Category Archives: Diaspora

1918-2018: The Hundred-Year Nightmare Ends: As Day Breaks the Third Rome Wakes Up At Last

Introduction

Parroting the words of the Russophobic Brzezhinzki school of string-pullers in Washington, President Poroshenko has declared that with autocephaly granted to the Ukraine ‘one of the basic geopolitical problems of the world has been solved’, adding that: ‘This is the fall of the Third Rome as the concept of Moscow having world domination’ and that autocephaly is ‘part of our pro-European strategy’ and ‘the basis for the path of development of our State and our nation’. Clearly Poroshenko, a Jew by his father and who has been seen on one occasion taking communion from the Uniats, believes in the Neo-Nazi chant of his extremists, who, instead of the traditional greeting ‘Glory to Jesus Christ’ uses: ‘Glory to the Ukraine’. In other words, he lives in a world of illusions and xenophobic lies.

In reality, the Ukrainian affair was ordered by the scared US State Department, which has used its puppet fantasist Patriarch Bartholomew to carry out its plan. The latter wanted petty revenge for the failure of his Crete junket, but in fact he has had to cut off his nose to spite his face. This marks a very positive turning point. It marks an end to the dalliance of those in the Russian Church who cultivated the dangerous Phanariot illusions of apostasy, secularism, modernism, ecumenism and venality, illusions of an Orthodoxy for show. Now Moscow has to wake up from the illusions of ‘Church diplomacy’. Now at last the tiny group in Moscow concerned can stop playing with the World Council of Churches, the Vatican and the Phanar and start being the Third Rome. We have waited for so long.

Assuming the destiny of the Russian Orthodox Church, all can now tell the Truth. After all, it is not diplomacy that sets us free, but the Truth that sets us free, and the Church is the last bastion of the Truth in this world of illusions. This means that the paralysis is at last ending. Some in Moscow weakly allowed the Phanar to interfere in the Russian Diaspora in Paris, then, much more recently, in the Ukrainian Diaspora, then in Estonia, then in the Sourozh Diocese, now at last they are waking up. We who have been abandoned for so long by the Third Rome, all the while defending it, can at last be heard. The Orthodox world can now be reconfigured – providing that the Russian Church acts responsibly, in concert with the Twelve Disciples, the other Local Churches, as the Third Rome.

I can recall nearly 40 years ago how Fr Alexei Kniazev, the rector of the St Sergius Institute in Paris, told us seminarists how he went to Constantinople in 1966 and put the question directly to Patriarch Athenagoras: ‘So are you the Oecumenical Patriarch or are you just a petty Balkan bishop?’ He never received an answer, except between the lines, and so soon after tried to join the Moscow Patriarchate – which irresponsibly rejected him. So today we ask that Moscow assumes once more the role of the Third Rome. In this matter it is not the Russian Church that is the servant of the Russian State, it is the Russian State that is the servant of the Russian Church. For the Russian Church is not Russian, but God’s, as the Church does not belong to Russia, but Russia belongs to the Church.

History

Let us recall how all this came about:   

In 1948 the freemason and notorious atomic mass murderer, Truman, obsessed with the unchallenged power of having the only weapons of mass destruction in the world, decided to take over the Patriarchate of Constantinople. His gangsters removed the Patriarch Maximos V and duly installed his fellow-mason Archbishop Athenagoras as Patriarch. In the same year Truman set up the World Council of Churches as a Pan-Protestant propaganda tool. The Local Orthodox Churches in capitalist countries were humiliatingly forced to join it. In 1961 the Ukrainian tyrant and atheist Khushchov forced the Russian Church and other Local Churches in socialist countries to join it, thinking that he could both finally finish off the Churches by 1980 and at the same time undermine the Americans.

In reply, the US State Department soon organized the Second Vatican Council and successfully protestantized the Vatican’s worldwide operation, their greatest following success being to enable the CIA to have the Polish Cardinal Wojtyla elected in order to undermine the Soviet Empire. When that Empire did duly collapse and its countries became the vassals of the ‘Truman Doctrine’, Washington declared itself the victor, briefly assuming world hegemony and ‘the end of history’. Of course, such nonsense did not match reality. The attempt to secularize and so enslave the Orthodox Church could never succeed, as it had with the Protestant and Catholic denominations. The Body of Christ cannot be enslaved by the world, because the Holy Spirit inhabits Her and transfigures Her.

Of course, the devil had tried to enslave the Church. In the 1920s he used his slave, the British freemason Patriarch Meletios Metaksakis (elected with £100,000 of Anglican money channelled through the British State), to set up a ‘Pan-Orthodox Conference’. In 1923 this imposed the Western calendar on its slaves. However, this was not enough. In 1961 Patriarch Athenagoras reactivized this ‘Conciliar’ process and in 1977 Patriarch Dimitrios nearly concluded it, but was sabotaged by St Justin (Popovich). It took nearly another forty years for the next apostate puppet in the Phanar, a graduate of the Gregorian University in Rome, to set up a ‘Council’ in Crete in 2016. However, the free Orthodox world boycotted it, as just another attempt to secularize the Church, ignoring its dogmas and canons.

 Conclusion

Now that the Church is free from the apostatic deadwood of the Truman Doctrine of US world supremacy, including over the Church of God, we can at last move forward. Ignoring the arrogant ignorance of primitive Muscovite nationalists, the Russian Church and State can now assume the burden of the Third Rome, for none now can doubt that the Second Rome is well and truly fallen and that ‘a fourth Rome there will not be’. Let us forget the expensive mascarades of diplomacy, for they have utterly failed. Only the Russian Orthodox Church, supported by Russian Orthodox statesmen, can hold the world back from its end, whither it rushes like a suicidal lemming. The Third Rome, the Patriarchate of Holy Rus, stands Risen from the Crucifixion of Atheism and we await its saving words of the Resurrection.

Now we have to be an example to all those who seek salvation, but do not know how to get there. Russia was destined to be an ark of salvation for the many peoples and has no other meaning. If it does not do this beneath the standard of Christ – no other standard will do – it will disappear from the face of the earth and then the whole world will end. Noah’s Ark is here, ready for the flood of fire that hangs over the planet. We await only its captain, the coming Tsar, who will take up the mantle of the Tsar-Martyr, the great benefactor of World Orthodoxy, reformer and builder of churches from New York to Nice, Patron of all the Local Churches. Then all the apostates and traitors will have the opportunity to repent, even at this eleventh hour. We await the Council of New Jerusalem, outside Moscow, to enlighten the world according to the Light of Christ and not to the darkness of men.

 

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.

 

 

How a Church Was Divided

Introduction

Sadly, here have been several cases of decadence among Orthodox clergy in the Diaspora, especially since the 1950s, no jurisdiction excepted. Clerical scandals have at times turned people away from the Church. People have said: ‘If that is how certain clergy behave, then the Church is no different from the world’. Certain bishops and those ordained and then supported by such bishops have shown a lack of love through weakness of faith or even absence of faith. Such a weakness of faith or absence of faith has resulted in spiritual catastrophes.

Unprincipled careerist political compromises, simony, theft of Church money, moral iniquity and narcissistic jealousy leading to the persecution of honest priests and people, we have seen them all. As a result, the Church on earth has not been able to witness to the world as it could have. Terrifyingly, the culprits will have to answer at the Last Judgement. Thus, in this period, God gave an opportunity for all English-speaking Orthodox in the British Isles at least to be united, but the opportunity was lost. Where did those rejected go in order to survive?

