Category Archives: Missionary Work

On the Importance of ROCOR inside Russia

The following article on the importance of ROCOR theology and the end of Paris School influence in Russia, taken from the Russian ‘Independent Newspaper’ (Nezavisimaya Gazeta), was written by Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, a senior archpriest in Moscow. For those who do not read Russian, it would be of interest to go to google translate to appreciate its importance.

«Карловацкий дух» и Церковь будущего. Протоиерей Всеволод Чаплин надеется на востребованность традиций РПЦЗ в РПЦ МП “после ухода старшего поколения иерархов и церковных бюрократов”

“НГ-РЕЛИГИИ”, 7 июня 2017 г.

Насколько востребовано духовное наследие русского зарубежья
Церемония освящения храма Воскресения Христова и Новомучеников и Исповедников Земли Русской в московском Сретенском монастыре 25 мая с.г. ознаменовала сразу несколько дат в истории Русской церкви, трагическим образом связанных друг с другом. Возведение храма было приурочено, с одной стороны, к 100-летию революции и годовщине Большого террора 1937 года, ставшего последствием этой революции, а с другой – 10-летию воссоединения Московского патриархата и Русской православной церкви Заграницей. 17 мая 2007 года был подписан Акт о каноническом общении разделенных Церквей. При освящении нового храма в Сретенском монастыре патриарху Московскому и всея Руси Кириллу сослужил глава РПЦЗ митрополит Иларион (Капрал).

Президент Владимир Путин, принявший участие в церемонии, в своей речи коснулся темы воссоединения Церквей, связав ее с общегосударственными задачами национального примирения. «Создание общности целей, главная из которых – благополучие каждого нашего человека и нашей Родины в целом, и есть тот ключ, который помогает преодолевать разногласия, – заявил политический лидер. – Ярчайшим подтверждением тому служит и восстановление единства Русской православной церкви, десятилетие которого мы отмечаем в эти дни». Президент, который сыграл в процессе объединения большую роль, напомнил, что «путь к возрождению церковной целостности… был непростым»: «За долгие годы разобщенности, уходящей своими корнями в драму братоубийственной Гражданской войны, накопилось слишком много противоречий и взаимного недоверия».

Путин отметил, что «раны расколов», как церковных, так и гражданских, «тяжело затягиваются». «Восстановление единства… стало и остается событием огромного нравственного звучания, символом и примером того, что история нашей страны, ее прошлое могут и должны не разъединять, а объединять всех нас», – сказал президент. «НГР» попросили публицистов с различными взглядами на историю и миссию Православной церкви в обществе оценить уровень церковной консолидации за прошедшие 10 лет, а также рассказать о той роли, которую сыграло воссоединение русского православия в жизни страны.

10-летие воссоединения с Московским патриархатом Русской православной церкви Заграницей (РПЦЗ) не сильно повлияло на внутрицерковные дискуссии. Появилось несколько «парадных» интервью. В Сретенском монастыре при участии РПЦЗ прошла конференция, посвященная святителю Иоанну (Максимовичу) – лейтмотивом ее был почтительный анализ истории. А консервативная общественность провела по инициативе Аналитического центра святителя Василия Великого неглупое собрание в фонде Леонида Решетникова «Двуглавый орел». Однако сказать в связи с круглой датой есть о чем: собственно, на упомянутом собрании мы многое и сказали, но столкнулись со стеной молчания в информационном мейнстриме.

«Зарубежная церковь вернулась на родину» – эта яркая фраза, которая звучала в СМИ 10 лет назад, верна лишь отчасти. На самом деле идейное и духовное влияние «карловчан» ощущалось даже в СССР. Помню, как в 1981 году я, 13-летний советский школьник, только пришедший к вере, смог прочесть в ксерокопии «тамиздатский» конспект по Закону Божию предстоятеля РПЦЗ митрополита Филарета (Вознесенского; 1903–1985). До сих пор помню одну цитату, которой активно делился с другими молодыми людьми: «Гниющий труп набальзамированного Ильича есть наилучший символ коммунизма». Книжку эту мне дали почитать в Калуге – а с амвона кафедрального собора этого города священник Валерий Суслин цитировал святого праведного Иоанна Кронштадтского – Московским патриархатом тогда к лику святых еще не причисленного. Тогдашний калужский правящий архиерей архиепископ Никон (Фомичев) против таких упоминаний не возражал, сказав: «Наш Синод за границей его канонизировал». И я тогда впервые понял, что у России есть третий путь – не советский и не западно-«демократический». Путь православной монархии.

Вдуматься только: в областном городе, чья культура строилась вокруг Циолковского и «космической» тематики, при жестком уполномоченном Совета по делам религий Федоре Рябове, идеи РПЦЗ практически доминировали над официальными призывами того же владыки Никона «молиться за советскую родину в день 7 ноября». Слово из Джорданвилля – резиденции предстоятелей Зарубежной церкви – доносилось и через самиздат, и через радиоголоса (самыми известными были выступления протоиерея Виктора Потапова на «Голосе Америки», которые я слушал лет с восьми).

В это время «подсоветская» церковная бюрократия, в которой я оказался уже в середине 80-х, ориентировалась на другие эмигрантские мнения – на либеральную «парижскую школу», которая больше совпадала с брежневско-горбачевскими призывами к «миру во всем мире». Но для огромной массы народа авторитет РПЦЗ был выше, а за «парижанами», помимо спичрайтеров церковного официоза, шла лишь небольшая часть интеллигенции.

Наследие консервативной части церковной эмиграции продолжало ту дореволюционную линию, которая олицетворялась Троице-Сергиевой лаврой, Московской духовной академией, интеллектуальной частью Союза русского народа. Отсюда – монархизм РПЦЗ, ее консервативность в богослужении, богословии, отношениях с неправославным миром. Другим полюсом до революции были идейные предшественники «парижан» и обновленческого движения. Увы, в кризисный – «судный» – момент Великой Отечественной войны обновленчество оказалось неспособно мобилизовать народ. Поэтому часть умопостроений «карловчан» начала совпадать с позицией Церкви в России – совпадать даже при отсутствии их реального контакта с Москвой.

