Part One: The Three Temptations of Roman Imperialism
The Temptation of the First Rome
Seeing the oppression of the Church by barbarian chiefs in Old Rome and by unworthy Emperors in New Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, which was later called Constantinople, in the 11th century the leaders of Old Rome took a decision. This was to make their part of the Church, in what is now called Western Europe, into a State. The leader of their part, or Patriarchate, of the Church, called the Pope of Rome, would be placed above all leaders and dubbed ‘the Head of the Church’ and ‘the Vicar of Christ’. Their new filioque ideology would claim that the Holy Spirit, the source of all truth, authority and spirituality in the Church, proceeds from their Popes.
In other words, the solution to the problem of State oppression as proposed by Roman Catholicism is that the Church becomes greater than any State. It becomes a worldwide Super-State, inherently secularising and centralising, more secular than the secular. This was, put simply, a power grab. This ‘easy way out’ was, is and always will be, a spiritual suicide. Christ did not call on legions of angels to protect Him when He was under arrest (Matt. 26). He accepted His Cross and said: ‘Put away your sword’. And that is what He still says to all those who attempt to impose the outward ways of the Church by intimidation and violence.
Naturally, in the 11th century, the remaining Orthodox Christians, at that time, the vast majority of Christendom, at once rejected this novel ‘theology’, or rather ideology. The latter became known, contradictorily, as ‘Roman Catholicism’ – for you cannot be Roman and Catholic (universal). Today Roman Catholicism remains a ‘Church-State’, an example of papoceasarism, a very secular form of Christianity, and has split into a myriad of sects protesting against the centralism which the hundreds of millions of sectarians condemn as ‘Papism’. However, those sects, now dying out through secularisation, are also subject to the ways of the world and even more deeply than Roman Catholicism, which they have rejected for the last 500 years.
The Temptation of the Second Rome
The problem of State interference in Church life remained for the rest of the Church. This is clear from the later history of New, or the Second, Rome, Constantinople, which finally fell in 1453. The elite of Emperors and State-appointed bishops was always ready to sign away their souls, and those of their flocks, in exchange for military aid from Roman Catholic Western Europe. The history of the Council of Florence and the resistance to the imposition of the Western ideology by such Christian heroes as St Gregory Palamas (1296-1359) and his spiritual successor St Mark of Ephesus (c. 1392-1444), by the monasteries and unmercenary parish priest-pastors and the faithful, demonstrates our principled opposition to the corruption of the elite, always ready to compromise the Faith of Christ.
In more recent times, several Constantinople Patriarchs have appeared to want to imitate the centralist Popes of Rome, envying and admiring their power, riches and prestige, and so their policies are sometimes called ‘Eastern Papism’. As a result, a whole series of Local Churches, protesting against Constantinople centralism, has been born, in Serbia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Macedonia in what is literally a Balkanisation of the Church of Constantinople. However, unlike the saintless Protestant sects which rejected the First Rome and justified their separations by changing the teachings of the Church, these Local Churches have in no way changed or compromised the teachings of the Church and have kept the Faith, as proved by their many saints.
However, like the National Protestant Churches, these new Local Churches have been oppressed by the national, or rather nationalist, ideologies of the States which they represent. They have accepted the Cross of Christ. Today, the Second Rome in what is now Istanbul remains, but as a shadow of its former self, for the last three generations as a tiny, compromised and highly politicised puppet of the US State Department. Its leaders have been highly engaged in unionist talks with Old Rome. No surprise here: birds of a feather flock together. Most recently, its subjection to US politics has been used to foment a violent Church schism in the Ukraine. This is the fruit of Constantinople Papism.
The Temptation of the Third Rome
This story has been repeated in the Third Rome, Moscow, which after persecution by Emperors and Empresses, especially in the 18th century, fell in 1917. And then the Third Rome became the Third International and the Gospel of Christ was exchanged for the Gospel of Soviet atheism – ‘the easy way’ to establish paradise on earth. Only the promised paradise was more like hell on earth because that ‘paradise’ was without and against Christ. The Third Rome, in Moscow, remains very large on paper, but it has a stubbornly nominal flock, who resist and resent the exploitative business model of the Church proposed in post-Soviet times. As its righteous, like Matushka Alypia, prophesied: ‘Their golden domes will shine, but it will not be possible to worship in those churches’.