ROCOR

Despite being brought up outside the Church, some of the most zealous and principled, with a sense of Truth and of the Tradition and missionary impulse, joined ROCOR. This was, after all, always part of the Russian Orthodox Church, where they would not have to compromise themselves. However, here, as non-Russians, they were sometimes treated as second-class citizens and also faced petty persecution by those who, under political and sectarian influence, wanted to make ROCOR into a sect. Today, such elements have mainly left ROCOR for their full-blown sects. Freed of them, the new ROCOR can return to normality, to being the old ROCOR with its pre-War roots in the Tradition, abandoning the theological and canonical absurdities of post-1945 Cold War polemics. If ROCOR can show leadership and love, repenting for the injustices and errors of the past, it will bring hope. In the meantime, as a result of the past, others went elsewhere.

The ‘Greek’ Church

As a desperate compromise rejecting ROCOR, Anglicans such as Timothy Ware joined the Church of Constantinople and, after a serious argument in 1965, Fr Sophrony (Sakharov) and his then three monks followed him. As well as them, others, living outside the London-Oxford corridor, were usually turned away and told to ‘go to the Greeks’. This was the result of the refusal to commit to Orthodox missionary work. Today, however, those who made these forced compromises are having to face canonical isolation, the consequence of the contemporary actions of the Phanar, which has trampled over canon law in the Ukraine. Here we see the results of compromising consciences, taking ‘the middle way’ (which is definitely not ‘the golden mean’), the way between Truth and lie, so ending up with Halfodoxy.

Serbian, Romanian and Bulgarian

Only very few joined these other Balkan Churches, realizing that they are mononational, so not for English speakers.

Belarussian and Ukrainian

A few joined uncanonical groups, Belarussian and Ukrainian, in protest at mistreatment. In general, they did not linger long, realizing that there was no place for them in temporary nationalist groups, which were the results of the Second World War.

Antioch

When in 1995 ten or so unhappy Anglican vicars with some 300 disillusioned Anglicans approached the Church, they were rebuffed and so set up their own ex-Anglican jurisdiction. But here, as they have told me themselves, they had difficulty learning the Tradition and so integrating the Church, remaining on the margins, often not learning how to think, act, serve and sing like Orthodox, still trapped in alien Anglicanism.

Sects

A few sectarian-minded individuals left for various curious sects, Greek or Russian, usually because their unrealistic idealism was dissatisfied with the mass of Orthodox who were ‘not strict enough’ for them. Cut off from the Tree of the Church by their own perfectionism, judgementalism and lack of forgiveness, they left themselves to die out.

Exarchate

The final result of compromise was a schism, when in 2007 some 300 joined the Russophobic Paris branch of Constantinople. This had itself been founded through schism by the selfsame aristocratic émigrés, who had betrayed the Tsar and the Christian Empire in 1917. This group now finds itself pitted against the rest of the Orthodox Church and the canonical foundations of Church life, as a result of current bribery and blackmail in Constantinople.

Conclusion

Do we belong to Paul or Apollos or Cephas – or to Christ? Whenever a strong personality, regardless of whether he is talented or not, takes the place of Christ, there is division. At the present time it does not seem likely that locally the Russian Patriarchal Church will recover. Lack of leadership and lack of love may have done long-term damage. The flock was scattered. The Mother-Church behaved like an unloving stepmother. However, if instead of compromise repentant leadership and love are shown by the Patriarchal Church, as it now faces its worst nightmare with the Phanariot schism and bloody persecution in the Ukraine, then there will be the miracle of unity. If it cannot show this, then little ROCOR, with its tiny means and sometimes still unresolved difficulties from the past, will be left to try and take responsibility for this Diaspora.

The City is Lost! The Church is Found!

Introduction: The Bad Old Days

It is always sad to see the clerical elite of Local Churches fall into the sins of treachery and apostasy. It happened in Constantinople just before its Fall in 1453, when those in charge fell into the sin of Uniatism, hoping that the Vatican, and not God, would save them from the Muslim invader. It happened in 1948 when CIA thugs kidnapped the canonical Patriarch Maximos V and threatened to kill him if he did not get into their Presidential aeroplane and go into exile in Geneva, appointing in his place the half-Orthodox American Archbishop Athenagoras. As an eyewitness, his Archdeacon and later the Bishop of Birmingham, told me, Patriarch Maximos said as he was being forcemarched away: ‘The City is lost!’

And now it is happening again, with the latest anti-canonical decisions of the latest Patriarch, a Turkish citizen who depends entirely on the US State Department for his survival, with his absurd ‘Council of Crete’ and, above all, his meddling in the territories of other Local Churches. Whether in the USA (setting up its own jurisdiction, thus destroying Church unity), in Russia (supporting the renovationists against St Tikhon), in Finland (the notorious Aav schism), in France (the Evlogian schism), in Estonia (the ‘Apostolic Orthodox’ schism), in England (the Sourozh schism), in Greece (in the ‘New Territories’), in Macedonia or now in the Ukraine, tiny Constantinople has been trying to create for itself a flock which it does not have, by stealing the flocks of other Churches, in disobedience to the most basic canons, but with the support of illegitimate, US-backed, regimes.

Of course, there is still, but only just, time for repentance for the latest intended insanity of Constantinople. This is in the impoverished and wartorn Ukraine, controlled by vicious US-sponsored corrupt oligarchs, who live no differently from primitive African tribal leaders. However, if repentance does not come, despite the last minute journey to the Phanar and the desperate pleas of Patriarch Kyrill for repentance last week, then Constantinople with its tiny flock will fall away from the Church. This would be tragic for them – but not for the rest of the Church, for Divine Providence can always bring good out of human stupidity.

Possible Positive Results

Firstly, as Constantinople, for centuries the plaything of foreign powers and their bribes, has over a century become the bastion of modernism, all the Orthodox parts of that sorry Patriarchate, its faithful clergy and people and Mt Athos, could transfer to an Orthodox Church, at last feeling at ease under genuine Orthodox bishops. Here the most likely option would be to enter the present Church of Greece, though with long-awaited guarantees for the internationalization of Athos and so permission for thousands of monks from other countries to live there. This would become inevitable if the Archbishop of Athens took the title of Patriarch of Constantinople. This would be logical, given that the present one is falling into schism and even heresy.

Secondly, the modernists with their papal calendar and liturgical illiteracy, who have infiltrated some smaller Local Churches, would find themselves without support. Thus, we might see the eight smaller Churches, Alexandria, Antioch, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, returning to the Orthodox calendar, as the Church of Poland already has. In this way, they would repent and rejoin the 80% of the Orthodox world that remained faithful in the Churches of Russia, Serbia, Georgia and Jerusalem. The old calendar schisms in the above eight Churches could thus also be overcome.

Thirdly, it could lead to solving the divisive Diaspora problem, created initially by the phyletism of Constantinople. This would put all Orthodox nationalities under the single but multinational jurisdiction of the Russian Church, as was the case in the USA before the 1917 Revolution. This is not some sort of hegemony a la Constantinople, Eastern Papism or ecclesiastical imperialism, but preparation for autocephaly. This has been the case with other Orthodox missions of the Russian Orthodox Church down the centuries, from St Stephen of Perm to St John of Shanghai. Unlike Constantinople, the Russian Church has always helped towards independence, not created dependence. We cannot forget that Constantinople has never freely given any Church autocephaly, but has always clung on to power for as long as possible.

Conclusion: The Good New Days

In the future, we can see a real Orthodox Council, not a Halfodox one as in Crete, being held in order to anathematize the poison of the dogmatic, canonical, spiritual and moral errors of the Constantinople elite over the last 100 years, from new calendarism to liturgical modernism, from ecumenism to simony, from papism to the remarriage of priests.

In the future, we can see the Polish and Czechoslovak Churches returning and becoming autonomous Churches within the Russian Orthodox Church. We can see the Albanian Church returning and becoming an autonomous Church within the Church of Greece, or rather Patriarch of Constantinople, as it would then be called, making the present fourteen Local Churches into ten. We can see the diptychs being changed to classing these ten Local Churches by size: Russia, Romania, Constantinople (Greece), Serbia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Antioch, Alexandria, Cyprus and Jerusalem.

