Category Archives: Missionary Work


Fifteen years ago, in May 2008, we bought our church in Colchester. Although people laughed at me at the time for even buying the church, I said that one day the church would be too small. They mocked even more. Since then we have had to set up two small churches, one in Norwich and the second on the edge of Cambridge for those who came to us. Both have their priests, one of them is a former Colchester parishioner, the other is a priest who first celebrated here. In Colchester itself we now have a second priest and two deacons. However, now we are facing a real problem. Our church is getting too small, with 300-400 people every Sunday. What we really need is another church in a town further down the A12 nearer London.

In 2008 I had a conversation with the then Bishop Elisei in London, as at that time Orthodox immigrants were getting off the trains from Europe at Stratford and had no church to go to. The women got jobs cleaning offices, the men on building sites. As a result of my missionary conversation, Bishop Elisei arranged for a service for these people once a month in an Anglican church in Romford. This has not been successful, as the liturgy takes place only a few times a year on a Saturday, when many work, and it is for Russians only. The congregations number only about 20. The majority of Orthodox living in the Stratford-Ilford-Romford area are in fact Moldovan, Romanian and Ukrainian, not Russian.

What are we going to do for the 20,000 Orthodox of East London, in the three fords: Stratford, Ilford and Romford? And the 10,000 who live nearby, in Hainault, Hornchurch, Upminster, Brentwood, Basildon, Billericay, Grays, Tilbury, and to the north, in Harlow? We have identified a church for sale for £1.3 million. Such a sum seems like a dream. Perhaps we can find something cheaper? In any case, the question is: Can you help or do you know someone who can help? I have been told that a Moldovan billionaire lives in London. Please put me into contact with him! With the support of a few rich people, we can do it. We have a Charitable Trust to look after funds. Our Metropolitan Joseph is a missionary-minded bishop. These are not the problems. Finance is! CAN YOU HELP?

On the First Anniversary

The following wide-ranging compilation of nearly 4,000 words provides answers to several questions posed over the last twelve months by various correspondents. Here those answers are made public on this, the first anniversary of our life within the Patriarchate of Romania and among its saints.


Q: Was it difficult for all your parishes to transfer to the Romanian Orthodox Church on 16 February 2022?

A: No, it was very simple, very straightforward. The negotiations with the Metropolitan and the Patriarchal canonists took only four hours. The letters of reception were issued two days later and are available for all to see and the antimensia singed by Vladyka were issued ten days later. All was clear and the correctness of our reception was only confirmed by the contrary reactions and astonishing untruths told by certain individuals in ROCOR and even in the MP after our departure in the two weeks that followed, namely that we had not in fact been received! Metr Joseph was very shocked by that. Those untruths totally discredited their authors and the websites they operate.

I am afraid to say that ROCOR now does not have a good reputation among the Local Churches. Other Local Churches know what it has become and are happy to accept persecuted clergy and churches from ROCOR, providing that the vast majority of the people in the parishes want such a transfer. Our vast majority was 4,853 for and 15 (very naïve) people against. Of those 15, most only came to church from time to time and were not listed as parishioners. Tragically, one was persuaded not to come because a certain bishop, under political control, told her not to come here. The result of this is that she has deprived herself of Church life.

Q: Has anyone come back after leaving you?

A: Only one person. She said that she had been misled and was very regretful. But we welcomed her back with open arms and do not mention her mistake to her.

Q: Has the loss of 15 people affected you financially?

A: Collections have increased by over 20% since they left. This is probably because they have been replaced by 47 new parishioners. In order of numbers and nationality these are Russians, Moldovans, Romanians and Ukrainians.

Q: Had you thought of transferring to other Local Churches other than the Romanian?

A: We had not, but they had! We received various offers, but there was only one place we wanted to go after being forced to leave the Russian Church, and that was the Romanian Church, which is outside both Greek/American Democrat politics and Russian/American Republican politics.

Q: What fundamentally forced over half of the English Diocese of the Russian Church Outside Russia to leave it after decades of faithfulness? Was it a question of keeping your property, as some have said?

A: The last straw was its uncanonical actions and schism even with part of the Russian Orthodox Church. Now all that is left is the London Russian parish and a tiny set of mainly convert-run groups outside London with a total of under 200 people in them all told.

Q: Who forced you to leave the Russian Church?

A: Our departure happened through, but not because of, our old family friend, the then 78-year old Metr Jean Renneteau in Paris, although he himself very much wanted to keep us, as he has confirmed in several phone-calls over the last six months. He was very sad to lose us and wants us back. It was all against his will. Let you remind you that it was Metr Jean, whom we backed to the hilt, who finally brought 57%, the non-masonic part, of his Archdiocese, the part where we always had family, close friends and allies, out of schism back to the Russian Orthodox Church. His feat has gone down in history and we greeted it enthusiastically at the time in 2018, as you can read on this site.

However, to get back to the answer to your question, the problem was his superior, who is younger than our three eldest children! It was he who forced Metr Jean to abandon us against the interests of the Russian Orthodox Church, for purely political reasons. When he was informed that if he forced all 16 clerics and their parishes out, we would all go to the Patriarchate of Romania, he replied: ‘Too bad for them’. He had no interest in keeping us because we were not Russian. That is very significant.

For it means that the Russian Church in its present form does not want to do missionary work, does not respect or want to keep its clergy and people, even after a lifetime of unpaid service. It wants to disunite and scatter, rather than to gather together, to destruct rather than to construct. This is suicidal on its part because it means that there is no point in anyone joining or being part of the authentic millennial Russian Orthodox Church, especially those who follow its real Tradition, speak fluent Russian and are its greatest friends!

This is the end for the Russian Orthodox Church anywhere outside Russia and, for the moment, Belarus, for many years to come, depending on the new Patriarch. The Church as it is now will only attract the naïve, who will soon fall away once they see through it, or else right-wing converts with illusions. They were not even born when we were living Orthodoxy in the times of Martyrdom for the Faith and Confession of the Faith in the Soviet Union.

Q: 16 February marks the first anniversary of the transfer of the ‘mini-diocese’ of which you are part, from the Russian Church to the Patriarchate of Romania. Apart from no longer being in schism, what are the differences you have noticed?

A: I think I can sum it all up in just one word: Freedom. For example, in order of the least important to the most important:

Firstly, we can now use our own liturgical English and do not have to use American. So we are no longer being forced to use a foreign language and can carry on using the same liturgical language as we have always used for the last fifty years before others were even born! So we are not being forced to renounce the Tradition, as was definitely the case before.

Secondly, all our websites can operate freely, without censorship. Censorship and threats to free speech are over.

Thirdly, we can now do missionary activity, we are no longer prevented from doing so, with the result that we have already opened two new parishes in the past year and have hopes of opening others elsewhere, especially in the Midlands. Our main problem is lack of funds, so here we appeal to all those who support us to help with fund-raising.

Fourthly, we can now follow in everything the legacy of the ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva, who ordained me to the priesthood in 1991 after seven years serving as a deacon and which represents the old multinational ROCOR, the ROCOR of Orthodox Tradition, the Russian Orthodox Church, and not some administrative divisions of it made up over the last century. We so knew and loved the real Russian Orthodox Church so well, but it no longer exists. Archbishop Antony had under him the then only Romanian parish in Paris, which of course was on the new calendar. (In those days, there were several new calendar Orthodox parishes in ROCOR, even in the USA, and that raised no problems).

