followed the well-worn model of how the USA came to control Roman Catholicism after the Second World War, protestantising or secularising it at the Second Vatican Council between 1962 and 1965. Then, in 1978 it helped appoint the Polish Pope Woytila (‘John-Paul II’) to undermine the Soviet Union and in 2013 Jorge Bergoglio (‘Francis I’) to impose its post-Christian agenda. As for the Orthodox world, in 1948 the US State Department took over the small, politically weak but ancient Church of Constantinople in Istanbul, and has ever since tried to use it to manipulate the internal affairs of the whole Orthodox Church and ‘vaticanise’ it too.

It is in this context that the multinational nature of the Russian Orthodox Church is not only a strength, but also a weakness. For some Russian Orthodox living outside the Russian Federation and Belarus, ‘the Moscow Patriarchate’ administration, appears to be simply a department of the Russian State. This is nothing new. It happened during the pre-Soviet period and notably the Soviet period, when anti-Soviet Russian Orthodox immigrant groups, now variously called ROCOR, the OCA, the Paris Archdiocese, as well as Ukrainian and Belarusian jurisdictions, broke away from the enslaved Church administration held hostage in Moscow.

The pressure to split from the Mother-Church came and comes not only from the people, but also from political pressures from States under which Russian Orthodox have lived. We can see this very clearly in the USA, where émigré groups have been infiltrated, creating bishops, in fact CIA assets. In the UK, Germany and France a similar pattern can be observed. This movement is spreading to the hostage Russian Orthodox episcopate in the Russophobic Baltic States, Moldova and above all in the Ukraine, where several, large-scale splits have occurred, with millions leaving the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. How can such nationalist splintering effects be avoided by Moscow?

Against Splintering

Unlike the Church of Constantinople in Turkey, which is financially dependent on politicised Greek Americans, the Russian Church is free of systematic US interference. However, as we have said, it does have its own internal traitors and they are US assets. Moreover, the Russian Church also has its own issues, all of which go back to the westernisation of Russia which began intensively 300 years ago, though all these issues have much worsened since 1917. These issues are: Russian nationalism (which undermines the ethos of a multinational Church), centralisation, bureaucracy and corruption.

As we have said, on top of these we now have the conflict in the Ukraine. This has caused division in the Russian Orthodox Church, not only among westernised fringe members of the Church, some of whom belong to an American-based marginal group called ‘Public Orthodoxy’, but above all in the Ukraine itself, as well as in the Baltics, Moldova and Western Europe. Although some of these divisions may be nationalistic or of the spiritually feeble politically correct variety, they are nevertheless very real and above all long-term, sometimes going back well over a century.

For instance, in the Ukraine itself a third of the canonical (let alone uncanonical) episcopate today refuses to commemorate the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kyrill at services, seeing in him an enemy of the Ukrainian people. For their people, even the word ‘Moscow’ in the title ‘Moscow Patriarchate’ is a dirty word and they see the Patriarch not as a representative multinational figure, but as a corrupt nationalist stooge of an enemy Russian government. Below we make suggestions which might be of use in finding solutions to these critical problems.

First of all, there is the very name ‘the Moscow Patriarchate’. Given how Western aggression has pushed the Russian Federation to embrace Asia and sometimes made the Russian Church favour relations with traditional Islam (and traditional Non-Christian religions in general) over relations with non-traditional secularist Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, some have suggested that the Russian capital itself could be moved from the megalopolis of Moscow. The new capital would be the Urals city of Ekaterinburg, on the very frontier of Europe and Asia. This city is also marked by the historic events surrounding the martyrdom of Tsar Nicholas II and his Family in 1918.

If that happened, the present ‘Moscow Patriarchate’ would have to be renamed ‘The Patriarchate of Ekaterinburg and All Rus’. However, this is for the moment a purely imaginary discussion. It is our suggestion that the administration of the Patriarchate of Moscow might rather be moved some thirty miles to the north-west of Moscow, to the historic, seventeenth-century monastery complex and patriarchal residence of New Jerusalem (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Jerusalem_Monastery#:~:text=History%20The%20New%20Jerusalem%20Monastery%20was%20founded%20in,its%20name%20from%20the%20concept%20of%20New%20Jerusalem). This would give the Patriarchate the new title of ‘The Patriarchate of New Jerusalem and All Rus’. This would avoid any Soviet connotations of the title ‘Patriarchate of Moscow’. Also totally unrealistic? Perhaps. However, we also have a solution other than renaming or ‘rebranding’.

