Category Archives: Metropolia

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

Q: What is your deepest childhood impression?

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

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

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

Q: What did you understand from their stories?

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

Q: Was there anyone else who shaped you?

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

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

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

Q: When did you first begin writing?

A: Before I could write!

Q: What do you mean?

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

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

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

Q: Would you say that you are political?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fake News and Fake History, Frangistan and Freedom

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.

Notes:

1. uk.businessinsider.com/fake-news-drives-down-programmatic-budgets-2017-6

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.

6. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/07/iraq.usa

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.

Orthodox Europe

Introduction

We now need a multilingual website for Orthodox Europeans of all races, who have been praying, hoping and working for the establishment of a Russian Orthodox-led, Autonomous Metropolia of Western Europe. Through it, we can look for the long-awaited rebirth of the Local Church of Western Europe after a lapse of 1,000 years, a Church which wholly faithful to the Christian Orthodox Tradition of the Saints and Fathers of the Church. Among them we regard as our particular patrons the holy apostles Peter and Paul, martyred in Rome, and St Martin, born in what is now Hungary, who lived in Italy and became a great monastic founder and Bishop of Tours in western France.

From almost contemporary saints we regard as our patrons the last Christian Emperor, the martyred Tsar Nicholas II. He was half-Danish, spoke four Western languages fluently and had a European vision, founding seventeen churches in Western Europe. And his martyred Tsarina was born in an independent, pre-Prussian Hesse, the grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, thus with English cultural and Germanic racial origins. Our second patron saint is the former Archbishop of Paris and Western Europe, St John the Wonderworker, the hierarch of Shanghai and in fact first global saint, who revived the veneration of the Western saints, in whose footsteps we Orthodox Christians in Western Europe follow.

Territories

This Metropolia, composed initially of one metropolitan and perhaps twelve bishops (at present there are nine Russian Orthodox bishops in these territories), would cover the following seven Western European territories and dioceses, in order of size of population, which totals 400 million:

Germany, Austria, northern and eastern Switzerland and Liechtenstein (91 million and 3 dioceses: Berlin and Eastern Germany; Munich and Western Germany; Vienna, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein).

France, southern Belgium, western Switzerland and Monaco (71 million and 2 dioceses: Paris and the Northern French Lands; Nice and the Southern French Lands).

The British Isles and Ireland (70 million and 2 dioceses: London, England and Wales; Dublin, Ireland and Scotland).

Italy, San Marino and southern Switzerland (60.5 million and 2 dioceses: Rome and Southern Italy; Milan, Northern Italy, San Marino and Ticino).

Spain (with Catalonia and the Basque Country), Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar 56.5 million and 2 dioceses: Madrid, Spain, Catalonia and the Basque Country; Lisbon and all Portugal).

Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland (26.5 million and I diocese: Stockholm and all Scandinavia).

The Netherlands, northern Belgium and Luxembourg (24 million and I diocese: Amsterdam, the Dutch Lands and Luxembourg).

Some will ask why we have not included Hungary in the above list of territories. This is because we believe that Hungary, with its longstanding Orthodox minorities, Carpatho-Russians, Serbs and others, unlike Western European countries for the foreseeable future, will one day have its own Local Church, like the other countries that neighbour the Russian Lands, Poland and the Czech Lands and Slovakia.

Unity in Diversity

Some will quite naturally ask why such a Metropolia should be led by Russian Orthodox. The answer has nothing to do with primitive nationalism or ecclesiastical imperialism (phyletism) – we leave that to others. It is simply because the other Local Churches have only narrow, mononational interests and are not interested in founding such a Church, whereas His Holiness Patriarch Alexey II of Moscow clearly stated in April 2003 that the Russian Orthodox Church, with its extensive multinational and missionary experience with dozens of nationalities, is more interested in this and some of us even see it as our historic, pastoral duty.

Such a Metropolia has been made possible because the Russian Orthodox Church is now politically free, which it was not, even two decades ago. Present in many Western European countries for some three centuries and with a new central Cathedral and seminary in Paris, only the Russian Orthodox Church can provide the necessary infrastructure for such an international Church, with our own monasteries, seminary, church buildings, facilities, translations and multinational Church music. All this enables us to be taken seriously and not to be seen as some irrelevant and tiny minority, without even its own proper church buildings.

Clearly, this does not mean that such a Metropolia would be centralized and that local customs observed, say, by the Churches of Romania, Serbia or Greece or in particular European countries with their local saints, would not be allowed. We follow the model of the Holy Trinity, of unity in diversity. There could be dioceses or deaneries of the smaller Local Churches present within such a Metropolia, should they wish to join in this united structure. Provincial parishes could even be temporarily allowed by pastoral condescension the use of the Roman Catholic calendar for the fixed feasts, if they were not yet spiritually strong enough to return to the Orthodox calendar.

The Tradition

Some will ask why we are not hoping and working for the foundation of a series of Local Churches in Western Europe, for example, a French Orthodox Church, a German Orthodox Church, an Italian Orthodox Church, or a Church of the Isles, covering the British Isles and Ireland. Again the answer is simple. We are not interested in building small, nationalistic, hopelessly provincial, insular, inward-looking Orthodox Churches (such signs of nationalistic decadence already exist among a few on the Church fringes in England, France, Finland and elsewhere).

Rather we wish to see the restoration of the historic, multinational Western Patriarchate of the Tradition. An Autonomous Metropolia of 500 or more parishes is not large, but it is big enough to be viable as the basis for a future Local Church. On the other hand, small dioceses of 25-100 parishes are not viable alone and soon fall into provincialism, narrow jurisdictionalism and personality cults, as we have sadly already seen in the past, notably in England and France. We take the broad view of restoration and regeneration of the totality of Orthodox Western Europe. In the longer term, hundreds of years ahead, there could of course be developments in the direction of seven smaller Regional Churches, but to speak of this now is utterly unrealistic, far too premature.

We do not see any future Local Church being built on divisive compromises, for example using the so-called ‘new’ (= Roman Catholic) calendar instead of the Orthodox calendar, patronizingly called ‘old’ by modernists. A new Local Church can be built only on the fullness of Tradition, which has always been kept by genuine monasteries with traditional liturgical and ascetic life and spread through traditional parishes by faithful clergy and laity. Any attempt to build a Church on modernism (such signs of decadence have already been seen in England, France and Finland) will always fail. We build on rock, not on sand.

Two Injustices To Be Righted

We need to launch such a website at this time not only because the new Russian Orthodox Cathedral is about to open in Paris. This year also marks the anniversaries of two enormous historic injustices, which can only be spiritually reversed through the establishment of such a Metropolia. The first anniversary, a local one, also falls in October 2016, ironically coinciding with this year of Brexit, is the 950th anniversary of the genocidal invasion of England by Norman papal shock troops from the Continent, thus founding the treacherous British Establishment. This invasion forced Christians in England into the same schism as most others in Western Europe, already entirely cut off from communion with the Orthodox Church.

The second injustice is the 100th anniversary of the murder by British Establishment (= Norman) spies in December 1916 in Russia, which led directly to the Western-organized and financed coup d’etat of February 1917, commonly called the ‘Russian Revolution’, with universal implications. It was this coup that prevented the realization of the hopes of the pious Metr Pitirim (Oknov) of Saint Petersburg that all Western European capitals would become the sees of Russian Orthodox bishops and that all the Church’s service books would be translated into the various languages of Western Europe. Had the events of winter 1916-17 not taken place, the idea of a Russian Orthodox-led Metropolia of Western Europe might well have been advanced in, say, 1928, seventy-five years before 2003: through the insanity of 1917 we have lost three generations.

