Category Archives: Russian Church

Even as a Hen Gathers Her Chickens Under Her Wings: The Future of the Prophetic Mission of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside the Russian Lands

The truth will set you free.

Blessed are you, when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my Name’s sake.

  1. Introduction

As a result of the tragedy that struck the Russian Empire in 1917, today there exist four Russian Orthodox-connected Church jurisdictions or groups outside the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church (that is, outside the former Soviet Union except for Georgia, plus China and Japan). These are, in order of size: The international ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) group; the international Moscow Patriarchal group; the local OCA (Orthodox Church in America) group, geographically limited to North America; the local Paris group, geographically limited to a scattering in Western Europe. Their future is important because it will shape the now vital prophetic mission of the Russian Orthodox Church to today’s apostate and spiritually vacant Western world.

  1. The Past and the Present                                                                                                           a.The ROCOR group

The exiles in this group, born just before or after 1917 as well as their descendants, often had an unjustified admiration for the pre-Revolutionary Russian State. This émigré childhood nostalgia for the largely unknown past was to a considerable extent illusory. After all, the Church administration before the Revolution was dominated not by the spiritual, but by careerists, nationalists and bureaucrats, opposed by renovationists. Between them they managed to cause all the divisions inside and outside Russia after the Revolution. In March 1917 most of them at once betrayed the pious Tsar, whose desire to canonize the saints, like St Seraphim of Sarov, they had resisted – a clear resistance to the Holy Spirit! If everything had been so wonderful before 1917, there would indeed never have been a Revolution and if, impossibly, we recreated the past as it was, there would simply be another Revolution. Moreover, that Revolution was caused by the treason of the elite of aristocrats and intellectuals, so many of whom ended up as nostalgic emigres, leaving the Russian Empire and Church to its tragic fate that they had created.

Historically comprising the vast majority of Russian émigrés, ROCOR has always had two wings: a political wing and what may be called a ‘Johannite wing’. The political wing was always much concerned with political, administrative, nationalist, financial and property matters (even accepting money from the CIA during the Cold War, placing anti-Communism before Christ). The Johannite wing is that of the three saints, St John (from whom it takes its name) of Shanghai, Western Europe and San Francisco, St Jonah of Hankow and St Seraphim of Sofia. Of course, it also includes many others: Archbishop Antony of Geneva, Archbishop Averky, Bishop Sava, Bishop Nektary and a great number of clergy and faithful. It has always seen itself as an integral and organic part of the Russian Orthodox Church and Tradition, only temporarily separated from the then enslaved Church in Moscow. (I write as a spiritual son of the ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva, + 1993, who was in his turn a spiritual son of St John, + 1966).

Today, numbering several hundred thousand, ROCOR faces domination by American cultural conservatism. Centred in New York and with the vast majority of its parishes in North America and its Australian satellite, outside of which it has lost much of its former influence and numbers, it must look to reality and the future. It cannot be a prisoner of the past, for the authentic Tradition is always spiritual, radical and dynamic. It must conserve and live, not preserve and die, in other words, it must keep alive, not preserve as in a museum. It must resist the temptation of the New World which, without its own culture, tends to preserve and freeze all imported culture in the state in which it was first imported, regardless of its spiritual value, as a sort of ethnic curiosity from the Old World. Today, ROCOR has been much revitalized and renewed by immigration from the ex-Soviet Union and so links with reality. Its survival is dependent on these links with the living source of its Faith.

b. The Moscow Patriarchal group.

