Category Archives: Philosophy

2017: On the Spiritual Significance of the Church Outside Russia

On the eve of 2017, the centenary year of the catastrophic Russian Revolution and a decade since the triumphant reunion between the Patriarchal Church inside Russia and the emigre Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in 2007, we may wonder what will become of the heritage of the Russian emigration of 1917? After all, the generation of adults that emigrated into exile in and soon after 1917 has long since died out and we are now onto the generation of their great-great-grandchildren. In Church terms, this emigration, almost wholly rejecting the compromised authority of the then enslaved Church inside Russia, consists not just of ROCOR, but also of the small Paris splinter group. What will survive spiritually from the two parts of the Russian emigration?

The tiny Paris Archdiocese part of the emigration, perhaps 10% of the whole, survives. However, as a splinter group of dissident and disincarnate philosophers, intellectuals and aristocrats that went into schism from the Russian Church for political reasons 85 years ago, it has long been without Russian bishops because of its inherent anti-monasticism. It is tending to become a sub-group of untrained convert clergy wishing to become a tiny ‘French Orthodox Church’, though some in it imagine becoming a ‘Western European Orthodox Church’. But that is megalomania. The group often reflects Schmemannite modernism, ecumenism and liberal French Catholicism (i.e. Protestantism), having steadily abandoned the Russian Orthodox Tradition.

True, there are still a few faithful, Orthodox calendar parishes run by priests mainly imported from Russia and the Ukraine and some selected Russian customs remain, though with little understanding of their meaning. The tendency is to try and proselytize middle-class liberal intellectuals, sometimes with contempt for ordinary people, an ethos that also used to infect parts of the OCA in North America and renovationist groups in the Soviet-period Patriarchate of Moscow. The Archdiocese generally tends to cut corners, failing to observe the canons and attract cradle Orthodox, whom as a non-inclusive group it rejects. Certainly it attracts none who is anchored in the Tradition.

However, the overwhelming majority of the emigration, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), exists outside France and French philosophical intellectualism, mainly in North America, Australasia and Western Europe. As such it has from the start been responsible for much missionary and translation work in many languages. Without the protection of any State it has in its near-100 year history also been subject to many slanders, mockery and persecution for its faithfulness to the Tradition. It has often been the voice crying in the wilderness of Secularist materialism, whether Communist or Capitalist, witnessing and prophetically calling like the Forerunner and Baptist John to repentance before the apocalyptic events of the last century.

However, it is also true that in the past parts of ROCOR were also compromised and infected by Russian nationalism, excessive strictness to the point of negative phariseeism and depressing right-wing politics – some fringe elements were even so blind as to support Hitler. However, the best of ROCOR has been revealed as a Church of Confessors and Missionaries, as in its three saints: St Jonah of Hankou, St Seraphim of Sofia and St John of Shanghai. Moreover, further saints are yet to be revealed. Whatever the future shape of the present administrative structures of ROCOR, these saints have given ROCOR eternal significance, as only the saints can do, as everything else gathers the dust of history, being only passing fashion and political intrigue.

Ten years ago, in 2007, seeing the Church inside Russia at last free, ROCOR rejoined Her and in the last ten years the two parts of the Church have worked closely together. Some therefore ask why does ROCOR still exist? The answer is simple: we have a mission to witness to the Orthodox Truth specifically outside Russia. When in the past the Church inside Holy Rus was enslaved and fell silent, with the representatives of the Soviet-period Patriarchate abroad mostly abandoning ideals, sometimes disgracefully compromising themselves in renovationism, ecumenism and other ills, ROCOR spoke out. So also today ROCOR continues to proclaim outside Russia what the best of the rest of the Church proclaims inside Russia – the ideals of Holy Rus. What are these?

These ideals are Trinitarian, reflecting on earth the heavenly reality of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These Christian ideals can be expressed as: Faith, Throne and People, that is, the Orthodox Faith, the Christian Emperor, the Faithful. All three go together. If any one element is compromised, then all three are compromised. Thus, if we reject the Orthodox Faith, we do not build the Christian Empire among the People, as has happened in the Western world. If we reject the Incarnation of the Christian Empire, we fail to reflect the Faith in the Father and fail to preach the values of the Holy Spirit among the People, as has happened in disincarnate Parisian philosophy. And if the People lose the Orthodox Faith, there will be no Empire, as happened in 1917.

