Category Archives: North Korea

From Recent Correspondence: May 2014

Q: How do you understand the current civil war in the Ukraine?

A: Whenever the Orthodox world is on the brink of victory, the West intervenes and undermines it, carrying out its genocide. So it was in the mid-eleventh century, a brilliant time of military victory and spiritual prosperity for New Rome and the whole Christian Empire. So it was in Kiev in the twelfth century, when the West tried to undermine its brilliant Orthodox civilization, so it was in Russia when the barbarian hordes from the West invaded in 1612 and in 1812, then again in 1854 in the Crimea, yet again in 1917 when Russia was on the verge of victory, and so today in the Ukraine, where we are witnessing yet another Western invasion and occupation of Kiev. The Western elite cares nothing for the Ukrainian people or history; the Ukraine is just a tool to gain more power, destroying all opposition to its domination by bread and circuses. Thus, its new President-elect is only a puppet – the real governor of the Ukraine, the next state of the USA, is the US ambassador in Kiev.

Q: This is not the version of the Western media.

A: The propaganda being pumped out day and night by the BBC, for example, is quite astounding. They have quite lost their conscience and all integrity. People are turning more and more to alternatives, especially the Internet, which is not censored – not yet anyway. It is worse than in the days of the Cold War; then you knew that the Soviet Union was atheist and persecuted the Church. Now the Russian Federation is becoming Christian and it is the West that is atheist and persecuting the Church and indeed any spiritual or traditional values at all.

Q: Who do you think was originally responsible for the problem in the Ukraine?

A: Stalin and his borders were responsible. Can you imagine a country made up of eastern Poland and western Russia? It was never going to work. It is as though you made one country out of France and Germany. It is not possible. Now a civil war is going on in the Ukraine, with Ukrainian killing Ukrainian. Little wonder that most of the Ukrainian Army refuses to take part or has surrendered to the free Ukrainians in the east; the junta in Kiev has had to bring in foreign mercenaries in the east, the same as those that brought it to power by violence last February. The civil war in the Ukraine will be interminable – until the country falls apart into its natural and quite different parts.

Q: Has the West won anything by meddling in the Ukraine?

A: No – just as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only has it lost a lot of money, which has been poured into the corrupt black hole of Kiev, but also the events in the Ukraine have affirmed post-Communist Russian identity. Before there were many in Russia who wavered in loyalty and were pro-Western. Now 82% support President Putin. I can think of one Church figure, who not so long ago was an ecumenist and papophile, but who is now appealing for faithfulness to the Tradition – like everyone else has always done! Such is repentance for the errors of youth.

President Putin has adopted the Church and its values as his emblem. This is not the Church being taken over by the State, as in the West – it is the Church influencing the State. President Putin has realized that there is nothing else. The US has made a colossal mistake by meddling in the Ukraine. It has lost all support in Russia and also now lost China, so isolating itself even further. Moreover, the US has little support in many parts of the EU itself, even in Germany. It looks as though the West has been following instructions on how to make enemies; at least that is the effect of Western imperialist meddling over the last 25 years. The West has lost international respect.

Q: Are there any other repercussions?

A: Yes, a huge one. The aggressively expansionist West has brought Russia to create the Eurasian Economic Union, with the very wealthy Kazakhstan and Belarus. Now Kyrgyzstan and Armenia want to join the EEU as soon as possible. Armenia is all the more interested since its neighbour and enemy, Azerbaijan, has become a US colony through its Turkish proxy. Other countries have expressed great interest, notably Vietnam and above all China. Generally, the stupidity of the West has thrust Russia into the arms of China. Russia is already one of the largest Christian countries in the world, but China within a generation is due to become the largest Christian country in the world.

Q: But Christian in the sense of Protestant or Roman Catholic, and not Orthodox.

A: Yes, but the spiritually sensitive there will migrate to Orthodoxy, having seen though the Western myths of Protestantism and its parent Catholicism, just as has happened in the West itself. For the moment the Chinese are not spiritually ready, but this will come and they will move to Orthodoxy and to the Russian Church, to whose canonical territory China belongs. I think the same may happen in North Korea (not in South Korea which, like Japan, has since 1945 been a US colony). In addition, once Communist ideology has collapsed in despotic North Korea, as it inevitably will do, as it already has done in China, there will be a need for another ideology and a religious one – certainly not the Western one which is atheist.

