Category Archives: Orthodoxy

The Church Which Might Have Been

It is a matter of speculation as to what today’s Orthodox Church would have looked like, had secularism not been spread from the West by the uprooted aristocracy and intelligentsia. Having abandoned Orthodox civilizational values, that is, lost the Christian Faith, they used this alien secularism to justify their overthrow of the Russian Empire in 1917. This disaster left the smaller and weaker Local Churches Emperorless and in disarray, victims of a foreign calendar and political interference, and unable to conduct missionary work.

The division of the Church into today’s fourteen mainly national Local Churches, many very small, seems unlikely. Surely Church structures would have become denationalized and so far bigger, possibly with one billion Orthodox, perhaps in Five Patriarchates. These would have taken turns to govern Mt Athos, which would have become far bigger and the true international monastic centre of the Church, where ten-yearly administrative Patriarchal Councils could have been held. The Five Patriarchates might have been:

Patriarchate of Rus (in Moscow, 750 million?), covering the Russian Empire, with the Autocephalous Catholicosate of Georgia,  plus Ten Autonomous Churches, some of which, with several million members, would by now be close to Autocephaly and Patriarchal status. With five in Asia and five in Europe and its Diasporas, these would cover: China and Tibet; Korea; Japan; the Isles of Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines); South East Asia (Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam); Europe (covering independent Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, as well as the Czech Lands, Slovakia, Hungary and the sixteen ex-Catholic and ex-Protestant countries in Western Europe); the 13 countries of South America; Mexico, the seven countries of Central America and the Caribbean; Anglo-America with Alaska and Greenland; Australasia.

Patriarchate of Alexandria (in Nairobi, 120 million?): All Africa.

Patriarchate of Antioch (in New Delhi, 60 million?): Covering the Asian Arab World, Iran, Afghanistan and the Indian Subcontinent.

 Patriarchate of Constantinople (in Bucharest, Athens, Belgrade, Sofia and Nicosia, 50 million?), made up of the Five Autocephalous Balkan Union Churches, the nationality of the Patriarch alternating, covering: Greece, with two Autonomous Metropolias for Albania and Turkey; Romania; Serbia, with four Autonomous Metropolias for Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia/Slovenia; Bulgaria; Cyprus.

 Patriarchate of Jerusalem (5 million?): Covering Palestine on both sides of the Jordan and the Holy Places.

 

 

Questions and Answers – July 2018

Q: What in your view is the greatest problem for the Orthodox Church in the UK today?

A: Without doubt it is the pastoral crisis, the chronic shortage of priests and lack of our own churches. Why? Well, who wants to be a priest when you are not paid and you have to find your own churches? Among Catholics, Anglicans and Protestants all the infrastructure, churches, houses and salaries, is already provided. What an easy life they have!

My ‘parish’ covers five counties and 7,500 square miles (20,000 square kilometres). I only have two permanent churches here, which I have had to obtain and fit out, and two assistant priests, neither of whom is available on weekdays. Here there is the failure of bishops to provide priests (lack of a seminary, as opposed to a centre for ivory tower intellectuals who do not understand real Church life) and to provide for their priests. And, frankly, this is the case over most of the world. How can we have a Church that gives no pastoral care? This is why children are not being baptized, couples are not being married and people are not being buried by priests. There are no local priests. This is indeed a DIY church. We shall perhaps look back on this period as the most decadent in Church history.

Q: When did the contemporary Church begin to venerate the local saints of the West?

A: The turning-point came in 1952 when St John of Shanghai submitted a list of local saints for veneration to the Synod of Russian Bishops Outside Russia. All his ROCOR disciples followed him, from Archbishop Nathanael of Vienna to Archbishop Antony of Geneva, from Fr Seraphim Rose to my sinful self. This movement was followed and imitated by other jurisdictions a generation or two later, without repentance for their earlier rejections. I can remember in 1975 when I submitted a list of these saints, how mocked I was at the time by the Sourozh Jurisdiction, the Thyateira Jurisdiction and the Paris Jurisdiction. The attitude was racist. How times change!

Q: Why does the West reject ascetic life? The Catholics made their Church into a State and none of them has any concept of fasting or even standing for services.

A: The great problem for the Church has always been how to deal with the world. The Orthodox view is to do our best to sanctify the world, suffering persecution and even martyrdom if necessary, submitting to martyrdom. The Western view has been to conquer and control the world: the result of this is the secularization of the Western ‘Church’ – their ‘Church’ has become the world.

This rejection of ascetic effort goes back to the filioque. This says that the Holy Spirit (all truth and authority in Church life) proceeds from the Son and therefore from all those who represent the Son on earth. In 800 this was interpreted to mean Charlemagne, who called himself the Vicar of Christ and began massacring the Saxons in the Name of God (= Caesaropapism). In the later 11th century, however, it was the Bishop of Rome who changed his official title from Vicar of St Peter (in reality the title of the Patriarchs of Antioch) to Vicar of Christ and his ‘Church’ became more powerful than any State (Papocaearism). So began Papal-sponsored massacres in 1066 in England and then in ‘crusades’. So began clericalism. In the 16th century everyone became vicars of Christ, and so was born Protestantism. Anyone had the right to go off and start their own ‘church’, regardless of repentance and ascetic practice. So was born anti-ascetic humanism. So was born sitting down, sing-song hymns and clapping your hands – in effect an early form of karaoke, ‘fun-religion’.

