Category Archives: Diaspora

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.

After the Farce: Towards a Real Council

Now that the farce of the ‘Great and Holy Pan-Orthodox Council’ of 666 (16/06/16) with its US Democratic Party agenda and masonic logo is all but over, even before it has begun, what lessons can be learned? They are the lessons that the Orthodox saints and faithful have been repeating for the 55 years since this Washington-inspired tragi-comedy began:

1. Eastern Papism is dead because it was never alive and anti-Sobornost (that is, Phanariot anti-catholicity, ignoring the faithful in favour of top-down clericalist arrogance, working and plotting behind closed doors in accordance with US State Department orders) does not work in the Church of God, however well it may work among man-made heterodox institutions, like the Vatican or Protestantism.

2. The phyletist, CIA-run Patriarchate of Constantinople has now for ever discredited itself and so the leadership of the Orthodox Church must pass to Her natural leader, the Russian Orthodox Church, 75% of the whole Church and the only Church with a political leader of world importance who, although not an Emperor, can, unlike Joe Biden, in accordance with Tradition, call a real Council.

So where do we go from here? First of all, we need to hold a Council that discusses all the issues that actually concern Orthodox. We would suggest two great areas for discussion:

1. Inside the Church, strengthen the unity and catholicity of the fourteen Local Churches, freeing them from outside political interference, for example, forbidding the appointment of Patriarchs and bishops by US ministers and ambassadors and dismissing as uncanonical those who have been, ensuring that we all follow the Orthodox Tradition together, and encourage the gradual return (gradual for pastoral reasons) by all to the Orthodox liturgical and penitential traditions and the Church calendar.

2. Outside the Church, finish with ecumenism, the greatest waste of time and effort in the history of the Church because it has had no effect on the unrepentant heterodox. Thus, at last we can be free to call the whole world outside the Church to repentance, making missionary efforts to provide the infrastructure to preach the Church’s uncompromised message to the rest of the world. Thus, we can set up the necessary Russian-led, united ecclesial structures in the Diaspora as the firm foundations for future new Local Churches, in order to counter the globalist ‘New World Order’ processes leading to Antichrist.

About Ionan Orthodoxy: An Interview with Archbishop George of London

12 May 2041

Q: What is the territory of your Archdiocese?

AG: As you know, our Archdiocese is part of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe under Metropolitan John. This stretches from Ireland to Austria and Iceland to Sicily and includes the Latin, Germanic, Celtic and Basque peoples of Western Europe. Our Archdiocese includes the four now sovereign nations of England, Ireland (which was finally reunited five years ago, if you remember), Scotland and Wales. At present we have four bishops, myself, Bishop Patrick in Dublin, Bishop Andrew in Edinburgh and Bishop David in Cardiff. For our Local Synods we always use our premises on the Isle of Man, the only place from which all our four nations are visible.

Q: Why did you take the name Ionan for your Archdiocese?

AG: Originally, the name ‘Diocese of the Isles’ was suggested for the Archdiocese, but this was considered too vague, since there are isles all over the world. Then the name ‘Isles of the North Atlantic’ was suggested, so forming the acronym I.O.N.A. This conveniently refers to the Ionan Orthodox monasticism of St Columba, which originated in Egypt and came to Ireland via Gaul. Since St Columba’s monastery on Iona spread to England via Lindisfarne and from there Orthodoxy went south, converting much of England, and authentic monasticism had always been the one thing missing here, we felt that this was a good name.

Q: How did ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ come into being?

AG: As you know even into the early 21st century there were two forms of Orthodoxy in Western countries. The first was that which looked back to the ethnic homeland, which meant that in each Western European country there was a multitude of dioceses, called jurisdictions, each living in a sort of divisive ethnic ghetto and using mainly a language other than English. This was all right for first-generation immigrants, but it did not work for second and subsequent generations, who were simply assimilated into the Non-Orthodox milieu. And after three generations, 75 years, abroad, the first generation always died out and so the Church with it. It happened to the Russians in England (arrived by 1920) who had died out by 1995 and to the Greek-Cypriots in England (arrived by 1960) who had died out by 2035.

Q: What was the second form of Orthodoxy in the West?

AG: Seeing the obvious short-sightedness and failure of the above form, there were second and third-generation Russian intellectuals who by reaction took the opposite stance. Their second form of Orthodoxy consisted of merging all Orthodox, whatever their background, into a melting pot. Their common point was the lowest common denominator, that is, the ethnic identity of the (Non-Orthodox) host country. Their policy was then to sell this as the new and substitute ethnic identity of a new Local Church. This second form only developed in full in North America, where immigrants had begun arriving much earlier than in Western Europe, at the end of the nineteenth century, and where people were far more cut off from the roots of Orthodoxy than in Europe. In Europe we did not want to repeat that mistake.

Q: What was that mistake?

AG: It was the attempt to create an ‘American Orthodoxy’. That was a mistake because it put a culture, Non-Orthodox at that, above the Church. This was not a theological movement, but merely a sociological movement of adaptation and conformism. For example, through the inferiority complex of immigrants, most Orthodox churches in the US adopted pews and many of them organs, one institution tried to use a guitar accompaniment to the Divine Liturgy and adapt the theme tune of the cowboy film ‘Shenandoah’ to it. In other places the Divine Liturgy would be stopped at Christmas in order to sing Protestant Christmas carols!

Someone at the time drew a cartoon of an ‘All-American Patriarch’, a clean-shaven man in a clerical collar with a foolish grin on his face and a glass of coca-cola in his hand, like an advert for toothpaste. Of course, this was only a carton, but it did sum up the situation. At that time when the USA still ruled the world, there were actually individuals in the US who arrogantly and blindly imagined that this second form of Orthodoxy there was the only true form of Orthodoxy, that it was at the centre of the world and that it was their duty to colonize the rest of the world with it! In reality, of course, it was a mere provincial backwater experiment, to be allowed to die out quietly because this experiment simply pandered to the weaknesses of the host country. It placed the Church of God below heretical culture. That was blasphemous, which is why it was racked with scandals.

