Category Archives: Orthodox Life

From Recent Correspondence (October 2017)

Pastoral Questions and Current Affairs

Q: There exist authentic Orthodox spiritual fathers whose disciples group around them. How can you tell the difference between them and cults?

A: Authentic spiritual fathers and their disciples are always diverse, everyone is different and free. However, cults produce clones, the members are all the same, with the same hairstyle, the same beards, the same clothes, the same glasses, like an army. Everything down to the smallest detail is identical, for their personalities are always suppressed and repressed. The spiritual children of real spiritual fathers are always diverse, alive and lively, the clones, zombies and robots of frauds are always the same, spiritually repressed and dying. This is because where there is love, there is freedom and self-expression, but where there is no love, so there is no freedom and no self-expression.

Q: How do you see the late Fr John Romanides?

A: I only met Fr John once, in 1981, and read his translated works about the same time. I was impressed by his knowledge of Western history and original approach. To my mind he was easily the finest and most Orthodox of the academic theologians of his generation. It is significant that Roman Catholics detest him and Protestants have no understanding of his Biblical basis because they do not understand the Bible. Unlike Metr John Zisioulas, he was fiercely but understandably opposed to ecumenistic Parisian Russian intellectuals, because of his bad experiences with them in the Church in the USA in the 1950s. As a result of them, Fr John did not always appreciate the real Russian Orthodox Church.

On the downside, some have accused him of a certain racism in his black and white approach to Franks and Greeks (Romans), where to some he gives the impression that the first are always bad because of their ethnicity and the latter are always good because of their ethnicity. That is very regrettable because Fr John did not have a racist bone in his body.

Q: In order to justify making sex change legal, the atheist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that ‘we (= Greece) belong to Europe’ and ‘nothing, no religion, can stand higher than human rights’. What does this mean, in your view?

A: It means that his religion is in fact the god of human rightism. This is a strange god because according to it unborn children have no rights and can be destroyed in the greatest holocaust of world history. This is because in this neo-pagan religion (reminiscent of the paganism of the Ancient Greeks), it is human sin that is worshipped.

Q: Roman Catholics often have a picture of the Pope in their homes and some Anglicans have a photo of Canterbury Cathedral. What do Orthodox have, as you are divided into different nationalities and have different patriarchs and styles of architecture?

A: We all have an icon corner, with an icon of Christ, and probably also icons of the Mother of God and close saints. This is because Christ, and no human being or church-building, is the Head of our Church.

Q: Is missionary work to be encouraged?

A: Only if it is Orthodox. All Orthodox parishes are missions in this sense. Sadly, all kinds of compromises get justified by the term ‘missionary work’, including the heresy of ecumenism. We have a huge amount of real missionary work to do with our own Orthodox people and those Non-Orthodox whom they choose to marry or befriend. I think it is especially pointless to talk to heterodox with the idea of converting them. Heterodox rarely convert to authentic Orthodoxy (of the few who do, most lapse or bring their heterodox baggage, including divisiveness, into the Church with them and then create problems and schisms for the rest of us). If we are to convert the world round us, it is much better to talk to the masses who have no religion at all. Heterodox form a small minority which is dying out anyway. We should leave the dead to bury the dead. We have too much else to do.

Q: St Ephraim the Syrian says that the Six Days of Creation were precisely that, six twenty-four hour periods. What do you say to that?

A: Like most Fathers of his era, he interpreted in that way, according to the scientific knowledge of the time. However, the Church does not dogmatize these views. What we should listen to is Church Councils and even then, only provided that they are real Councils, that is, inspired by the Holy Spirit. (We are against any kind of ‘Councilism’ or worship of meetings called Councils, for without the Holy Spirit any so-called ‘Council’ is only a conference, as we saw in Crete last year). And that is only revealed after the Councils have taken place and their teachings have been received by the faithful.

This is the meaning of the words ‘catholicity’ and ‘conciliarity’, groups of Church people inspired by the Holy Spirit throughout history and in all places creating spiritual consensus. I am sure you can find many personal opinions on secondary matters (= the matters that do not affect our salvation) of many Church Fathers that have been proved to be wrong. What do you not find is the dogmas of Church Councils, inspired by the Holy Spirit, that are wrong. Do not dogmatize or absolutize opinions. Only the Holy Spirit is infallible.

The History of the Western World:

Q: Is it true that there were no Jews in England until 1066? And if so, how did they get to Western Europe anyway?

A: Yes, that is so. As for your second question, the answer is that in the late eighth century, Charlemagne (c. 742 – 814), brought in Jews from Spain together with Jewish-trained advisors from Spain, including those who introduced the filioque, like the heretic Theodulf of Orleans. These Jews protected and helped develop commerce in his tiny ‘empire’. He saw the Jews as an economic asset and protected them. He realized the advantages and business abilities of the Jews and gave them complete freedom with regard to their commercial transactions.

Charlemagne was a gluttonous and superstitious illiterate, who was notorious for the murderous ruthlessness with which he treated his opponents. Moreover, his son, Louis (814–833), was faithful to the same lack of principles and also granted protection to Jews, to whom he gave special attention in their position as merchants. Spreading through the commercial centres of northern France, the Jews finally arrived in England from Rouen after the occupation under the heir to Charlemagne, William the Bastard, in 1066.