Q: Why are both Greek new calendarists and Greek old calendarists at one in condemning the Russian Church and generally being Russophobic?

A: There are five reasons for this. The first is Greek nationalism – both new calendarism and old calendarism are a purely Greek problem. The second is jealousy. For instance they accuse the Russian Church of ‘imperialism’ (!), when they really mean Greek imperialism. The third is extremism – they do not like moderation because they represent two extremes, two isms. The fourth is self-justification; if Russia is ‘imperialistic’, then that would mean that they are not. The fifth is the CIA, which finances both groups to varying degrees. Indeed, one old calendarist bishop in America actually wrote to me a few years ago vigorously defending the CIA and openly told me that many of his parishioners worked for it.

Q: But there is such a thing as Russian nationalism, isn’t there?

A: Of course, there is. We have suffered from it over the last 40 years. There are unChurched Russians who have no understanding of the word ‘Rus’. They confound culture and language with the Faith. As I said at the San Francisco Council in 2006, Rus is the Orthodox reply to globalism. Rus means Orthodox multinationality. Whether among the 100 or so peoples of the Russian Federation, or in Russian canonical territory in Japan and China, or in Alaska (at least among the natives, not among the Anglos), in North Korea, Thailand and Laos, or in the 50 or so countries of the Western world and beyond, which are covered by the Church Outside Russia, you can find Russian Orthodox. Russian Orthodoxy is a world, not a single nationality.

Q: That sounds a bit Roman Catholic.

A: The concept of Rus is not one of papist centralized unity, it is Trinitarian, unity in diversity. As one Russian philosopher put it: ‘The choice is between the Holy Trinity and hell’. We choose the Holy Trinity, not Western (= pagan Roman) centralization.

Q: Doesn’t the support recently shown by the Russian government for anti-EU movements mean that it is allying itself with right-wing movements?

A: Not at all. Both the European left and the European right, all those with actual political beliefs and principles, are alike opposed to the EU, which, as they realize, is only a US colonial project, using Germany as its executive pawn. Those who oppose the neocon EU also want social justice. This is why, in the UK for example, UKIP is not only anti-Brussels but also anti-Washington. Most Russians today bitterly regret the ‘privatizations’ inside Russia in the 1990s, carried out by Harvard–trained or at least Western-style necons. Such asset theft created the oligarchs, who now mainly live in London and Tel-Aviv. The Russian Federation has not forgotten social justice and so also supports the left-wing anti-EU movements throughout the south of Europe.

Q: But surely that is left-wingery and is just nostalgic support for the old Soviet Union?

A: Not at all. If you believe that, you have swallowed one of the main myths of Soviet/Western anti-Russian propaganda. This is that the pre-1917 government did not believe in social justice, that it was against the people. The pre-1917 government was committed to social justice, the literacy rate was nearing 90% and huge strides had been made not only in education, but also in medicine and improving working conditions. Most, if not all, of what was good in the Soviet Union had been inherited from the Tsar’s Russia. By 1917 Russia had already overtaken the West in several areas. The Tsar’s rule was a popular monarchy. Do not forget that it was brought down by the aristocrats, who were losing money and land to the people, just as today the anti-Putinists in Russia are also pro-Western oligarchs (modern aristocrats) who are frightened that they will lose their ill-gotten gains back to the people through populist government.

Q: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the West?

A: I would say ‘cautiously pessimistic’, even though the rate of spiritual decline in the West has accelerated tremendously over the last 25, and even the last 10, years. The West has for a thousand years been held in a cycle of atheist logic. It is captive to it. Everything that we in the Church do is only a delaying action, something that puts off its atheist Babylon. But even delaying it is still a miracle.

Q: What will happen in the West in the end?

A: Today political correctness is already talking of making circumcision illegal. Soon it will be the same with baptism, especially baptism by immersion. We shall be forced to flee to Russia to get baptized, just as St Seraphim of Vyritsa prophesied in the dark days of persecution in Russia.

Q: Do you have any thoughts seven years on from the great events in Moscow on Ascension Day 2007, when the two parts of the Russian Church were administratively reunited after an interval of nearly 90 years, when before there unity had only been spiritual?

