Category Archives: Orthodox Unity

How the Orthodox Church Was Restructured

From the Introduction to the Online Encyclopedia of the Orthodox Church, 1 December 2045

Introduction: From Moscow to Jakarta

The potential beginning of the solution to the century-old canonical problem of the Orthodox Diaspora first glimmered in the Year 2000. After the repentance for its politically-enforced paralysis expressed at its Jubilee Council in Moscow in August 2000, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) was reconciled to the Synod of ROCOR (the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) in 2007. Both sides had dropped nonsensical Cold War political claims and lost the often naïve extremists who had actually believed in those claims. Following their liberation from politics, new horizons for the unity of the whole Church were gradually opening up.

Thus, the first little-noticed step towards structural canonical unity at last came twelve years later. Then, in November 2019 the ROCOR Synod gave up its parishes in Eurasian Indonesia to the new South-East Asian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, as the ROCOR Synod was no longer able to care for them. However, the very next month phyletist Constantinople and Alexandria fell into schism and in 2020 other Greek nationalist organisations in Greece and Cyprus fell in the same way. This happened during the chastisement of all the Local Churches by the Covid pandemic. All had now become possible. In just one generation, between 2020 and 2045, long anachronistic Church structures were to be wiped away, like a house of cards collapsing.

Africa and the AOC: 2025

After the phyletist Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria had fallen into schism in 2019 under pressure from the US-manipulated Greek Foreign Ministry, pleas from the African faithful eventually forced the pastoral conscience of the ROC to set up an African Exarchate. This was done in 2022. At last freed of Greek nationalist control from Alexandria, a Patriarchate which a century before, already absurdly enough, had claimed the territory of Egypt, let alone all Africa, at last African Orthodox set out on their path of destiny to their own Continental Church. For the ROC at once set about consecrating twenty African bishops for the Exarchate.

Finally, in 2025 the autocephalous African Orthodox Church (AOC) was at last born. Only the historic title ‘of Alexandria’ was retained by the new black Metropolitan Nectarios in Nairobi. He was enthroned 105 years after the repose of the great and much slandered frustrated Alexandrian missionary St Nectarios of Pentapolis. The old schismatic and now bankrupt Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria finally died out altogether in 2029, ten years after its fall into schism. At last the black African people and clergy now had their own black African Metropolitan and Synod of bishops of All Africa. Since then promising talks have been taking place between it and the Miaphysite Coptic, Ethiopian and Eritrean National Churches.

Western Europe and the EOC: 2028

In 2025 ROCOR parishes in Western Europe, at the other end of Eurasia from Indonesia (see above), became part of the by then decentralised and internationalised Western European Exarchate, originally set up by the ROC in 2018. They were soon after joined by hundreds of parishes from other Local Churches. Together they formed a large and multinational Exarchate and in 2028, exactly ten years after the Exarchate had been born, the new European Orthodox Church (EOC) was born, its first Metropolitan, John of Paris and Western Europe.

Oceania and the OOC: 2031

In 2028 the ROC set up an Exarchate for Oceania. Three years later, in 2031, ROCOR and other parishes in Australia and New Zealand, as well as those on Pacific islands, formed the Oceanic Orthodox Church (OOC). Its first Metropolitan was Thomas of Sydney and All Oceania.

Latin America and the LAOC: 2034

In 2031 the ROC set up an Exarchate for Latin America. At last, in 2034, much neglected Latin America also came to have its own Latin American Orthodox Church (called IOAL in both Spanish and Portuguese). Centred in Rio de Janeiro, its first Metropolitan was called James.

North America and the NAOC: 2037

In 2034 ROCOR and ‘OCA’ parishes in North America joined to form a new autonomous North American Orthodox Exarchate under the ROC. ROCOR had made up with the OCA, both Cold War structures, but only once the OCA had rid itself of its Schmemannite Protestant modernists. (They had left for the then still existing, but ultra-modernist and much diminished schismatic Greek-Protestant Archdiocese – much to everyone’s relief). Only with such mutual maturity, at last freed of Cold War politics, was this unity possible.