Just as we cannot have the Father without the Son and the Holy Spirit, so we confess all three of these ideals of Holy Rus together. This means that we are called on to proclaim the uncorrupted Orthodox Faith of the Church (the Father), the restoration of the Incarnate Christian Empire and Emperor (the Son) and that we call all the peoples of the world to join us (the Holy Spirit), as St Seraphim of Sarov prophesied nearly 200 years ago. These are the Trinitarian Orthodox Civilizational values of the Returning Christian Empire which is coming soon. Thus, we clergy and people of ROCOR are the free and conscious servants of the Faith and People of the Tsar-Martyr, called on to reverse the treason of 1917 and its disastrous worldwide consequences.

The Meaning of our Life is to Postpone the Coming of Antichrist

The last two weeks have brought a series of very important pieces of news.

Firstly, there has been the failed Crete meeting. Far from being a ‘Pan-Orthodox Council’, let alone the ‘Eighth Oecumenical Council’, it turned into disagreements about a series of narrow ‘Zizioulasisms’, philosophical modernisms approved by the US State Department that runs the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Many of the most respected bishops present in Crete, let alone those representing the other 80% of the Orthodox world and not present, refused to sign the documents proposed. This meeting, so secretive that most media were excluded from it, has no authority or acceptance anywhere in the monasteries and parishes in the real Orthodox world. The mismanaged forum, fortunately largely unreported by the mass media, turned it into little more than a damp squib. It does, however, mean that the Church has resisted the secularization that the powerbrokers of this world wanted to impose on Her, as they had imposed on the Vatican. She will not merge with the world in order to welcome the coming Antichrist.

Secondly, there has been the Brexit vote, the people’s bid for freedom from the dying European Superstate and the corrupt Unionist British Establishment which was so enthusiastic about the EU that it had imposed it on the people. And this was in spite of, or perhaps because of, the manipulation of the assassination that preceded the referendum. Some believe that other countries and institutions, even religious ones, may also wish to escape the straitjacket of the EU. Amid all the new opportunities this opens up there has, however, also been much insecurity and even panic and chaos. Freedom comes at a price. The whole UK political Establishment, as usual totally out of touch with the people it was supposed to represent, not least the Labour Party infiltrated and stuffed with careerist Blairite MPs, is being transformed with the resignations and eliminations of several well-known politicians. Brexit, so much resisted by the bullying of Obama and Merkel, has delayed the move towards One World Government by Antichrist.

Thirdly, there has been the long-delayed publication of the Chilcot report which makes clear that the whole of the British Establishment was guilty of the war crimes in invading and occupying Iraq. Its arrogance and hubris have been revealed for the whole world to see. This opens up UK responsibilities for other recent disastrous massacres and chaotic injustices in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine and the Yemen. In the Ukraine British Army equipment is now being used by the Kiev puppet regime in its massacres of the population in Eastern Ukraine. Moreover, the UK Establishment is actively participating in the meeting in Warsaw of the US-led and financed NATO. Russians nervously fear a NATO invasion, as German and other tanks once more mass on the borders of Russia, just as they did 75 years ago. If such a threat did take place, which does seem highly unlikely, it would be one step nearer the One World Government that the neocons in Washington have so ardently been working for ever since they came to power under Clinton in the 1990s.

Two steps forward, one step back? Perhaps. Perhaps there will be a real Orthodox Council that will reject the compromises of Crete. But perhaps not. Perhaps the elite will not allow the UK to leave the EU and the electorate will be browbeaten, bribed and blackmailed into voting again and again until it gets the ‘right’ result. But perhaps the Unionist EU – and the Unionist UK – will collapse and relatively soon. And perhaps then England, freed from the Norman yoke after 950 years, will take its rightful place as an equal among the nations. Perhaps the old Norman-British habit of arrogantly invading, enslaving and exploiting other countries of the world, not least England itself, because it is ‘in the national interest’, that is, in the interest of the elite, will forever pass into the dustbin of history. Perhaps NATO will collapse as the antiquated Cold War structure it is. Perhaps the Christian Emperor will be restored in Russia. But perhaps NATO will invade Russia. There is no point in predicting. We do not know what will happen. What we do know is that if we wish to influence the future, the only thing we can do is to pray – for the meaning of our life is to postpone the coming of Antichrist.

About Ionan Orthodoxy: An Interview with Archbishop George of London

12 May 2041

Q: What is the territory of your Archdiocese?