Just like Constantinople, Moscow to appears to want to imitate the centralist Pope of Rome, envying and admiring his power, riches and prestige. Its leaders have been highly engaged in unionist talks with Old Rome. No surprise here: birds of a feather flock together. This Muscovite Papism first appeared under Metropolitan, and later Patriarch, Sergius of Moscow (1867-1944), who considered that any compromises with the atheist State were justified because he had to ‘save the Church’, that is, to preserve its material assets, whatever the cost. This error became known as ‘Sergianism’ and was condemned, since it appeared to deny that Christ is the Saviour and that the Church does not need saving, only people need saving – and by the Church. This Sergianist Papism is still the model admired there today.
As a result, a whole series of National Churches, protesting against Muscovite centralism, has been born, in Poland, Czechoslovakia and today, being born in agony, in the Ukraine and in many other countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and very probably elsewhere. For the Russian Church too is compromised, but this time by the post-Soviet (and often purely Soviet) mentality, that is, the Church is compromised by the not very Orthodox State heir to both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. In other words, the spectre of the centralist Roman Empire haunts both centres of the Orthodox Church. And until there is repentance everywhere, the return to Orthodoxy everywhere, there is little hope of seeing a properly functioning Orthodox Christian world in either the Second or Third Romes, let alone in the First Rome, which wandered off from the Holy Spirit 1,000 years ago.
Part Two: The People’s Orthodoxy
The Third Way
What remains? Is there an alternative? Where is there authentic Orthodox Christianity? Is there another way? Of course, there is, and none of the Roman Imperialism of the Second and Third Romes, let alone of the First Rome, is necessary. There is the other way, beyond the superficiality and pomp of the Three Romes, the path of the People’s Orthodoxy, of authentic monasteries, parish pastors and simple faithful, the way between and beyond the Imperialisms of Constantinople and Moscow. We can call this the way of the Orthodox Commonwealth, or of ‘Carpathian’ Orthodoxy, of ‘Carpathian’ spirituality, though this simply means the Orthodox Christian way, the royal way. We can use this expression because the Orthodox of the Carpathian mountain range live in Carpatho-Russia (currently mostly in south-western Ukraine and miscalled ‘Transcarpathia’), south-eastern Poland, eastern Slovakia, south-western Ukraine and northern Romania and ‘Carpathian Orthodoxy’ spills over easily into Serbia, Moldova, Bulgaria and northern Greece to Mt Athos.
As examples, two contemporary righteous Churchmen come out of this Carpathia, the Carpatho-Russian-speaking Metr Laurus (Shkurla) (1928-2008) and the Romanian-speaking Metr Onufry (Berezovsky) (1944- ) of Kiev. They are heirs of the Orthodox Renaissance of hesychasm (unceasing prayer), our Christian reply to the neo-pagan Western Renaissance. Hesychasm was spread into this huge area by a very international group of fathers from the Holy Mountain of Athos by St Gregory of Sinai (c. 1260-1346), a contemporary of St Gregory Palamas (1296-1359), and his many followers, such as St Kallistos the Patriarch (+ 1363) in what is now Greece, St Roman of Tarnovo (c.1310-1363) and St Theodosius of Tarnovo (1310-1370) in Bulgaria, St Romil of Ravannitsa (+ 1376), St Athanasius of Meteora (1305-1383), St Sisoes the Sinaite (+ c. 1400), St Gregory of Gornjak (c.1300-1406) and others in Serbia, St Sergius of Radonezh (1314-1392) and his Thebaid of followers in Russia, and St Nicodemus of Tismana (1320-1406) in Romania. In the 18th century, this ‘Carpathian’ spirituality gave birth to the Ukrainian-Moldavian St Paisius (Velichkovsky) of Neamt in Romania, in the last century to St Alexis of Carpatho-Russia (1877-1947) and in our own times to St Job of Ugol (1902-1985), Fr Cleopa (Ilie) (1912-1998) and the Romanian elders of Moldavia in the living tradition.
There is nothing new in this Real Orthodoxy beyond the Romes, which could be termed ‘Carpathian Orthodoxy’. It began with St John the Baptist in the Palestinian desert, it blossomed in the deserts of Egypt and Palestine in the 3rd, 4th and 5th centuries, was taken to both Constantinople and then northwards to the Balkans and then to the forests of Russia and Siberia, but also to Gaul and then to the wild coasts of Ireland and the Hebrides in the 6th and 7th centuries, from where it was taken to both England and Iceland. It is also this spirit of Orthodoxy that was once so alive in the Russian emigration, though now all but dead in the dead hands of the State mentality and the property-thirsty princes of this world. Carpathian Orthodoxy is simply Christianity in life, the uncompromised Christian way of life, Orthodox spirituality. Carpathian Orthodoxy is not Constantinopolitan or Muscovite, not Imperial, but ours, the people’s, that of families, guided by spiritual fathers, by our monasteries and hermits.
