Category Archives: Orthodox Life

The Church After The Ukraine

Introduction: In the Ukraine

The Red Star USSR lasted for three generations after the Western-organised Palace coup of 1917. So too the White Star USA, which began its triumph in 1945, is also collapsing after the same three generations. At present we are all waiting for the end of the totally unnecessary American war in the Ukraine. According to official Ukrainian TV, Kiev losses in killed, wounded and captured troops are now 1,126,652. The Americans, who forbade the Ukraine to make peace in spring 2022, want indeed to fight to the last Ukrainian. However, as most Ukrainians are not going to commit suicide for the US elite, that elite will now have to blame someone else for its failure. In this new Greek tragedy, dramatic events are taking place in freezing and snowbound Kiev at this very moment. The main assistant of the commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has already been killed by a hand grenade sent to him as a ’present’ from the President’s office and the wife of the head of the dreaded Kiev secret police has been poisoned. Meanwhile, European elites are panicking, as they face the real possibility that a nationalist President Trump will make peace with Russia, at last dissolve NATO and desert a NATO-free Europe.

Talk in Kiev is of a coup, rejecting both President Zelensky and the commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, General Zaluzhny. The situation is even more dramatic on the front line, which is falling apart, as undertrained and underarmed, unarmed and untrained Ukrainian troops give up the unequal fight. In a war of attrition the collapse can come very fast. By Easter, 5 May 2024, the day before the feast of St George the Victorious, it will surely be over. Some say it will happen even as early as January or February, rather than April or early May. The CIA has always instrumentalised the worst elements in each client state to play the roles of heads of their puppet regimes. Thus, they used drug dealers in Latin America, fascist dictators in Spain and Portugal, mafiosi in Italy, colonels in Greece, gangsters in Vietnam, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Hussein in Iraq, Bin Laden in Afghanistan, hateful extremist nationalists in the Baltic States and in the Ukraine Galician Nazis with an atheist Jewish actor figurehead. Once the US no longer needs its handsomely-paid war criminals, they are exiled, dumped or assassinated, especially if they fail in a US election year.

This will be the fate of Zelensky and will also be that of the US-appointed and now panicking NATO and EU puppets, Stoltenberg, Scholz, Macron, Sunak, Pavel, the bankrupt Russophobic European elite, which is to be ejected by its electorates. With their tiny militaries, they are irrelevant.  Already largely demilitarised, they have to be denazified. The Europe problem will be solved at last. The political results of the Democrat delusions in Kiev and their open lies in the Western media (they declared President Putin ‘dead’ twice last month alone!) are colossal. Kiev is now spelled K-A-B-U-L, only this is Afghanistan multiplied by ten, because it is happening in Europe in full view of the whole world which can now see ten years of the lies of Western politicians and the Western media. The Ukraine is the European graveyard of the US. Former vassals, which like the Ukraine are dependent on US funds for their existence, such as Israel, Taiwan, South Korea, Kosovo and Kuwait, will also disappear. Eventually, the bankrupt US will have to abandon its peninsula outpost of Western Europe, NATO will disappear and the US-moulded EU will collapse, to be replaced by a Russian-founded, multipolar concert of the nations.

In the Church

However, what interests us much more are the results of the Ukrainian catastrophe for the Orthodox Church. These are the results for both what once was the most prestigious Local Church, Constantinople, and for today’s largest Local Church, Moscow, as well as for the fourteen other Local Churches.

Founded in the fourth century, this once prestigious Patriarchate in Istanbul was tempted by its glorious history a millennium and more ago as the capital of the Christian Roman Empire. Goaded and bribed by the White House in Washington, it thought it could rule over the Orthodox world through nationalist-imperialist politics. Now it is falling from its height and has to face the embarrassment of its fake Ukrainian Church, which is staffed by perverts, gangsters, thugs and Nazis. Was there ever such a shameful event in all of Church history? The existence of the US-established and US-financed fake Church in the Ukraine discredits this Patriarchate. Imperialist and nationalist politics have their price. The only way out would seem to be the ‘retirement’ of those responsible. Denials by papering over the cracks and sweeping under the carpet is no longer an option.

Founded in Soviet times in 1943, this largest Patriarchate in Moscow was tempted by its size, once nearly three quarters of the whole Church. It thought it could rule over the Orthodox world through nationalist-imperialist politics. Prey to the politics of the FSB and the CIA, it was infiltrated by traitors. Now it is falling from its height and has to face the embarrassment of its infiltration by the representatives of various secret services who betrayed it. It has lost, or is losing, many of its territories: the Ukraine, Latvia, Moldova and most of the Diaspora in the West, ultimately everything that it once controlled outside the Russian Federation. Imperialist and nationalist politics have their price. A Council or Synod in Moscow will have to enact a wave of decentralisation. If independence (autocephaly) is not given to Non-Russians by Moscow, it will be taken by them anyway.

Conclusion: The Triumph of Conciliarity

Once the war of America and its NATO vassal elite, launched against Russia and Europe, now coming to an end in the Ukraine, is over, the persecution of the heroic Church of the Ukraine will also be over. A New Ukraine will be established. And a New Ukrainian Church will also be established. And, regardless of what happens in Moscow, an independent Ukrainian Church under Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev will be supported everywhere that matters, not least by the Romanian Church. Independence for it was thirty years overdue, as for all parts of the Russian Church outside the Russian Federation. We await transformations of the centralised structures of the Church, which are now archaic, and await the removal of homosexual mafias of self-interest, corruption and power of the paid Church administrators, exactly those which St John Chrysostom denounced over 1600 years ago.

After the shameful decadence of the minority Orthodox Conference in Crete in 2016, the Church authorities will have to proceed to a real Council to resolve the real problems of the Church. These issues were never even discussed at Crete, where some signatures of the relatively few attendees were even forged. The elites of the two Local Churches which tried to impose their will over all the others over the last thirty years will have to step back, one way or another. That time is over. Now we must proceed to Conciliarity, to reaffirming the Catholicity of the Church, to reaffirming that local nationalisms are always secondary to the Church, which will not be brought down to that level, to reaffirming that in the Church we have Trinitarian unity in diversity, ‘multipolarity’, that we only have one really important passport and identity, our spiritual passport and identity. We shall be victorious, because Christ, the Head of the real Church, is always victorious.

 

The Difference Between Orthodox Christians and Converts

The Orthodox Christian Man

He may be called Nick, George, Sergei or Jim (= Dimitrios, Dmitry, Dumitrou, Dima) and he works as a builder, carpenter, plumber, electrician or car mechanic (if Serb). He did not go to church very often, apart from to stand outside to smoke cigarettes and talk with his friends, who have the same name as him, until he turned 50, then he started seriously. He once spoke to a convert. The latter told him that his parents were not Orthodox so ‘they will not be saved and will go to hell’. Nick/George/Sergei/Jim said afterwards: ‘He talk crap’ (this sounds more effective when said with a rolled ‘r’ in an Eastern European accent). He added that ‘he look like he need good meal. That make man of him’. He tells everyone that he is the boss (his wife told him so), but he actually knows that his wife is the boss and, secretly, he prefers it that way, but would never admit to it in public.

The Orthodox Christian Woman

Her name ends in ‘a’ (for example Maria), or in ‘na’ (for example, Alina, Arina, Carolina, Ekaterina, Galina, Inna, Irina, Karina, Nina, Marina, Nina, Paulina, Valentina, Christina, Ioanna, Oana, Oksana, Svetlana, Tatiana, Elena) or else in oula (for example, Coula, Foula, Poula, Roula, Soula, Toula). She did not go to church very often until she turned 40, then suddenly she started and now she never misses a service. She is an excellent cook and like her husband is slightly overweight. Her husband says that ‘she comfortable’, which is his word for ‘plump’. She has to be slightly plump for the sake of her many grandchildren, who like sitting on her lap.  She never argues with her husband because she arranges it so he always agrees with her. Her sons, who are builders, fear her and she made sure they all got married before the age of 30. Her daughters, who are beauticians, hairdressers, nurses or teachers, spend as much time as possible with her. She encourages them to have as many babies as possible.

The Male Convert

Although his real name is Bob, Tom or Tony, he calls himself Seraphim, Moses, Vladimir or Silouan. He is single and tends to be frightened of or even despise women (which is why he is single). He has very long hair, tied into a bun at the back, and a very long beard (the parish priest has short hair and a short beard and no-one else in the parish has long hair or a beard). His favourite colour is black and he is very thin. He has a huge number of icons, many ‘Orthodox’ books, several tiny wrist-size rosaries (which for some reason he calls ‘ropes’) and watches podcasts given by gurus who look like him. His favourite word is ‘holy’, and adds it to everything: ‘holy liturgy’, ‘holy canons’, ‘holy icons’, ‘holy tradition’, ‘holy fast’, ‘holy fathers’ etc. He has very right-wing views. He litters his speech with words like ‘prelest’, ‘schema’, ‘stichar’ or ‘omofor’, which he mispronounces and which no-one else in the parish or anywhere else knows anyway. He is not at all practical and gives the impression of being rather autistic. He works part-time and has problems holding down a job. Thank goodness nobody would ever think of making him a bishop. If they did, the power would go to his head and make him crazy.

