Category Archives: Emigration

1917-2017: On the Holy Relics of the Imperial Family and Their Faithful Servants

Foreword

I write as a priest who has served the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in Paris, Lisbon and England, who loves the Russian Orthodox Tradition, and as a monarchist who hopes for justice through the restoration of Tsardom in Russia. Since the 1970s I have venerated the saint-loving St John of Shanghai, founding the first church in Western Europe dedicated to him after his canonization. I have also always venerated the other saints of the Church Outside Russia, like St Seraphim of Sofia, and our founding bishops, all of whom revered the Tsar-Martyr. Part of my veneration also comes from the fact that the internationally-minded Tsar was a forward-looking missionary, building seventeen magnificent churches precisely in Western Europe for the Orthodox faithful, and looking after Orthodox on three continents.

Like all his followers, the Tsar-loving St John of Shanghai was opposed not only by liberals, ecumenists and modernists, who despised, compromised or had entirely lost the Faith, but also by narrow, Old Believer-type nationalists, some of whom put him on trial in San Francisco. In general, it can be said that attitudes to St John, as to the Tsar, are litmus papers that tell us of love for the Church or, on the other hand, contempt for the Church. I have now been asked what I think of the remains disinterred near Ekaterinburg in 1991 and claimed to be those of five members of the Tsar’s Family and their four servants. With my great-grandfather born in the same year as the Tsar-Martyr and myself born on 19 July, the day of the final disposal of the remains of the Imperial Martyrs, my eagerness to see truth and justice before I die is also personal.

How My Views Were Formed

I was brought up surrounded by the blasphemous Western propaganda which asserts that the last Christian Emperor, the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, was a weak-willed, decadent, incompetent reactionary, who was controlled by others, did not care about his people, and in general ‘got what he deserved’. Significantly, in those Cold War times, this propaganda was more or less identical to Soviet propaganda. This indicated that Western materialism and Soviet materialism were essentially the same. I disbelieved all such propaganda, sensing that it was lies with ulterior, power-grabbing motives, but I lacked arguments to counter it. In the 1960s I neither mastered Russian, nor had access to the often obscure émigré publications about the world-changing overthrow of the Tsar which told the truth. So I waited to discover more.

From the mid-1970s onwards I came to discover émigrés, truly White ones, all of whose words and writings have been confirmed by historians and researchers in the new, post-Soviet Russia, where truth is valued by many, even though a legitimate Tsar has not yet been restored. I understood that the Tsar had fallen victim, not to old-fashioned Marxists, but to an elitist conspiracy of aristocrats, generals and Duma masons, strongly backed by the Western Powers, supposed ‘Allies’. After very careful examination of the evidence over decades, I also came personally to venerate those around the Royal Martyrs. These included the much-slandered St Maria of Helsinki (Anna Vyrubova) and the Martyr Gregory (Rasputin), to whom I composed an akathist in English, published last year on the centenary of his martyrdom.

As a priest I met the last émigrés both in the Church Outside Russia and those in breakaway groups, like that in Paris. I was acquainted with many of the last exiled representatives of the Tsar’s Russia to have been adults before the Revolution. I knew both sides of the emigration. Some were truly White, patriots who honoured the Tsar, both when he was alive and afterwards. With others, it was the opposite, they simply wanted their money, estates and lost power back. They had little love for the Church, Russia or its people, contemptuously calling them ‘Soviets’, and many of them were compromised by sympathy for Hitler or by working for spy agencies, whether in Britain, France, Canada or the USA. They would never accept the miraculous 2007 act of repentance between the Patriarchate and the Church Outside Russia.

There was something rotten in parts of the emigration. It may be called ‘Paris-ism’. The aristocratic émigrés who confessed this ideology and who often lived in Paris had inverted the Imperial Christian motto of ‘Orthodoxy, Sovereignty and the People’, ‘the Faith, the Tsar and Rus’. They had abandoned the Russian Orthodox Church, were anti-Tsar and anti-people (by being anti-Rasputin – his great grand-daughter is still alive, despised by them, in Paris). It was precisely the Rus-hating oligarchic aristocracy, greedy for power, which had overthrown the Tsar. Those so-called ‘White’ émigrés, in fact not White at all, had carried out the February Revolution that had led directly to the Red Revolution of October. The noble Tsar, forced into abdication, had stood above them all, rejecting the bloodshed of civil war among his beloved peoples.

In the 1990s, amid the political manipulations of the shameful, anti-Russian, US-backed Yeltsin and his corrupt regime, like most other Orthodox I had not been convinced of the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg remains. I distrusted the political appointee investigator of the 1990s, V.N. Solovyov, a disrespectful non-Churchman. There were far too many contradictions and inconsistencies in the results, not least in the DNA results. Nothing was satisfying. In any case two of the eleven skeletons of the Imperial Family and their servants were still missing. Then, in 2007, the remains of two skeletons were found. One of our hierarchs, Bishop, now Archbishop, Agapit of Stuttgart, became convinced of the authenticity of the remains, which for him had become holy relics. For my part I awaited the results of a Church investigation with an open mind.

I wanted the list of questions about the remains submitted by the Church to be answered. At last, the much trusted Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov) was put in charge of a new, Church-led investigation, to be published in this centenary year of the so-called ‘Russian Revolutions’ of 1917. On 3 July 2017 a first interview was published with Professor V.L. Popov, once a sceptic, confirming that the remains were authentic (http://www.pravoslavie.ru/104826.html). It seemed that Nikolai Sokolov, the White Army’s investigator into the Imperial Martyrs, had been mistaken in his report, which had been rushed, through no fault of his own. Not a chemist, he had thought the Martyrs’ bodies had been destroyed by fire and acid and so had not followed his investigation by digging at Porosenkov Log. My view of what had happened has become clear (1).

Afterword

With the results now appearing and publication of the vital DNA results eagerly awaited, it seems that the story has become clear. The remains entombed in the Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral and those of Sts Alexei and Maria kept in store are authentic and so must be enshrined. The great Church-on-the-Blood that stands on the site of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg will continue to be a place of veneration. The shrine and the seven churches at Ganina Yama will remain as the first place where the martyrs’ relics were taken. However, at Porosenkov Log, a great new Cathedral has to be built, a Cathedral of Reparation for the greatest crime of the age, a twelve-domed Cathedral dedicated to the seven Royal Martyrs and their four martyred servants, who joined Christ. Building can begin on the centenary of their martyrdom, in 2018.