The Solution of Autonomisation

At present the Russian Church is divided administratively into Autonomous (self-governing, but not fully independent) Churches, Exarchates and Metropolias. The difference between these administrative terms is the level of independence from the Centre, with an Autonomous Church being much more independent than an Exarchate and an Exarchate much more independent than a Metropolia. Each of these administrative divisions is composed of a number of dioceses, each of which is in turn headed by an archbishop (more senior) or a bishop (more junior), under each of whom there is a network of parish and monasteries.

In order to overcome the fourfold problems we mentioned above, Russian nationalism, centralisation and hence bureaucracy and hence corruption, we suggest that the whole multinational structure of the Russian Church be decentralised into regional Autonomous Churches. This would do away with the intermediate ‘Exarchates’ and keep Metropolias as structures only inside the Russian Church and inside each new Autonomous Church. Two such Autonomous Churches already exist – the Russian-founded Japanese and Chinese Orthodox Churches. These two are and must be autonomous because they are in the territories of different states. Why not be consistently logical and do the same elsewhere?

What we are suggesting is that this principle of Autonomous Churches be extended to replace the present Exarchates and Metropolias in Non-Russian territories. Only the heads of Autonomous Orthodox Churches, although still part of the Russian Orthodox Church, would actually commemorate the Russian Orthodox Patriarch. (This would avoid the present political tensions and conflicts about his commemoration). Thus, the following new Autonomous Orthodox Churches could be founded:

  1. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Replacing the present ‘Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate’, this would cover the territory of the new Ukraine. True, the latter’s borders are yet to be established, but it would surely include at least the nine central provinces of the present, Communist-created Ukraine. The seven provinces of the west of the present Ukraine, in Galicia and Transcarpathia (eastern Carpatho-Russia), might join, or rather return to, other countries politically, such as Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Ecclesiastically, local Orthodox there might join the Belarussian (see below), Polish, Czechoslovak and Romanian Local Orthodox Churches. Church autonomy in the new Ukraine would surely help lead to the collapse of present anti-Moscow nationalist and schismatic groups there.

  1. The Belarusian Orthodox Church

This would replace the present Exarchate of Belarus and cover the territory of Belarus.

  1. The Moldovan Orthodox Church

This would replace the present local structure and cover the territory of Moldova, minus Transdnestria, added to it by Stalin, which would certainly choose to become part of the Russian Federation.

  1. The Baltic Orthodox Church

This would group all Orthodox in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Autonomy here might well be the end of the present sectarian grouping in Estonia under the US-run Patriarchate of Constantinople, as well as quelling pressures from Russophobic Baltic State politicians for the local Orthodox to be more independent of Moscow. In Lithuania they are even attempting to ban the Moscow Patriarchate wholesale and a schism is already in progress.

  1. The Central Asian Orthodox Church.

This would group the five million or so Orthodox in the five ‘stans’ of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

  1. The North American Orthodox Church

This would cover the territories of the USA, for the moment including Alaska and Hawaii, and Canada. It could finally regroup the three present groups of Russian origin, as well as of other Orthodox origins, in English-speaking North America. By ending the old structures of the ‘Orthodox Church in America’ or ‘OCA’ (after over 50 years still not accepted as canonically autocephalous, or fully independent, by most Local Orthodox Churches) and of the rather sectarian American Synod called ‘ROCOR’, combining them with the parishes under the present Moscow Patriarchate in North America, a long-awaited move towards unity would take place.

  1. The Western European Orthodox Church

This would replace the present Western European Exarchate, which includes Russian Orthodox in many countries in Western Europe, but would be extended to include Russian Orthodox in Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Scandinavian countries and Finland. It would also provide the structure to integrate the canonical elements of the Western European churches of the American ROCOR (see above) and of the Paris Archdiocese. The latter two organisations are both left over from the post-1917 period and perhaps lost their relevance after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. It is time to recognise this and for them to become parts of an Autonomous Local Church here.

