Category Archives: Pastoral Matters

On the Role of Pastors

In the age of the internet, when there is a temptation in all jurisdictions to follow the ways of the world and turn the Church into some kind of money-making corporation or institution, where all is just a façade for websites, a piece of theatre for show, as among the Uniats, it is good to recall the following:

‘All power in the Church belongs to the Risen Christ: ‘All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me…I am with you always until the end of the age’. It is as though he had told the apostles: ‘Power does not belong to you, and, I will be with you always to direct you: ‘Go and teach all peoples’…’Thus, the apostles were not the creators of ‘the new life’, but co-workers of God…Christ did not say to them either: ‘You will proclaim the truth from this moment on’, but ‘the Comforter, the Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you’…Thus, it is Christ Who directs the Church by the grace of the Holy Spirit and the apostles are only His co-workers. ‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God made grow in such a way that it is not he who plants who is something (underlined by the Archbishop), nor he who waters, but God who makes grow’. Thus, the bishop must know that HE IS NOTHING…The apostles did not think of their personal glory, but only of the glory of God and of the Truth, recalling that they themselves are nothing’.

Speech at his consecration of the Ever-Memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva, disciple of St John of Shanghai.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes of an Antediluvian Priest

In the Russian emigration, whatever our origin and generation, we are antediluvian, for the simple reason that our traditions go back before 1917. They are our lodestar, even today when the old pre-1917 emigration have long since died out and the majority of my 600 parishioners were born in ex-Communist Eastern Europe and their children in contemporary England. After over forty years since I was tonsured reader and nearly thirty-seven since I was ordained, I have to give my conclusion: there is nothing new under the sun. Here are some notes.

Some years ago I remember reading an article on a well-known Russian-language Orthodox website. It related the story of a young Russian man who had visited a certain Russian bishop in London, not long after the fall of the Soviet Union. He had met the bishop while the latter was sweeping the floor of his church. On seeing this, the naïve young man had concluded that the bishop in question was a saint! We fell about laughing for weeks. We knew both the bishop and the situation very well. The story said nothing about the bishop in question, but said lots about the inexperience of the gullible young Soviet man. The reality is that if you are a clergyman in the Diaspora and you do not sweep and wash the floor of your church regularly, you will be considered some sort of atheist. Washing the floor for a bishop is not some photo opportunity, this is just normal practice. We are far too poor to pay people to do such work. We all do it ourselves. Bishop or priest, we would never dream of not doing it.

Another example: a certain bishop was sent to Western Europe from post-Soviet Russia. The first thing he did was buy himself a rather luxurious black car. His reputation was finished in one day. The flock would never trust him again and indeed eventually he had to be replaced.

Some years ago, a young priest here made up the following advertisement:

‘Wanted: Married men with stable paid employment who are prepared to become Russian Orthodox priests. Training: Pay for it yourself. Salary: Nothing, though you will be treated by your bishop as though he pays you large sums of money for full-time work for him. He will also demand money from you, send you unjust, feudal decrees which are impossible to fulfil and punish and shout at you for doing missionary work on behalf of the people. Gratitude: Non-existent.  By the way, you will have to set up and pay for your own church and create a parish community. And your wife and children will have to agree to these terms. Any takers?’

Naturally, there are few people who come here from the countries of the ex-Soviet Union or anywhere else in traditionally Orthodox countries to become clergy. Not everyone is as crazy as we are. Our life here is not better than in such countries. In the Russian Church here we used to have a special word to describe our poverty. This word was ‘emigrantshchina’.

An example: In 1931 Maria Ivanovna donated a rug to our church. By 1991 it was, to say the least, very worn. But it could not be replaced because ‘it had been prayed on’ (‘namolennyj’).

Another example: One priest, a Belarussian, had taken to making candlesticks from leftover wood in his garden shed. He would then ‘decorate’ them with silver paper (aluminium foil) from bars of chocolate. He was very proud of his work. The diplomats among us simply kept quiet.

A third example: One emigre bishop had to make his own mitre. This involved making colour photocopies of the four icons which are on a mitre and sticking them into tiny plastic frames which he had stuck onto the cardboard mitre he had made for himself. You may laugh, but the intention was sincere. As one Russian archbishop said to me twenty years ago: ‘Yes, we made mistakes, but we were always sincere’. I did not answer, thinking to myself how history is littered with the wrecks of people, kings, presidents, dictators as well as every idealist under the sun, who were all sincere.

Emigrantshchina did indeed have its down sides. One of these was ignorance. A lot of clergy had little theological and liturgical education, and even if they did, it was on a very low level. They would justify the most absurd practices, such as communion once a year, on the grounds that ‘Tak vsegda bylo’, that is, ‘That’s the way it’s always been’. Just because the Russian Church before the Revolution with rare exceptions allowed communion only once a year, was this ‘tradition’ correct? Some émigrés would justify anything because it was ‘traditional’. I remember in a certain convent, they used to read the Lives of the Saints in the refectory in Church Slavonic. Hardly anyone understood anything, but ‘Tak vsegda bylo’. Or else there was a certain elderly Protodeacon in a certain ROCOR Cathedral, who always used to appear from the altar after the Liturgy, drunk. When I asked why the bishop (who admittedly had Alzheimer’s) allowed this, again I got the response ‘Tak vsegda bylo’.

What they meant by this was that the abuse which they both preached and practised was one which their parents and grandparents had also preached and practised. For instance, I well remember how in one parish a new priest was appointed who proceeded to walk around the church for the great censing, as is normal. Complaints went in to the bishop! The thing was that the previous priest, who had been extremely old and came from the Russia of before, had not for two or three decades done the great censing properly because he could not walk properly.

Some rather fanatical anti-diplomats today, both converts and third or fourth generation Russians, are still justifying practices that were never traditional in the Russian Church, but crept in from outside during the 1970s! Those of us who knew the Church before that period are amazed by such ignorance.

Here one of the greatest problems was that the Russian émigrés born here in the 1920s and 1930s were functionally illiterate; certainly they could speak Russian, albeit with an accent and sometimes with grammatical mistakes, but they could neither read nor write. I remember how in the old Western European Diocese there were only two people who had ever read the collected works of Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky), the founder of the Church Outside Russia. These were the ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva, who had been born before the Revolution, and myself. The significance of this is that Metr Antony had in no uncertain terms denounced in his writings all the many abusive practices of the pre-Revolutionary Church. As a result of their ignorance, most émigrés, born abroad in the 1920s and 1930s, were brought up with the ‘superstition’ (I cannot think of a better word) that everything had been perfect in the pre-Revolutionary Church (and they, pharisee-like, had inherited that perfection). Of course, this begged the eternal question: ‘Why then if it had all been so perfect, had there been a Revolution?’

Some people inside Russia think that the émigré Church is very rich. This also causes us almost hysterical laughter. After all, we are all aristocrats!! Many choir directors and singers came and come to us from the ex-Soviet Union and demand ‘jobs’ in our parishes. They have no concept that all our normal choirs are composed of unpaid amateurs, parishioners who like singing (though they do not always know how to). Like most of the priests, the choirs are nearly always unpaid. The professional choirs in Moscow and Saint Petersburg churches are, if anything, scandalous for us. Are we seriously saying that none of the parishioners there is competent enough to sing or wants to sing in their own churches? There again, as one senior priest in Moscow told me some years ago: ‘Our main problem in Russia is that we do not have any parishes. The concept does not even exist any more’. Indeed most churches in the cities in the ex-Soviet Union are little more than railway stations, full of passers-by, which no-one feels they can belong to. Though, in fairness, the situation is changing for the better in the suburbs.

The other great difference is of course that Diaspora clergy never give a thought to the State, any State, the post-Soviet Russian or to the State of the country where we live. This does give us freedom. However, it is always amusing to meet newcomers who think we all receive salaries from the Russian Embassy or, for example, from the British State! They therefore treat us like consumers in a supermarket. Priests must be available 24 hours a day, especially they must have their mobile phones on during services. The number of calls I get recorded on Sunday mornings and listen to on Sunday evenings is extraordinary! All of this ignores the fact that the contemporary post-Soviet Church inside Russia, unlike the pre-Revolutionary Russian Orthodox Church, is not a State Church anyway, whatever the mentality of some may be.

To be a State Church or not to be a State Church? The question is irrelevant for us. We do not have any choice in the matter. All of us just have to make the best of our incredibly difficult situations, wherever we are.

Would anybody like to become a Russian Orthodox priest outside Russia? We are very short of candidates….

Questions and Answers from Recent Correspondence (April 2021)

Pastoral Matters

Q: Is there now any real difference between the ROCOR Churches and the Patriarchal Churches outside Russia? You are under the same Patriarch and all Russian Orthodox? What difference can there be?

A: Although the dividing lines are sometimes rather blurred today, especially in the capitals, generally we in ROCOR are the People’s Church. With other Churches, including Moscow Patriarchal parishes, you always have the impression that the priests are looking over their shoulders at foreign states and embassies, expecting financial or other help. We do not, we cannot, we are local. We have to be self-supporting. The priests survive, the choirs are unpaid. Without the support of the people, we will not exist. This makes us freer, though of course our life can also be incredibly difficult and poor. But who needs marble and gold in their churches? Despite everything they throw at us, all the hatred, jealousy and persecution, we are here and now.

Q: What would you say has been the result of the establishment of a group in the Ukraine under the Patriarchate of Constantinople?

A: The result has been the spread of the tiny, localised and highly nationalistic Ukrainian schism to the small Patriarchates of Constantinople and Alexandria and to the Churches of Greece and Cyprus. All those four Churches are now completely split. Fortunately, the other ten Local Orthodox Churches have remained faithful and not put local nationalism, whether Greek or Ukrainian, above Christ. We are now seeing who is actually Orthodox Christian and who is a mere chauvinist and can be bought to crucify the Body of Christ with thirty pieces of American silver.

Q: Archbishop Job of Telmissos of the Patriarchate of Constantinople has said that Orthodox must accept the Roman Catholic Easter. Could this happen?

A: Archbishop Job is the disgraced bishop of the former Rue Daru Constantinople group. His semi-Uniat, schismatic and tiny Patriarchate is out of communion with the vast majority of the Orthodox Church. I think the less said about any of his strange ideas, the better.

Q: What in the simplest and shortest terms possible is the difference between the Orthodox Church and the Non-Orthodox?

A: My grandson, aged three, recently went inside an Anglican church to see some stained-glass. When he came out, he was asked what he thought. He answered: ‘Huh, well, that’s a pretend church. There were no icons and no candles and they had beds for people to sleep on’ (he meant pews).

I will say no more.

Q: What are the essential qualities to be a priest?

A: There are two: Piety and Intelligence. However, these two qualities need defining:

Piety is not just faith in the heart that God exists, but actual knowledge of God through spiritual experience and therefore love of His Creation. This is very different from pietism, which is emotionalism and sentimentality.