Conclusion

Such a website needs to be launched at a time when Western Europe faces two serious threats to its very survival. The first is internal, militant Secularism, and the second is external, militant Islamism. The first has its origins in the last phase of the millennial apostasy of the Western world from the Church of God and has led to the creation of an enslaving atheist Union, destructive of the local identities and sovereignties of all the European peoples, amid a spiritual vacuum. The second has been caused by the fanatical and terrorist reaction to this oppressive apostasy and vacuum by violent Arab Muslim nationalism and the refusal of secularist Western European countries to insist on the baptism of Muslim immigrants before their admission to them.

The origins of our hope for an Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe lie exactly thirty years ago in our 1986 French document, Une Eglise Orthodoxe pour l’Europe Occidentale – Vision ou Reve? (An Orthodox Church for Western Europe – Vision or Dream?). This was immediately dismissed out of hand by the German Archbishop who had asked for it. As the Book of Proverbs (29, 18) says: ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’. In Western Europe the straitjacket of political unity has failed, as also divisive xenophobic nationalism failed before it. The past and future Sovereign Nations of Western Europe now need spiritual unity. In an Orthodox Metropolia, and then a reborn Local Church, lie the hope for the restoration and regeneration of Western Europe from its present low point. As St Alexander Nevsky, who resisted both the tyrannical Eastern and the secularist Western yokes in the 13th century, said: ‘God is not in power, but in truth’.

Questions on ROCOR, a future Local Church in Western Europe, the Ukraine and Nominalism

Q: What is the role of ROCOR today?

A: The same as that of all Russian Orthodox – to remain faithful Imperial Christian clergy and laypeople, in other words, to keep faith with the best of the Christian Empire, Imperial Russia, working for its restoration and guarding the international and missionary approach of its saints like St Seraphim of Sarov, St Innocent of Moscow, St John of Kronstadt, St Nicholas of Japan, the Optina Saints, the martyred Tsar Nicholas II and those with him, St John of Riga, St Seraphim of Vyritsa, Metropolitan Pitirim (Oknov) of Saint Petersburg, of the fathers of ROCOR and above all of our three ROCOR saints, for we are the Church of the Three Saints: St John of Shanghai, St Jonah of Hangchow and St Seraphim of Sofia. However, I also firmly believe that there are many more ROCOR saints who will be revealed.

Q: When you say to keep faith with ‘the best’, I presume you mean that there has also been the ‘worst’?

A: Of course, the good and the bad, the wheat and the chaff, always go together. However, although Judas was indeed among the disciples, he notably failed to become an apostle. Such is the fate of all traitors. Who were the worst? Firstly, for example, some ill-informed say that our task is to restore Russia before the Revolution. This is blindness, for that would mean also restoring the worst from before the Revolution when it was precisely that bad that created the Revolution. Thus, if we restored all that went before, without distinction, we would simply have another Revolution. Therefore we must keep faith only with the best from before.

Secondly, and linked with this, there was in ROCOR, that is, after the Revolution, the presence of right-wing politics and racist nationalism inherited from before the Revolution and as a result elements in ROCOR were corrupted and compromised by Western spy services like the CIA, MI5, the DGSE in France, the BND in Germany and the CSIS in Canada. Such political operatives began from the 1960s on to encourage the infiltration of our part of the Russian Church by schismatic old calendarism. Fortunately, this spirit more or less died out after the Cold War, and by 2001 these fringe elements had at last been defeated by the majority whom they could no longer oppress.

Q: You say the good and the bad always go together. How do you resist such bad or secular influences and yet keep the good, the purity of Holy Orthodoxy? How can the wheat grow alongside the chaff which surely hinders it?

A: We carry on despite those influences that are always worldly, making opportunities out of the chaff, living for the long-term and so for the greater good of the Church, not living narrowly for the short-term, continuing to fight for the Faith. For example, the persecution (the word is not too strong) by several well-known bishops and senior clergy that I met both for the veneration of Western saints and for the New Martyrs and Confessors only spurred me on to promote them. If it had not been for such vigorous opposition, perhaps I would not have insisted so much. Now the same people or their heirs are falling over themselves to venerate them. Bad always withers away and dies, providing that we are patient. The chaff is here today, gone tomorrow. Only the good lasts on Christ’s winnowing floor. It is very important to understand that.

Q: If ROCOR had its problem, what was the problem of the Russian Patriarchal Church?

A: Without a doubt, its problem was renovationism, the rather pathetic, dying vestiges of which still survive here and there, both inside and outside Russia. However, apart from among a few elderly and marginal figures or unconverted intellectuals, these Soviet-period vestiges now mainly live on, outside the Russian Church, in schisms. For instance, there are the dying embers of the Paris group, founded by treasonous decadent aristocrats and freemasons from Saint Petersburg, or groups in Finland and Estonia, the latter of which had been infected by the masonic, Parisian YMCA movement before the Second World War.

This ‘democratic’ renovationism, or ‘Kerenskyism’, so obvious in politicized decisions of the 1917-18 Moscow Council (which, thank God, have never been implemented inside Russia), is in fact just protestantization. It is dismissed by such sterling contemporary hierarchs of the Russian Church inside Russia as Metr Onufry of Kiev, Metr Agafangel of Odessa or Metr Benjamin of Vladivostok, who, with so many others, guard the conscience of the Church today.

Q: There has yet again been talk of a ‘British Orthodox Church’. What do you say?

A: I think this theme has been exhausted. First of all, the word ‘British’ can simply not be used in a Church context. It is the local equivalent of ‘Soviet’, in other words, it defines a purely political myth, a fantasy and delusion. We do not talk of a ‘Soviet Church’, so why do we speak of a ‘British Church?’ Soon, there will be no Britain (UK) or EU left, like the already defunct SU (Soviet Union). The State concept of Britain has had its day and we shall at last move on to profounder things. Churches are named after geographical and spiritual realities, not passing political myths invented by political hacks. We should rather speak of the Church of the Isles.

But, in any case, at present, ‘Britain’ is home to only a tiny number of practising Orthodox, with hardly any infrastructure, without monastic life, even sometimes with an insular, provincial, visionless outlook and living in a kind of Anglican phyletism, and phyletism is always spiritual death, as we can see from all the phyletist parishes in this country that have closed or are closing. Phyletism always puts the State Establishment above the Gospel. Indeed, last year one such ex-Sourozhite convert actually wrote me a letter, vigorously accusing me of putting the Gospel above the Establishment and slating me for that! At present we should be taking the broad view of a Metropolia of Western Europe, which can later develop into a Local Church of Western Europe, not a narrow view of a tiny, insular one.

Q: Who could found such a Metropolia?

A: No Local Church will ever found a Metropolia and future new Local Church in Western Europe, except the Russian Church. For example, of the seven groups that exist in the Diaspora, the four Local Churches of Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Georgia are all strictly mononational, with no interest in missionary work and founding new Local Churches. As for phyletist Constantinople, it has never freely given anyone autocephaly: the Russians had to wait for nearly 600 years until they seized it themselves and the Bulgarians had to wait for over a millennium and had to create a schism in order to obtain it! As for the Church of Antioch, the Church of four families, as some Antiochians themselves call it, with its all-Levantine episcopate, it even took back the limited autonomy it once gave its small archdiocese in North America. The Antiochians have an admirable though naive zeal, but you need knowledge as well as zeal. Naivety always ends up in disaster, as we have seen.

Q: What, spiritually, is naivety?

A: It is a lack of spiritual experience and so of spiritual maturity. It is always linked with superficiality and a lack of suffering. Real Orthodox live in the arena, are always ready for martyrdom, and are always persecuted and suffer.

Q: If there were one day to be a Local Church in Western Europe, how do you see it?

