When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Fake News and Fake History
We are told that in 2017 43% of British people still trust the UK media to tell the truth, down from 50% in 2016 (1). Why is the figure still so amazingly high? After all, by the end of the old Soviet Union, the figure for trust in the Soviet media must have been 0%. And the fake news issued by all the Western Establishment media, from the BBC to the New York Times, from Le Monde to German Television, is no more truthful than the propaganda lies issued by the three generations of the Soviet Establishment. The reason for this high figure can only be because many Western people have been so deeply brainwashed by Establishment lies, not over three generations, but over a millennium, forty generations. In other words, what lies behind fake news is fake history.
This fake history actually began over a millennium ago, with the Frankish ‘Charlemagne’ (real name: Karl the Tall) in the First Reich centred in Aachen. He began the first post-Truth society with the news that he had the right to massacre any non-Frankish peoples (Saxons, Slavs or anyone else) who resisted him. This was because he had the self-created divine right to bring ‘barbarians’ to his ‘truth’ and if they refused to accept his truth, then they could be murdered en masse, which he did. As the ‘Father of Europe’ (2), the truth of the Holy Spirit flowed from him as vicar of God on earth – a conscious part of his filioque ideology. Fortunately, his propaganda myth was rejected in and immediately after his time, because Orthodox Christianity was still then strong enough, even in his Western tip of Eurasia, for it to be rejected.
Unfortunately, this spiritual strength did not last and by the mid-eleventh century his propaganda to mask plunder, that the task of Frankish ‘Europe’ was to spread ‘civilization’ among ‘primitive peoples’, had been revived under the popes. As a result, in 1066 the papally-sponsored, feudal Normans invaded, occupied and massacred their way through England (3) and then all Britain. A generation later Frankish Europe began the ‘crusades’, invading, occupying and massacring their way to the Holy Land. In 1204 their greed led them to plunder the Christian Capital of ‘Byzantium’ (real name: New Rome). Their cousins then attempted to plunder Russia under the name of the ‘Teutonic Knights’. In and after 1492 their ‘Frankish’ (4) Spanish and Portuguese spiritual cousins took part in the rape of South and Central America, as well as Mexico.
Later, other spiritual descendants of the Franks got rich quick by plundering Roman Catholicism, under the pretext of ‘The Reformation’. In England, the Tudor ‘reformers’ proved to be ruthless Machiavellians and their descendants massacred all who resisted them in civil wars in England and then in genocide in Ireland. In 1689 they usurped power from the legitimate Stuart Kings and invited Dutch and then German puppet monarchs to permit their merchant class to build an Empire based on slavery. They sang ‘Britons never, never, never will be slaves’, but did not add that everyone else would precisely be slaves, including their own voteless labouring masses. In the 19th century the elite of Western Europe plundered Asia and Africa, as described by the Polish novelist Joseph Conrad in his 1899 novel ‘The Heart of Darkness’.
Nineteenth-century ‘Frankish’ hypocrisy, wiping out the ‘Red Indians’, the Tasmanians, slaughtering spear-armed Africans with Maxim guns (5) and anyone else who stood in their way, led directly to two ‘World Wars’ (real name: inter-tribal European Wars), which Western Europe spread worldwide, not least through the descendants of European colonists in North America. The Western European ideologies of Capitalism, Communism and Fascism did untold damage, creating and using weapons of mass destruction, which killed tens of millions and can destroy the whole planet many times over. In the 21st century the continued neo-colonial attempts to impose Western values on the Middle East, notably on Iraq, called a ‘crusade’ by the Italian leader Berlusconi, in a bid to plunder and control, are still generating massive genocide.
Frangistan and Freedom
The above, presented by fake history as the ‘generous’ civilizing influence of the West among the Rest, ‘the barbarians’, is in fact the unjustifiable justification for the plunder and control of the Non-Western world by the Western world. Because of its origins in Continental Western Europe under the Frank Charlemagne, this Western world became known as ‘Frangistan’ in traditional Persian. However, long before, the Norman invasions of Scotland and Ireland in the 12th century were called ‘the coming of the Franks’, Arabs called Westerners ‘Faranga’ and when the Portuguese and Spaniards arrived off the coasts of China in the 16th century, locals called them ‘Fo-lang-ki’ – Franks. And in modern Hindi all Europeans in general are still referred to as ‘Firang’ (4). In other words, ‘Frangistan’ is the Western world.
With its modern acronyms of USA, EU, NATO and G7, Frangistan, represents much less than one seventh of the world, much less because many ordinary ‘Franks’ can themselves see through the fake history spun by the Frankish elite. In the real world, where live the other six and a half billion of the world’s population, this Western world seems to be isolated. Originally meaning only the Western tip of Northern Eurasia, the name Frangistan comes, as we have said, from the one Germanic tribe, the Franks. Ironically, this meant ‘the free’, but it has come to define the world’s greatest enslavers – whether literally, as before in the Americas and Africa, or else economically, as today. The endlessly greedy and aggressive ‘Franks’ not only destroyed the Christian Civilization of New Rome, but all other civilizations, whoseever assets could be stripped.
Thus, they destroyed the great civilization along the Amazon, reducing the cities by the banks of that river to jungle, they destroyed the other civilizations of South America, among them the Inca, those of Central America, among them the Aztec and the sophisticated Maya, and despised and laid waste to all others in North America, India, China, Japan and the rest of Asia, as well as in Africa. Only when the ‘free’ ‘Franks’, or at least the 43% of them who apparently still believe in the fake history told them, have delivered themselves from their self-justifying fake history, that they are ‘civilized’, demonizing the Non-Frankish peoples with their often far more advanced and humble civilizations, as ‘half-devil, half-child’ (Kipling), ‘wild animals’, ‘savages’ and ‘primitives’ and wishing them dead, will they really be free.
The self-justifying foundation of the ‘civilizing’ propaganda for plunder, ‘the white man’s burden’, is that the Franks persuaded themselves that they alone are ‘Christians’, that ‘God speaks only to them’ (George Bush (6)). But their god is not the Risen Christ, the Living God, Who is ‘an all-consuming fire’ (Hebrews 12, 29), but the sentimental, weak as water, bleeding Western man ‘Jesus’. Thus, there is nothing new in fake news. Western history is a thousand years of fake news. The news is: ‘We are bringing you ‘Christian’ civilization (meaning our plunder of your civilization), and if you reject it, ‘as true Christians’ we will be so kind as to bomb you back into the Stone Age’. Gun and Bible. Freedom will come for the ‘Franks’ only when they give up their thousand years of fake news and retrieve real Western history in the saints of the pre-Frankish past.
The word ‘Europe’ is said to mean ‘the West’ and the word ‘Asia’ ‘the East’. Hence ‘Eurasia’, where all civilization began, means ‘West-east’. By far the greatest part of ‘West-East’ Eurasia is united in the Eurasian Russian Federation. This developed and expanded by assimilation, not by massacre, quite rapidly from Muscovy to the Arctic north, then to the east, gradually heroically overcoming immense Tartar/Muslim opposition, as far as the shores of the Pacific and even across it, then to the south (although ‘Frangistan’ has challenged that expansion by aggressive wars and imposing German puppet kings in the Balkans, especially to the south-west, invading the Crimea twice in a century. With illegal sanctions it is still challenging today the overwhelming democratic will of Crimeans to return to and belong to the Federation (7)).
Indeed, even apart from the Crimea in the south-west, the Christian Federation of Russia (unlike the atheist USSR) has never been able to expand to the west, with Western Europe powers repeatedly invading Federation territory, four times between 1812 and 1941 alone. This tragedy has meant the self-isolation of Western Europe, cut off from Christian Northern Eurasia. Today’s great hope among many in the Federation is that it will at long last be able to establish a Metropolia in Western Europe, thus bringing the extreme Western territory at least into Church order out of its chaos. This will represent a spiritual victory, the victory over 1,000 years of fake news, the millennial fake history of ‘Frangistan’, delivering it and bringing it to rediscover the real Europe, the Free Christian Europe of the Saints of the first millennium, of the Church of God.
2. The monstrous Karl, founder of the First Reich in 800, the mass murderer and forerunner of Bismarck of the Second Reich and of Hitler of the Third Reich, is still quite seriously honoured as ‘The Father of Europe’, notably by the Fourth Reich EU elite.
3. The Norman occupiers wrote their own propaganda history, proclaiming that there had been no English kings or people before them, merely ‘primitive’ and ‘decadent’ ‘Anglo-Saxons’. To this day kings of England are numbered from the foreign kings from 1066 on; not one of them has been English.
4. For a full survey of the word ‘Frank’ to mean a Western European see ‘The Making of Europe’ (950-1350), by Robert Bartlett, 1993, especially pages 101-105.
5. See Hilaire Belloc, in the words of the figure “Blood” in his poem “The Modern Traveller”:
Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not.
7. The bilionaire leader of the genocidal, US-installed Kiev puppet junta, Poroshenko (real name: Waltzman) has only this week stated that all Ukrainians who do not accept his tyranny should go and live in Siberia. With these words he has repeated the ‘Drang nach Osten’, ‘Lebesnraum’ policy of Hitler, to exile all East Slavs to the east of the Urals in order to make room for ‘European’ expansion and exploitation in the east.
Metropolitan Ambrose (Orthodox Church of Greece), sent an open letter to Patriarch Bartholomew. AgionOros.ru published a translation of the most important provisions of the letter.
At the beginning of the letter, Metropolitan Ambrose reports the “deep sorrow and astonishment” that he experienced when he learned that the Patriarch of Constantinople in a letter to the Archbishop of Athens Hieronymus called to protect the Church from the “radical opinions of the Metropolitans of Kalavriti and Piraeus.”
Metropolitan stressed that such a letter can be viewed as a violation of the canons and “an attempt to carry out the primacy of power in relation to a fraternal Local Church”, although in fact the Patriarch of Constantinople has “primacy of honor, and not the primacy of power and values.”
According to Metropolitan Ambrose, the result of “the notorious” Holy and Great Council “in Kolymbari in Crete was that the Orthodox Church is divided into many parts, and the Christian people have fallen into confusion and a new schism “is actually developing.
Metr Ambrose believes that the so-called “Holy “and” Great “Council in Kolymbari has caused Orthodoxy the deepest wound.” “Erroneous decisions” in particular have been the recognition of the existence of several Christian Churches:
“So, there are many Churches? Then why in the Creed do we profess “One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”? Is that not an ecclesiological contradiction, or even serious dogmatic distortion? Then what is the theological meaning and content of the dialogue (which you encourage) “with other Christian Churches and confessions”? Is remaining unwithdrawn and dogmatic deviations of the latter (despite decades of ongoing dialogues) to justify the possibility of non-Orthodox being called “church”? “.
Metropolitan Ambrose underlines that he would never accept such an “ecclesiological deviation”:
“Do not renounce, beloved Orthodoxy! We do not deceive you, honor, passed from the fathers! In you we are born, and you live and you die! And if you take time and die a thousand times for you ” (Joseph Monk Bryennios 1350-1431).
In the final part of his open letter, Metropolitan Ambrose calls on Patriarch Bartholomew “not to insist on a heretical and blasphemous position, according to which both Papists and Protestants make up the “Church. ” They are just the branches that have fallen away from the Church tree. Today the Church is only the Orthodox Church! “.
According to the Metropolitan the document on “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world” needs to be revised, otherwise there will be a possible split within the Orthodox Church.
Metr Ambrose calls on the Patriarch of Constantinople to stop the persecution of those who disagree with the decisions of the Council of Crete, and to hold a new “truly Holy and Great Council”, which will once again consider the “Church” and “Christian faith.”
May 4, 2017
12 May 2041
Q: What is the territory of your Archdiocese?
AG: As you know, our Archdiocese is part of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe under Metropolitan John. This stretches from Ireland to Austria and Iceland to Sicily and includes the Latin, Germanic, Celtic and Basque peoples of Western Europe. Our Archdiocese includes the four now sovereign nations of England, Ireland (which was finally reunited five years ago, if you remember), Scotland and Wales. At present we have four bishops, myself, Bishop Patrick in Dublin, Bishop Andrew in Edinburgh and Bishop David in Cardiff. For our Local Synods we always use our premises on the Isle of Man, the only place from which all our four nations are visible.
Q: Why did you take the name Ionan for your Archdiocese?
AG: Originally, the name ‘Diocese of the Isles’ was suggested for the Archdiocese, but this was considered too vague, since there are isles all over the world. Then the name ‘Isles of the North Atlantic’ was suggested, so forming the acronym I.O.N.A. This conveniently refers to the Ionan Orthodox monasticism of St Columba, which originated in Egypt and came to Ireland via Gaul. Since St Columba’s monastery on Iona spread to England via Lindisfarne and from there Orthodoxy went south, converting much of England, and authentic monasticism had always been the one thing missing here, we felt that this was a good name.
Q: How did ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ come into being?
AG: As you know even into the early 21st century there were two forms of Orthodoxy in Western countries. The first was that which looked back to the ethnic homeland, which meant that in each Western European country there was a multitude of dioceses, called jurisdictions, each living in a sort of divisive ethnic ghetto and using mainly a language other than English. This was all right for first-generation immigrants, but it did not work for second and subsequent generations, who were simply assimilated into the Non-Orthodox milieu. And after three generations, 75 years, abroad, the first generation always died out and so the Church with it. It happened to the Russians in England (arrived by 1920) who had died out by 1995 and to the Greek-Cypriots in England (arrived by 1960) who had died out by 2035.
Q: What was the second form of Orthodoxy in the West?
AG: Seeing the obvious short-sightedness and failure of the above form, there were second and third-generation Russian intellectuals who by reaction took the opposite stance. Their second form of Orthodoxy consisted of merging all Orthodox, whatever their background, into a melting pot. Their common point was the lowest common denominator, that is, the ethnic identity of the (Non-Orthodox) host country. Their policy was then to sell this as the new and substitute ethnic identity of a new Local Church. This second form only developed in full in North America, where immigrants had begun arriving much earlier than in Western Europe, at the end of the nineteenth century, and where people were far more cut off from the roots of Orthodoxy than in Europe. In Europe we did not want to repeat that mistake.
Q: What was that mistake?
AG: It was the attempt to create an ‘American Orthodoxy’. That was a mistake because it put a culture, Non-Orthodox at that, above the Church. This was not a theological movement, but merely a sociological movement of adaptation and conformism. For example, through the inferiority complex of immigrants, most Orthodox churches in the US adopted pews and many of them organs, one institution tried to use a guitar accompaniment to the Divine Liturgy and adapt the theme tune of the cowboy film ‘Shenandoah’ to it. In other places the Divine Liturgy would be stopped at Christmas in order to sing Protestant Christmas carols!
Someone at the time drew a cartoon of an ‘All-American Patriarch’, a clean-shaven man in a clerical collar with a foolish grin on his face and a glass of coca-cola in his hand, like an advert for toothpaste. Of course, this was only a carton, but it did sum up the situation. At that time when the USA still ruled the world, there were actually individuals in the US who arrogantly and blindly imagined that this second form of Orthodoxy there was the only true form of Orthodoxy, that it was at the centre of the world and that it was their duty to colonize the rest of the world with it! In reality, of course, it was a mere provincial backwater experiment, to be allowed to die out quietly because this experiment simply pandered to the weaknesses of the host country. It placed the Church of God below heretical culture. That was blasphemous, which is why it was racked with scandals.
Q: But did the same temptation not occur in Europe, even if it did not have time to develop to the same extent as in the USA?
AG: Yes, of course, it occurred; human nature is the same everywhere, it was just that it took on different forms according to the local heterodox culture. The same thing has happened among unChurched, semi-Orthodox people in Greece, Romania and Russia. It is simply the heresy of phyletism. And make no mistake, it is a heresy because you can lose your soul in it – that is what a heresy is.
For example, in France a whole jurisdiction catered for a kind of ‘philosophical and aesthetic Orthodoxy’, ‘l’Orthodoxie a la francaise’, as one might say. This theory of Orthodoxy, or theorizing about Orthodoxy, did not present the Church as the Christian way of life, but as a complex and highly intellectual philosophy, full of long words and isms, which no-one really understood. Of course, it could have been expressed in very simple language, which everyone knew already. But as long as it sounded theoretically and philosophically fine, ‘cosmique’ as they used to say, all was fine, but of course, it was not fine and that jurisdiction died out, as it was built on sand, not on the Rock of the Faith. This theorizing was about the god of the philosophers in the language of philosophers, not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the language of the fishermen of Galilee. You simply cannot build a Local Church based on Non-Orthodox culture! That is common sense, but you could not say that out loud to those who were taken up by such delusions.
