Category Archives: Orthodox Unity

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 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.

 

The Coming Synod in Moscow: An Example to the Vatican?

Introduction

The Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow will meet in just a few days’ time. Of the many issues the Synodal members will have to decide is that of possible autocephaly for the Orthodox in Moldova. As we know, Metr Vladimir of Moldova has asked for autocephaly in order to overcome the problems in his country. He fears either that the Moscow Patriarchate will be banned in Moldova or else that his flock will transfer en masse to the Patriarchate of Bucharest. This is difficult for Moscow. This thorny problem is, however, only the tip of the iceberg.

In the last century the Patriarchate of Moscow granted autocephaly to Orthodox in Poland, Czechoslovakia and to Carpatho-Russians in Northern America (the ‘OCA’). Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union into fifteen different republics 32 years ago, it has not given autocephaly to anyone. It seems to us that the granting of autocephaly to Orthodox who live in now independent republics is long overdue.

Thus, we would suggest that Orthodox in the Ukraine (all those on territory under the political control of the government in Kiev), Moldova, and the three Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) should all receive autocephaly, but not be allowed a Diaspora presence (see below). This would mean that the Orthodox in Belarus would remain in their Exarchate, as they have not requested autonomy (as they have in Japan and China), let alone autocephaly.

However, if this Synod in Moscow were to become a Synod of Decentralisation, that is, of Autocephaly, Autonomy and Exarchate, we would suggest that perhaps further decentralisation should take place:

 

Why not give up the remaining thirty or so Moscow parishes in North America and give them to the OCA, on condition that the whole Autocephalous Church there be renamed the NAOC – the Northern American Orthodox Church? (Northern America being the USA, Canada, Greenland and a couple of dependent islands). Local bishops and parishes of the American Synod (called ROCOR)in Northern America should be informed that they must in time, say, over the coming five years, obey the Patriarchal Synod and also join, or else fall out of communion.

Thus: Three New Exarchates, making Four Autocephalous Churches: The Ukrainian, the Moldovan, the Baltic and the Northern American.

Why not grant the Western European Exarchate Autonomy, merging that Exarchate with the Archdiocese of Western Europe? With autonomy would come long-overdue internationalisation and the organisation’s indispensable acceptance by Non-Russian nationalities. This Autonomous Western European Orthodox Church would also include all bishops and parishes of the Ukrainian, Moldovan and Baltic Orthodox Churches. Local bishops and parishes of the American Synod (ROCOR) in Western Europe should be informed that they must in time, say, over the coming five years, obey the Patriarchal Synod and also join, or else fall out of communion.

Thus: One New Exarchate, making Three Autonomous Churches: The Western European, the Japanese and the Chinese.

Why not create one single Exarchate for the Metropolia of Kazakhstan and the Metropolia of Central Asia? Why not create an Exarchate for all parishes in Latin America, from Argentina through Central America to Mexico? Why not suggest creating an Exarchate of Oceania, based on the Russian parishes in Australia (at present under the American Synod)?

Thus: Two New Exarchates, making Five Exarchates: The Belarussian, the Kazakhstan and Central Asian, the African, the South-East Asian and the Latin American. And one new potential Exarchate for the future.

 

Conclusion

Such a Synod in Moscow would surely set an example of decentralisation to the current Roman Catholic ‘Synod on Synodality’, which is, among other immense problems of its own, also grappling with its historic and spiritually deadening problem of centralisation, caused by Papism.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End of the Two Russian Emigre Church Groups

Introduction

The two Russian émigré Church groupings that took shape in the 1920s in order to be independent of the by then Soviet-controlled Moscow Patriarchate were only ever meant to be temporary formations. Time and time again the leaders of both proclaimed that they would return to the Mother-Church inside Russia as soon as the Soviet Union had fallen. As we know, even though the USSR fell in 1991, it took many years after this before they eventually did reunite, in 2007 and 2018, but both for the same reason – that they could not canonically survive and function normally, if cut off from the far larger Mother-Church, centred in Moscow.

Unity Against Extremes

We in Western Europe, frightened especially of strange political and sectarian trends coming from the US since the 1960s, very much wanted to see both Russian émigré groupings reintegrate the Russian Church and canonical norms. And we also wanted to give them back their real missionary purpose. This was the purpose defined by, among others, St John of Shanghai and Western Europe, that of witnessing to and spreading Orthodoxy worldwide, helping to form new Local Churches, while still remaining faithful to the Orthodox Tradition. In other words, both groups had to avoid two temptations or extremes. The first was that of being a closed inward-looking, exclusivist and so sectarian ghetto, which would inevitably die out, as do all ghettoes and sects. The second was that of assimilating completely or else basically becoming an Eastern-rite Protestantism or Eastern-rite Catholicism, or in any case being absorbed by the local dominant culture and also dying out.