Впрочем, набор идей РПЦЗ не смог автоматически стать церковным мейнстримом в постсоветские годы. Причин тому было две. Во-первых, интеллектуальная часть патриархийного аппарата была по преимуществу пленена «парижским» духом (пожалуй, кроме Издательского отдела, руководимого митрополитом Питиримом (Нечаевым). Во-вторых, сами «карловчане» решили создать на исторической родине параллельную церковную структуру – и набрали в нее явных авантюристов, имевших дурную репутацию. Помню, как на Поместном соборе 1990 года архиепископ Кирилл (Гундяев; нынешний патриарх) резко говорил о принятом в РПЦЗ суздальском архимандрите Валентине (Русанцове): «Пусть туда десятки таких пойдут!»
The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, как ее тогда метко называли журналисты, быстро начала дробиться и всасывать более и более сомнительных личностей. Это, думаю, и привело к смене «карловчанами» своего курса – со стимуляции присутствия в России на воссоединение с Московским патриархатом.

Выторговать в ходе переговоров удалось немного. Первоиерарх РПЦЗ не стал постоянным членом Священного синода – как руководители большинства других самоуправляемых Церквей в составе Московского патриархата. Пожелания о выходе из Всемирного совета церквей исполнены не были – и сегодня даже предпринимаются попытки оживить контакты с этой организацией, почти незаметной на религиозно-общественном поле и скомпрометированной присутствием сообществ, отвергнувших христианскую мораль вплоть до «благословения однополых браков». Иерархи РПЦЗ, выросшие на Западе, оказались не слишком сильными «бойцами» в московских коридорах. Многие из них к тому же привыкли к расслабленной жизни в «тихой заводи» одного из множества западных религиозных сообществ – особенно в Америке и Австралии.

Однако я надеюсь, что «карловацкое» наследие еще скажет свое слово в церковной «политике» XXI века – и обратиться к нему надо думающим людям на канонической территории Московского патриархата. Это наследие показывает, как выжить в условиях религиозно и идейно неоднородного, а подчас враждебного окружения – и остаться собой, не пойдя по пути приспособления к модам и настроениям внешней среды. Пример сохранившихся «зарубежников» и практически растворившихся в культуре Запада «парижан» оказывается очень показательным. Умение говорить ясно, просто, тепло и даже горячо – а духовенство РПЦЗ таким умением всегда отличалось – сегодня востребовано гораздо больше, чем искусство длинных и сложных «дипломатических проповедей».

Многие управленческие решения «зарубежников» могут использоваться как добрый пример для церковного администрирования в России и других постсоветских странах. Так, Положение об РПЦЗ предполагает ясный перечень доходов Синода (например, двухпроцентные отчисления от содержания епископов и однопроцентное – от содержания духовенства). Епархиальное собрание, согласно тому же документу, «устанавливает смету приходов и расходов <…> по содержанию епархиального епископа, его дома и канцелярии», а также по выплатам епархиальным служащим.

Наконец, «карловчане» продолжают быть форпостом православной миссии на Западе, которая становится все более востребованной. Протоиерей Андрей Филлипс из Великобритании даже написал участникам конференции Центра святого Василия Великого: «В последнее время Русская православная церковь имеет всемирную миссию проповедовать нашу общую веру без компромиссов, на глобальном уровне и на всех языках, несмотря на тех, кто против нас. <…> Мы готовим, даже на Западе, приход русского царя».

Думается, что основные идеи «зарубежного» богословия – ясные, яркие, верные традиционному православию – вновь окажутся в церковной России мейнстримом после ухода старшего поколения иерархов и церковных бюрократов. Именно эти идеи, а не метания «живоцерковников», а затем «парижан» и наших шестидесятников, лучше всего подходят православным людям, когда они свободны и не должны «подстраиваться» под безбожную власть на родине или под доминирующие влияния в условиях эмиграции. «Карловацкий дух» и дальше будет пробивать себе дорогу в церковном учительстве, духовном образовании и православных СМИ – как пробил в советское время через сам- и тамиздат. Главное только, чтобы сами иерархи РПЦЗ остались этому духу верны и не боялись ему следовать в слове и в спорах – кулуарных либо публичных. Тем более что Владимир Путин, общаясь с ними в Сретенском монастыре, сказал: «Вы все – желанные гости. И даже не гости, а хозяева!»

Протоиерей Всеволод Чаплин

A Prophetic Anniversary

В Москве прошла конференция к 10-летию воссоединения Русской Церкви

Слово священника Андрея Филлипса о 10-летии объединения РПЦ и РПЦЗ

Fr. Andrew Phillips on the 10th anniversary of the ROC and ROCOR reunion

Christ is Risen!

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Ten years ago, on 17 May 2007, during the Liturgy of the Ascension, at which the Act of Canonical Communion was signed, I stood in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour confessing. Among those confessing were senior military officials, in uniform, who had come to repent for persecuting the Church in Soviet times. They did not realize that they were confessing their sins to God in the presence of a priest from the Church Outside Russia. Never have I felt our unity so profoundly. It is from our mutual repentance, and both sides had to do this, that we took our profound unity and so could ask together for the prayers of the New Martyrs and Confessors. In particular we ask today for the prayers of the Royal Martyrs, whom we remember on this centenary of the tragic betrayal of the Russian Empire.

For decades I have belonged to the Church Outside Russia and have served her in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal and England, speaking for her in the USA, Australia and the Netherlands. For the Russian Federation is today only part of the Russian Orthodox world, of what we call Rus. Today, Rus is not only the Russian Federation, the Ukraine (despite the US-installed junta in Kiev) and Belarus, not only Moldova and Carpatho-Russia (Zakarpat’e). Rus is everywhere that the Russian Orthodox Faith is confessed, from Kazakhstan to the Baltics, from Japan to Thailand, from Germany to Venezuela, from Switzerland to Central Asia, from Italy to Indonesia, from Argentina to the USA, from Australia to England, from Canada to New Zealand. We too are Rus, together with you all.