Intelligence does not mean the excellent memory of academic intelligence, intellectualism, which is often very stupid and impious. Intelligence means intuition and experience of human psychology, emotional intelligence, the ability to understand where other people are coming from and how they suffer.

Q: Which is the biggest Orthodox jurisdiction in this country?

A: This is the jurisdiction of lapsed Orthodox, those of all nationalities who are baptised, but who never come to church. It certainly numbers hundreds of thousands.

Q: Why are many Orthodox people passive? Is this a form of clericalism?

A: Sometimes I have the impression that many Orthodox people are like very small children: they will not do anything for themselves or for the Church, unless instructed specifically to do so. This does not only concern big questions, it concerns petty things like blowing out candles, turning  a light on or the heating down, shutting a door etc. I think this comes from the State religion mentality: ‘The clergy will do it’. That mentality is fatally wrong.

Q: Priests should have no right to prevent people taking communion through confession. What do you say to that?

A: I absolutely agree with you. The aim of confession is precisely to help people take communion, not to prevent them. If you were a member of the Orthodox Church and had confession, I think you would know this.

Q: If the Orthodox Church is opposed to contraception, why do virtually all Orthodox couples use it? (As far as I can see they do, since families with two or even only one child appear to be the norm). What exactly is the Orthodox teaching?

A: In answer I will tell you a true story.

Some thirty years ago I met a young Russian émigré woman who thought she was ‘very Orthodox’. She got married to an Orthodox with the blessing of her ‘spiritual father’ and started having children. She had five altogether, even though her marriage was more or less collapsing. Finally, she divorced and became so mentally ill that she had to be taken to a mental hospital and the children were taken into care. In the meantime her ‘spiritual father’,a bishop!!, had been arrested by the police for pedophilia and was duly sitting in a police cell.

She had had five children, not because she loved them, but because in her pride she wanted to be ‘more Orthodox than the Orthodox’, a ‘super-Orthodox’, like her ‘spiritual father’. In other words, the motivation for her life had been sheer pride.

Tell me, what would have been the lesser evil? What would have been better than five unloved, unwanted, unhappy and rejected children, who all now have psychological problems.

The Orthodox teaching on this issue, as on all issues, is love.

Q: Why do temptations happen to us even though we pray ‘And lead us not into temptation’?

A: Temptations are allowed to happen to us in order to make us humble. The sad fact is that in general when there are no temptations, there is no humility. The devil does not know it, but when he tempts us, as allowed by God, he is in fact working for God, he is working to make us humble.

Q: What makes art?

A: Suffering. All great art comes from suffering. Suffering is redemptive for all, believers and unbelievers alike.

Q: What is the difference between a ghost and a poltergeist, if any?

A: A ghost is the souls of a departed human-being which cannot for some reason find rest. A poltergeist is a violent demon.

Q: I recently met an Orthodox woman who continually spoke about demons. I presume this is not typical?

A: Of course not. She is ill. There are people who for psychological, or rather psychopathological, reasons appear to believe more in the devil than Christ. They are profoundly depressed and depressing. These pessimists await the coming of Antichrist, whereas we await the coming of Christ, Who overcame the devil and death.

Liturgical Matters

Q: Why are Orthodox services rather chaotic compared to Catholic and Protestant churches? Everyone seems to be doing different things at the same time.

A: What could be more chaotic than the Holy Spirit?

Q: Do parishes ever need three deacons?

A: I would say no, because there is nothing for a third deacon to do. The only solution would be to have a rota, with the third deacon taking turns to celebrate as the first or second deacon. Even when there are two priests or two deacons, they can do the same.

Q: I recently attended an Unction service and the seven anointings were done altogether at the end, not seven times separately? Is that normal?

A: It is normal in small churches with large numbers of people. Rather than have people milling around seven times and bumping into each other, the anointings are all done at the end. However, in large churches where there is plenty of room and people are disciplined and know how to queue up, the seven anointings can be done separately after each Epistle, Gospel, litany and prayer, as is presupposed. This is a purely practical, not liturgical, question.

Q: Why are Liturgies of the Presanctified so poorly attended, when they do take place? And why not have them in the evening?

A: You mean Vespers with Presanctified Communion, as there is no eucharistic liturgy at these services.

First of all, these are monastic offices. In parishes the only people who can attend are paid clergy, a paid choir and retired people. In our context where we have no paid clergy and no paid choirs and we only have young people and they all work and their older children are at school, there is no possibility to attend them. The only people who might come are mothers with small children. But of course why would they come, when small children are unable to take communion at them because there is no Blood of Christ, only the Body. As I said at the beginning, these are services for monasteries or cathedrals, where there are priests, choirs and at least one reader (essential if these services are to be done properly).

Secondly, they are designed for those who are unable to wait until the next Saturday and Sunday to take communion, in other words they presuppose very frequent communion: that also is very rare. At all the Presanctified services I have been to or celebrated, there were never more than three communions (all of old people).

Very sadly, presanctified services can become a badge of pharisaical pietism.

If they were held in the evening (which is actually uncanonical), when would the fast before communion begin? After breakfast? Personally, I cannot take communion after a day at work. Holy communion needs to be the first thing we do in the day, not the last. Can we really be prepared to take communion after the stress of a day at work? Our thoughts are elsewhere. We need to prepare for holy communion.

Questions and Answers from Correspondence (January-March 2021)

Faith or Works?

Q: What is more important for salvation in the view of Orthodox, Faith or Works?

A: Neither. This is an internal Protestant-Catholic debate.

Without faith, there will be no authentic works, as the Apostle says, ‘Faith without works is dead’. In other words, real Faith always transforms our attitudes to others, where there is faith, there are works. However, just as there are those who claim to have faith and have none and therefore have no works, there are those who claim to have works, but in fact their works are insincere. This emphasis on works is what lies behind the Protestant work ethic and workaholicism, which destroys and deforms the lives of both individuals and whole societies. This stress on works at any cost has given rise to the English saying, ‘as cold as charity’, for many works (of charity) are insincere, the product of those who do them, but they are done for their own ideology, glory and vanity. Not all that is done in the Name of God is actually done in His Name, as is well known and as Christ says in the Gospels.

As for Christians (= Orthodox), we believe that we are saved neither by faith, nor by works, but by Divine Mercy. The post-Schism Western debate is all about humanism, the adoration of the individual, which presupposes that human-beings can attain salvation without God. We Christians say that we are dependent on God’s Mercy for salvation, not on ourselves. Otherwise Christ’s Incarnation and Crucifixion are meaningless and lead directly to atheism, which is exactly what happened in the Western and then in the Westernised world.

Covid Vaccines

Q: Why do so many Eastern Europeans refuse to have an anti-covid-19 vaccine?

A: Every community, not just Eastern European immigrants, has people who will never accept any vaccine, let alone a completely new one, which naturally creates suspicion. However, there are specifics:

For example, in France, which has a very weak democracy, the State has tried to discredit any vaccine other than the French national one, yet even to be produced by Sanofi!, so creating a great deal of scepticism towards any vaccine. On top of that, French national statistics are distorted since those who die with covid in care homes are not counted in the figures for victims of covid (the situation of statistical manipulation and downright falsification is even more distorted in Germany). Worse still, the French State forces people to take the vaccine. This immediately produces massive resistance to it and public protests. There is no understanding by the French State of reverse psychology or representation of the people, just brute force. That is why there are so many violent street protests there.

In Russia and Eastern Europe, where Communist States blatantly and unashamedly lied to their people for 45 or even 75 years, the instinctive attitude towards anything the State proclaims is that it is a lie (which, true, it sometimes is). In other words, the problem here is a total lack of trust in the corrupt governments and in anything they recommend or, worse still, enforce.

Conspiracy Theories

Q: Do Orthodox accept any conspiracy theories?

A: No doubt there are such theorists among fringe and nationalist Orthodox, just as there are in every human group. However, conspiracy theories belong to and come from the atheist world. Christians (= Orthodox) believe and know that there is only one conspiracy against us, that of Satan. Satan of course may and does at various times use various ideological or ethnic groups against us, but Christians know that the world is not ruled by such groups (Bilderbergers, Nazis, Communists, the Vatican, the Franks, the Trilateral, international bankers, BigPharma, Zionists, the Illuminati, the Freemasons and all the other bogeymen). Members of such groups may imagine that they are all-powerful, but this is an illusion and the flattery of the demons, they are all merely puppets manipulated by Satan.

In the same way, every personal sin that we commit is not an expression of our freedom, but of our slavery to Satan. But even Satan does not rule the world – that is his illusion, which comes from his self-flattery. We Christians know that in fact the world is ruled by Christ, for He long ago defeated Satan, together with his death and suffering, through the Resurrection. This is why we Christians have hope, this is why we are fundamentally optimists, this is why we do not fear death, unlike the world and all its conspiracy theorist-manipulated and covid-manipulated zombies.

Q: Does the Orthodox Church believe that Jews murder Christian children ritually?

A: Of course not. This is a purely Roman Catholic invention, beginning in the late 11th century and ending as late as the 1960s. It began in England, spread to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and then, Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland, Bessarabia and the western Ukraine (the Beilis case in 1913). In origin it is linked to the First Crusade which murdered hundreds of Jews in the Rhineland at the end of the 11th century, though essentially it is all about Capitalist greed and jealousy of Jewish mercantile success.

The only Orthodox who support such dangerous nonsense are nominal Orthodox who are in fact anti-Semitic nationalists, rather than Orthodox. They love money and are jealous of rich Jews (strangely, they do not seem to resent so much rich people of their own nationality).

Blood libel first came to the surface in the Orthodox world in what is now Poland (a fundamentally Catholic country) with the case of St Gabriel of Bialystok at the end of the 17th century, a child-martyr, for whom was written a falsified legend, charging ‘the Jews’ with his death. The problem was not with the saint, a real martyr, but with the Polish legend written in his name. More recently the blood libel myth has resurfaced in Russia among a few post-Communist nationalists, like the sectarian, right-wing politico Mikhail Nazarov.

In self-justification such people have even started spreading the incredible (Communist) libel that Tsar Nicholas II was anti-Semitic! In fact, the latter did his best to protect ordinary believing Jews from the exploited and disgruntled citizens of other nationalities and built several large synagogues for them. His problem was with Jews who had lost their faith and renounced their traditions, worshipping money and power (in Marxism, for example) and ready to lie and kill at every opportunity, just as the atheist representatives of other ethnic groups, Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian, Latvian etc.

Today accusations of Jewish ritual murder of Christian children are much more common among Arab nationalists, who hate the Israeli persecutors. The only people today who actually murder Christian children are abortionists, few of whom are Jews and not a single one of whom is a believing Jew. Millions of future Christian children are murdered in Europe every year in this bloody ritual, performed on the altar of Satan.

Liturgical Notes

Q: Do we say Great Lent or the Great Fast?