The Attack on ‘Carpathian’ Orthodoxy by the Sergianism of the Russian Emigration
The 2001 usurping of power in the emigre Russian Church, ROCOR, and the expulsion of its leader, Metropolitan Vitaly, gave rise to a series of schisms in 2007, which were only limited in Australia and Germany because those in power had made as sure as possible that local church properties belonged to them. Elsewhere the losses were far more serious, especially in South America, North America, France and England. There followed the sidelining of the next ‘Carpathian’ Metropolitans of ROCOR, Laurus and Hilarion, who succeeded Metr Vitaly, and were turned into mere figureheads by the clique that had taken charge.
The clique appeared to have little interest in Church life, in real and, not token, monasticism and pastors and prayer, only in being ‘princes of the Church’ (one of their favourite expressions), in power and riches, property and prestige. Church was no longer about the salvation of souls, but about the ‘salvation’ of property by bishops, who wanted to take property away from monastics, pastors and the people. Thus came about the quite unjust 2016 expulsion from London of an excellent priest, the 2018 excommunication from Geneva of lifelong devoted ROCOR Orthodox trustees who had controlled the Cathedral, the closure of a parish near Saint Louis in the USA in a property dispute, and the loss of the church in Miami (it too did not belong to the ROCOR administration), in yet another property dispute.
There followed in exactly the same way the attempt to destroy Church life in parishes in England and close their churches (those properties too did not belong to ROCOR bishops). None of this left anyone in any doubt as to the utter ruthlessness of the US-financed business clique in charge of the Russian emigration Church. And the situation is continuing in the USA today, as more leave. All of this was caused by the desire of the ruling clique to imitate the Sergianism of the Church inside Russia, of the Third Rome. That clique too was going to ‘save the Church’, that is, to seize and preserve power and riches, property and prestige. In their worldliness they too confused the salvation of the soul with the preservation of empty buildings beneath golden domes and soulless property portfolios.
The Failed Attempt to Close Down the People’s Churches in England
In our own cases, after insisting on keeping our church open, despite covid regulations and aggressive and bullying intimidation, we were at various points in 2020 and 2021 the only Orthodox priests in England celebrating normally. For this defiance of death and our will to keep our churches, bought with the people’s money, open, the elite clique in charge had to punish and try to destroy us. As a result, they initiated a schism with the Archdiocese of Western Europe of the Moscow Patriarchate in December 2020. As the senior priest in the Diocese, I, with all the others, was forced to seek canonicity away from schismatic bishops. We applied Canon XV of the First and Second Council under St Photius the Great and 317 other Fathers, that those who ‘have been diligent to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions’….’shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honour which befits them among Orthodox Christians’.
Ironically, as we have said, this Archdiocese of Western Europe with which the clique began a very public schism, is under the Moscow Patriarchate. However, the then ROCOR First Hierarch, Metr Hilarion (Kapral), was far too ill to contain the sectarians of ROCOR and its mini-Synod which had for 20 years been running everything. Therefore, individuals with power in New York refused to listen to what was happening and rejected our request for stavropegia in early 2021, using the electronic signature of the ‘Carpathian’ Metr Hilarion to justify themselves. We had known Metr Hilarion since 1988 and he came to us twice, ordaining clergy and celebrating in our church before he fell ill. Persecution of us was not his will. After his illness came the end. After this and the rejection of our application to join the Moscow Patriarchate, which was frightened of New York, we had to move to another Local Church.
We had to find canonicity against the schism of the bullies and to protect our churches from their attempts to close them. They accused us of being ‘criminals’, of stealing money (!), slandered us, tried to put us on trial and then sentenced us uncanonically and illegally behind our backs. They repeated all the oldest tricks in the book, using their naïve, new followers and yesmen. This was the Golgotha that the new Sanhedrin had prepared for us. God was testing our patience and humility. So we accepted our Cross and so God led us to spiritual freedom in another Local Church and so they lost everything. The New York schism endures to this day, but many clergy and people have left ROCOR. Though we have gone to the Church of Romania, several others, controversially, have joined the Patriarchate of Constantinople, especially in the USA and the Netherlands (as also in the Ukraine and now Lithuania), and a few elsewhere. Meanwhile, in the USA all free churches are continuing to leave ROCOR one after the other.