Q: What view does the Church have of feudalism?

A: Founded on the filioque, feudalism with its system of vassals is unique to the post-Schism medieval West, appearing in primitive and potential forms in the year 1000, or slightly before, and becoming full-blown after about 1050, when the Pope himself became just a feudal lord. The inward sign of feudalism is the filioque, but the outward sign of the presence of feudalism (and therefore of the absence of Orthodoxy) is in castles, what historians call ‘encastellation’. This is quite clear in Eastern Europe, where castles peter out along the Croat, Polish and Slovak borders. Orthodox do not have castles. In the Church we do not have feudalism, but independence and sovereignty, as expressed by the Greek word ‘avtokratia’, which does not at all mean ‘autocracy’. ‘Autocracy’ in English means tyranny and absolutism, which is very different from the people’s monarchy, the ‘autocracy’ of Orthodox Christianity.

Q: 100 years ago there were 100 million Orthodox, today there are just over 200 million. However, if you look at Catholics and Protestants they have probably quadrupled in numbers, if not more. Why has the Orthodox Church not grown as much?

A: Apart from the fact that Catholicism (1.3 billion) and the myriad of Protestant sects claim to have far higher numbers than they really have, I think there are several reasons:

  1. As the last representatives of the Church of Christ, Orthodox have in the last 100 years been subject to the greatest persecution known in world history. Carried out by the dual Western ideologies of Marxism and Nazism (both born in Germanic Western Europe), tens of millions died in their infernal invasions and persecutions and tens of millions more were aborted under the infernal Marxist ideology and then under the Western Capitalist ideology. If it had not been for this, the Orthodox population would easily have quadrupled in Russia alone.
  2. The vast majority of the growth of Catholicism and Protestantism has come about in former Western colonies in Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia. Orthodoxy does not have colonies, since they are founded on genocide.
  3. The Church is not a business with plans for expansion. Such businesses come and go, expand and contract, relying on superficial attraction. The Church is a tree and trees grow slowly, but organically.

Q: Recently a senior female cleric of the US Presbyterian Church said that God is not a Christian, meaning that anyone can be saved. What is your reaction?

A: Such Protestant clerics and laypeople do say things like this. I have also read them saying that ‘The Church needs to learn about Christianity’. It proves that words like ‘God’, ‘Christ’, ‘Church’, ‘Christian’, ‘salvation’, ‘priest’ etc have a completely different meaning for Non-Orthodox than for Orthodox. For them ‘the Church’ means ‘Protestant clergy’, many of whom are open atheists.

For Orthodox, all these words mean the same thing: God is the Holy Trinity, Christ is the Church, Christians follow the Church, salvation (from evil) is through Christ, priests belong to the Church etc. Christ is God and the Church is the Body of Christ and therefore Christians are people who try and follow Christ, belonging to Him. To say that Christ is not God or not a Christian simply makes no sense to an (Orthodox) Christian. Of course, it is true that there are plenty of people who call themselves Christians but who do not believe that Christ is the Son of God. However, they are not Orthodox Christians. Clearly, this female cleric is one of those. She condemns herself out of her own mouth.

As regards salvation, all we know is that inside the (Orthodox) Church, this is possible because billions have been saved, but that all who have been saved and will be saved have achieved this and will achieve this through the mercy of Christ, Who alone is the Just Judge.

Q: What is your view of Catalonian independence?

A: Free and unintimidated Catalans said yes to independence, the Western oligarchs said no. The Western ruling élites are heirs of the barbarians; when bandits in Kosovo proclaim independence, they call it good, but when Catalonia proclaims the same thing, they call it bad. Of course, that does not in any way mean that we support the Catalonian independence party and its leader. Like the Scottish nationalists, they are pro-EU, globalist and socialist. However, we support independence and freedom from centralist states for every viable historic people, like the Scottish and the Catalonian, who have in history been independent nations.

Russia

Q: Why did the Russian Revolution happen?

A: The Imperial Family lost their lives because the upper class elite, jealous of their power, turned against them in the 19th century and finally overthrew them in February 1917. If that had not occurred, Russia would have been victorious in the First European War. If you want to find the culprits who laid the groundwork for October and the murder of the Romanovs (recall who imprisoned the Romanovs in the first place), look among the families of the upper class.

Q: Why did former Russian Orthodox become Communists 100 years ago? Marx thought that Germans would become Communists and not Russians.

A: It all depends on the previous cultural values. As one elderly Romanian put it to me, ‘Communism is Christianity without Christ’, by which she meant that Communism has no love or freedom. It can be said that lapsed Orthodoxy = Communism, lapsed Roman Catholicism = Fascism and lapsed Protestantism = Capitalism. This is borne out by the last 100 years of history.

Q: Does Russia have a future in a globalized world?

A: Through its NATO and EU aggressiveness in Eastern Europe and especially the Ukraine, Washington and Brussels have thrown Russia into alliance with China. It has thus created the union of the most populous country in the world with the greatest manufacturing ability and the world’s highest GNP, with the largest country in the world and the centre of civilian and military technology, endowed with the greatest natural resources in the world. More than this, the Russian Federation is also the centre of the global Christian Tradition. Together, technology with the Tradition provide the alternative to the globalist ‘New World Order’ project of the Western elite. Tradition represents the opposition of all those who do not want to be enslaved to their modernist New World Order.

