‘Tell the people: Although I have died, I am alive.’
St John of Shanghai
Foreword: The War
Forty-five years ago I was told by one who could have known better that, as I had been waiting for years to join the Orthodox Church, I now faced a choice: I could either join the Greek Church of Constantinople or the Church of Russia; it was all the same. But only to him was it all the same, as, in spite of, or rather because of, his great intellect, he was spiritually confused. He lived in an alien compromise, washing his hands before the critical choice. I joined the Russian Church because, since the age of twelve, I had known through revelations to my soul that my destiny was most definitely in the Russian Orthodox Church. However crippled it may have been after 1917, I was destined to share in that agony, indeed, although it seemed foolishness to the Jews and to the Greeks alike, only by sharing in that agony could I hope to find my own salvation. I sensed even then that what he had told me was somehow untrue. At best it could only have been a delusion. It was not all the same – and recent very sad events have shown this to all absolutely clearly. Let me explain:
The Church is not to be found in a people who believe that it is a chosen people. Many Hebrews believed that they were the chosen people, but they stoned the prophets and crucified the Son of God. To this day many of their descendants reject Christ, some considering themselves superior to the rest of humanity. Then the Western European elite came to believe in their ‘exceptionalism’ (that is, their claim that they too were above God) too, all in order to justify their organized barbaric aggression. So a thousand years after Christ, they too fell away from the Church, rejecting the Holy Spirit and seizing control of the Church in the West in order to justify their conquistador power-grab. So, like pirates, they began persecuting us ordinary Christians and conquering the rest of the world by fire and the sword. Then their secularist descendants, in turn the Portuguese, Spanish, French, British, German and finally American elites, did exactly the same, demanding world hegemony (‘globalism’), also rejecting Christ because they consider themselves superior to the rest of humanity. (Hence their anti-Semitism: the other ‘chosen people’, the Jews, were rivals to them, therefore they had to be eliminated). In the Church there has now come the turn of certain Greeks, telling us that only they are Christians, that God speaks only Greek, and, as one very well-known Cypriot archimandrite told me, even that their pagan ancestors had prepared the way for Christ! Many Russians fell victim to the same delusion, in the same way believing in themselves instead of believing in God, taking communion only once a year. So they lost everything and overthrew the God-appointed Christian Emperor in 1917. Only through the blood of the New Martyrs and the tears and sweat of the New Confessors did repentance eventually begin to come to them.
All these ‘chosen peoples’ failed to understand that salvation comes only from the Heavenly Jerusalem of the Church of Christ through the Mercy of God and the Holy Spirit – not from some earthly ‘Jewish Rome’ of some mythical ‘chosen people’. For this reason, once I had chosen the Russian Church, I was to spend the rest of my life at war, in tireless battles, in unceasing strife, in the trenches, on the Western Front, fighting for real Christianity, for the real Russian Orthodox Church, together, of course, with many others. We all fought against the narrow-minded, nationalist delusions and impurities of those who had lost the big picture, who could not see the wood for the trees. They told us that only Russians could be Orthodox, that only their own exclusive little fragments of the great Imperial Orthodoxy, which had not undergone the blood, tears and sweat of others, could be right, that God’s Church needed ‘saving’ or ‘reforming’ (naturally, by themselves!). Some of them even persecuted and took to court as a common criminal the greatest saint among them all, St John of Shanghai. Little wonder that the Lord sent me to a military Church. I never sought any of this; it was all imposed on me. My soul would have died had I not taken part in this spiritual warfare. My life has been unceasing warfare in four battles, all fought beneath the Protecting Veil, which my patron-saint saw and which is the only reason why I am still alive.
My first battle was to take part in the struggle to help free that small part of the Russian Church Diaspora in England, which was dependent on Moscow, from spiritual impurity. After nine years, by 1983, I realized that I would fail in this. It was a task quite beyond me, with my very feeble abilities and from my modest, provincial, rural background; the enemies were invested with the strength of a personality cult, with all the authority of men and their city establishments, they had no time for a ploughman’s grandson. I was knocking my head against brick walls. So I left into exile, seeing my limitations. I understood that it would take far-reaching political changes inside Russia and indeed the departures or deaths of some outside Russia before this battle could be won (I did not know then that this would mean twenty-four years). Victory was inevitable, but only God Who created time, could in time bring the victory. My battle had been premature. By myself I could do nothing. It was good for me to know this.
My second battle was to take part in the struggle to help free that small part of the Russian Church Diaspora, which was dependent on Constantinople (Rue Daru), from spiritual impurity. I fought in Paris and thought that this battle was winnable. It was – almost. However, after six years in 1988 there came a turning-point when I saw that I would fail in this battle too. The intrigues of freemasons in high places meant that I could not help win this battle – all my friends were in low places. I knew then that this Paris group would eventually (I did not know then that this would mean thirty years) disappear into spiritual irrelevance. Those who had betrayed the Tsar and made him and his Family into martyrs had also betrayed the Church. So I left, having understood that here too it would take far-reaching political changes inside Russia and indeed the departures or deaths of some outside Russia before the battle to bring even a part of this group home to the Russian Church could be won. Victory was inevitable, but only God Who created time, could with time bring the victory. My battle had been premature. By myself I could do nothing. It was good for me to know this.
My third battle from the first day of 1989 onwards was to take part in the struggle to help free that part of the Russian Church Diaspora, which was dependent on New York (ROCOR), from spiritual impurity. Here there was a much greater chance of success, for the contaminating Protestant disease of ‘super-correctness’ (as another disciple of St John of Shanghai called it), with its ignorance, phariseeism, extremism, sectarianism, old calendarism, psychological (not theological) deviations of convertitis and Cold War money, had many opponents in the USA itself and even more in Western Europe where I was fighting on the Front. And above all, my Diocesan Archbishop supported me and I supported him. The ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva, a spiritual son of and the European successor to St John of Shanghai, was in effect the first real Orthodox bishop I had met. We had an identical understanding of the Church. By myself I could do nothing, but now I was far from being alone; I was simply one of very many, a little cog in a large machine. I did not know then that this struggle would take eighteen years, for only in 2007 did the Church win the day. I was taking part in our first victory, together with millions of others, in the Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors, to which I had always belonged in spirit. Only geography had ever divided us.
After the Three Battles
Once this battle, in which I had played only a tiny role, eventually from my provincial home-town, had been won by the many, especially by the bishops who had been inspired by the grace of God, I knew that the two other houses of cards where I had earlier lost the day would fall in their turn. I just did not know that it would take another twelve years. Between 2007 and today, in 2019, I have seen both these first lost battles won. History won them. What I knew in the past, that they would be won only in God’s own time, has come to pass. What we have fought long and hard for has been obtained. Thus, we now at last have for our Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland a bishop, pleaded for during over four decades. He is Orthodox, understanding the local language and people, not phyletist, venerating the local saints and not denying them, missionary-minded like us, encouraging us and not destroying us, not under the control of laypeople, in good health, and who will be resident here in just a few weeks from now.
Secondly, the Russian Orthodox Exarchate of Western Europe, awaited for over three decades, was at last established in Paris only a few weeks ago. This means that our House will be built on rock, not on sand, and that the ‘Euro-Orthodox’ fantasy of the Paris Brotherhood is now dead. The future Local Church of Western Europe will be authentically Orthodox. For what we have sought for and fought for since 1988 now is. There is now a real Orthodox Exarchate for Western Europe, with many regional dioceses and young bishops, hundreds of parishes and several monasteries, venerating the local saints and not denying them, the foundation of the new Local Church. Led by Metropolitan John in Paris, who bears the name of our missionary father in Christ, St John of (Shanghai and) Western Europe and so continues in the tradition of Archbishop Antony of Geneva, it will of course need much more time to develop. It consists of the generally newer Russian Orthodox parishes of Western Europe, in many dioceses and with many bishops. However, alongside it and complementing it, also stand the two (Western European and German) dioceses of ROCOR, with their five bishops, two of them younger and active. This consists of the generally older, more integrated, Russian Orthodox parishes of Western Europe, a few of them until recently under Constantinople, but now at last come home. The two parts need each other and hopefully their bishops will meet regularly in order to help each other in their own joint Synod.
