Category Archives: Russian Church

On the Importance of ROCOR inside Russia

The following article on the importance of ROCOR theology and the end of Paris School influence in Russia, taken from the Russian ‘Independent Newspaper’ (Nezavisimaya Gazeta), was written by Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, a senior archpriest in Moscow. For those who do not read Russian, it would be of interest to go to google translate to appreciate its importance.

«Карловацкий дух» и Церковь будущего. Протоиерей Всеволод Чаплин надеется на востребованность традиций РПЦЗ в РПЦ МП “после ухода старшего поколения иерархов и церковных бюрократов”

“НГ-РЕЛИГИИ”, 7 июня 2017 г.

Насколько востребовано духовное наследие русского зарубежья
Церемония освящения храма Воскресения Христова и Новомучеников и Исповедников Земли Русской в московском Сретенском монастыре 25 мая с.г. ознаменовала сразу несколько дат в истории Русской церкви, трагическим образом связанных друг с другом. Возведение храма было приурочено, с одной стороны, к 100-летию революции и годовщине Большого террора 1937 года, ставшего последствием этой революции, а с другой – 10-летию воссоединения Московского патриархата и Русской православной церкви Заграницей. 17 мая 2007 года был подписан Акт о каноническом общении разделенных Церквей. При освящении нового храма в Сретенском монастыре патриарху Московскому и всея Руси Кириллу сослужил глава РПЦЗ митрополит Иларион (Капрал).

Президент Владимир Путин, принявший участие в церемонии, в своей речи коснулся темы воссоединения Церквей, связав ее с общегосударственными задачами национального примирения. «Создание общности целей, главная из которых – благополучие каждого нашего человека и нашей Родины в целом, и есть тот ключ, который помогает преодолевать разногласия, – заявил политический лидер. – Ярчайшим подтверждением тому служит и восстановление единства Русской православной церкви, десятилетие которого мы отмечаем в эти дни». Президент, который сыграл в процессе объединения большую роль, напомнил, что «путь к возрождению церковной целостности… был непростым»: «За долгие годы разобщенности, уходящей своими корнями в драму братоубийственной Гражданской войны, накопилось слишком много противоречий и взаимного недоверия».

Путин отметил, что «раны расколов», как церковных, так и гражданских, «тяжело затягиваются». «Восстановление единства… стало и остается событием огромного нравственного звучания, символом и примером того, что история нашей страны, ее прошлое могут и должны не разъединять, а объединять всех нас», – сказал президент. «НГР» попросили публицистов с различными взглядами на историю и миссию Православной церкви в обществе оценить уровень церковной консолидации за прошедшие 10 лет, а также рассказать о той роли, которую сыграло воссоединение русского православия в жизни страны.

10-летие воссоединения с Московским патриархатом Русской православной церкви Заграницей (РПЦЗ) не сильно повлияло на внутрицерковные дискуссии. Появилось несколько «парадных» интервью. В Сретенском монастыре при участии РПЦЗ прошла конференция, посвященная святителю Иоанну (Максимовичу) – лейтмотивом ее был почтительный анализ истории. А консервативная общественность провела по инициативе Аналитического центра святителя Василия Великого неглупое собрание в фонде Леонида Решетникова «Двуглавый орел». Однако сказать в связи с круглой датой есть о чем: собственно, на упомянутом собрании мы многое и сказали, но столкнулись со стеной молчания в информационном мейнстриме.

«Зарубежная церковь вернулась на родину» – эта яркая фраза, которая звучала в СМИ 10 лет назад, верна лишь отчасти. На самом деле идейное и духовное влияние «карловчан» ощущалось даже в СССР. Помню, как в 1981 году я, 13-летний советский школьник, только пришедший к вере, смог прочесть в ксерокопии «тамиздатский» конспект по Закону Божию предстоятеля РПЦЗ митрополита Филарета (Вознесенского; 1903–1985). До сих пор помню одну цитату, которой активно делился с другими молодыми людьми: «Гниющий труп набальзамированного Ильича есть наилучший символ коммунизма». Книжку эту мне дали почитать в Калуге – а с амвона кафедрального собора этого города священник Валерий Суслин цитировал святого праведного Иоанна Кронштадтского – Московским патриархатом тогда к лику святых еще не причисленного. Тогдашний калужский правящий архиерей архиепископ Никон (Фомичев) против таких упоминаний не возражал, сказав: «Наш Синод за границей его канонизировал». И я тогда впервые понял, что у России есть третий путь – не советский и не западно-«демократический». Путь православной монархии.

Вдуматься только: в областном городе, чья культура строилась вокруг Циолковского и «космической» тематики, при жестком уполномоченном Совета по делам религий Федоре Рябове, идеи РПЦЗ практически доминировали над официальными призывами того же владыки Никона «молиться за советскую родину в день 7 ноября». Слово из Джорданвилля – резиденции предстоятелей Зарубежной церкви – доносилось и через самиздат, и через радиоголоса (самыми известными были выступления протоиерея Виктора Потапова на «Голосе Америки», которые я слушал лет с восьми).