Q: But did the same temptation not occur in Europe, even if it did not have time to develop to the same extent as in the USA?

AG: Yes, of course, it occurred; human nature is the same everywhere, it was just that it took on different forms according to the local heterodox culture. The same thing has happened among unChurched, semi-Orthodox people in Greece, Romania and Russia. It is simply the heresy of phyletism. And make no mistake, it is a heresy because you can lose your soul in it – that is what a heresy is.

For example, in France a whole jurisdiction catered for a kind of ‘philosophical and aesthetic Orthodoxy’, ‘l’Orthodoxie a la francaise’, as one might say. This theory of Orthodoxy, or theorizing about Orthodoxy, did not present the Church as the Christian way of life, but as a complex and highly intellectual philosophy, full of long words and isms, which no-one really understood. Of course, it could have been expressed in very simple language, which everyone knew already. But as long as it sounded theoretically and philosophically fine, ‘cosmique’ as they used to say, all was fine, but of course, it was not fine and that jurisdiction died out, as it was built on sand, not on the Rock of the Faith. This theorizing was about the god of the philosophers in the language of philosophers, not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the language of the fishermen of Galilee. You simply cannot build a Local Church based on Non-Orthodox culture! That is common sense, but you could not say that out loud to those who were taken up by such delusions.

Q: What about in other countries in Europe?

AG: It happened everywhere, not just in France. For example, in Germany the first liturgical book to be translated was the Typikon. In other words, Orthodoxy there was confused with the Non-Orthodox German mindset and produced an Orthodoxy of rules, a stubborn, black and white system, without any flexibility, any understanding of the human component, which is what it is all about. They lost their way by confusing the means (the services) with the ends (the salvation of the soul). For instance, I remember one German priest refusing to give a woman communion because she was dressed in trousers. Well, she was of course wrong, but a few decades ago there was a fashion for women to dress in trousers (fortunately, long since over now). That was bad, but what right did the German priest have to excommunicate that woman? Suppose she had died in the night after she had been refused communion? That sin would have been on the conscience of that priest.

Q: And in England?

AG: It was the same thing again. The national weakness here was not theorizing or creating a book of rules, but it was to adapt Orthodoxy to the British Establishment, to create a compromised ‘Establishment Orthodoxy’, a ‘British Orthodoxy’. This State-controlled and State-worshipping Orthodoxy, that of converts from Anglicanism, was of course just a repeat of the Anglicanism that had long ago been invented by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. There were even two whole but tiny jurisdictions dedicated to this State-approved pietism. It was all salt that had lost its savour. Some such people used the treacherous, half-Norman Edward the Confessor as the mascot of their ‘Establishment Orthodoxy’. Of course, it all came to nothing and has died out now, largely a fantasy of the late-twentieth century and the curious personalities who reigned supreme in the bad old days then. It was very oppressive because, as they were emperors in new clothes, you were not allowed to contradict them!

All these examples show the danger of compromising the Faith with local culture. And all those who did so have now died out, as withered branches. And that is the answer to your question, how did ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ come into being. It came into being as the only living alternative to the two false alternatives – the ghetto or worldly compromise.

Q: So what do you base ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ on?

AG: Simply, we put the Church and the Faith first. If we put the Kingdom of God, Orthodoxy, first, then all will fall into place, including the language that we use in services, which today is for about 90% in English, regardless of the ethnic origin of the parishioners, regardless of how well or how badly they speak another language. We are united by Orthodox Christianity, not by ethnic origins, and we are carried forward by the faithfulness to the Church and Her Tradition of the younger generations, who are all primarily English-speakers.

Q: You now have over 350 parishes in the British Isles and Ireland, all established quite solidly and with their own clergy and premises. Every city and town over 50,000 and the area around it is covered. This is quite unlike even 25 years ago, when the Russian Church, a small minority at that time, had mostly tiny communities with services once a month, borrowed premises and a suffered from a huge shortage of priests to go out and do vital missionary work in the area surrounding their churches. What about the other jurisdictions, which collectively still have over 50 parishes outside the Archdiocese?

AG: We live with them as good neighbours. People are free to join us and free to remain outside us. As you know, the parishes outside our jurisdiction are composed mainly of elderly people who settled here from various countries 50 years ago or more and they use very little English in their services. Virtually all the young people come to us. Time will show which way things will go. Live and let live.

Q: What is the future? Do you think of autocephaly?

AG: The Western European Metropolia, with just over 2,000 parishes now, is united, with six archdioceses, Iona, Scandinavia, Germania, Gallia, Italia and Hispania. True, the Metropolia has autonomy, but at the present time there is no desire at all for autocephaly. True, 2,000 parishes is more than in some other Local Churches, like the 700 parishes of the Hungarian Orthodox Church which recently became autocephalous, but a lot fewer than in others. Take China for example. That is still also an autonomous part of the Russian Church, even though it now has over 25,000 parishes. And the Russian Church Herself did not become autonomous for centuries, only after the Empire had fallen in New Rome. At present, I cannot see any reason to become autocephalous. That situation may of course change, especially in China, but not yet. It all takes time.

Q: Are you saying that autocephaly granted prematurely can be dangerous?

AG: Definitely. And especially in Western Europe.

Q: Why?

AG: Because Western Europe has for over a millennium veered between extremes which we do not want to repeat.

Q: Which extremes?

AG: The first is that of despotic centralism. This was the extreme of the pagan Roman Empire, which Charlemagne foolishly tried to revive and fortunately failed to, but it was indeed revived after 1050, causing Western Europe’s schism from the Church, and that lasted until the anti-Latin nationalist outburst of the Germanic Reformation. After that, despotic centralism was tried again by warmongers like Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler, and then by the EU Fourth Reich – and we all know how that ended.

Each time there was a reaction to this despotism – nationalism, and that led to terrible fratricidal wars in Europe, like the so-called ‘Wars of Religion’ in the 16th century, just as centralism created the World Wars. We do not want those extremes, we must follow the golden mean of unity in diversity, which is what we have in Ionan Orthodoxy and in the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe in general. Europe has to be a Confederation of Nations, not a Union, a United States of Europe, but not a series of warring, nationalist states either.