Q: Why are liberals so hostile and aggressive to the Russian Church when only about 5% of the Russian population actually practises the Orthodox Faith?

A: The trouble for the liberals, who also represent only about 5% of the Russian population, is that the culture of the Russian Federation and of countries like the Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova is still largely Orthodox in practical domains, that is outside attendance at Church services, regardless of the narrow Protestant understanding of ‘practice’ as ‘going to church’. (The Orthodox understanding of ‘practice’ is how we live our life, which is totally different from ‘God-slot’ Protestantism, based on guilt, or obligatory attendance Catholicism). Liberals are angry at their failure to root out Christian cultural values from everyday life of the 90% in these Orthodox countries, which is what they have achieved in the West over the last fifty years. Our way of life which persists disturbs them, delaying and thwarting their plans for totalitarian domination of every aspect of life.

Q: According to the West, Russia is Asiatic. Is this so in your view?

A: First of all, this is racist and ethnocentric: the word ‘Asiatic’ is used to mean ‘barbaric’, ‘savage’ and cruel’. So everyone in Asia, with its fine and delicate culture, is so? Secondly, it is incredibly hypocritical: it was the West that invented the Crusades and the Inquisition, the Maxim gun and modern artillery, chemical weapons and the bomber, Communism and Fascism, the concentration camp and the Atomic bomb, the cluster bomb and the drone. Are these not cruel and barbaric? Thirdly, it is geographically incorrect, since 90% of Russians live in Europe and all the Slav peoples originate north of the Carpathians – in Europe. Fourthly, it can be argued that in any case there is no such thing as ‘Europe’. There is only one Continent – Eurasia, Europe is an artificial invention at the western tip of a single Continent. All the other continents, Africa, Australia and the Americas are clearly different continents because they are separated from one another by the sea. Not so little Europe, which has been artificially separated from the mass of Asia by the relatively low hills called the Urals. In the south of Asia, India and China are both considered Asian, and yet they are separated by the giant mountains of the Himalayas, not the hills of the Urals!

The charge of ‘Asiatic’ is always made to justify Western barbarianism. The next time that the West commits some war-crime, we should say: ‘What do you expect of Europe? It is so European’.

Q: What makes a good candidate for the priesthood?

A: A kind-hearted man, who knows the services and is understanding with others, patient and a good listener, who is not stupid and not intolerant, not money-minded and not a careerist.

Q: Why is the West so fond of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, yet ignores or even condemns her sister, the Tsarina Alexandra?

A: Both were ex-Protestants who joined the Orthodox Church and both were martyrs, and so whatever their sins and mistakes, they were washed away by their blood. However I think the West is fond of the errors of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, for example her naïve dabbling in politics, condemnation of Gregory Rasputin, whom she had never even seen, let alone met,  and her purely Protestant desire for deaconesses, which was naturally rejected by the Church. In some respects she did not fully become Orthodox until the last year of her life, unlike her younger sister Alexandra who joined the Orthodox Church out of love and never tried to change anything, integrating the Faith very quickly, as it says in the Akathist to the Royal Martyrs, she was ‘an example’ of one who turned from Protestantism to Orthodoxy. That irritates the demon of the West, which can only understand Orthodoxy through the deforming prism of its errors. This is why it absurdly accuses St Alexandra of being fanatical, neurotic and hysterical. St Alexandra is a convert who became fully Orthodox and she should be the patron-saint of all who convert to the Orthodox Faith.

Q: Since you like the old calendar, why don’t you join the old calendarists?

A: There is a great difference between being faithful to the old (= Church) calendar and being an old calendarist. Isms are always fatal. The question that I ask old calendarists is: Why do you claim to be Orthodox (and indeed ‘super-Orthodox’), when you are not even in communion with the 215 million members and 900 bishops of the Orthodox Church?

Q: What are the chances that Gregory Rasputin will be canonized, do you think?

A: At the present moment they are near zero. Only two or three bishops are in favour, although there are many priests and people in favour in a few dioceses, like Ekaterinburg, in which diocese Gregory was born and grew up. So a local canonization could happen there in a few years time. The situation is very similar to that of the chances of the canonization of St Seraphim of Sarov in the 1880s (when it had been considered, but was opposed by most of the Synod of bishops), the Royal Martyrs in the Church Outside Russia in the 1960s and 1970s (when, as I remember, it was opposed by many, despite the long-held view of the future St John of Shanghai) or inside Russia in the 1980s (when it was opposed by large numbers of bishops, clergy and people).

In other words, for canonization to take place you need a certain spiritual maturity, you have to be spiritually ready, spiritually awake, and that leads to unity. In a Church of converts, which is what the Russian Church today is, we do not find that. There is still not sufficient consensus on the understanding of the past, neither of the Soviet period, nor of the pre-Revolutionary period. Many supposedly Orthodox academics and also bishops are opposed to the canonization of Gregory, just as their forebears were opposed to the canonization of St Seraphim of Sarov and the Royal Martyrs in the past.

