Category Archives: Recivilisation

Русская Православная Церковь: вчера и завтра

http://ruskline.ru/news_rl/2015/12/02/russkaya_pravoslavnaya_cerkov_vchera_i_zavtra/

«Император и императрица думали,
что они умирают за Отчизну.
Они умерли за все человечество».

(швейцарец Пьер Жильяр, учитель царских детей)

Предисловие

Десять лет назад, в 2005 году, в Русской Православной Церкви Заграницей начались споры о наших взаимоотношениях с Московским Патриархатом. Обсуждался вопрос: стала ли Русская Церковь в России наконец-то свободной, и можем ли мы вступить в каноническое общение, чтобы вместе трудиться и строить будущее? Споры настолько разгорелись, что даже был созван IVвсезарубежный собор РПЦЗ в Сан-Франциско, чтобы разрешить поставленные вопросы. Нам тогда предстояло опровергнуть ложные аргументы, выдвинутые ради сектантской самоизоляции и продиктованные политикой и психологией, а не чистым богословием. Ниже приведем примеры.

Вчера

Человеческая слабость митрополита (а позднее патриарха) Сергия (Страгородского; 1867-1944) и его последователей, выраженная компромиссами с правительством атеиста-гонителя Сталина и известная как «сергианство», возведена некоторыми людьми в «богословскую ересь». На самом деле, это была разновидность эрастианизма – ложной идеи о верховенстве государства над Церковью, чему мы видели много примеров в Ветхом Завете и в 1900-летней истории Христианской Церкви. Фактически здесь не было ничего богословского, но лишь человеческая слабость иерарха, находившегося под огромным давлением воинственного безбожного государства. Никто не может осуждать патриарха Сергия за его слабость, ибо только Бог судья нам всем, и здесь не должно быть места фарисейству.

Хотя эти компромиссы не имели в себе ничего догматического или богословского, но нашлись те, кто, под влиянием североамериканского политического пуританства решили, что таинства в Русской Церкви в России мистическим образом «потеряли силу» из-за компромиссов с властью на протяжении трех поколений. Как священник РПЦЗ я впервые столкнулся с этим ошеломляющим политическим мнением, выдаваемым за богословское, в 1992 году. Конечно, сергианство не является ересью, в то время как пуританство с его врожденной нечистотой новатиан, донатистов и евстафиан (как видно из канонов Гангрского собора 340 года) – очевидная ересь.

В 2006 году в Сан-Франциско также осуждался экуменизм – то есть политическая и экономическая поддержка, которую просили некоторые представители Русской Церкви в России у католиков и протестантов. Однако это очень странная идея, будто мнения и действия нескольких людей должны восприниматься как свидетельство о том, что вся Русская Церковь Московского Патриархата (а это примерно 160 миллионов человек) запятнала себя ересью экуменизма! На самом деле, абсолютное большинство членов Русской Церкви в России никогда и не слышали об экуменизме, а те немногие, кто слышали, отвергали его. К тому же, к 2005 году экуменизм уже означал не то, чем он был в период своего зенита – в 1960-е и 1980е годы. Вместо компромиссов под политическим давлением – фактически ереси – он превратился к тому времени в поддержание добрососедских отношений с инославными христианами, чем РПЦЗ всегда и занимается, принимая во внимание многочисленные смешанные браки наших прихожан и необходимость во многих случаях совершать богослужения в помещениях неправославных храмов.

Самым странным предложением, которое мы тогда услышали, было не связывать себя никак с Русской Церковью в России из-за компромиссов отдельных представителей Церкви. Это была вопиющая ошибка, потому что, следуя такой логике, мы не должны были вступать в общение с Церковью новомучеников и исповедников российских! Да, мы, будучи свободными, канонизировали новомучеников в 1981 году – за 19 лет до того момента, когда это смог сделать Московский Патриархат. Но многие из верующих РПЦЗ, включая и меня, удивлялись, почему мы, имея свободу, не прославили новомучеников и исповедников гораздо раньше, начиная с 1920-х годов? Нам тоже было стыдно за себя.

Эта задержка в РПЦЗ произошла из-за того, что некоторые элементы нашей Церкви были заражены политикой. Хорошо помню, как ряд прихожан кафедрального собора Зарубежной Церкви в Лондоне и других местах возражали против этой канонизации в 1981 году. В любом случае, это был только первый шаг, самое начало. Как я уже писал в свое время: начатое в Нью-Йорке должно завершиться в Москве. Кроме того, ввиду недостатка достоверной информации мы канонизировали только около 8000 новомучеников, в то время как Русская Церковь с ее хорошим доступом к архивам уже прославила более 30 000 новомучеников, и этот процесс продолжается.

Некоторые на Соборе в Сан-Франциско заявили, что мы не должны иметь ничего общего с Церковью, чьи епископы работали на КГБ. Я бы согласился с этим утверждением, если бы и правда нашлись такие епископы, каким был (как нам верится), например, отлученный от Церкви еретик Филарет Денисенко – ныне любимчик ЦРУ. Но в реальности таких архиереев не было. Старшие архиереи в Церкви в России просто имели кодовые имена КГБ, так же как и наши светские гражданские власти, за которых мы молились на богослужениях. Точно так же имели право сказать и в Московском Патриархате: «Мы не должны иметь дело с Церковью, молящейся за лиц, которым присвоены кодовые имена КГБ». Это был бы такой же ложный аргумент.

Некоторые в РПЦЗ признали, что у нас были члены Церкви, ранее работавшие на ЦРУ и другие Западные шпионские службы. Но они оправдали это тем, что в церквях России тоже были члены КГБ. Это снова ложная информация: единственными членами КГБ, заходившими в российские храмы, были шпионы. Они записывали имена священников и молодых людей, которым собирались создать большие проблемы.
Сектантски настроенные представители РПЦЗ говорили, что мы не можем вступить в каноническое общение с РПЦ, потому что придется находиться в общении с остальной частью Православной Церкви!

Впервые я услышал такой невероятный аргумент году в 1999, когда один священник Зарубежной Церкви из Лондона сослужил со священником из Константинопольского патриархата. Против этого сослужения высказывался один священник-изоляционист, обученный в Северной Америке. В Западноевропейской Епархии РПЦЗ, где я был рукоположен и служил до 1997 года, такие совместные богослужения были нормой и совершались регулярно. Как священник РПЦЗ я был поражен таким сектантским духом, который мне до этого почти никогда не встречался. Логика этого аргумента была такова, что мы в РПЦЗ больше не находимся в общении со Святой Горой Афон, которая относится к юрисдикции Константинопольского Патриархата. Абсолютно немыслимое утверждение! (Эти изоляционисты позднее сами покинули РПЦЗ).

Более серьезно и практично настроенные делегаты РПЦЗ указали на то, что среди представителей Московского Патриархата за пределами России все еще оставались обновленцы и священнослужители с дурной репутацией, в том числе и на высшем уровне, хотя некоторые из них к тому времени уже умерли. Это была проблема. Хотя эти модернисты называли нас клеветниками за то, что мы говорили правду и «порочили» их идолов (так делают обновленцы до сих пор), проблема была почти преодолена в 2006 году, когда большая часть этих клириков в Англии и Франции ушла из Русской Церкви Московского Патриархата в созданный ими же самими раскол; с тех пор два или три таких представителя были сняты, и теперь они не смогут устроить скандал.

Наконец, ряд делегатов сказали, что мы не можем сотрудничать с российской Церковью потому, что ситуация в России сегодня отличается от ситуации до революции. Советские практики перешли в российское общество, алкоголизм, аборты, коррупция и разводы стали обычным делом, мумия русофоба-убийцы Ленина все еще лежит на Красной площади, а площади и улицы городов изобилуют его статуями или носят его имя и имена его последователей. Они требовали, чтобы постсоветское российское государство (ответственное за эти дела) вело себя так, словно оно часть Русской Церкви! На этот аргумент мы возразили, что дореволюционная Россия тоже не была идеальной (тогда бы и не было революции). Мы попросили их быть снисходительными к людям, которые целых три поколения были лишены свободной Церкви, попросили терпения и сказали, что со временем Церковь будет иметь влияние на государство, потому что покаяние (в котором нуждаемся все мы) меняет людей.

Победа

Приведенные выше аргументы были отвергнуты более чем 95% членов РПЦЗ как принадлежащие крошечному, сектантскому, изолированному и политизированному меньшинству, пытавшемуся захватить РПЦЗ, сдерживавшему нас и мешавшему в осуществлении нашего универсального призвания вместе с остальной частью Русской Православной Церкви. Как мы знаем, в 2007 году абсолютное большинство иерархов, духовенства и народа нашей маленькой Русской Церкви Заграницей были счастливы наконец-то вступить в каноническое общение с огромным большинством остальной части Церкви, духовной частью которой мы всегда оставались. Наше разделение, произошедшее чисто по политическим причинам, не связанным с Церковью, было преодолено. Мы были уверены, что Церковь в России стала свободной, о чем свидетельствовал Юбилейный Архиерейский Собор 2000 года. Наконец-то полное единство – внутреннее и внешнее – стало возможным и, преодолев все преграды, мы смогли пойти вместе к нашей общей судьбе и важной миссии.

Завтра

Сегодня, спустя поколение после падения государственного атеизма, мы видим в Российской Федерации интереснейшие перемены, обещающие будущее. После ужасного периода капитализма по «закону джунглей» 1990-х годов с властью «семибанкирщины», бандитскими приватизациями «дикого Востока» и появлением прозападных преступников-олигархов и либералов, Россия увидела истинную суть этой альтернативы коммунизму, предложенной Западным миром с его культом потребления.

Мы сами, живя в Западном мире, в свое время тоже не дали себя обмануть. Во многом «благодаря» хаосу и страданиям, посеянным западными силами в Ираке, Афганистане, Ливии, Сирии и на Украине, российское общество увидело истинное лицо евросодома. Если порошенковская хунта, поставленная ЦРУ в Киеве – матери русских городов, хочет самоубийства в виде «европейских ценностей», то пусть их имеет. Мы же останемся верными ценностям святых равноапостольных Владимира и Ольги из святого Киева. Веруя во Христа, своейсмертию поправшего смерть, мы выбираем жизнь. Веря сатане, поправшего смертью жизнь, они выбирают смерть. Вот в чем разница между нами.

После нападения Запада на Святую Русь, российское общество сегодня в большинстве своем осознало, что Запад – неверный выбор. Россия должна следовать по своему, историческому, Богом предначертанному пути – как проповедовали наши святые и подвижники РПЦЗ. Россия должна исцелиться и восстановить Святую Русь. Мы, живущие вне России, можем только молиться и поддерживать, ибо наша основная задача – распространять Православие за пределами русских земель и быть верными Святой Руси. Мы всего лишь смиренные ученики, следующие заветам Святой Руси.

Сегодня говорят, что нынешнее российское общество напоминает Россию 1917 года. Но, в отличие от 1917 года, современная Россия движется не к 1918, а к 1916 году. Другими словами, хотя ситуация щекотливая, но Россия идет не к катастрофе, как это было в 1917 году, а в обратном направлении. Если, даст Бог, мы продолжим двигаться в этом избранном Богом направлении, то Церковь России однажды приведет нас к исполнению нашей судьбы. В чем же оно состоит?

Из-за полного провала Западных идей, Россия, увидев свое возможное будущее, поняла, что это не ее путь. Сегодня она изо всех сил пытается выбраться из ямы, в то время как Западный мир во главе с США стремительно падает в нее головой вниз. Сейчас некоторые трезвые Западные политики и мыслители посещают Россию и следят за событиями в ней, чтобы правильно ориентироваться. К таковым относятся Герхард Шрёдер, Николя Саркози, Филипп де Вилье, Патрик Бьюкенен, Рон Пол, Пол Крейк Робертс, Франклин Грэм и другие.

Теперь мистическая и историческая роль России – быть посредником между Востоком и Западом, между Китаем и западной Европой. Духовная судьба Китая – войти в подлинно православный христианский мир, став восточными провинциями Святой Руси; ровно как судьба западной Европы – это вернуться к своим православным корням с помощью своих древних святых, стать западными провинциями Святой Руси. Чрезмерная национальная гордость европейцев пока мешает осуществлению этого, потому что там, где нет смирения и кротости, нет и спасения. На самом деле, одна из задач России – не спасение Европы от США, как думают некоторые, а спасение Европы от самой себя. Как Россия, а не Запад, виновата в том, что выбрала Западную идеологию, которая привела к революции в феврале 1917 года, так и европейцы не должны винить никого другого в бедах, которые мы себе выбрали.

Ключ ко всеобщему спасению в эти последние времена лежит в восстановлении Святой Руси и ее распространении на весь мир. Следуя Пресвятой Троице, мы призваны быть не только хранителями и собирателями Святой Руси (следуя Отцу и Сыну), но и распространителями идеалов Святой Руси (следуя Святому Духу). Те, кто живут на Востоке и на Западе и желают трудиться вместе с Русской Православной Церковью, следовать ее традициям и строить новые Поместные Православные Церкви, всегда будут радостно приняты. Но если кто-то не желает этого делать и отворачивается от пророческой и мистической Церковной традиции ради усталого, старого, секулярного и гуманистическогонеомодернизма, то Бог с ним.

В 1917 году последний христианский император не отрекся от власти. Это Россия и остальной мир отреклись от христианского императора и христианской империи и, в конечном счете, от Христа. С того момента земля не знала мира, требовалось воздаяние за грехи всех: каждый получил свое наказание, чтобы научиться смирению. В России народ столкнулся с гонениями и фашистским вторжением; за пределами России, в эмиграции, люди получили изгнание и изоляцию; европейские страны были наказаны войной, а также унижением в виде потери былой силы и величия; остальная же часть мира постоянно мучилась от войн и раздоров. Все это продолжается с тех пор, как в 1917 году был взят от среды «удерживающий теперь» (2 Фесс. 2:7). Все страдания мира после 1917 года являются возможностью научиться смирению.

Наше призвание заключается в том, чтобы проповедовать Святую Русь, послание последнего христианского императора по всему миру ради покаяния перед концом. Приходит время, когда мир наконец будет готов услышать о Святой Руси, об универсальности воплотившегося Христа, о подлинном Христианстве, а не о двух обманчивых «измах» (подготовленных Западным язычеством, языческим Римом и северным варварством): римо-католицизме и протестантизме.

Заключение

Мой прадедушка родился в том же году, что и Николай II, последний христианский царь, убитый в Екатеринбурге в 1918 году. Спустя сто лет после рождения императора и 50 лет после его мученической смерти, я, рожденный в годовщину уничтожения останков Царской Семьи, получил откровение с востока, что должен познать сам, а затем идти и говорить о Святой Руси, о воплотившемся Христе всем, кого встречу на своем пути. Это не только мое личное призвание, но и многих других людей, как прекрасно описано в стихотворении «Апостолы», написанном в изгнании в 1928 году царским поэтом Сергеем Бехтеевым:

Мы во мглу раболепного мира
Светоч духа победно несем
И в чертог православного пира
Божьих избранных громко зовем.

Мы идеи по дороге терновой,
Мы парим над мирской суетой,
Мы – апостолы веры Христовой,
Провозвестники правды святой.

Мы зовем племена и народы,
Обагренные в братской крови,
В царство истинной, вечной свободы,
В царство света, добра и любви.

Надежды и молитвы на будущее устремляются в Екатеринбург, к восстановлению монархии и коронации нового царя.

Протоиерей Андрей Филлипс,
Колчестер, Англия.

The Russian Orthodox Church: Yesterday and Tomorrow

The Emperor and the Empress thought that they were dying for their homeland. But in fact they died for all mankind.

Pierre Gilliard, Swiss tutor to the Tsar’s children.

Foreword

Ten years ago, in 2005, debate raged in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) about our relations with the Church inside Russia. Was it at last free and so could we enter into canonical communion and work together, building the future? Such was the debate that a Pan-Diaspora Church Council was called in San Francisco in 2006 in order to answer the questions posed. At that time we had to counter some very false arguments which were advanced in favour of sectarian self-isolation, arguments that were shaped by the impurity of politics and psychology, and not by the purity of theology. Below are examples.

Yesterday

The human weakness of Metropolitan (later Patriarch) Sergius (+ 1944) and his followers, as revealed in compromises with the atheist persecutor Stalin, known as ‘sergianism’, was erected by some into a ‘theological’ heresy. In fact, it was just another form of erastianism, of placing the State above the Church, of which there had already been so many examples in other forms in the Old Testament and in 1900 years of Church history. There was nothing theological in this, for it was only human weakness on the part of one who had found himself under huge pressure from a militant atheist State. No-one is to judge him for his weakness, there is no place for phariseeism here, for God is the Judge of all.

Though there was nothing of a dogmatic or theological nature in such compromises, certain individuals, partly under the influence of North American political puritanism, even concluded that the present-day sacraments of the Church inside Russia had somehow mysteriously ‘lost grace’ on account of this compromise of three generations before. As a ROCOR priest, I first came across this astonishing piece of politics masquerading as theology in 1992 from someone who was under the influence of this North American error. In fact, of course, sergianism is not a heresy, whereas puritanism, with its inherent impurity of Novatianism, Donatism and Eustathianism, as seen in the light of the canons of the Council of Gangra of 340, most certainly is.

The political and diplomatic support which a few in the Church inside Russia sought from Roman Catholics and Protestants, and called ecumenism, was also condemned. However, it was a very curious idea that the opinions or actions of a handful of individuals could be held up as a sign that the whole of the Church inside Russia, 160,000,000 people, was therefore somehow tainted by the heresy of ecumenism! In reality, most of the faithful inside Russia had never heard of ecumenism and those who had were utterly opposed to it. This was all the stranger, in that by 2005 ecumenism had in any case come to mean something very different from in its political heyday between the 60s and 80s. Instead of concerning itself with politically-enforced syncretistic compromise, in fact heresy, it had turned to having good-neighbourly relations with heterodox, something that ROCOR, with the many mixed marriages among parishioners and regular need to use heterodox premises for services, had always cultivated.