A: We say either ‘Lent’ or else ‘The Great Fast’. Great Lent does not exist. It is a linguistic mistake introduced by the late Fr Alexander Schmemann, for whom English was a third language. Unfortunately, it was then adopted by American converts, who did not know the origins of English either. In English we say ‘Lent’, the Old English word for ‘spring’, so called precisely because it is the period when the days are ‘lengthening’. There is no such thing as ‘Great Lent’. Days lengthen, they do not great lengthen. The fast does not lengthen, it is fixed. If you do wish to translate, you can say ‘The Great Fast’, just as you can use the translations ‘Pascha’, ‘The Nativity’ and ‘Altar Feast’, or else use the English ‘Orthodox Easter’, ‘Orthodox Christmas’ and ‘Patronal Feast’. We Orthodox are different from Non-Orthodox, but we do not need to distort the local language in order to prove this, we need to respect it. As one kind reader has pointed out, this is mentioned in the early Orthodox Christian writing, The Epistle to Diognetus:

“For the Christians are distinguished from other people neither by country, nor by language, nor by the customs they observe. They do not inhabit cities of their own, or employ a peculiar form of speech, or lead a life in any way different from that of others …”

Q: Which colour of vestments is correct in Lent, purple or black?

A: I am not sure that we should use the word ‘correct’ in such matters. There are a hundred ways of doing the same thing. This is not a dogmatic question. Having said that, here is an answer: Although black is commonly used in Moscow and other parts of Russia as a liturgical colour in Lent, it was introduced there by the German Tsarina Catherine II who brought it in from Catholic Poland, where black in Lent was normal. Purple, not black, is the traditional Orthodox colour on weekdays in Lent. On Saturdays and Sundays in Lent some continue to wear purple, though others, perhaps ‘more correctly’ wear red.

Q: Why does the Moscow Patriarchate wear red as the colour of vestments at Pascha?

A: There are many different liturgical practices in the Russian Church, both inside Russia and also outside Russia (ROCOR dioceses are very, very different from one another, especially outside the USA), depending on the diocese. The Church is nowhere a monolith. True, red is worn in the Moscow Diocese at Easter. But the Church is much bigger than the Moscow Diocese! There are hundreds of dioceses. The red at Easter in the Moscow Diocese and elsewhere appears to come from the confusion between the Russian word for ‘red’, which in Slavonic means ‘beautiful’.

Thus, in the canon of Easter matins we have the expression in Slavonic ‘Paskha krasna’, which means in English ‘the Passover of beauty’. In modern Russian this sounds literally like ‘red Paskha’. Similarly in Moscow there is the central area called ‘Red Square’. This is a mistranslation caused by ignorance of Slavonic. Its Slavonic name actually means ‘Beautiful Square’. In the Church Outside Russia, which preserves pre-Revolutionary liturgical traditions general to the Church and not one particular Diocese, however central that is, only white is worn at Easter.

Q: As you know, I go to different parishes in and outside London. Even in the same jurisdiction, different English translations are used for the Liturgy. Why can there not be uniformity?

A: Why do you want uniformity? In the early Orthodox Church, long before printing, there was great variety. Indeed, many of the services were conducted without the written word and all was done and had to be done from memory. What piety! I think we only need letter for letter uniformity in ‘Our Father’, ‘Mother of God, Rejoice’, ‘O Heavenly King’ and the Creed.

Q: Why are Orthodox services so long?

A: Why are Non-Orthodox services so short?

Fr Sophrony Sakharov and Metr Antony Bloom

Q: When and why did Fr Sophrony Sakharov leave the Russian Church? Who was right?

A: In 1965, after his dispute with the then local Moscow bishop, Metropolitan Antony Bloom. Who was right? Read below:

I first met both of these personalities nearly fifty years ago. One was the ex-Hindu former librarian of St Panteleimon’s monastery, whose mother had been involved in pseudo-mystical movements like astrology, the other was the son of the famous hypnotist Boris Bloom and the nephew of the occultist composer Scriabin. I knew them both many, many times, before I left their philosophical and personal orbits to find bread and drink for my soul. Fr Sophrony Sakharov, the Parisian artist and philosopher, had had to leave Mt Athos in 1947 together with the future Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein) and Fr Silouan (surely a saint and a disciple of St Silouan) of Ste Genevieve. This was because they had fallen into disfavour with the Greek authorities for what they saw as their co-operation with the Nazi occupiers during the Second World War. Fr Sophrony’s knowledge of languages had put him into direct contact with the Germans. Going back to Paris, he left the Constantinople jurisdiction to go to the Moscow jurisdiction.

At that time, 99% of the Russian emigration, in Paris mainly under Constantinople, saw his move to Moscow from Constantinople as treason, and virtually accused him of becoming a Communist. Given Fr Sophrony’s writings in the 1950s about Church life in which he was militantly pro-Moscow and anti-Constantinople, he became even more unpopular with the mass of émigrés there. Even in the 1970s he was still accusing Russian emigres not in the Moscow Patriarchate of ‘lacking love’. This upset the vast majority as it was clearly untrue. In Paris Fr Sophrony also tried to set up a convent in Paris with three women. This was a well-known disaster and further scandalised.

When the Church of England offered Fr Sophrony as an ecumenical gesture a redundant village church and rectory in England for free, he saw this as an escape route, even though he would be forever ecumenically tied. (This is why the now more or less Convent at Tolleshunt Knights can never receive Anglicans into the Church). However, having arrived in England in 1959 with three followers he had found, a Swiss, a German and a Russian, he had not reckoned with Metr Antony Bloom. This local Moscow bishop was also a Paris intellectual from a very similar upper middle-class Russian convert background to Fr Sophrony.

In England Metr Antony had a tiny jurisdiction and only one priest with him, since the vast majority of the small Russian emigration in England belonged to ROCOR and saw representatives of Moscow as Stalinists, especially after one clergyman in Moscow had scandalously served a memorial service for Stalin on his death. However, Metr Antony was desperate to set up a diocese to justify his newly-acquired title as ‘Metropolitan of the Diocese of Sourozh’. This title was pure fiction and he knew it. In order to justify it, he needed to recruit Anglicans as people and recruit priests. A monastery was the easy source for priests. So instead of letting Fr Sophrony’s monks follow their ‘less practical’ pursuits, the typically Parisian anti-monastic Metr Antony tried to push them harder and use them as priests.

The split was inevitable and, despite his previous pro-Moscow writings, in 1965 Fr Sophrony walked out of Moscow for Constantinople and the new calendar. This caused such a scandal in the Moscow Patriarchate that even today there are virtually no Russians at Tolleshunt Knights. Personally, having seen some of the pre-1965 correspondence between Fr Sophrony and Metr Antony, I think it was all six of one and half a dozen of the other. As both characters are long gone, it is largely irrelevant, even though Patriarch Bartholomew has recently ‘weaponised’ Fr Sophrony against the Russian Church by unilaterally declaring that he is a local saint. That was with no investigation of his earthly remains, life, art nouveau painting and almost unreadable philosophical writings.

I am afraid I knew both personalities much too well to have time for 20th century émigré personality disputes. We long ago moved on to the future, which consists of helping to set up Local Churches in Western Europe, North America, Latin America and Oceania on a practical level, and not getting sidetracked into and bogged down in the fruitless byways of the personal philosophical quarrels of the past. Let us leave all these Russian émigré intellectual personalities and futile cults and manipulations, the Berdyayevs, Bulgakovs, Schmemanns, Zernovs, Struves et al and their abstract internal quarrels and ideologies, and their rights and their wrongs, and there were both, to the history books. They are the past.

We look to our future and the mainstream of the Church, the universal and the ancient local saints, to the New Martyrs and Confessors and to the Three Pillars of Orthodoxy outside Russia, St John of Shanghai, St Jonah of Hankou and St Seraphim of Boguchar. Let the past remain in the past, bygones are bygones. Our task and our relevance are to follow the principle of the Incarnation and to build and open new churches in the here and now, despite everything that the self-apppointed authorities, ideologists and dreamers have ruthlessly thrown and continue to throw at us in order to destroy us. All the worst enemies of the Church are nominally Orthodox, but they block out the light of Christ with the very long shadows cast by their own personalities and personal foibles.

A Local Church

Q: Why have all attempts to found a new Local Orthodox Church in the British Isles and Ireland/Western Europe so far failed?

A: The short answer is because no such attempt has ever taken place, for so far there have only been the dreams of individual intellectuals with their cults and often charlatanism.

The reality is that Orthodox life both here as elsewhere in Western Europe has been dominated either by administrative personalities who catered for immigrant communities/nationalist ghettos, or else by intellectual personalities who wanted to adapt Orthodoxy to their notions of Western culture, regardless of Dogma and the Tradition.

The flag-waving nationalist/immigrant communities, like the old nationalist ROCOR Church which completely died out but has been ‘restocked’ from the ex-Soviet Union, like all the other post-1917 Russian organisations, or like the Greek Church in England today, die. Once assimilation takes effect, the children of immigrants no longer wants to belong to a nationalist ghetto, which is foreign to them. Death is the result.

As regards the ‘adaptationists’, they too lose the way, making it up as they go along, and die out because they have neither the Tradition, nor a spiritual purpose, only the psychological one of making themselves feel at home in what was for their parents a foreign country. Often highly intellectual, even the titles, let alone the contents, of their books are incomprehensible. Unlike the apostles, they are unable to express the Tradition in the language of ordinary people.

A Local Church can only come into being, provided that it is faithful to real, and not a watered down version of, Orthodox Christianity and that it also uses the natural local language, and not a foreign language or some intense convert literalist translation into the local language. This golden mean has not existed – so far. But we are working on it.

 

The Parish Problem

Christianity has always been spread by monastics and monasteries. This is universal. In normal conditions, what happens is that after their mission has been completed, monastics (some of whom are bishops – real bishops are always monastics) delegate the everyday running of churches to married clergy. These either run the local parishes founded from monasteries or else, in the absence of any support from monasteries or bishops, found parishes themselves.

For centuries and centuries this is how it worked, whether with St Nina in Georgia, St Martin of Tours in Gaul, St Patrick in Ireland, St Augustine in England, St Boniface in the German Lands, St Cyril and Methodius in Moravia, St Stefan of Perm, St Job of Pochaev in what is now the western Ukraine, St Cosmas of Aitolia in Greece or St Herman and St Innocent in Alaska. Today, this age-old system is in crisis everywhere, perhaps especially in the Russian Orthodox Church.

There are not only the massive dysfunctions of episcopal, monastic and parish life, mainly caused by 75 years of vicious Soviet persecution inside the ex-Soviet Union. Outside the ex-Soviet Union the situation is not much better in many places. The decadence in parts of the Russian Church before the Revolution, the chaos of emigration, the scattering of the flock, and the catastrophic lack of finance and infrastructure, have caused enormous problems. Thus, I can remember over 40 years ago the then rector of the Rue Daru Cathedral in Paris, where thousands would gather at Easter, telling me that they had only 25 registered parishioners. The number of people who took communion on Easter Night was similar – 25.