We must wait until such people come round to reality and wake up to the new research done in the Russian State archives, which has completely overturned the old prejudices and ignorance of the anti-Orthodox past, both of the Soviet and similar pre-Revolutionary periods. Similarly, such intellectuals, even ‘theologians’, detest the veneration for Gregory among the devout masses who in turn detest the Church bureaucracy. At present, this canonization is supported only by the most committed and well-educated Orthodox. We must be patient and wait for the ignorance of others to dissipate. We do not divide the Church.

Q: What forms do the ‘the right side’ and ‘the left side’ take, in the spiritual sense of these terms?

A: The enemy wields a double-edged sword. The right side is Establishment Religion: Phariseeism / Talmudism / Monophysitism / Nationalism / Ritualism / Fascism / Old Calendarism. The left side is Sectarian Religion: Saduceeism / Hellenism / Arianism / Scholasticism / Rationalism / Liberalism / New Calendarism.

Q: How can we protect the English language against its bastardization today?

A: We should use and revive the terms of disappearing English. We should use expressions like: my sainted aunt / until the cows come home / till Kingdom come / how far afield? / by George , and use such words as, mild, meek, noble, which the younger generation hardly knows. I am sure that you can expand on such a list.

Fr Nicholas Gibbes: The First English Disciple of Tsar Nicholas II and the First English Priest of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

A Talk given at Barton Manor near Osborne House on the Isle of Wight on 7 July 2018.

In this centenary year of the martyrdom of Tsar Nicholas II, his August Family, their servants and the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, it would be well to recall their first English disciple and the first ever English Russian Orthodox priest, Fr Nicholas Gibbes.

Charles Sydney Gibbes, for short Sydney Gibbes, was born 142 years ago, on 19 January 1876. In the 19th century this was for all Orthodox the feast day of St John the Baptist, the voice that cried in the wilderness. His parents were called John and Mary – more English than that you cannot find. His father was a bank manager in Rotherham, just outside Sheffield, in Yorkshire. Amusingly, this would later be recorded by a Russian civil servant on Sydney’s residence papers in Russia as ‘Rotterdam’.

With no fewer than ten siblings, Sydney grew into a stereotypical, Victorian, Protestant young man of the educated classes. He received his education at Cambridge, where he changed the spelling of his surname to Gibbes, from Gibbs, as the adopted form is the older, historical one. This change was typical of his love of historical detail and accuracy. Sydney is described as: severe, stiff, self-restrained, imperturbable, quiet, gentlemanly, cultured, pleasant, practical, simple, brave, loyal, lucid, witty, crisp, vigorous, honourable, reliable, impeccably clean, with high character, of good sense and with agreeable manners. He seems the perfect Victorian English Yorkshire gentleman – not a man with such an unusual destiny.

However, as we know from history, underneath Victorian gentlemen lurked other sides – repressed, but still present. For example, we know that Sydney could be stubborn, that he used corporal punishment freely, that he could be very awkward with others, and he is recorded as having quite a temper, though these traits mellowed greatly with the years. My good friend from Oxford days long ago, Dmitri Kornhardt, recalled how in later life tears would stream down Fr Nicholas’ face when celebrating services in memory of the Imperial Martyrs, but how also he would very rapidly recover himself after such unEnglish betrayals of emotion.

Underneath the Victorian reserve there was indeed a hidden man, one with spiritual sensitivity, who was interested in theatre and theatricals, spiritualism, fortune-telling and palmistry, and one who was much prone to recording his dreams. Perhaps this is why, when after University he had been thinking of the Anglican priesthood as a career, he found it ‘stuffy’ and abandoned that path. Talking to those who knew him and reading his biographies, and there are three of them, we cannot help feeling that as a young man Sydney was searching for something – but he knew not what. The real man would eventually come out from beneath his Victorian conditioning.

Perhaps this is why in 1901, aged 25, he found himself teaching English in Russia – a country with which he had no connection. Here he was to spend over 17 years. The key moment came in autumn 1908 when he went to the Imperial Palace in Tsarskoe Selo and became the English tutor of the Imperial children. In particular, he became close to the Tsarevich Alexis, with whom he identified very closely. Why? We can only speculate that there was a sympathy or else complementarity of characters; together with Sydney’s bachelordom, this may have been enough for the friendship to develop. In any case, he became almost a member of the Imperial Family and a profound and lifelong admirer of what he called, as an eyewitness, their exemplary Christian Faith, close family life and kindness. His meeting with this Family changed his life forever and he only ever spoke of them with profound admiration.

In August 1917 Sydney found himself following the Family to Tobolsk. Utterly loyal to the Family, in July 1918 he found himself in Ekaterinburg, the city in the Urals between Asia and Europe, East and West, after their unspeakable murder in the Ipatiev House. He helped identify objects, returning again and again to the House, picking up mementoes, which he was to cling on to until the end, and still reluctant to believe that the crime had taken place. Coming almost half way through his life when he was aged 42, this was without doubt the crucial event in that life, the turning point, the spark that made him seek out his destiny in all seriousness. With the murder of the Family, the bottom had fallen out of his life, his raison d’etre had gone. Where could he go from here?