This unity was sealed by hundreds of parishes of other Local Churches which joined the united Exarchate. They had also abandoned both the backwards-looking petty nationalism of the immigrant ghetto, so much exploited by impoverished Mother-Churches, and the new calendar inferiority complex imitation by Orthodox immigrants of American Protestantism. In 2037 all the Orthodox-believing elements in North America in this Exarchate became part of the new North American Orthodox Church (NAOC). Centred in Washington, its first Metropolitan was called George.

Conclusion: The Ten Local Churches

Thus, in a matter of only twelve years, both the tens of millions of Orthodox of Africa and the tens of millions of Orthodox of the New World Diasporas found themselves belonging to five new Local Churches. It was not long before the twelve other Local Churches in Eurasia, chastised by Covid, regrouped themselves canonically into five Patriarchates. Thus, the old anachronisms and nationalisms disappeared before the worldwide mission God had called on the Church to undertake.

In 2037 in the Balkans a new multinational Church was formed. Calling itself the Patriarchate of Constantinople (the Greek nationalist version of which had died out in Istanbul in 2034), it was centred in Bucharest. It included six former Local Churches, those of Romania, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Albania and their canonical territories. In 2039 the Patriarchate of Antioch helped organise large-scale missions to Turkey and the Arab World, its headquarters at last moving back to Antakya in Turkey, the real Antioch. In 2041 the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, at last freed from Greek colonial status and with a new multinational episcopate became the international centre for Orthodox pilgrims to the Holy Land.

In 2043 the now decentralised Patriarchate of New Jerusalem and All Rus (formerly ‘of Moscow’) was joined by the former Churches of Poland and Czechoslovakia, which became Exarchates, like that in Belarus. At the same time the Patriarchate also granted autonomy to its missions in South-East Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, making altogether four Autonomous Churches in its jurisdiction (Japan, China, South-East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent). As for the once small Patriarchate of Georgia, in 2045 it took responsibility for the great mission to Iran. The Orthodox Church had remoulded itself as a family and confederation of Ten Local Churches, five Patriarchates and five Metropolias, covering the whole world, and looking forward to the birth of four more Autocephalous Metropolitan Churches from the Autonomous Churches in due course.

1 December 2045

 

How Will the Church in the Diaspora Survive Covid?

Introduction: The Orthodox Diaspora

Although the Orthodox Diaspora in Western Europe, the Americas and Australia has existed for well over a century, it represented little more than embassy churches until 1917. Then, after the overthrow of the Russian Empire by Westernised aristocratic atheists and then Westernised middle-class atheists, it grew enormously. Without the Russian Empire to protect them, there followed the political and economic collapse of Greece, Cyprus, Orthodox communities under the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem and more immigration, especially after 1945.

More recently the Diaspora greatly expanded after the fall of  the post-1945 Stalinist Empire all over Eastern Europe and, in 1991, the Soviet Union. This collapse has especially affected now EU countries, with Orthodox populations, like Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltics. But what spiritual, and therefore real, identity and significance does the Diaspora have? Does it have any long-term future or will it inevitably disappear into the Western atheist melting-pot of assimilation? What identity can the Orthodox Diaspora have in a spiritually alien and hostile environment?

Two Negative Identities

On the one hand, some look on the Diaspora as merely nationalistic entities. They see it as a mere conduit for cultural nostalgia for a distant and long-abandoned ‘old country’, for flag-waving. But those who hold processions headed by flags, and not by the Cross, are doomed to die out. It comes as no surprise that, generally, the more nationalistic the community, the more its churches closed during covid. After all, one can wave flags at home; why take risks by going to church? Only those who live by faith do not fear death and take communion. The rest, who live by nationalism, disappeared ‘for fear of the Jews’. Moreover, many of them may never return.