The Female Convert

Although her real name is Sue or Pam, she calls herself Seraphima or Anastasia. She is single. Although she comes from a well-off family, she usually dresses in long and old skirts. She does not look after her long hair, would never dye it, and never wears any make-up. Her favourite colour is black and she appears to wear tablecloths over her hair, though she calls them headscarves. She is to be found in food shops examining the ingredients of various foods to make sure that they contain no non-fasting foods, the slightest amount of which could cause her to sin mortally. She is vegan and very thin and pale. She does not feel confident with children and may never have any.

 

On Civilisation and Pierre De Gaulle

All civilisations are founded on some spiritual revelation about and belief in a Divinity. This revelation is then formed into and adopted as a religion. So a civilisation begins, whether in China, India, the Orthodox Christian world, the Arab world, Africa, in what is now Latin America, among the aborigines of what is now North America, Australia and Polynesia, or in the Catholic/Protestant world. There are no exceptions, apart from one: secularist post-Catholic/Protestant civilisation, known as ‘the West’.

Uniquely among all civilisations, it has renounced belief in a Divinity and claims that it can rely on humanism, self-belief, the worship of itself. This qualifies it perhaps more for the title of an ‘Anti-Civilisation’. Such delusional hubris reminds us of the story in the old Bible of those who built the Tower of Babel and saw it collapse as a result of their literal overreach, or in pagan Greek mythology of Icarus, who so relied on himself that he thought he could fly near the Sun (God). The Sun melted the wax holding his wings together and he fell to his death.

The latest project of this new Icarus is the Ukraine and it too is now falling from the sky. The State-controlled Western media, which blatantly lied about the inevitable Russian victory for twenty months, are now beginning to tell at least part of the truth about the worse-than-Kabul rout of the West in the Ukraine. Delusional Kiev is indeed haemorrhaging manpower because of the extremely high number of soldiers it has lost (500,000 + dead so far and between 600 and 1,000 more every day) and perhaps a million wounded. It is a mismatched war of attrition, a chronic shortage of arms and munitions, a flood of refugees as people flee the crumbling state and endemic corruption which cripples the efficiency of and trust in the Kiev regime and its military.

This modern Western civilisation proclaims that God is not necessary, He is just a superstition, a vestige from the past, a crutch for the weak-minded, and that sexual depravity and degeneration, even if leading to the suicidal disappearance of Western peoples, is normal. It has retreated so far from the Christian Faith over the last millennium that some of its best representatives are now actually fleeing to Orthodox Christian Russia. This is because those who serve culture cannot work where there is no faith, for no faith means no inspiration.

In Orthodox Russia (though not in post-Soviet Russia) there is freedom for faith and where there is faith there is some sort of morality, belief that we must discern between right and wrong. Years ago, President Putin, who with most of his country had returned at least culturally to Orthodox Christianity, warned the West not to make the mistake that Russia had made in 1917, that of adopting atheism as its ideology. The Western elite did not listen to him and is not listening to him now. The West has now adopted a quite virulent form of atheism as its main ideology, leaving only small, oppressed and despised remnants believing in various forms of Christianity.

Now Western people, fleeing atheist persecution in the spiritually, morally and financially bankrupt West, are leaving for Orthodox Russia and other Orthodox parts of the world. This is exactly as prophesied by St Seraphim of Vyritsa during the darkest days of Stalin’s dictatorship. So far this concerns only a few hundred people, most of whom have adopted Orthodox Christianity. However, with the aggressive bullying against Christian values going on in the West, more are hoping to leave for religious freedom and to protect their children from depravity, inculcated by law in Western schools. Such is the case of Pierre de Gaulle, the grandson of the late President de Gaulle, who, like others from Western Europe, is to become a Russian citizen, as announced on 16 November.

‘It would be an honour for me to acquire Russian citizenship’, said Pierre de Gaulle at the Saint Petersburg Cultural Forum, as reported on 16 November. He added that Russia was ‘fighting for traditional values, the family and spirituality’ and that NATO had lost in the Ukraine. He has clearly inherited his grandfather’s total distrust of the USA. Earlier he had stated that: ‘We French people are paying a high price for a war provoked by the United States to turn Europe into a vassal’. For these words he won praise from Russophile intellectuals and politicians in France, as he represents the Gaullist tradition of resisting aggressive US imperialism, which is now under the leadership of a man with severe mental health problems.

Pierre de Gaulle is only the latest in a number of Western patriots turning to Russia and other Orthodox countries, as they see their countries humiliated by the globalist elites, handpicked by the CIA for their willingness to betray the spirituality, morality and sovereignty of European countries. Like other leading patriotic Western voices, Pierre de Gaulle represents the best in Western society, who also oppose the American war in the Ukraine and want peace, justice and prosperity for all.

He represents that strand of people and thought in Western Europe which for fifty years and more has been calling for the reintegration of Western Europe back into the Orthodox Christian Church and world, which is at its very roots in the first millennium, before it deviated from the Church of God. This world view of the Orthosphere is alive in Jerusalem, on Mt Athos, in the monasteries and the churches of the Carpathians, both Latin-Romanian and Slav, in the forests of Russia, and from Slovakia to the shores of the Pacific, from the White Sea to Syria, and in small oases of Orthodoxy worldwide. We are spiritually alive and waiting for your repentance.

 

The Emperor is Coming And He Will Cleanse the Church of Corruption

‘Wherever Americans come to a region of the planet, they bring chaos’.

Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister speaking on RT, 15 November 2023

The American war against the Russian and Ukrainian peoples in the eastern Ukraine is now coming to an end. However, terror and genocide are breaking out in the Holy Land, which is a convenient get-out, or ‘off-ramp’, from their lost war in the Ukraine for the US elite. For that elite, which fights wars with the blood of others, is threatening even more wars and chaos in many other parts of the world with their same imperial ‘Divide and Rule’ policy. The world knows that we are seeing global transformations in these pre-apocalyptic times.

The post-1945 US-controlled world is over and US-led institutions are collapsing, from the EU to the UK, from NATO to the WTO. This is a parallel to the collapse of Soviet institutions from 1989 on, including the Soviet-created Ukraine which is only now disappearing. A great power shift, prophesied by many, is taking place, with the old Western elites falling everywhere. The time of the prophecies has come. These include the promised return of an Orthodox Emperor or Tsar, of whom we will now speak.

Over a century ago, apostate Orthodox Christian Russians betrayed the Orthodox Emperor, Tsar Nicholas II, his Family and his faithful servants.  Since then the vast majority of Russians have not yet woken up from their nightmare. The episcopate of the Orthodox Church has sunk into divisions and corruption, as though a mafia had come to reign there. However, prophetic voices have resounded. Thus, the great Elder Nikolai (+ 2002) of the Pskov Lake, answered pilgrims on three occasions that ‘The Tsar is coming’, when they doubted. On the first occasion, they objected:

‘St Seraphim of Sarov also made such prophecies, but there is no sign that a Tsar is coming. That those in the present government do not see him coming is clear, but the most terrible thing of all is that there are priests who are not waiting for the Tsar’. One metropolitan also objected: ‘What monarchy? That time is over, now we live in a democracy’. Fr Nikolai listened and said: ‘The Tsar is coming’. ‘How come? Who is coming?’ And again he answered: ‘The Tsar is coming’. They argued with him for a third time and once more he repeated: ‘The Tsar is coming’.

‘We left perplexed, but a little later this is what happened. We met a priest from Kiev, who told us how he had been in a car crash. The angels took him away, a bright light shone from above, his soul rejoiced and he thought: ‘Glory to God, I am home’. Suddenly he heard a voice: ‘Not yet, you have to go back’. ‘Why?’ ‘You are a convinced monarchist, you will pray for the Tsar’. ‘Who is the Tsar?’ ‘Only I and the Tsar know this. Even his parents and the Mother of God do not know this’. ‘Why?’ ‘Because as soon as people find out, they will immediately kill him’’.

Thus, there will be no revolutions, elections or councils. When the time comes, the Lord Himself will raise up the chosen Tsar. According to the prophecies, this will happen some time after a war. This is the American war that is now coming to an end in the Ukraine. By the prayers of the last Orthodox Emperor and Martyr and all the New Martyrs and Confessors, the Tsar will be enthroned in the coming years. Then he will cleanse the Church of corruption. As for us, we are simply forerunners, sent to announce this message, though we are unworthy even to untie his shoelaces.

 

Papism or the Holy Trinity: The Multipolar Structure of the Orthodox Church

The only alternative to the Holy Trinity is hell.

Archpriest Sergij Bulgakov

Introduction: The Remaking of the World Order

The settlement after the Second World War made by a victorious USA and USSR is over. The red star Soviet Empire, given birth to by British-orchestrated regime change begun in blood on 30 December 1916, ended on 25 December 1991. The white star American Empire, given birth to by the Truman Doctrine, formulated on 22 February 1947, ended on 24 February 2022 with the tragic events in the Ukraine. Both had lasted for three generations. The Age of Empires is over. The whole World Order is being remade.