He did not, like most, return to England. We know that he, like Tsar Nicholas, had been particularly shocked by what he saw as the British betrayal of the Imperial Family. Indeed, we know that it was George Buchanan, the British ambassador to St Petersburg, who had in part been behind the February 1917 deposition of the Tsar by treacherous aristocrats, politicians and generals. This coup d’etat was greeted by Lloyd George in the House of Commons as the ‘achievement of one of our war aims’. (We now also know from the book by Andrew Cook that it was British spies who had assassinated Gregory Rasputin and also that the Tsar’s own cousin, George V, had refused to help the Tsar and His Family escape).

In fact, disaffected by Britain’s politics, from Ekaterinburg Sydney went not west, but east – to Siberian Omsk and then further east, to Beijing and then Harbin in Manchuria. Off and on he would spend another 17 years here, in Russian China. In about 1922 he suffered a serious illness. His religiosity seems to have grown further and after this he would go to study for the Anglican priesthood at St Stephen’s House in Oxford. However, for someone with the world-changing experience that he had had, that was not his way; perhaps he still found Anglicanism ‘stuffy’, I think he would have found almost anything stuffy after what he had been through – seeing his adopted Family wiped out. Finally, in 1934, in Harbin, Sydney joined the Far Eastern Metropolia of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

There is no doubt that he did this as a direct result of the example of the Imperial Family, for he took the Orthodox name of Alexis – the name of the Tsarevich, whom he naturally saw as a martyr. He was to describe this act as ‘getting home after a long journey’, words which perhaps describe the reception into the Orthodox Church of any Western person. Thus, from England, to Russia and then to China, he had found his way. In December 1934, aged almost 59, he became successively monk, deacon and priest. He was now to be known as Fr Nicholas – a name deliberately taken in honour of the martyred Tsar Nicholas. In 1935 he was made Abbot by Metr Antony of Kiev, the head of our multinational Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and later received the title of Archimandrite.

Wishing to establish some ‘Anglo-Orthodox organisation’, in 1937 Fr Nicholas Gibbes came back to live in England permanently. He was aged 61. Of this move he wrote: ‘It is my earnest hope that the Anglican Church should put itself right with the Holy Orthodox Church’. He went to live in London in the hope of setting up an English-language parish within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. In this he did not succeed and in 1940 he moved to Oxford. In this last part of his life in Oxford he became the founder of the first Russian Orthodox church in Oxford at 4, Marston Street, where he lived in humble and modest circumstances. In recalling the address of that first church, dedicated to St Nicholas, we cannot help recalling that today’s Russian Orthodox St Nicholas church in Oxford is not very far away from it.

Not an organiser, sometimes rather erratic, even eccentric, Fr Nicholas was not perhaps an ideal parish priest, but he was sincere and well-respected. In Oxford he cherished his mementoes of the Imperial Family to the end. Before he departed this life, on 24 March 1963, an icon given to him by the Imperial Family, was miraculously renewed and began to shine. One who knew him at the time confirmed this and after Fr Nicholas’ death, commented that now at last Fr Nicholas was seeing the Imperial Family again – for he had been waiting for this moment for 45 years. He was going to meet once more those who had shaped his destiny in this world.

In the 1980s in an old people’s home outside Paris I met a parishioner of our Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, Count Nikolai Komstadius. He had met Fr Nicholas in 1954, in connection with the false Anastasia, but perhaps had seen him before, since his father had been in charge of the Tsarskoe Selo estate and he himself had been a childhood friend of the Tsarevich. I remember in the 1980s visiting him. In the corner of his room in front of an icon of the martyred Tsarevich there burned an icon-lamp. He turned to me and said: ‘That is such a good likeness, it is just like him and yet also it is an icon’. Not many of us lives to see a childhood playfriend become a saint and have his icon painted. Yet as a young man in his thirties Fr Nicholas had known a whole family, whom he considered to be saints. Indeed, he had been converted by their example.

There are those who have life-changing experiences. They are fortunate, because they stop living superficially, stop drifting through life and stop wasting God-sent opportunities and so find their destiny. Such life-changing experiences can become a blessing if we allow them to become so. Fr Nicholas was one such person, only his life-changing experience was also one that had changed the history of the whole world. For a provincial Victorian Yorkshire bank manager’s son, who had grown up with his parents John and Mary, he had come very far. And yet surely the seeds had been there from the beginning. To be converted we first of all need spiritual sensitivity, a seeking spirit, but secondly we also need an example. Fr Nicholas had had both, the example being the Imperial Martyrs. As that late and wonderful gentlewoman Princess Koutaissova, whom many of us knew, said of his priesthood: ‘He was following his faithfulness to the Imperial Family’.

In this brief talk I have not mentioned many aspects of Fr Nicholas’ life, such as his possible engagement, his adopted son, his hopes in Oxford. This is because they do not interest me much here. I have tried to focus on the essentials, on the spiritual meaning of his life, his destiny. Those essentials are, I believe, to be found in his haunted and haunting gaze. Looking at his so expressive face, we see a man staring into the distance, focusing on some vision, both of the past and of the future. This vision was surely of the past life he had shared with the martyred Imperial Family and also of the future – his long hoped-for meeting with them once more, his ‘sense of completion’.