This is called on to become a great centre of pilgrimage, the third and final destination for the faithful after Ekaterinburg and Ganina Yama. The holy relics can there be enshrined for the veneration of pilgrims from all over the world. We have no doubt that then, once the relics are properly enshrined and honoured, long-awaited miracles will begin. Tiny fragments of the relics may be distributed elsewhere, especially in Saint Petersburg, but the place where their relics were finally buried is to become a centre of worldwide repentance for all, Russians and Non-Russians alike, who committed ‘treason, cowardice and deceit’ against the Faith, the Tsar and Rus. Only then can the injustice committed 100 years ago be paid for and humanity, descended since the Pigs’ Ravine to the level of the Gergesene swine, turn back from the brink.

1. What Happened

The seven Royal Martyrs and their four servants were horribly and brutally martyred in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, in the Urals between Europe and Asia, in the darkness just after midnight on 17 July 1918. Their bodies were taken some nine miles north by lorry to marshy ground called Ganina Yama (Gabriel’s Hole). Here, the lorry bogged down, the bodies were laid on the grass, stripped, burned, dumped into a supposed mineshaft and sprinkled with sulphuric acid.

We now know that only then was it discovered that the supposed mineshaft was quite shallow, only some three metres deep. The exhausted murderers learned of deeper mines west of Ekaterinburg, some four miles away. They obtained barrels of petrol, kerosene, sulphuric acid and firewood and returned at about 4.00 am on 18 July. They hauled the corpses out of the shaft and loaded them back onto the lorry, awaiting final disposal in the new location under cover of night.

In the early morning of 19 July, the lorry transporting the bodies again got stuck in mud on the Koptyaki Road near a place called Porosenkov Log (Pigs’ Ravine). The exhausted murderers decided to bury them here. They dug a shallow grave, doused the bodies in sulphuric acid again, smashed their faces with rifle butts and buried nine of them, covering them with quicklime, hoping to prevent identification, and placed railway sleepers over the grave so as to disguise their crime.

In an attempt to confuse anyone who might discover the first grave with only nine, and not eleven, bodies (the confusion caused was for long successful), the murderers had separated the bodies of the Tsarevich Alexei and one of his sisters from the nine others. These were to be buried about fifteen metres (fifty feet) away. These two bodies were also burned, their remaining bones smashed and then they were thrown into a smaller pit. The burial was completed at 6.00 am on 19 July.

After Ekaterinburg was liberated by the White Army on 25 July, a Commission was established under a legal investigator called Nikolai Sokolov. He discovered a number of the Romanovs’ belongings in and around Ganina Yama where the bodies had first been buried. However, not a chemist, he wrongly concluded that the bodies had been utterly destroyed (an impossibility) in a bonfire there with petrol and sulphuric acid. He had failed to find the real burial place on the Koptyaki Road.

The return of Bolshevik forces in July 1919 forced the conscientious Sokolov to leave in haste, his enquiry incomplete, taking only the box containing the items that he had recovered. His preliminary report was published that same year. On 30-31 May 1979, after years of research, a local amateur and a film-maker located the grave. They removed three skulls but, worried about the consequences of finding the grave, they reburied them. Only on 10 April 1989 was the find publicly revealed.

As a result, all the remains were disinterred in 1991 by Soviet officials in a hasty ‘official exhumation’ that destroyed precious evidence. In February 1998 the Yeltsin regime (twenty-one years before, Yeltsin had been responsible for destroying the Ipatiev House) decided to reinter the remains in the Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral in Saint Petersburg. Although they were interred here in July 1998, their identity had still not been authenticated beyond doubt, leaving many questions unanswered.

On 29 July 2007 amateur investigators found the small pit containing the remains of Alexei and his sister, located not far from the main grave on the Koptyaki Road. Although criminal investigators and geneticists initially identified them as Alexei and Maria, they were stored pending a decision from the Russian Orthodox Church, which had requested a thorough and detailed authentication to eliminate all doubts. This has only recently been allowed and the results, positive, are now being published.

Questions and Answers from Recent Correspondence (May-June 2017)

Q: What is your deepest childhood impression?

A: My first memories go back to when I was two and a half, but I always felt in childhood that I was in Paradise and that God was just beyond the horizon, not far away at all. That was my first and deepest impression. That is why I have always wanted to re-enter my childhood, or at least, its spirit.

Q: Who were the people you met who impressed you the most?

A: First of all, there were all those of my parents’ generation, who had been through World War II, and of my grandparents’ generation, who had been through World War I. I heard so many stories from them, stories which you never read in the books or see in propaganda films.

Q: What did you understand from their stories?

A: I understood that World War II in Europe had actually been a continuation of the still unfinished World War I. I understood even then that that War had actually been a series of different wars. Later, as an adult, I understood in detail that in the Pacific there had been a contest for dominance in Eastern Asia and the Pacific between Japan, ironically Western-armed and Western-trained, and Great Britain, which Japan has easily won. However, it had then lost the contest when the USA had taken over from defeated Great Britain and beaten it, finally by dropping A-bombs on its civilians. Then there had been the war for oil resources in North Africa and the Middle East, which Great Britain had won against Germany, but only because the USA had armed and helped it. Then there was the war on the Eastern Front in Europe, where the Western Powers had hoped that Germany would exhaust itself by destroying the USSR, so losing two enemies at the same time. In fact, the USSR had defeated and contained Germany, but only for two generations, until the Fourth Reich EU taken over Eastern Europe. Finally, there had been the war on the Western Front, which Germany had lost militarily, but won economically through its EU.

Q: Was there anyone else who shaped you?

A: Beyond them, there were representatives of an even older generation still alive then, those who had been born as far back as the 1870s. One elderly lady I met had been at Queen Victoria’s funeral, another remembered the Relief of Mafeking in 1900. (A third, in France, though I was an adult then, told me how her grandmother had told her how she had seen Napoleon riding through Versailles. I had no reason to disbelieve her). They all impressed me because they were living history, representing something that had disappeared, for good and for ill. History is real, it all happened.

Q: But what about the Orthodox you met after childhood? You knew very well Metr Antony Bloom, Fr Sophrony Sakharov, Fr Alexander Schmemann and other clergy.

A: True, but apart from Archbishop Antony of Geneva, who was a disciple of Metr Antony of Kiev and spoke to me about him, the other clergy you mention did not impress me very much. It was more laypeople who impressed me. For instance, there was Princess Kutaisova the elegant Oxford teacher, Elena Grigorievna Evdokimova who had greeted the Tsar before the First World War, Vladimir Ivanovich Labunsky who was the last White officer in Paris, the genial Prince Boris Galitsin, the noble Ekaterina Osipova, Maria Cattoir, or Lyudmila Brizhatova the poetess, and many others. They were all the best of the White emigration, because that emigration had been divided into two parts, those who were really White, that is the penitent, and on the other hand, those who had betrayed the Tsar. The penitent were not only penitent for themselves, even though they had often had little to repent for, but above all repented on behalf of others.