In these latter times the Russian Orthodox Church has a worldwide mission to preach our common Faith without compromise, globally and in all languages, despite those who oppose us. Some of the greatest patriots of Rus belong to what Fr Andrei Tkachov rightly calls ‘our Church Outside Russia’. Our motto has always been ‘For the Faith, for the Tsar, for Rus’ and this is what our greatest saints, St Jonah of Hankou, St John of Shanghai and St Seraphim of Sofia, always proclaimed.

We are part of the Tsar’s Church, working in his spirit, for the Tsar-Martyr spoke five languages and built eighteen churches in Western Europe, desiring to see one built in each Western capital. (We still have one to build in central London in fulfilment of his desire). We in the Church Outside Russia are the outposts of Russian Orthodoxy, spiritual oases in an often hostile Western world. We are preparing, even in the West, for the coming Tsar of Rus. This is our unity. And our unity is our common victory!

Archpriest Andrew Phillips,
Parish of St John of Shanghai,
Colchester, England

Now that We Have Moved on from the Near-Forgotten Meeting in Crete

Nearly a year ago there took place in Crete a meeting of a select minority of the 650 or so Orthodox bishops in the world. Called by one of the bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople who took part in it but who, like many others present, refused to sign documents from it, ‘John’s show’ (referring to the elderly and ill Metr John Zizioulas whose old-fashioned philosophy was behind it all), Crete was useful in preparing for a future Orthodox Council. We now know how we are going to express the Orthodox Truth regarding the questions under discussion in a Conciliar manner – in a very different way from the secular-humanist, imposition by committee, way seen in Crete, in other words in the spirit and language of the Church Fathers. With this ecumenistic meeting now largely forgotten, the Orthodox world has already moved on.

Thus, the multinational Russian Orthodox Church, 75% of the whole Orthodox world and not present at the irrelevant Crete meeting, with a flock of millions in Western Europe – 100 large parishes in Germany, 70 in Italy, a new Cathedral in the centre of Paris and a seminary and several dozens of parishes in other countries – is moving to set up a Metropolia there. This will unite Russian Orthodox of all nationalities and all languages in Continental Western Europe. No doubt, with time the Russian Orthodox Church will do the same in South America and also reclaim Alaska, setting up a Metropolia there. Thus, it will stretch from Portugal to Alaska, covering three continents. With further time, as the ever-memorable Patriarch Alexei I stated some fourteen years ago regarding Western Europe, such Metropolias will become new Autocephalous Churches.

Given this, what will become of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), whose headquarters are in New York? Led by the Patriarch of All the Russias, with 12 bishops, plus two retired and two more recently received from the Slav-based, Cold War-founded organization known as the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), its destiny seems to be clear. It is to become the single and united Church of all the many Russian Orthodox of all nationalities in the English-speaking world. From the USA to Canada, from Australia to New Zealand, from Great Britain to Ireland, and countries dependent on them (ranging from Haiti to Costa Rica, from Mexico to Puerto Rico, from Indonesia to South Korea as well as others), all Russian Orthodox there are to unite. Let us forget the irrelevant past and help to build the future!

Holy Sussex: Three Southern Saints

Introduction

Having written of the saints of East Anglia, Essex and Kent, I have been asked to write of the saints of the fourth of the seven early English kingdoms, Sussex, the Kingdom of the South Saxons. Though not so far to the south of London, just beyond Surrey and Kent and stretching to the south coast, hence ‘Sussex by the sea’, Sussex has a reputation for being separate from the rest of England. Perhaps this is because of its downs, or hills, and forest, which in times past cut it off from others. In any case, as a result, just like the people of Essex, local people, in both east and west Sussex, have a reputation for independence and an aversion to being forced into anything. This is expressed in the Sussex motto, ‘We wunt be druv’ (We won’t be driven/pushed around).

The English settlement of Sussex began in the year 477 with a certain leader Aelle, who landed on the coast, consolidated his territory and was eventually recognised as the first overlord of southern Britain. By the second half of the seventh century the western corner of Sussex around Selsey and Chichester had become the political centre of the kingdom. In the 660s-670s King Ethelwalh of Sussex formed an alliance with the Mercian King Wulfhere. As Mercia’s first Christian king, Wulfhere insisted that Ethelwalh convert to Christianity. Wilfrid, the exiled Bishop of York and future saint, came to Sussex in 681 and with King Ethelwalh’s approval set up a mission to convert Sussex to Christ, his centre in Selsey.

At the end of the 8th century, Aldwulf was probably the last independent king of Sussex, after which Sussex like others came increasingly under Mercian rule. But Mercia’s grip was in turn shattered in 825, when Sussex and the other southern kingdoms came under the control of Wessex which later grew into the kingdom of England. Orthodox Sussex is marked by three saints. These are:

St Leofwynn (Lewina/Lewinna), Protomartyr of Sussex (+ c. 670)

Sussex was the last of the seven kingdoms of England to become Christian and east Sussex remained pagan longest of all. However, even before St Wilfrid’s organized missionary labours in 681, there were isolated Christians here. For example, a Sussex man called Damian had become Bishop of Rochester in Kent in the 650s and King Ethelwalh had been baptised before St Wilfrid. And before Wilfrid there was for a time a small monastery of five or six monks at Bosham in west Sussex, founded in c. 670 by a wandering Irish monk called Dicul (Deicola), later St Dicul (feast: 18 April).

St Leofwynn was another such isolated Sussex Christian, being martyred in c. 670, almost certainly by fellow countrymen who were still pagan and she was not a Briton, as can be ascertained by her name. About three centuries after her martyrdom her wonderworking relics were solemnly translated to a St Andrew’s church near Seaford in east Sussex, so the place of her sufferings must have been nearby. This St Andrew’s church where her miraculous relics were venerated in early English times was perhaps in Alfriston, an attractive village four miles from Seaford. However, others have suggested nearby Bishopstone, which also has a church dedicated to St Andrew dating back to the eighth century.

Most of our knowledge of St Leofwynn comes from an account of the theft of her relics in 1058 for a monastery in Berg in Flanders. After the Norman occupation nearly every memory of the saint disappeared in England, though she was a much-loved intercessor in her new home. In 1558 Berg was captured by French Protestants and the relics of Saint Leofwynn disappeared except for one rib. This was venerated at the monastery until the French Revolution when it disappeared. In 1928 a priest in Berg rediscovered the relic, but when his church was almost destroyed during a bombardment in the Second World War the relic was lost. St Leofwynn’s feast day is 24 July.