 

A Question on ‘Pan-Orthodoxy’

There is a custom in the capitals of certain countries of the Orthodox Diaspora of holding a service called ‘Pan-Orthodox Vespers’ on the evening of the Sunday of Orthodoxy. I first attended such an event in 1975 at the Serbian Church in Birmingham, when the then Fr Vladimir Rodzianko preached against ‘jurisdictions’. I am sure that most of the people present had no idea what he was talking about. Apparently the custom continues, over 40 years later, though few Orthodox know about it or are interested in it. We know who we are, we confess the same Faith, and we have no need of political demonstrations, which change nothing for the rest of the year.

Although the custom is not bad in itself, I have always found it very strange. It does not exist in Orthodox countries, where the average town of, say 50,000-100,000 people, will have several Orthodox parishes, each of which lives its own life. Nobody has ever thought of meeting together as parishes on one Sunday evening a year. (True, the parish rector and one lay representative from each parish do meet when their bishop calls them to a yearly Diocesan meeting). And in the town where I serve, where there are several Anglican and Catholic parishes (the Catholic parishes represent different national groups), the local Anglican or Catholic churches would never dream of holding a ‘Pan-Anglican’ or ‘Pan-Catholic’ Vespers once a year.

It is said that ‘Pan-Orthodox Vespers’ promotes Orthodox unity, although I cannot see how. But why is this necessary? The fact is that all the Orthodox churches are already spiritually united. There is simply an administrative and linguistic division, which occurs in any case and always has and will. For example, in Orthodox countries, parishes are divided between dioceses (sometimes using different languages) and the link of unity is provided by meetings and synods of their bishops, who represent each diocese. In the Diaspora, it is the same thing, only the various dioceses are for some reason not called dioceses, but  ‘jurisdictions’, which is a purely secular term.

And there is something very strange here: the term ‘Pan-Orthodox’ has come to be divisive! Even the foreign term ‘Pan’ (as opposed to the English word ‘All’) suggests that there is something narrowly ethnic here. And the minority who promote ‘Pan-Orthodox’ Vespers often represent very divisive trends. For example, many of them do not use the Orthodox calendar for the fixed feasts, as do 80% of Orthodox, but aggressively use the papal calendar and want to impose the papal Paschalia. Surely, if they were concerned by unity, they would return to the majority Orthodox calendar, which 100 years ago was universal, and not try to promote a heterodox calendar and sometimes heterodox values?

Then these promoters of unity engage in such practices as abandoning the sacrament of confession, have no iconostases in their churches, sing Protestant Christmas carols during the Nativity liturgy after the troparia, shout out names for commemoration at the proskomidia during the Divine Liturgy (which they call ‘the holy liturgy’), and ban all languages other than English! One day perhaps someone will explain such things to me. I have been waiting for an answer for 43 years. I have always thought that Orthodox unity can only be based on the Universal Orthodox Faith, not on minority modernist deviations.

The Last Civilization

The question of how many civilizations there have been and are in the world is an open one. For example, among others, there are the Babylonian, the Chinese, the Hindu, the Egyptian, the Buddhist, the Greek, the Roman, the Japanese, the Christian, the Muslim, the Amazonian, the Mayan, the Aztec, the Incan, the North American Native, the Western, the Polynesian, the Zimbabwean.

One thing is clear, however: civilizations are always inspired at origin, and are then shaped by, spiritual faith, religious belief. Indeed, it can be said, that the purer the original spiritual inspiration, the finer the civilization, the less pure, the more barbaric. And if spiritual inspiration and purity fail, then the civilization fails, it becomes barbaric and decadent and finally collapses.

Here we should not be surprised by the description of a civilization as ‘barbaric’. Many were barbaric. We know that, among others, the Aztecs and the Mayans, practised some human sacrifice; most others at times practised slavery. All at times practised wars, sadistic cruelty and torture. The Western practises massive child-sacrifice, killing millions of its own children every year in abortion. And each time, absurdly, these civilizations justified their wars, cruerlty and torture by religion, so making it into an anti-religion. We have just seen this in the Western invasion of Iraq, in which hundreds of thousands of people have died, been cruelly tortured and maimed in the name of the Western ‘crusade’ for ‘freedom and democracy’, which words are spelled ‘oil and gas’.

Indeed, this barbarism is particularly clear in the case of Western civilization. This first came into being in the eleventh century and so has now existed for 1,000 years. Overlaying its original spiritual inspiration, it began among Frankish tribes by reviving Roman paganism and then ruthless asserted itself, slaughtering all possible rivals. These then included Jews, Muslims and Orthodox Christians, in its so-called ‘Crusades’ – genocides in the name of the Cross. It tried to deny that they even existed – ‘go away and shut up’ as a British politician said to it last week.

As this Western civilization developed, it became global and ever bloodier, attempting and achieving the total elimination of rival civilizations with less aggressive military technology, in the Americas, in Oceania, in Africa, murdering those with bows and arrows with guns. Thus, it ensured that the great civilizations of the Amazon and the Mayas which it destroyed have only just been rediscovered from beneath the jungles that overgrew them. In this way, it strove to ensure through its unparalleled global aggression (‘globalization’) that it would become the last ‘civilization’ left on the planet, leaving no choice.