In the same way, the Tsardom of Rus, as it is now called, successfully overcame provincial Ukrainian nationalism a generation ago and reunited huge territories, one sixth of the world. However, it only did this by rejecting the old centralism of the Soviet Union, which had done so much damage to its credibility. Once it had done that, again on the basis of unity in diversity, all of Eastern Europe joined in a free and mutually beneficial economic confederation with it, throwing off the shackles of the old European Union, which was in fact just a repeat of the Soviet Union.

Q: Will you drop the word ‘Russian’ from the name of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe? Most of your faithful are either not Russian or else do not speak it.

AG: In the bad old days of Western nationalism, for example in North America in the Cold War, they detested the word ‘Russian’ and dropped it. Now we are more enlightened and we all understand that ‘Russian’ does not mean nationalism and means uncompromised, unsecularized Orthodoxy. We exist because we have been helped to exist by the Russian Orthodox Church, the only multinational, Imperial Orthodox Church. I think we should keep it. Do you remember the old Roman Catholic Church, as it used to be called? Well, there were hardly any Romans in it!

Q: Why has the Western European Metropolia been so successful?

AG: Without doubt because of the sacrifices made to underpin it in the twentieth century and since. The Church is built on blood, sweat and tears. We should remember with gratitude the prayers and work of those who went before us. For example, I can remember decades ago, how people wanted more English in the services. So, one bishop said yes, do the service in English. What happened? The people who had been clamouring for more English could not even put a decent choir together to sing just the Liturgy! Some of them said that the singing was so bad that they preferred the Liturgy in a foreign language, in which it was properly sung. In other words, you have to make sacrifices in order to achieve anything. We owe a great deal to those who sang properly in English, showing others that the Liturgy in English could be just as beautiful as in Slavonic. Actions speak louder than words.

Yes, mistakes were made in the past, but we learned from those mistakes. Take for example our English translations which stretch back to the turn of the 20th century, nearly 150 years ago, those made in the USA with the blessing of the holy Patriarch Tikhon by an Episcopalian Isabel Hapgood and by Orlov in England. Those were foundation stones. Yes, those translations have been improved and on the way we have seen archaic translations in a Latinate, Victorian style like those of Hapgood or even with 16th century spelling, we have seen those made into street English as well as into soulless, jarring academic English, all sorts, but today we have definitive translations, avoiding all those extremes. It is easy to criticize, but the fact is that without those tireless efforts of the past, however mistaken they sometimes were, we would not be where we are now.

Let us first of all thank our recent fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters in Christ who went before us, who built our Church, our parishes and our souls. Our Metropolia, in effect, the Church of the Old and the New Europe, would not exist without them. But let us also thank the saints of the first millennium. Through venerating them, we have earned their prayers and because of their prayers we are here today. We are built not on dead souls, but on spiritually alive souls, whether of the distant past or of the recent past. Always on spiritually alive souls: Remember that.

On the Past Divisions in the Russian Orthodox Emigration

Why did divisions take place in the Russian emigration: I mean, there were some everywhere who chose the Non-Patriarchal ROCOR, a few stayed under Moscow, others locally in North America set up the OCA and yet some others locally set up the Paris group. Four groups! And a second question: what do you think will happen to them in the future?

D.O., Kent

The Past

A correction: Three groups: the OCA, as it is now called, was built on Non-Russians, ex-Uniats from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who had emigrated to the USA and Canada well before the Russian Revolution, and, to a lesser degree, on native Alaskans. True, precedents of the OCA were under the Russian Church (either Moscow or else ROCOR) for periods, but it was never part of the Russian emigration. The only émigrés who joined it, and that after the Second World War, were elitist aristocrats with the Paris superiority complex, for instance, Fr Alexander Schmemann, Fr John Meyendorff and Sophia Kulomzina.

As regards the three Russian groups, they represented earlier social divisions – notice ‘represented’ in the past tense, since there are now essentially only two groups or, arguably, only one. One is minute and, as it is outside the Russian Church, in effect schismatic (Patriarch Alexei II’s words), the other is the Russian Church. These divisions existed well before the Revolution, even in the nineteenth century. Thus, those few who remained loyal to Moscow inherited to some extent the old Statist mentality of the pre-Revolutionary period. Their leaders remained loyal to the State, whatever, though there were also many very sincere Orthodox patriots among clergy and people. This mentality was inherent in the infamous decree of 1927, signed under duress by Metr Sergius, commanding all Orthodox outside Russia, including Non-Russians, to swear loyalty to the Church-persecuting, atheist State! A situation, which the Patriarchate in Moscow is still paying for, trying to retrieve the trust that it lost then, and again later, by appointing morally corrupt or renovationist individuals to its episcopate.

ROCOR, on the other hand, inherited the mentality of the pre-Revolutionary monastic revival. This was led by the neo-Patristic (and therefore slandered) figure of Metr Antony of Kiev, but had both positive and negative aspects. The positive aspects included faithfulness to the Tradition (and not to corrupt customs), with its ascetic, canonical and liturgical disciplines, and the love of the saints. The negative aspects, mainly on the fringes, included conservatism (instead of the Tradition), narrow Russian nationalism (instead of the multinational, Imperial Tradition), dry and formalist, at times pharisaic, ritualism, narrow negativism stifling any initiative, an elitist lack of pastoral understanding of and compassion for married clergy, children, parish life and the people in general, eccentric right-wingery and a sectarian mentality. It was these aspects that led some extremist individuals in ROCOR to support Hitler, to persecute and put on trial the spiritually vibrant St John of Shanghai and, more recently, to break away from the Church altogether, forming strange and tiny right-wing sects with all the usual sectarian infighting.

