Category Archives: Orthodox 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.

A Secular Meeting Rejected: A Council Proposed

‘God so loved the world that He did not send a committee’.

The Georgian Orthodox Church, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, many respected hierarchs and theologians everywhere and now Mt Athos have all decisively rejected several of the draft documents for the meeting of selected Orthodox bishops in Crete in June. Not only this, but they have also rejected the secretive methodology, the terms and the presumptious name of this so far Small, Unholy and Part-Orthodox Meeting. Compromising the Truth of Christ with stale, humanist, political Committeespeak, those documents have now been comprehensively rejected by the people of God.

The secularist organizers of the meeting in the State Department in Washington will have to think again. They may have conquered the Protestant and Roman Catholic institutions with ease decades ago, but the Christian Church tells not of heterodoxy, but another story, quite unknown to them. True, they have appointed two, and probably three, of the Patriarchs of the fourteen Local Churches, cunningly splitting the Serbian Church, and infiltrated other Local Churches, including the Russian, with their liberal, meat-eating agents of treason, with whom they attempt to influence the still free Patriarchs. However, their proposals for a robber Council have already been met with decisive non-reception by the Church.

It is not clear how these thwarted masonic organizers will act now. Their secularist agenda, the laughing-stock of the Orthodox world, has been dismissed. Of course, as usual, their agents have begun insulting the faithful, calling them pharisees, obscurantists and fanatics, trying to ban the word ‘heretic’. That there are a few pharisees, obscurantists and fanatics we will not deny. But they are a tiny minority outside the Church who have run away, refusing to fight inside the Church. They are not the faithful clergy and people who from inside the Church have for decades been calling for a rethink of the whole top-down project, its methodology (behind closed doors by the politically unfree), its lack of canonicity (banning most Orthodox bishops from attending and inviting heretics instead) and its Secularspeak documents, drafted by compromised diplomats, mantra-repeating philosophers and intellectuals, but not by Orthodox Christians.

Perhaps, instead of a mere but very expensive meeting in sunny Crete, we should now hold a Council, at which the Gospel Truth will be proclaimed to the whole world, since most of it has still never heard it. All Orthodox bishops should be invited and none silenced for fear of contradicting politically-bound heads of Local Churches. Documents plainly cobbled together by spiritually dead compromise and still tainted by Diplomatspeak, with their secularist ‘human dignity’ and ‘human personality’, should be thrown away into the dustbin of history. Let us speak the honest language of the Church Fathers and invite no heretics. Instead of wasting time and money, telling us that fasting is important and suggesting in self-contradictory terms that Non-Orthodox may be outside the Church (when we have also always known that they are), the bishops could, in these last days, talk about the things that really matter.

Representing 216 million Orthodox Christians in a world where over seven billion are outside the Church, all our bishops could call the rest of the world to salvation inside the Church, in the fresh and lucid language of the Church. In the clearest of terms they could proclaim and teach the Gospel Truth without compromising themselves by reference to the Western heresies of Christianity, which have poisoned much of the world against their false Christianity (but not against Orthodox Christianity), and translate the service books into the world’s main languages. The world faces its end, its multiple means of self-destruction are plain for all to see. It is now vitally urgent to call it to repentance before that end.

If there is to be a Church Council, let it take as its patrons St John the Baptist, St Mark of Ephesus and St Justin of Chelje. Let it speak clearly of repentance, the teaching on the Church and Her truth as opposed to Western heresies, let us speak of the revelations of the Holy Spirit. Let the Council speak to the nearly seven billion Muslim, Hindus, Buddhists and Secularists (those more or less lapsed from Western and other heresies, however they may still call themselves) and call them all to repentance, to the only-saving and only-resurrecting Truth of Christ. Their gods, prophets and princes are all dead: Christ Alone is not dead, but lives Risen from the Tomb, trampling down death by death. Let the Council say in uncompromised words: ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’. Then it will indeed be a Council, and so our Council, and so will go down in history.

The Present Danger

Who is it that will harm you, if you are followers of what is good?

(1 Peter 3, 13)

1916 was the year when the bankrupt British government was taken over by new and alien forces dependent on transnational financiers in New York and the year that the Russian Revolution was planned, in part inside the British Embassy in the Russian Capital. One century on, 2016 is also proving to be a year of great temptation internationally, especially because of Syria, and for the Russian Orthodox Church. Here there is great controversy, as throughout the Orthodox world, about the documents prepared for the proposed Inter-Orthodox meeting in Crete in June, especially that on the Church. Secondly, there has been the surprise meeting between Patriarch Kyrill and the Bishop of Rome, which has upset and disturbed many within the Russian Orthodox Church in particular.

As a result, there are a few clergy who have ceased commemorating Patriarch Kyrill. Then there have been meetings in Russia, the Ukraine and Moldova where small numbers of activists protesting at the use of the word ‘Council’ and the contents of the documents and they have used words like ‘uncanonical’, ‘heresy’ and ‘heretic’. And certain Russian bloggers, well-known for extremism and immaturity, have made dishonest and disrespectful accusations, falling into abuse and gossip, insults and unjust accusations, rumours and innuendo, proving that they are in fact secular-minded, not Church-minded. Our modernist and ecumenist enemies, who want schism from the Church, are rejoicing at the actions of such zealots. they are already imagining the full-scale destruction of the Church.

What should our attitude be?

Firstly, we must pray for the Russian Patriarch. There are those around him who are still under the influence of the humanistic and unOrthodox ‘theology’ of the 20th century Russian emigration, of the Paris School of Bulgakovism and Schmemannism, and have learned nothing from the Sourozh schism. Individuals subject to that ideology, which is what it is, are in fact fifth columnists, who are bringing divisive spiritual impurity into the Church. Secondly, we must rewrite the documents for the Crete meeting, making clear that we will never accept compromises of the teachings of the Church and especially of the teaching on the Church, the main dogmatic issue here. Fortunately, many in other Local Churches, especially in Georgia, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus, are already undertaking this.

We must also make sure that the voices of all Orthodox in the monasteries and parishes, clergy and laypeople, those at the grassroots of the Church, are heard. The Church is not the bishops, and certainly not a select group of bishops, and certainly not a group of uprooted intellectuals and disincarnate philosophers; the Church is everyone, the whole body of the faithful, the people of God, both now and in ages past. That is the meaning of the word ‘catholicity’. However, in doing this, we must show honesty, respect and courtesy, defending the Church and Church Truth from all Her enemies, from left or right, whatever their sect. And we must act without hysteria, from inside the Church, for we know that the Church is not ours, but God’s, and that Christ will always be triumphant in the long term.