In the future, we can see four united and autonomous Metropolias being founded in the Diaspora under the Russian Church, awaiting Autocephaly in the fullness of time, like the Churches of Japan and China already. These would be the future: Church of Western Europe, grouping all the ex-Roman Catholic and Protestant countries in Europe, from Iceland to Finland and from Portugal to Hungary; Church of North America (thus ending its present jurisdictional chaos); Church of Latin America; Church of Oceania. This would leave only certain parts of Asia, like the Indian subcontinent and South-East Asia, to come under the jurisdiction of various Local Churches, perhaps the Antiochian and the Russian between them.

For 100 years, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has in its purely worldly, prideful and racial fantasy of ecclesiastical imperialism, systematically followed divisive policies. These  have created schisms, both old calendarist, fragmenting the Church by repressing zeal, and phyletist, fragmenting the Church by nationalism, as at present in the Ukraine, all around the Orthodox world. It has made itself into an Eastern Papacy, thus gradually divorcing itself from the Church and its ecclesiology. Its departure from the Church in the coming months, however tragic for the often elderly individuals concerned, would actually clear the air, overcoming past injustices and obstructive barriers to unity, making progress at last possible after a century of frustration. This may be the moment that we have been waiting for ever since 1917.

 

 

700,000 Orthodox Now Live in the UK

The UK government has stated this week that 395,000 Bulgarians and Romanians (a good minority of the Romanians actually Moldovans – Romanian passports cost them $10) now live in the UK. This means that with some 160,000 Cypriots, about 100,000 Russians (only a few from Russia – a majority of them are economic and political refugees from the Baltic States and the Ukraine) and other Orthodox minorities (mainly Serbs), there are now some 700,000 Orthodox in the UK. This means that at least 1% of the population is Orthodox: a total transformation from ten years ago, since when at least 400,000 Orthodox have arrived here, let alone 20 years ago, when the Orthodox population was tiny.

However, the fact is that we are not at all settled evenly. Outside the London area Orthodox are still a tiny minority and the further from London, the fewer we are. Possibly 500,000 live in London and the south-eastern corner of England, with very few in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Moreover, the fact is that any parish can only count on a practice rate of 5%-10%. Even so, if there are between 35,000 and 70,000 practising Orthodox in the UK, we are faced with a challenge: to organize appropriate infrastructure, in order to keep our children in the Church.

It must be said that the past gives us no examples. Both parts of the Russian Church lost their flocks to ethnic exclusivity and the acid bath of modern Western culture. The Greek (Cypriot) immigration has done no better. And dreams of middle-class ex-Anglicans of an English Orthodox or even, absurdly, a ‘British Orthodox’, Church, made up of intellectual converts from the tiny minority of Anglicans have to be abandoned. the utter failure on the part of all Orthodox administrations to provide adequate infrastructure is scandalous.  We no longer need words – we need actions. On the other hand, never has the use of English in the services been so important. What is to be done?

Even as a Hen Gathers Her Chickens Under Her Wings: The Future of the Prophetic Mission of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside the Russian Lands

The truth will set you free.

Blessed are you, when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my Name’s sake.

  1. Introduction

As a result of the tragedy that struck the Russian Empire in 1917, today there exist four Russian Orthodox-connected Church jurisdictions or groups outside the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church (that is, outside the former Soviet Union except for Georgia, plus China and Japan). These are, in order of size: The international ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) group; the international Moscow Patriarchal group; the local OCA (Orthodox Church in America) group, geographically limited to North America; the local Paris group, geographically limited to a scattering in Western Europe. Their future is important because it will shape the now vital prophetic mission of the Russian Orthodox Church to today’s apostate and spiritually vacant Western world.

  1. The Past and the Present                                                                                                           a.The ROCOR group

The exiles in this group, born just before or after 1917 as well as their descendants, often had an unjustified admiration for the pre-Revolutionary Russian State. This émigré childhood nostalgia for the largely unknown past was to a considerable extent illusory. After all, the Church administration before the Revolution was dominated not by the spiritual, but by careerists, nationalists and bureaucrats, opposed by renovationists. Between them they managed to cause all the divisions inside and outside Russia after the Revolution. In March 1917 most of them at once betrayed the pious Tsar, whose desire to canonize the saints, like St Seraphim of Sarov, they had resisted – a clear resistance to the Holy Spirit! If everything had been so wonderful before 1917, there would indeed never have been a Revolution and if, impossibly, we recreated the past as it was, there would simply be another Revolution. Moreover, that Revolution was caused by the treason of the elite of aristocrats and intellectuals, so many of whom ended up as nostalgic emigres, leaving the Russian Empire and Church to its tragic fate that they had created.

Historically comprising the vast majority of Russian émigrés, ROCOR has always had two wings: a political wing and what may be called a ‘Johannite wing’. The political wing was always much concerned with political, administrative, nationalist, financial and property matters (even accepting money from the CIA during the Cold War, placing anti-Communism before Christ). The Johannite wing is that of the three saints, St John (from whom it takes its name) of Shanghai, Western Europe and San Francisco, St Jonah of Hankow and St Seraphim of Sofia. Of course, it also includes many others: Archbishop Antony of Geneva, Archbishop Averky, Bishop Sava, Bishop Nektary and a great number of clergy and faithful. It has always seen itself as an integral and organic part of the Russian Orthodox Church and Tradition, only temporarily separated from the then enslaved Church in Moscow. (I write as a spiritual son of the ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva, + 1993, who was in his turn a spiritual son of St John, + 1966).

Today, numbering several hundred thousand, ROCOR faces domination by American cultural conservatism. Centred in New York and with the vast majority of its parishes in North America and its Australian satellite, outside of which it has lost much of its former influence and numbers, it must look to reality and the future. It cannot be a prisoner of the past, for the authentic Tradition is always spiritual, radical and dynamic. It must conserve and live, not preserve and die, in other words, it must keep alive, not preserve as in a museum. It must resist the temptation of the New World which, without its own culture, tends to preserve and freeze all imported culture in the state in which it was first imported, regardless of its spiritual value, as a sort of ethnic curiosity from the Old World. Today, ROCOR has been much revitalized and renewed by immigration from the ex-Soviet Union and so links with reality. Its survival is dependent on these links with the living source of its Faith.

b. The Moscow Patriarchal group.

This group used to be tiny and paradoxically often expressed Soviet State nationalism. It was at times capable of being pro-Stalinist and often showed strong signs of the spiritual impurity of renovationist modernism. These spiritually repulsive abuses are rapidly disappearing into the darkness of the past. With huge immigration from the ex-Soviet Union, the group has now greatly expanded, especially, but not only, in Western Europe. Today in numbers it has begun to rival ROCOR, which it will soon overtake. With the gradual transfiguration of the Church inside the Russian Lands over the last generation, especially since the turning-point of the Council in 2000, the living Church inside the Russian Lands is the key on which this and all the other groups depend.

c. The OCA Group

The OCA group, numbering 90,000 faithful, grew out of Slav Uniat immigrants to North America from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. At last free of Roman Catholic and State oppression, they joined their ancestral Russian Orthodox Church in the USA in the years around 1900. Today, the OCA is only indirectly under the patronage of the Russian Orthodox Church. This group has for 100 years been politically and culturally subject to domination by American cultural liberalism. This is not at all a question of the use of the English language, which of course is perfectly natural as language is only a missionary tool, but a question of the assimilation of an alien, anti-Orthodox American culture and so spiritual degradation.

