Category Archives: Russian Church

On the Contemporary Challenges Faced by the Russian Orthodox Church

Introduction: Excesses and Extremes on the Margins

After the fall of the militantly atheist Soviet Union nearly thirty years ago, the Russian Orthodox Church appears to have gone from strength to strength, both inside and outside Russia. In some respects this is clearly true, but in others it is not the case, as a whole set of enormous challenges remains. The Church suffers from the presence of many marginal individuals, including some clergy, and trends which are outside the mainstream of the Orthodox Tradition and so have little to do with Christianity. As a current example we have the case of Schema-abbot Sergei Romanov, whom I met in 2018 when I visited the Urals.

After meeting him, I was left with a whole set of questions: Why was such a man from a recent, violent criminal background ordained? Why did he have no qualifications? Where did all his great deal of money come from? Why was he left to conduct spurious exorcisms, humiliating his victims, creating obvious psychological damage and dependency? Why was he left in authority when he clearly set himself against Orthodox teachings? Why had he been allowed to set up a cult? Why did his bishop not act? Here are questions that are only now, two years on, being answered, only after much harm has already been caused.

  1. Organisational Temptations

Scandals

Like the case of Romanov, over the last thirty years many mistakes have been made. Desperate to cater to the spiritual needs of the scores of millions of newly baptised, the wrong people were sometimes ordained and consecrated. This is not an opinion, but a fact, as we can see from the number of defrockings and exiles of careerist bishops now in disgrace. There have been too many ‘young elders’, pseudo-elders, charlatans, money-extorters, perverts, careerists, obscurantists and also cultish sects, such as the neo-renovationist Kochetkovtsy. We cannot help thinking that at least some of these scandals are linked to money or else are sexual in nature.

Bureaucracy

The pre-Revolutionary Church already suffered from profound careerism and  bureaucratic centralisation, from the use of decrees and protocols – words that cannot be found in the Gospels. Today’s Soviet-style centralisation is even worse. Paperwork is one of the main complaints of parish priests in Russia. They are being made into administrators, ‘effective managers’, businessmen. This all means money: money-grasping bureaucrats have to be paid. The Apostle Paul did not suffer either from bureaucracy or money; he worked as a tent-maker, not as a careerist. Do we not confess the Apostolic Church? Should we not venerate the saints like him in deed, as well as in word? Why kiss the Gospels, if we are not going to live by them?

Money

This brings us to money problems. Some bishops and priests appear to be extremely rich and many think that all clergy live in their way, with 4 x 4s, Mercedes, yachts and villas. In reality, many clergy are poor. Here there is a total lack of transparency and also a poor distribution of resources. Partly this is to do with the post-Soviet nouveau riche class. They like to donate money to the Church – which is good – but why this obsession with gold, marble and luxury in church? They should first read the Gospels and find out about mammon, as their money so often acts as a source of temptation. For every ‘monumental church’ with its kilos of gold, ten plain but community/ congregational churches could have been built. Money is the rot in the Church today, an infectious disease that spreads everywhere.

  1. Internal Temptations

Churching Society

Three generations of militant atheism and violent persecution left Soviet society completely spiritually ignorant, ready to believe everything and anything, extraordinarily superstitious, with at one time almost African levels of animism at the extremes. In a society of converts, often ritualistic, and with very few experienced clergy and people, all kind of primitive errors still abound. The task of baptising society was not so difficult, but to change the faith of the people from nominal-instinctive to active-conscious is far more difficult. All the more so today when some representatives of the Church have discredited themselves through their careerist love of money and luxury and so made most indifferent.

Liberals

The educated extremes of Russian society (the masses are indifferent and look only to survival) have long been divided into Westernisers and Slavophiles. The very small but very active minority of extreme Westernisers are often highly-educated, with doctorates, and are liberal, modernistic, ecumenist. They condemn the Church, hate piety and support LGBT (they are often themselves homosexuals). As regards coronavirus, they are faithless and so wear masks at every opportunity. Clearly, they have no interest in missionary work, converting others to Christ, as they long ago rejected Christ in favour of the Secular West.

Conservatives

The conservatives are also very small in number but narrow and nationalistic. The extremists among them still think that Lenin and Stalin were wonderful. They rarely attend Church, which is just a nationalistic banner or flag for them to hide behind, so that can like the pharisees condemn others, in self-justification. Often Third Romists, they can often be paranoid in relation to the Western world, confess anti-Semitism, indeed, anti-everythingism, and love conspiracy theories. They would certainly never wear a mask, probably not even believing in the existence of coronavirus. Clearly, they have no interest in missionary work, converting others to Christ, as they consider that Christianity is purely nationalistic and probably think that God is Russian anyway.

  1. External Temptations

Dealing with the Post-Soviet State

The main problem here is the refusal of the State to change, to give up its Sovietism. There is post-Soviet, but there is also outright Soviet too. Thus, in Moscow still lie the remains of that revolting mass-murderer Lenin and in Ekaterinburg, where the Royal Martyrs were massacred 102 years ago, as everywhere, there are street names and statues of the murderers and the whole region is still named after one of them. The media and the education and health sectors (after all there is an abortion industry to support) are full of those opposed to the Church. The State still has little practical concern about the chronically low birth-rate, the chronically high divorce rate and does little to further the cause of ecology.

Relations with the Other Local Churches

Half of the Orthodox Local Churches basically support the Russian Church, but the other half, undermined by petty nationalism, has been bought out by US aggression. This is clear with regard to obvious US imperialism in the Ukraine, the Baltics and the Balkans, where its ambassadors, like pagan Roman governors, new Pilates, have bribed and blackmailed the tiny Greek Orthodox world into the crudest infringements of Canon Law and simple human justice. That world, only a few million in number, has thus discredited itself and it remains a mystery as to why anyone voluntarily belongs to it any more. This is the final Greek tragedy.

Relations with the Non-Orthodox World

Here too the tensions are purely political. The Protestant world, consciously and unconsciously, has long been instrumentalised by the Western secret services to destroy the Orthodox world, in order to divide it and rule it. Since its 1960s protestantisation, much the same has happened in the Roman Catholic world, most obviously under the CIA-appointed Polish Pope. However, it was already opposed to Christ anyway and prepared to invade and destroy the Orthodox world at the drop of a hat, as can be seen in the history of the Crusades, in Uniatism and then in co-operation with the Bolsheviks. All this provokes Russian nationalism and makes many unable to appreciate the remnants of Orthodoxy in the Western world.