However, in this Year of the Lord, 2019, there is the last mystical battle (last for me) in the series of mystical battles in this Hundred Years’ War, which for a century has so deformed Church structures in the Diaspora. This battle is also against spiritual impurity, against masonic ecumenist and modernist intrigues. However, this last battle is the battle inside the Russian Lands, inside historic Rus’; it is therefore not a local battle for English, French and American Rus’ in London, Paris and New York, for part of the small Russian Diaspora, it is a general battle which concerns the whole Church. This is taking place today in the Ukraine, but it affects all. For the Church is the mystical centre of the world and it is the Ukraine which is now the mystical centre of the Church. And this is why we have come here now, sent to fight from the Western Front to the Eastern Front. All will stand or fall by their attitude to what is happening in the Ukraine today, to this battle between Christ and Satan. Whose side are you on?
The Fourth Battle
The internal administrative centre of the false Orthodoxy against which I fought in all our four battles, was formed in Istanbul a century ago. It came into being only because of the long-planned overthrow of the restraining protection of Imperial Tsardom. However, the Western disease which had overthrown the Christian Emperor and so the Christian Empire and then brought that centre into being had already infected Russia and elsewhere before that. For the disease contaminated all nationalities, including many in the Russian Lands and from there in the Diaspora. The disease came to be called renovationism and the renovationists were keenly supported from Istanbul. Today it has become crystal clear that the whole of the supposed Orthodox world has now to side either with real Orthodoxy or else against real Orthodoxy. The time of reckoning has come; the time of compromise is over. No-one can stand by any longer with the indifference and conceit of Pilate. Even though this battle is of exactly the same nature as the series of three battles which we fought in the Diaspora before this one, now it is not the Diaspora, but the Ukraine which is the sword that divides. The battlefield has changed to the Ukraine, but the battle is the same one; it is the battle for spiritual purity, for canonicity, for real Orthodoxy.
Gradually, over the last two months, one Local Church after another has decided to side with spiritual purity, canonicity and real Orthodoxy and so support Metr Onufry and the Church of God of the Ukraine. The rest of the Russian Church with ROCOR was the first to support him wholeheartedly. The Local Churches of Serbia, Bulgaria, Antioch, Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Cyprus, and unofficial but spiritually free (= non-political) voices in the Churches of Greece, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Georgia, followed. So far, thirteen out of eighteen Athonite monasteries have joined us. And a few days ago the episcopate of the basically Carpatho-Russian OCA (Orthodox Church in America), which had dithered for several weeks and where some had for years even been threatening to desert the Church for Istanbul, decided the same. This is their spiritual victory and our very great comfort after decades of spiritual slumber, of wandering far from the Church with American phyletist delusions. It means that the little OCA is maturing, at last deciding to accept its destiny, abandoning its eccentric spiritual isolation and so finding its positive identity by returning to its roots under St Tikhon. Inspired by the breath of new life, it can at last begin to play a significant and fulfilling role as one of the component parts of the future, united, much larger, multinational Russian Orthodox Churches of the three continents of the New World, of the Americas and Oceania.
This leaves the episcopates of only two Local Churches, the large Romanian and the tiny Albanian, not politically free and sitting on the fence, paralysed like Pontius Pilate ‘for fear of the Jews’. They are silent, neither supporting nor rejecting, awaiting instructions from above on whether to support the petty nationalism of the phyletist schism of Constantinople or not. The false church in the Ukraine, founded by the US-backed separatists in Kiev, is officially under a certain Sergei Dumenko. He is actually a Vatican- and US-approved puppet-layman, therefore both pro-Uniat and pro-LGBT, and not a metropolitan, His false church has been seen to be without grace, without sacraments, without the Holy Spirit. His church is that of ‘the Ukrainian god’, as one Ukrainian minister has put it. His enthronement in Kiev six days ago was ignored by all the Local Churches. His so-called ‘Church’ is only a regime-manipulated charade of empty rituals, just another small ultra-nationalist organization – an absurd anachronism in this global world. It is supported by teams of police-backed Nazi bandits who intimidate and beat up Christians, because Nazis have no concept of the meaning of the word ‘Christian’. And these anti-Christian men of violence are directly supported by an alien and corrupt political regime in Kiev, supported by alien and corrupt regimes elsewhere, and, to their eternal shame, by Greek ‘bishops’ in Istanbul.
Afterword: The Victory
The decadent, self-appointed, Paris-School ‘theologians’ from the past slip away one by one. With them their secularizing ideologies from the past, Ecumenism (anti-Orthodoxy; against the Father), Modernism (anti-Sovereignty; against the Son) and Liberalism (anti-People; against the Holy Spirit), slip away into spiritual irrelevance. Their books of intellectual fantasy-philosophy are ready for the dust of forgotten library shelves. Those who frustrated, wasted, impeded and persecuted us for so many decades are leaving the stage and we are beginning to see the future clearly now. For the New Orthodox World (N.O.W.) is taking shape. The New Orthodox World (NOW) is led not by anachronisms, relics from the past in cities of empires which have not existed for centuries, but by vibrant and missionary multinational Local Churches, Autonomous Churches and Exarchates worldwide. These are not narrow and corrupted nationalist museums for State rituals, flag-waving and cultural nostalgia or the playthings of disincarnate but very aggressive, politicized and politically correct, liberal intellectuals, but living organisms, cleansed to prepare us all to meet the King before He returns in all His glory. And in the New Orthodox World, NOW, there is the Heavenly Jerusalem of the Church of Christ, awaiting Him and resisting the Enemy of Mankind, who comes before Christ in order to create disunity, disorder and distress among us.
The death-threat which I received three years ago, sent me because the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, did not stop me or deter me for a single second. In a dream, come to me after receiving that death-threat, I opened my front door and saw an agent on my doorstep. He at once fired his revolver at me, but the bullet rebounded off my priest’s cross, killing him instead of me. He fell to the ground and his corpse was dragged away to a waiting car by his colleague, who in fear and astonishment uttered powerless curses. I left and hid in a secret and remote place where I could not be found. I was rescued by the prayers of one who long, long ago had also taken refuge in such a place and I was taken to a faraway land. I have never paid any attention to dreams, especially such dramatic ones, but I remembered this one. However, I only really understood its meaning and symbolism on my first day here. It means that, like all of us, I will die when God decides, not when men decide, for though man proposes, God disposes. It means that the bullet rebounds, for if men want to kill the truth, they kill only themselves (exactly as they have done for the last one hundred and five years, with their atheist wars, one after another). And those who try to kill the Church in the Ukraine are committing spiritual suicide; indeed, their death-bearing bullet has already lethally rebounded onto themselves.
Victory has been ours in the Diaspora, because we have been willing to die for the Church of God and our enemies have not – because they are inherently attached to this world and so fear death which is of this world. Victory is ours in the Ukraine, because we are willing to die for the Church of God and our enemies are not – because they are inherently attached to this world and so fear death which is of this world. This is why we shall win this last battle now – because we do not fear death, for we believe and we know that Christ is the Life-Giving God, Who rose from the dead and freed the captives in hell. They, however, have only heard of the Risen Christ as a theory and symbolic myth for their heads. They believe it not in their hearts. Therefore their heads, like their lives, are full of the philosophies and works of death. But we do believe and we know and we tremble in awe before the Living God, Who is the Great God, Who works wonders and Who is with us, so that none is against us. Let the dead bury the dead. As for us, we shall not die, but live, and we shall declare the works of the Lord. The Lord is our Enlightenment and our Saviour, whom then shall we fear?
Archpriest Andrew Phillips
Kiev, 1-8 February 2019
The new ‘Metropolitan’ of the graceless State Church in the Ukraine, the US ‘divide and rule’ stooge ‘Epifanij’ Dumenko, ordained by a defrocked and anathematized married bandit ‘Patriarch’ from whom he accepts his orders, awaits his papers in Istanbul on 6 January. He has already promised to force the faithful to adopt the papist calendar and then unite with the Uniats, like the Phanar and the Vatican. All this has cost the US taxpayer, who loves freedom and democracy, a bribe of $25 million to set up this farce. But the new Poroshenko nationalist ‘Church’ duly exists with several hundred adherents and at least two church buildings which imitate the rites of the Orthodox Church.
