Category Archives: Orthodox Life

The Three Twenty-First Century Challenges for the Whole Orthodox Church

Introduction

The fourteen Local Churches, many of them recent foundations, which at present make up the Orthodox Church face many different challenges according to their local conditions. Basically, however, all these challenges can be grouped into three categories. These are:

Living in the Past

Here, we are talking, to put it crudely, about a sort of old fogeyism. At the extreme, for example, there are those in the Phanar in Istanbul, who still think that 1453 has not yet taken place – they are well over 550 years behind reality. Constantinople no longer exists and its flock is well under 1,000 people. Another Patriarchate, which only in the 20th century began to claim Africa and not just Egypt as its territory, is still stuck in Alexandria, where it has virtually no flock. Another Syrian group calls itself ‘of Antioch’, another place that no longer exists by that name and today is in Turkey. Another is run from the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens and the local Palestinian people, who do not speak Greek, have no say over the foreigners who are set over them and cannot speak their language. However, all the Local Churches can provide example of this backwards-looking mentality.

Equally, in all the Local Churches there are clerics and even a few laypeople who are so stuck in their youths in the 1960s and 1970s that they actually still believe in ecumenism, modernism and new calendarism! This is incredible; those absurd movements, in which we never believed in any case, died out in the last millennium. How can you possibly be a modernist in a post-modernist world?! How can you possibly be a syncretist when the whole world glorifies diversity?! How can you possibly claim to be Orthodox and yet live on the papal calendar – Muslims and Jews do not?! However, as the gerontocrats, often in their eighties and nineties, die out and are replaced by the new, forwards-looking generation, these movements will be forgotten, locked away in cobwebbed museums and the dustbins of history.

Centralisation

Here is a more serious problem, as it concerns everyone, but especially the larger Local Churches. This is in fact the problem of power and money. The bureaucratisation of the Church through power structures and the taxing of parishes as a result to support these superstructures, whose very existence seems to many to be quite unnecessary, is a severe problem. Thus, during the covid crisis, many parishes received virtually no income, but in some places ‘Church’ bureaucrats still demanded large sums to run their palaces from clergy who already had to find secular work in order to sustain their families. There is now a great deal of discontent at the grassroots, all the more so, as many see such bureaucracy as parasitic in any case. There could soon be a revolt at this level. Reform here is beginning, as it must.

Moral Decadence

Here again is a very serious problem which, moreover, is structural and in fact institutional. This moral decadence means the dual problems of simony and sodomy. The former problem is a massive problem in several Local Churches, not least the Russian, the Constantinopolitan and the Romanian. Needless to say this practice is totally uncanonical, the canons on simony are very strict. The second problem has developed as a result of the lack of monastic life, and even worse, the refusal to consecrate good monks as bishops, even where there is monastic life, and instead to consecrate celibates of any stripe.

In one Local Church, one Metropolitan is only such because he and his parents belonged to the ‘right’ political party (they had the right surname) and he did not marry. Is that enough? Of course not. The emigrations have for decades been plagued by notorious gay mafias of bishops, who persecute married clergy, probably through jealousy. The scandals are endless. All we can say is, thank God, that, unlike in Roman Catholicism, most Orthodox priests are married and at least there are no scandals of that sort here.

Conclusions: Three Solutions to Three Challenges

The shape of the future seems clear. By the end of this century, if not by the middle of this century, three great changes will have taken place, because they have to take place, within the Orthodox Church. These will recognise that we now live in a global world and that the time of absurd anachronisms and petty and silly nationalisms is long past.

Firstly, in response to moral decadence, there is going to be, once more, a married episcopate, whether we like it or not. This will mean that, as before, dioceses will be much smaller, with only perhaps twelve parishes in each. The new bishops may, as before, have secular jobs and a simplification of their role will ensue. Thus, the dioceses of Local Churches will, as before, become truly local again. This means that there will at last be the leadership which we have so utterly lacked in the last centuries, when bishops acted as mere State functionaries.

Secondly, in response to centralisation, there must appear four new Local Churches, one for Western Europe and three for the New World: one for Western Europe (WEOC); one for North America (NAOC), one for Latin America (IOAL) and one for Oceania (OOC).

Thirdly, in response to living in the past, a number of very small, very fragile and therefore very dependent and very nationalistic Local Churches, some invented in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries for purely political reasons, others mere anachronisms, may well have merged. Thus, we may end up with only Twelve Patriarchates, Twelve Local Churches. Perhaps, as follows:

The Russian (of New Jerusalem and All Rus).

The Eastern European (of Bucharest and All Eastern Europe).

The African (of Nairobi and All Africa).

The Middle Eastern (of Jerusalem and All the (ex-Muslim) East).

The Japanese (of Tokyo and All Japan).

The Chinese (of Beijing and All China).

The South-East Asian (of Hanoi and All South-East Asia).

The Indian (of Delhi and All India).

The Western European (of Paris and All (ex-Roman Catholic and ex-Protestant) Western Europe).

The North American (of Chicago and All North America).

The Latin American (of Caracas and All Latin America).

The Oceanian (of Sydney and All Oceania).

 

Samaritans, Scribes, Pharisees, Saducees and Prophets

The coronavirus epidemic has, officially, infected 0.02 % of the world population, 5% of whom, officially, have died from it. It has now taken as many victims as swine flu did in 2009-10. According to UK government statistics, 85% of victims are aged over 70, the average age of victims in the UK is 84, the over 90s have an 85% chance of recovery and 96% of victims had serious underlying health problems. The lives of most of these victims have been shortened by several weeks and even months.