Conclusion: Towards the New Jerusalem (1) through Churching the Masses

The Russian Orthodox Church is three-quarters of the whole Church. Thus, its main challenge is that of responsibility. How can the mainstream, often paralysed by such excesses and extremes among certain bishops, priests and people, bring the world’s seven and a half billion people to Christ and His New Jerusalem without compromise? The answer is the same as that when the Twelve Apostles, opposed by all and compromised by Judas, also set out to do the impossible. The few must first Church the masses, the 2% of the Churched setting the example by converting the 98% of the unChurched and showing them that the Church is not about the money-grubbing of the new Judases. And how is that possible? Only by the Holy Spirit.

Feast of the Royal Martyrs, 4/17 July 2020

Note:

  1. The Cathedral of the Wisdom of God in Istanbul was long ago made into a mosque, then a museum and now is to become a mosque once more. Why? Because the local Orthodox have for 567 years failed to convert the local people to Christ. Failing to love their enemies, they have hated them and so made enemies for themselves. What are we to do? We are called on to create a new Church of the Wisdom of God, a New Jerusalem.

 

 

Hot News: The Cold War Is Over!

The Church Has Only One Enemy: Ourselves.

 

The first Cold War ended some thirty years ago. True, forces in Washington and in poodle-town London and EU/NATO Brussels have tried to create a second one. True, those forces, have hesitated to turn their military might and huge deficit budgets against today’s Russia, but only because it is nuclear-armed. Instead, they have tried to take over Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, thus aggressively encircling the Russian Federation with bases. They have also invaded Muslim countries, slaughtering many and losing many wars there at a cost of six trillion dollars. All this has forced the Russian Federation to ally itself with China and now to declare its sovereignty through a very popular new Constitution. This has brought countries like Iran, Syria and Turkey into the joint orbit of these Allies, making them invincible.

However, so far the end of the Cold War has not greatly affected Church life in the Diaspora. True, after the petering out of spiritually poisonous Soviet and American influences, in 2007 the Russian emigre Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) entered back into communion with the by then free Orthodox Church inside Russia. The small Parisian fragment of the Russian emigration, about one tenth of the size of ROCOR, did the same as recently as 2019. All fragments still have to work together with the Mother-Church, members of whose flock and clergy make up some 90% of their flock and clergy. The Mother-Church has its own newly-organised structures outside Russia, especially in Western Europe. So far only in South-East Asia has this integration already taken place, with former ROCOR communities in Indonesia entering the Mother-Church.

On the other hand, the end of the Cold War has affected other, far smaller and spiritually weaker Local Orthodox Churches, mainly in the Balkans or else those Greek-run. Indeed, there the situation has worsened by far, as some of these have been bribed, blackmailed and instrumentalised into becoming part of a second Cold War, launched by Washington against Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church. Most notably, there has been the tragic case of the gerontocrats who run the tiny and spiritually enfeebled Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul. This has been pushed by the State Department in Washington into uncanonical and purely political actions in the Diaspora, in Estonia and, above all, in the far west of the Ukraine. ‘Divide and rule’ is the anti-Christian slogan of all these State and Church bureaucrats alike.

Not content with this, the aggressive Washington State Department elite has declared war against all Orthodox elsewhere, notably in Greece, Alexandria and Montenegro, and is also interfering in Romania, Moldova, Cyprus, Macedonia, Bulgaria and anywhere else it can, in an attempt to isolate as many Orthodox as possible from the Russian Orthodox Church, exploiting and stirring up the base motive of nationalism. The Church of Russia is, after all, three-quarters of the whole Orthodox Church and the only Local Church which is truly multinational and, quite often, missionary-minded. All the above has taken place in the last thirty years, since the fall of the Western-imposed Marxist yoke in Russia and Eastern Europe. So what could the next thirty years bring? In other words, what reconfigurations could there be by 2050?

Many scenarios are possible, but there is one which may seem more likely than others. The Western world, basically the USA alone, is already bankrupt, with 25 trillion dollars of unpayable debt. Moreover, the Western world is now only one eighth of the world population. Furthermore, China is today’s world leader, for the American century (1915-2015) is now over, just as the British century (1815-1915) before it and the French century (1715-1815) before that. Therefore, not only will the new Cold War fail politically, but it will also be unfinancable. Thus, the enemies of the Russian Orthodox world will also fail. However, this is on one condition: that the Russian Orthodox world proves that it can take responsibility for all Orthodox in an honest and non-nationalistic way, that it is not only the Patriarchate of Moscow, but also of New Jerusalem.

The mission is not to take over, it is nothing to do with ‘Soviet tank’ invasion, colonial bullying, oppressive exploitation or theft of money. The Church must never be a business. In the past many came to dislike and distrust ‘Russians’, confusing them with Soviets. Our mission is not to export kalashnikovs and missiles to the rest of the world, but to export Christ and His Church to the rest of the world, to bring as many as possible to Christ before the end, which now looms over us. The Cold War is over, despite the wishes of the aggressive warmongers to revive it. It is time to co-operate with Sovereign Orthodox Russia, seeing off the last vestiges of both Sovietism and Americanism – both arrogant, bullying and money-grubbing imperialisms are for us dead. We do not belong to either of them: we belong to Christ, as does His Holy Church.

 

 

 

 

1 JULY: THE NEW CONSTITUTION FOR THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

It may seem unusual for us to speak here of an internal change to the Russian Constitution, rather than to laws in, say, England, but the new Constitution does affect us here for the following reasons:

The proposed changes to the Russian Constitution, subject to referendum on 1 July, offer the possibility of moving away at last from the old post-Soviet constitution of 1993, largely dictated by the American elite in the 1990s. In other words, they mean moving away from colonial Western liberalism to sovereign, Christian, Russian Orthodox values. Christian Civilisation is being raised up to defend us from US, Euroatlantic, Secularism. (Symbolised by the US Embassy in Moscow, which flies the LGBT flag). This change has been slow, but has come at last. What does it mean?

Firstly, if passed, this will be a Constitution voted for by the people, and not imposed by American bureaucrats and Soviet oligarchs under an alcoholic President. Secondly, it will put Russian Orthodox law above International Secularist law, imposed by the West. Thirdly, it will confirm the territorial integrity and Russian language of the Russian Federation and forbid senior figures from having dual nationality and foreign bank accounts. Fourthly, it will call on the New Russia to keep the heritage of Imperial Russia (inherited by the Soviet Union) in the form of social justice, free education and health care, which was all but abandoned by the post-Soviet American Russia. Fifthly, it will at last strengthen the responsibilities of the Federation to come to the aid of Russians abroad. Sixthly, it affirms the role of the State Council, a kind of Nationwide Senate outside Party politics.