In the city of Vinnitsa in central Ukraine, civil servants paid by the Poroshenko regime, have been told that they must, by Sunday rota, attend the only church under Dumenko there, as it has been deserted by the faithful. Other faithful are being ‘interviewed’ by the dreaded CIA-trained Kiev Secret Police, the SBU, to find out why they refuse to attend. Poroshenko, the founder of a nationalist Church by bloodshed, is indeed worthy of the bloodthirsty tyrant Henry VIII. Thirty years ago, under the Ukrainian Communist Party, if you went to church, you lost your job. Today, under the Ukrainian Fascist Party, if you do not go to the ‘right’ church, you will lose your job. How times change!
Just today the Ukrainian Parliament has ordered the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to change its name to ‘The Russian Orthodox Church in the Ukraine’. This means that all the over 12,000 churches must be re-registered – which will give the Kiev regime the chance to take them away from the faithful. Persecution is intensifying under US aegis. Perhaps the Ukrainian Parliament could also order the Patriarchate of Constantinople to change its name to ‘The Patriarchate of Istanbul’? And perhaps, in reply, in Moscow a Synod could change the name of the Patriarchate of Moscow, which is associated with the Soviet period, to ‘The Patriarchate of New Jerusalem and All Rus’?
However, there is a serious side to all this provincial buffoonery, which is worthy only of a Balkan farce. The clownish attempt by Istanbul to kidnap the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church because it has virtually no flock of its own has an alternative. If it wanted faithful for its fictitious empire, why did it not set out to convert Turks – or any of the other 7.5 billion people in the world who are not Orthodox, rather than concentrate on the 216 million who are? Of course, in fairness, we must ask the same question of the 13 canonical Orthodox Churches (there are no longer 14). Why are they not also engaged in mission with the 7.5 billion? This is the real shame.
‘Western Civilization? That would be a very good idea’.
Attributed to Gandhi
Western belief in the universality of Western culture suffers three problems it is false; it is immoral; and it is dangerous.
Samuel P Huntingdon, The Clash of Civilizations, Chapter 12
Introduction: The Christian World
The Christian (also called Orthodox) world covers nearly one seventh of the world’s land surface, numbers 220 million people, 3% of the world population, and is responsible for 6% of world economic output. The core country of the Christian world is the heart of the former Russian Empire, for the moment called the Russian Federation. Outside this core lie various provinces, for the moment cut off from the core by the Western Powers and their manipulations of the petty nationalist vanities of traitors. These provinces are: the Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Greece, Belarus, Moldova, Bulgaria, Georgia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Cyprus. However, millions of Christians also live in countries like the USA, Kazakhstan, Germany, Syria, Poland, Italy, France, Latvia, Australia, the UK, Slovakia, Albania, Kenya and Israel and are scattered in smaller numbers through almost every country and continent in the world.
The Non-Christian World
Our Christian Civilization, often called Orthodox, that is, Orthodox Christian, confesses in our sign of the Cross the Holy Trinity and Christ, True God and True Man. This is unlike the ex-Judeo-Christian and now atheistic Western world, also called Euroamerica. This apostatic world has not in fact confessed the real Holy Trinity for a thousand years, abandoning Christ for humanistic self-idolization and spreading the mythology of its imagined superiority throughout the world. As a result it has ever since aggressively invaded and greedily raped the rest of the world through organized violence. This barbaric violence, from Charlemagne’s slaughter of the Saxons in 782 to that of the Teutonic Knights, from Hitler’s Blitzkrieg to Rumsfeld’s ‘shock and awe’, has known no bounds, as also its greed, from that of the bloodthirsty Crusaders to the sadistic conquistadors of Columbus, from Clive of India to De Beers.
The Great Deviation
Some may criticize and say that even many in the Christian world do not confess the Holy Trinity and Christ: they point to endemic corruption, high abortion and divorce rates or widespread addiction to various drugs. Of course, they are quite right in this respect: in the Great Deviation of the Twentieth Century, that catastrophic aberration of the Western and Westernized elite which cost hundreds of millions of lives of many peoples, the Christian world was overthrown by apostasy and nominalism. However, by the grace of God, it has over the last generation begun its repentance and so its slow return to the Father. Although there is very far to go to the Father’s House, its general direction is diametrically opposed to that of the Great Deviation, when it abandoned its values for the mess of pottage promised by the Apostatic West, which today is ever deepening its atheistic aberrations.
A Destiny and a Struggle
As an Orthodox born and living in the West, it has been my destiny and the struggle of my life to fight for the civilizational values of the Old West, of the Holy Trinity and of Christ, True God and True Man. These values are essential to our conscious Christian world. We have had to oppose Western cultural arrogance and hubris and today its Trotskyite globalism, which has made the West hated by all. This is the result of the terminal moral decline of the West, come about through its rejection of real Christianity, which stood at its own roots a thousand years ago, as we have described in detail over the last 45 years. We have always fought against our external enemies, the secularism inherent in and inherited from the Papal-Protestant roots of the Non-Christian West, as well as the illusions of the Non-Christian East. However, our greatest struggles have always been against our internal enemies. Who were they?
For the Faith
Firstly, we have had to fight for the purity of the Christian Faith against venal conformists, both Soviet and Western. The Soviets said that there is no God and that therefore all was permissible, the Westerners said that there is a God, but He supported their aggressive violence, rapacious greed and hypocrisy, telling them, for example, to invade oil-rich Iraq. There were internal enemies who went along with these out of treason, cowardice and deceit. The treason was that of those who said that they were Christians but, taking advantage of the paralysis in Moscow, in fact behaved immorally, all being permissible, and so persecuted us. The cowardice was that of those who feared not God, but feared their Western-controlled authorities, and so persecuted us. The deceit was that of those who said that they were Christians, but so lacked love that they supported the enemies of Christ and their vices, and so persecuted us.
For the Christian Empire
Secondly, we have had to fight against those who wanted to deny that Christ is True God and True Man. Denying that Christ is True God, the first wanted to secularize and humanize His Body, the Church, making Her into some petty nationalist mascot, no more than a national flag. Failing to understand that the Church of God is international and universal, they tried to provincialize Her, making Her parochial, instead of accepting Her as Imperial. These vain and weak people were played off and ego-flattered by US ambassadors in the Balkans, who, dividing and ruling, appointed their patriarchs and so created schisms. Denying that Christ is True Man, the second ones we had to fight against were those who wanted to disincarnate His Body, the Church, making Her into a dreamy, impractical philosophy, an irrelevant intellectual conceit, not the fire in the belly of the Church of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
For the Emperor
We have fought for the purity of the Christian Faith, resisting the treason, cowardice and deceit of external and internal enemies. We have fought for the Incarnation of the True God and True Man, the Christian values which result from the fact that, although we are not of this world we are in the world, so justifying the future restoration of the Christian Empire. Thirdly, we have also had to fight for the Emperor. In this matter we have had to fight against those who want to deny that the Holy Spirit comes to earth to inspire the representative of Christ on earth, willed into being by the Faithful People of God. This is why we have defended the last Emperor from the widespread calumnies against him. And this is why we explain why we await the next Emperor. He is vital, for He is the future Emperor who alone can resist the Western preparations for the Antichrist and so can delay his coming.
Conclusion: To the Future
Euroamerica has ignored the common sense advice of its own geopolitician Samuel Huntingdon. Some 25 years ago he pleaded with the West to abandon its hubristic arrogance and recognize that its ‘civilization’ of ‘organized violence’ is not at all universal. Its atheistic materialism is not ‘the end of history’, as the foolish and deluded Fukuyama proclaimed after the end of the Cold War. Since then the West has destroyed itself under the fantasist neocons who want to take over the world. In Iraq in 1991 and 2003 it finally lost the Muslim world, in Georgia in 2008 and in the Ukraine and in Syria in 2014 it made an enemy of Russia, in 2016 of Turkey, and so has allied Muslims, Orthodox and Chinese against itself. It is now itself splitting apart, with Brexit, Trump and the fault-lines of the EU and the USA, as the West falls into the abyss of its own moral depravity, caused by its millennial rejection of Christ.