On the other hand, some look on the Diaspora as a set of groups which will be assimilated – inevitably. Diaspora-born children and succeeding generations lose their parents’ language and culture; what possible interest can they have in the cultures of countries which they do not know and whose languages they can barely speak? Either the children and grandchildren have adopted another language and another flag, or else they are indifferent to any language except the one they use at school and to all flags. Covid will hardly bring them back to church. If they have been given no spiritual identity, they assimilate.

Conclusion: A Positive Identity

The Church in the Diaspora can only survive, especially after covid, if it is a Local Church. This means a Church which brings together all the Orthodox of whatever nationality and language in the local area and gives them the Orthodox Christian spiritual  and therefore cultural – not nationalistic – identity. Moreover, such ‘local’ Orthodox can only be brought together on the basis of real Faith, on the basis of uncompromised Orthodoxy, and not on the basis of the lowest common denominators of a hotchpotch of folklore. That only produces the escapism of fakery, the irrelevant fairy-tale pretence of being something you are not.

If any jurisdiction is to survive in the post-covid Diaspora (and many are already dying out or have died out), it will be the one which by origin is multinational and also uses the local language – though not exclusively. Such a jurisdiction will give a spiritual identity to its people as the exclusive bearers of local and universal real Christianity, not of folklore or a foreign language – though many may speak one – but of the unique Christian Civilisation, of the unique Christian values which only Orthodox who go to Church hold and live by. Our Orthodox Christianity is a way of life, not an exotic hobby.

 

 

 

From Recent Correspondence (September 2020)

Q: Very recently you returned to Mt Athos for the first time in many years. What changes have you noticed since you last went?

A: I went to Athos twice in 1979 and spent time there. Now again I have been there. There have been enormous changes.

I think it was better before because it was poor then and there were virtually no roads, no vehicles, no electricity, no telephones and of course no internet. Today there is all this. There are roads everywhere, new road-building is very noisy and disturbs both the holy silence and unspoilt nature, and there must be some 1,000 vehicles on the mountain now. All of this has been done with EU money. Each monastery, much refurnished and repainted, now has a shop and, ominously, a museum (always a sign of the end, because it shows that it is dead, not living). It is clear that the Greek government, whose flag flies everywhere on the mountain, even on monasteries (you will not find a single Russian flag at St Panteleimon’s) is preparing to open the mountain up to mass tourism some time in the future. Greek nationalism and money are killing the mountain. Instead of being a multinational Orthodox centre, it is slowly becoming a department of the atheistic Greek State.

Q: Is it likely that one day there will be new monasteries on Mt Athos for, say, English, French, German, Italian etc monks?

A: As long as Greek nationalism rules on Mt Athos, that is unthinkable. Out of some 2,000 monks today, 1800 are Greek. It is forbidden by the nationalists to have more than 20 monasteries, which is why the Romanians, say, only have a skete, though with more monks than a couple of the smaller Greek monasteries, why the Georgians lost Iviron to the Greeks and the Russians lost the huge so-called sketes of the Prophet Elijah and St Andrew to the Greeks. Then, there is also the fact that anyone who becomes a monk on Mt Athos must become a Greek citizen! For the moment Mt Athos is a fragment, albeit with some holy people, of the Second Rome, it still has to enter post-1453 reality.

Although I have met, seen or heard of two English monks, two French monks, two Finnish monks and two black African monks on Mt Athos, two is hardly enough to open a monastery. In any case, what we first need to do is to have authentic monasteries in Western countries, using the native language. So far this exists only in France and the USA. The number of vocations is tiny at present.

Q: Should people not leave the Patriarchate of Constantinople because their Patriarch acts heretically?

A: I think it is far more likely that the very elderly Patriarch Bartholomew will soon die. So he will be leaving, not his three million-strong flock.

Q: Recently the Greek Archbishop of America, Elpidiforos, stated to Roman Catholics that the unity of Orthodox and Roman Catholics is not a question of if, but when. What do you answer?

A: He was talking only about himself. His Uniatism is already well-known. In his personal case it is indeed just a matter of when and not if.

Q: Is the Russian Church the centre of the Orthodox world?