This group used to be tiny and paradoxically often expressed Soviet State nationalism. It was at times capable of being pro-Stalinist and often showed strong signs of the spiritual impurity of renovationist modernism. These spiritually repulsive abuses are rapidly disappearing into the darkness of the past. With huge immigration from the ex-Soviet Union, the group has now greatly expanded, especially, but not only, in Western Europe. Today in numbers it has begun to rival ROCOR, which it will soon overtake. With the gradual transfiguration of the Church inside the Russian Lands over the last generation, especially since the turning-point of the Council in 2000, the living Church inside the Russian Lands is the key on which this and all the other groups depend.

c. The OCA Group

The OCA group, numbering 90,000 faithful, grew out of Slav Uniat immigrants to North America from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. At last free of Roman Catholic and State oppression, they joined their ancestral Russian Orthodox Church in the USA in the years around 1900. Today, the OCA is only indirectly under the patronage of the Russian Orthodox Church. This group has for 100 years been politically and culturally subject to domination by American cultural liberalism. This is not at all a question of the use of the English language, which of course is perfectly natural as language is only a missionary tool, but a question of the assimilation of an alien, anti-Orthodox American culture and so spiritual degradation.

The OCA will either remain anchored to the Orthodox Tradition of its Mother-Church or else it will die out as spiritually irrelevant, like parts of the Greek Archdiocese in North America, assimilated into the surrounding Non-Orthodox culture. Optimistically, over one quarter of it does remain faithful to the Tradition and parts of the rest have been revitalized and renewed by immigration from the ex-Soviet Union and so by links with reality. However, its future remains fragile and uncertain after a century of instability and there are voices in it which wish to betray the Mother-Church.

d. The Paris Group

The Paris group, by far the smallest of the four, was formed by pro-Western masonic aristocrats and emigre intellectuals who had plotted and created the anti-Tsar Revolution, setting up the brief, incompetent Kerensky dictatorship in 1917. This group was so politicized, anti-Russian and modernist that it rejected the Russian Orthodox Church and Tradition. Today, it has in part been renewed by Moldovan immigrants and so links with reality. However, it is not yet clear if the Paris group, controlled by ageing ideologues who have deliberately cut themselves off from the living Russian Church, will meet the spiritual needs of its flock, or if it will be assimilated into spiritual irrelevance.

  1. The Future: Making the Church Local

In the last few years before the Revolution there were between 142 and 163 bishops for some 117 million faithful in the Russian Orthodox Church. This was pitifully few bishops, on average about one for every 800,000 faithful. Today, for example, the Church of Greece has 100 bishops for 8,500 priests and 10 million people, one bishop for every 100,000 people. On this basis, the Russian Orthodox Church should today have 1,640 bishops and 139,000 priests for its 164 million faithful. Instead, there are only 368 bishops and a pitifully few 36,000 priests, one bishop for every 450,000 faithful and one priest for every 4,500 faithful! Bishops are still very distant figures. (In the Church of Jerusalem which has a flock of 130,000, there are 20 bishops, one for every 6,500 faithful).

It is clear that at least another 100,000 priests and churches are needed in the Russian Church, if ever this pastoral crisis of nominalism is to be overcome. Clearly, just as has long been done outside Russia, devout married men, financed by secular occupations, will have to receive basic practical training and then be ordained as ‘worker priests’. Under the direction of experienced full-time priests, they could serve in simple, cheap-to-build, wooden churches, without the golden luxury and marble pomp of cathedrals. Such ‘kit-churches’ would create real local parishes and pastoral centres, at last bringing the Church back home to the people at the local level. However, this ‘pastoralization’ and ‘localization’ of the Church is still for the future. But at least the first step in making the Church local has taken place in the process of ‘Metropolitanization’.

Here the principle of one bishop for about every 100 priests is now respected in the Russian Church. These 368 bishops have at last been arranged in groups, generally of four or five bishops, called Metropolias. The word ‘Metropolia’ means ‘the Church of the Mother-City’ and ‘Metropolitanization’ is an attempt to return to the practice of the first centuries and make the Church local. Metropolias are thus like miniature local churches within the Local Church. This ‘Metropolitanization’ of the Russian Church worldwide is a sign of health and is inevitable and irreversible. Non-Metropolitanization is a sign of distance and irrelevance of the Church to local life, its reduction from an incarnate way of life to a theatre of ideology.