However, even more than this, the Constitution affirms the existence of God, making it quite distinct from Western Secularist countries. Unlike apostate nations, it also affirms marriage as the union of a man and a woman and affirms the family and children as a priority of Russian government policy. God, Marriage and the Family are the three main elements here. For us who live in the Anti-Christian West, this is invaluable support. Today, Western Europe faces the choice between the arrogance of ‘one-size fits all’, Secularist American Imperialism, ‘we know best and you must obey us’, or the support of Imperial Russia and her Church with its Exarchates and missions outside the Russian Federation. It is clear which we shall choose and all other Orthodox will do the same, if they are really Orthodox and overcome their racial prejudices and phyletism.

At last, post-Soviet Russia, with its putrid corpse of Lenin and statues and places named after Bolshevik monsters, is dying out. After thirty years we are moving ahead away from the old and dying Cold War foundations towards the literal Re-Constitution of Imperial, Christian Russia and support for the authentic Orthodox Christian heritage of the Western world. The writing is on the wall: let those who are able read it. The Future is arriving and it is Orthodox Christian.

 

An Inspiration for the Colchester Parish of St John of Shanghai and Western Europe: His Spiritual Son, the Ever-Memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva and Western Europe

The future Archbishop Antony (Bartoshevich) was born into a pious family in Saint Petersburg in 1910 and baptised Andrei. After the illegitimate overthrow of the Tsar and his government by traitors from the aristocracy, intelligentsia and military in 1917, Andrei’s mother left with him for his grandmother’s home in Kiev, while his father joined the White Army. In 1921 the family emigrated, first to Germany and then to Yugoslavia. Here in Belgrade Andrei had initially thought of becoming an engineer like his father, but in the mid-1930s he abandoned engineering and chose instead to study theology.

Among his teachers was Fr (now St) Justin (Popovich) (+ 1979) and his mentors included Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky), First Hierarch of the Church Outside Russia and former Metropolitan of Kiev. Vladyka Antony told me himself in 1986 that if the great Metropolitan had not rid Russian academic theology of alien scholastic theology and the theory of satisfaction, he would not have come to serious Church life and to study theology. There was also the influence of the fathers of the Russian monastery in Milkovo and that of the icon-painter Pimen Sofronov, who taught Andrei iconography. In 1941 Andrei became a monk, taking the name Antony after St Antony of Kiev. He was soon ordained hierodeacon and in 1942 was ordained hieromonk by Metr Anastasy (Gribanovsky). He served in the Russian church in Belgrade and taught young people how to paint icons, drawing many to the Church.

In 1945 the church in Belgrade was placed under the Moscow Patriarchate. Patriarch Alexei I Himself made Fr Antony archimandrite on account of his zeal. Fr Antony wished to return to Russia to serve the Church there. However, here he was unwanted, his petitions ignored – no doubt providentially, because otherwise he would have been sent straight to the Gulag. Thus, after four years of patient waiting, Fr Antony accepted that it was God’s Will for him not to return to Russia, but to serve the Church in Western Europe.

In 1949 he went to Switzerland, where his saintly brother, Bp Leonty, was Bishop of Geneva. Fr Antony served in several parishes in this Western European Diocese of the Church Outside Russia. He painted the iconostasis for the parish in Lyon, including the icon of the local saint, the Church Father St Irenei. From 1952-57 he served in Brussels, taking care of all, travelling around and paying special attention to young people. After the repose of his brother, in 1957 Fr Antony was consecrated Bishop of Geneva by the future St John (Maximovich), who was then Archbishop of our Western European Diocese.

Archbishop Antony was a model Archpastor, he loved the services, which he celebrated with great care and prayer, and wrote for and edited the Diocesan magazine. He lived as a monk, reading or singing all the services every day, fasting strictly himself, though always indulgent towards the weaknesses of others, and took particular care of the young. He directed pilgrimages both to the Holy Land and also to the holy places of Western Europe like Lyon, the city of several early martyrs. In this he had been inspired by his spiritual father, the future St John, who had promoted the veneration of forgotten Western saints. Archbishop Antony always listened to the advice of others, other bishops and especially Athonite monks.

While remaining firmly Orthodox in the face of such heretical deviations as ecumenism and modernism, Archbishop Antony never fell into any extremes. At the Third Russian Church Council in Jordanville in 1974, he played a critical role in quelling the divisive passions of highly politicised extremists and sectarian isolationists in the USA, among them those who had put St John on trial in San Francisco. Thus, Archbishop Antony kept the unity of the Church, which had been endangered by these American extremists, who had lost their roots. He asked for understanding for those who were hostages in Russia and urged all to keep close links with the other Local Churches of the Universal Church. He asked all to look not at a few individual and unworthy clerics in Russia who compromised themselves under political pressure, but to look at the faithful there, as also elsewhere. For Vladyka the Church inside Russia always had grace, despite unworthy ‘representatives’ there or elsewhere.

All this time he organised the sending of spiritual literature to Russia and informed the West of the persecution of the Church there. He knew that the Faith there was being reborn. The canonisation of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in 1981 under Metropolitan Philaret of New York was a great event in Archbishop Antony’s life and he played a key role in preparing their glorification, knowing that it would be a turning-point in history. For him the prayers of these new saints would give rebirth, as indeed they did. The Saints are the Unity of the Church. After the repose of Metropolitan Philaret in 1985, many bishops hoped that Archbishop Antony would become the next Metropolitan of ROCOR and indeed he received enough support to do so. Never ambitious, Vladyka did not want this, and ceded all interest to Archbishop Vitaly, as he related to me himself with great humour on his return from New York.

Always a man of unity, Vladyka worked hard to bring back the Rue Daru group, centred on his territory in Paris, from its schism. Thus, he concelebrated at the funeral of Metropolitan Vladimir (Tikhonitsky) and always concelebrated with others of the group, as had St John (Maximovich). Indeed, when he was still Bishop Antony, he showed quite willing not to take the title ‘Archbishop’ which had been offered him, and to cede that title to the Archbishop of the Rue Daru group once it had returned. At the Third Russian Council in 1974 he authored a message to the group, calling all back to unity. In this Vladyka was well ahead of his time, as we know that the Orthodox part of the group, some 60% of what then remained of it, did indeed return to the Russian Church, but only in 2019.

Just like St John, his predecessor as Archbishop of Western Europe, Archbishop Antony was a Russian patriot, but he was not some narrow nationalist or political bureaucrat. For him the Church was universal, as it was for his mentor Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky). He would serve in the Romanian and Serbian churches in Paris and loved to hear services in Greek. He was also very open to Swiss, Dutch, French and others who had embraced the Orthodox Faith and he served in French for them. He blessed the composition of the service to all the Saints of Switzerland for local use. He is remembered for his missionary work in Western Europe, keeping peace and love in his multinational Diocese, which he expanded to Portugal in 1992. True, he was let down by some. But when in 1987 a small group of extremist French people left him to join a Greek sect, he said to me, with a shrug of his shoulders, ‘ We’ll just have to start again’. Perhaps his missionary consciousness was partly due to the fact that his grandfather was a Polish Roman Catholic.