Q: What about in other countries in Europe?
AG: It happened everywhere, not just in France. For example, in Germany the first liturgical book to be translated was the Typikon. In other words, Orthodoxy there was confused with the Non-Orthodox German mindset and produced an Orthodoxy of rules, a stubborn, black and white system, without any flexibility, any understanding of the human component, which is what it is all about. They lost their way by confusing the means (the services) with the ends (the salvation of the soul). For instance, I remember one German priest refusing to give a woman communion because she was dressed in trousers. Well, she was of course wrong, but a few decades ago there was a fashion for women to dress in trousers (fortunately, long since over now). That was bad, but what right did the German priest have to excommunicate that woman? Suppose she had died in the night after she had been refused communion? That sin would have been on the conscience of that priest.
Q: And in England?
AG: It was the same thing again. The national weakness here was not theorizing or creating a book of rules, but it was to adapt Orthodoxy to the British Establishment, to create a compromised ‘Establishment Orthodoxy’, a ‘British Orthodoxy’. This State-controlled and State-worshipping Orthodoxy, that of converts from Anglicanism, was of course just a repeat of the Anglicanism that had long ago been invented by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. There were even two whole but tiny jurisdictions dedicated to this State-approved pietism. It was all salt that had lost its savour. Some such people used the treacherous, half-Norman Edward the Confessor as the mascot of their ‘Establishment Orthodoxy’. Of course, it all came to nothing and has died out now, largely a fantasy of the late-twentieth century and the curious personalities who reigned supreme in the bad old days then. It was very oppressive because, as they were emperors in new clothes, you were not allowed to contradict them!
All these examples show the danger of compromising the Faith with local culture. And all those who did so have now died out, as withered branches. And that is the answer to your question, how did ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ come into being. It came into being as the only living alternative to the two false alternatives – the ghetto or worldly compromise.
Q: So what do you base ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ on?
AG: Simply, we put the Church and the Faith first. If we put the Kingdom of God, Orthodoxy, first, then all will fall into place, including the language that we use in services, which today is for about 90% in English, regardless of the ethnic origin of the parishioners, regardless of how well or how badly they speak another language. We are united by Orthodox Christianity, not by ethnic origins, and we are carried forward by the faithfulness to the Church and Her Tradition of the younger generations, who are all primarily English-speakers.
Q: You now have over 350 parishes in the British Isles and Ireland, all established quite solidly and with their own clergy and premises. Every city and town over 50,000 and the area around it is covered. This is quite unlike even 25 years ago, when the Russian Church, a small minority at that time, had mostly tiny communities with services once a month, borrowed premises and a suffered from a huge shortage of priests to go out and do vital missionary work in the area surrounding their churches. What about the other jurisdictions, which collectively still have over 50 parishes outside the Archdiocese?
AG: We live with them as good neighbours. People are free to join us and free to remain outside us. As you know, the parishes outside our jurisdiction are composed mainly of elderly people who settled here from various countries 50 years ago or more and they use very little English in their services. Virtually all the young people come to us. Time will show which way things will go. Live and let live.
Q: What is the future? Do you think of autocephaly?
AG: The Western European Metropolia, with just over 2,000 parishes now, is united, with six archdioceses, Iona, Scandinavia, Germania, Gallia, Italia and Hispania. True, the Metropolia has autonomy, but at the present time there is no desire at all for autocephaly. True, 2,000 parishes is more than in some other Local Churches, like the 700 parishes of the Hungarian Orthodox Church which recently became autocephalous, but a lot fewer than in others. Take China for example. That is still also an autonomous part of the Russian Church, even though it now has over 25,000 parishes. And the Russian Church Herself did not become autonomous for centuries, only after the Empire had fallen in New Rome. At present, I cannot see any reason to become autocephalous. That situation may of course change, especially in China, but not yet. It all takes time.
Q: Are you saying that autocephaly granted prematurely can be dangerous?
AG: Definitely. And especially in Western Europe.
AG: Because Western Europe has for over a millennium veered between extremes which we do not want to repeat.
Q: Which extremes?
AG: The first is that of despotic centralism. This was the extreme of the pagan Roman Empire, which Charlemagne foolishly tried to revive and fortunately failed to, but it was indeed revived after 1050, causing Western Europe’s schism from the Church, and that lasted until the anti-Latin nationalist outburst of the Germanic Reformation. After that, despotic centralism was tried again by warmongers like Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler, and then by the EU Fourth Reich – and we all know how that ended.
Each time there was a reaction to this despotism – nationalism, and that led to terrible fratricidal wars in Europe, like the so-called ‘Wars of Religion’ in the 16th century, just as centralism created the World Wars. We do not want those extremes, we must follow the golden mean of unity in diversity, which is what we have in Ionan Orthodoxy and in the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe in general. Europe has to be a Confederation of Nations, not a Union, a United States of Europe, but not a series of warring, nationalist states either.
In the same way, the Tsardom of Rus, as it is now called, successfully overcame provincial Ukrainian nationalism a generation ago and reunited huge territories, one sixth of the world. However, it only did this by rejecting the old centralism of the Soviet Union, which had done so much damage to its credibility. Once it had done that, again on the basis of unity in diversity, all of Eastern Europe joined in a free and mutually beneficial economic confederation with it, throwing off the shackles of the old European Union, which was in fact just a repeat of the Soviet Union.
Q: Will you drop the word ‘Russian’ from the name of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe? Most of your faithful are either not Russian or else do not speak it.
AG: In the bad old days of Western nationalism, for example in North America in the Cold War, they detested the word ‘Russian’ and dropped it. Now we are more enlightened and we all understand that ‘Russian’ does not mean nationalism and means uncompromised, unsecularized Orthodoxy. We exist because we have been helped to exist by the Russian Orthodox Church, the only multinational, Imperial Orthodox Church. I think we should keep it. Do you remember the old Roman Catholic Church, as it used to be called? Well, there were hardly any Romans in it!
Q: Why has the Western European Metropolia been so successful?
AG: Without doubt because of the sacrifices made to underpin it in the twentieth century and since. The Church is built on blood, sweat and tears. We should remember with gratitude the prayers and work of those who went before us. For example, I can remember decades ago, how people wanted more English in the services. So, one bishop said yes, do the service in English. What happened? The people who had been clamouring for more English could not even put a decent choir together to sing just the Liturgy! Some of them said that the singing was so bad that they preferred the Liturgy in a foreign language, in which it was properly sung. In other words, you have to make sacrifices in order to achieve anything. We owe a great deal to those who sang properly in English, showing others that the Liturgy in English could be just as beautiful as in Slavonic. Actions speak louder than words.
Yes, mistakes were made in the past, but we learned from those mistakes. Take for example our English translations which stretch back to the turn of the 20th century, nearly 150 years ago, those made in the USA with the blessing of the holy Patriarch Tikhon by an Episcopalian Isabel Hapgood and by Orlov in England. Those were foundation stones. Yes, those translations have been improved and on the way we have seen archaic translations in a Latinate, Victorian style like those of Hapgood or even with 16th century spelling, we have seen those made into street English as well as into soulless, jarring academic English, all sorts, but today we have definitive translations, avoiding all those extremes. It is easy to criticize, but the fact is that without those tireless efforts of the past, however mistaken they sometimes were, we would not be where we are now.
Let us first of all thank our recent fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters in Christ who went before us, who built our Church, our parishes and our souls. Our Metropolia, in effect, the Church of the Old and the New Europe, would not exist without them. But let us also thank the saints of the first millennium. Through venerating them, we have earned their prayers and because of their prayers we are here today. We are built not on dead souls, but on spiritually alive souls, whether of the distant past or of the recent past. Always on spiritually alive souls: Remember that.
I am sometimes asked why the Church has not so far proved very attractive to native Western Europeans. Yes, it is true that since the 1960s in particular, small numbers of native Western Europeans have joined the Orthodox Church. However, the total number throughout Western Europe amounts to only a few thousand, certainly no more than 10,000. And of those many swiftly lapsed and quite a few others could not in the end accept authentic Orthodox Christianity and devised instead a sort of adapted Uniatism (in Catholic-culture countries) and Protestantism with icons (in Protestant-culture countries). With their Roman Catholic and Protestant cultural background, such unintegrated newcomers inevitably formed their own inward-looking groups, separated from the Orthodox mainstream.
The answer to the question why the Church has not proved attractive is precisely because so many native Western Europeans have generally been unable to free themselves from the cultural conditioning and ethnocentric prejudices of their Non-Orthodox background. It is interesting to see that some Americans at least have relatively fewer problems in this domain; they are sometimes more flexible and less attached to a Non-Orthodox cultural identity. Nevertheless, this difficulty in accepting pure Christianity comes about because the greatest failing of Western culture is to think itself superior to all else; how, in these circumstances, can people of Western cultural background acquire the humility to admit that their culture is mistaken and that it must be purified by repentance?
Thus, I have seen case after case over the last forty years or so of Western academics in particular, suffering from towering pride in their own culture, who refuse to accept a ‘foreign culture’, which they despise as in some way ‘oriental’. They prefer to stay in their semi-Christian, semi-pagan world of pale-faced ‘Jesuses’. But Christ was an oriental, He was not a European. The tragedy of such a West is that through its ethnic pride and institutional racism it puts itself above God and His Church, above the Truth. Such is the situation of Old Europe. But Old Europe is dying or is even already dead. Only a few old people go to church, the young have abandoned it; Catholicism, discredited by papist persecutions and now pedophilia, has had its thousand-year day, and Protestantism, discredited by past intolerance and narrow Puritanism, has had its five-hundred-year day. The world has moved on. A New Europe emerged long ago, within a generation of its Second World War.
This New Europe is by and large a continent of faithlessness to Christ. Yes, it still has its museums and medieval buildings, but this is not for living, this is for tourists. The New Europe has been shaped and is still being shaped by two forces, two sets of belief. The first force is the mass Secularism of the USA, the Coca Cola culture which began appearing in Europe as soon as its first bout of suicide, the First World War, had taken place, for instance in 1920s jazz; there followed a second wave during the Second World War with chewing gum and the rest; a third wave of ‘pop’ and jeans came in the 1960s; a fourth wave of ‘globalism’ (= Americanization) has come since 1989; and in the last few years a fifth wave of the chaos of mass immigration has appeared in Western Europe and is now submerging several countries and their traditional identities.
Modern culture is the soulless culture of concrete, glass and plastic. Its hideous and inhuman post-War architecture is all about this, as is its music, art, furniture, its whole culture. I can recall sitting in a café in Cambridge with an ‘antediluvian’ White Russian émigré in 1975. In the middle of the conversation, he suddenly said: ‘This place is not evil, it is just spiritually empty’. His definition was precise. However, as we said at that time, nature abhors a vacuum; wherever there is no prayer, spiritual emptiness is formed and that is always filled by the demons. And that is exactly what has happened over the last forty years. At first they began abolishing marriage and legalizing pornography. Very quickly they invented a huge and very profitable abortion industry, legalizing child murder, and after that there appeared perversions and pedophilia. And now the countries that resist these sinister and evil trends, mainly in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia, are being forced, like the Ukraine, through economic sanctions (warfare) to accept them.
However, there is a second force that is at work in shaping the New Europe. This is Islamism. Greedy local industrialists began inviting masses of poor Muslims to settle in Europe in the 1950s. Their cheap, hard-working labour could be exploited to make vast profits. However, what was once a stream of Turks in Germany, Algerians in France, Pakistanis in Britain and Moroccans in Belgium has become a flood. Through mass immigration the one per cent Muslim minority has become five per cent, ten per cent, twenty per cent and in some European cities fifty per cent and more, forming there a townscape of minarets and also of terrorism. There is no greater example of this dual invasion than the recent atrocity at the airport in Brussels: a concrete, glass and plastic monstrosity, indistinguishable from any other modern airport, was ripped apart by Islamist suicide bombers. New Europe.
The problem is of course not in the relatively innocent ‘cultural Islam’ of elderly Muslims, but in the form of militant Islam, Islamism, which is practised today by a good many of the young, exasperated by the recent Western aggressions and war crimes in the Muslim world. Rather like Judaism and all too often like medieval Catholicism and post-medieval Protestantism, Islam never knew that God is Love and that it is our task to love our enemies and forgive. It is a militant and aggressive religion, especially in its fundamentalist Sunni Islamist form, as spread and financed by the great ally of the West, Wahhabite Saudi Arabia. Western Europe is thus sandwiched between aggressive US Secularism, as anti-Christian as you can get, and Islamism, with its fundamentalist god of hatred and revenge, sandwiched between MacWorld and Jihad.
Only by referring back to its native roots, its soul, can the New Europe find its way between these two extremes and so survive. However, as Old Europe is dying and dead, where can it retrieve its roots? The answer is in the Church, in the uncompromised ascetic, canonical and liturgical Tradition of Orthodox Christianity, that which patterned the distant past of Western Europe and today can be expressed in Orthodoxy in the native languages of Western Europe. Like the distant past of the first millennium, the future also is Orthodox. True, some may say that Orthodoxy has not worked so far, only a few thousand native Europeans have approached the Church. However, most of those Europeans, though by no means all, came from the Old Europe and brought baggage with them, making them unable to convert in full and even leading many to lapse. Today we are dealing nearly wholly with people from the New Europe.
The New Europeans are blank sheets. You do not need to spend time explaining to them the sometimes subtle differences between the Church and heterodoxy. They have no idea what heterodoxy is. All is much easier and, as far as I can tell, though the New Europeans are fewer, they are more serious. Devoid of cultural baggage, that is, devoid of pride and prejudice, they adapt much more quickly to the Church and Her Orthodox Christian Faith than the Old Europeans ever did. True, some predict that the time will come when direct persecution will start in Western Europe and we will not, for reasons of ‘health and safety’ (= hatred of the Church) be allowed to baptize (unlike Jews and Muslims, who will still be allowed to circumcise – that presents no problem, it seems). Well, then we shall charter ships and go to Russia and to freedom and baptize persecuted Europeans there.
Some may think that we are talking about a distant future. Sadly, I think not. The present extraordinary acceleration towards Antichrist suggests that we may well see such a situation even in our lifetimes. We only have to think of the social and moral transformations that have happened in Western Europe in the last twenty-five years, let alone the last fifty. Even older films of our ancestors make them look as though they came from another planet. They would probably not even recognize present-day society as their own. What will the future bring? We cannot be certain. Of course, mass repentance, however unlikely, is still possible. We do not despair, but live in hope, for miracles do happen. Old Europe has gone, but the New Europe can still choose, between MacWorld, Jihad and the Church of God.
It has been announced today in the Third Rome and also in Old Rome that Patriarch Kyrill of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Pope are to meet briefly at Havana Airport in Cuba on 12 February. This meeting will take place during the Patriarch’s long-awaited eleven-day pastoral visit to the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Latin America, notably to Cuba, Brazil and Paraguay.
This high-level trip, involving visits to the political leaders of all three countries follows repeated invitations. The 15,000 strong Russian Orthodox flock in Cuba will especially greet our Patriarch, but the Patriarch will also recognize the important role played by Russian Orthodox in Paraguay before the Second World War and in Brazil over the last 100 years. However, beyond pastoral matters, this is also clearly a brilliant diplomatic move – for five reasons:
Firstly, it upstages and sidelines the absurd claims of the tiny Patriarchate of Constantinople to make out that it is somehow the ‘leader’ of the Orthodox world, whereas in reality it is fifty times smaller than the Russian Orthodox Church! It also ends the Phanariot myth that only it can represent the Orthodox Church at the Vatican, the real, de facto, leader of the Orthodox Church is Patriarch Kyrill. There will be anger at the Phanar, as it realizes that after nearly 100 years of trying to monopolize attention its diplomatic end has come.
Secondly, this is clearly a move aimed at further undermining the ridiculous pretensions of the sectarian Ukrainian Uniats, who have done so much and are still doing so much to encourage aggression and hatred towards Ukrainian Christians in the civil war that they have fostered in the Ukraine. They will be extremely worried that their official leader, the Pope of Old Rome, is in fact renouncing them and their psychotic Russophobia.