Many, though not all, Russian churches inside Russia and in capital cities outside Russia resemble little more than railway stations. Orthodox Russians call the passers-by who you may never see again ‘prokhozhane’ (as opposed to ‘prikhozhane’, the word for parishioners). Then there are the people who call in from time to time – ‘zakhozhane’. These people you may see only half a dozen times a year. An example: as a parish we have some 4,000 people who are attached to us, but our list of parishioners is just under than 600 and that includes children. And yet all 4,000 would claim to be parishioners!

Another problem, worse in some countries than others, but still common in Russia and the Ukraine, despite recent welcome changes, is the massive imbalance in age and gender. For every 100 women standing in church, there may only be 15 men (at most) and two children. I can remember at the old ROCOR Cathedral in London 40 years ago, there would perhaps be 400 people (average age 75) at the Sunday Liturgy, out of whom three-quarters were elderly women and the only children our own. Where are the men? Where are the young people? Why have the grandparents not passed on the Faith to their children and grandchildren? The situation of the Greek Church in this country today is very similar and very critical. Expect many of their churches to close over the next 20 years.

In the old ROCOR of the time, I can remember one elderly and prominent woman parishioner boasting that the children in their church never made a noise. I politely pointed out that there were no children in her church (and also no baptisms). She then boasted that they never had any divorces in her church. Again I politely pointed out there were no weddings either (the last had been thirty years ago) and that the average age of the parishioners was about 75. She then boasted that they had never had any problem with their clergy. Once more I politely pointed out that that must be because they had no clergy….The last one had died a decade or so before.

As one relatively young archbishop said to me in the 1980s: the fewer parishes we have, the better it is, because the fewer the parishes, the fewer the problems. He died soon afterwards.

Why is it that there are still  many churches (especially in Russia and Eastern Europe) which it is impossible to enter with a pram or a pushchair (let alone a wheelchair)? Is it because children (and young people in general) are not welcome and not wanted? (As also in so many churches outside Russia?).

Why are there no contemporary toilets (for children) and no changing facilities, attached to the majority of churches?

Why are there so few meeting places for parishioners to get to know each other and support each other, where children can play together and make friends, and where young people can meet (and perhaps marry)? Or do you want to die out?

Children are our future. That statement is neither new nor original, but blatantly obvious, and yet many people still do not understand it.

A parish is not a cow to be milked for money. A parish is a local community to which people have a sense of belonging, to which they want to belong, so important for a flock which is scattered.

A parish is a community (not a racist ghetto, as in the old emigration), where all are welcome and a community which will stand up to the frequent injustices, persecution, meddling and bullying from outside, and support its clergy both morally and financially. Where does that exist?

Until we have many more parishes, we will not make progress.

From Recent Correspondence – November-December 2020

Covid

Q: If you are offered vaccination, will you have it?

A: Now that nearly a million people in the UK have had the vaccination, yes I will have it. I have no fear for myself, especially as I had covid last February (just a bad cold with loss of sense and smell for a couple of weeks), but I feel personally that it is a question of responsibility towards others. This is a purely personal view and I cast absolutely no aspersions on those who do not want the vaccination because of fears about long-term consequences or other reasons. And I do not suggest at all that they are being irresponsible in rejecting the vaccine! I will certainly accept it and I recommend it, though everyone is of course free to choose.

Divisions, Schisms and Heresies

Q: What is a division inside the Church? Why is a division not a schism?

A: I can answer because there is the case of my own part of the Russian Church, the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). It is very interesting because the events here are current and I have lived through them and seen them and knew and know the people and psychologies involved on both sides. This was not a schism, let alone a heresy, but a division. A division is the stage before a schism and, unlike a schism, may be perfectly justified – providing it is for a positive cause and is therefore temporary. It happens in cases where pious clergy and people are unjustly persecuted by their own bishops, who represent not Christ, but, for example, in our own case, the Soviet atheist State which demanded through certain bishop-citizens that we tell lies. We refused. That was honourable.

Other cases of division are caused by other bishops who also obey purely secular, State interests, or simply their own vices, practising harsh injustices and displaying profoundly anti-Christian conduct. And this can happen and does happen. Tragically, quite often, and in all the Local Churches. Bishops choose to persecute the persecuted and protect the persecutors. We have experienced that.

Outside the Church, history gives another obvious example with the ‘Church of England’, with the creation of Methodism and any number of other Protestant sects. These were established by those who were persecuted by Church of England bishops, who were merely venal State employees and not Christians at all. But their divisions became permanent and so schisms, some of which then developed into heresies.

Thus, our particular division outside Russia was created by the persecution of the Soviet State. However, from the 1960s on, our division showed signs among a ‘super-correct’ few of developing into a schism of the Donatist style, a schism of the self-righteous and self-justifying pride of the Pharisees (backed by CIA funding they justified themselves by accusing others of ‘Sergianism’). Such a schism did not happen among over 95% of ROCOR because when the Soviet State collapsed, the vast majority of the Church Outside Russia only wanted to reunite with the Church inside Russia, as soon as it had been freed. We the majority had never had any hidden agendas; we had belonged to ROCOR only because there was ‘nowhere else to go’, in the words of the ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva. Our home had always been the Russian Church, and nowhere else, and especially not some pseudo-Orthodox pharisaic sect or a sub-department of some foreign political party.

The tiny minority which rejected our profound unity with the rest of the Russian Church were often of right-wing Protestant origin. They lapsed from the Church immediately, into multiple tiny Donatist schisms, one tiny fragment of which is now developing a new heresy. In other words, we can see in a concrete and contemporary case, how a division may then develop into a schism and how a schism may then develop into a heresy.

Q: What is the difference between a schism and a heresy?

A: A heresy is always the intensification or dogmatisation and justification of a schism.

Schisms, which sometimes develop into heresies, always happen because of pride, either personal pride, or else collective, racial pride. The greater the pride, the more likely a heresy is to develop.

We have personal pride in the schisms and then heresies of Arius, Nestorius, Donatus or the Old Ritualist Archpriest Avvakum. We have collective, nationalist, racial pride in the cases of the schisms and then heresies of the Copts, the Armenians, the Roman Catholics, the Protestants, or the present Ukrainian and Phanariot schisms. The Ukrainian schism says: ‘Glory to the Ukraine’, not ‘Glory to God’. That is a heresy. The Phanariot schism is interesting because we see how racial pride is now developing into the Greek phyletist heresy with the new and still developing dogma of Phanariot Papism, with its ‘first among equals’ ‘because we are Greeks’ now developing into ‘first without equals’ ‘because we are Greeks’. This is extraordinarily primitive and has been copied from the Pharisees, whose racism Christ so often denounced.

However, schisms and heresies can be provoked by the other side. For example, the Copts were provoked by Greek racism, the Protestants by Catholic persecution, Archpriest Avvakum by the persecution of the Russian State, the Greek old calendarists by Greek State persecution. Persecution always creates the martyr complex and so deepens a schism and makes a heresy more likely.

Q: What was the Old Ritualist/Old Believer Schism really about?

A: As regards the extreme Old Ritualists (I prefer to call them thus rather than Old Believers, since the belief never changed – all Orthodox are Old Believers), these are basically Russian Protestants, who match, sociologically, the Western Protestants 150 years before them. Their mercantile money-making had to be justified. Here is their heresy. And again we see racial pride, ignorance and ritualism, phariseeism and puritanism, exactly as with the extreme Protestants. It is no surprise that many of the Old Ritualists actually and suicidally supported the 1917 Revolution, which wiped most of them out, just as it wiped out most Bolsheviks. They died by their own hand.

The Catholic Schism

Q: As far as I know from seminary articles on the Schism from the Church in 1054, in England, France, and Germany they served on leavened bread for a long time after the Schism. Do you know anything about this? Moreover, Grand Duke Vladimir Monomakh, having married the daughter of the King of England, Gytha, was surprised that there were already some disagreements in the Church. This only confirms that the act itself was more of an intentional political phenomenon. East-West relations at that time remained united, and the “differences” themselves remained “unnoticed” for a long time for the sake of unity, and did not suddenly arise in 1054.

What about Catholic people in a village in the south of France, where they have been living for generations and do not want to emigrate anywhere, who do not “look at the horizon”, but have been going to pray in one local Church for 500-700 years? Are they Christians or “apostates” (rhetorically)? Do they live “the old way”? Do they have to “understand” anything? Do we have the right to “pity” them without fear of humiliating them? What if our distant relatives are among them?

A: Of course we always distinguish between institutions and people. Roman Catholicism is clearly a heresy, and was so from the start, but as for individual Roman Catholics, that is quite different. I would not call them heretics, as a heretic must be conscious of what he is promulgating. The average Catholic has never even heard of the filioque, but, on the other hand, most Catholic clergy are heretics because they have heard of it and still accept it. I have met individual Catholics who are basically Orthodox, though they have never realised it. Here we follow the wisdom of the old proverb: ‘A fish rots from the head’, in Russian: ‘Рыба гниет/воняет с головы’.

As regards ‘the 1054 Schism’ in general, it is vital to understand that this is NOT a date, but a process. There were people around Charlemagne who at the end of the eighth century had already undergone ‘1054’. On the other hand, there are Catholics today, true, perhaps not many, who have still not been affected by 1054 – for them it has not yet happened. And in general the final implications or end-results of 1054 are still in 2020 unfolding, for example, in LGBT. As an example, it is true to say that some had begun using unleavened bread before 1054, others continued using leavened bread afterwards.

In many places 1054 did not happen until the end of the 11th century. For example, it was then that the First Crusade began and that Anselm wrote the first defence of the filioque: ‘Against the Greeks’. That was the end for them. They were apostates and heretics. But even today, the average Catholic has never heard of the filioque or of the heretic Anselm and considers that the Crusades were totally wrong. There may not be much difference between them and us Orthodox. I have always considered Catholics as ex-Orthodox, but in fact many of them are more Orthodox than ‘ex’.

You asked me about the fate of Catholics from the south of France. That is interesting because my matushka has Catholic relatives who live precisely in the south of France. I pray for them all at every proskomidia and have done for the last 36 years, though obviously I do not take out particles for them. At every proskomidia, I also pray for various Non-Orthodox people, for example, for ‘William’. This is Shakespeare. Will he find salvation? I do not know. But I calculate that probably no-one else anywhere in the world prays for him. Therefore I must do it. I hope that in Russia priests pray for the tragic Alexander (Pushkin), killed in a sinful duel.

The Phanariot Schism

Q: Will the Ukrainian Schism spread worldwide or will it peter out once Patriarch Bartholomew is dead?