However, the virus has also revealed that there are those who are called Christians, including certain clergy, who are actually afraid of death. The scandal among the faithful is naturally enormous. Clearly, there are those who claim to be Christians who do not seem to be in reality. All has been revealed.

What can we say of these false or weak Christians? As I have grown older, I have realised that there is indeed nothing new under the Sun. Human nature and the results of spiritual impurity do not change and we can categorise those who call themselves Christians into exactly the same categories as those whom Christ encountered when He lived on earth. Namely:

The Samaritans

These are the nominal masses who identify the faith with a particular place, like the Samaritans who would only worship on Mt Gerizim. Their faith decides events because, with their mood swinging one way or the other depending on the elite, it affects the whole of history, as we saw in Russia in 1917. The battle is to Church them –our Faith does not depend on a place or a nationality. We have to bring them onto the side of Christ, telling them that ‘God is a spirit and that they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth’ (Jn. 4, 24).

The Scribes

These are the modern intellectuals and dreamers, who make the faith into some sort of Protestant personal opinion in a completely disincarnate way. They will refuse to baptise babies until their parents and godparents have been made into intellectuals like themselves. They love to read and write books, whose titles are barely comprehensible. However, they despise others and consider themselves to be ‘very spiritual’, far above the common masses, who for them are just peasants not clever enough to understand them. In fact, the Scribes are not spiritual at all, because they live in their brains and imaginations. They do not supply spiritual food, but only wordy, academic food, nourishment for the brain in clubs for intellectuals. Woe unto them.

The Pharisees

These make the spiritually living faith into a mere institutional religion, the manipulating arm of the State. In history the Pharisees, rich men who lived luxuriously next to the Temple in Jerusalem, operated a money racket. Why else did Christ overturn the tables of the moneychangers in His Temple? (Matt. 21, 12). The Pharisees co-operated closely with the Roman oppressors, shouting ‘We have no king but Caesar’ (Jn. 19, 15), since their interest was to be next to money and power wherever it was. Today, the Pharisees represent the episcopal tyranny of the ‘princes of the Church’, clericalism, and love being close to the State, to orders, protocols and driving fancy cars. They have no love for the people, for the faithful parish priests whom they persecute and for the monks. They hate confessing and mixing with the flock. They seek the support of the nominal masses by asserting only their ethnic, that is, worldly, identity. Woe unto them.

The Saducees

The Saducees rejected the Resurrection, for it was a miracle too far for their narrow and unbelieving minds. These are the liberals, modernists and ecumenists who follow the secular tide, whatever it is and wherever it goes. They are ‘woke’, supporters of LGBT, they are the politically correct who follow health and safety rules and the recommendations on coronavirus to the letter, making them into legally binding laws, which they are not, masking themselves and masking others, preventing them from worshipping Christ. They can have no principles because they have no beliefs. Conformists to the core, they will obey whatever the spiritually impure tell them to do.

The Prophets

These are the faithful, the Orthodox, who venerate the persecuted Saints of God. They may not be Prophets as such, but they are infused with the spirit of prophecy, the Holy Spirit. These are the spiritually living, the real Orthodox, the pillars of the Church, who live the faith despite the oppression of bishops and false pastors, who are Scribes, Pharisees and Saducees. The Prophets spend their time fighting for and maintaining the Faith and Churching the Samaritan masses. We are responsible and do not seek death, but we certainly do not fear it, for Christ long ago defeated it and all the machinations of the Scribes, the Pharisees and the Saducees.

 

 

Hot News: The Cold War Is Over!

The Church Has Only One Enemy: Ourselves.

 

The first Cold War ended some thirty years ago. True, forces in Washington and in poodle-town London and EU/NATO Brussels have tried to create a second one. True, those forces, have hesitated to turn their military might and huge deficit budgets against today’s Russia, but only because it is nuclear-armed. Instead, they have tried to take over Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, thus aggressively encircling the Russian Federation with bases. They have also invaded Muslim countries, slaughtering many and losing many wars there at a cost of six trillion dollars. All this has forced the Russian Federation to ally itself with China and now to declare its sovereignty through a very popular new Constitution. This has brought countries like Iran, Syria and Turkey into the joint orbit of these Allies, making them invincible.

However, so far the end of the Cold War has not greatly affected Church life in the Diaspora. True, after the petering out of spiritually poisonous Soviet and American influences, in 2007 the Russian emigre Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) entered back into communion with the by then free Orthodox Church inside Russia. The small Parisian fragment of the Russian emigration, about one tenth of the size of ROCOR, did the same as recently as 2019. All fragments still have to work together with the Mother-Church, members of whose flock and clergy make up some 90% of their flock and clergy. The Mother-Church has its own newly-organised structures outside Russia, especially in Western Europe. So far only in South-East Asia has this integration already taken place, with former ROCOR communities in Indonesia entering the Mother-Church.

On the other hand, the end of the Cold War has affected other, far smaller and spiritually weaker Local Orthodox Churches, mainly in the Balkans or else those Greek-run. Indeed, there the situation has worsened by far, as some of these have been bribed, blackmailed and instrumentalised into becoming part of a second Cold War, launched by Washington against Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church. Most notably, there has been the tragic case of the gerontocrats who run the tiny and spiritually enfeebled Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul. This has been pushed by the State Department in Washington into uncanonical and purely political actions in the Diaspora, in Estonia and, above all, in the far west of the Ukraine. ‘Divide and rule’ is the anti-Christian slogan of all these State and Church bureaucrats alike.