The strangest argument heard at that time was that we could not associate ourselves with the Church inside Russia in any way because of the compromises of a few individuals in it. This was an appalling error, for it would have meant that we could not associate ourselves with the Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors. True, we, in freedom, had canonized the New Martyrs and Confessors first, in 1981, 19 years before the Church inside Russia had been able to do so by freeing itself. However, many, including myself, had wondered why we in the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), living in freedom, had so scandalously not canonized the New Martyrs and Confessors long before, from the 1920s on. We felt shame for ourselves.

The sad reason for the delay had been because elements in ROCOR were themselves contaminated with politics. Indeed, I well remember how in 1981 certain parishioners at the ROCOR Cathedral in London, as also elsewhere, had actually been opposed to the canonization. And in any case, the ROCOR canonization had only ever been a first step, a beginning. As I wrote at the time: What has begun in New York must come to completion in Moscow. Moreover, for lack of trustworthy information we had canonized only some 8,000; the Church inside Russia, with greater access to archives, has canonized well over 30,000 and that number is increasing.

Others said that we in ROCOR could have nothing to do with a Church whose bishops belonged to the KGB. I would have agreed with this – if any had belonged to the KGB, such as, we suspect, the defrocked schismatic Filaret Denisenko, now the darling of the CIA. In fact, they did not. The senior bishops inside Russia merely had KGB code names – in the same way as Western secular leaders, whom we prayed for in our services as civil leaders, had KGB code-names. The Church inside Russia could just as well have said: ‘We will have nothing to do with ROCOR because you pray for individuals who have KGB code-names’. It would have been just as false an argument.

Some in ROCOR admitted that there were members of our Church, in good standing, who worked or had worked for the CIA and other Western spy services. They countered this by saying that there were members of the KGB in churches inside Russia. This was totally false: the only KGB members who attended churches there were those who went there to spy, to note down names of priests or young people and create problems for them.

Sectarian elements in ROCOR objected that if we entered into canonical communion with the Church inside Russia, we would then be in communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church! I first heard this incredible argument, I think, in about 1999, when a ROCOR priest from London concelebrated with a priest of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. This had raised an objection from a sectarian priest trained in North America. In the Western European Diocese of ROCOR, where I had been ordained and celebrated until 1997, such concelebrations were perfectly normal and happened regularly. As a ROCOR priest, I was amazed at this sectarian spirit, which I had hardly met before. The logic of this argument would be that we in ROCOR were no longer in communion with Mt Athos, which is in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Absolutely unthinkable! (Naturally, such sectarians later left ROCOR).

On a much more serious and practical level, there were those who pointed out that among representatives of the Church inside Russia in the Diaspora there were still corrupt and renovationist clergy at even the highest level, even though several had by then died out. This was a problem. Although these renovationists called us slanderers for telling the Truth and so shaming their false idols (as renovationists elsewhere still do), the problem was largely overcome in 2006, when most such clergy in England and France left the jurisdiction of the Church inside Russia in a schism which they created; since then, two or three other such individuals have simply been removed, so they can no longer cause scandal and can at last learn the basics of the Faith.

Finally, there were those who said that we could not work together with the Church inside Russia because the situation in Russia was not as it had been before the Revolution. Soviet practices had infiltrated Russian society, alcoholism, abortion, corruption and divorce were rife, the mummy of the Russophobic murderer Lenin still lay on Red Square, and the squares and streets of Russia were littered with his statues or named after his henchmen. They demandingly demanded in fact that the post-Soviet Russian State (in charge of such matters) behave as though it were part of the Russian Church! In the face of this argument we pointed out that pre-Revolutionary Russia had not been ideal either (otherwise there would never have been a Revolution), we asked for compassion for a people deprived for three generations of a free Church, asked for patience and said that with time the Church will influence the State, since repentance, which we too are in need of, changes people.

Victory

The above arguments were rejected, with repentance for ever having entertained them, by well over 95% of ROCOR, dismissed as the arguments of schismatic impurity, of a tiny, sectarian, inward-looking and politicized minority, which had been trying to take over ROCOR, holding us back and impeding us from fulfilling our universal calling together with the rest of the Russian Orthodox Church, the great majority. As we know, in 2007 the vast majority of the hierarchy, clergy and people of our little ROCOR were happy to enter at last into canonical communion with the vast majority of the rest of the Church, of which we had always spiritually been a part. The separation, caused purely by political events exterior to the Church, was over. We were sure that the Church inside Russia had freed itself, as had already been made evident by the Jubilee Council of 2000. At long last, our inward unity could become outwardly apparent and, impediments removed, we could progress together towards our common destiny and ever more urgent mission.

Tomorrow

A generation after the fall of State atheism in the Russian Federation, we see in Russia today most interesting developments, promising for the future. After the awful period of ‘law of the jungle’ capitalism in the 1990s, with its rule of seven bankers, ‘Wild East’ bandit privatizations and the appearance of pro-Western criminal oligarchs and liberals, Russia has largely seen through that alternative to Communism that was offered it by the consumerist Western world, which we too, living in the Western world itself, had already seen through.

Thanks largely to the chaos and misery that the Western Powers have been causing in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya, Syria and above all in the Ukraine, Russian society has seen through Eurosodom and Gomorrhica. If the CIA-installed Poroshenko junta, set up in Kiev, the Mother of Russian cities, wants the suicide of ‘European values’, it can have them. We will remain faithful to the values of St Vladimir and St Olga of Holy Kiev. Believing in Christ, Who trampled down death by death, we choose life. Believing in satan who tramples down life by death, they choose death. That is the difference between us.

Providentially, through the Western attacks on Holy Rus, Russian society has for the most part now come to understand that the West is not the solution. Russia must follow its own, historic, God-given way, the way that our saints and other lucid elements in ROCOR have always preached. As for Russia, it must heal itself and restore Holy Rus. Outside Russia, we can only pray and encourage, learning as we go, for our main task is to spread Orthodoxy outside the Russian Lands in faithfulness to Holy Rus. We are only humble disciples who follow the precepts of Holy Rus.

Interestingly, voices have been saying that Russian society today resembles 1917 Russia. However, unlike in 1917 the direction of today’s Russia is not 1918, but 1916. In other words, although the situation is delicate, Russia is not heading towards catastrophe as it was in 1917, but is heading back from it. Here is the difference. If, God willing, we continue on this God-given path, the Church of Russia will lead us to our destiny. What is this?

On account of the utter failure of imposed Western ideas there, we can say that Russia has seen the future and knows from bitter experience that it does not work. Today it is struggling its way back up from the pit, at the same time as the Western world, led by the United States, is hurtling headlong into it. Today, some of the more aware Western politicians and thinkers are going to Russia or following events in Russia in order to learn. Gerhard Schroeder, Nicolas Sarkozy, Phillippe de Villiers, Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, Paul Craig Roberts, Franklin Graham and others all follow events in Russia closely or visit.

Russia’s mystical and historic role now is to act as an intermediary between East and West, between China and Western Europe. For the spiritual destiny of China is to enter the authentic Orthodox Christian world, becoming the Eastern provinces of Holy Rus, just as the spiritual destiny of Western Europe, with its roots in Orthodox Christianity, is to return to it, with the help of its ancient saints, by becoming the Western provinces of Holy Rus. True, the towering national pride of Europeans largely prevents this, for where there is no humility, there is no salvation. Indeed, Russia’s task is now not to save Europe from the USA, as some have put it, but to save Europe from itself. Just as Russia, and not the West, was to blame for choosing the Western ideology that created the Russian Revolution in February 1917, we do not blame others for the present misfortune that Europeans have chosen for themselves.

The key to universal salvation in these last times is atonement, in the restoration of Holy Rus and in Holy Rus becoming universal. Following the Holy Trinity, we are called on not only to be Guardians and Gatherers of Holy Rus, following the Father and the Son, but also Spreaders of Holy Rus, following the Holy Spirit. Those, in East and West, who want to work with the Russian Orthodox Church and so, by following the Tradition, build up new Local Churches are welcome to do so. If some do not wish to do so and set themselves against the prophetic and mystical Church Tradition in tired, old, secularist and humanist neo-renovationism, then God be with them. We shall do God’s Will without them. We force no-one to follow the Church; the Church sails ahead without those who reject Her.

In 1917 the last Christian Emperor, the Tsar, did not abdicate. In 1917 Russia and the whole world abdicated from him, from the Christian Emperor and Christian Empire, and so from Christ. Since then there has been no peace on earth so that we have all had to atone, each receiving our penance in order to learn humility. Inside Russia the people faced the penances of persecution and Nazi invasion, outside Russia those in the emigration faced the penances of exile and isolation. As for Europe, like today’s USA also, it has faced the penance of war and humiliating loss of power and greatness. As for the rest of the world, it has faced constant strife and war, ever since ‘he who restrains’ (2 Thess 2, 7) was in 1917 removed. All the suffering of the world since 1917 has been the opportunity of all to learn humility.

Our destiny, mystical and prophetical, is to preach Holy Rus, the message of the last Christian Emperor, to the whole world for repentance before the end. The time is coming when the world will at last be ready to hear of Holy Rus, of the universality of the Incarnate Christ, authentic Christianity, and not the two diluted isms shaped by Western heathenism, pagan Romanism and northern barbarianism, that is, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

Afterword

My great-grandfather was born in the same year as Nicholas II, the last Christian Emperor who was martyred in Ekaterinburg in 1918. One hundred years after the Emperor’s birth and fifty years after his martyrdom, I, born on the anniversary of the day when the remains of the Imperial family were finally destroyed, received the message from the east that I was to learn and then go and speak of Holy Rus, Christ Incarnate, to those whom I met. This is not only my personal destiny, but also that of many others, as described so well in the poem ‘The Apostles’, written in exile in 1928 by the bard of the Tsar, Sergey Bekhteev:

Amid the darkness of the slavish world
We bear the spirit’s torch in victory
And we call loud to those chosen by God
To enter the hall where the Orthodox feast.

We walk along a road of thorns,
We soar above worldly vanity,
We are the apostles of Christ’s Faith,
We are the heralds of holy truth.

We call the races and the peoples,
Made scarlet with their brothers’ blood,
To the kingdom of true, eternal freedom,
To the kingdom of goodness, light and love.

The hopes and prayers for the future turn to Ekaterinburg, to restoration and coronation.

Questions and Answers from Recent Correspondence (October 2015)

Q: What is happening in the Serbian Orthodox Church at present?

A: As far as I can see, the Western neocon elite, which has been trying to manipulate the Serbian government ever since it bombed Serbia, is continuing the same old Communist policy of divide and rule. Just as the Communists separated Macedonia and set up an ‘Orthodox’ nationalist sect there in the 1960s, so Washington and its allies have since separated Montenegro and Kosovo from Serbia and are trying to set up nationalist sects there through their local puppets. Opposition is coming from the people. In Montenegro the people do not want to become another NATO base and in Macedonia they do not want to become another Muslim republic like Kosovo. This political opposition creates opposition to the nationalist and schismatic sects, as people realize that is what they are.

This is the very policy that the US is trying to implement in the Ukraine also. There, three different small, foreign, politically-concocted sects, one of which has a very aggressive leader, Denisenko, who has visited the State Department in Washington as an honoured guest, are trying to undermine the vast majority. They belong to the only Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is led by Metropolitan Onuphry.

Q: Isn’t it strange that the Yugoslav Communists fifty years ago under the Croat Tito and today’s neocons follow the same policy?

A: Not at all. The Yugoslav Communists were put into place by the Western Powers during World War II, with Churchill switching sides to them from the Orthodox Serbs and supporting them. The Communists and the neocons share the same basic materialistic ideology. The only difference is that the Communists promoted the materialistic concept of amassing State wealth, the neocons of amassing personal wealth. State Capitalism or individualist Capitalism, Mammon is the same everywhere.

Q: What can be done?

A: I am an outsider, so it is difficult for me to say anything about the Serbian Church. That is an internal matter. However, it does seem vital to me that in general all of us, whatever Local Church we belong to, must keep to Orthodox canonical principles and resist US/EU, or any other, political interference and, at the same time, we must advance non-nationalist, confederal structures. This is what the Russian Church did over 20 years ago, granting extensive autonomy to its local parts, for example to the Ukrainian Church, the Moldovan Church, the Latvian Church and the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). If this is not done, there will be new schisms or else old schisms will continue.

Q: On the subject of schisms, who were the small groups of dissidents who went into schism from the two parts of the Russian Church at their reconciliation in 2007?

A: As I have said before, there were two groups. The first left English and French communities officially dependent on the Church inside Russia. Their leaders (and their naïve followers who knew no better) were renovationists, who had been poisoning Church life in the Diaspora for decades, in obedience to their by then mainly dead Paris-School ideologues. They left for the US-controlled Patriarchate of Constantinople, where freemasons, semi-Uniats and anti-Russian political or nationalist dissidents seem to be made welcome. The second group left ROCOR and were a strange mixture of operatives of the CIA and other Western spy services, right-wingers of the Peronista type in South America and ideologically-minded old calendarist converts who did not love the Russian Church and persecuted those of us who do.

Q: Looking back on your own life in the Church, do you regret the things that happened to you in the 70s and 80s?

A: If the things that happened to me had not happened, I would not know now what I have learned from bitter experience, however painful. So, in a sense how can I regret anything? Everything was necessary to learn a little wisdom and see through the myths of the ‘Orthodox’ Establishment. However, if we are to daydream (!) and I had known then what I know now, I would in 1971 have joined the London ROCOR parish. Then, having finished studies at University in London in 1977, I would have asked to go to Jordanville in 1977.

I greatly regret not only that in those pre-internet days I was given no facts, no guidance, but instead was given active misinformation and misdirection. Such was the spiritual corruption and prejudice against the Russian Church at that time. The scribes and pharisees of the Establishment did not want a Church outside its control, a free, uncompromised and spiritually independent Russian Orthodox Church, free of both left-wing renovationism and right-wing politicking. They wanted an impure, spiritually degutted and compromised Establishment organization. This is why they did their best to undermine us from both outside and, through their agents of both left and right, from inside.

Q: How do you see the future for the Russian Church in the East of England?

A: In recent years we have encouraged the establishment of both what became the little rural mission with Fr Anthony in Mettingham in Suffolk and of St Panteleimon’s skete outside Clacton in Essex. This latter is under Fr Sergei, whose simplicity is an example to us all. Now, with God’s help and that of many kind and generous benefactors, we are buying property for a church in the city of Norwich and hope to have a man ordained for the new parish in God’s good time. Perhaps this is all we can do; certainly we need more clergy in order to expand. One or two candidates now seem to be appearing at last, but we need more.

We can dream of parishes in the county centres elsewhere in the east: a church building for Suffolk in the county centre of Bury St Edmunds, a church dedicated to Sts Peter and Paul in Peterborough for Cambridgeshire, a church of the Resurrection in Bedford for Bedfordshire, a church dedicated to St Alban in St Albans for Hertfordshire, a church dedicated to St Nicholas in east London, a church dedicated to Sts Constantine and Helen in York for Yorkshire and a church dedicated to All the Saints in Canterbury as the centre for Kent. However, realistically, if that is not God’s will, none of this will happen.

Q: Why is it important to have property in central and populated places?

A: Because if we do not, the communities will die out as property promotes continuity. This is a law. When you have your own property, then you also have spiritual freedom. I have seen dozens of parishes closing in England and France over the last forty years. Why? Because they had no property. It is just a fact of life. And communities must always be in centres, in cities and large towns, where the people are. You do not open a church where no-one lives. Church buildings follow the people, for they are the Church. It is not the other way round. That is common sense.

Q: Some people fear the coming Pan-Orthodox Council in 2016, calling it the ‘Eighth Oecumenical Council’ that was denounced in the prophecies. What would you say?

A: There is a certain hysteria and paranoia among some who seem to know very little of Church history with respect to this meeting, which is most certainly not the ‘Eighth Oecumenical Council’. It is pure fantasy to call it that. The Inter-Orthodox meeting next year is not a Council, but a meeting of a minority of Orthodox bishops, about 25% of the total. It will discuss administrative and canonical issues; all the dogmatic issues have already been decided for all time by the Seven Universal (‘Oecumenical’ is a misleading translation) Councils.

No meeting can become a Council if its resolutions are not received by the faithful, but sadly we the faithful have never been consulted about the discussions leading to this present meeting. The whole thing is happening behind closed doors in Calvinist Geneva (of all places), a situation unheard of in Orthodox practice, and I think this is why a certain hysteria and paranoia is growing up in some circles. They are inevitable, given the near-total lack of transparency.

The faithful are the guardians of the Faith, which is why a meeting can only become a Council if its decisions are received by the faithful. If a meeting is a Council, then it means that the Holy Spirit is present there, as He is among the faithful. At present it seems that some of the 1960s-style liberal Protestant agenda being promoted by the Phanariots and which frightened us in the 1970s, has already had to be dropped at the preparatory meetings. That is good. We do not need any more old-fashioned modernism. However, there is no agreement among representatives of the Local Churches who are preparing this meeting on several important issues. Moreover, with the latest condemnation by Constantinople of Metr Rostislav of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, this meeting may never even take place, for it cannot if one of the fourteen Local Churches is absent. So Greek nationalism may yet put an end to the meeting altogether.

More generally, the situation is so highly politicized that one wonders if anything meaningful can take place even if these bishops do meet. Let us recall that no fewer than three patriarchs of Local Churches are now US appointees (against the canons of the Church) and they repeat the policies of the State Department, that is, of Obama, who may be an atheist or may be a Muslim (no-one is sure), of the abortionist Biden and of the warmonger Kerry. Parts of the Church are simply not free to meet. Just as St Justin of Chelije called for a boycott of any such Inter-Orthodox meeting in the 1970s because so many Local Churches, notably the Russian, were then enslaved by the atheist SU, so today other Local Churches are enslaved by the atheist US.

