Category Archives: Ecumenism

The Theological Reason Why Gun Massacres Take Place

Yet another gun massacre has taken place in the USA, this time in a church and involving children. We live at a time of spiritual awakening, but this awakening is that of Satan’s demons, who have since 1914 been coming up from the world below at increasing speed at modern man’s invitation to fill the vacuum left by his ever-accelerating abandonment of faith. For the demons, all that belongs to Christ must be wrecked and destroyed, since the presence of Christ incites them to destructive rage. This is what happens at every gun massacre. In order to counter Satan and his minions, we must have mystical sense. What does this mean?

By mystical sense, or mysticism, we do not mean some occultist or esoterist fantasies, which are always the fruit of self-indulgent ego-trips, the result of fallen imaginations. We mean the concrete knowledge of God from spiritual life. Therefore, this mystical sense has nothing to do with moralism/ puritanism, which is caused precisely by the absence of spiritual life. Indeed, in modern times moralism/puritanism has degenerated even from the quest for fake inward purity into the quest for outward purity, as in the ‘green’ movement with its fanaticism for political correctness and its witch hunts for anyone who is not ‘green’.

The same puritanical fanaticism lies behind the current campaign of accusations of sexual harassment, being made mainly in the ex-Protestant USA and UK. Anyone can make such allegations, most of which can never be proven. Of course, this does not mean that many Hollywood producers and UK politicians are not guilty of such harassment. It has always been known that actors and actresses in the theatre and so the cinema and Hollywood, work largely through prostitution. The same is true of politicians. Those who seek power – and gain it – like to exploit sexually. The mystical sense that we need to resist Satan cannot come from either such amoralism or from moralism.

It can only come from our experience of the Living God, Who alone reveals to us the awareness of our personal destiny, God’s Will for each one of us. Mystical sense means not faith in our sinful selves, but faith in Divine Providence, the experience that the Incarnate God is both transcendent and immanent. He is not of this world, but in this world. For those who are not of this world, and are not in it, are the disincarnate philosophers of the Paris School, as they are mere dreamers, not theologians. Those who are of the world, and are in it, are the moralists who consider Church buildings more important than people, as they are mere administrators, not spiritual leaders.

Now philosophers are born from the Roman Catholic heresy, whereas moralists are born from the Protestant heresy. Does this mean that we in the Church with our theology, the experience of the Living God through the Holy Spirit, are immune? Of course not. For example, there are the liberal intellectuals/philosophers/academics, who are invariably philo-Catholic. We have only to think of the Paris Russian philosophers and their ecumenist disciples in the USA, the Phanar and Moscow. On the other hand, there are the conservative moralists, who are invariably philo-Protestant. We have only to think of puritanical, nationalist, boring Greek moralist movements like Zoi and Sotir.

The Church lives a life that is independent of secular influences like Catholicism and Protestantism. We confess Orthodox Christianity, as formulated in the Patristic Nicene Creed, which was expressly rejected by Catholicism/ Protestantism, which are only the maximalist and minimalist sides of exactly the same error of rationalism. Of course, those on the spiritual fringes of the Church (whatever rank they may hold, they are still spiritually on the fringes) err. Let them do so. We in the Church will go on, drawing our life from the Holy Spirit, Who gives us the experience and knowledge of the Living God, brought to us through His Providence and so our mystical sense and theology.

 

 

On the Draft Catechism Produced in Moscow

Russian Version: https://stbasil.center/2017/11/01/o-proekte-katehizisa/

A draft catechism has been compiled in Moscow and is now being discussed. We have seen it. It is very long and has clearly been composed by intellectuals (judging by their condescension to ‘ordinary Orthodox’ and lack of observation of how we ordinary Orthodox live our faith). And it is also clear that they have copied from the post-Vatican II Roman Catholic catechism, or versions of it, like the pseudo-Orthodox Parisian ‘Dieu est Vivant’ catechism, which dates back some 35 years to modernist Catholicism. This draft is based on an over-complicated, self-justifying intellectual approach, full of quotations from the Scriptures and the early Fathers, some of them taken out of context, some of them taken from a heretical document falsely attributed to St Isaac the Syrian. Rather than a question and answer approach, it has adopted a patronizing approach, ensuring that very few real Orthodox will ever read it, which is for the best.