The Paris group, always very small, represented the pro-Western aristocrats and elitist intellectuals. They were already disloyal and even treacherous to Christ, both Church and State, long before the Revolution, going back to the Decembrist traitors of 1825. Many of them actually plotted and prepared the February 1917 Revolution with British and other anti-Christian foreign encouragement. That overthrew the legitimate rule of the Anointed Tsar and Orthodox Christian Empire, which ironically resulted in the self-punishment of their exile, once the ruthless Bolsheviks soon took over from their incompetent misrule in October 1917. (A similar situation to that of the corrupt English-speaking oligarchs who misrule the Ukraine today). Most of these emigres, mostly from Saint Petersburg, speaking fluent French, sometimes better than Russian, naturally headed for Paris. They were the oligarchs of their day.

The Present

Naturally, after the dissolution of the Soviet State in 1991, the first two groups, Moscow and ROCOR, joined together, but only once they had overcome their mutual political prejudices, which took them sixteen years to do. It is difficult and probably unfair to apportion blame for this lack of haste – history will do that. Clearly, there could be no unity until Moscow had at least on paper condemned co-operation with the atheist State and ecumenism (defined as intercommunion, prayer with heretics etc, and not simply talking to heterodox and witnessing to them) and canonized the New Martyrs and Confessors. All that happened in 2000. Nine years lost, but that is how long it took to overcome on paper the Statist Soviet mentality that refused to criticize even Stalin. On the other hand, many in ROCOR must bear a share of responsibility for their lack of haste too.

A few elderly, KGB-appointed individuals in the old Soviet Union never overcame the Statist mentality. Such is the tragic case of the 87-year old dinosaur, Michael Denysenko, who now calls himself ‘Metr Philaret of Kiev’. A provincial Party hack from the Ukraine of the old days, and reputedly an atheist, he is certainly married with two children. Obsessively jealous that he was not chosen Patriarch after the death of Patriarch Pimen in 1990 and seeing the way the tide was turning, he overnight converted himself to Ukrainian nationalism. This he had previously strongly and mockingly condemned, but he changed his ways in order to further his career, thus, like any vulgar vagans, giving himself the right to dress up in a patriarch’s costume! He depends entirely on political support from US-backed, neo-Nazi nationalists. What happens to him when the provincialist regime in Kiev, put in place by the US colonial administration, inevitably collapses, is unknown, but he may be dead by then anyway.

For its part, ROCOR had to lose its fringe sectarians and pharisees who had been troubling Church life since the 1960s. In the 1990s they even dared to forge alliances with old calendarists and received various mainly sectarian individuals on ex-Soviet territory into the Church, though these were never accepted by the unconsulted clergy and people in ROCOR. These sectarian elements actually claimed that the martyric Church in Russia was without grace and made political co-operation with the atheist State, i.e. the simple human sins of weakness and cowardice, into a new heresy! But if sin is heresy, then we are all heretics, the apostles and saints included. Their longer-term knowledge of Church history was extraordinarily weak and their practice of Orthodoxy seemed mainly to be limited to formalities and ritual.

The worst example was perhaps the politicking of the defrocked bishop, Barnabas (Prokofiev), in the south of France, who was later rightly put on trial and sentenced by the French government for embezzlement. In this country I know three laypeople, then in ROCOR, who, though too young to remember much about him, shocked me in the 1990s by telling me that they thought that Hitler had been a good thing. All three were extremely ignorant and all three unsurprisingly left the Church in 2007, joining various extremist sects. The strange thing is that two of them are married to Anglicans, i. e. in their own abrasive language, married to heretics!

The Future

As regards the future of the fourth, in fact, Non-Russian, group, the OCA, who knows? It is certainly suffering from a severe identity crisis and undergoing great tensions, constantly changing metropolitans. Two questions can be asked about it: Will it be able to survive as one intact group or will it split into its artificially combined constituent fragments, with a large part returning to the Russian Church? And would that be a negative or a positive thing? These questions are not for us to answer; those who constitute the OCA will answer those questions themselves, voting with their feet. As they are outside the Russian Church, we are merely onlookers and can only observe events.

With the exception of some non-Saint Petersburgers, and despite repeated invitations, the tiny third group, centred in Paris, has no intention of returning to the Russian Church and Her ascetic, canonical and liturgical disciplines. It can therefore be termed ‘ex-Russian’. Such a state of politicized, adolescent rebellion does not bode well. Indeed, we can already see the ‘withered branch syndrome’, as this self-isolated group gets ever smaller, though with several dozen quite untrained clergy with tiny ‘parishes’ (often between five and ten!) who sometimes do the strangest things. It will inevitably die out, as it runs out of bishops and Church-educated people and veers towards full secularization by the local Western Establishments which for obvious reasons encourage it, losing the reason for its existence. But that is not a problem for the Russian Church, which it ignores.

This leaves us with the first two groups, now more or less united into one. Here also it is difficult to know what will happen. At present there is no case for an administrative merger of the two, despite them sometimes sharing the same territory. The Moscow group, which gets ever larger in Western Europe, is in drastic need of many more missionary-minded bishops and clergy and a less ‘Soviet’ mentality, adapted to local needs and languages. It also suffers from a lack of premises, the result of the chronic lack of vision and maladministration of the past. Often, but not always, it still appears to lack leadership, vision and dynamism, still dealing with the short-term situation on a day to day basis – a recipe for long-term disaster.

As for ROCOR, it urgently needs dynamic young bishops and priests. Some seem to forget that the canonical age for consecrating a bishop is 35: to have nearly all your bishops (and too many clergy) in their sixties and seventies is profoundly abnormal and makes it likely that any group will die out. Now is the time of the wake-up call for ROCOR, if it wishes to survive in some form or other in the longer term. The result of any lack of leadership and direction is always that you live in the past and do not look to the future. Any loss of dynamism has to be remedied now. However, it is not too late and everything is still possible. ROCOR still has huge potential: whether that will be squandered or not, we cannot say.

Why Do The Two Parts of the Russian Church Not Merge?

Q: There are two small dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain and Ireland. The larger one, called ‘the Diocese of Sourozh’, is directly under Moscow and has a bishop in London and 27 clergy, the smaller one is under ROCOR (the Church Outside Russia) and has a bishop in Germany and 12 clergy. Surely it would make sense if they merged. Why don’t they?