Part Three: Survival and Victory
The Orthodox Way
Certain Greeks wanted us to join their local Archdiocese. This was not Divine destiny. We believed that the Constantinople leadership is compromised by its modernist history of ecumenism, new calendarism and other practices, and especially by its treacherous activities in the Ukraine and the persecution of our dear friends in the Czech Lands. True, Moscow has also acted uncanonically in Africa, just as Constantinople has done in the Ukraine. However, the Greek vengeance on simple Africans who want to see an African, and not Greek, Orthodoxy, with the help of Moscow has been quite as vicious as the New York vengeance on us and as the Moscow vengeance on those seeking political freedom outside the controls of Soviet nationalism, whether in the Netherlands, Lithuania or elsewhere.
Then, we have many parishioners from the much-suffering Ukraine. They are faithful to Metr Onufry of Kiev, who has been so mistreated both by Constantinople and by Moscow. This double persecution from both extremes, from Constantinople and Moscow, is a sure sign of his righteousness. True, in the US, there is a (Russian/Ukrainian) Slavic Vicariate for persecuted refugees from ROCOR, but in the US context, with others refusing to take refugees from ROCOR, there may be no alternative to this. We are free to do otherwise. Similarly, we do not judge those seven priests in Lithuania, forced to join Constantinople because of their mistreatment by Moscow. We are free to do otherwise.
Others called us to old calendarist groups. However, for us, schisms and sects of any sort are the unthinkable. That is the precise reason why we left ROCOR – because it suffers from the sectarian, old calendarist illness of schism. Being on the old calendar is very different from old calendarism, just as being on the new calendar is very different from new calendarism. For within the Romanian Metropolia of Western and Southern Europe, our ex-ROCOR group of six parishes is on the old calendar. We are following the Third Way between and beyond the Second and Third Romes. For we are turned towards St John of Shanghai (as also is the Romanian parish in Birmingham) and the New Martyrs and Confessors, and the local saints of the early centuries, to Moldovan spirituality and the heritage of St Paisius (Velichkovsky) (1722-1794) and Fr Cleopa Ilie, the great Carpathian elder (1912-1998), as well as to contemporary Ukrainian figures like Elder Iona of Odessa (1925-2012) and Metr Onufry of Kiev (1944 – ).
‘Carpathian’ Orthodoxy Survives in England
Thus, in February 2022, 6 parishes, 16 clergy, including 7 priests, and 5,000 laypeople moved away from the local ROCOR diocese. Nearly all went to the Patriarchate of Romania and not a single one returned to serve in ROCOR. The departure of over three-quarters of the ROCOR Diocese in England to the Patriarchate of Romania, left ROCOR with mainly a few new and untrained Non-Russian-speaking convert clergy, a tiny group of about 100 core faithful and 1500 nominal Orthodox. Moreover, our move took place eight days before the present phase of the conflict in the Ukraine in 2022 and the further tragic politicisation and disruption of Russian Church life.
A spiritual son of, and ordained priest by, the ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva, the successor in that see to St John of Shanghai and Western Europe, I believe that the positive heritage of the old ROCOR has to be saved. It was Archbishop Antony who had stopped the spread of sectarianism in ROCOR in the US already in the 1970s. We followed him. We are ever loyal to the memory and practices of St John of Shanghai and Western Europe and his successor Archbishop Antony, to the Presov Rusyn Metr Laurus (Shkurla) and to the west Ukrainian Metr Hilarion (Kapral) (1948-2022). We see in the politically free Autonomous Romanian Metropolitan of Western and Southern Europe, with nearly 3 million faithful, 700 parishes and several monasteries, the greatest hope for a future Local Church of Western Europe.
After nearly fifty years of faithfulness to the Russian Church and over 36 years of unpaid service at the altar, this marked a new beginning, but one to which all had been moving in the recent period of the Sovietisation of ROCOR, which sees the Church as a Business. We twelve, five priests, two deacons and five readers who joined the Romanian Church, are an international group, profoundly opposed to the sectarian trends coming from the new ROCOR in the USA. We do not want to belong to the ghettoes of egomania or the sects of pathology. They are not the way forward. These trends were exported to England during the critical illness and loss of control of ROCOR by the ever-memorable Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral). He was the last ROCOR First Hierarch able to keep ROCOR unity, before being struck down by his dementia and cancer well before his repose in 2022. We honour his memory, as also that of Metr Laurus.