The small Paris group, where we have family and close friends, and which reunited with the Mother-Church only in 2018, lost over 40% of its strength in so doing, for the secularising, assimilationist party mostly left it. That was in fact a cleansing. It meant that the group could go on with its mission to help build up a Local Church in parts of Western Europe, but faithfully following the Russian Tradition, while remaining independent of Russian internal politics. In other words, it wished to become a European OCA (Orthodox Church in America). With three bishops at present, it hopes to consecrate another three bishops. However, it remains a Paris-centric Church and its presence in the British Isles, as in many other parts of Western Europe, is very small and very weak. Nevertheless, it has made and will continue to make an important contribution to a future Local Church in Western Europe, into which it will eventually merge.

Americanisation

The larger, though still small New York-based group, with twelve bishops, took another line. Unable to be an ethnic ghetto because of assimilation and the loss of Russian, it chose to become an ideological ghetto. In 2021 it duly cut itself off from the Paris group in a schism, even though both were supposed to be united in One Church. The New York group had seen most of its original Russian emigres and their descendants die out or be assimilated into secular culture despite – or perhaps because of – CIA funding. Thus, it had become almost wholly reliant either on parishioners from the former Soviet Union or else on poorly integrated and puritanical converts seeking their ideal of an exclusivist fundamentalist ‘One True Church’ sect. They knew nothing of the real Russia and real Russian Orthodoxy, but only a Disneyfied, made in the USA, fantasy version. It was this second and highly politicised convert ethos that came to dominate the New York group.

In order to assert its control elsewhere and ensure its power fantasy of ‘another century of existence’, New York decided to ‘retire’ the old school of bishops and clergy. It would send out cultish new bishops to intimidate and close down opponents and financially exploit the peripheries of its group in Australia and Western Europe. Ass imperialists they would force those peripheries into the unipolar, ultra-conservative, New York convert mould, even ‘correcting’ their language for Americanese! This would mean their group becoming ever smaller and narrower and more isolated, creating schisms with other Orthodox, cutting itself off from mainstream Orthodox, from the majority. Parishes in insular Australia were already largely Americanised, but Western European parishes, with their tradition handed down from St John of Shanghai and Western Europe, were not. Geographically next door to Russia, Russian Orthodox in Western Europe know the real Russia and Russian Orthodox culture. They could have nothing to do with the fantasy version, cultivated on the American island far away.

Western Europe

Thus, Western European dioceses would have to be repressed and basically destroyed to fit the new and loveless, unipolar ideology of the US imperialist mould with its power-seeking and money-making ethos. The American crazy convert mentality of ‘money, money, money’, podcasts for ‘incels’ and ‘orthobros’, with punishing homosexuals or misogynists a la Andrew Tate, was alien to Orthodox in Europe. Harsh and jealous right-wing Americans and Americanised extremists, with their politicking, Vlasovite, CIA-funded Possevs, Radio Liberties and Voices of America, would never be acceptable to genuine Russian Orthodoxy in Western Europe. Thus, the New York group with its aggressive Americanisation and bullying schismatic sectarianism signed its own death-warrant in Europe. A censorious and sectarian Russian old calendarism had no attraction for normal Orthodox Christians, whether for the converted, or for Russians. Isolationism and hate-filled sectarianism repelled.

Therefore, most ex-Soviet parishioners did not feel at home in the New York group in Western Europe and would have preferred to attend Patriarchal churches, linked with their homeland, had they been available. Talking to the Orthodox bishops with whom I had studied at seminary or whom I had known when they were young priests, the reaction to the Americanisation or ‘convertisation’ of the old European ROCOR was universally the same: amazement and sadness at the destruction of a genuine spiritual, ascetic and liturgical heritage and its slandering by know-nothing neophytes without monastic experience. However, looking at the schismatic and sectarian mentality responsible, the whole thing then began to appear laughable. The reaction confirmed just how bad the New York group’s reputation had become in recent years. ‘Oh, that uncanonical sect’, was the typical dismissive reaction among clergy of other Local Churches.

The Coming Collapse

Once the divisive conflict in the Ukraine is over and the Patriarchal Russian Church returns to its freedom and so destiny, the fate of the New York group will be decided. In Western Europe, it has no future. It is out of communion with the mainstream. Its remnants will flee its uncanonical extremism and be absorbed into the dioceses of canonical Local Churches, especially of Moscow, which will by then be free to receive them. That is, once Moscow has freed itself from the effects of the divisive and all-absorbing conflict in the Ukraine, when it can begin decentralisation through a sweeping programme of autocephalisation and autonomisation, eliminating oligarchic corruption and the gay mafia.

