Category Archives: Deviations

The Patriarchate of Constantinople Falls into Schism

Just as the then tiny First Rome fell ingloriously in 1054, so now 964 years later, in 2018 the tiny Second Rome has also fallen ingloriously. For this is the historic meaning of the Phanariot decision to interfere in the canonical territory of the Russian Mother-Church, on US orders. As Metr Hilarion of Volokalamsk precisely predicted at the time in May 2016, the Phanariots would take their petty revenge in the Ukraine for the Third Rome’s refusal to support the heresies that Constantinople was peddling in Crete in 2016.

Now having taken on the notorious Ukrainian schismatics, including the defrocked and married Soviet-American ‘Patriarch’, Filaret Denisenko, and another Ukrainian group, run by the Canadian and US secret services, it means that the Phanar has finally lost its way after a century of anti-canonical errors. It all began with the hubris of power-seeking and flock-grabbing, followed by ecumenism and the new calendar, now it has ended in canonical ignominy. On Monday 15 October the Third Rome will make its judgement.

Already Archbishop Kliment (Vecherya) has called on all to discuss the possibility of anathematizing their Patriarch. We can only pray that this elderly man may yet repent for his insanity and foolishness. However, whatever happens, the Phanariot decision now clears the air. With several hundred thousand modernists and semi-Uniats who support the anticanonical Phanariots gone from the Church, it leaves some 217 million Orthodox to get on with Orthodoxy and at long last dissolve the logjam caused by the Phanar.

Despite the danger of persecution of the canonical Church in the Ukraine, now we can at last expect progress on relations between the Local Churches, the internal issue of the Diaspora, especially in the USA, but also in Western Europe and Oceania, on a century of Phanariot interference in the Russian and Ukrainian Diaspora, as also in Estonia. We can also expect progress on the external issue of the heresies of the Roman Catholic/Protestant world. We are breathing a sigh of relief. We can now go on unshackled and unhampered by deference and diplomacy to the spiritually and politically bankrupt.

 

 

1938-2018: St John on the Decline of the Patriarchate of Constantinople

THE PRIMACY among Orthodox Churches is possessed by the Church of the New Rome, Constantinople, which is headed by a Patriarch who has the title of Ecumenical, and therefore is itself called the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which territorially reached the culmination of its development at the end of the 18th century. At that time there was included in it the whole of Asia Minor, the whole Balkan Peninsula (except for Montenegro), together with the adjoining islands, since the other independent Churches in the Balkan Peninsula had been abolished and had become part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Ecumenical Patriarch had received from the Turkish Sultan, even before the taking of Constantinople by the Turks, the title of Millet Bash, that is, the head of the people, and he was considered the head of the whole Orthodox population of the Turkish Empire. This, however, did not prevent the Turkish government from removing patriarchs for any reason whatever and calling for new elections, at the same time collecting a large tax from the newly elected patriarch. Apparently the latter circumstance had a great significance in the changing of patriarchs by the Turks, and therefore it often happened that they again allowed on the Patriarchal Throne a patriarch whom they had removed, after the death of one or several of his successors. Thus, many patriarchs occupied their see several times, and each accession was accompanied by the collection of a special tax from them by the Turks.

In order to make up the sum which he paid on his accession to the Patriarchal Throne, a patriarch made a collection from the metropolitans subordinate to him, and they, in their turn, collected from the clergy subordinate to them. This manner of making up its finances left an imprint on the whole order of the Patriarchate’s life. In the Patriarchate there was likewise evident the Greek “Great Idea,” that is, the attempt to restore Byzantium, at first in a cultural, but later also in a political sense. For this reason in all important; posts there were assigned people loyal to this idea, and for the most part Greeks from the part of Constantinople called the Phanar, where also the Patriarchate was located. Almost always the episcopal sees were filled by Greeks, even though in the Balkan Peninsula the population was primarily Slavic.

At the beginning of the 19th century there began a movement of liberation among the Balkan peoples, who were striving to liberate themselves from the authority of the Turks. There arose the states of Serbia, Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria, at first semi-independent, and then completely independent from Turkey. Parallel with this there proceeded also the formation of new Local Churches which were separate from the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Even though it was unwillingly, under the influence of circumstances, the Ecumenical Patriarchs permitted the autonomy of the Churches in the vassal princedoms, and later they recognized the full independence of the Churches in Serbia, Greece, and Romania. Only the Bulgarian question was complicated in view on the one hand of the impatience of the Bulgarians, who had not yet attained political independence, and, on the other hand, thanks to the unyieldingness of the Greeks. The self-willed declaration of Bulgarian autocephaly on the foundation of a firman of the Sultan was not recognized by the Patriarchate, and in a number of dioceses there was established a parallel hierarchy.

The boundaries of the newly-formed Churches coincided with the boundaries of the new states, which were growing all the time at the expense of Turkey, at the same time acquiring new dioceses from the Patriarchate. Nonetheless, in 1912, when the Balkan War began, the Ecumenical Patriarchate had about 70 metropolias and several bishoprics. The war of 1912-13 tore away from Turkey a significant part of the Balkan Peninsula with such great spiritual centers as Salonica and Athos. The Great War of 1914-18 for a time deprived Turkey of the whole of Thrace and the Asia Minor coast with the city of Smyrna, which were subsequently lost by Greece in 1922 after the unsuccessful march of the Greeks on Constantinople.

Here the Ecumenical Patriarch could not so easily allow out of his authority the dioceses which had been torn away from Turkey, as had been done previously. There was already talk concerning certain places which from of old had been under the spiritual authority of Constantinople. Nonetheless, the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1922 recognized the annexation to the Serbian Church of all areas within the boundaries of Yugoslavia; he agreed to the inclusion within the Church of Greece of a number of dioceses in the Greek State, preserving, however, his jurisdiction over Athos; and in 1937 he recognized even the autocephaly of the small Albanian Church, which originally he had not recognized.

The boundaries of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the number of its dioceses had significantly decreased. At the same time the Ecumenical Patriarchate in fact lost Asia Minor also, although it remained within its jurisdiction. In accordance with the peace treaty between Greece and Turkey in 1923, there occurred an exchange of population between these powers, so that the whole Greek population of Asia Minor had to resettle in Greece. Ancient cities, having at one time a great significance in ecclesiastical matters and glorious in their church history, remained without a single inhabitant of the Orthodox faith. At the same time, the Ecumenical Patriarch lost his political significance in Turkey, since Kemal Pasha deprived him of his title of head of the people. Factually, at the present time under the Ecumenical Patriarch there are five dioceses within the boundaries of Turkey in addition to Athos with the surrounding places in Greece. The Patriarch is extremely hindered in the manifestation even of his indisputable rights in church government within the boundaries of Turkey, where he is viewed as an ordinary Turkish subject-official, being furthermore under the supervision of the government. The Turkish government, which interferes in all aspects of the life of its citizens, only as a special privilege has permitted him, as also the Armenian Patriarch, to wear long hair and clerical garb, forbidding this to the rest of the clergy. The Patriarch has no right of free exit from Turkey, and lately the government is ever more insistently pursuing his removal to the new capital of Ankara (the ancient Ancyra), where there are now no Orthodox Christians, but where the administration with all the branches of governmental life is concentrated.

Such an outward abasement of the hierarch of the city of St. Constantine, which was once the capital of the ecumene, has not caused reverence toward him to be shaken among Orthodox Christians, who revere the See of Sts. Chrysostom and Gregory the Theologian. From the height of this See the successor of Sts. John and Gregory could spiritually guide the whole Orthodox world, if only he possessed their firmness in the defense of righteousness and truth and the breadth of views of the recent Patriarch Joachim III. However, to the general decline of the Ecumenical Patriarchate there has been joined the direction of its activity after the Great War. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has desired to make up for the loss of dioceses which have left its jurisdiction, and likewise the loss of its political significance within the boundaries of Turkey, by submitting to itself areas where up to now there has been no Orthodox hierarchy, and likewise the Churches of those states where the government is not Orthodox. Thus, on April 5, 1922, Patriarch Meletius designated an Exarch of Western and Central Europe with the title of Metropolitan of Thyateira with residency in London; on March 4, 1923, the same Patriarch consecrated the Czech Archimandrite Sabbatius Archbishop of Prague and All Czechoslovakia; on April 15, 1924, a Metropolia of Hungary and All Central Europe was founded with a See in Budapest, even though there was already a Serbian bishop there. In America an Archbishopric was established under the Ecumenical Throne, then in 1924 a Diocese was established in Australia with a See in Sydney. In 1938 India was made subordinate to the Archbishop of Australia.