As the universal keeper and defender of Holy Orthodoxy, the Russia of Christ the Saviour is hated by Satan and his demons. That is why they carried out the Russian Revolution in order to efface the word Russia from the face of the earth, blew up the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, built to commemorate the defeat of the antichrist Napoleon, and were so bitterly angry at the rebuilding of that Cathedral after the fall of their Soviet Union. Russia is home to the Church, which is opposed to Trotskyite/Ukrainian Jewish, permanent chaos. This has again been implemented by the neocons as the New World Order.

How they hate us! They write to me and accuse faithful Orthodox of being ‘worse than the Nazis’!! The word ‘devil’ does after all mean ‘slanderer’ in Greek. We prevent them from doing the will of Satan, so they hate us. The place of confrontation of these two visions of globalism, the Western and the Russo-Chinese, is in, of all places, North Korea, where the Chinese and Russian borders meet. That is where we shall see the pattern of the future.

Q: There seem to be quite a number of scandals in the Russian Church inside Russia at present. Is there a serious problem?

A: I think there is – that you read the internet too much! On the internet, with its forums and blogs, you only get scandals. If you go to Russia and meet some of the bishops, follow the priests who do the baptisms, weddings and funerals, who confess and celebrate the liturgy every day, who visit the hospitals and bless the homes, meet the nearly 6,000 who are at present studying in seminaries, and if you take part in the massive Church processions and pilgrimages of the ordinary faithful, you will get a quite different impression. The Church is alive; the internet only reflects the exceptions, the bad news. All the mass of good news goes, as usual, unreported because people who have time to waste only want the scandals and sensations, as it makes them feel self-important, which they, and the devil, like. Avoid scandal-mongering, it is bad for your soul.

General

Q: Are young people less mature than they used to be? Or am I just getting old?

A: Well, of course you are getting old! We all are. I am not sure, every generation of older people for thousands of years has been complaining about young people. And then the young people get older and complain about young people in their turn. The only thing is that many young people now live in the virtual world of the internet and that does hold them back. Only reality makes mature. Smartphones do not.

Q: Would you say that night clubs are hellish?

A: I have never been to one, but I have seen photos. I would call them advertising agencies for hell.

Q: What were your best years of being an Orthodox clergyman?

A: Without the slightest doubt the last nine, of which the best was 2017: the first twenty-five before these last nine were despairingly hard.

Q: Why the change in 2017?

A: Because after 30 years we have at last gained a bishop. ROCOR lost its South American Diocese because it did not have a bishop for only 20 years, but we here survived for 30 years without a bishop. I think we hold a record, if only for stubbornness.

Q: What words would you like to have on your grave?

A: Well, that is a very surprising question! I have never thought about it. I don’t have time. A grave near my parent’s grave says: ‘I told you I was ill’. That is English humour. Many Orthodox graves have ‘Eternal Memory’ on them.

After several days’ thought about an answer to this question, I thought I would like: ‘The truth will set you free’. I have always valued the Truth and Freedom and have fought for both of them all my life. Both are hated by Satan and his servants. Over a thousand years ago the early English preacher Aelfric wrote in his Colloquy: ‘It is most disgraceful and shameful when a man does not want to be what he is and what he has to be’. At least that particular sin is not mine.

 

 

 

 

 

Two Songs of Zhanna Bichevskaya

Zhanna Bichevskaya, the well-known patriotic Russian Orthodox singer, a convert to the Faith after her fame in the Soviet period, is often accused of nationalism. Although there is truth in this as regards some of her songs, one thing that she cannot be accused of is a lack of zeal. Below we print translations into English of two of her songs (The Youtube references give the original melodies).

The first song (‘Po Doroge v Zagorsk’) is not so much a translation as a new song. The original is filled with great melancholy and regret; our version expresses the joyful transformation of a young girl into a mother. The second song (‘Russkie Idut’) in the original does express nationalism, but we have changed it into an Orthodox marching-song, which expresses the energy and vigour of our Orthodox Faith.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47XQAfq5o1Q

On the Way to the Church

On the way to the church you can’t help seeing that the new season

Has lost July’s power and daring and August’s splendour and reason,

That it grows dark at seven and the thinning trees look neglected,

That the fields are empty and life has not been as you expected,

 

That with the awaited birth of a child you felt both joy and pain

And at being a new mother there is each day wonder again,

And that takes you to your heart from where the old solitude has flown,

That love of family has taken over from when you were alone.

 

On the way to church you can’t help hearing ringing bells that entrance

And knowing that life is not a dress to alter for a dance,

That the freedom you had was loneliness and not at all rosy

And that the sadness of autumn makes your family life feel cosy.

 

And you want to shout from your loving heart for the whole world to hear

The words of fulfilment, ‘I have everything I ever wanted’.

And you want to shout from your loving heart for the whole world to hear

The words of fulfilment, ‘I have everything I ever wanted’.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbYiOiqU8IU

Orthodox March

 

Orthodox march, through the ages of pagan night,

Orthodox march, beating the foes of heaven’s home,

Orthodox march, on and on to Jerusalem light,

Orthodox march, on and on to free the Third Rome.