Thus, outside Western Europe and Africa, in Australia there will surely develop a separate Metropolia (especially if Australia and New Zealand come out of their US-imposed political control and isolationism and join the BRICS political and economic bloc), as also will Latin America. In Northern America (the USA and Canada) the New York group will slowly integrate the future Local Church, founded by the great St Tikhon, whose life-giving presence is still in the OCA, which will be redefined. Surely it will be joined by the 40 or so Moscow parishes, still for the moment outside it, and perhaps be renamed.

Conclusion

After the conflict in the Ukraine is over, now providentially to be hastened by Prigozhin’s treacherous mutiny, and with the removal of certain divisive traitors in the Church, the unity of the at present very divided Orthodox Family must be restored. This will have to be through an authentic Orthodox Council unifying the totality of the Local Churches, in which Catholicity and Conciliarity alone reside. Worldwide, this will mean radical changes to both leading Patriarchates, Constantinople and Moscow. Only the reaffirmation of the Catholicity of the whole Orthodox Church can deliver us from a narrow, centralised, political and ethnic model of Church life. This has already happened so many times in our two thousand-year history. Only a real Council can lead to canonical Orthodox unity everywhere, not least in the Diaspora of Western Europe, the Americas and Oceania.

 

Questions and Answers on the Third Day of Pentecost 2023 After the Ukraine: Religion, Faith, the Orthodox Church and the Diaspora

Religion and Faith

Q: What is the point of religion?

A: Religion is pointless.

Q: What do you mean? You are a priest!

A: Religion is manmade and man-inspired. It is an invention, an institution, devised for use by States in order to manipulate their populations. This is the opposite of Faith, which is God-made and God-inspired. Unlike Religion, Faith is not devised by men, but revealed by God. The point of Faith is to know and acquire God, Who is Love. All words and phrases such as ‘salvation, going to church, praying, acquiring the Holy Spirit, repentance, redemption, overcoming sin, defeating death, venerating the saints, grace, the sacraments, understanding the Scriptures’, mean precisely this – knowing and acquiring Love.

Faith is then the opposite of religion, whose aim all too often becomes knowing and acquiring hatred. We can see this very clearly in the institutional Religion of the anti-Faith pharisees in the New Testament, who hated and then murdered Christ, the Son of God/Love – they murdered Love. And the modern pharisees, full of the same old hatred, just go on doing this today, as we have seen very recently! If Christ came back, they would most certainly crucify Him again, as the Greek author Kazantsakis wrote 75 years ago.

Q: Why then are there different faiths?

A: All faiths agree that humanity and all creation are at the bottom of the mountain and God/Love is at the top of the mountain. Faith is to help us climb the mountain, resisting all the temptations against Love. We all start at the bottom and inevitably take different paths up the mountain. At the bottom we can find many paths that lead upwards, but how far do they go and how will we best fight off the attacks from the demons who sit along those paths? What is the best and easiest path? Many paths seem to peter out quite soon or end in insurmountable heights and obstacles. And do they all lead upwards anyway? Or do they just go round and round the mountain? Do the other paths join the Orthodox Christian paths at a certain level?

Personally, I have no need to condemn others for taking other paths, as others inevitably do. All I have is my own spiritual experience, that the Orthodox saints have got to the top of the mountain on their paths, despite the enemy of humanity, the devil and his minions. Therefore, I try to follow those paths. As for those who take other paths, it is none of my business. I am not an insecure neophyte who needs to condemn others in order to justify himself.

The Ukraine

Q: Do you support the Russian side in the war in the Ukraine?

A: As a priest, I am on the side of all the suffering and on the side of peace. I cannot be anywhere else. I cannot support killing by anyone. This conflict was begun by the USA through its puppet government which it installed by violence in Kiev in 2014 with the support of its EU/NATO vassals. It is tragic and unnecessary. And sadly, as they say, those who sowed the wind are reaping the whirlwind. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers have died so far, then there are the hundreds of thousands of maimed, psychologically crippled and bereaved. Let alone the millions of Ukrainian refugees (2 million in Russia) and millions of others in Europe, especially in Poland. And then there are the Russian dead (see below).

Q: Some American converts to ROCOR say that they support the Russian side against the Ukraine because that conflict is a battle for Holy Rus. What would you say?

A: The phrase ‘Holy Rus’ refers to the ancient past. After the ravages of Soviet atheism, it no longer exists – it has not been reconstituted. Today Russia still  has twice the abortion rate of the West and very high rates of divorce and alcoholism. Today, instead of ‘Holy Rus’, we use expressions like the Orthodox Christian world, Orthodox Civilisation, the Orthosphere. And if you kill others, you do not belong to the Orthodox world.

Q: What will happen to the ‘Orthodox Church in the Ukraine’, the OCU, so recently set up by Constantinople with US money?