A: Clearly, without the arrogant mistakes made in the past by the OCA, for example. Firstly, it would use the Orthodox calendar and not impose the divisive Roman Catholic one (though some exceptions might have to be made for some spiritually weak communities) and would avoid modernism of all sorts, insisting for example on confession before prepared communion, modest dress and head coverings for women, correct services and correct liturgical language. All these are not some ‘local customs’, as mocking and despising modernists would have you believe, but are all integral parts of the Tradition.

Secondly, it would have to avoid esoteric Parisian personality cults, like those seen in England and France, of the sort whose first question is, ‘Have you got a doctorate?’ Thirdly, it would have to avoid the patronizing racist mentality of the type to be found in England, that of anti-spiritual, Anglican Establishment phyletism, which automatically excludes the vast masses of people and only ordains Anglican vicars to the priesthood. In a word, it would have to avoid all the falsehood and superficiality of academic, theoretical, convert Orthodoxy. It would have to be the real thing, showing integrity, which is sadly so rare, yet is the only thing that preserves us from the spiritual disease of modernism. Our aim is to become saints, not fantasists.

Q: What is the present situation in the Ukraine?

A: Although I have not been there since May, my impression is that the situation is largely calm on the surface, but underneath is volcanic. Nothing much may happen until the US elections in November, but then the volcano could well erupt. For example, there is already huge dissatisfaction with the ‘thieves and murderers’ (I quote from graffiti seen in Odessa) of the corrupt Poroshenko regime. This at present only controls the area around Kiev, rather like earlier corrupt Fascist US puppet regimes which controlled only Latin American capitals or capitals like Saigon, Manila, Athens, Pretoria, Kabul or Baghdad, but not the countries themselves.

The rest of the Ukraine is controlled by local oligarchs, the new princes. It seems that the component parts of this artificial conglomerate called the Ukraine are falling apart. Poland, Hungary and Romania are looking on, preparing to take back what Stalin stole from them some 75 years ago. The whole of the east and the south of the so-called Ukraine, over half of the country, stolen from Russia by Lenin in 1922, are also yearning to return to Russia and freedom, as the Crimea has already done. Only Little Russia, the region around Kiev, can survive as an independent entity, creating a country similar in size to Belarus to the north.
But I feel that nothing will happen until the Clinton-Trump contest is over. If Clinton the globalist neocon wins, the agony may well get worse and the war could become terrifying, but if Trump the American nationalist and anti-globalist wins, freedom may yet come.

Q: Are you saying that Trump is good?

A: No. I think we all agree that Trump is something of a clown, a primitive nationalist, aggressive, rude and strident like Jean-Marie Le Pen was in France or Nigel Farage was in England, but even if he is not a Christian, he could on balance still actually be the lesser evil. He may actually have a sense of social justice and is surely a social conservative, whereas Clinton calls abortion a blessing, supports the Fascist banksters and as a globalist and Zionist is preparing the coming of Antichrist. Of course, I don’t know for sure, Trump may or may not be the lesser evil: only people can make up their minds about who is the lesser evil.

Q: What is the greatest threat to the Orthodox Church? Politicians like Clinton or Trump?

A: Of course, not. The greatest threat is not others, but ourselves, our own nominalism, which precisely includes blaming others for our own shortcomings. Most Orthodox, 95%, here or elsewhere, are only nominally Orthodox. For example, in this country, how can you take Orthodox seriously when they are even unable to buy or build their own church-buildings? Academic dreamers who call themselves Orthodox rant on about their theories and fantasies, preaching about the ‘Beauty of Orthodoxy’, but when they are asked where their churches are and where authentic liturgical life can be experienced, they can provide nothing, it is all fictitious, in their heads and imaginations. Academics feed only the fantasy, not the heart, because they have no spiritual food to give.

Q: Given this level of nominalism, how can we not fall into despair?

A: Holy men have prophesied that, if we repent, we will be saved by some event in the East. This may mean China and the neocon war now being threatened against China by the hubris-obsessed Obama government in the South China Sea. But it may mean something else. We shall see. Only one thing is certain, and that is that only repentance leads to salvation.

About Ionan Orthodoxy: An Interview with Archbishop George of London

12 May 2041

Q: What is the territory of your Archdiocese?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What was that mistake?

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What about in other countries in Europe?

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

Q: And in England?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AG: Definitely. And especially in Western Europe.

Q: Why?

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

Q: Which extremes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Future of Russian Orthodox Outside the Canonical Territory of the Russian Orthodox Church

Introduction: A Definition of Terms

At the present time there are three groups of Russian Orthodox which have permanently settled outside the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, but which are for the moment administratively separated. This canonical territory means China and Japan, where there are already Autonomous Churches, and above all the countries formed from the ex-Soviet Union, notably the Russian Federation, the Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – with the exception of the canonical territory of the ancient Georgian Orthodox Church.

We naturally exclude from these three groups ex-Russian Orthodox: the Ukrainian nationalist group whose ancestors once mainly lived in Polish Galicia and most of whose descendants are in Canada; the small group whose ancestors once belonged to the Russian Church in Finland; very small communities sometimes of Russian descent in a few parts of Western Europe under the Paris Jurisdiction; even smaller sects which broke away from the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) between 2000 and 2007. These four groups have for purely political reasons consciously chosen to live outside the canonical unity of the Russian Church, the first three under the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

One Faith but Three Administrations

These three groups of Russian Orthodox are:

1. Those who have a disputed autocephalous status in North America. They include above all, but not only, those of ‘Ruthenian’ origin whose ancestors emigrated from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and those who were converted in Alaska when it was still a Russian possession. With their presence dating back well over a century, that is, before the 1917 Revolution, they are grouped in what is called the OCA (Orthodox Church in America).

2. Those in the self-governing Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), whose ancestors either emigrated after the 1917 Revolution, or after 1945, or who have joined the Church since. This group is centred in the USA, but has many members in parts of Western Europe (principally in western Germany and Switzerland), Australasia and also some members in Latin America and the Holy Land.

3. Those who depend directly on Moscow, but live above all in dioceses in Western and Central Europe, but also in much smaller numbers in countries as diverse as the USA, Canada, Thailand, the Philippines, Iran and elsewhere. These are mainly those who have emigrated to these countries in the last twenty-five years since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

These three groups represent different periods and different generations of emigration. The first group dates back five generations and more, the second often dates back three or four generations, whereas the third often dates back only one generation. Is there a possibility that these three groups may one day join together? Surely, that would be a logical, canonical and indeed welcome outcome? And if not, what could prevent them from doing so? Let us look in detail at each of the three groups.

Is an Administrative Merger even Possible?

The first group, in its present form a product of the Cold War politics of nearly two generations ago, appears to be split into two factions. Some more traditional would like to have closer relations with those who in North America are happy to call themselves Russian Orthodox (those belonging to groups 2 and 3), but others for political reasons object to the term ‘Russian Orthodox’. They confuse this term with some narrow, ethnic identity instead of the multi-ethnic reality. These, sometimes quite Russophobic American nationalists, often not of Slav but of Protestant background, are generally very modernistic and have little understanding of the Tradition.

Therefore, they may wish to quit the OCA background which is in the disciplines of the Russian Church and Tradition. Like other political dissidents elsewhere, these latter may wish to join the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Their mentality is after all very similar to those ex-Russian Orthodox already in the Patriarchate of Constantinople, in the Paris Jurisdiction (including ex-Sourozh) and in Finland, whose mindset in the eyes of Russian Orthodox is more or less schismatic and even semi-treasonous. Under Constantinople, these dissidents would, like the others who have left the Russian Church, be allowed to operate outside the canonical and liturgical disciplines common to the Church.