Q: When did you first begin writing?

A: Before I could write!

Q: What do you mean?

A: When I was four, I used to take scrap paper and draw wavy lines on it; it was my writing. All my childhood and long after I carried pen and paper with me. I was always noting things down. The first piece that was published was when I was eleven. I had an aunt who had written an unpublished novel and my father, who had left school before he was 14, had written poetry. So there was something in the family.

Q: Is there anything you would you like to write in the future?

A: For forty years I have wanted to write a novel about the Russian emigration in Europe. There is a huge untold story there. True, there is a French film specifically about those who returned to the USSR after 1945 and the American film ‘The White Countess’ about the emigration in Shanghai and an immense number of memoirs of individual emigres, but that is not the same. I would like to tell a saga, an epic, though I suppose I never will, as I do not have such talent. I would like to tell of the refugees who had nothing to eat, the Tsar’s generals who became housepainters, the princes who were taxi-drivers, the Cossacks who worked at Renault and went to the church in Boulogne-Billancourt, where I married. There is so much to say here.

Q: Would you say that you are political?

A: Not in any party political sense, but only through the eyes of the Church, in the sense that, as we live in the world, we must understand what is going on in the world, either to encourage and try to channel it, or else to oppose it. Some people say that they are apolitical. Well, that is already a political stance. That is to be disincarnate, futile, to waste yourself on dreams and lose yourself in illusions. That is wrong, spiritually dangerous, even demonic. Real Christians all believe in the Incarnation, therefore we must have an interest in politics, so that we can influence the world.

Q: Do you hope for the restoration of the monarchy in Russia?

A: Of course, but it must be the restoration of the Orthodox monarchy, Sacred Monarchy, not just some token monarchism, as in the UK. This restoration is essential, not just for the Russian Lands, not just for the Orthodox Church (in which so much decadence began after the overthrow of the Orthodox monarchy in 1917), but for the whole world, which became unbalanced afterwards. The Second World War would never have happened, nor would the so-called Cold War (in fact a Hot War with millions of victims in the Third World), if the Orthodox Monarchy had not been betrayed, for the monarchy is the last bastion of Orthodox power.

However, we must be realistic. To have Orthodox monarchy, you must deserve it, you must have the right spiritual level; contemporary Russia is very far from that. It will need mass repentance for the monarchy to be restored. That is not happening yet. Our role is that of St John the Baptist, to be forerunners who preach repentance, who prepare the way. What we feared in the 60s, 70s and 80s, the end of the world, will certainly still come, if there is not mass repentance. We have been given a stay of execution with events in Russia, especially since 2000, but no more than that. All is fragile, hanging by a thread.

Q: What can be done here in concrete terms for restoration?

A: We need to establish a Russian Orthodox Monarchist Association (ROMA) today, on the centenary of the epic tragedy of the so-called Russian Revolution. This needs to commemorate the last Tsar and his family, martyred ninety-nine years ago on the confines of Europe and Asia. Their martyrdom was a catastrophe for the whole world, particularly for the Christian world, which has fallen apart without a strong Christian Russian Empire, going from disaster to disaster.

Such an Association also needs to help prepare the Western world for the coming Russian Emperor, who will have an even greater international significance than the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, because he may well be the last Christian Emperor before the end. As such, he will be the only protector of the Church of God against all the pseudo-Christian and anti-Christian forces that have surfaced on the world, both before and since the fall of the Russian Empire one hundred years ago.

Q: What do you mean exactly by repentance for any of this to happen?

A: The Faith of many has been made impure. It is polluted and corrupted by superficiality. We can see this in the liberalism of intellectual or academic theology. I remember in Paris how a divorced subdeacon and teacher of such ‘theology’, an author of many books on ‘theology’, never fasted, even in Holy Week. What sort of theology could he write, when he did not fast, when he did not clean his soul first, when he wrote against asceticism and monasticism? This sort of attitude, very common among such people, is just decadence. This has to be repented for – not justified, as many do.

We can also see this superficiality in extreme conservatism. Just recently someone wrote to me that he believed that the earth was flat and that dinosaurs never existed because their fossils had only recently been discovered. Yet the Psalms say that: ‘He hath made the round world so sure, that it cannot be moved’. To be very old-fashioned is not the same as following the Tradition, which is much more radical than being old-fashioned. Such extreme conservatism also has to be repented for.
We can see this superficiality in nationalism, which tries to put the Truth for all time and all peoples into the narrow container of one nationality. In one Balkan church I visited years ago, I was told that I could not venerate the icons because I was not of the nationality of the church! Such ignorant nationalism or racism, called phyletism, which is simply attachment to this world, has to be repented for.

We can see this superficiality also in the attitude of certain ex-Soviet people who treat the Faith in a consumerist way, as a sort of magic. Magic happens automatically regardless of the efforts you make, whereas prayer, the sacraments and Church life depend on the efforts that we make to cleanse ourselves and receive grace. Such people are always upset when they pay their money and do not get the magic result that they expect. Faith does not work like that. Such an attitude to the Faith has to be repented for. We have to work for the Faith.

Q: What would you say of the future of the world?

A: Only God knows our future. But some things are clear. We now have to meet the obligations imposed on us by the collapse of the heterodox world, the spiritual and moral collapse of Catholicism and Protestantism.

Q: What do you hope to see in the future?

A: In the years that remain to me, I hope to see the establishment of the Metropolia in Western Europe, which is a single whole, and the restoration of our Diocese of the Anglo-Celtic British Isles and Ireland, after so many decades of spiritual decadence and alien ‘Britishism’. Let us here restore the ideal of the Anglo-Celtic St Cuthbert.

An Interview: University College, Oxford and Russian Orthodoxy in Oxford (1974-77)

Christ is Risen!

He is risen indeed!

What made you choose Oxford to study over forty years ago?

I did not choose to go to Oxford, Oxford chose me. Had I known what it would be like, I would have chosen to study at the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies in London. But I was given no advice and so knew no better.

What did you make of Oxford University in general?

At that time it was a University of public school snobs, a clique who froze out anyone unlike themselves. Those who did not come from public schools and rich families either, as Establishment careerists, conformed and pretended to be public school elitists, or else, like myself, as free spirits, effectively had as little as possible to do with the University. Thus, I spent my time at the Russian Orthodox church in Oxford and reading about Orthodox theology and history, Russian literature and history and the history of England – my three great interests.

Which college did you study at?

University College, the oldest in the University.

What did you make of University College?