A: It is now clear – it was not clear at first – that this is both a political and dogmatic schism and does not depend on individual personalities. The present schismatic Patriarch is supported by others, perhaps even worse than himself. The schism can only end once the USA has lost its Superpower status and has been humiliated and its empire with its dollar-power has fallen. When there are no more planeloads of dollars to hand out, it will lose its influence. Then the American-backed Galician separatists who seized power anti-democratically and violently in Kiev in 2014 (with Lithuanian sniper-mercenaries murdering Ukrainians from the roof of the US Embassy) will fall. And that may happen much sooner than many think. For ‘those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind’.

Partly the inevitable fall of the USA will come about because of the incompetence of its elite, partly because of the scourge of God, covid. Thus, its administration is running out of steam and its plots, in Eastern Europe, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Georgia, in Syria, in the Yemen, in the Ukraine, in Belarus, in the war with Azerbaijan and now in its schemes in Moldova, are failing. That the atheist criminals in the US State Department and abortionists like Biden and Son are so desperate to promote the idea that a flockless bishop in a Turkish city could be the leader of World Orthodoxy would be laughable, if there were not a few deluded or bribed people to take it seriously.

However, the Phanariot schism (unlike the Ukrainian schism) is permanent and also worldwide. Both sides of the schismatic Westernised coin, both the nationalists (phyletists, whether Greek, Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Serbian or other), pharisees and ritualists, as well as their opposite numbers, the careerists, liberals and modernists, are all falling. Good riddance, as they have all long been compromising our witness to real Christianity.

This includes the schismatics of the Local Churches, which, with a few exceptions, have as a whole remained Orthodox. Thus, the renegade drug-dealing (yes, really), careerist former Russian Bishop Flavian (Maxim Mitrofanov), now defrocked and living in London after his interview on Radio Liberty (where else?), as well as other Kochetkov types inside Russia, and the two notorious pervert Russian Bishops Ignaty, and in Bosnia Herzegovina the Serbian Bishop Dimitry (Radzhenovich), who on 4 December nearly set fire to his own church through his lack of faith, as well as in Cyprus schismatic bishops, in Alexandria the schismatic Patriarch and his yes-men adepts, in Greece the schismatic Archbishop of Athens and his equally unprincipled careerist supporters, are out.

The Church is being cleansed. This cleansing is long, long overdue. Covid has had the effect of revealing the truth about each, about those who are traitors, cowards and deceivers because, despite their outward rite, they have no faith, as well as revealing the truth about those who are Orthodox and do not fear death and martyrdom, but only fear God.

Thus, only recently the Synod of the ROC defrocked Sergei Romanov, whom I met in 2018 at the Central Urals Convent, and it is now about to defrock Protodeacon Andrei Kurayev. I have not met him, but met many just like him in the old Paris group, many of whom were also schismatics (and freemasons) and have remained so. Both these cases are also a cleansing.

The first was an extremist of the right, an ignorant man, uncanonically ordained, who called people to suicide for Russia (not for Christ). The other was an extremist of the left, a liberal who had only the disrespectful pride of the modernist in his soul for the Church, because She does not reflect the values of his narcissistic self. Although his pride may yet result in a schism by his joining the Phanar, there is still hope that he may repent. Extremes cannot survive. Such people always destroy themselves through their passions.

Q: Since the Patriarchate of Constantinople has fallen into schism and is out of communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church, what should our attitude be to laypeople of the Patriarchate of Constantinople?

A: We should welcome them with open arms as refugees from the schism created by their still unrepentant bishops and give them confession and communion. As for repentant bishops and priests, they should be welcomed back into the Church by concelebration. Just because the father has put himself in prison, we do not punish the children.

Salvation

Q: Who will be saved? I am thinking especially about Old Ritualists and Catholics. Most of them did not choose to be outside the Church, that was simply the way their parents brought them up. And what about suicides? Can priests take out particles for any of them at the proskomidia? And what is the fate of those who died unjustly, even if they were outside the Church, like Richard III?

A: This is the old question of all us ex-seminarians: What will happen to the Amazon Indians who have never heard of Christ? Nearly 2,000 years ago the Apostle Paul said that such will be judged according to their conscience, in other words, according to what is the content of their hearts. We also have the story in the Life of St Gregory the Dialogist, who drew the pagan Emperor Trajan out of hell through his prayers. All is possible and God is Merciful. But He is also Righteous.

As regards prayer, there is private prayer and there is public prayer. In public prayer we commemorate only Orthodox. In private prayer we pray for everyone. Parishioners constantly ask me if they can pray for a Non-Orthodox person and I always say: ‘Not only you can, but you must.’ Who else will pray for them? And I tell them to go and light a candle. I remember 45 years ago one elderly Russian aristocratic émigré who always used to light a candle for ‘the servant of God Alexander’. This was Alexander Fleming who had discovered penicillin. That had saved her life in the early 1950s.

In England today, Orthodox make up exactly only 1% of the population and I am talking about all Orthodox, both practising and nominal. So what? Does that mean we cannot do anything? Do people really think that the apostles did not pray for everyone? There were only 11 of them at one point. How did they convert the world? Read the Acts of the Apostles and the epistles! Millions were converted through the apostles directly and indirectly. We can do the same.

Mixed marriages have always been very common here, including in the first post-1917 emigration – there were and are so few Orthodox. Moreover, most of our Orthodox Russian speakers today, mainly from the Ukraine, are women who entered into internet marriages to come and escape the poverty and corruption of the countries of the post-Soviet Soviet Union, not to mention escaping alcoholic Russian men. They want their children to be baptised and their husbands to join the Church. (Some of these do join and some don’t). Of course these women pray for their husbands. Therefore, outside Russia our commemoration books officially contain two sections, one for Orthodox, one for Non-Orthodox.

I do the proskomidia, taking out particles only for Orthodox. But I also stand before the table and pray for the Non-Orthodox, without taking our particles for them, as that would be theologically illiterate (they are outside the Church and so remain outside the chalice). Does my prayer help them? I hope so. God is merciful.

Most Orthodox are Orthodox, simply because they were born in a certain country. The same is true for Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus etc. And the same is true for the Old Ritualists. Like the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons, they belong to this sect because their parents belonged to it. They live in a ghetto and psychologically it is very difficult to escape such manipulative sects because they are made to feel guilty if they disobey. What of their salvation?

All I can say is: God is Merciful. One who has left the Old Ritualists, repenting for them, can and must pray for his parents and ancestors. What will God’s judgement be? We must be humble and accept that we do not and cannot know, at least until the Last Judgement. Speculations are a waste of time. We must concentrate on our own salvation, which we can do something about. I would not take out particles for Old Ritualists and other Non-Orthodox at the proskomidia, because they were not in communion with the Church in this life, but I certainly pray for them.

Similarly with suicides. We have to pray for them in our private prayer. As you know, the Church has always made a sharp distinction between the few who commit suicide because they hate God and the vast majority who have lost their minds. What will happen to them? We do not know. But God is Merciful. This is our only hope. Our prayer is so feeble. All we can do is rely on Divine Mercy. Some suicides are martyrs. I have no doubt of this.

As regards those who died unjustly, like Richard III, I think we can have even greater hope in God’s Mercy. They are Non-Orthodox martyrs. God always recognises sacrifices, whoever makes them. But again, I only take out particles at the proskomidia for Orthodox. Otherwise, we disobey the Church in our presumption and pride. God knows, not us.

Let us recall the saints of the Old Testament and the Holy Innocents slaughtered by Herod. None of them was baptised. But they found salvation and were freed from hell by Christ on Great Saturday. And let us recall the good thief, who repented just before the end and was promised Paradise that very day. He was not baptised, except, like so many martyrs, in his blood.

Pastoral Practice

Q: Do you practise frequent communion in your church? Is frequency of communion normal? And how frequent should confession be?

A: Yes, we do definitely practise frequent communion in our church, but we also practise more or less weekly confession, which we can do as we have two or three priests confessing and one priest in the altar.

The old State Church mentality was ‘confession and communion once a year because you have to’. This was the nominalist mentality that brought about both the atheist revolution in Russia and the modern apostasy in Greece. The now very old-fashioned 1960s modernist mentality (the Protestant Schmemann, Archbp Leo of Finland, Greek Orthodox in the USA etc) is ‘obligatory communion every time but confession once a lifetime and only if you insist’.

The mentality of these modernists is that the Eucharist, holy communion, is somehow magical, it is at the centre of the Church. That is not the case. Christ is the Head of the Church and it is repentance that takes us to Christ. It can be said therefore that repentance is at the centre of the Church. When there is no more repentance, then the Church on earth will no longer exist.

The Orthodox view is frequent confession and frequent communion. It is not one versus the other, it is both together. Otherwise the medicine does not work. This is a virtuous circle. The faithful should try and have confession and communion at least twice a month. Communion at every liturgy is more difficult and of course younger women cannot have communion every Sunday in any case.

Western Aberrations

Q: If the ‘evil empire’ (the USSR) fell in 1991, when did the USA become the new evil empire?

A: I think this is a debatable point, as it is more a process than a single event. So, to date it, some people would go right back to the genocide of the American Civil War nearly 160 years ago which centralised the US State, or to that State’s imperialist war against Spain in 1898. Others might refer to the barbaric US use of Atomic bombs in 1945 (no other country has dared to use them) or to the still unexplained assassination of Kennedy in 1963 and the barbaric genocide of the Vietnamese people which followed. However, the USSR still existed both in 1945 and after 1963, still enslaving the former Russian Empire and Eastern Europe until 1989.

I think the turning point was precisely 1991. Even before the obvious imminent fall of the USSR in December that year, in summer 1990 the USA had turned its attention to Iraq and the concept of world domination. It seems to me that, spiritually, the demons that had created and then tormented and haunted the USSR for nearly 75 years, fled to Europe and America, Eurosodom and Gomorica, during this period of the early 1990s, seeing the coming fall of their Communist delusion. People had seen through the demonic idolatry of Communism, but most had not yet seen through the equally demonic idolatry of Capitalism. The demons fled there. After all, in 1993, soon after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the European Union was formed. However, it is the USA that has always clearly pulled the EU strings, which is a political and military dwarf.

Q: I know the Church is outside politics, or should be, but are there any general political trends among Church people?

A: I think most, if not all, Orthodox are socially conservative. Indeed, it was interesting to note that most Soviet Communists (Orthodox who had lost their Faith) remained in many respects social conservatives. This social conservatism is inevitable, simply because we are Christians. However, being socially conservative does not mean that we are puritans and prudes who condemn the weak for their errors. We are to have compassion for them.

On the other hand, unlike many other social conservatives, Orthodox are not secular conservatives. This is because as Christians we also have a sense of social justice. That is why Orthodox reacted badly to right-wing Fascism, which was always associated with the authoritarian bullying of Catholicism, which largely supported it. Thus, it was in Catholic Poland, including in Western Galicia in the far west Ukraine, and in Catholic Lithuania and Croatia, that the Nazis received the most enthusiastic support for their appalling slaughter of the Jews. The Orthodox did not support this, but had compassion for the ordinary Jews who were victims of the Catholics and ex-Catholic Nazis

All this is of course general and does not mean that we have to vote for any particular political party, especially when all ‘mainstream’ parties without exception, for example, appear to be in favour of such horrors as abortion.