AG: As you know, our Archdiocese is part of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe under Metropolitan John. This stretches from Ireland to Austria and Iceland to Sicily and includes the Latin, Germanic, Celtic and Basque peoples of Western Europe. Our Archdiocese includes the four now sovereign nations of England, Ireland (which was finally reunited five years ago, if you remember), Scotland and Wales. At present we have four bishops, myself, Bishop Patrick in Dublin, Bishop Andrew in Edinburgh and Bishop David in Cardiff. For our Local Synods we always use our premises on the Isle of Man, the only place from which all our four nations are visible.

Q: Why did you take the name Ionan for your Archdiocese?

AG: Originally, the name ‘Diocese of the Isles’ was suggested for the Archdiocese, but this was considered too vague, since there are isles all over the world. Then the name ‘Isles of the North Atlantic’ was suggested, so forming the acronym I.O.N.A. This conveniently refers to the Ionan Orthodox monasticism of St Columba, which originated in Egypt and came to Ireland via Gaul. Since St Columba’s monastery on Iona spread to England via Lindisfarne and from there Orthodoxy went south, converting much of England, and authentic monasticism had always been the one thing missing here, we felt that this was a good name.

Q: How did ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ come into being?

AG: As you know even into the early 21st century there were two forms of Orthodoxy in Western countries. The first was that which looked back to the ethnic homeland, which meant that in each Western European country there was a multitude of dioceses, called jurisdictions, each living in a sort of divisive ethnic ghetto and using mainly a language other than English. This was all right for first-generation immigrants, but it did not work for second and subsequent generations, who were simply assimilated into the Non-Orthodox milieu. And after three generations, 75 years, abroad, the first generation always died out and so the Church with it. It happened to the Russians in England (arrived by 1920) who had died out by 1995 and to the Greek-Cypriots in England (arrived by 1960) who had died out by 2035.

Q: What was the second form of Orthodoxy in the West?

AG: Seeing the obvious short-sightedness and failure of the above form, there were second and third-generation Russian intellectuals who by reaction took the opposite stance. Their second form of Orthodoxy consisted of merging all Orthodox, whatever their background, into a melting pot. Their common point was the lowest common denominator, that is, the ethnic identity of the (Non-Orthodox) host country. Their policy was then to sell this as the new and substitute ethnic identity of a new Local Church. This second form only developed in full in North America, where immigrants had begun arriving much earlier than in Western Europe, at the end of the nineteenth century, and where people were far more cut off from the roots of Orthodoxy than in Europe. In Europe we did not want to repeat that mistake.

Q: What was that mistake?

AG: It was the attempt to create an ‘American Orthodoxy’. That was a mistake because it put a culture, Non-Orthodox at that, above the Church. This was not a theological movement, but merely a sociological movement of adaptation and conformism. For example, through the inferiority complex of immigrants, most Orthodox churches in the US adopted pews and many of them organs, one institution tried to use a guitar accompaniment to the Divine Liturgy and adapt the theme tune of the cowboy film ‘Shenandoah’ to it. In other places the Divine Liturgy would be stopped at Christmas in order to sing Protestant Christmas carols!

Someone at the time drew a cartoon of an ‘All-American Patriarch’, a clean-shaven man in a clerical collar with a foolish grin on his face and a glass of coca-cola in his hand, like an advert for toothpaste. Of course, this was only a carton, but it did sum up the situation. At that time when the USA still ruled the world, there were actually individuals in the US who arrogantly and blindly imagined that this second form of Orthodoxy there was the only true form of Orthodoxy, that it was at the centre of the world and that it was their duty to colonize the rest of the world with it! In reality, of course, it was a mere provincial backwater experiment, to be allowed to die out quietly because this experiment simply pandered to the weaknesses of the host country. It placed the Church of God below heretical culture. That was blasphemous, which is why it was racked with scandals.

Q: But did the same temptation not occur in Europe, even if it did not have time to develop to the same extent as in the USA?

AG: Yes, of course, it occurred; human nature is the same everywhere, it was just that it took on different forms according to the local heterodox culture. The same thing has happened among unChurched, semi-Orthodox people in Greece, Romania and Russia. It is simply the heresy of phyletism. And make no mistake, it is a heresy because you can lose your soul in it – that is what a heresy is.

For example, in France a whole jurisdiction catered for a kind of ‘philosophical and aesthetic Orthodoxy’, ‘l’Orthodoxie a la francaise’, as one might say. This theory of Orthodoxy, or theorizing about Orthodoxy, did not present the Church as the Christian way of life, but as a complex and highly intellectual philosophy, full of long words and isms, which no-one really understood. Of course, it could have been expressed in very simple language, which everyone knew already. But as long as it sounded theoretically and philosophically fine, ‘cosmique’ as they used to say, all was fine, but of course, it was not fine and that jurisdiction died out, as it was built on sand, not on the Rock of the Faith. This theorizing was about the god of the philosophers in the language of philosophers, not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the language of the fishermen of Galilee. You simply cannot build a Local Church based on Non-Orthodox culture! That is common sense, but you could not say that out loud to those who were taken up by such delusions.