University College was and is famous for Alfred the Great and infamous for the decadent Prince Felix Yusupov. The first is said to be its founder. Of course, this is a myth, but with my lifelong veneration for King Alfred and later as the compiler of the Church service to him, it was pleasant to think of this while I was there. As for the transvestite occultist Yusupov, a graduate of the College, his room was still there and he is infamous as the sadistic torturer and mutilator of the holy monk Gregory Rasputin-Novy. Called Gregory the New, he was the first martyr of the British-orchestrated Russian Revolution and was murdered by a British spy, whom Yusupov had met in Oxford.

Did you meet anyone well-known at the College?

Two of my contemporaries became government ministers. Lord Moynihan and Philip Hammond, but I had and have nothing in common with them. Others are millionaires, academics, judges, barristers, businessmen, civil servants, writers and so on. There were other famous/infamous people at the University then, such as the assassinated President Benazir Bhutto and a couple of BBC correspondents who are very well-known in the UK. But they were Establishment types, without independent personalities, just tide-swimmers, and I had little to do with them.

What did you think of your tutors?

They were very clever people and I profited from listening to their knowledge. But I also saw their severe limitations and they helped me to understand once and for all that the aim of human life is not to collect knowledge and that the source of knowledge is not in books, but in a clean soul.

What did you specialize in as part of your course?

Russian religious thought. The tutor was an Anglican vicar and the course was very disappointing, as it referred only to the thought of intellectuals and philosophers of the Parisian type, whereas I was interested in real Russian Church thought, which is totally different, as it is the thought of saints, gathered from a clean soul.

What did you learn from Oxford?

I learned about the arrogance and elitism of the Establishment and learned distrust for its inherent corruption and decadence.

How did Oxford shape you?

I am not sure that it shaped me, as I already knew what I wanted and where I was going in life, that my place was in the Russian Orthodox Church, beyond all sectional labels. The essentials of my world view had already been formed. But in Oxford I was able to work out details and to verify what I knew by instinct.

What was the most memorable phrase you heard in your time there?

I think it was when a typically elitist Oxford Orthodox priest (now defrocked) told me in 1975 that ‘there is no such thing as ordinary people’. He was effectively saying that the vast bulk of humanity, myself included, had no existence or reality for him. At that point I became interested in the real Russian Orthodox Church elsewhere, outside the limited confines of academic intellectualism, in the real world, where I had come from.

What can you say about Russian Orthodoxy in Oxford of that time?

What was interesting here is that all the different trends, both good and bad, were present. This was because the University had attracted Russian academics.

For example, there were a mother and daughter who were very right-wing, sectarian and nationalistic and would only attend the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) Cathedral in London and like several there had probably worked for the British secret services. Anti-Communism seemed to be far above Orthodoxy for them. They were also so nationalistic, not to say racist, that they were opposed, like most of the ROCOR emigration in London, to the use of a single word of English in services. At the other extreme there were the Patriarchal Lamperts, equally nationalistic and racist, but in the Soviet sense. They were convinced that Communism, Lenin and Stalin, were wonderful and that there had never been any persecution of the Church in the Soviet Union. Their nationalism had also made them completely blind to reality. Extraordinary!

Inbetween, there was the third extreme, equally blind, the extreme of him who had chosen to be my godfather Nicholas Zernov (which was the extreme of most of the others in Oxford). He was Parisian to the core and preached a sort of Anglican Orthodoxy, in which he saw no contradiction between conservative High Anglicanism and the very bourgeois Parisian Orthodoxy of liberal intellectuals and freemasons. Among such people there was the Anglican convert, Fr Kallistos, a public-school gentleman of the old type, who had made a liberal, ecumenical compromise between Establishment High Anglicanism and Paris Orthodoxy under the US-run (formerly Anglican-run) Patriarchate of Constantinople. He was beloved by Anglicans and ex-Anglicans, but did not appeal to those of other cultural backgrounds and never became a diocesan bishop.

Where did you fit into this panorama?

I would say that there were three people whom I admired in Oxford. One was an elderly Russian peasant woman from Latvia called Ala. She had settled in Oxford after 1945 and was very simple and lived in a council flat in the poorest part of the town, well outside the elitist and wealthy University. She was a granny with a heart of gold and had nothing to do with Parisian professors, who ignored her anyway as a result of their academic snobbery. As for her, she had no understanding of their prejudices and ideologies and also little understanding of English. To me she was a beacon of real Orthodoxy.

Then there was the elderly Countess Elizabeth Kutaisova, from a famous aristocratic family. She was the epitome of the best of White Russia, a real gentlewoman, noble, traditional, elegant, tasteful and patriotic. I will always remember her sitting on a bench in front of a flowering shrub in the Oxford park after church, reading the Russian emigre newspaper Russkaya Mysl.

And finally there was Sir Dimitri Obolensky, whose lectures on King Arthur I attended. A distinguished scholar, he was both a Russian prince and a courteous English gentleman. I discovered more about him in the 1990s through a parishioner and his childhood friend, Baroness Olga von Uxkull, who so fondly referred to him simply as ‘Dima’ and gave me a 1930s photograph of him, which I still have. Dimitri had fallen neither into émigré right-wingery, which put anti-Communism above the Church, nor into the illusions of Soviet patriotism, which put the Soviet Establishment (and personality cults) above the Church, nor into bourgeois Parisian Orthodoxy which so despised Russia that it put the West above it, but had remained faithful to the eternal Russian Orthodox Church, where I too belonged and belong.

In other words, unlike the vast majority, the above did not put their secular prejudices higher than the Church. I think all three of them represented the real Church beyond man-made jurisdictionalism and narrow sectionalism, which had so divided the Church in the emigration. They were all waiting for the great restoration, which has been under way in Russia for the last 25 years, but which still has so far to go. They were what the Church outside Russia should really be about, instead of various sorts of sectarianism.

Thank you.

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.

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.

1916-2016: Today Tsar Nicholas II says: ‘I will glorify those who glorify me’.

Exalt the Lord our God and worship at His footstool; for He is holy.

Psalm 98, 5 (Septuagint)

Rus is the footstool of the Throne of the Lord.

St John of Kronstadt

Foreword: Personal

However absurd it may seem, including to myself, I have long felt and observed signposts to my destiny in my heritage and the life of Tsar Nicholas II. For example, the future Christian Emperor Tsar Nicholas II was born in the Alexander Palace in the Imperial Capital of Saint Petersburg on the feast-day of St Job the Much-Suffering in 1868. At the same time my great-grandfather Thomas was born in the poorest conditions of the workhouse in a provincial village in Eastern England. However, fifty years later, in 1918, Tsar Nicholas II, whose emblem was the double-headed eagle uniting east and west, the Imperial Family and their faithful servants were murdered in Ekaterinburg, a city in the Urals on the confines of Europe and Asia, uniting east and west. As for my great-grandfather, he died in the same village as he was born in 1941, when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union on the feast-day of All the Saints of the Russian Lands. That invasion ended four years later with the liberation of Vienna, where my father went in 1945, and of Berlin by those whose homeland had been so treacherously and bloodily attacked with death, rape, fire and pillage.