Thirdly, this meeting marks the enormous concern of the Russian Orthodox Church for Orthodox and other Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, who have been abandoned by the West, which has also abandoned the Papacy. Only the Russian Federation has substantially intervened in the war in Syria to bolster the majority there against the Western-trained, armed and financed terrorist movements intent on genocide, as has been made clear by Catholic leaders in the Middle East. Notably, during his visit, Patriarch Kyrill will lead the service at the Syrian Cathedral in San Paulo.
Fourthly, this meeting is taking place outside Europe in the course of a pastoral visit by the Russian Orthodox Patriarch to Latin America. This marks the internationalization of the Russian Orthodox world before the rest of the world. Having settled many of the outstanding problems of the Church inside the Russian Federation and brought numbers of bishops up to 361 and of clergy to 40,000 from the pitiful few 25 years ago, the Patriarch is now looking further afield outside Eastern Europe and the Federation. The second generation of renewal can begin. We can now expect that the Patriarch will make other high-profile visits to the more distant territories of the Russian Orthodox Church, including, God willing, to ourselves.
And finally, this meeting on the US doorstep, specifically in independent and sovereign Cuba, also marks the fact that the uncompromised Orthodox world does not recognize the globalist power grab of the Neocon Empire based in Washington. This move against the New world Order is an outstretched hand to the independent peoples of the world – the vast majority – in an unprecedented missionary endeavour. We cannot but welcome it.
God is not in Might, but in Right.
St Alexander of the Neva
I have been told that, ‘I tell it as it is’. Perhaps as a result, I have been asked to write of the contemporary situation of English Orthodoxy, with particular emphasis on the tragic legacy of the late Metr Antony (Bloom) and the resulting Sourozh schism. This I will do, as I knew the Metropolitan well, some forty years ago between 1974 and 1982, and in January 1981 he tonsured me reader. I also think it is worthwhile because the past and present situation in England reflects much that is true in the broader European picture. However, I still do this reluctantly as I dislike talking about the sad past and would much prefer to talk about the future. On the other hand, how can we have a vision of the future, if we do not first understand the past and the present?
True, I have few good memories of the past. However, apart from hundreds of young parishioners, of whose children I baptize up to fifty a year, I have six adult children as well as grandchildren and it is for their future, not for my past, that I live. This is why I think we should put the situation of English Orthodoxy into the general situation of all us Russian Orthodox in Western Europe. In so doing I also wish to avoid the common English (and not so English) disease of parochialism and insularity. The past is a dead country, all we can and must do is pray with compassion for those weak human beings like us who took part in it. One day we shall all stand side by side at the Dread Judgement. Let us look to the future, where all is possible. However, before we can do this I must do my duty and start at the beginning.
Part One: The Past and Present: English Orthodoxy
Today, around two thousand English Orthodox (the numbers of Scottish, Irish and Welsh Orthodox are even tinier – there being only a few dozen of each at most) and some seventy English clergy are divided among three main jurisdictions or dioceses. The other four jurisdictions present in England, as elsewhere, the Romanian, Serbian and tiny Bulgarian and Georgian Orthodox jurisdictions, are almost wholly mononational and have hardly any English members. The three jurisdictions or dioceses with English members are: the Patriarchate of Antioch, the Patriarchate of Constantinople (two groups) and the Russian Orthodox Church (two groups).
1. The Patriarchate of Antioch
Some twenty years ago about 300 dissatisfied Anglicans were received with their own agenda into this Patriarchate. They had previously been turned away by the Patriarchate of Constantinople and by the Sourozh Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, which were both bound by their ecumenical ties with Canterbury. As Antioch had hardly existed in England until then, basically a new jurisdiction and so a further division were born. All the priests except for one now in this group were once Anglican priests, ordained as Orthodox priests with little training. One now suspended man was ordained within three days of being received.
Given this history, today the group seems to form a rather isolated ex-Anglican club, holding less attraction to the vast majority of English people. Indeed, some in the group seem to reject Non-Anglicans, one parish even banning the use of any language except English, and some call this group ‘Anglioch’. These ex-Anglican parishes appear to have little to do with Arab Orthodox and seem to avoid concelebrating with other jurisdictions, though they dress as Russian clergy. One person, perhaps unfairly, put it to me that: ‘Anti-Russian and Anti-Greek = Anti-och’.
Such a view represents only the negative half of the reality. On a positive side, this group is very dynamic, some parishes have their own properties and there are some younger clergy, over fifteen altogether now. Its larger parishes attract mainly Eastern Europeans, who are deprived of services in their own languages, or of once lapsed Greeks. Some of these people know their Faith and are able to educate the Antiochian clergy. The recent appointment for them, 20 years late, of an Antiochian bishop, who may get a visa to come to England this November, could at last mean the introduction of liturgical discipline and an entry into the mainstream of the Church from the margins. This should include teaching clergy how to serve, teaching people how to sing (at present Anglicanized ‘Russian-style’ singing is used), as well as stopping intercommunion, ‘charismatic’ and other alien practices, such as the commemoration of the Armenians and Ethiopians as Orthodox, using girl acolytes or making communion compulsory for all, as does happen in some parishes.
Antiochian services I have attended resemble a mixture of Anglicanism and a very confused knowledge of the Orthodox typicon with invented services, a kind of ‘make it up as you go’ approach. This style has discredited the Antiochian group. In conclusion, the Antiochians have zeal, which is admirable, but not knowledge, which is not admirable. The question is if they want the knowledge and have the humility to accept the discipline and traditions of the Orthodox Church and an Orthodox bishop, instead of imposing Anglican agendas on the faithful. Retired Anglican priests whose hobby is the ‘Eastern rite’ are one thing, the Orthodox Church is another.
2. The Patriarchate of Constantinople
a. The Archdiocese of Thyateira
This is a large and mostly Greek Cypriot Diocese, whose ruling hierarch must have either a Greek or Cypriot or Turkish passport. However, as the Greek Cypriots mainly moved to England from Commonwealth Cyprus between 1945 and 1975, they are now dying out. Nationalism is rife and English enquirers into Orthodoxy (as well as Romanians and others) are typically turned away from parishes and told to go and join the Anglican Church because they ‘are not Greeks’. The loss of young Cypriots is such that no fewer than six ethnic Cypriots are priests in the Anglican Diocese of London. At least there they can understand the services.
The hellenization of the few Anglicans who have been received and ordained is obligatory. Ultra-Greek names like Kallistos, Meliton, Aristobulos, Athanasios, Eleutherios, Dionysios, Christodoulos, Pankratios, Ephraim, Panteleimon, Palamas, Kosmas etc are placed on ex-Anglican vicars with perfectly good Orthodox names and they are ordained as cheap (unpaid) Greek Orthodox clergy. One of them is so hellenized that he even changed his surname to a Greek name. The best-known example of this group is the former Oxford academic, Timothy (Metr Kallistos) Ware, who lives very much as a retired parish priest and has never been a diocesan bishop, but rather a ‘conference bishop’. These hellenized ex-Anglicans use Russian-style singing in their services, probably because of the difficulty of using foreign-sounding Greek chant in any language other than Greek.
b. The Deanery of the Exarchate
As elsewhere in the world, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has for political reasons also taken into its jurisdiction dissidents such as Ukrainian nationalists and the Paris Exarchate. The latter group has again been present in England since 2006, refounded by 300 mainly ex-Anglican ‘Bloomites’, including over ten clergy. In other words, these were dissidents from the Sourozh Diocese of the then Moscow Patriarchate (MP), previously run by Metr Antony Bloom (see below, Paragraph 3b). After the death in 2004 of Metr Antony, their leader and protector, these did not want to adhere to the discipline and traditions of the real Russian Orthodox Church, which were then being reintroduced into their Diocese. Thus, they left for the Paris Exarchate, at first under the controversial Bishop Basil (Osborne), then after his defrocking becoming a small Deanery.
Here, under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, they would be allowed to do anything they wanted, including keeping the personal practices of Metr Antony (Bloom), without interference from either Constantinople or Thyateira or Paris, as one of their clergy proudly told me. For example, they could have communion without confession, give intercommunion (as their Amphipolis website used to proclaim, though now they tell me that intercommunion is limited to Monophysites), use the new calendar, celebrate the Proskomidia in the middle of the Church, wear Greek vestments (strange when you claim to be of the Russian Tradition) or shout out names during the service in Anglican ‘charismatic’ style, or make communion compulsory for all.
This group is very small, with several communities of ten or fewer people. Where it is bigger, it is because of the presence of Eastern Europeans, for example Church-deprived Romanians, who have no loyalty to or knowledge of Bloomite ideology. The Deanery has virtually no property of its own and although it has in recent years ordained several retired Anglican clergy virtually without any training, it seems to be dying out. The average age of its clergy is about 70 and many of the original laypeople are of the same generation.
It seems difficult to understand, if they wish to survive at all, why they do not simply join the ex-Anglican Antiochian group or at least join the ex-Anglicans in the mainstream Thyateira Diocese. Some have suggested that their isolation is to do with their ferocious Russophobia, which Antioch does not share. Indeed, some of their statements about other Christians makes it difficult to believe that they are Christians. Interestingly, their cause was backed to the hilt at the time by the Establishment Times and the MI5-fed Daily Telegraph. Others have suggested that there is a class reason, that it is because the Exarchate is largely composed of upper-class Anglicans, whereas the other ex-Anglicans are middle-class. Some call this group, like the Antiochian group, ‘Anglicans with icons’ or ‘Anglodox’, rather than Orthodox.
3. The Russian Church
a. The ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland
Having established the first ROCOR parish in England in 1919, ROCOR established a diocese in England in 1929 under Bishop Nicholas (Karpov), who uniquely was not given a fictitious title like ‘of Thyateira’ or ‘of Sourozh’, as given to other dioceses, but the real title ‘of London’. It was also the first Orthodox diocese to have any monastic life in England and the first diocese to use English, from the 1930s on. The diocese expanded after 1945 with a wave of new immigrants. However, after the departure of Archbishop John (Maksimovich) (now St John of Shanghai) in 1962, the diocese fell into nationalistic and sectarian currents and for a time became isolated.
From the 1970s on, a small group of unintegrated Anglo-Catholic converts began to impose old calendarism, imported from the USA under the influence of Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) in New York. Their views were marked by anti-Anglicanism rather than Orthodoxy, a negativity that came from spiritual pride. Given the failure of nationalistic Russians to pass on the Faith to their children and grandchildren and these sectarian trends, once far larger than the new Diocese of Sourozh, in the 70s and 80s the ROCOR Diocese began to die out. In the late 1970s and 1980s, in quick succession it lost its last two elderly and ill bishops, its London priest and its London church building. English people were turned away from the Russian parishes or were deterred by the sectarian old calendarism trying to take over diocesan life. It seemed as though the ROCOR Diocese would disappear altogether.
This period must be understood in the context of the then general internal battle in ROCOR between New York and Jordanville, that is, between the political, nationalist and sectarian wing of ROCOR and the spiritual wing, which saw in St John of Shanghai its figurehead. (Sadly, it is also true that when St John was in England, he was never frequented by personalities such as Metr Antony (Bloom) or Fr Sophrony (Sakharov), by both of whom he was at best ignored). In his later life in San Francisco, St John was much persecuted by this political wing of ROCOR because he was a missionary to Non-Russians, because he prayed for the captive Patriarchs of Moscow and because, like the mainstream in ROCOR, he knew that Church unity would come as soon as the Church inside Russia was free from atheist tyranny. This was denied by the political sectarians, who from the 1970s began to assert in justification for their sectarianism that the MP was ‘without grace’ and that somehow ROCOR was the last True Church on earth!
As the elderly Russians died out in the ROCOR British Diocese, in the 1990s it was providentially renewed by new arrivals from Russia, who found the same underlying ethos in it as in the MP inside Russia (unlike in the Sourozh Diocese, which, ironically, was officially part of the MP!). These new arrivals paid for the building of the small, Russian-style ROCOR Cathedral in London. As unity between ROCOR, under the ever-memorable Metr Laurus, and the MP, under the former émigré Patriarch Alexis II, approached in 2007, the long predicted schism occurred. Some forty mainly Anglo-Catholic converts and a few very right-wing individuals of Russian extraction (including even pro-Nazis) lapsed from ROCOR. This mirrored exactly the Sourozh schism (see Paragraph 3b below).
This was a spiritual tragedy for them but the relief felt by the faithful was palpable – the abscess which had been growing since the infiltration of sectarianism from the USA in the 1970s had at last burst. Peripheral and other problems also solved themselves as a few other individuals left and by 2009 all the extremes had fallen away, normal Church life could continue from a now healthy centre and the Church was ready to grow again. ROCOR was able to return to its destiny and pioneering historic path of being the integrated and bilingual Russian Orthodox Diocese, faithful to the Tradition, culturally at ease in the British Isles, and without fear of interference from outside forces. Having been through its adolescent growing pains, the ROCOR Diocese had overcome the crisis and become much stronger and adult.
What is the situation today? Today most members of ROCOR are people who have settled in England (and also in Wales and Ireland) from the ex-Soviet Union. In other words, the flock is virtually identical to the flock of the new Sourozh Diocese (see Paragraph 3b below). However, eight of the clergy are English, though there is also a Romanian deacon and two excellent Russian clergy from the ex-Soviet Union. In 2006 the future Archbishop Elisei of Sourozh was actually nominated to the Patriarchate in Moscow (then faced with the Sourozh schism) by the ROCOR ruling bishop, Archbishop Mark of Berlin.
Although most members of ROCOR come from the ex-Soviet Union, unlike Sourozh, the ROCOR Diocese has a long history, with memories going back before the Second World War and the Revolution to the time of the Tsar, a long and deep pastoral experience, including the use of English, its own church buildings and therefore a voice independent of heterodox organizations. In other words, ROCOR could certainly never be accused of being dependent on one personality or being ‘Soviet’, as the Sourozh Diocese sometimes is, and it is much better established than that Diocese. However, the weakness of the ROCOR Diocese is definitely its shortage of priests, especially in Wales and Ireland, and its lack of a resident ruling bishop. The main issue now is further growth.
b. The Diocese of Sourozh – the former Moscow Patriarchate (MP)
Several hundred English Orthodox find themselves in the Sourozh Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia, which used to be known as the MP. Some go back to the time when that Diocese was ruled by Metr Antony (Bloom) (+ 2004), others have come more recently. I have been asked to set down a record of Metr Antony’s tragic legacy. This will be long, as it is complex.
When the small Paris Exarchate parish in London returned to the Moscow Patriarchate (MP) jurisdiction after the Second World War (following its leader in Paris, Metr Eulogius), Fr Antony (Bloom), a beardless hieromonk without theological education, was sent by Moscow from Paris to look after the group in question. The vast majority of Russian emigres in England, whether arrivals after 1917 or after 1945, would have nothing to do with the Moscow Patriarchate or the modernist-looking Fr Antony, and continued to belong to the far larger parishes of the Diocese of the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR).
Therefore, virtually without a flock, the very talented Fr Antony learned English and began to do missionary work among Anglicans, attracting several hundred into the former Anglican church he used in London. Over the years, their numbers swelled, perhaps to over 2,000, and he was able to form a tiny diocese which was given the title of Sourozh. This looked good in theory; the reality was quite different. The Sourozh Diocese was a paper diocese, an empire of the imagination. There were three reasons for this.
Firstly, Metr Antony, as he had become by the early 60s, anxious to create a diocese, would take people without preparation, that is, without relieving them of their Anglican baggage and so spiritual impurity first. As they had little idea of the Russian Orthodox Tradition, most of them lapsed very quickly, often within a few weeks or months. As an example of this, I will relate what five years ago one of the new Russian subdeacons from the Sourozh Cathedral in London told me about a weekend visit of the new ruling hierarch, Archbishop Elisei of Sourozh, to a provincial community.
When Archbishop Elisei got up on the Sunday morning, the priest’s wife asked him whether he would like bacon and eggs for breakfast. Now that is a normal question in the Church of England (or even in parts of the Catholic Church today), where communion, if it is given at all, is simply a memorial of bread and wine and there is no fasting before it. For an Orthodox of course it is shocking that an Orthodox priest would have bacon and eggs before the Liturgy and communion. In fact, I was shocked by the subdeacon and said: ‘You mean to say that you did not know that that was how the whole Sourozh Diocese was run for decades?’ I was amazed by his naivety and told him: ‘Now you understand why serious Orthodox joined ROCOR’.