Q: Why does the Church say about primitive man?

A: He did live in caves wearing animal skins a long time ago – that is what the Book of Genesis, and therefore the Church, says (Genesis 3, 21). As to when this was, no-one knows. As all the experts disagree, I have no idea. I think it was more probably this side of 50,000 years ago, rather than the other side, which is based on the speculations of those who found a few fossilized (monkey?) bones and dared to date them. That is unscientific.

We also know from history that ancient man was clearly not a grunting brute: that is the arrogant superiority complex of Western modernists. Pyramids, ziggurats, Stonehenge and aboriginal rock art prove the sophistication of the ancients. One thing that is certain about ancient man is that he did not have concentration camps, Atomic Bombs, cluster bombs and napalm. He was simply not primitive enough for all that.

Q: What do you think of gay conversion therapy?

A: I really don’t understand such secularist and anti-Christian language. It denotes an alien Civilisation to our Christian Civilisation of the Church.

First of all, there is no such thing as ‘conversion therapy’, there is only repentance. And repentance is always voluntary, never imposed by some institution. We do not believe in institutions. Now repentance comes from prayer, fasting, confession and communion (this presumes of course that the person in question is already a member of the Church of God, and not some pseudo-Christian Western religion). And repentance is open to all, whatever their sin.

Q: Why is fasting important?

A: Today two billion people in the world are obese or overweight: never has there been a time for fasting as now. The Scriptures and the Fathers are clear: in the last times people will eat and never be satisfied (the definition of McDonalds). Vatican II dropped fasting and obesity began (though others, including certain extremist ‘Orthodox’ modernists did not help in the 1960s). The rejection of fasting always leads to obesity (and an obsession with slimming, gyms, fitness and also sex and sport…): it is a spiritual rule. It happens in decadent monasteries too.

 

 

 

 

From Recent Correspondence (October 2020)

(Publication delayed because of the pressures of pastoral work and many local events in the last three weeks)

 

Q: Is covid a hoax? And is it manmade?

A: Of course, it is not a hoax. Ask the families of over a million people whom this virus has killed. It has now killed nearly twice as many as swine flu, though of course, this is very few compared to the ravages of the bubonic plague or so-called ‘Spanish flu’. Manmade? Most scientists seem to think that it is completely natural, the result of a lack of hygiene, like so many other viruses and flus. Probably they are right.

The only curious thing about it is the hysterical and panicky reactions of governments, mainly Western ones, which have possibly caused far more damage than the actual virus. Bankruptcy and unemployment, suicide quadrupling and depression: governments have a heavy responsibility here. Rather than protecting the small numbers who are highly vulnerable to covid, they seem to have decided to attack the majority and ruin their lives, notably attacking the Church. These are the reactions of profound atheists who have neither faith, nor hope, nor love.

Q: What did you make of the recently deceased Metr Amfilochije of Montenegro?

A: He was a hero of the Orthodox Faith, a real bishop, who told the Truth. I met him in San Francisco in 2006 and will always remember his words to certain ROCOR delegates who had been so brainwashed by the anti-Russian political propaganda called ‘Sergianism’, dreamed up by the CIA, that they were frightened of having anything to do with the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia. (Patriarch Sergius had, by the way, been dead for over 60 years, even by then!). He told them: ‘Do not fear Patriarch Sergius, fear God.’ That was precisely what they had not been doing.

Q: Will the Russian Church cease concelebration with the Church of Cyprus following Archbishop Chrysostom’s commemoration of Epiphanius of Kiev as the head of the Church in the Ukraine?

A: I do not know of course, but I do not think so. The Church of Cyprus is 600,000 people. Just because one of them has been forced or bribed by the local US and British ambassadors into commemorating the notorious schismatic Epiphanius, it would seem strange not to commemorate all the other Cypriot Orthodox. However, once more we see how the uncanonical actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the Ukraine have everywhere created schism and division, now in Cyprus too. The US State Department is rejoicing at its divide and rule policy. And so is Satan.

Q: I have read that traditional Catholics will become Russian Orthodox as a result of Pope Francis’ latest, scandalous, syncretistic activities and his stance on homosexual marriage. Do you think this is true?

A: You mean, will some Catholics ask to join the Orthodox Church? Becoming Orthodox is another story.

The answer to your question is no. And this for several reasons:

At present there are very few Orthodox churches in any Catholic countries anywhere in the world. These churches are so thin on the ground and priests so few that even the Russian Orthodox flock is not being looked after.

And most of these churches are closed because of covid.

Many of the Russian Orthodox clergy do not speak the local language, let alone understand the local culture and Catholicism and give these people services in their own languages. So how and by whom will these Catholics be catechised and cared for?

Then, above all, you do not join the Orthodox Church because you are dissatisfied with a Pope, that is, for a negative reason. You join the Orthodox Church because you are convinced that She is the Church of God, that is, for a positive reason.

Finally, many such traditional Catholics may in fact be shocked by what they see as the liberalism of the Orthodox Church, for example, in having married priests or in de facto allowing contraception.

Q: You have written much about Western crimes like the invasion of England in 1066, the Crusades, including the sack of Constantinople in 1204, the Inquisition, colonialist genocides outside Western Europe, for example in the Americas, Western technology used for evil purposes, concentration camps etc. However, is there one single event which you think stands out from all these crimes?

A: Yes. To my mind the greatest crime surpassing all others is the overthrow in 1917 of the Christian Empire and Monarchy centred in Russia (as also the imperial systems of other uncolonised, that is, still free, countries, namely, the Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Ethiopian and Thai). Simply because those countries resisted Western colonialisation, that is, exploitation, they are all presented in the stereotypical Western histories as corrupt, primitive and backward, like the Tsar’s Russia, for instance. Of course, it is the Western histories themselves which were corrupt (their extraordinarily stupid academic authors were all handsomely paid by Western propagandist governments to lie) and so were spiritually primitive and corrupt. All their self-justifying propaganda was simply to destroy Non-Western countries and force them to kow-tow to the Western line.

Firstly, the overthrow of the Tsar by Western spies and Russian traitors committed to anti-spiritual Western bourgeois ideologies (whether Constitutionalism or Marxism) guaranteed a much longer First European or  ‘World’ War. Instead of ending with Russian troops liberating Vienna and Berlin in early summer 1917, it dragged on till November 1918, increasing the total death toll by millions.

Secondly, as soon as Imperial Russia had been knocked out of the War, American troops entered it, as had been long planned.  They brought with them so-called ‘Spanish’ flu, in fact American flu (most believe that it began specifically in the dirt of Kansas). This killed between 17 million and 50 million in a then world of 1.5 billion.

Thirdly, the Western overthrow of the Tsar brought Lenin (four million dead in four years) and Stalin (perhaps ten million dead in all, nearly one million in the Gulag alone), a Second European or ‘World’ War (Hitler could never have risen to power if Russian troops had been in Vienna and Berlin in 1917), that is, the suicide of Europe, with 30 million dead in the Nazi holocaust of Slavdom alone.

Finally, the consequences of the overthrow of the Christian Empire in 1917 are clearly visible today in the abortion holocaust, with millions of children slaughtered in Europe every year for many decades.

Hundreds of millions of dead for over one hundred years, all because of the betrayal of the Christian Empire and the murder of its Emperor and his pious family! And it has not finished yet.

Q: Why has the Orthodox Church been so slow to form a Western Orthodox Church?

A: In order to replace the old Western Patriarchate which fell away from the Church as the result of its pagan lust for power and mammon nearly a thousand years ago, a new Church has to be founded. However, the Church is voluntary. If there is no desire to join the Church, people will not join it. In order to have the desire to become Orthodox, you first need to overcome a thousand years of brainwashing and prejudice, which asserts that the Orthodox Church is not the Christian Church. That the Western world has the only true Christian Church – in the manmade ideologies of Catholicism and Protestantism. And amazingly hundreds of millions actually believe this delusion!

Then you have the whole logistical problem: how do you start a Church in a region that is hostile to you, that says you are ‘Byzantine’ (a curious word not used by Orthodox, which means corrupt) and without resources? You have no infrastructure, no finance and your people are political and economic refugees who do not speak the local language, let alone understand the local culture. This explains all the complications, divisions and extremisms, ranging from the ‘anything goes as long as you pay me’ ecumenism a la Patriarch Bartholomew to the pathological lack of love of others among certain old calendarist groups.

However, a structure has now been born and it is for all of us to contribute to building it up and filling it out, when it is ready for us, each of us in our different way. We are all forerunners in the rebirth of this Local Church. What have you done to contribute?

 

Questions and Answers from Correspondence (March-April 2020)

Falling in Love

Q: Do you believe that there is only one man for each woman and vice versa, that it is impossible to fall in love and find a new spouse again after widowhood or divorce, that we only have one chance of falling in love and finding happiness?

A: I think that there is only one ideal man for each woman and only one ideal woman for each man – though, of course, here the word ‘ideal’ is relative in our imperfect world. In this fallen world, the real and deep, and not silly and romantic, meaning of ‘to fall in love’ includes loving the imperfections of the other, without illusions. This is ‘ideal’. This does not mean the sort of falling in love repeatedly which teenagers with ‘crushes’ imagine is happening to them.

However, there are cases where widows or widowers remarry and do find a second happiness, perhaps not quite the same as the first, but still great happiness. But this is only because they have found someone very similar to the first, whom they are willing to die for – which is what real falling in love means. On the other hand, there are those who choose badly the first time (usually because they were too young or wanted to escape from parents), divorce but do find happiness the second time. I know of one case where happiness, true love, was found – the third time round.

Pastoral Matters

Q: How do converts stop being converts?

A: Virtually all Orthodox today are converts. After the fall of Communism, tens and tens of millions of people converted to Christ and were baptised in the faith of their ancestors because they were at last free to do so. In Greece too, many people fell away from the Church after the 1960s, but some of them have returned from very far, discovering Orthodoxy for the first time, despite their nationality and presupposed Orthodoxy. All these examples are proof of the obvious truth that ethnicity has nothing whatsoever to do with being Christian, a weird idea that would never have occurred to the apostles, martyrs, saints and Church Fathers.

Converts have to go from neophyte Orthodoxy, a fascination with, what seems to them in their estrangement from normality, to be esoteric or exotic (it is not at all esoteric or exotic for us who live it daily). This involves coming to the realisation that real Orthodoxy is simply the Christian way of life, real Christianity, and that what they may previously have thought was Christianity (Protestantism/ Catholicism) never was. That is a shock to them – yet it is the truth, as many will confirm. And all have to discover that Orthodoxy is not about crosses of gold and hearts of wood, but about hearts of gold and crosses of wood.