Almost exactly one year before his repose, the Archbishop had said that he had only one year to live. Just two weeks before he passed away, he consecrated two new bishops to replace him, Bishop Seraphim and Bishop Ambrose. He fell asleep in the Lord on 19 September/2 October 1993 and was laid to rest inside the Cathedral next to his brother, Bishop Leonty. Perhaps the greatest witness to his missionary efforts was the presence of ten different nationalities among the twenty-two priests who bore at various moments his coffin at his funeral: Russian, French, Swiss, Austrian, Serb, Romanian, Dutch, English, Spanish and Slovak, many of whom he had himself ordained since becoming diocesan bishop in 1963.

Vladyka Antony is remembered for his faithfulness to the end to his Diocese, his wisdom and openness to others, his love for the young, his personal generosity, warmth of character, humour, pastorship, his love of his homeland and also his efforts to spread Orthodoxy in Western Europe. Nor can we forget his efforts to rekindle the fire of uncompromised Orthodoxy inside Russia, where he was never able to return, though he often spoke of visiting, especially Kiev, where he had family. St Paisios the Athonite (+ 1994) said of him: ‘Your Antony is a hero. He is neither with the ecumenists, nor with the others’ (the sectarian zealots).

This Archpastor’s very rare values, which coincided with our own and inspired us, were:

To keep the purity of Holy Orthodoxy free from political meddling and bureaucracy, from both the left (modernists and syncretists) and from the right (nationalists and sectarians), keeping to the royal path of the unity of Truth and Mercy.

To be faithful to the best of Imperial Russia and the spirit of the Imperial Family, who stood above factions, confessing the Faith as protectors of the unique Civilisation of the Orthodox world and standing up to be martyred when required.

To remain multinational, inevitable in the Western European context, carrying out the missionary task of the Russian emigration assigned to us by Providence among the peoples of the world, in faithfulness to the words of Christ (Matt, 28, 19-20).

To the Very Reverend and Ever-Memorable Antony, Archbishop of Geneva and Western Europe, Eternal Memory!

 

 

 

The White Guards’ Task in Helsingfors: 1920-2020

Behold, the wicked man conceives evil, and is pregnant with mischief, and brings forth lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole which he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head and on his pate his violence descends.

(Psalm 7, 14-16)

Russian history was interrupted in March 1917 by a murderous, anti-human, anti-historical, Western ideology, inspired by the enemy of mankind, Satan. This interruption of Russian history by an alien philosophy in turn interrupted world history. Ever since, it has been unable to continue on its natural and progressive course, as willed by the Maker. Thus, it has constantly veered ever further from the Christian Civilisation of the Orthodox Gospel with the passing of the decades.

This apostasy was made clear only weeks after March 1917, in May, in Fatima in Portugal, while a cannibalistic Western Europe, bathed in the sacrificial blood of its young, received a heavenly message through the most humble and innocent peasant children to be found. This message said that if Western Europe did not repent for the atrocious sufferings which it had inflicted through its agents on Christian Civilisation in Russia, those sufferings would rebound on it.

Having failed to heed these heavenly words, Western Europe duly punished itself. This is the mystical meaning of history. Nothing happens by chance, all are free to choose to create happiness or unhappiness through the consequences of their actions. In Russia both left-wing apostates, atheists and imitators of Western Secularism, and right-wing apostates, pharisees and imitators of Western Chauvinism, all enemies of Christianity, chose Satan’s materialist trap and fell.

Our task as White Guards, who have remained faithful to authentic, multinational Orthodoxy, to the Tsar-Martyr and all his loyal and still much-slandered followers, and to the life of all the Orthodox peoples of the world, is the restoration of what was lost in 1917. This task is to reverse the catastrophe chosen four generations ago. And the path to that lies through Helsingfors in 1920. This is our mystical appointment with destiny. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

 

The Future of the Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe

 

There are, as of 2020, three different episcopal-led groups of Russian Orthodox in Western Europe. Which are they?

  1. Russian: The Western European Exarchate of the Moscow Patriarchate, its Diocese in Germany and parishes in Scandinavia:

This is the largest of the three groups with seven bishops and the most people and also the most means, representing some 65% or two-thirds of the whole. However, it is not Local, but looks to Moscow and is often connected with Russian Embassies. These external links are partly because this group is largely composed of recent immigrants, often still with Russian passports, and mainly has recent or recently-acquired church buildings. Its roots are therefore not local and it has problems adapting to local cultures and mentalities and also a huge shortage of local clergy.

  1. Local: The Paris Metropolia, centred in Rue Daru in Paris

This is by far the smallest of the three groups, with approximately eight properties in Western Europe, mainly chapels, thus being only 10% of the whole. Representing 58% of the old Constantinople Archdiocese of the Russian Tradition, it has only one elderly bishop and outside Paris has only a very weak infrastructure. In many respects it has lost its roots in the Russian Tradition, having abandoned even the calendar of the Russian Church, but it does understand local cultures and mentalities.

  1. Russian and Local: The Western European and German Dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

This is neither large, nor small and it does have four active bishops. On the one hand, it is very weak in the Nordic countries, Ireland and also in Italy, Spain and Portugal, but it does have stronger centres, in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and England. Although it only represents about 25% of the total, most of the historic churches in Western Europe belong to it. It is on the one hand Russian, but also Local, its bishops being the only ones with having local titles: London, Vevey, Berlin and Stuttgart. It is notable that many more recent immigrants from the ex-Soviet Union move to it after a few years and begin feeling that they have a dual identity, Russian and Local.

What will the future bring? This is in the judgement of God.

 

On the DeSovietisation of the Russian Orthodox Church

There was a time when some people called the (Patriarchal) Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia ‘The Soviet Church’. This was of course absurd. Whereas Soviet means atheist, Orthodox means Christian, and you cannot have atheist Christians. It is absurd as saying ‘Secular Christians’ (although they exist outside the Orthodox Church and are even proud of it). For us Mammon and Christ do not mix. You are either one or the other, as the New Martyrs of the Church inside Russia witness. On the other hand, it is true that some people in the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia, oppressed by the illegitimate Soviet regime, did take on certain deformities. What were they?

Firstly, the Soviet Union was an imperialist power. Its ideology was that of the Third International, whose agenda was world conquest. Thus, still today among some individuals, supposedly Orthodox, we see a mentality of imperialism and domination, a racist arrogance towards Non-Russian nationalities. More than this, we see a certain love-of-money and prestige careerism with pseudo-intellectualism and banditry among certain clergy, who, as clericalists, treat the faithful with contempt, as a mob or cattle who have to be hosed down, as it were.