 

Refrain:

March, march, march,

Orthodox march, gather to march

All who survived the blood and strife.

March, march, march,

Orthodox march, staying the knife

Of all who would end Spirit-filled life.

 

Orthodox march and the lights go on once again,

Orthodox march, reminding all of who we are,

Orthodox march to stem the sins and wars of men,

Orthodox march, defending all, both near and far.
 

Refrain:

March, march, march,

Orthodox march, gather to march

All who survived the blood and strife.

March, march, march,

Orthodox march, staying the knife

Of all who would end Spirit-filled life.

 

Orthodox march and gloom and darkness flee our coasts,

Orthodox march, helped by all the heavenly hosts,

Orthodox ride ever on, feet in the stirrup,

Orthodox hold back America and Europe.

Orthodox ride ever on, feet in the stirrup,

Orthodox hold back America and Europe.
 

Refrain:

March, march, march,

Orthodox march, gather to march

All who survived the blood and strife.

March, march, march,

Orthodox march, staying the knife

Of all who would end Spirit-filled life.

 

Orthodox march to put the fear of death behind,

Orthodox march, by Christ’s great banner we are led,

Orthodox march and gather to God all mankind,

Orthodox march, Holy Mary and saints ahead.

Orthodox march and gather to God all mankind,

Orthodox march, Holy Mary and saints ahead.

 

Refrain x 2:

 

March, march, march,

Orthodox march, gather to march

All who survived the blood and strife.

March, march, march,

Orthodox march, staying the knife

Of all who would end Spirit-filled life.

 

 

 

Why I Love My Parishioners

My three parishes in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk cover an area of over 5,000 square miles (13,000 square kilometres). That is why we have long needed and, at last have, two assistant priests. How big is my main parish in my native town of Colchester, in the biggest Russian Orthodox church building in the British Isles and Ireland? Well, there are about 100 people I can depend on to be there almost always. Then there are about another 400 parishioners, whom I know I will see within the space of a month. So there are 500 parishioners, of 25 different nationalities, born on four continents.

However, in addition to these 500 there are about another 4,500 people, scattered all over this region and up to 60 miles (100 kilometres) outside it, occasionally attending one or other of the three parishes. I may see them only once or twice a year, and some even less often than that. Many of them only come to church for baptisms and weddings, but when they do come, they come to us. Many of them I hardly know. So, not parishioners as such, but they are still in my mind and heart. There are all sorts of reasons why I see them only rarely, and it is not just a matter of distance. But I will not go into that here.

I want to tell you about two of them. With a title like ‘Why I love my parishioners’, you may think that I want to tell you about two of the 500 regulars. Since I do not want to embarrass anyone, I do not. I want to tell you about two of the other 4,500. They are of two different nationalities.

The first one is a real Orthodox man. In his forties, he is married with two lovely children. He has a business with employees. I first met him when he was in prison. Yes, in prison. Unfortunately, he had criminal competitors who tried to attack him and were jealous of him and his family. They threatened to throw acid in his wife’s face, if he did not take the blame for a crime of fraud which they had committed. He had no doubt that their threat was real. They were capable of it and had already done it to another. So, in order to protect his beloved wife, he went straight to the police and told them a lot of lies about himself. He went on trial and was sentenced. His only ‘crime’ was to lie in court in order to protect his wife. He had to go to prison for one year, but his wife was protected. There was such happiness and rejoicing in his house when he came home.

What a man. No, he has never studied theology, he has never heard of any modern ‘theologians’ (though he does know something of the Lives of the Saints), he cannot tell you about the history and structure of the services, has never met a bishop, does not know the Bible backwards, will not give you lots of pious talk about prayer and fasting, has never heard of ‘the Council of Crete’ and knows nothing about Catholicism and Protestantism. As a real Orthodox, he does not believe in God, he knows Him. So he has humility and there is no self-loving question of proud people about ‘Why has God allowed this to happen to me?’ Just acceptance of God’s will. He has protected and defended what is most precious to him. An example. He sacrificed himself, but has one of the best families in the world. They love each other. That is God’s reward to him. A real Orthodox man.

The second one is a real Orthodox woman, a lady with dignity and self-respect, which has become so rare these days. I first met her when I was making a pastoral visit far away. She married in her early 20s and had two children. But then her husband began drinking. And beating her. She was patient. They only divorced when he began harming the children. (He has since died). So she, then aged 34, brought up two children alone, struggling to pay her bills. She has made a good job of it too. The first went to University and now has a good career. A lovely person. The second, a girl, is finishing school. She has a very noble and idealistic disposition and is not afraid to stand up for the truth. She stands out from the others of her generation. (She has had her mother’s example). A year ago this Orthodox woman, who had shed so many tears for her broken dreams and broken heart these last 25 years, quite downhearted, came to church and there she met a man. The man. Within a week they had fallen in love. It was her dream, the one which she had wanted as a romantic teenager. She had been waiting all those years and then it all came true. Out of the blue.