The Ukrainian Tragedy

The recent events in Ukraine, very accurately described by the President of Poland as ‘the drowning man who is drowning his rescuer together with himself’, can only be described as the Last Crusade of the West. However, those events do not just mean the dissolution of the old Ukraine, invented by the USSR from 1922 on, and of the old NATO, they are symptomatic of much more. The Ukraine is only one of the historic shifts that are taking place in the world, where we are witnessing the rebirth of a multipolar world.

That varied and multi-centred world existed a millennium ago, before ‘the West’ took on the demonic idea that it was exceptional, proclaiming that it had the right to dominate the whole world through the arrogance of the ‘crusades’. The first of these began officially in 1095, though in fact they had started before that, in Italy and Spain and in 1066 in England. The last one was not Pope George Bush’s ‘Crusade’ against Iraq in 2003. It is the attack on Russia today, Pope Joseph Biden’s Crusade, which is the Last Crusade.

The alphabet soup of old institutions that my generation has grown up with are gone or else will inevitably go: the USSR (gone already), NATO, the EU, ASEAN, the OECD, the IMF, the WTF, the G7, AUKUS, the UN, the UK (to split into its different countries), perhaps the USA too, are next. Through ‘BRICS’, which is set to replace them all, we are heading towards a Planetary Alliance of Sovereign Peoples. The alternative is a neocon-inspired nuclear Wasteland that even T.S. Eliot could not have nightmared of.

BRICS, already more powerful than the G7, soon with eleven members, is the future present. This is the multipolar world of Russia, China, India, Africa, Latin America, Oceania and all the others. This is the Alliance of the seven billion of Planet Earth. The remaining one billion on their islands and on their Western European peninsula will be obliged to join and co-operate with this Alliance as equals, or else die. The old Western millennium is over and, ironically, the new millennium has been given birth to by this Last Western Crusade.

The Multipolar Structure of the Orthodox Church

The old Western-controlled world had a unipolar or totalitarian structure, which has its origin in the unitary, centralised Papist structure of the second millennium of Western Europe. This is not the structure of the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Churches, now numbers sixteen. Why the paradoxical use of the singular and the plural, Church and Churches? This use is only as paradoxical as that found in the essential Gospel Teaching of the Holy Trinity: God is One, but also Three.

It is this Tri-unity that is at the basis of this rebirth of a multipolar world that is taking place before our very eyes. In other words, the multipolar reality of the ever-expanding BRICS is based on the very description and definition of the structure of the Orthodox Church(es). The ‘Papism’ of the Western world is thus the opposite of the Trinitarian model of the Holy Trinity, as seen in the Orthodox Church(es). It is therefore no surprise that BRICS has basically been founded by Orthodox Christians from Russia.

The Orthodox Church(es) has also known the temptation of ’Papist’ or unitary rule. But each time those centripetal, that is, unipolar or ‘Papist’, tendencies have been defeated, just as centrifugal or splitting forces have also been defeated. The whole Orthodox world is now awaiting the outcome of the tragic conflict between NATO and Russia in the old Ukraine. We all know that the resulting New Ukraine will be one that is viable. (Remember how foolishly an unviable Germany was created after 1919, resulting in a new War).

The Russian President is not only a politician, but also a Russian Orthodox layman. As a provincial intelligence officer, he lived through the collapse of the USSR and the human catastrophes that ensued. As he proclaimed several years ago: ‘He who does not regret the USSR has no heart; he who wants to restore it has no brain’. As for the future structure of the Russian Orthodox Church, for example in the New Ukraine and in other former Soviet republics which are now independent nations, he has no interest in it. He is a politician.

Conclusion: Multipolar Orthodoxy

Such matters will be for the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy to sort out, inevitably in consultation with the fifteen other Local Orthodox Churches. We believe that the Russian Orthodox Church will follow the multipolar model and grant independence (autocephaly) to its different constituent parts. This is not because the Russian Orthodox Church wants to follow multipolar politicians, but because it is part of the whole Orthodox Church, whose structure is inherently theologically multipolar, that is, Trinitarian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Papism or Multipolarity: The Fake Church or the Real Church

Introduction: Conformism to the World

In the 1960s and 1970s, parts of the Orthodox Church outside the Communist bloc were affected by a creeping Protestantisation and sectarianisation. Here I am referring to the ecumenism, liberalism and modernism of that period. It was just another example of how some in the Church are willing to conform to the ways of the world, to swim with the tide. But what happens when the tide changes?

Since then the tide has indeed changed, ‘ecumenism’ has become a strangely old-fashioned and even largely unknown word. And even the word ‘modern’ is now also old-fashioned, replaced by ‘post-modern’. However, another secularising movement to imitate, this time perhaps even more dangerous, has appeared since then. This is the movement towards sectarian authoritarianism, that is, to Papism, on the part of a few Orthodox Patriarchates and even a few ordinary bishops.

The Church Leader is the Emperor

After an accumulation of occasional conflicts and disagreements that had begun with Charlemagne in 800, in 1054 the authorities of the Church in the West reached an end-point and broke off communion with the rest of the Church. Papism, the claim to universal domination, had appeared. Thus, Roman Catholicism was born and would develop step by step, taking on tentacular dimensions. Roman Catholicism, with its universalist pretensions, was an authoritarian attempt to take control not only of the Western world and all its emperors and kings, but also of the whole Church of God everywhere, in the west, east, south and north.

The new Papist or Roman Catholic ideology stated that the Pope of Rome is de facto Caesar, the supreme authority, the World Emperor, Pontifex Maximus, the successor to the pagan Roman Emperors. This ideology came to be called ‘Papocaesarism’, meaning the total, indeed totalitarian, Western control of the whole world by the Patriarch (Pope) of a single Local Church. It led almost immediately to the reactions of disagreement and persecution, which caused the Papal schism from the Orthodox Church in the eleventh century. It also gradually led to the political and ecclesiastical break-up of Western Europe itself in the 16th century and its permanent division into Roman Catholic and Protestant.

At first it meant continual wars and invasions in the name of the Popes of Rome, papal armies or papally-blessed armies massacring Jews and Muslims in Spain and Italy, invading and genociding Christian England in 1066 and later genociding Christian Ireland. Then came the so-called Crusades, the massacres of the Albigensians in France, the sack of the Christian Capital in Constantinople in 1204, the Teutonic Knights in Prussia and finally the so-called ‘Reformation’. Millions of dead. Papism also meant colossal centralisation, as described, for example, in such a basic historical account as Richard Southern’s ‘Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages’. Paperwork, protocols, legal niceties and bureaucracy took over.

Sadly, it is this Papist ideology which in recent generations has become an admired model for certain Orthodox Patriarchs and bishops. Those who admire the Vatican repeat its errors and indeed its heresy. Both the Patriarchates of Constantinople (‘Eastern Papism’) and of Moscow, as well as some others, have been tempted by Vatican-style power. Indeed, whenever a Patriarchate (or ordinary bishop) draws near to Rome, the result is that they are tempted by secular power. It is a spiritual disease, an infection of the soul. The Patriarchates of Moscow and of Constantinople could not survive, if they were to continue. However, we believe that this is not a ‘sickness unto death’, but only a temporary infection. Healthy forces in both Patriarchates will fight back and even now are fighting back. They always do. The Church belongs to Christ, not to Patriarchs or bishops, whatever their thunderous titles and pretensions may be.

Orthodox Being Orthodox Christians

We have long stated that all the problems in Church life come about when Orthodox stop living as Orthodox Christians. There are so many clerical careerists, ‘professionals’, who demand that the faithful first make appointments with secretaries in order to see them, who call their flock ‘the mob’, who do not give confessions, as reality would disturb their delusions. These are the ones who have big black cars and properties, the monocle-wearers, who appear to be aware only of their own imaginary self-importance and their Papist ‘right’ to humiliate and condemn to hell those who disagree with them. Like the pharisees, who they are, they are obsessed with gold, their dress, formality, rites and rules. This is precisely what destroyed the Russian Church in 1917, when the Russian masses rejected such clericalism and self-importance.

As the New Martyrs and Confessors are forgotten by some in Russia, the bad spirit is coming back and being rejected again. Just as real Orthodoxy is not a religion and ritual, but faith in the Living God, so real Orthodox priests are not clerics, but pastors. They are shepherds of the flock and so are unmercenary, not interested in wallets, but in souls. They build communities, from which spring miracles and saints. ‘By their fruits, you shall know them’. Carpathian saints like Elder Cleopa do not demand that people make appointments with their secretaries to see them. They do not have any secretaries. Nor in the past did the Optina Elders, St Seraphim of Sarov or the Transvolgan hermits like St Nil of Sora. Nor in the distant past did St Cuthbert and St Chad or did the Irish saints in their island hermitages.