Now the favour is being returned with what is basically a multinational Russian/Moldovan deanery under the Romanian Church. This means that we are on the old calendar, but if some want to do services on the new calendar, that is possible. Though it does not interest me personally, I can understand that for some it may be important and I say: Please go ahead. It is a pastoral matter. We have Vladyka Joseph’s blessing. All this expresses the spirit of the future Local Church, and not of some ghetto-sect. There is no room for micro-management in such situations, you have to be broader-minded.

In general, I think this freedom to live as normal Orthodox comes from the fact that we are no longer held under by converts, who have only been Orthodox for a few years and are so insecure in the faith that they hold to rigid manmade rules, which nobody else holds to, including in the Moscow Patriarchate. One of the things that recent and inexperienced converts do not realise is that Love is much greater than narrow manmade rules, which are only guidelines.

Their disease is called convertitis, you know that defensive narrowness and headborne dryness of spirit that can also come from doctorates. That disease belongs to the pharisees, who think too much. It has become common in parts of ROCOR, where before it never existed, especially since about 2016. It is what Fr Seraphim Rose fought against in California – for that was and is where the evil began and is spreading from – in the 1970s, quite rightly calling it ‘super-correctness’. It is sounding brass. Now we are in communion with all and are not threatened by the sectarian trends and schismatic pressures of before.

Then, of course, already by Divine Providence in the Romanian Patriarchate, we avoided all the politics connected with the American-Russian war in the Ukraine, which reflects so badly on the Russian Orthodox Church because of its political involvement through its centralisation. At the time several of us said that we had ‘got the last flight out of Kabul’. We have Russians and Ukrainians in our churches, as well as many other nationalities. We can welcome all to our churches. You don’t have to belong to the grim and depressing, right-wing, Protestant-style, pseudo-Russian group of people who do not speak Russian.

Another thing that worries me is that aggressive Western governments may ban the Russian Church in their countries, as those governments have already done in the Ukraine and Latvia, where the local Orthodox have accepted a de facto (though highly providential) autocephaly of the Church, an independence from the highly centralised Russian Church, even though it may not officially be called ‘autocephaly’. If such a ban does happen in the future, at least we are already out of the mess and so will have been saved from such unpleasant problems and political manipulations. God saved us before time.

Q: What do you think the Russian hierarchy should have done on 24 February 2022?

A: Today is the feast day of St Nicholas of Japan, Equal-to the-Apostles. His icon is one of the twelve on the Colchester church iconostasis. He is the key. When in 1904 Japan, armed to the teeth by the Russophobic Western Powers, attacked an unprepared and unmilitarised Russia, Bishop Nicholas, a Russian living in Tokyo, simply locked himself away and prayed for peace. Here is our model. The Russian Church has to return to its multinational itself.

Q: Do you regret anything in the events around you and ROCOR?

A: For us, not at all. All this was the best possible thing that could have happened in those circumstances and all on the eve of that terrible war. For ROCOR, however, I regret greatly.

After the reconciliation with the rest of the Russian Church in 2007, which I witnessed and I had worked towards for decades, ROCOR for a period of about ten years enjoyed unprecedented global prestige in the Orthodox world. We were the Church which had canonised the New Martyrs, the Church which had been the politically-free voice of the Russian Church during its Soviet captivity, we were the Church of the Faithful Confessors, of St John of Shanghai, we had returned to communion with all and were welcomed and thanked for our witness. We received grace. The potential to help develop missions and work towards Local Churches, co-operating with other politically-free Orthodox, was there. Icons gave off myrrh in those days. Today it is a very different story. The acquisition of grace, which St Seraphim of Sarov explained is our aim, has been replaced by the acquisition of money, power and property.

Instead of nurturing that grace and co-operating with others, the grace was step by step misused and abused amid the sectarian spirit of exclusivism. This excluded even the then First Hierarch Metr Hilarion, well before his dementia. As a result, ROCOR is now mainly becoming a historical footnote as the American Synod, which is being even further discredited by the Belya affair, yet another affair of forged signatures. ROCOR has voluntarily Sovietised itself. It is very important to understand that this was all voluntary, it was never forced on ROCOR by Moscow. Certain figures are not so much interested in humility, fasting, poverty and prayer, as in power, luxury, money and property. The problem is lack of pastors. Some have been replaced by bureaucrats, ‘effective managers’, as the Russian jargon goes.

Its hope of survival in Northern America today is in being absorbed into the Moscow-founded OCA, which is about five times bigger. That is what Moscow wants and it is logical. Outside Northern America, ROCOR hardly exists in Latin America, where forty years ago it had, if I remember rightly, six dioceses. As for the thirty or so parishes of Australian ROCOR, they will now have to follow the fate of the Indonesian Mission which ROCOR handed over wholesale to Moscow. It abandoned its mission there, the same as it did here, only here to the Romanians. Australian ROCOR may as well become part of a new Autonomous Church, but under Moscow and linked up with its South-East Asian Exarchate.

Q: What about the ROCOR churches in Western Europe? There are still nearly 90 parishes or small communities there.

A: In Western Europe ROCOR is only really present in Western Germany and Switzerland. In the other Western European countries there is only a handful of parishes and communities, one, two or at most three in each country, if any at all. There is nothing in Scandinavia and Portugal has now been abandoned. In Spain there is one tiny convert group, in Italy there are two parishes on the French border and hardly anything is left in the Netherlands and France. Logically, the ROCOR parishes in Germany, which are in any case mainly peopled and clergied by expatriates from the ex-Soviet Union (and a few convert groups, with often fewer than 10 or at most 20 members) should join Moscow.

This is what Moscow asked for five years ago in exchange for its parishes in the Americas to be given to ROCOR. Sadly, ROCOR refused, missing the boat, the once in a lifetime offer, which will probably not be made again. Then it claimed that it will not join up with Moscow for 50-100 years! Moscow was very angry with the individual who said that. Moscow looks on Western Europe as its territory, as an integral part of Eurasia.

However, the situation has become very complex in Western Europe since the war in the Ukraine, as most of the Moscow parishes are themselves peopled by Ukrainians and especially Moldovans, as in Italy (70 out of 72 parishes). With over thirty new canonical Ukrainian parishes independent of Moscow in Western Europe founded in the last nine months and the possible mass defection of Moldovans to the Romanian Church, as is beginning to happen in Moldova itself and has in fact happened in England, it is difficult to see a future for the Moscow Exarchate. Russian nationalism rules and that means isolationism, being in communion with no-one. It is returning to the times of its tiny Exarchate of Soviet patriots of the 60s and 70s and the war in the Ukraine has isolated Most of the faithful have left its new Cathedral in Paris. Security men frisk you as you go in, as in an airport. I am told that congregations number about thirty. Even my friend Nikita, the very Russian nephew of the late Archbishop Basil Krivoshein, has left.

Q: Surely you regret having to leave the Russian Orthodox Church after nearly fifty years?

A: You misunderstand. We never left the Russian Orthodox Church, that is, we never left the spiritual world of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is part of the whole Orthodox world. All that happened is that we were forced to leave the administrative world, the bureaucracy, of the Russian Church. We are exactly the same as before and continue as before. Nothing has changed. When the administrative world with its protocols frees itself of politics and the spiritual world takes over once more, as it will, and sooner than some think after President Putin, then we shall see what will be decided. The mess will end and the injustices will be sorted out, but not yet. Then those who swim with the tide will swim in the opposite direction, as we have seen so many times before. In Russia they still have many things to suffer in repentance for the Soviet period.

Q: Did you know that your faith would be challenged in this way?