Q: What about in other countries in Europe?

AG: It happened everywhere, not just in France. For example, in Germany the first liturgical book to be translated was the Typikon. In other words, Orthodoxy there was confused with the Non-Orthodox German mindset and produced an Orthodoxy of rules, a stubborn, black and white system, without any flexibility, any understanding of the human component, which is what it is all about. They lost their way by confusing the means (the services) with the ends (the salvation of the soul). For instance, I remember one German priest refusing to give a woman communion because she was dressed in trousers. Well, she was of course wrong, but a few decades ago there was a fashion for women to dress in trousers (fortunately, long since over now). That was bad, but what right did the German priest have to excommunicate that woman? Suppose she had died in the night after she had been refused communion? That sin would have been on the conscience of that priest.

Q: And in England?

AG: It was the same thing again. The national weakness here was not theorizing or creating a book of rules, but it was to adapt Orthodoxy to the British Establishment, to create a compromised ‘Establishment Orthodoxy’, a ‘British Orthodoxy’. This State-controlled and State-worshipping Orthodoxy, that of converts from Anglicanism, was of course just a repeat of the Anglicanism that had long ago been invented by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. There were even two whole but tiny jurisdictions dedicated to this State-approved pietism. It was all salt that had lost its savour. Some such people used the treacherous, half-Norman Edward the Confessor as the mascot of their ‘Establishment Orthodoxy’. Of course, it all came to nothing and has died out now, largely a fantasy of the late-twentieth century and the curious personalities who reigned supreme in the bad old days then. It was very oppressive because, as they were emperors in new clothes, you were not allowed to contradict them!

All these examples show the danger of compromising the Faith with local culture. And all those who did so have now died out, as withered branches. And that is the answer to your question, how did ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ come into being. It came into being as the only living alternative to the two false alternatives – the ghetto or worldly compromise.

Q: So what do you base ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ on?

AG: Simply, we put the Church and the Faith first. If we put the Kingdom of God, Orthodoxy, first, then all will fall into place, including the language that we use in services, which today is for about 90% in English, regardless of the ethnic origin of the parishioners, regardless of how well or how badly they speak another language. We are united by Orthodox Christianity, not by ethnic origins, and we are carried forward by the faithfulness to the Church and Her Tradition of the younger generations, who are all primarily English-speakers.

Q: You now have over 350 parishes in the British Isles and Ireland, all established quite solidly and with their own clergy and premises. Every city and town over 50,000 and the area around it is covered. This is quite unlike even 25 years ago, when the Russian Church, a small minority at that time, had mostly tiny communities with services once a month, borrowed premises and a suffered from a huge shortage of priests to go out and do vital missionary work in the area surrounding their churches. What about the other jurisdictions, which collectively still have over 50 parishes outside the Archdiocese?

AG: We live with them as good neighbours. People are free to join us and free to remain outside us. As you know, the parishes outside our jurisdiction are composed mainly of elderly people who settled here from various countries 50 years ago or more and they use very little English in their services. Virtually all the young people come to us. Time will show which way things will go. Live and let live.

Q: What is the future? Do you think of autocephaly?

AG: The Western European Metropolia, with just over 2,000 parishes now, is united, with six archdioceses, Iona, Scandinavia, Germania, Gallia, Italia and Hispania. True, the Metropolia has autonomy, but at the present time there is no desire at all for autocephaly. True, 2,000 parishes is more than in some other Local Churches, like the 700 parishes of the Hungarian Orthodox Church which recently became autocephalous, but a lot fewer than in others. Take China for example. That is still also an autonomous part of the Russian Church, even though it now has over 25,000 parishes. And the Russian Church Herself did not become autonomous for centuries, only after the Empire had fallen in New Rome. At present, I cannot see any reason to become autocephalous. That situation may of course change, especially in China, but not yet. It all takes time.

Q: Are you saying that autocephaly granted prematurely can be dangerous?

AG: Definitely. And especially in Western Europe.

Q: Why?

AG: Because Western Europe has for over a millennium veered between extremes which we do not want to repeat.

Q: Which extremes?