A: It will die out and disappear because it is a temporary passing phenomenon, born out of the US State Department’s plotting imagination and the refusal by Moscow to give the Ukrainian Church autocephaly – which it almost did in the 1990s. The UOC was only ever a purely political organisation, born of the US-controlled Ukrainian State and the US-controlled Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Q: If you are neutral in this war, why are you convinced that Russia will defeat the Western-backed government in Kiev?

A: Quite simply, because I am a political realist, have sources in the Ukraine, and do not listen to tabloid/BBC/CNN type propaganda, which simply repeats the lies of the Kiev Department of Propaganda, which itself is run by American PR companies.  Look at the facts:

First of all, Russia will win, perhaps even in several months’ time, because this conflict is existential for it, but not at all for the Western elite. In other words, it is everything for Russia. It cannot lose. It has military, economic and diplomatic superiority, the backing of most of the world. It is not repeating the mistakes made by the Russian Empire in 1914, which naively thought that Britain and France were on its side, when in fact they fomented both the German attack and the overthrow of the Tsar, using internal traitors, lack of censorship and malcontents. Russia has learned from its mistakes then, it has at last lost its illusions.

Secondly, so far this is not even a war from the Russian viewpoint, let alone an ‘unprovoked full-scale invasion’, as the propagandists call it. The Russian Army has not yet even fought directly in it. The ‘Russian’ side is composed of the pro-Russian Ukrainian people’s militias from Lugansk and Donetsk (the Donbass), who are fighting for their freedom, Chechen volunteers and the 50,000-strong Wagner Company, which is composed of about 75% ex-convicts and about 25% of professional volunteers, the latter often officers recruited from the Russian Army. It is backed by vastly superior drone-guided Russian artillery, missiles and units from the Russian Air Force and the Black Sea Fleet. The always weak Kiev Navy no longer exists, its last ship was sunk last week, and the always weak Kiev Air Force has been virtually wiped out. Now, in modern warfare, the winner is always the one who has air superiority and can mount a naval blockade.

So far, since February 2022, it seems that some 20,000 pro-Russian Ukrainians and Chechens, 13,000 ex-convict volunteers and 4,000 Russian volunteers have died on the Russian side. Total casualties on the Russian side are therefore about 37,000. However, it appears that the Kiev Army has lost at least 300,000 dead, not including wounded. The ratio is 1:8 or even 1:10. Why? Because of the superiority of modern Russian technology (the Kiev forces have mainly used old Soviet arms or old NATO arms) and its vast quantity. The greatest Kiev defeat so far, greater even than Mariupol, was in Bakhmut, which fell on 20 May 2023 (this defeat was censored by the Western media, like so much else) after nine months of fighting in this horrible war of attrition. The town of Bakhmut, where some 70,000 people once lived, is in ruins. Whole blocks of flats were dynamited by the fleeing Kiev forces, just as they did in Mariupol.

The first NATO-trained Kiev Army was defeated in March 2022 and the war could have ended then. However, the second Kiev Army, rearmed with equipment from the former Soviet, now NATO, bloc in order to prolong the conflict, was defeated in the autumn of 2022. Now the third Kiev Army, armed to the teeth and trained by the US/NATO, is also being defeated. I would give it a maximum of another eleven months, simply because this is a war between Washington and Moscow, being fought on the battlefields of the Ukraine till the last Ukrainian cannon fodder is dead.

Since February 2022, the pro-Russian forces (and even Russia itself, in minor and suicidal incursions by Kiev forces, carried out for propaganda purposes) are being attacked from ever deeper inside Kiev-controlled territory. This means that pro-Russian forces, and probably eventually the million-strong Russian Army itself, will in turn be forced to penetrate ever deeper into Kiev-controlled territory and possibly (and unwillingly) even go as far as the Polish border. After it has set up a government in the New Ukraine, centred in a Kiev independent of the USA, it will withdraw.

Small parts of the old Soviet-established Ukraine (yes, the West is defending a purely Soviet creation in the Ukraine, 32 years after the disappearance of the Soviet Union) may be transferred to Poland, Hungary and Romania. There persecuted minorities have long laboured under Kiev’s dreaded secret police, the CIA-trained SBU. As for the south and east of the Ukraine, whose unhistoric borders were set by the USSR, probably including Odessa and as far as Transdnistria, they will go to Russia. An independent Ukraine, free of the US, will exist. Russia has no desire at all to occupy it, just to neutralise it as a threat to itself and free the Russian areas, part of Russia until 1954 or 1922.