This draft catechism is clearly marked by modernism, suggesting like the Parisians’ hero-heretic, Origen, that salvation is for all and that Darwin is also Orthodox. Its bureaucratic language and Western jargon about ‘human dignity and rights’ and ‘a social concept’ expresses not Orthodox theology, but the politically correct ‘scientific’ theology of Western doctoral students. Unlike ROCOR’s Fr Seraphim Slobodskoy’s simple and classic catechism ‘The Law of God’, which is also very popular inside Russia, this draft is not accessible to ordinary Orthodox. Clearly, the whole thing has been written by those closer to the humanism of Pope Francis than the Orthodox Faith and people. Someone in Moscow, who has studied in a Western University, wants a Vatican II-style Council in the Orthodox Church. For example, this draft never mentions our Russian Orthodox dress code and seems to think that fasting is not very important.

Marked by the language of secularist rationalists from outside the Church, the document presents the Church of God as a religious institution, not the Risen Body of Christ, radiated and penetrated by the Holy Spirit. The authors want to make this institution acceptable to the secular world by avoiding the dogmatic revelations of the Holy Spirit and all areas of controversy. Orthodoxy is just a ‘confession’ and heretical groups outside the Orthodox Church are also called ‘Churches’. It seems to prefer political correctness to the Truth that sets free. Thus, there is little about the Fall and its consequence of ancestral sin. A sign of Roman Catholicism comes in its attribution of papal-like powers to the Patriarch of the Russian Church and equally to its superficial description of the filioque heresy. A sign of Protestant-style Judaism comes in its over-emphasis on the Old Testament, as if the New Testament were just an extension of the Old.

The authors of this draft are clearly involved in the ecumenical heresy, which is conducted by intellectuals who have little or no contact with ordinary Orthodox and is conducted behind our backs, even behind the backs of bishops. There is here no dogmatic clarity at all, and yet that is the very thing we expect from a real Catechism. There is here no theology in the Orthodox ascetic sense. It would be better to throw away this draft of intellectuals and start again, this time employing Orthodox writers, who have ascetic, dogmatic and pastoral experience. They will know what is acceptable to us who strive to live an Orthodox way of life in our monasteries and parishes, where ordinary Orthodox strive to observe Russian Orthodox values and, for that matter, our dress code. Whoever the authors are, they need to realize that the 1960s are over and imitation Roman Catholic/Protestant Paris-Crestwood ‘theology’ with it. Get real! We live in 2017.

 

Fr Nicholas Lossky

Last Monday we learned of the death in Paris of the son of Vladimir Lossky, Fr Nicholas Lossky, at the age of 87. Coming after the deaths of Fr Elie Melia, Elizabeth Behr-Sigel and Olivier Clement, we are seeing the dying out of the generation of Paris ecumenists and modernists, those born in the 1920s and 1930s. We can only think of two remaining bishops in the Constantinople jurisdiction, both ill and in their 80s, who still represent this viewpoint. This is the end of old-fashioned ecumenism.

Long before he was ordained, as a liberal academic Nicholas Lossky represented the Anglicanophile element among the Paris Russians. Thus, as a true Anglican, in his lectures at St Serge he defended the Norman Occupation of England in 1066 (completely unlike Fr John Romanides who in Thessaloniki at the same time supported Robin Hood against the Normans). Nicholas was also a clear supporter of the centralist European Union, even though he had remained faithful to his father’s memory and through him to the Moscow Patriarchate, though only in its strictly ecumenist and new calendarist form as it could exist in the past. The piety of the Russian Orthodox faithful in Russia was alien to him, as was the veneration for the Imperial Martyrs.