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The wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand; but those who are wise shall understand.
Daniel 12, 10
There exists over a century’s worth of ridiculous articles, books and films slandering the Orthodox elder, prophet and new martyr Gregory Rasputin. These hundreds of works are based on atrocious vilification and blatant lies, for the purposes of self-justification, which initially permitted the illegal seizure of power in Russia, and later of sexual titillation and lurid sensationalism in order to satisfy money-grubbing greed. As an example, one relatively recent work, claiming authority!, ‘The Last (sic) Word’, written by the Soviet playwright, Edvard Radzinsky and published in 2000 in this country, is just more pulp fiction mascarading as pseudo-scientific history. It too was duly translated into various Western languages to titillate those who want more salacious, tabloid-style stories and earn the publishers and author millions.
However, since 2000, serious works in Russian, the untranslated seven volumes by Sergey Fomin and the untranslated studies by Alexander Bokhanov, Yury Rassulin, Igor Evsin, Tatiana Mironova and Oleg Platonov, all serious historians and researchers, have disproved the conscious and unconscious slanders against Gregory Rasputin-Novy. The figure of St Gregory the New, venerated by the holy elder Nikolai (Guryanov), has now emerged and we are able to establish the details of his martyrdom. In this we have been helped, strangely enough, by two English writers, Andrew Cook (1), an investigative journalist, and Dr Richard Cullen, a former expert in forensics with the Metropolitan Police (2), who have both exposed the involvement of British spies in the torture and murder.
Although both non-Russian speakers and so both naively and ignorantly repeating the absurd background slanders against St Gregory, their interest has mainly been in official British involvement and the details of his appalling torture and murder, carried out by a ruthless British spy with the help of decadent Russian traitors. And that is new. Thanks to their investigations, we now know almost exactly how in the last hours of his life on earth Gregory Rasputin was tortured, who tortured and killed him and why. In reality, the first murder of the so-called ‘Russian Revolution’ was committed by a British secret agent. Let us sum up the still unchallenged and perhaps definitive findings of Cook and Cullen about Gregory’s last hours on earth in Petrograd, today’s Saint Petersburg.
According to eyewitnesses, Gregory was picked up from his flat at 64 Gorokhovaya Street in the then capital by the fabulously rich, Oxford-educated Prince Felix Yusupov around midnight on 16/29 – 17/30 December 1916. He left with him in a car driven by another plotter, the Polish Dr Stanislav Lazovert. He was taken to the Yusupov Moyka Place, having been enticed to a meeting in a basement dining room there, chosen as it was virtually soundproof and would muffle any noise. Apart from Prince Yusupov, a bisexual transvestite and occultist, also present were Grand Duke Dmitri Romanov, also a notorious and amoral loose liver (later known for a relationship with Coco Chanel), a vulgar, anti-Semitic politician called Vladimir Purishkevich, an army officer and friend of Yusupov called Sergey Sukhotin and a British spy called Oswald Rayner.
Rayner had been a close friend of Yusupov in Oxford in 1909. He had studied modern languages at Oriel College from 1907-10 and Yusupov had studied Fine Art for four years from 1909-1913 at nearby University College, where he had taken drugs. They may have been involved in a homosexual sex affair with each other, as is common in the British Establishment and is today the pride of its secret services (3). After Oxford Rayner was eventually to become one of four British spies working for the SIS (4) in Petrograd. The others were the head of the SIS in Petrograd, Samuel Hoare (later a discredited, Fascist-appeasing Conservative politician, who became known as Sir Samuel and Viscount Templewood), who was a friend of the equally unscrupulous Purishkevich, and two lesser British agents, John Scale and Stephen Alley, also involved in the plot to murder Gregory.
Once at the Yusupov Palace after midnight on Saturday 17/30 December, Gregory was given wine to drink and plied with cakes laced with tiny amounts of potassium cyanide. The dose was incompetently administered according to the study by Alexander Bokhanov and so weak that Gregory suffered at most a minor headache and stomach-ache. So he was tortured by the professional sadist Rayner, leading to ‘a slow, lingering and painful death’ (5) in the basement room. Firstly, he was attached with a garrotte around his neck, either seated or else spread-eagled against a wall (5). His face and body were then beaten with a cosh, with which his genitals were also crushed, which must have been agonizing. He was also knifed in the left side and at some point his right eyeball was gouged out, an injury probably caused by Yusupov’s shoe.
After these tortures, carried out at about 2.30 am and in any case not later than 4.00 am on Saturday 17/30 December, Gregory was shot three times. This was done at point blank range, from less than eight inches (20 cm). One shot went through his stomach and liver and the other was fired from behind the kidney. These were fired from two different weapons, possibly from a Browning by Yusupov and a Sauvage by Purishkevich (Grand Duke Dmitry swore an oath that he had not killed Gregory). These wounds did not stop Gregory from trying to make the sign of the cross (the fingers of his right hand were set in this pose) before a fatal third shot, from a .455 Webley, standard British issue, a smaller calibre weapon than those used for the first two shots, was fired at point blank range into his forehead. This killed the prophet Gregory outright. It was the feast day of the holy prophet Daniel, a quotation from whose book (Dan 5, 30) was later found in the house where the Tsar and his family and servants were martyred eighteen months later.
Gergory’s body was covered in a cloth, variously described as a curtain or a robe, the legs and arms tied with rope and then wrapped in Gregory’s beaver fur coat, which could not be disposed off otherwise. It was taken by the driver Lazovert, Rayner and probably other conspirators, either British spies or else Sukhotin, through the secluded rear entrance of the Palace and bundled into a car, no doubt the same one as before. This was driven to the nearby Bolshoy Petrovsky Bridge near Krestovsky island, where the body was thrown into a large ice hole, no doubt reconnoitred beforehand, in the Malaya Nevka river, which flows into the Gulf of Finland. On being thrown into the river, the body bounced off the fourth bridge support, which further injured the head, and an overshoe fell off onto the ice. The flow of the water should have carried the body away, ensuring that it disappeared for ever. It did not.
That it did not, that no weights were attached to the body and that human blood was found on the parapet of the bridge and an overshoe on the ice were all basic mistakes of the conspirators. In reality, thanks to the finding of the blood, the overshoe and the bad choice of site, the body was recovered by the river bank just two days later, on the morning of Monday 19 December 2016/1 January 2017, only some seventy yards from where it had been thrown in. In Western countries it was New Year’s Day 1917. Meanwhile, Purishkevich and Romanov stayed in the Palace, toasting one another, and cleared up the mess, also shooting a Palace dog. This was done so that the corpse of the dog would explain away the noise of the first three shots that had killed Gregory, in case they had been heard and any possible traces of blood. All the above is a reconstruction from the Russian autopsy and modern forensic investigation of evidence and photographs of the corpse.
All of this had been a carefully and cynically planned conspiracy, with everything being prepared beforehand over several weeks, if not months. After the murder, Yusupov and Purishkevich both lied about what had happened in their conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Both of them had prepared fictionalized and dramatized stories in self-justification. These fabrications were related soon after the events, carefully concealing any British involvement, which would have ruined relations between Great Britain and Russia. So why was Gregory murdered? The classic excuse was because Great Britain feared that Gregory was advising the Tsar to conclude a separate peace with Germany. This of course was pure propaganda in order to justify the British murder and later coup d’etat. Gregory had no political influence over the Tsar, who had totally ignored Gregory’s request not to enter into the War in 1914. And in any case, the Tsar had never had any intention of concluding such a peace, as the British full well knew.
The real reason for the murder was that Gregory stood in the way of the overthrow of the Tsar and his replacement by Anglophile traitors from the House of Romanov, like the Grand Duke Dmitry who as a Romanov guaranteed immunity from prosecution for the murder, supported by equally treacherous masonic politicians in the Duma. Great Britain’s interest in murdering Gregory was that with the Tsar at the head of the re-equipped and reinvigorated Russian Army, Russian victory was guaranteed in 1917. Such a victory, from a British viewpoint, had to be stopped. Triumphant Russian troops liberating Berlin and Vienna from tyrants, the consequent control of all Central and Eastern Europe freed from Prussian and Austro-Hungarian tyranny by Imperial Russia, the long-awaited restoration of Poland, once most of its territory had been freed from them, and the Russian liberation of Constantinople and control of the Dardanelles (as perfidious Britain had agreed to on paper), were not in British imperialist interests.