Thirdly, the vast majority of the world either supports Russia (e.g. China, Iran etc) in this operation, or is neutral (e.g. India, Africa, Latin America etc) and does not support the West, which is only 12.5% of world population and whose GDP is quite outmatched by BRICS, even without the rest of the world, which is also dedollarising. Dedollarisation has been caused directly by sanctions against Russia, which have undermined all confidence in the dollar. The debt-ridden West is isolated in its G7 ghetto, its only weapons are boomeranging sanctions, which have caused huge inflation in their own countries, and plots to overthrow popular governments, as recently in the now chaotic Pakistan. The EU head of diplomacy, the unelected Josep Borrell, has admitted twice that the whole conflict in the Ukraine could end in days if the West stopped arming Kiev. By arming the Kiev forces against their own people, the West is simply prolonging the agony. Every death should be on the conscience of the Western elite.

The huge error of the Western elite in all this is its hubris in believing its own delusional propaganda. Russia is a Superpower, with advanced arms the USA simply does not have.

The West has yet to learn to respect different civilisations, which it has not been doing for exactly a millennium, when it definitively began to reconstitute the incredibly cruel pagan Roman Empire and adopted its techniques of ruthless organised violence to conquer and exploit the world (See Note 1 at the end). That organised violence began with its Crusades in the 1030s in Iberia, Sicily, England (in 1066), then in the Middle East and later in southern France, then developed into colonialism and imperialism, continuing to this day. This is clearly not Christian, but pagan.

Even today, what was once called Orthodox Christian Civilisation, however far it is from the actual practice of Orthodoxy – and it is far from it – is radically different from Western-Secularist Civilisation through its cultural values alone. And the fault-line between Orthodox Christian Civilisation and Western-Secularist Civilisation passes through the extreme west of today’s Ukraine, the part that used to belong to Catholic Poland and before that to Catholic Habsburg Austria and, frankly, it should return there.

The Future of the Russian Church

Q: So, after what you see as a Russian military and political victory, do you see the Moscow Patriarchate taking over the whole of the Church in the Ukraine?

A: No, not at all! Whatever the outcome, and regardless of whether I am right or wrong in my view that the Russian State will win against Washington’s war in the Ukraine, the great loser in this whole affair is the Moscow Patriarchate. It is a catastrophe for it, though it still does not seem to realise this.

First of all, the Russian State and the Orthodox Faith (unlike the Moscow Patriarchate) are two very different things. The Russian State wants to destroy anti-Russian Nazism in the Ukraine, so it will gain national security and US bases, biolabs and missiles aimed at Moscow will not exist on its borders. The Russian State wants a militarily and politically neutral Ukraine, like Austria and Finland used to be, before they were forced to join NATO. As regards the Orthodox Faith, it is obvious that the still largely atheist Russian State has no ability or desire to enforce churchgoing in the Ukraine in the future. People in the New Ukraine that may take shape a year from now, perhaps with a population of 10-20 million, will be free to go to any church they want. For most of them that will mean not going to any church at all (as in Russia, where also only about 2-3% go to church regularly).

However, churchgoing Ukrainians will certainly not go to Moscow Patriarchate churches after the conflict in the Ukraine is over, as they see in it an anti-Ukrainian Russian nationalist organisation. For example, just two weeks ago we were in Bari, where we concelebrated at the Liturgy for St Nicholas Day. It was interrupted by about 10 Ukrainians, including a Constantinople OCU priest, who shouted ‘Satanist’ at us. They were shouting not at us Romanians, Moldovans and English, but against the bishop who was from the Moscow Patriarchate. That is how they feel. The level of hatred is that great.

I think that Churched Ukrainians will only attend a future de facto and de jure autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metr Onufry. In other words, Moscow will have to give autocephaly. The present de facto autocephaly may even get recognised by other Local Churches before Moscow actually gives it, exactly as happened with the Polish Orthodox Church in the 1920s (2). The UOC already gets great sympathy from other Local Churches, which see the Moscow Patriarchate as enslaved to the Russian State. The same is true for Russian churches in many other countries, where the Moscow Patriarchate, as a Soviet-era institution, is still in the grip of Soviet centralisation and, as a post-Soviet institution, is in the grip of oligarchic Business. Most Russian Orthodox churches outside Russia also want freedom, autocephaly, from the now nationalist Moscow Patriarchate, not just those in the Ukraine.

All those that received autocephaly from Moscow in the last century, in Poland and in Czechoslovakia and in the OCA in North America (even if the last case is disputed), are pleased to be outside Moscow’s control. So are most Orthodox in Latvia now, even if its autocephaly was uncanonically given it by the Latvian government (again, exactly as in Poland in the 1920s (2))! In Lithuania and Estonia, Orthodox are in great difficulty, as both have schisms, and, as in the Ukraine, this is because Moscow refused to give autocephaly in time, in the 1990s. One post-Revolutionary émigré fragment of the Moscow Patriarchate, the very Moscow-critical, very independent and very Western Archdiocese of Western Europe is also in great difficulty, because it does not have autocephaly and is at present trying to get another three bishops consecrated, but it needs Moscow’s approval. It may not get it.