What a woman. No, she has never studied theology, she has never heard of any modern ‘theologians’ (though she does know something of the Lives of the Saints), she cannot tell you about the history and structure of the services, has never met a bishop, does not know the Bible backwards, will not give you lots of pious talk about prayer and fasting, has never heard of ‘the Council of Crete’ and knows nothing about Catholicism and Protestantism. As a real Orthodox, she does not believe in God, she knows Him. So she has humility and there is no self-loving question of proud people about ‘Why has God allowed this to happen to me?’ Just acceptance of God’s will. She has protected and defended what is most precious to her. An example. She sacrificed himself, but has one of the best families in the world. They love each other. Her new husband adores her – as she deserves. That is God’s reward to her. A real Orthodox woman.

Now you know why I love my parishioners.

Those Who Lapse and Those Who Last: The End of ‘Euro-Orthodoxy’ and the Beginning of Orthodoxy in Europe

For some 40 years between the 1960s and the end of the twentieth century, some two thousand Anglicans joined certain parishes of the Orthodox Churches in England – mainly those under the then Parisian ‘Sourozh Diocese’. Together with a small number of ordinary (Non-Anglican) English people, they joined the Church for many reasons. Some of us, perhaps especially the Non-Anglicans, joined because we were sincerely seeking, not being influenced by any personality, but called by Christ to help rebuild His Church in the Western desert. For us, the Orthodox Church was and is the only Church, our spiritual home, to which we had come after realizing that this is God’s Will for us and our souls will die without spiritual food, that is, outside the Church. We have lasted and not lapsed because for us, belonging to the Church has always been a matter of spiritual survival, although and because we have been voices crying in the anti-Orthodox and so secularist wilderness.

However, some did not last but lapsed, for it seems that they were not attached to the Orthodox Church and Faith. Dissatisfied with the ever-changing and ever-new fads of Anglicanism, they attached themselves only to some personality or intellectual philosophy, and not to the Church Herself. Some were perhaps received by marginal figures who, without support from Churched Orthodox, needed to build personality cults for themselves among the naïve, ill-prepared, uninstructed or deluded. In other words, attraction operated for negative reasons, by being against something else, and some never accepted the Church as She is. Deluded by anti-Incarnational fantasies, sometimes of Hindu or Buddhist origin, Russian fakirs and charlatans and secondary and superficial attractions, some remained ‘converts’, not actually becoming Orthodox because of their baggage. They joined the Church, but did not become and live as Orthodox Christians.

The fundamental error of such ‘converts’, as they often liked to call themselves, consisted in not first separating themselves from the 900 + years of the anti-Orthodox and therefore also anti-English, Norman-founded British Establishment. This included its Anglican extension under the syphilitic Tudor tyrant Henry VIII and his followers, not least his murderous ‘theologian’ daughter Elizabeth, the genocidal Cromwell and then various other mercantile Dutch, German and ‘British’ Protestant Imperialists with their ‘Rule Britannia’ jingoism that invaded and enslaved the world. In no way therefore were they able to adopt the Orthodox Faith, for they had not first cleansed their minds and souls from the Anti-Orthodoxy, which they had been conditioned and deluded into thinking of as ‘Western Christianity’. Not having first made room in their minds and souls for the Orthodox Church, the only authentic Western or any other Christianity, they could not last and so lapsed.

Unwilling and so unable to live according to the Orthodox way of life and the Orthodox view of the world and so to think naturally in an Orthodox way, many lapsed completely, some returned to Anglicanism, and others lapsed into a fringe ‘Anglican Orthodoxy’. This inability and unwillingness to integrate meant that these latter tended to form exclusive cliques and convert clubs, which made their church into a ‘Halfodox’ hobby, Anglicanism with icons. Thus, some allowed the baggage which they had brought with them into the Church to define their lives and block possible spiritual growth and understanding. This was because their Western-founded Norman Establishment has always called us, the people, ‘Anglo-Saxons’ or ‘plebs’, although we have always called ourselves simply ‘English’. Their alien Norman Establishment has always patronisingly despised us natives and all who ‘go native’, that is, all who are Orthodox Christians in mind and heart, who are foreign to them.

With this mentality of Establishment condescension and pride towards us English, they also rejected the Orthodox people, with our unintellectual and unphilosophical simplicity and uncomplicated and unmoralizing piety. Thus, some refused in their imagined racial ‘superiority’ and intellectual theorizing to ‘go native’. Between about 2000 and 2010, with Anglicanism altogether disappearing into the New Age blur, few Anglicans asked to be received into the Church, while the by then ageing converts from the last century began to isolate themselves and die out. In recent years, however, a new period has begun. Some ordinary (Non-Anglican) English people from the vast majority have begun to join the Orthodox Church. Like the few Non-Anglicans among those who had preceded them, they have had little difficulty in renouncing the Norman-founded British Establishment and its corrupted culture, because they have in any case never even belonged to it.

Thus, unlike some who had preceded them, they have never been tempted to put British Establishment culture above Christ, so betraying Christ, His Church and also His Orthodox England. For this reason they can begin to develop a real English Orthodox culture. Far more importantly, what has happened in England is only an example of the wider situation all over Western Europe. The betrayal of Western Europe by its Christophobic elite, making it into a wayward, schismatic and isolated province through heresy in 1054 and then apostasy, the betrayal of the real England, Orthodox England, finally destroyed in 1066, the repeated Western betrayals of the Christian Emperors and invasions of the multinational Christian Empire between 1204 and 1917, these are what real Orthodox in Europe reject. What we accept is the end of the old compromised ‘Euro-Orthodoxy’ of the philosophers and the beginning of the real Orthodoxy of the saints of Europe, the Restoration of Europe.

