Category Archives: Russian 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Russian Orthodox Émigré Contribution to the Future World Orthodox Church

A few years ago the now Metropolitan Tikhon of Pskov asked us the question: What distinctive contribution can the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) make to the Church inside Russia? Here is my answer to him in the light of the most recent events:

Our Orthodox Christian Faith is Trinitarian: God the Father, Who is the instinctive knowledge of the existence of God, God the Son, Who represents the Incarnation of the Faith in all human affairs on earth (as denied for a thousand years by the Western world), and God the Holy Spirit, Who sanctifies all the nations who accept Him. This Trinitarian knowledge has always been expressed in the Russian Orthodox words: ‘For the Faith, For the Tsar, For Rus’. This motto was in turn expressed in recent history by the three ROCOR Saints, the Three Saints of the Emigration:

‘For the Faith’ was expressed by St Jonah of Hankou (+ 1925), the first ROCOR saint. Fleeing as a refugee with the White Russians and absolutely faithful to the fullness of Russian Orthodoxy, within a very short time of becoming a bishop at a very young age in Manchuria, he established an orphanage, a school, and a dining hall for the poor. Thus he combined the love of the Liturgy with practical love for our neighbour, as the Gospel calls us to do. This is indeed the essence of the Orthodox Christian Faith.

‘For the Faith and for the Tsar’ was expressed a generation later by St Seraphim of Boguchar (+ 1950). He expressed the values of Russian Orthodoxy in his writings and was also the great defender of Orthodoxy against both the heresies of the renovationist Paris School in the 1930s and ecumenism, notably at the Inter-Orthodox Council of Moscow in July 1948. He asked: What is the role of the Tsar? He answered that he is the incarnation of the Faith in the life of the State, in social, political and economic affairs. This is why we await the coming of the next Tsar, the White Tsar, whether he is a man of piety, or Christ Himself in His Second Coming.

‘For the Faith, for the Tsar and for Rus’ was then expressed by St John of Shanghai (+ 1966). The first ‘universal saint’, as he has been called, he lived all over the planet and celebrated the Liturgy and preached in many languages, extending the understanding and practice of ‘Rus’ worldwide far beyond East Slavdom, which stretches from Slovakia to the shores of the Pacific. Now we talk about American Rus, Australian Rus, English Rus, French Rus, German Rus, Irish Rus, Peruvian Rus, Swiss Rus. Wherever, worldwide, there is the uncorrupted Christian Faith of the Russian Orthodox world, there is Rus.

Some in Russia would say that this is what they have always believed. True, but the emigration expressed it with a refined purity and much extended significance, all of which became possible only after the catastrophe of the 1917 Revolution.  All three saints together, the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy, completed their lives on three different continents: St Jonah in China in Asia; St Seraphim in Bulgaria in Europe and St John in San Francisco in North America.

It is this, the global reality of Rus, which the Church inside Russia is now learning from us. Once captive inside the mental borders of the Soviet Union, the multinational Russian Orthodox Church has recently established a Western European Exarchate and a South-East Asian Exarchate, becoming ever more deeply the Church of Eurasia. Now, with the long-expected apostasy of Greek Churches, far too weak to stand up to corrupting American pressure, there has appeared the possibility of setting up a Turkish Exarchate in Asia and solving the old calendarist schism in Greece in Europe.

Moreover, extending to a new Continent, it could set up an African Orthodox Church with local, not colonial, bishops. Beyond this there is the possibility of founding a real North American Orthodox Church, with the future merger of the healthy elements of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) with ROCOR. And ROCOR in turn can, with canonical and practical support from inside Russia, help set up a Church of Oceania and a Church of South America. It is our hope that we shall yet see founded a church dedicated to the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy, the Pillars of the Russian emigration of three different continents. The future begins now.

Towards an African Exarchate?

The news that the Pope of Alexandria has ceded to Greek State pressure (that is, pressure from the notorious US ambassador in Athens, Geoffrey Pyatt) and recognized the Ukrainian schismatics has been greeted with dismay by some. Despite the venality, there is no need for dismay. The Patriarchate of Alexandria, essentially a relic of Greek colonialism, had done little until recently for the evangelization of Black Africa. Photographs show an almost wholly Greek episcopate and an almost wholly African flock.

Now that the Patriarchate has fallen into the Greek phyletist schism, the Russian Orthodox Church is free to take over the territory of Africa. Where others have failed, it can succeed. It could set up an African Orthodox Exarchate, to become the African Orthodox Church, centred somewhere in Black Africa, in Nairobi or in Johannesburg, for example, establishing a black episcopate. The opportunities are huge and exciting. We greet the news. The cleansing of the Church continues apace.