They had no possessions. In the Church of the Russian emigration, where I was brought up and spent fifty years, there was no such Papist nonsense, with all its paperwork, protocols, legal niceties and bureaucracy. For instance, Fr George Sheremetiev (+ 1971), Count Sheremetiev, from one of the richest families in Russia, lived in poverty in a tiny room in London, all his possessions were contained in one small suitcase. Why? He said that he lived so, because he had to repent, as his class had created the Revolution, since they had lived in luxury, while the masses had lived in poverty, on top of which his class had betrayed the Tsar and created catastrophe for all.

Archbishop George (Tarasov) in Paris lived in the same way as Fr George. Remember Archbishop Alipy of Erie in the USA? He made his own mitre, photocopying icons to stick on it, using lots of gold paper and cardboard. Remember Fr (Baron) Alexander Rehbinder? Several of his children slept in drawers. He had no beds for them. Most Orthodox emigres were like this. Most emigre churches were small and cosy, prayerful and simple – and poor. That is my Church. Think of St John of Shanghai giving away his shoes to beggars, not because his shoes were uncomfortable (as the papists will tell you), but because he had compassion. Renounce his way, and you renounce the way of all the saints.

A Centralised Church and a Multipolar Church

Ever since I returned to the Russian Federation in 2007 after an absence of forty-one years, I have said that the situation there was fragile, on a knife-edge. It could go one way or the other. Restoration was by no means guaranteed. And I also said from the beginning that what it had taken three generations to destroy between December 1916 and December 1991 would take three generations to restore. The Russia I saw in 2007, and have seen again several times since then, was not yet a Russian world, it was a post-Soviet world. Post-Soviet golden domes do not make a Church and saints.

And without saints, there will be no Church, just a post-Soviet religious-coloured national institution. And whoever says post-Soviet, says centralised and nationalist. For important parts of the post-Soviet Church are still centralised, nationalist and therefore saintless. And yet in our New World Order of 2023, the world of BRICS, we do not have centralism, but ‘multipolarity’, that is, polycentrism. Where did multipolarity come from? Multipolarity is precisely the Orthodox Christian structure on which the Confederation or Family of Local Orthodox Churches is founded.

A centralised and nationalist (and so anti-missionary) post-Soviet Church can have no place in Orthodoxy. Centralism, that is, unipolarity, is exactly the opposite of our Orthodox view of the world. Centralism, unipolarity, is the definition of Papist Roman Catholicism, not of Orthodoxy. And even though Papist Roman Catholicism has gone, its cultural reflexes have been inherited by the USA, today’s Uniparty Hegemon. Its ideology is Unipolarity, belief in a single totalitarian system all over the world, which they call Globalism. This tries to impose itself by intimidation, violence and regime change all over the world, Americanising by force and threat, as we who were in ROCOR in England know by heart. But we have resisted it and won.

Their ideology is that one size fits all, like a MacDonald’s franchise, in Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and the Ukraine, in fact all over the world. Millions of dead. In other words, the US elite is a de facto Caesar, the supreme authority, the World Emperor, Pontifex Maximus, the POTUS, the successor to the pagan Roman Emperors, Papism, meaning the total, indeed totalitarian control of the whole world by the single leader of a single Nation. This is Neo-Papism.

Conclusion: Awaiting Resurrection

The above is not our Orthodox Christian spiritual and cultural inheritance. Our inheritance is the Holy Trinity, unity in diversity, the origin of multipolarity. We who were brought up in the real Russian, not Sovietised, Church await the Resurrection of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate. As also faithful Greeks await the Resurrection of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. For the moment, however, we are closer to the stern prophecies of St Lavrentij of Chernigov (+ 1950), who warned us what to avoid:

‘Not long before Antichrist is enthroned, even those churches that have been closed will be repaired and restored — not only their exteriors, but their interiors, as well. They will gild the cupolas of bell-towers and cathedrals, alike…We will have unprecedented splendour’, Elder Lavrentii would say. ‘Do you see how craftily and insidiously all this is being prepared?… I repeat yet again that one must not attend those cathedrals; there will be no grace in them!’

 

Unlocking the Crisis in the Orthodox World

The 200 million-strong Orthodox Church is in an unheard-of state of schism between the clerical leaders of 14 million Greek Orthodox and the clerical leaders of 140 million Russian Orthodox. This crisis has been caused by nationalism. Indeed, even the word heresy is being used of this schism.

Thus, Greeks accuse Russians of nationalism by promoting their concept of ‘the Russian world’, which Greeks find akin to the heresy of ‘phyletism’ (racist nationalism), which denies the Catholicity of the Church. For them this is what the conflict in the Ukraine is about – the nationalist desire of the Russian government to unite into Russia all Russians, including the Russians who were persecuted and massacred while living near the Russian borders in the east and the south of the old Ukraine and keeping the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under its control. In the nationalist Russian world, non-Russians, even if they are Orthodox, may be treated as second-class citizens.

Russians also accuse Greeks of the same heresy of phyletism, in their claim that the whole Orthodox world must be under the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople, who is effectively an Eastern Pope, and that all Non-Greeks, even if they are Orthodox, are therefore effectively second-class citizens. This we have seen in the Greek establishment of dependent ‘Churches’, led by some very dubious individuals and even criminals, in the Ukraine, Estonia and elsewhere. And all this on the age-old canonical territory of the Russian Church and under the political patronage and with the finance of the US State Department.

We are neither Greek nor Russian, as we are drawn from the other 46 million Orthodox. We, who belong to the majority of the fourteen other Local Orthodox Churches, with over a third of us belonging to the Romanian Orthodox Church, are left in the middle. We are in communion with both Russians and Greeks, but in disagreement with both. We find that they are influenced by extremism and that they should sort out their problems at a real Council of the whole Church. Sadly, the elderly Patriarch of Constantinople has rejected this, claiming that he is above Councils!

Given the Greek rejection of a Council, which Council has been promoted by us in an attempt to resolve their schism, cynics say that the Church will just have to wait until the two aged Patriarchs, of Moscow and Constantinople, have died. Only then will the situation be resolved, as the only way out of the crisis is for both patriarchs to pass on and be replaced by new, non-political patriarchs, free of nationalism and US interference. This is to reduce the whole affair to a mere personality issue. That is not at all the case, for here is a vital theological issue about putting the Catholicity of the Church above nationalism, and also we are not cynics. We are believers.

We have already lived through a similar situation of blockage, that of the Cold War, when Church affairs were blocked by politics, in the USSR for 75 years, in the rest of Eastern Europe for 45 years. (Although there was no Greco-Russian schism then). What happened? In 1991 the USSR fell overnight. The hand of God. The present schism is, we believe, not yet as serious and as long-lasting as the era of the Communist captivity of the Church. Those who despair have forgotten the Faith. The hand of God intervenes and all can change in a moment.

As we have seen, there is no possibility of a Council of the whole Church, as it will be boycotted by the Patriarch of Constantinople, as he has stated. What is possible, however, is a Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) which recognises that the USSR no longer exists. One country became 15 independent republics. Surely the ROC needs to decentralise and found new Local Churches, by giving independence/ autocephaly to those Russian Orthodox who for over thirty years have lived in other countries. If independence (autocephaly) were granted by a Church Council in Moscow to those Orthodox outside Russia, but who were formerly in the USSR, this would completely undermine Constantinople’s fake Churches in the Ukraine, Estonia and Lithuania (this latter created only by Moscow defrocking priests for no canonical reason), pulling the rug from under Greek feet.

Firstly, a new Local Church for the New Ukraine is required, as Moscow mulled over doing in the 1990s. The New Ukraine is what will be left of the old and purely artificial Soviet Ukraine, once the latter has been dismantled. Already five provinces with the Crimea have been transferred to Russia. It is not known if other provinces, perhaps two (Nikolaev, Odessa?) or even two more than that (Kharkov, Dnipropetrovsk?), will be transferred to Russia, another two may return to Romania and Hungary. Russia has never wanted to invade or occupy the whole of the Ukraine. It has enough territory of its own and knows from recent history that it cannot occupy areas that are not Russian, where it is not accepted.

So a New Ukraine will still exist, not as large as the old Ukraine which is a construct invented from 1922 on, but still large, between half and three-quarters of the old one. It will be a Ukraine that does not have a US puppet government and one that is demilitarised and denazified, that is, neutral. Unlike the old Fascistic Ukraine which is now collapsing, it will also have to grant all its citizens democracy, freedom to practise their religion without fear of the secret police, and other essential human rights.

The New Ukraine will need a Church which is fully independent of the ROC in Moscow. Similarly, a new Local Church for the three Baltic statelets and another new Local Church for Moldova can end divisions there. However, if Moscow does not do this, Orthodox there and elsewhere, notably in Latvia, will precisely turn to Constantinople for autocephaly and Moscow will also lose Moldova to the Romanian Church. Ultimately, the same may well have to happen for Orthodox in Kazakhstan together with the other four ‘stans’ of Central Asia and then in Belarus.

The point is that Russian nationalism only works with Russians, just as Greek nationalism only works with Greeks. The situation with Greek nationalism is all the more critical for Constantinople. Still seemingly denying that the Greek Orthodox Empire fell in 1453 and still addicted to US dollars, the Patriarchate of Constantinople is going to have to deal with the consequences of the Russian military and technological victory in the Ukraine and its economic and diplomatic victory in BRICS +, which includes Africa, where the ROC is very active.