The choice for Christophobic and so Russophobic Europe today is fast becoming Apocalypse or Repentance. Europe, on its suicidal death-bed, caught between self-invented Secularism and self-imposed Islamism, has a last chance. If the peoples of Europe can yet throw off the degeneration of their millennial brainwashing, they can still learn that the truth will set them free from stepping lemming-like off the precipice into the abyss. If they can accept that their elites have deluded them into thinking that they are ‘free’, by being enslaved to the elites’ millennial secularist ideology, regardless of whether it is called Roman Catholic, Scholastic, Protestant, Anglican, Conservative, Socialist, Communist, Democratic, Liberal, Agnostic, Atheist, Post-Modernist, then suicide can be averted. If they can accept that their roots are only in the Tradition, Orthodox Christianity, the Church of God, and not in any latecomer manmade religion, then Repentance even at this late hour is still possible.

The Paris School and the Future

The phrase ‘Paris School’ (of Russian religious philosophy) is a vague phrase because many of its representatives ended up not living in Paris or even France and because it was such a very varied phenomenon. Thus, it included intellectuals mainly of Russian origin (but not all of them), who ended up living as far apart as the USA, England, Finland, Bulgaria (the anti-monarchist plotter, Fr George Shavelsky) and Constantinople (the philosopher Metr John Zisioulas). Some of these were close to Orthodoxy, others were in open heretical revolt against the Church and constructed anti-Church ideologies, others were simply harmless eccentrics who lived in the clouds.

A representative close to the Tradition, for example, was the academic theologian (and not philosopher!) Fr George Florovsky, who was ousted from St Vladimir’s Seminary by another much more Protestant-minded thinker of a Paris-born generation, Fr Alexander Schmemann. However, there were others like the notorious Fr Sergey Bulgakov, who founded a new heresy under the influence of the alcoholic Catholic occultist Vladimir Soloviov. The latter was the real founder of the School, who infected it with all its basic currents of Gnosticism, Origenism, liberalism and ecumenism and had a great influence on the enormous intellect of the polymath, Fr Paul Florensky.

Then in Paris there was also the esoteric philosopher Berdyayev, who was imbued with semi-Catholic mysticism and like Bulgakov never quite shook off his Marxism, but there was also the more Orthodox Fr Basil Zenkovsky who wrote a magisterial ‘History of Russian Philosophy’. Then there were Vladimir Lossky, trained in Scholasticism, but whose views were very close to the Tradition in many respects, but on the other hand, the fantasist Bishop John Kovalevsky or the recently deceased French ecumenists, the ex-pastor Elisabeth Behr-Sigel and Olivier Clement. Their views were respectively as close to Protestantism and Catholicism as is possible without lapsing.

In England there were other representatives of the Paris School. These included the late Metr Antony (Bloom), whose curious, personal views combined a theoretical conservatism with an extraordinary liberalism and influenced several convert followers, like the Jewish Fr Sergei Hackel. Then there was the late ex-Uniat Fr Lev Gillet, who appears to have died either as a Quaker or else a Buddhist (no-one is quite sure), or the Parisian artist and intellectual the late Fr Sophrony Sakharov, whose whole esoteric philosophy of Orthodoxy came to be shaped by the peasant St Silvanus whom he had met on the Holy Mountain, where he had been a librarian.

With such a variety of individuals, some much closer to Orthodox Tradition than others, some more renovationist than others, some more fantasist than others, what do they all have in common? Negatively speaking, it is how far most of them seemed to have stood from the saints of the Church in the emigration like St John of Shanghai (also who also lived for many years in Paris and often came to London) or St Seraphim of Sofia, or from the genuine Orthodox philosopher of the emigration Ivan Ilyin. These followed the wholeness of the ascetic Tradition of the Church, and not selected fragments of it, which is why the Paris School was opposed to authentic monasticism.

However, this was not the essence of the Paris School. Its essence was its intellectual pretentiousness, which contains the pride which is at the heart of all deviations from the Church, without exception. Not understanding that enlightenment comes from the grace of God that alone cleanses the repentant heart, they all mistakenly believed that enlightenment comes from the purification of the intellect and the imagination. This tragic mis-take meant that their views were intellectual, philosophical, more or less renovationist, more or less fantasist, disincarnate from reality and from ordinary Orthodox and Orthodoxy, and so ultimately they became sectarian and cultish.

The proof of this thesis is in the fact that when the time came for the gradual liberation of the Russian Church inside Russia from Sergianism and Renovationism after 1991, they refused to re-enter Her fold and glorify the New Martyrs and Confessors together with Her. They had not been longing to return all along, as had the faithful, but had instead been cultivating their own intellectualist philosophies outside the Orthodox Tradition. Thus, cultivating private, personality-driven sidelines, they failed to see the mainstream of Church catholicity and ended up isolating themselves in the worst sort of isolation – isolation from the real saints, the New Martyrs and Confessors.