At the same time there has proceeded the subjection of separate parts of the Russian Orthodox Church which have been torn away from Russia. Thus, on June 9, 1923, the Ecumenical Patriarch accepted into his jurisdiction the Diocese of Finland as an autonomous Finnish Church; on August 23, 1923, the Estonian Church was made subject in the same way, on November 13, 1924, Patriarch Gregory VII recognized the autocephaly of the Polish Church under the supervision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate—that is, rather autonomy. In March, 1936, the Ecumenical Patriarch accepted Latvia into his jurisdiction. Not limiting himself to the acceptance into his jurisdiction of Churches in regions which had fallen away from the borders of Russia, Patriarch Photius accepted into his jurisdiction Metropolitan Eulogius in Western Europe together with the parishes subordinate to him, and on February 28, 1937, an Archbishop of the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch in America consecrated Bishop Theodore-Bogdan Shpilko for a Ukrainian Church in North America.

Thus, the Ecumenical Patriarch has become actually “ecumenical” [universal] in the breadth of the territory which is theoretically subject to him. Almost the whole earthly globe, apart from the small territories of the three Patriarchates and the territory of Soviet Russia, according to the idea of the Patriarchate’s leaders, enters into the composition of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Increasing without limit their desires to submit to themselves parts of Russia, the Patriarchs of Constantinople have even begun to declare the uncanonicity of the annexation of Kiev to the Moscow Patriarchate, and to declare that the previously existing southern Russian Metropolia of Kiev should be subject to the Throne of Constantinople. Such a point of view is not only clearly expressed in the Tomos of November 13, 1924, in connection with the separation of the Polish Church, but is also quite thoroughly promoted by the Patriarchs. Thus, the Vicar of Metropolitan Eulogius in Paris, who was consecrated with the permission of the Ecumenical Patriarch, has assumed the title of Chersonese; that is to say, Chersonese, which is now in the territory of Russia, is subject to the Ecumenical Patriarch. The next logical step for the Ecumenical Patriarchate would be to declare the whole of Russia as being under the jurisdiction of Constantinople.

However, the actual spiritual might and even the actual boundaries of authority by far do not correspond to such a self-aggrandizement of Constantinople. Not to mention the fact that almost everywhere the authority of the Patriarch is quite illusory and consists for the most part in the confirmation of bishops who have been elected to various places or the sending of such from Constantinople, many lands which Constantinople considers subject to itself do not have any flock at all under its jurisdiction.

The moral authority of the Patriarchs of Constantinople has likewise fallen very low in view of their extreme instability in ecclesiastical matters. Thus, Patriarch Meletius IV arranged a “Pan-Orthodox Congress,” with representatives of various churches, which decreed the introduction of the New Calendar. This decree, recognized only by a part of the Church, introduced a frightful schism among Orthodox Christians. Patriarch Gregory VII recognized the decree of the council of the Living Church concerning the deposing of Patriarch Tikhon, whom not long before this the Synod of Constantinople had declared a “confessor,” and then he entered into communion with the “Renovationists” in Russia, which continues up to now.

In sum, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in theory embracing almost the whole universe and in fact extending its authority only over several dioceses, and in other places having only a higher superficial supervision and receiving certain revenues for this, persecuted by the government at home and not supported by any governmental authority abroad: having lost its significance as a pillar of truth and having itself become a source of division, and at the same time being possessed by an exorbitant love of power—represents a pitiful spectacle which recalls the worst periods in the history of the See of Constantinople.

From Orthodox Word, vol. 8, no. 4 (45), July-August 1972, pp. 166-168, 174-175.

The Third Rome or the Fourth Rome?

In an astonishing interview with the well-named Greek newspaper ‘Ethnos’, Metropolitan Emmanuel (the Greek ethnarch for France and often considered to be the successor to Patriarch Bartholomew) has just confessed a number of heresies.

Firstly, he has insisted on calling the Patriarchate of Constantinople ‘the Mother-Church’ of vast territories, which are completely canonically independent of Constantinople and have been for centuries, and that this title gives it the right to meddle in their internal affairs today.

Secondly, he has stated that Constantinople’s ‘process of granting the Ukraine autocephaly has begun’ and that this ‘is a priority’. In other words, Constantinople is going to grant the phyletist schismatics of the US-run Kiev junta (he calls them ‘the Ukrainian people’!) autocephaly, and that this is not a matter of if, but of when. (Is this revenge for the Russian Church not attending the heretical ‘Council of Crete’ in 2016, with its Obama-esque agenda?).

Thirdly, he has stated that ‘in 1054 Christianity was divided into Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism’! Yet every Orthodox schoolchild knows that in 1054 the Western European ruling elite split away from the Orthodox Church and invented Roman Catholicism!

It is clear that all of Orthodox Civilization, which has as its spiritual leader Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and All the Russias, is facing a choice. It can, like the President of Moldova, Igor Dodon, whom certain forces attempted to assassinate in Chisinau last week, choose Orthodoxy. For it is he who stated, ‘I am the President of Orthodox, not of sodomites’ and for 13 September has organized ‘The International Congress of Families’ against the anti-Christian globalization project of the New World Order of the US and its EU and NATO vassals. Or else it can prefer dollar bribes to Orthodox Christianity, so committing apostasy from the Church of God and losing salvation in eternity.

Now we see that the prophecy of St Paisius the Athonite (+ 1994), which only thirty years ago seemed impossible, is coming true. Here we refer to his prophecy that a third of Turks will be baptized. When on 15 July 2016 Washington tried to murder the Turkish President Erdogan and he was saved with only half an hour to spare by a warning from Russia, he then changed sides from Washington to Moscow. The time is coming when we will see a Turkish Orthodox Church, opened by the Russian Orthodox Church. In its phyletism Constantinople has consistently refused to do so. (In our parish we already have a modest three Turkish Orthodox parishioners and their families).

This will be the Russian reply to Constantinople’s century of divisive meddling throughout the Diaspora, in Estonia and now in the Ukraine. We Russian Orthodox of all nationalities have known for over 500 years that with two Romes fallen, the Third Rome is Moscow and that a Fourth Rome there will not be. However, first Paris, next London, then Berlin and now Washington have all tried to be a Fourth Rome. They were and are foolish.

As a huge storm gathers on the East coast of the USA, just south of Washington, it too is going to learn that you cannot play at God. Just as the French, British and German Empires all crashed out of history, so too will the American Empire and its vassal in Constantinople. A Fourth Rome there will not be. All 216 million Orthodox now have to make a choice: Moscow or Washington’s satellite, Constantinople.

 

 

On the Fringes of the Contemporary Russian Orthodox Church

Introduction

After the Fall in the Garden of Eden, divisions appeared among mankind. These were described ascetically by the Church Fathers as falls to the left and right sides and are also today described politically as left and right. These divisions can be seen in the Gospels, where we encounter Saducees and Pharisees. The former were the ‘positive’ liberals of their age, who thought that everything was ‘relative’ (to use a modern term) and rejected the Resurrection. On the other hand, there were the negative conservatives of their age, the Pharisees and their sidekicks, the scribes. The Pharisees were highly ritualistic and considered to be model Jews in their devotion. However, our Lord called them ‘hypocrites’ and said to them ‘woe unto you’, when they censoriously condemned others, stoning to death and rejecting merciful healings on the Sabbath day.

We can find parallels to this in every religion in the world and throughout history. Thus in contemporary Islam, we can find fanatical young suicide bombers and, conversely, polite, conformist, Western-educated imams, who dress in suits and ties and whose values seem to be almost identical to liberal Guardian readers. Similarly, in contemporary Judaism, we can find fanatical rabbis who literally spit at Christians with furious hatred, but also ‘reformed’ female rabbis who look and sound like middle-class women from any polite suburb in the Western world. Since these two tendencies have always existed, both inside and outside any religion, and always will exist (because human psychology with all its deformations and deviations does not change), what exact forms do they take in the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church?

The Contemporary Saducees

The contemporary Saducees are secularist, syncretist, Russophobic, cosmopolitan, ultra-liberal, rationalist, anti-ascetic, reformist, new calendarist, ecumenist, modernist, masonic, intellectual, pro-homosexual, anti-mystical, philosophical and renovationist Westernizers. Some of them are converts from Judaism. Great advocates of revolutionary 1917 Duma politics and Church Renovationism and haters of the Tsar, they are admirers of the historic Paris School of Philosophy, which later worked its ills in the USA, and of semi-Orthodox, iconostasis-less, Lutheran-style churches in Finland. Many are in spirit Uniats, like the late French philosopher Olivier Clement, notorious for taking Roman Catholic communion, or like those who celebrate Orthodox services in Uniat churches. Eucharistically-minded, they are strongly opposed to confession and make communion obligatory for all at every single service.

In Moscow their leader is Fr George Kochetkov, invited to take over the Paris-style Sourozh Cathedral in London by the schismatic former Bishop Basil Osborne and once suspended by Patriarch Alexey II as a ‘neo-renovationist’. Politically, the Saducees are strongly anti-Putin and anti-Patriarch (both of whom they love to accuse of corruption with the Western propaganda chorus), pro-Constantinople and therefore pro-US and therefore pro-EU. It is suspected that they receive finance from there, just as the left-wing Paris YMCA émigré organization or the right-wing German émigré NTS were US-financed, little more than puppets. Inside today’s Russia, the Saducees look to the Prime Minister Medvedev and technocrats and liberals more extreme than him. A favourite website of theirs is the anti-Church and anti-Russian www.portal-credo.ru, which many suspect is CIA or Soros-financed, as it continually attacks the Russian Orthodox Church.