Not content with this, the aggressive Washington State Department elite has declared war against all Orthodox elsewhere, notably in Greece, Alexandria and Montenegro, and is also interfering in Romania, Moldova, Cyprus, Macedonia, Bulgaria and anywhere else it can, in an attempt to isolate as many Orthodox as possible from the Russian Orthodox Church, exploiting and stirring up the base motive of nationalism. The Church of Russia is, after all, three-quarters of the whole Orthodox Church and the only Local Church which is truly multinational and, quite often, missionary-minded. All the above has taken place in the last thirty years, since the fall of the Western-imposed Marxist yoke in Russia and Eastern Europe. So what could the next thirty years bring? In other words, what reconfigurations could there be by 2050?

Many scenarios are possible, but there is one which may seem more likely than others. The Western world, basically the USA alone, is already bankrupt, with 25 trillion dollars of unpayable debt. Moreover, the Western world is now only one eighth of the world population. Furthermore, China is today’s world leader, for the American century (1915-2015) is now over, just as the British century (1815-1915) before it and the French century (1715-1815) before that. Therefore, not only will the new Cold War fail politically, but it will also be unfinancable. Thus, the enemies of the Russian Orthodox world will also fail. However, this is on one condition: that the Russian Orthodox world proves that it can take responsibility for all Orthodox in an honest and non-nationalistic way, that it is not only the Patriarchate of Moscow, but also of New Jerusalem.

The mission is not to take over, it is nothing to do with ‘Soviet tank’ invasion, colonial bullying, oppressive exploitation or theft of money. The Church must never be a business. In the past many came to dislike and distrust ‘Russians’, confusing them with Soviets. Our mission is not to export kalashnikovs and missiles to the rest of the world, but to export Christ and His Church to the rest of the world, to bring as many as possible to Christ before the end, which now looms over us. The Cold War is over, despite the wishes of the aggressive warmongers to revive it. It is time to co-operate with Sovereign Orthodox Russia, seeing off the last vestiges of both Sovietism and Americanism – both arrogant, bullying and money-grubbing imperialisms are for us dead. We do not belong to either of them: we belong to Christ, as does His Holy Church.

 

 

 

 

1 JULY: THE NEW CONSTITUTION FOR THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

It may seem unusual for us to speak here of an internal change to the Russian Constitution, rather than to laws in, say, England, but the new Constitution does affect us here for the following reasons:

The proposed changes to the Russian Constitution, subject to referendum on 1 July, offer the possibility of moving away at last from the old post-Soviet constitution of 1993, largely dictated by the American elite in the 1990s. In other words, they mean moving away from colonial Western liberalism to sovereign, Christian, Russian Orthodox values. Christian Civilisation is being raised up to defend us from US, Euroatlantic, Secularism. (Symbolised by the US Embassy in Moscow, which flies the LGBT flag). This change has been slow, but has come at last. What does it mean?

Firstly, if passed, this will be a Constitution voted for by the people, and not imposed by American bureaucrats and Soviet oligarchs under an alcoholic President. Secondly, it will put Russian Orthodox law above International Secularist law, imposed by the West. Thirdly, it will confirm the territorial integrity and Russian language of the Russian Federation and forbid senior figures from having dual nationality and foreign bank accounts. Fourthly, it will call on the New Russia to keep the heritage of Imperial Russia (inherited by the Soviet Union) in the form of social justice, free education and health care, which was all but abandoned by the post-Soviet American Russia. Fifthly, it will at last strengthen the responsibilities of the Federation to come to the aid of Russians abroad. Sixthly, it affirms the role of the State Council, a kind of Nationwide Senate outside Party politics.

However, even more than this, the Constitution affirms the existence of God, making it quite distinct from Western Secularist countries. Unlike apostate nations, it also affirms marriage as the union of a man and a woman and affirms the family and children as a priority of Russian government policy. God, Marriage and the Family are the three main elements here. For us who live in the Anti-Christian West, this is invaluable support. Today, Western Europe faces the choice between the arrogance of ‘one-size fits all’, Secularist American Imperialism, ‘we know best and you must obey us’, or the support of Imperial Russia and her Church with its Exarchates and missions outside the Russian Federation. It is clear which we shall choose and all other Orthodox will do the same, if they are really Orthodox and overcome their racial prejudices and phyletism.

At last, post-Soviet Russia, with its putrid corpse of Lenin and statues and places named after Bolshevik monsters, is dying out. After thirty years we are moving ahead away from the old and dying Cold War foundations towards the literal Re-Constitution of Imperial, Christian Russia and support for the authentic Orthodox Christian heritage of the Western world. The writing is on the wall: let those who are able read it. The Future is arriving and it is Orthodox Christian.

 

All Around Treason and Cowardice and Deceit

Introduction

The above are the words spoken by the future martyr Emperor Nicholas II, after he had been treacherously stabbed in the back by almost all of the intelligentsia. That word defined the then deChristianised upper and middle class of Russia, made up of generals, aristocrats, including Romanovs, politicians, industrialists, lawyers, teachers and, sadly, many clergy.