This meant that they allied themselves only with the vestigial renovationist and sectarian elements on the fringes of the Russian Church inside Russia. It also meant that they sullied themselves with politics (under the pretence of being apolitical!, which is always political). Thus, they allied themselves with Russophobic elements in the Western world, for example, with the self-justifying neocon hawks and past-worshipping warmongers of NATO, who never wanted the Cold War to end and in their ethnocentricity arrogantly never understand that the vibrant values of Orthodox Christian Civilization are quite different from their dying anti-Christian Western culture.

This is why, when at the end of 2016 the time of generational change had come for renewal in Russia and then, inspired by the Russian example, for the first glimmers of freedom and the hope of repentance in the West, the Paris School and its values stuck to the dead past. These last representatives were now aged, vestigial relics, whose rebellious and often absurd ideologies had been half-baked in the spiritual desert of the 1960s, which had been passed on to a few convert intellectuals in Russia who still had not caught up with the real world. As for the Church, we look as ever towards prophetic holiness and the dynamic restoration of the Tradition in the Holy Spirit that is happening now.

Why the Orthodox Vatican II Failed Before it Even Began

I first heard of the concept of and preparations for a ‘Pan-Orthodox Council’ (= a Church Council) exactly forty years ago, in 1976. I found it all very strange, since no doctrinal issue was at stake. It was explained to me by a notorious modernistic and ecumenistic priest, who later (like the notorious George Gapon in pre-revolutionary Russia) defrocked himself and committed suicide. The sad fact is that any human group always contains traitors. Thus, among the twelve disciples there were Judas and Peter. However, although the latter denied Christ three times, he repented three times, affirming his love for the Saviour (Jn. 21). We now know who today’s traitors to Orthodoxy are. However, we also know that, like Peter, they too can repent.

Today, 16/06/16, representatives of 15% of the Orthodox world are about to meet in Crete. True, this will go down to 10% if the Serbian Church delegates, including even the ambitious and liberal Bishop Maxim of Western America, walk out, and 5% if the Greek Church delegates follow them. In any case delegates representing 85% of the Orthodox world are not taking part and even those taking part seem to have hardly any support on Mt Athos and elsewhere. The alien agenda, the masonic logo, the date of the opening and the absolute refusal to listen to the complaints of the mass of faithful Orthodox clergy and faithful all mean that the attempt to impose a Vatican II-style Council on the Church of God has failed most dismally.

Usually the unfaithful leave the Church after Councils, which always separate the wheat from the tares. This time the separation has happened before the Council. Did the power-crazed forces of this world really think that they could impose Vatican II-style Protestantization on the Church of God, as they did on Roman Catholicism over fifty years ago? To sabotage the monolithic manmade structure of the Vatican is easy; you simply elect your agent as Pope. It has been like that for well over a thousand years. To sabotage the Church, in which we have freedom, is quite a different proposition. The enemies of the Church only see fantasy in our Christian hope and faith and spite in our telling of the Truth with love. That is why they feel despair, faithlessness and hatred.

All Councils are called into being by what is called in Greek ‘crises’, that is, they are summoned in order to pass judgement, which is what ‘crisis’ means. And just as the Councils of old sifted the Arians or the Nestorians or the Monophysites or the Monothelites or the Iconoclasts from the Orthodox, so today we are seeing, even without a Church Council, a sifting. This time it is sifting the secular-minded from the Orthodox. The Orthodox are those who, led by the Russian Orthodox Church, believe in the multinational Worldwide Empire of the spirit, as is expressed by the phrase ‘I believe in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church’; the secular-minded are those who, led by the USA and its allies, believe in the multinational Worldwide Anti-Christian Empire of Eurosodom and Gomorrhica.

It is true that the Orthodox are being challenged from the left by traitors and from the right by schismatics and that these two groups sometimes work together, just as Judas co-operated with the Pharisees. However, the Church is much stronger than either of these groups. It is now time for all those who have not yet chosen which side they are on to choose, with the Orthodox or with the secular-minded, with Christ despite our sins, or with Babylon. The world may be shocked by division – but only because it thinks in terms of the superficial unity of Public Relations. We, on the other hand, are called to Unity through Truth, not through Untruth, for, ‘Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword’ (Matt. 10, 34).

Florence II: The Phanar Successfully Isolates Itself from the Orthodox Church

For where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them.
Matt. 18,20)

Councils called in His Name are blessed by the Holy Spirit, but meetings called in the name of others (Joe Biden?) are cursed by evil intentions.

Such was the result of the fifteenth-century Council of Florence, when the Patriarchate of Constantinople signed away its Orthodox birthright for a Uniat mess of pottage. As a result, in 1449 the Russian Orthodox Church essentially became independent from Constantinople and, in time, 1589 obtained its first Patriarch. In recent years the meddling of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the internal affairs of others has created tense relations with many of the other thirteen Local Churches, especially with the Russian, Czechoslovak, Georgian, Greek and Bulgarian Churches. It has hurled insults at them and even created a diplomatic incident, giving the impression it has a dictatorial and tyrannical attitude towards them.

It is well-known that since 1948 the Patriarchate of Constantinople has been a branch of the State Department in Washington. A Wikileaks document containing a conversation between the Patriarch and the US Senator Durbin confirm this. Their US-appointed Russophobic Patriarch said: ‘If the Oecumenical (sic) Patriarchate loses its traditional position in Istanbul, then the Russian Orthodox Church will be able to realize its pretensions (sic) to controlling the Oecumenical Patriarchate and will become the leader of the whole Orthodox Church. The Patriarchate needs defending in order to resist the humiliations of Ankara and the pretensions of the Russians’.