Another post-Revolutionary emigre fragment, ROCOR, in New York, has done exactly the opposite to the above Archdiocese group, in quite suicidal fashion. Between 1927 and 2007 it had total independence, de facto autocephaly, from Moscow and canonised the New Martyrs and New Confessors. That was an act of spiritual courage and of independence, though it was not strictly canonical, as Moscow had not granted it permission to be autocephalous and canonise saints on its territory.

However, in 2007 an act of canonical unity between Moscow and ROCOR was agreed and signed. I was there. That was good, because it legitimised ROCOR independence and its acts, which previously had been disputed. However, tragically and dramatically, instead of using that de facto and de jure independence and freedom, ROCOR renounced it and came to enslave itself to Moscow. After exactly a decade of missed golden opportunities, since precisely 2017, the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution, that spiritual unity has become a purely political union with the Moscow Patriarchate, exactly as Patriarch Kyrill quite specifically described it to a Russian Metropolitan friend in 2018.

As a result of this spiritual surrender six years ago, ROCOR decided to agree to anything that Soviet Centralising Moscow and post-Soviet oligarchic Business Moscow wants. The dollar above Christ. ROCOR has been bought out by money. The more gifts that were accepted, the less freedom it had. Even more tragically, it was not forced into this sell-out by Moscow, it was its own voluntary choice after ten years. What happened? Sadly, seeing how luxuriously the bishops lived in Moscow, they wanted the same. So they sold themselves. At one time ROCOR bishops lived as poor and humble monks. They, all gone now, must be spinning in their graves. How are the once (spiritually) mighty fallen….

Thus, ROCOR has lost its heritage of spiritual freedom and independence. And therefore it will not last much longer, for God is not mocked. Its sectarian extremism and nationalism, that is, the exclusion of all other Orthodox, including Ukrainians, will not last long where it is, outside Russia, in the Diaspora. The Diaspora is unkind to inward-looking, racially exclusive and extremist ghettos. The old humble ROCOR of saintly confessors has been replaced by the ethos of a right-wing American missionary sect, remarkably similar to the Mormons. This is completely alien to others and to all normal Orthodox, Serbian, Bulgarian, Moldovan, Romanian, Greek, who simply ignore it, which is not difficult, as ROCOR is so small. Byzantine-rite Mormonism only attracts the few, the wrong sort, the right-wing sectarian, the negative, not the many, the positive, on whom you can build. Such sectarianism does not export to territories outside the USA, where ROCOR is dying out in one suicidal act after another, from France to South America, from Indonesia to England.

Q: You sacrificed fifty years of your life for the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church, so how do you feel now that you are outside it and it is falling apart?

A: Well, that is not true. I am not outside it. I am in spiritual unity with the suffering Russian Church of the Saints and the New Martyrs and Confessors. I am only outside the Soviet-style administration, which, by the way, has always admired the immensely rich Vatican, like the Statist Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad, whom we remember dying in the arms of the Pope in 1978. This is because it has always admired the mentality of the State-Church or rather the Church-State. Power and riches. Such a view of the Church as a mere political administration based on power and riches does not have any canonical authority, just as forced episcopal signatures have no canonical authority.

As regards sacrificing my life, more exactly I have given fifty years of my life for the Orthodox Church in the Diaspora. In the 1970s and early 1980s I saw the Church of Constantinople reject a future for Orthodoxy by preferring nationalism and politics to transmitting the Tradition to others and to future generations. Now I have seen the Russian Church do the same, with its nationalism and politics, and so it is falling apart. If it continues, the only clergy that will be left are money-minded careerists who have little or no faith. Too bad for them. You cannot impose freedom on those who prefer tyranny, as we know from Dostoyevsky’s Legend of the Grand Inquisitor. There are those who do not want the Truth to set them free….

However, the Russian Church can fall apart positively, in the sense that it can unburden itself of its Soviet-style centralist administration and instead become a Family or Confederation of free Churches. Fortunately, there are other Orthodox, those of the spirit of the persecuted St Seraphim of Sarov, of the persecuted St Nectarios of Pentapolis, of the persecuted St John of Shanghai, of the persecuted Elder Nikolai (Guryanov), of the New Martyrs and Confessors. Long ago we committed ourselves to them and we will not renounce them and their spirit. We belong to the Persecuted Church, not to the Persecuting Church.

Q: But aren’t you frightened of what those Russians have tried to do to you?

A: St Paisios the Athonite, whom I met on Athos in 1979, said: ‘Believe in God and fear nothing’ (Πίστη στο Θεό και να μην φοβάστε τίποτα). That is what I have always done, come grasping greed, secret atheists, nationalist bureaucrats, modernists, ecumenists, freemasons, covid lockdown enforcers, perverts, spies and schismatic right-wing neophytes. We have seen all these enemies of the Church in power in Her administration from Judas until this very day, but the Church has always triumphed and will always triumph against all these extremists. Fear not!