T.P. London

A: Your timely question will be of interest not just to Russian Orthodox in these islands, but to others elsewhere. This is because there is for the time being a similar pattern of double dioceses in other parts of Western Europe, in the Americas and elsewhere. For example, there are even two Russian Orthodox Archbishops of Berlin of different dioceses – a situation which of course goes back to the division of Berlin and Germany during the Cold War. Therefore, I will give an answer that is first local and then general.

Locally

First of all, there is the historical reason why this abnormal situation of two dioceses on the same territory exists and then the consequences of that history. For instance, with its origin in the White Russian emigration of four generations ago, the ROCOR Diocese in this country consequently tends to be more independent, better integrated and better established than the newer, more ‘Soviet’, Sourozh Diocese and overall it has a more widespread use of English. It is not without significance that its first bishop had the title ‘of London’ and later two others with the title ‘of Richmond’, which the ‘Sourozh’ Diocese has never had – even its very name refers directly to Russia. Moreover, many of its clergy are recent arrivals from Russia who may only be staying here temporarily.

The Sourozh Diocese has also been through a turbulent and difficult period in recent decades as a result of the controversial personality and practices of the Parisian Metr Antony Bloom, as divisive in death as in life. For instance, it still has two small parishes, founded by him, that use the so-called ‘new’ calendar as well as in some places his practices, like no confession before communion or allowing cremation, that would appear to have been adopted from liberal Anglicanism. The ROCOR Diocese in this country is ‘stricter’, that is, traditional in its practices and its members are very loyal to its stand for the truth. In its day it was mocked and persecuted for this – though now it is admired for that stand, sometimes by the very people who once mocked it.

However, it is also true that there is now increasing convergence as the Sourozh Diocese largely returns to Russian Orthodox norms, and ROCOR has been helped by the fact that some disruptive fringe Anglo-Catholic converts left it some years ago for various sects. Although on paper Sourozh has grown bigger than the ROCOR diocese over the last forty years (the opposite was once the case), its many communities are generally very small and use temporary and borrowed premises with an ageing clergy. It is difficult to foresee which diocese will be bigger in the future, but it is true that ROCOR still does not have a resident bishop.

Thus, each diocese has its own history, with differences of emphasis, one older, one younger. Given these historical differences, which could create human frictions if the two dioceses were merged by force, it was decided at the 2007 agreement between the two parts of the Russian Church to let all such dioceses on the same territory evolve organically before any voluntary merger. This is especially important, given that emigration from the former Soviet Union is continuing and so the situation is fluid.

Thus, any process leading to a voluntary merger will take time – perhaps a whole generation. The main principle is never to force anyone to do anything, but to let the situation develop by itself, as any movement must be purely voluntary. Here is the basic answer to your question. However, nine years after the 2007 agreement we can already make some observations about possible future developments.

Generally

Originally, some, including myself, thought that all parishes outside the Church’s canonical territory of the former Soviet Union/Russian Empire and Japan, would simply gradually join ROCOR and that there would be a sort of merger between the two groups, thus creating an expanded ROCOR. However, we can now see a pattern with some interesting developments. I must emphasize that these have not taken place as a result of some top-down decree, but quite naturally, as a result of grassroots evolution.

This pattern is worldwide and it is basically towards a jurisdiction of ROCOR in US-dominated / largely English-speaking countries and of dioceses and parishes being dependent directly on Moscow elsewhere. All this is because such an arrangement is politically expedient and pragmatic. For example:

From the very beginning of ROCOR, Japan always remained dependent directly on Moscow, as part of its canonical territory, albeit outside the Soviet Union. After 1945 former ROCOR dioceses and parishes in China and Eastern Europe were directly absorbed into Moscow. Of course, that was for purely political reasons – they had no choice, However, today, most significantly, there is no movement in any of those countries back to ROCOR. And during that time Orthodox in Poland and Czechoslovakia even formed autocephalous Churches and Orthodox in China became autonomous. In the last five years we have seen that China, like Japan, has also become part of Moscow’s official canonical territory.

Other Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are heading the same way, simply because ROCOR has never had any presence there, whereas Moscow has. Moreover, the same thing is happening with parishes in Africa (with the blessing of the Patriarch of Alexandria), India, Iran, the Middle East, Cuba, North Korea and the Philippines. In most of these areas existing parishes basically depend directly on Moscow, mainly because Moscow has political access, a recent emigration, missionary and building activity or simply priests there, which ROCOR does not.

On account of the undermining schism in ROCOR in South America nine years ago, which took place largely because of the inability of ROCOR to appoint a local bishop, it would seem that South and even Central America now also seem to be entering into the direct orbit of Moscow. It seems likely that Moscow will set up a Metropolia at least for South America. ROCOR is simply too small to do this.

On the other hand, in North America (Canada, the USA and also, it seems, Mexico), in Australia and New Zealand (including Indonesia and Polynesia), it is clear that ROCOR is in control. In Australasia, Moscow is more or less inexistent and in North America it cannot expand, but only contract. This is as a result of the agreement of its own making with the Non-Russian Orthodox OCA, which still has a canonical decision to make as to whether it will reintegrate the mainstream Russian Orthodox Church or else continue on the margins.

However, we have also seen that ROCOR has more or less ceded territory in both the south and the north of Western Europe – Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria (with two exceptions) and Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and also the Netherlands – to Moscow. For example, in Italy there is now the largest Russian Orthodox diocese in Western Europe, with over 70, mainly Moldovan, parishes and a bishop with a purpose-built Cathedral in Rome. By and large, ROCOR remains present only in former western Germany, Switzerland (its three European bishops are here), Great Britain, Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium, France and Denmark. However, in Belgium and even in western Germany new churches directly under Moscow are opening.

Thus, although it is still much too early to come to any firm conclusions, it appears that the ROCOR jurisdiction may become limited to all Russian Orthodox in and around the English-speaking world – in North America, including Mexico, Australasia and that part of continental Europe which happens to be nearest the British Isles. They may yet come to form three distinct Metropolias, in New York, Sydney and a third somewhere in North-Western Europe, perhaps in Geneva, or else in Munich or Brussels.