As a result of the betrayal of the Christian Russian Empire by its internal enemies, keenly supported by its external enemies, the British, German, French and American elites, the Empire fell to the most vicious genocide known to human history. ‘Holding victory in his hands, he fell to the earth alive’, as Winston Churchill wrote of his betrayal in his work ‘The World Crisis’ (Vol I, p. 476). This betrayal was the Emperor’s Gethesemane, when he prayed for the cup to pass, but also ‘but may Thy will be done’. So his crown was removed and he went up to his Cross willingly, saying: ‘If Russia needs a sacrifice for its salvation, I will be that sacrifice’.

Those who still today, incredibly, write that the Tsar and his Family and friends were weak-willed, inept, debauched or stupid are still stabbing him in the back in the same way. And so they are still preventing the Church from implementing Her Providential and Apostolic mission and destiny of Christianising and reChristianising the world. But the Tsar forgives them: they know not what they do. Worse still, however, they do not want to know what they do. Only God can forgive that, if they repent. So much for them, but whose side are we on? There are some, hopefully very few, among the international clergy of the Church, who number nearly one hundred thousand, who also still behave as traitors, cowards and deceivers to the Church, who are the enemies of the Church. Among them we can discern three types, often mixed together:

  1. Treason: The unprincipled careerist and the faithless bureaucrat.

These will do anything to further their passion of ambition, their careers, their lust for wealth and power. They may be political appointees or secular failures, who have been found jobs through influential relatives and demonstrate great nationalism. They will steal Church money, buy property for themselves, tyrannize others with absurd paperwork (‘control and command’), and threaten, bully and transfer them, if possible. They generally make themselves disliked and even feared by alienated clergy and people who instinctively distrust them as thieves. The people see through the amoral and immoral attitudes in their souls and vote with their feet whenever they turn up. We knew one bishop in England years ago who spent Church money on equipping his mistress, other clergymen are homosexuals or moral degenerates. Such characters are very divisive and are soon forgotten when they die, but first cause great damage.

  1. Cowardice: The cowardly diplomat and the dreaming academic

Conformists to the core, these suffer from weak faith and will always swim with the tide, failing to stand up for the Truth and defend the faithful. Often they cannot make any decision or give any concrete answer to anything, let alone do anything, as they are lost in long-winded conversations and writing long documents. Words not actions. In fact, they persecute zeal and want the Church to wither. One bishop we knew in France, where such are called ‘library bishops’, said that it was better to have fewer parishes because then there were fewer problems. A truly apostolic attitude! If they are vicar bishops they are fairly innocuous and can be left to their books and theories, even if they are homosexual. However, if given power as diocesan bishops or deans, disasters ensue. One we know had to be defrocked: the wrong man in the wrong place. That was a personal tragedy for him; not a bad man, just incompetent and ineffectual.

  1. Deceit: The fraudulent charlatan and the self-admiring narcissist

In some respects the charlatans are the worst of all. Claiming to be ‘spiritual’, which they most certainly are not, as is apparent to anyone with Church experience, they persuade the lonely, spinsters, widows and bachelors, that they have some sort of ‘charisma’. These self-appointed ‘spiritual fathers’ are generally narcissists with a personality cult and so are manipulators, preying on and abusing the young, especially students, the naïve and the weak, making them feel guilty, taking their goodwill and money through l manipulations. Some of them are sexual predators, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Worst of all are the pedophiles. We have seen several of these charlatans in various countries: they are more common than is thought. As narcissists, they are always right, never listen to advice, never consult (though they may pretend to do so) and, if bishops, ordain disastrously because they do not ordain pastors but yes-men.

Conclusion

It is clear that creating a clergyman just because he is unmarried will lead to disasters, more precisely, to treason, cowardice and deceit. Only real monks should be consecrated to the episcopate or ordained, not single men who become monks formally merely so that they can be consecrated or ordained, but those who live monasticism, like the Russian bishops of the past.

Given the present condition of the worldwide Orthodox episcopate, with the chronic shortage of candidates for the episcopate, what can be done? The ideal solution is more monasticism. But that cannot be created artificially, only organically. You cannot somehow manufacture ‘monasticism’. And then not all good monks make good bishops, though all good bishops are good monks. And candidates for monasticism generally only appear out of parishes where zeal is encouraged. And candidates for monasticism generally come out of families who live an Orthodox life. This solution to the problem can only come in the long term. What can be done now?

The alternative proposed by some is to return to having married bishops, with tiny dioceses of ten to twenty parishes, as in ancient times. However, such a radical change, which could only be decided by a Church Council, is highly unlikely in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, with few bishops, there is a realistic and canonical compromise solution. This is for the bishops who do exist to delegate whatever they can to trustworthy deans. Though not without risks, deans could consult and request bishops to ordain as needed by the grassroots. Treason and cowardice and deceit must be overcome by all clergy. We all need to say: ‘If Russia needs a sacrifice for its salvation, we will be that sacrifice’. Otherwise we too will prevent the Church from implementing Her Providential and Apostolic mission and destiny to Christianise and reChristianise the world.

 

 

On the Slaying of the Seven Fake Orthodoxies

Introduction

In nearly fifty years of association with Orthodoxy, I have seen how the devil can fake everything. This is because he is himself a fake: a fake god – though many still worship him. As ‘a liar and the father of lies’ (Jn 8, 44), he can most certainly fake every human activity, including faith. He can use faith to create fake faith. I have seen this in the seven types of fake Orthodoxy, the deviations which he creates and which I have observed. The first three are primitive deviations, the next two are psychological deviations and the last two belong to the more complex realm of delusional deviations. All of them have one thing in common: they provide no spiritual food at all and so the souls that follow these fakes die of the spiritual famine which they leave in their wake.