A: In September 2020, we went to Mt Athos to see the clairvoyant Fr Evthimios, the closest disciple of St Paisios the Athonite, whom I met in 1979 together with the ever-memorable Fr Ephraim of Arizona. We met him at the skete where he had built the first ever church dedicated to St Paisios and asked him what we should do, given the internal persecution against us. He said he would send me an answer. In May 2021, after the ROCOR schism had begun, I received a message from him and that was: ‘Do not fear the courts of men. Your case will be decided in the highest court’. And this is exactly what we did and exactly what has happened.

Q: You set up a church in Norfolk and two churches in Cambridgeshire for the people there. So effectively the Colchester parish is for Orthodox in Essex and Suffolk, your home counties, the other two counties in the East of England. Do you still visit Orthodox outside these counties?

A: Of course, I do. I visit my parishioners in many parts of the country among all those rendered Churchless by the absence of Church life which pervades the spiritual desert of modern England. Not just the new and young, but also the old, including the grandchildren of those who came here after 1917, who as adults had known the old Russia. Their parents departed over the last generation, so these grandchildren of emigres are now themselves elderly. These are the people who, like me, knew the traditional ROCOR priests like Fr George Sheremetiev (+ 1971), Fr Alexander Trubnikov (+ 1988) and Fr Mikhail Artsimovich (+ 2003). (Fr George was the one who advised the late Timothy Ware not to join ROCOR because it was being ‘taken over’.

Like them, my godfather, Nikolai Mikhailovich Zernov (+ 1980), however much I disagreed with him, would never have accepted the present situation. Even someone like the equally liberal, non-ROCOR Metr Antony Bloom (+ 2003), despite his well-known human weaknesses which scandalised so many, must be spinning in his grave at what is going on in the Russian Church today. Several of his disciples, for example in Amsterdam and Madrid, have actually left the Russian Church or been suspended by it and his disciple Metr Hilarion (Alfeev) has been exiled to Budapest. He would have been exiled also. As for the equally liberal, late Metr Kallistos (Ware), you can imagine….

In the days of the traditional ROCOR, there were no converts who wanted to rebaptise everyone. You know, the ones who are more Orthodox than the Orthodox, but have no idea that Orthodoxy is Christianity, just an exotic sectarian cult with its cultish podcast and zoom gurus. In the old days, there were few ill-educated, ritualist clergy with superstitions, money-grubbing, politics and phariseeism with as much spiritual refinement and subtlety as a Soviet tank, incapable of confessing or preaching. Lumps of cast iron against antique timepieces.

I recently visited and gave communion to just such a Russian daughter of White emigres in Esher in Surrey, who gave a lot of money in the 1990s to help build the church in Chiswick (like the late Golitsyns), but received bad treatment there. I knew her mother in Paris and have known her and her family for 35 years. Like so many rather aristocratic Russian émigré women, her mother, a child in pre-1917 Russia, became a seamstress in Paris in the 1930s. After the war she had opened her own fashion house and had the Audrey Hepburn elegance, style and class that no longer seems to exist anywhere today, though her daughter has inherited it:  ‘Elegance is the only beauty that never fades’. No botox and tooth-whitening for such people, unlike several Orthodox bishops and priests of all jurisdictions in California.

A spiritual daughter of the wonderful Fr Alexander Trubnikov from Tsarskoe Selo and Meudon, but now deprived of the Church, she talks to God in her garden. That is where she can pray. There are churches, but she cannot go to them, some people who control them are unChristian. But she remains Christian, Orthodox Christian.

Q: Were you hurt by the slanders against you?

A: No. Our first reaction was one of astonishment. Next came laughter at the attempts to manipulate the naive and ignorant who did not know us. These were so ridiculous. The came sadness that people who called themselves Christians could do such things, their souls full of hatred, covetousness and above all jealousy. All this only discredited their authors. It is called the boomerang effect. They reflect very badly on those who issued them. Did they really think that such novel New World manipulations could work among experienced Orthodox in old Europe?

Q: How would you sum up what happened to you last year?

A: I would say that ROCOR fell into a trap of its own making, it was put to the test and failed. In 2007 it was given an opportunity to behave like Christians, but instead, the culprits revealed who they are (both the ones in ROCOR and the few others elsewhere who repeated the untruths of ROCOR). We know their names. The internet knows their names. And above all God knows their names.

It is a tragic warning that if you desert God, He will desert you. And that is what is happening to it through its self-discrediting. The waste of potential is enormous. God gave them everything and they squandered it. What must St John of Shanghai be thinking of this spiritual suicide? Like the apostles, we have shaken the dust off our feet and moved on. May God grant them to know love for others before they reach their death-beds. I tremble in their place. But this is how the Church is cleansed.

Q: Do you feel as though this chapter is closed and you can slowly retire?

A: Now you make me laugh! That chapter was closed a year ago, but slowly retiring?! You haven’t seen anything yet. There is so much more to do. If God grants me life to do it all. The pastoral catastrophe in this country is such that I need another fifty years to contribute towards remedying it just in my little corner. I have only just started!

16 February 2023



























Will the Russian Orthodox Church Be Forbidden in Western Countries?

At the Peace Forum in Rome on 23 October, President Macron of France spoke in front of an audience of many Church leaders, including Metr Antony (Sevriuk), reckoned to be the No 2 of the Moscow Patriarchate. The President stated that the Russian Orthodox Church (both the Moscow Patriarchate and ROCOR) is manipulated by the Russian State.

This was said in front of many other Orthodox clergy, including our friends from the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and our own Metropolitan Joseph (Pop) of the Romanian Orthodox Church, whose Autonomous Metropolia numbers 4 million Orthodox in Western Europe. (This makes him the bishop with by far the largest Orthodox flock in Western Europe, far larger than the total flock of many Local Orthodox Churches). Is the Russian Orthodox Church manipulated by the Russian State, as President Macron claimed? Whether it is true or not is irrelevant, the fact is that this is the Western Establishment perception – and has long been. For them the Russian Orthodox Church is no more independent of the Russian State than the Church of England is from the British government, whose new and entirely expected Hindu Prime Minister will nominate all its bishops.

The only exception to this possibly true claim of subservience to the Russian State is the small but much-persecuted Russian Orthodox Western European Archdiocese under Metropolitan Jean of Dubna. There clergy are allowed to commemorate or not the Russian Orthodox Patriarch. The Archdiocese is where we were not allowed to stay by Metropolitan Antony (Sevriuk). Thus, highly providentially, we were safely received into the above-mentioned Romanian Patriarchal Metropolia of Western and Southern Europe eight days before the Special Military Operation in the Ukraine began on 24 February 2022.

Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Patriarch has been banned from visiting his flock in four countries through a personal ‘sanction’. These countries are the Ukraine, Canada, the UK and Lithuania. As well as this, the Russian Church has had to withdraw its bishops from Northern America (the USA and Canada) and from the UK. Bishopless churches are churches that will die out. What is to be done? You can sit it all out and wait till the war in the Ukraine is over. This appears to be the policy of many. However, that does not solve the pastoral problems in the here and now or the problems in the future, which will be even greater.

The Russian Orthodox Faith first came under persecution in the Ukraine in 2018, when the CIA with the help of Poroshenko and certain Greek Orthodox individuals who set up an uncanonical Church, so that Ukrainian Orthodox would not belong to the Russian Orthodox Church. Few fell for this trick and the new ‘Church’ failed. This year the canonical Church in the Ukraine has come under even greater persecution and was forced to declare itself ‘fully independent’ of Moscow. Of its 12,000 churches, 2,000 have been taken away from it by force and nearly all of them now stand locked and empty. The US-sponsored Ukrainian nationalist persecution resembles very closely that of the Bolsheviks.