This is why Britain freed the evil Trotsky from a Canadian concentration camp in April 1917 (6) and sent him back to Russia, as later Germany sent back Lenin and others, and why the anti-Christian and pro-Bolshevik (7) British Prime Minister Lloyd George had openly greeted the overthrow of the Christian Emperor (6) as the attainment of ‘one of our war aims’. (It was similarly acclaimed in France and the USA, which, opportunistically seizing its chance, entered the War immediately after the coup d’etat in Russia, which US citizens had helped finance). Indeed, according to the French ambassador, Paleologue, and many others, the overthrow had been carefully plotted by aristocratic Russian traitors together with the British ambassador, Buchanan, at the British Embassy in Petrograd.
The conspirators all believed that if Gregory, the ‘Friend’ of the Tsar and Tsarina, could be removed, then they could persuade the Tsar to abdicate and Russian domination of the Continent could be prevented. This had been exactly prophesied by Gregory and of course it is exactly what happened, for two months later the Tsar was overthrown in a plot, orchestrated by cowardly generals, treacherous politicians and deceitful Romanovs. This would extend the bloodletting of the First World War from three years to four and a half, costing directly millions more lives, not to mention tens of millions of lives later under the Soviet Bolsheviks and the German Fascists, who would never have come to power without the coup d’etat against the Russian Emperor.
In reality, the liberation of Eastern and Central Europe was achieved not by the Christian Russian Empire in 1917, but in 1945 by the atheistic Soviet Union, the Frankenstein monster of Lenin and Stalin created by the meddling, anti-Christian West. The torture and murder of Gregory Rasputin-Novy and all that followed lies like an impermeable bloodstain on the British Establishment which ordered and carried out his execution, a crime only recently exposed and which has never been officially admitted, let alone expiated. In the Great Reckoning that is to come, it would be well if the British Establishment made a beginning to its repentance now.
1. To Kill Rasputin, Andrew Cook, 2005
2. Rasputin, The Role of Britain’s Secret Service in His Torture and Murder by Richard Cullen, 2010
3. See for example: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mi5-named-uks-most-lgbt-friendly-employer-in-annual-stonewall-ranking-a6820261.html
4. The SIS (Special Intelligence Service is the British agency that does the dirty work (torture and murder) for MI5 and MI6. It still exists and is active. One of its ex-agents, a South African, told me in private conversation in 2012 that it commits up to 100 murders per year.
5. Cullen, P. 197
7. See for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lloyd_George#Prime_Minister_.281916.E2.80.931922.29
Answers to Questions from Recent Conversations and Correspondence
Q: When did you first become conscious of the Russian Orthodox Church?
A: My introduction to the Orthodox Church was through the local saints of England in my native north Essex, notably St Edmund, but also St Albright (Ethelbert), St Cedd, St Botolph and St Osyth. However, as regards the Russian Orthodox Church as such, my first encounter was almost fifty years ago, just after my 12th birthday, in August 1968. As a result of that revelation, I began teaching myself Russian in October of that year in Colchester because I already knew that the Russian Orthodox Church is my spiritual home. However, I had to wait nearly another seven years until I could take part in Russian Orthodox life, as in those days (it is not much better now) there were so few Russian churches anywhere. I only managed to visit any Russian churches in 1973.
Q: Which part of the Russian Church did you join?
A: Having been told by two of its members that the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) would not allow me to join it because I was English (I had no idea at that time that my great-grandmother was Russian, I only discovered that distant link much later), I had no alternative but to join the Moscow Patriarchate. They may have been many things in those distant days, but at least they were not racists.
Q: What was your path to the priesthood after that?
A: A very hard one. First of all, since I could not live and work in Russia on account of the Cold War at that time, for my first job I went to live and work in Greece. I thought that was the next best alternative. After a year there and visiting the then Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, I understood that the Balkan Churches were no solution to the need for a Local Orthodox Church in the West. They were all inward-looking, culturally very narrow and hopelessly nationalistic. Later, contacts with Romanians and Georgians told me the same about them and in the Romanian case there is the huge problem of simony. So, with Russia closed off, in 1979 with the blessing of Metr Antony (Bloom) I went to study at the St Sergius Theological Institute in Paris, which I had in my ignorance imagined to be a Russian Orthodox seminary.
Q: What was it in fact?
A: It was the remains of a Russian Orthodox seminary mingled with an institute of philosophy and, frankly, of heresy. It openly preached modernism or Renovationism, which is Protestant-based, and is therefore not even remotely interesting to someone coming from a country like England with a Protestant culture, so alien to me. One English priest, rather harshly, called St Serge a Methodist Sunday School. Very harsh, but there was some truth in it.
Q: Why did you not think of going to Jordanville in the USA?
A: For the same reason as before. I was repeatedly told by members of ROCOR that they only took Russians. Remember in those days there was no internet, no advice, you had to make your own way, you went by what local representatives told you, even if it was incorrect.
Q: What happened next?
A: In 1982 I was offered the priesthood by the Moscow Patriarchate on terms which I can only describe as scandalous. I walked out, never to return, and enquired again at the Church Outside Russia. I got the same answer as in 1974, though I noted that this time there were actually a few ex-Anglicans in a separate branch of ROCOR in England. However, these rather eccentric conservative Anglicans seemed to have no interest in the Russian Orthodox Church, but only in being anti-Anglican and they had a huge interest in fanatical Greek Orthodox sects. Never having been Anglican and having lived in Greece, I had no interest in either. This was all the more frustrating since ROCOR had just canonized the New Martyrs and Confessors and naturally I had their icons and venerated them. Nevertheless, in 1983, I decided to emigrate to France and join my wife’s jurisdiction, the Paris Jurisdiction.
Q: Wasn’t that foolhardy? I mean you already knew about the problem of modernism there?
A: What you have to understand is that in Paris in 1981 they had elected a new Archbishop. Under the very elderly and saintly old one, renovationists had come to the fore, taking advantage of his old age, but the new Archbishop promised us personally that he would sweep them away and return his jurisdiction to Orthodoxy and canonical Russian practice. So this was a time of great promise and even excitement. Patriarch Dimitrios of Constantinople even said at the time that the Paris Jurisdiction would be returned to the Russian Church as soon as it was free. So, with hope in a promising future, in January 1985 I was ordained deacon there.
Q: What happened next?
A: in May 1985 I was offered the priesthood providing that I would become a freemason. I refused, scandalized. Then we became witnesses to the complete takeover of the jurisdiction by renovationists. The new Archbishop ordained them one by one, completely breaking his promise – not because he was a liar, but because he was weak. It was the same problem as Metr Evlogy, the first Paris Jurisdiction ruling bishop; he had never wanted to leave the Russian Church, but he was a weak man surrounded by powerful laymen, mainly freemasons and those who had betrayed the Tsar and organized the February Revolution. It was the end of the possibility that that jurisdiction would ever return to the freed, restored and reunited Russian Church. But I only understood that the meaning of that bitter disappointment afterwards.
Q: Why did you not leave such a masonic group?
A: Not all by far were freemasons and I felt that I had to labour on until God’s will for me should be revealed.
Q: When was that?
A: Without doubt it was in summer 1988 when the Paris Jurisdiction celebrated the millennium of the Baptism of Rus. Instead of inviting the Russian bishops in Western Europe to the Cathedral on Rue Daru in Paris and returning to the Russian Church in unity, they railed against the Russian Church and invited the Roman Catholic Cardinal of Paris. I was not only scandalized but spiritually distraught. I was an eyewitness to treason and apostasy. It was the last straw. They preferred heresy to Orthodoxy.