A: Our ROCOR Metr Hilarion was brought up in a Diaspora parish of the Church inside Russia. Our ROCOR Archbishop Mark wanted to study in the Church inside Russia. I would not compare myself to them, but I had the same ambition in 1976. However, it was all impossible. The Diaspora parishes of the Church inside Russia were simply not free. I realized this in 1976 in Russia, when I saw the authentic Church and could compare it with non-ROCOR parishes outside Russia and saw scandals in them. One of our ROCOR bishops told me that if he had been treated by representatives of the Church inside Russia as I was treated, he would have left the Church altogether. Today those who caused all the problems are all dead; they have become history in the bad sense, just bad memories. But such was the decadence of that period because of the lack of freedom. A Church cannot live without spiritual freedom.

Fortunately, there was the Church Outside Russia which had kept and cherished that freedom. And today both parts of the Church have spiritual freedom. And that is due to two great hierarchs: Patriarch Alexis II and Metropolitan Laurus. I firmly believe that one day there will be a feast in the Church calendar in honour of Sts Alexis and Laurus, Restorers of Unity. That was, is, and will be a spiritual ascension for us all.

Ascension Day 2014

Thoughts on Difficulties Facing the Church outside Russia

Introduction

Of problem areas facing the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia in regions outside Russia, there now remain perhaps four of the original five. The first problem was what to do with the three tiny communities in Australia, still irregularly under the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia, which had to be canonically unified with the far larger Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). Here the solution was simple, to hand over one community that was happy to come to ROCOR and grant temporary stavropegia (peculiar status) to the other two until they and their problems have been absorbed. What then are the other three problem areas that remain?

1. Asia

Problem One is what to do about China, if the Chinese government does after all grant freedom for Non-Western Orthodoxy in China, as we all hope. Here the problem is even greater because it is clear that at the present time, whichever hierarch is responsible for China, he will also have to be responsible for the moment for a further extension to Russian Orthodox canonical territory – in North Korea, Indo-China (Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia), Thailand and India. In other words, we are saying that the Russia Church may soon face the question of whom it can appoint as Metropolitan of China and beyond. However, there is perhaps an excellent candidate in Moscow, at present an Archbishop.

2. North America

In North America, the situation is far more complex since this is an area of mixed jurisdiction in which other Local Churches are present. Thus, the first problem is the much disputed autocephaly granted during the politically highly difficult Cold War period to the so-called English-speaking and new calendarist OCA (Orthodox Church in America). Controversially, its territory includes former Russian America (now Alaska) as well as Canada. Moreover, according to the Tomos of autocephaly, the Church inside Russia no longer has any right to found new parishes in North America.

Therefore, it now falls to ROCOR (not party to the Tomos) to open such new parishes and cater for the huge pastoral needs of the many new Russian Orthodox immigrants to North America, as it does already to all, of whatever nationality, who remain faithful to the Russian Orthodox Faith. In this matter ROCOR will certainly therefore need financial help from Russia. The future for the small number of parishes in North America still irregularly under the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia, is to pass to the appropriate – and only – canonical part of the Russian Church outside Russia – that is, to ROCOR. Except for those who do not wish to go to ROCOR (like the two communities in Australia) and those whom ROCOR refuses as uncanonical (and there are some – perhaps they will join the OCA), the vast majority of parishes at present under the Church inside Russia will in time do exactly this.

This should be particularly easy in Canada, although none of this solves the problem of the huge territory granted to the OCA, including even Alaska. The OCA now also has a huge number of bishops, including four Metropolitans, yet probably numbers fewer than 30,000 active parishioners. We can only pray that in time the Church inside Russia, which is historically responsible for this situation, will find a canonical solution to it. Perhaps this will take the form of a revised Tomos, which will be canonically acceptable to all the Local Orthodox Churches.

3. Western Europe

Here is the most complex problem of all. Western Europe is not dominated by ROCOR, as Australia is, or for that matter North America. Instead the Russian Church presence here is divided into two halves, that of the canonical ROCOR and that of numerous parishes still irregularly under the Church inside Russia, even though they are outside Russia. For historical reasons it is only the German-speaking and French-speaking areas of Western Europe where ROCOR has a real presence and even here limited. Clearly, according to the Russian Orthodox canonical accords of 2007, the parishes of the Church inside Russia will have to be transferred and absorbed into the Church outside Russia with time. But how?