The second group, ROCOR, should by its name unite all Orthodox outside Russia (Russia meaning the Russian Lands, that is, the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, as defined at the beginning of this article). However, it does not do so at present, though it is now showing great openness at least in North America to groups 1 and 3, even receiving the former OCA leader. One of the problems for some in ROCOR is that as long as the Soviet Union existed, it had a very clear, even exaggerated identity, but that was a whole generation ago. As a result, some individuals prefer to pretend that the Soviet Union still exists, under the imaginary term of ‘Putinization’, but this fantasy is mere New Cold War propaganda of the basest kind and self-justification for the disobedience of schism and conforms at best to fantasy, at worst to paranoia. We must not live trapped in the past, for salvation can only come if we live in the present.

Today, ROCOR seems to be confining itself to North America and Australasia, with South America and Western Europe increasingly small and detached. Is it to confine itself in the future only to the English-speaking world? The direction of the ROCOR leadership seems to some unclear and ROCOR identity has perhaps been blurred by Western rite experiment. On the other hand, the membership of ROCOR has increased rapidly through recent emigration. All is still possible and ROCOR could still become a federation of regional Metropolias around the world, as Patriarch Kyrill would like. This process of Metropolitanization is precisely what has been carried out on Russian Orthodox canonical territory. However, time is passing and several years have gone by since such strategic decisions could have been taken.

The third group, directly under Moscow, is expanding rapidly by emigration, especially in Western Europe, where most countries are effectively now directly under Moscow and ROCOR is clearly an outnumbered minority, mainly by its own choices. It must be said that this situation looks like being replicated elsewhere too. The situation has indeed been transformed in the last 25 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Whereas once this group was tiny, today it is the biggest. We can remember the situation only thirty years ago of the dioceses in Brussels, Paris and London, where, all told, the flock numbered three bishops, a dozen or so priests and a few hundred faithful! In other words, three ‘dioceses’ totalled no more than a parish.

Today, with large new churches built or being built in Rome, Madrid, Paris, Strasbourg and in several cities in Germany, large dioceses in Italy and Scandinavia, several parishes in Portugal, Spain, Ireland and even Iceland, with well over a million faithful, the momentum is clearly here. However, there are difficulties. Some of its older and senior clergy seem to have problems adapting to life outside Russia and can have ‘Soviet’ reflexes. Not only do they not understand local cultures, mentalities and family life, but some do not understand the local language and so cannot even communicate with and confess the children of their flocks. This is a very, very serious pastoral problem. Little wonder that some recent and better integrated emigrants sometimes prefer to attend ROCOR churches or, in North America, traditional OCA churches.

Conclusion: Three in One in the Future?

One thing is clear – no solution to three separate administrations will ever be imposed from above. No-one in the Centre in Moscow wishes to be accused of imposing some Soviet-style structure or reorganization, as was disastrously tried in the 1920s. In the internet age top-down ‘Soviet Tank’ style is dead, belonging firmly in the past. Unity today can only come organically, from the grassroots. True, the Centre in Moscow strongly, but also understandably, dislikes the extremist fringes with their disloyalty and Russophobia, either of the left-wing Paris/Sourozh type, or of the right-wing sectarian type that once posed a problem in ROCOR. Perhaps the dream that the spiritually healthy parts of the OCA may one day merge with those directly under Moscow and with ROCOR in North America could come true. Thus, a newly formed group called something like The Russian Orthodox Metropolia in North America – ROMNA, could emerge from the past.

As for ROCOR in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, it could become part of some large Metropolia in Australasia, including parishes in Thailand, South-East Asia and the Philippines, called something like The Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Australasia – ROMA. Surviving ROCOR parishes in Western Europe could become part of a Metropolia, centred at the new Cathedral and seminary in Paris, perhaps called the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe – ROME. As for Latin America surviving ROCOR parishes there could simply merge with local parishes under Moscow in one single Metropolia, The Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Latin America, perhaps called ROMLA. This would together make four Metropolias, together forming a renewed and expanded Russian Orthodox Church Outside the Russian Lands of over 1,000 parishes. Dreams? For the moment, yes, but at least food for thought for the long term.

From Recent Correspondence (Lent 2016)

Q: Why is there so much opposition among the Orthodox faithful to the forthcoming Council in Crete?

A: Because it promises to be merely a politicized meeting of bishops. First of all, how can you say that you are having a Council when you do not know if it is a Council, because you do not know if the Holy Spirit will be present? We must understand that a meeting can only become a Council if the Holy Spirit is present. This is why meetings only become Councils on their reception by the people of God, who recognize the inspiring presence of the Holy Spirit. So far this looks like a meeting of bishops, with the US, the EU and the Vatican in the background, which is not Pan-Orthodox because it does not include all the bishops or, for the moment, even representatives of all the Local Churches. To call a meeting a Council before the event is presumptious and pretentious, even more so when you call it ‘Great and Holy’.

Secondly, how can you have a Council when only a small selected minority of Orthodox bishops have been invited? Thirdly, how can you have a Council when the most important question, the calendar issue, has been removed from the agenda? Fourthly, how can you have a Council when several Local Churches or authoritative voices in Local Churches have been raised in particular against the anti-dogmatic contradictions in the proposed important document on relations with Non-Orthodox? Finally, many have been disturbed by the date of the opening of this meeting: 16/06/16. It contains the triple six of Antichrist. How could the organizers, so blind to any transparency, also be so provocative as to start the meeting on that date, so greatly perturbing the faithful?

Q: You say that the US, the EU and the Vatican are in the background. What exactly do they want?

A: All thisworldly institutions want an aggiornamento of the Church, like that which Roman Catholicism underwent in the 1960s. They want to introduce into the Church secularism, humanism, new calendarism, homosexual marriage, banning fasting and monasticism. In other words, they want to destroy the Church, they want a modernist, spiritually toothless and spineless Church, degutted of ascetic life, spirituality and the sacred, so that they can adapt the Church to their worldly agenda, reducing it to a mere human institution, as they have done elsewhere. And who is their prince, the prince of this world? Satan.

Q: So you are against this meeting?

A: I did not say that. Let us wait and see. This meeting could produce schism, given the arrogant lack of consultation by its organizers with the monasteries, parish clergy and people, with the people of God. For example, why have they not invited a distinguished monastic elder from each Local Church to the meeting to represent the people of God? And, as I said, a meeting, however unpromising, can become a Council. All depends on the Holy Spirit. Man proposes, but God disposes. Sadly, for the moment, all we have seen is bureaucratic men proposing.

Q: You have reported elsewhere the opening of the Russian Cathedral in Paris in the autumn. What are your hopes?

A: Our hopes are that the statement of Patriarch Alexei II thirteen years ago will at last be realized. In other words, we hope that this will be the foundation stone of a Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Western Europe and that that will be the foundation of a future Local Church.

Q: So you want to see in Western Europe a kind of European OCA?

A: Before answering, I should perhaps say that what I want is not really relevant, what is important is what God wants. I will answer only because you have asked.

Not at all, we do not want another OCA. The OCA was a failure firstly because its foundation was politicized, being founded during the Cold War, secondly because it was granted autocephaly unilaterally without consultation with the other far more numerous dioceses of other Local Churches on the same territory, and thirdly because it was founded on compromises of ascetic, liturgical and canonical culture, caused by its protestantization, putting American culture above the Church. This meant that a great many English-speaking Orthodox in the USA, the ones whom it was allegedly designed for, simply ignored it. Personally, if I lived in the USA, I would not belong to the OCA. That is no judgement on the many sincere and pious people who do belong to it or the good work that parts of it do, this is merely a personal statement.

Q: So what do you want to see in Western Europe?