Q: So can any meaningful meeting take place?

A: I think that in the longer term it may be irrelevant whether a meeting takes place or not. I see a different outcome. As the number of bishops in the Russian Church climbs inexorably to 400 and more, and the total will soon exceed 50% of the total number of Orthodox bishops, the meeting in Constantinople is becoming irrelevant. It may be that the Russian Orthodox Church, as the one and only obvious Centre of Orthodox Civilization, may soon hold an episcopal meeting together with the other free Local Churches, Antioch, Georgia, Poland, Czechoslovakia etc.

Such a meeting of over 500 bishops would be far more representative that that the Geneva-prepared one in the Phanar, and would be more likely to become a Council. It could take place at the New Jerusalem Monastery outside Moscow, which is now nearly fully restored. This is what the Russian Church intended the Monastery for in the seventeenth century, as a centre of World Orthodoxy, but was prevented from becoming by the interference of the Russian State both then and since. Such a Council could speak freely, without reserve ‘for fear of the Jews’, that is, unintimidated by the Soviet-style censorship of political correctness.

Such a situation would reflect the reality of the Church today, not the situation of a thousand years ago when Greek ruled the roost. It is time to catch up with reality. The Greek-ruled Churches, mostly with flocks of scarcely a million and nationalist outlooks, are simply unable to cope with the reality of today’s global world. In order to respond, the Church today must also be global. Only the Russian Church is that.

Q: Some would call that ‘Russian Imperialism’.

A: Imperialism of any sort is to be condemned because it is nationalism. What we are talking about is an Imperial Church, the Church of the Christian Empire. Imperial means multinational unity in diversity, with new autocephalous Local Churches being born through missionary activity, whereas Imperialism means nationalism, central control and the ‘one size fits all’ mentality of the papist model, which, sadly, now exists in Istanbul.

Q: What is the situation after the latest round of episcopal consecrations announced by the Russian Church on 23 October?

A: The news that Fr Tikhon (Shevkunov) is now a bishop is most welcome, and the news that Italy now has for the first time ever a resident Russian Orthodox bishop in Bishop Antony (Sevryuk) is historic. It seems that we are at last seeing the appearance of a young generation of bishops, all at least trilingual (the local language, English and Russian), resident in the country, with an understanding of the local culture and politically free. We also noted that Fr Gennady Andreyev of the Sourozh Diocese in Manchester has been nominated bishop.

But there are other welcome events. Despite vigorous French political opposition which much delayed the project, the cupolas are now on the new Russian Cathedral in Paris and all should be finished within twelve months. We are moving ahead at last.

And as regards the veneration of the local Western saints, 60 years after St John, we are now moving forward to their inclusion in the Russian calendar inside Russia and perhaps even elsewhere. It is not just a case of better late than never, this represents real repentance on the part of those who resisted, reproached and actively persecuted us for venerating them for over 40 years. It is sad that several of the persecutors are now dead and therefore cannot repent, so we will have to pray for them, for Christ calls us to pray for our enemies, regardless of whether they are dead or alive. It is the same situation as with those who refused to venerate the New Martyrs and Confessors and put icons of them in their churches. They have all been proved wrong as well.

Q: Many people are very pessimistic about the situation in Russia and criticize it. What would you answer them?

A: There is a huge amount to criticize in post-Soviet Russia, the old classic of ABC – Alcoholism (nearly as high as in Finland), ‘Bortion (abortion) (near Asian levels) and Corruption (about the same as in Italy), to which could be added D for both Divorce (nearly as high as in the USA) and Drug-taking (not yet at the levels of Western Europe). However, the Russophobes and their propaganda deliberately omit the vital fact: the direction Russia is going in is right, whereas the direction that the West is going in is wrong. It is a huge historical irony that in proportion as Russia is deSovietized (a process well under way despite the propaganda, opposition and fear of the West), the West is being Sovietized.

Q: Who are these Russophobes who criticize?

A: There are two groups. Firstly, there are the neo-colonial Western ideologues who, still living in the imperialist arrogance of the nineteenth century, are convinced that ‘West is best’ and as for ‘the rest’, they can go to hell. These people are in reality mere primitive racists and extremists, like the Russophobe Senator John McCain who has now been photographed at a meeting with Islamic State, so anxious is he to be anti-Russian! (Here is the proof that the Westernists are at one with Islamists, whose movement they founded in Afghanistan in the 1980s and who have always supported the murderous regime in Saudi Arabia with its beheadings, crucifixions and massive bombings, with US warplanes and British bombs, of civilians in the Yemen. The extremes always meet, in the same way that the British imperialist and Jewish convert Disraeli backed the Ottoman massacres of Bulgarian Christians in the 19th century).

Secondly, there are the Russian Westernizers, many of them oligarchs, Jews or homosexuals. They are often to be seen at the US embassy in Moscow. They represent the same aristocratic, military and industrialist class (senior Romanovs among them), and also renovationist career clergy in the Church, that betrayed Russia in 1917 (when they were to be seen at the British Embassy in Saint Petersburg), overthrowing the Tsar because they wanted power (and even more money) for themselves.

They have their exact parallel in the Ukraine today, where the legitimate and democratically elected Yanukovich government (whatever its many shortcomings) was overthrown by the nationalist Galician Uniat minority, led by oligarchs like the Jewish Poroshenko and other billionaire industrialists who sold their souls to the CIA in exchange for its backing. Elected by 25% of the people, and that was only achieved with harsh Secret Police repression and US PR propaganda, these people are ruthless because they are completely without principle. That is why they hate the Ukrainian people and Orthodoxy. Unlike them, we Christians have principles.

In fact, it would be more exact to call such individuals Orthodoxophobes than Russophobes and Ukrainophobes, because that is the essence of their hatred, hatred for Christ, however deludedly they may claim that they are for Christ. As with the Bolsheviks in Alexander Blok’s revolutionary poem, ‘The Twelve’, they think that they are following Christ, but in reality they are following Antichrist. And he will lead them to the perdition of their souls in Gehenna. That is how serious their situation is.

Q: What is happening to the ‘British Orthodox Church’?

A: The so-called ‘British Orthodox Church’, in fact neither British, nor Orthodox, was a tiny group of vagantes and other eccentric Anglo-Catholics, whose leader used to call himself ‘the Patriarch of Glastonbury’(!). However, they were received and ordained by the Coptic Church some 20 years ago. In 1999 they had one bishop, 18 vicars (clergy) and 72 faithful! In early October this year they left the Miaphysite Church and, apparently, have now gone back to being vagantes. The problem was that the ex-Anglicans in question could not accept the inherent anti-Chalcedonianism which is now once more coming to the fore among the Copts in what I think is an outburst of nationalism. (Anti-Chalcedonianism goes hand in hand with local nationalism, which to a great extent caused it).

I am told that the group now has one bishop, 2 priests and about 100 faithful, mainly Establishment ex-Anglicans, mainly, I am told, elderly, though I am not sure if that is true. What the group will do now is unclear. Sadly, I doubt that they will wish to join the Orthodox Church because that would mean accepting catechism and being received as laypeople. I very much hope that I am wrong in this pessimistic view of their clericalism. There is one ex-Anglican group which they might join; it ordains ex-Anglican vicars almost immediately and virtually without training. Who knows? I think it will make little difference because it is such a tiny group, not even one normal parish.

Q: Given its critical situation, it has been suggested that the Rue Daru jurisdiction be directly governed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople and join the local Constantinople dioceses, like that of Metropolitan Emmanuel in Paris. What do you think of that?

A: I agree. I think that this is so logical that it is inevitable. Once all those who love the Russian Tradition have left Rue Daru, as they have been doing over the last thirty and more years since the repose of the saintly Archbishop George (Tarasov) and the fall into decadence after him, what will be left? Freemasons and naïve converts, new calendarist modernists and ecumenists. Obviously, they should all be together in Constantinople’s local diocesan structures and lodges. On the other hand, they should first have the honesty to hand back Russian Church property, which they are effectively occupying.

Q: What do you make of the recent Roman Catholic Synod in Rome?

A: Catholicism is now at a turning point. Will it keep the remnants of Catholicism (which date back in one form or another to Orthodoxy), or will it become completely Protestantized, a process that was initiated by wealthy US, German and other liberal cardinals over fifty years ago at the Second Vatican Council. With the present Jesuit Pope, for whom the means seem to justify the ends and who seems to agree with everyone and no-one, it is impossible to say what will happen, but that is what is at stake. This is important because Roman Catholicism is the very last Western European institution with an Orthodox past to survive. However, today Roman Catholicism, Uniatism included, looks so weak, so Americanized, that is, so Protestantized, that there seems little hope for it. I have always believed that only Orthodoxy can fill the spiritual abyss left by it.

Its situation is symbolic of Western Europe in general, whose cities now seem to be on the verge of disappearing beneath the tidal wave of the Muslim invasion. This was brought about by Western interference in the Middle East and North Africa, the notorious CIA-orchestrated ‘Arab spring’, which has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands. Will Western Europe survive at all? That is now the question. However, I would like to disagree with the Western xenophobes, who blame ‘Arabs’ or ‘Muslims’. These wretched people are not the cause of the problem. The cause of the problem is Western apostasy, the fact that Western people have abandoned Christ. As nature abhors a vacuum, so it is being filled – and by Islam. If Western people had not abandoned Christ and Christian culture, there would be no spiritual vacuum and no Muslims here to fill it.

Q: How should we look at the situation in Syria?

A: We live in times when the prophecies are being accomplished before our very eyes – in Iraq, in Syria and in Turkey. The present catastrophe began in 1991 with the beginning of the fall of Babylon (Iraq) in the first Gulf War. This was accomplished in 2003. In 2000 Iraq had nearly 2,000,000 Christians, now there are fewer than 200,000. Even someone as obtuse and deluded as Blair is just now beginning to admit that he is partly responsible. As for Syria, it is next to Armageddon. The third player is Turkey, whose fall is also prophesied. Then will come the drying up of the Euphrates. Before that I think we shall also see changes in the Ukraine next year.

Following Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya have all called for Russian help. It is difficult to know whether Russia will be able to put out all the conflagrations started by incredible Western hubris, but we shall see. It is not easy to be the world’s fireman when you face American arsonists.

Q: What lies behind this hubris which is inherent in the West?

A: Historically, it is a mixture of the imperialist superiority of the pagan Romans mixed with the ruthless plundering of the barbarian Germanic peoples being harnessed by Satanic powers. Thus, what is at the origin of the British Establishment? It is the Norman mentality, in other words, the mentality of a Viking warband, which is what the Normans were. When they came to England in 1066, having already destroyed the older Christian traditions of pre-Norman Normandy, they came to plunder the gold and riches of a Christian kingdom and destroy its half-millennial Church.

The gleam in Norman eyes then was the same as that in the eyes of the gold-hungry Spanish conquistadors five centuries later, and the same as that in the eyes of Texan oilmen when they got their greedy hands on Iraqi oil five centuries after that. Even modern Western science fiction talks of asset-stripping and strip-mining other planets in exactly the same way. Exploit the mineral resources of a country until they are exhausted and then move on to the next country, or planet, and strip it bare too, plunder and pillage ruthlessly – all under the pretext of freedom and democracy. As the imperialist British Prime Minister Palmerston said 150 years ago, Britain has ‘no friends and no enemies, only interests’. In other words, the Western Establishment is nothing but a Viking warband intent on plunder and pillage, intent on its own interests, and without any principles whatsoever.

Q: What would you say of the general situation? Doesn’t it make you despair?

A: No. The world, as ever, is divided into three groups: God’s, Satan’s and the undecided. This means: the real Orthodox (those who are willing to die for Orthodoxy); Satan’s people (including so-called ‘Orthodox’ apostates); and the rest, including many nominal Orthodox, who have not made up their mind whose they are. Some among the rest are two-faced and agree with everyone, but among the rest there are also those who one day will be willing to die for Orthodoxy. It is in the hope of the repentance of all that the world continues through the mercy of God.

I think in dealing with the things of the world (political events etc), we have to be in the know, but not despair. Be as gentle as doves and wise as serpents, says Christ. We must always remember that though man proposes, God disposes. Satan’s forces do what they want, but it does not mean that they will win. They will not. We know that for a fact. The scheme of the prince of this world and his over-educated minions is obvious – their great plan is to restore the Temple in Jerusalem so that they can enthrone Antichrist there. But it may be hundreds of years till they achieve that, even though there are days when it seems that it is going to happen within just a few years.

God, not man, disposes. Do not despair. We have already seen one miracle – the fall of militant atheism in the old Soviet Unionand the beginning of the restoration of the Christian Empire there. Other miracles are possible. Never underestimate either the wisdom of God or the foolishness of man. Never doubt God’s power.

The Empire Strikes Back: The Renascent Christian Empire and Syria

What is the civilization that Russian Orthodox of over sixty nationalities belong to? It is the civilization of the Christian Empire, renascent since the fall of atheist ideology in Russia. In history this Empire has been known as ‘The Third Rome’ and ‘Holy Rus’. The Christian Empire is not some narrow nationalistic ideology, but a multinational Empire. Although its Centre is in Russia, some Russians do not belong to it. To be Russian and to speak Russian is no guarantee at all of identity with the Christian Empire. Precisely in 1917 many Russians rejected it. And yet tens of millions outside Russia, in the Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan and numbers in many countries all around the world belong to it.

Those who belong to the Christian Empire belong to it spiritually and so culturally, confessing its Christian values, rejecting narrow chauvinism and balkanized racism, which puts a particular race and language above the Church of God. They also put the defence of the Christian Empire and all Christians above aggressive invasions and ruthless exploitation, the raping of natural resources, as is sadly so commonplace in Western ideology. Roman Catholics and Protestants do not belong to the Christian Empire, for their leaders rejected the now bimillennial Christianity on which the Empire is based a millennium ago, replacing it with the ideologies of Roman Catholicism and then Protestantism.

However, this is no fault of ordinary Catholics and Protestants, who have been hoodwinked and blinded by their elites, and we make no judgement about them. Perhaps there has now come the time when many of them will join us, returning to the Christian Orthodox Faith of their distant ancestors. However, the Christian Empire is one that which we must be ready to die for and not many are prepared to make that sacrifice. Whether the oppressors were Roman pagans, Hellenist intellectuals, corrupt emperors, Muslim Ottomans, Western-inspired atheists or idolatrous consumerists, we have always had to pay with our lives for our faith. But that has also been a joy for us. Thus Western-inspired atheists, called Marxists, massacred us by the million for our sins, but we were saved by the invasion of other Western atheists, Nazis, and 27 million have their lives so that the restoration of the Christian Empire could eventually begin fifty years later.

They take God away from us, but they cannot take us away from God, Who indwells in the hearts of those who remain faithful, ignoring the temptations all around us. For now the ruler of our Empire is the Mother of God in her Sovereign Icon, which appeared in 1917, when the legitimate government of the Christian Empire was overthrown by both Western and apostate Russian traitors. The Christian Empire is summed up in the words of St Seraphim of Sarov: ‘Christ is Risen, my joy’. The Christian Empire is all those who have not compromised and betrayed the Orthodox Faith, whatever our nationality, and not been intimidated by the powers of this world. The Orthodox Empire is in our places of holiness and shrines, in our churches and monasteries, wonder-working icons, miraculous sacraments and our daily life through our cultural, social, economic and political values and in our quest for peace, honesty, justice and responsibility.

The Christian Empire expresses the Civilization of Christ. Those who reject it, consciously and usually unconsciously, enter into the embraces of Antichrist. As the only protector of all the world’s Christians, the renascent Christian Empire has now had to intervene between Jewish fanatics (Zionists) and Muslim fanatics (Islamists), as it did before 1917. After that year the British and French elites, who had long plotted the downfall of the Christian Empire together with others, carved up the Ottoman Empire. They created countries like the Lebanon, Syria, the Jordan and Iraq, so artificial that they would always be divided and so at war and so easily exploitable by outsiders. However, in 1917 history was interrupted, the balance was lost and extremes appeared, whether Marxism, Nazism, Zionism or Islamism.

Today anti-Christian Western aggression is being stopped by the renascent Christian Empire after a period of 25 years when it freely ravaged the world, from Latin America to Yugoslavia, from the Caucasus to the Middle East, from North Africa to the Ukraine. The Syrian government, invaded by terrorists helped by the West and financed by the Western allies, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has called on the renascent Christian Empire for help. Now Iraq and Afghanistan, also annihilated by Western meddling, have called for help. Only the Christian Empire can free the Middle East and save the world’s Christians. As a result, the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem draw ever nearer to the Russian Church.

The Western elite has shown its true colours by condemning our protection of Christians and supporting phantom ‘moderate’ terrorists (!). NATO, Turkish and Saudi propaganda support Muslim terrorism and, after all, Al-Qaida was founded, trained and armed by the CIA. Not surprisingly, the military action of the Christian Empire, begged for by the Syrian government, has achieved more in a few days in Syria than occasional and selective US bombing in a year. Here is somewhere where the Russian State is protecting the Church, not always the case in post-Soviet Russia which sometimes resembles Soviet Russia. In other words, it is truly becoming the renascent Christian Empire. Today Jerusalem is protected by that Empire and, although the Temple Mount is still temporarily blocked off, Zionists have failed yet again in their attempt to rebuild the Temple. The world has been granted a little longer to turn to repentance.

An Appeal for Faithfulness and for Unity

The Past

When eight years ago in Moscow a senior archpriest of the Moscow Diocese asked me to write the full story of Metr Antony, I answered him that, straight after a schism, it was not yet time, that people were not ready for it. I maintain that point of view today – only bit by bit can the story be told, only inasmuch as it serves the edifying and overriding goal of faithfulness and so unity. A bit more has been told this month at the instigation of a ‘Patriarchal’ priest of the Russian Church in the Diaspora, and only in order to point the way towards further unity. All revelations are for a good reason, not by chance, and are thought out beforehand. As for the rest, I have maintained silence on the whole story for 33 years – it can wait longer.