Pro-Catholic and so pro-Protestant and so pro-Secularist, the Saducees want to ‘reform’ (i.e. desecrate, that is, desacralize) Orthodox services, by shortening them and rewriting the Typicon and the Menaia. They believe that they understand everything, but in reality understand nothing because they only use their heads and not their hearts. They detest clerical dress, beards, long hair, and above all the Psalter, long services, fasting, asceticism and monasticism. They are strongly feminist (in the secular sense, not in the Orthodox sense, of the word (1)), detest modest dress and head coverings for women and have girls serving in their altars and want woman deaconesses and priests, like the late Elisabeth Behr-Sigel and other Parisian intellectuals and modernists in various countries. Being disincarnate, they prefer dreamy, abstract, ‘spiritual’ (= pseudo-spiritual) philosophy to concrete theology, which is based on practical spiritual experience.

Thus they detest any signs of the Incarnation of the Church in national life. Therefore they refuse to venerate saints like the Royal Martyrs, and in general the New Martyrs of the Communist Yoke, St John of Kronstadt, St John of Shanghai and St Seraphim of Sofia. They are admirers of Judas, whom some of them want to rehabilitate, not to mention Origen and Arius. They substitute for the saints their own ‘saints’, for example, those who helped Jews and so became victims of Hitler. In this way, they want to create a ‘new spirituality’, new simplified forms of liturgical life, new layouts of the church building with ‘open’ and low iconostases. Many of them consider smiling and laughter to be ‘a sign of the Holy Spirit’ and seem to believe, like Protestants, that they have already been saved in some magic descent of the Holy Spirit on them.

The Contemporary Pharisees

The contemporary Pharisees are also secularist, but in the opposite way from the Saducees. They are sectarian, ritualistic, ultra-conservative, ultra-nationalist, isolationist, provincial, loving folklore, racist, chauvinist, imperialist (not Imperial – which is very different), anti-Semitic, obscurantist, apocalyptic, rigid fundamentalists (like fundamentalist Protestants). Politically they are anti-Putin and anti-Patriarch, whom they see as moderates if not traitors, and in history they support both the monster Stalin (whom they want to canonize!) and yet they also admire many of Hitler’s policies! At the same time as this Stalinism, some of them call the Tsar-Martyr a redeemer. Although all suffering can be redemptive, there is only One Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Another historical figure they love is Ivan IV, called by his Western detractors ‘the Terrible’. (True, he was far less evil than his Western contemporaries like Charles V or Henry VIII, the latter of whom murdered 72,000, but he still murdered some 4,000 enemies of the State). A recent figure whom they admire is the pop singer Igor Talkov, assassinated in 1991, and they have even written an akathist to him. This admiration positions them as victims of the catastrophic perestroika period, when suddenly all values and identities were called into question, creating huge instability. Many at that time were baptized and made it safely from the rocks of the failed and dissolved Soviet Union to the shores of the Church, but the Pharisees never got there, being bogged down in the illusions of nationalism, just as the Saducees got bogged down in the illusions of anti-national Westernism.

The Pharisees tend to create their own sects, which claim to be ‘of the catacombs’. They are not afraid of falling out of communion with the Patriarch and the rest of the Russian Church and in any case, they do not recognize the rest of the Orthodox Church, the Romanians, the Georgians, the Bulgarians, the Greeks etc (though some have links with Greek old calendarists). In this they have much in common with the isolationist 17th century Old Ritualists. Just like the Saducees, they do not much practise the Faith – standing in church and praying demands faith, love and patience – but some may tell you that placing a booklet with the akathist to Igor Talkov or an icon of Stalin (!) on any part of the body that hurts will cure it. In this sense the Pharisees are anti-ascetic, highly superstitious or rather pseudo-mystical (like the Old Ritualists).

They seem to believe more in magic than God, Who will conjure up for them salvation out of thin air. They also seem to prefer dressing up in pseudo-military and pseudo-monastic uniforms (black being the favourite colour) and taking part in processions with banners to standing in church in prayer. They are also anti-intellectual and burn books by modernist thinkers like Fr Alexander Schmemann and Fr Alexander Men, rather than constructively criticizing them. Their strange slogan is ‘Orthodoxy or Death’; the Orthodox version of which would be ‘Faithfulness to the Church to Martyrdom’. These people are generally singularly humourless, gloomy and fearful, believing, it would seem, more in Antichrist than Christ and are obsessed with apocalyptic prophecies. A favourite website of theirs is http://3rm.info, which is anti-Patriarchal.

Conclusion

In surveying these two extremes, we can see how they meet and are parallel, both groups being incredibly intolerant of everyone else. Let us be frank, there is little theology in either extreme, it is psychology and even psychopathology. Some of these people have actually gone from one group to another, usually from the Saducees to the Pharisees. Thus, the Saducees tend to be of the younger generation, whereas the Pharisees tend to be a generation older. Clearly, the psychological need to be in opposition, to be rebellious, to be outsiders, is very strong. Both groups fail to accept the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. For example, the Saducees include in the Church all, including the heterodox who reject Orthodoxy, but not the ‘super-Orthodox’ Pharisees.

The Pharisees reject all the saints and holiness in general (see their rejection of the Menaia) and the Tradition (the inspirations of the Holy Spirit since Pentecost). They reject the Church and form their own sects, rejecting all the saints (like the Saducees, they venerate only selected saints), thus rejecting the Catholicity of the Church. Both groups similarly seem to reject the Apostolicity of the Church, established in the first century. The reference point for the Saducees is the Protestant Reformation (which is why they do not join Roman Catholicism) and the reference point for the Pharisees is medieval Russian history, especially the 17thcentury Old Ritualists (Russian Protestants), and do not go as far back as the first millennium.

The Saducees love the ‘magic’ of intellectual talk and philosophy, preferring it to actually doing. The Phariseees love the ‘magic’ of showy external parades, but not do not like ‘doing Church’, i. e. praying at church services. If anyone should read the above and feel concerned, let us put all this into proportion. Of some 164 million in the mainstream of the Russian Orthodox Church, these two sidestreams are tiny, perhaps 5,000 on each side, perhaps 10,000 in all. Should we therefore be wary of both equally? In one sense yes, because both are dangerous spiritual deviations, however there is a difference. The Pharisees, being inherently sectarian and so mainly having consciously cut themselves off from the Church, are largely discredited, their ideology much mocked, since its stands up to no logic, let alone theological analysis.

The Saducees, on the other hand, for the moment have the upper hand in terms of influence because they are still officially inside the Church. Being well-instructed, they know how to infiltrate and can even get the ear of some who are in power and in many respects cause the extreme reactions of the Pharisees through their humiliating contempt for the little people and sincere piety. And in that sense they are for the moment the more dangerous of the two deviations. As for us in the mainstream, we will continue in prayer and love, avoiding extremes, venerating all the saints, keeping the fasts and admiring genuine monastic life, the barometer of the Church, following the Tradition and obeying the Patriarchal episcopate of the Church – One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

Note:

1. Secular feminism is part of the attempt to re-engineer human nature, common to both classic Communism with its attempted creation of ‘homo sovieticus’ and to modern Western Secularism with its transgender/ transhuman agenda.

On the Non-Inevitability of Modernism

Once upon a time the pseudo-science of Marxism used to proclaim that its claims, like death and taxes, were inevitable. In a similar way the supporters of the theory of evolution used to proclaim that it too was the only ‘truth’ that counted, until real scientists pointed out that it was only a theory among many. Similarly, the EU used to proclaim that its aim of a United States of Europe was also inevitable, ‘like a man riding a bicycle you have to carry on towards it, otherwise you will fall off’. Actually if you are cycling (especially towards a cliff edge), you can easily stop without falling off and turn back, which is exactly what the pragmatists of Brexit have done. Modernists also use the same pseudo-scientific argument of inevitability to justify themselves. In a post-modernist world, their argument is particularly absurd and old-fashioned.

Thus, forty years ago I remember a priest of a modernist Western diocese of the old Patriarchate of Moscow (who later defrocked himself, ran away from his wife and then committed suicide) using exactly the same argument. ‘The Catholics had Vatican II, and we will follow them. It is inevitable. We will get rid of the iconostasis, have women around the altar table, have deaconesses, do away with clerical clothing and be modern like the Protestants and then the Catholics. It is just that we Orthodox are behind the others’. I have been reminded of his words recently, as a member of the Paris Archdiocese has said that since one of their priests in Belgium already accepts homosexual ‘marriage’ and that a priest under Constantinople in Finland actually does such ‘weddings’, ‘the rest of the Church will follow’. Inevitability? As in Crete?