In 1976, falling foul of the Soviet government’s anti-Solzhenitsyn line (which it also forced onto the MP) and looking for political freedom from Soviet political pressure (especially distasteful to the upper-class Establishment Anglicans in his London Cathedral), Metr Antony asked to join ROCOR. As a result of his unOrthodox attitudes, illustrated above, he was refused. ROCOR did not want a bishop with unOrthodox practices; if ROCOR had accepted him, it would all have resulted in scandals.
Secondly, Metr Antony never reached out to the mass of English people, to whom he remained completely unknown despite his TV appearances (at a time when only the wealthier half of society had TV) and radio interviews. He concentrated on the upper class, especially wealthy academics, artists, novelists, musicians and poets, many of whom lived around his former Anglican Cathedral in the richest part of London. Metr Antony seemed to have little time for ordinary English people, if ever he knew we existed.
He was also notorious for never visiting his parishes and flock. Most of these had never seen him there and had no idea what an episcopal visit or service was. (Metr Antony usually served as a priest, refusing to celebrate episcopal services, if he knew how to do them). He was not a liturgist and did not teach anyone how to celebrate the services. His was a religion of the elite and it was often difficult to know exactly what he said – it all seemed to be the French philosophical style and not substance. In the 1970s and early 1980s, as I know only too well from personal experience, he had no time at all for the veneration of local saints, though he was later forced to change this attitude. And he also had no space in his Cathedral for icons of the New Martyrs, even after their later canonization in Moscow in 2000.
We should not forget that Metr Antony was himself from the Russian upper class and, partly as a result, his convert group seemed to be an upper-class Anglican club or clique. Conversations that I heard at his Cathedral revolved around villas in Tuscany and on Patmos which belonged to these people: hardly typical English people, who felt excluded by such snobbery. All this was combined with Metr Antony’s marked emotionalism, his strong psychic abilities and affectations, which lacked the sobriety of the Orthodox Tradition. Some middle-aged women fell in love with him and, with his good looks and exotic and exaggerated Russian-Parisian accent, by the 1970s his nicknames included ‘the guru’ and ‘the romantic bishop’. I remember one such tragic case very clearly. For us who came from solid and pragmatic English backgrounds, this was all nonsense. We would see through this act from miles away.
This brings us to the problem of Metr Antony’s personality cult. As we have said, he was an immensely talented man with a very strong personality. Indeed, his father, Boris Bloom (buried in Meudon outside Paris), a Tsarist diplomat who was well-known in Paris, had delved into the occult and taught his son how to hypnotize. I knew two women whom Metr Antony tried to hypnotize in the 1970s. For what reason I do not know. In such a Diocese there could be room for only one personality. This is why in 1965 an equally unusual Parisian personality, the former Hindu, Art Nouveau painter, personalist philosopher and one-time monk of Mt Athos, where he had met a saint, Fr Sophrony (Sakharov), left the Diocese of Sourozh. With his three monks. he switched back to the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the new calendar and introduced some very unusual and indeed unique practices. The fact that Metr Antony was notoriously anti-monastic did not help.
The cult of Metr Antony was also why his ordinations were generally controversial, often being those of men who for canonical reasons would never have been ordained by another bishop. This created a dependency of such clergy on Metr Antony, a misplaced sense of gratitude and idolization among weak personalities. This was also why Metr Antony strongly discouraged English people from visiting other parishes and travelling to Orthodox countries, especially Russia and Mt Athos; he did not want them to be exposed to the broader reality, which would raise awkward questions about his peculiar style and values.
Here I do not wish to go into the painful details and I would rather quote the Establishment figure of Metr Kallistos (Ware), who is now in his eighties. Known as ‘o anglikanos’ (the Anglican) by certain of his Greek brother bishops, Metr Kallistos is known for his caution in speaking. Although he has very curious and Phanariot views of the Diaspora, he is well-known for this Anglican-style diplomacy. In an interview with the liberal ‘Pravmir’ site, he has expressed the situation around Metr Antony as mildly as is possible:
‘Now the main criticism that I would make of Bishop (sic) Antony is that he would allow people to become colossally dependent upon him. They would idolize him. Perhaps that was not entirely his fault that they came to feel such ardent devotion towards him. But I felt there was something unhealthy here. It was too personal in the wrong sense, that they saw him almost as a god on earth. And he would allow people, particularly women, to become very closely dependent upon him. And then he would suddenly abandon them. I don’t think I am indulging here in malicious gossip, but I know a number of cases where he had spent a lot of time with people, particular people, and then suddenly he would cut off, not see them any more, not respond to their letters or telephone calls. Now I don’t know why he allowed such a close relationship to be built up and then abandoned them. But if I was to criticize his work, I would think there was the weakest point’.
In other words, it could be said that Metr Antony was the London equivalent of Bishop Jean (Evgraf) (Kovalevsky) in Paris, a bishop who set up a kind of fringe diocese on the edge of the Church and which also collapsed after his death. (However, many clergy and laity also left the Sourozh Diocese during Metr Antony’s lifetime, having seen through it). True, Bishop Jean attracted guenonists, occultists, freemasons and other marginals, ordaining them within days, whereas Metr Antony attracted those who fell in love with his personality and pseudo-mysticism. Sadly, Metr Antony’s existentialist personalism (mid-twentieth century French intellectual philosophy rather than the Church Fathers, whom Metr Antony hardly ever mentioned) had led to the construction of a mini-diocese ‘centred on his personality and not on the Church’. These are the exact words used to me by the present ruling bishop of Sourozh, Archbishop Elisei, soon after his appointment in 2006.
Now anything built on a personality, even more on a dead personality, is extremely fragile. People who idolize a personality are unable to pass on anything to their children, who cannot get to know the personality because he is dead, and so the members simply get old and die out, becoming historical sidelines, alienated from the mainstream. A diocese centred on a personality is a paper diocese. Thus, Sourozh still has hardly any Church property because everyone, as I was told in 1981, was expected to go to London and worship at the feet of the personality. So, nothing got built up. Tragically, the Sourozh Diocese still only has a fairly small Cathedral in west London (far too small for the flock) and four chapels in Oxford, Nottingham, Manchester and London, which can only contain a few dozen Orthodox. For the rest, the Sourozh Diocese is still dependent on borrowing mainly Anglican churches which it can occasionally use, often only once a month on a Saturday.
On top of this it suffers from a chronic shortage of priests with training. The average age is about 63. The disastrous personality cult in other words completely failed to set up the infrastructure necessary for a real diocese, however small. Everything had to be centred around the Cathedral in London because that is where ‘the personality’ was. This is the tragic legacy of Metr Antony, an utter lack of vision because there was no Tradition, only a personality. It contrasts very sadly with the radiant legacy of a saint in another island archipelago on the other side of Eurasia, St Nicholas of Japan, who built on the Tradition.
In 1982, a senior priest, the American Fr (later as Metr Antony’s successor, Bishop) Basil Osborne told me that ‘as soon as Metr Antony is dead, we’ll go to the Greeks’. This statement as well as the personality cult and renovationist practices (no confession before communion – as in Anglicanism – , the introduction of the new calendar, no Third and Sixth Hours before the Liturgy, no attempt to ask women to dress as Russian Orthodox etc.), caused us to leave the Diocese of Sourozh for good. I had wanted to be part of the Russian Orthodox Church, not of an émigré cocktail of modernist practices and fantasies, which had nothing to do with the Russian Orthodox Tradition. In such a way the Sourozh Diocese chased away those who were the most devoted to the Russian Orthodox Church. People were ready to die for the Church, for ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church’, but in Sourozh the seed of the faithful was rejected – and so the Church did not grow. This was no way to treat the faithful.
In response to my view that the Church was failing to preach the Gospel to ordinary English people and was not providing food for the soul, but only intellectual philosophy, Fr Basil also told me that ‘there is no such thing as ordinary people’. Clearly, this said a great deal about him who became Metr Antony’s successor. Living in the ivory towers of Oxford, Fr Basil simply had no contact with the vast masses of English people. Later, an aristocratic priest-colleague of his, also ordained by Metr Antony, told me exactly the same thing. In 2005 it was Bishop Basil who provocatively invited the notorious neo-renovationist, Fr George Kochetkov, once suspended by Patriarch Alexis II, to come from Moscow and become the main priest at the London Sourozh Cathedral. This makes clear that the Sourozh schism was indeed a renovationist schism and it is indeed renovationists who revere Metr Antony’s memory.
Apart from his English convert adepts, it is true that Metr Antony was also idolized by some naïve Soviet convert dissidents, mainly of Jewish origin. These ‘intelligenty’ of the third wave started to arrive in London in the 1970s and fell in love with Metr Antony. I remember one of them telling me how he had first seen the Metropolitan cleaning the Cathedral floor, dressed in a simple undercassock. The dissident at once took him for a saint! I told him that all bishops and priests in the Diaspora lived like this and that if that was a criterion of sainthood, then we were all saints. Conditioned by Soviet practices of distant and unknown bishops sweeping past the people in big black cars under KGB surveillance, he could not make the cultural jump to Diaspora reality. Culture shock totally distorted his judgement.
From the 1990s, in the last years of Metr Antony’s life, as immigrants flooded in from the ex-Soviet Union, a virtual civil war began in his London Cathedral. The immigrants expected Russian Orthodoxy, not some pseudo-mystical convert personality cult. Apart from the small ROCOR Cathedral, there was no other church they could go to in London. Inevitably, only two years after Metr Antony’s death, with the young Bishop Hilarion expelled, the Sourozh Diocese collapsed. The bubble had finally burst. Metr Antony’s divisiveness and pastoral failure had led in turn to the divisiveness and pastoral failure of his pupil, Bishop Basil (Osborne).
Just as the Paris Exarchate’s modernist experiment failed (and Metr Antony was 100% Parisian), Metr Antony’s experiment failed because he had tried to build a Diocese on the divisive sand of a personality cult instead of on the collective rock of Russian Orthodox Tradition. This all came as no surprise to us who had known how it would all end since 1982 and had been pleading with the Moscow Patriarchate since 2000 to do something about the catastrophic pastoral situation in London. Nevertheless, we can at least learn from such failures.
Part Two: The Future: European Orthodoxy
I have done my duty in answering questions about the past and present situation of English Orthodoxy and Russian Orthodoxy in England. I hope that this will help us to avoid repeating the errors and extremes of the past and will also help us to pray for those involved, whether living or departed. That is our duty, for we are no better than they. I would now like to speak of something much more positive, much closer to my heart, the future.
1. The European Dimension of the Orthodox Church
In this context of the future people ask me about the possibility of there one day being a ‘British’ Orthodox Church. Since the 1990s I have written about such a possibility – and always negatively, even though I have since 1975 championed the use of local languages in services, whether English or French, and at great personal cost from hostile clergy. Why, this refusal of even the concept of a ‘British Orthodox Church’?
Firstly, it is because there is no such thing as ‘British’. Just as we do not talk about a ‘Soviet’ Orthodox Church, so we do not talk about a ‘British’ Orthodox Church. The word ‘British’ has only been used on three occasions in history and always by foreign invaders. Once by the Romans, then by the Normans and lastly by the Hanoverians and their Germanic followers among the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Victorians and those nostalgic for their imperialism like Thatcher, Blair and Cameron. In other words, ‘British’ is a word for an artificial, colonial conglomerate of countries and as such is used by London imperialists; the Irish rightly long ago rejected it as a dirty word and the Scots are now in open revolt against it. Personally, like everyone I grew up with in the English countryside, I have never recognized myself as ‘British’, but as English, and I hope that the Irish, Scots, Welsh and we English will soon gain complete freedom from the ‘British’ and their tyrannical and foreign Establishment, to which the alien ‘British’ alone belong.
Secondly, all European countries, including Britain, are in any case far too small to have their own Local Orthodox Churches and, thirdly, Europe has anyway suffered quite enough from nationalism. We do not want any more insularity and nationalism in the Church – there is enough of that in the Balkans. What we need today is vision. Now, in this context, nearly thirty years ago, in 1986, I wrote a paper at the request of Archbishop George (Wagner) of the Rue Daru Paris Jurisdiction (Patriarchate of Constantinople) entitled, ‘Une Eglise Orthodoxe pour l’Europe: Vision ou Reve’ (‘An Orthodox Church for Europe: Vision or Dream’). As he was German, I thought he might be interested, especially as I had envisioned the Rue Daru jurisdiction as the possible kernel of such a future Local Church – in 2004 Patriarch Alexis II was to make the same mistake. I later found the paper thrown away into his kitchen wastepaper bin. Such were those visionless days – and he was by far from being the only bishop who had no vision for an Orthodox Europe.
Since that time it is true that we have seen the development of the pompously-named ‘Pan-Orthodox Episcopal Assemblies’ (= bishops’ meetings) in Western Europe. This is the imperialistic concept of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, rather naively promoted by Metr Kallistos (Ware) and Metr Athenagoras (Peckstadt) in Belgium. Of course, it is good that now the Orthodox bishops of any territory actually meet each other and know what each other looks like, but we all know that these meetings are going nowhere; they are often talking shops which occasionally meet, but at which no decisions of any consequence are ever taken. They just give a superficial prestige to Constantinople.
What I am saying from both the above examples is that we can expect nothing for the future of Orthodoxy in Western Europe from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which has never freely given any Church autocephaly and has continually tried to take back autocephaly even when political circumstances forced it to grant it – as in the Ukraine, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia etc. In this way Constantinople, fallen since 1453, politically captive since 1948, and through Greek nationalism totally failing to recognize that Church leadership long ago passed to the Russian Church, today resembles the other Balkan Churches. None of them has the vision, is big enough, is missionary-minded enough or is unphyletist and mutinational enough to set up the Pan-European Metropolitan structure necessary for the foundation of any future Orthodox Church in Europe.
2. The Duty of Care of the Russian Orthodox Church in Europe
This leaves the Russian Orthodox Church, fifty times larger than the Patriarchate of Constantinople, as the only Local Orthodox Church which can do anything for European Orthodoxy. After all, of all the Local Churches only the Russian Orthodox Church is large and supra-national. Its name in Russian is ‘Russkaya’, meaning ‘of Rus’, not ‘Rossiyskaya’, meaning ‘of the Russian Federation’. In other words, it alone is multinational – like its Patriarch, the Russian Orthodox Church is the Church of All Rus and this means not just Russia, the Orthodox Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Carpatho-Russia, but any part of the world where Russian Orthodox faithful live. It alone has kept the old multinational Orthodox ideal of ‘romaiosini’, of the unity in diversity of the Christian Empire. Indeed, in 2004 Patriarch Alexis II at last spoke precisely of the need to establish a Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Western Europe. However, in 2004 the proposition of Patriarch Alexis II could only be theoretical. Only since 2007 has the Russian Orthodox Church even been in a theoretical position to establish such a Metropolia. Why?
a. Russian Orthodox Church Unity
In May 2007, the MP and ROCOR signed the Act of Canonical Communion in Moscow. With this one act, the division that began after the Russian Revolution between the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and the Church Inside Russia (then called the MP) and was forced onto the Church by atheist persecution inside the Soviet Union ceased. According to the 2007 agreement, ROCOR was gradually to give up its few small temporary communities on the territory of the ex-Soviet Union (the canonical territory of the Church Inside Russia) and in return, in time, the Church Inside Russia would, as is only logical, cede its relatively few but sometimes large communities outside Russia to ROCOR.
The first part of this agreement took place fairly swiftly, but the second part of the agreement, for perfectly good pastoral reasons, can only be implemented with time. This situation concerns above all the shared territories of Western Europe and Latin America, since the vast majority of Russian Orthodox parishes in its other territories in Oceania and North America are in any case under ROCOR. Thus, for the moment, we still have the absurd situation of two Russian Orthodox bishops of Berlin, Archbishop Theophan and Archbishop Mark. However, all agree that this will not last.
In effect, both the old MP and the old ROCOR ceased to exist on that day in May 2007. What came into being was a reunited and worldwide Russian Orthodox Church, three-quarters of the whole Orthodox Church, with the same Faith and under the same Patriarch, politically free but administratively in two parts, inside Russia and outside Russia, so that both parts are Patriarchal, but one is based in Moscow and the other, much smaller, is based in New York. The unique canonical territory of the Church inside Russia covers all the countries of the former Soviet Union (except Georgia) and countries where all the missions were founded by it, officially only China and Japan, but in reality also Thailand, Iran, Cuba and North Korea.