Both Russian victories already mean the humiliation of the United States and Western Europe, especially of the fatally divided NATO and the EU, which are both likely to collapse. For example, Turkiye, whose President was saved from US assassination by Russia on 15 July 2016 and who was recently in Moscow for talks, has shown great interest in joining BRICS + and so leaving NATO. And Turkiye, whose application to join the EU has been humiliatingly rejected by it on many occasions over the decades, is precisely where the Patriarchate of Constantinople is fixed.

If Turkiye, whose army is for now the second largest in NATO, joins BRICS +, US influence there will collapse, as also in the part of Syria which it occupies and exploits. BRICS + means the end of the prospect of a potential future World Dictatorship, as foretold in the prophecies of Antichrist. Since Russia has good relations with Turkiye and thousands of Russians live there permanently, it will not be long before the ROC opens an Exarchate there, as it has already done in Africa. In Africa it seems as though the Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria will go back to what it was 100 years ago and still essentially is, a small Greek diocese covering Egypt and Libya.

If Constantinople boycotts a Council of the Church, then a Council will go ahead without it. It will be its loss. If Constantinople does not need the Church, the Church will not need it. However, if Moscow does not give autocephalies to the Orthodox in the independent countries formed over thirty years ago, it will find that those countries will gain their Orthodox autocephaly without Moscow. This has already happened in Latvia, just as generations ago it happened in Poland, Czechoslovakia and North America. The peoples of the Church do not need bureaucracies, protocols and their pieces of paper to live and develop. They need freedom. This should be blatantly obvious. Sadly, to some it is not.

In any case, both Greeks and Russians will have to recognise that there is no future in phyletism, racist nationalism. Nationalism is the hatred of other countries and, as it is hatred, it can have no place in Christianity. Patriotism, however, is a Christian value, for it is the love of our native country and, as such, in no way excludes positive feelings towards other countries. Let both Greeks and Russians be patriotic, as much as they want, but let patriotism not degenerate into nationalism. The Church of God is much larger than Greeks and Russians. It is the Holy Spirit Who alone creates the spirit of Catholicity, uniting all peoples in their Local Churches. It is called Unity in Diversity and is the image of the Holy Trinity.

 

An Interview: On St John’s Church in Colchester, the Present Situation in the Romanian, Ukrainian, Russian and Greek Churches, St Sophrony and Metr Antony Bloom.

The following is the recap of an interview given in Colchester on the Feast of the Dormition, 28 August 2023, to pilgrims from Romania, one of whom, Starets Vikenty from Targoviste, concelebrated with us.

 

Q: How did you obtain this enormous and beautiful church in Colchester, which is like a monastery?

A: It was through a miracle of St John of Shanghai. For eleven years we had been renting temporary premises and then this church came up for sale. We only had £4,000 in our account. So we prayed to St John and after six weeks, without even the slightest help from the Russian bishops or local Russians, we came to have £180,000 in our account. We bought the church. I still cannot believe this happened, even after 15 years.

Q: How did you come to be in the Romanian Church?

A: That too was a miracle of St John. You know for decades the Romanian church in Paris, where I studied, was under the Russian Church. This was through the kindness of St John and his successor Archbishop Antony of Geneva, who ordained me. It was on the new calendar – in those days the Russian Church had no problem with that. The Romanian problem was purely political, they were political refugees, so the Russian Church sheltered them until the political situation in Romania was resolved and the Paris parish could return to the freed Romanian Church, as it did twenty years ago.

Now when the Russian Church came quite recently into great political turmoil, we had to take refuge in the Romanian Church. I said to Metr Joseph at the time (we communicate in French): ‘We have Russian traditions and use the old calendar’. He answered: ‘No problem’. This was undoubtedly too by the prayers of St John. Here in Colchester we have been repaid for St John’s charity in Paris all those years ago. It is the spiritual law. Do good and good will come back to you. Do bad and bad will come back to you. It is the boomerang principle.

I would add also that in the 1970s the well-known Romanian ascetic, Fr Raphael (Noica), had a great influence on me. This gave me even then a very positive picture of the spiritual grandeur of the Romanian Church.

Q: You are now a well-established parish under Metr Joseph and his Synod of the Autonomous Romanian Metropolia of Western and Southern Europe. What has been the greatest change in recent years?

A: Without doubt, it was the government lockdowns during covid. Since we refused to close down and I said publicly that I was willing to go to prison for it, we doubled our congregation. True, that did make our then bishop very unhappy because his small church in London was forced to close. We were at some points the only Orthodox church open in England. We had people of all nationalities coming to us from all over the south and east of England, up to 150 miles away, from Brighton, Reading and Lincolnshire. Both Russian churches in London closed down, as well as the Greek churches, the Antiochian churches and the monastery in Tolleshunt Knights.

Recently someone told me how nostalgic he was for that time! We did not ring the bells, we did not switch on the lights, no parking was allowed in the Church car park and we never opened the front doors which had a notice on them saying: ‘Due to the government lockdown, these doors are closed’. It was absolutely true, we used the side door which people went in and out of in small numbers and people were told not to gather and talk outside in front of the Church. This man said to me: ‘It was like the catacomb Church’. He is nostalgic for that. I can understand him.

Q: What was your attitude to covid vaccination?

A: Neutral. It was not a dogmatic question, it was up to everyone personally. But I always told people to make the sign of the cross over the vaccine, if they had to receive it, just in case.

Q: The situation of having a church to go to was good for the people. But did it affect you?

A: Yes, definitely – apart from being constantly very tired from overwork! First of all, we realised that we as a church had been virtually unknown before. Suddenly hundreds, if not thousands, of Orthodox discovered us. It was the best advert we could ever have had. Secondly, I also went out, covering a thousand miles a week, and gave hundreds more people communion in their homes. I was never stopped by the police, the roads were more or less empty. I discovered that the Russian priests in London were refusing to go out and give communion. I was the only one doing so. Thirdly, I realised just how many Romanian Orthodox there were in England, realising that they were by then three-quarters of all Orthodox here. We could no longer remain as a small minority amidst this ocean of Romanian Orthodox. We had a pastoral responsibility towards them.

Q: Until the 1990s, the majority of Orthodox in England were Greeks. Why did you not think of joining them, as you later joined the majority Romanian Church?

A: First of all, from 1983 until 1997 I lived in Paris, the centre of the Russian emigration, where I studied at seminary and where there were and are very few Greeks or Orthodox of any other nationality except Russian. Secondly, sadly, the Greeks had always been hostile to Non-Greeks. I remember in the 1970s and 1980s how Greeks simply told Non-Greeks to go away (and sometimes not as politely as that). It does not matter how numerous you are, when you have that attitude, you condemn yourself to dying out – which is exactly what has happened. And thirdly the Greek hierarchy was always politically and masonically very compromised and I was very uncomfortable with that, whatever the ordinary priests and people. I did not want to have to become a freemason, as they offered me.

Q: So was this ‘ocean’ of Romanians the reason why you joined the Romanian Church?

A: No. The reason we joined the Romanian Church eighteen months ago, just before the conflict in the Ukraine entered its new and very violent phase, was the sectarianisation of the Russian Church Outside Russia.

The old Russian archbishop had been completely indifferent to us, celebrating in our church only once in 20 years! When I asked for his blessing to obtain the church in Colchester, he gave it, without hostility, but made it clear that he thought I was crazy to set up a large church and that he would not in any way help us. However, the new bishop, who replaced him, belonged to what we, and many others, came to call ‘ROCCOR’, ‘Russian Orthodox Crazy Converts Outside Russia’.

A very recent, inexperienced, young convert, with huge gaps in his knowledge, without seminary training and no pastoral experience, he was put in charge of the few remaining ROCOR parishes that remained in Western Europe and made mistake after mistake. He governed through google-translate! We had been members of the Russian Church before he was born and had known those who had been adults in Russia before 1917. He also told us all publicly that ‘I don’t like Romanians and only half-like Moldovans’. This was in front of a group of twenty of us, half Romanians or Moldovans!

It was one of the final acts of suicide for the ROCOR Diocese in Western Europe, the last in a long series. They had run out of competent bishops. All the older and experienced priests had to be cast out and replaced with crazy converts, neophytes. Fr Seraphim Rose’s ultimate nightmare from the 1970s had come true. ‘Super-correctness’ had taken over. (Remember that Fr Seraphim was a disciple of St John of Shanghai, and so was a sort of spiritual uncle to me).

In extreme cases, as in the USA, this meant expelling families, women and children from real parishes, and repopulating the tiny remaining groups with crazy converts, ‘internet Orthodox’, misogynists, repressed homosexuals, indifferent to the future of the Church, the children, incels and even youths who like toying with Nazi weapons. Such will debate at length the Typikon, fasting, any outward rules, taking on names like Seraphim, Moses, Vladmir and have long hair and beards like monks. However, real monks live in humility and obedience and do not hate others and do not hate themselves.