One of the major problems here is the weak episcopal presence on both sides, especially on the part of the Patriarchate. It urgently needs younger bishops who speak the local languages in Italy, Iberia, Scandinavia, Austria-Hungary and perhaps Benelux. It needs younger bishops who are not only bilingual, but also bicultural, thus understanding local people; the disastrous Sourozh episode of the early 2000s, of which the distracted Patriarchate in Moscow had been repeatedly alerted would happen, proves this point of the lack of understanding of the episcopate of local situations. Otherwise, it will simply be a Church of the ghetto, as ROCOR often used to be. As for ROCOR, it urgently needs a bishop in Great Britain (perhaps he could also cover Benelux, thus solving the problems of all Russian Orthodox parishes in Benelux). In Great Britain there has been no resident bishop in good health for nearly fifty years. It is a miracle that anything is left of the diocese here at all. All new bishops, of whatever background, should be trained at least to ROCOR pastoral standards.

Apart from the problems of elderly bishops or bishops who cannot communicate with and do not understand parts of their flocks, there are other Cold War canonical compromises that remain in several parishes in Western Europe which are still under the Church inside Russia – not least among these are also financial problems. However, with time, all these problems can be overcome. The absorption of these parishes into ROCOR can be managed, providing that time is taken over it.

4. Latin America

The difficulty here is that of the Great Britain Diocese writ large – the absence for many years of resident episcopal supervision. Gallantly Bishop John of Caracas carries out his duties in his now small diocese; but the horse has bolted. Meanwhile the parishes under the Church inside Russia that exist in South America have been left without a bishop at all. Latin America desperately needs bilingual Russian Orthodox Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking clergy; a dozen of them, with adequate finance, would make a huge difference. However, that is only the start, millions of Maya in Guatemala and millions of Brazilians want Orthodoxy, but there is no infrastructure to take pastoral care of them. Nowhere are problems as great as in Latin America – South, Central and North (Mexico).

Conclusion

Since the fall of atheist rule in Russia, an enormous amount has been done to sort out the problems of the Russian Church both inside Russia and, in recent years, outside Russia. However, much still remains to be done. A brief outline of the problem areas has been given above. As long as all takes place peacefully and in freedom, in due course the worldwide situation of the whole Church outside Russia, at present with over 820 parishes, many monasteries and two seminaries, will continue to improve.

Archpriest Andrew Phillips
Moscow, 31 May 2013

The Odour of the Apocalypse

Tsar Nicholas III, in a recent speech in St Petersburg, called for the right of all sovereign peoples to determine their own futures without outside interference…Imperial Russian Armies have now crossed the Caucasus and are heading in a two-pronged attack towards Constantinople and through Turkey and Syria towards Jerusalem.

From It’s Later than You Think, July 1991, from Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition

Introduction

Yesterday’s bombing in Boston was appalling and evil. Innocent bystanders, children included, were killed or maimed. However, there are events going on in the world today that are worse even than this. The difference is that those events are hardly reported by the Western media, which often appear to have little but contempt for those who are not included in its ethnocentric navel-gazing.

The Middle

Yesterday’s bomb in Boston is what Iraqis have had to put up with, only on a far worse scale, every few days for the last ten years. A million or more are dead, their country ravaged and in part destroyed, families maimed and killed, even water, gas and electricity in this once rich country are not available all the time. Sometimes, in this oil-rich land, no petrol can be had for cars. The result is that all who can are getting out and that half of Iraq’s almost bimillennial Christians are living in refugee camps and in exile, their lives ruined by a thoughtless and selfish invasion and occupation, which has brought little but misery.

Then there is the war in Syria, largely an invasion being waged by foreign mercenaries against the Syrian people on behalf of powers playing a great geostrategic game to divide and rule the Middle East, whose centre is in Jerusalem. Tunisia, Libya and Egypt have already been destabilised by those powers, their Christian inhabitants the first victims. The terrorists in Syria are fanatical Islamists, their ideology invented by the CIA. They are financed and armed by Afghan drug money, greatly increased since the invasion of Afghanistan, and by the despotic but oil-rich, feudal Islamist monarchies of the Gulf.