The territories of the Church Outside Russia, and these are territories mainly shared with other Orthodox, include Western Europe, North America, Latin America and Oceania (including Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia). Thus the new ROCOR has the potential to become again (as it was in the beginning) a multi-Metropolia Church, with four Metropolias, one in Western Europe, one in North America, one in Latin America and one in Oceania. Perhaps one day it could also include Alaska as a fifth Metropolia, but only if that territory returns to the Russian Orthodox Church from its present American administration.
b. The Territory of Europe to be United in a Metropolia
Europe, that is Western Europe, is a cultural ensemble, because it is all basically ex-Orthodox (1,000 years ago) and now, as it has largely lapsed into its Gadarene secularism, ex-Catholic (historically ex-Protestant also means ex-Catholic). I am speaking of the following 25 countries: Iceland, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, Norway, Denmark (with the Faeroes), Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Monaco, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Hungary, Portugal, Spain (and the part of Spain called Gibraltar), Andorra, Italy, San Marino and Malta. I exclude from this definition of Western Europe Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, as they already have their own Local Churches and canonical territory. Similarly, I also exclude Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, since, like Montenegro and Macedonia, they are part of the canonical territory of the Serbian Church. As for Albania, like Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus, it already has its own Local Church.
It is true that Finland, which is in this list of 25 countries, has over 20 parishes and other communities that at present belong to the Patriarchate of Constantinople and celebrate Easter on the Catholic calendar (similar to a non-canonical group in Estonia). However, Russian Orthodox do not frequent such churches, whose Faith has been called ‘Lutheranism with icons’. They prefer to attend the quite separate and canonical Russian Orthodox churches in Finland, which are growing. Also there are those who consider that Hungary, also in the list of 25 countries, should have its own Local Church, like the Poles and the Czechs and Slovaks. However, we live in the world as it is now, not as it may be one day. For the moment, therefore, Hungary must be included in the territory of a European Metropolia, as defined above.
3. A Future Metropolia
Now as regards a future European Metropolia under the Patriarchal Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), it is clear that this will be a real Metropolia with several hundred real parishes and real churches and, very importantly, real monasteries. This will not be like the Paris Exarchate or the old Sourozh Diocese, a paper empire, a series of modernistic, semo-Uniat communities often fewer than ten or twenty in number, celebrating in front rooms and garden sheds, or composed of clergy who were ordained with little training because no-one else would ordain them or even who use blackmail against their Archbishop in Paris: ‘If you do not allow me to do what I want, I will join the Greeks’. (Or the Romanians or someone else. Much more rarely, this blackmail may involve a threat of passage to ‘the Russians’. However, this threat is rarely used because those who today remain in the Exarchate generally believe in Russophobia – the ideology which justifies the continued existence of the Exarchate).
Where should the geographical centre of such a Metropolia be? Until recently I had always thought of it as Paris, the historical centre of the Russian emigration, where there is, in temporary premises, a Russian Orthodox seminary and where a Cathedral complex has long been planned. However, as a Metropolitan centre this choice is threatened by two things, the ecumenism and modernism apparently ingrained in the Paris air and the Russophobic policies of the present US-controlled French government. Today France is in a state of social chaos and disintegration. It may therefore be that we should think more radically. Indeed, two other possible centres for a Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe exist: they are Berlin (there are large numbers of Russian Orthodox in Germany) and Rome (where there is the large Russian church of St Catherine’s and above all which is the historical centre of the Western Patriarchate. After all, the initials of the English words ‘Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe’ spell R.O.M.E.).
It now seems to me that there should initially be seven dioceses in such a Metropolia. These are: Germania (Germany, German-speaking Switzerland and the Netherlands, including Flemish-speaking Belgium); Gallia (France, French-speaking Belgium, French-speaking Switzerland, Luxembourg and Monaco); Iberia (Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal and Andorra); the Isles (the British Isles and Ireland); Italia (Italy, San Marino, Italian-speaking Switzerland and Malta); Scandinavia (Iceland, the Faeroes, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland); Austria-Hungaria (Austria and Hungary). With time two or three bishops could be appointed to such large dioceses, under an archbishop. For example, Germania could have an archbishop in Berlin, a bishop for western Germany, a bishop for the Dutch-speaking areas and a fourth for Switzerland. Scandinavia could have an archbishop in Stockholm who would also look after Denmark, a bishop in Helsinki and another for Norway and Iceland. These are mere possible examples for two dioceses or future archdioceses. Who knows the future?
At present the episcopate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe is not organized as one and some members are elderly. ROCOR is concentrated in Western Germany and Switzerland, though with several parishes in France, Belgium, Denmark and England, but it has virtually no existence in Italy, Spain and Portugal or in the rest of Scandinavia, in which countries the Church Inside Russia has over 100 parishes. ROCOR has three bishops, the youngest of whom is aged about sixty. ROCOR certainly has experience, but it will need new bishops. Some of the dioceses in Europe, which are still for the moment dependent on the Church Inside Russia, will also need new bishops in the future. Episcopal candidates must speak languages apart from Russian, know the cultures and cultural references of the countries where they will live and have a dynamic and missionary view of their episcopate. In other words, they must realize that their task is not just to look after immigrants from the ex-Soviet Union. They must be able to communicate with the children and grandchildren of such immigrants, as well as with the descendants of the centennial emigration, now in its fifth generation, and the native people of European countries, both Orthodox and Non-Orthodox.
For example, we know of one episcopal appointee whose first act was to buy an expensive black car. On that day he lost the confidence of his diocese. He did not understand that being a Russian Orthodox bishop in Europe is not at all the same as being a Russian Orthodox bishop in the former Soviet Union. Secondly, any diocesan bishop must also be a uniter – in Europe we still have bad memories of the late Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) who was an ecumenist and intercommunionist (in Rome) and did not want to do missionary work among native Europeans. Such figures were ultimately partly responsible for the Sourozh schism and the lack of trust among European Orthodox in bishops who were visiting them from the Soviet Union. On the other hand, we have an excellent memory of Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein) who warned Metr Nikodim precisely against his political policies. Who then could be the Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe? We believe that there is already at least one suitable candidate, at present an Archbishop.
It is now becoming urgent to establish such a Metropolitan structure. Millions of Orthodox have had to flee Orthodox Eastern Europe in the last 25 years for economic reasons. Since the fall of Communism, Eastern Europe has been seized by a wave of post-Communist corruption. Combined with the deindustrialization forced onto Eastern European countries when they joined the EU, millions of young people have been forced to leave their homes and families to take on mainly menial jobs in the building sites, factories and offices of Western Europe. There are now more Orthodox in Western Europe, the territory of the future Metropolia, than there are in the four ancient Patriarchates of Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, combined. How then can this Metropolia be organized?
Before such a Metropolia could come into existence, all kinds of groundwork have to be laid. First of all, who should be the patron saint of such a Metropolia? To our mind, there can only be one candidate, the only saint of the Russian Orthodox Church who in the twentieth century lived for well over a decade in Western Europe – St John of Shanghai. He is the only canonized member of the Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe. He stands head and shoulders above all the personalities, intellectuals, artists, writers and philosophers of the emigration, for he was a saint and a universal saint at that. Strictly faithful to the Russian Orthodox Tradition, for which he was much despised by modernists, he was also open to the pastoral needs of local people, encouraged the veneration of the historical saints of Europe and was the inspiration for Fr Seraphim of Platina, for which he was much despised by nationalists. In my view, St John has no rivals. However, the appointment of such a patron saint must be made by the Russian Orthodox bishops in Europe. We are not an anti-episcopal organization like the ‘Fraternite Orthodoxe’ in Paris, so we can only suggest to our bishops.
Secondly, we need a Metropolia website, run by people who have the skills and time to devote to this. Their skills must not only be technological but also linguistic. The website should, we believe, be in Russian, Romanian for our many Moldovan parishioners, English (as the international language) and, in the appropriate sections, in one of the other thirteen local languages of the Metropolia (German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Hungarian, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Maltese and Icelandic). Perhaps, eventually, as pastoral need dictates, there could be pages in minority languages like Basque, Gaelic, Sorbian, Breton, Welsh etc. Who are the Russian Orthodox bishops in Europe? Such a website could present them with their photos. How many Russian Orthodox priests are there in Europe today? 200? That is only our guess; we do not have the information. The website could provide it.
Such a website could provide a calendar including the local saints of Europe, for example, Clotilde, Alban, Agnes, Ursula, Eulalia, Senhorina, Leander, Columba, Blandine, Olaf, Maurice, Kevin, Willibrord, Anschar, Sigfrid, Audrey, Corbinian, Illtyd, Odile, Devota, Publius, Gertrude, little known outside their own countries and regions, whose prayers can bind us together. There is a practical and a mystical necessity to link ourselves to them for it is ultimately on their noble Orthodoxy that European culture was built. The fact that modern Europe in its ignoble rush for self-destruction has turned its back on them only means that we should venerate them all the more. The website could present such information along with parish profiles, the addresses and phone numbers of individual parishes, their websites, histories, pictures of their church buildings, their clergy and parishioners, details of languages used in services, timetables and other activities and publications. And all our vital monasteries must have their place there too. There should also be some kind of resource of services in the many languages of the Metropolia and a simple vocabulary in the sixteen languages. How do you say ‘Orthodox Church’ in Hungarian, ‘priest’ in Finnish, ‘confession’ in Maltese or ‘candle’ in Norwegian? The website could tell us. Again, all this can only be done with the blessing of the Russian Orthodox bishops in Europe.
Thirdly, we need to hold a conference of Russian Orthodox clergy in Europe. We do not know each other. Initially, there could be a small conference with, say, two representatives from each country. One priest from Italy has already suggested the excellent idea of twinning parishes. Knowledge of one another could also be obtained from pilgrimages to local saints or relics or on the basis of visits to priests or laypeople who are already linked. Europe is rich in shrines, in Bari, in Rome, in Turin, in Milan, in Compostella, in Cologne, in Paris, in Lyons: Why not organize Europe-wide Russian Orthodox pilgrimages to such shrines? Alternatively, there could be pilgrimages to some of our wonderful churches in Europe, built under Tsar Nicholas II, in Wiesbaden, Geneva, Nice etc., or others built more recently in Brussels, Rome and Madrid. In such a way, by meeting, we can begin the most important task of praying for one another. Again, all this can only be done with the blessing of the Russian Orthodox bishops in Europe.
Two years ago I was contacted by a Russian woman in a province of France. She was in tears, very upset. She had been to a so-called monastery of the Paris Exarchate, where she had been refused confession because ‘she had not murdered anyone’. This meant that she had also been deprived of communion. She had found me on the internet, not knowing any priest in France. She told me her story on the telephone, how she and her son had been abandoned by her French husband and how she desperately needed a priest to talk to. Now, such things are happening all over Europe. The duty of care of the Russian Orthodox Church in Europe is to its faithful of all nationalities, to people like her. Let us begin by appointing a priest or priests whose duty it will be to look after the Russian Orthodox flock in any particular region of Europe. Since the above 25 European countries are divided into some eighty regions and there are a lot more than 80 Russian Orthodox priests in Europe, this can be done and the sort of incident that I have related above can be avoided. Everyone must have a priest to go to.
Some, reading the above, might ask about the role of Non-Orthodox in this. We believe in good-neighbourly relations with those who do not belong to the Orthodox Church. After a thousand years outside the Orthodox Church, many of them still believe in the Holy Trinity and the Divinity of Christ. Some, especially Catholics, go further than this and believe in the Virgin Birth, the Mother of God, the saints and the sacraments. Some share our moral views on such issues as abortion and euthanasia. The fact that the faith they have inherited is deficient in the understanding of the Holy Spirit, and therefore lacks an authentic spiritual and ascetic life, only means that it is remarkable how close some of them are to us. We have no reason not to be on good terms with them. However, this does not mean that we do not freely practise our Faith without compromise. Most Europeans have in the last generation or so decided to be atheists or at least agnostics, Europe today is a mission territory open to all. Conversely, most in the Russian Lands have in the last generation or so chosen to be baptized Orthodox. We should respect each other’s differences. We may be Europeans, but we are also firmly Christian and follow the Russian Orthodox Church in full.
Some, reading the above, might ask about the role of other jurisdictions in the shared territory of Europe, such as Constantinople’s Greeks and its political dissidents. In our view, the establishment of a Russian Metropolia in no way means that they cannot continue just as now. They could even establish their own international structures if they wish. The difference will always be that the Russian Orthodox Metropolia will alone be Europe-wide and multinational, not mononational, and therefore with the potential of growing into a new Local Church, as Patriarch Alexis II hoped. In the long term, as we know from experience, the jurisdiction that will survive in Europe will be the spiritually serious one, not the ones that wave nationalistic or ideological flags and so automatically alienate others and lose the second and following generations, who find such nationalism and ideologism foreign and irrelevant. Just as the fringes attract the fringes, vagantes attract vagantes, sectarians attract sectarians, personality cults attract personality cultists, so serious jurisdictions will attract serious people.
In recent years I have visited Russian Orthodox in Austria, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Lands, Slovakia, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, France, Sweden and Finland, as well as receiving visits from Russian Orthodox from many of these countries and from Norway, Ireland, Spain and Italy. In all of them I have noticed the consistent ability of many Russian Orthodox to keep the best of Russian culture and to absorb the best of Western culture at the same time. This is because of our ability to see and live European life and culture through the correcting prism and filter of Orthodox Christianity. It is the pastoral duty of the Russian Orthodox Church to its own flock and to all European Orthodox to live like this, keeping faith and yet being European, not repeating the errors of either sectarian nationalists or of the equally sectarian modernists of the Paris Jurisdiction and the old Sourozh Diocese.
We European Orthodox have four layers of identity: local, national and continental (= cultural) and spiritual. In my own case, this means the East of England, England, Europe and Russian Orthodoxy (= Rus). All of these layers of identity can be combined by saying that I belong to the East of England Rus (Vostochnoangliyskaya Rus’), to the Russian Orthodox world that is planted in the East of England. Others can say the same thing, that in Sweden they belong to Scanian Rus, in Spain to Catalan Rus or Galician Rus, in Italy to Sub-alpine Rus or Sardinian Rus, in the Netherlands to Frisian Rus, in Scotland to Hebridean Rus, in Germany to Bavarian Rus or Saxon Rus, in France to Breton Rus or Occitan Rus, in Austria to Carinthian Rus or Tyrolean Rus etc. This is the unity on which our future Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe (R.O.M.E.) can be built, from Iceland to the plains of Hungary, from Lapland to the islands of Malta, in the local regions of the 25 nations of the continent of Europe where we live, and on our complete faithfulness to the integral Russian Orthodox Faith and Tradition.
Archpriest Andrew Phillips
ROCOR Missionary Representative for Western Europe
Brittany, 24 July 2015
From Recent Correspondence (March-April 2015)
On the Destiny of the Church Outside Russia
Q: What was the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) supposed to do in the eighty-five years between its formation in the early 1920s and the reconciliation with the Church inside Russia in 2007?
A: Our first calling was to obey the Gospel by beginning the preaching of Orthodoxy worldwide before the end (Matt 24, 14), which we were providentially enabled to start by virtue of being scattered throughout the world. In other words, it was our calling to bring the serious (and not superficial hobbyists) into the Church, to contact all those who realize that the Church is higher than the spiritual impurity of any national establishment and local culture.
Our preaching was called to be the preaching of Orthodoxy without either of the compromises caused by spiritual impurity, that is, to be real Orthodox Christians free of both provincial and inward-looking Russian nationalism on the one hand, and of the modernist, Protestant-style illusions of disincarnate modernism on the other hand. This preaching was to lay the foundations of the preaching of the Gospel in the Orthodox context so that then, once the Church inside Russia was free and we were strengthened and reinforced from Russia, we could accomplish this great task together.
Our second calling was to canonize the New Martyrs and Confessors. This was the only way of conquering atheism inside Russia and so working for the restoration of the Tsar, the Orthodox Monarchy, the protector of all Orthodox peoples and all who know that beyond the veil of this secular world there is a world to come, the world of spiritual reality, the real world. Atheism inside Russia could not be conquered by military means. Both the White Movement after 1917 and the Vlasov Movement of the Second World War failed precisely because they tried to use military means to conquer atheism. You can only fight evil spirits with spiritual weapons, as the Apostle Paul wrote: ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’ (Ephesians 6, 12).
This need for spiritual weapons is why it took until 1981 for the Church Outside Russia to canonize the New Martyrs and Confessors. It should have happened much earlier but, very sadly, political and nationalistic elements in ROCOR resisted. The True White Movement, which is the essence of the whole Russian Orthodox Church, is a spiritual movement, not a political movement and those political elements had to be overcome before their canonization was possible. I personally knew many parishioners in various ROCOR churches, not least in the London parish, who were opposed to the canonization. To the scandal of the faithful, they thought in secular and nationalistic categories and held back our part of the Russian Church from accomplishing her mission and so fulfilling her destiny.