However, outside the canonical territory of the Church, Metropolitanization is a gradual and complex process. This is firstly because there are two parts of the Russian Church outside the canonical territory, that directly under the Patriarchate and that under the self-governing Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). Both must first agree to co-operate and so it takes time to form new Russian Orthodox Metropolias worldwide (regardless of whether the two local fragments, the OCA and Paris, would one day want to take part – probably not). Secondly, and even more ambitiously, new Russian Orthodox Metropolias outside the canonical territories are ultimately called on to become the foundations for new Local Churches. This will be when other Orthodox, from far smaller Local Churches and living in those territories, wish to participate in them. This would be a purely voluntary process that could take another 100 years or more.

  1. Conclusion

This setting up of Metropolitan structures, foundations for new Local Churches, is a question of responsibility. There is no room here for destructive nationalism and centralization, either of the aristocratic emigre Russian sort or of the ‘Soviet tank’ sort. Instead sensitivity is required towards different peoples and their legitimate customs. In all these matters we would do well to recall the words of Christ in St Matthew’s Gospel concerning the phariseeism of the Old Jerusalem, which rejected the New Jerusalem: ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent to thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not’.

 

 

 

Trends in the Russian Orthodox Church Today

Introduction

After the revolution of the last generation, the generation since the end of the Cold War, what is the situation of the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church today, of the Russian Patriarchate and of the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR)? Once they were bitterly divided. And now?

A. The Russian Patriarchate of the Past

1. Attitudes to the Outer World

In the bad old days, a few prominent bishops of the Patriarchate were forced to sit in front of cameras and tell blatant lies, for example, that there was no persecution of the Church inside Russia. Why? Simply because if they did not, their priests and parishes would suffer. As hostages, they took the political sin of lieing onto themselves. Personally, such blatant lies never really bothered me. I knew why they were doing it. Frankly, I thought the sin was more with those who asked them such compromising questions. However, something else did bother me.

2. Attitudes to the Inner World

What bothered me was hypocrisy. There were certain bishops and others of the paralysed Patriarchate who were utterly corrupt, whether sexually or financially. And that corruption rotted all of Church life. Those people were not Christians. As a victim of them at that time, I know what I am talking about.

B. ROCOR of the Past

1. Attitudes to the Outer World

In the bad old days, ROCOR in the USA sometimes took CIA money. That bothered me. At that time, quite a few in ROCOR worked for various anti-Soviet (in fact, anti-Russian) Western spy agencies. These people have today almost all left the Church or else died of old age. Today, for example, I know of people who have joined the Paris Exarchate because they are not allowed to join either part of the Russian Church as they work as spies at GCHQ or spy agencies in Paris. Loyalty to the Western Establishment comes first for them, Christ second. That is clearly wrong.

2. Attitudes to the Inner World

Hypocrisy in the old ROCOR also bothered me. Some considered that as long as you were anti-Communist, you were fine, you could be as anti-missionary and racist as you wanted, as well as practise abortion. I could quote names. Fortunately, such outrageous phariseeism was the domain of a minority.

C. The Russian Patriarchate Today

1. Attitudes to the Outer World

Today, the Patriarchate is a Church of 150 million converts and various neophyte deformations can be found on the fringes. For example, we can find secularizing, pro-Soviet attitudes, the arrogance and racism of the old ‘Soviet tank’ mentality that simply wants to barge in and take over everything. This type of imperialism, with an undiscriminating admiration for the present State, pays no attention to pastoral matters and building up parish life, has little understanding of families and children. It is ritualistic, careerist and money-orientated, its representatives never having suffered.

However, we can also find pro-Western (ecumenist, liberal, ‘diplomatic’) attitudes among those from a bourgeois background. They vilify the Soviet past, dismissing its positive preservation of re-Revolutionary cultural values, detest President Putin and adore the Atlanticist Prime Minister Medvedev.

2. Attitudes to the Inner World

We can also find a conservative, pietist movement. Piety is good, but pietism generally means ritualism, sentimentalism, zeal without understanding, words without meaning. How many churches have we visited where services are read and sung in such a way that not a single word can be understood. This is what drives away men, meaning that services are attended by 80%-90% women. This may have been normal in abnormal Soviet times, when men would lose their jobs for attending church, but today it is abnormal. A huge work of catechism is under way. There is far to go.