A: Like it or not, Russia is the centre of Orthodox Civilisation, even secular historians like Toynbee and Huntington recognised it. How blindly nationalistic do you have to be not to see this? On the other hand, the Russian Church must behave responsibly. It has often failed to do, treating Non-Russians as second-class citizens. Leadership simply because you are nearly ten times bigger than any other Local Church is not automatic, you have to earn leadership and deserve it. As I said – like it or not. The Russian Church still has to overcome suicidal Soviet tendencies and become the Third Rome again. The dead hand of the Soviet Union with its bureaucracy and centralisation is still too close.

Q: Is it true that the Russian Orthodox Church is heretical because it blesses icons and even crosses with holy water?

A: This is an old chestnut that comes up every decade, usually written by a crazy literalist convert or a polemical Greek, together with the accusation that the Russian Church is heretical because we bless icons and crosses!

Of course, it is not heretical. But of course it is not strictly necessary to bless icons and crosses, we do it out of piety. We do all sorts of things that are not strictly necessary – for example drinking a little wine after communion in the Russian Church, blessing kolyva at memorials, especially in the Greek Church, and kneeling on Sundays, especially in the Romanian Church. Such an accusation of heresy because of piety is all on the same level as the ‘no kneeling on Sundays’ convert pride syndrome. We are not supposed to do it, but we do it for piety’s sake. Let the semi-intellectuals, aggressive fault-finders and proud self-justifiers fall silent, also for piety’s sake!

Q: What is needed for unity in the Diaspora?

A: Trust in one bishop by members of every jurisdiction. At present the bishops of most jurisdictions are not even trusted by their own members, let alone by members of other jurisdictions. Trust will bring the leadership and authority essential for unity. A bishop who is subject to some nationalistic group, financial interest or political party earns no trust. Ultimately trust means holiness.

Q: A certain priest recently told me that anyone who chooses to belong to ROCOR is nuts. What would you answer?

A: The priest in question has clearly met such a person who is nuts. However, he has made the mistake of generalising. It is as if I said that you must not join, for example, the Patriarchate of Antioch because all its priests are heretics, when in fact only one is. It would be just as silly.

Q: What are the origins of the Greek priest’s chimney pot hat, the Greek monk’s headware and the Russian skufia?

A: The Balkan chimney pot hat for priests is simply the old Turkish top hat but black, the low cylindrical hat worn by Balkan monks is simply the Turkish fez but black, and the Russian skoufia is simply to keep you warm in the Russian winter.

Q: Where does the Roman Catholic anti-woman spirit come from?

A: It comes right from the beginning, in the second half of the 11th century, when the German Popes forbade married priests. Married men are not anti-woman; bachelors often are. This same innovation introduced institutional clericalism and also, incidentally, led to the disappearance of monks who were not priests and also of deacons; everyone had to be a priest – ‘a mini-pope’.

 

 

 

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).

 

On the Contemporary Challenges Faced by the Russian Orthodox Church

Introduction: Excesses and Extremes on the Margins

After the fall of the militantly atheist Soviet Union nearly thirty years ago, the Russian Orthodox Church appears to have gone from strength to strength, both inside and outside Russia. In some respects this is clearly true, but in others it is not the case, as a whole set of enormous challenges remains. The Church suffers from the presence of many marginal individuals, including some clergy, and trends which are outside the mainstream of the Orthodox Tradition and so have little to do with Christianity. As a current example we have the case of Schema-abbot Sergei Romanov, whom I met in 2018 when I visited the Urals.

After meeting him, I was left with a whole set of questions: Why was such a man from a recent, violent criminal background ordained? Why did he have no qualifications? Where did all his great deal of money come from? Why was he left to conduct spurious exorcisms, humiliating his victims, creating obvious psychological damage and dependency? Why was he left in authority when he clearly set himself against Orthodox teachings? Why had he been allowed to set up a cult? Why did his bishop not act? Here are questions that are only now, two years on, being answered, only after much harm has already been caused.