St Wilfrid, Apostle of Sussex (+ c. 709)

Sussex became a diocese when St Wilfrid began to convert the pagan kingdom between 681 and 685. St Wilfrid (c. 633 – c. 709) was a Northumbrian noble who became a monk and then Bishop of Northumbria. Exiled by the Northumbrian king who had quarrelled with him, Bishop Wilfrid spent these years of exile in Selsey in west Sussex, where he founded his see with a monastery on an estate of 87 hides, granted to him by King Ethelwalh. Here in the Manhood peninsula he began converting the pagan inhabitants to Christianity, before returning to Northumbria under its new king.

St Bede attributed Bishop Wilfrid’s ability to begin to convert Sussex in part to his teaching them how to fish. He also wrote that the Sussex area had been experiencing a drought for three years before Wilfrid, but miraculously when he arrived and started baptising converts, it began to rain. Bishop Wilfrid worked with another future saint, Erconwald, Bishop of London, in helping to set up the church in Sussex.

His mission was jeopardised when King Ethelwalh died during an invasion of his kingdom by Caedwalla of Wessex. However, Bishop Wilfrid had previously had contact with Cædwalla and may have served as his spiritual advisor before he invaded. And after Ethelwalh’s death Bishop Wilfrid became one of the new king’s advisors and he was converted. Cædwalla confirmed Ethelwalh’s grant of land in Selsey and Wilfrid built his cathedral nearby at the entrance to Pagham Harbour, in what is now Church Norton.

Cædwalla also sent Wilfrid west to the still pagan Isle of Wight with the aim of converting the inhabitants. The King gave Bishop Wilfrid a quarter of the land on the island as a gift. In 688 the King gave up his throne and went on a pilgrimage to Rome to be baptised, but died shortly afterwards. St Wilfrid may have been involved in founding monasteries in other parts of Sussex, but the evidence for this is based only on wording used in founding charters which resembles that used by him in other charters.

After this mission, Christians in Sussex were placed in the Diocese of Winchester and it was not until c. 715 that Edbert, Abbot of Selsey, was consecrated the first Bishop of Sussex. There were eventually around fifty monastic (minster) churches across Sussex and these centres supplied clergy for the surrounding areas. Examples are at Steyning, Singleton, Lyminster, Findon and Bishopstone. The jurisdiction of each of these churches seems to have matched the early land divisions, called rapes.

Thus, it was not until 200–300 years after conversion to Christianity began in the 680s that a network of local parish churches came into existence in Sussex, the earliest being recorded at Henfield in central Sussex in 770. Several monasteries were also established here in the early English period in, for example, Selsey, Lyminster, Aldingbourne, Beddingham, Chichester, Bosham, Ferring and South Malling. In 1075 the Normans transferred the cathedral for Sussex to nearby Chichester. The original cathedral at Selsey is now under the sea. St Wilfrid’s feast is on 12 October.

St Cuthman (Cuthmann) of Steyning

St Cuthman was born in about 681, probably at Chidham near Bosham in west Sussex. This would probably mean that St Wilfrid converted and baptised Cuthman and his parents. His life states that he was a shepherd who had to care for his paralysed mother after his father’s death.

According to one story, once while he was shepherding, Cuthman drew a line around the sheep with his staff so that he could leave to collect food. On his return he found that the flock had not left the invisible boundary. This miracle may have taken place in a field near Chidham, which for centuries was known as ‘St Cuthman’s Field’ or ‘St Cuthman’s Dell’. It was said that a large stone in the field on which the shepherd was in the habit of sitting had miraculous properties.

When Cuthman and his mother fell on hard times and were forced to beg from door to door, he built a one-wheeled cart, with a rope from the handles over his shoulders taking part of the weight, in which he moved her around with him. One day Cuthman and his mother set out east from his home, heading towards the rising sun. When the rope broke he improvised a new one from withies, deciding that when that broke he would accept it as a sign from God to stop at that place and build a church there.

The withy rope broke at a place called Steyning, some 25 miles from his birthplace and inland from central Sussex, at which he prayed: “Father Almighty, Thou hast brought my wanderings to an end, now enable me to begin this work. For who am I, Lord, that I should build a house to Thy name? If I rely on myself it will be of no use, but Thou wilt help me. Thou hast given me the desire to be a builder, make up for my lack of skill and bring the work of building this holy house to its completion.”

For, after building a hut for his mother and himself, Cuthman began work on a wooden church which he decided to dedicate to the fisherman-saint, Andrew, with help from the locals. As the church was nearing completion and Cuthman was having difficulty with a roof-beam, a stranger showed him how to mend it. When Cuthman asked his name, he replied: ‘I am he in whose name you are building this church’. We do not know when Cuthman reposed, but we can imagine it would have been in about 730.

Steyning became an important religious centre and St Cuthman’s grave became a place of pilgrimage in the tenth and eleventh centuries. In charters of William the Conqueror Steyning was sometimes called St Cuthman’s Market or St Cuthman’s Parish. At his birthplace at Chidham there developed a Guild of St Cuthman. Though he dedicated the church he founded at Steyning to St Andrew, the parish was recently rededicated to St Andrew and St Cuthman. A picture of him with his handcart is on Steyning’s town sign. His feast day is 8 February.

Conclusion

In September 1066 the Norman invaders landed at Pevensey in east Sussex near Kent and nearby erected a wooden castle at Hastings, from which they plundered the surrounding area. Thus, the Battle of Hastings took place in Sussex, fought against the English King Harold, who had strong connections with Sussex and whose chief seat was probably in Bosham in the west. It is likely that all the fighting men of Sussex were at the battle, as the county’s chief men were decimated and any that survived had their lands confiscated. As the heartland of King Harold, Sussex experienced some of the greatest and most tragic changes of any English county under the Normans.