This it did by consistently replacing its inherited religious inspiration of 1,000 years before with its apocalyptic technology, asset-stripping the rest of the world after applying the technology of death to those who resisted it, creating: castles, armoured horsemen, bows, cannon, muskets, grenades, industrialization, financial control, rifles, artillery, machine guns, concentration camps, aircraft bombs, poison gas, tanks, submarines, rockets, atomic bombs, chemical and bacteriological weapons, missiles, the illusions of virtual technology….And if these do not destroy the world and poison its food, other Western-invented pollutants, chemicals, plastics and modified genetics, will.

We can compare this with Christian civilization, the greatest rival to Western civilization, which for that reason Western civilization so hates and has again and again attempted to annihilate. Christian civilization is a Eurasian civilization, far broader than simply Western civilization. This, founded on the tiny, Westernmost tip of Eurasia, cut itself off from the rest of the world, creating in its self-imposed isolation the myth of ‘Europe’, a purely artificial construct. It invented itself and defined itself by aggressive technology, becoming the evil empire.

On the other hand, Christian civilization, founded in Jerusalem, quickly spread to East (the word ‘Asia’ means ‘East’) and West (the word ‘Europe’ means ‘West’), to India in the East and Africa in the West. This has had in its near-2,000-year old history three capitals after Jerusalem, the First Rome, the Second Rome (Constantinople) and the Third Rome (Moscow), and thus, by transferring the centre of its power has miraculously survived for almost two millennia.

Western civilization has again and again tried to wreck and destroy the centres of Christian civilization, as in the 13th century, in the 17th century, and then in 1812 and 1854. However, its aggression has become especially clear since 1914. Thus, it invaded the remaining centre of Christian civilization again in 1914, usurping the legitimate Christian power there in 1917, sending in Russian-speaking enemies to destroy it, invaded it again in 1941, murdering 27 million human-beings, declared a Cold War on it for nearly fifty years, crippling it between 1992 and 2000 and, as it miraculously revived against all the odds, again attacks it today, surrounding it and menacing it with its weapons of mass destruction, eating away at its borderlands.

However, it is true that this Western aggression has only been possible because of internal treachery, the apostasy of most of the elite and then of other traitors within Christian civilization itself. This can clearly be seen by the successive defection down the centuries of Russian-speaking boyars/aristocrats/oligarchs from the values of Christian civilization.

However, Western civilization has over the last fifty years or so systematically rejected the source of its own inspiration, ever accelerating its apostasy. This apostasy at first emptied its churches, but now undermines even the most fundamental and universal cultural values of all civilizations, for example, denying that a man is a man and a woman is a woman, as was prophesied by the apostle in his second letter to Timothy.

Thus, the nations of Western civilization, only 10% of the world, gradually become over 1,000 years an anti-religion and so anti-civilization, die out, renouncing the source of all civilizational inspiration. Thus, even its families die out, its peoples are denatured, and Western civilization ensures not only its collapse, but its suicide and extinction.

Conversely, over the last fifty years or so Christian civilization has slowly set out on the path of restoration, accelerating its return by repentance, especially in the last thirty years, to the source of its inspiration in Christ and His Church. It is still not clear how far this still very fragile restoration will go, but there are great hopes – our only hopes for the last Civilization.

Converts

There is a Russian-American saying about converts, based on the fact that the Russian word ‘konvert’ means an envelope. The saying is: The trouble with ‘konverty’ (envelopes) is that they are often empty and often come unstuck’.

If this sounds unfair and racist we should remember first of all that today’s Russian Church is a Church of converts, about 150 million (including those now departed this life), who were all baptised there over the last 30 years.

I would also like to recall how a certain person, trying to justify the imbecilities of a certain priest said to me recently: ‘Yes, but he’s ‘a cradle Orthodox’ (an awful expression – there is no such thing). To which I replied: ‘So was Stalin’.

It is noticeable that nowhere do the apostles refer to themselves as converts, nor were they seen as converts. And yet they were. So what is the difference between a convert and an Orthodox?

Converts, in the sense that the word is used here, are neophytes, that is, they are new to the faith. The question is then, how do we stop being new to the faith and make the faith into an instinctive part of our nature, how do we become ‘old to the faith’?

It is sometimes said that ‘converts have zeal, but Orthodox have knowledge’. This is incorrect. If it were true, it would mean that you could simply become Orthodox by reading many, many books. It is just the opposite (1). In fact, converts have zeal, but Orthodox have experience. So, in order to stop being a convert, you have simply to obtain experience. This means mixing with Orthodox, senior to ourselves, who have experience, and following them in practice, not in theory.

A very simple example is how some converts think that they can ‘become Orthodox’ by copying the externals of monastics. I remember 40 years ago how, for some reason I could not understand then, male converts seemed to believe that they had to have a beard and long hair and female converts had to dress in dreary long black skirts and put huge cloths over their heads. Both sexes had to wrap prayer-knots around their wrists and wear some sort of strange boots. This was the uniform of the convert and you could spot them a mile away. It was anything but elegant and seemed to owe more to hippydom than anything else.