Soon after, I met Archbishop Antony of Geneva of ROCOR, who told me that he would be happy to receive me and that I had no need whatsoever to labour on in such anti-canonical conditions. I jumped at the opportunity. 17 people left with me, including a priest. So we all joined the Church Outside Russia in January 1989. That was a transforming moment because previously I had only known the Church Outside Russia in England. On the other hand, Vladyka Antony, heir to Vladyka John of Shanghai, though traditional, was not racist or fanatical, but missionary-minded. He lived in a different world from the fanatics in England and we freely concelebrated with other Orthodox.
I remember him telling me about the extremists who were trying to take control of ROCOR in New York. He said: ‘But there’s nowhere else to go’. I have not the slightest doubt that he would have returned to Russia, if he had had the chance. I also remember conversations with him about Metr Antony of Kiev (Archbp Antony came from Kiev), whom he had known well in Belgrade and whose name he had taken. He was the real ROCOR. Real Russian Orthodox. At last. It had taken me 20 years to get to that point! 20 years of facing illusions, lies, broken promises and corruption. You would think it would have been easy, but nothing of the sort. All hell was against the Russian Orthodox Church, a sure sign of truth.
Q: What happened next?
A: Well, I was at last living as a proper Russian Orthodox. Nearly three years later, in December 1991 I was ordained priest for the new ROCOR parish in Lisbon in Portugal.
Q: What was your attitude to the Moscow Patriarchate?
A: We were all just impatiently waiting for it to become politically free and free of renovationism. That happened officially with the Jubilee Council in Moscow in 2000.
Q: So why didn’t the Church Outside Russia join up with the Patriarchate straightaway in 2000?
A: It is one thing to proclaim the truth at a Council, but another for the decisions of that Council to be implemented. For example, after that I can still remember how at the London Patriarchal Cathedral they refused to put up icons of the New Martyrs and also, incidentally, they refused to sell the books of Fr Seraphim (Rose) or anything traditional. Priests and people coming from Russia were persecuted by the renovationists because they were ‘too’ traditional. We had to wait for the Patriarchate to free itself from such Renovationism.
Also, it must be said, we had to wait until the fanatical elements that had done so much harm to ROCOR since they had started infiltrating the Church in the mid-sixties had left us. When the extremists did finally leave, almost at the same time, there was a huge sigh of relief, because then we could get on with being Orthodox. So it was we had to wait until 2007.
Q: How do you know that people are free of Renovationism?
A: Easy: The yardstick is veneration for the New Martyrs, especially the Imperial Martyrs. The renovationists hate them.
Q: How do you know that people are free of sectarian fanaticism of the sort you describe as having infiltrated ROCOR?
A: Easy: The yardstick is the willingness to concelebrate with other Orthodox Christians.
Q: What is going to happen in the future? At present there are countries like England where there are two parallel jurisdictions of the Russian Church, one dependent on Moscow, the other dependent on the Church Outside Russia?
A: According to the 2007 agreement, where there are two parallel jurisdictions, ROCOR should, in time, absorb the Patriarchal jurisdiction. This will probably take a generation, so that no-one will be under any pressure and everything will take place naturally, organically. However, in reality, already nine years have passed and we can see that in certain areas, like North America and Australasia, ROCOR will indeed clearly take over responsibility for those territories, whereas in other areas the Patriarchate will take over, as in South America, not to mention South-East Asia. The problem comes in the mixed area of Western Europe, including the British Isles and Ireland. In this area, only time will tell, clearly it is the more competent of the two that will take responsibility.
For the moment we shall lead parallel lives. There is in any case so much to do. I could start 12 parishes tomorrow, if I had the money to buy buildings and get candidates for the priesthood ordained. The state of Orthodox infrastructure and the general pastoral situation here are so appalling as to be scandalous; no wonder so many Orthodox lapse or become Roman Catholic or Protestant. All we pastors meet with is indifference. Those in authority should hang their heads in shame. Why is there not a church, our own property in every town over 100,000? This should have been done a generation ago. For example the teeming millions of London only have two small churches!
Colchester is the 50th largest town in England (and incidentally the 500th largest in Western Europe). It has a church that belongs to us. But want about the other 49 larger ones? Only five of them have their own churches: London, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Birkenhead-Liverpool. That is a scandal. There is no missionary vision at all. Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK with a population of two million. And where do the faithful of the Patriarchate have ten liturgies a year on Saturdays (that’s all the priest can manage)? In the Ukrainian Uniat chapel. The next time you hear some naïve Orthodox boasting about his Church, tell him that. Orthodox should be ashamed of themselves.
Q: So is there competition between the two parts of the Russian Church locally?
A: No, not at all. It all depends on who has the priests and the buildings. A concrete example. I was asked to visit a prison in Cambridgeshire. Now, since there is no ROCOR presence in Cambridgeshire (because through incompetence it refused to set anything up there in the 1980s), I gave the prison authorities the references of the Patriarchal priest who lives in Cambridgeshire. On the other hand, when there was question of the Patriarchate setting something up in Norfolk (it had lost what it had had there a few years before, also through incompetence), but knowing that ROCOR had a presence there dating back to 1966, it was referred to me. So here is a territorial division. Now, where there is a double jurisdiction, as in London (the only case), something will have to be sorted out. But, as you can see, that will be as a result of competence. Only time can settle such matters. The more competent part, the more spiritual part of the Russian Church will prevail and form a united jurisdiction.
Q: So there is no rigid territorial division in Western Europe?
A: No, nobody wants to impose such a system. Let everything be done freely, let the people choose. Though, having said that, we can observe a tendency for ROCOR to dominate in the English-speaking world. Canada, the USA and Australasia are clear examples. For example, with Archbishop Mark of ROCOR retiring to Germany and the ROCOR Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland being taken over by Metr Hilarion of New York, we can even talk about a sort of ROCOR Brexit. Metr Hilarion will in fact be Metropolitan of New England and Old England. That is an exceptional event, historically speaking, and may be significant, a turning-point.
So it is possible that in a generation from now ROCOR will only exist in the English-speaking world, but will unite all Russian Orthodox there. ROCOR will become ROCA – the Russian Orthodox Church in the Anglosphere. That is one quite organic and natural possible scenario, a united Russian Orthodox Metropolia for the Anglosphere, the English-speaking world. The Patriarchate will look after everything else in various Metropolias, in Latin America, in Alaska, in Western Europe, in Asia etc.
Q: So Western Europe would completely go to the Patriarchate?
A: That is the way that things are developing at the moment. All the young bishops and all the dynamism in the Russian Church there is Patriarchal. ROCOR only has three ageing bishops and is not opening any new churches.
Q: Is there a difference between ROCOR churches and Patriarchal churches?
A: I think there is a small one, in general. Strangely enough, ROCOR is at one and the same time more Russian, but also more local, more integrated. We have done the translations, we print in English, we speak the local languages and know the local laws, we were born here. At the same time, however, we are utterly faithful to the best of the Tsar’s Russia, never having endured the Soviet period and Renovationism. ‘To quote the saintly Metr Laurus: ‘We are for the purity of Holy Orthodoxy’. We are Imperial priests and people.
Q: What about your own relations with the Russian Church inside Russia?
A: We are very close to all those who are Churched in Russia and they feel close to us. For example, in Moscow one of the closest friends of ROCOR has always been Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov), whom some have even suggested will be the next Patriarch. (Bp Tikhon has been in the news recently, since he outraged the British Establishment by inviting students from Eton College to experience Christianity in Russia; not something the atheist Establishment likes). In general, those who especially venerate the New Martyrs and Confessors at once feel at home in ROCOR. I have this nearly every Sunday. People from different parts of Russia, from the Ukraine, from Moldova and elsewhere say that they feel at home, whatever the language, the atmosphere is like at home. In my native town of Colchester, that is a great thing that we have such an oasis of Orthodoxy.
Q: Who are the unChurched in Russia?
A: You find all sorts of people. There are those on the right hand side who mingle superstition with Orthodoxy, for instance, those ritualists who think that holy water is more important than holy communion, who mix in pharisaic sectarianism, puritanism and judgementalism, or, on the other hand, those on the left hand side, who mix in Soviet nationalism, love of the tyrant Stalin, or modernism. But all that is superficial, the majority make their way to the Church sooner or later. You do not waste time on the convert fringes of the Church – otherwise you might end up thinking that that is the Church! A terrible delusion!