Q: What is the calling of ROCOR today?
A: As soon as Russia was freed, we were called on to ally ourselves with Her as closely as possible, thus strengthening both parts of the Church. The earthly remains of Russian Orthodox heroes like Ivan Ilyin had already been returned to the Centre, we too were to return, although spiritually we had always been there. In order to return, we had to avoid the various nationalistic and political traps that had been set us by the world. It is sad that some political, that is secular-minded, elements fell into them. The destiny of the whole Russian Diaspora and her missions was to return to the liberated Centre, in order to stand together with her in solidarity. The alternative was to fall into a hopeless provincialism and parochialism, which is exactly what befell the marginal fringes who broke away from the Church in the Diaspora for various ghetto-like sects, whether renovationist and modernist on the left (Paris, North America) or old calendarist and nationalist (ROCOR dissidents) on the right.
Q: You say ‘as soon as Russia was freed’. So why did ROCOR not reunite as soon as 1992, after the fall of the atheist government there?
A: There were naïve, patriotic, nostalgic and very emotional individuals in ROCOR, often very elderly, who did reunite or wanted to do so immediately. I do not judge them. But since 1972 I had known the leaders of the old ‘Moscow Patriarchate’, as it was called, from inside and I knew how corrupt it was, especially in the Diaspora. The fall of atheist government was one thing, the spread of a Non-Soviet and fully Orthodox mentality to the top of the Church took time.
For example, there was no possibility of unity with it in England until the self-cleansing of 2006 when at long last Moscow appointed an Orthodox and not a renovationist bishop, the present Archbishop Elisey. It was one thing not to have an atheist government after 75 years, but it was another for the old Soviet-style reflexes to change and see the practical consequences of freedom in the Church hierarchy, with the deaths of the old school of Soviet appointees who did incalculable harm to the Church, rejecting the faithful and self-sacrificing and persecuting the zealous and God-loving.
There were so many appalling scandals from that time. ROCOR could never unite with such spiritual impurity which was working against the Church. Our hearts are still deeply wounded by what we went through at that time and we feel so sorry for those who died without repentance. Indeed, the real Orthodox inside the old Soviet-style Patriarchate, like Archbishop Anatoly in England, actually told us to have nothing to do with the Patriarchate until it was inwardly free. I can remember him saying that in 2003. And inward freedom only came to it in May 2006. It then took us in ROCOR one year to get ourselves ready for the inevitable.
Q: What about those elements in the Church inside Russia who are themselves still today modernist or otherwise sectarian?
A: There are a few rather absurd and very old-fashioned individuals on the fringes of the Church inside Russia, leftist dissident leftovers from the recent Soviet past, like Fr George Kochetkov (whom the modernists wanted to serve at the Patriarchal Cathedral in London), the hippyish and disgraced Deacon Andrei Kuraev or naïve admirers of the heretic Fr Sergiy Bulgakov and modernists and dreamers of the schools of Schmemann, Bloom and other strange émigré cults, or others who are simplistic, rightist Old Ritualist-type sectarians, but they are all irrelevant to the mainstream. In a Church of 164 million, you will inevitably find a few marginal types. In Russia they have no authority or role whatsoever and people generally mock them.
A few eccentric individuals hardly prevent us from our great task of resurrecting Christian Imperial Russia, which we are all engaged in together, inside and outside Russia, in total unity of purpose. Everywhere in Russia you will find icons of the Royal Family – that is key. we work very closely with all who venerate them because they are Churched Orthodox. If Christian Imperial Russia is resurrected, then the whole Orthodox world will be resurrected, and so we can protect all who have values and understand that the ultimate destiny of all humanity is in the life to come and not in primitive Darwinism and pagan Secularism. It is foolish to spend much time dwelling on such marginal individuals; we must not waste our time looking at eccentric, individual and irrelevant trees who are so easy to resist, we must speak with and move forward with the great and irresistible forest, ever onwards to what God is calling us to do. We are people of destiny.
Q: At the 2006 Diaspora Council in San Francisco at least one voice spoke with concern about the present Patriarch who was then a Metropolitan. Was that a reasonable concern?
A: Thee greatest miracle of God is that He changes people. Look at the apostles, Peter lied, the disciples fled from the Cross, Paul persecuted the Church. But they all repented – except for Judas who despaired and hanged himself. Repentance is always possible – only pharisees, like those who criticized Christ’s visit to Zacchaeus, do not understand that. I think that the Soviet-born Metropolitan Kyrill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad who twenty years ago opposed reconciliation with the Church Outside Russia was one person, our Patriarch Kyrill is another. And make no mistake, he is OUR Patriarch. He has been transfigured by the grace and international responsibility of becoming Patriarch and is now able to represent all Russian Orthodox all around the world, as no-one else. I have only met him twice, but I am convinced of this. He understands us and has a profound sense of the role of the restoration of Holy Rus, of the global mission of the Russian Orthodox Church and Her Tradition. This is a miracle.
Q: Can you explain in the simplest of terms and without mentioning the word filioque the difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy?
A: Catholicism came into existence some 1,000 years ago, theologically and then immediately structurally. Although it preserved the Revelation of the Old Testament, that there is only One God, and the Revelation of the New Testament, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God become man, it failed to preserve the Revelation of the Church, that Christ is with us and we are with Him by the Holy Spirit. This happened when at the defining moment of its foundation Catholicism replaced the Holy Spirit with the Pope of Rome. In this way Catholicism replaced the authority of the Church, which is holiness, whose source is the Holy Spirit, with a mere man. Here is the difference between Catholicism, which is essentially a Trinitarian heresy, and the Church: The Pope or the Holy Spirit. As St Seraphim of Sarov, whose resurrection we now await, said: ‘The goal of Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit’. It is not to obey a man who lives in Rome.
Q: Do Catholicism and Protestantism have sacraments?
A: There are no sacraments outside the Church, however, there are sacramental forms. These have been preserved as a heritage, as vestiges from the past. In other words, outside the Church there are wine-glasses (however deformed and defective they may be) but they contain no wine. Thus, Catholicism has seven sacramental forms and classical Protestantism (the sort that baptizes by water in the Name of the Holy Trinity) has one – baptism. Thus, in receiving people from what I call ‘Frankish religion’ (Catholicism/Protestantism) into Christianity, the Church does not absolutely need to repeat the sacramental form (though She can if She considers it better to do so in the specific circumstances). What is vital is to communicate the wine, not the wine-glass. For example, Uniats have a wine-glass which is almost identical in form to the Orthodox wine-glass, but it still contains no wine.
Q: Are you saying then that Catholics and Protestants have no grace at all? That seems harsh.
A: No, I am not saying that at all. That is old calendarist ‘light-switch’ black and white ideology – one moment you have grace, the next you do not. The truth is much more subtle.
According to Orthodox Christian theology, the Holy Spirit can come to us in two different ways. Firstly, He comes to us through the Body of Christ, the Church. This only works if we are real Orthodox, that is, practising members of the Church, living limbs (and not withered or nominal branches) of the Body of Christ. If we are outside the Church, we can receive no grace in this way. Secondly, however, the Holy Spirit can come to us directly. This is what happened to the prophets of the Old Testament, who were also outside the Church, and this is also what happens to those outside the Church who receive the calling of God to join the Church, whether they were first-century Jews and Greeks, third-century Latins, sixth-century English, tenth-century Kievans, nineteenth-century Alaskans, Chinese and Japanese, or twenty-first century Western European Catholics and Protestants.
Q: Speaking on the subject of married priests, a French Catholic bishop recently said that the life of Orthodox priests is ‘infernal’ because they have to combine family life and parish life, and therefore he is against married priests. What would you say?
A: The life of an Orthodox priest is certainly difficult. But who said that it would be easy to get into Paradise? I find it amazing that a Catholic bishop would think that it is easy to get into Paradise! This is the same spirit that asks why we Orthodox stand at services, whereas they sit down in comfort. They have no concept of the ascetic. As for Catholic priests – and I know many of them in various European countries – many (usually the best ones) have a mistress and children, many others – and I have met them – are homosexuals and pedophiles. Recently I was speaking to a Polish taxi-driver in Colchester. He comes from Krakow, which is the Polish Canterbury. He told me that he had made his living there ferrying priests, monks and seminarians to brothels. When I was in Portugal 20 years ago, I visited the Portuguese Canterbury, a city called Braga. Local people called it the city of the two Ps – priests and prostitutes. Now that is what I call infernal. What infernal hypocrisy on the part of that Catholic bishop…Has he met the pedophile former Catholic Bishop of Glasgow?
Q: How would you describe the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion?
A: Anglicanism is a Gothic shell, the shell of Catholicism, a kind of Protestant Uniatism, preserving an outward semblance, even a ritual imitation of a sort of Catholicism, but devoid of even Catholic content. The Church of England is State-founded and State-run, founded by a mass murderer and destroyer of monastic life, an English Lenin, who like him also died of syphilis. The Head of the real Church is no such murderous blasphemer, but Christ the Son of God.
Q: Do you think that the Church of England will one day have a female Archbishop of Canterbury?
A: It would be thoroughly logical. Since any secular institution can be headed by a man or a woman, why should the Church of England be any different? As a matter of fact it was a woman, Elizabeth I, who composed the doctrines of the Church of England and it is a woman, Elizabeth II, who heads it at present. Only misogynists can be against female heads of secular organizations.
Q: Do you think the Church of England will eventually introduce homosexual marriage?
A: It is highly likely. It always takes orders from the British Establishment, whether on its doctrines, the EU, fox-hunting or buggery, which is so widespread in that public-school Establishment. The Church of England has always followed the government of the day, ignoring the truism that the American writer Mark Twain expressed: ‘Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it’.
Q: Can those of what you call ‘Frankish religion’ help us in combating secularism, abortion, euthanasia etc?
A: Individually definitely, but sadly the institutions that such virtuous individuals belong to are actually part of the problem, not part of the solution. More and more of them are realizing this. For instance, I was talking to a group of anti-abortion Catholics last year and I saw that they were horrified by their own episcopate, whom they completely distrusted.
Q: Are any of the Orthodox jurisdictions in England close to the Church of England?
A: Virtually all the 300 or so English members of the Antiochian jurisdiction in this country are former clergy and laypeople of the Establishment Church of England. Many seem to be profoundly Anglican, using the Anglican calendar, church-buildings and vestments, so I am not sure why they made the change. They seem to be dedicated to converting other Establishment Anglicans to themselves, ordaining men within days of their reception into the Church in order to do so. This policy of Anglicans only seems very narrow to me, as it repels the vast majority. This is not the way of the Church – our mission is to the people, to the masses, to the whole country, to the 99% of people in England who have never had any real link with the Church of England.
Thus, I know of one ex-Anglican Antiochian priest who has banned the use of any language other than English in his chapel and sends away Romanians telling them that he has no time for them, yet spends hours with prospective Anglican converts, whom he receives very quickly and then very soon lapse. He rejects reality. The clergy are here to serve the people of God, not ourselves, not our personal fantasies. This is just Anglican clericalism. Another wealthy ex-Anglican (in another jurisdiction, it must be said) told me that he liked ‘small churches’ with select groups of English people only and did not want any ‘foreigners’ in his church. This is typical of Establishment racism, regardless of jurisdiction.
Q: But surely the mere existence of the Antiochian jurisdiction in the UK is because of Greek and Russian racism? The Anglicans in question asked to join both the Greek and Russian Churches first and were refused on racial grounds, so the Anglicans got into the Orthodox house ‘by the back window’, that is, through a special arrangement with Antioch.
A: I absolutely agree that the then Soviet-enslaved Moscow Patriarchate and the Church of Constantinople refused them, the latter because of racism and both because they were not politically free to receive them because of their ecumenist compromises. However, the Anglicans in question made one huge mistake on account of their Establishment mentality – they came with their own agenda and list of demands. In this way they refused the Cross, that is, they refused to ask to join ROCOR, the free Russian Church which had and has no ecumenist compromises. We would have received all sincere Anglicans happily, only we would have made sure that they became Orthodox first and would have trained their future clergy how to celebrate etc.
It is no good joining the Orthodox Church without first becoming Orthodox. Otherwise it is just the religion of the Establishment, Anglicanism, or Anglo-Catholicism, with icons. All Churched Orthodox reject that; we know in our guts that it is wrong. What has happened since their refusal to come to ROCOR is that the ex-Anglicans in question have become marginal, finding themselves on an isolated wing of the Church, outside the Orthodox mainstream. So much has been wasted in this way. Similarly Establishment Anglicans who joined the Church of Constantinople have had to undergo Hellenization, having to take on hyper-Greek names like Kallistos, Pankratios, Aristovoulos, Panteleimon etc., whereas the Greek clergy themselves anglicize their names and are called John, Gregory, Peter, Paul etc!
On the Contemporary Western World and the End of the World
Q: What would you say of the present spiritual state of Western Europe in general?
A: Western European countries are increasingly and paradoxically typified by Secularism on the one hand and Islamism on the other hand. For example, the name Mohammed in its various spellings last year became the most common boy’s name in London and there is a wave of mosque-building throughout Western Europe. However, at the same time the secularists who control Western governments and media are completely indifferent to the tens of thousands of Christian victims of Islamist fanaticism throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa and the tens of thousands of Christian victims of the Nazi junta in Kiev. Why? Because those being killed ‘are not Charlie’, in other words, not anti-Christian secularists like themselves. And who will say at the end of time: ‘Je suis Charlie’? It is Antichrist.
So in the West we have the perfect combination of Secularism and Islamism.
Q: Are there not aspects of Islam that we can appreciate?
A: Moderate or Traditional Islam, as opposed to Islamism, condemns violence and keeps certain universal practices like other traditional religions. Thus, Muslim women dress modestly, for instance, wearing a head covering, a universal practice except in the post-1914 secular West.
Q: More and more Western countries allow euthanasia. What do you think of this?
A: In his short story ‘The Veiled Lodger’, written over 100 years ago, a secular writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said: ‘If there is not some compensation hereafter, then the world is a cruel jest…The example of patient suffering is in itself the most precious of all lessons to an impatient world’. In other words, euthanasia, like any other form of suicide, is the result of an ideology that does not believe in the immortality of the soul and in life after death. All belief rejects euthanasia, but where there is no belief, there is suicide. In this sense euthanasia is symbolic of today’s Western world as a whole – as a suicidal world.
Q: What do you think of the experiment with the Large Hadron Collider on the French and Swiss borders? Some people say that it could lead to a catastrophe.
A: I am not a scientist and am simply not qualified to have an opinion and say whether it will lead to a catastrophe or whether it is perfectly safe. However, since it a vast and vastly expensive experiment concerning the nature of matter, I think we can say that it does represent the Western obsession with the material world as opposed to the spiritual world. In general, I am suspicious of such large experiments and operations. As someone said centuries ago: ‘The chief proof of man’s greatness lies in his perception of his smallness’. And as has been said more recently, ‘Small is Beautiful’. In other words, this is all a question of humility. But I am not able to say any more than that.
Q: How should we vote in the forthcoming elections in the UK?
A: Pray and then vote according to your conscience, voting for whomever you consider to be the lesser evil.
Q: Is there a change you would like to see in Great Britain?
A: I would like to see the concept of ‘Britain’ rejected once and for all. It would mean freedom for all of us from tyrannical ‘Britain’ and its Norman Establishment. As a dream, I would like to see four independent but friendly and co-operating nations, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Their representatives would gather in a round building, a ‘Council of the Isles’, on a high point on the Isle of Man, from where alone the four countries in question are all visible.
Q: Where is the Western world going?
A: The USA controls the Western countries through their elites which have been installed by US PR companies as feudal vassals. All that the Western elites do is in imitation of the USA, its clothes, its food, its television series, its media. Here are four recent statistics about the sex and violence of the USA, which God-fearing Americans know and for which they detest the White House:
85% of the world’s pornography comes from the USA.
Every day 24 former GIs who served in Iraq and Afghanistan commit suicide.
In March 2015 the American police killed twice as many people than the British police have killed since 1900.
In a recent global poll representatives from all the countries of the world, except for the USA, UK and France, declared that Public Enemy No 1 is the USA.