Its Orthodoxy supplanted, in later history the west of the county had a tendency towards Catholicism, while the east of the county had a tendency towards Protestantism. Today, even these fragments of the Faith have largely been lost, but the memory of the three saints of Sussex, who all lived and reposed within a century of one another, has not been lost: Leofwynn the martyr from the east on whose blood the Church was founded, Wilfrid, the Apostle of Sussex who worked in the west, and Cuthman, the holy layman who settled near the centre of Sussex. What a fine thing it would be if one day an Orthodox church could be founded in Sussex, perhaps in its one city, Brighton, with its large population located very centrally along the coast between east and west, and dedicated to St Andrew the First-Called Apostle and the Three Saints of Sussex.

Orthodox Christianity in the British Isles and Ireland: Seven Orthodox Churches, Nine Dioceses, One Deanery, Four Choices

Introduction

Every Christian denomination in every country of the world is divided into dioceses and parishes which reflect the geographical area where they are located. Moreover, there may also be internal, sociological divisions. For example, in the town where I live there are several parishes of the C of E (Church of England), but two of these parishes refuse to talk to each other because their views and patterns of worship are utterly different, one is ‘Anglo-Catholic’, elderly and wealthy, the other is ‘happy-clappy’, middle-aged and financially modest. There are also two Baptist churches which refuse to talk to one another, because one is strict, the other is liberal.

In the cities there is a similar situation in Roman Catholic parishes, which can have completely different tendencies (Polish/Irish/liberal/ traditional/‘charismatic’…) and also in monasteries, which belong to different orders. Nowadays, larger Roman Catholic parishes have masses at different times for different ethnic groups in different languages and with different Roman Catholic rites, Polish, Syro-Malabar, Greek-Catholic Ukrainian etc. There is often very little communication between these diverse groups. What is the situation regarding the Orthodox Church in this country? What sort of divisions are there here?

Seven Local Churches and Ten Groups

Of the fourteen Local Churches that make up the worldwide Orthodox Church only seven are represented outside their home countries. In the British Isles and Ireland these seven Churches have nine dioceses and one deanery. These are the following: the Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Georgian, Constantinople (two dioceses, Greek and Ukrainian, and one deanery, Paris), Antiochian and Russian (two dioceses, Sourozh and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia). These nine dioceses and one deanery are not territorial, but are superimposed on one another on the same territory. However, even so there is often little communication between them, as each caters for its own ethnic group. Of these ten groups, the first six, the Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Georgian and the big Greek and the tiny Ukrainian nationalist dioceses of the Church of Constantinople, are largely concerned only with their own ethnic members.

Thus, the above generally appear not to observe the Gospel commandment of Matthew 28, that we are to go out into all the world and teach and baptize all. For example, although a small minority of parishes in the big Greek-speaking Diocese of the Church of Constantinople, mainly Cypriot by ethnicity, do sometimes accept English people, generally these people are Hellenized or even come from a Hellenophile public school background. Moreover, its archbishops, who must have Greek or Cypriot nationality, usually impose Greek names on any they may ordain, such as Kallistos instead of Timothy, Meletios instead of Peter, Aristobulos instead of Alban, and imposes names like Athanasios, Panteleimon and Eleutherios on others. This leaves four choices to the majority of native English speakers who are interested in trying to live according to the teachings of the Orthodox Church without having to change their name and national identity.

Four Choices

The first two of these choices, the Parisian and the Antiochian, appear to cater for two specific small English sociological groups, whereas the last two groups are both part of the Russian Orthodox Church. These are at once sociologically much broader as regards the range of English and other local people within them, but those people sometimes have a Russian connection and they are in a majority Russian Church.

1. The Paris Deanery (also called the Exarchate)

This is a very small Deanery belonging to a Diocese under an elderly and sick French bishop, received and ordained into the Church in 1974, based in Paris under the ‘Greek’ (Constantinople) Church. It has virtually no property of its own. Founded in Paris in the 1920s by anti-monarchist Saint Petersburg aristocrats, who had tried but failed to seize power from the Tsar, it had a small parish in London until 1945. However, in 2006 the group was refounded in this country after a noisy, aggressive and unfriendly divorce from the Russian Orthodox Sourozh Diocese (see below) and it strongly dislikes the Russian Orthodox Church as it is. In 2006 it was 300 strong, out of a then total of about 300,000 Orthodox in the UK, so it represented about one in a thousand Orthodox. Despite its tiny size, in 2006 its foundation was strongly supported by the Russophobic bastions of the British Establishment, the Church of England, the BBC, The Times, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. It is known for its attachment to the arts, philosophy and intellectualism and ordains easily, providing that the candidates come from ‘the right background’.

It tends to cater for rather elderly, upper-middle class Establishment figures – which is why it belongs to the Western-run Church of Constantinople, which uses the Roman Catholic calendar for the fixed feasts, and not the independently-run Russian Orthodox Church. It is thus rather politicized and its perhaps clubby, county-town members tend to support the elitist Liberal Democrats. Its members, often in groups as small as five or ten, may, like their founder, be attracted to spiritual techniques, such as Buddhism, Sufi Islam, yoga or what is called ‘the Jesus Prayer’ (= noetic prayer in Orthodox language). It is not incarnate in any Local Orthodox Church and mixes different practices and customs, also introducing ‘creative’ customs of its own. Some of its more effete members quite unrealistically call their tiny Deanery ‘The Orthodox Church in Britain’, despite the fact that it is dwarfed by nine much more proletarian Orthodox Dioceses. This is rather like some members of the ‘Orthodox Church in America’, a US Orthodox group with a huge title which the Deanery much admires, but which is also dwarfed by others, numbering only some 30,000 out of 3,000,000 Orthodox in North America.

2. The Antiochian (Arab) Diocese

This very small ethnic ‘British Orthodox’ group, originally 300 in number, was founded as a Deanery as recently as 1996 by and for dissident Anglicans. They came from backgrounds as diverse as conservative Evangelicalism, moralistic Puritanism and charismatic Anglo-Catholicism, but all were dissatisfied with Anglicanism. Having since then converted only a few other Anglicans and apparently (??) without much interest in Non-Anglicans, its ex-Anglican clergy sometimes rely on Romanians to fill their churches. The group is known for its missionary zeal and sincerity, providing pastoral care where other Dioceses have failed to do so, but is also known for its lack of knowledge, pastoral and liturgical, and lack of realism. It has little property of its own. In 2016 this Deanery, which uses the Roman Catholic calendar for the fixed feasts, became a Diocese and the first task of its new Arab bishop, without an Arab base and tradition, is in his own words to teach his clergy how to celebrate the services and so enter the mainstream. In the past it has ordained very easily, providing that its candidates are Anglican vicars. This, however, may be changing.