Thus, the article we published on 25 July regarding the past of English Orthodoxy and, most importantly, to provide a vision for the future unity of Russian Orthodoxy and all Orthodoxy in Europe has been like a stone thrown into a pond – it has created ripples, many for and some against. That shows that people are alive. It also shows just how divisive Metr Antony was, especially considering that the article was written most diplomatically, quoting Metr Kallistos. The conclusion must be: divisive personalities create division. Let us recall that the goal of the Church is to bring down the Holy Spirit on earth to produce saints, like St John of Shanghai, not to produce personalities.

Sadly, the truth hurts. And the article pained some, especially the naïve who are still in denial. But without growing pains, there can be no maturity. I have been there. As they say: ‘No pains, no gains’. And, in this case, although we would rather not talk of any of this, but keep it quiet just as everyone else keeps it quiet, this truth that hurts must be heard now. This is because to keep quiet now is to impede unity and the prize of unity is too great, for no Church or spiritual life can ever be built on myths and illusions, just as no Church or spiritual life can ever be built on schism and fragmentation. And schism and fragmentation were the case of the old Sourozh Diocese and the Paris Exarchate and, indeed, to a lesser extent, the case of both once divided parts of the Russian Church Diaspora.

Some have criticized details in the article. Two criticisms were quite right. These mentioned quite correctly that the Greek Metropolitan for Benelux is Metr Atheagoras (not Panteleimon, who was his predecessor) and that Maximos is not a Greek name. Thank you. As these were mistakes, like all the mistakes that I make, they were corrected at once. As a matter of historical fact, the Fr Maximos in question (he formerly had the fine Christian name of Michael) quit the Greek Orthodox priesthood after only two weeks. (Sadly, not a record; last year this was beaten by one recent convert, ordained without preparation, who stayed for only one day).

Another correspondent asked what was wrong with Greek vestments. He had missed the point; there is nothing wrong with Greek vestments – except when you claim to be following ‘the Russian Tradition’. Or do those words mean a consumerist, ‘pick and mix’ attitude to the Church? Another asked about Russian dress code in the spirit of, ‘But I know someone who…’, and also missed the point. I was talking about the context of general Christian dress code (which only the Russian Orthodox Tradition seems to have kept), not about the exceptions of loose sharivari trousers as worn by some peasant women in Serbia or African or Asian native dress. Orthodox dress code is universal and can be summed up by the words, ‘modesty without provocation’. Sadly, some in the name of an ideology alien to the Church, but not alien to secularism, like to provoke.

One asked me about my view of the ‘unusual and unique practices’ of Fr Sophrony (Sakharov). To which I simply answered that it is hardly for me to judge the spiritual value of such practices which take place in the Patriarchate of Constantinople. That is for the Church and Her hierarchs to judge. In this matter I am a mere observer who simply states facts and accepts the judgement of the whole Church, whatever that will be.

Another asked why we should have confession before every communion. Again he had missed the point. I was talking not about a pious convert monk who took communion every day and did not need confession every day (though his inexperienced and over-rigid convert confessor was demanding it!), but about the average Orthodox in the average parish who takes communion every two or three months and therefore needs confession before each communion. Even more so for the Greek who takes communion at every liturgy, but hotly denies even the existence of confession; since he has never heard of it and as he has never been asked to do it, it does not exist for him.

In this context, confession before communion is not some exotic Russian Orthodox tradition, it is the universal tradition of the Church – visit any Local Church and ask the faithful; everything else is mere decadence. There is only one Tradition, despite the vain attempts by Protestant-minded and Protestant-backed liberals to invent a new and alternative one and then reject the Tradition as ‘old-fashioned’ or ultra-conservative’, so moving the goal posts so that they can justify their conformity to secularism. Their technique of calling the Tradition ‘ultra-conservative’ was well-practised by the modernist Catholics and Protestants long before fringe Orthodox blindly copied it.

One said that the article was simply untrue; however, he was quite unable to reject a single point, as he is in denial of reality. All such articles are written from experience. You can deny that someone has experienced something if you wish, but it makes no difference to the fact that the experience has taken place. You are simply in denial, because you have some personal axe to grind. You are welcome to disagree with my interpretations of the facts, but to deny the facts is to deny reality and dwell in fantasy. Another who had been there at the time, squirmed and then reluctantly admitted that the whole article was true. The truest statement came from a third person who simply said: ‘We all know that this is the truth, it is just that no-one has dared say it out loud until now’. Such is the fear of the political correctness of the modern Jews.

One asked about naïve young Russian women in Russia who admire Metr Antony’s Russian (not English) writings, which Patriarch Alexis II expressly asked him to write in the 1990s. In my view, they are right to admire them, they are very well-written, ideal for beginners, just as beginners in Russia also admire the writings of C.S. Lewis. New to the Church, they need food for the mind and the highly talented Metr Antony gives this. That is why he was so popular with Anglicans, others outside the Church and those on the fringes of the Church. He wrote for them. From an atheist and secular background, he was well able to address the rationalistic doubts of people from that secular background. However, if such young women wish to be Churched, to enter the Arena, they will need to move on beyond introductions and rationalizing food for the mind and find writings with food for the soul. As for the tragic legacy of Metr Antony in England, which is what we were writing about, such young women, new to the Church, have no idea about it. We do, because we were subjected to the tragedy which wasted so much and drove so many away.

One correspondent asked about the need for a European Metropolia, and not a local English Orthodox Church. It is my polite suggestion that he should think about what I wrote of a ‘British Orthodox Church’. I wrote that we must avoid nationalism on the one hand and on the other hand admit that we are far too small to dream about a Local Church now. There may be at least 300,000 Orthodox in the UK, but fewer than 10% (30,000) practise and of that 10% it is doubtful if even 5% (1,500) are English people who practise. And most of the 30,000, including hundreds of the English people, have no desire for an English Orthodox Church; they are quite happy to belong to a Church that is based in another country. This is exactly what happened in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) – most Orthodox Americans of Non-Orthodox origin do not belong to it, thus making its claims strange.

In any case, who would provide the initiative for such a new Local Church? Not the Russian Church, for it has learned from its sad experience precisely with the OCA, whose canonicity is denied by most, as it received its contested Cold War autocephaly on a shared territory. What I was saying to this correspondent, and what I am saying here, is that now is the time for unity in a Metropolia, which could with time become autonomous and then, only with the consent of all, become a new Local Church. Now is not the time for narrow national division.

In a word, I am slightly disappointed, though not at all surprised, that some, perhaps a few on purpose, criticized the details of the trees, but forgot to look at the forest – which was, after all, the point. Above all I am disappointed that some seemed to pay less attention to the second part of the article, a vision of unity for the future, which to my mind is ten times more important than the first part. That simply lists the mistakes of the past and so explains how NOT to build unity and the future – on divisive personalities and divisive modernism. Perhaps some are not ready for the future. I am.

The Future

On what then can future Church unity be built? It can only be built on faithfulness to the Tradition. You cannot build unity on faithfulness to compromise, as I remarked thirty years ago to Archbishop George (Wagner) in Rue Daru, who could provide no answer to this truism, after he had just preached about the need for faithfulness, but never explained faithfulness to what. Why faithfulness? Because the Church that is faithful produces saints and, as we said above, this bringing down of the Holy Spirit to produce saints is the goal of the Church. A so-called Church that is against fasting, monasticism and asceticism, radically shortens and changes the services, destroys a prayerful atmosphere, conforms to the secularist spirit of the Western world, constantly berates Mt Athos, compromises on everything, and does not prepare the next generation of spiritual heroes, the saints and martyrs, as were produced by the Russian Church in the nineteenth century, is not a Church.

In a word, that is a Church that is unfaithful, it is disrespectful of the saints, does not produce saints, it produces only intellectuals who have no role to play in an organism where all the most important and so saving knowledge comes from the Holy Spirit, not from dry books of philosophy that only give you headaches. That is the Church of the philosophers, not the Church of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of illiterate Galilean fishermen, of the Saints of God. Such an unfaithful Church is no longer a Church at all and instead of saints produces only apostates, heretics and schismatics. A glance at twentieth-century Church history confirms this in abundance.

As I said to a former Sourozh priest in Cambridge in 1982, one who had just denied to me the need for spiritual heroes or even their existence and had just launched a magazine about such a new ‘Church’, that Church is just another rationalistic, secular and anti-spiritual organization, for it has nothing to feed our souls with. The Church has one foot in heaven and one foot on earth; the modernists want to make a Church with two feet on earth. They can do so if they want, but it will no longer be a Church, just a Protestant-type social club.

We have in recent years turned a generational corner in the Diaspora. Some in the old generation still seems to think that there are two parts to the Church, those who celebrate the services in ‘foreign’ languages and those who do not. At the mere mention of the word ‘faithful’, they think of their departed parents’ or still earlier generations who culted ‘the old country’ and a ‘foreign’ language. This old generation with all its complex of identity is hopelessly old-fashioned and is dying out. Today, everybody in all jurisdictions in the Diaspora uses English or another appropriate local language.

Today there are still two parts to the Church, but their division has nothing to do with language; of today’s two parts, the vast and often silent majority are trying to be faithful, a small but very vocal minority are not. The latter is not trying to be faithful because it believes in being ‘modern’, in other words, because of psychological and sociological complexes it is trying to conform to the world. ‘Faithful’ no longer means old-fashioned ethnicism; only old calendarists believe because of their chronic insecurity that faithful means a mere aping and anti-creative parroting of the past with pharisaical, imitative, almost Anglo-Catholic ritualism. Faithful means following the practices and spirit of the Church in whatever language we need. Language is totally irrelevant to faithfulness, languages are only permutations of a variety of consonants and vowels, of God-given human speech, of the Word and Breath of God that distinguishes men from animals.

True, one Georgian Orthodox priest did once tell me that God only speaks Georgian. And, some years before that, the same Archbishop George (Wagner), a convert from Catholicism and with an amazing complex about his Berlin past, while railing against the ‘modern’ Romanian use of Romanian in services, told me quite seriously that God only understands Latin, Greek and Slavonic in the services. (Little wonder that the Peckstadt parish and family, like so very many others, left his jurisdiction in those years). However, they were and are wrong! Thank God that that generation, the ones who said quite literally, ‘we would rather see our church close than hear French (or English) here’ has gone. Today, there are still two parts to the Church – but they are divided not according to language, as some in the old generation still think, they are divided according to faithfulness and lack of faithfulness. Agree with me or not, as you like, but my combat has always been with those who want to destroy the faithfulness of the Church and to pray for their enlightenment.

Faithfulness is so important because we know that our Russian Church has produced tens of thousands of saints and so survived, whereas renovationism has produced not a single one – it has produced only apostates, heretics and schismatics, those who conformed to the world, collaborated with atheists and secularists and persecuted and persecute the faithful. So why is faithfulness so necessary in the Diaspora just now?

I believe that we are now at a unique time, a turning point in our Russian Church Diaspora history. In both North America (ROCOR/MP/OCA) and Western Europe (ROCOR/MP/Paris Exarchate) there are three groups of Russian Orthodox (or at least two which are Russian Orthodox and one which has Russian Orthodox origins). All three groups are now faced with the possibility of further unity – or disunity. And unity becomes possible precisely through faithfulness, whereas disunity becomes possible precisely through lack of faithfulness, as we saw with all those tiny sects which rejected the unity between the two parts of the Russian Church in 2007, or with the old calendarists and their 12/13/14/15/16? tiny synods.

Today, in North America, the former leader of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is a member of ROCOR – a unity unthinkable in the bad old days of the Cold War. The OCA itself is now held by a steady hand, Metropolitan Tikhon, whose very name takes the group back to its historic origins with a Saint of the Russian Church. It may be that unity is at hand, that the modernist-minded and divisive extremes, which have for so long impeded OCA unity with the rest of the Russian Church in North America, will leave the OCA, just as the extremes of ROCOR and the Sourozh Diocese had to leave before their unity and that of both parts of the wider Russian Church could be achieved in 2007. Extremes, mainly Protestant-minded, ‘autocephalist’, fringe modernists, who could not accept united episcopal authority could join the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople or Antioch. This would leave the former OCA free to join a united Russian Orthodox Metropolia in North America.

Today, in Western Europe, the Paris Exarchate is now also held by a new hand, Archbishop Job, whose very name indicates the suffering that must be endured if this group is to return to unity. It may be that there too unity is at hand, that the modernist-minded and divisive extremes, which have for so long impeded Church unity with the rest of the Russian Church in Western Europe, will leave the Paris Exarchate, just as the extremes of ROCOR and the Sourozh Diocese had to leave before their unity and that of both parts of the wider Russian Church could be achieved in 2007. Extremes, mainly Protestant-minded, ‘autocephalist’ fringe modernists, who could not accept united episcopal authority could join the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople or Antioch. This would leave the former Paris Exarchate free to join a united Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe.

I have always refused to take part in anti-unity, anti-mainstream, fragmenting, fringe movements, whether of the Sourozh Diocese, seeing where it was heading in 1982, or of the Paris Exarchate, seeing where it was moving in 1988, when Archbishop George (Wagner) preferred to celebrate the thousandth anniversary of the Baptism of Rus with a Catholic cardinal rather than with the Russian Church, or of old calendarism which had infiltrated the local Diocese of ROCOR in 1974 and was still there in 1997, but is now gone. This is because anti-unity movements are by definition unfaithful.

You can agree with me for wanting faithfulness and so unity, or else throw stones at me for wanting faithfulness and so unity, as some indeed have done. That is your choice, though God is your Judge too. But I will not change the fight for faithfulness and so unity, that is, for true unity, the unity that is founded only on the truth and which comes only from faithfulness, not founded on myths, delusions and faithlessness. For it is no use papering over the cracks and indeed the chasms, as old-fashioned ecumenists, stuck in the 1960s, do, unity is always in truth, that is, in faithfulness. Ask St Photius the Great, St Gregory Palamas and St Mark of Ephesus.

Let me be even clearer. What I am saying is this:

When ‘The History of the Orthodox Church Diaspora, 1917-2027’, comes to be written, what will it read? Perhaps:

‘The history of the Orthodox Church Diaspora is a sad one. Apart from the one bright moment of intra-Russian unity in 2007, it is a history of disunity and bickering because of divisive personalities with divisive policies. This has continued to this day and there is little hope for the future. Starting from Pan-Orthodox Diaspora unity under the Russian Orthodox Church in 1917, which was destroyed by the tragic Russian Revolution, Pan-Orthodox unity in the Diaspora has still not been restored after 110 years, to this very day’.

Or will it read like this? Perhaps:

‘Starting from Pan-Orthodox Diaspora unity in 1917, today, 110 years after the tragic Russian Revolution which destroyed that unity, unity is once more within our grasp. This has been achieved by restored Russian Church unity, the firm foundation of which was laid in 2007 by the adherence of both parts of the Russian Church, inside Russia and outside Russia, to the Russian Orthodox Tradition by the blood of the New Martyrs and Confessors, as represented in the Diaspora by the universal spirit of St John of Shanghai. Then came the confirmation of that unity when two former fragments, the former Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and the remains of the Paris Exarchate, overcame their politically-inspired Russophobia, as well as their equally divisive American and French phyletism, and, having jettisoned that secularism, joined in with Russian Church unity.

Today, other national groups in the Diaspora, now again faithfully adhering to the unity-creating principle of the Tradition, rediscovered after generations of decadence and conformism to the practices and values of the Non-Orthodox world (in North America thanks greatly to the monasteries founded by Fr Ephraim), are uniting around this example of responsibility. For they are joining in the life of the Four multinational Metropolias, formed on the initiative of the Russian Orthodox Church, in Western Europe, North America, Latin America and Australasia. The formation of four new multinational Local Churches, following the impetus and examples of these Russian Metropolias, is now within sight. The cleansing of Church life from spiritual impurity, from heterodox-inspired secularism and historic injustice, is now leading to restoration and the return to canonicity’.

In other words, Diaspora unity, which is what we all want, cannot be built on divisive compromises, but only on faithfulness to the One Saint-making Tradition, our lifetime combat.

In other words, the ship is preparing to leave the port. We should make sure that we have tickets for it. Otherwise we shall find ourselves isolated and stranded on the dilapidated jetty of the desert island of dying heterodoxy – a lonely place to be at the best of times.

Ten Centuries of Institutional Secularism: The Despair of the Contemporary World and the Hope of the Church

Secularism, the worship of this world, has always existed and always will exist. It comes from the fact that the human-being, part breath of God and part fallen nature, is torn in two directions, towards the Kingdom of God and towards the fallen world. At times in his history he has turned more to the Kingdom of God, at other times more towards the fallen world. The attraction of the fallen world, secularism, is so strong that it can get inside religion, or rather pervert and deform religion into idolatry, for there have always been and are religions which actually idolize the fallen world, mistaking fallen creation for the Creator. They are called paganism. As examples we can mention yesterday’s Baal, Greek gods and Roman emperor-worship, or today’s religion of consumerism and entertainment (fun), bread and circuses.

Indeed, pagan secularism can enter into any religious system in forms as diverse as the physical sensuality of Hinduism or the militant violence of Islam, as the State-serving of Confucianism or the State worship of Shintoism, as the bourgeois capitalism accepted and promoted by Protestantism or the racial nation-worship to be found on the nominalist margins of Orthodox Christianity, even though officially condemned. Humanity, in other words, is capable of defiguring and corrupting anything, making the spiritual pure into the innately secular. The greatest danger is when such corruption becomes institutionalized, an inherent part of the system. It was in order to avoid this that in the fourth century monasticism began to develop very quickly and the capital of the pagan Roman Empire, which Christianity had vanquished through the Martyrs, was moved away from corrupted Rome to New Rome, uniting East and West, Asia and Europe in the Christian Roman Empire.