Should not such statistics make us think? It seems to me that either the Western world, especially the USA, is on the point of some great disaster, a hurricane, a tornado, a volcano, an earthquake, a tidal wave, or else it is on the point of repentance, of realizing its foolishness and turning back. It can go either way, but it cannot continue with impunity as now. It is not possible. Our actions always have consequences. It is called responsibility.
Q: Is Antichrist coming soon?
A: Nobody knows if he has even been born, let alone if he is coming to power. However there are clear signs that his coming is being PREPARED. Notably, there are these four signs: worldwide sodomy imposed by Washington and willingly promoted by the Western European elite; the genocide and expulsion of all Christians from of the Middle East; the war between Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims, actively encouraged and financed by Zionism; the invasion of the western marches of Rus by the forces of Satan and their occupation of Kiev, the Mother of Russian Cities.
As yet, however, the Temple has not been rebuilt on Zion and, in general, we should not despair and certainly not fall into fatalism. I think that the coming of Antichrist has been delayed many times in history, not least last year, when the Ukrainian people rose up and fought the Satanic forces that the White House has put into power in Kiev. Despite the American threat of nuclear war, Russia did not rise to the bait and sweep away the junta within a fortnight, as it could have. That would have led to the end of the world with nuclear war started by the Nazi neocons in Washington and their paid allies: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Condoleeza Rice, Tony Blair, Carl Bildt and all those other satanists who have spoken directly of destroying the Church of God. As long as we fight and resist Satan, Antichrist cannot come. It all depends on us.
Q: ‘It all depends on us’. But what can we do?
A: At present we are resisting and fighting. There is no time to lose. Together all Orthodox who have an understanding of Orthodoxy have to work together. The visit of the new Greek Prime Minister to President Putin is a great sign of hope. President Putin gave the Greek leader, who says he is an atheist but in fact is just spiritually inexperienced, an icon which had been stolen by the Nazis from Greece. This was highly symbolic. The soul of Greece has indeed been stolen by the West. Now is the time of restoration. This is a personal message to the young Greek leader, but also a message to the whole Greek people. Restore your soul and give up on Nazism, both the old form and the new neocon form of the US/EU.
It is the same in Romania and Bulgaria. Satan is now trying to steal the souls of the Ukraine, Serbia, Moldova, Georgia – everywhere the same processes. Even in Western Europe there are those of us who are also fighting – for the liberation of the Western Lands from the West, for the ‘de-Europeanization of Europe’ and the restoration of Orthodoxy here too. Together, as conscious Orthodox, as the Army of Christ, we can conquer the Satanic spirit of Mammon and its sinister and idolatrous forces.
When asked how Russia could defeat the far superior American armed forces (each year the USA spends eleven times more on arms than Russia), over twenty years ago now the great and newly-revealed St Paisios the Athonite replied: ‘The Russians will win because the angels will help them’. We see such huge solidarity between all the conscious Orthodox peoples, from Damascus to Nicosia, from Belgrade to Kiev, from Bucharest to Sofia, from Athens to Moscow.
The time will come when Constantinople will be freed. And make no mistake Constantinople will not be freed so much from the Turks as from the Americans. But first there will be a Tsar in Russia for all Orthodox and he will call a real and free Council of all the Orthodox, not a diplomatic nicety. And that Council will not waste time talking about the US-imposed secularist agenda of human rights, racial discrimination and gender equality, it will thunder out the truths of the Church, about the Nation and the Family, which the Western world has deliberately forgotten in the cold and dark tomb, where Satan has buried its soul.
And then there will be a new generation of bishops in Constantinople, not appointees of the US State Department, but taken from the monks of Mt Athos, who, never forget it, are in the jurisdiction of Constantinople and who so eagerly support and pray for the Risen Russia. The old decadence will be gone and those pseudo-bishops who parrot the politically correct doctrines taught them by the Zionist CIA, visit synagogues and change the services will be gone. Great difficulties, but also great days, lie ahead for us all. The time will come, as St John of Shanghai prophesied, when you will hear ‘Christ is Risen’ shouted all through the Orthodox world, with an intensity and faith and conviction and unity that you have never heard before.
On Easter Night, after the Gospels at the Liturgy, I heard an insistent voice in my head speaking in Russian. It said: ‘Budet Tsar v Rossii’ – ‘There will be a Tsar in Russia’. Do not ask me how or when or who. That was the voice. I wonder if others heard the same voice?
Christ is Risen!
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
(Matt. 6, 33)
You are of this world; I am not of this world.
(Jn 8, 23)
I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
(Jn. 12, 47)
If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you…And you also shall bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
(Jn. 15, 18-19 and 27)
For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
(Matt. 24, 5 and 9)
Faith is a gift from God; Religion is a gift from the Devil.
Olga was burdened with the consciousness that those same people who so warmly befriended her belonged to a nation which had refused justice to her country.
The Last Grand Duchess (Olga Alexandrovna) by Ian Vorres, P. 240
There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.
Conan-Doyle, His Last Bow
Russia is the only centre of an unenslaved civilization capable of showing itself to be Christian. Therefore our patriotism…is above all the understanding of the importance of the unique Christian mission for which our people lives and of which it is convinced…Do today’s Western European elites belong to the real Europe? Alas! Theirs is not Europe. Theirs is Babylon…The goal of the real Europe is us, people who remember the presence of eternal and unchanging values, people who know what we live and die for. Such knowledge has virtually been lost in the west of the European continent.
Interview with Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin on Politrussia on 25 February 2015
Introduction: The Sovietization of the West
In the 1960s and 1970s the Soviet Empire used to arrest Russian Orthodox for ‘anti-Soviet activities’, such as printing the Gospels and other Orthodox literature. Referring to a passage like I Peter 2, 17, its KGB agents would try to intimidate them with sly questions like: ‘Why do you not obey your own Apostle Peter and ‘honour the ruler?’ A few younger ones among those arrested were confused by their cunning. Others, older and with a clearer understanding of the New Testament and so Church teaching, would answer approximately thus:
‘We certainly honour our rulers and all men by praying for them, we never harm or hate others or use violence, we pay our taxes, we are law-abiding, but we put the laws of the Kingdom of Heaven above the laws of the kingdoms of this world. If the State and its appointees persecute us, try to silence us, order us to renounce our Faith and not go to church, then we refuse, accepting imprisonment or death for the sake of the Truth. This is the story of the Crucifixion and of the martyrs and of all Church history and nothing has changed today’.
Theirs is the answer that faithful Orthodox give in today’s world too. Wherever apostasy from Orthodoxy has occurred since 1917, throughout the Western Empire, in Estonia, in the Ukraine, in Czechia and elsewhere, we answer the same. We pray for our enemies, we utterly condemn violence and terrorism, we honour all, but we put the laws of the Kingdom of Heaven above the laws of the kingdoms of this world. ‘Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake’.
Given the speed of the present Western apostasy from the vestiges of Orthodox Christianity conserved in heterodoxy, especially over the last fifteen years, it seems as though Western States are now setting out on the path of the old Soviet State. They are trying to silence us through intimidation. Orthodox Christians here must be prepared for persecution in the future, sooner than we thought. Why does this possibility of persecution concern heterodox less than us Orthodox? The answer lies in two different teachings on Church and State.
Heterodox Teachings on Church and State
Inherent to the filioque Trinitarian theology of heterodoxy are the twin heresies of papocaesarism and caesaropapism, which are the two sides of the same false coin. The first heresy is that of Catholicism, which puts the Bishop of Rome, called the Pope, above the rulers of the world and makes him the infallible source of the Holy Spirit. This simply makes his ‘Church’ into a State in its own right. In other words, what was once the Church is deformed into a mere religion, a worldly institution and so is deprived of the Holy Spirit.
The second heresy is that of Protestantism, which subjects the Church to the rulers of this world. This makes their ‘Churches’ into simple departments of State, Ministries of Morality which soon turn into phariseeism. This was what was introduced into Russia from Holland by Peter I, who greatly admired Protestantism, often preferring it to authentic Christianity. It also explains why most Anglicans, belonging to an erastian, State-founded institution, do not understand the Incarnational spirit of the Orthodox Faith and accuse us of being political!
these heresies represent the ideology of ‘in the world and of the world’. In other words, both are inherently secular. The reaction to them is in abstract, spiritualist, disincarnate philosophies, which are very attractive to intellectuals who lapse from the Catholic/Protestant coin and fall into spiritual illusion. They can be characterized as ‘not in the world and not of the world’. These pseudo-mystical, spiritually irrelevant currents were originally represented by the Gnostics and Origen and in the Western Middle Ages by such as Boehme and Eckhart.
In more recent times such futile speculations have been represented by masonry and Swedenborgianism, in modern times by the orientalisms of Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, the Kabbalah and various disincarnate movements like anthroposophy, occultism and hippy movements with their ‘mind-expanding’ drug-taking. These movements were very popular among the uprooted, disincarnate Russian elite in early twentieth century Russia, being pioneered by the pseudo-Catholic philosopher, the alcoholic Vladimir Soloviov.
The Christian Teaching on Church and State
Papocaesarism and caesaropapism, ‘in the world and of the world’, as well as disincarnate, anti-Holy Spirit illusions, ‘not in the world and not of the world’, oppose the balanced Gospel and so Church teaching on the Incarnation, ‘in the world but not of the world’. The Gospel, Orthodox view was represented in ancient times by those like St Basil the Great, St Ambrose of Milan and St John Chrysostom, more recently by Patriarch Nikon in Russia in the 17th century or the martyred St Gregory, Patriarch of Constantinople in the 19th century.
They all believed that the Church should remain separate from the State, but also should incarnate the Church’s values into State life, while keeping Her integrity, thus creating a people’s monarchy and harmony or symphony. The Church is not an idea, a philosophy, a distraction for intellectuals, a plaything for idle minds. The Church is the Body of Christ, the Kingdom of Heaven made Incarnate. This is why the Church has always been persecuted, both from outside and from inside, by heresy and schism, by ‘treason, cowardice and deceit’.
In particular, there are those who lapse from Orthodox Christianity and fall into the heterodox error of caesaropapism, kow-towing to the Establishment. However, the 20th century gave millions of examples of confession of the Orthodox teaching, the New Martyrs and Confessors in the former Russian Empire, Greece, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria. Our consciences dictate to us to resist the persecuting and anti-Christian States or Establishments which detest us, bully us and threaten us for contradicting their this-worldly ideologies.
Let us take the case of Fr Vsevolod Shpiller. In 1970s Moscow this well-known priest and pastor, who put the Kingdom of God first, was arrested by the KGB and interrogated. His charge? He had paraphrased what Christ had said to Pilate (Jn. 19, 11), that if it was God’s will, the Roman (in 1970s Moscow, the Soviet) Empire could cease to exist in an instant. The KGB had taken fright, for they took it as a threat to the Soviet State and this turbulent priest had to be arrested for his ‘threat’ of proclaiming that God is greater than any Establishment.
The Struggle to Free England from the Oppression of the British Establishment
Forty years on the situation is becoming much the same in the West. Some followers of the British Establishment are, amazingly, frightened of us. The corrupt British Establishment, an invention of the Normans, has always detested the people (whom they call by the public school term ‘plebs’), especially when we enter Establishment organs like Oxbridge, once the preserve of the Norman elite. They still patronizingly resent meritocracy and the ascent of common mortals, whom they try to ‘freeze out’ through cliquishness and clubbishness.
As they believe their own propaganda, what they really dislike is anyone who contradicts their Establishment line and tells the Truth. So ‘liberal’ are they that they attempt censorship and its agents carry out death threats, as David Kelly found out. When adventurers accuse you of being ‘political’, then you know that you are close to the truth. As patriotic subjects loyal to what is beyond the Establishment, the England on high, we pray for the Royal House, the government and the armed forces, that they may be guided by the Heavenly King.
Next year, 2016, will mark the 950th anniversary of the Invasion and Occupation of England, when the country was finally dragged into the Great Western delusion and the establishment of the Establishment. Unlike the idolators of the British Establishment, we put the Kingdom of God first, above this-worldly values, for, like the disciples, though we are in the world, we are not of the world. We feel no hatred or condemnation for the followers of this world and its Establishments, only sorrow and compassion for the deluded, wherever they may live.
After all these centuries we are still fighting for freedom for England and all these Isles and all the Western Lands, that we may win our lands and peoples back for the King of Heaven and His saints. Like the Great Alfred, English Orthodoxy is still calling from Athelney. Incredibly, the British Establishment is frightened by us little people. Why? Because the pen is mightier than the sword, our Faith is mightier than all their threats. Unlike them, we are not afraid to die. God is with us. They are right to tremble. As Chaucer said: the truth will out.
Conclusion: Three Revelations
In 1969 I read Seton-Watson’s book about the Russian Revolution. Despite his clear bias, it was revealed to me, even then, that all the insidious ideas for that historical error had come from the West and hoodwinked faithless Russians. In 1971 I bought in Colchester the book of interviews by Ian Vorres with the sister of the martyred Tsar, Olga Alexandrovna, who had died in Canada eleven years before. On P. 240 she revealed her fondness for England, but her disgust at the ‘utterly vile’ anti-Russian politics ‘of successive British Parliaments’.
Finally, in 1984 I was, with others, followed by the KGB in Paris and labelled by the follower as ‘a dangerous counter-revolutionary and monarchist’. Revelation! How times change in just thirty years! Today the demons which infested the Soviet Empire, cast out by the prayers of the New Martyrs, infest the Western Empire, with its New World Order. Motivated by the desire for global control and so the destruction of the sovereignty of the peoples and of faithfulness to Christ, Who is outside their control, the Western leaders are blinded.
The demons cast out by the New Martyrs and Confessors, by our recognition of them and so our prayers to them, went to the West, where they were welcomed. Now, as at Gennesareth of old, the demons have entered into those who welcomed them and they, like a herd of swine, are rushing to their suicide all over the Western world, shouting ‘Je suis Charlie’. Now is the time to redouble our prayers to the Saints of the Western world who belong to the Church. Together with all the heavenly hosts, they can send these demons back to their place in hell.
The Final Battle is coming. Every day the Second Coming draws closer, but the miracle of repentance is no less possible today than yesterday. The end may be only a few years away, but it may also be a thousand years away. The demons can still be cast out of the West ‘by prayer and fasting’. We do not fear, because whatever happens, we know that the real end of history, and not the end imagined by an American academic a history-filled generation ago, will be the Triumph of Orthodoxy. The last words in world history are Christ’s.
The Triumph of Orthodoxy 2015
Q: Some consider that the Orthodox world was very weak in the 20th century. Would you agree?
A: 20th century Orthodoxy produced more martyrs than any other century, as well as a great many confessors, so I do not see how you can call the 20th century Orthodox world ‘weak’.
Q: But what about the betrayals of the Faith by certain bishops and even patriarchs in the 20th century?
A: This existed, but we get what we deserve. If we were real Orthodox, we would be strong and so would all our bishops be strong, but we are nominal and therefore decadent Orthodox. The whole problem is not with others, but with ourselves. The Church is us. To think otherwise is an unChristian path which leads directly to the sect. We find fault with ourselves, not with others. Hate the sin, but love the sinner. Only the Non-Orthodox-minded hate sinners and, in so doing, love the sin. We Orthodox know that all of us are sinners, even if some perhaps more than others, we know that all of us are the victims of Satan and therefore we should feel more solidarity with one another, knowing that we have only one common enemy, not each other, but Satan and Satan alone. ‘Bear one another’s burdens’, as the Apostle says.
Q: What about the historic injustices that the Orthodox world has suffered, the sack of Constantinople in 1204, the many Western invasions of Russia? Did they not weaken the Orthodox world too?
A: It is true that there have been many historic injustices and betrayals of the Church by the West which wanted to substitute itself for the Church.
Just in the second millennium, there were the invasion and occupation of England in 1066, the pillage of Constantinople in 1204 which led to its fall in 1453, the invasion of Russia by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century, by the Poles in the 17th century and then by the Europeans under Napoleon in 1812, the 19th century imposition of German princes on Greece and Bulgaria, the Western invasion of the Crimea and the invasion and occupation of Cyprus by the British.
In the 20th century there were the invasions of Serbia and Russia by the Central Powers in 1914, the Western-organized Russian Revolution in 1917, the invasions by Germany and its allies of several parts of the Orthodox world in 1940-41, the CIA-installed, banana-republic colonels’ regime in Greece in the 1960s-70s, the Western genocide in Serbia in the 1990s, the EU colonization of Orthodox Eastern Europe and today the bloodthirsty Western puppet regime in Kiev. However, we should not make excuses out of these historic injustices that our civilization has suffered. The source of all these historical injustices is in our own decadence. If we had been faithful, these injustices would never have occurred.