Q: Why have you stayed faithful to the Russian Church despite all the difficulties that you have faced over nearly fifty years?
A: Because the Russian Orthodox Church is the Invincible Power. History since 1917 proves it. The gates of hell have not prevailed – and shall not prevail – despite all the enemies and traitors, both external and internal, we have faced. Judas betrayed, but the other apostles triumphed. So tragedy becomes joy. The stone that was rejected is become the headstone of the corner. Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!
As one US commentator has put it: ‘Two generations ago President Kennedy decided to put American men on the moon; today President Obama has decided to put American men into women’s restrooms’. In just two generations the Western world has gone from at least a cultural recognition of Christian values through indifference to active and hostile persecution. The last bastion of Christianity in the world today, under attack from the Western world for its adherence to Christianity and vigorous defence of Christian values, is Russia. With a Western-inspired civil war on its doorstep, as every day Christians are massacred in the Ukraine by the US-installed Fascist junta in Kiev, and surrounded by NATO forces threatening war, the battle for Christ is on:
From Recent Correspondence on Modernism
Q: What is modernism?
A: Modernism, often called renovationism in Russian, is merely secularization, that is desacralization, under the camouflage of the word ‘modern’.
Q: How did you encounter modernism in the Orthodox Church?
A: Between 1973 and 1980, I met a great many modernists: Intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals. First the Parisians living in England, then those in France itself, where Paris was the source of all the problems. In France in 1985 I also encountered freemasonry among such ‘Orthodox’ modernists. It was very widespread among them then and perhaps still is.
Q: So you met modernism very soon?
A: Yes, it was actually presented to me as the norm, as real Orthodoxy!
Q: But you rejected it?
A: I was seeking the source of the sacred, not the secular! So I instinctively and automatically felt that modernist Orthodoxy was a fake, not the real thing, but I also knew that from experience, my own and through having observed Church life, the real thing, in Russia.
Q: Which modernists did you meet?
A: The well-known names: in England, Nicholas Zernov, the then Fr Basil Osborne, Metr Antony Bloom, Fr Lev Gillet, Fr Sergei Hackel, Fr Nicholas Behr, and in France Fr Boris Bobrinsky, Fr Elie Melia, Olivier Clement, Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, Nikita Struve, Konstantin Andronikov, Fr Jean-Claude Roberti, Fr Jean Gueit, Fr Alexander Schmemann and many other lesser known names who simply followed the fashion that they set, including those active in Syndesmos.
I have to say that these figures are nearly all departed now, part of a generation that was deeply compromised by modernism. Indeed, I also met many who had personally known well those who had led modernism in the previous generation, for example Archbishop John (Shakhovskoy), Fr Nikolay Afanasyev, the former Marxists Fr Sergius Bulgakov and Berdyayev, Fr Paul Florensky, Yevdokimov, Fedotov, Zander, Zenkovsky, or Mother Maria Skobtsova. Many of them had relatives who disagreed with them completely.
Q: I notice that you have not mentioned two well-known members of modernist clergy in England.
A: There are two well-known exceptions because they are lesser, more subtle figures in modernism, shall we say, semi-modernist, that is, modernist under the cloak of traditional. One dead, one still alive, they belong to the ‘spiritual’ school of modernism, which is still popular and they are revered by naïve newcomers and all the Tradition-less.
It is important to distinguish between the different grades of modernism, from the primitive to the sophisticated. For example, I have seen Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein) mentioned as a modernist. I can see where that comes from (his interest in St Simeon the New Theologian and his ecumenical contacts), but he cannot be compared to the above.
Q: Why are such ‘moderate modernists’ revered?
A: As they say, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
Q: Did you meet Metr John Zizioulas?
A: Not then. I only met him about eight years ago.
Q: And Fr John Meyendorff?
A: No, I never met him, but he was among the more moderate, except on fasting.
Q: What was your reaction to all these figures?
A: I instinctively knew that they were wrong but at the time I could not explain why, because I did not have the tools or arguments from experience and from theological study to answer them. For example, I understood that their philosophy was characterized by pride, they all thought that they knew better than the Church. They were above the Church. And this pride was characterized by intellectual fantasies, the result of a lack of rootedness in reality and spiritual reality, the Tradition. And the characteristic of this was their inability to provide spiritual food. They fed the brain – to the point of their books and talks giving you headaches – but they were incapable of feeding your soul, leaving you dry.
Q: Why were there, and why are there still, so many modernists in the Orthodox Diaspora?
A: There were and are so many – relatively speaking – they are in fact very few, they just make a lot of noise – in the Diaspora because these people encountered the West directly and never having had any roots in the Tradition, they wanted to mix their superficial Orthodoxy with Western culture. Uprooted from an Orthodox context and denying monastic life, they did not want the spiritual purity of Holy Orthodoxy, but compromise, they wanted to swim with the Western tide. That is why all modernists are essentially ecumenists and secularists. They try to conform the Church to the world, instead of conforming themselves (the world) to the Church.
Q: And why was Paris the centre of modernism?
A: Paris was where the French-speaking aristocrats and intellectuals from Saint Petersburg who had carried out the Revolution under Western influence and with Western backing had chosen exile. A great many of them were freemasons, some, like Yusupov, had been very interested in the occult and hypnotism. Paris was the place of their exile, where they were called to repentance. In other words, this is where the most spiritually decadent Russians, nominal Orthodox, highly protestantized, in the sense of secularized, went to live.
There were two groups. First, there were left-wingers, like Bulgakov, Berdyayev and Mother Maria, but most were right-wing constitutionalists or republicans who wanted either the British model or else the French model of political organization. None of them of course wanted Orthodoxy. All broke away from the Russian Church and her liturgical and canonical disciplines, in other words, they broke entirely away from the Tradition. This they did on the pretext of seeking ‘freedom and creativity’! The saddest thing was that they did not understand repentance.
Q: Why did they not simply become Protestants or Uniats – that would have been honest?
A: Because they were pretentious, which is a disease of intellectuals. They wanted to be different and lord it over others through their ‘exotic’ differences. If they had simply been Protestants or Uniats, no Western-Establishment figures or ecumenists would even have looked at them, they would have lost their exotic tag and been forgotten as immigrants. But by setting up a Westernized branch of Orthodoxy, they attracted attention and admiration. In other words, they, or rather their descendants, were courted by those who wanted to destroy the very Soviet Russia which they had themselves created in 1917, in order to replace it with the sort of degutted Russia they did briefly create in the 1990s until the revival in 2000. For secularist Western Establishments they were all ‘useful idiots’.
Of course, these modernists were peddling a fake Orthodoxy, but Anglicans and others knew no better and gave these semi-Orthodox a false authority by buying their books and listening to their talks. If you say modernist things with a Russian accent, you are suddenly exotic and interesting. Some of these émigrés even faked Russian accents to sound more Russian! There was a lot of acting going on in order to hoodwink simple people, even hypnotism. If you look, you will see that almost all their books were bought and read either by Non-Orthodox or else by converts who knew no better.
Q: Why do so many intellectuals fall into modernism?
A: Because they live uprooted lives in their heads, and not their hearts. So they are prey to fantasies. If you are an intellectual type, you must have a strong spiritual or ascetic life to balance it out. For example St Justin (Popovich) was an intellectual, but it did not, forgive the pun, go to his head. So anyone can become a saint, even an intellectual, but such saintliness exists despite intellectualism, not because of it.
Q: What is the antidote to modernism?
A: First of all, let me say that the antidote is not the censorious condemnation and ritualism of the pharisees. That also comes from hardness and dryness of heart, lack of compassion. It fails to take account of the need for pastoral dispensation, true ‘ikonomia’. The first victims of modernism are the modernists themselves.
The antidote to modernism can never be in another ism, but in the Church. And that antidote is in seeking spiritual food, not intellectual food, and spiritual food comes from holiness, which comes from asceticism, which is exactly what the modernists reject. That is why they dislike people going to the sources in Eastern Europe and Russia, especially Mt Athos. In true Protestant style, modernists hate anything that is beyond the rational, mysterious. What can be more ‘irrational’ and mysterious than holiness? They lack the sense of the sacred.