We can also find a pro-social movement. Many of its representatives are very liberal, but they are at least beginning to deal with the huge social problems of post-Soviet society: massive and endemic corruption, alcoholism, abortion, drug-taking, environmental degradation, the handicapped…

D. ROCOR Today

1. Attitudes to the Outer World

Today, there is a danger of ROCOR becoming an Americanized Church, which simply refuses to understand the unpaid clergy and the plight of the mass of poor people who have come to us out of Soviet Russia and Eastern Europe. It does not want to know our sufferings. Here too there is a certain arrogance and spirit of takeover. ‘We are right, you are wrong’. Just as in today’s Russia, there can sometimes be a spirit of show, a concentration on externals. There can also be a spirit of mafia, a concentration of power among the first and wealthy, so that others are excluded as second-class citizens.

This lack of love is also fostering a liberalism, unheard of before in ROCOR, which comes from outside the Church. If unchallenged, this American-style cultural infiltration of ecumenist, liberal and ‘diplomatic’ attitudes from a bourgeois background will hamper our uncompromised witness.

2. Attitudes to the Inner World

Exactly as in the Patriarchate, we can also find a conservative, pietist movement. Piety is good, but pietism generally means ritualism, sentimentalism, zeal without understanding, words without meaning. How many churches have we visited where services are read and sung in such a way that not a single word can be understood. This can be accompanied by a self-righteous denial of the ROCOR past. ‘Everything was perfect’. This nostalgia of course is totally unjustified. Many ROCOR parishes are real and model communities, examples for the Patriarchate, but not all.

Pastorally, many are positively moving parish life into the inevitable multinational and bilingual future and creating real communities. Here there is also a danger – that Church life becomes only social, emotional, all words, the ascetic foundation forgotten, as in the Exarchate and the OCA.

Conclusion

Thus, we can see remarkable parallels, indeed convergence, between the two parts of the Russian Church. Clearly, only the positive trends are needed, all that is negative is not needed. Above all, we need the central unity of the spiritual food to be found in the purity of our Tradition of Holy Rus.

The Good New Days

28 January 2018 will go down in our local Orthodox history. Two dynamic, young Russian Orthodox bishops in this country were celebrating in parishes in the provinces, in Cambridge and in Colchester. In the bad old days, there were never two bishops and even if there was one, he would have been found only in London.

27 January 2018 was also a historic day. 33 people gathered at the London church of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russsia (ROCOR) for clergy training. Only 7 were priests; nearly all the others were future priests and deacons. Last year the number of priests in the new ROCOR Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland doubled. More are coming. Tripling? Quadrupling? More? Everything is possible.

In the bad old anti-missionary days in 1994, I can remember being summoned from the Western European Diocese in Paris to go and serve in London, where there were no priests available. By that time the whole of ROCOR in England had been reduced to just two priests, both of whom later left it. How times change.

Some question why the two spiritually united Russian Orthodox Church still has two parallel dioceses on this island territory. Perhaps we are like two trees, growing side by side in the jungle. The more we grow, the greater the canopy we can produce together over the jungle. That is Providence, which is the Love of God manifested in human life.

 

The Mystical Meaning of the Establishment of a Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Europe (ROME)

‘Yes, it is Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals, it is Europe, all of Europe, which will decide the fate of the world’.

President Charles de Gaulle, 22 November 1959

Introduction: Holy Rus

Having accepted the Orthodox Christian Church and Faith, Rus, the Russian Lands, became known as ’Holy’, for, alone out of all  other lands, holiness was its ideal. As a reward for being faithful to holiness, the Lord gave the Russian Lands immense territories, as far as the Pacific and even beyond, with great natural wealth and, above all, holy men and women. Indeed, after the final spiritual and physical fall of the Second Rome in 1453, its successor was this Holy Rus, the Third Rome, the last bastion of Universal Uncompromised Christianity. This last Christian Empire was called on to restrain the spread of global evil which has prepared the coming of Antichrist. For this reason, the Russian Lands have had many enemies. Some coveted her lands and resources, others wanted to destroy her Church and Faith, but always first by destroying her Sovereign Monarchy (Samoderzhavie, deliberately misleadingly translated by anti-Christians as ‘autocracy’).