AG: The first is that of despotic centralism. This was the extreme of the pagan Roman Empire, which Charlemagne foolishly tried to revive and fortunately failed to, but it was indeed revived after 1050, causing Western Europe’s schism from the Church, and that lasted until the anti-Latin nationalist outburst of the Germanic Reformation. After that, despotic centralism was tried again by warmongers like Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler, and then by the EU Fourth Reich – and we all know how that ended.

Each time there was a reaction to this despotism – nationalism, and that led to terrible fratricidal wars in Europe, like the so-called ‘Wars of Religion’ in the 16th century, just as centralism created the World Wars. We do not want those extremes, we must follow the golden mean of unity in diversity, which is what we have in Ionan Orthodoxy and in the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe in general. Europe has to be a Confederation of Nations, not a Union, a United States of Europe, but not a series of warring, nationalist states either.

In the same way, the Tsardom of Rus, as it is now called, successfully overcame provincial Ukrainian nationalism a generation ago and reunited huge territories, one sixth of the world. However, it only did this by rejecting the old centralism of the Soviet Union, which had done so much damage to its credibility. Once it had done that, again on the basis of unity in diversity, all of Eastern Europe joined in a free and mutually beneficial economic confederation with it, throwing off the shackles of the old European Union, which was in fact just a repeat of the Soviet Union.

Q: Will you drop the word ‘Russian’ from the name of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe? Most of your faithful are either not Russian or else do not speak it.

AG: In the bad old days of Western nationalism, for example in North America in the Cold War, they detested the word ‘Russian’ and dropped it. Now we are more enlightened and we all understand that ‘Russian’ does not mean nationalism and means uncompromised, unsecularized Orthodoxy. We exist because we have been helped to exist by the Russian Orthodox Church, the only multinational, Imperial Orthodox Church. I think we should keep it. Do you remember the old Roman Catholic Church, as it used to be called? Well, there were hardly any Romans in it!

Q: Why has the Western European Metropolia been so successful?

AG: Without doubt because of the sacrifices made to underpin it in the twentieth century and since. The Church is built on blood, sweat and tears. We should remember with gratitude the prayers and work of those who went before us. For example, I can remember decades ago, how people wanted more English in the services. So, one bishop said yes, do the service in English. What happened? The people who had been clamouring for more English could not even put a decent choir together to sing just the Liturgy! Some of them said that the singing was so bad that they preferred the Liturgy in a foreign language, in which it was properly sung. In other words, you have to make sacrifices in order to achieve anything. We owe a great deal to those who sang properly in English, showing others that the Liturgy in English could be just as beautiful as in Slavonic. Actions speak louder than words.

Yes, mistakes were made in the past, but we learned from those mistakes. Take for example our English translations which stretch back to the turn of the 20th century, nearly 150 years ago, those made in the USA with the blessing of the holy Patriarch Tikhon by an Episcopalian Isabel Hapgood and by Orlov in England. Those were foundation stones. Yes, those translations have been improved and on the way we have seen archaic translations in a Latinate, Victorian style like those of Hapgood or even with 16th century spelling, we have seen those made into street English as well as into soulless, jarring academic English, all sorts, but today we have definitive translations, avoiding all those extremes. It is easy to criticize, but the fact is that without those tireless efforts of the past, however mistaken they sometimes were, we would not be where we are now.

Let us first of all thank our recent fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters in Christ who went before us, who built our Church, our parishes and our souls. Our Metropolia, in effect, the Church of the Old and the New Europe, would not exist without them. But let us also thank the saints of the first millennium. Through venerating them, we have earned their prayers and because of their prayers we are here today. We are built not on dead souls, but on spiritually alive souls, whether of the distant past or of the recent past. Always on spiritually alive souls: Remember that.

Personalism or Eschatology: Unreal Theology or Real Theology? A Parish Priest’s Point of View

There is a story from the life of the much-revered Elder John (Krestiankin) (+ 2006) of how a young student came to see him from the Theological Academy and introduced himself as a ‘theologian’. Elder John replied: ‘So you are the fourth?’ In his immaturity the young student naturally did not understand, so he asked the Elder what he meant. Elder John answered: ‘There are three theologians in the Church: St John, St Gregory and St Simeon the New. Are you claiming to be the fourth?’ The humbled student was shamefaced.