  1. Organisational Temptations

Scandals

Like the case of Romanov, over the last thirty years many mistakes have been made. Desperate to cater to the spiritual needs of the scores of millions of newly baptised, the wrong people were sometimes ordained and consecrated. This is not an opinion, but a fact, as we can see from the number of defrockings and exiles of careerist bishops now in disgrace. There have been too many ‘young elders’, pseudo-elders, charlatans, money-extorters, perverts, careerists, obscurantists and also cultish sects, such as the neo-renovationist Kochetkovtsy. We cannot help thinking that at least some of these scandals are linked to money or else are sexual in nature.

Bureaucracy

The pre-Revolutionary Church already suffered from profound careerism and  bureaucratic centralisation, from the use of decrees and protocols – words that cannot be found in the Gospels. Today’s Soviet-style centralisation is even worse. Paperwork is one of the main complaints of parish priests in Russia. They are being made into administrators, ‘effective managers’, businessmen. This all means money: money-grasping bureaucrats have to be paid. The Apostle Paul did not suffer either from bureaucracy or money; he worked as a tent-maker, not as a careerist. Do we not confess the Apostolic Church? Should we not venerate the saints like him in deed, as well as in word? Why kiss the Gospels, if we are not going to live by them?

Money

This brings us to money problems. Some bishops and priests appear to be extremely rich and many think that all clergy live in their way, with 4 x 4s, Mercedes, yachts and villas. In reality, many clergy are poor. Here there is a total lack of transparency and also a poor distribution of resources. Partly this is to do with the post-Soviet nouveau riche class. They like to donate money to the Church – which is good – but why this obsession with gold, marble and luxury in church? They should first read the Gospels and find out about mammon, as their money so often acts as a source of temptation. For every ‘monumental church’ with its kilos of gold, ten plain but community/ congregational churches could have been built. Money is the rot in the Church today, an infectious disease that spreads everywhere.

  1. Internal Temptations

Churching Society

Three generations of militant atheism and violent persecution left Soviet society completely spiritually ignorant, ready to believe everything and anything, extraordinarily superstitious, with at one time almost African levels of animism at the extremes. In a society of converts, often ritualistic, and with very few experienced clergy and people, all kind of primitive errors still abound. The task of baptising society was not so difficult, but to change the faith of the people from nominal-instinctive to active-conscious is far more difficult. All the more so today when some representatives of the Church have discredited themselves through their careerist love of money and luxury and so made most indifferent.

Liberals

The educated extremes of Russian society (the masses are indifferent and look only to survival) have long been divided into Westernisers and Slavophiles. The very small but very active minority of extreme Westernisers are often highly-educated, with doctorates, and are liberal, modernistic, ecumenist. They condemn the Church, hate piety and support LGBT (they are often themselves homosexuals). As regards coronavirus, they are faithless and so wear masks at every opportunity. Clearly, they have no interest in missionary work, converting others to Christ, as they long ago rejected Christ in favour of the Secular West.

Conservatives

The conservatives are also very small in number but narrow and nationalistic. The extremists among them still think that Lenin and Stalin were wonderful. They rarely attend Church, which is just a nationalistic banner or flag for them to hide behind, so that can like the pharisees condemn others, in self-justification. Often Third Romists, they can often be paranoid in relation to the Western world, confess anti-Semitism, indeed, anti-everythingism, and love conspiracy theories. They would certainly never wear a mask, probably not even believing in the existence of coronavirus. Clearly, they have no interest in missionary work, converting others to Christ, as they consider that Christianity is purely nationalistic and probably think that God is Russian anyway.

  1. External Temptations

Dealing with the Post-Soviet State

The main problem here is the refusal of the State to change, to give up its Sovietism. There is post-Soviet, but there is also outright Soviet too. Thus, in Moscow still lie the remains of that revolting mass-murderer Lenin and in Ekaterinburg, where the Royal Martyrs were massacred 102 years ago, as everywhere, there are street names and statues of the murderers and the whole region is still named after one of them. The media and the education and health sectors (after all there is an abortion industry to support) are full of those opposed to the Church. The State still has little practical concern about the chronically low birth-rate, the chronically high divorce rate and does little to further the cause of ecology.