В это время «подсоветская» церковная бюрократия, в которой я оказался уже в середине 80-х, ориентировалась на другие эмигрантские мнения – на либеральную «парижскую школу», которая больше совпадала с брежневско-горбачевскими призывами к «миру во всем мире». Но для огромной массы народа авторитет РПЦЗ был выше, а за «парижанами», помимо спичрайтеров церковного официоза, шла лишь небольшая часть интеллигенции.

Наследие консервативной части церковной эмиграции продолжало ту дореволюционную линию, которая олицетворялась Троице-Сергиевой лаврой, Московской духовной академией, интеллектуальной частью Союза русского народа. Отсюда – монархизм РПЦЗ, ее консервативность в богослужении, богословии, отношениях с неправославным миром. Другим полюсом до революции были идейные предшественники «парижан» и обновленческого движения. Увы, в кризисный – «судный» – момент Великой Отечественной войны обновленчество оказалось неспособно мобилизовать народ. Поэтому часть умопостроений «карловчан» начала совпадать с позицией Церкви в России – совпадать даже при отсутствии их реального контакта с Москвой.

Впрочем, набор идей РПЦЗ не смог автоматически стать церковным мейнстримом в постсоветские годы. Причин тому было две. Во-первых, интеллектуальная часть патриархийного аппарата была по преимуществу пленена «парижским» духом (пожалуй, кроме Издательского отдела, руководимого митрополитом Питиримом (Нечаевым). Во-вторых, сами «карловчане» решили создать на исторической родине параллельную церковную структуру – и набрали в нее явных авантюристов, имевших дурную репутацию. Помню, как на Поместном соборе 1990 года архиепископ Кирилл (Гундяев; нынешний патриарх) резко говорил о принятом в РПЦЗ суздальском архимандрите Валентине (Русанцове): «Пусть туда десятки таких пойдут!»
The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, как ее тогда метко называли журналисты, быстро начала дробиться и всасывать более и более сомнительных личностей. Это, думаю, и привело к смене «карловчанами» своего курса – со стимуляции присутствия в России на воссоединение с Московским патриархатом.

Выторговать в ходе переговоров удалось немного. Первоиерарх РПЦЗ не стал постоянным членом Священного синода – как руководители большинства других самоуправляемых Церквей в составе Московского патриархата. Пожелания о выходе из Всемирного совета церквей исполнены не были – и сегодня даже предпринимаются попытки оживить контакты с этой организацией, почти незаметной на религиозно-общественном поле и скомпрометированной присутствием сообществ, отвергнувших христианскую мораль вплоть до «благословения однополых браков». Иерархи РПЦЗ, выросшие на Западе, оказались не слишком сильными «бойцами» в московских коридорах. Многие из них к тому же привыкли к расслабленной жизни в «тихой заводи» одного из множества западных религиозных сообществ – особенно в Америке и Австралии.

Однако я надеюсь, что «карловацкое» наследие еще скажет свое слово в церковной «политике» XXI века – и обратиться к нему надо думающим людям на канонической территории Московского патриархата. Это наследие показывает, как выжить в условиях религиозно и идейно неоднородного, а подчас враждебного окружения – и остаться собой, не пойдя по пути приспособления к модам и настроениям внешней среды. Пример сохранившихся «зарубежников» и практически растворившихся в культуре Запада «парижан» оказывается очень показательным. Умение говорить ясно, просто, тепло и даже горячо – а духовенство РПЦЗ таким умением всегда отличалось – сегодня востребовано гораздо больше, чем искусство длинных и сложных «дипломатических проповедей».

Многие управленческие решения «зарубежников» могут использоваться как добрый пример для церковного администрирования в России и других постсоветских странах. Так, Положение об РПЦЗ предполагает ясный перечень доходов Синода (например, двухпроцентные отчисления от содержания епископов и однопроцентное – от содержания духовенства). Епархиальное собрание, согласно тому же документу, «устанавливает смету приходов и расходов <…> по содержанию епархиального епископа, его дома и канцелярии», а также по выплатам епархиальным служащим.

Наконец, «карловчане» продолжают быть форпостом православной миссии на Западе, которая становится все более востребованной. Протоиерей Андрей Филлипс из Великобритании даже написал участникам конференции Центра святого Василия Великого: «В последнее время Русская православная церковь имеет всемирную миссию проповедовать нашу общую веру без компромиссов, на глобальном уровне и на всех языках, несмотря на тех, кто против нас. <…> Мы готовим, даже на Западе, приход русского царя».