How did they imagine they could get away with this?! A Church which persecutes its faithful is no longer a Church. It is as simple as that. As it is written: ‘Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For so persecuted they the prophets who were before you’.

Q: So why did you not simply transfer from this new ROCOR to the Patriarchal Church, the Sourozh Diocese?

A: That was the first thing we tried, nine months before we joined the Romanian Church, but they turned us down! We had the impression that they had received strict instructions from Moscow not to take anyone from ROCOR. It seems to be their policy. It is of course their loss. We wanted to be in the Russian Church, but they did not want us and our parishes.

Q: Why was this ‘sectarianisation’ such a big deal for you?

A: First of all, because sects are always full of hatred. The historian Ammianus Marcellinus, (c. 330 – c. 391) wrote: ‘Not even wild beasts are as hostile to men as Christian sects’. I can assure you of the truth of this.

Secondly, because it had long ago become part of my destiny, with many others, to work for the reconciliation of the three parts of the Russian Church in the emigration, ROCOR, the Paris Archdiocese, and the tiny Moscow Patriarchate in the emigration. In May 2007, ROCOR was at last reconciled with the Patriarchate and then in December 2018, the Paris Archdiocese, where we have many family members and friends, was reconciled with the Patriarchate. We had achieved victory and everything I had worked for had come to fruition through all those long decades. For two years we had the miracle of unity! But, of course, the devil would not leave it there.

In December 2020 everything was completely ruined when the young crazy convert bishop created a schism with the Paris Archdiocese because it had received a Catholic priest in the usual Patriarchal (and pre-Revolutionary) way, by confession and communion. All of us, sixteen clerics and thousands of people, well over half the diocese, were horrified and were forced to stand up to his schism, which had created an international scandal. We acted in accordance with Canon XV of the First and Second Council under St Photios of Constantinople. We now understand what sectarianisation means, for the young bishop in question has been backed up by the whole of the americanised ROCOR. It is the end of that group, it had degenerated into a cultish sect. So sad to see. It is said, as we saw, that even the blood of martyrs cannot overcome schism.

Q: Did you ever regret leaving ROCOR?

A: Never. We acted according to our Orthodox conscience. We had no choice. It was an existential question. Either we belonged to the Church, or else we were a sect. We took the only possible path, to leave the sect and all its hatred and slanders. And persecution for righteousness sake is always spiritually rewarded, as we have seen.

Q: You mention crazy converts, but you are also a convert, aren’t you?

A: I was converted in 1971, 52 years ago, but I am not crazy! Ask our many parishioners in our parishes.

Craziness always comes from having no roots. I was saved from that by being rooted, coming from a literally down to earth family (my grandfather and those before him were ploughmen) on the Essex-Suffolk border, and by being a historian, hagiographer and, above all, by being a pastor. When you are a pastor, you work with real people, not with woolly ideas, which then turn into ideologies, which then turn into dangerous fantasies.

Q: One question before we move on from this. Did you think about joining the Church of Constantinople, given the political turmoil in the Russian Church?

A: We thought about it, but dismissed it, because Constantinople was, and still is, in schism with the Russian Church. We wanted to be in communion with everyone, as we are (except with the tiny ROCCOR, though they are de facto in communion with no-one and do not wish to be and do not allow their clergy, at least those here, to be in communion with others).

Q: So, given this schism inside the Moscow Patriarchate, how do you see your future?

A: The internal schism in the Russian Orthodox Church, caused by the new ROCOR episcopate, is now nothing to do with us, thank God. They must clean up their own mess, which sleeping Moscow has allowed to develop. Far worse than that is the external schism between Moscow and Constantinople. Fortunately, we in the Romanian Church, as those in several other local Churches, are in communion with both sides. And that therefore is something to do with us.

I have worked for Orthodox Church unity all my life. Now the Russian Church is outside unity with the Greek Local Churches and vice versa. There must be a way out of that, but that way out can only open up once the Ukrainian conflict is over, probably next year. Those of us who are neutral, neither Greek, nor Russian, can help here.

Though I suspect that the Russian State can also help here. It has a very broad vision of traditional values, which it has expressed in BRICS, which is Orthodox, Muslim, Hindu, Confucian, Catholic and Protestant. It is this building on traditional values between nationalities which can help overcome parochial splits between the Local Orthodox Churches. Only a broad vision can overcome ‘jurisdictionalism’. This latter is only an advanced form of the spiritual disease of parochialism. This means narrow and racist bigotry – the concept born from total inexperience that ‘only the church I go to is good and everyone else is wrong’.

Q: But what about the schism in the Ukraine between the Orthodox under Metr Onufry and those under Constantinople? How can that be overcome? A merger?

A: There is right and wrong in the Ukraine, no merger between the Church and the schismatics is possible. We know what we are talking about. For example, just as in the Ukraine, so here too renegade bishops want to steal our churches and when they fail, they try and close them down. There is no difference between atheism coming from the Ukraine and atheism coming from the USA – atheism is atheism.

We all know that there is only one real Church in the Ukraine, that of Metr Onufry. Metr Onufry and his Church find themselves persecuted by both sides. He is the answer. Autocephaly given to him will solve all the problems, once the military conflict is over. Once that conflict has been addressed, then there will have to be a Council of the Church and both Moscow and Constantinople will have to grant autocephaly to the canonical Church in the Ukraine and not to some band of Nazi gangsters. Then we in the rest of the Church can return to normality and canonicity.

Q: The Church situation in Moldova also seems to be dire. The Moscow Church there claims that the Romanian speakers who join the Romanian Church there have no grace. What do you think of this?

A: It is very sad to see.  Bishops who lose property and money by driving clergy and people away through aggressive bullying and jealousy always claim that those who leave them (with the property and money, which never anyway belonged to those bishops anyway) ‘have no grace’ or are ‘uncanonical’ or are ‘schismatics’. This went on for generations in the Russian Church in the emigration. I have seen it all before! Then, suddenly, one day, they all said, yes, we hated each other for decades, but we did not mean it! It was all politics! (Which of course, it was). Nobody believes their nonsense about those who fight for truth and justice against schism and injustice having ‘no grace’. Those who claim such nonsense merely discredit themselves and are laughed at by other bishops.

Another example. In 2006 in these islands there took place the so-called ‘Sourozh schism’, when half of the local Moscow Patriarchate Sourozh Diocese left Moscow and joined Constantinople. The half that left had been the liberal half created by the late Metropolitan Antony Bloom. And he had been allowed to create that. Now that half had already told me in 1982 that they intended to leave Sourozh for Constantinople! They had made no secret about it.

It is a typical example. There are those who do nothing about a potentially critical situation for 25 years and then over-react in a completely over the top way. They then find they have to start all over again. The usual story. It seems to be something in their psyche. The Ukraine is another example. If the Ukraine had received autocephaly in the 1990s, there would never have been the temptation of setting up a Constantinople Church there.

Another small example was the little monastic community at Brookwood outside London. For years it had been concelebrating with Greek Old Calendarists and saying quite openly that they would leave for that group if ROCOR agreed to unity with Moscow. When ROCOR declared its intention of doing just that, Brookwood left. I had the job of announcing their departure to their archbishop. He refused to believe me! And yet Brookwood had never made the slightest secret of its views. And then the ROCOR episcopate, as usual, went completely over the top in reaction, and declared that somehow, mysteriously, Brookwood ‘no longer has any grace’! The grace switch had been turned off! No wonder nobody believes anything that the ROCOR episcopate says.

The problem is that once Brookwood had gone to the Greek Old Calendarists and any chance of negotiation to return had been very aggressively rejected by its ROCOR bishop, who denounced Brookwood as ‘graceless’, leaving it no way of going back, Brookwood became ever more extreme. For example, it has recently rebaptised a man who was baptised into ROCOR some years ago and had received confession and communion in it for several years. This act denies the Creed: ‘I believe in one baptism for the remission of sins’. This is psychopathology, the crazy convert syndrome.

As for Moldova, as in the Ukraine, as usual, extremists will commit suicide by their typical over the top ‘no grace’ reaction. They will lose everything there. They may as well give up now. If they continue, they will fall out of communion with the Romanian Church, on top of everything else. They do risk total and self-imposed isolation.

Q: You mentioned Metr Antony Bloom. You knew them both very well and I believe that Metr Antony tonsured you reader in 1980. Can you explain to us the argument between him and St Sophrony of Essex?

To answer that, I have to explain the whole historical background.

Q: Go ahead.

A: After 1917 the Russian emigration divided into three groups along political lines (divisions in the Church are always because of politics). The largest group was the monarchist and right-wing ROCOR, attached to pre-1917 Russia and also largely pro-German (later some of its members, called Vlasovtsy, became traitors by actually fighting with Hitler in order to ‘liberate Russia’). Then came the group in Paris, where the French-speaking Saint Petersburg aristocrats (who had the money) and leftist intellectuals and anti-monastic freemasons had gone. Under Constantinople, they controlled most of Russian Orthodox France, as well as the fringes around the French borders, for example, in Belgium, north-west Italy, western Germany, as well as a parish in London, but they had little influence outside that Paris-centric world. Finally, came the tiny Moscow Patriarchate, which the mass of emigres saw as a Soviet organisation. In reality, it attracted only Russian patriots and ultra-nationalists, for whom Russia, even Soviet Russia, could do no wrong.