On the other hand, Russian Orthodox in the rest of the world, that is, outside the canonical territories of the thirteen other Local Churches, may come to belong directly to the jurisdiction of the Church based in Moscow, again forming Metropolias. Here we are concerned with Western Europe, South America and Asia. For example, we can foresee a possible Metropolia for South-Western Europe, centred perhaps at the new Cathedral and seminary in Paris. Then there could be a Metropolia centred in South America, perhaps centred at the new Cathedral in Caracas.

As regards Asia, we can foresee that one day the autonomous Chinese Church may have the freedom to become a Metropolia, centred in Beijing. There should surely be a Metropolia in South-East Asia, perhaps centred in Bangkok. Beyond that, one can dream of Metropolias in New Delhi, covering the Indian subcontinent, and in Teheran, covering the Middle East. But that is far off. We stress that all this is an organic process and not a premeditated plan. However, we do not know the future and unexpected events may still occur before the situation settles.

The Future

To those who may be alarmed at these possibilities and see in them a sort of competition for jurisdiction or Moscow imperialism, we would say that such alarm belongs to the past. There is no such competition or imperialism. The fact is that with the present convergence between the Church Inside Russia (and its dependent dioceses and parishes outside it) and the Church Outside Russia, the distinctions between the two parts of the Church are increasingly irrelevant. For the younger and even middle-aged generations, there is now little difference, for people go freely from one parish to the other, without any distinction.

When, in Russia and the Ukraine, monasteries, convents and churches dedicated to St John of Shanghai open, and books written by ROCOR clergy, like Archbp Averky (Taushev), Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) and Fr Seraphim Slobodskoy, against modernism and ecumenism or about the Royal Martyrs are reprinted in large numbers, and when outside Russia we read books written inside Russia on similar themes, there is complete convergence. With more and more contacts between the two parts of the Russian Church, a merger is happening from the grassroots.

There is no greater example of this than that of the newly-canonized St Seraphim of Sofia, for 25 years the ROCOR hierarch in Bulgaria, denouncer of the heresies of Paris and the error of the new calendar, but also the towering voice of Orthodoxy at the 1948 Council of Moscow. A figure of unity indeed. And he may yet be followed by the ever-memorable ROCOR Metr Philaret of New York, canonizer of the New Martyrs and Confessors, whose relics are incorrupt – for many years a priest under Moscow and his widowed father a bishop there. As post-Soviet Russia heads towards the restoration of a Christian Emperor, the future and unity are being lived today.

Patriarch and Pope to Meet in Cuba on 12 February

It has been announced today in the Third Rome and also in Old Rome that Patriarch Kyrill of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Pope are to meet briefly at Havana Airport in Cuba on 12 February. This meeting will take place during the Patriarch’s long-awaited eleven-day pastoral visit to the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Latin America, notably to Cuba, Brazil and Paraguay.

This high-level trip, involving visits to the political leaders of all three countries follows repeated invitations. The 15,000 strong Russian Orthodox flock in Cuba will especially greet our Patriarch, but the Patriarch will also recognize the important role played by Russian Orthodox in Paraguay before the Second World War and in Brazil over the last 100 years. However, beyond pastoral matters, this is also clearly a brilliant diplomatic move – for five reasons:

Firstly, it upstages and sidelines the absurd claims of the tiny Patriarchate of Constantinople to make out that it is somehow the ‘leader’ of the Orthodox world, whereas in reality it is fifty times smaller than the Russian Orthodox Church! It also ends the Phanariot myth that only it can represent the Orthodox Church at the Vatican, the real, de facto, leader of the Orthodox Church is Patriarch Kyrill. There will be anger at the Phanar, as it realizes that after nearly 100 years of trying to monopolize attention its diplomatic end has come.

Secondly, this is clearly a move aimed at further undermining the ridiculous pretensions of the sectarian Ukrainian Uniats, who have done so much and are still doing so much to encourage aggression and hatred towards Ukrainian Christians in the civil war that they have fostered in the Ukraine. They will be extremely worried that their official leader, the Pope of Old Rome, is in fact renouncing them and their psychotic Russophobia.

Thirdly, this meeting marks the enormous concern of the Russian Orthodox Church for Orthodox and other Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, who have been abandoned by the West, which has also abandoned the Papacy. Only the Russian Federation has substantially intervened in the war in Syria to bolster the majority there against the Western-trained, armed and financed terrorist movements intent on genocide, as has been made clear by Catholic leaders in the Middle East. Notably, during his visit, Patriarch Kyrill will lead the service at the Syrian Cathedral in San Paulo.

Fourthly, this meeting is taking place outside Europe in the course of a pastoral visit by the Russian Orthodox Patriarch to Latin America. This marks the internationalization of the Russian Orthodox world before the rest of the world. Having settled many of the outstanding problems of the Church inside the Russian Federation and brought numbers of bishops up to 361 and of clergy to 40,000 from the pitiful few 25 years ago, the Patriarch is now looking further afield outside Eastern Europe and the Federation. The second generation of renewal can begin. We can now expect that the Patriarch will make other high-profile visits to the more distant territories of the Russian Orthodox Church, including, God willing, to ourselves.

And finally, this meeting on the US doorstep, specifically in independent and sovereign Cuba, also marks the fact that the uncompromised Orthodox world does not recognize the globalist power grab of the Neocon Empire based in Washington. This move against the New world Order is an outstretched hand to the independent peoples of the world – the vast majority – in an unprecedented missionary endeavour. We cannot but welcome it.

The Russian Orthodox Church: Pessimism, Idealism and Realism

Any reading of the history of the Russian Orthodox Church, not least from the many volumes of the biography of the Patristically-minded Metropolitan Antony of Kiev and Galicia (1), confirms that there were many negative aspects to her life before the Revolution. Notably, partly because she had been deprived of a Patriarch by Peter I some 200 years before, a careerist mentality had developed within her senior clergy, some of whom had become civil servant administrators on behalf of a bureaucratic State. This meant that many a bishop had been appointed to his position without reference to his zeal for the Faith or to any Faith in general, but only with reference to his ability to ‘administrate’.