Three Primitive Deviations

These deviations are those which are chosen by those who live fleshly lives, the life of the body with its material interests.

The first type of fake Orthodoxy is nationalistic. This involves demeaning Christ to the level of flag-waving and attachments to this world. Beware of churches which proudly display national flags of any sort. They worship not Christ, but the Caesar of their State. This Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit, which is why it is ritualistic and superficial.

The next and second type of fake Orthodoxy is bureaucratic. This is linked to the first fake, inasmuch as it is political. This involves demeaning Christ to the level of paperwork and ‘protocols’, behind which the State bureaucrat with his Church title hides. This Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit, which is why it is cowardly and gutless.

The next and third type of fake Orthodoxy is diplomatic. This is linked to the first and second fakes, inasmuch as it is also meanly political and insincere. This involves demeaning Christ to the level of lies and compromise and the seeking of some worldly advantage behind the camouflage of Christ. This Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit, which is why it repeats the well-worn lie that all faiths are the same – which they are obviously not, for only one Faith comes from the Holy Spirit, Who comes forth from the Father.

Two Psychological Deviations

These deviations are those which are chosen by those who live emotional lives, the life of the feelings and the interests of the ego.

The next and fourth type of fake Orthodoxy is psychological, at worst psychopathological. In any case, it has nothing to do with theology. It involves demeaning Christ to the level of conforming Him to the ways of the (Western) world, with its calendar and all its other compromised values. It is the easy way out, the way of self-justification, for it means living a more or less effortless, secular life behind the mask of Christ. This Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit by creating a worldly, adaptationist, conformist Orthodoxy, a pseudo-Orthodoxy that swims with the secularist tide.

The next and fifth type of fake Orthodoxy is psychological, at worst psychopathological. In any case, it has nothing to do with theology. It involves demeaning Christ to the level of a personal psychological rebellion against the values with which those who confess it were brought up and then hating them. In this way it is also a form of self-hatred. Thus, it disobeys the commandment which tells us to love our neighbour AS OURSELF. This Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit by creating an extremist, aggressive Orthodoxy of hatred that is a negative anti-everything and is therefore not a positive love of Orthodoxy.

Two Delusional Deviations

These deviations are those which are chosen by those who live fantasy lives, the life of the brain and the interests of the fantasy.

The next and sixth type of fake Orthodoxy is an intellectual conceit. It involves demeaning Christ to the level of cold, bookish knowledge which is merely the arrogant delusion of the puffed-up mind, of ‘fleshly reasoning’, the pompous pretentiousness of those who can talk about everything, but know nothing and live by nothing. This Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit by creating fantasist philosophies and is therefore not Orthodoxy.

The next and final and seventh type of fake Orthodoxy is a pietistic conceit. This is linked to the sixth inasmuch as it comes from the brain and the imagination. It involves demeaning Christ to the level of delusion through spiritual pride, of the pseudo-ascetic, of the depressed, of esoteric exotica, pretending to be ’spiritual’, pretending to be what they are not, with spiritual pride and imagined superiority, condemning others as ‘not spiritual’, being full of pretentiousness, foreign words, dressing up in black like monks or nuns, play-acting, pseudo-holiness, obsessively and self-flatteringly claiming charlatans and frauds who deceive and mislead the simple as their ‘spiritual fathers’. This delusional Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit by pretending to be what it is not. It is therefore anti-spiritual, for the spiritual is always founded on the real, not on the imaginary.

Conclusion

If you are at any of the above stages or at any combination of them, you must renounce and kill this spiritual enslavement at once and move on to Freedom, to Real Orthodoxy, which is simple. It means loving God and loving our neighbour as ourselves, living in and according to the Church, following the Lives of the Saints, of the real holiness of those who really lived, who were incarnate in life, in the real world. Real Orthodoxy is not Death, but is Life itself, it is living in the Creator of Life, living in Christ, but that Life is reached only by first slaying in yourself the dragon of all these seven fakes.

 

Apostasy in Istanbul

For nearly one hundred years faithful Orthodox patiently continued to concelebrate with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, awaiting its repentance. This was despite the fact that nearly 100 years ago its leaders broke Church unity in the Diaspora, that they accepted a bribe of £100,000 from the Church of England (an agent of the imperialist British State) to abandon the Orthodox calendar for the fixed feasts, that they supported atheist-sponsored modernist sects in persecuted Russia and worldwide against the Church, and that they took part in ecumenist compromises, besmirching itself in anti-canonical activities. Since in 1948 the US State took over the worldwide meddling carried on for a century before by the British State, the once glorious Patriarchate of Constantinople is becoming an inglorious minor sub-department of the US State Department and the Vatican. And still we wait patiently for their repentance, but now our patience is coming to an end.

The meddling of racist individuals in Turkey among Ukrainian immigrants after World War II, in Estonia since 1996, in the Autocephalous Czechoslovak Orthodox Church in 1998, their recent uncanonical acts against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by sponsoring a nationalist ‘Church’ there, their threats to the Church of Serbia and their sponsoring of fanatical xenophobes in Montenegro and Macedonia, countered by two heroically faithful Orthodox hierarchs, Metropolitan Amfilochie and Metropolitan Onufry, and now new threats of blackmail against the Czechoslovak Church, are too much. They are a disgrace to the word ‘Christian’. We have tolerated them  for a  long time. We are distressed for the fate of its faithful clergy and people. But they would be welcome to join us in our battle against the common enemy of our salvation, militant atheism, and so abandon their US-appointed leaders to their apostasy. Salvation through repentance is still possible.