Now both St Sophrony the Athonite (that is his official title, not St Sophrony ‘of Essex’) and Metr Antony Bloom came from wealthy families in Russia, who had quite naturally gravitated to Paris. After the future Fr Sophrony had been through his Hinduism and liberal Art Nouveau phases and the future Metropolitan had been through his atheist and liberal intellectual phases, both gravitated to the Moscow Patriarchate. However, they had totally different experiences there.

The future Fr Sophrony went to Mt Athos, where he, a young intellectual and philosopher, met the great but semi-literate peasant saint, Fr Silvanus, or Silouan in its Russian form. It was the making of him, a huge revelation. Then Fr Sophrony had to go through the Nazi occupation of Athos, when the Nazis forced the Russian monastery there to hang up a picture of Hitler. On the other hand, the future Metr Antony, a young doctor, had remained in Nazi-occupied Paris, where he helped the French Resistance. After the war this Andrei Bloom became a hieromonk with the name of Antony and was sent to England. Meanwhile, Fr Sophrony and two others were expelled from Mt Athos by the Greek authorities, who very unjustly accused them of collaboration with the Nazis. From there he went back to Paris to write his great work, the saint’s life. This is most of our source about the future St Silouan. Then, in 1959, Fr Sophrony moved to England.

So it was that two ex-Parisians met in England. Fr Sophrony and his tiny monastic community of three came under the jurisdiction of Metr Antony in England. The former was obviously pro-monastic, the latter ferociously anti-monastic, in the Paris tradition. Thus, in 1965 Fr Sophrony, the Moscow loyalist, was forced to cross over to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. It was a fatal loss for Moscow. I saw some of the correspondence about it in the 1970s.

I was actually present on a Saturday in summer 1981 or 1982 at the formal reconciliation of the two men. However, it was only formal, the fact is that the Russians never accepted Fr Sophrony, seeing him as a traitor. When in 2019 he was canonised by Patriarch Bartholomew, at a time when Constantinople had set up a new Church in the Ukraine, it was not accepted by the Russians either. Thus, we were not allowed to venerate St Sophrony when we were under ROCOR. Our first act on leaving ROCOR was to get out his icon and put it out in church for veneration.

Q: So you clearly accept him as a saint?

A: Yes, I am now free to say so and will not be attacked for it, as I was when I was under ROCOR. It is because Fr Sophrony reflected some of the glory of the great saint, Silouan. This is shown in the excellent Tolleshunt Knights icon where St Sophrony is depicted holding the icon of St Silouan.

Here we have to understand that there are international saints, national saints and local saints. International saints are the apostles, St Spyridon, St Nicholas, St Nectarios of Aegina, St Silouan the Athonite, St John of Shanghai, St Paisios the Athonite etc. Then come national saints: St John of Rila (Bulgaria), St Sava (Serbia), St Sergius of Radonezh (Russia), St Daniel of Sihastra (Romania), St Gregory V of Constantinople (Greece), who are little known outside their own countries. And finally there are local saints, commemorated only in one place or local region, like the Irish saints of old and also like St Sophrony. He is a local saint.

Interestingly, after going through an early Russian phase, then a Greek phase, St Sophrony’s convent (?) in Tolleshunt Knights in Essex is now going through a Romanian phase, with 25 Romanian nuns and a Romanian deacon. This binds it and us in Colchester even closer together.

Q: Thank you.

News from the Orthodox World: Latvia, Albania and Austria

The Latvian Orthodox Church has consecrated a fourth bishop, without permission from the Patriarchate of Moscow. The new bishop, formerly Archpriest John Lipshans, a Latvian, means that the Latvian Church can continue being autocephalous, even if one of the present bishops passes away. (We recall that the present Metropolitan Alexander is in his eighties). Last year the Latvian Orthodox Church was granted ‘autocephaly’ by the Latvian Parliament and was forced to stop commemorating the Patriarch of Moscow, which means that all this is very controversial. However, we wonder if other fragments of the Russian Church outside the Russian Federation and Belarus, in other words, outside the political control of Patriarch Kyrill, will not do the same.

The Greek Archbishop Anastasios, the leader of the Albanian Orthodox Church, sent a letter of support to the elderly and ill Metr Jonathan of Tulchansk, who has been sentenced to five years imprisonment in the Ukraine for supporting the Patriarchate of Moscow. This is known as ‘opinion crime’ in the Ukraine. In a surprisingly virulent attack a certain Archimandrite Romanos Anastasiades of the Metropolia of Crete, which is in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, stated that Archbishop Anastasios is likely to die ‘without repentance’ for being pro-Russian. Archbishop Anastasios, apparently, is also guilty of ‘opinion crime’.

The former Austrian Foreign Minister, Karin Kneissl, has moved to the Ryazan province of Russia for the summer, fleeing threats and persecution for her non-woke views, especially on gender issues. She may eventually move there permanently and become one of many Western Europeans and Americans who have moved to Russia over the last year. These include a family of our parishioners.

Orthodox Catholicity: Overcoming the Russo-Greek Schism

Introduction: The Church Under Attack

‘The One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church’. Unity, Holiness, Catholicity and Apostolicity are the four characteristics of the Church and at various times in history one or another of them has been overlooked. As a result, the integrity of Church life has suffered – until the restitution of that particular characteristic. That the Faith of the Church is One, that the Church creates Saints, that the Church goes back to Apostolic times is in no doubt now.

However, at the present time, with the Church in crisis, in a state of worldwide administrative and jurisdictional schism, there is no doubt that it is rather the Catholicity of the Church that is being overlooked. This is the Universality of the Church, at all times and in all places. Catholicity is its Unity in Diversity, as at the first Pentecost and Coming of the Holy Spirit, as related in the Acts of the Apostles

Catholicity

The word Catholicity cannot be confused with Catholicism, which refers to Roman Catholicism, for the two words are different, However, there is a problem with the adjective ‘Catholic’. In English, as in all Western languages, this word is often confused with ‘Roman Catholic’, which is a contradiction in terms, as you cannot be universal at all times and in all places and yet attached to only one place, for example, Rome. This is very apparent when the Creed is sung or read in English or in other Western languages in our churches – ‘and in One. Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church’. Here the word ‘Catholic’ can sound strange.

This is not the case in Greek, from which comes the original word ‘katholiki’. Here instead of using ‘Roman Catholic’, they prefer to say ‘Latin’ or ‘Papal’, so that ambiguities are avoided. And Slavonic and Romanian have completely different words for ‘Roman Catholic’ and ‘Catholic’. Perhaps in English we need to translate ‘katholiki’ by ‘Orthodox Catholic’ or perhaps ‘Conciliar’, in order to avoid this ambiguity? For we are Orthodox Catholics, not Roman Catholics, as we confess that the Orthodox Church is ‘Conciliar’, based on Councils. Their decisions come from the Eternal Spirit of God and so are for all time, and not based on some passing administrative figure like a Pope or Patriarch, who is here today and gone tomorrow.

Here we should be particularly careful. For the Papal temptation of Rome, that of an individually or collectively-imposed imperialist superiority, racial, linguistic, cultural or otherwise, of one Local Church over all the others, can be a temptation for any Local Church. Here we do not speak of Roman Catholicism, which by definition long ago succumbed to this, thus losing its Unity with the Church, its Holiness and its Apostolicity. Here we speak of the Orthodox Church, which has not succumbed to imperialism, though certain ‘Orthodox’ personalities are and have been tempted.

In history, and especially at the present time, we have seen this temptation inside the Orthodox Church in both individual personalities and collective groups, notably in the Patriarchate of Constantinople and in the Patriarchate of Moscow. The term for the temptation of ‘Eastern Papism’ is, after all, well-known among Orthodox. There is only one solution to this problem of the ambition, personal or collective, to dominate others and lord it over them, it is the Catholicity of the Church. Indeed, as we have said, a possible translation of the Greek original for Catholicity is ‘Conciliarity’ and for ‘Catholic’ ‘Conciliar’.

Conciliarity

For Catholicity is always revealed at Councils, which are a primary source of the revelations of the Holy Spirit in our post-Scriptural Age. It is precisely this that is lacking in Roman Catholicism, whose head is the Pope of Rome. Now, some will say that Roman Catholicism does have Councils. The problem here is that those Councils are not Orthodox, not free, indeed its First Vatican Council (1869-1870) proclaimed the dogma of Papal Infallibility. In Roman Catholicism the task of Councils is only to rubber-stamp decisions of Popes, for, according to their theology, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Popes, the Vicars of Christ. Councils do not have the same function there as in the Church, but take place only to confirm Papal decisions, being subservient to Popes.