Q: So much for the past and today. Do you think that the 21st century overall will be positive or negative for the Orthodox world?
A: Who am I to answer such a question? It is not yet clear which way the Christian Church, that is, the Orthodox world, is going. On the one hand, there are signs of hope, the renewal of monastic life on Mt Athos since the 1960s, the fall of atheism in Eastern Europe and Russia since 1989, the spread of Orthodoxy worldwide. On the other hand, there is much that is profoundly decadent and a cause for pessimism. The President of Estonia is an American, the new President of Romania is a German, there are American-appointed Non-Ukrainian ministers in the Ukraine, the President of Montenegro is an EU puppet etc. However, the Orthodox people can resist the EU/US imposed Establishment and choose freedom, as we have just seen in Greece, though of course the leaders who choose freedom usually get assassinated.
Q: By ‘much that is profoundly decadent’ are you also thinking of corruption? For example, the political, business, banking, police and justice systems in Romania, Greece, the Ukraine or Russia and so on are steeped in corruption and bribe-taking, even more than in countries like Italy, Spain and France. Why is there so much corruption in Orthodox countries, why are Orthodox so corrupt?
A: First of all, today there is, sadly, no such thing as ‘an Orthodox country’. There are only ex-Orthodox countries or, optimistically speaking, ‘pre-Orthodox countries’, which we hope will become Orthodox countries again. Secondly, Orthodox are not corrupt, only ex-Orthodox are corrupt. Our Orthodox Faith is everything. Destroy it and you destroy the source of all our morality and our whole political, social and economic system. We have only one ideal – Orthodoxy, the Church. Take that away from us and the corrupting passions of this world rule.
The West has never understood that. It thinks that if you destroy someone else’s civilization, then you can almost automatically make it into part of Western ‘civilization’. That is the greatest of illusions. If you destroy, you destroy. Full stop. Western ‘civilization’ does not work outside the Western world. When the West destroys someone else’s civilization in the name of ‘freedom and democracy’ by bombing it back to the Stone Age, all it produces is the Stone Age, not Western ‘civilization’.
That is why after the Western coup d’etat in 1917, the Russian Empire became a corrupt mafia regime of criminals and bandits, the Soviet Union, created by the West. We Orthodox have no other values, no other source of morality, justice and honesty than our Faith. In the Christian Church, the Orthodox world, we only have the Church. It is all or nothing for us. Thus, the corruption in Greece, when the elite bankrupted the nation and the people after the imposition of the euro, exists because the elite is not Orthodox. He who is not Orthodox in a once Orthodox country is corrupt. The same is true of Romania, Russia, Bulgaria and so on.
In the West it is different. In the West, at least in the part that has Protestant culture, there is an elaborate half-way house between the Church and corruption, a set of legalistic and humanistic balances and checks, ultimately Christian in origin, which are the substitute for the fullness of Orthodoxy. Having said that, the West is still corrupt. The EU cannot even be audited. In England your career will never go very far if you are not a mason or at least a member of some paramasonic club like the Rotarians. And as an Italian told me decades ago: ‘In England you have taxes, in Italy we have bribes. It is the same thing – payment for a protection racket; it is just that in England the protection racket is State-run, in Italy it is private’.
Q: Has the decadence in what you call ‘ex-Orthodox countries’ or ‘pre-Orthodox countries’ affected the Diaspora?
A: That decadence has affected us profoundly. Quite simply, it has made the foundation of new Local Churches in the Diaspora impossible because the necessary conditions for their establishment have not been in place in the homelands, where the leaders of the Local Churches were all politically enslaved and so spiritually compromised. No new Local Church can be built on spiritual compromise.
As regards the Diaspora itself, it has been unable to do anything alone because it lacks the spiritual level. To have a spiritual level implies having monastic foundations, which the refugees, political or economic, who formed the Diaspora have also largely lacked. In other words, even regardless of the captivity of all the Local Churches in the homelands, the Diaspora has not been spiritually mature enough to form new Local Churches.
Q: What do you mean by spiritual maturity?
A: Spiritual maturity is the spiritual growth that comes from suffering. This, incidentally, is why modern Western societies, spoilt by superficial consumerism, are so infantile, so immature. The majority in them do not know suffering.
Q: Can you give examples of this spiritual immaturity in the Church context?
A: We have the example of the OCA (Orthodox Church in America), which was granted a disputed autocephaly by the Patriarchate of Moscow at a time when it was in Soviet captivity. Nearly fifty years after the OCA received this disputed autocephaly, it is still riven by sectarian, spiritually immature, politically-minded, modernistic factions. They ignore and even despise and deny the two spiritual roots of the OCA, of American Rus in Alaska and of Carpatho-Rus in Pennsylvania, that is, of two strands of the Russian Orthodox Tradition, and want to substitute some kind of superficial, compromising, ephemeral, Protestant American cultural customs for those roots. It is like replacing the hymnography of Orthodox Christmas with ‘Jingle Bells’ (I quote from the practice of one ‘Orthodox’ parish of converts in California) or a fine French wine with Coca-Cola (I paraphrase the words of a well-known and more traditional OCA bishop from the past).
To be fair to OCA laypeople, many or most of whom reject these extremist factions and their modernism, we have to mention the problem of hundreds of former members of the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). Also spiritually immature and politically-minded and ignorant of or rejecting the traditional practices and spiritual roots of the Church Outside Russia which were obvious before the mid-1960s, they tried to innovate and, on finally failing, abandoned ROCOR for various extra-ecclesial sects. This happened over a period of two decades between 1986 and 2007 before the reconciliation of ROCOR and the Church inside Russia. (In the same way, some renovationist intellectuals also left the Church inside Russia before its reconciliation with ROCOR, since they could not accept the reality of Church life). Extremists of any type cannot abide unity and reality and always fall for fantasies and sectarian mentalities
Q: Who were these renovationists in the Church inside Russia who left? I thought renovationism in Russia had been defeated in the 1920s and 1930s.
A: Yes, it was very much defeated, but only inside Russia. I meant the sectarian renovationism in foreign parishes in the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia. This had been allowed to develop and was still preventing unity and reconciliation between the two parts of the Russian Church after the Jubilee Council in 2000.
Q: What conditions would you say need to be in place for any legitimate autocephaly in the Diaspora
A: There are two conditions, one concerning the Diaspora, the other concerning the Local Churches involved. 1. Freedom from spiritual compromise in the Diaspora, that is, the consciousness among a sufficient number (I mean at least 10,000s, not a few hundred) of rooted and mature Orthodox in the Diaspora that they need status as a new Local Church through autocephaly. 2. Freedom from spiritual compromise, that is, agreement among the seven Local Churches which have jurisdictions in the Diaspora on the granting of such an autocephaly.
Q: Leaving aside the first condition and agreement among the seven Churches, why can the Russian Church today not provide autocephaly for the Diaspora and found new Local Churches in, say, Western Europe, Australasia, North America and Latin America? After all, the atheist regime in Russia died a generation ago and today the Church there is politically free, free of State interference. Otherwise, there would never have been any reconciliation between it and the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR).
A: True, the Church inside Russia is politically free and the reunited Russian Church now has 342 bishops, about half the total number of Orthodox bishops worldwide, and nearly 40,000 clergymen, with 4,000 being ordained the last two years alone. However, merely being politically free is not the same as being free of ‘spiritual compromise’. There are other problems which create what I call ‘spiritual compromise’. For example, unlike in the atheist period, the masses in the Russian Lands are at least baptized, but that is not enough. You have to live the Faith to be Orthodox.
Only a minority of the people and of the elite in the Russian Lands are living Orthodoxy. Many middle-aged people in the bureaucracy still think in the old Soviet mafia ways – otherwise there would not be corruption, oligarchs and even a civil war going on for oligarch control in the Ukraine. All those phenomena are due to the atheist Soviet heritage. It is why you have so much alcoholism, abortion, corruption and divorce (ABCD). The Church inside Russia is still not spiritually strong enough. You can also see this in nationalistic tendencies in sections of the Russian population.
Q: What nationalistic tendencies?
A: In Russia today there are nationalists, that is semi-Orthodox, who still have a Soviet mentality even though they have been baptized. For instance, they can speak of such opposites as the Tsar-Martyr and Stalin as ‘Russian heroes’ in the same breath. Or they speak of ‘the Russian world’, instead of the Russian Orthodox world. Or they speak of commemorating Vladimir (Putin) by name at the liturgy.
Q: What is wrong with praying for your political leader by name?
A: Everyone agrees that Vladimir Putin is by far the best leader Russia has had since 1917, but he is not the Anointed Tsar, he is at best the politician who, God willing, is preparing the way for the restoration of a legitimate Tsar. But he is not the Tsar himself, only a forerunner. And only an Anointed Tsar is prayed for by name at the liturgy. To pray for a secular leader at the liturgy by name is a form of nationalism, however positive the underlying motivation. Worse than that, in a multinational Church, I think with 62 nationalities in all, you do not offer public prayers for the leader of only one nationality. That would be divisive. If some wish to pray for ‘Vladimir’ in their personal prayers, that is fine, but at the liturgy, in public prayer, we pray only for the authorities in general.
Q: How can such nationalism be overcome?
A: In order to overcome such nationalism we must develop the awareness of what the word ‘Rus’ means.
Q: And what does ‘Rus’ mean?
A: Our Patriarch is called Patriarch of ‘All Rus’, that is, of All the Russias. And ‘Rus’, as in ‘Holy Rus’, the phrase which expresses the Church’s ideal, means multinational, for it includes all the dozens of different races who confess the uncompromised Russian Orthodox Faith, not just Russians. The enemies of the Church, whether nominal, nationalistic Orthodox or Western heterodox – and both groups are actually enemies of the Church – are terrified of a Church which is multinational and uncompromised. Because their souls are narrow, both suffer from the same narrow, reductionist nationalism.
Q: If the Russian Church is at the moment unable to do anything in the Diaspora, then why, if the other conditions were met, could the Patriarchate of Constantinople not provide autocephaly for the Diaspora and found new Local Churches in, say, Western Europe, Australasia, North America and Latin America?
A: Now you are out of the frying pan and into the fire. First of all, unlike the Russian Church, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has never freely given any people autocephaly; Greek imperialism is a great hindrance here. Secondly, that Patriarchate is not only enslaved by US politics – since 1948 its Patriarchs have been nominated by the CIA – but it is also very nationalistic. Hellenism is stronger than Christianity. I can name three Greek priests in England who have in the last 15 months refused to baptize unbaptized English people into the Patriarchate of Constantinople for the simple reason that they ‘are not Greek’. So I baptized them in their place. Such clergy see the Church as a mere Greek club. This is characteristic in general. Whatever you say about Russians, they are not as nationalistic as this. I will always remember attending the Greek Cathedral in Paris on a Sunday, now 35 years ago; the Liturgy was stopped because the Greek ambassador entered – late. This is highly symbolic. A representative of the Greek State was considered to be more important than Christ.
Q: What is nationalism, spiritually?
A: Nationalism is a spiritual disease – a sign of a lack of spiritual experience and spiritual consciousness. It is what lies behind the absurd and violently nationalistic schisms in the Ukraine, in Macedonia, in Montenegro and in Moldova, which are so eagerly and mockingly exploited by the West as the movements of provincial bumpkins (which is what they are). Wherever you get decadence, you get nationalism, nationalistic tendencies and wherever you get nationalism, you get decadence. You can dress this up in a name like phyletism, but it is still nationalism, racism.
Q: Is nationalism only a sign of decadence among Orthodox?
A: Not in the least. In the 5th century it already lay behind the Coptic/Monophysite schism and the Nestorian schism. In the 11th century, it lay behind the Western schism, when the West wanted to replace the Church with its own ethnic identity (‘Roman’ Catholic, not Catholic) and began to deride the Church as ‘Greeks’ and ‘Byzantines’, so reducing it to an ethnic identity. In the 16th century it lay behind the Protestant Reformation, which was essentially an anti-Latin revolt of the Germanic peoples.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the invention of Anglicanism by the bloodthirsty Tudor monarchs, who, like the popes of Rome before them, supplanted Jesus Christ as heads of the Church in a purely ethnic operation. Unlike in the Orthodox Churches, however much they may suffer from nationalism, in Anglicanism the monarchs (or nowadays atheist and agnostic prime ministers) appoint the bishops and actually influence and shape Anglican doctrines and beliefs, whether it is the sacraments or a female episcopate.
Q: Why is nationalism so poisonous in Church life?
A: Simply because nationalism is another word for worldliness.
Q: If the Russian Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople cannot act in the Diaspora, what about the Romanian Church? That is the second largest Local Church. Could it not act, if the other conditions were right?
A: No, the Romanians are also unable to do anything. Sadly, their country has now become an EU colony and so, like the Patriarchate of Constantinople, it is US-run. Apart from nationalism (fully backed by Washington, which is eager to cultivate and exploit that weakness – ‘every man has his price’ is the motto), there is a second and closely related disease in Romania, which has evolved directly from nationalism. That is ecumenism.
For instance, in Italy, where the Romanian jurisdiction is by far the largest Orthodox jurisdiction, the impression given by representatives of the Romanian Church is that ‘we are Catholics who use Romanian in our services, instead of Italian. There is no other difference between us’. (Some Romanian priests even use white wine in the Eucharist so as to be ‘like the Catholics’). Romanian Church representatives are so poor that they will compromise on almost anything with the Vatican to get the free use of redundant Catholic churches in Italy. Nationalism stands behind this ecumenism because Romanians and Italians are of the same Latin race, a racial fact which the Vatican exploits to the maximum. This is only one step away from Uniatism and the Vatican knows this and exploits this – Romanian Catholic and Roman Catholic do sound very similar.
The Romanian situation closely reminds me of the relations of the Patriarchate of Constantinople with the Anglicans when they sit the Archbishop of Canterbury on the bishop’s throne in their churches, or with the Catholics, whom they ban themselves from receiving into the Church, even though they plead to be received. (Thus if a Catholic priest wishes to be received into the Rue Daru jurisdiction (Patriarchate of Constantinople), he has to be sent to the OCA to be received, in other words, he is received through the back door).
Only recently in Germany two Romanian Orthodox priests became Catholic priests. Why not? The local Romanian bishop had been saying for years that ‘there is no difference between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church’. His priests were just being logical. On top of that the Catholics pay better. For an Orthodox who has no dogmatic consciousness of Orthodoxy, i.e. who is an apostate, it is only logical to be Catholic.
What I am saying is that any Local Church which is reduced to nationalism is very easily exploited by the enemies of the Church, whether the enemy is Protestantism or the Vatican, or secular-Protestant Washington or its secular-Catholic EU vassal or, perhaps the worst enemy, nominal, nationalistic Orthodoxy. Nationalism is the result of decadence, a low spiritual level, which causes a weak dogmatic consciousness, in other words, which creates an attachment to this world, which is much stronger than an attachment to the Kingdom of God, the values of the Church.
Q: So if at the present time no Local Church can act in the Diaspora, what is the solution?
A: There is no solution to the Diaspora problem at the present time because the solution is much more practical than that dreamed up by a few disincarnate intellectuals in ‘theological’ institutes. It is in the Incarnation of the Faith in international life, that is, in the restoration of the legitimate multinational Christian secular authority, the restoration of the Orthodox Emperor and Empire. Once this is restored, there will be the multinational support for the Diaspora and new Local Churches there. There were no jurisdictional disputes in the Diaspora before 1917, when there was an Orthodox Emperor. Once the Orthodox Emperor is restored, there will be the necessary finance, say, 200 billion roubles (£2 billion / $3 billion) for new Local Churches, the necessary infrastructure will be created and all the jurisdictional problems will be solved worldwide, as they were before the Revolution of 1917.
Q: What is preventing this?
A: Ourselves. We Orthodox first have to want and to be worthy of a restored Emperor and Empire. In 1917 the Orthodox elite had so far lapsed from the Faith that they actually rejected a Christian Emperor and Empire. The question is when will Orthodox stop being ‘ex-Orthodox’ or optimistically speaking, ‘pre-Orthodox’, and become worthy, ready to accept an Orthodox Emperor and Empire again. Only then, with an end to decadence, with a developed Orthodox consciousness, shall we see an end to the problems of the Diaspora.