A: What we want to see is what we want to see everywhere, including in North America. That is, quite simply, a Local Church that is fully Orthodox, spiritually pure, politically independent and faithful to the Tradition, but which freely celebrates, whenever pastorally necessary, in the local language and venerates the local saints. What could be simpler? And yet human beings with their compromising political cults or narcissistic personality cults make it all so complicated.

Q: To come back to the OCA, what do you make of the concelebration between Patriarch Bartholomew and Metr Tikhon of the OCA?

A: There are modernist, political dissidents in the OCA who want to become a sub-department of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, in some special American Metropolia, just like the Rue Daru group of ex-Russians in Paris, the ex-Sourozhian schismatics in England, or some schismatic Diaspora Ukrainians. It seems to me that a battle is going on between the two factions there, the modernists who want to leave for Constantinople and those with at least some sense of the Tradition who want to stay as a group under the protection of the Russian Church. Personally, I have always thought that a split is inevitable, with all the parishes in Alaska and most in Canada and Pennsylvania around St Tikhon’s, returning to the Russian Church, perhaps within ROCOR, and the others, like those at St Vladimir’s, going over to the Greeks. That would be logical and at last clear up the canonical anomaly once and for all.

Q: The OCA was founded nearly two generations ago. Why has it taken so much longer to begin even thinking about a Local Church in Western Europe?

A: So much longer? We have been thinking about it for thirty years and more! On the other hand, you do not do things prematurely. In my view, the OCA was premature – it should have remained a Metropolia, English-speaking but faithful to Russian Orthodox Tradition, waiting for freedom in Russia, which came 20 years after its independence.

The main problem in Western Europe has been the delay caused by the Paris schism over eighty years ago. The divisive defection of Russophobic aristocrats and modernist intellectuals from the Russian Tradition to the Patriarchate of Constantinople and a self-invented ‘tradition’ meant that the development of an authentically Orthodox Local Church was greatly delayed because the Russian Orthodox presence was so weakened by their disaffection. For instance, although (or because) the Constantinople Parisians are bankrupt, they are still occupying the (smallish) 19th-century Russian Cathedral in Paris, and therefore a new Cathedral and seminary have had to built and equipped at vast expense and with great political complications.

Q: Does the Church Outside Russia, ROCOR, have a role in the construction of this Metropolia in Western Europe?

A: That depends on the leadership of ROCOR, not on mere parish priests like me.

Q: Does that answer mean that in Western Europe at least ROCOR will become dependent on the Church inside Russia?

A: Not necessarily. Everything is still possible. There are parishes in Western Europe dependent on the Church inside Russia and parishes dependent on the Church Outside Russia that are identical in ethos. Some, sadly, are definitely not identical in ethos because of the hangover from the Soviet past despite transfers of controversial clergy out of Europe by Moscow in the last few years. In ROCOR we patiently wait for that vestigial ethos to die out, as it is dying out. Once it has died out altogether, convergence will come.

Q: You mean that ROCOR in Western Europe will merge with the Church inside Russia or that the Church inside Russia in Western Europe will merge with ROCOR?

A: I don’t know. What I do know is that the most active and most missionary, the most spiritually alive, will dominate. Those who are spiritually asleep will be absorbed. If you do not have younger bishops, resident bishops, active bishops, missionary bishops, bishops who are interested in their flocks and local saints, you will die in your self-made ghetto. This is what happened to ROCOR in South America. This is of course true for all Local Churches and their dioceses in the Diaspora. If you do not live, you will die. Surely, that is not too complicated to understand?

For example, today, just in the eastern third of England, we need twelve priests who can speak at least some Russian and some English – if they are bilingual, that would be perfect. I could name the places where they are needed. But where are we going to find them? We have to encourage men to think about this. That requires leadership, time, effort and energy.

Q: How can you describe the ethos of ROCOR, as compared with the ethos of parishes dependent on the Church inside Russia?

A: The emphasis of ROCOR in the last 25 years especially has quite clearly been on the New Martyrs and Confessors, Anti-Sergianism and Anti-Ecumenism. Wherever within the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia there is veneration for the New Martyrs and Confessors (and it is very extensive), wherever there is resistance to the ideas that the Church must swim with the secular tide of the State and resistance to ecumenist compromises (also extensive), there is joy in ROCOR. However, the fact is that some of the foreign parishes in the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia, suffered in the past from modernism, ecumenism and liberalism, unlike parishes inside Russia. When the ethos becomes identical, then there will be a complete merger, though, as I say, it is not clear which part of the Church will dominate it. That will depend on the leadership of bishops.

Q: You mentioned local saints in Western Europe. Who at present venerates those local saints?

A: It mostly seems to be immigrants from Eastern Europe, who have the sense of saints and relics. Sadly, despite all our decades of efforts, there are few native Western European Orthodox.

Q: Why? I thought there were many converts?

A: That is a myth. There have never been ‘many’ converts. At most about 2,000-3,000 in the heyday and many of those soon lapsed because they were received into the Church for the wrong reasons or for ideological reasons, with certain clergy trying to build up artificial empires, which of course soon collapsed. Most of their children also lapsed. I doubt if there were ever more than 1,000 serious converts.

However, in the last ten years, I have witnessed a change. Converts started coming in numbers in the 1960s after the collapse of Anglicanism. In other words, most converts were from an Anglican background, often of a public school or wealthy background and most were at that time 30 or 40 years old. Well, that generation, what I call the ‘Kallistos generation’, is literally dying out. Some are still alive, but are in their late sixties or older. The vast majority of these are either in the Antiochian jurisdiction which at last has a new, young, local bishop, or else under the Constantinople Vicariate, which is dependent on an elderly French bishop in France, whom I knew when he was a young priest.

Together, about 600 in all, they together form a sort of Anglican Orthodoxy. For example, as far as I know, the Antiochian clergy are ex-Anglican vicars who have not received training in Orthodoxy and do not know how to do all the services; then the people do not know how to sing; the Vicariate situation is similar. I know one such Antiochian community, where the priest has banned any language other than English! This is racism, though I suspect partly it is because the priest does not understand any language other than English, let alone the Orthodox ethos.

Q: So converts are dying out?

A: Not exactly, rather their nature is changing. There are some new converts, but they do not usually have an Anglican background; after all very few English people nowadays do – even in the mid-19th century, only 50% of English people were ‘Anglican’, that is, they belonged to the Church of England. Although there are few of these new converts, at least they are converting properly and not creating a semi-Orthodoxy, an Anglican-Orthodox club.

Q: So what does that mean for these convert communities?

A: It means that many Vicariate communities number fewer than ten, usually quite elderly people, and form a kind of ex-Anglican clique, centred on the dead Metr Antony Bloom. Where they are more numerous, most of the people are Eastern Europeans. In a similar way, ageing Antiochian groups are being saved from extinction by Eastern Europeans, especially church-deprived Romanians. Most of these groups do not have their own premises and use Anglican churches.

Q: So what is the justification for using English in services, if there are fewer converts?

A: There are now three justifications. Firstly, there are still English people, converts or children and grandchildren of converts with the English husbands of Orthodox women, secondly, there are the English-speaking children of Eastern Europeans and thirdly, in mixed-nationality parishes, English is simply the common language. The future is with the second group, children of Eastern Europeans, because they are now the majority of English-speaking Orthodox.

Q: How are they to be kept in the Church?

A: That is the key question. In ROCOR, for example, the London Cathedral lost virtually everyone from its second generation, let alone from the third and fourth. And that is a typical story for all jurisdictions everywhere. Why? Because they had no identity, apart from an ethnic one, which they naturally disowned. It is vital for Orthodox children born here or going to school here to have an Orthodox identity, to know and appreciate our civilizational values, to know that we are simply Christians. The old generations generally failed to do this, their identity was purely ethnic, not spiritual.