Also the Academies and seminaries had become hotbeds of German Protestant and protesting philosophical influence. Some reckon that 90% of pre-Revolutionary seminarists were atheists and revolutionaries – among them many a Bolshevik, including Joseph Jugashvili, later called Stalin, who was ejected from one. An example of a product of an Academy was the very senior Protopresbyter George Shavelsky, a treacherous bureaucrat who had little time for piety, which he dismissed as ‘mysticism’. He was also an enemy of Tsar Nicholas II and the spiritually alive, as is made quite clear in his detailed and self-condemning autobiography (2). In the emigration his sympathies were entirely with the masonic-led Paris Jurisdiction which actually abandoned both parts of the Russian Church!

The paralyzing hand of State bureaucracy, eminently disloyal to the Tsar and infected with the Revolutionary virus, with its careerism, conformism and nationalist centralization seemed to penetrate everywhere. These bureaucratic abuses all formed the suicidal basis of the later Soviet regime, in which the old ‘chinovniki’ (civil servants) simply turned overnight into Communist ‘apparatchiki’; their stifling spirit, so detested by the people, was exactly the same. Thus, the State bureaucracy had made the ancient Church of Georgia into a department of the Russian Church! And when Russian forces at last liberated Eastern Galicia (the area centred around Lvov) from Austro-Hungarian control in 1915, incompetent Saint Petersburg bureaucrats soon turned the people away from Orthodoxy and back to Uniatism.

Sadly, there was decadence in many a wealthy monastery too; the stories are legion. As for some village priests, often through no fault of their own, their lack of education, impoverished situation and need for money simply to survive had discredited the Church in many places. The fact is that the Church looked after the State, but for the most part the State did not look after the Church. This was because the State was increasingly run by atheist bureaucrats, which is why they had no problem in serving the atheist Bolshevik State and why the State machine, Duma masons and generals among them, betrayed the Tsar, the Lord’s Anointed. For example, the grandfather of a relative of mine was the last pre-Revolutionary ambassador to Washington – and an atheist….

Indeed, a generation or two ago there was no need to read to read about all this. It was enough to talk to old émigrés who had been adults before the 1917 Revolution or whose parents had accurately described the then situation to them. They were the best remedy for the idealism of later émigrés and others who idealized pre-Revolutionary times for ideological reasons. I well remember one émigré’s grandson who condemned contemporary Russian bishops for having comfortable black cars, driven by their deacons. The ever-memorable patriot and missionary, Archbishop Antony of Geneva, soon corrected him: ‘And what about pre-Revolutionary bishops who each had a black carriage and horses with their driver?’

Another émigré, Prince Boris Galitsin (may his memory be eternal), told me of his youthful naivety and that he only realized that brothels had attached themselves to the First World War Russian Army when he was in his thirties. (Though any reader of the late Archimandrite Sophrony’s version of the life of St Silouan can read of the same and also of how the future saint had lived before the Revolution, not keeping the fasts and getting a village girl pregnant). Another émigré aristocrat told me that the Church in the emigration was like a glass of clear water, inside Russia it was dirty water. I asked him why then we in the emigration had so many defrocked priests and such a severe shortage of priests in general. He had no answer.

The simple fact is that if the members of the Russian Church had all been as they should have been, then no Revolution would ever have happened. The betrayal of the living spirit of the Church is why some bishops then betrayed the Tsar in 1917. This is why the 1917-18 Church Council took place without freedom, under the masonic influence of the democrat Aaron Adler (later called Alexander Kerensky), though it did at least restore the Patriarchate, despite the vigorous opposition of many lay professors of theology and bishops. One of Kerensky’s first and typical acts had been to remove the saintly, such as Metr (now St) Macarius of Moscow. No saints for him! This is why the Bolshevik-sponsored Renovationists (under Metr Alexander Vvedensky and his three wives) prospered for a few short years, many of their clergy being graduates from the decadent pre-Revolutionary Academies and seminaries.

This betrayal is why Metr (later Patriarch) Sergius could make his infamous Declaration of loyalty to a militant atheist government, thus guaranteeing division, so that many inside enslaved Russia and virtually everyone in the entirely free Russian Church in the emigration would not follow him. This is why one small part of the emigration, members of which had created and welcomed the February Revolution, left the Russian Church altogether. And this is why such second generation émigré Parisian academic rebels like the late Fr Alexander Schmemann (born 1921) and their American disciples turned to cynical Renovationism, denying that Holy Rus had ever existed (!), and that the only hope for the Church (!) was in its thoroughgoing American-style Protestantization, that is, Desacralization, which produces not a single saint. These were words he said to me, but also words that he wrote in books that are heretical.

So much for both second-generation emigre cynicism and second-generation idealism. Fortunately, that is only part of the story and, by far the least interesting part. Beyond the superficial froth of both faithless, academic cynics and naïve and ill-informed idealists there is a far deeper story, a real story, an edifying story, the story of saintliness, of the real Church of God.

Before the Revolution the Russian Orthodox Church was what any real Church should be – a seedbed of saints, a saint-making machine. We only have to think of St Seraphim of Sarov, the Optina and Glinsk Elders and St John of Kronstadt. But above all we can think of the preparation of the millions of martyrs and confessors for the Faith under the Soviet yoke (3), the tens of thousands of martyred and confessing clergy and laypeople, as well as confessor-saints like St Seraphim of Vyritsa, St Matrona of Moscow and St Luke of Simferopol, who had been prepared by the pre-Revolutionary Church. It was their victory that guaranteed the cleansing of the Church inside Russia by blood and persecution from the abuses from before the Revolution and her Resurrection after the atheist Golgotha was over.

However, there was a parallel situation in the emigration. We can say that perhaps 50% of the emigration was not only anti-Orthodox, but also (and as a result) anti-patriotic. These were those who had carried out the Revolution with pride, largely aristocrats. In the emigration, highly politicized, they deserted the Russian Church and Russian history, and went to one or another extreme. Either they became unChristian, narrow-minded nationalists who died out and disappeared, or else they became enamoured of the countries where they lived, lost the Russian language, culture and culture and never even thought of repenting for their treason, cowardice and deceit. Just the opposite – they actually justified their apostasy! Not for the Parisian Renovationists either St John of Kronstadt or St John of Shanghai, both of whom they ferociously slandered and rejected, and I am a witness to this.