Думается, что основные идеи «зарубежного» богословия – ясные, яркие, верные традиционному православию – вновь окажутся в церковной России мейнстримом после ухода старшего поколения иерархов и церковных бюрократов. Именно эти идеи, а не метания «живоцерковников», а затем «парижан» и наших шестидесятников, лучше всего подходят православным людям, когда они свободны и не должны «подстраиваться» под безбожную власть на родине или под доминирующие влияния в условиях эмиграции. «Карловацкий дух» и дальше будет пробивать себе дорогу в церковном учительстве, духовном образовании и православных СМИ – как пробил в советское время через сам- и тамиздат. Главное только, чтобы сами иерархи РПЦЗ остались этому духу верны и не боялись ему следовать в слове и в спорах – кулуарных либо публичных. Тем более что Владимир Путин, общаясь с ними в Сретенском монастыре, сказал: «Вы все – желанные гости. И даже не гости, а хозяева!»

Протоиерей Всеволод Чаплин

100 Years On: The End of Anglican Orthodoxy and Reality

Within a few years of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the ensuing enslavement of the Russian Church inside Russia centred in Moscow, some 2,000 Russian émigrés had settled in England, mainly in London. They split into two Church groups, both independent of enslaved Moscow, a larger group of various origins, and a much smaller group, mainly of liberal aristocrats and intellectuals, mainly Anglophiles and mainly from Saint Petersburg. The first group formed a parish in London under the initially Moscow-established Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), which had four Metropolias, in China, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the Americas, catering for all emigres. The second group also formed a parish in London, but under the small Parisian Rue Daru breakaway jurisdiction, outside the Russian Church, under the then largely Anglican-run and financed (now US-run and financed) Patriarchate of Constantinople.

After the Second World War the first group, under ROCOR, formed more parishes for several thousand refugees with Polish nationality, mainly Ukrainians and Belarussians but also some Russians, who all awaited freedom in the Russian Church inside Russia. (This was to come in 2007, only after most of them had died, bringing reconciliation between the Church inside Russia and the Church Outside Russia). On the other hand, after the Second World War the second group returned formally to the still unfree Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia, but on a special basis under the unique Parisian personality of the then Fr Antony Bloom, and developed into an independent group of several small communities. After he died in 2003, this group split in 2006, the majority remaining under Moscow and as a result, by 2007, the majority in the second group and the first group had entered into the unity of canonical communion with one another.

However, some 300 people, often of Anglican background and in small scattered communities, returned to the breakaway Paris Rue Daru group in 2006. Why did they avoid the reconciliation of the vast majority? It was because their leading ideology was that of an English-language Orthodoxy, which was in fact a Russophobic Anglican Orthodoxy. This has largely been invented by an Oxford Anglicanophile academic called Nicholas Zernov. Indeed, it could be called ‘Zernovism’, though in truth many individuals were involved in its formulation. This consisted of a sociological dream, that of reconciling a certain ‘embourgeoisé’ Russian Orthodoxy, liberal, intellectual, aristocratic and conformist, with an upper middle-class Anglo-Catholicism. This was a phyletist (racist) ideology that put a bourgeois and effete Russian Orthodoxy and the Anglican ‘public school and cricket’ Establishment, first – above Christ and His Truth. For when all is compromise, there is no place for Truth….

Those who had never been Anglican felt totally out of place in this group, indeed rejected by such a narrow and forced sociological concept of the Church. Today, their dream (a nightmare for others) is over. It has been made irrelevant by reality – for we do not live in the past. It is not at all that English-language Orthodoxy in itself is irrelevant, in fact just the opposite, today it is all the more important. For in today’s England there are not 2,000 or even 5,000 Russian Orthodox, but 300,000 Russian Orthodox. These come mainly from the Baltics, Moldova and the Ukraine, not to mention 220,000 Romanians and 80,000 Bulgarians, totalling 600,000 Orthodox from these three areas of the Orthodox world. This recent immigration, together with their English-born children, dwarfs all previous Orthodox emigrations, including the mainly 1950s-1960s 200,000-strong Greek-Cypriot immigration, which is now largely dying out after almost complete assimilation.

With 600,000 new Orthodox and their children, mainly in England, there is a huge mission-field for English-language Orthodoxy. However, most of these immigrants work on building sites, in car washes, in hotels and catering, or in farming and horticulture and food-processing factories. They certainly have no interest in an effete and intellectual-dream philosophy of Orthodoxy, but rather in a hands-on, down-to-earth Orthodoxy, which alone meets their simple and practical needs. They need an English-language Orthodoxy to meet the needs of their children, who are being brought up on council estates and in rented flats in the East End of London and the crowded suburbs of modest working towns up and down today’s England. We clergy will be judged on how well we meet their needs, keeping faith with Orthodoxy, but at the same time speaking in the language that their children and increasingly the immigrants themselves, communicate and socialize in. History moves on.