Relations with the Other Local Churches

Half of the Orthodox Local Churches basically support the Russian Church, but the other half, undermined by petty nationalism, has been bought out by US aggression. This is clear with regard to obvious US imperialism in the Ukraine, the Baltics and the Balkans, where its ambassadors, like pagan Roman governors, new Pilates, have bribed and blackmailed the tiny Greek Orthodox world into the crudest infringements of Canon Law and simple human justice. That world, only a few million in number, has thus discredited itself and it remains a mystery as to why anyone voluntarily belongs to it any more. This is the final Greek tragedy.

Relations with the Non-Orthodox World

Here too the tensions are purely political. The Protestant world, consciously and unconsciously, has long been instrumentalised by the Western secret services to destroy the Orthodox world, in order to divide it and rule it. Since its 1960s protestantisation, much the same has happened in the Roman Catholic world, most obviously under the CIA-appointed Polish Pope. However, it was already opposed to Christ anyway and prepared to invade and destroy the Orthodox world at the drop of a hat, as can be seen in the history of the Crusades, in Uniatism and then in co-operation with the Bolsheviks. All this provokes Russian nationalism and makes many unable to appreciate the remnants of Orthodoxy in the Western world.

Conclusion: Towards the New Jerusalem (1) through Churching the Masses

The Russian Orthodox Church is three-quarters of the whole Church. Thus, its main challenge is that of responsibility. How can the mainstream, often paralysed by such excesses and extremes among certain bishops, priests and people, bring the world’s seven and a half billion people to Christ and His New Jerusalem without compromise? The answer is the same as that when the Twelve Apostles, opposed by all and compromised by Judas, also set out to do the impossible. The few must first Church the masses, the 2% of the Churched setting the example by converting the 98% of the unChurched and showing them that the Church is not about the money-grubbing of the new Judases. And how is that possible? Only by the Holy Spirit.

Feast of the Royal Martyrs, 4/17 July 2020

Note:

  1. The Cathedral of the Wisdom of God in Istanbul was long ago made into a mosque, then a museum and now is to become a mosque once more. Why? Because the local Orthodox have for 567 years failed to convert the local people to Christ. Failing to love their enemies, they have hated them and so made enemies for themselves. What are we to do? We are called on to create a new Church of the Wisdom of God, a New Jerusalem.

 

 

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.

 

Leadership and the Church Fifty Years From Now

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19)

Quench not the Spirit (I Thess. 5:10)

The Truth will set you free (Jn. 8:32)

For the peace of the whole world, the good estate of the holy churches of God and the union of all, let us pray to the Lord. (The Great Litany)

 

I first read the Gospel just over fifty years ago. It came as a revelation as it at last made sense of the world around me. So then I began looking for that mysterious Church which Christ had founded in the Gospels and against which ‘the gates of hell will not prevail’. I realised that this could only be a Church which was historic, whose roots went back to these very words of Christ in the first century. Clearly, this excluded all the man-invented Protestant groups, including the Church of England, all of which went back, at best, only to the sixteenth century. I also realised that this Church must be both universal and local, in other words, open to all peoples, languages, nationalities and backgrounds, that is, local in its diversity, though also universal.

Clearly, this also meant that anything narrowly ethnic would be excluded, for example, once again, Anglicanism (the State Church of the British Empire, an Empire that had begun with Elizabeth I and her father and had ended with Elizabeth II and her father, and so was an anachronism). This also excluded all the mononational Local Orthodox Churches, let alone tiny nationalistic or schismatic offshoots, like Ukrainian, Belarussian and Old Calendarist groups. Thus, the only choice could be between centralized Roman Catholicism and the persecuted Russian Orthodox Church. Since the former was clearly a construct of barbarian European imperialism which had finally taken on a recognisable shape only as late as the eleventh century, I had to be Russian Orthodox.