3. The Sourozh Diocese (also incorrectly called the Patriarchal Diocese) of the Russian Orthodox Church

Directly under the control of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, this Diocese has existed for 55 years. It has had a varied history, having been marked by tendencies of liberal modernism as well as Soviet patriotism under its former bishop and founder, the late Metropolitan Antony Bloom of Paris, with his unique personality cult and curious personal views. After his death most of his closest followers, mainly ex-Anglicans, left to found the Paris Deanery (see above) and now the Sourozh Diocese seems to be more and more for the many ethnic Russian immigrants who have settled in this country over the last 20 years. However, there are exceptions and it still has some very active English groups (as well as dying traces of a Bloomite past), though most of its English clergy are now elderly.

4. ROCOR, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (also incorrectly called ROCA or ‘the Church Abroad’)

This Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland of the Church Outside Russia is one of many dioceses under a Synod of fifteen Russian Orthodox bishops (three of them retired) centred in New York. It was originally founded in 1920 by Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow for White Russian émigrés exiled throughout the world. Self-governing and only indirectly under the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, with which it has excellent relations, ROCOR, once worldwide, is now dominant only in the English-speaking world, especially in the USA and Australia. It has seen many of its ethnically very closed parishes in South America and continental Western Europe shut or else dissolve into the more missionary-minded local dioceses of the rest of the Russian Orthodox Church, centred in Moscow. However, in the English-speaking world it is the voice of Russian Orthodoxy and its missionary-minded Canadian Metropolitan, formerly Archbishop of Australia and New Zealand, is, symbolically, the head of dioceses in New England and ‘Old’ England.

The local Diocese has a chequered history, with various incarnations. These range from noble White Russian roots, which especially after 1945 were infected by unpleasant, very right-wing and nationalistic anti-Communism and a generation after that by equally unattractive Anglo-Catholic sectarianism. The latter movement even tried to prise the Diocese from its faithfulness to Russian Orthodoxy. However, these generational nightmare incarnations thankfully died out with the end of the Cold War, quit the Church or else were pushed to the margins, where as relics they have almost disappeared. Over the new generation, after decades of neglect and nearly dying out in the early 1990s, this Diocese has been returning to its White Russian roots, understood as faithfulness, in Russian or in English, to the Orthodox Tradition, which has so much revived among Russians. Today’s ROCOR mission is to spread the Orthodox Faith and values of the reviving multinational Christian Empire of Holy Russia here and throughout the English-speaking world, as well as in its missions from South America to Western Europe, Haiti to Hawaii, Pakistan to South Korea, Costa Rica to Indonesia, and Nepal to the Philippines.

On Orthodox Missionary Work

Now that the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) has officially taken up the task of missionary work in the renewed Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland after several decades of disruption, it would be well to consider the nature of the missionary work that we need to do.

First of all, we must understand that there is only one sort of authentic missionary and pastoral work. This serves the people as a community, it is not an ideological plan on a map with pins in it, it is not top-down, but down-top, from the grassroots. Now, wherever there is a demand, ROCOR will do its best to meet that demand, setting up parishes where there is a need, now with official support. Where there are thirsty Orthodox people (at least one of whom can sing and read) and where there are premises, we will provide a priest. We can think of many cases in history of such missionary work, for example the mission of St Augustine in England in 597 or that of Sts Cyril and Methodius to St Rostislav, always in answer to a request. We can build nothing where there is not a spiritual need and a willingness to make sacrifices.

But what of areas where there is no actual demand, but just unconverted souls, potential Orthodox? Here we can take the examples of St Herman in Alaska and St Nicholas in Japan. They lived simply in a place for many, many years, praying, learning and understanding the people among whom they lived, before missionary work began. They waited for people to come to them, they did not serve themselves by imposing themselves on others. Self-serving (usually in the name of some personal problem and unfulfilled ambition) is pseudo-missionary work. It tries to impose itself, being characterized by gurus, vagantes and clericalists who like fancy titles, dressing up and having their photographs taken. They who do not look after the people, do not travel to meet people, even despising them for their simplicity.

We should be wary of the sort of ‘missionary’ work that despises the people, their languages and their customs and tries to force them into a strange mould that is not theirs. That is the false missionary work of those who use their personalities, not heartfelt faith in God, to convert others.

Christ or Antichrist: There is No Room for Half-Christ

At the present time the politically-minded representatives of a minority of fewer than 20% of members of the Orthodox Church oppose the representatives of the majority of over 80%. This was clearly seen at the 2016 Inter-Orthodox forum in Crete, boycotted by representatives of over 80% of Orthodox and whose pre-written, ‘Halfodox’ documents respected Orthodox bishops refused to sign. The representatives of nearly 20% are from the Greek and EU parts of the Church that are US/Western run and influenced; the representatives of the 80% are the politically free, who are able to keep to the Christian Tradition, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and who believe in the Incarnation of the Church in the Christian Empire.

The 20% who in fact, consciously or unconsciously, betray the Church are composed of two groups.
The first group is formed of petty nationalists, who fall into idolatry by putting their national flag above the multi-national Church. The result of such nationalism is that those outside their nationalism are swiftly assimilated into surrounding groups. For example in the Diaspora, the descendants of such nationalists, speaking above all the local language and assimilating the local culture, are soon absorbed into the Non-Orthodox majority. Thus the churches of such nominal, nationalistic Orthodox rapidly die out, as the foreign nationalism of nationalist forebears has no relevance to descendants born in the Diaspora and they quit the Church.

The second group is formed of modernists, who have no deep love of the Church, no spiritual life or values, and tell you that it is irrelevant whether you belong to the Church or not – as ‘it is, after all, just another culture’. They are therefore inferiority-complex relativists and so ecumenists. Such people used to baptise their children (if they baptised them at all) into what they perceived to be the majority religion of the country where they lived. In other words, such modernists are relativists because they are conformists, who swim with the tide of the Establishment where they live, whatever it may be. Their Diaspora descendants also have little time for the Church and are quickly assimilated into the atheist masses.