On the Resurrection of Europe: The Message of the Christian Empire to Europe

There was once a Christian Empire. At the far Western tip of the Eurasian Continent, Europe was an integral part of that Empire, giving birth to the light of ten thousand saints to combat and defeat native European darkness. This was Holy Europe. But Europe fell away from those saints, that ideal of holiness and its Empire, replacing holiness with the darkness of idolatry, out of envy not tolerating that it was not at the centre of the Empire. In revolt and falling back into its old darkness, Europe successively laid waste to both centres of the Christian Empire, New Rome in 1204 and the Third Rome in 1917, slaughtering even the Russian Ruling Family, who were Europeans. To allow them to be killed, on orders from New York, was suicide for Europe, but as for the Christian Empire, it miraculously survived.

Now, one hundred years on, in 2017, Europe is at a turning-point. Will the yearnings of Old Europe be heard or will the New Europe, atheized and so homogenized, altogether wipe out the Old Europe of the saints and their heritage of holiness? The message of what survives of the Christian Empire, of Russian Orthodoxy, to Europe is that its Resurrection, the salvation of the best of Old Europe, that which is compatible with the Church, is still possible. Once Europe was Holy Europe, just as the Russian Lands were Holy Rus. The Saints of the Russian Lands speak to Europe and the Saints of Europe speak back to the Russian Lands. The Russian Orthodox message to Europe is to give it back the Orthodox Trinitarian commandments in order to save it. These Trinitarian commandments are:

Faith: To keep faith with the integrity of Orthodox Christianity, avoiding manmade substitutes, mere religions, recent constructs of the fallen mind.

Sovereignty: To be loyal to the Incarnation of the Faith in the Christian Empire, rejecting manmade substitutes, false and idolatrous empires based on envy.

The People: To respect the gifts and restore the destinies of each individual European people, inasmuch as they are inspired by the Holy Spirit.

From north to south, passing from Oslo to Madrid, from west to east, passing from Dublin to Vienna, passing over the centre of the Cross in Paris, we make the sign of the Cross over Europe and entrust it to the Church of God. It is our belief that we are approaching the end of the world and that that end will come, if another Christian Emperor is not soon restored. And for the Tsar to be restored, we require the Cross of Repentance in the west, Return in the east, Redemption in the north, Rebirth in the south, and so Resurrection in the centre. And if the Tsar is not restored, then the Tsar of Tsars will come.

A Prophetic Anniversary

В Москве прошла конференция к 10-летию воссоединения Русской Церкви

Слово священника Андрея Филлипса о 10-летии объединения РПЦ и РПЦЗ

Fr. Andrew Phillips on the 10th anniversary of the ROC and ROCOR reunion

Christ is Risen!

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Ten years ago, on 17 May 2007, during the Liturgy of the Ascension, at which the Act of Canonical Communion was signed, I stood in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour confessing. Among those confessing were senior military officials, in uniform, who had come to repent for persecuting the Church in Soviet times. They did not realize that they were confessing their sins to God in the presence of a priest from the Church Outside Russia. Never have I felt our unity so profoundly. It is from our mutual repentance, and both sides had to do this, that we took our profound unity and so could ask together for the prayers of the New Martyrs and Confessors. In particular we ask today for the prayers of the Royal Martyrs, whom we remember on this centenary of the tragic betrayal of the Russian Empire.

For decades I have belonged to the Church Outside Russia and have served her in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal and England, speaking for her in the USA, Australia and the Netherlands. For the Russian Federation is today only part of the Russian Orthodox world, of what we call Rus. Today, Rus is not only the Russian Federation, the Ukraine (despite the US-installed junta in Kiev) and Belarus, not only Moldova and Carpatho-Russia (Zakarpat’e). Rus is everywhere that the Russian Orthodox Faith is confessed, from Kazakhstan to the Baltics, from Japan to Thailand, from Germany to Venezuela, from Switzerland to Central Asia, from Italy to Indonesia, from Argentina to the USA, from Australia to England, from Canada to New Zealand. We too are Rus, together with you all.

In these latter times the Russian Orthodox Church has a worldwide mission to preach our common Faith without compromise, globally and in all languages, despite those who oppose us. Some of the greatest patriots of Rus belong to what Fr Andrei Tkachov rightly calls ‘our Church Outside Russia’. Our motto has always been ‘For the Faith, for the Tsar, for Rus’ and this is what our greatest saints, St Jonah of Hankou, St John of Shanghai and St Seraphim of Sofia, always proclaimed.

We are part of the Tsar’s Church, working in his spirit, for the Tsar-Martyr spoke five languages and built eighteen churches in Western Europe, desiring to see one built in each Western capital. (We still have one to build in central London in fulfilment of his desire). We in the Church Outside Russia are the outposts of Russian Orthodoxy, spiritual oases in an often hostile Western world. We are preparing, even in the West, for the coming Tsar of Rus. This is our unity. And our unity is our common victory!