The isolation of the hundred or so bishops of the US-run Patriarchate of Constantinople, its two agents in Athens and Alexandria and a handful of abbots on Mt Athos, who obey only the local US and Greek ambassadors in preference to the Gospel of Christ, have shocked the Orthodox world with their treachery. They proclaim that Washington, with its pagan temple White House, is the Third Rome. We disagree. It is now up to the rest of the Church to join together against the common secularist enemy apparently supported by this little band of apostates. This is in faithfulness to the Orthodoxy of the Gospel, of the Fathers and of Canon Law, in faithfulness to the Tradition, to the sum total of the inspirations of the Holy Spirit over 2,000 years. Recent events are a wake-up call to repentance to all Orthodox, to shed themselves of petty nationalism, be it Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Georgian. Macedonian, Montenegrin or Arab. Whatever its language, petty nationalism is the same evil attachment to the prince of this world and his minions. Seven and a half billion human-beings are waiting to hear the call of the Gospel of Christ to His Church from the representatives of His Church.

The Triumph of Orthodoxy 2020

Questions and Answers from Correspondence (December 2019 – February 2020)

The Church and the Outside World

Q: Do we need a Westless world?

A: That is both meaningless and impossible. What we need is a world in which the Western world has been restored to Orthodoxy through repentance and so to spiritual purity. What we need is a sinless world.

Q: I feel scandalised by the kow-towing of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the US State Department and its introduction of more meddling politics into Orthodox Church life, causing schism. I am so upset that I feel like abandoning the Church.

A: The Church, starting with its hierarchy, has always been the victim of politicians, who often appointed their friends and cronies as bishops – quite uncanonically. First it was pagan Roman Emperors with their allies, anti-Christian Jews, then it was pagan Persians, then pseudo-Christian Popes of Rome, then pseudo-Christian Emperors, then the Ottomans, then pseudo-Christian Russo-German rulers, then the Western Colonial Powers, then nationalism, Western materialists, Capitalist or Marxist, and today the politico-financial elite based in the USA, who persecute the Church.

There is nothing new here. One of the Twelve was called Judas and there will always be judases amongst us. Remember the famous response of St Basil the Great to the Emperor Valens in Caesarea in 371, who had demanded the theological submission of St Basil, who flatly refused. The imperial prefect expressed astonishment at Basil’s defiance, to which Basil replied, ‘Perhaps you have never met a real bishop before.’

Thus, only recently the Church Outside Russia had to be completely independent of the Church inside Russia, so as to remain free of bishops there who were subjugated to the KGB. Now – and actually for many decades – we have Greek bishops subjugated to the CIA. So what? We will continue to operate independently of all those who have sold their souls for a mess of pottage. The Church lives thanks to the Saints and the prophetic voices of those who actually believe and implement their Faith, who remain independent of their ‘diplomatic’ compromises and their anti-Gospel and anti-missionary ‘protocols’.

Yes, you would be quite wrong to abandon the Church. You do not abandon Christ. That would be to do exactly what the apostate bishops do. And you can always tell who they are by their refusal to venerate the saints. Just as they despised St Seraphim of Sarov, ‘a dirty peasant’, and persecuted and exiled St Nectarios of Egina (so loved by St John of Shanghai), who should have been Patriarch of Alexandria but consorted with Non-Greek ‘blacks’ whom he wanted to bring to Christ, so in the old Soviet Union they refused to canonise the New Martyrs and Confessors. And so it is today. The compromised hate the saints because the saints are not of this world – whereas they are of this world. The world hates the spiritual. Our Lord told the disciples this: as it hated Him, so it would hate them too. Our attitude to the saints is the touchstone of whether we belong to the Church or not.

Beware of bishops who are ideology-driven, head-driven, and not love-driven, heart-driven. Ideologies come not only from outside, from the State (money and power), but also from inside, from the passions and delusions that in turn come from the passions, or from both.

Q: How do you recognise someone who had been KGB-trained? Someone told me that a person who tried to become a parishioner in our parish in the USA told me that he could recognise KGB training in her.

A: There were three stages to their training. In the first stage they try and bribe you with presents to get you on side. If this does not work, they go on to the next stage, which is flattery: ‘everyone has his price’, as they say. They find someone’s weak spot and flatter it. If these two stages do not work, then they turn to the third stage, which means turning nasty. This involves slandering their victims and then denouncing them.

Sadly, some of our bishops have fallen to these tactics through naivety. However, I have been told that Western spy services use the same techniques. The KGB had no monopoly on cunning and nastiness. I am sure that it was the same in Ancient Rome.

Q: A friend told me the following: ‘Protestants follow the Bible; Roman Catholics follow the Pope of Rome; Orthodox follow the Holy Spirit’. What do you think of this definition?

A: Well, Protestants do not follow the Bible. If they did, they would be Orthodox. As regards the Roman Catholics, I think I would agree with you. As for the Orthodox, I think this is very idealistic. It would be more exact to say ‘Orthodox should follow the Holy Spirit’. There are an awful lot of Orthodox who do not, including time-serving clergy and a number among the episcopate who are fonder of money and power than of Christ. The proof? If all Orthodox did follow the Holy Spirit, there would be no Protestants or Roman Catholics; all would be Orthodox.