The OCA will either remain anchored to the Orthodox Tradition of its Mother-Church or else it will die out as spiritually irrelevant, like parts of the Greek Archdiocese in North America, assimilated into the surrounding Non-Orthodox culture. Optimistically, over one quarter of it does remain faithful to the Tradition and parts of the rest have been revitalized and renewed by immigration from the ex-Soviet Union and so by links with reality. However, its future remains fragile and uncertain after a century of instability and there are voices in it which wish to betray the Mother-Church.

d. The Paris Group

The Paris group, by far the smallest of the four, was formed by pro-Western masonic aristocrats and emigre intellectuals who had plotted and created the anti-Tsar Revolution, setting up the brief, incompetent Kerensky dictatorship in 1917. This group was so politicized, anti-Russian and modernist that it rejected the Russian Orthodox Church and Tradition. Today, it has in part been renewed by Moldovan immigrants and so links with reality. However, it is not yet clear if the Paris group, controlled by ageing ideologues who have deliberately cut themselves off from the living Russian Church, will meet the spiritual needs of its flock, or if it will be assimilated into spiritual irrelevance.

  1. The Future: Making the Church Local

In the last few years before the Revolution there were between 142 and 163 bishops for some 117 million faithful in the Russian Orthodox Church. This was pitifully few bishops, on average about one for every 800,000 faithful. Today, for example, the Church of Greece has 100 bishops for 8,500 priests and 10 million people, one bishop for every 100,000 people. On this basis, the Russian Orthodox Church should today have 1,640 bishops and 139,000 priests for its 164 million faithful. Instead, there are only 368 bishops and a pitifully few 36,000 priests, one bishop for every 450,000 faithful and one priest for every 4,500 faithful! Bishops are still very distant figures. (In the Church of Jerusalem which has a flock of 130,000, there are 20 bishops, one for every 6,500 faithful).

It is clear that at least another 100,000 priests and churches are needed in the Russian Church, if ever this pastoral crisis of nominalism is to be overcome. Clearly, just as has long been done outside Russia, devout married men, financed by secular occupations, will have to receive basic practical training and then be ordained as ‘worker priests’. Under the direction of experienced full-time priests, they could serve in simple, cheap-to-build, wooden churches, without the golden luxury and marble pomp of cathedrals. Such ‘kit-churches’ would create real local parishes and pastoral centres, at last bringing the Church back home to the people at the local level. However, this ‘pastoralization’ and ‘localization’ of the Church is still for the future. But at least the first step in making the Church local has taken place in the process of ‘Metropolitanization’.

Here the principle of one bishop for about every 100 priests is now respected in the Russian Church. These 368 bishops have at last been arranged in groups, generally of four or five bishops, called Metropolias. The word ‘Metropolia’ means ‘the Church of the Mother-City’ and ‘Metropolitanization’ is an attempt to return to the practice of the first centuries and make the Church local. Metropolias are thus like miniature local churches within the Local Church. This ‘Metropolitanization’ of the Russian Church worldwide is a sign of health and is inevitable and irreversible. Non-Metropolitanization is a sign of distance and irrelevance of the Church to local life, its reduction from an incarnate way of life to a theatre of ideology.

However, outside the canonical territory of the Church, Metropolitanization is a gradual and complex process. This is firstly because there are two parts of the Russian Church outside the canonical territory, that directly under the Patriarchate and that under the self-governing Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). Both must first agree to co-operate and so it takes time to form new Russian Orthodox Metropolias worldwide (regardless of whether the two local fragments, the OCA and Paris, would one day want to take part – probably not). Secondly, and even more ambitiously, new Russian Orthodox Metropolias outside the canonical territories are ultimately called on to become the foundations for new Local Churches. This will be when other Orthodox, from far smaller Local Churches and living in those territories, wish to participate in them. This would be a purely voluntary process that could take another 100 years or more.

  1. Conclusion

This setting up of Metropolitan structures, foundations for new Local Churches, is a question of responsibility. There is no room here for destructive nationalism and centralization, either of the aristocratic emigre Russian sort or of the ‘Soviet tank’ sort. Instead sensitivity is required towards different peoples and their legitimate customs. In all these matters we would do well to recall the words of Christ in St Matthew’s Gospel concerning the phariseeism of the Old Jerusalem, which rejected the New Jerusalem: ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent to thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not’.

 

 

 

2017: On the Spiritual Significance of the Church Outside Russia

On the eve of 2017, the centenary year of the catastrophic Russian Revolution and a decade since the triumphant reunion between the Patriarchal Church inside Russia and the emigre Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in 2007, we may wonder what will become of the heritage of the Russian emigration of 1917? After all, the generation of adults that emigrated into exile in and soon after 1917 has long since died out and we are now onto the generation of their great-great-grandchildren. In Church terms, this emigration, almost wholly rejecting the compromised authority of the then enslaved Church inside Russia, consists not just of ROCOR, but also of the small Paris splinter group. What will survive spiritually from the two parts of the Russian emigration?

The tiny Paris Archdiocese part of the emigration, perhaps 10% of the whole, survives. However, as a splinter group of dissident and disincarnate philosophers, intellectuals and aristocrats that went into schism from the Russian Church for political reasons 85 years ago, it has long been without Russian bishops because of its inherent anti-monasticism. It is tending to become a sub-group of untrained convert clergy wishing to become a tiny ‘French Orthodox Church’, though some in it imagine becoming a ‘Western European Orthodox Church’. But that is megalomania. The group often reflects Schmemannite modernism, ecumenism and liberal French Catholicism (i.e. Protestantism), having steadily abandoned the Russian Orthodox Tradition.

True, there are still a few faithful, Orthodox calendar parishes run by priests mainly imported from Russia and the Ukraine and some selected Russian customs remain, though with little understanding of their meaning. The tendency is to try and proselytize middle-class liberal intellectuals, sometimes with contempt for ordinary people, an ethos that also used to infect parts of the OCA in North America and renovationist groups in the Soviet-period Patriarchate of Moscow. The Archdiocese generally tends to cut corners, failing to observe the canons and attract cradle Orthodox, whom as a non-inclusive group it rejects. Certainly it attracts none who is anchored in the Tradition.

However, the overwhelming majority of the emigration, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), exists outside France and French philosophical intellectualism, mainly in North America, Australasia and Western Europe. As such it has from the start been responsible for much missionary and translation work in many languages. Without the protection of any State it has in its near-100 year history also been subject to many slanders, mockery and persecution for its faithfulness to the Tradition. It has often been the voice crying in the wilderness of Secularist materialism, whether Communist or Capitalist, witnessing and prophetically calling like the Forerunner and Baptist John to repentance before the apocalyptic events of the last century.

However, it is also true that in the past parts of ROCOR were also compromised and infected by Russian nationalism, excessive strictness to the point of negative phariseeism and depressing right-wing politics – some fringe elements were even so blind as to support Hitler. However, the best of ROCOR has been revealed as a Church of Confessors and Missionaries, as in its three saints: St Jonah of Hankou, St Seraphim of Sofia and St John of Shanghai. Moreover, further saints are yet to be revealed. Whatever the future shape of the present administrative structures of ROCOR, these saints have given ROCOR eternal significance, as only the saints can do, as everything else gathers the dust of history, being only passing fashion and political intrigue.

Ten years ago, in 2007, seeing the Church inside Russia at last free, ROCOR rejoined Her and in the last ten years the two parts of the Church have worked closely together. Some therefore ask why does ROCOR still exist? The answer is simple: we have a mission to witness to the Orthodox Truth specifically outside Russia. When in the past the Church inside Holy Rus was enslaved and fell silent, with the representatives of the Soviet-period Patriarchate abroad mostly abandoning ideals, sometimes disgracefully compromising themselves in renovationism, ecumenism and other ills, ROCOR spoke out. So also today ROCOR continues to proclaim outside Russia what the best of the rest of the Church proclaims inside Russia – the ideals of Holy Rus. What are these?