Its heritage and spirit was what Christ had spoken of – the mere fact that it was persecuted was proof enough. Therefore, I began looking forward to the day when the Russian Church would give birth to a Local Western European Orthodox Church. I had no desire to see a national, merely English, Church, for there had never been such a thing in history, apart from State-run Anglicanism. (That nationalistic variety of temporary British Establishment culture held no interest for me, indeed was quite alien to me and in any case was rapidly dying out). Authentic English Christianity had come from Egypt via Gaul and Ireland and from Italy and Western Europe and had converted the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia – it had always been multinational.

Western Europe needed a multinational Church for all the repentant and searching in the one common cultural area of post-Roman Catholic and post-Protestant Europe. This would be both Universal (multinational) and Local, both Orthodox and, in my case of local, English, and not Anglican. At that time the Russian Mother-Church inside Russia found itself in a tragic political captivity. Thus it was rejected by 95% of Russian Orthodox of all nationalities living in Western Europe as obviously unfree, enslaved by an atheist State. From this realisation on I waited for one part or another of the Russian Orthodox Church to found an Exarchate of Western Europe, which would serve as the foundation for such a multinational Local Church..

I hoped that the émigré fragments of the Russian Church in Western Europe, whose temporary existence was justified by the existence of the Soviet Union, would found this Exarchate. It was surely their responsibility and destiny. In April 1988 I first wrote about the need for just such a Russian-founded Western European Orthodox Church and how it could be structured. This I wrote in French and was subtitled ‘Vision ou Reve’ (Vision or Dream) (1). It was thrown by a visionless Archbishop into a wastepaper bin in Paris. In reality, some émigré churches in Western Europe were by 1990 dying. If you become ever smaller, ever more inward-looking and backward-looking, ever more nationalistic and without a missionary purpose, you will die out.

Thus, some lost spiritual and moral authority either by weak and conformist compromises with secularist Western values or else by remaining stuck in the past. The Exarchate was finally founded by a freed Church from inside Russia in December 2018. The Exarchate, no doubt to be modified and remodelled over the next fifty years by our contributions to it, will become the future. It is clear that, precisely because we keep the living Tradition, we cannot live in the past. Over the next fifty years the Exarchate will become the foundation for the new Local Church of Western Europe. The Mother-Church can provide the necessary leadership, vision, episcopal infrastructure and goodwill to construct this future, together with the help of others.

The Russian Orthodox Church is canonically the Northern (‘Hyperborean’) Church of Eurasia, apart from those small territories of the mononational Churches. Russia itself is Eurasian, with tens of millions of Russian Orthodox of many tongues living west and east of the Urals, as well as beyond in Western Europe and Asia, in Japan and China and in the South-East Asian Exarchate, stretching from what was Indo-China to Singapore and Taiwan to the Philippines. This Eurasian missionary destiny is shown by the surrender of parishes in Indonesia to the Exarchate there. (Only Africa remains the heritage of Greek Orthodoxy. However, if it should fail in this responsibility through nationalism, the Russian Church would have to set up an Exarchate there too).

Some may ask, but what then in fifty years from now of the remaining fragments of the Russian Orthodox world, of those who have long lived in and were born in the Americas and Oceania? As the polarised and polarising elements of the past, the extremist secularists and the extremist sectarians, die out, what will happen? Their huge responsibility and destiny will surely be within fifty years from now to unite to form the foundations of three future Autocephalous Local Orthodox Churches on the three continents of the New World: North America, South America and Oceania, using English, Spanish, Portuguese and French, together with Dutch and native languages, uniting all Orthodox of all backgrounds there.

Here is the future Orthodox world which is calling us to move forwards. Let us not be hidden behind anachronisms, behind bureaucracy, behind imperialist reflexes and nationalist provincialism. Let us look and go forwards and not backwards. Let us show leadership and not stand in the way of the future.

Ascension Day, 28 May 2020

Note:

  1. Published twelve years later in English in ‘Orthodox England’, Vol 4, No 1, September 2000

 

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