Converts may start as Orthodox with flames of zeal, but these flames will sooner or later die down. They will turn to ashes in the face of the difficulties that come to us through reality – unless the converts have the fuel that feeds the heart. And that fuel comes from liturgical life, standing at services, prayer (standing at services forces you to pray, otherwise you will be bored), fasting, the sacraments and loving our neighbour. (Books and theories, obviously, do not feed the heart, they feed only the brain, which just causes headaches, literally, mental constipation).

However, it is precisely the difficulties of life which destroy illusions. Thus, to lose illusions does not mean to become disillusioned or cynical, it means to become realistic. For we owe our faithfulness not to illusions, but to Christ. Our Faith is simply the Christian way of life, the Christian values, the Christian culture, the Christian Civilisation – there is no other.

Q: There seem to be so many rules to Orthodoxy. What is the difference between Orthodoxy and Phariseeism?

A: You are a beginner. Do not let the old Pharisees – who claim to be the only true Orthodox in the world! – make Christianity into rule-bound Phariseeism for you, as it is for them. Do not let them make the Church into a stick for your back. Take things gradually. True, Orthodoxy is strictness with yourself, whereas Phariseeism is strictness with others.

However, as you learn Orthodox life, you will learn that there are two Books. One is the written Book of the Rules, which is made up of many books, such as the Bible, the Canons, the Typikon etc, and the other is the unwritten Book of Exceptions. Just as the first Book is not a Book of harsh punishment which brings black despair, the second Book is not a Book of lax liberalism, which brings cynical indifference. The first is our ideal, the second is our reality. You need to know and have both Books because together they form the One Great Book of Orthodoxy, known as the Book of the Wisdom and of the Love of God. This Book is not available in any bookshop, only time will teach you it, if you have the patience and the humility to learn from experience.

Q: Should Christians be optimists?

A: Of course we should. Christ defeated death. Our faith is built on the positive. However, that does not mean we should be unrealistic or live in our imaginations, we must know our enemies: be as gentle as doves and as wise as serpents. The whole point of our faith is the struggle against death – that makes us realistic – but because Christ was victorious, we too will be victorious, as long as we remain faithful to Christ.

Western European History

Q: If the Schism did not really occur in 1054, which is only a symbolic date, when did it occur?

A: The Western Schism has been a process and is still continuing. Ecumenists and modernists are still falling into it, preferring the anti-Christian secularist mentality, which is the essence of the Schism, to the Church of God, preferring to believe that man is greater than God, which is what the Schism is about. Thus, the heresies promulgated in Crete in 2016 and the 2019 Constantinople Schism are only continuations of the Schism, the falling into secularism, which was formalised, as you say, in 1054.

Thus, in 1054 there was little realisation that the Schism had happened and even in Constantinople itself there was hardly any realisation that its cause was the Western heresy against the Holy Spirit. The few who were conscious of it at the time thought of it in ritual terms, that it was about the Papacy enforcing the use of unleavened bread, fasting on Saturdays, beardless and celibate clergy etc. Even at the top, the Schism was seen as being about Papal arrogance in attributing to itself an absurd supremacy, the universal jurisdiction of Antichrist, which was in fact only the result, not the spiritual cause, of the Schism. So practical results were visible to those who saw at the time, but not the spiritual roots.

Another error in this field is the vocabulary used. For example, some reduce it to a mere geographical division of ‘East versus West’ or even to a racial or ethnic division of ‘Greeks versus Franks’. In reality, this was a spiritual division between Christians and Non-Christians. Many in the West, in Sicily or in Ireland for instance, long remained Orthodox, but in Constantinople itself there were also ‘humanists’ who fell away, as they have again today.

However, as you say, 1054, is only a symbolic date, very much an end-date of the first part of the process of the Schism. There are other dates which mark the falling away of individuals and small groups in the West. Among many others, there are, for example:

782: The barbarous kinglet Charlemagne commits the genocide of the Saxons at the massacre of Verden: the sword or baptism is what they are offered. 4,500 were slaughtered in the name of ‘the Church’.

794: The iconoclast Charlemagne has the ‘Carolingian Books’ published, rejected the Christian creed by promoting the filioque, which had been invented among the Jews in Spain. He accused the (Orthodox) Christians of being ‘Greeks’ / heretics and calling the barbarians (himself and his ruling clique) Christians!

812: The barbarian Charlemagne had an organ, a purely secular instrument which came out of Greek paganism, installed in his chapel in Aachen. By the eleventh century, there were perhaps six organs in use in Western Europe, including one in England, in Winchester. Slowly their use spread until in the nineteenth century virtually all heterodox churches are fitted with them.

867: St Photius explains the filioque heresy against the Holy Spirit, which was aggressively being promoted by political circles in North-West Europe. He also condemned the ‘novel’ practice of using unleavened bread in the Eucharist, which began among the Franks and spread to Rome in the middle of the eleventh century. This use of unleavened bread was also the beginning of depriving laypeople of the Blood of Christ.

946: The first ever statue of the Mother of God is made for Stephen II, Bishop of Clermont in France. It harks back to local pagan statues of Venus and Diana. It is the start of Roman Catholic statuary.

970: The Gero Crucifix, showing Christ-God not as the Vanquisher of Death but as a dead man is installed in Cologne Cathedral. It is the beginning of pietism.

991: In what is now Northern France the ruthless warlord Fulk the Black wins the battle of Conquereuil and anti-Christian feudalism, with its serfdom, evil castles and knights, becomes exponentially ever more visible.

993: Bishop Ulric of Augsburg was the first person to be canonised by a Pope, John XV, rather than by a regional bishop. Papal canonisation did not become the norm until the 13th century.

1009: Pope Sergius IV confesses the filioque, which had spread to Rome from the Franks.

1014: The filioque is sung in Rome for the first time.

1040: Peter Damian records the first case of stigmata, self-inflicted by an individual called Dominic.

1048: The filioquist heretic and warmonger Bruno of Toul is crowned as Pope Leo IX in Rome.

1061: The Normans invade Orthodox Sicily.

1066: The Normans invade Orthodox England with the blessing of the anti-Christian Pope.

1077: Canossa – Hildebrand, Pope Gregory VII, probably the grandson of a Jew, declares himself more powerful than emperors and kings.

1095: Pope Urban II declares war and sends barbarians and thugs to massacre Jews in the Rhineland and Christians and Muslims in 1099 in Jerusalem in the name of ‘the Church’.

1102: Anselm writes the first defence of the filioque heresy ‘against the Greeks’.

1123: The First Lateran Council forbids clergy to be married. Beardlessness, which came from Roman paganism and homosexuality, is also enforced as a sign of this celibacy.

The above are just a few dates which illustrate the process of the falling away of Orthodox Christians from the Church in parts of Europe between the eighth and twelfth centuries. There are many more, but they would almost all fall within the same 350 years. Other changes, like Purgatory, invented in 1164, came later. For example, it was not until the 13th century that the Popes changed their title from ‘Vicar of St Peter’ to ‘Vicar of Christ’ and in the same century babies began to be deprived of chrismation and so of communion. Another instance is the reversal of the way that Christians have always made the sign of the cross which began after the 12th century, even though Christ sits on the right of the Father, not on the left.

Q: If, as you assert, Western Europe was fundamentally Orthodox in the first millennium, how did it get into a situation of creating colonial genocide and producing world wars?

A: The short answer to this is because anyone can lose their faith and so can go from Christianity to anti-Christianity. (Look at the now suspended Protodeacon Andrei Kurayev – who wants to be taken into the Phanar – or Fr Cyril Hovorun, as contemporary examples and dire warnings). This happened in the Soviet Union – most members of the Red Army (and of the White Army) were composed of baptised, but not practising, Orthodox, and so they killed each other. A non-practising Christian is but an empty shell, a house of cards, always ready to collapse into practical atheism, as we can see in the contemporary civil war between (baptised Orthodox) Ukrainians today.

Here is a more detailed answer as regards Western Europe:

In the first millennium, Western Europe was poised on a knife-edge between its old, native paganism and the new Orthodox Christianity coming from the East. There were three such pagan influences. They were those of the Ancient Greeks like Aristotle, with his profound racism (only Greek speakers are civilised, the rest are ‘barbarians’ – what today’s atheists Greeks or Hellenists confess), sexism and the justification of cruel slavery, the second was that of ruthless pagan Roman imperialism and conquest, and the third was that of Germanic (first Teutonic, later Viking-Norman) heathenism.

After 250 years of martyrdom, there opened a golden age of holiness between the fourth and eighth centuries, ‘The Age of the Saints’. However, then a 250-year-long decline began and in the eleventh century these forms of paganism finally triumphed over Orthodoxy. As the Roman Catholic historian Christopher Dawson wrote in his ‘The Making of Europe’ (P. 284) some ninety years ago: ‘There is no doubt that the eleventh century marls a decisive turning-point in European history – …..the emergence of Western culture’. In other words, this produced something called ‘Catholicism’, which was just a mixture of these three forms of paganism in a vaguely Christian wrapper. Everything in Catholicism, a local claim to universal empire to be enacted by violence (the definition of the post-Schism West), is Orthodoxy paganised.

Thus, Aristotle and what Roman Catholics like to call ‘Byzantine humanism’ (= Hellenist paganism) dominated the intellectuals (scholastics) like Thomas Aquinas, for the West failed to conquer pagan philosophy with Christ. Roman imperialism dominated the papal administration from Rome, for the West failed to conquer Caesar with Christ. The shock-troops or implementers of this pagan mentality were the thuggish Viking-Norman-Teutonic knights, as can be seen in the Crusades, for the West failed to conquer brute-force with Christ.

It was precisely the combination of all these three influences that triumphed over Christianity (Orthodoxy) in the West, whittling it down to the few sad fragments that remain outside the Orthodox Church today.

When you read the accounts of atrocities of the Normans in England (and later in Wales and Ireland), of the Crusaders or the Spanish conquistadors (whose almost total genocide (50 million dead?) of enslaved native Carribeans and natives of what became Latin America gave rise to the need to replace them with African slaves), of the ‘Wars of Religion’ in Europe (Cromwell, ‘God’s Englishman’, who slaughtered one million in Ireland for example), of the British genocides in North America, India and China (the ‘Opium Wars’ = British genocide in China), of the stories of the Belgian and German Empires in Africa, of the First and Second World Wars, of the Atomic Bombs, of the post-War Dutch genocide in Indonesia, of the French genocides in Indo-China and North Africa, it is clear that the second-millennium West was not Christian at all, but thoroughly pagan and barbarian.

It said: ‘We are the shock-troops of the civilisation of the Vicar (= Replacement) of God, we are God on earth, the Holy Spirit comes from us, all authority flows from us, therefore whatever we do is right, our God is on our side’. It had kidnapped what it imagined to be God, a white European man who sat in the clouds and blessed the genocide of all Non-Western Europeans.