As a result of the defection of one emigre group of such modernists, already dissident before the Revolution, which indeed they brought about, to the US-run, largely nationalist and modernist Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church has had to build a new Cathedral in Paris. This is a Cathedral for those Orthodox who are faithful to the integral Christian Tradition, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and who believe in the Incarnation of Christ and so of the Church in the Christian Empire. Only here, for example, is the Orthodox calendar adhered to, only here is the tradition of confession before communion adhered to, only here do women keep to the Christian Tradition of modest dress. In other words, only here are spiritual ties to the integrity of the Church kept.

After consecrating both the Russian Orthodox Cathedrals in London and Paris in the last two months, it is clear that the Russian Orthodox Patriarch is intent on witnessing to the integral Orthodox Christian Tradition before the Western world. This is a clear rejection of the watered down, modernist, relativist and ecumenist Cretan or Westernized version of Orthodoxy, created by the neocon sponsors of Greek Orthodoxy in Washington. This anti-dogmatic Halfodoxy is unable to witness anything to anyone except its inferiority as a merely exotic version of Western secularism.

Today, 100 years after the blood-soaked Revolution, the Church is returning to witness to the spiritually damaged Western world that the Western-developed, globalist atheism that persecuted it for three generations in the Soviet Union, in the greatest persecution seen in history but which is virtually ignored in the guilty West, is dead. Moreover, this clearly implies that if the Western world continues its adoption of that globalist atheism, then it too is dead. As in 2016 Western people after Western people re-assert their national identities, to the fury of their power-grasping, US/EU political and media establishments, the message of uncompromised Orthodox Christianity is at least being heeded.

1916-2016: 100 Years of Saints and Traitors

Introduction

100 years ago there began the last stages in the greatest injustice in world history – the betrayal of Imperial Christian Russia. Then on the point of victory in the First World War and so of liberating New Rome, called Constantinople, and also the Holy Land, it was also about to liberate the peoples of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany, so undoing the injustices in Central Europe and the Balkans and in the tyrannical Second Reich of Bismarck, so reconstituting a free Poland, and perhaps also righting the injustices of Western colonization worldwide. Had it not been betrayed, there would never have been any Bolshevik genocide (millions of dead), no Third Reich and no Hitler, no World War Two, no Teutonic holocaust of the Slavs (30 million dead) or of the Jews (over 5 million dead), no American fire bombs and atom bombs on Japanese civilians (1 million dead?), no Communist China (30 million dead?), no abortion holocaust (100 million dead?), no……

In May 1945 one Russian soldier – he later became a priest – was standing in the ruined Reichstag in Berlin. Surrounded by incredible destruction, but also great relief, victory had come at a huge price on the Russian Easter Day, which that year had coincided with the day of the feast of St George the Victorious Soldier-Martyr. There, in the Reichstag, the soldier saw Tsar Nicholas II surveying the scene, examining every detail, thinking that in 1917 he would already have stood there, surrounded however not by destruction but by an intact capital of culture. The ghost of Tsar Nicholas has haunted Europe ever since it betrayed him in 1917. He has been here all the time, to this very day, looking with eyes of pity at the merciless destruction and self-destruction of the Western world, as it sinks into its self-made abyss. Betrayed at the last moment in 1917, according to a plot prepared in detail in 1916, he looks on the lost souls and cultural heritage of the Western world and his heart weeps.

Inside Russia

The first sign that the plot had been implemented was the assassination of the peasant-healer Rasputin in December 1916, betrayed by decadent Russian aristocrats, who hated the Christian peasantry, and murdered by British spies, who hated Russian Orthodox. Financed by its enemies (Germany and Austro-Hungary) and by its ‘allies’ (Britain, France and the US, who had already financed Japan’s transformation into militarism and its murderous attack on Russia in 1904), sabotage and treason laid the Tsar’s Russia low. In 1917 this developed into anarchy (the so-called ‘Revolution’), which was created by ‘liberal’ opportunist traitors in February and exploited by ‘Bolshevik’ opportunist traitors in October. Anarchy (falsely called ‘Revolution’) was fabricated in the salons of the jealous and the ignoble, grand dukes and princes, generals and politicians, freemasons and lawyers, industrialists and bourgeois – ‘have money, want power’ – traitors to the people and their Tsar.

All of them were utterly unfaithful to the three (three because Trinitarian) tenets and principles that had upheld the Christian Empire of the Tsar. These were: the Faith (uncompromised Orthodox Christianity); the Tsar (the Anointed Christian Sovereign); and Rus (the multinational Christian Empire). As atheists and apostates, they committed sabotage and treason with regard to all these values, which represent Faith in the Father, the Incarnation of the Son and the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Those who remained faithful to these three tenets inside Russia were the New Martyrs and Confessors and those who venerated them. The salt of the earth, they were the ones who were to begin the great restoration that has been under way since the official fall of Bolshevism twenty-five years ago, but in fact long before, from the moment of their exploits. Thus the traitors were countered by the saints and, although the traitors still do not understand how or why, the saints always win.

Outside Russia

After the anarchy, there began the resistance and then the defeat and so emigration of those known as ‘White Russians’. Once in the emigration (though even before), it could plainly be seen that here too there were saints and traitors. To the left hand side there fell away those who betrayed the Faith and the Tsar. To the right hand side there fell away those who betrayed the Faith and Rus. On the left hand side were the renovationists, who so hated the Russian Church that they left Her, compromising Her Faith, and so hated the Tsar that they actually justified their treason, which had led them into the self-punishment of exile. On the right hand side were the nationalists, who so hated the Russian Church that they made Her into a narrow nationalist flag, forgetting Her multinational mission, and so hated Rus that they allied themselves with its crazed Teutonic enemy, not understanding that the victory of 1945 was the people’s victory, the victory of repentant Rus.