Archpriest Andrew Phillips,
Parish of St John of Shanghai,
Colchester, England

Now that We Have Moved on from the Near-Forgotten Meeting in Crete

Nearly a year ago there took place in Crete a meeting of a select minority of the 650 or so Orthodox bishops in the world. Called by one of the bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople who took part in it but who, like many others present, refused to sign documents from it, ‘John’s show’ (referring to the elderly and ill Metr John Zizioulas whose old-fashioned philosophy was behind it all), Crete was useful in preparing for a future Orthodox Council. We now know how we are going to express the Orthodox Truth regarding the questions under discussion in a Conciliar manner – in a very different way from the secular-humanist, imposition by committee, way seen in Crete, in other words in the spirit and language of the Church Fathers. With this ecumenistic meeting now largely forgotten, the Orthodox world has already moved on.

Thus, the multinational Russian Orthodox Church, 75% of the whole Orthodox world and not present at the irrelevant Crete meeting, with a flock of millions in Western Europe – 100 large parishes in Germany, 70 in Italy, a new Cathedral in the centre of Paris and a seminary and several dozens of parishes in other countries – is moving to set up a Metropolia there. This will unite Russian Orthodox of all nationalities and all languages in Continental Western Europe. No doubt, with time the Russian Orthodox Church will do the same in South America and also reclaim Alaska, setting up a Metropolia there. Thus, it will stretch from Portugal to Alaska, covering three continents. With further time, as the ever-memorable Patriarch Alexei I stated some fourteen years ago regarding Western Europe, such Metropolias will become new Autocephalous Churches.

Given this, what will become of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), whose headquarters are in New York? Led by the Patriarch of All the Russias, with 12 bishops, plus two retired and two more recently received from the Slav-based, Cold War-founded organization known as the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), its destiny seems to be clear. It is to become the single and united Church of all the many Russian Orthodox of all nationalities in the English-speaking world. From the USA to Canada, from Australia to New Zealand, from Great Britain to Ireland, and countries dependent on them (ranging from Haiti to Costa Rica, from Mexico to Puerto Rico, from Indonesia to South Korea as well as others), all Russian Orthodox there are to unite. Let us forget the irrelevant past and help to build the future!

Orthodox Christianity in the British Isles and Ireland: Seven Orthodox Churches, Nine Dioceses, One Deanery, Four Choices

Introduction

Every Christian denomination in every country of the world is divided into dioceses and parishes which reflect the geographical area where they are located. Moreover, there may also be internal, sociological divisions. For example, in the town where I live there are several parishes of the C of E (Church of England), but two of these parishes refuse to talk to each other because their views and patterns of worship are utterly different, one is ‘Anglo-Catholic’, elderly and wealthy, the other is ‘happy-clappy’, middle-aged and financially modest. There are also two Baptist churches which refuse to talk to one another, because one is strict, the other is liberal.

In the cities there is a similar situation in Roman Catholic parishes, which can have completely different tendencies (Polish/Irish/liberal/ traditional/‘charismatic’…) and also in monasteries, which belong to different orders. Nowadays, larger Roman Catholic parishes have masses at different times for different ethnic groups in different languages and with different Roman Catholic rites, Polish, Syro-Malabar, Greek-Catholic Ukrainian etc. There is often very little communication between these diverse groups. What is the situation regarding the Orthodox Church in this country? What sort of divisions are there here?

Seven Local Churches and Ten Groups

Of the fourteen Local Churches that make up the worldwide Orthodox Church only seven are represented outside their home countries. In the British Isles and Ireland these seven Churches have nine dioceses and one deanery. These are the following: the Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Georgian, Constantinople (two dioceses, Greek and Ukrainian, and one deanery, Paris), Antiochian and Russian (two dioceses, Sourozh and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia). These nine dioceses and one deanery are not territorial, but are superimposed on one another on the same territory. However, even so there is often little communication between them, as each caters for its own ethnic group. Of these ten groups, the first six, the Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Georgian and the big Greek and the tiny Ukrainian nationalist dioceses of the Church of Constantinople, are largely concerned only with their own ethnic members.

Thus, the above generally appear not to observe the Gospel commandment of Matthew 28, that we are to go out into all the world and teach and baptize all. For example, although a small minority of parishes in the big Greek-speaking Diocese of the Church of Constantinople, mainly Cypriot by ethnicity, do sometimes accept English people, generally these people are Hellenized or even come from a Hellenophile public school background. Moreover, its archbishops, who must have Greek or Cypriot nationality, usually impose Greek names on any they may ordain, such as Kallistos instead of Timothy, Meletios instead of Peter, Aristobulos instead of Alban, and imposes names like Athanasios, Panteleimon and Eleutherios on others. This leaves four choices to the majority of native English speakers who are interested in trying to live according to the teachings of the Orthodox Church without having to change their name and national identity.

Four Choices

The first two of these choices, the Parisian and the Antiochian, appear to cater for two specific small English sociological groups, whereas the last two groups are both part of the Russian Orthodox Church. These are at once sociologically much broader as regards the range of English and other local people within them, but those people sometimes have a Russian connection and they are in a majority Russian Church.