I was born on the 19th July, the day in 1918 on which the assassins of the Russian Imperial Family ritually finished destroying their earthly remains. As a child, I collected postage stamps: only one stood out from the 3,000 others – that with the face of Tsar Nicholas II seemingly calling to me to serve his cause. Almost exactly fifty years after the Tsar’s martyrdom, in 1968, 100 years after the birth of the martyred Tsar and 50 years after his sacrificial martyrdom, in a Scottish city almost on the same latitude as Saint Petersburg, I was called to learn Russian and three months later, in a message coming from the east, called to serve the Russian Orthodox Church. Then there was the tutor to the Tsarevich, Fr Nicholas Gibbes, the first English Orthodox priest in almost a millennium, like me a man from the provinces in an Orthodox country as a teacher and becoming a Russian Orthodox priest. Fr Nicholas served in Oxford, where I studied in the same college as Felix Yusupov, the murderer of Tsar Nicholas’ holy elder. And in darkest 1974, when there seemed no hope of it at all, I was called on to write of the coming resurrection of the Russian Church and Empire (1). I never sought any of this, and yet this has been my calling and my destiny.

1916-1981: The Fall of the Christian Empire and of the Bolshevik Atheist Empire

On 30 December 1916, Anglo-Zionist spies in Saint Petersburg, sent by those who by then had in 1916 taken control of the bankrupted British government and aided by decadent, anti-Christian, Russian aristocrats, carried out the assassination of a much-slandered Russian Orthodox holy man and spiritual counsellor to the Imperial Family. Exactly as foretold by its victim, this would begin the process that would lead to the overthrow in 1917 of the Tsar, then on the very point of victory and so of ending the vile and atrocious First World War that was slaughtering the flower of Europe. His overthrow would lead to almost two more years of vile war, millions more of victims, and unspeakable bloodshed throughout the Russian Empire, exactly as the Mother of God forewarned innocent peasant children in distant Portugal in 1917. This meant the collapse of the Christian Empire after 1600 years and its replacement by two false Empires, both founded on Western materialism by those who had engineered that collapse. These Empires were the Bolshevik Atheist Empire and the Western Atheist Empire, the first centred in Moscow, the second in New York.

In 1981, 64 years after the 1917 coup d’etat in Saint Petersburg, the only remaining free part of the Russian Orthodox Church, that outside Russia and centred in New York, carried out a heroic act. This was under the leadership of the ever-memorable Metropolitan Philaret (+ 1985), once an exile in China, who had been chosen as Metropolitan by Archbishop John of Shanghai, once also an exile in China (+ 1966). The Metropolitan’s surname was Voznesensky, also the name of the street of the Ipatiev House, where the Imperial Family was martyred in Ekaterinburg. (In 1998 the Metropolitan’s earthly remains were found incorrupt). As for Archbishop John, canonized a generation later (2), he had been slandered, persecuted and even taken to court by false Russian brethren in exile. This heroic 1981 act was when the Church of the emigration at long last canonized the New Martyrs and Confessors. At their head stood Tsar Nicholas II and the Imperial Family and servants, faithful to the end. This act was an act of repentance on behalf of all Russian Orthodox and those Russian émigrés whose ancestors had vilified and betrayed Tsar Nicholas.

This repentance of part of the Russian emigration, living in apparent freedom, had taken a scandalously long 64 years. St John of Shanghai had called for it almost fifty years before. Nevertheless, it represented the long-awaited repentance by descendants of those in the emigration who by treason had abdicated from the Throne and brought about the February 1917 coup d’etat. They had then fled for their lives into an often impoverished and harsh exile, blaming the Tsar for their foolishness, treason and poverty. For that February coup had in turn led to the October 1917 seizure of power by satanic atheists who then ritually murdered the Tsar, his Family and faithful servants. This 1981 canonization led to the rapid deaths of three Soviet leaders from 1982 on, and to the end of stagnation. And in 1991, 75 years almost to the day after its founding act on 30 December 1916, the Bolshevik Atheist Empire, centred in Moscow and which had murdered the Tsar collapsed. Thus, the murders of the Tsar and Imperial Family, ordered from New York in 1918, were literally reversed by an act ordered in New York in 1981. The first part of the curse had been lifted.

In 1988 we wrote that what had begun in New York must be completed in Moscow, that is, by the vast majority of the Russian Orthodox Church, inside Russia. We did not know then that the Bolshevik Atheist Empire would, so painfully for its peoples, finally dissolve in 1991, 75 years almost to the day after the December 1916 assassination by British spies. This is what we wrote then: ‘Our hope is from the living and suffering faithful on Earth and in Heaven, the Martyrs and Confessors of Christ, the One Lord and Saviour. Is then the seventy-year Babylonian captivity of the Russian Church now coming to an end? As yet we cannot know for sure. We shall be certain only when all those many Martyrs and Confessors are venerated without exception, openly, officially and universally in the Russian lands, when the work begun in New York is brought to its fullness in Moscow; this will be the ‘True Pascha’ of which St Seraphim prophetically spoke…The canonization of the New Martyrs and Confessors is a gift of God made through the Church for the spiritual enrichment of the whole Orthodox Church, of all the Orthodox Christian peoples…’.

ReChristianization and DeChristianization

When in June 1941 Nazi tanks invaded the Soviet Union, in the western Ukraine (formerly eastern Poland), naïve Ukrainian peasants greeted the Nazis as liberators from Bolshevism, because the peasants saw crosses on the Nazi tanks. They soon learned of the evil of the Nazis who sadistically slaughtered all who stood in their way. Paradoxically, the Nazi invasion brought about a measure of repentance in the Bolshevik Atheist Empire and the reinvigoration of the implicit Christian values of pre-Revolutionary culture that had been preserved, in terms of the provision of social justice (in the Tsar’s Russia you received free health care for the payment of a stamp costing one rouble per year) and also of ‘socially conservative values’, of normal family life. There dawned on some the realization that the liberation from Nazism of Vienna and Berlin in 1945 could have happened in 1917 under Tsar Nicholas II. That would have been far less bloody, far more disciplined, like the Russian liberation of Paris in 1814, with concerts of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin in the main squares of those cities to celebrate Christian culture, as in Palmyra this year.