These ideals are Trinitarian, reflecting on earth the heavenly reality of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These Christian ideals can be expressed as: Faith, Throne and People, that is, the Orthodox Faith, the Christian Emperor, the Faithful. All three go together. If any one element is compromised, then all three are compromised. Thus, if we reject the Orthodox Faith, we do not build the Christian Empire among the People, as has happened in the Western world. If we reject the Incarnation of the Christian Empire, we fail to reflect the Faith in the Father and fail to preach the values of the Holy Spirit among the People, as has happened in disincarnate Parisian philosophy. And if the People lose the Orthodox Faith, there will be no Empire, as happened in 1917.

Just as we cannot have the Father without the Son and the Holy Spirit, so we confess all three of these ideals of Holy Rus together. This means that we are called on to proclaim the uncorrupted Orthodox Faith of the Church (the Father), the restoration of the Incarnate Christian Empire and Emperor (the Son) and that we call all the peoples of the world to join us (the Holy Spirit), as St Seraphim of Sarov prophesied nearly 200 years ago. These are the Trinitarian Orthodox Civilizational values of the Returning Christian Empire which is coming soon. Thus, we clergy and people of ROCOR are the free and conscious servants of the Faith and People of the Tsar-Martyr, called on to reverse the treason of 1917 and its disastrous worldwide consequences.

Christ or Antichrist: There is No Room for Half-Christ

At the present time the politically-minded representatives of a minority of fewer than 20% of members of the Orthodox Church oppose the representatives of the majority of over 80%. This was clearly seen at the 2016 Inter-Orthodox forum in Crete, boycotted by representatives of over 80% of Orthodox and whose pre-written, ‘Halfodox’ documents respected Orthodox bishops refused to sign. The representatives of nearly 20% are from the Greek and EU parts of the Church that are US/Western run and influenced; the representatives of the 80% are the politically free, who are able to keep to the Christian Tradition, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and who believe in the Incarnation of the Church in the Christian Empire.

The 20% who in fact, consciously or unconsciously, betray the Church are composed of two groups.
The first group is formed of petty nationalists, who fall into idolatry by putting their national flag above the multi-national Church. The result of such nationalism is that those outside their nationalism are swiftly assimilated into surrounding groups. For example in the Diaspora, the descendants of such nationalists, speaking above all the local language and assimilating the local culture, are soon absorbed into the Non-Orthodox majority. Thus the churches of such nominal, nationalistic Orthodox rapidly die out, as the foreign nationalism of nationalist forebears has no relevance to descendants born in the Diaspora and they quit the Church.

The second group is formed of modernists, who have no deep love of the Church, no spiritual life or values, and tell you that it is irrelevant whether you belong to the Church or not – as ‘it is, after all, just another culture’. They are therefore inferiority-complex relativists and so ecumenists. Such people used to baptise their children (if they baptised them at all) into what they perceived to be the majority religion of the country where they lived. In other words, such modernists are relativists because they are conformists, who swim with the tide of the Establishment where they live, whatever it may be. Their Diaspora descendants also have little time for the Church and are quickly assimilated into the atheist masses.

As a result of the defection of one emigre group of such modernists, already dissident before the Revolution, which indeed they brought about, to the US-run, largely nationalist and modernist Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church has had to build a new Cathedral in Paris. This is a Cathedral for those Orthodox who are faithful to the integral Christian Tradition, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and who believe in the Incarnation of Christ and so of the Church in the Christian Empire. Only here, for example, is the Orthodox calendar adhered to, only here is the tradition of confession before communion adhered to, only here do women keep to the Christian Tradition of modest dress. In other words, only here are spiritual ties to the integrity of the Church kept.

After consecrating both the Russian Orthodox Cathedrals in London and Paris in the last two months, it is clear that the Russian Orthodox Patriarch is intent on witnessing to the integral Orthodox Christian Tradition before the Western world. This is a clear rejection of the watered down, modernist, relativist and ecumenist Cretan or Westernized version of Orthodoxy, created by the neocon sponsors of Greek Orthodoxy in Washington. This anti-dogmatic Halfodoxy is unable to witness anything to anyone except its inferiority as a merely exotic version of Western secularism.

Today, 100 years after the blood-soaked Revolution, the Church is returning to witness to the spiritually damaged Western world that the Western-developed, globalist atheism that persecuted it for three generations in the Soviet Union, in the greatest persecution seen in history but which is virtually ignored in the guilty West, is dead. Moreover, this clearly implies that if the Western world continues its adoption of that globalist atheism, then it too is dead. As in 2016 Western people after Western people re-assert their national identities, to the fury of their power-grasping, US/EU political and media establishments, the message of uncompromised Orthodox Christianity is at least being heeded.

Christ the Invincible Power

Answers to Questions from Recent Conversations and Correspondence

Q: When did you first become conscious of the Russian Orthodox Church?

A: My introduction to the Orthodox Church was through the local saints of England in my native north Essex, notably St Edmund, but also St Albright (Ethelbert), St Cedd, St Botolph and St Osyth. However, as regards the Russian Orthodox Church as such, my first encounter was almost fifty years ago, just after my 12th birthday, in August 1968. As a result of that revelation, I began teaching myself Russian in October of that year in Colchester because I already knew that the Russian Orthodox Church is my spiritual home. However, I had to wait nearly another seven years until I could take part in Russian Orthodox life, as in those days (it is not much better now) there were so few Russian churches anywhere. I only managed to visit any Russian churches in 1973.

Q: Which part of the Russian Church did you join?

A: Having been told by two of its members that the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) would not allow me to join it because I was English (I had no idea at that time that my great-grandmother was Russian, I only discovered that distant link much later), I had no alternative but to join the Moscow Patriarchate. They may have been many things in those distant days, but at least they were not racists.

Q: What was your path to the priesthood after that?

A: A very hard one. First of all, since I could not live and work in Russia on account of the Cold War at that time, for my first job I went to live and work in Greece. I thought that was the next best alternative. After a year there and visiting the then Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, I understood that the Balkan Churches were no solution to the need for a Local Orthodox Church in the West. They were all inward-looking, culturally very narrow and hopelessly nationalistic. Later, contacts with Romanians and Georgians told me the same about them and in the Romanian case there is the huge problem of simony. So, with Russia closed off, in 1979 with the blessing of Metr Antony (Bloom) I went to study at the St Sergius Theological Institute in Paris, which I had in my ignorance imagined to be a Russian Orthodox seminary.

Q: What was it in fact?

A: It was the remains of a Russian Orthodox seminary mingled with an institute of philosophy and, frankly, of heresy. It openly preached modernism or Renovationism, which is Protestant-based, and is therefore not even remotely interesting to someone coming from a country like England with a Protestant culture, so alien to me. One English priest, rather harshly, called St Serge a Methodist Sunday School. Very harsh, but there was some truth in it.

Q: Why did you not think of going to Jordanville in the USA?

A: For the same reason as before. I was repeatedly told by members of ROCOR that they only took Russians. Remember in those days there was no internet, no advice, you had to make your own way, you went by what local representatives told you, even if it was incorrect.

Q: What happened next?

A: In 1982 I was offered the priesthood by the Moscow Patriarchate on terms which I can only describe as scandalous. I walked out, never to return, and enquired again at the Church Outside Russia. I got the same answer as in 1974, though I noted that this time there were actually a few ex-Anglicans in a separate branch of ROCOR in England. However, these rather eccentric conservative Anglicans seemed to have no interest in the Russian Orthodox Church, but only in being anti-Anglican and they had a huge interest in fanatical Greek Orthodox sects. Never having been Anglican and having lived in Greece, I had no interest in either. This was all the more frustrating since ROCOR had just canonized the New Martyrs and Confessors and naturally I had their icons and venerated them. Nevertheless, in 1983, I decided to emigrate to France and join my wife’s jurisdiction, the Paris Jurisdiction.