A member of the Constantinople Archdiocese in North America has also recently questioned why New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was recently given the ‘Patriarch Athenagoras Human Rights Award’. After all, Cuomo is well known for his outspoken advocate of the pro-death (erroneously called pro-choice) movement. On 17 July 2014, Governor Cuomo referred to the defenders of the pre-born child as: “these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life … they have no place in the state of New York.” It seems a strange criticism when two years ago Vice-President Biden, who so lavishly praises the present Patriarch of Constantinople and has also tried hard to further the Church schism in the Ukraine and is another politician who is openly supportive of abortion, also received the same dubious masonic award.

To some it seems that an Orthodox Church accepting everything that liberal Protestantism and liberal Catholicism accept, including homosexual clergy, teenage girls ‘dancing’ around the altar and guitar ‘masses’, is inevitable. After all, they say, ‘we are all subject to the same sociological processes’. Such people, inherently secularist and faithless, have no understanding that this is a typically Catholic/Protestant/Secularist/Western attitude. The Church is precisely the only organism (not organization) that is not subject to ‘sociological processes’ (four Local Churches resisted Crete), but to the processes of the grace of God, processes of the Holy Spirit. If the apostles and martyrs had been subject to ‘sociological processes’, they would have censed the demons (‘gods’) as they were asked to. Instead, they refused – and became saints, the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

The point is that none of the incredible secularization undergone by Protestantism and Catholicism in the last fifty years (or in the previous centuries either) is inevitable. However, this is true only as long as long as we have the Holy Spirit and not empty-hearted rationalism, that is the ‘fleshly wisdom’ of the spirit of the world – and we know who the prince of the world is. As the apostate scholastic Abelard wrote 900 years ago in the Prologue to his work ‘Sic et Non’: ‘The Fathers had the Holy Spirit, but we do not’. For the interest of the apostate descendants of Abelard, the word ‘Fathers’ means ‘the (Orthodox) Church’, in other words: ‘The (Orthodox) Church has the Holy Spirit, but the others do not’. There is nothing inevitable about modernism, just as there is nothing inevitable about any other form of apostasy.

What Will Replace the EU?

When Guy Verhofstadt, a former Prime Minister of Belgium who now heads the alliance of ‘Liberals and Democrats for Europe’ in the EU Parliament, described British political figures leaving the EU ‘as rats leaving a sinking ship’, he revealed what he really thought. Like other EU bureaucrats, he knows that time is up, that the EU is indeed a sinking ship. Its disappearance into the dustbin of history is not a question of if, but only of when. The post-War invention of the EU (though not at that time under that name) was clearly only a temporary accommodation provoked by the USA. It is amazing that it has gone on for so long, especially after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, and then of the Soviet Union exactly 25 years ago, the existence of which, like that of NATO, was the EU’s only raison d’etre.

The deception perpetrated on the British people in 1972 by the then Prime Minister Edward Heath (then awarded a £40,000 yacht for his treason and now being investigated for pedophilia) in submitting the United Kingdom to the alien authority of the Treaty of Rome could not stand. Let us remind ourselves that it was another Belgian politician, Paul Henri Spaak, who had been entrusted with drawing up proposals for a European Common Market. Spaak was a revolutionary who had held talks with Trotsky. His right-hand man in the project was one Baron Robert Rothschild (not to be confused with the New York banker of the same name). In 1954 Rothschild had been appointed Spaak’s chef de cabinet at the Belgian foreign ministry and for two years worked with Spaak on the Treaty of Rome.

Not only did Spaak and Rothschild draft the Treaty, they also had the opportunity of deciding where it would be signed. They chose the main first-floor room of the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the southern peak of the Capitoline Hill in Rome as their venue. They knew that the Palazzo had been built in the Middle Ages right on top of the Temple of Jupiter. The site had immense pagan, spiritual and political significance. Every year, the pagan Roman Senate used to hold their first meeting in the Temple. Jupiter was the protector, the ‘Conservator’ of Rome. Not only that, he was the Roman successor to the head of the Greek pantheon, Zeus, and if the altar to Zeus in Pergamos was said in the New Testament (Revelation 2, 13) to be ‘Satan’s Seat,’ this was Rome’s satanic equivalent.

However, although the teeming millions of Europeans (condemned by the judases as ‘populists’) will rejoice when the hated tyranny of the EU finally does disappear, this does not answer the question as to what will replace it. However, before such a question can be answered, another question must first be answered: What will replace the Soviet Union? After all, the EU only ever came into existence as a US-designed, anti-Soviet and anti-Russian bloc. Clearly, the present hotchpotch of unviable countries that replaced the Soviet Union is not going to last. They too, like the temporary Soviet Union, are only temporary. In order to find positive answers to both these questions, it seems to us that we must search in history before the First World War which ruined the Paris-Berlin-Saint Petersburg axis of unity.

It is clear that the countries included before 1917 within the Russian Empire form a territory that needs some sort of loose confederal unity and economic co-operation. Clearly, this does not mean the sort of centralized, tyrannical ideological unity of the Soviet Union, nor does it mean recreating the Russian Empire as such. There are already the beginnings of such a loose unity and such voluntary co-operation in the countries that form the Eurasian Economic Union. However, in 1914 in the western tip of the Eurasian Continent there were then empires and countries of Europe that were never part of the Russian Empire and have now mostly been absorbed into the failed European Union. Strangled by the political and monetary ideology of the EU, the peoples of these countries now look to freedom.

Surely they need look no further than the selfsame Eurasian Economic Union. Western Europe has in its pride and arrogance for a thousand years lived in self-chosen isolation from the wider Eurasian Continent. As it now faces collapse beneath the weight of its own spiritual and ideological bankruptcy, known as Secularism, and the self-inflicted invasion of Islamism, which will never recognize Christian values, it is now time for it to reintegrate the Eurasian Continent. This, vitally, contains the roots of its Christian Faith and thus its spiritual and so cultural identity. However, even more than this, Eurasia also contains its political and economic salvation. Eurasia, stretching to the Pacific, contains the mineral and energy resources which alone can save it from its dependency on the unstable and ever-warring Middle East.

The dream of many a European politician, not least of Charles de Gaulle, was a Eurasia from Lisbon to Vladivostok. This is now becoming possible. In the East, the bankrupt ideology of the German Jew Marx was abandoned 25 years ago. It is now for the West, the remaining countries of the EU, to give up its bankrupt ideology of Secularism. The time for isolation is over. It is now time to return to roots. The dream of a Eurasian Confederation of Free and Sovereign Nations, voluntarily working together, is possible. The alternative is what the EU has created in the Ukraine: a land of inherent corruption, inflation and self-inflicted civil war. The only question is whether the EU leaders will have the courage to repent before their folly reduces their countries also to the state of the Ukraine, creating a Europe-wide Ukraine.

The Paris School and the Future

The phrase ‘Paris School’ (of Russian religious philosophy) is a vague phrase because many of its representatives ended up not living in Paris or even France and because it was such a very varied phenomenon. Thus, it included intellectuals mainly of Russian origin (but not all of them), who ended up living as far apart as the USA, England, Finland, Bulgaria (the anti-monarchist plotter, Fr George Shavelsky) and Constantinople (the philosopher Metr John Zisioulas). Some of these were close to Orthodoxy, others were in open heretical revolt against the Church and constructed anti-Church ideologies, others were simply harmless eccentrics who lived in the clouds.

A representative close to the Tradition, for example, was the academic theologian (and not philosopher!) Fr George Florovsky, who was ousted from St Vladimir’s Seminary by another much more Protestant-minded thinker of a Paris-born generation, Fr Alexander Schmemann. However, there were others like the notorious Fr Sergey Bulgakov, who founded a new heresy under the influence of the alcoholic Catholic occultist Vladimir Soloviov. The latter was the real founder of the School, who infected it with all its basic currents of Gnosticism, Origenism, liberalism and ecumenism and had a great influence on the enormous intellect of the polymath, Fr Paul Florensky.

Then in Paris there was also the esoteric philosopher Berdyayev, who was imbued with semi-Catholic mysticism and like Bulgakov never quite shook off his Marxism, but there was also the more Orthodox Fr Basil Zenkovsky who wrote a magisterial ‘History of Russian Philosophy’. Then there were Vladimir Lossky, trained in Scholasticism, but whose views were very close to the Tradition in many respects, but on the other hand, the fantasist Bishop John Kovalevsky or the recently deceased French ecumenists, the ex-pastor Elisabeth Behr-Sigel and Olivier Clement. Their views were respectively as close to Protestantism and Catholicism as is possible without lapsing.

In England there were other representatives of the Paris School. These included the late Metr Antony (Bloom), whose curious, personal views combined a theoretical conservatism with an extraordinary liberalism and influenced several convert followers, like the Jewish Fr Sergei Hackel. Then there was the late ex-Uniat Fr Lev Gillet, who appears to have died either as a Quaker or else a Buddhist (no-one is quite sure), or the Parisian artist and intellectual the late Fr Sophrony Sakharov, whose whole esoteric philosophy of Orthodoxy came to be shaped by the peasant St Silvanus whom he had met on the Holy Mountain, where he had been a librarian.

