The above are the words spoken by the future martyr Emperor Nicholas II, after he had been treacherously stabbed in the back by almost all of the intelligentsia. That word defined the then deChristianised upper and middle class of Russia, made up of generals, aristocrats, including Romanovs, politicians, industrialists, lawyers, teachers and, sadly, many clergy.
As a result of the betrayal of the Christian Russian Empire by its internal enemies, keenly supported by its external enemies, the British, German, French and American elites, the Empire fell to the most vicious genocide known to human history. ‘Holding victory in his hands, he fell to the earth alive’, as Winston Churchill wrote of his betrayal in his work ‘The World Crisis’ (Vol I, p. 476). This betrayal was the Emperor’s Gethesemane, when he prayed for the cup to pass, but also ‘but may Thy will be done’. So his crown was removed and he went up to his Cross willingly, saying: ‘If Russia needs a sacrifice for its salvation, I will be that sacrifice’.
Those who still today, incredibly, write that the Tsar and his Family and friends were weak-willed, inept, debauched or stupid are still stabbing him in the back in the same way. And so they are still preventing the Church from implementing Her Providential and Apostolic mission and destiny of Christianising and reChristianising the world. But the Tsar forgives them: they know not what they do. Worse still, however, they do not want to know what they do. Only God can forgive that, if they repent. So much for them, but whose side are we on? There are some, hopefully very few, among the international clergy of the Church, who number nearly one hundred thousand, who also still behave as traitors, cowards and deceivers to the Church, who are the enemies of the Church. Among them we can discern three types, often mixed together:
- Treason: The unprincipled careerist and the faithless bureaucrat.
These will do anything to further their passion of ambition, their careers, their lust for wealth and power. They may be political appointees or secular failures, who have been found jobs through influential relatives and demonstrate great nationalism. They will steal Church money, buy property for themselves, tyrannize others with absurd paperwork (‘control and command’), and threaten, bully and transfer them, if possible. They generally make themselves disliked and even feared by alienated clergy and people who instinctively distrust them as thieves. The people see through the amoral and immoral attitudes in their souls and vote with their feet whenever they turn up. We knew one bishop in England years ago who spent Church money on equipping his mistress, other clergymen are homosexuals or moral degenerates. Such characters are very divisive and are soon forgotten when they die, but first cause great damage.
- Cowardice: The cowardly diplomat and the dreaming academic
Conformists to the core, these suffer from weak faith and will always swim with the tide, failing to stand up for the Truth and defend the faithful. Often they cannot make any decision or give any concrete answer to anything, let alone do anything, as they are lost in long-winded conversations and writing long documents. Words not actions. In fact, they persecute zeal and want the Church to wither. One bishop we knew in France, where such are called ‘library bishops’, said that it was better to have fewer parishes because then there were fewer problems. A truly apostolic attitude! If they are vicar bishops they are fairly innocuous and can be left to their books and theories, even if they are homosexual. However, if given power as diocesan bishops or deans, disasters ensue. One we know had to be defrocked: the wrong man in the wrong place. That was a personal tragedy for him; not a bad man, just incompetent and ineffectual.
- Deceit: The fraudulent charlatan and the self-admiring narcissist
In some respects the charlatans are the worst of all. Claiming to be ‘spiritual’, which they most certainly are not, as is apparent to anyone with Church experience, they persuade the lonely, spinsters, widows and bachelors, that they have some sort of ‘charisma’. These self-appointed ‘spiritual fathers’ are generally narcissists with a personality cult and so are manipulators, preying on and abusing the young, especially students, the naïve and the weak, making them feel guilty, taking their goodwill and money through l manipulations. Some of them are sexual predators, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Worst of all are the pedophiles. We have seen several of these charlatans in various countries: they are more common than is thought. As narcissists, they are always right, never listen to advice, never consult (though they may pretend to do so) and, if bishops, ordain disastrously because they do not ordain pastors but yes-men.
It is clear that creating a clergyman just because he is unmarried will lead to disasters, more precisely, to treason, cowardice and deceit. Only real monks should be consecrated to the episcopate or ordained, not single men who become monks formally merely so that they can be consecrated or ordained, but those who live monasticism, like the Russian bishops of the past.
Given the present condition of the worldwide Orthodox episcopate, with the chronic shortage of candidates for the episcopate, what can be done? The ideal solution is more monasticism. But that cannot be created artificially, only organically. You cannot somehow manufacture ‘monasticism’. And then not all good monks make good bishops, though all good bishops are good monks. And candidates for monasticism generally only appear out of parishes where zeal is encouraged. And candidates for monasticism generally come out of families who live an Orthodox life. This solution to the problem can only come in the long term. What can be done now?
The alternative proposed by some is to return to having married bishops, with tiny dioceses of ten to twenty parishes, as in ancient times. However, such a radical change, which could only be decided by a Church Council, is highly unlikely in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, with few bishops, there is a realistic and canonical compromise solution. This is for the bishops who do exist to delegate whatever they can to trustworthy deans. Though not without risks, deans could consult and request bishops to ordain as needed by the grassroots. Treason and cowardice and deceit must be overcome by all clergy. We all need to say: ‘If Russia needs a sacrifice for its salvation, we will be that sacrifice’. Otherwise we too will prevent the Church from implementing Her Providential and Apostolic mission and destiny to Christianise and reChristianise the world.