Secondly, as a result of this kow-towing to an imperialist ideology, there is among some a centralisation and bureaucracy of paperwork: nothing can be done without authorisation from a distant above and until huge numbers of forms have been filled in. As a result of such a delocalised, top-down system, many good bishops and good clergy can be transferred somewhere else, unsettling and making protest their flock, for whom they have shown pastoral care. This is because the Church administration is run like a corporation or department of State.

Thirdly, there is the disease of superstitious magic, the search for ‘miracles’, which is the result of 75 years of enforced ignorance by the Soviet regime. However, Soviet oppression ended thirty years ago and its continued existence today, in the age of free information on the internet, is simply a sign of voluntary ignorance, laziness and inertia. Therefore, still widespread is holy water idolatry and many other forms of ‘magic’ animism, comparable to those in pagan Africa.

These three attitudes, the will for domination, bureaucratic centralisation and superstitious magic, are evidence not of Christianity, but of love of power and love of money. These attitudes are opposed to the pastoral care for the faithful, to love. And without love, everything else, infrastructure, organisation, administration, websites, books, statistics, photographs, is merely a hollow shell, a house of cards and ‘sounding brass’. If there is no love, as the Apostle says, they are as nothing.

Of course, these attitudes are not at all unique to the Soviet and now post-Soviet Russian Orthodox Church dependent directly on Moscow. They can be found in every nation, in every age and in every Church, including in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, as a result of the desire for power and money. For example, they were all clearly manifest in the re-Revolutionary Russian Orthodox Church, as any historian, or anyone who knew the now departed representatives of that age, can tell you. Indeed, many would agree that if that Church fell victim to the Revolution, it was precisely because so many of its representatives confessed not Christianity, but an arrogant racism, a bureaucratic centralisation and a superstitious magic Beware: revolutions can happen a second time.

 

 

Москва третий Рим? Взгляд священника Русской Православной Церкви из дальнего зарубежья

Предисловие:Советский Союз и Русь

Многие жители России, особенно пожилые, временами испытывают ностальгию по Советскому Союзу или, скорее, по отдельным аспектам советского государства (конечно, не по очередям за продуктами). И это не удивительно. Распад СССР, подготовленный Горбачевым и Ельциным под контролем США с их политикой «разделяй и властвуй», явился предательством и катастрофой. Безбожники (будь то советские или американские), ответственные за развал Советского Союза, не имели ни малейшего понятия о «Руси» – землях, принадлежавших народам исторической Руси, где Православие всегда было верой большинства.

«Русь», то есть нынешние Российская Федерация, Беларусь, большая часть Украины и половина Казахстана, нельзя было разделять – она должна была остаться единой. Также, в отличие от современной капиталистической России, в СССР были бесплатные медицина и образование, общественный порядок и культура. Однако, те кто предаются ностальгии по социальной справедливости, порядку и культуре Советского прошлого, не осознают, что и порядок, и бесплатные образование и медицина были также при царе Николае II. Все хорошее в Советском Союзе было унаследовано от Российской империи.

Империя в географическом смысле и в духовном

Причиной всех катастрофических ошибок Советского Союза стали его разрушительный и самоубийственный атеизм, гонения на Церковь и все религии. Подавление всего духовного в итоге подорвало культуру, которая всегда зиждется на духовных убеждениях. В результате этого советская элита (как и любые империалисты за всю историю, как и американская элита сегодня) считала, что великая империя имеет только географическое измерение. Конечно, это не так. Великая империя всегда имеет духовное измерение. Таким образом, ошибкой СССР было то, что он перепутал третий интернационал с третьим Римом и попытался построить Рай на земле – «светлое будущее»  – без Христа. Алкоголизм, аборты, коррупция, разводы и экологическая катастрофабыли лишь логическими последствиями.

Также, ошибочно приняв империю в географическом смысле за духовную, сегодня многие жители Восточной Европы ненавидят Россию, «империю зла»: достаточно приехать в западную Украину, Прибалтику, Польшу или Румынию, чтобы увидеть таких людей. И, к сожалению, эти ксенофобы ненавидят именно Россию, которую путают с Советским Союзом. Хуже того: некоторые из них питают ненависть к русским, не понимая, что многие русские, ставшие наивными из-за своего маловерия, испытывали комплекс неполноценности по отношению к Западу. Поэтому они стали жертвами большевиков (большинство из которых были нерусские) с принесенной ими извне марксистской идеологией – фантазиями внука немецкого раввина.

То что они путают Советский Союз и Россию отчасти можно понять, потому что некоторые негативные стороны немецкого марксизма СССР были унаследованы с более ранних времен, особенно с эпохи императрицы-немки Екатерины II. Понятия «Православие» и «Русь» так и остались для нее чуждыми, поэтому Екатерина сделала ошибку, присоединив к Российской империи всю Восточную Польшу, но в то же время позволив Австрийской империи контролировать и преследовать православных в Карпатской Руси. Последовали неверные действия в Финляндии, странах Балтии и других местах. Однако все это ничто по сравнению с ужасными промахами СССР в Восточной Европе начиная с 1939 года, которые гарантировали ненависть со стороны местного населения.

Настоящий третий Рим?

Все империалисты на протяжении истории представляли, что великая империя – понятие географическое, а не духовное. Таковым было заблуждение первого Рима с его католическими крестовыми походами и инквизицией, которые в XX веке породили фашизм. Что касается второго Рима с его эллинским национализмом, мы видим пагубные последствия последнего при нынешних фанариотах, которыми манипулируют США. Если Москва претендует на статус третьего Рима, то ей, следовательно, надо стать вторым Иерусалимом, Новым Иерусалимом (который Патриарх Никон пытался построить на реке Истра в XVII веке). Ибо лишь духовное является имперским; географическое же всегда является империалистическим и имеет плачевный конец, как было с первым и вторым Римом.

Таким образом, современную Церковь Руси нужно в первую очередь «перестроить». Русская Православная Церковь сегодня должна показать, что не компрометирует себя и не применяет двойные стандарты. Она может сделать это, подтвердив, что искренне отвергает три еретических «изма», которые сильно нарушали мир в Церкви последние 100 лет: модернизм, экуменизм (которые она переняла у протестантизма) и Восточный папизм (заимствован у римо-католицизма). И прежде чем Русская Православная Церковь сможет отвергнуть что-либо из этого, ей необходимо выйти из «всепротестантского» Всемирного совета Церквей и отказаться от того, что некоторые называют компромиссами с Ватиканом, то есть Западным папизмом.