The strange thing was that none of the Orthodox did any of this: Orthodox men (apart from clergy) were always clean-shaven and Orthodox women dressed in brightly-coloured, just-below-the-knee-length skirts and dresses and wore small and modest head-coverings. All the converts had to do was look around themselves and copy, rather than shut themselves away into convert ghettoes and hothouses, guru clubs and cliques.

The apostle Paul says that men should cut their hair (1 Cor, 11, 14). He writes this in a context where he rebukes effeminacy. This is right, we agree with him. St Paisios of the Holy Mountain would take a pair of scissors to laymen who came to him with long hair and a long beard.

At this point some Protestants, of the Methodist or Baptist sort especially, may ask the question, why then do Orthodox monks (and also some monastic-minded priests) have long hair and long beards? The simple answer is because they are under obedience. They are not doing it out of some delusion that they are holy, they are doing it out of obedience, to their Abbot. In this sense, male monastics are not ‘men’, for they belong to a different order, outside the world.

Orthodoxy is not some weird sect, where people dress strangely. It is a way of life. It is in fact quite simply the Christian way of life, where people’s actions are the only thing that counts. It is as simple as that.

Note:

  1. On the subject of books, we would advise the following in this order: Read the Gospels, your prayerbook, the Epistles, the Psalter, the Lives and writings of the Saints, the rest of the Old Testament, the Lives of Orthodox elders (still uncanonized – but make sure that they are real elders, popularly venerated, and not self-proclaimed frauds). There is also a host of peripheral introductory books about the Church: Timothy Ware (for Anglican academics), Metr Antony Bloom (for intellectuals from an atheist background) Olivier Clement (for French intellectuals), Fr Sophrony Sakharov (for philosophers), Fr Alexander Schmemann (for educated ex-Protestants), Fr John Meyendorff (for historians) etc etc. But none of these is essential reading.

 

 

On the Christian Understanding of Patriotism

A British man, who was forced into joining the Patriarchate of Constantinople as he was not allowed by his government employer to join the Russian Orthodox Church (so much for freedom in the UK), asked me about patriotism and nationalism and how we can be British but also ‘support Russia’.

Nationalism is an artificial, manmade construct of the State and entails racist dislike and even hatred for everyone who is not of your own ‘nationality’. It is therefore not Christian. Though there are examples everywhere, Nazism and Zionism are prominent examples of racism. The United Nations agrees.

Conversely, patriotism entails a love for the positive sides of the country where, by God’s will, you have been born. It is, in other words, a love for God’s creation and inspiration. It also implies the innate ability to love the positive sides of other countries where others have been born.

As Christian patriots, we ‘seek the kingdom of heaven first’. This means that we obey our governments only inasmuch as they obey the Gospel. In other words, we are first of all patriots of God. We do not put any Establishment/Deep State, those artificial constructs, first. However, in obedience to the Apostle Paul, we do pray for Non-Orthodox secular authorities. Moreover, if they are Orthodox Christian, we pray for them by name.

Some people who claim to be Orthodox, but in fact are still pagans, are shocked that we pray for Non-Christian authorities, for example, for enemies of Russia, Greece, Romania etc. These people have not yet understood that the very definition of Christian is someone who not only loves his friends, but also loves (and so prays for) his enemies – so that they may stop doing evil.

Therefore, the old words of the German national anthem ‘Deutschland ueber alles’ (Germany above all) are a piece of pagan blasphemy. (The French national anthem is even worse – it is full of a barbaric desire for bloodshed). As for the 18th-century invented British imperialist national anthem ‘God save our gracious Queen/King’, it seems a good wish, but when the anthem goes on to proclaim ‘Scatter her/his enemies, And make them fall; Confound their politics, Frustrate their knavish tricks’, we begin to sense nationalism.

As for ‘supporting Russia’ (or Romania or Greece or any other ‘Orthodox country’), this is only possible if that country is actually Christian. (Obviously, I use the word ‘Christian’ as a synonym for ‘Orthodox’). Thus, I have no time for today’s corrupt oligarch Russia, created by the consumerist West, just as I had no time for Soviet atheist Russia, nor for the pre-Revolutionary aristocratic traitors who carried out the anti-Christian palace coup (‘Russian Revolution’) of February 1917. Inasmuch as the ‘Reds’ were atheists, Orthodox could not support them. However, according to St John of Shanghai and a host of others in the emigration (and I can confirm this from my own experience), 90% of the ‘Whites’ also had no time for the Church.

In other words, we are patriots of God, patriots of the Church, patriots of Orthodoxy. Our patriotism for countries is strictly limited to their Christian content. Thus, I am a patriot of Christian (= Orthodox) England, but also of Orthodox Scotland, Wales and Ireland, as also of Orthodox Russia, Orthodox Lithuania, Orthodox Greece, Orthodox Argentina or Orthodox anywhere else. But I have no time for anti-Orthodox Britain or for anti-Orthodox Russia.