Only recently a curious though different fate has befallen the Russian Orthodox Church in Latvia, which was declared independent by the Latvian government. It has no choice other than to accept this imposed independence. It looks as though the same is about to happen in Lithuania and Estonia. However, we note that the Russian-founded Orthodox Churches in Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and in the USA (the OCA) are not suffering from any persecution from their States because they are associated with the Russian Orthodox Church. Why? Because they are all ‘Autocephalous’, i.e. canonically fully independent.

Surely this is the way out for the whole of the Russian Church, which is not inside the Russian Federation and Belarus? In any case, the difference between Orthodoxy and Papism is surely that we do not have a Pope, that we do not claim some sort of universal jurisdiction. When a Local Church sets up a mission in another country or a country becomes politically independent from the one where the Local Church is based, and that mission is successful, inevitably, that country ends up having its own Local Church. And the new Local Church is independent of political pressure from foreign governments (and from its own government).

A Patriarch is not a Pope. We ignore any ‘Eastern Papist’ temptations or claims of any Patriarchate (e.g. the deliberate misinterpretation of Canon 28 of Chalcedon, for instance). We know that the hubris of power is always punished. We do not confess any universal jurisdiction, but missionary autocephalies, as in the Local Churches of Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae and Thessalonica. Let us be frank: There is room for very many to stand on the moral high ground in the Orthodox Church. If some want to compromise themselves politically or have little integrity or conscience and do not wish to stand there, that is not our business. We shall continue to stand there, waiting for others to join us, whatever the stones they cast at us.



Autocephaly, Autonomy, Exarchates and Missions


There are surely many suggestions as to how the Orthodox Church can move forward out of its present state of crisis. We recall that this crisis is essentially one of disputed and also discredited authority, especially of the post-Cretan Patriarchate of Constantinople and of the post-Ukrainian Operation Patriarchate of Moscow. So many of their acts that have been ostensibly justified by the ‘canons’ have in fact been purely political acts and thus are anti-canonical. Therefore, this is a crisis of division. I have little confidence that the following suggestions will be heard, let alone acted on. But still I dare to make them, if only for the record, as one set of solutions among others put forward from the grassroots.

Three Recent Autocephalous Churches

The post-1917 Russian Orthodox Church gradually recognised that the fall of the Russian Empire, the consequent reconstruction of Poland and the inability to care for the pre-Revolutionary mission in North America, meant that new Autocephalous Churches would have to be established there. Thus, there came into being the Polish Orthodox Church (1924 and 1948) and the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) (1970). As a result of the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, there also came into being the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia (1951). The first and the last of these Churches, though quite small, have undisputed territories and have been revitalised by the recent arrival of many Ukrainian refugees.

However, the vaguely-named ‘OCA’ (where is America?), founded in 1970, has had many difficulties which have undermined its authority, both moral and financial. Moreover, although it is heir to the original and undivided Church in Northern America, it exists today on a shared territory and the much larger Archdiocese of the Church of Constantinople does not recognise it. As a result, the OCA has remained smaller than the Church of Poland and the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. Perhaps it could be revitalised by the Mother-Church in Moscow which could add to its Moscow’s now bishopless parishes in Northern America? And perhaps it could be renamed more accurately as the ‘Northern American Orthodox Church’ (NAOC)? (The term Northern America means the USA, Canada and Greenland and a couple of islands, so that Mexico and the Caribbean are excluded from its territory). The NAOC should move towards having Greek, Serbian and native-born bishops, who are therefore truly representative of the new Local Church. Only in this way could the flocks of other Local Orthodox Churches be drawn to take part.

Four Future Autocephalous Churches

Over thirty years after the fall of the Soviet Union and its division into fifteen separate States, and following the conflict between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine and the refusal of many to commemorate the Russian Orthodox Patriarch, it is clear that a new wave of Autocephalies needs to take place. The parallel between the fall of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union should be clear to all. Ecclesiastical decentralisation must follow on from political decentralisation.

We suggest that four new Autocephalous Churches may need to be founded by the Mother-Church in countries where there are large numbers of Orthodox, but where the main language is not Russian. As all of these areas have at least four bishops (the minimum number for Autocephaly), this is quite realistic. This would bring the total number of Local Orthodox Churches, counting those of North Macedonia and the above NAOC, from sixteen to twenty. In order of size, these would be:

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church. 18 million? This would look after all Orthodox within the borders of the future Ukraine, even though the precise, permanent borders of that war-torn country are yet to be established for the moment. A genuinely Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church could at last put an end to all those nationalist Church divisions that have taken place there since 1917, including in 2018, both inside the Ukraine and in the Diaspora.

The Moldovan Orthodox Church. 4 million? This would look after all Orthodox within Moldova. An Autocephalous Church, on good terms with both the Russian and Romanian Churches, which might grant it Autocephaly together, its birth could overcome the present division there between the Russian and Romanian Patriarchates, the two largest Local Churches.

The Baltic Orthodox Church. 500,000? This would look after all Orthodox who keep the canonical date of Pascha within Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland. In Lithuania clergy, defrocked for purely political reasons to the scandal of many, will need to be reinstated. As in the Ukraine and Moldova, the Baltic countries should move towards having native-born bishops, who are therefore truly representative of the new Local Church. A genuinely Autocephalous Baltic Orthodox Church could at last put an end to all those nationalist Church divisions that have taken place in all these countries since 1917, as well as the Phanariot-provoked situations in Finland and Estonia.

The Western European Orthodox Church (WEOC). 400,000? Covering the 22 ex-Catholic and ex-Protestant countries of Western, Central, Northern and Southern Europe, which have no Local Church of their own (Andorra
Austria, Belgium, British Isles, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland). This Church is based on the present Russian Orthodox Exarchate of Western Europe, but includes Germany, Scandinavia (a bishop is required here) and Austria-Hungary. New bishops are also required for France, Benelux and the British Isles and Ireland and to resolve the pastoral problems in the latter. The Western European Archdiocese of the Moscow Patriarchate would surely wish to take part in such an Autocephalous Church. As in the Ukraine and Moldova, the WEOC should move towards having native-born bishops, who are therefore truly representative of the new Local Church. Only in this way could the flocks of other Local Orthodox Churches wish to take part.

Two Recent Autonomous Orthodox Churches

Rather than full independence (Autocephaly), there are smaller Churches in other countries which are dependent on their Mother-Church for their episcopate. Such Churches are known as Autonomous. The pre-Revolutionary missions in China (Autonomy granted in 1957) and Japan (Autonomy granted in 1970) are both such, although the latter hardly exists today on account of Chinese State persecution over the last 75 years.

Two Future Autonomous Orthodox Churches

The present Russian Orthodox Exarchate of South East Asia could become an Autonomous Church (SEAOC). True, for the moment it covers a huge territory. If its mission is successful, it could eventually form several Autocephalous Churches. However, before it can even become Autocephalous, it must first obtain native bishops.

The present Russian Orthodox Exarchate of Africa could become an Autonomous Church (AOC). Before it can become Autocephalous, it must obtain native bishops – and also resolve the territorial dispute with the Patriarchate of Alexandria. This could be overcome if, for example, the jurisdiction of Alexandria returned to its traditional territory of Egypt.

A Recent Exarchate

There are other regions which for various reasons do not wish or are unable to become either Autocephalous or Autonomous and may be particularly dependent on the Mother-Church. These are known as Exarchates. Thus, Belarus is established as an Exarchate within the Russian Orthodox Church.

Two Future Exarchates

There will soon need to be a Central Asian Exarchate for the ‘Five Stans’, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

There will soon need to be a Latin American Exarchate to cover South and Central America, as well as Mexico and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.