Q: So does the Moscow Patriarchate have any future?

A: No, as such it does not. It has become a straitjacket and several conscientious priests are leaving it. As I said, the great loser in the conflict in the Ukraine is undoubtedly the Moscow Patriarchate, regardless of who wins militarily. It has lost credit and those clergy who have backed war have lost face. They are seen as militant nationalists, whose spirit is that of that very strange, nationalist, khaki-painted Cathedral of the Armed Forces of Russia, near Moscow (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/20/orthodox-cathedral-of-the-armed-force-russian-national-identity-military-disneyland).

The Moscow Patriarchate has already lost a range of territories, the Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and is now losing Moldova and its Western Diaspora, and in a few years’ time most probably Belarus and Central Asia too, all through politics. It has not followed the Gospel. If you do not follow the Gospel, you will die spiritually. That is the spiritual law. It happens to them all. I have seen it so often over the last fifty years and recently here too. It is spiritual suicide not to follow the Gospel and to attack those in the Church who have integrity.

However, here we have to distinguish carefully between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church. The former is a purely Soviet and post-Soviet institution, like the émigré fragments in Paris and in New York, whose existence was also shaped by the Soviet Union, though by reaction. It is a historical blip, a temporary administrative arrangement that began in 1925 after the death (by poisoning?) of the holy Patriarch Tikhon, whose signatures were also forced. In 50 years’ time, the Moscow Patriarchate will no longer exist. In fact, I do not think any of these three fragments will exist even in 25 years’ time. In fact, I sometimes wonder if they will still exist even in two years’ time, in 2025. On the other hand, the Russian Orthodox Church with its thousand-year history of saints most certainly does have a future. It will continue to be by far the largest of the to-be-extended family of Local Orthodox Churches, even though autocephaly must go to its parts in the Ukraine, Central Asia (based in Kazakhstan), Moldova (if it is not too late – see below) and the Baltics, at the very least. The number of Local Orthodox Churches could then hit 20.

The Diaspora

Q: If they happened, how would such a series of new autocephalies affect the Diaspora?

A: We can already see the effect. The UOC has opened over 40 parishes in Western Europe and will open more. Why? Because Ukrainian refugees refuse to attend churches where Patriarch Kyrill is commemorated. Those Ukrainians who cannot go to their church in London come to us, as we are politically independent, unlike the Moscow Patriarchate and its ROCOR branch. If the Ukraine becomes autocephalous, Orthodox from Moldova and the Baltics will surely also open their own Diaspora churches.

On the one hand, this fragmentation is negative, because it further fragments the Diaspora, destroying the once multinational but now nationalist Moscow Patriarchate Exarchate of Western Europe, based in Paris (whose members are mainly Moldovan, Baltic or Ukrainian anyway). On the other hand, once the Diaspora is cleansed of the US-driven politics of Constantinople and the politics of the old-fashioned Soviet Centralist Moscow and post-Soviet oligarchic Business Moscow, some kind of Diaspora unity can be achieved, a unity which could never have been seen before. Diaspora disunity only ever existed because of politics. Diaspora unity will only ever exist because it will be free of politics.

Both the Greek and Russian Patriarchs are elderly. We await the new generation. God willing, there will be a reversal of policies and a great cleansing from the corruption and perversions which come from power and the love of money, with that taste for luxury products and big black cars.

Q: As you have so many Moldovan parishioners and clergy, how would the existence of an autocephalous Moldovan Church outside Moldova affect you?

A: Politically, Romanian-speaking Moldovans do not want to join Romania, despite the very unpopular US puppet government there. If it joins the EU (as long as the EU still exists), it will join it as an independent country. However, I think it is much more likely that Moldova, together with Turkiye, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and Montenegro, followed by Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus once freed from the EU, will join BRICS, the Planetary Alliance of Sovereign States (PASS), or whatever it will be called by then.

This would make a south-east European bloc within BRICS, reuniting that group of countries economically. This will pave the way for the other European countries to leave the doomed and collapsing EU, a temporary post-1945 organisation, and also enter BRICS. We have to go towards the future, not the past. This means economic integration and so political co-operation between Europe and Asia, Eurasia, led by Russia, China, Iran and India, which is inevitable.

However, whatever the politics, given that the Moscow Patriarchate refuses outright to give the Moldovan Church autocephaly, ever more Moldovan parishes are now leaving the Moldovan Church of the Moscow Patriarchate for the Moldovan Church of the Romanian Patriarchate. This latter group, for now called the ‘Metropolia of Bessarabia’, carefully observes all Moldovan customs and keeps the old calendar. It now has some 25% of all Moldovan Orthodox in Moldova. Its bishops are monks.