Церковь всегда страдала из-за слабостей отдельных представителей своего духовенства, ставящих свою карьеру и личность выше Христа. Сегодня крайне необходимо возродить приходскую жизнь, уничтоженную атеизмом после 1917 года (она и до этого зачастую была слаба). Ее возрождение могут осуществить только пастыри, а не карьеристы. Приход – это семья, и финансовая отчетность приходов должна быть прозрачной.  Что же касается монастырей и епископата, то здесь не нужны интеллектуалы, безликие дипломаты, бюрократы и «эффективные менеджеры», а тем более– ревнивые «феодалы», не любящие женатых священников. Нам нужны любящие епископы-пастыри. Епископат должен любить, заботиться и проявлять понимание по отношению к священникам и диаконам, избегая несправедливости.

Заключение

Со времени подписания Акта о каноническом общении в 2007 году, основанная эмигрантами  Русская Православная Церковь Заграницей с административным центром в Нью-Йорке обновилась. Осуществляется ее преобразование в Русскую Православную Церковь англоязычного мира, Нового света – в основном, в Северной Америке и Океании – как «Североамериканскую Русь» и «Австралийскую Русь». Смелое учреждение в прошлом году Русской Православной Церковью долгожданных Патриарших экзархатов в Западной Европе и в юго-восточной Азии тоже является знаком того, что у Русской Православной Церкви международная миссия.

«Русь Нового света», «Западно-европейская Русь» (формированию которой поспособствовало возвращение Парижской архиепископии к своим корням в РПЦ в ноябре этого года) и «Русь юго-восточной Азии» вполне могут стать реальностью. Однако Церковь на землях старой Руси, особенно в Российской Федерации, Беларуси и многострадальной Украине, тоже должна быть «перестроена». Только таким образом Русская Православная Церковь сможет продемонстрировать, что она в центре здоровых сил вселенской Православной Церкви, что она борется за благочестие и чистоту святого Православия. Москва заслужит любовь как настоящий «Рим», только когда  станет духовной империей.

 

Протоиерей Андрей Филлипс,

Храм свт Иоанна Шанхайского,

Колчестер, Англия

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moscow the Third Rome? A View from a Russian Orthodox Priest in the Far Abroad

Introduction: The Soviet Union and Rus

Many, especially older, Russians are at times nostalgic for the Soviet Union, or rather, for certain aspects of the Soviet Union (certainly not nostalgic for queuing for food). Little wonder they can be nostalgic. The break-up of the Soviet Union by Gorbachov and Yeltsin, carried out largely under American divide and rule supervision, was a treasonous catastrophe. The atheists in charge of the collapse of the Soviet Union, whether Soviet or American, had no concept of ‘Rus’, the lands of the peoples of historic Rus, wherever the majority Faith was clearly Orthodoxy.

‘Rus’, that is the Russian Federation, Belarus, most of the Ukraine and half of Kazakhstan, should have remained united, instead of being divided. Also, compared to today’s capitalist Russia, Soviet Union had free education and medicine and there was public order and culture. However, what those nostalgic for the social justice and order and culture of the Soviet past do not realize is that education and medicine were largely free under Tsar Nicholas II and order was kept. Everything that was good about the Soviet Union had been inherited from the Russian Empire.

A Geographical Empire and a Spiritual Empire

All the Soviet Union’s catastrophic mistakes came from its genocidal and suicidal atheism, the persecution of the Church and all faiths. The persecution of the spiritual undermined all culture, which is always founded on spiritual belief. As a result, the Soviet elite, like all imperialists in history, like the American elite today, thought that a great empire is always geographical. Of course, it is not – a great empire is always a spiritual one. Thus, the Soviet error consisted of confusing the Third International with the Third Rome, trying to build paradise on earth without Christ. The ravages of alcoholism, abortion, corruption, divorce and ecological disaster were only the logical consequences.

Also, as a result of this error of confusing a geographical empire with a spiritual empire, today many people in Eastern Europe hate Russia, ‘the evil empire’: you only have to visit the Western Ukraine, the Baltic States, Poland, Romania and elsewhere to meet them. And unfortunately these xenophobes hate precisely Russia, confusing it with the Soviet Union. Even worse, some of them hate Russians, not understanding that many Russians, made naïve by their weak faith, suffered from an inferiority complex vis a vis the West. This was why they were among the victims of the mainly foreign Bolsheviks with their alien imported ideology of Marxism, the fantasy of a German rabbi’s grandson.

Their confusion of the Soviet Union with Russia is partly understandable because certain negative aspects of the Marxist German Soviet Union were inherited from before, especially from the German Empress Catherine II. She had no understanding of Orthodoxy and of Rus, and so made the mistake of taking into the Empire of Rus the whole Eastern half of Poland, yet, for example, allowing Austria to control and persecute Orthodox in Carpatho-Russia. There followed errors in Finland, the Baltic States and elsewhere. However, none of this was comparable with the errors of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe from 1939 on. Those errors guaranteed local hatred there.

A Real Third Rome?

Thus, all imperialists throughout history have imagined that a great empire is geographical, and not spiritual. This was the error of the First Rome, with its totalitarian Crusades and Inquisitions which ultimately produced Catholic Fascism in the last century. As for the Second Rome with its Greek racism, we can see its disaster under the US-manipulated Phanariots today. If Moscow is to be the Third Rome, it must therefore first be a Second Jerusalem, a New Jerusalem, as Patriarch Nikon wanted to create on the River Istra in the seventeenth century. For only the Spiritual is Imperial; the Geographical is merely Imperialist and always ends badly, like the First and Second Romes.

Therefore, today the Church of Rus has first to be rebuilt. Today the Russian Orthodox Church must show that it is in no way compromised by or practises double standards. It can do this by proving that it wholeheartedly rejects the three heretical isms which have so troubled the peace of the Church for a century: modernism and ecumenism (adopted from Protestantism) and Eastern Papism (adopted from Roman Catholicism). And the Russian Orthodox Church cannot reject any of these without first renouncing its membership of the Pan-Protestant World Council of Churches and renouncing what some see as compromises it has made with the Vatican, that is, with Western Papism.

The Church has always suffered from the failings of clergy who put their own careers and personalities above Christ. What is needed today is the restoration of parish life, wiped out by atheism after 1917 (and it was often weak before that). This restoration can only be led by pastors, not by careerists. The parish is a family and the financial affairs of parishes must be transparent. As for the monasteries and the episcopate, they do not need intellectuals, wishy-washy diplomats, bureaucrats and ‘managers’, or the feudal and jealous who dislike married clergy. We need loving pastor-bishops. The episcopate must love, care for and show understanding of priests and deacons, avoiding injustices.