It is a warning to us all to move with the times and not to get stuck in the past. Eternal Memory to Priest Nicholas!

 

Greek Metropoltan Calls Crete Meeting the Path to Schism

Metropolitan Ambrose (Orthodox Church of Greece), sent an open letter to Patriarch Bartholomew. AgionOros.ru published a translation of the most important provisions of the letter.

At the beginning of the letter, Metropolitan Ambrose reports the “deep sorrow and astonishment” that he experienced when he learned that the Patriarch of Constantinople in a letter to the Archbishop of Athens Hieronymus called to protect the Church from the “radical opinions of the Metropolitans of Kalavriti and Piraeus.”

Metropolitan stressed that such a letter can be viewed as a violation of the canons and “an attempt to carry out the primacy of power in relation to a fraternal Local Church”, although in fact the Patriarch of Constantinople has “primacy of honor, and not the primacy of power and values.”

According to Metropolitan Ambrose, the result of “the notorious” Holy and Great Council “in Kolymbari in Crete was that the Orthodox Church is divided into many parts, and the Christian people have fallen into confusion and a new schism “is actually developing.

Metr Ambrose believes that the so-called “Holy “and” Great “Council in Kolymbari has caused Orthodoxy the deepest wound.” “Erroneous decisions” in particular have been the recognition of the existence of several Christian Churches:

“So, there are many Churches? Then why in the Creed do we profess “One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”? Is that not an ecclesiological contradiction, or even serious dogmatic distortion? Then what is the theological meaning and content of the dialogue (which you encourage) “with other Christian Churches and confessions”? Is remaining unwithdrawn and dogmatic deviations of the latter (despite decades of ongoing dialogues) to justify the possibility of non-Orthodox being called “church”? “.

Metropolitan Ambrose underlines that he would never accept such an “ecclesiological deviation”:

“Do not renounce, beloved Orthodoxy! We do not deceive you, honor, passed from the fathers! In you we are born, and you live and you die! And if you take time and die a thousand times for you ” (Joseph Monk Bryennios 1350-1431).

In the final part of his open letter, Metropolitan Ambrose calls on Patriarch Bartholomew “not to insist on a heretical and blasphemous position, according to which both Papists and Protestants make up the “Church. ” They are just the branches that have fallen away from the Church tree. Today the Church is only the Orthodox Church! “.

According to the Metropolitan the document on “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world” needs to be revised, otherwise there will be a possible split within the Orthodox Church.

Metr Ambrose calls on the Patriarch of Constantinople to stop the persecution of those who disagree with the decisions of the Council of Crete, and to hold a new “truly Holy and Great Council”, which will once again consider the “Church” and “Christian faith.”

May 4, 2017

Source: http://www.pravoslavie.ru/103201.html

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.

The Paris School and the Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Let us Protect the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox World!

The most basic trait in the identity of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) is faithfulness to our inherited Tradition. This need for faithfulness to the Tradition is vital precisely because we are outside Russia, where we continually have to ‘guard the deposit’ from the threat of the alien influences which are all around us. Only in this way can we witness to the integrity of our Russian Orthodox Faith and Civilization. Such a need for spiritual purity automatically also entails our independence from local politics. Our need for independence is all the greater precisely because of our international nature, which would be undermined by local nationalist influences. Indeed, on no fewer than three occasions in our ninety-year history our political independence has been under serious threat from local nationalism: firstly, from Bolshevik atheism, secondly from Hitler’s Fascism, and thirdly from the Russophobic politics of the American Cold War.

On the first occasion we were asked to swear loyalty to a militant atheist State which held captive the Church inside Russia and was most cruelly martyring Her. We refused, using the independence granted us by the marvellous foresight of the holy Patriarch Tikhon. On the second occasion the German Fascists wanted us to take part in a war which was in fact against the Slav Motherland. With the exceptions of a few who were deluded by the temptation of Nazi propaganda into thinking that Bolshevik atheism could be defeated by joining with Nazi atheism, we refused. On the third occasion, we were asked to declare ourselves a sect and the Church inside Russia without grace! With the exception of a few politicized by CIA money or deluded by sectarian pride, we again refused. Each time the continued existence of ROCOR as an integral part of the Russian Orthodox world was under threat, but each time we survived, although with the losses of small, isolationist groups.