Two Future Missions

Missions and infrastructure for them need to be opened for two other areas of the world. These are:

Oceania – the whole, albeit sparsely-populated Continent of Australia and all the Pacific islands, where there is already some Orthodox presence. The opening of an Exarchate here would depend on the desire of local Orthodox to become a Local Church.

South Asia (The Indian Subcontinent and Indian Ocean islands), which has nearly a quarter of the world’s population, but hardly any Orthodox.


There can be no new Churches if they are not Autocephalous, that is, if they are not quite separate from and politically free of Mother-Churches. Otherwise, they are compromised and discredited. History bears this out quite clearly, both in the twentieth century and well before. Of course, all are free to take part or not in the life of new Autocephalous Churches which are located on shared territories. Some, still attached to Mother-Churches will not wish to do so. Time is all that is lacking for them. Others, with a schismatic or sectarian ‘OneTrueChurch’ Pharisee mentality, inspired by the spiritual impurity of the CIA and US-Protestant nationalist politics and not on the canons of the Orthodox Church, will not take part. But such are a tiny minority and can be ignored. The future is in new Autocephalous Churches.



The Inevitable Struggle for the Inevitable Local Church


The formation of new Local Orthodox Churches is inevitable, indeed it began long ago. One day there will be four new Local Churches in the world – for Western Europe, North America, South America and Oceania. This is not a prophecy, it is obvious and has been obvious to me for 45 years. When will they appear? This is a spiritual problem, all we know is that the struggle for them is inevitable. Not, I think, in my lifetime, perhaps not even in my children’s lifetimes, but perhaps in the lifetimes of my grandchildren. The formation of a new Local Church in Western Europe is what I have devoted my life to. I hope that, like many others, I will have contributed something positive, however modest, to its foundations.


The bane of the Church is any attachment to the world and one of the strongest forms of attachment is nationalism. For example, the Jews could not accept Christ because of their attachment to Jewish nationalism as ‘the chosen people’. Then the Copts and the Armenians broke away from the Church because of nationalism, Western Europe broke away because of Western nationalism, inventing self-justifying ‘Roman’ Catholicism, and the future Protestants broke away from them because of Germanic nationalism. The most flagrant form of this nationalism was perhaps ‘the Church of England’, created by a murderous and power-grasping King.

In much more recent times the unity of the Church has been put under great pressure by flag-waving Greek nationalism, called phyletism, although we still await the repentance of the Phanariot episcopate. Nationalism is by definition worldliness and is therefore anti-missionary. God only speaks the language of the nationalists, be it Hebrew, Latin, Greek or other, and as every Victorian Englishman knew, ‘God is an Englishman’. Nationalist groups inevitably die out, as they are assimilated. Instead of obeying the last two verses of the Gospel of Matthew, they refuse to go out and baptise the world, rather trying to steal the flocks of others, as in today’s Ukraine.


The above is a list of examples of what might be called ‘uncanonical nationalism’, for its extremism always leads to schisms and heresies, that is, it leads to being outside the Church. This we can see with the case of the contemporary Patriarchate of Constantinople, whose schism has taken 100 years to prepare. However, there is also nationalism inside the Church, that is, it is ‘canonical’. Though obviously, by definition, more moderate than the extremist form outside the communion of the Church, it is basically imperialist. Its sign is national exclusivism, it will accept others only if they ‘become Greeks’ or ‘become Russians’, for instance.

This imperialism is marked by the imposition of a single language and a single culture, centralisation and bureaucracy. This is inevitably part of a controlling tyranny, of the bullying and intimidation of both clergy and people at the grassroots. By creating fear and injustice, it hopes to obtain the property and wealth of the people, their church buildings. By mistreating the clergy, this imperialist centralism discourages the missionary impulse, often persecuting any missionary initiative in the name of control and ‘protocols’. Such a mentality is death to the soul and death to the spiritual life of the Church: imperialism is always spiritual death.


Imperialism is also by definition an attachment to the world, nationalism, but the other extreme of this nationalism is what may be called ‘Localism’. This is the reaction to centralisation, the splitting movement of disunity in the name of some small country, often an artificial one, which has led over the last 200 years to the formation of a whole series of small, ‘Autocephalous’ Local Churches. The most recent example was that which was formed fifty years ago in North America , with the formation of the tiny ‘OCA’, the Orthodox Church in America, a group which in reality united fewer than 10% of Orthodox in North America, perhaps as few as 5%.

The brainchild and scheme of the very practical and frustrated activist Fr Alexander Schmemann, who had taken power from the academic theoretician Fr George Florovsky, the ideologists of the OCA tried to impose US culture, regardless of its lack of spiritual content, on all. Founded not on Orthodox Christianity, this mentality tried to impose the lowest common denominator of local culture – new calendarism, modernism, anti-monasticism, anti-asceticism and anti-spiritual moralism, at best a watered-down rationalistic intellectualism. However, Christ’s Church is founded not on some local human culture, but on His Universal Gospel made incarnate.


For nearly fifty years now we have battled for authentic Orthodoxy, but specifically in the local language (and not in foreign versions of that language!) and for the honouring of local saints, where they exist, and for local traditions which are not opposed to the Church. We cannot ignore the local language, geography and history, we must consult and not ignore experience. All else is arrogance. What we have observed in the last half-century is that every nationalist formation, whether of imperialist or localist nationalism, has died out. Thus, both Greek and Russian Churches have died out here, as has also the attempt to create an Anglican Orthodoxy.

This 21st century will not bring a nationalistic Neo-Anglican ‘British Orthodox Church’, as they wanted. However, it may bring an Autocephalous Western European Orthodox Church, led by His Beatitude Metropolitan N. in Paris. As regards the four peoples and nations of these ‘Islands of the North Atlantic’ (IONA), it would find itself an autonomous part of such a Metropolia. It could have four archbishops, one for England, one for a reunited Ireland, one for Scotland and one for Wales, possibly with vicar bishops.  May God’s will be done.


The Spirit of St Edmund


Our Orthodox Kingdom lives and prays beneath the standard of holy Edmund, the King and Martyr of East Anglia (+ 869), and the first Patron Saint of the English Land. His standard is made up of a crown, representing his kingship, his virginity and his martyrdom, against the background of a heavenly blue and crossed arrows. These arrows show how he defended his Kingdom and so won Paradise, being shot through with many of them by violent and heathen men who then beheaded him.


St Edmund’s heavenly kingdom is the East Anglian corner in Paradise, but his earthly kingdom was and is made up of what is now Norfolk, Suffolk and the fenlands of eastern Cambridgeshire. However, it spread and spreads its influence across its marches into northern Essex, across the fens into the East Midlands, and in missions still further afield, thus taking his spirit outside his land. St Edmund expressed this spirit in life and in death in the values of Orthodox Christian Civilisation, which are:

  1. Faithfulness

The Old English word ‘geleafful’ (literally, faithful) was the word chosen by missionary monks to translate the Greek word ‘Orthodox’. Thus, faithful Christians are Orthodox Christians and vice versa. Through his confession of the Faith in his life and by his martyrdom in his death, there is no doubt that St Edmund was an Orthodox Christian, faithful to the end to the Gospel of Christ, which he imitated. It is this faithfulness, that is, Orthodoxy that we need and seek to follow today.

  1. Kingship

Edmund was of the noble and kingly line of East Anglia and its last King. He was also the faithful and trusted friend of the holy King Alfred the Great, unifier of England and its greatest Sovereign. Edmund fought alongside Alfred to defend Nottingham in the East Midlands. He was noble in blood, but also in conduct, fearlessly fighting the heathen, but not afraid to die, like the King of Kings, at his own Gethsemane and Golgotha in Hoxne, in the very centre of his Kingdom between north and south.