The movement to it is accelerating rapidly because of the conflict in the Ukraine, because of Moscow’s centralisation, because of corruption, and because of the mistreatment of Moldovans in the Diaspora under the ever more Russian nationalist Moscow Patriarchate. Nobody wants to be treated as a second-class citizen, neither Moldovans, nor English.

The only areas of Moldova where there is loyalty to the Moscow Patriarchate is the almost wholly Soviet Transdnistria and the autonomous pro-Russian Gagauz region (the total population of both regions is about 500,000, with an area similar to a large English county). These will join the Russian Federation anyway.

What is possible is that the many Moldovan parishes and their clergy (70 in Italy alone) in Western Europe may leave the Moscow Patriarchate and open some kind of autonomous Moldovan/Bessarabian Archdiocese under the Romanian Church in the Diaspora. The Romanian Orthodox Church outside Romania is now the largest Diaspora Church, with well over five million people, nearly 1500 parishes and over 70 monasteries and convents. Whatever its weaknesses, it dwarves the Russian and the Greek Diasporas, let alone the other Diasporas, which are relatively very small. The Romanian Diaspora is not dying out like them, but is full of young people and children. If the Moldovans join this Diaspora, as an autonomous old calendar Archdiocese under the Romanian Church in the Diaspora, it will grow even bigger.

However, a word of warning. In my lifetime I have already seen two Churches die out. The first was ROCOR in England. I remember how 40 years ago its large London Cathedral (it now has a very small church instead) was full, with 400 people every Sunday; however, the average age was about 80. They have all gone. Today, apart from a few strange converts, ROCOR is populated by those from the ex-Soviet Union who have no ROCOR tradition, the old emigres have all gone. It died out because the old emigres totally failed to hand on their faith to their descendants.

Now, 40 years on, I see the same in the Greek Church. One parish in London that used to get at least 800 people every Sunday even 30 years ago is now down to 30. The average age is also 80. The same problem. Almost the only children in Greek churches in London are Romanian/Moldovan. However, what will happen in 40 years’ time to the Romanians and Moldovans? Will their children and grandchildren fill their churches or will they too be virtually empty?

The Romanian language does have two advantages:  It is a Latin language and it uses the Latin alphabet. As such it is much closer to Western languages in terms of vocabulary and alphabet than Greek and Russian. But that is not enough. The faith has to be transmitted to the next generations. I already do baptisms completely in English for the children of Romanians and Moldovans who came here as children twenty years ago. I have spoken to our bishop, Metropolitan Joseph, about this reality, but as a pastor he is already well aware. For the moment in England there are only four Non-Romanian priests, those of our group. In France and Belgium, however, he has in his Autonomous Metropolia one French bishop and 15 French priests. So there is hope.

 

Notes:

  1. Below are quotations from an account of the history of the Roman Empire some 2,000 years ago. Do they sound familiar? The contemporary oligarchic American Empire comes immediately to mind…..

Might is right and military power is the only international law. The …… had no problem demolishing whatever stood in their way.

Those who opposed ……. domination, and who tried to defend the traditional values of their own people, faced a double enemy: the one without and the one within.

Robber, slaughter and plunder they misname ‘Empire’; they make a wilderness and call it peace.

They were offered …. citizenship, so long as they had enough money and an urban residence.

The unsuspecting Non- ….. spoke of these new habits as civilisation, when in fact they were only a feature of enslavement.

In this way, the 10% of ….. who lived in the cities exploited the 90% who lived outside.

The name of …… citizens, at one time not only greatly valued but dearly bought, is now repudiated and fled from, and it is almost considered not only base but even deserving of abhorrence.

When it came to institutionalised cruelty on an industrial scale, the ……. could teach the others a thing or two.

He makes it quite clear that ………’s objective was the enslavement of the world.

The ideology of that Empire was an ideology of power and world dominance.

….. established its Empire by destroying other civilisations.

……. lived behind frontiers, and what lay beyond was dangerous. That applied as much to their mental world as to their geography.

The Empire was, by this time, an economic basket-case. The machine had to keep feeding itself with plunder.

It’s surprsing his name is not better known in the West. But then, in the West it is only the ….. version of events that counts, and that does not include successful enemies.

….. needed to build an ideology that encouraged people to see their rulers not just as overlords, but as the defenders of civilised values, and they knew a thing or two about propaganda.

…… emphasised its transcendent magisterial authority, its right to judge the living and the dead and to determine people’s fate for all eternity.

  1. https://www.rocorstudies.org/2023/05/30/autocephaly-and-principles-of-its-application-with-reference-to-the-church-of-poland/?utm_source=mailpoet&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=demo-newsletter_1