Thus, exactly ten years ago, the greatest task of the Fourth All-Diaspora Council of the Church in San Francisco was in fact to ensure our independence from local Western politics, from ‘Western values’. At that time, as still today, these were in fact pro-secularist and anti-Christian beneath anti-atheist camouflage. For eighty long years we had undergone an enforced separation from the Patriarchate in Moscow, for long held captive by atheists. We understood that it had become free again through the long-awaited canonization of the New Martyrs and Confessors and the rejection of ecumenist and erastian compromises. At that point our independence and survival meant precisely no longer living in separation from it, but returning to canonical communion, as Patriarch Tikhon would have wanted. It is therefore part of our essential identity to ensure that the Patriarchate continues to be free, to protect the Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox world from threats to its integrity.

Although the threat from State atheism is long gone inside Russia, today the Patriarchate faces a new threat from outside Russia. This is the threat precisely from where we are, from the new atheism of ‘Western values’ infiltrating into Russia. Last year it became known that one person who had worked for the Patriarchate’s sometimes controversial Foreign Affairs Department in Moscow, a certain Evgeny Petrin, was a CIA agent. Now there is a rumour that at least one ecumenist who works there may have long ago been recruited by spy services abroad and then passed on to CIA handlers. If this rumour is true, and it is only a rumour for the moment, though he does have contacts with the US ambassador, then there could have been very serious leaks of information. Whether Western agents and traitors in Moscow are acting through foolish naivety, or utter stupidity, or because they are anti-Orthodox, pro-Western liberals and modernists, is here irrelevant. The result is the same – treason.

It is the duty of all Russian Orthodox, and all the more so of us Russian Orthodox outside Russia, to protect our Patriarchate, whose freedom has been fought for with such great sacrifices, from those who may try to infiltrate ‘Western values’ into the Church. As time has passed and the Old West has died out, so has its half-Christianity; it is precisely the New West and its atheistic values that are flagrantly anti-Christian. There is little grey now, as before, and much more black and white, plainly wrong and plainly right. The so-called ‘Western values’, the values of the New West, are marked by the fingerprints of Satan, as was made plain two years ago when they were introduced into the Ukraine by the Western-installed, genocidal junta in Kiev. One of its first acts was to recognize the ‘Church of Satan’, then to attack the canonical Church and intimidate and martyr its clergy, and it is now set on promoting perversions. Every day they hear Satan’s laughter.

At a time when some are trying to infiltrate ‘Western values’ onto the agenda at the so-called All-Orthodox Council in Crete in June, we must tread carefully. Ever since the legitimate Patriarch of Constantinople, Maximos V, was replaced by the CIA in 1948, threatened with death and flown to exile in Switzerland on President Truman’s personal aeroplane, the Patriarchs of Constantinople, who are organizing that Council, have all been carefully vetted by the US State Department with its ‘Western values’. We who live in the West, manning the outposts and oases of the Russian Orthodox world in the Western spiritual desert, know exactly the ravages of the slavery of ‘Western values’, which are the very opposite of Christian values. That is why we stand firmly against them, for, together with our free Patriarchate, we stand for Christ. If ecumenists and liberals try to infiltrate the Church, we shall fight to the last against them to protect the freedom of our Patriarchate! We fear not, for Christ is Risen!

A New Generation

Introduction

News from Moscow over the last two weeks has brought word that two figures who have figured quite prominently in Church life in Russia over the last generation have effectively been sacked from their posts. One of them is Sergei Chapnin and the other, bearing almost the same surname, is Fr Vsevolod Chaplin. As one of the few – I hesitate to say the only person – in England who knew them both, perhaps I should express some view on what lies behind their dismissal.