With such a variety of individuals, some much closer to Orthodox Tradition than others, some more renovationist than others, some more fantasist than others, what do they all have in common? Negatively speaking, it is how far most of them seemed to have stood from the saints of the Church in the emigration like St John of Shanghai (also who also lived for many years in Paris and often came to London) or St Seraphim of Sofia, or from the genuine Orthodox philosopher of the emigration Ivan Ilyin. These followed the wholeness of the ascetic Tradition of the Church, and not selected fragments of it, which is why the Paris School was opposed to authentic monasticism.

However, this was not the essence of the Paris School. Its essence was its intellectual pretentiousness, which contains the pride which is at the heart of all deviations from the Church, without exception. Not understanding that enlightenment comes from the grace of God that alone cleanses the repentant heart, they all mistakenly believed that enlightenment comes from the purification of the intellect and the imagination. This tragic mis-take meant that their views were intellectual, philosophical, more or less renovationist, more or less fantasist, disincarnate from reality and from ordinary Orthodox and Orthodoxy, and so ultimately they became sectarian and cultish.

The proof of this thesis is in the fact that when the time came for the gradual liberation of the Russian Church inside Russia from Sergianism and Renovationism after 1991, they refused to re-enter Her fold and glorify the New Martyrs and Confessors together with Her. They had not been longing to return all along, as had the faithful, but had instead been cultivating their own intellectualist philosophies outside the Orthodox Tradition. Thus, cultivating private, personality-driven sidelines, they failed to see the mainstream of Church catholicity and ended up isolating themselves in the worst sort of isolation – isolation from the real saints, the New Martyrs and Confessors.

This meant that they allied themselves only with the vestigial renovationist and sectarian elements on the fringes of the Russian Church inside Russia. It also meant that they sullied themselves with politics (under the pretence of being apolitical!, which is always political). Thus, they allied themselves with Russophobic elements in the Western world, for example, with the self-justifying neocon hawks and past-worshipping warmongers of NATO, who never wanted the Cold War to end and in their ethnocentricity arrogantly never understand that the vibrant values of Orthodox Christian Civilization are quite different from their dying anti-Christian Western culture.

This is why, when at the end of 2016 the time of generational change had come for renewal in Russia and then, inspired by the Russian example, for the first glimmers of freedom and the hope of repentance in the West, the Paris School and its values stuck to the dead past. These last representatives were now aged, vestigial relics, whose rebellious and often absurd ideologies had been half-baked in the spiritual desert of the 1960s, which had been passed on to a few convert intellectuals in Russia who still had not caught up with the real world. As for the Church, we look as ever towards prophetic holiness and the dynamic restoration of the Tradition in the Holy Spirit that is happening now.

The Imperial Orthodox Faithful

A generation on after the fall of the atheist government in the Soviet Union, the Russian Church has made extraordinary progress in rebuilding and restoring itself. However, as we have frequently written: as it took three generations to destroy Imperial Russia, so it will take three generations to restore Her and even longer to do better, only thus ensuring that the atheist nightmare can never be repeated. The atheists produced a country where all ideals, ambitions and hopes were destroyed and so male alcoholism and female abortion were both normal. Although the statistics show dramatic improvements in these areas, the country is still paying a very heavy price, as can be seen from the still relatively low life expectancy and demography. As for church-building, what has been done is remarkable, but we cannot be satisfied – at least another 100,000 churches are required and another 100,000 priests – and that is only in the historic Russian Lands, let alone in the many lands of mission for the Church worldwide. We have no illusions, we have very far to go in order to gather in the peoples before the now rapidly approaching end.

As ever, the Church, not of the world, but still in the world, is squeezed between two opposing tendencies, the two sides of the same superficial coin. On the one hand, there are the spiritually superficial and primitive, but intellectually sophisticated, the disincarnate dreamers and ‘heaven-dwellers’, liberals and ecumenists, philosophers in prelest and mantra-repeating name-worshippers, left-wing renovationists and modernists, Parisians and Kochetkovites, who love each other, new suicidal Gapons, essentially rationalistic Protestants, who are clearly not of this world, but neither are they at all, as they deludedly imagine they are, of the Kingdom of Heaven. On the other hand, there are equally spiritually superficial and primitive, but materially sophisticated, the worldly State-worshippers, pro-Stalinists, anti-Semites (yes 90% of the Bolshevik leaders were atheist Jews, but it was baptised but unChurched Russians and an apostate Georgian seminarist who obeyed their Satanic orders), ritualists (both Old and New Ritualists), fanatics, narrow sectarians, pharisees, superstitious and nominal, golden dome and gilt worshippers, who do not know that making the sign of the cross and sprinkling yourself with holy water before you sin does not bless that sin.

In the middle stands the Church, ever crucified and ever resurrected, not of this world, with the saints and martyrs in heaven and on earth, but committed to sanctifying this world and transfiguring State values into Church values, the balance kept by parish and monastic life together, both vital to any healthy Church, as we saw already in the fourth century and again in the nineteenth century. Carried by women for 90% of the time, the Church has yet to reach out to men and Church them. Too much is about attachment to externals, the reduction of the Faith to rituals, to putting the flesh above the spirit. Such superficiality is always followed by nemesis, the result of refusing Divine Protection and choosing human foolishness. The invasion of Kievan Rus by the barbaric Mongols and of Rus by the even more barbaric Teutonic Knights some 800 years ago, the Polish Invasion just over 400 years ago, Napoleon’s invasion just over 200 years ago, the so-called ‘Revolution’ nearly 100 years ago, Hitler’s invasion 75 years ago and the invasion of the Ukraine two years ago and the US-appointed junta in Kiev, all witness to the results of a merely superficial Orthodoxy.

For the way ahead we need to look to the best of Russian Orthodoxy, spiritual but also incarnate. This has always followed three (three because Trinitarian) tenets. These are: firstly, the Orthodox Faith in her integrity, so without the compromises that have befallen the modernists and ecumenists, who follow the secularist Western world and not the Gospel of Christ; secondly, the Imperial ideal, incarnate before the February 1917 coup d’etat of aristocratic Duma masons and treasonous generals, today only hinted at in prophetic gleams and shafts of light, but eagerly awaited in the coming Tsar; and thirdly, the Orthodox people, of all races and tongues all over the world, inside the Russian Lands and outside the Russian Lands, all spiritually united by and owing spiritual allegiance to Holy Rus’, the Christian Empire. We are the Orthodox Imperial Faithful, we are the Church, sinners but repentant, strict because faithful, but open because we know about human weaknesses. May God forgive us and lead us to victory before the end.

From Recent Correspondence (Lent 2016)

Q: Why is there so much opposition among the Orthodox faithful to the forthcoming Council in Crete?

A: Because it promises to be merely a politicized meeting of bishops. First of all, how can you say that you are having a Council when you do not know if it is a Council, because you do not know if the Holy Spirit will be present? We must understand that a meeting can only become a Council if the Holy Spirit is present. This is why meetings only become Councils on their reception by the people of God, who recognize the inspiring presence of the Holy Spirit. So far this looks like a meeting of bishops, with the US, the EU and the Vatican in the background, which is not Pan-Orthodox because it does not include all the bishops or, for the moment, even representatives of all the Local Churches. To call a meeting a Council before the event is presumptious and pretentious, even more so when you call it ‘Great and Holy’.

Secondly, how can you have a Council when only a small selected minority of Orthodox bishops have been invited? Thirdly, how can you have a Council when the most important question, the calendar issue, has been removed from the agenda? Fourthly, how can you have a Council when several Local Churches or authoritative voices in Local Churches have been raised in particular against the anti-dogmatic contradictions in the proposed important document on relations with Non-Orthodox? Finally, many have been disturbed by the date of the opening of this meeting: 16/06/16. It contains the triple six of Antichrist. How could the organizers, so blind to any transparency, also be so provocative as to start the meeting on that date, so greatly perturbing the faithful?

Q: You say that the US, the EU and the Vatican are in the background. What exactly do they want?

A: All thisworldly institutions want an aggiornamento of the Church, like that which Roman Catholicism underwent in the 1960s. They want to introduce into the Church secularism, humanism, new calendarism, homosexual marriage, banning fasting and monasticism. In other words, they want to destroy the Church, they want a modernist, spiritually toothless and spineless Church, degutted of ascetic life, spirituality and the sacred, so that they can adapt the Church to their worldly agenda, reducing it to a mere human institution, as they have done elsewhere. And who is their prince, the prince of this world? Satan.

Q: So you are against this meeting?

A: I did not say that. Let us wait and see. This meeting could produce schism, given the arrogant lack of consultation by its organizers with the monasteries, parish clergy and people, with the people of God. For example, why have they not invited a distinguished monastic elder from each Local Church to the meeting to represent the people of God? And, as I said, a meeting, however unpromising, can become a Council. All depends on the Holy Spirit. Man proposes, but God disposes. Sadly, for the moment, all we have seen is bureaucratic men proposing.