Q: Wasn’t that foolhardy? I mean you already knew about the problem of modernism there?

A: What you have to understand is that in Paris in 1981 they had elected a new Archbishop. Under the very elderly and saintly old one, renovationists had come to the fore, taking advantage of his old age, but the new Archbishop promised us personally that he would sweep them away and return his jurisdiction to Orthodoxy and canonical Russian practice. So this was a time of great promise and even excitement. Patriarch Dimitrios of Constantinople even said at the time that the Paris Jurisdiction would be returned to the Russian Church as soon as it was free. So, with hope in a promising future, in January 1985 I was ordained deacon there.

Q: What happened next?

A: in May 1985 I was offered the priesthood providing that I would become a freemason. I refused, scandalized. Then we became witnesses to the complete takeover of the jurisdiction by renovationists. The new Archbishop ordained them one by one, completely breaking his promise – not because he was a liar, but because he was weak. It was the same problem as Metr Evlogy, the first Paris Jurisdiction ruling bishop; he had never wanted to leave the Russian Church, but he was a weak man surrounded by powerful laymen, mainly freemasons and those who had betrayed the Tsar and organized the February Revolution. It was the end of the possibility that that jurisdiction would ever return to the freed, restored and reunited Russian Church. But I only understood that the meaning of that bitter disappointment afterwards.

Q: Why did you not leave such a masonic group?

A: Not all by far were freemasons and I felt that I had to labour on until God’s will for me should be revealed.

Q: When was that?

A: Without doubt it was in summer 1988 when the Paris Jurisdiction celebrated the millennium of the Baptism of Rus. Instead of inviting the Russian bishops in Western Europe to the Cathedral on Rue Daru in Paris and returning to the Russian Church in unity, they railed against the Russian Church and invited the Roman Catholic Cardinal of Paris. I was not only scandalized but spiritually distraught. I was an eyewitness to treason and apostasy. It was the last straw. They preferred heresy to Orthodoxy.

Soon after, I met Archbishop Antony of Geneva of ROCOR, who told me that he would be happy to receive me and that I had no need whatsoever to labour on in such anti-canonical conditions. I jumped at the opportunity. 17 people left with me, including a priest. So we all joined the Church Outside Russia in January 1989. That was a transforming moment because previously I had only known the Church Outside Russia in England. On the other hand, Vladyka Antony, heir to Vladyka John of Shanghai, though traditional, was not racist or fanatical, but missionary-minded. He lived in a different world from the fanatics in England and we freely concelebrated with other Orthodox.

I remember him telling me about the extremists who were trying to take control of ROCOR in New York. He said: ‘But there’s nowhere else to go’. I have not the slightest doubt that he would have returned to Russia, if he had had the chance. I also remember conversations with him about Metr Antony of Kiev (Archbp Antony came from Kiev), whom he had known well in Belgrade and whose name he had taken. He was the real ROCOR. Real Russian Orthodox. At last. It had taken me 20 years to get to that point! 20 years of facing illusions, lies, broken promises and corruption. You would think it would have been easy, but nothing of the sort. All hell was against the Russian Orthodox Church, a sure sign of truth.

Q: What happened next?

A: Well, I was at last living as a proper Russian Orthodox. Nearly three years later, in December 1991 I was ordained priest for the new ROCOR parish in Lisbon in Portugal.

Q: What was your attitude to the Moscow Patriarchate?

A: We were all just impatiently waiting for it to become politically free and free of renovationism. That happened officially with the Jubilee Council in Moscow in 2000.

Q: So why didn’t the Church Outside Russia join up with the Patriarchate straightaway in 2000?

A: It is one thing to proclaim the truth at a Council, but another for the decisions of that Council to be implemented. For example, after that I can still remember how at the London Patriarchal Cathedral they refused to put up icons of the New Martyrs and also, incidentally, they refused to sell the books of Fr Seraphim (Rose) or anything traditional. Priests and people coming from Russia were persecuted by the renovationists because they were ‘too’ traditional. We had to wait for the Patriarchate to free itself from such Renovationism.

Also, it must be said, we had to wait until the fanatical elements that had done so much harm to ROCOR since they had started infiltrating the Church in the mid-sixties had left us. When the extremists did finally leave, almost at the same time, there was a huge sigh of relief, because then we could get on with being Orthodox. So it was we had to wait until 2007.

Q: How do you know that people are free of Renovationism?

A: Easy: The yardstick is veneration for the New Martyrs, especially the Imperial Martyrs. The renovationists hate them.

Q: How do you know that people are free of sectarian fanaticism of the sort you describe as having infiltrated ROCOR?

A: Easy: The yardstick is the willingness to concelebrate with other Orthodox Christians.

Q: What is going to happen in the future? At present there are countries like England where there are two parallel jurisdictions of the Russian Church, one dependent on Moscow, the other dependent on the Church Outside Russia?

A: According to the 2007 agreement, where there are two parallel jurisdictions, ROCOR should, in time, absorb the Patriarchal jurisdiction. This will probably take a generation, so that no-one will be under any pressure and everything will take place naturally, organically. However, in reality, already nine years have passed and we can see that in certain areas, like North America and Australasia, ROCOR will indeed clearly take over responsibility for those territories, whereas in other areas the Patriarchate will take over, as in South America, not to mention South-East Asia. The problem comes in the mixed area of Western Europe, including the British Isles and Ireland. In this area, only time will tell, clearly it is the more competent of the two that will take responsibility.

For the moment we shall lead parallel lives. There is in any case so much to do. I could start 12 parishes tomorrow, if I had the money to buy buildings and get candidates for the priesthood ordained. The state of Orthodox infrastructure and the general pastoral situation here are so appalling as to be scandalous; no wonder so many Orthodox lapse or become Roman Catholic or Protestant. All we pastors meet with is indifference. Those in authority should hang their heads in shame. Why is there not a church, our own property in every town over 100,000? This should have been done a generation ago. For example the teeming millions of London only have two small churches!

Colchester is the 50th largest town in England (and incidentally the 500th largest in Western Europe). It has a church that belongs to us. But want about the other 49 larger ones? Only five of them have their own churches: London, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Birkenhead-Liverpool. That is a scandal. There is no missionary vision at all. Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK with a population of two million. And where do the faithful of the Patriarchate have ten liturgies a year on Saturdays (that’s all the priest can manage)? In the Ukrainian Uniat chapel. The next time you hear some naïve Orthodox boasting about his Church, tell him that. Orthodox should be ashamed of themselves.

Q: So is there competition between the two parts of the Russian Church locally?

A: No, not at all. It all depends on who has the priests and the buildings. A concrete example. I was asked to visit a prison in Cambridgeshire. Now, since there is no ROCOR presence in Cambridgeshire (because through incompetence it refused to set anything up there in the 1980s), I gave the prison authorities the references of the Patriarchal priest who lives in Cambridgeshire. On the other hand, when there was question of the Patriarchate setting something up in Norfolk (it had lost what it had had there a few years before, also through incompetence), but knowing that ROCOR had a presence there dating back to 1966, it was referred to me. So here is a territorial division. Now, where there is a double jurisdiction, as in London (the only case), something will have to be sorted out. But, as you can see, that will be as a result of competence. Only time can settle such matters. The more competent part, the more spiritual part of the Russian Church will prevail and form a united jurisdiction.

Q: So there is no rigid territorial division in Western Europe?