Holiness is one of the four characteristics of the Church, which they reject, since they reject the Church. For them the Church is not One – there are many ‘Churches’; the Church is not Holy (which is why they desacralize everything), but to be reformed; the Church is not Catholic (in the Orthodox sense of being the same everywhere and at all times), because the modernists reject everything outside their 20th century mental ghetto; and the Church is not Apostolic, because they reject the Faith of the Apostles, the inherited Tradition. The antidote to modernism is in holiness, that is, in the saints.
Q: But some of these modernists were much interested in saints?
A: You have hit the nail on the head – ‘interested’ in saints. Interested in saints – how very fashionable! They were interested in the outward events in the lives of saints, but not in becoming saints. They intellectualized or externalized everything, making it abstract, into a philosophy – they did not live the Faith. Theirs is an outward or Uniat attitude to the Faith, which is of course why many of them had sympathies with Uniatism, like Solovyov did. They loved to talk about ‘techniques’, techniques of icon-painting, techniques of Church singing, techniques of celebration etc. These techniques they analyzed constantly. They spoke about hagiography – but did not want holiness. They spoke, they wrote, but they did not do, they did not fast and pray and there is no holiness without fasting and prayer.
Q: Do you think that modernism has a future?
A: Yes and no. Most of the well-known names of modernists belong to those who have died in the last 75 years, many in the last 25 years. And modernism is strangely old-fashioned in the present post-modernist world, which is characterized by cynicism. The only answer to cynicism is faith, not half-faith and half-faith is what modernism is: Halfodoxy instead of Orthodoxy. In that sense modernism is over because it has no answer to post-modernism, which it created. And yet it is not over.
For example, I remember the words of Metr Antony Bloom, when real Orthodox started coming to his church in London around the year 2000. They were naturally, like the rest of us had been decades before, very shocked by what they saw. He said that it would take fifty years to convert these people to Orthodoxy (that is, to his Bloomism). In other words, the truth is that it will take fifty years to convert the modernists to Orthodoxy. There is still the hangover from the past and it will take time for the vestiges of modernism to die out. In that sense, modernism is not over.
Q: Some would be shocked by your listing of Mother Maria Skobtsova as a modernist. She was canonized by the Rue Daru group with the blessing of the Patriarch of Constantinople.
A: As you know, that top-down canonization was controversial and you would be hard put to find a single icon of her even in any Greek Church in the world, let alone in others. In other words, her canonization was purely local and actually very political. Veneration for her simply does not exist in most of the Orthodox world, given her very strange life and anti-Orthodox writings. Having said that, however, we must say that in her concentration camp death, she, like millions of others, must have cleansed herself.
Q: So is she a saint?
A: I would say that her destiny has not been revealed to us. Let us remain silent. We do not know. We simply do not know the measure of her repentance in Ravensbruck. It may well have been deep and complete, as surely it was for millions of others. In the hour of death, people become realistic, which is why the memory of death is ascetically so important. Here we have a vital point. There is no place for personal dislike, still less hatred, for these individuals. Like the rest of us, they made their mistakes, it may be that many of them repented before the end, though of course the damage was done by then. We should pray for all of them. Some of them had good hearts – they were poisoned by their heads.
For instance, I remember Fr Alexander Schmemann, He was a charming and interesting man – though of course we agreed on nothing. But I still pray for him. Or there was Elisabeth Behr-Sigel the feminist Protestant pastor. She said appalling things about ROCOR, which just showed how ignorant she was of Orthodoxy. But I prayed for her when she died. Even though modernists persecuted us and slandered us, it is important to pray for them, not only does it help them, but it helps us too, it stops our hearts from growing hard. We must always pray for our enemies. We are Christians.
What is disturbing is that those who canonized Mother Maria canonized her not for her sacrificial death, but for her anti-Church musings – and that is not to venerate her, but to malign her. When people die, we should try to remember only the good things about them. Personally, I think her writings should be made secret because they are shameful, the fruit of someone who had not yet been converted from being a Social Revolutionary.
Q: What form does modernism take today?
A: Modernism now tends to have a more philosophical, ‘spiritual’ form, in any possible way so as to blur the clear and dogmatic. This is very cunning, as we have seen with the new documents for the Crete meeting next June (if it takes place). For example, in Greece, you have the case of the philosopher Yannaras, in Russia you have the case of the Kochetkovite sect, in Finland you have a very active group, including clergy, though they are so extreme that they are very isolated, even having abandoned Orthodox Easter. They go back to the notorious Archbishop Herman (Aav), and that continued through Archbishop Paul, Archbishop Leo and now Metr Ambrose. But this is purely modern Lutheranism.
Q: What are the themes of these modernists?
A: On the one hand, there are still the crude renovationist practices taken from 1920s Russia, where such modernism more or less died out under Stalin. Such practices include letting laypeople do the proskomidia in the middle of the church and generally desacralizing the services, which is an abandonment of the priesthood. Remember that modernism, as I said, is essentially secularization, the opposite of sacralization. So first it had to destroy the sacral Emperor (the Tsar), then their next task was to destroy the priesthood – equally sacral. Linked with this destruction of the priesthood are the many divorced and remarried priests among the modernists, the uncanonically ordained and all the anti-liturgical practices, which include shortening the services and introducing the so-called ‘new’ or Roman Catholic calendar, which has always been the first stage in falling away from Orthodoxy.
On the other hand, today, as a result of the tide of secularization or desacralization that the modernists have never been able to resist and even welcome, the latest fad among them is pushing to introduce female priests and homosexual marriage into the Church. The latter movement is strong in some of the parishes in Finland, which are basically Lutheran with icons. Of course, whenever there are homosexual clergy, that push is even stronger because there is self-interest, self-justification.
Q: Where is modernism in general strongest today?
A: Although there are the debased remnants in Europe in the ever smaller Paris Jurisdiction (all the big intellectuals are dead), and there are still those in the USA as well as in Finland, now there is a group of people connected with Fr George Kochetkov in Russia. The disgraced Protodeacon Andrei Kurayev is among them, and the murdered Uniat Fr Alexander Men still has a few disciples. Then there is the provocateur Fr George Mitrofanov, as well as Fr Alexei Uminsky. However, I think they were all stronger in the 1990s than today. They too are figures from the past and I think they will die out, like the others. Now we are in the 21st century, it is time to grow up.
Q: Given this continued modernism, aren’t you pessimistic about the future?
A: As regards modernism, our Christian life is a combat, a struggle, it always has been and always will be. We will fight these anti-dogmatic currents, just as we combated the old modernism. Thus, we, like all Orthodox, combat and reject the absurd documents prepared for the meeting in Crete in June. However, Christians are always optimists because however grim the situation is now, Christ will triumph at the end of history.
St Laurence of Chernigov (+ 1950) said:
When a little freedom comes and they open and restore churches and monasteries, then all sorts of false teachings will appear; demons and secret atheists (Catholics, Uniats, self-ordained Ukrainians and others) will take up arms and fight against the Orthodox Church of Rus, its unity and its catholicity with ferocity. A Godless government will support the heretics and so they will take away churches from the Orthodox and slaughter the faithful. Then a Metropolitan of Kiev (unworthy of the name) together with like-minded bishops and priests will shake the Russian Church to the core. His iniquity will frighten and amaze the whole world. He himself will go off to eternal perdition like Judas. However, all these slanders of the evil one and false teachings will disappear in Russia and there will be a united Russian Orthodox Church.
Elder Jonah of Odessa (+ 2012) said:
Troubles in a country smaller than Russia will come a year after my death. The troubles will continue for two years, after which a Russian Tsar will appear. The first Easter will be full of blood, the second of hunger and the third of victory.
Elder Gregory of Docheiariou, the Holy Mountain (21 March 2015)
Every Ukrainian must understand that if he wants blessings on his country, then you must kick out the Americans. Let Ukrainians rely on their brothers in the faith and in blood, the Russians. If you allow American interference in Ukrainian affairs, then your country will never recover. There is no need to kill your neighbour… how is this possible, brother killing brother? Today, we watch these developments with great pain. Docheiariou Monastery sends up many prayers to succour the Ukrainian people, to whom we as a monastery are very grateful.