  1. The South-East Asian Orthodox Church

This would replace the present South-East Asian Exarchate, which includes countries as diverse as Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Korea and the Philippines.

Now we come to even more adventurous possibilities – perhaps to come in the more distant future:

  1. The African Orthodox Church

This would replace the present Exarchate of Africa – if that controversial Exarchate is to be continued.

  1. The Orthodox Church of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean

Based in Mexico City, this new structure would provide an opportunity to unite all present missions in this area.

  1. The South American Orthodox Church

Based in Brazil, this new structure would provide an opportunity to unite all present missions on this Continent.

  1. The Orthodox Church of Oceania

Based in Sydney, this new structure would provide an opportunity to unite all present missions in Australia, New Zealand and the islands of Oceania.

  1. The South Asian Orthodox Church

This would provide such a new structure to unite all present missions in India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan.

Conclusion

Such decentralisation would bring the total number of Autonomous Orthodox Churches within the Russian Orthodox Church to fifteen, up from the present two. It is our thought that if some such decentralisation is not allowed, then various groups will break off from the Russian Church altogether. It is in order to avoid any further divisions or splintering, promoted either by nationalism or by geopolitics, that we put forward this suggestion of decentralisation, that is, the right to diversity within Russian Orthodox unity.

Of course, perhaps none of the above will happen and it will be up to other Local Churches to carry out missionary work. As we have said many, many times before over the decades, all is conditional. Suicidal and anti-missionary tendencies are clearly present in the Russian Church and maybe others will have to take up the beacon of missionary Orthodox work outside the Russian Federation, Belarus and the south-eastern Ukraine. Some, like the Patriarchates of Constantinople (especially in North America and Australia), Bucharest (especially in Western Europe) and Antioch (especially in South America), are already doing so. The future of the now highly politicised Russian Orthodox Church will remain in the balance, as long as it continues to place raison d’etat above the canons. Time will show us.

 

The Consequences of Coronavirus

Many changes, including temporary mass unemployment and the mass bankruptcy of many businesses, due to the lockdown imposed by governments in the name of coronavirus are hastening the end of a number of traditional practices.

Firstly, the trend to buying online, which means the end of the Victorian-invented High Street, has been accelerated.

Secondly, the end of the use of cash and its replacement by plastic cards, has been accelerated. This is as is prophesied in the Book of Revelation.

Thirdly, deChristianisation has been accelerated in Western and Westernised (for example, Greece), countries. Thus, many Catholic/ Protestant churches in particular, already in existential crisis and dying out through the complete loss of faith and which were closed down almost with zeal by atheist clergy even before they had to, will now go bankrupt and close.

Fourthly, the manipulators who thought that they could try and turn the people into zombies, blindly obeying any State propaganda, and that the whole coronavirus lockdown would serve as preparation for the foundation of a World Government, controlled by them, the billionaire elite, have been disappointed by their attempts.

Their disappointment comes as a result of the frustration of the poor underclass after three months of lockdown. The injustice that they have experienced during this time has sparked off the powder-keg of accumulated historical injustices and led to violent rioting and looting in the USA. This has spread to a lesser degree to Western Europe.

In Britain too there have been demonstrations. In the city of Bristol, this turned into an unlawful act. For some this was disgraceful. However, this unlawful act simply overturned a national disgrace: the statue of a slave-trader (he had the same profession as an ancestor of the former Prime Minister Cameron) was removed and thrown into the river. Some people found this unacceptable. Would they also have objected if the demonstrators had toppled and ‘desecrated’ a statue of Hitler?

The fact is that this country is full of statues of mass-murderers, like that of the Norman William the Bastard, who founded the whole concept of Britain and the Establishment, or that of the appalling Henry VIII. Then there is the statue of Cromwell outside Parliament in London. (He massacred up to one million people with 17th century technology). London and other cities are littered with statues of the wretched suicide and mass-murderer Clive (of India) and various Victorian military men and criminals like Rhodes. Then there is the honour given to Kitchener, the murderer of 70,000 South Africans for the sake of the British imperial lust for gold and diamonds. More recently, they have erected a statue of ‘Bomber’ Harris, ultimately responsible for 500,000 civilian deaths in Germany.