Our Parish and the Future
On 20 May 2022, in one of her last acts, the late Queen Elizabeth made my native town a City. Its coat of arms, depicting St Helen and the three crowns of St Edmund, declares: No Cross, no Crown (of martyrdom). Our churches in the City of Colchester, the main one dedicated to St John of Shanghai and Western Europe, and the other dedicated to All the Saints of these Isles, have become a spiritual centre for Moldovans, Ukrainians, Romanians and all patriotic, but non-nationalist, Russians. We consider that we have only one passport and under ‘Nationality’ that passport says ‘Orthodox Christian’. We have trilingual services and an emphasis on personal confession and communion and the prayer of the heart, as well as rejecting the money-making mercenary spirit of marble and gold, so evident in so many churches, especially in London and other capitals.
For us the Patriarchate of Romania, which is in communion with all Orthodox, is the royal way forward, between the extremisms of Constantinople and Moscow, which are scandalously out of communion with one another, both effectively in schism with one another. Ignoring politics and nationalism, the Colchester parish has good relations with the Greek monastery at Tolleshunt Knights, where I often met the now St Sophrony in the 1970s and early 1980s, when the monastery was still poor. Attended on Sundays by between 200 and 400 faithful, communions at St John’s number between 100 and 300 on Sundays, with between 50 and 100 children, making it one of the three largest Orthodox parishes in England. We are followers of ‘Carpathian’ spirituality. The Carpathians are on the Western edge of the Orthodox world. So are we.
We continue in the path of the everyday spirituality of the people, of Carpathian Orthodoxy, outside the Romes, with their Spirit-quenching politics, soul-destroying bureaucracies and anti-spiritual ‘protocols’. This is the same as Hebridean, Ionan and Lindisfarnian spirituality of old, practised in these isles some fourteen centuries ago. It is the one and the same ‘Spiritodox’ world, the world of ordinary families who go to their pastors, monks and hermits for spiritual orientation, making pilgrimages to Mt Athos, Moldavia, Diveevo and Ekaterinburg, and St Spyridon and St Nicholas. This is not some sort of ‘neo-hesychasm’, for hesychasm never died. Last year at the Ascension the large icon of St John of Kronstadt in the Colchester church began to give off a fragrance, noticed by all, and the Icon of Christ on the iconostasis gave out a large droplet of myrrh. So does heaven reply to the persecutors of the Church, with Love, not with the aggressive bullying and attempted intimidation of the pharisees. We pray for them all, that they may be relieved of their burden of hatred and come to know Christ.
Part Four: The Future
Rejecting the Temptation of the Romes
There are those who ask how the present stand-off between Constantinople and Moscow, the Second and Third Romes, will end. Those pessimists who see only the acts of sinful men should know that there will not be an everlasting schism. Political personalities come and then they die. True, too many harsh words have been said and too many injustices have been committed by both sides. The use of ‘defrocking’ for purely political, and not canonical, purposes is absurd. All political ‘defrockings’ are reversible, as they have been reversed so many times before, when the injustices of previous regimes are overturned, just as the tables of the money-changers in the Temple were overturned by the Saviour, Who said: ‘My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves’ (Matt 21, 12-13). Bishops who misapply the canons, those who themselves receive clergy without releases but then condemn others for receiving clergy without releases, because those selfsame bishops have instituted schisms, and in places as far apart as the USA, the Netherlands, England, Lithuania and Africa, only discredit themselves and make themselves into laughing-stocks.
There will have to be negotiations between them on territory. Moscow cannot go on behaving as though countries like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, like Finland, Poland, the Czech Lands or Slovakia, are any different from the other countries of Roman Catholic and Protestant cultural background in Western and Central Europe. Those countries too are de facto shared territory like Western Europe. On the other hand, as regards Africa, perhaps Hellenist Alexandria will have to return to holding only the territory of Egypt and Libya, as a century ago, and leave the rest of Africa to missions from the Russian Church. And Hellenist Constantinople will have to abandon the domain of the East Slavs, Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine, to the jurisdiction of the Russian Church – for a moment.