Conclusion

Since signing the Act of Canonical Communion in 2007, the émigré-founded Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, based in New York, has been renewed. Its establishment as the Russian Orthodox Church of the English-speaking world, in the New Worlds of North America and Oceania, as North American Rus and Australian Rus, and perhaps elsewhere, has long been under way. Last year’s bold establishment by the Russian Orthodox Church of a long-awaited Western European Exarchate and a South-East Asian Exarchate are also signs that the Russian Orthodox Church has an international mission.

A Rus of the New World, a Western European Rus, helped by the return this November of the Paris Archdiocese to its roots in the Russian Church, and a South-East Asian Rus could all become real. However, the Church inside the lands of Old Rus, especially in the Russian Federation, Belarus and the much-troubled Ukraine, also needs to be rebuilt. Only in this way can the Russian Orthodox Church show that it is at the centre of healthy forces in the wider Orthodox Church, that it fights for the piety and purity of Holy Orthodoxy. Only when Moscow is a spiritual empire will it earn love as a real ‘Rome’.

 

 

Q and A from Correspondence in November 2019

The Orthodox Church

Q: Two questions:

1. The Orthodox world has been in crisis since Crete. A schism now separates the Russian Orthodox Church and others from the Greek Churches, which are one by one falling away. What do you think is the answer?

2. Constantinople has been canonizing a number of elders on Mt Athos. What should our attitude be when we know that Patriarch Bartholomew is schismatic?

A: Two answers:

1. As the Phanariot schism spreads from the Ukraine to the Diaspora, Greece, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Czech Republic and Latvia, recruiting the marginal semi-Orthodox liberals, modernists and homosexuals on the way, the quick answer is to say: ‘Stand firm!’, and to those who have fallen away: ‘Repent!’. But this repentance and standing firm also concerns parts of the Russian Church.

I think the Russian Church must show that it is not in any way compromised or practises double standards. It can do this by proving in theology and in practice that it wholeheartedly rejects the three heretical isms which have so troubled the peace of the Church for over a century: modernism and ecumenism (adopted from the Protestant world) and Eastern Papism (adopted from the Vatican). It cannot reject any of these without first renouncing its membership of the Protestant World Council of Churches and renouncing what some see as the hypocritical diplomatic compromises it has made with the Vatican – Western Papism.

In renouncing modernism, ecumenism and Eastern Papism, the Russian Church can consequently support the Orthodox calendar and offer its services in mediating between Local Churches which use the Papal (so-called ‘new’) calendar and those who wish to return to the Orthodox calendar, including old calendarist groups, so helping to heal needless schisms. In this way it can show that it is at the centre of healthy forces in the wider Orthodox Church, that it fights for the piety and purity of Holy Orthodoxy.

2. I fear that as long as only a schismatic, and now a heretic (as his publicly-expressed opinions about Catholicism which brought Athonite monks to tears are heretical), has canonized them, I do not think we can accept them as saints. Whatever our feelings of veneration for them, a schismatic, with whose views these elders would never have agreed, cannot canonize. A decision will be taken once he has gone and a canonical Patriarch has taken over.

Q: What do you think is the most important task for the Orthodox episcopate today?

A: The episcopate must learn to love, care for and show understanding of priests and deacons, avoiding causing injustices.

Q: What do you consider to be the most important question for any Orthodox in the Diaspora?

A: I believe that this question is: Does my Faith export? In other words, is my Faith accessible to those who are not of my national background? If the answer to this question is ‘No’, then you can be sure that your Faith will die out. This is because if it is not accessible to those who are not of your national background, then it will also be inaccessible to your Diaspora-born children and grandchildren.

Orthodox Teaching

Q: Why do Orthodox refuse to allow cremations?

A: The central belief of the Orthodox Church is in the Resurrection of Christ, as is expressed in the Church Year and in the words of the funeral service itself. So, for us, to deliberately burn up someone’s body is to deny the Resurrection. Therefore, for us, someone who wants their body to be cremated is saying that they have lapsed from the Church. They are no longer Orthodox.

Q:  I have a problem with the so-called Mowgli question. If little children have grown up in total isolation or even were nursed by wild animals they can’t integrate human life at all, they behave like animals and can’t learn any human skills etc. What is with their souls then? Where is this ‘spark’ of God and the image of God in them?

A: Just as a baby’s body is primitive compared to an adult’s body, so is its soul, undeveloped, inexperienced, untrained. Thus, on the one hand, it has innocence and purity, on the other hand, no experience of reality and is totally unable to survive without interaction with adults, firstly, primarily, its mother.

This is why small children are so attracted to animals, especially young ones, kittens, puppies etc. They have no immortal souls, but they do have innocence and instincts.

Feral children, adopted by wolves and others, do not get this attention, and often remain with untrained souls, almost, we could say, feral souls. Like animals, they often have only instincts to guide them.

The soul has to be trained and educated. This is true also for adults. It is why we have spiritual fathers, monasteries etc.

Russia and the Russian Church

Q: Two questions: First: Why did Patriarch Kyrill call President Putin a miracle? After all, Putin called the fall of the Soviet Union a catastrophe, which it surely was not. Second: Are you an optimist or a pessimist regarding the future of the Russian Church?

A: President Putin is indeed a miracle, but only relatively, in comparison with the monsters who went before him since 1917. That is the context in which Patriarch Kyrill was talking. And in that context you cannot but agree. Clearly, however, President Putin has many failings. He has failed to root out corruption and to remove the many relics of evil Communism. He can therefore only be a transitory figure. His long reign has only come about because so far the country has not been worthy of finding anyone better. He will be followed either by better or by worse. I do not know which, but I hope for the best.

The collapse of the Soviet Union was indeed a geopolitical catastrophe – millions died as a result from becoming refugees from unjust borders, from the collapse of industry, the closure of factories and mass unemployment leading to starvation, the collapse of the medical system, from despair and suicide, often a slow suicide through alcoholism, as alcohol had become the only consolation for tens of millions after the Soviet system. All this went unreported in the West because the West was partly responsible for it.

Yes, of course this does not mean that we do not rejoice that the evil tyranny of the Soviet Union is over, but its collapse was still a geopolitical catastrophe because of the totally unjust way in which it collapsed, the absurd borders of various Republics, the civil wars that followed and are still going on nearly 30 years later and the massive organized theft of public assets by so-called ‘oligarchs’, which followed the collapse.

There was one incredibly grave error made by the Soviet Union, for whose Stalinist tyranny many older Russian people are actually nostalgic, such is their nationalism but also the unpleasantness of many present-day aspects of life in Russia. This grave error of the Soviet Union was that it thought, like Stalin (and like all imperialists throughout history), that a great empire is not spiritual, but geographical. (Stalin had no concept of the spiritual). And until the Church has been rebuilt inside Russia, there can be no spiritual empire of Russia. So, what can we say about the Russian Orthodox Church today?