Q: You have reported elsewhere the opening of the Russian Cathedral in Paris in the autumn. What are your hopes?

A: Our hopes are that the statement of Patriarch Alexei II thirteen years ago will at last be realized. In other words, we hope that this will be the foundation stone of a Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Western Europe and that that will be the foundation of a future Local Church.

Q: So you want to see in Western Europe a kind of European OCA?

A: Before answering, I should perhaps say that what I want is not really relevant, what is important is what God wants. I will answer only because you have asked.

Not at all, we do not want another OCA. The OCA was a failure firstly because its foundation was politicized, being founded during the Cold War, secondly because it was granted autocephaly unilaterally without consultation with the other far more numerous dioceses of other Local Churches on the same territory, and thirdly because it was founded on compromises of ascetic, liturgical and canonical culture, caused by its protestantization, putting American culture above the Church. This meant that a great many English-speaking Orthodox in the USA, the ones whom it was allegedly designed for, simply ignored it. Personally, if I lived in the USA, I would not belong to the OCA. That is no judgement on the many sincere and pious people who do belong to it or the good work that parts of it do, this is merely a personal statement.

Q: So what do you want to see in Western Europe?

A: What we want to see is what we want to see everywhere, including in North America. That is, quite simply, a Local Church that is fully Orthodox, spiritually pure, politically independent and faithful to the Tradition, but which freely celebrates, whenever pastorally necessary, in the local language and venerates the local saints. What could be simpler? And yet human beings with their compromising political cults or narcissistic personality cults make it all so complicated.

Q: To come back to the OCA, what do you make of the concelebration between Patriarch Bartholomew and Metr Tikhon of the OCA?

A: There are modernist, political dissidents in the OCA who want to become a sub-department of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, in some special American Metropolia, just like the Rue Daru group of ex-Russians in Paris, the ex-Sourozhian schismatics in England, or some schismatic Diaspora Ukrainians. It seems to me that a battle is going on between the two factions there, the modernists who want to leave for Constantinople and those with at least some sense of the Tradition who want to stay as a group under the protection of the Russian Church. Personally, I have always thought that a split is inevitable, with all the parishes in Alaska and most in Canada and Pennsylvania around St Tikhon’s, returning to the Russian Church, perhaps within ROCOR, and the others, like those at St Vladimir’s, going over to the Greeks. That would be logical and at last clear up the canonical anomaly once and for all.

Q: The OCA was founded nearly two generations ago. Why has it taken so much longer to begin even thinking about a Local Church in Western Europe?

A: So much longer? We have been thinking about it for thirty years and more! On the other hand, you do not do things prematurely. In my view, the OCA was premature – it should have remained a Metropolia, English-speaking but faithful to Russian Orthodox Tradition, waiting for freedom in Russia, which came 20 years after its independence.

The main problem in Western Europe has been the delay caused by the Paris schism over eighty years ago. The divisive defection of Russophobic aristocrats and modernist intellectuals from the Russian Tradition to the Patriarchate of Constantinople and a self-invented ‘tradition’ meant that the development of an authentically Orthodox Local Church was greatly delayed because the Russian Orthodox presence was so weakened by their disaffection. For instance, although (or because) the Constantinople Parisians are bankrupt, they are still occupying the (smallish) 19th-century Russian Cathedral in Paris, and therefore a new Cathedral and seminary have had to built and equipped at vast expense and with great political complications.

Q: Does the Church Outside Russia, ROCOR, have a role in the construction of this Metropolia in Western Europe?

A: That depends on the leadership of ROCOR, not on mere parish priests like me.

Q: Does that answer mean that in Western Europe at least ROCOR will become dependent on the Church inside Russia?

A: Not necessarily. Everything is still possible. There are parishes in Western Europe dependent on the Church inside Russia and parishes dependent on the Church Outside Russia that are identical in ethos. Some, sadly, are definitely not identical in ethos because of the hangover from the Soviet past despite transfers of controversial clergy out of Europe by Moscow in the last few years. In ROCOR we patiently wait for that vestigial ethos to die out, as it is dying out. Once it has died out altogether, convergence will come.

Q: You mean that ROCOR in Western Europe will merge with the Church inside Russia or that the Church inside Russia in Western Europe will merge with ROCOR?

A: I don’t know. What I do know is that the most active and most missionary, the most spiritually alive, will dominate. Those who are spiritually asleep will be absorbed. If you do not have younger bishops, resident bishops, active bishops, missionary bishops, bishops who are interested in their flocks and local saints, you will die in your self-made ghetto. This is what happened to ROCOR in South America. This is of course true for all Local Churches and their dioceses in the Diaspora. If you do not live, you will die. Surely, that is not too complicated to understand?

For example, today, just in the eastern third of England, we need twelve priests who can speak at least some Russian and some English – if they are bilingual, that would be perfect. I could name the places where they are needed. But where are we going to find them? We have to encourage men to think about this. That requires leadership, time, effort and energy.

Q: How can you describe the ethos of ROCOR, as compared with the ethos of parishes dependent on the Church inside Russia?

A: The emphasis of ROCOR in the last 25 years especially has quite clearly been on the New Martyrs and Confessors, Anti-Sergianism and Anti-Ecumenism. Wherever within the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia there is veneration for the New Martyrs and Confessors (and it is very extensive), wherever there is resistance to the ideas that the Church must swim with the secular tide of the State and resistance to ecumenist compromises (also extensive), there is joy in ROCOR. However, the fact is that some of the foreign parishes in the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia, suffered in the past from modernism, ecumenism and liberalism, unlike parishes inside Russia. When the ethos becomes identical, then there will be a complete merger, though, as I say, it is not clear which part of the Church will dominate it. That will depend on the leadership of bishops.

Q: You mentioned local saints in Western Europe. Who at present venerates those local saints?

A: It mostly seems to be immigrants from Eastern Europe, who have the sense of saints and relics. Sadly, despite all our decades of efforts, there are few native Western European Orthodox.

Q: Why? I thought there were many converts?

A: That is a myth. There have never been ‘many’ converts. At most about 2,000-3,000 in the heyday and many of those soon lapsed because they were received into the Church for the wrong reasons or for ideological reasons, with certain clergy trying to build up artificial empires, which of course soon collapsed. Most of their children also lapsed. I doubt if there were ever more than 1,000 serious converts.

However, in the last ten years, I have witnessed a change. Converts started coming in numbers in the 1960s after the collapse of Anglicanism. In other words, most converts were from an Anglican background, often of a public school or wealthy background and most were at that time 30 or 40 years old. Well, that generation, what I call the ‘Kallistos generation’, is literally dying out. Some are still alive, but are in their late sixties or older. The vast majority of these are either in the Antiochian jurisdiction which at last has a new, young, local bishop, or else under the Constantinople Vicariate, which is dependent on an elderly French bishop in France, whom I knew when he was a young priest.

Together, about 600 in all, they together form a sort of Anglican Orthodoxy. For example, as far as I know, the Antiochian clergy are ex-Anglican vicars who have not received training in Orthodoxy and do not know how to do all the services; then the people do not know how to sing; the Vicariate situation is similar. I know one such Antiochian community, where the priest has banned any language other than English! This is racism, though I suspect partly it is because the priest does not understand any language other than English, let alone the Orthodox ethos.

Q: So converts are dying out?

A: Not exactly, rather their nature is changing. There are some new converts, but they do not usually have an Anglican background; after all very few English people nowadays do – even in the mid-19th century, only 50% of English people were ‘Anglican’, that is, they belonged to the Church of England. Although there are few of these new converts, at least they are converting properly and not creating a semi-Orthodoxy, an Anglican-Orthodox club.

Q: So what does that mean for these convert communities?

A: It means that many Vicariate communities number fewer than ten, usually quite elderly people, and form a kind of ex-Anglican clique, centred on the dead Metr Antony Bloom. Where they are more numerous, most of the people are Eastern Europeans. In a similar way, ageing Antiochian groups are being saved from extinction by Eastern Europeans, especially church-deprived Romanians. Most of these groups do not have their own premises and use Anglican churches.

Q: So what is the justification for using English in services, if there are fewer converts?

A: There are now three justifications. Firstly, there are still English people, converts or children and grandchildren of converts with the English husbands of Orthodox women, secondly, there are the English-speaking children of Eastern Europeans and thirdly, in mixed-nationality parishes, English is simply the common language. The future is with the second group, children of Eastern Europeans, because they are now the majority of English-speaking Orthodox.

Q: How are they to be kept in the Church?

A: That is the key question. In ROCOR, for example, the London Cathedral lost virtually everyone from its second generation, let alone from the third and fourth. And that is a typical story for all jurisdictions everywhere. Why? Because they had no identity, apart from an ethnic one, which they naturally disowned. It is vital for Orthodox children born here or going to school here to have an Orthodox identity, to know and appreciate our civilizational values, to know that we are simply Christians. The old generations generally failed to do this, their identity was purely ethnic, not spiritual.