A: No, nobody wants to impose such a system. Let everything be done freely, let the people choose. Though, having said that, we can observe a tendency for ROCOR to dominate in the English-speaking world. Canada, the USA and Australasia are clear examples. For example, with Archbishop Mark of ROCOR retiring to Germany and the ROCOR Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland being taken over by Metr Hilarion of New York, we can even talk about a sort of ROCOR Brexit. Metr Hilarion will in fact be Metropolitan of New England and Old England. That is an exceptional event, historically speaking, and may be significant, a turning-point.

So it is possible that in a generation from now ROCOR will only exist in the English-speaking world, but will unite all Russian Orthodox there. ROCOR will become ROCA – the Russian Orthodox Church in the Anglosphere. That is one quite organic and natural possible scenario, a united Russian Orthodox Metropolia for the Anglosphere, the English-speaking world. The Patriarchate will look after everything else in various Metropolias, in Latin America, in Alaska, in Western Europe, in Asia etc.

Q: So Western Europe would completely go to the Patriarchate?

A: That is the way that things are developing at the moment. All the young bishops and all the dynamism in the Russian Church there is Patriarchal. ROCOR only has three ageing bishops and is not opening any new churches.

Q: Is there a difference between ROCOR churches and Patriarchal churches?

A: I think there is a small one, in general. Strangely enough, ROCOR is at one and the same time more Russian, but also more local, more integrated. We have done the translations, we print in English, we speak the local languages and know the local laws, we were born here. At the same time, however, we are utterly faithful to the best of the Tsar’s Russia, never having endured the Soviet period and Renovationism. ‘To quote the saintly Metr Laurus: ‘We are for the purity of Holy Orthodoxy’. We are Imperial priests and people.

Q: What about your own relations with the Russian Church inside Russia?

A: We are very close to all those who are Churched in Russia and they feel close to us. For example, in Moscow one of the closest friends of ROCOR has always been Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov), whom some have even suggested will be the next Patriarch. (Bp Tikhon has been in the news recently, since he outraged the British Establishment by inviting students from Eton College to experience Christianity in Russia; not something the atheist Establishment likes). In general, those who especially venerate the New Martyrs and Confessors at once feel at home in ROCOR. I have this nearly every Sunday. People from different parts of Russia, from the Ukraine, from Moldova and elsewhere say that they feel at home, whatever the language, the atmosphere is like at home. In my native town of Colchester, that is a great thing that we have such an oasis of Orthodoxy.

Q: Who are the unChurched in Russia?

A: You find all sorts of people. There are those on the right hand side who mingle superstition with Orthodoxy, for instance, those ritualists who think that holy water is more important than holy communion, who mix in pharisaic sectarianism, puritanism and judgementalism, or, on the other hand, those on the left hand side, who mix in Soviet nationalism, love of the tyrant Stalin, or modernism. But all that is superficial, the majority make their way to the Church sooner or later. You do not waste time on the convert fringes of the Church – otherwise you might end up thinking that that is the Church! A terrible delusion!

Q: Why have you stayed faithful to the Russian Church despite all the difficulties that you have faced over nearly fifty years?

A: Because the Russian Orthodox Church is the Invincible Power. History since 1917 proves it. The gates of hell have not prevailed – and shall not prevail – despite all the enemies and traitors, both external and internal, we have faced. Judas betrayed, but the other apostles triumphed. So tragedy becomes joy. The stone that was rejected is become the headstone of the corner. Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!

On Debolshevization and Bolshevization: Questions and Answers from Recent Correspondence

Q: Why is the Church Outside Russia in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate? It is a Soviet organization and you are, or at least were, free.

A: A Soviet organization? But there were Patriarchs in Moscow long before the Soviet Union ever existed. I do not understand you. If it is a Soviet organization (even though the Soviet Union ceased to exist 25 years ago), why is the whole Orthodox Church in communion with the Church Inside Russia (or the Moscow Patriarchate as you prefer to call it), including the Church Outside Russia? Simply because it is the now politically-free Church Inside Russia with some 160 million faithful and over 350 bishops, three quarters of the whole Orthodox Church. It has over 800 monasteries and convents, holy elders and no doubt saints. Where are the elders in the tiny but dynamic Church Outside Russia today? The question really is why are you not in communion with the Church Inside Russia? If you are not, then you are outside the Church. So you must belong to some brainwashing, politicized sect, subsidized by the CIA, or else to some esoteric, self-justifying sect or cult which thinks it is above the Church. Only such a sect would call the Russian Church ‘Soviet’.

Q: Yes, but your Patriarch Kyrill actually has a KGB code-name.

A: Well, first of all, the KGB no longer exists, so he had, not has, a KGB code-name would be correct. Secondly, everyone of importance had a KGB code-name, for example, the then Metropolitan Kyrill, but also Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Are you suggesting therefore that Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were KGB agents?! To have a code-name is totally different from working as a spy. You seem very confused between the two. Western spy agencies also give their victims code-names. That does not mean that their victims are spies and murder people, they are victims.

Q: O.K., but you cannot deny that Patriarch Kyrill and Vladimir Putin were once Soviet citizens.

A: And so were hundreds of thousands of saints, New Martyrs and Confessors. You venerate canonized Soviet citizens and you are complaining that they are Soviet citizens!

On a political level, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and a dozen or so Soviet-era defectors were also Soviet citizens. They then went to work for the CIA and MI6 and no doubt were given code-names by those organizations. Some of them, like the late, London-based Litvinenko, worked as an MI6 spy.

As for people who were once Soviet citizens, that was automatic because of the country they were born in. Is it a sin to be born in a country? I cannot understand your logic. The apostles were born in the pagan Roman Empire which persecuted them and the Apostle Paul was actually a Roman citizen. Was that their fault? Was that a sin? Was it their sin that one of the twelve disciples was Judas Iscariot?

Of course, it is true that anyone born and brought up during the Soviet era, and that finished 25 years ago, was marked by that period. Thus, I see a great difference between ex-Soviet citizens under about 50 and those over about 50 and of course both Patriarch Kyrill and Vladimir Putin (the latter of whom is nothing to do with the Church hierarchy, though he is a baptized layman and churchgoer) are over 50. Those under about 25 are hardly marked at all by the Soviet era and on the other hand those over about 75 even tend to be pro-Stalin (and also unbaptized).

Q: What are the temptations of those who like them were born during the Soviet era, but have since been baptized Orthodox?

A: The main temptation is nationalism. There are even a few, mainly elderly Orthodox, now baptized, who admire Stalin for that reason. This is very similar to elderly Anglicans who admire Churchill. Yes, both were victorious war-leaders, but millions died under both, for example, Churchill organized the bloodbath at Gallipoli, gassed the Kurds, made strategic mistakes during World War II and he must also in part bear responsibility for the millions who died in the Bengal famine during that War. Similarly, in the US there are elderly people who admire President Truman, he who massacred 300,000 Japanese civilians, men, women and children, with atomic bombs and also threatened Patriarch Maximos of Constantinople with death. Such admiration is just misplaced and irrational nationalist nostalgia, the result of brainwashing by wartime propaganda.

Here we come to your question about Patriarch Kyrill and President Putin. Both are of course marked or coloured by the Soviet period and are generally admired by nationalists. What critics like yourself fail to understand is that they are simply part of a process – President Putin and the Patriarch are only stages on the way, not the terminus, which is what we are looking at. The next Patriarch, perhaps someone like Metr Benjamin of Vladivostok, will be very different, free of any Soviet colouring at all. In the same way, a possible successor to President Putin has appeared (not Medvedev). The Russian Federation is not long for the world in its present form. All of this is a temporary arrangement to carry us through to where we want to be.

Q: What about renovationism, which still exists in Russia?