This can also be seen in the later ideologies that justify Western racism, like Puritanism (‘only we are pure, the rest are savages and can be exterminated like wild animals’), Darwinism (‘the survival of the fittest’ = ourselves), Marxism (destroy everyone who does not agree with me) or today political correctness (= persecution and censorship). This is why although the Non-West has always quickly adopted convenient Western technologies, civilisations like the Christian (= Orthodox), the Muslim, the Japanese, the Indian, the Tibetan and the Chinese have never adopted Western religion. It is merely a religion that justifies organised violence. The West never won anything by asserting that it had a superior religion or values – which is why in the end it will fall, just as the other Western ideology of Communism has already fallen.

Q: What makes you show sympathy to Non-Western peoples?

A: Because I am not ‘Western’, that is, because I come from the English countryside, where the ‘Western’ Norman Yoke is still resented as the invention of the aristocracy imposed on us in and after 1066, who made London their capital (our capital, the capital of Alfredian England, will forever be Winchester). The word ‘Western’ is a construct, it is not a geographical term. Therefore I also belong to a Non-‘Western’ people, that is, the Old English people, just like all Non-‘Western’ peoples, Non-’Western’ whether in space or in time.

Russian History

Q: Why did contact with the West lead Russia into Communism?

A: All over the world, from Charlemagne who began the process in the late eighth century (German versus Saxon), to England in the eleventh century (Norman versus English), to the Crusaders in the Middle East (Papist versus Christian, Muslim and Jew), to the Spanish in the Americas, to the colonial scramble for Africa, Westernisation always causes genocide and a profound schizophrenic division in its victim-countries.

Thus, by the late nineteenth century, only six civilisations in the world were resisting Western colonisation and imperialism: the Russian, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Persian, the Ethiopian and the Thai. All were independent Sovereign Empires, centralised monarchies, not controlled by High Finance like the Western and Westernised world – all therefore had to be discredited and slandered as ‘autocratic and tyrannical’ and destroyed by the Mammonist West.

After extensive weakening by native but Westernised traitors, allied with Catholic Poles and then Lutheran Swedes, in the seventeenth century, Russian Christian Civilisation was later attacked successively by Napoleon’s anti-Russian multinational invasion in 1812, by the Franco-Anglo-Turkish invasion of Russia in 1854 in the Crimean War, in 1914 the First ‘World’ (= Western European) War, in 1941 in the Second ‘World’ War and in the Western Cold War after 1945, which finally bankrupted Sovietised Russia.

In the same twentieth century, the other Non-Western Civilisations were also undermined. The Persian Empire began its fall in 1906, the Chinese Empire fell in 1911-12, the Japanese monarchy was finally destroyed by Atomic Bombs (needlessly dropped, in part also to scare the USSR) in 1945, the Thai monarchy was Americanised after 1945, and in the twentieth century the Ethiopian was undermined first by Italian Fascists in 1935 and above all by Marxists in 1974.

In Russia the West first divided society into the pro-Western elite versus the Old Believer people, with whom we cannot but sympathise. In the 19th century this crystallised into the division of Westerners versus Slavophiles, in the 20th century into atheist versus people of faith, in the 21st century into oligarch-thieves and consumerists versus Orthodox. This is the same process as all over the world, where the elite is bribed into submission, its children ‘educated’ (= brainwashed) in Western institutions, and opposed to their own people, whose country and possessions are duly asset-stripped. The booty is shared between this local corrupt English-speaking elite (from Latin American drug barons to Filipino and Ukrainian gangsters – ‘oligarchs’) and Western ‘business’ organisations – which take the lion’s share.

Q: Modern Russia is no doubt a lot better than Russia under the yoke of the Soviet Union, but surely you would admit that it is not an Orthodox country?

A: Of course, it is not an Orthodox country. Since 1917 there has not been a single Orthodox country in the world. Only under the banners of an Orthodox Monarchy will Russia and the surrounding lands, which are dependent on it despite what their petty nationalists claim, rid themselves of the terrible spiritual disease of Western materialism, which has infected the whole world over the last 500 years and more. Regardless of whether it is called Communism or Capitalism, this pestilence says that the only important thing is money – Mammon. Our resistance to this disease, wherever we live and whatever our nationality, is the only seed of tomorrow’s certain Resurrection.

Art

Q: What should our attitude to modern art be?

A: This is a personal question. I am not sure that there is a general answer. I do not want to be moralistic and say that there ‘should be’ any attitude, I can only give a subjective response. This is only how I feel personally:

I really feel deep sympathy with Rachmaninov, who wrote of the post-Revolutionary world: ‘I feel like a ghost wandering in a world grown alien’. That is exactly my feeling too. Already before the First World War in Western Europe, Stravinsky and other modernist musicians had resurrected paganism. Artists had experimented with strange painting techniques, which expressed the disintegration of reality in tiny points, cubes, unnatural colours and jagged, dehumanised forms. All of them were merely expressing the ugly disintegration of their beliefs and values inside their disordered and distressed souls, the ugly disintegration which had come about through their loss of faith. The old Christian-based culture was lost to them and so they had founded the new atheist culture which underlay the ideologies and bloody wars of the twentieth century and all that followed it.

It seems to me that a believer may find ‘modern’ art (now over 100 years old) curious, interesting, even fascinating, but it is not the art which is natural to or expressive of a Christian soul.

 

On the Slaying of the Seven Fake Orthodoxies

Introduction

In nearly fifty years of association with Orthodoxy, I have seen how the devil can fake everything. This is because he is himself a fake: a fake god – though many still worship him. As ‘a liar and the father of lies’ (Jn 8, 44), he can most certainly fake every human activity, including faith. He can use faith to create fake faith. I have seen this in the seven types of fake Orthodoxy, the deviations which he creates and which I have observed. The first three are primitive deviations, the next two are psychological deviations and the last two belong to the more complex realm of delusional deviations. All of them have one thing in common: they provide no spiritual food at all and so the souls that follow these fakes die of the spiritual famine which they leave in their wake.

Three Primitive Deviations

These deviations are those which are chosen by those who live fleshly lives, the life of the body with its material interests.

The first type of fake Orthodoxy is nationalistic. This involves demeaning Christ to the level of flag-waving and attachments to this world. Beware of churches which proudly display national flags of any sort. They worship not Christ, but the Caesar of their State. This Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit, which is why it is ritualistic and superficial.

The next and second type of fake Orthodoxy is bureaucratic. This is linked to the first fake, inasmuch as it is political. This involves demeaning Christ to the level of paperwork and ‘protocols’, behind which the State bureaucrat with his Church title hides. This Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit, which is why it is cowardly and gutless.

The next and third type of fake Orthodoxy is diplomatic. This is linked to the first and second fakes, inasmuch as it is also meanly political and insincere. This involves demeaning Christ to the level of lies and compromise and the seeking of some worldly advantage behind the camouflage of Christ. This Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit, which is why it repeats the well-worn lie that all faiths are the same – which they are obviously not, for only one Faith comes from the Holy Spirit, Who comes forth from the Father.

Two Psychological Deviations

These deviations are those which are chosen by those who live emotional lives, the life of the feelings and the interests of the ego.

The next and fourth type of fake Orthodoxy is psychological, at worst psychopathological. In any case, it has nothing to do with theology. It involves demeaning Christ to the level of conforming Him to the ways of the (Western) world, with its calendar and all its other compromised values. It is the easy way out, the way of self-justification, for it means living a more or less effortless, secular life behind the mask of Christ. This Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit by creating a worldly, adaptationist, conformist Orthodoxy, a pseudo-Orthodoxy that swims with the secularist tide.

The next and fifth type of fake Orthodoxy is psychological, at worst psychopathological. In any case, it has nothing to do with theology. It involves demeaning Christ to the level of a personal psychological rebellion against the values with which those who confess it were brought up and then hating them. In this way it is also a form of self-hatred. Thus, it disobeys the commandment which tells us to love our neighbour AS OURSELF. This Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit by creating an extremist, aggressive Orthodoxy of hatred that is a negative anti-everything and is therefore not a positive love of Orthodoxy.

Two Delusional Deviations

These deviations are those which are chosen by those who live fantasy lives, the life of the brain and the interests of the fantasy.

The next and sixth type of fake Orthodoxy is an intellectual conceit. It involves demeaning Christ to the level of cold, bookish knowledge which is merely the arrogant delusion of the puffed-up mind, of ‘fleshly reasoning’, the pompous pretentiousness of those who can talk about everything, but know nothing and live by nothing. This Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit by creating fantasist philosophies and is therefore not Orthodoxy.

The next and final and seventh type of fake Orthodoxy is a pietistic conceit. This is linked to the sixth inasmuch as it comes from the brain and the imagination. It involves demeaning Christ to the level of delusion through spiritual pride, of the pseudo-ascetic, of the depressed, of esoteric exotica, pretending to be ’spiritual’, pretending to be what they are not, with spiritual pride and imagined superiority, condemning others as ‘not spiritual’, being full of pretentiousness, foreign words, dressing up in black like monks or nuns, play-acting, pseudo-holiness, obsessively and self-flatteringly claiming charlatans and frauds who deceive and mislead the simple as their ‘spiritual fathers’. This delusional Orthodoxy is deathly, for it kills the Spirit by pretending to be what it is not. It is therefore anti-spiritual, for the spiritual is always founded on the real, not on the imaginary.

Conclusion

If you are at any of the above stages or at any combination of them, you must renounce and kill this spiritual enslavement at once and move on to Freedom, to Real Orthodoxy, which is simple. It means loving God and loving our neighbour as ourselves, living in and according to the Church, following the Lives of the Saints, of the real holiness of those who really lived, who were incarnate in life, in the real world. Real Orthodoxy is not Death, but is Life itself, it is living in the Creator of Life, living in Christ, but that Life is reached only by first slaying in yourself the dragon of all these seven fakes.

 

The Limits to Destroying Freedom

As coronavirus peaks in many countries, despite the grim toll still having caused far fewer deaths than swine flu, the experiment to see just how far the globalist political establishment and their slavish media could go in destroying freedom forever is coming to an end. As the month of May and good weather approaches, the peoples of the Western world are revolting against imposed mass bankruptcy, forced unemployment and debt enslavement. The people have been deprived for long enough. Most of those whose deaths from old age and chronic illnesses were going to be hastened by the virus, as well as those in a few other tragic categories, have left us.

The question now is what will happen after this artificial crisis? Will freedom be restored? Or will all this be made into an attempt to take away human freedom permanently? Certainly, the media have been proved to be highly effective at zombifying large numbers of the public in several countries. However, it is also clear that their credit is now hitting an all-time low. Two or three months is as long as people will swallow lies for. Now we must beginning facing the future. The conditioning and ranting of the media with ‘it will never be the same again’ is not to be believed. We must take back our freedom.