  1. Care for the People

His tenth-century life described him as ‘wise and honourable’, that ‘he ever glorified Almighty God by his noble conduct’, was ‘humble and devout’, ‘mindful of the true teaching’, ‘among men as one of them’, ‘bountiful to the poor and to widows even like a father’, that ‘with goodwill he ever guided his people to righteousness and lived happily in the true faith’. He chose ‘rather to die for his own land’, ‘never turning aside from the worship of Almighty God or from His true love, whether he lived or died’.


These Trinitarian values are essential as they represent all that is missing here today. Thus, there is little faithfulness and they only argue about how best to betray the Faith. There is little sense of Kingship as there is little nobility, spirit of sacrifice, they are only political opportunists and careerists who replace the Kingdom of Heaven with the Republic of Hell. And there is little pastoral care for the people as anti-missionaries are in power. Therefore, our mission now is to spread the spirit of St Edmund.




On the Contemporary Challenges Faced by the Russian Orthodox Church

Introduction: Excesses and Extremes on the Margins

After the fall of the militantly atheist Soviet Union nearly thirty years ago, the Russian Orthodox Church appears to have gone from strength to strength, both inside and outside Russia. In some respects this is clearly true, but in others it is not the case, as a whole set of enormous challenges remains. The Church suffers from the presence of many marginal individuals, including some clergy, and trends which are outside the mainstream of the Orthodox Tradition and so have little to do with Christianity. As a current example we have the case of Schema-abbot Sergei Romanov, whom I met in 2018 when I visited the Urals.

After meeting him, I was left with a whole set of questions: Why was such a man from a recent, violent criminal background ordained? Why did he have no qualifications? Where did all his great deal of money come from? Why was he left to conduct spurious exorcisms, humiliating his victims, creating obvious psychological damage and dependency? Why was he left in authority when he clearly set himself against Orthodox teachings? Why had he been allowed to set up a cult? Why did his bishop not act? Here are questions that are only now, two years on, being answered, only after much harm has already been caused.

  1. Organisational Temptations


Like the case of Romanov, over the last thirty years many mistakes have been made. Desperate to cater to the spiritual needs of the scores of millions of newly baptised, the wrong people were sometimes ordained and consecrated. This is not an opinion, but a fact, as we can see from the number of defrockings and exiles of careerist bishops now in disgrace. There have been too many ‘young elders’, pseudo-elders, charlatans, money-extorters, perverts, careerists, obscurantists and also cultish sects, such as the neo-renovationist Kochetkovtsy. We cannot help thinking that at least some of these scandals are linked to money or else are sexual in nature.


The pre-Revolutionary Church already suffered from profound careerism and  bureaucratic centralisation, from the use of decrees and protocols – words that cannot be found in the Gospels. Today’s Soviet-style centralisation is even worse. Paperwork is one of the main complaints of parish priests in Russia. They are being made into administrators, ‘effective managers’, businessmen. This all means money: money-grasping bureaucrats have to be paid. The Apostle Paul did not suffer either from bureaucracy or money; he worked as a tent-maker, not as a careerist. Do we not confess the Apostolic Church? Should we not venerate the saints like him in deed, as well as in word? Why kiss the Gospels, if we are not going to live by them?


This brings us to money problems. Some bishops and priests appear to be extremely rich and many think that all clergy live in their way, with 4 x 4s, Mercedes, yachts and villas. In reality, many clergy are poor. Here there is a total lack of transparency and also a poor distribution of resources. Partly this is to do with the post-Soviet nouveau riche class. They like to donate money to the Church – which is good – but why this obsession with gold, marble and luxury in church? They should first read the Gospels and find out about mammon, as their money so often acts as a source of temptation. For every ‘monumental church’ with its kilos of gold, ten plain but community/ congregational churches could have been built. Money is the rot in the Church today, an infectious disease that spreads everywhere.

  1. Internal Temptations

Churching Society

Three generations of militant atheism and violent persecution left Soviet society completely spiritually ignorant, ready to believe everything and anything, extraordinarily superstitious, with at one time almost African levels of animism at the extremes. In a society of converts, often ritualistic, and with very few experienced clergy and people, all kind of primitive errors still abound. The task of baptising society was not so difficult, but to change the faith of the people from nominal-instinctive to active-conscious is far more difficult. All the more so today when some representatives of the Church have discredited themselves through their careerist love of money and luxury and so made most indifferent.


The educated extremes of Russian society (the masses are indifferent and look only to survival) have long been divided into Westernisers and Slavophiles. The very small but very active minority of extreme Westernisers are often highly-educated, with doctorates, and are liberal, modernistic, ecumenist. They condemn the Church, hate piety and support LGBT (they are often themselves homosexuals). As regards coronavirus, they are faithless and so wear masks at every opportunity. Clearly, they have no interest in missionary work, converting others to Christ, as they long ago rejected Christ in favour of the Secular West.


The conservatives are also very small in number but narrow and nationalistic. The extremists among them still think that Lenin and Stalin were wonderful. They rarely attend Church, which is just a nationalistic banner or flag for them to hide behind, so that can like the pharisees condemn others, in self-justification. Often Third Romists, they can often be paranoid in relation to the Western world, confess anti-Semitism, indeed, anti-everythingism, and love conspiracy theories. They would certainly never wear a mask, probably not even believing in the existence of coronavirus. Clearly, they have no interest in missionary work, converting others to Christ, as they consider that Christianity is purely nationalistic and probably think that God is Russian anyway.

  1. External Temptations

Dealing with the Post-Soviet State

The main problem here is the refusal of the State to change, to give up its Sovietism. There is post-Soviet, but there is also outright Soviet too. Thus, in Moscow still lie the remains of that revolting mass-murderer Lenin and in Ekaterinburg, where the Royal Martyrs were massacred 102 years ago, as everywhere, there are street names and statues of the murderers and the whole region is still named after one of them. The media and the education and health sectors (after all there is an abortion industry to support) are full of those opposed to the Church. The State still has little practical concern about the chronically low birth-rate, the chronically high divorce rate and does little to further the cause of ecology.

Relations with the Other Local Churches

Some of the Orthodox Local Churches basically support the Russian Church, some remain neutral, others have been bought out by US aggression. This is clear with regard to obvious US imperialism in the Ukraine and the Baltics, where its ambassadors, like pagan Roman governors, new Pilates, have bribed and blackmailed others.

Relations with the Non-Orthodox World

Here too the tensions are purely political. The Protestant world, consciously and unconsciously, has long been instrumentalised by the Western secret services to destroy the Orthodox world, in order to divide it and rule it. Since its 1960s protestantisation, much the same has happened in the Roman Catholic world, most obviously under the CIA-appointed Polish Pope. However, it was already opposed to Christ anyway and prepared to invade and destroy the Orthodox world at the drop of a hat, as can be seen in the history of the Crusades, in Uniatism and then in co-operation with the Bolsheviks. All this provokes Russian nationalism and makes many unable to appreciate the remnants of Orthodoxy in the Western world.

Conclusion: Towards the New Jerusalem (1) through Churching the Masses

The Russian Orthodox Church is three-quarters of the whole Church. Thus, its main challenge is that of responsibility. How can the mainstream, often paralysed by such excesses and extremes among certain bishops, priests and people, bring the world’s seven and a half billion people to Christ and His New Jerusalem without compromise? The answer is the same as that when the Twelve Apostles, opposed by all and compromised by Judas, also set out to do the impossible. The few must first Church the masses, the 2% of the Churched setting the example by converting the 98% of the unChurched and showing them that the Church is not about the money-grubbing of the new Judases. And how is that possible? Only by the Holy Spirit.