The story of the slow but gradual reChristianization of the Russian Lands after 1941, increasing especially rapidly fifty years later, after 1991, is the reverse of the Western story. If the red star of the Bolshevik Atheist Empire became ever more cross-like, the white star of the Western Atheist Empire became ever more satan-like. The two became like two trains on parallel tracks, but heading in opposite directions, to heaven and to hell. Unlike the Bolshevik Atheists, who did not reject their inheritance of social justice and socially conservative moral values from the Tsar’s Empire, Western Atheists have rejected Christian culture. True, anti-Christianity had been inherent in Western history from the Crusades to Wars of ‘Religion’, from Colonization to the French Revolution, from the French and British siding with Islam to invade Russia in 1854 or the German siding with Islam against Russia in 1914. But in the 1960s, 50 years after the Western-orchestrated ‘Russian Revolution’ of 1917, the West entered into a frenzy of deChristianization, rejecting all Christian values implicit in its culture, even male and female roles in the family, resulting in today’s gender hysteria.

1981-2016: The Fall of the Western Atheist Empire

So, in August 2000 the far greater part of the Russian Orthodox Church, that inside Russia, was at last freed, completing the work begun in New York 19 years earlier, canonizing the New Martyrs and Confessors, at their head Tsar Nicholas II and the Imperial Family. This has led in turn to the process that is now reversing the second part of the blood-soaked pattern of catastrophic 20th century and early 21st century history. In other words, since 2000 Russia has been rising and the Western Atheist Empire, centred in New York, its myths of ‘freedom and democracy’ spread like tentacles throughout the world, has been falling. Just as New York freed Moscow between 1981 and 2000, so since 2000 Moscow has been freeing New York. This is the fall of the Empire founded on the ruins of the Christian Empire by traitors in 1917, bringing US troops into the Great War, just as demoralized Russian Imperial troops left it. That ensured 100 years of worldwide bloodshed, just as the Mother of God had warned peasant children in Fatima in Portugal in 1917, though those children would be bullied into silence and their revelation utterly deformed by men of the Vatican machine.

Thus, on the feast-day of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, 11 September 2001, we witnessed the attack on the New York Twin Towers, the beheading of the Western Atheist Babylon. Engineered in secret by forces still unknown, though much suspected, this murderous attack with its 3,000 victims foretold the beginning of the collapse of the Western Atheist Empire that stretches throughout North America, Western Europe, Australasia and to vassal states like Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. It had come to power by financing from New York and organizing the collapse of the Christian Empire eighty-four years before, in 1917. 1917 to 2001: 1984 had indeed come. For the collapse of the Twin Towers did not lead to repentance and the questions, ‘Why is this happening to us?, and, ‘What have we done to deserve this?, as did the collapse of the Tower of Siloam (Lk 13, 1-5), but to illegal, unjustifiable, vengeful, bloody and chaotic invasions of innocent Middle Eastern and Islamic countries. These have in turn bankrupted the indebted US branch of the Western Empire and led to unbearable anarchy and unspeakable misery for the peoples in those lands.

Why did these invasions take place? For oil and gas? For strategic advantage and to set up ever more US military bases? For the usual neo-colonial, Western bullying and asset-stripping of weaker countries, unable to defend themselves against sophisticated arms of ‘shock and awe’? Yes, superficially, all this was the case, but this was only a superficial reason, to keep greedy banksters and military industrialists quiet. In reality, these bloody invasions of Islamic countries, carried out by the neocon elite against the interests of ordinary, hoodwinked and now bankrupted Americans, zombified by their corporate media, took place for another reason. They were designed to weaken the Muslim world, so that the Temple in Jerusalem can be rebuilt by the Zionists in the place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and there the representative of their chief, the prince of this world (Jn 14, 13), can be enthroned. This is why the possible election of the nationalist and populist Trump next month is feared as a huge setback to their plans by the ‘Anglo-Zionist’ neocons. For whatever he may be, he may at least put US internal affairs above meddling in other countries’ internal affairs.

These invasions are also causing the collapse of the European branch of the Western Empire, called the European Union, a weak group of vassal puppet-states controlled by the American Union and heir to the Soviet Union in terms of its tyranny. This absurd, overstretched and bankrupted Union, never wanted by its peoples but only by its moneyed elite, and used to extend a Fourth Reich of German political and economic hegemony over all Europe, is now being overwhelmed by the invasion of Islamic refugees, resulting in divisions everywhere. This leaves only a weakened Western German core, set up to lead Europe under US control at the end of the Second World War, when it was occupied and colonized by US troops. However, if the countries that make up the present EU can regain their freedom and sovereignty, Europe could be saved by returning to its cultural roots. It could return not to recent human and political manipulations and cheap surrogates like Protestantism and Catholicism, but to its real Christian first millennium roots, so long lost, forgotten, scorned and despised, to Orthodoxy Christianity, to the Church of God.

Afterword: The Christian Empire May Rise Again

Today the Russian Federation, once the centre of the Bolshevik Atheist Empire which was dissolved 25 years ago in great pain for its peoples, collapsed through treason and cynical lack of belief in anything except self-interest, so-called Communists becoming Capitalists overnight, is starting to save itself. The Soviet Union had to die if it were to turn its back, however hesitantly, on the Bolshevik heritage of alcoholism, abortion, corruption and divorce. Thus, the restoration by patriots of the Christian Empire after the 100-year long nightmare that began at the end of 1916 now actually looks possible. In this way the Russian Federation can start to save the ever more fragile European nations of the Western Atheist Empire, bringing them back to their senses, back to true freedom (not the ‘freedom’ to murder millions of children in the abortion holocaust or the freedom for sexual perversion), to true culture (not the Coca-Cola culture of feeble imitations of imported cowboy culture) and to their own national sovereignty (not national degradation). A spectre haunts Europe – the spectre of freedom, sovereignty and national restoration, which are spelled Brexit.

But why is this process of salvation, which is now beginning, nowhere yet complete? Because nowhere is repentance yet complete. St Seraphim of Sarov said: ‘I will glorify the Tsar who glorifies me’. Today Tsar Nicholas II says: ‘I will glorify those who glorify me’. But for the Tsar to be glorified, we must first be brought together into Rus by full repentance, by understanding the sin of regicide and all that followed and by accepting the Christian values which he and his family incarnated. This will mean those in the dead Bolshevik Atheist Empire, and at least some in the Western Atheist Empire, which is also to die, overcoming their treason, lies and prejudices about the Christian Empire of the last Tsar. Only when this has been done can the Lord raise up the still unrevealed and unknown man who is to become the next Christian Emperor, the next and perhaps the last Tsar. He alone will resist him who is to be enthroned by our enemies in Jerusalem, as St John of Kronstadt prophesied. But the next and coming Christian Emperor will not appear until the masses are first ready to accept and glorify the last Christian Emperor, Tsar Nicholas II. Yea, come, Lord!