1. The Paris Deanery (also called the Exarchate)

This is a very small Deanery belonging to a Diocese under an elderly and sick French bishop, received and ordained into the Church in 1974, based in Paris under the ‘Greek’ (Constantinople) Church. It has virtually no property of its own. Founded in Paris in the 1920s by anti-monarchist Saint Petersburg aristocrats, who had tried but failed to seize power from the Tsar, it had a small parish in London until 1945. However, in 2006 the group was refounded in this country after a noisy, aggressive and unfriendly divorce from the Russian Orthodox Sourozh Diocese (see below) and it strongly dislikes the Russian Orthodox Church as it is. In 2006 it was 300 strong, out of a then total of about 300,000 Orthodox in the UK, so it represented about one in a thousand Orthodox. Despite its tiny size, in 2006 its foundation was strongly supported by the Russophobic bastions of the British Establishment, the Church of England, the BBC, The Times, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. It is known for its attachment to the arts, philosophy and intellectualism and ordains easily, providing that the candidates come from ‘the right background’.

It tends to cater for rather elderly, upper-middle class Establishment figures – which is why it belongs to the Western-run Church of Constantinople, which uses the Roman Catholic calendar for the fixed feasts, and not the independently-run Russian Orthodox Church. It is thus rather politicized and its perhaps clubby, county-town members tend to support the elitist Liberal Democrats. Its members, often in groups as small as five or ten, may, like their founder, be attracted to spiritual techniques, such as Buddhism, Sufi Islam, yoga or what is called ‘the Jesus Prayer’ (= noetic prayer in Orthodox language). It is not incarnate in any Local Orthodox Church and mixes different practices and customs, also introducing ‘creative’ customs of its own. Some of its more effete members quite unrealistically call their tiny Deanery ‘The Orthodox Church in Britain’, despite the fact that it is dwarfed by nine much more proletarian Orthodox Dioceses. This is rather like some members of the ‘Orthodox Church in America’, a US Orthodox group with a huge title which the Deanery much admires, but which is also dwarfed by others, numbering only some 30,000 out of 3,000,000 Orthodox in North America.

2. The Antiochian (Arab) Diocese

This very small ethnic ‘British Orthodox’ group, originally 300 in number, was founded as a Deanery as recently as 1996 by and for dissident Anglicans. They came from backgrounds as diverse as conservative Evangelicalism, moralistic Puritanism and charismatic Anglo-Catholicism, but all were dissatisfied with Anglicanism. Having since then converted only a few other Anglicans and apparently (??) without much interest in Non-Anglicans, its ex-Anglican clergy sometimes rely on Romanians to fill their churches. The group is known for its missionary zeal and sincerity, providing pastoral care where other Dioceses have failed to do so, but is also known for its lack of knowledge, pastoral and liturgical, and lack of realism. It has little property of its own. In 2016 this Deanery, which uses the Roman Catholic calendar for the fixed feasts, became a Diocese and the first task of its new Arab bishop, without an Arab base and tradition, is in his own words to teach his clergy how to celebrate the services and so enter the mainstream. In the past it has ordained very easily, providing that its candidates are Anglican vicars. This, however, may be changing.

3. The Sourozh Diocese (also incorrectly called the Patriarchal Diocese) of the Russian Orthodox Church

Directly under the control of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, this Diocese has existed for 55 years. It has had a varied history, having been marked by tendencies of liberal modernism as well as Soviet patriotism under its former bishop and founder, the late Metropolitan Antony Bloom of Paris, with his unique personality cult and curious personal views. After his death most of his closest followers, mainly ex-Anglicans, left to found the Paris Deanery (see above) and now the Sourozh Diocese seems to be more and more for the many ethnic Russian immigrants who have settled in this country over the last 20 years. However, there are exceptions and it still has some very active English groups (as well as dying traces of a Bloomite past), though most of its English clergy are now elderly.

4. ROCOR, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (also incorrectly called ROCA or ‘the Church Abroad’)

This Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland of the Church Outside Russia is one of many dioceses under a Synod of fifteen Russian Orthodox bishops (three of them retired) centred in New York. It was originally founded in 1920 by Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow for White Russian émigrés exiled throughout the world. Self-governing and only indirectly under the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, with which it has excellent relations, ROCOR, once worldwide, is now dominant only in the English-speaking world, especially in the USA and Australia. It has seen many of its ethnically very closed parishes in South America and continental Western Europe shut or else dissolve into the more missionary-minded local dioceses of the rest of the Russian Orthodox Church, centred in Moscow. However, in the English-speaking world it is the voice of Russian Orthodoxy and its missionary-minded Canadian Metropolitan, formerly Archbishop of Australia and New Zealand, is, symbolically, the head of dioceses in New England and ‘Old’ England.