Q: Why are Evangelicals so moralistic and violently anti-LGBT? And why do they seem to give unconditional support to Zionist Jews and yet are very anti-Muslim?

A: They are moralistic because moralism is all that is left once spirituality has been removed and been lost. This is how Puritanism began in the sixteenth century. Today, among Protestants this has created a world where everything is geared to ‘fun and comfort’, to Disney life, and not to ascetic life. As for their support for Zionist Jews and hatred for the Zionists’ enemies, the Muslims, we should remember that Evangelicals, despite their name, are very much concentrated on the Old Testament. For instance, it was Jewish bankers in the Netherlands who financed the very expensive Civil Wars of Cromwell. Jews have always supported Protestants against Catholics and Orthodox. ‘Divide and rule’. The Pharisees were after all also moralists.

Wherever there is liberalism, modernism and atheism, you will also find moralism. This because wherever there is no spirituality, moralism rules. As a result, this moralism is always hypocritical because you cannot be moral if you do not have any spirituality. There was nothing so moralistic as Soviet Communism. You find the same hypocritical moralism in Socialist parties (e. g. the Labour Party in Britain) or among modernist ‘Orthodox’.

Q: What spiritual dangers do you think are the worst in today’s world?

A: It seems to me that there are three principal dangers: phariseeism, modernism and fatalism. The first means the spirit of ritualism, formalism, nominalism, in other words, of idolatry. The second is the spirit of aping the Western secularist world in its modernist and ‘liberal’ renunciation of Christ, in other words, the loss of the sense of the sacred due to materialism. The third is the spirit which says, let us abandon everything, there is nothing more we can do, there is no hope, the end is coming anyway, in other words, the abandonment of responsibility. All three dangers are in fact inspired by Satan, as they all play into his hands.

Inside the Church

Q: Why is safeguarding so little talked about in Orthodox churches?

A: Simply because pedophilia is extremely rare in the Orthodox Civilisation of the Church; it nearly always comes from the outside Western world, from Western culture. In Orthodoxy, in principle, we have married clergy in the parishes. (There are exceptions, but they are abnormal). Pedophilia among so-called Christians comes from the craze for clerical celibacy, which attracts perverts to paid jobs. I have in the last fifty years heard of only seven cases in the Orthodox Church worldwide, two in the USA, one in Australia, two in the old Soviet Union, and one in France and one in Canada (both by former Anglicans).

Having said that, in our diocese we do have an up-to-date safeguarding policy. In any public institution we have to protect our children from outsiders who may want to prey on them.

Q: Why do Orthodox insist on kneeling on Sundays despite the canon against it?

A: Your refer to Canon XX of the First Universal Council, repeated elsewhere. Many kneel because we are Orthodox, that is, because we are often unworthy to stand before God. Let us not be attached to convert pride.

Q: Should we read the so-called ‘secret prayers’ aloud?

A: Rationalists (Schmemannites, Archbp Paul of Finland and the whole semi-Protestant Parisian School from where they come, with its lack of sense of the sacred, which is both its essence and its bane), will tell you that they must be read aloud so that ‘the people can understand’. This is a classic piece of clericalism! Do they really think that they, with their ‘superior education’, or anyone else, can understand how bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ?! However, for us, the most important thing is the mystical aspect of the ‘sacramental prayers’ (‘secret prayers’ is really a mistranslation). The way clergy read these prayers must inspire prayerfulness, the mystical sense. Shouting them out like some sort of academic text is totally inappropriate.

Q: What is most necessary for converts?

A: I think it is spiritual sensitivity. This is the only way of being able to distinguish between fraud and authenticity.

Q: How do we approach our patron saints?

A: We should live their lives insofar as it is possible. It is interesting that Nicholas and Maria are probably the most popular names for Orthodox and it is the spirit of St Nicholas that exists strongly among many Orthodox men and the spirit of the Mother of God among many Orthodox women.

Q: What do you think of the books ‘The Way of a Pilgrim’ and ‘The Pilgrim Continues His Way’?

A: I think like a lot of literature read almost only by neophytes, they can be dangerous. They fill the head with fantasies, instead of with sobriety. Convert literature belongs to the ‘Symeon-Silouan-Seraphim’ (favourite convert names) school of convertitis and makes the naïve and inexperienced think they are already saints and know better than those with decades of experience in reality.

Q: Why are spires not used in Orthodox architecture?

A: Because we believe in the Incarnation. Spires point skywards to a lost God. God is not lost among us, but is incarnate. Orthodox architecture says that heaven is on earth, inside the church, which contains heaven (inside the iconostasis) and earth (in the nave). This is why domes, cupolas and caps are used – they point to God inside the church building, present in the sacraments.

Q: Should we keep Valentine’s Day? He was after all an Orthodox martyr.

A: St Valentine of Terni is commemorated on 14/27 February. Hs association with love etc is simply because of the pagan Italian custom of keeping that day as the first day of spring, when the birds and the bees begin. The commemoration of St Valentine with this day is thus completely coincidental. So this custom is extra-liturgical, though it goes back a long way, probably over 2,000 years, and in this country both Chaucer and Shakespeare mention it, so it is not a piece of modern commercialism like so much else.

Should we keep it? I think this is a purely personal matter, like keeping New Year’s Eve or Boxing Day, or any other secular, but not spiritually negative (unlike Hallowe’en), celebration. I am sure that the average Orthodox woman would be glad of some extra attention on this day, but there is no obligation at all from the Church.