Feast of the Royal Martyrs, 4/17 July 2020


  1. The Cathedral of the Wisdom of God in Istanbul was long ago made into a mosque, then a museum and now is to become a mosque once more. Why? Because the local Orthodox have for 567 years failed to convert the local people to Christ. Failing to love their enemies, they have hated them and so made enemies for themselves. What are we to do? We are called on to create a new Church of the Wisdom of God, a New Jerusalem.



Considerations on Liturgical Translation into English

When, mainly in the last century, it came to translating the Divine Liturgy into English, translators faced choices. Some of them, especially in the Greek and Ukrainian immigrant diasporas, chose popular street English as their preference. Others chose an over-ornate pseudo-17th century English, bristling with deliberate upper-class archaicisms and obscure words, completely incomprehensible to condescended to and patronised immigrants. The first always and aggressively used ‘you’, the second always ‘thou’, with even spellings like ‘Catholick’. ‘Esoterick’ indeed.

These extremes produced a couple of highly eccentric, literally off-centre, translations from England, the ultra-modernist of the late former Roman Catholic Vatican II intellectual, Fr Ephraim (Lash), and the elitist, conservative intellectual translation made by the former Anglo-Catholic Sister Elizabeth Fenton of Tolleshunt Knights, both of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. They were either modernist and ugly for the sake of it, or else archaic and obscure for the sake of it.

99% had already concluded that something else was necessary, a translation made not by an individual whose native language was not English, or whose native language was English and who knew nothing else, but by groups combining both. In our view the best translations to date have been those made by Metr Kallistos (Ware) and Mother Mary, who knew both Greek and Slavonic and also had a love of liturgical English and liturgical beauty. But even here, with the benefit of hindsight some fifty years on, there are perhaps improvements to be made. And, sadly, they translated very little.

But first of all, let us express our gratitude to those who worked on translations in the more distant past, often in very difficult and impoverished circumstances, especially in the USA. Today’s versions are superior to those of the 1960s and 1970s, but the new ones are built on them. We are indeed only dwarves who stand on the shoulders of giants. But let us make some considerations, in the hope that they may in years to come be reviewed by those in seats of authority who will have to work for definitive translations.


We do not worship the Cross or icons. This in fact is heresy. Let us avoid heretical translations, please.

The mistranslation ‘For those who travel by sea, land and air’ is such a case. Most who sail (which is what the original says) travel not by sea, but by river or by lake. All great civilisations were founded on rivers, be it the Euphrates, the Tigris, the Ganges, the Indus, the Yellow River, the Yangtze, the Nile, the Amazon, the Mississippi, the Rhine, the Seine, the Danube, the Thames, the Volga or the Great Lakes, not on seas. Are we to exclude prayer for those who travel by river and lake? We should be reading: ‘For those who travel by water, land and air…’.

Grammatical Mistakes

First of all, any translation should avoid grammatical mistakes. For example, to write: ‘For unto Thee is due all glory, honour and worship’, when grammatically it should read ‘For unto Thee are due…’, seems an elementary error.


Most literalisms also stem from translators not familiar with English as a first language.

How do we say ‘noetic’ in English? ‘Spiritual’? ‘Of the heart’? ‘Invisible’. ‘Noetic’ is meaningless and the translation ‘intellectual’ is clearly just plain wrong.

‘For a good God art Thou’ is Byzantine Greek word order. It is not English. And we do not distort English word order to fit in with the stress patterns of Greek or just to be literal.

We do not ‘chant’ in English, we sing. We are not Byzantines.

Why say ‘Under Thy dominion’, when in English we have the correct word ‘beneath’?

We do not ‘send up glory’ in English, we offer it up.

And what does ‘effulgence’ mean?

American English

As many translations come from the USA, they contain localisms, foreign to contemporary English English. For example, ‘in behalf of’ instead of ‘on behalf of’, ‘named for’ instead of ‘named after’ or even ROCOOR (German-US grammar – ‘ausserhalb’ takes the genitive, ’outside of’, but English ‘outside’ does not), ‘city’ instead of ‘town’,  and spellings like honor(able), favourable, marvellous, traveling etc

Stylistic choices

Here there are more controversial considerations, which require greater discussion.

For example, should we use the third person singular ‘eth’ instead of (e)s? Goeth or goes? Cometh or comes? The ending was written as ‘eth’ in the early seventeenth century, but it was most certainly not pronounced like that even then, since this was just archaic spelling by printers. Russian priests have great difficulty pronouncing ‘blesseth’, those it is easier for Greeks.

Or from the Great Litany:

For the peace ‘from on high’ or ‘from above’?

For the union ‘of all’ or ‘of all people’?

For this ‘holy house’ or ‘holy temple’. In English temple sounds pagan, Hindu or Buddhist, and of course in French ‘temple’ means only a Protestant chapel.

For ‘the imprisoned’ or for ‘those in captivity’? Many are captive, but only a few are in prison.

‘That we may be delivered from’/‘For our deliverance from’ all ‘sorrow’/’tribulation’, ‘anger’/’wrath’ and ‘need’/necessity’. Do we use English or Latin?

‘Most pure’ or ‘immaculate’. The latter sounds Roman Catholic and is not literal.

‘Most blessed and glorious’ or ‘Most blessed, glorious’? Do we go along with the English style of inserting ‘and’ between the last two adjectives in a row or are we literal?

Let us ‘entrust/commend/commit’ ourselves?

Finally, how do we translate the Greek Theotokos? It was long ago translated into Latin, Slavonic and Romanian. Are we not therefore to say ‘Birthgiver of God’ or ‘Mother of God’ in English? One ROCOR Metropolitan is opposed to Theotokos. It does seem strange to translate into Greek, when we are making a translation into English. And Theotokos is certainly not understood by Russian parishioners.

In times to come the mass of translations will be standardised, as liturgical sense takes over. It is towards that which we work.


An Icon for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

Our Russian Orthodox Faith in the Holy Trinity has long been expressed by the words: ‘For the Faith, For the Tsar, For Rus’, which represent the actions of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit throughout Rus. These words were expressed in recent history in the lives of the three ROCOR Saints, the Three New Hierarchs, the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy, the Three Saints of the Russian Emigration:

‘For the Faith’ was expressed by St Jonah of Hankou (+ 1925), the first ROCOR saint. Fleeing as a refugee with other White Russians to China and absolutely faithful to the fullness of Russian Orthodoxy, within a very short time of becoming a bishop at a very young age in Manchuria, he established an orphanage, a school and a dining hall for the poor. Thus he combined the love of the Liturgy with practical love for our neighbour, as the Gospel calls us to do, for ‘seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you’ (Matt. 6.33). This is indeed the essence of the Orthodox Christian Faith. St Jonah expressed faithfulness in the face of the betrayal of the Faith by others.

‘For the Faith and for the Tsar’ was expressed a generation later by St Seraphim of Boguchar (+ 1950). (1) He fearlessly expressed the historic values of Russian Orthodoxy in his writings and was a Defender of Orthodoxy against the heresies of the renovationist Paris School in the 1930s and against ecumenism, notably at the Moscow Council of 1948. He asked: What is the role of the Tsar? In his study ‘The Russian Ideology’, he answered that the Tsar is the incarnation of our Faith in social, political and economic affairs. This has become very relevant today, in the wake of the events that have followed the 2016 meeting in Crete organized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. St Seraphim expressed bravery in the face of the cowardice of others before the political pressures of the powerbrokers of this world.