These have airlifted in thousands of tons of arms, mainly from Croatia and the Ukraine, to the terrorists who are being trained by US, UK and French Special Forces in the Jordan and Turkey. At stake are the huge untapped gasfields in the Eastern Mediterranean and pipeline routes to Europe. Turkey, for long a puppet, but once the centre of the Ottoman Empire, eyes territory and reserves. The Lebanon quakes, fearing the spillover into its territory. Israel hopes but trembles, seeing opportunities but also threats. The victims are the millions of Christians and other minorities, who mostly live in and around Damascus, Aleppo and Homs.

The West

Meanwhile, the Western world is riven by the problems which it created in 1917, when it exported an ideology of hatred to destroy the Russian Empire, the sole remaining bastion of the Orthodox Christian world, the Orthosphere. Since the fall of that Christian Empire, the world has known only instability. Over the last ninety years, the West has attempted to destroy the soft underbelly of the Orthosphere, installing its candidates as Patriarchs of Constantinople and attempting to undermine the other Greek Patriarchates in Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and Local Churches in Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria.

In the last twenty years the Western world, directed from Washington or from its puppet in Brussels, has tried to further undermine those and other parts of the Orthosphere. First, it attacked Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo in a divide and rule policy, bombing Belgrade for Easter, deforming Serbian babies with ‘uranium-enriched’ warheads in Nazi atrocities. Then, having bribed Greece to join the EU, it bribed Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic States, so bankrupting them. Finally, the West set about destabilising the Ukraine, Georgia, Syria and, last year, the final bulwark, the Russian Federation.

Western people are many-layered. In order for them to rebecome Christian, they have to remove every layer of their anti-Christian culture, which they deludedly imagine to be Christian. The layer of modern secularism has to go, then that of 19th century imperialism and rationalism (in fact anti-rationalism), then the darkness of the ‘Enlightenment’, then the protest of the Reformation (as if you could understand the Scriptures without the Holy Spirit), next feudalism, scholasticism and the crusades all have to be removed. Sadly, few are able to cleanse themselves of all the delusions of these layers of proud cultural prejudice.

The East

At the other end of Asia to the physically and spiritually bankrupt ‘Judeo-Christian’ West, there is the East. Today, this means the threat from North Korea, a gigantic Stalinist concentration camp, ruled by madmen, who appear to have nuclear weapons, like India, Pakistan, Israel and perhaps Iran. Yet, it is doubtful if this North Korea could exist without Capitalist-Communist China, which is so hard-working and therefore so rich that it also owns much of the Western world. Yet, paradoxically, it may be that it is this part of Asia which may bring solutions to the current world crisis of this time before Antichrist.

Two prophecies tell us that salvation will come from the East. St John of Kronstadt (+ 1908) prophesied that the deliverance of Russia would come from the East and, ten years later, St Aristocleus (+ 1918) prophesied that the real end of Russia’s errings would come through China. And errings there are. In Russia, which stretches from the East to the West and whose canonical Church territory includes China, current dissatisfaction is real and exists because of ingrained and systemic corruption. It is this dissatisfaction, in itself justified, which is so easily exploited by the dark forces of the West which seek to destroy Russia.

If we are worthy of these prophecies, Russia will be restored and with it the rest of the Orthosphere, which for now is captive to German economic power (able even to steal from private bank accounts) and American military power (able even to steal from private computer accounts). If we are worthy of these prophecies, we may yet also be able to gather together the remnants of the peoples of the whole world into the Church before the end. If we are worthy of these prophecies, it may be that the peoples of the East and West will be reunited once more, not by Babylon, but by Jerusalem.

Conclusion

The Christian Russian Empire, heir to the Christian Roman Empire, was crucified in its Golgotha of 1917. After three ‘days’ (generations) it rose from the dead. The giant is now beginning to speak to the world, East and West alike, of the Resurrection and what it saw when it went down to hades. Will the world, seemingly unaware of this odour of the Apocalypse, listen? We can only pray.

Note:

1. In 1973 the Abbess of the Convent at Gethsemane, Mother Barbara (Tsvetkova) spoke of the prophecy of Elder (now St) Aristocleus of Athos (1838-1918), who was then living in Moscow. The Elder told the future Abbess, then a young student, that ‘regeneration in Russia will begin after a most powerful explosion on the bank of a big river’. When in 1986 the atomic catastrophe occurred at Chernobyl, this prophecy came true.