However, human nature is the same worldwide. Despite the removal of temptation by moving the Christian capital from pagan Rome, the spirit of the old pagan secularism still reached into Christianity there, over the centuries creating a new religion. The revived spirit of pagan Rome, of worldliness and secularism, was actually ingrained into this new religious system, made systematic and institutionalized by it. After earlier temptations it was eventually defined in Rome in the eleventh century, in imitation of the pagan Roman Empire and came to be called Roman Catholicism. This was essentially an attempt to make the former Church in Western Europe more powerful than all worldly rulers, to make the Church into a State – the most powerful State of all, to create a Roman universalism, hence its name. This was the world’s power to defigure, not the Church’s power to transfigure.

The way in which this was done was primitive enough. First it was necessary to assert that the Holy Spirit proceeded from Christ, from Him Who had taken on human nature while still remaining God. In the later eighth century the warlike barbarian Charlemagne found such a mistaken affirmation and tried to use it to assert his authority against the Church. In this he failed. Then in the early eleventh century the same mistaken affirmation was made again, but this time in Rome where within a few more years the Western leader, the Pope, began to call himself the Vicar (substitute) of Christ. This granted the Western leader Divine authority, by both theologically and juridically making him the source of the Holy Spirit. The trick was complete.

With this new ideology, the Western leader, the Pope, was in effect made God on earth, Pontifex Maximus, the infallible bridge between God and man, just like the old pagan Roman emperors. But when this God on earth commanded armies, launched pagan and barbaric military campaigns (called conquests and crusades) that looted, raped, pillaged and murdered hundreds of thousands, destroying higher forms of civilization, persecuted and tortured all those who disagreed with him, claimed to be able to sell places in Paradise, built himself palaces with every luxury, provided himself with male lovers or brothels and poisoned his enemies, people realized that his was not the Church of God.

Essentially then, what had once been the Church in Western Europe started to rot from the head downwards, its ruling warlike elite forming a neo-pagan institution, a servant of the world. Of course, it took time for the rot to spread and the former Church kept some of the outward structures of the Church that it had once been. There survived church buildings and monasteries, bishops, priests, sacraments and saints – without them it could never have kept the loyalty of simple and uneducated good souls faithful to the old Church and from whom the iniquity of the new system was hidden by ignorance and then indoctrination. However, gradually the old church buildings and monasteries were demolished or uglified into castle-like, military styled, barbarian Gothic and then worse, sections of the episcopate and the priesthood were perverted by sodomy and pedophilia, the sacraments were deformed and communion withheld.

As for the ancient saints, like their churches, they were forgotten or else remade, buried beneath layers of new and strange fashions, promoted by the elite. As even the outward structure of the Church was slowly deformed through the trick of gradualism, so that the people would not notice, the fullness of life went out of it and it began to resemble a dead formula, a mere ritual. The highest form of human life, the spiritual, gained through the ascetic, was replaced by lower forms of human life, the anti-ascetic, whether the intellectual, the psychic, the emotional or the pietistic, with which in their simplicity and naivety many of the simple people, kept in ignorance of the real, were conditioned to be satisfied.

Pagan barbarism had triumphed, disguised by the name of the Church, the Roman, the Papal, the pious, the canonical and the classical. It said that there was no difference between it and the Church of the first millennium, claiming that it had always been thus, that no revolutionary transformations had occurred in the eleventh century and the Church had never been altered! In reality, a subtle form of desacralization and so decivilization had all along been under way. As the former Western Church was gradually clericalized and turned into a mere institution, the world was divorced from the spiritual, thus leaving the political, economic and social life of the world to be secularized. Thus, the Incarnate Christ was driven not only out of the Temple, but out of all Jerusalem, which with time was turned into Babylon.

However, this idolatry of the old Roman paganism that had united Western Europe by military conquest in the name of ‘the Church’ attracted the imitation and envy of others. ‘If the Papacy can operate this trick, then so can we; we other humans can also proclaim ourselves gods on earth and call ourselves ‘humanists’. Thus, Europe drifted even further from the heritage and memory of the old Western Church as it had been. The new imitators tried to imitate the old Roman paganism in their own way, setting up a new Roman Empire which they called ‘Holy’, but which was not, but Unholy and secular. They in turn were followed by others who in protest set up still more forms of Christianity, allying themselves with princes and economic power, subjugating ‘primitive’ and ‘ssvage’ peoples outside Europe (‘primitive’ and ‘savage’ because they were not yet gods on earth like Western men) and becoming worshippers of Mammon.

There is no better example of this than the Victorian Imperialist in Britain, who stamped his pennies with the image of Roman Britannia and who just like the pagan Roman Imperialist, once a simple and honourable farmer, left his homeland to conquer and reorganize the ‘savages’ and so lost his own soul in the process. Just like the pagan Roman Imperialist, he learned Latin, he had strict and narrow moral views, a devotion to imperial duty and what he saw as the public interest – res publica. He was firmly convinced of his moral superiority over the clever but immoral ‘Greeks’ (French and Germans) and over the idle and superstitious ‘Orientals’ (Latins and Indians), over the backward and savage (all other races, as in ‘Darkest’ Africa), whom it was his business and duty to conquer. ‘God is an Englishman’, he wrote, for he had created a god in his own image. Moral censoriousness, sense of duty, xenophobic national glory and devotion to money-making, and so to ruthless and predatory exploitation, were his only goals. His Bible was the Bible of Mammon.

There were many other imitators who also deified themselves. There had already been Napoleon who dressed himself as a Roman Emperor and crowned himself from the hands of the Pope and later there would be Hitler, both paganized Catholics, who tried to re-establish the pagan Roman Empire in Europe by military conquest – and failed as soon as they had to face even the weakened remnants of Christian Russia. All these ideologues were deluded, whether they called themselves Capitalists, Liberals, Darwinists, Socialists or Nazis. Little matter what they called themselves, the secularist aim of worshipping this world has always been the same, including among those who today are for the moment re-establishing the pagan Roman Empire in Europe, a Fourth Reich, by economic conquest. They too are failing but only because again they have to face the weakened remnants of Christian Russia.

Thus, the conspiracy of rejection and concealment of ten centuries of the Faith of the Christian saints in Western Europe and their relics, condemned as living in the ‘Dark Ages’, as unsaintly, uninteresting, obscurantist and primitive, followed by ten centuries of barbaric institutional secularism, extolled as ‘Western culture’, have brought the Western world back to where it was 2,000 years ago, to the new, or rather old, paganism of today. This ‘new world order’ is thoroughly undermined by its narcissistic self-admiration, selfish exploitation, its utter lack of any spiritual purpose, dynamism and leadership, its spiritual futility. So, almost as if by sleight of hand, an anti-spiritual world order has been established. The West has gone from Christ to Antichrist in 1,000 years and turned full circle back to its paganism of 2,000 years ago.

Today’s remaining Western Christians are still little conscious, still largely shackled by their idolatrous attachment to their culture rather than to the purity of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Thus, they are still in denial of the inherent responsibility for the contemporary situation of their gradual thousand-year apostasy. Some have reacted to the contemporary acceleration of the apostasy, for which they still do not see their responsibility and see as due only to a recent process, with apocalyptic and depressing pessimism – the depressive Protestant philosopher Kierkegaard and the Catholic writer Bernanos did so. Others, superficial ‘feel-good’ Protestant evangelists or the deluded, Origenistic Catholic philosopher Teilhard de Chardin and Catholic modernists and even a few Orthodox, fallen away from the Church, have gone to the opposite extreme of idealistic naivety. They have imagined like pantheists that the world is merging into some great Universal Church which will bring the spiritual unification of humanity. Of course, they are right, only the Universal Church in question is the Church of Antichrist, not of Christ.

What is the Orthodox view? How do Orthodox view the future of the world that has become repaganized by ten centuries of systematic Western secularism made global? Orthodox say that, of course, the Apocalypse is potentially upon us and the West has potentially created the Kingdom of Antichrist. However, we should also know that the Church, and the Church alone, has the Power that provides hope of transfiguration and can resist the ten centuries of secularist repaganization that have brought the world to its present state. That is why we do not recognize as part of the Church the movements, delusions and so-called ‘saints’ of the second millennium, for they do not belong to Her spirit but to the spirit of apostasy, even if ever so subtly and under the cloak of good. For we know that the Church alone has the Power to change the world that Power has been lost to the institutionalized and the secularized.

For, behold!, just as the Church conquered the pagan Roman Empire, so in our own time She has conquered the pagan Soviet Empire. Thou hast conquered, O Galilean! Thus, all may not be lost. This conquest of both the Roman and Soviet Empires came about precisely by the spiritual vitality of the Commonwealth of Christian Peoples, by the Power of the Saints – the Power of the Holy Spirit. And Victory over two Pagan Empires can yet be extended to a Victory over a Third, today’s Western Empire. The victory of the Saints is not in numbers but in heroic Power, the Holy Spirit’s Power to see deeper and further than the secularists, to make the impossible possible. This isolates them from the world which ignores them, as it has isolated from the blinded world both the Saints of the West of the first millennium and the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, but this isolation is always triumphant.

The Western world never totally threw off the yoke of pagan Rome. And once it had abandoned the Faith of the Church, Orthodoxy, in the eleventh century, it could no longer preserve itself intact from the temptations of that yoke. They all came back, one by one. Through them the Christian way of life gradually became reduced to a legalistic philosophy, a hypocritical puritanism and a powerless and sentimental pietism. The pagan principle of secularism has once more become inherent in Western culture over the last ten centuries as that pagan yoke has gradually crept back into Western life through becoming institutionalized, an ingrained and systematic part of the Western Establishment.

The Divinely-inspired values of the Saints, of noble selflessness, of Beauty, Truth and Goodness, of Hope, Faith and Love, are the strongest-known values known to world history. They are the only values that can destroy the ignoble selfishness, vulgarity, unreason and evil, the despair, apostasy and hatred of the lunatic asylum of the contemporary world. That deranged world has been made powerful through usury and technology, but it has been made powerless spiritually because it has emptied its soul. The values of the Saints conquer because they are inspired from outside this world by the Power of the Holy Spirit, by the real world, that is, by the Kingdom of God, to which the Orthodox Faith and Church alone direct us. And this is the Faith in the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory that will triumph at the end of history, showing us that all else was mere illusion.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The Situation of English Orthodoxy and a Vision for the Future of Russian Orthodoxy in Europe

God is not in Might, but in Right.

St Alexander of the Neva

Introduction

I have been told that, ‘I tell it as it is’. Perhaps as a result, I have been asked to write of the contemporary situation of English Orthodoxy, with particular emphasis on the tragic legacy of the late Metr Antony (Bloom) and the resulting Sourozh schism. This I will do, as I knew the Metropolitan well, some forty years ago between 1974 and 1982, and in January 1981 he tonsured me reader. I also think it is worthwhile because the past and present situation in England reflects much that is true in the broader European picture. However, I still do this reluctantly as I dislike talking about the sad past and would much prefer to talk about the future. On the other hand, how can we have a vision of the future, if we do not first understand the past and the present?

True, I have few good memories of the past. However, apart from hundreds of young parishioners, of whose children I baptize up to fifty a year, I have six adult children as well as grandchildren and it is for their future, not for my past, that I live. This is why I think we should put the situation of English Orthodoxy into the general situation of all us Russian Orthodox in Western Europe. In so doing I also wish to avoid the common English (and not so English) disease of parochialism and insularity. The past is a dead country, all we can and must do is pray with compassion for those weak human beings like us who took part in it. One day we shall all stand side by side at the Dread Judgement. Let us look to the future, where all is possible. However, before we can do this I must do my duty and start at the beginning.

Part One: The Past and Present: English Orthodoxy

Today, around two thousand English Orthodox (the numbers of Scottish, Irish and Welsh Orthodox are even tinier – there being only a few dozen of each at most) and some seventy English clergy are divided among three main jurisdictions or dioceses. The other four jurisdictions present in England, as elsewhere, the Romanian, Serbian and tiny Bulgarian and Georgian Orthodox jurisdictions, are almost wholly mononational and have hardly any English members. The three jurisdictions or dioceses with English members are: the Patriarchate of Antioch, the Patriarchate of Constantinople (two groups) and the Russian Orthodox Church (two groups).

1. The Patriarchate of Antioch

Some twenty years ago about 300 dissatisfied Anglicans were received with their own agenda into this Patriarchate. They had previously been turned away by the Patriarchate of Constantinople and by the Sourozh Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, which were both bound by their ecumenical ties with Canterbury. As Antioch had hardly existed in England until then, basically a new jurisdiction and so a further division were born. All the priests except for one now in this group were once Anglican priests, ordained as Orthodox priests with little training. One now suspended man was ordained within three days of being received.

Given this history, today the group seems to form a rather isolated ex-Anglican club, holding less attraction to the vast majority of English people. Indeed, some in the group seem to reject Non-Anglicans, one parish even banning the use of any language except English, and some call this group ‘Anglioch’. These ex-Anglican parishes appear to have little to do with Arab Orthodox and seem to avoid concelebrating with other jurisdictions, though they dress as Russian clergy. One person, perhaps unfairly, put it to me that: ‘Anti-Russian and Anti-Greek = Anti-och’.

Such a view represents only the negative half of the reality. On a positive side, this group is very dynamic, some parishes have their own properties and there are some younger clergy, over fifteen altogether now. Its larger parishes attract mainly Eastern Europeans, who are deprived of services in their own languages, or of once lapsed Greeks. Some of these people know their Faith and are able to educate the Antiochian clergy. The recent appointment for them, 20 years late, of an Antiochian bishop, who may get a visa to come to England this November, could at last mean the introduction of liturgical discipline and an entry into the mainstream of the Church from the margins. This should include teaching clergy how to serve, teaching people how to sing (at present Anglicanized ‘Russian-style’ singing is used), as well as stopping intercommunion, ‘charismatic’ and other alien practices, such as the commemoration of the Armenians and Ethiopians as Orthodox, using girl acolytes or making communion compulsory for all, as does happen in some parishes.

Antiochian services I have attended resemble a mixture of Anglicanism and a very confused knowledge of the Orthodox typicon with invented services, a kind of ‘make it up as you go’ approach. This style has discredited the Antiochian group. In conclusion, the Antiochians have zeal, which is admirable, but not knowledge, which is not admirable. The question is if they want the knowledge and have the humility to accept the discipline and traditions of the Orthodox Church and an Orthodox bishop, instead of imposing Anglican agendas on the faithful. Retired Anglican priests whose hobby is the ‘Eastern rite’ are one thing, the Orthodox Church is another.

2. The Patriarchate of Constantinople

a. The Archdiocese of Thyateira

This is a large and mostly Greek Cypriot Diocese, whose ruling hierarch must have either a Greek or Cypriot or Turkish passport. However, as the Greek Cypriots mainly moved to England from Commonwealth Cyprus between 1945 and 1975, they are now dying out. Nationalism is rife and English enquirers into Orthodoxy (as well as Romanians and others) are typically turned away from parishes and told to go and join the Anglican Church because they ‘are not Greeks’. The loss of young Cypriots is such that no fewer than six ethnic Cypriots are priests in the Anglican Diocese of London. At least there they can understand the services.

The hellenization of the few Anglicans who have been received and ordained is obligatory. Ultra-Greek names like Kallistos, Meliton, Aristobulos, Athanasios, Eleutherios, Dionysios, Christodoulos, Pankratios, Ephraim, Panteleimon, Palamas, Kosmas etc are placed on ex-Anglican vicars with perfectly good Orthodox names and they are ordained as cheap (unpaid) Greek Orthodox clergy. One of them is so hellenized that he even changed his surname to a Greek name. The best-known example of this group is the former Oxford academic, Timothy (Metr Kallistos) Ware, who lives very much as a retired parish priest and has never been a diocesan bishop, but rather a ‘conference bishop’. These hellenized ex-Anglicans use Russian-style singing in their services, probably because of the difficulty of using foreign-sounding Greek chant in any language other than Greek.

b. The Deanery of the Exarchate

As elsewhere in the world, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has for political reasons also taken into its jurisdiction dissidents such as Ukrainian nationalists and the Paris Exarchate. The latter group has again been present in England since 2006, refounded by 300 mainly ex-Anglican ‘Bloomites’, including over ten clergy. In other words, these were dissidents from the Sourozh Diocese of the then Moscow Patriarchate (MP), previously run by Metr Antony Bloom (see below, Paragraph 3b). After the death in 2004 of Metr Antony, their leader and protector, these did not want to adhere to the discipline and traditions of the real Russian Orthodox Church, which were then being reintroduced into their Diocese. Thus, they left for the Paris Exarchate, at first under the controversial Bishop Basil (Osborne), then after his defrocking becoming a small Deanery.

Here, under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, they would be allowed to do anything they wanted, including keeping the personal practices of Metr Antony (Bloom), without interference from either Constantinople or Thyateira or Paris, as one of their clergy proudly told me. For example, they could have communion without confession, give intercommunion (as their Amphipolis website used to proclaim, though now they tell me that intercommunion is limited to Monophysites), use the new calendar, celebrate the Proskomidia in the middle of the Church, wear Greek vestments (strange when you claim to be of the Russian Tradition) or shout out names during the service in Anglican ‘charismatic’ style, or make communion compulsory for all.

This group is very small, with several communities of ten or fewer people. Where it is bigger, it is because of the presence of Eastern Europeans, for example Church-deprived Romanians, who have no loyalty to or knowledge of Bloomite ideology. The Deanery has virtually no property of its own and although it has in recent years ordained several retired Anglican clergy virtually without any training, it seems to be dying out. The average age of its clergy is about 70 and many of the original laypeople are of the same generation.

It seems difficult to understand, if they wish to survive at all, why they do not simply join the ex-Anglican Antiochian group or at least join the ex-Anglicans in the mainstream Thyateira Diocese. Some have suggested that their isolation is to do with their ferocious Russophobia, which Antioch does not share. Indeed, some of their statements about other Christians makes it difficult to believe that they are Christians. Interestingly, their cause was backed to the hilt at the time by the Establishment Times and the MI5-fed Daily Telegraph. Others have suggested that there is a class reason, that it is because the Exarchate is largely composed of upper-class Anglicans, whereas the other ex-Anglicans are middle-class. Some call this group, like the Antiochian group, ‘Anglicans with icons’ or ‘Anglodox’, rather than Orthodox.