Notes:

1. ‘Beloved Land, soon to be made fragrant and all-holy, shone through and warmed by the love of so many martyrs’ blood, there is an unknown redolence and radiant light in thy still brightening churches; we neither ask why nor question how, but we know and feel and have Faith’. (From ‘Premonition’, Chapter I of ‘Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition’, English Orthodox Trust, 1995, 1997 and 2014).

2. St John was the first saint of the Church Outside Russia. Two others have since followed: Bishop Jonah of Hankou (Hangchow – also in China) (+ 1925) canonized in 1996, and Archbishop Seraphim of Sofia (+ 1950), canonized in 2016. Will Metropolitan Philaret be the fourth? His possible canonical canonization under discussion.

“This article also appeared on Katehon.com http://katehon.com/article/1916-2016-today-tsar-nicholas-ii-says-i-will-glorify-those-who-glorify-me”.

From Fragments to Wholeness

Introduction

Three experiences and the great wonderment and many questions that they raised, all hinting at the existence of a much greater reality beyond the veil, have shaped and inspired my life. These experiences have all been of fragments and vestiges of the great Imperial Christian Civilization which was rejected over a period of between 1,000 and 100 years ago and has since been largely forgotten and lost. Although wholly rejected, derided and even unknown to most, this Civilization may yet, by Divine Providence and human repentance, be restored. That is our hope in our tiny corner of Eastern England.

My life has been spent in the task of fitting together these three experiences or pieces into a great whole, the big picture, where all these pieces belong. Only together as part of a whole do they have their full meaning. Alone they are just separate facts, tantalizing gleams and hints of some greater reality, keys to the great gates of a Kingdom that remains locked until you have all three of them and the daring to unlock them. With time, patience and prayer, by consulting many and reading the books of those whom I could not consult in life, with great effort, I have been able to put all the pieces together and found the big picture.

The Cottage of the People

The first experience came to me in childhood. In 1963, in a spot that I can take you to today, I sat with two nineteenth-century great-uncles, their caps respectfully removed, in the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds. A host of silent questions arose in my mind. Why did they, such humble representatives of the people show such respect here? Who was this St Edmund, that this town had been named after 1,000 years before? What was a saint? How did you become a saint? Why were there only ruins here now? And why were there no longer any saints? So many questions, so few answers and none able to answer them.

By the age of twelve St Edmund had led me to discover other local saints in my native Essex and Suffolk, Sts Botolph, Cedd, Albright, Audrey, Osyth and Felix. Places and churches were named after them, but no-one could tell me very much about them. Their names had become an empty ritual of sounds, without any meaning, divorced from spiritual reality. I became aware that further away there were other mysterious saints, but they were all only fragments. Thus, as a child, I was thwarted, unable and unequipped to put any of these little pieces together, into the great, but mysterious and mystifying whole.

The Altar of the Faith

From August 1968 on I began to discover that these saints, however important they had once been locally, belonged to a far greater whole, to a universal background and culture, a whole Civilization, the Civilization of the Saints. I discovered that, once in their context, they would stop being names and stories in dry and dusty books and that they would come alive again and I could speak to them as my companions. This was all part of the greater discovery that what had been presented to me as Christianity was not that at all, but a system of tedious, State-organized ethics devised to control the masses.

Then came the realization that through its inevitable degeneration this false Christianity had been responsible for the opposite of authentic Christianity, Secularism. Whether in its Protestant or its Roman Catholic form, it lay outside the real Christian Church, the Orthodox Church. Finally, in 1972 when I visited the Soviet Union, I realized that the essential and largest part of the Orthodox Church was there, so cruelly persecuted and its integrity damaged, bringing people at worst to superstitious ritualism, Sovietized fragmentization. Outside that, there were other smaller Churches, but even more nationalized and compromised.

The Throne of the Sovereign

Having by my thirty-third year pieced together the saintly Cottage of the People and the holy Altar of the Faith that I served in the so troubled and sadly divided emigration, I began to understand that both Cottage and Altar had to be completed by the sacred Throne, the Throne of the Sacral Christian Empire, which depended on the Cottage and the Altar, but which also protected them both. In the Kingdom of Heaven there was no need for it, but on earth this was the glue that kept everything together. The Throne had been overthrown on earth many decades before. But what was the hope that the Throne could be restored?

At that time there seemed to be virtually none, for the Throne lay in ruins. The Imperial reality had been reduced to fragments, each tiny part claiming to be the Empire! It had been reduced to freemasonry and corruption, to fallen compromises and flag-waving provincialism, to sterile intellectualism and private personality cults. It had been betrayed by disincarnate modernists who could not see the greater picture, as they lived in the bubble of their own egos; they could not see the great forest as a result of looking for too long at their own little saplings. Could it, by the grace of God and human repentance, be restored?

Conclusion

Thus through the saintly Cottage of the People I discovered the Kingdom of the Spirit, through the holy Altar of Faith the Kingdom of the Son, and through the sacred Throne of the Sovereign the Kingdom of the Father. I had discovered in the saints the spiritual essence of the People, in the Faith Orthodoxy and in the Throne Sovereignty. I had discovered Christian Civilization, the opposite of the anti-Civilization that I had been born into, with its world wars, death camps, atomic bombs, cult of mammon and ruthless exploitation and genocide of Non-Europeans. I had seen the big picture, discovering the unique Christian Civilization.

Elitism despised and mocked the Cottage of the People; the Establishment falsified and compromised the Altar of the Faith; Secularism betrayed and scorned the Throne of the Sovereign. But I had seen the big picture, discovering the unique Christian Civilization. It could be called Roma Nova, the Third Rome or Holy Rus, though to some those terms have nationalistic undertones, but it is simply the Sacral Christian Empire. That Empire began in York on 25 July 306 and ended in Ekaterinburg on 17 July 1918. However, has it ended? Or has it merely been interrupted by ‘treachery, cowardice and deceit’?

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 the Curse of Ancestral Sins and Cultural Healing

Introduction: On Healing from the Sins of our Ancestors

Sins always have consequences. Thus, once we have realized that we have sinned, attaining the consciousness of our sinfulness, we have to repent for the sins and make up for, that is, to make reparation for, their consequences. Only thus can we be healed. But what can we say of the consequences of the sins of our ancestors? Although we did not commit the sins, we still have to live with their consequences, which have become an inherent part of the reflexes and attitudes of the culture in which we live. Until we have made an act of cultural repentance and reparation for the misdeeds of our ancestors, our repentance and reparation are not complete, we accept a stained, even cursed, culture, agreeing to live amid spiritual impurity, and the impure consequences of the original sins continue. In other words, we must seek cultural repentance and reparation if we are to heal the consequences of ancestral sins.