For the coming political takeover of the Ukraine as a result of the Russian military operation against the US on the battlefield of the Ukraine and the conferring of the status of a pro-Russian Protectorate on the New Ukraine, will make no difference in the Russian Church sphere. Though the Russian State will surely win militarily in the Ukraine, as it is already winning, the Russian Church is already the great loser. It has lost through its involvement in politics and is discredited outside the Russian Federation, its churches in Western Europe often reduced to little more than embassy churches. If other Local Churches recognise the self-declared autocephaly of the canonical Ukrainian Church, this will hasten the inevitable end. The Russian Church will have to cede long-overdue autocephaly, both to the New Ukraine and then to Belarus. The three brother-peoples will belong to three Sister-Churches.
Thou Hast Conquered, O Galilean
As for us, we continue to stand in the centre. Some will say that we in East Anglian England are provincials, ‘rustics’. Well, we are provincials – but we are not ashamed of it. Though standing in the centre means that we are attacked by both extremes, this is the only valid position, for Christ was also crucified between two thieves. However despised provincial Galilee was, it was Galilee that defeated the Capital of Jerusalem, with its Sanhedrin of high priests, scribes and pharisees. Why? Because in fact Galilee was the centre, just as a cave in Bethlehem, not the Senate in Rome, was also in its time the centre. The People’s Orthodoxy is controversial to the Imperial elite, just as Christ was controversial to the scribes and pharisees. But woe unto them.
And so our ‘Carpathian’ Orthodoxy stands at the centre. We stand outside the politics of capitals, old and new. We reject the Three Romes and their Imperialism and Papism, both Phanariot and Muscovite, which are supported only by their readiness to compromise on everything with States. We reject both the Church-State of Old Rome and the State Churches of the Second and Third Romes. It is Imperial Orthodoxy, not ‘Carpathian’ Orthodoxy, that is marginal, because the Imperial Church is not the Faith of the people, of pastors, parish priests and monasteries, but of intriguing oligarchs, hard-hearted politicians and self-tortured ideologues.
In the 4th century the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate (331-363), born in Constantinople and finishing his poisonous life in what is now Iraq, returned to persecuting the Church. He became known as ‘the last Pagan Emperor’, though, alas!, that is not true. Julian wrote an attack on Christianity, ‘Against the Galileans’. The trickery of the ‘Galileans’—his usual term for Orthodox Christians – had nothing divine in it, he claimed, it appealed to ‘rustics’ only, and it was made up of fables and irrational falsehoods. Here can be seen his intellectual snobbery, like that of our present persecutors, who claim to have some worldly academic qualifications. Julian’s plan to rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem had to be abandoned. He lost his fight against Christ, humiliated by ‘the rustics’. It is said that his last words were: ‘Thou hast conquered, O Galilean’. The provincial Galileans had even then won.
Towards a Local Church
Our Church is already a Local Church. Indeed, other Local Churches already exist. They begin not in capitals, where there is a separate church for each nationality, often de facto embassy churches, but in the provinces, where Orthodox of all nationalities are brought together and have to be together, living with one another. In the greater picture beyond this, there is the whole problem of Western Europe, the Americas and Oceania, where the absence of four Autocephalous Local Churches is absurd, despite over a century of Orthodox presence there and despite the presence there of some 10% of the Orthodox episcopate of 1,000 bishops.
We have always opposed those who tried to undermine the inevitability of new Local Churches in these Diaspora lands. They ruin all hope for them through extremism, whether of the modernist/secularist/new calendarist, or the pharisaic/ghettoist/old calendarist, variety. If your only selling-point is that you are like the whole secular world around you, whose values you share, then you have nothing to give to create a new Local Church. But if your only selling-point is your differences, or, worse still, that your differences make you ‘superior’ to all others, then you are a pharisee and you too are working against a new Local Church.
A Church of and for ‘incels’ and right-wing pharisees is not a Church. A Church of military rigidity, of the straitjacket and Stalinist conformism is not a Church. A Church of and for intellectuals is not a Church. A Church of wokeism, of anything goes, swimming with the tide and secularist conformism is not a Church. The Church is for all who accept Her as She is, the Church for all generations and all nationalities, for all who wish to live better lives and know that this is possible only through Christ. Our Church is the Church of the spiritual, not of the material and its obsessions with power and riches, property and prestige. Our Church is not the Church of politicians and businessmen, but the Church of the Saints. We too say: No Cross, No Crown. And again we say: Christ is Risen!
Archpriest Andrew Phillips,
City of Colchester, England,
(The above is available as a printed brochure)