However, another perhaps 50% of the emigration were not only Orthodox but also, and as a result, patriots. Indeed, the more saintly the Orthodox, the more they were patriots. For them exile was a call to repentance, a chastisement deserved for the sins of the fathers. The cases of the saints of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, St Jonah of Manchuria, St John of Shanghai and the future St Seraphim of Sofia, are well-known. However, there were a great many others, their graves scattered all over the world, seeds of spiritual renewal for the whole earth, from France to Serbia, from Brazil to Australia, from Ireland to New Zealand, from Canada to Germany, from Italy to Venezuela, from the USA to Portugal, from Finland to Tunsia.

Among those I could mention are the holy cave-dwelling hermit Archbishop Theophan of Poltava, buried in the tiny village cemetery of Limeray near Tours in western France. Viciously condemned by Paris émigrés for his love for the saints, surely the relics of this highly-educated ascetic will soon be taken up from obscurity and oblivion and moved to the new Russian Cathedral in Paris? What of the White Russian general Anton Denikin, whose last words in distant exile in the USA in 1947 were: ‘So I shall not see how Russia will be saved’, demonstrating his innate faith that Russia would be saved. What of the great Russian philosopher and patriot Ivan Ilyin, whose words are now rightly considered as prophetic?

What of Metropolitan Antony of Kiev, whose relics lie in Belgrade and whose works are still slandered and deliberately distorted by modernists, but are loved by the saints like St Justin of Chelije? What about Archbishop George (Tarasov), Bishop Methodius (Kulmann) and Bishop Roman (Zolotov) in France? They all loved the Church and Russia to the core. Then there was Bishop Mitrofan of Boston, a man ingrained with patriotism who desperately wanted to return to Russia. Or Fr George Sheremetiev in London who, as Count Sheremetiev, went from being one of the richest men in Russia to one of the poorest men in England, so that he could repent for the sins of his class, whose betrayals he blamed for the Revolution.

What can I say of the patriot parish priest Archpriest Igor Vernik in Paris? Or, in the same city, Vladimir Ivanovich Labunsky, the last of the 4,000 White Russian officers in our parish. In 1990, on introducing him to the first visiting priest from Russia, he begged him: ‘Bless me with the blessing hand of Holy Rus’. He was typical of so many. And what of the suffering heart of Lyudmila Sergeevna Brizhatova, the delightful Russian émigré poetess, faithful to the end in her lonely Parisian exile? The more saintly, the more Orthodox, the more missionary-minded but also the more patriotic. To some the idea of being both Russian patriots and missionary-minded may seem contradictory, but it is not.

This is because those who were Russian patriots were not simply patriots of Russia, but patriots of Holy Rus, the multinational ideal of the Orthodox Church, the Imperial ideal, the missionary ideal. Not for them nationalism and narrow-minded chauvinism, but the message to the whole world that God is with us. Not for them treason, cowardice and deceit, the slogan of the other 50% of the emigration, but faithfulness, courage and the truth. Faithfulness to Holy Rus, courage in the face of temptation, slander and exile, and words of truth against both the lies spread by the Bolsheviks and against the Russophobic myths spread by Western academics and politicians.

As widespread repentance and so the restoration of Holy Rus begins (and it has only just begun – you have seen nothing yet), old bad habits, a casual and nominal attitude to Church-going, fasting and prayer, a superstitious mentality based on ignorance, a few money-grubbing and compromised clergy, still exist. However, since 1917 the Church has been through a great movement of cleansing. Inside Russia, she has been cleansed by blood and persecution; outside Russia she has been cleansed by poverty and confession. Temptations have been taken away so that we can be faithful.

This is why, in 2007, at the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion by both parts of the Church, inside and outside Russia, there took place not the ‘reunion’ of the two parts of the Russian Church, inside and outside Russia, but the reaffirmation of our mutual unity, which had always existed, for we were always One and never spiritually divided. We, the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church of all nationalities and tongues, have always believed in the Resurrection, Restoration and Recreation of Holy Rus, not in her national garments from before the Revolution, but in her heavenly raiment all over the world.

The Russian Golgotha delayed us for 100 years, but it has not stopped us, on the contrary it has strengthened us. Thus, one hundred years ago the Russian Church was on the verge of creating Metropolitan districts so that the people and the bishops would be brought together. That is at last happening only today. 100 years ago the most devout and much slandered Metr Pitirim of Saint Petersburg, in charge of churches outside Russia, was proposing to build a Russian church in every Western capital and translate the liturgical treasures of the Church into every Western language. That is at last happening only today. As the deputy of the last lay administrator of the Most Holy Synod in Russia, the spiritually alive Prince D. N. Zhevakhov, wrote prophetically over ninety years ago:

‘Educated society in Russia neglected its duty before God and the Tsar and cast Russia into such a state of terrifying chaos that only God and only a Tsar can extract her from it’ (4).

Notes:

1. See especially the first four of the seventeen volumes of his biography, as compiled by Bishop Nikon (Rklitsky), Jordanville, 1957-1971. Characteristically frank, Metr Antony, who taught in all the Academies, leaves us in no doubt as to the real situation of the Church at the time.

2. Fr George Shavelsky’s autobiography was first published in New York in the 1950s, but is now freely available electronically in Russian and also in a recent French translation.

3. See especially the two volumes of lives of the New Martyrs of Russia by Fr Michael Polsky (original editions in 1957 and 1980) or the thousands of pages in the more contemporary volumes researched and written in Moscow by Fr Damaskin Orlovsky.

4. P. 338 of the first two volumes of his 900-page ‘Reminiscences’ covering 1915-1923, first published in Munich in 1923 and republished by Tsarskoe Delo in Saint Petersburg in 2014. Sadly, the two later volumes are still lost.