Thus, the children went to school, lost their parents’ language and said, ‘I’m English, this is nothing to do with me, it’s only for old people’. Assimilation. For example, there are six Anglican Cypriot priests in the Diocese of London. Why? Because they did not understand Greek, so they left the Greek Orthodox Church. Of course, we can only give children this identity if parents bring their children to church regularly. Those children have to be instructed in Sunday schools and they have to have activities, which creates in them a sense of belonging to the Church. If parents do not bring up their children in the church, then they will be completely lost.

Q: Why do Protestants so value the Old Testament?

A: The Reformation was largely financed by Jews (despite Luther’s virulent anti-Jewishness) and most Protestants have always been pro-Jewish. Cromwell depended on them almost entirely. (Even today Israel depends entirely on Protestant countries, especially the USA; Catholics have always been more sceptical). Thus, the Protestants even use the Jewish Old Testament in favour of the Christian one! For Orthodox, by far the most important book of the Old Testament is the Psalter, which is why you rarely find Orthodox reading the Old Testament (other than Genesis and Exodus), but rather just the New Testament and the Psalms.

Q: Why is the USA forcing countries, like the Ukraine and also African countries, into accepting homosexual marriage? Is Obama a homosexual?

A: I have no idea what Obama is – except that he supported thuggery by toppling the democratically-elected government of the Ukraine and replacing it with a murderous Fascist junta, which has little control of the country outside Kiev. Then there are the US drones which can murder anyone anywhere. As regards his other personal inclinations, I would not rely on internet rumours.

Now for your main question, which needs a historical answer.

When, in the 11th century, Satan set about destroying Christendom, his first target was to desacralize, that is, secularize, the Church. Satan cannot stand the presence of the sacred, the sacred must be removed from the world because it prevents him from realizing his plans to take total control of the world. This he did by attacking the Church at its weakest point, that is, in the Western provinces, where all had been weakened by the barbarian invasions. In the 11th century the Western Patriarchate was converted to secularism, with what had been the Church becoming a State, becoming secular, changing the Creed, controlling murderous armies, the courts and sponsoring invasions etc. In history this is called papocaesarism.

In other words, the first step to Satanization, was to remove the Altar. The second step was to remove the Throne, that is, to remove the sacral monarchy. This act came later and was done in the 17th century in England, in the 18th century in France and in the 20th century in Russia, although it is true that the Western monarchies had been deformed before then, either by parliamentarianism, or else by absolutism, neither of which conforms to the Orthodox Christian understanding of monarchy, which is the presence of the Lord’s Anointed among the people.

Thus, having removed the spiritual content of the Faith and the Ruler, having desacralized the Faith and the King, there remained the third and final stage, to desacralize or secularize the Christian People and popular culture. This means destroying Christian cultural values (a process that was very rapid in the 20th century), destroying the family – very rapid from the 1960s on after the fall of the Second Vatican Council, when fasting was abolished and so now today we have an obesity crisis). Then they also started destroying the identity of the human person in the unisex movement that since the 1960s has resulted in only two generations in a transgender, transhuman society.

This enslavement is a form of suicide. It is why Russian Orthodox Tsardom, the Christian Empire, had to be destroyed in 1917. With its slogan of Orthodoxy, Sovereignty and the People, the Faith, Tsar and Rus, in English, Altar, Throne, Cottage, in French, Foi, Roi, Loi, its existence was the one thing that made upside down Satanism, with its aim of destroying the Church, the Ruler and the People, impossible.

Q: Can this situation of spiritual enslavement be reversed, or is an imminent end inevitable?

A: Nothing is inevitable because for human beings repentance is always possible. In Russia, the Church is slowly being restored and with Her the ideal of a Spiritual Empire, with a Christian Emperor and People. However, nothing is certain and there are reasons for both profound pessimism and profound optimism. May God’s will be done. On 18 December 1917 the Tsarina Alexandra wrote in her diary: (The Revolution in Russia) ‘is a disease, after which Russia will grow stronger. O Lord, be merciful and save Russia!’ May this hopeful prophecy be true.

Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Paris to Open in the Autumn

Alexander Orlov, the Russian ambassador to France, announced on 14 March that the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Paris will at long last be opening officially this autumn, hopefully in October. After many years of delays, the news that a Cathedral is opening in the historic centre of the Russian emigration is welcome indeed. The official opening will take place in the presence of the Russian and French Presidents and His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill.

The 4,000 square metre plot of land in prestigious central Paris near the Alma Bridge will house not only the new Cathedral with its five cupolas (the dedication has not yet been announced), but also the Russian seminary, a library, a school for 150 pupils, meeting rooms, diocesan offices and gardens. The Russian ambassador stated that the Cathedral is seen as a pilot and that other similar cathedrals could be built in other Western capitals.

The opening of the new Cathedral is a step towards realizing the vision of the saintly Metr Pitirim of Saint Petersburg (1850-1920). One hundred years ago exactly his desire was to establish in his jurisdiction a Russian Orthodox Cathedral in every Western capital and translate the service books of the Church and Patristic literature into every Western language. Having lost one hundred years, we can only hope that this event will be a step towards that goal.

We pray that the missionary efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe will turn increasingly towards establishing a united Russian Orthodox Metropolia here. This was long the vision and hope of many of us in the twentieth century and it was confirmed by Patriarch Alexey II of Moscow in 2003, who foresaw that such a Metropolia would be the foundation stone of a future Local Church in the spiritual desert of contemporary Western Europe.

Afterword: The Euro-Orthodox Alternative to an Orthodox Europe

Following the recent trilogy of articles on gathering together Russian Orthodox of all nationalities and languages in Western Europe into a Metropolia, the first of which was posted on 25 July and the last, the article ’The Path to Unity’, on 5 August, a member of the Paris Exarchate (Patriarchate of Constantinople) has written to reject this vision for an Orthodox Europe, or a ‘Russian Europe’ as he strangely calls it. Since he is not Russian Orthodox and, according to his very undiplomatic words, never will be, his rejection of something which does not concern him seems not relevant. However, if he is interested in one day seeing a Local Church of Europe, we must recall that the only Local Church which is proposing an Orthodox Metropolia in Europe, precisely the basis for a future Local Church of Europe, is the Russian Orthodox Church. In other words, the offer by Patriarch Alexis II over ten years ago is the only offer on the table.

The only purely theoretical alternative consists of a now very old-fashioned, autocephalist, that is, nationalist, ideology. This was once again put forward by the Greek Orthodox ‘Fraternite Orthodoxe in Western Europe’ at its Fifteenth Congress in Bordeaux in Spring 2015. With absolutely no offer of autocephaly (canonical independence) made at any point over the fifty years of its existence to this small, mainly French group by the US-run Patriarchate of Constantinople (to which virtually all its members belong), doubts were long ago raised about its practicality. No autocephaly can ever be given to this small group because it is on a shared canonical territory.

No-one would want to repeat the error that the Soviet-epoch Patriarchate of Moscow made in the USA nearly fifty years ago, giving a canonically disputed autocephaly to a small and rather nationalistic American group, led by Parisian intellectuals, now called the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). One does have the impression of leaders blinded by their autocephalist ideology misleading sincere and idealistic but also blind converts, who have no concept of the practical problems and realities of the Local Orthodox Churches and Diasporas outside their own narrow, intellectual horizons.

A French TV film of their recent Congress shows members of the Paris-based Brotherhood singing in French at a meeting or service (it was unclear what it was) in a modern conference hall in Bordeaux. There were virtually no icons, no iconostasis, no candles and no-one at the meeting or service, standing in lines in front of rows of chairs, appeared to make the sign of the cross. The atmosphere presented was that of a ‘charismatic’ event, common to Catholic modernism (or Protestant modernism – it is the same thing). Present were two Greek bishops, one of them the controversial leader of the schismatic ‘Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church’, and a Catholic bishop. The impression was that many of those present were either Catholics or else ex-Catholics. The meeting was certainly highly ecumenical and also political.