Sergei Chapnin

Sergei Chapnin was a Church journalist, the editor of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, an official publication of the Patriarch. When I first met him, in 1997, he was a young convert, zealous but not yet stable in the Faith. Meeting him a second time, ten years later, he had come to prominence, but his Faith, as that of some intellectual converts can do, had already by then taken, to put it mildly, a liberal turn, putting him at the margins of the Church.

Sadly, in the last few years, he had become quite notorious and there had been at least one petition asking for his removal on account of personal views which less and less represented the views of the Church. His increasing modernism and ecumenism and finally, his views expressed only weeks ago in a forum sponsored by the US Embassy, notorious for its attempts to undermine and protestantize the Russian Orthodox Church, were the last straw. He now has time for repentance and so the opportunity to reintegrate the mainstream of the Church, returning from his errors.

Fr Vsevolod Chaplin

Fr Vsevolod was for a generation more or less a spokesman for the Church and a prominent member of a host of committees where he represented the Church’s views on political affairs. Obviously, such a sensitive position brought temptations and dangers, particularly the risk of secularization, seen for example, in his smoking, never a good sign in a priest. Speaking to Fr Vsevolod eight years ago, I became aware of a strong, indeed, militant personality. It is this that has been his downfall.

His lack of sensitivity on problems in the Ukraine and in Syria upset many in the Church. Priests in Belarus called for his dismissal, as he was upsetting the faithful there and he also disturbed many in both the Ministry of the Interior and the Foreign Ministry with his description of Russian military action in Syria as a ‘sacred war’. The fact is that Fr Vsevolod was more and more becoming a Russian nationalist, forgetting that the Russian Church, unlike the other, much smaller Local Orthodox Churches, represents over 60 different nationalities. Russia is an Imperial Power, not a nationalist Power.

Maturity

In the dismissal of both these figures we see the growing maturity of Church life inside Russia, the awareness that marginal views, expressed freely in the 1990s and early 2000s, have now been outgrown. A generation has now passed since the collapse of atheism as a State ideology in Russia. The Church has moved on there in the same way as outside Russia Russian Church life has matured since the battles between 1965 and 2005, when there were disputes between sectarian old calendarists and equally sectarian new calendarists. The extremes fell away and where they have not, they are falling away. Maturity has come; the growing pains are over.

Outside Russia, in the emigration, the old generation of marginals and fringe figures began dying out in the 1980s. Today, those who are left are very elderly, in their 80s and 90s. Some of these were figures compromised in some way with Western Establishments and their baggage. Some were even connected with Western spy services, or at least, they swallowed Western propaganda whole and parroted it without any kind of critical intelligence. In England they made themselves beloved of Establishment institutions like the Church of England, The Times and the BBC, for example.

A second, ‘spiritual’, group was composed of fantasists, linked with perennialism, theosophy, Hinduism, Sufism. All these wore the Emperor’s New Clothes and few had the honesty to criticize their wayward books, which were often unreadable. A third group was notorious for its corruption, either financial or else sexual. I remember one naïve convert proposing the canonization of one such individual. He was dumbfounded when I asked him if we should canonize his mistresses as well. Homosexual mafias abounded in certain small jurisdictions and, sadly, there were two pedophile bishops among them – both converts from Anglicanism, where pedophilia abounds.

Conclusion

We feel that 2016 is bringing a new generation. A new time is coming. Those who have been frustrated for decades by those who held on to power for too long are now coming to the fore, whether in the Russian Church or in the small Local Churches. Those formed by the modernism of the 1950s and 1960s and have failed to adapt have missed the boat. This is now becoming apparent as the Local Churches prepare for some sort of Inter-Orthodox consultation in the coming years. Billed as ‘The 2016 Council’, no-one is sure if, when or where it will take place, since there has been no agreement even on the agenda. At long last the new generation is having its word to say and we shall not fall silent. The time for the extremists is over; the time for the mainstream is here.

Note:

Is it perhaps apt that the 500th article on this blog should concern the passing of the old and the coming of the new?