A: It is true that the vestiges of renovationism still exist there, for example, with the sect of Fr Kochetkov, who was so warmly invited by the now defrocked Bp Basil Osborne to take over the then Sourozh Diocese before he joined the Rue Daru group. Fr Kochetkov, who was beloved by the late modernist Rue Daru philosophers Olivier Clement and Nikita Struve, who so hated the Russian Church that they refused to belong to Her, has 2,000 followers. His sect is protected by a very elderly Soviet-era bishop, but, frankly, all this is dying out. It has no future. It is a phenomenon of Bolshevization, we are patiently working for Debolshevization. That will need time. Since we do not ask perfection of Western societies, but continue to live here despite their horrific apostasy and baby-killing, why should we demand instant Debolshevization in ex-Soviet societies? We live in the Church, not in society on the fringes of or outside the Church. As Christians the only perfection we are entitled to demand is of ourselves, not of others.

Q: But there are still strong vestiges of the Soviet mentality.

A: Yes, on the fringes, of course. These vestiges are still strong in remoter, provincial areas like Central Asia, the Baltics and, above all, in the Western-supported Ukraine, with its Fascist elements, who simply changed from being pro-Bolshevik to pro-Fascist overnight. The mentality of corrupt dictatorships is the same, whatever name you give them, Communist or Capitalist.

Q: What about nominalism? Most Orthodox in Russia, though baptized, simply do not go to church.

A: Of course, this is true – just as only a maximum of 10% of Russians before the Revolution and in the emigration went to Church. If you do not believe me for lack of living experience with the old emigration before they died out in the 1990s, read the report by St John of Shanghai on the state of the Russian emigration given at the Second All-Diaspora Council in 1938.

Having said that, you must also understand that Orthodox nominalism, however regrettable, is not the same nominalism as in the West. In the Roman Catholic-Protestant world, church-going, made an ‘obligation’ under threat of hellfire by the Roman Catholics and non-church-going made into an experience of guilt by the Protestants, is seen as the only sign of belonging to the Church. For Orthodox, Christianity is all about the way we live, not necessarily about church-going. For example, we do not have ‘Bible study’, a thoroughly Protestant concept, we live the Bible. Anyone who has experienced the friendliness and hospitality of Orthodox countries will know this. In Orthodox countries you have the Christian spirit of mutual support and love of the Truth, whereas Western countries are marked by materialist and calculating self-interest and the cult of self-admiration, the ‘I’ culture of consumerism. Orthodox, including non-Churchgoers, are horrified by Western people who proudly proclaim that they ‘do not believe in God’, just as they are horrified by the Western treatment of people in their slums and in their colonies in the ‘Third World’. To us it is all simply unnatural and inhuman. You cannot treat human-beings like that.

We Orthodox go to church when we need to, when we feel ill, when we need ‘the medicine of immortality’. It is not a guilt trip, as for heterodox. So do not be like the Protestant Pharisees and judge Orthodox by whether we are at church or not, it is our way of life that makes us Orthodox or not. For example last Sunday, we here only had some 200 at church, and yet there are 600 in the parish, and if I count all those Orthodox who come through the doors in any 12-month period, that figure would probably come to 2,000. This is what I mean by 10% maximum attending church, 200 out of 2,000.

Q: You said that some sects are CIA-financed. What proof do you have of that?

A: Well, first of all, these sects openly acknowledge it and are proud of the CIA as ‘patriotic Americans’. Secondly, there is the case inside the Church Outside Russia. It is a fact that as early as the 1960s a senior individual in the Church Outside Russia was given $38,000 by the CIA, as was revealed at the time. The receiver of the money, who died outside the Church in the 1990s and banned anyone from the Church Outside Russia attending his funeral, had a son, who sold off $6 million worth of Church property in Jerusalem. It was a huge scandal. The CIA always makes use of such ‘useful idiots’, those whom it can buy out. Other Western spy agencies did the same, Russian Parisians like Melnikov and Tiesenhausen openly worked for the French spy agency, in London émigré Russians worked for MI5 and MI6 and in Ottawa Russian émigrés worked for the Canadian spy agency. However, the Church goes on despite such politicking on the fringes.

Similarly, there are many Western journalists who receive CIA money to write anti-Russian articles. This is obvious to any reader of the Murdoch-owned ‘The Times’ in England, but this goes on in all Western-owned media in the US and Europe, including Western rags like ‘The Moscow Echo’ in Russia. Such journalists write the propaganda that they are paid to write by Western spy agencies. Some people will do anything for money because they put money above the Truth, as it is written, you cannot serve God and money.

Q: What does Debolshevization mean in concrete terms?

A: To answer this question, we must understand what the Bolshevik regime tried to do. It had a threefold, anti-Trinitarian programme. Firstly, it wanted to destroy all Traditional Religion and above all, but not only, the Orthodox Church. Secondly, it wanted to destroy all National Identity. Thus, in its anti-Christian cosmopolitanism it banned the word ‘Russian’, used ‘Soviet’ and made the Soviet Union out of many different national identities. Thirdly, it wanted to destroy Family Life, virtually banning sacramental marriage, encouraging abortion and divorce, taking away children and putting them into crèches, schools and camps, all the while brainwashing them with Bolshevik ideology. Therefore, Debolshevization means exactly the opposite of all this, that is, a threefold restoration, that of Traditional Religion, National Identity and Family Life.

In all this the Soviet Union failed. However, Bolshevization still exists because it defines exactly what is happening in the neocon and Bolshevik West today. Firstly, today we see the destruction of all Traditional Religion, substituting for it some wishy-washy, spiritually emptied, anti-traditional, New Age humanism and secularism. That is modern Western religion. This spirit of apostasy dominates Protestantism, Roman Catholicism (since the 1960s) and the modernist, new calendarist, Westernized fringes of the Orthodox Church, for instance, among many Greek Americans and some Romanians. Secondly, today we see the destruction of the Sovereign Nation-State under the slogan Globalization (formerly this was called what it is – Americanization, but now the codeword Globalization is used), using mass immigration and social injustices to help it. Thirdly, today we see the destruction of Family Life, killing sacramental marriage with the cohabitation of ‘partners’, encouraging abortion and divorce, taking away children and putting them into crèches, schools and camps, all the while brainwashing them with secularist ideology, sex education, gender ideology and internet pornography from the State-controlled media.

The Bolshevik regime is dead in Russia, but it is very much alive under the politically correct dictatorship of neocon ‘liberalism’ in the Western world, the very liberalism that is so Russophobic. Why is it Russophobic? Because it is in fact Christianophobic. Liberalism is utterly intolerant of real Christianity, that is, of Orthodoxy, it only allows a castrated, secularized substitute which is powerless to save. Just when the Soviet Union died, the European Union was born as part of the whole Western Union. Next door to the EU headquarters in Brussels, what do you find? The headquarters of NATO. It is all part of the same Western Union.

Although forced collectivization failed under the Bolsheviks, voluntary collectivization through the illusion of consumerist individualism seems to have succeeded. Look around you: everywhere you see ‘individuals’ in the same US uniform of jeans, T-shirts, tennis shoes, I-phones, tablets, pokemon fads, tattoos, obesity-making, adulterated food and TV series (bread and circuses). This is the same brainwashing and zombifying secularist poison that makes people unable to think for themselves or to have any sort of spiritual life or values. All who work for Traditional Religion, National Identity and Family Life are mocked, scorned and persecuted in today’s West. The Soviet Union is dead in Russia, but Bolshevization is alive and prospering in the West. The only question is whether it will triumph altogether and completely wipe out the Western world, or whether the Western world will before it is too late take heed of Christian Civilization and values, alive in Russia, and repent.

Do not worry about Debolshevizing old people in Russia, our task is far more ambitious – Debolshevizing the Western world. That is why, for example, some Western people have actually gone to the Donbass to fight for the Ukraine against the Kiev puppet regime – in order to defend the sovereignty of Europe against the anti-Christian, Neo-Bolshevik world.