Our Credo

We Orthodox Christians are chosen by God to fulfil our appointed destinies. In this age it is our destiny to defy all who deny the Holy Trinity, whether in word or thought or deed. Our God is not the god of others, including those who have for all practical purposes lapsed from the Church and Faith, despite their outward label. Our God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

We confess the Father and reject manmade nationalism and idolatrous ritualism, which place themselves above the Father from everlasting. Their victims put their tribal and racist local cultures above God, rejecting His Church.

They say, for example: ‘I cannot join the Orthodox Church because of my Western culture’. How many times we have heard the above myth. Such an attitude comes from the placing of our ethnic conditioning above Christ. They do not understand that Europe itself is an illusion: East and West were joined together in Christ’s Church. At the furthest tip off Eurasia, Europe was invented by cutting itself off from Eurasia 1,000 years ago, in order to justify its aggressive domination and annihilation of all else.

We confess the Incarnation and reject academic theories and disincarnate fantasies, which have no spiritual or moral effect in life. Their victims put their impure imaginations above God, rejecting the universal sacrifice of the God-man.

They say, for example: ‘I cannot live a Church life because of my personal views’. How many times we have heard the above selfishness. Such an attitude comes from the placing of our egoistic conditioning above Christ. They do not understand that the self is an illusion: we are all part of God’s Creation, joined together in Christ’s Church. The Western world invented such individualism, cutting itself off from solidarity with the rest of God’s Creation, man and nature, to justify its aggressive domination and annihilation of all else.

We confess the Holy Spirit and reject pharisaic bureaucracy and unprincipled careerism, which deaden and destroy Church life. Their victims put their worldly interests above the Holy Spirit, rejecting God’s Free Spirit, Who blows where He wills.

They say, for example: ‘Our rules and interests are higher than all else’. How many times we have heard the above artifice. Such an attitude comes from the placing of worldly conditioning above Christ. They do not understand that the world is an illusion: the world was overcome by Christ. Petty bureaucracy and careers will all fade away with time and death, for they were invented only in order to promote passing, manmade customs, with their attempts at the aggressive domination and annihilation of all else.

We Orthodox Christians are chosen by God to fulfil our appointed destinies. In this age it is our destiny to defy all who deny the Holy Trinity, whether in word or thought or deed. Today this destiny calls us to gather together before the end, for ours is the apostolic mission to preach to all and gather the faithful remnant out of all the nations before the Second Coming.

 

 

The Council of Moscow has Buried the Pseudo-Council of Crete

 

From 29 November to 4 December 2017 the Council of Moscow, attended by nearly 400 patriarchs and bishops, more than at certain Universal Councils and representing nearly 95% of the Orthodox Church, buried the Pseudo-Council of Crete, attended by about 150 bishops representing 20% of the Orthodox Church. Clearly, this Council was a triumph for Universal Orthodoxy.

The triumph was more or less ignored by the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Church of Greece, under strict orders from the State Department in Washington, which they are too weak to stand up to. At the Council all the attempts of Constantinople’s 2016 Pseudo-Council of Crete to undermine the Orthodox teaching on the Church were rejected by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev).

The meeting of the heads of the Local Churches with President Putin gave the Council a Universal and Pan-Orthodox character, unlike Crete. The pilgrimage of the President and Patriarch Kyrill to the New Jerusalem Monastery just before the Council added to the effect of Russia as the leading Church in the world, the centre of Universal Christendom. The globalist project of Babylon-Washington is looking ever weaker, as all gathered in Moscow the Third Rome.

 

 

 

 

Our Combat

For our God is a consuming fire.

(Hebrews 12, 29)

Introduction

Seeking justification for their pagan Rome of unending greed for material riches and unquenchable thirst for global power that will end in the now foreseeable Apocalypse, some post-sectarians believe in a man called Jesus. However, we Orthodox Christians ‘worship the indivisible Holy Trinity, Who has saved us’. This Trinitarian Belief is embodied in the single phrase, Church, Empire and People, as also in the words Altar, Throne and Cottage, or Orthodoxy, Sovereignty and People.

The Kingdom of the Father

As we confess the Kingdom of the Father, so we confess the sacred Altar of the Church of Christ His Son. That is why we are opposed to Antichrist, whose prophesied reign is being prepared by Babylonian globalism, in opposition to our Jerusalem Church. For we confess the primacy of our Faith (Matt. 6, 33).

The Kingdom of the Son

As we confess the Church of the Son, so we confess His Incarnate Empire on earth. The Ruler on this Throne must oppose the Anti-Christianity of Secularism and fight for freedom, as we have just seen in Syria, for we oppose all centralized tyrannies and defend the freedom and sovereignty of the peoples.

The Kingdom of the Holy Spirit

As we confess the Holy Spirit, so we confess His potential to sanctify and save People living in the world from evil. We fight against the oppression of the Establishment elite/aristocracy/oligarchy and its bureaucrats/parliamentarians /hireling media, who deny the People Christ’s saving Truth and Justice.

Conclusion

The above explains why we fight for the Purity of Holy Orthodoxy against deviations, whether liberalist-secularist or ritualist-obscurantist. We believe in Christian Rome, the Sacred, which is why we so firmly opposed the documents of Crete, prepared by secularism and treachery. We do not confess and bless globalism through imitation of a mere human-being, we confess and bless the Kingdom of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Eternal God Who is in Three Persons.