Thus, the children went to school, lost their parents’ language and said, ‘I’m English, this is nothing to do with me, it’s only for old people’. Assimilation. For example, there are six Anglican Cypriot priests in the Diocese of London. Why? Because they did not understand Greek, so they left the Greek Orthodox Church. Of course, we can only give children this identity if parents bring their children to church regularly. Those children have to be instructed in Sunday schools and they have to have activities, which creates in them a sense of belonging to the Church. If parents do not bring up their children in the church, then they will be completely lost.

Q: Why do Protestants so value the Old Testament?

A: The Reformation was largely financed by Jews (despite Luther’s virulent anti-Jewishness) and most Protestants have always been pro-Jewish. Cromwell depended on them almost entirely. (Even today Israel depends entirely on Protestant countries, especially the USA; Catholics have always been more sceptical). Thus, the Protestants even use the Jewish Old Testament in favour of the Christian one! For Orthodox, by far the most important book of the Old Testament is the Psalter, which is why you rarely find Orthodox reading the Old Testament (other than Genesis and Exodus), but rather just the New Testament and the Psalms.

Q: Why is the USA forcing countries, like the Ukraine and also African countries, into accepting homosexual marriage? Is Obama a homosexual?

A: I have no idea what Obama is – except that he supported thuggery by toppling the democratically-elected government of the Ukraine and replacing it with a murderous Fascist junta, which has little control of the country outside Kiev. Then there are the US drones which can murder anyone anywhere. As regards his other personal inclinations, I would not rely on internet rumours.

Now for your main question, which needs a historical answer.

When, in the 11th century, Satan set about destroying Christendom, his first target was to desacralize, that is, secularize, the Church. Satan cannot stand the presence of the sacred, the sacred must be removed from the world because it prevents him from realizing his plans to take total control of the world. This he did by attacking the Church at its weakest point, that is, in the Western provinces, where all had been weakened by the barbarian invasions. In the 11th century the Western Patriarchate was converted to secularism, with what had been the Church becoming a State, becoming secular, changing the Creed, controlling murderous armies, the courts and sponsoring invasions etc. In history this is called papocaesarism.

In other words, the first step to Satanization, was to remove the Altar. The second step was to remove the Throne, that is, to remove the sacral monarchy. This act came later and was done in the 17th century in England, in the 18th century in France and in the 20th century in Russia, although it is true that the Western monarchies had been deformed before then, either by parliamentarianism, or else by absolutism, neither of which conforms to the Orthodox Christian understanding of monarchy, which is the presence of the Lord’s Anointed among the people.

Thus, having removed the spiritual content of the Faith and the Ruler, having desacralized the Faith and the King, there remained the third and final stage, to desacralize or secularize the Christian People and popular culture. This means destroying Christian cultural values (a process that was very rapid in the 20th century), destroying the family – very rapid from the 1960s on after the fall of the Second Vatican Council, when fasting was abolished and so now today we have an obesity crisis). Then they also started destroying the identity of the human person in the unisex movement that since the 1960s has resulted in only two generations in a transgender, transhuman society.

This enslavement is a form of suicide. It is why Russian Orthodox Tsardom, the Christian Empire, had to be destroyed in 1917. With its slogan of Orthodoxy, Sovereignty and the People, the Faith, Tsar and Rus, in English, Altar, Throne, Cottage, in French, Foi, Roi, Loi, its existence was the one thing that made upside down Satanism, with its aim of destroying the Church, the Ruler and the People, impossible.

Q: Can this situation of spiritual enslavement be reversed, or is an imminent end inevitable?

A: Nothing is inevitable because for human beings repentance is always possible. In Russia, the Church is slowly being restored and with Her the ideal of a Spiritual Empire, with a Christian Emperor and People. However, nothing is certain and there are reasons for both profound pessimism and profound optimism. May God’s will be done. On 18 December 1917 the Tsarina Alexandra wrote in her diary: (The Revolution in Russia) ‘is a disease, after which Russia will grow stronger. O Lord, be merciful and save Russia!’ May this hopeful prophecy be true.

On Modernism

From Recent Correspondence on Modernism

Q: What is modernism?

A: Modernism, often called renovationism in Russian, is merely secularization, that is desacralization, under the camouflage of the word ‘modern’.

Q: How did you encounter modernism in the Orthodox Church?

A: Between 1973 and 1980, I met a great many modernists: Intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals. First the Parisians living in England, then those in France itself, where Paris was the source of all the problems. In France in 1985 I also encountered freemasonry among such ‘Orthodox’ modernists. It was very widespread among them then and perhaps still is.

Q: So you met modernism very soon?

A: Yes, it was actually presented to me as the norm, as real Orthodoxy!

Q: But you rejected it?

A: I was seeking the source of the sacred, not the secular! So I instinctively and automatically felt that modernist Orthodoxy was a fake, not the real thing, but I also knew that from experience, my own and through having observed Church life, the real thing, in Russia.

Q: Which modernists did you meet?

A: The well-known names: in England, Nicholas Zernov, the then Fr Basil Osborne, Metr Antony Bloom, Fr Lev Gillet, Fr Sergei Hackel, Fr Nicholas Behr, and in France Fr Boris Bobrinsky, Fr Elie Melia, Olivier Clement, Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, Nikita Struve, Konstantin Andronikov, Fr Jean-Claude Roberti, Fr Jean Gueit, Fr Alexander Schmemann and many other lesser known names who simply followed the fashion that they set, including those active in Syndesmos.

I have to say that these figures are nearly all departed now, part of a generation that was deeply compromised by modernism. Indeed, I also met many who had personally known well those who had led modernism in the previous generation, for example Archbishop John (Shakhovskoy), Fr Nikolay Afanasyev, the former Marxists Fr Sergius Bulgakov and Berdyayev, Fr Paul Florensky, Yevdokimov, Fedotov, Zander, Zenkovsky, or Mother Maria Skobtsova. Many of them had relatives who disagreed with them completely.

Q: I notice that you have not mentioned two well-known members of modernist clergy in England.

A: There are two well-known exceptions because they are lesser, more subtle figures in modernism, shall we say, semi-modernist, that is, modernist under the cloak of traditional. One dead, one still alive, they belong to the ‘spiritual’ school of modernism, which is still popular and they are revered by naïve newcomers and all the Tradition-less.

It is important to distinguish between the different grades of modernism, from the primitive to the sophisticated. For example, I have seen Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein) mentioned as a modernist. I can see where that comes from (his interest in St Simeon the New Theologian and his ecumenical contacts), but he cannot be compared to the above.

Q: Why are such ‘moderate modernists’ revered?

A: As they say, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Q: Did you meet Metr John Zizioulas?

A: Not then. I only met him about eight years ago.

Q: And Fr John Meyendorff?

A: No, I never met him, but he was among the more moderate, except on fasting.

Q: What was your reaction to all these figures?

A: I instinctively knew that they were wrong but at the time I could not explain why, because I did not have the tools or arguments from experience and from theological study to answer them. For example, I understood that their philosophy was characterized by pride, they all thought that they knew better than the Church. They were above the Church. And this pride was characterized by intellectual fantasies, the result of a lack of rootedness in reality and spiritual reality, the Tradition. And the characteristic of this was their inability to provide spiritual food. They fed the brain – to the point of their books and talks giving you headaches – but they were incapable of feeding your soul, leaving you dry.

Q: Why were there, and why are there still, so many modernists in the Orthodox Diaspora?

A: There were and are so many – relatively speaking – they are in fact very few, they just make a lot of noise – in the Diaspora because these people encountered the West directly and never having had any roots in the Tradition, they wanted to mix their superficial Orthodoxy with Western culture. Uprooted from an Orthodox context and denying monastic life, they did not want the spiritual purity of Holy Orthodoxy, but compromise, they wanted to swim with the Western tide. That is why all modernists are essentially ecumenists and secularists. They try to conform the Church to the world, instead of conforming themselves (the world) to the Church.

Q: And why was Paris the centre of modernism?

A: Paris was where the French-speaking aristocrats and intellectuals from Saint Petersburg who had carried out the Revolution under Western influence and with Western backing had chosen exile. A great many of them were freemasons, some, like Yusupov, had been very interested in the occult and hypnotism. Paris was the place of their exile, where they were called to repentance. In other words, this is where the most spiritually decadent Russians, nominal Orthodox, highly protestantized, in the sense of secularized, went to live.

There were two groups. First, there were left-wingers, like Bulgakov, Berdyayev and Mother Maria, but most were right-wing constitutionalists or republicans who wanted either the British model or else the French model of political organization. None of them of course wanted Orthodoxy. All broke away from the Russian Church and her liturgical and canonical disciplines, in other words, they broke entirely away from the Tradition. This they did on the pretext of seeking ‘freedom and creativity’! The saddest thing was that they did not understand repentance.