3. The Russian Church

a. The ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland

Having established the first ROCOR parish in England in 1919, ROCOR established a diocese in England in 1929 under Bishop Nicholas (Karpov), who uniquely was not given a fictitious title like ‘of Thyateira’ or ‘of Sourozh’, as given to other dioceses, but the real title ‘of London’. It was also the first Orthodox diocese to have any monastic life in England and the first diocese to use English, from the 1930s on. The diocese expanded after 1945 with a wave of new immigrants. However, after the departure of Archbishop John (Maksimovich) (now St John of Shanghai) in 1962, the diocese fell into nationalistic and sectarian currents and for a time became isolated.

From the 1970s on, a small group of unintegrated Anglo-Catholic converts began to impose old calendarism, imported from the USA under the influence of Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) in New York. Their views were marked by anti-Anglicanism rather than Orthodoxy, a negativity that came from spiritual pride. Given the failure of nationalistic Russians to pass on the Faith to their children and grandchildren and these sectarian trends, once far larger than the new Diocese of Sourozh, in the 70s and 80s the ROCOR Diocese began to die out. In the late 1970s and 1980s, in quick succession it lost its last two elderly and ill bishops, its London priest and its London church building. English people were turned away from the Russian parishes or were deterred by the sectarian old calendarism trying to take over diocesan life. It seemed as though the ROCOR Diocese would disappear altogether.

This period must be understood in the context of the then general internal battle in ROCOR between New York and Jordanville, that is, between the political, nationalist and sectarian wing of ROCOR and the spiritual wing, which saw in St John of Shanghai its figurehead. (Sadly, it is also true that when St John was in England, he was never frequented by personalities such as Metr Antony (Bloom) or Fr Sophrony (Sakharov), by both of whom he was at best ignored). In his later life in San Francisco, St John was much persecuted by this political wing of ROCOR because he was a missionary to Non-Russians, because he prayed for the captive Patriarchs of Moscow and because, like the mainstream in ROCOR, he knew that Church unity would come as soon as the Church inside Russia was free from atheist tyranny. This was denied by the political sectarians, who from the 1970s began to assert in justification for their sectarianism that the MP was ‘without grace’ and that somehow ROCOR was the last True Church on earth!

As the elderly Russians died out in the ROCOR British Diocese, in the 1990s it was providentially renewed by new arrivals from Russia, who found the same underlying ethos in it as in the MP inside Russia (unlike in the Sourozh Diocese, which, ironically, was officially part of the MP!). These new arrivals paid for the building of the small, Russian-style ROCOR Cathedral in London. As unity between ROCOR, under the ever-memorable Metr Laurus, and the MP, under the former émigré Patriarch Alexis II, approached in 2007, the long predicted schism occurred. Some forty mainly Anglo-Catholic converts and a few very right-wing individuals of Russian extraction (including even pro-Nazis) lapsed from ROCOR. This mirrored exactly the Sourozh schism (see Paragraph 3b below).

This was a spiritual tragedy for them but the relief felt by the faithful was palpable – the abscess which had been growing since the infiltration of sectarianism from the USA in the 1970s had at last burst. Peripheral and other problems also solved themselves as a few other individuals left and by 2009 all the extremes had fallen away, normal Church life could continue from a now healthy centre and the Church was ready to grow again. ROCOR was able to return to its destiny and pioneering historic path of being the integrated and bilingual Russian Orthodox Diocese, faithful to the Tradition, culturally at ease in the British Isles, and without fear of interference from outside forces. Having been through its adolescent growing pains, the ROCOR Diocese had overcome the crisis and become much stronger and adult.

What is the situation today? Today most members of ROCOR are people who have settled in England (and also in Wales and Ireland) from the ex-Soviet Union. In other words, the flock is virtually identical to the flock of the new Sourozh Diocese (see Paragraph 3b below). However, eight of the clergy are English, though there is also a Romanian deacon and two excellent Russian clergy from the ex-Soviet Union. In 2006 the future Archbishop Elisei of Sourozh was actually nominated to the Patriarchate in Moscow (then faced with the Sourozh schism) by the ROCOR ruling bishop, Archbishop Mark of Berlin.

Although most members of ROCOR come from the ex-Soviet Union, unlike Sourozh, the ROCOR Diocese has a long history, with memories going back before the Second World War and the Revolution to the time of the Tsar, a long and deep pastoral experience, including the use of English, its own church buildings and therefore a voice independent of heterodox organizations. In other words, ROCOR could certainly never be accused of being dependent on one personality or being ‘Soviet’, as the Sourozh Diocese sometimes is, and it is much better established than that Diocese. However, the weakness of the ROCOR Diocese is definitely its shortage of priests, especially in Wales and Ireland, and its lack of a resident ruling bishop. The main issue now is further growth.

b. The Diocese of Sourozh – the former Moscow Patriarchate (MP)

Several hundred English Orthodox find themselves in the Sourozh Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia, which used to be known as the MP. Some go back to the time when that Diocese was ruled by Metr Antony (Bloom) (+ 2004), others have come more recently. I have been asked to set down a record of Metr Antony’s tragic legacy. This will be long, as it is complex.

When the small Paris Exarchate parish in London returned to the Moscow Patriarchate (MP) jurisdiction after the Second World War (following its leader in Paris, Metr Eulogius), Fr Antony (Bloom), a beardless hieromonk without theological education, was sent by Moscow from Paris to look after the group in question. The vast majority of Russian emigres in England, whether arrivals after 1917 or after 1945, would have nothing to do with the Moscow Patriarchate or the modernist-looking Fr Antony, and continued to belong to the far larger parishes of the Diocese of the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR).

Therefore, virtually without a flock, the very talented Fr Antony learned English and began to do missionary work among Anglicans, attracting several hundred into the former Anglican church he used in London. Over the years, their numbers swelled, perhaps to over 2,000, and he was able to form a tiny diocese which was given the title of Sourozh. This looked good in theory; the reality was quite different. The Sourozh Diocese was a paper diocese, an empire of the imagination. There were three reasons for this.

Firstly, Metr Antony, as he had become by the early 60s, anxious to create a diocese, would take people without preparation, that is, without relieving them of their Anglican baggage and so spiritual impurity first. As they had little idea of the Russian Orthodox Tradition, most of them lapsed very quickly, often within a few weeks or months. As an example of this, I will relate what five years ago one of the new Russian subdeacons from the Sourozh Cathedral in London told me about a weekend visit of the new ruling hierarch, Archbishop Elisei of Sourozh, to a provincial community.

When Archbishop Elisei got up on the Sunday morning, the priest’s wife asked him whether he would like bacon and eggs for breakfast. Now that is a normal question in the Church of England (or even in parts of the Catholic Church today), where communion, if it is given at all, is simply a memorial of bread and wine and there is no fasting before it. For an Orthodox of course it is shocking that an Orthodox priest would have bacon and eggs before the Liturgy and communion. In fact, I was shocked by the subdeacon and said: ‘You mean to say that you did not know that that was how the whole Sourozh Diocese was run for decades?’ I was amazed by his naivety and told him: ‘Now you understand why serious Orthodox joined ROCOR’.

In 1976, falling foul of the Soviet government’s anti-Solzhenitsyn line (which it also forced onto the MP) and looking for political freedom from Soviet political pressure (especially distasteful to the upper-class Establishment Anglicans in his London Cathedral), Metr Antony asked to join ROCOR. As a result of his unOrthodox attitudes, illustrated above, he was refused. ROCOR did not want a bishop with unOrthodox practices; if ROCOR had accepted him, it would all have resulted in scandals.

Secondly, Metr Antony never reached out to the mass of English people, to whom he remained completely unknown despite his TV appearances (at a time when only the wealthier half of society had TV) and radio interviews. He concentrated on the upper class, especially wealthy academics, artists, novelists, musicians and poets, many of whom lived around his former Anglican Cathedral in the richest part of London. Metr Antony seemed to have little time for ordinary English people, if ever he knew we existed.

He was also notorious for never visiting his parishes and flock. Most of these had never seen him there and had no idea what an episcopal visit or service was. (Metr Antony usually served as a priest, refusing to celebrate episcopal services, if he knew how to do them). He was not a liturgist and did not teach anyone how to celebrate the services. His was a religion of the elite and it was often difficult to know exactly what he said – it all seemed to be the French philosophical style and not substance. In the 1970s and early 1980s, as I know only too well from personal experience, he had no time at all for the veneration of local saints, though he was later forced to change this attitude. And he also had no space in his Cathedral for icons of the New Martyrs, even after their later canonization in Moscow in 2000.

We should not forget that Metr Antony was himself from the Russian upper class and, partly as a result, his convert group seemed to be an upper-class Anglican club or clique. Conversations that I heard at his Cathedral revolved around villas in Tuscany and on Patmos which belonged to these people: hardly typical English people, who felt excluded by such snobbery. All this was combined with Metr Antony’s marked emotionalism, his strong psychic abilities and affectations, which lacked the sobriety of the Orthodox Tradition. Some middle-aged women fell in love with him and, with his good looks and exotic and exaggerated Russian-Parisian accent, by the 1970s his nicknames included ‘the guru’ and ‘the romantic bishop’. I remember one such tragic case very clearly. For us who came from solid and pragmatic English backgrounds, this was all nonsense. We would see through this act from miles away.

This brings us to the problem of Metr Antony’s personality cult. As we have said, he was an immensely talented man with a very strong personality. Indeed, his father, Boris Bloom (buried in Meudon outside Paris), a Tsarist diplomat who was well-known in Paris, had delved into the occult and taught his son how to hypnotize. I knew two women whom Metr Antony tried to hypnotize in the 1970s. For what reason I do not know. In such a Diocese there could be room for only one personality. This is why in 1965 an equally unusual Parisian personality, the former Hindu, Art Nouveau painter, personalist philosopher and one-time monk of Mt Athos, where he had met a saint, Fr Sophrony (Sakharov), left the Diocese of Sourozh. With his three monks. he switched back to the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the new calendar and introduced some very unusual and indeed unique practices. The fact that Metr Antony was notoriously anti-monastic did not help.

The cult of Metr Antony was also why his ordinations were generally controversial, often being those of men who for canonical reasons would never have been ordained by another bishop. This created a dependency of such clergy on Metr Antony, a misplaced sense of gratitude and idolization among weak personalities. This was also why Metr Antony strongly discouraged English people from visiting other parishes and travelling to Orthodox countries, especially Russia and Mt Athos; he did not want them to be exposed to the broader reality, which would raise awkward questions about his peculiar style and values.

Here I do not wish to go into the painful details and I would rather quote the Establishment figure of Metr Kallistos (Ware), who is now in his eighties. Known as ‘o anglikanos’ (the Anglican) by certain of his Greek brother bishops, Metr Kallistos is known for his caution in speaking. Although he has very curious and Phanariot views of the Diaspora, he is well-known for this Anglican-style diplomacy. In an interview with the liberal ‘Pravmir’ site, he has expressed the situation around Metr Antony as mildly as is possible:

‘Now the main criticism that I would make of Bishop (sic) Antony is that he would allow people to become colossally dependent upon him. They would idolize him. Perhaps that was not entirely his fault that they came to feel such ardent devotion towards him. But I felt there was something unhealthy here. It was too personal in the wrong sense, that they saw him almost as a god on earth. And he would allow people, particularly women, to become very closely dependent upon him. And then he would suddenly abandon them. I don’t think I am indulging here in malicious gossip, but I know a number of cases where he had spent a lot of time with people, particular people, and then suddenly he would cut off, not see them any more, not respond to their letters or telephone calls. Now I don’t know why he allowed such a close relationship to be built up and then abandoned them. But if I was to criticize his work, I would think there was the weakest point’.

In other words, it could be said that Metr Antony was the London equivalent of Bishop Jean (Evgraf) (Kovalevsky) in Paris, a bishop who set up a kind of fringe diocese on the edge of the Church and which also collapsed after his death. (However, many clergy and laity also left the Sourozh Diocese during Metr Antony’s lifetime, having seen through it). True, Bishop Jean attracted guenonists, occultists, freemasons and other marginals, ordaining them within days, whereas Metr Antony attracted those who fell in love with his personality and pseudo-mysticism. Sadly, Metr Antony’s existentialist personalism (mid-twentieth century French intellectual philosophy rather than the Church Fathers, whom Metr Antony hardly ever mentioned) had led to the construction of a mini-diocese ‘centred on his personality and not on the Church’. These are the exact words used to me by the present ruling bishop of Sourozh, Archbishop Elisei, soon after his appointment in 2006.

Now anything built on a personality, even more on a dead personality, is extremely fragile. People who idolize a personality are unable to pass on anything to their children, who cannot get to know the personality because he is dead, and so the members simply get old and die out, becoming historical sidelines, alienated from the mainstream. A diocese centred on a personality is a paper diocese. Thus, Sourozh still has hardly any Church property because everyone, as I was told in 1981, was expected to go to London and worship at the feet of the personality. So, nothing got built up. Tragically, the Sourozh Diocese still only has a fairly small Cathedral in west London (far too small for the flock) and four chapels in Oxford, Nottingham, Manchester and London, which can only contain a few dozen Orthodox. For the rest, the Sourozh Diocese is still dependent on borrowing mainly Anglican churches which it can occasionally use, often only once a month on a Saturday.

On top of this it suffers from a chronic shortage of priests with training. The average age is about 63. The disastrous personality cult in other words completely failed to set up the infrastructure necessary for a real diocese, however small. Everything had to be centred around the Cathedral in London because that is where ‘the personality’ was. This is the tragic legacy of Metr Antony, an utter lack of vision because there was no Tradition, only a personality. It contrasts very sadly with the radiant legacy of a saint in another island archipelago on the other side of Eurasia, St Nicholas of Japan, who built on the Tradition.

In 1982, a senior priest, the American Fr (later as Metr Antony’s successor, Bishop) Basil Osborne told me that ‘as soon as Metr Antony is dead, we’ll go to the Greeks’. This statement as well as the personality cult and renovationist practices (no confession before communion – as in Anglicanism – , the introduction of the new calendar, no Third and Sixth Hours before the Liturgy, no attempt to ask women to dress as Russian Orthodox etc.), caused us to leave the Diocese of Sourozh for good. I had wanted to be part of the Russian Orthodox Church, not of an émigré cocktail of modernist practices and fantasies, which had nothing to do with the Russian Orthodox Tradition. In such a way the Sourozh Diocese chased away those who were the most devoted to the Russian Orthodox Church. People were ready to die for the Church, for ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church’, but in Sourozh the seed of the faithful was rejected – and so the Church did not grow. This was no way to treat the faithful.

In response to my view that the Church was failing to preach the Gospel to ordinary English people and was not providing food for the soul, but only intellectual philosophy, Fr Basil also told me that ‘there is no such thing as ordinary people’. Clearly, this said a great deal about him who became Metr Antony’s successor. Living in the ivory towers of Oxford, Fr Basil simply had no contact with the vast masses of English people. Later, an aristocratic priest-colleague of his, also ordained by Metr Antony, told me exactly the same thing. In 2005 it was Bishop Basil who provocatively invited the notorious neo-renovationist, Fr George Kochetkov, once suspended by Patriarch Alexis II, to come from Moscow and become the main priest at the London Sourozh Cathedral. This makes clear that the Sourozh schism was indeed a renovationist schism and it is indeed renovationists who revere Metr Antony’s memory.

Apart from his English convert adepts, it is true that Metr Antony was also idolized by some naïve Soviet convert dissidents, mainly of Jewish origin. These ‘intelligenty’ of the third wave started to arrive in London in the 1970s and fell in love with Metr Antony. I remember one of them telling me how he had first seen the Metropolitan cleaning the Cathedral floor, dressed in a simple undercassock. The dissident at once took him for a saint! I told him that all bishops and priests in the Diaspora lived like this and that if that was a criterion of sainthood, then we were all saints. Conditioned by Soviet practices of distant and unknown bishops sweeping past the people in big black cars under KGB surveillance, he could not make the cultural jump to Diaspora reality. Culture shock totally distorted his judgement.

From the 1990s, in the last years of Metr Antony’s life, as immigrants flooded in from the ex-Soviet Union, a virtual civil war began in his London Cathedral. The immigrants expected Russian Orthodoxy, not some pseudo-mystical convert personality cult. Apart from the small ROCOR Cathedral, there was no other church they could go to in London. Inevitably, only two years after Metr Antony’s death, with the young Bishop Hilarion expelled, the Sourozh Diocese collapsed. The bubble had finally burst. Metr Antony’s divisiveness and pastoral failure had led in turn to the divisiveness and pastoral failure of his pupil, Bishop Basil (Osborne).

Just as the Paris Exarchate’s modernist experiment failed (and Metr Antony was 100% Parisian), Metr Antony’s experiment failed because he had tried to build a Diocese on the divisive sand of a personality cult instead of on the collective rock of Russian Orthodox Tradition. This all came as no surprise to us who had known how it would all end since 1982 and had been pleading with the Moscow Patriarchate since 2000 to do something about the catastrophic pastoral situation in London. Nevertheless, we can at least learn from such failures.

Part Two: The Future: European Orthodoxy

I have done my duty in answering questions about the past and present situation of English Orthodoxy and Russian Orthodoxy in England. I hope that this will help us to avoid repeating the errors and extremes of the past and will also help us to pray for those involved, whether living or departed. That is our duty, for we are no better than they. I would now like to speak of something much more positive, much closer to my heart, the future.

1. The European Dimension of the Orthodox Church

In this context of the future people ask me about the possibility of there one day being a ‘British’ Orthodox Church. Since the 1990s I have written about such a possibility – and always negatively, even though I have since 1975 championed the use of local languages in services, whether English or French, and at great personal cost from hostile clergy. Why, this refusal of even the concept of a ‘British Orthodox Church’?