All of these values, ‘For the Faith and for the Tsar and for Rus’ were expressed by St John of Shanghai and San Francisco (+ 1966). The first ‘universal saint’, as he has been called, he defended the Orthodox Faith and the Tsar from their enemies. He lived all over the planet, celebrating the Liturgy and preaching in many languages, extending the understanding and practice of ‘Rus’ worldwide far beyond East Slavdom, which itself stretches from Carpatho-Russia to the shores of the Pacific. Thus, in our Church we talk about American Rus, Argentinian Rus, Australian Rus, Canadian Rus, English Rus, French Rus, German Rus, Irish Rus, Italian Rus, Peruvian Rus, Swiss Rus and so on. Wherever, worldwide, there is the uncorrupted Christian Faith of the Russian Orthodox world, there is Rus. St John expressed the truth which sets us free from the deceit of those who do not love Christ and His Holy Church.

The Russian Emigration has expressed the truths ‘For the Faith, for the Tsar, for Rus’ with a more refined purity and much more extended significance than ever before. The values of faithfulness, bravery and truthfulness were above all expressed by the Three New Hierarchs after the ‘treachery, cowardice and deceit’ which caused the 1917 Revolution. And these Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy completed their lives on three different continents: St Jonah in China in Asia; St Seraphim in Bulgaria in Europe and St John in San Francisco in North America. It is this, the global reality of Rus, which the Church inside Russia is now learning about from us.

It is for this reason that we propose an Icon showing the Three Saints full length against the blue and green background of the planet – St John walking and blessing North and South America (where his parents went to live), St Seraphim walking and blessing Europe and Africa (where some of his spiritual children went to live), and St Jonah walking and blessing Asia and Oceania (where some of his spiritual children went to live), all beneath the Protecting Veil of the Directress of the Russian Emigration, the Kursk-Root Mother of God, the Icon of the Sign, She Who Shows the Way.

Thus, in this global age, we see all six inhabited Continents of the planet beneath the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God, blessed by the Three New Hierarchs, the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy, the Three Saints of the Russian Emigration, St John, St Seraphim and St Jonah. Their feasts, on 20 October, 26 February and 2 July are spread almost equally, every four months, throughout the Church year and each represents a new generation of Church life. Together they represent the essential identity, unique service, planetary mission and future of our Church, come forth from the past of Imperial Russia: a mission which today is supported and supplemented by the free Patriarchal Church, of which we are a self-governing part.


Note 1:

Some might assert that our part of the Russian Church has only two saints, St Jonah and St John, since St Seraphim reposed as a member of the Moscow Patriarchate and was not canonized by the Church Outside Russia. However, unlike Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky), who spent fifteen years serving as a priest in the then captive Moscow Patriarchate in Communist China but only in 1962 was able to leave, St Seraphim, who reposed in 1950, had no choice in the matter, being unable to leave Communist Bulgaria. But like Metr Philaret, St Seraphim lived outside Russia and never made any compromise with the Orthodox Faith at any time in his life. His refusal to compromise is all the more important given that today most of our flock and many of our clergy were born and grew up in the former Soviet Union.

In today’s situation of the Patriarchal Church, free of the atheist yoke, St Seraphim can be seen as part of the contribution of the Church Outside Russia to the common glory of the Russian Orthodox world and its worldwide mission. And when we consider that our Russian Orthodoxy – and all Traditional Orthodoxy – is effectively being persecuted by an alien and secular mentality which has crept into parts of the Greek Orthodox world and which St Seraphim already opposed in his lifetime, his relevance is all the more important. As we know, a copy of this Icon is to be presented to His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill. What better symbol for our Patriarch of our common struggle than an Icon of St Seraphim together with St Jonah and St John, all the fruit of Imperial Russia, all the fruit of our part of the Russian Church and all our offering to the whole Russian Church and to the whole world for the future.


The Russian Orthodox Émigré Contribution to the Future World Orthodox Church

A few years ago the now Metropolitan Tikhon of Pskov asked us the question: What distinctive contribution can the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) make to the Church inside Russia? Here is my answer to him in the light of the most recent events:

Our Orthodox Christian Faith is Trinitarian: God the Father, Who is the instinctive knowledge of the existence of God, God the Son, Who represents the Incarnation of the Faith in all human affairs on earth (as denied for a thousand years by the Western world), and God the Holy Spirit, Who sanctifies all the nations who accept Him. This Trinitarian knowledge has always been expressed in the Russian Orthodox words: ‘For the Faith, For the Tsar, For Rus’. This motto was in turn expressed in recent history by the three ROCOR Saints, the Three Saints of the Emigration:

‘For the Faith’ was expressed by St Jonah of Hankou (+ 1925), the first ROCOR saint. Fleeing as a refugee with the White Russians and absolutely faithful to the fullness of Russian Orthodoxy, within a very short time of becoming a bishop at a very young age in Manchuria, he established an orphanage, a school, and a dining hall for the poor. Thus he combined the love of the Liturgy with practical love for our neighbour, as the Gospel calls us to do. This is indeed the essence of the Orthodox Christian Faith.

‘For the Faith and for the Tsar’ was expressed a generation later by St Seraphim of Boguchar (+ 1950). He expressed the values of Russian Orthodoxy in his writings and was also the great defender of Orthodoxy against both the heresies of the renovationist Paris School in the 1930s and ecumenism, notably at the Inter-Orthodox Council of Moscow in July 1948. He asked: What is the role of the Tsar? He answered that he is the incarnation of the Faith in the life of the State, in social, political and economic affairs. This is why we await the coming of the next Tsar, the White Tsar, whether he is a man of piety, or Christ Himself in His Second Coming.

‘For the Faith, for the Tsar and for Rus’ was then expressed by St John of Shanghai (+ 1966). The first ‘universal saint’, as he has been called, he lived all over the planet and celebrated the Liturgy and preached in many languages, extending the understanding and practice of ‘Rus’ worldwide far beyond East Slavdom, which stretches from Slovakia to the shores of the Pacific. Now we talk about American Rus, Australian Rus, English Rus, French Rus, German Rus, Irish Rus, Peruvian Rus, Swiss Rus. Wherever, worldwide, there is the uncorrupted Christian Faith of the Russian Orthodox world, there is Rus.

Some in Russia would say that this is what they have always believed. True, but the emigration expressed it with a refined purity and much extended significance, all of which became possible only after the catastrophe of the 1917 Revolution.  All three saints together, the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy, completed their lives on three different continents: St Jonah in China in Asia; St Seraphim in Bulgaria in Europe and St John in San Francisco in North America.

It is this, the global reality of Rus, which the Church inside Russia is now learning from us. Once captive inside the mental borders of the Soviet Union, the multinational Russian Orthodox Church has recently established a Western European Exarchate and a South-East Asian Exarchate, becoming ever more deeply the Church of Eurasia. Now, with the long-expected apostasy of Greek Churches, far too weak to stand up to corrupting American pressure, there has appeared the possibility of setting up a Turkish Exarchate in Asia and solving the old calendarist schism in Greece in Europe.

Moreover, extending to a new Continent, it could set up an African Orthodox Church with local, not colonial, bishops. Beyond this there is the possibility of founding a real North American Orthodox Church, with the future merger of the healthy elements of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) with ROCOR. And ROCOR in turn can, with canonical and practical support from inside Russia, help set up a Church of Oceania and a Church of South America. It is our hope that we shall yet see founded a church dedicated to the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy, the Pillars of the Russian emigration of three different continents. The future begins now.