Q: Why did they not simply become Protestants or Uniats – that would have been honest?

A: Because they were pretentious, which is a disease of intellectuals. They wanted to be different and lord it over others through their ‘exotic’ differences. If they had simply been Protestants or Uniats, no Western-Establishment figures or ecumenists would even have looked at them, they would have lost their exotic tag and been forgotten as immigrants. But by setting up a Westernized branch of Orthodoxy, they attracted attention and admiration. In other words, they, or rather their descendants, were courted by those who wanted to destroy the very Soviet Russia which they had themselves created in 1917, in order to replace it with the sort of degutted Russia they did briefly create in the 1990s until the revival in 2000. For secularist Western Establishments they were all ‘useful idiots’.

Of course, these modernists were peddling a fake Orthodoxy, but Anglicans and others knew no better and gave these semi-Orthodox a false authority by buying their books and listening to their talks. If you say modernist things with a Russian accent, you are suddenly exotic and interesting. Some of these émigrés even faked Russian accents to sound more Russian! There was a lot of acting going on in order to hoodwink simple people, even hypnotism. If you look, you will see that almost all their books were bought and read either by Non-Orthodox or else by converts who knew no better.

Q: Why do so many intellectuals fall into modernism?

A: Because they live uprooted lives in their heads, and not their hearts. So they are prey to fantasies. If you are an intellectual type, you must have a strong spiritual or ascetic life to balance it out. For example St Justin (Popovich) was an intellectual, but it did not, forgive the pun, go to his head. So anyone can become a saint, even an intellectual, but such saintliness exists despite intellectualism, not because of it.

Q: What is the antidote to modernism?

A: First of all, let me say that the antidote is not the censorious condemnation and ritualism of the pharisees. That also comes from hardness and dryness of heart, lack of compassion. It fails to take account of the need for pastoral dispensation, true ‘ikonomia’. The first victims of modernism are the modernists themselves.

The antidote to modernism can never be in another ism, but in the Church. And that antidote is in seeking spiritual food, not intellectual food, and spiritual food comes from holiness, which comes from asceticism, which is exactly what the modernists reject. That is why they dislike people going to the sources in Eastern Europe and Russia, especially Mt Athos. In true Protestant style, modernists hate anything that is beyond the rational, mysterious. What can be more ‘irrational’ and mysterious than holiness? They lack the sense of the sacred.

Holiness is one of the four characteristics of the Church, which they reject, since they reject the Church. For them the Church is not One – there are many ‘Churches’; the Church is not Holy (which is why they desacralize everything), but to be reformed; the Church is not Catholic (in the Orthodox sense of being the same everywhere and at all times), because the modernists reject everything outside their 20th century mental ghetto; and the Church is not Apostolic, because they reject the Faith of the Apostles, the inherited Tradition. The antidote to modernism is in holiness, that is, in the saints.

Q: But some of these modernists were much interested in saints?

A: You have hit the nail on the head – ‘interested’ in saints. Interested in saints – how very fashionable! They were interested in the outward events in the lives of saints, but not in becoming saints. They intellectualized or externalized everything, making it abstract, into a philosophy – they did not live the Faith. Theirs is an outward or Uniat attitude to the Faith, which is of course why many of them had sympathies with Uniatism, like Solovyov did. They loved to talk about ‘techniques’, techniques of icon-painting, techniques of Church singing, techniques of celebration etc. These techniques they analyzed constantly. They spoke about hagiography – but did not want holiness. They spoke, they wrote, but they did not do, they did not fast and pray and there is no holiness without fasting and prayer.

Q: Do you think that modernism has a future?

A: Yes and no. Most of the well-known names of modernists belong to those who have died in the last 75 years, many in the last 25 years. And modernism is strangely old-fashioned in the present post-modernist world, which is characterized by cynicism. The only answer to cynicism is faith, not half-faith and half-faith is what modernism is: Halfodoxy instead of Orthodoxy. In that sense modernism is over because it has no answer to post-modernism, which it created. And yet it is not over.

For example, I remember the words of Metr Antony Bloom, when real Orthodox started coming to his church in London around the year 2000. They were naturally, like the rest of us had been decades before, very shocked by what they saw. He said that it would take fifty years to convert these people to Orthodoxy (that is, to his Bloomism). In other words, the truth is that it will take fifty years to convert the modernists to Orthodoxy. There is still the hangover from the past and it will take time for the vestiges of modernism to die out. In that sense, modernism is not over.

Q: Some would be shocked by your listing of Mother Maria Skobtsova as a modernist. She was canonized by the Rue Daru group with the blessing of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

A: As you know, that top-down canonization was controversial and you would be hard put to find a single icon of her even in any Greek Church in the world, let alone in others. In other words, her canonization was purely local and actually very political. Veneration for her simply does not exist in most of the Orthodox world, given her very strange life and anti-Orthodox writings. Having said that, however, we must say that in her concentration camp death, she, like millions of others, must have cleansed herself.

Q: So is she a saint?

A: I would say that her destiny has not been revealed to us. Let us remain silent. We do not know. We simply do not know the measure of her repentance in Ravensbruck. It may well have been deep and complete, as surely it was for millions of others. In the hour of death, people become realistic, which is why the memory of death is ascetically so important. Here we have a vital point. There is no place for personal dislike, still less hatred, for these individuals. Like the rest of us, they made their mistakes, it may be that many of them repented before the end, though of course the damage was done by then. We should pray for all of them. Some of them had good hearts – they were poisoned by their heads.

For instance, I remember Fr Alexander Schmemann, He was a charming and interesting man – though of course we agreed on nothing. But I still pray for him. Or there was Elisabeth Behr-Sigel the feminist Protestant pastor. She said appalling things about ROCOR, which just showed how ignorant she was of Orthodoxy. But I prayed for her when she died. Even though modernists persecuted us and slandered us, it is important to pray for them, not only does it help them, but it helps us too, it stops our hearts from growing hard. We must always pray for our enemies. We are Christians.

What is disturbing is that those who canonized Mother Maria canonized her not for her sacrificial death, but for her anti-Church musings – and that is not to venerate her, but to malign her. When people die, we should try to remember only the good things about them. Personally, I think her writings should be made secret because they are shameful, the fruit of someone who had not yet been converted from being a Social Revolutionary.

Q: What form does modernism take today?

A: Modernism now tends to have a more philosophical, ‘spiritual’ form, in any possible way so as to blur the clear and dogmatic. This is very cunning, as we have seen with the new documents for the Crete meeting next June (if it takes place). For example, in Greece, you have the case of the philosopher Yannaras, in Russia you have the case of the Kochetkovite sect, in Finland you have a very active group, including clergy, though they are so extreme that they are very isolated, even having abandoned Orthodox Easter. They go back to the notorious Archbishop Herman (Aav), and that continued through Archbishop Paul, Archbishop Leo and now Metr Ambrose. But this is purely modern Lutheranism.

Q: What are the themes of these modernists?

A: On the one hand, there are still the crude renovationist practices taken from 1920s Russia, where such modernism more or less died out under Stalin. Such practices include letting laypeople do the proskomidia in the middle of the church and generally desacralizing the services, which is an abandonment of the priesthood. Remember that modernism, as I said, is essentially secularization, the opposite of sacralization. So first it had to destroy the sacral Emperor (the Tsar), then their next task was to destroy the priesthood – equally sacral. Linked with this destruction of the priesthood are the many divorced and remarried priests among the modernists, the uncanonically ordained and all the anti-liturgical practices, which include shortening the services and introducing the so-called ‘new’ or Roman Catholic calendar, which has always been the first stage in falling away from Orthodoxy.

On the other hand, today, as a result of the tide of secularization or desacralization that the modernists have never been able to resist and even welcome, the latest fad among them is pushing to introduce female priests and homosexual marriage into the Church. The latter movement is strong in some of the parishes in Finland, which are basically Lutheran with icons. Of course, whenever there are homosexual clergy, that push is even stronger because there is self-interest, self-justification.

Q: Where is modernism in general strongest today?

A: Although there are the debased remnants in Europe in the ever smaller Paris Jurisdiction (all the big intellectuals are dead), and there are still those in the USA as well as in Finland, now there is a group of people connected with Fr George Kochetkov in Russia. The disgraced Protodeacon Andrei Kurayev is among them, and the murdered Uniat Fr Alexander Men still has a few disciples. Then there is the provocateur Fr George Mitrofanov, as well as Fr Alexei Uminsky. However, I think they were all stronger in the 1990s than today. They too are figures from the past and I think they will die out, like the others. Now we are in the 21st century, it is time to grow up.

Q: Given this continued modernism, aren’t you pessimistic about the future?

A: As regards modernism, our Christian life is a combat, a struggle, it always has been and always will be. We will fight these anti-dogmatic currents, just as we combated the old modernism. Thus, we, like all Orthodox, combat and reject the absurd documents prepared for the meeting in Crete in June. However, Christians are always optimists because however grim the situation is now, Christ will triumph at the end of history.