The atmosphere of exaltation, of a lack of sobriety and prayer, and the absence of any Orthodox dress code indeed gave the impression of a political meeting, rather than of a Church service. Most of those shown in the film looked to be middle class people, mostly of the same older generation, aged between 60 and 75. Could this be because they joined the Fraternite in its heyday in the late 60s, 70s and 80s, after the French social revolt of 1968? Enclosed and isolated in the same intellectual ghetto for so many years, without exposure to the realities of the contemporary Diasporas of the Local Orthodox Churches in Europe or in their homelands, members have had no opportunity to evolve. In this way they have not adapted to reality and the generation which has grown up in the Orthodox Churches since the fall of Communism and the liberation of the Local Churches in former Communist countries. Could this be why ‘passeiste’ (living in the past) members still insist that ‘nothing has changed’ in Russia and Eastern Europe and still appear to be living in the Cold War?

Of course, a film can give a false impression. Unfortunately, it is exactly the same impression that was given to us by Fraternite members in the 70s and 80s and also that given to Orthodox from other Local Churches who have visited their Congresses in recent years. They have all said the same thing: that this is a divisive group driven not by spiritual concerns but by political concerns. Its spirit, different and alien to that in the vast majority of Orthodox monasteries and parish churches in Western Europe, gives the impression of a New Age cult or sect. There is a ‘pick and mix’ mentality, for example, you fast and confess only if you really want to, taking communion freely, as in modern Catholicism. It takes what it likes from the Russian Church and the Greek Church, but rejects the disciplines of both the Russian Church, both inside Russia and outside Russia, and of the Greek Church in Greece. (It should be noted that this group is quite outside the discipline of the diocesan jurisdictions of Greek bishops in Europe).

A great many contemporary Protestants will tell you that the empty moralism of their ahistorical and now dying denominations has been suicidal for them. A great many contemporary Catholics will tell you that they do not believe in the Pope and think that compulsory clerical celibacy is wrong. In other words they agree with us. And some look to the Orthodox Church for sustenance. The one thing that the Orthodox Church can offer those who live in the contemporary spiritual desert of the desacralized Western world, whether of Catholic or Protestant origin, is spiritual food. This is the food of faithfulness to the discipline of the Church Tradition that alone unlocks the door to the Holy Spirit, that alone gives spiritual beauty, spiritual nobility and spiritual elegance, the food that feeds the soul. This means not transmitting our little selves, but transmitting that which is far greater than ourselves, that which is both collective (cat-holic) and eternal. This is that which only the Church can give and provide the sense of the sacred, a sacralized faith that brings heaven down to earth and so makes the earthly spiritual.

The impression given, and not only by this film, is the opposite. What appears to be on offer here is a desacralized cult, worship made comfortable for the Western consumer, a castrated and rationalized piece of theatre that makes the spiritual earthly. Nowhere was there any mention of the glorious European heritage of the saints, those who had been earthly but became spiritual, neither of the ancient saints of Europe, like St Irinaeus of Lyon, St Hilary of Poitiers, St Martin of Tours, St John Cassian and others who combated heresies and died for the Faith, or of the new saints of Europe, like the Russian New Martyrs, St Nicholas of Zhicha, St Justin of Chelije and St Paisius the Athonite. This is the result of doing away with the ‘sanctoral’ and applying the other decrees of the Second Vatican Council to the Orthodox Church, as was the heartfelt desire of Fraternite lovers like Fr Elie Melia, the teacher of Pastoral Theology at the St Sergius Institute of Theology in Paris in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

The overall impression of the Fraternite is of a disincarnate form of faith invented in the past, of a rather late and old-fashioned monogenerational offshoot of the ‘charismatic movement’ of the late twentieth century, unknown to the Orthodox Church. Theirs appears to be a phyletistic or nationalistic ideology, a Euro-Orthodoxy, that puts modern Europe first and Orthodoxy second, exactly the opposite to what the Russian Orthodox Church is proposing in its forward-looking vision of an ‘Orthodox Europe’. New Local Churches have always been built on strict adherence to the Church Tradition and had a heavily ascetic, monastic and episcopal foundation, for example among all the Slavs, the Alaskans and the Japanese. Unlike their examples, the intellectuals of the Fraternite, stuck in the 1960s, seem to be proposing building a Church on the basis of an ideology that is anti-ascetic, anti-monastic, anti-episcopal, anti-Tradition and therefore in effect anti-Orthodox. Needless to say, this cannot succeed.

The Path to Unity

The Path to Unity

Woe unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord…And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

Jeremiah 23, 1 and 3

The Path to Disunity

Since 1917 and the Western-organized fall of the Christian Empire, the Third Rome, the forces of this world have contrived to divide the Confederation of Local Churches which forms the Orthodox Church. This they have done in three stages.

Their first aim was to attack, paralyse, dupe and so divide those in the key Church, by far the biggest, the most multinational and missionary-minded and that on which the others largely depended, the Russian Orthodox Church. If extremists of any sort, whether modernists, nationalists or sectarians, could be brought to divide this Church, its territory being one sixth of the planet, then its influence there and all over the world could be destroyed. Thus, the forces of this world provoked Protestant-minded, renovationist modernists, both inside Russia (the Communist-sponsored Vvedensky and those with him, including the present neo-renovationists) and outside Russia (the Protestant-sponsored YMCA Paris Schism), nationalist groups (Ukrainians – Galician autocephalists and the present careerist Philaretists, Belarussians – autocephalists, misled Carpatho-Russian Americans – autocephalists) and tiny right-wing sects (Suzdalites, Agathangelites, Tikhonites (from Tikhon Paseka), Diomidites etc). It did not matter to them what ism they used in order to attack, paralyse, dupe and so divide, whether Marxist Communism, Hitlerite Fascism or liberal-consumerist Capitalism. More directly they also used other isms, Catholicism and Protestantism, sending in the 1920s Catholics (D’Herbigny) and in the 1990s more Uniats and US Protestant sectarians to try and divide the Russian Church.

Although the struggle continues, against all that the forces of this world planned, the Russian Church and so Orthodox Russia are gradually being restored. The forces of this world have largely failed and will fail, as long as the blood and seed of the New Martyrs and the tears and sweat of the Confessors who are rebuilding the Russian Church oppose them.

The forces of this world then set out on the second part of their campaign. This was to attack, paralyse, dupe and so divide those in the other, smaller Local Churches by introducing modernism and its symbol, the Catholic-Protestant calendar. They started in the weakest link in the chain, Turkish-occupied Constantinople, and began replacing its Patriarchs with Western puppets. This of course created schism. The forces of this world expanded their activities, interfering in the other four Greek Churches (the Church of Greece, its autocephalous offshoot in Greek Albania, the Church of Cyprus and the Patriarchate of Alexandria) as well as in the Latin Church (Romania, where they have yet again recently meddled in the appointment of a Patriarch), in the weakest of the Slav Churches (Bulgaria) and in the Arab Patriarchate of Antioch (where they have created a terrorist war), as well as trying to subjugate the Czechoslovak and Polish Churches. Everywhere they tried to introduce the Catholic-Protestant calendar and other modernist practices. Thus, altogether 20% of the Church was contaminated.

They have succeeded only in part and only temporarily.