Let us take one concrete and most tragic example from European life, the centenary of which has just been recalled, the Battle of the Somme, with its one million victims. Why did that War, of which that Battle was one of the bloodiest events, take place in Northern France and Southern Belgium (Flanders)? Why were millions of Belgians, Germans, Frenchmen and British troops sent to their deaths by their political and military elites in such a cruel, futile and utterly inhuman way, so much so that the shattered bodies of hundreds of thousands of them could never even be found? Because those were the very countries were cursed by the most terrible exploitation and massacres of native peoples in colonies. Thus, just tiny Belgium stood accused of maiming and murdering between one million and ten million Africans in the Belgian Congo. Sins carried out far away still lie like a curse close to home.

Let us take more recent examples. Why did the terrorist massacre of innocents of 2001 occur precisely in the USA on 9/11 that year? Because the USA is where modern Islamist terrorism was invented and it has never been repented for and made up for, 9/11 being the feast of the Beheading of the innocent St John the Baptist by the evil Herod. Why did the demonic terrorist atrocity in Nice occur precisely in France on 15 July this year? Because France is where terror was invented, on 14 July 1789, and it has never been repented for and made up for, but tragically it is actually justified and celebrated – in France every 14 July. Why was Patriarch Bartholomew, forewarned by Washington, forced to flee Turkey on the eve of the recent failed US-organized coup? Because he has still not repented for and made up for the heretical meeting he oversaw in Crete last month and so has lost his spiritual protection.

Cultural Repentance and Reparation Among Lapsed Russian Orthodox

Let us take other, longer-lasting examples. ‘Only repentance will save Russia’. Like the call of St John the Baptist, such was the call of St John of Kronstadt and many others before the so-called Russian ‘Revolution’ of 1917. After it, this was also the unanimous call of countless others, both inside and outside the former Russian Empire, not least of St John of Shanghai. Otherwise, they said, the bloodletting would go on. Indeed, it was only 25 years after the Revolution, with the unspeakable suffering of the Second World War and its 27 mainly civilian million dead, that repentance began, but even today reparation for the impurity is not complete there, as we see below. For he who says repentance for sins also means reparation for, that is, making up for, the consequences of the sins, changing the culture in which people live. Until the consequences of sins are made up for in all aspects of life, repentance is not complete.

In the ex-Soviet context of the twentieth and twenty-first century, repentance has precisely meant people stripping themselves of a whole cultural layer of spiritual impurity. This was the layer of atheism imposed by force by the Soviet-style Westernization of Russia since 1917, which assimilated the spiritual impurity that had gone before it. Thus, in the 25 years since the fall of the Soviet Union and the coming of religious freedom, we have seen massive numbers of ex-Soviet citizens being baptized, that is, mass repentance. Over 100 million lives have begun to change – but not fully. For the Churching of these masses has been harder and slower, as Soviet cultural reflexes, the ABC of alcoholism (drug-taking), abortion (child murder) and corruption (systematic lying), still like a curse. Though several millions have been Churched in Orthodoxy so far, cultural reparation and so healing is only beginning.

In another Russian context, that of the deep-rooted political prejudices of the anti-Russian emigration, repentance would mean descendants of émigrés stripping themselves of two layers of spiritual impurity. The first is the layer imposed by modern life in the West where they have been born and lived all their lives. The second, much deeper, is the cultural layer of impurity, that of the Russophobic Westernization inherited and continued from their emigre ancestors who absorbed that impurity inside Russia well before the Revolution which they greeted. Two layers makes the task of repentance and reparation twice as hard and this is why the politicized descendants of émigrés have still not returned to the Russian Church. Indeed, there are those among them who actually justify their lack of return to the Church, their lack of cultural repentance and reparation, which lies like a self-imposed curse on them.

Cultural Repentance and Reparation Among Western People

Similarly, for Western people to repent and make reparation for their ancestors’ abandonment of the Orthodox Church means not just words, but reparation, that is, actually returning to their ancestral Faith and cleansing their culture of spiritual impurity. And that means not just repentance for personal sins that have blinded them to the Faith in the past, but also making up for the consequences of those sins which infect the culture that they have inherited. We can sum this up by saying that there must first be personal repentance and reparation and then cultural repentance and reparation. In other words, returning to the Orthodox Faith means forming and obtaining a new view of the world and everything around us and living according to it. Only if enough people follow this path, will a whole culture be purified and healed of its deformations, lies and hypocrisy and will the world be transfigured.

In an English context, returning to the Church means stripping ourselves of no fewer than three layers of impurity. The first is the Secularist culture imposed by the last 50 years of modern life in the West where people have lived all their lives, the second is that imposed by some 475 years of Protestant culture before that, the third that imposed by some 475 years of Roman Catholic culture before that. (In a Roman Catholic context, returning to the Church means losing only two layers, but the second is a double layer – as it is 950 years ‘thick’). Such repentance and reparation mean rejecting the inherent spiritual impurities in English culture, all its alien reflexes and mentalities. Just as someone cannot be baptised if he has not first emptied himself of all that is unworthy of baptism, so also a culture cannot be baptised if it has not first emptied itself of all that is unworthy of baptism.

Let us take concrete examples of the three layers that have overlaid Orthodox culture in England. The first layer is the secularism which says that faith is a barely tolerable private delusion or psychological disease that has no objective reality – modern relativist amoralism. The next layer is the secularism which says that faith is a set of private interpretations and personal moral rules that have no consequences in social, political and economic life, which are ruled only by utilitarian self-interest – ruthless Imperialism, the right to theft because ‘we’ are superior. The final layer is the secularism which says that faith is dependent on external obedience to and dependence on an individual. It is only underneath all these three layers that we can find True Faith, which is made up of the revelations of the Holy Spirit, made continually to the community of all the saints, who together are called the Church.

Conclusion: Consequences in the Last Times

There are no fewer than three levels of cultural repentance and reparation here, three layers of cultural attachment to falsehood which people have to rid themselves off to return to the Church and so be healed. And threefold cultural purification is the only repentance and reparation possible for the thousand year curse, for it is precisely on the basis of these three layers of error that Antichrist will come. Firstly, he will ban all ‘private delusion’ (faith in the real God), secondly, he will enforce consumerist self-interest (the law of the jungle) and thirdly, he will ensure that all are obedient to and dependent on his external authority. In other words, the three layers of impurity that deform modern culture create the conditions for Antichrist to come, frighteningly, the ultimate cultural curse. But we should not despair – he will come only if we do not repent for lapsing from our ancestral Orthodox Faith by returning to it.