There were also those who understood that the task of the emigration was to keep faith with all three tenets. We knew that as long as all three principles were respected, all would be well and it would be simple to reunite with Russia once it was free again and restoration had begun, with the New Martyrs and Confessors officially venerated there. We understood that the Faith could not be compromised by heresies, dreamy and disincarnate renovationism and personality cults, regardless of the fact that we lived outside Russia. We understood that the memory of the Tsar, the universal Christian Emperor, had to be kept for restoration, in order for a new Christian Emperor to come and oppose the worldwide evil that has been unleashed ever since Tsar Nicholas was deposed. We understood that our mission is to make Rus universal, worldwide, regardless of race and language, and that our mission is among the people and must not be compromised by political Establishments.

Conclusion

In our own times we are seeing a daily miracle: over the last 25 years we have seen in the Russian Lands what we and those before us had been praying for over the previous 75 years, the slow restoration of the Tsar’s Christian Russia. Yes, it has been a slow and tortuous process, with many hesitations, deviations and falls, but the general direction has been right. This process of restoration is of course far from over, indeed, in many respects it has only just begun, but the icons of the New Martyrs, including those of the Royal Martyrs, are everywhere. As the new Cold War NATO occupies the Ukraine and Estonia, attempting to destabilize governments from Macedonia to Moldova and Armenia to Kazakhstan, and prepares to attack all along the Russian borders, its aircraft and submarines, tanks and troops everywhere threatening resurgent Russia, the last bastion of Christianity in the world, we see the desperation of the world’s elite in its bid to impose its New World Order.

Having destabilized all Latin America and much of Africa, striving to undermine China and India and using tides of poor Muslim immigrants to threaten European identities, having destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya and Syria, and attempting to destroy the Russian Orthodox Church and Faith, the satanic New World Order’s proposed Orthodox Council has led only to our clear identification of the unrepentant traitors in our midst – by waiting for them to reveal themselves, we now know who is ready for cleansing. The tiny but immensely powerful elite that stands behind the USA, the EU, NATO, the whole Western world indeed, and pulls the strings of its media, puppets and all the deceived and gullible, knows that if Russia resists it successfully, its aim of global domination and control will be foiled and the coming of the Kingdom of the Great Deceiver, Antichrist, that it knowingly and unknowingly seeks will be postponed, perhaps even for many years to come. May it be so, O Lord.

The Imperial Orthodox Faithful

A generation on after the fall of the atheist government in the Soviet Union, the Russian Church has made extraordinary progress in rebuilding and restoring itself. However, as we have frequently written: as it took three generations to destroy Imperial Russia, so it will take three generations to restore Her and even longer to do better, only thus ensuring that the atheist nightmare can never be repeated. The atheists produced a country where all ideals, ambitions and hopes were destroyed and so male alcoholism and female abortion were both normal. Although the statistics show dramatic improvements in these areas, the country is still paying a very heavy price, as can be seen from the still relatively low life expectancy and demography. As for church-building, what has been done is remarkable, but we cannot be satisfied – at least another 100,000 churches are required and another 100,000 priests – and that is only in the historic Russian Lands, let alone in the many lands of mission for the Church worldwide. We have no illusions, we have very far to go in order to gather in the peoples before the now rapidly approaching end.

As ever, the Church, not of the world, but still in the world, is squeezed between two opposing tendencies, the two sides of the same superficial coin. On the one hand, there are the spiritually superficial and primitive, but intellectually sophisticated, the disincarnate dreamers and ‘heaven-dwellers’, liberals and ecumenists, philosophers in prelest and mantra-repeating name-worshippers, left-wing renovationists and modernists, Parisians and Kochetkovites, who love each other, new suicidal Gapons, essentially rationalistic Protestants, who are clearly not of this world, but neither are they at all, as they deludedly imagine they are, of the Kingdom of Heaven. On the other hand, there are equally spiritually superficial and primitive, but materially sophisticated, the worldly State-worshippers, pro-Stalinists, anti-Semites (yes 90% of the Bolshevik leaders were atheist Jews, but it was baptised but unChurched Russians and an apostate Georgian seminarist who obeyed their Satanic orders), ritualists (both Old and New Ritualists), fanatics, narrow sectarians, pharisees, superstitious and nominal, golden dome and gilt worshippers, who do not know that making the sign of the cross and sprinkling yourself with holy water before you sin does not bless that sin.

In the middle stands the Church, ever crucified and ever resurrected, not of this world, with the saints and martyrs in heaven and on earth, but committed to sanctifying this world and transfiguring State values into Church values, the balance kept by parish and monastic life together, both vital to any healthy Church, as we saw already in the fourth century and again in the nineteenth century. Carried by women for 90% of the time, the Church has yet to reach out to men and Church them. Too much is about attachment to externals, the reduction of the Faith to rituals, to putting the flesh above the spirit. Such superficiality is always followed by nemesis, the result of refusing Divine Protection and choosing human foolishness. The invasion of Kievan Rus by the barbaric Mongols and of Rus by the even more barbaric Teutonic Knights some 800 years ago, the Polish Invasion just over 400 years ago, Napoleon’s invasion just over 200 years ago, the so-called ‘Revolution’ nearly 100 years ago, Hitler’s invasion 75 years ago and the invasion of the Ukraine two years ago and the US-appointed junta in Kiev, all witness to the results of a merely superficial Orthodoxy.

For the way ahead we need to look to the best of Russian Orthodoxy, spiritual but also incarnate. This has always followed three (three because Trinitarian) tenets. These are: firstly, the Orthodox Faith in her integrity, so without the compromises that have befallen the modernists and ecumenists, who follow the secularist Western world and not the Gospel of Christ; secondly, the Imperial ideal, incarnate before the February 1917 coup d’etat of aristocratic Duma masons and treasonous generals, today only hinted at in prophetic gleams and shafts of light, but eagerly awaited in the coming Tsar; and thirdly, the Orthodox people, of all races and tongues all over the world, inside the Russian Lands and outside the Russian Lands, all spiritually united by and owing spiritual allegiance to Holy Rus’, the Christian Empire. We are the Orthodox Imperial Faithful, we are the Church, sinners but repentant, strict because faithful, but open because we know about human weaknesses. May God forgive us and lead us to victory before the end.

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.