The 20% contamination by modernism left the other 80% of the Church, in the Russian Lands, Serbia, Georgia and Jerusalem, all but uncontaminated. As they could not be allowed to remain intact, the forces of this world proceeded to the third and most recent part of their campaign. They have attacked the Serbian Church (dividing its territory, handing over some to Catholic control, some to Muslim control, some to Macedonian and Montenegrin nationalist schismatic control, and then trying to divide its episcopate), the Georgian Church (supporting a pro-modernist and anti-patriotic coup d’etat, calling it ‘regime change’ and trying to introduce consumerist sodomy), the Patriarchate of Jerusalem (where the previous Patriarch strangely languishes in prison and a schism has been established via the former US ambassador in Qatar, who allowed US premises to be used for services outside the canonical territory of Jerusalem on that of the Patriarchate of Antioch) and again in Russia (a coup d’etat by Western-backed Catholic nationalists from Galicia who have started massacring the Ukrainian Orthodox people. Everywhere they have also used the tiny, US-controlled Patriarchate of Constantinople to sow discord and division against the Russian Church, whether in Finland and Estonia (age-old territories of the Russian Church), using dissidents in the Russian emigration in France, North America and England, or more recently in Czechoslovakia (refusing to recognize its autocephaly and dividing its episcopate) and the Ukraine (where the Patriarchate’s US masters are tempting it to recognize politically-backed, uncanonical schismatics, as they have already done in Estonia)).

Here too, in this still continuing third part of their campaign, what the forces of this world have forgotten is that though they propose, God disposes. For only He lives in eternity and shows His loving and visionful Providence, whereas they live in their visionless spiral of infernal hatred, which they are trying to establish as an earthly kingdom.

The Path to Unity?

We do not know the future, how God will dispose. That is in His hands. But we can already see where the forces of this world may lose their way:

In Syria, as a result of the US-fomented war, contrary to what was proposed, the Patriarchate of Antioch has recognized who its friends are. Recognizing that it has no support from Constantinople, which is in the hands of the US-backed, anti-Syrian Turks, the Patriarchate of Antioch is now looking to the Russian Church.

In Africa, the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, once run as a colonial department of the Greek Foreign Ministry, is too poor to expand very much. It needs Russian help and such help would inevitably be anti-phyletist. In such a case the Patriarchate could be taken over, as would only be just, by native African bishops, just as the once-Greek colony of Antioch was taken over by native Arab bishops with anti-phyletist Russian help.

In another Greek colony, Jerusalem (as also in Constantinople), most of the faithful are now Russian. And in Jerusalem Russians support, as is only just, native Arab candidates as future bishops.

Many in the Churches of Greece (and so also in the Church of Greek Albania) and Cyprus (here the US-backed Turks were allowed to invade and occupy the island, which made anti-US feeling even stronger), their economies brought low and their peoples impoverished by joining the neo-feudal EU vassal of the US, are now looking to Russia for help.

The Church of Serbia still looks to Russia and adheres to the Orthodox calendar despite EU-backed political interference in its internal affairs and the now US-owned media.

The Churches of Romania and Bulgaria, in difficulty as the old generation of monastic elders has died out and members of the spiritually impoverished and so pro-Uniat middle generation, which grew up in the simoniac Communist period, has come to power, still have spiritual power in the monasteries and among many in the younger generation.

The Church of Georgia still has excellent relations with the Russian Church, despite US attempts to destroy them by encouraging the 2008 Georgian invasion of Russia-protected territory, where the US-run regime slaughtered 2,000 civilians in half an hour in an unprovoked and compassionless attack by its puppet government.

The Churches of Poland and Czechoslovakia are allied to Russia, the latter all the more so after recent US-backed Greek meddling there.

The Church of Constantinople looks ever weaker, as the rest of the world begins to recognize that it has since 1453, quite literally, been wearing the Emperor’s (new) clothes, that the real leader of the Orthodox world is the Russian Patriarch and that they have to talk to him if they want to talk about serious problems. More and more members of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and not only on Mt Athos, can see this themselves. The illusion of the absurd but vanity-consoling US interpretation of Canon 28 of Chalcedon is transparent to nearly all. Even some in the US are wondering whether it is worth spending more money that they do not have in Istanbul in order to maintain the vain illusion.

In the Diaspora, the Russian Church, recovering from paralysis, has begun to take responsibility and bring unity. And in the Ukraine itself, where the forces of this world thought they could destroy the Russian Church, their plans are backfiring. Most are now talking about the disintegration and dissolution of the purely artificial Ukrainian ‘State’, a conglomerate creation of four imperialist tyrannies, the Habsburg, the Leninist, the Stalinist and that of Washington. Its collapse is for many now just a question of time (according to some, months, though others reckon a few years). 84% of the Ukrainian people are now publically asking for their country to be run by President Putin – far better than continuing under the tyranny and poverty of the corrupt and unrepresentative Kiev puppet junta. This is completely reliant on US subsidies for survival, at great expense to the EU, whose members are suffering bitterly from its anti-Russian, or rather anti-European, sanctions.

Some 55% of the Ukraine, the east and the south, together with Transdnestria, may well return after nearly 95 years to Russia (some of it, the Crimea, already has done so by democratic referendum). 25% of it, centred around Kiev, may become once more the ancient Malorossiya, a southern variant of Belarus. The only part, some 15%, that is really Ukrainian and where the various dialects of Ukrainian are spoken, the largely Catholic Galician borderland, which is what the word ‘Ukraine’ means, may mostly return to Poland. It was from here that the Georgian tyrant Stalin tore it away in 1939, earning the undying and understandable hatred of its people. The two small remaining parts of the present Ukraine, some 5%, may return to Romania (the Orthodox calendar intact, so again helping the Romanian Church to return to the Tradition) and Hungary. And the part that may return to Hungary, that which the Kiev bureaucrats still call ‘Transcarpathia’, even though they are the only Transcarpathians, as they are the ones who live across the Carpathians, could become the kernel of a fifteenth Local Church, a Hungarian Orthodox Church.

Given the excellent relations between Hungary, which has a democratically-elected anti-EU government, and the Russian Federation, which supports all National Resistance and Sovereignist movements against the tyrannical EU, this could happen. Only a few years ago the Russian Church won its legal battle for control of the Budapest Orthodox Cathedral – all is set for a new Local Church to be born. Thus the 500 parishes of ‘Transcarpathians’, that is Carpatho-Russians (or Ruthenians = Latin for Russians), would be at the heart of another Local Church. For it is they who are at the heart of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, they who have contributed to the Polish Church, one of whose constituent peoples is the Lemkos (north-western Carpatho-Russians), and it is they who through their noble and illustrious son from Presov Rus, Metr Lavr (Skhkurla), contributed to Diaspora unity between the Russian Church and one of its constituent parts, the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). The vast majority in the latter had only been waiting for freedom at the Centre of the Church to be reconciled with Her.

Of course, nothing is certain; the above are all possible scenarios, only some of which may actually happen. Nevertheless, they are possible, whereas only a few decades ago, when we lived oppressed and isolated by all the forces of this world, they seemed impossible. The visionless who thought short-term, unlike St John of Shanghai and those like him, whose world-view they should have been trying to live by instead of studying philosophy, failed to see that the world would change. Today, we live in a different world from the past. Now a small minority of countries that have stopped being Christian huddle together in a bankrupt union of less than a billion, a union of Eurosodom and Gomorrhica. And the three largest Christian countries, Brazil, Russia and China, are bound together in a union with others, covering half the world’s population.

What the forces of this world were proposing only three or four decades ago, and which made those who had no faith in the Holy Spirit despair, today seems ever less probable. Then the Establishment-compromised, who had in their youth taken the easy, Establishment-approved path and refused to take up the Cross of the Russian Church, mocked us, denounced us and despised us. Now, older, they have only to take up the Cross and they too will walk. Unlike the Donatists and Neo-Donatists, we will welcome them back with open arms, as the loving Father did the Prodigal Son of old.