Q: Do we bless candles at the Feast of the Presentation, the Meeting of the Lord, on 2/15 February?

A: This is a purely Roman Catholic custom, adopted in Belarus and the Western Ukraine under Roman Catholic influence, but there is a prayer on the Great Book of Needs for blessing candles on this day. Personally, I can see no need for it, unless the faithful ask for it. It is unknown to the older and more Eastern Orthodox world, though it is harmless in itself.

Q: Is the story that St Simon the Zealot came to Britain true? This is what it says: ‘He arrived in Britain in 60 AD and was crucified on 10 May the next year by the Roman Catus Decianus in Caistor, now in Lincolnshire’.

A: People sometimes ask me for the map reference to St Simon’s holy well near the River Cover in Yorkshire. This is in Coverdale between the villages of West Scrafton and Caldbergh, near where he is supposed to have lived (grid reference SE 086 849, Ordnance Survey sheet 99). However, Orthodox Tradition proclaims unanimously that St Simon was martyred in Abkhazia by the Black Sea. So possibly he visited Britain (as also to many other places), but he was not martyred here. The problem is also that the British tradition of his martyrdom here is very late, I think thirteenth century. I think it is more likely that crusader-pillagers brought back a small relic of him and left it in Caistor and perhaps, north of it, in Coverdale. This is similar to the case of St Joseph of Arimathea and Glastonbury.

Q: What Orthodox name would you give to someone called Lynn?

A: Angelina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dogmatic Essence of the Ukrainian Crisis

Question:

At present the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow no longer concelebrate because of Constantinople’s decision to set up a self-governing Church in the Ukraine, which has for centuries been Russian Orthodox canonical territory. This schism has split the whole Orthodox Church into two. But so what? What does a squabble about land and territory matter? The two Patriarchates should both be out there, converting the 7+ billion people of the world who are not Orthodox. Constantinople’s politicking in the Ukraine is absurd, but so is the Russian breaking of communion with Constantinople, which is excessive by far and makes the Orthodox Church into a laughing-stock. Surely you agree?

Answer:

I agree that we should be out there, converting the 7+ billion, together with the Church Outside Russia in the Americas, Oceania and Western Europe and the Russian Orthodox Exarchates of Western Europe and South-East Asia, without any flag-waving nationalism and condemnation of Greeks or Non-Greeks. But converting them to what? To the US State Department? To Ukrainian nationalism? To Uniatism?

My point is that this is not a squabble about land and territory, but about who is the Head of the Orthodox Church: Mike Pompeo, Geoffrey Pyatt and the rest of the CIA, or to Christ our God? In other words, who does the Church belong to? To various artificial States, formed a few decades ago by Communist tyrants and nationalist empires that have not existed for centuries, or to Christ?

As for the Russian reaction, what are you supposed to do when someone embraces you, smiling at you and at the same time stabbing you in the back? Stand and continue to be embraced and be stabbed in the back again and again and again, in North America, in Finland, in Poland, in Western Europe, in Estonia and in the Ukraine? The Russian Church had only one choice, to separate itself from those who have already separated themselves from the Church and Her Saints and cease communion with them until they repent.

Soon there will be a Church Council in the Jordan, called by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem where the very first Church Council took place in c. AD 50. There the representatives of 200 million Orthodox will condemn the schism. The fearful representatives of 5 million are going to sit on the fence. Will the paid representatives of the other 15 million persist in their schism?

To Arius and Nestorius – Anathema!

To Monothelite Emperors – Anathema!

To Barlaam the Calabrian – Anathema!

To Chauvinists who put their State and Race above Christ – Anathema!

To Those who Refuse to Obey the Canons and Create Disunity in the Church – Anathema!

What is the Book of Love?

There are two Books that we need if we are to live.

The first Book is called The Book of Rules, also called The Book of Truth. This book contains the rules, laws, canons and customs of the Church. Everything that should guide us and tells us what is right and what is wrong is there. If we follow this Book, we will learn very much and we will not be Orthodox Christians until we follow it. However, if we follow this Book alone, our view of the world will be very dark, very strict, very legalistic and very negative. We will sit shaking our heads the whole time, all dried up and loveless. We will never learn to have love for anyone else or for ourselves, but will spend our time condemning and judging everyone. So this Book of Life will become for us the Book of Death, the Book of the Pharisees.

The second Book is called The Book of Exceptions, also called the Book of Mercy. This is the Book that life teaches us, which is why it has never been written down or printed, it is only talked and heard about. If it were written down, it would contain all the exceptions to The Book of Rules. However, no-one can know it, understand it or apply it properly until they know the Book of Rules. If we follow this Book, we will learn very much and we will not be Orthodox Christians until we follow it. This Book of Exceptions is the Book that we must follow when we follow the Book of Rules. If we do not follow them both together, we will finish very far from the Church, in a very sad and lonely place, where God did not want us to be.

If we follow only the Book of Rules, we may know everything, but understand nothing. If we follow only the Book of Exceptions, we may know nothing and understand nothing. It is only when we put these two books together that they form The Big Book, The Book of Love, also known as The Book of Wisdom. The Book of Love is the only Book we will ever need to know. It is this Book which St Nicholas lived by, which is why he is called ‘the rule of faith AND the model of gentleness’. And it is this Book which the Prophet and King David described in his song: ‘Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other’ (Ps 84, 11). Until we know this Book of Love, we will not be real Orthodox Christians.

Fr Andrew Phillips

Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee 2020