First of all, the Russian Church is fully independent of the Russian State, despite the ridiculous propaganda claims of Western politicians and journalists. But that does not mean that the Church does not suffer from the human failings of members of the clergy who put their own careers and personalities above Christ, just as they did in the times of the Soviet Union. This hangover from the past, ‘a Soviet reflex’, is a great problem.

Firstly, what is desperately needed by the Russian Church is the restoration of parish life, which was wiped out by atheism after 1917 (and it was already often weak before the Revolution). This restoration must be led by real pastors, not money-money careerists. The parish is a family, if it is anything at all. Here the experience of the Russian emigration can be helpful. The financial affairs of parishes must be transparent – and they are not at all at present inside Russia.

Secondly, as for the monasteries and the episcopate, they require real monks, neither mere intellectuals and wishy-washy diplomats with meaningless doctorates, nor the feudal and the jealous, who persecute zealous and happily-married clergy. Only reforms here will put an end to Church bureaucracy, to ‘managers’ and ‘administrators’ in the place of loving pastor-bishops.

So I am neither a pessimist nor an optimist. Let us wait and see.

The Ukraine

Q: Why should the Ukraine not have its own national Church? Russia, Romania, Greece and others do, even a little country like Albania does.

A: The short answer is because the vast majority of Ukrainian Orthodox do not want one!

On another level, there are two reasons why not, one is theological-ecclesiological, the other is political.

1. As we have said in a previous answer elsewhere, there are two alien trends in the Church – neither is Orthodox, but have been imposed from outside or by traitors from inside. The first is the centralist concept of one Universal Church, with its deified leader placed above all others, in fact replacing Christ. This is Papist Catholicism and among Orthodox this mentality has been absorbed and adopted from the fallen First Rome only by today’s Constantinople. The second centrifugal trend comes from Protestant nationalism, according to which every national ruler must have and control his own erastian national and nationalist Church (as in England, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark etc).

It is this very recent 19th and 20th century trend that has led to small minorities of Orthodox in Poland and Czechoslovakia, Albania, Greece, and also countries like Romania and Bulgaria, having their own national Churches, which is not necessarily normal. The trend is now being spread and propagandized by local xenophobes in Macedonia, Montenegro and the Ukraine, funded by the US State Department whose slogan is ‘Divide and Rule’, just like the old pagan Roman Empire, on which the US administration is closely modelled. This is a rejection of the Christian (= Orthodox) Theology of the Holy Trinity, which says ‘unity in diversity’ and is confederative in style.

2. The second reason is that only a real country could have its own Church in any case. The Ukraine, like for example Belgium (invented by Great Britain after the Napoleonic Wars), is not a real country, having been thought up by the Hapsburgs at the end of the 19th century. Their fantasy was then implemented by four of the most monstrous and genocidal atheist dictators in history, Communist and Fascist: Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Khrushchov.

If the Ukraine wants its own Church, it must first of all carry out referenda all over the Ukraine to determine whether the peoples who live there (only about 20% speak various dialects of ‘Ukrainian’ or rather Galician) actually want to belong to the Ukraine. Probably 50% + would vote to join Russia, which they belonged to until 1922 and others would join Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Poland. Then you could ask the remainder whether they wanted their own Church. Perhaps they would want a Uniat one anyway – though the centralist Vatican would never grant it independence because Roman Catholics, like the centralist Phanariots, do not do independence.

In general, the mere concept that each country must have its own national Church comes from petty nationalist provincialism and isolationist xenophobia. Nationalism is anyway simply an attachment to this world, worldliness. It merely provides ammunition for those who want to exploit in order to divide and rule, as today in the Ukraine, which is a puppet of the US State Department. The First Rome fell to Catholicism (Latin nationalism) and later to Protestantism (Germanic nationalism). The Second Rome fell to Greek nationalism, which had already helped cause Egypt and Syria to fall away from the Church into their national heresies. Will the Third Rome fall to Russian nationalism? We hope not, because a Fourth Rome there will not be.

As we have said elsewhere, our Orthodox ecclesiological model is the Holy Trinity, Unity in Diversity, the Family, the Multinational Confederation. I can see no reason why, rather as in the old Pentarchy of the first millennium (covering the three Continents of Asia, Africa and Europe), we should not have Continental or, in the case of Eurasia which is Multi-Civilizational, Regional Local Churches. For example, we could end up with thirteen Local Churches, presided over by Jerusalem. As we have said elsewhere, these could be:

For Eurasia: the Jerusalem, the Russian (including the present Polish and Czechoslovak Churches, which were artificially hived off from the then captive Russian Church by Constantinople in order to weaken it, as it is also doing in Estonia and the Ukraine today), the Antiochian (covering the territory of the Asian Muslim world), the South-East European or Constantinopolitan (including the Romanian, Serbian, Greek, Bulgarian, Cypriot, Albanian and Constantinopolitan), the Western European, the Chinese, the Indian, the South-East Asian and the Japanese. The Continental Churches would be: The African (the Alexandrian), the North American, the Latin American and the Oceanian.

Moldova

Q: Why does Russia not return Moldova to Romania?

A: As we have already replied in an earlier such question, it cannot, because Moldova does not belong to Russia!

As you know, for most of the last 200 years Moldova (Bessarabia) has been part of the Russian Empire and then of the Soviet Union. It belonged to the Russian Empire because it was the Russian Empire, which freed it from the Turks before Romania ever existed. As you will also know ‘Romania’, even the very word, is an invention of a German Saxon. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moldova has been an independent country and has not wished to become part of Romania. Moldovans – and I have been to Moldova – tell me that there are three reasons for this.

Firstly, they say that their grandparents told them the horror stories of the interwar period when Moldova was a province of Romania, especially about the Romanian Fascist treatment of minorities. The experience was not good. Secondly, they tell me that although Moldova is corrupt, Romania is far more corrupt, as we can see from the recent mass demonstrations in Bucharest against corruption in the Romanian government. Thirdly, Church Moldovans are horrified by the simony, new calendar, ecumenism and general decadence which have penetrated parts of the Romanian Church.

This question is of course in any case one for Moldovans and has nothing to do with Russia. If Moldovans want to become part of Romania, they can. But I suspect that this will not happen until Romania has become democratic, prosperous and not corrupt. At present Romania is shrinking fast, as the young move abroad for work and choose to live in countries where corruption is not the norm. I think the ball is in Romania’s court. If it wants to attract Moldova, it must present a different and attractive face.