This is not the case in the Church, although it is true that the Church in its bimillennial history has seen plenty of example of ‘Robber Councils’, or false Councils, the best known example of which was at Ephesus in 449, but the latest example of which was the 2016 pseudo-Council in Crete. How can such Robber Councils be avoided? Here we underline that in the Church no conference of bishops can be called a Council until after it has taken place, when its fruits, if there are any, can be seen and received or rejected by the people of God. A conference of bishops is merely a conference of bishops, but a Council of bishops is where the Holy Spirit is present. A conference of bishops is not a ‘Council’ because they forgot to invite the Holy Spirit to it and so can become a ‘Robber Council’. A Council implies the presence of the Holy Spirit, Who binds us together in Catholicity. For the Church is One at all times and in all places, only when She confesses the Holy Spirit.

Below are some suggestions of one who is not a bishop, not even a monk, merely a parish rector, though with nearly forty years of parish experience and having been a speaker at a Local Council (San Francisco, 2006) of the Russian Diaspora Church. There we defeated the spirit of pharisaic pride, made stubborn by psychological insecurity and political rancour. That spirit was rejecting both the repentance of others and Divine Providence, which was offering the long-awaited opportunity to restore canonical unity within the Russian Church.

Perhaps someone with influence may find the suggestions below, together with the many others, of interest.

Towards an Authentic Council

  1. Procedures

 

a. Unlike Crete, all Local Churches must be represented at a potential Universal Council.

 

b. Unlike Crete, no politically-imposed agenda should be presented at a potential future Council, that is, an agenda in the style of a secular meeting, programmed for one week in June 2016.

 

c. Unlike Crete, there should be no timetable to pressure delegates to make decisions within a very short period or to falsify the decisions reached with false signatures. The Seven Universal Councils were free to make decisions, often over many sessions and even months. The Holy Spirit is not limited by human timetables and pieces of paper.

  1. Where?

Like Crete, this Council should be held in a country where a majority of the people are at least nominally Orthodox, that is, there is locally some sense of the Tradition.

  1. Who?

Traditionally, meetings which became Councils were convened by the Emperor of the time. In the absence of an Emperor, they are called by the Patriarch of Constantinople in concert with the leaders of all the other Local Churches. If the Patriarch of Constantinople refuses for political reasons to convene a conference of bishops and many Local Churches still believe that such a conference (and potential Council) is necessary, then let them together call such a conference without the Patriarch of Constantinople. Then there can be a conference of bishops which may at least turn into a Local Council. Let us recall that apart from the Seven Universal Councils, there have in history been many Local Councils, which have reached important decisions, which have then had universal reception and application.

At present only 14 Local Churches are universally recognised. The OCA is disputed by some because it exists in North America, a territory shared by other Orthodox. And the Macedonian Church is disputed by some because of arcane arguments about its name. Perhaps these two Churches could at least be invited to send non-voting delegates to a conference of bishops, that could possibly become a Local or Universal Council, as any decisions reached could concern them very deeply.

Episcopal Corruption

As at Crete, we suggest that not all the world’s 1,000 Orthodox bishops be invited. This was never the case at the Universal Councils. Though attended by hundreds of bishops, they were never attended by all of them and some Local Churches such as the Roman Church, were represented by as few as two delegates. Conciliarity was and is expressed not by the presence of numbers of bishops, but by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Instead, let each Local Church be invited to send, say, a maximum of ten episcopal representatives, if they have that many bishops (a few smaller Local Churches do not). These representatives would have to be chosen beforehand by a Council of all Bishops (not just a Synod, let alone a mini-Synod) of their Local Church.

Here there is a problem, the elephant in the room, of which few speak. We know about this problem from the lives of St Photios (+ 893) and St Gregory Palamas (+ 1357), who were persecuted and whose teachings were opposed by Robber Councils before they were vindicated. We know about this also from the life of St Nectarios of Egina (+ 1920), who, instead of becoming a great missionary Patriarch of Alexandria, was slandered and cast out by jealous fellow-bishops, and from the life of the missionary bishop St John of Shanghai (+ 1966), who was slandered and suspended by his fellow-bishops, so did not become the Metropolitan of the Russian Church in the Diaspora and instead was hounded to an early death. The result was that that part of the Russian Church set out on a path of sectarianism, from which it has not yet been saved.

The world was unworthy of St John. His suspension in 1964 was related to me with great satisfaction 26 years later by one of his continuing slanderers, an extreme right-wing Russian racist from Los Angeles, to whom I had to listen in silence for two hours in a Paris traffic jam. He reminded me of the wise and prophetic words to me of St Sophrony the Athonite seven years before, forty years ago now, in 1983. In Essex Fr Sophrony warned me then of the cross I would have to bear, as he blessed me for my mission in the Russian Church, which he himself had had to abandon on account of persecution, to help work for unity with truth: ‘There are those in that group who lack love’, he said, indicating that we too would suffer like St John.

There is then the problem of the corruption of a significant minority of bishops. Why they are allowed to become and continue to be bishops and are not suspended or defrocked is not a question for us here, though it is a question of vital interest and concern to all responsible Orthodox and whose solution is long overdue. We suggest that delegates or bishop-representatives be chosen according to strict criteria in order to ensure that they are bishops who lead canonical lives.

Criteria for Presence

i. All representatives chosen by a Local Church must at the very least be in communion with all the bishops of their Local Church. Otherwise, they are uncanonical, de facto schismatics and should be suspended and sent to a monastery until they have repented or else defrocked.

ii. All representatives must take a solemn oath that they are bishops by free choice and not political appointees, like Patriarch Sergius of Moscow (+ 1944) (appointed by the Kremlin) or a generation later Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople (+ 1972) (appointed by the White House), as per the Canons of the Holy Apostles. This is to prove their canonicity.

iii. All representatives must take a solemn oath that they respect the three monastic vows of non-acquisition/poverty, chastity and obedience. The first vow means that they cannot be holders of, acquirers of or users of luxurious properties, objects and money, even if on paper, by subterfuge, the property, objects and money ‘belong to’ their diocese or are rented. The second vow means that they cannot be married or homosexual. The third vow means that they cannot be disobedient to the Church by being members of State secret services, masonic lodges or organisations that promote syncretism. This is to prove their canonicity.

iv. All representatives must be free of ongoing court cases for scandalous conduct involving, for instance, financial allegations; sexual allegations; allegations of slander of honest clergy; allegations of outbursts of rage and spectacular rudeness; allegations concerning persecution with threatening demands for more money, intimidation, bullying and even ‘defrocking’ for political reasons or reasons of personal hatred and jealousy of clergy, who have already been publicly accepted by other Patriarchates as legitimate, canonical and unjustly persecuted clergy, as they are faithful to Orthodoxy, but not to schismatic and uncanonical bishops. In other words, there must be no doubt as to the canonical life of the bishop in question (See Canon XV of the First and Second Council).

v. All representatives must be diocesan bishops, not ‘vicar-bishops’, whose status is not strictly canonical, as a bishop is married to his diocese.

vi. All representatives must have been diocesan bishops for at least ten years. Otherwise, they will lack experience.

vii. All representatives must be diocesan bishops of dioceses of at least 25 parishes (a parish being defined as a church where the Divine Liturgy is held at least every Sunday and is attended by at least 40 adult Orthodox each time. In other words, their diocese (whatever may be their pompous titles, ‘of All America’, ‘of Western Europe’ etc) actually has at least 1,000 practising adult Orthodox. (The average Orthodox bishop has a diocese of 200,000 nominal Orthodox). Otherwise, they will lack experience.

The selected representatives of each Local Church should attend the conference with any issues which their Local Church considers need resolving, following discussions and conferring with the other bishops, monks, priests and faithful in their Local Churches. Clearly, these issues would include the refusal at the present time of Russians and Greeks to concelebrate, who has the right to grant autocephaly and autonomy, and the universal recognition of uncanonically ‘defrocked’ clergy. However, other issues could easily arise.

After discussions and conferring with the other bishops, monks, priests and faithful in their Local Churches, bishops could reconvene for another session at a maximum interval of three months. This process could be repeated for as often as is necessary for decisions to be reached and be approved by all bishops of the Local Churches. There should be no pressure of time, just as there was not in the Councils of Church history.

Conclusion: Towards the Holy Spirit

In the light of the above, it would seem that the Crete Conference was in fact a warning, with Providential rewards, which always come to those who have suffered sacrificially from the treachery of those who behaved uncanonically. As with the case of the Tower of Siloam, the meaning was: ‘If you do not repent, you will all finish like this’. For the upshot of the Crete Conference of 2016 was the present schism between the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow.

This resulted from the former’s uncanonical actions in the Ukraine, apparently in revenge for Moscow’s non-attendance of the Crete Conference. This in turn led to Moscow’s uncanonical actions in Africa, technically the territory of the Patriarchate of Alexandria. It is clear to all that only a Council can break this spiral of uncanonical actions and schisms, with their purely political and uncanonical ‘defrockings’, which everyone ignores. Here the Churches of Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Antioch, Poland, Albania, Czechoslovakia and Jerusalem can play an important role as mediators between the racial clash of Greeks (Greece, Constantinople, Cyprus, Alexandria) and Russians.