The local Diocese has a chequered history, with various incarnations. These range from noble White Russian roots, which especially after 1945 were infected by unpleasant, very right-wing and nationalistic anti-Communism and a generation after that by equally unattractive Anglo-Catholic sectarianism. The latter movement even tried to prise the Diocese from its faithfulness to Russian Orthodoxy. However, these generational nightmare incarnations thankfully died out with the end of the Cold War, quit the Church or else were pushed to the margins, where as relics they have almost disappeared. Over the new generation, after decades of neglect and nearly dying out in the early 1990s, this Diocese has been returning to its White Russian roots, understood as faithfulness, in Russian or in English, to the Orthodox Tradition, which has so much revived among Russians. Today’s ROCOR mission is to spread the Orthodox Faith and values of the reviving multinational Christian Empire of Holy Russia here and throughout the English-speaking world, as well as in its missions from South America to Western Europe, Haiti to Hawaii, Pakistan to South Korea, Costa Rica to Indonesia, and Nepal to the Philippines.

Russian Church will include more Western saints in its calendar

Orthodoxy in the West will revive. There’ll be Orthodoxy in Britain and Ireland, in France and Germany, in Holland and Spain and in America, too! Every language and nation will have Holy Orthodoxy. This is the charge laid upon our Russian emigration for our repentance.

St John of Shanghai

Moscow, March 27, Interfax – The Russian Orthodox Patriarchate will continue to include the names of the saints venerated in the early West in its calendar.

“This process is not completed, it has only started,” said the head of the Synodal Department for External Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, on the Church and the World programme on the Rossiya-24 TV channel.

As was reported, in early March the Patriarchate included in its calendar St. Patrick and 15 ancient saints glorified in the countries of Europe before the schism of 1054. St. Patrick the Enlightener of Ireland was among them. It was decided that he would be commemorated on 30 March according to the secular dating system.

According to Metropolitan Hilarion, these saints were included at the request of the many Russian Orthodox dioceses in Western Europe.

“There are also other Western saints whom I hope will also soon be included in the calendar of our Church,” said Metropolitan Hilarion.

He explained that the main criterion for including the name of the saint in the calendar is veneration of the saint in a certain locality. Besides this, this saint should have lived before the schism of 1054, “as everything that happened afterwards belongs to the separate history of the Orthodox Church and Catholicism.”

The hierarch noted that it was important that the person had not participated in struggle against Orthodoxy, “as happens with certain Western religious figures.”

He also said that he would not interpret the inclusion of Western saints in the Russian Orthodox Church calendar as a step towards drawing closer to local Church reality,” said the Metropolitan.

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=13661

St Alban Now Venerated in Russia

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has today inserted another 15 Western saints into the universal Russian Orthodox calendar, who had not previously been included there. They include St Alban of Britain, St Patrick of Ireland and St Genevieve of Paris. In its decision the Holy Synod referred to the list of such saints drawn up by St John of Shanghai 65 years ago in 1952.

This is a victory for St John of Shanghai and all of us who, faithfully following in his footsteps, have for several decades venerated these saints and named our children after them. This is particularly so in the case of St Alban, whose inclusion we have worked so hard for in the last ten years.

Contemporary Pastoral Challenges for the Russian Orthodox Church

Introduction

After a generation of very hard work and great sacrifices, today, with over 350 bishops and over 35,000 churches, 900 of them outside the territory of the former Soviet Union, all may seem to be going well in our great, collective task of restoring the Russian Orthodox Church. But the number of churches is still only half as many in the Russian Empire in 1917 and today there is a higher population than then. Although Russian alcoholism has fallen rapidly and rates are now not much higher than in much of Western Europe and abortion is falling rapidly, halving over the last four years, that figure is still much higher than in Western European countries.

So there remains much to do. Corruption, divorce and environmental degradation remain huge problems. Only when there are 100,000 churches and 1,000 bishops and the old atheist-caused ABCDE – alcoholism, abortion, corruption, divorce and environmental degradation – hardly exist, will we begin to think that the situation has really improved. At present, we would say that there are four great pastoral tasks in Church life, the results of three generations of State-imposed atheism, which we think need to be urgently tackled.

Red or White

In this centenary year of the so-called Russian Revolution (in fact a Western coup d’etat), there are those who have created the false problem of whether Church people should be ‘Red’ or ‘White’ and where our sympathies should lie. Obviously, in reality we are neither Red nor White, but Christ’s. True, in Russian history, the Reds were atheists and mercilessly persecuted the Church and the Whites appeared to support the Church. However, in reality, at least some of the Reds, perhaps the naïve ones, had a sense of social justice, and most of the so-called Whites betrayed the Tsar and the cause of the Church.

Thus, such so-called Whites lost the loyalty of the masses by fighting for material goods, behaving much as the Reds, even using bandits as troops against their own people. During the Second World War, when the former Russian Empire was being bled dry by the Nazis, a few so-called ‘Whites’ actually consciously and voluntarily sided with the Slavophobe racist Hitler. Those of the Whites who were truly White were a minority and were always loyal to Russia and her universal mission, but today we have triumphed, as the icons of the Royal Martyrs are venerated all over Russia, for the faithful everywhere were always truly White. Let us waste no more time on this question: All we Russian Orthodox are Christ’s.