Hence the current, US-organized hostilities against Russia, which is suffering a triple war. It is suffering an economic war through so-called ‘sanctions’ for the Crimea’s democratic decision to return to Russia, and therefore are completely illegal sanctions. It is suffering a propaganda war, with the open lies of the US-controlled Western media being spread and even believed. It is suffering a military war with huge amounts of NATO weaponry now on Russia’s borders and the occupation of Eastern Europe from Lithuania to Romania by US forces. All of this can be seen most obviously in the Ukraine, for the moment controlled by the Fascist junta in Kiev, which exists only thanks to a massive US PR machine.

Here the US is backing both the Philaretist schism in the Ukraine as well as other groups, including the Vatican-supported Uniats of Galicia, who are persecuting and murdering representatives of the One Local Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Onufry, which is part of the multinational Russian Orthodox Church. The US State Department, desperate to destroy the Russian Orthodox Church, is willing the Patriarchate of Constantinople to organize these schismatic groups into one large group under its control. If that Patriarchate does this, it will fall into the unforgivable sin of creating schism, effectively abolishing itself and its Patriarch will go down in history as one of the most inglorious patriarchs ever.

What then should the Russian Orthodox Church do as regards the meeting of some Local Orthodox Churches in Crete in a few days time? Three or four of the fourteen Local Churches (with the Serbs, it depends who you talk to) are boycotting it as their complaints have been ignored by Constantinople. If the Russian Church joins these three or four, then the Polish and Czechoslovak Churches may follow and perhaps Alexandria, Greece and Cyprus will follow them. This would leave a meeting in Crete at which the US-appointed Patriarch of Constantinople will talk to the US-appointed Patriarch of Romania (US-appointed because he agreed to start schisms in Moldova and the Ukraine, parts of the Russian Orthodox Church) and the tiny Churches of Jerusalem and Albania (also run from the US).

The Russian Church is faced with a choice: to go to Crete and refuse to sign the more or less masonic documents that Constantinople has been trying to ram down everyone’s throats since the US told it to in 1961, speaking words of truth to the world at large. Or it can boycott the meeting entirely and call a Council in Russia, at which the other nine Local Churches, 90% of the Orthodox world plus the majority in the other four Local Churches, who do not recognize the politicking of their leaders, can confer. It will be 99.9% of the Orthodox world against 0.1%, the latter led by the semi-Uniat Patriarch of Constantinople. He will be in schism with himself and a few other US-appointed bureaucrats.

What will be decided we have no idea. We only know that whatever happens, the gates of hell will not prevail.

Russian Orthodox Church also to Abandon Crete Meeting?

The news that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church will not be taking part in what was supposed to be a ‘Pan-Orthodox’ meeting in Crete this month, because it disagrees with the draft documents proposed (like most Orthodox everywhere), and that the Patriarchate of Antioch will probably not take part, was followed by an announcement of the Synod of the Russian Church on 3 June.

This was a call for an extraordinary ‘pre-Conciliar’ conference to take place before the 10 June in order to iron out the mass of methodological problems and problems of syncretism in the documents – if not the Russian Church will not take part. (Metr Agafangel of Odessa has already refused personally to take part in the Russian delegation because he disagrees so profoundly with the documents proposed).

However, yesterday, on 6 June, the Patriarchate of Constantinople completely rejected this proposal, thus ensuring that the Russian Church will not take part. It is clear that Constantinople’s arrogant, top-down attempt to impose on the Orthodox world and people its syncretistic and anti-Orthodox views, dictated to it by the US State Department, has failed.

On 28 May the well-known Russian Orthodox layman and prominent businessman, Konstantin Malofeev, speaking on the Tsargrad TV Channel, confirmed what we had all along suspected. This is that the venue for the Crete meeting is full of CIA and FBI agents, who have been called in ‘to ensure the security of the Orthodox bishops against terrorism’’. In fact, they are bugging the venue and in fact will control all its proceedings.

In other words, if a meeting is to take place, it must first of all take place with a list of real problems of the Church – e.g. the divisive and politically-enforced introduction among a few Orthodox of the Catholic calendar for the fixed feasts, the invasion of Russian canonical territory in Finland, Estonia and elsewhere by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and ending the jurisdictional divisions in the Diaspora caused by the Patriarchate of Constantinople after 1917.

Secondly, such a meeting must take place with Patriarchs freely chosen by the Synods of the Local Churches (and not in a back room in the US State Department) and it must take place in a free country, in the absence of spies. For nine years now we have been suggesting the now fully restored New Jerusalem Monastery outside Moscow. Perhaps there a meeting could be held which would become a real Pan-Orthodox Council rather than a farcical and expensive junket.

The Imperial Orthodox Faithful

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

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

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

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

About Ionan Orthodoxy: An Interview with Archbishop George of London

12 May 2041

Q: What is the territory of your Archdiocese?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What was that mistake?

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What about in other countries in Europe?

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

Q: And in England?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AG: Definitely. And especially in Western Europe.

Q: Why?

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

Q: Which extremes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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