Firstly, it is because there is no such thing as ‘British’. Just as we do not talk about a ‘Soviet’ Orthodox Church, so we do not talk about a ‘British’ Orthodox Church. The word ‘British’ has only been used on three occasions in history and always by foreign invaders. Once by the Romans, then by the Normans and lastly by the Hanoverians and their Germanic followers among the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Victorians and those nostalgic for their imperialism like Thatcher, Blair and Cameron. In other words, ‘British’ is a word for an artificial, colonial conglomerate of countries and as such is used by London imperialists; the Irish rightly long ago rejected it as a dirty word and the Scots are now in open revolt against it. Personally, like everyone I grew up with in the English countryside, I have never recognized myself as ‘British’, but as English, and I hope that the Irish, Scots, Welsh and we English will soon gain complete freedom from the ‘British’ and their tyrannical and foreign Establishment, to which the alien ‘British’ alone belong.

Secondly, all European countries, including Britain, are in any case far too small to have their own Local Orthodox Churches and, thirdly, Europe has anyway suffered quite enough from nationalism. We do not want any more insularity and nationalism in the Church – there is enough of that in the Balkans. What we need today is vision. Now, in this context, nearly thirty years ago, in 1986, I wrote a paper at the request of Archbishop George (Wagner) of the Rue Daru Paris Jurisdiction (Patriarchate of Constantinople) entitled, ‘Une Eglise Orthodoxe pour l’Europe: Vision ou Reve’ (‘An Orthodox Church for Europe: Vision or Dream’). As he was German, I thought he might be interested, especially as I had envisioned the Rue Daru jurisdiction as the possible kernel of such a future Local Church – in 2004 Patriarch Alexis II was to make the same mistake. I later found the paper thrown away into his kitchen wastepaper bin. Such were those visionless days – and he was by far from being the only bishop who had no vision for an Orthodox Europe.

Since that time it is true that we have seen the development of the pompously-named ‘Pan-Orthodox Episcopal Assemblies’ (= bishops’ meetings) in Western Europe. This is the imperialistic concept of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, rather naively promoted by Metr Kallistos (Ware) and Metr Athenagoras (Peckstadt) in Belgium. Of course, it is good that now the Orthodox bishops of any territory actually meet each other and know what each other looks like, but we all know that these meetings are going nowhere; they are often talking shops which occasionally meet, but at which no decisions of any consequence are ever taken. They just give a superficial prestige to Constantinople.

What I am saying from both the above examples is that we can expect nothing for the future of Orthodoxy in Western Europe from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which has never freely given any Church autocephaly and has continually tried to take back autocephaly even when political circumstances forced it to grant it – as in the Ukraine, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia etc. In this way Constantinople, fallen since 1453, politically captive since 1948, and through Greek nationalism totally failing to recognize that Church leadership long ago passed to the Russian Church, today resembles the other Balkan Churches. None of them has the vision, is big enough, is missionary-minded enough or is unphyletist and mutinational enough to set up the Pan-European Metropolitan structure necessary for the foundation of any future Orthodox Church in Europe.

2. The Duty of Care of the Russian Orthodox Church in Europe

This leaves the Russian Orthodox Church, fifty times larger than the Patriarchate of Constantinople, as the only Local Orthodox Church which can do anything for European Orthodoxy. After all, of all the Local Churches only the Russian Orthodox Church is large and supra-national. Its name in Russian is ‘Russkaya’, meaning ‘of Rus’, not ‘Rossiyskaya’, meaning ‘of the Russian Federation’. In other words, it alone is multinational – like its Patriarch, the Russian Orthodox Church is the Church of All Rus and this means not just Russia, the Orthodox Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Carpatho-Russia, but any part of the world where Russian Orthodox faithful live. It alone has kept the old multinational Orthodox ideal of ‘romaiosini’, of the unity in diversity of the Christian Empire. Indeed, in 2004 Patriarch Alexis II at last spoke precisely of the need to establish a Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Western Europe. However, in 2004 the proposition of Patriarch Alexis II could only be theoretical. Only since 2007 has the Russian Orthodox Church even been in a theoretical position to establish such a Metropolia. Why?

a. Russian Orthodox Church Unity

In May 2007, the MP and ROCOR signed the Act of Canonical Communion in Moscow. With this one act, the division that began after the Russian Revolution between the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and the Church Inside Russia (then called the MP) and was forced onto the Church by atheist persecution inside the Soviet Union ceased. According to the 2007 agreement, ROCOR was gradually to give up its few small temporary communities on the territory of the ex-Soviet Union (the canonical territory of the Church Inside Russia) and in return, in time, the Church Inside Russia would, as is only logical, cede its relatively few but sometimes large communities outside Russia to ROCOR.

The first part of this agreement took place fairly swiftly, but the second part of the agreement, for perfectly good pastoral reasons, can only be implemented with time. This situation concerns above all the shared territories of Western Europe and Latin America, since the vast majority of Russian Orthodox parishes in its other territories in Oceania and North America are in any case under ROCOR. Thus, for the moment, we still have the absurd situation of two Russian Orthodox bishops of Berlin, Archbishop Theophan and Archbishop Mark. However, all agree that this will not last.

In effect, both the old MP and the old ROCOR ceased to exist on that day in May 2007. What came into being was a reunited and worldwide Russian Orthodox Church, three-quarters of the whole Orthodox Church, with the same Faith and under the same Patriarch, politically free but administratively in two parts, inside Russia and outside Russia, so that both parts are Patriarchal, but one is based in Moscow and the other, much smaller, is based in New York. The unique canonical territory of the Church inside Russia covers all the countries of the former Soviet Union (except Georgia) and countries where all the missions were founded by it, officially only China and Japan, but in reality also Thailand, Iran, Cuba and North Korea.

The territories of the Church Outside Russia, and these are territories mainly shared with other Orthodox, include Western Europe, North America, Latin America and Oceania (including Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia). Thus the new ROCOR has the potential to become again (as it was in the beginning) a multi-Metropolia Church, with four Metropolias, one in Western Europe, one in North America, one in Latin America and one in Oceania. Perhaps one day it could also include Alaska as a fifth Metropolia, but only if that territory returns to the Russian Orthodox Church from its present American administration.

b. The Territory of Europe to be United in a Metropolia

Europe, that is Western Europe, is a cultural ensemble, because it is all basically ex-Orthodox (1,000 years ago) and now, as it has largely lapsed into its Gadarene secularism, ex-Catholic (historically ex-Protestant also means ex-Catholic). I am speaking of the following 25 countries: Iceland, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, Norway, Denmark (with the Faeroes), Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Monaco, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Hungary, Portugal, Spain (and the part of Spain called Gibraltar), Andorra, Italy, San Marino and Malta. I exclude from this definition of Western Europe Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, as they already have their own Local Churches and canonical territory. Similarly, I also exclude Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, since, like Montenegro and Macedonia, they are part of the canonical territory of the Serbian Church. As for Albania, like Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus, it already has its own Local Church.

It is true that Finland, which is in this list of 25 countries, has over 20 parishes and other communities that at present belong to the Patriarchate of Constantinople and celebrate Easter on the Catholic calendar (similar to a non-canonical group in Estonia). However, Russian Orthodox do not frequent such churches, whose Faith has been called ‘Lutheranism with icons’. They prefer to attend the quite separate and canonical Russian Orthodox churches in Finland, which are growing. Also there are those who consider that Hungary, also in the list of 25 countries, should have its own Local Church, like the Poles and the Czechs and Slovaks. However, we live in the world as it is now, not as it may be one day. For the moment, therefore, Hungary must be included in the territory of a European Metropolia, as defined above.

3. A Future Metropolia

a. Structure

Now as regards a future European Metropolia under the Patriarchal Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), it is clear that this will be a real Metropolia with several hundred real parishes and real churches and, very importantly, real monasteries. This will not be like the Paris Exarchate or the old Sourozh Diocese, a paper empire, a series of modernistic, semo-Uniat communities often fewer than ten or twenty in number, celebrating in front rooms and garden sheds, or composed of clergy who were ordained with little training because no-one else would ordain them or even who use blackmail against their Archbishop in Paris: ‘If you do not allow me to do what I want, I will join the Greeks’. (Or the Romanians or someone else. Much more rarely, this blackmail may involve a threat of passage to ‘the Russians’. However, this threat is rarely used because those who today remain in the Exarchate generally believe in Russophobia – the ideology which justifies the continued existence of the Exarchate).

Where should the geographical centre of such a Metropolia be? Until recently I had always thought of it as Paris, the historical centre of the Russian emigration, where there is, in temporary premises, a Russian Orthodox seminary and where a Cathedral complex has long been planned. However, as a Metropolitan centre this choice is threatened by two things, the ecumenism and modernism apparently ingrained in the Paris air and the Russophobic policies of the present US-controlled French government. Today France is in a state of social chaos and disintegration. It may therefore be that we should think more radically. Indeed, two other possible centres for a Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe exist: they are Berlin (there are large numbers of Russian Orthodox in Germany) and Rome (where there is the large Russian church of St Catherine’s and above all which is the historical centre of the Western Patriarchate. After all, the initials of the English words ‘Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe’ spell R.O.M.E.).

It now seems to me that there should initially be seven dioceses in such a Metropolia. These are: Germania (Germany, German-speaking Switzerland and the Netherlands, including Flemish-speaking Belgium); Gallia (France, French-speaking Belgium, French-speaking Switzerland, Luxembourg and Monaco); Iberia (Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal and Andorra); the Isles (the British Isles and Ireland); Italia (Italy, San Marino, Italian-speaking Switzerland and Malta); Scandinavia (Iceland, the Faeroes, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland); Austria-Hungaria (Austria and Hungary). With time two or three bishops could be appointed to such large dioceses, under an archbishop. For example, Germania could have an archbishop in Berlin, a bishop for western Germany, a bishop for the Dutch-speaking areas and a fourth for Switzerland. Scandinavia could have an archbishop in Stockholm who would also look after Denmark, a bishop in Helsinki and another for Norway and Iceland. These are mere possible examples for two dioceses or future archdioceses. Who knows the future?

At present the episcopate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe is not organized as one and some members are elderly. ROCOR is concentrated in Western Germany and Switzerland, though with several parishes in France, Belgium, Denmark and England, but it has virtually no existence in Italy, Spain and Portugal or in the rest of Scandinavia, in which countries the Church Inside Russia has over 100 parishes. ROCOR has three bishops, the youngest of whom is aged about sixty. ROCOR certainly has experience, but it will need new bishops. Some of the dioceses in Europe, which are still for the moment dependent on the Church Inside Russia, will also need new bishops in the future. Episcopal candidates must speak languages apart from Russian, know the cultures and cultural references of the countries where they will live and have a dynamic and missionary view of their episcopate. In other words, they must realize that their task is not just to look after immigrants from the ex-Soviet Union. They must be able to communicate with the children and grandchildren of such immigrants, as well as with the descendants of the centennial emigration, now in its fifth generation, and the native people of European countries, both Orthodox and Non-Orthodox.

For example, we know of one episcopal appointee whose first act was to buy an expensive black car. On that day he lost the confidence of his diocese. He did not understand that being a Russian Orthodox bishop in Europe is not at all the same as being a Russian Orthodox bishop in the former Soviet Union. Secondly, any diocesan bishop must also be a uniter – in Europe we still have bad memories of the late Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) who was an ecumenist and intercommunionist (in Rome) and did not want to do missionary work among native Europeans. Such figures were ultimately partly responsible for the Sourozh schism and the lack of trust among European Orthodox in bishops who were visiting them from the Soviet Union. On the other hand, we have an excellent memory of Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein) who warned Metr Nikodim precisely against his political policies. Who then could be the Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe? We believe that there is already at least one suitable candidate, at present an Archbishop.

It is now becoming urgent to establish such a Metropolitan structure. Millions of Orthodox have had to flee Orthodox Eastern Europe in the last 25 years for economic reasons. Since the fall of Communism, Eastern Europe has been seized by a wave of post-Communist corruption. Combined with the deindustrialization forced onto Eastern European countries when they joined the EU, millions of young people have been forced to leave their homes and families to take on mainly menial jobs in the building sites, factories and offices of Western Europe. There are now more Orthodox in Western Europe, the territory of the future Metropolia, than there are in the four ancient Patriarchates of Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, combined. How then can this Metropolia be organized?

b. Organization

Before such a Metropolia could come into existence, all kinds of groundwork have to be laid. First of all, who should be the patron saint of such a Metropolia? To our mind, there can only be one candidate, the only saint of the Russian Orthodox Church who in the twentieth century lived for well over a decade in Western Europe – St John of Shanghai. He is the only canonized member of the Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe. He stands head and shoulders above all the personalities, intellectuals, artists, writers and philosophers of the emigration, for he was a saint and a universal saint at that. Strictly faithful to the Russian Orthodox Tradition, for which he was much despised by modernists, he was also open to the pastoral needs of local people, encouraged the veneration of the historical saints of Europe and was the inspiration for Fr Seraphim of Platina, for which he was much despised by nationalists. In my view, St John has no rivals. However, the appointment of such a patron saint must be made by the Russian Orthodox bishops in Europe. We are not an anti-episcopal organization like the ‘Fraternite Orthodoxe’ in Paris, so we can only suggest to our bishops.

Secondly, we need a Metropolia website, run by people who have the skills and time to devote to this. Their skills must not only be technological but also linguistic. The website should, we believe, be in Russian, Romanian for our many Moldovan parishioners, English (as the international language) and, in the appropriate sections, in one of the other thirteen local languages of the Metropolia (German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Hungarian, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Maltese and Icelandic). Perhaps, eventually, as pastoral need dictates, there could be pages in minority languages like Basque, Gaelic, Sorbian, Breton, Welsh etc. Who are the Russian Orthodox bishops in Europe? Such a website could present them with their photos. How many Russian Orthodox priests are there in Europe today? 200? That is only our guess; we do not have the information. The website could provide it.

Such a website could provide a calendar including the local saints of Europe, for example, Clotilde, Alban, Agnes, Ursula, Eulalia, Senhorina, Leander, Columba, Blandine, Olaf, Maurice, Kevin, Willibrord, Anschar, Sigfrid, Audrey, Corbinian, Illtyd, Odile, Devota, Publius, Gertrude, little known outside their own countries and regions, whose prayers can bind us together. There is a practical and a mystical necessity to link ourselves to them for it is ultimately on their noble Orthodoxy that European culture was built. The fact that modern Europe in its ignoble rush for self-destruction has turned its back on them only means that we should venerate them all the more. The website could present such information along with parish profiles, the addresses and phone numbers of individual parishes, their websites, histories, pictures of their church buildings, their clergy and parishioners, details of languages used in services, timetables and other activities and publications. And all our vital monasteries must have their place there too. There should also be some kind of resource of services in the many languages of the Metropolia and a simple vocabulary in the sixteen languages. How do you say ‘Orthodox Church’ in Hungarian, ‘priest’ in Finnish, ‘confession’ in Maltese or ‘candle’ in Norwegian? The website could tell us. Again, all this can only be done with the blessing of the Russian Orthodox bishops in Europe.

Thirdly, we need to hold a conference of Russian Orthodox clergy in Europe. We do not know each other. Initially, there could be a small conference with, say, two representatives from each country. One priest from Italy has already suggested the excellent idea of twinning parishes. Knowledge of one another could also be obtained from pilgrimages to local saints or relics or on the basis of visits to priests or laypeople who are already linked. Europe is rich in shrines, in Bari, in Rome, in Turin, in Milan, in Compostella, in Cologne, in Paris, in Lyons: Why not organize Europe-wide Russian Orthodox pilgrimages to such shrines? Alternatively, there could be pilgrimages to some of our wonderful churches in Europe, built under Tsar Nicholas II, in Wiesbaden, Geneva, Nice etc., or others built more recently in Brussels, Rome and Madrid. In such a way, by meeting, we can begin the most important task of praying for one another. Again, all this can only be done with the blessing of the Russian Orthodox bishops in Europe.

Two years ago I was contacted by a Russian woman in a province of France. She was in tears, very upset. She had been to a so-called monastery of the Paris Exarchate, where she had been refused confession because ‘she had not murdered anyone’. This meant that she had also been deprived of communion. She had found me on the internet, not knowing any priest in France. She told me her story on the telephone, how she and her son had been abandoned by her French husband and how she desperately needed a priest to talk to. Now, such things are happening all over Europe. The duty of care of the Russian Orthodox Church in Europe is to its faithful of all nationalities, to people like her. Let us begin by appointing a priest or priests whose duty it will be to look after the Russian Orthodox flock in any particular region of Europe. Since the above 25 European countries are divided into some eighty regions and there are a lot more than 80 Russian Orthodox priests in Europe, this can be done and the sort of incident that I have related above can be avoided. Everyone must have a priest to go to.

Some, reading the above, might ask about the role of Non-Orthodox in this. We believe in good-neighbourly relations with those who do not belong to the Orthodox Church. After a thousand years outside the Orthodox Church, many of them still believe in the Holy Trinity and the Divinity of Christ. Some, especially Catholics, go further than this and believe in the Virgin Birth, the Mother of God, the saints and the sacraments. Some share our moral views on such issues as abortion and euthanasia. The fact that the faith they have inherited is deficient in the understanding of the Holy Spirit, and therefore lacks an authentic spiritual and ascetic life, only means that it is remarkable how close some of them are to us. We have no reason not to be on good terms with them. However, this does not mean that we do not freely practise our Faith without compromise. Most Europeans have in the last generation or so decided to be atheists or at least agnostics, Europe today is a mission territory open to all. Conversely, most in the Russian Lands have in the last generation or so chosen to be baptized Orthodox. We should respect each other’s differences. We may be Europeans, but we are also firmly Christian and follow the Russian Orthodox Church in full.