Superstition

The Russian Orthodox Church is today the Church of 140 million converts. Most of our 164 million Orthodox, of all ages, have been baptized within the last 30 years. Many of these masses have often still to be Churched, that is, to be converted inside; they are ‘uncoverted converts’. Thus, some have brought into the Church with themselves certain worldly reflexes, external ritualism, even superstitious attitudes and sometimes a ‘magic’ attitude to Church life. There are some who, for example, will do their utmost to obtain holy water, but are still not married in Church. There are some women who will wear a very modest headscarf, and yet wear the shortest of miniskirts and think nothing of abortion. There are some who attend church, but do not understand the services and make no effort to do so. Sometimes, it is true, this is because the reading and singing are garbled or else done by ‘professionals’, whose Italianate opera repertoire gives no chance to the people to understand and sing.

There are some who appear to believe in the New Testament and yet continually speak of the anthropomorphic, Old Testament, Jewish god, Who continually punishes all and sundry, demanding ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. There are some who seek miracles at shrines and know by heart the dubious prophecies of dubious ‘elders’, but refuse ever to take communion, the greatest miracle of all. There are some who make huge signs of the cross and boast of their fasting and yet reckon that they are not Pharisees. There are some who will not go to church unless a certain priest is present and yet they are supposed to believe in the efficacy of sacraments of all priests. (Sadly some priests fall victim to such personality cults and then introduce their own ‘special’ practices into the services). This reliance on ‘magic’, that is, the concept that we can receive something without making any effort, is ultimately a consumerist attitude towards the sacred. It must be said that although external rites may appeal to some women, they have little appeal to men. This must surely be in part why 80%-90% of those in church are women. This is spiritually unhealthy and abnormal. Where are the men?

Luxury

In certain capitals, nor least in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, some very rich people, oligarchs, have donated huge sums of money to certain churches. They generally stipulate – and so think that they can obtain power – that this money must be spent on a very baroque style of ornamentation. In a word, there is far too much gold, marble and precious stones in such churches. Why not use gold paint and coloured glass? What is wrong with that? Luxurious vestments and mitres, equally priests and monks driving luxurious, black 4 x 4s, like millionaires, do not impress me at all. Some may drive them out of obedience, but the poison of luxury and then greed for money can get into the soul all too easily.

Beauty, yes, but excess and luxury, no. I think real gold should be banned from church. Let it be sold and money be given to the poor, to orphanages and hospices, to help mothers to give birth to children who can then be adopted, rather than aborted. Perhaps the worse scandal is that 50 kilometres away from Moscow and Saint Petersburg (and in most other places away from the capitals), there are priests who are barely surviving, dependent on parishioners giving them vegetables and eggs so that they can eat and receiving clothes so that they and their families can dress. A Church for the rich and a Church for the poor? This cannot be right.

Lack of Missionary Work

Some among the Church authorities appear to place very little emphasis on missionary work, both internal and external. In a town of 30,000, there may be only one church, attended on average by 200. Why is nothing done to attract the other 28,800? Why is there so little pastoral activity? Surely in a town of 30,000, there should be 30 churches? Why this complacency? Why are these other churches not being built? Where are the youth clubs, the Sunday schools, the brotherhoods and sisterhoods, the temperance societies, the organized visiting of hospitals and clinics? Where is active Orthodox life? Sometimes it is admirable, but more often it is invisible.

The situation is even worse outside the Russian Lands. According to the greatest Russian thinkers and doers, from Patriarch Nikon to Patriarch Tikhon, from Dostoyevsky to Solzhenitsyn Russia has a universal mission and message. So where are the missionaries? One Russian priest visits Taiwan or the Philippines and baptizes a few hundred. Then they are abandoned. There is no continuing pastoral care for them. And why do 200 priests not visit Taiwan and the Philippines and build churches there? Although the Church Outside Russia, with the help of others, has translated all the service books into English (spoken by 1-1.5 billion people worldwide) and most of the service books have been translated into French and German, why are all the service books not translated into the most common languages: Mandarin, Spanish, Hindi-Urdu, Portuguese, Bengali, Punjabi, Javanese, Wu, Malay, Telugu, Vietnamese, Korean, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Turkish, Italian and Cantonese? These eighteen languages are spoken by half of the world’s population. Together with the first three languages, and with languages where translations have existed for a long time (Arabic, Slavonic, Japanese, Romanian etc), translations into these 25 languages would make Orthodox services comprehensible to over 6 billion people worldwide – over 80% of the world’s population. Is that not what we should be doing?

Conclusion

Others would no doubt add other considerations to the above list of four pastoral tasks. True, this is a subjective list, but its considerations would surely figure in any list of the greatest challenges in the ongoing restoration of Church life after the atheist holocaust of the tragic past century. There remains so much to do; we have only just begun.