All these monsters are honoured by having dozens of streets, squares and schools named after them, in almost every British town and city. Many books consider them as national heroes.

Here there is no difference with post-Soviet Russia, where Bolshevik monsters are still honoured by statues and place-names.

We have always called for the de-Sovietisation and ‘re-Nationing’ of Russia. We also call for the de-Britainisation and ‘re-Nationing’ of the oppressed peoples of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who are conscious of our pre-Norman past. An oppressed minority, we too cannot breathe.

Conspiracy theorists see in the coronavirus crisis only negative phenomena. They are always wrong because they think only in human categories. They are apocalyptic pessimists because they exclude God from their theories. They do not know that although man may indeed propose, it is God Who disposes. God can always make good from bad. Is the long-awaited cultural liberation of this country at last beginning?

The Day of the Holy Spirit, 2020

 

 

 

The Soviet Union Lives On – But Must Die

The USSR had a centrally planned economy. Plans were considered to be ‘rational’, ‘scientific’ and ‘modern’, vital since anything ‘irrational’ was anti-Communist. As a result, the USSR was a top-heavy bureaucratic nightmare, where you queued for hours to get, if you were lucky, essentials for your ‘paradise’. The black market thrived. As a result what in 1914 was about to become the richest and most powerful country in the world by far, went bankrupt because it could not at all supply what the people wanted – staples such as bread and meat. Planning never takes account of what people want, only what bureaucrats and ideologues want. The USA did no better. It planned a completely unnecessary ‘Cold War’. It spent in today’s money trillions of dollars on rockets and arms which it then scrapped. It planned elaborate and costly genocidal wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq with incredible technology – all of these wars it humiliatingly lost against poorly-armed locals. This was because it relied on central planning, not on reality.

Today, all over the apparently prosperous Western world people are queuing outside shops and some shelves are even empty, just as I saw in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. People are told to stay at home, forbidden to travel, are threatened and bullied by fear-spreading State-run media and fined for going out to enjoy themselves or see family and friends. Others are denounced by mean-minded neighbours for attempting to live normal lives and are visited by the bullying police. Soldiers are seen patrolling the streets, sent there by grim-faced politicians. Airports are closed. There is a greatly increased use of food banks by the impoverished, even raids on pharmacies. For some the impression is that we are living under a Soviet dictatorship – which has also closed churches. The USSR lives on. But as May comes, let us remind ourselves of some forgotten facts.

Every year there is seasonal flu. The elderly and the vulnerable stay at home and avoid going out. Although this is now called ‘self-isolation’, there is nothing new in it. Coronavirus, which peaked in the UK over three weeks ago, has so far led to the premature deaths from various diseases of fewer than half as many deaths as were caused by swine flu. In the UK, the monthly average of some 45,000 deaths has been boosted by some 25%. 85% of these deaths occur to those over the age of 70, many of whom were already very ill and had a very low life expectancy due to poor health, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or addictions like alcoholism and smoking. The numbers of deaths decreases very rapidly with age – indeed lethality falls rapidly under the age of 70. Of 30,000 deaths, only 350 have occurred among those aged under 40. The UK has the highest statistical total in Europe, but only because other countries do not list all those whose deaths have been speeded because of  the virus, for example, only in some countries they list only those who die in hospitals. In the UK some 1% of the 400,000 elderly who live in care homes have died from the virus. And this although no precautions were taken there until two weeks ago and sick care workers, often from among the poorest in society, work for the minimum wage, unlike in the NHS, because, if they stay at home, they receive virtually no pay. Clapping does not pay for food.

Some ask if the remedy of lockdown is not worse than the illness: mass bankruptcy, mass unemployment and mass depression have been brought on by ideological politicians, who are in love with power, and by bullying and irresponsible media, the State-run mouthpieces. The media spread fear and anxiety with their fake news and intimidating propaganda, and create the temptations of crime in order to survive. They like to say that our lives have been ruined forever, that nothing will ever be the same again, that this emergency situation is permanent. These statements are of course just more lies, which we have come to expect from the media, but they are believed in by the naïve, mainly the elderly and the vulnerable. And they are depressed by them because they believe them. We await the resolution to this microbe crisis, the deSovietisation of our lives and the return to freedom, with prayer.