It is a curious fact that ‘Orthodox’ academic theology (we would rather call it academic philosophy) differs enormously from Orthodox theology. Academics like the late Fr Nicholas Afanasyev, Fr Alexander Schmemann or Metr John Zizioulas and their huddle of followers in New York, Istanbul, Paris and Oxford all concentrate on personalism, in other words the strange mixture of unrepentant fallen human nature (humanism) inside an outward shell of Orthodoxy, or, as we might call it, ‘humanism with icons’. With its resurrection of Origen’s heretical ‘salvation for all’ and intellectualistic Gnostic mystification, personalism is an abstraction that has no life of its own outside academia.

However, real Orthodox theologians, like St Justin of Chelije, concentrate not on humanism (or personalism to give it its disguised name), but on Godmanhood. In other words, this is how fallen human nature must be transfigured by repentance before it can obtain dignity, that is, before the human heart can become worthy of any knowledge of God and so revelation, which it can then pass on to the mind. It is strange indeed that ‘Orthodox’ academic ‘theologians’ should have been inspired by Non-Orthodox humanists like the Lutheran Jakob Boehme via the semi-Marxist philosophy of disincarnation of Berdyayev for their ideas about personalism.

Rather than try to speak to post-Christian and indeed atheistic Western academics in the humanistic terms that they might just be able to understand, though would have very little interest in and would regard as irrelevant, would it not be better to speak to the whole Western world about the fullness of Orthodox theology without compromise? Not only would the spiritually living minority of Western people be interested to hear about undiluted Christianity (which is what Orthodoxy simply is), but also we Orthodox ourselves would be interested. Faith is not deepened by intellectualism; Faith is deepened by the revelations of God to the human heart. That is precisely what the Gospels are about.

The fact is that the average devout Orthodox has never heard of, let alone read, the obscure and poorly-selling books of any of the contemporary academic ‘theologians’ like Metr John Zizioulas who claim to be Orthodox; they would appear only to be for Non-Orthodox intellectual consumption, not for the fishermen of Galilee. But the average devout Orthodox has most certainly heard of and reads and knows and venerates the best-selling St Paisius the Athonite, Fr Seraphim (Rose), Fr Arsenie (Boca) and Elder John (Krestyankin), real Orthodox theologians, who feed our hearts, not our brains, in the spirit of the fishermen of Galilee.

Perhaps the academic ‘theologians’ should address themselves to the real, and not unreal or virtual Orthodox world, by speaking to real Orthodox in the parishes and the monasteries. In the real Orthodox context they would forget the philosophical fantasy of ‘personalism’ (the word is unknown to the Fathers and to all Orthodox) and speak about Repentance, Messianism and the Third Rome. We live, after all, in an age of apostasy, in the last times and in a globalized world, when Repentance, Messianism and the Universality of the Third Rome are as relevant as it is possible to be. In other words, eschatology, the theology of the last times, is what they need to speak and write of.

Orthodox Christianity is Alpha and Omega, speaking not only of the beginning of the world, but of the end too. We speak not of some fashionable ecological crisis or of any other ism, however fashionable they may be in incestuous academic circles, but of the mystery of iniquity and how we can counter the appearance of Antichrist, while awaiting the Second Coming. Today, as we speak of the Universal Civilization of Holy Rus as opposed to anti-Christian Western liberal ideology, we need to speak of the ultimate things, of eschatology, not of humanism, with or without icons.

The Russian Orthodox Church is the last barrier to Globalization and Westernization. This is why Zbigniew Brzezinski publicly admits that he wants to destroy her. She is the last bulwark defending her flock from the demonic game of post-modernism, to which virtually the whole Western world is subjugated and with which sickness it decomposes everything it touches. The Russian Church is the last fortress of Faith, which continues to restrain (2 Thess 2, 6), ever since the ‘Council’ of Florence and the internal and external fall of New Rome in the fifteenth century.

Before our very eyes, within the last ten years, Russia has visibly become the Third and Last Rome and the Russian Church has become the Church of the last times. Eschatology, the revelation and knowledge of the last things, is the great contribution of the Russian Church to the contemporary world. This has been arrived at not through the speculations of academics in Non-Orthodox and indeed anti-Orthodox cities, but through the sufferings of millions of New Martyrs and Confessors. This is the ministry and offering of the Russian Church to the contemporary world.

Speaking of Dostoyevsky, the great Serbian theologian and saint, St Justin of Chelije, wrote prophetically: ‘Orthodoxy is the bearer and keeper of the most radiant image of Christ and all Divino-human forces and this is the ‘New Word’ that Russia…must tell the world’. This ‘New Word’ is drawn not from some modernist mishmash of ‘personalism’, but from Eternity and, as such, must be heeded, for ‘when you see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors’ (Matt 24, 33).