Some, reading the above, might ask about the role of other jurisdictions in the shared territory of Europe, such as Constantinople’s Greeks and its political dissidents. In our view, the establishment of a Russian Metropolia in no way means that they cannot continue just as now. They could even establish their own international structures if they wish. The difference will always be that the Russian Orthodox Metropolia will alone be Europe-wide and multinational, not mononational, and therefore with the potential of growing into a new Local Church, as Patriarch Alexis II hoped. In the long term, as we know from experience, the jurisdiction that will survive in Europe will be the spiritually serious one, not the ones that wave nationalistic or ideological flags and so automatically alienate others and lose the second and following generations, who find such nationalism and ideologism foreign and irrelevant. Just as the fringes attract the fringes, vagantes attract vagantes, sectarians attract sectarians, personality cults attract personality cultists, so serious jurisdictions will attract serious people.

Conclusion

In recent years I have visited Russian Orthodox in Austria, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Lands, Slovakia, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, France, Sweden and Finland, as well as receiving visits from Russian Orthodox from many of these countries and from Norway, Ireland, Spain and Italy. In all of them I have noticed the consistent ability of many Russian Orthodox to keep the best of Russian culture and to absorb the best of Western culture at the same time. This is because of our ability to see and live European life and culture through the correcting prism and filter of Orthodox Christianity. It is the pastoral duty of the Russian Orthodox Church to its own flock and to all European Orthodox to live like this, keeping faith and yet being European, not repeating the errors of either sectarian nationalists or of the equally sectarian modernists of the Paris Jurisdiction and the old Sourozh Diocese.

We European Orthodox have four layers of identity: local, national and continental (= cultural) and spiritual. In my own case, this means the East of England, England, Europe and Russian Orthodoxy (= Rus). All of these layers of identity can be combined by saying that I belong to the East of England Rus (Vostochnoangliyskaya Rus’), to the Russian Orthodox world that is planted in the East of England. Others can say the same thing, that in Sweden they belong to Scanian Rus, in Spain to Catalan Rus or Galician Rus, in Italy to Sub-alpine Rus or Sardinian Rus, in the Netherlands to Frisian Rus, in Scotland to Hebridean Rus, in Germany to Bavarian Rus or Saxon Rus, in France to Breton Rus or Occitan Rus, in Austria to Carinthian Rus or Tyrolean Rus etc. This is the unity on which our future Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe (R.O.M.E.) can be built, from Iceland to the plains of Hungary, from Lapland to the islands of Malta, in the local regions of the 25 nations of the continent of Europe where we live, and on our complete faithfulness to the integral Russian Orthodox Faith and Tradition.

Archpriest Andrew Phillips
ROCOR Missionary Representative for Western Europe

Brittany, 24 July 2015
 

The Dissolution of Europe

Anyone who knew European society fifty years ago, then fell asleep and returned today would say that he is visiting another planet. So radical are the changes that have taken place in the last fifty years in the Civilization that underpinned that society that it has now dissolved. These changes can be seen every day by just looking at the way modern Europeans dress, listening to their politicians or their singers, seeing their lack of reverence and good manners, listening to their conversations in which they reveal their values and informality, watching their television and films or hearing of their bestsellers like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. We Orthodox Christians who lived here fifty years ago and remember it as it was then, find that we do not belong to it now, even less that we did before; for the most part most modern Europeans come from a different planet to us. Little wonder that we write of the ‘Dissolution’ of European Civilization; what then was has dissolved into the hurricane of ugly and vulgar atheism and Gadarene lunacy from which all nobility has fled away.

However, it is no good being nostalgic and wishing back something that existed fifty years ago. Apart from the fact that this is impossible, any solution must be far more radical since the compromises that have undermined European Civilization began much more than fifty years ago. The seeds of the present fall and destruction of Europe go back a great deal further, for they were inside it from the start. For the thousand years of its existence European Civilization has always been an alien amalgam of ruthlessly aggressive and bullying paganism, both Roman and Germanic, together with Christianity. Gradually, as we can already see from the feudal enslavement, sinister castle-building and blood-soaked crusades which lie at the foundation of Europe in the eleventh century, paganism triumphed over Christianity, Babylon triumphed over Jerusalem. And so today an American President can assert that sodomy is an integral ‘Western value’, and nobody is shocked. The crisis is therefore not a matter of fifty years, it is not even centennial, it is millennial.

Europe is a puzzle to be solved. Europe needs a solution to counter its present dissolution, a Divine glue to put all its pieces back together again. All the pieces are there, but there is no glue. There are Peter and Paul, Ignatius and Laurence, Sebastian and Alexis, Leo and Gregory, Anastasia and Agnes in Rome, Boniface in Ferentino, Ambrose in Milan, Benedict in Montecassino, Irinaeus in Lyon, Hilary in Poitiers, John Cassian in Marseille, Victor in Lerins, Julian in Le Mans, Ursula in Cologne, Willibrord in the Netherlands, Maurice in Switzerland, Senorhina in Portugal, Boniface in Germany, Anschar in Denmark, Lucy in Syracuse, Vincent in Valencia, Eulalia in Barcelona, Alban outside London, Olaf in Norway, Sigfrid in Sweden, David in Wales, Patrick in Ireland, Columba in Scotland, Denis and Genevieve in Paris and many, many more. All the pieces are all there, but they cannot be joined together. Europe cannot join them together by itself; It needs help from outside, it needs the forest to even see its trees, the overview to understand its holiness. Then all will fall into place.

Europe denies that it needs help from outside because it is technologically progressive and therefore ‘superior’; Europe has so long relied on itself for its successful material progress that it is too proud to ask for help, even when it realizes that it needs help and that material progress is a secondary thing. On account of this lack of humility it has again and again adopted many substitutes, false messiahs instead of Christ, from Papism to Lutheranism, from ‘Enlightenment’ to Revolution, from ‘Democracy’ to Marxism, from Fascism to Consumerism. But these have only proved to be failures and also shown the failure of material progress to satisfy human needs. Power, wealth and technology, however developed, are all deathly without the spiritual vitality of Faith. We have always known that they are false, but at the time Europe adopted each of them and believed in them wholeheartedly. Why? Because of its lack of humility, its inability to accept Christ precisely because He is not ‘European’, but Universal, uniting all, whereas Europe divides all.

And so Europe is spiritually regressive and cannot solve the puzzle it has set itself and glue the pieces back together again. Although it needs humility to accept from outside its deficient culture the glue which it is so sorely lacking, it is too proud to accept help from a ‘foreign’ (= Christian) culture. However, fifty years ago even the most smug and self-satisfied had begun to realize that Europe was in crisis. Thus, when at that time the Church of Christ returned to Western societies and started to become known, some Europeans were interested. However, history has shown us that some of those who were interested in reality did not want the Church; they wanted rather to ‘change the Church’, to impose their own agendas on the Church, they wanted a Westernized substitute for the real thing. So was born ‘Halfodoxy’, ‘Euro-Orthodoxy’, ‘Orthodoxy Lite’, an emasculated and degutted religion. But this deathly fantasy that feeds the proud intellect but starves the humble heart, is already dying out, together with those who have promoted it.

The false messiahs of the West have included many spiritual deviations which deny the simple truth that real faith is a way of life. It is a system of beliefs and practices, sacramental and mystical, through Christ and the Holy Spirit, by which our life is brought into harmony with the Threefold Life Who created and rules the life of the whole universe. And that Life is called Love; hence St John says ‘He who does not love, does not know God, for God is love’. These spiritual deviations range from Origen-loving gnostic intellectualism, which announces that only the philosophers of the academy will be saved, to condemnation-loving pharisaic sectarianism, which announces that only the moralists of the ghetto will be saved, to sentimentalism-loving pietistic guruism, which announces that only those who do not know ascetic struggle will be saved. Essentially, however, the delusion of Europe is simply primitive paganism, a force once rejected as dead, but now reinvented and glorified with the illusory trappings of the immense power, wealth and technology of today.

It is profoundly sad that Europe has learned nothing from the fall of Communism. All that Europe can do is gloat over the fall of the Soviet Union; it cannot even see its own defeat, the recipe for its regeneration. Europe has missed the point. For Communism was the very essence of Western materialism and its downfall was therefore the triumph of Christ and the Cross over the West. Therefore only the heroic effort of Orthodoxy that conquered the Soviet Empire can now save the West. Yes, Europe has the pieces to its puzzle, but it is unable to stick them together. For that it needs Orthodoxy. Only Christ and true Christianity, which is what Orthodoxy means, can help it. Heresies of Christianity, produced again and again and again by Europeans, will not help – they, not really Christian, that is, not Orthodox, are responsible for the present crisis, the cause of the problems, not part of the solution. In any case, the heresies of Christianity have been utterly rejected by Europeans; their places of worship are neglected except by Asian and other tourists.

Pedophile-ridden European Establishments have lied to us for a thousand years; they have told us that, God-like, they have all the solutions, that they were the best, better than ‘the rest’. That was a lie, the lie. With only technological leadership but no spiritual leadership, Europe has enslaved itself and, through its New World colonies, the Western world enslaved all mankind to Mammon. So Europe has produced an inhuman and anti-spiritual order worldwide, which is nothing but the kingdom of Antichrist, waiting only for its Temple to be built and its King to be enthroned inside it. However, just as the apostles used Roman roads and all the imperial infrastructure to proclaim the kingdom of Christ, we use European infrastructure and technology to do so once again, thus providing that missing spiritual leadership to call the whole Europeanized and European world back from its delusions to repentance. Like St John the Baptist of old, the prophetic and visionary voices in the Church of God have been calling to repentance for years: now is the time.

How Western Culture Reverses Spiritual Progress

All heresies reverse spiritual progress because by their very nature they contain spiritual impurity. That is precisely why the Church, which as the Body of Christ is spiritually pure, perceives heresies as ‘wrong choices’, in Greek ‘heresies’. Essentially, what we are logically saying is that every choice that is not Christocentric contains spiritual impurity, for only Christ is without sin, all else is therefore tainted by sin. This includes all cases when groups of human-beings put their humanistic, impure cultures above Christ, so becoming ethnocentric instead of Christocentric. When humanity does this, it also condemns all other cultures and civilizations, whether existing today, in the past or possibly in the future, including Christocentric culture.

This why the famous Dr Johnson wrote that ‘patriotism is the last resort of the scoundrel’, meaning that scoundrels always use flag-waving nationalism as an excuse for their base deeds. In particular, scoundrels make cheap propaganda which demonizes their enemies, making them less than human, ‘subhumans’, ‘Untermenschen’ in Hitler’s language. This is merely a justification for the genocides which they commit. This is what Catholics did when slaughtering Christians (100,000 in England alone in the decade after 1066), Jews and Muslims in the Middle Ages, what Protestants did to Black Africans to justify slavery, what the Nazis did to Slavs (30 million of whom they slaughtered), Jews and Gypsies, what the Croats did to Serbs (some 800,000), and the Americans have done to umpteen peoples around the world, from Native Americans to Mexicans, from Japanese to Vietnames, from latin Americans to Iraqis, from Serbs to Russians. ‘They’, ‘the rest and not the West’, were and are all ‘subhuman’. Why? Simply in order to justify their power-grabbing and land-grabbing.

However, if nationalism (which is what Dr Johnson meant when he misused the word ‘patriotism’) is the last resort of the scoundrel, what is the first resort? The first resort of the scoundrel is always religion. This we saw very clearly in the anti-Christian Catholic ‘Crusades’ of the Middle Ages, which sacked and looted the Christian capital in Constantinople, in the Spanish plundering of the Americas in the name of God, in British empire-building (‘civilizing the natives’), in the blasphemous US dollar bill inscribed ‘In God we trust’ (meaning in Mammon we trust), in the German First World War soldier with ‘Gott mit uns’ (‘God with us’) inscribed on his belt, or in the Western-founded Al-Qaida and Islamic State, which use Islam (which as an Old Testament religion in spirit hardly has a record of tolerance in any case) to justify the most abhorrent crimes committed while land-grabbing and power-grabbing.

It is this that certain Western semi-converts to Christianity belonging to the various Local Orthodox Churches have to beware of. For long in this country, for example, we have seen an old generation of ex-Anglican semi-converts who reject ‘foreigners’ (i.e. anyone who has never been an Anglican), proposing their own unOrthodox and crypto-Protestant agenda, rejecting the Church as She is. These Establishment types regard the whole of England as their ‘territory’, set up small congregations of half a dozen here and there in order to justify their presence, try to eject others who do not belong to their mafia-like brotherhood, condescend and patronize, slander and backbite. Fortunately, that generation is dying out and we are now coming to a new generation of real Orthodox, who are not compromised by the ethnic religion of Establishment Anglicanism, which puts its culture above the Church, Which it condemns as ‘foreign’. Christ is indeed foreign to the racially and ethnically narrow, for in His human nature He was an Asian, not a Westerner.

Where did this ethnocentric Western mentality, which condemns all other civilizations and rejects the Christian condemnation of war as an absolute evil, as the Church Civilization of the Orthodox Christian world does (1), come from? Its origins are precisely in the eleventh century, of which the apostates of the Western world so proudly boast as the beginning of their much-vaunted Western ‘civilization’, from which ‘the Holy Spirit proceeds’ (2). That century marks the falling away of Western Europe from Church Civilization and the Christian Faith, the beginning of its spiritual degeneration, which it has since spread worldwide like a degenerative epidemic. It was that century which marked the beginning of the Western world as the future technological giant but spiritual pygmy. Until they purify themselves of that mentality of pride, which asserts that all Western actions are justified because of the imagined ‘innate superiority’ of Western culture over Christ and acquire a conscious and consistent Orthodox world-view, there will be no authentic conversion of such Western converts to the Church of God.

Until then, the abysmal Western genocides of people and culture around the world will continue, from Spain to England in the 11th century, from Jerusalem to Cyprus (3) in the 12th century, from Constantinople to Novgorod in the 13th century, from the Cathars of France (‘kill them all – God will recognize His own’) to the peasants of England in the 14th century, from Italy to Germany in the 15th century, from Amazonian natives (‘kill them – they do not have souls’), to French Protestants in the 16th century, from West African slaves to Carribean plantations in the 17th century, from Bengal to Native Canadians in the 18th century, from starving Irish peasants, the Plains Indians (4), New Zealand Maori, Tasmanian Aborigenes (‘animals’) to Sudanese Muslims in the 19th century, from the Belgian Congo, Boer South Africa (5), Carpatho-Russia, European Slavdom and Jewry to Vietnamese peasants in the 20th century, from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria to the eastern Ukraine already in the first grim years of this 21st century.

As a recent popular historian but no friend of the Church as he writes about himself and those like him, has put it quite accurately and apocalyptically:

‘The road to modernity stretches clearly from the first Millennium onwards, marked by abrupt shifts and turns, to be sure, but unriven by any total catastrophe such as separates the year 1000 from antiquity. Though it might sometimes appear an unsettling reflection, the monks, warriors and serfs of the eleventh century can be reckoned our (sic) direct ancestors in a way that the people of earlier ages never (sic) were. (This book) Millennium, in short, is about the most significant departure point in Western history: the start of a journey that perhaps (sic), in the final reckoning, only a true apocalypse will serve to cut short.

Millennium, Tom Holland, p. xxix, 2008

Notes:

1. It was in the summer of 1053 that for the first time in history a Pope of Rome, ‘St’ (sic!) Leo IX, the Schism-Maker, formally blessed a standard of battle. Absolution from the stain of bloodshed – ‘an impunity for their crimes’- was promised to all who answered the call. This was the first launching of a papally-sanctioned ‘holy war’. This was to be repeated in England 1066, then in the Crusades, and today has been repeated by Western countries, which also ‘replace God’ and arrogate to themselves papal infallibility in wrecking Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and the Ukraine, to name but a few examples. On the other hand, when in his book ‘Tactics’, the Christian Emperor Leo VI ‘the Wise’ of New Rome (866-912) called ‘religious war’ simply ‘a licence to loot in religion’s name’, he was expressing the immutable Christian teaching that had been universal until the 11th century before the foundation of Catholicism.

Thus, as Sir Steven Runciman noted, Orthodox Christian history was remarkably free of wars of aggression. Peaceful methods were always preferable, even if they involved tortuous diplomacy or the payment of money. To Western historians, accustomed to admire barbarian militarism, the actions of many Orthodox statesmen appear cowardly or sly; but the motive was usually a genuine desire to avoid bloodshed.

Unlike the Christian view, the Catholic view had developed out of the militarism inherited from pagan Rome. The military society that has emerged in the West out of the barbarian invasions has always sought to justify its habitual pastime of bloodshed and interventionism, just as it does today. It gave prestige to the military hero; and the pacifist acquired a disrepute for which he has never recovered. Already Pope Leo IV, in the mid-ninth century, had declared that anyone dying in battle for the defence of the Church would receive a heavenly reward. Pope John VIII, a few years later, had even ranked the victims of a holy war as martyrs; if they died armed in battle their sins would be remitted.

2. We recall the famous words of Gandhi, who, when asked what he thought of ‘Western civilization’, replied: ‘An excellent idea’.

3. Including the cannibalism of the sadistic French King of England, Richard ‘the Lionheart’.

4. In 1866 General Sherman wrote to President Grant that, ‘We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children’. And, as quoted by his biographer Marszalek, he added that ‘during an assault on an Indian village the soldiers cannot pause to distinguish between male and female, or even discriminate as to age. As long as resistance is made, death must be meted out’. Together with the other Indian fighter, Philip Sheridan, it was he who wrote that ‘the only good Indian is a dead Indian’. The descendants of the same Plains Indians have recently supported the Russian Federation against the US government’s anti-Ukrainian and also pro-pedophile policies.

5. In the letter of Tsar Nicholas II to King Edward VII of 27 May 1901, we find the last Orthodox Emperor expressing his concern in English that although his ‘principle is not to meddle in other people’s affairs’ (unlike the modern West), his ‘conscience obliges’ him ‘at last to speak openly’ and that the Boer War ‘looks more like a war of extermination’ and that Britain must ‘put an end to this bloodshed’.