The Overthrow of Holy Rus

Thus, nearly 200 years ago, Tsar Nicholas I (1796-1855) tried to cleanse and restore the Sovereign Monarchy of the atheist tyranny of anti-Christian absolutism, with which it had been stained by its enemies in the century before. He also knew that serfdom, introduced as such by the same Westernized absolutists in the same century, was not Christian, and began preparing its abolition. However, from 1908 on, the British elite began planning to overthrow the Sovereign Monarchy and replace it with a Protestant-style Constitution, thus enabling it to dismember and exploit the Christian Empire. From 1911 on, Germany similarly began planning to destroy the Russian Lands and colonize them. From 1915 on, the financial centres of Britain and Germany and of the USA began plotting against the Sovereign Monarchy, financing masonic liberals and atheist revolutionary allies to disrupt the Empire’s infrastructure and distribution system.

The Fall and Rising Again of Holy Rus

Indeed, by the early 20th century the Christian Faith had much weakened in the Russian Lands and with it the mystical sense of awe before the Lord’s Anointed, the Christian Emperor. ‘Treason and cowardice and deceit’ were all around, as Tsar Nicholas wrote in March 1917. And so, Christ-like, he went to his Gethsemane and then to his Golgotha, accepting God’s Will. As those who had risen against the God-given Tsar had risen against God, so the Christian Empire fell through apostasy. Without the Orthodox Faith, there could be no Sovereign Monarchy. However, the Lord had destined the Russian Lands to be the last bastion of Universal Christianity in the time of general apostasy before Antichrist. Thus, He has begun restoring the Russian Orthodox Church, which is called on to preserve the purity of the Faith before the Second Coming, in order to lead the repentant remnant of mankind to Christ, thus meeting the mission of the Third Rome.

The Russian Role in Restoring a Sovereign Europe

In 1959 the French statesman President De Gaulle had spoken of a united Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals, seeing Europe as an alliance of independent, sovereign states. He was right in that he fundamentally rejected a supranational character for Europe as ‘a supranational Europe is a Europe under American command’, a ‘Europe of the Americans’. Indeed, on 15 May 1962 he clearly declared that ‘there cannot be any Europe other than that of (nation) states, apart from in myths, fiction and parades’, which is precisely the present EU. However, he was wrong in that he identified such a Confederation of Sovereign States stretching only as far as the Urals: it must stretch to the Pacific. And here is the mystical meaning of the establishment of a Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Europe. It means that the still for the moment Tsarless Third Rome may stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific, uniting East and West, overcoming Europe’s self-imposed isolation.

Russia and Europe

The pure Christian roots of Western Europe can still redirect it to salvation from its present apostasy. But these roots have been conserved ecclesially only by the Russian Orthodox Church, which stretches to the Pacific and even across it. It is a mistake to try and isolate the culture of Europe, in the extreme western corner of Northern Eurasia, from its roots in Christ. The European attempt to isolate and nationalize Christ from Asia, to claim Him for itself, first resulted in the deformations of Rome and Geneva. Then apostate Europeans replaced Christ with anti-European ‘European values’. Among others, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Lands, Slovakia and Poland are now resisting this attempt. However, spiritually they can do little without Russian Orthodox support. Before the great European suicide of 1914-1918, there was hope that Paris-Berlin-Saint Petersburg could be united. Now, 100 years after the First War ended, we have the same hope again.

The Self-Annihilation of Europe

Today European peoples face their spiritual annihilation, imposed on them by the two-edged sword of the choice of the atheist European elite. On the one hand, there is its self-imposed abortion holocaust (2-3 million European children slaughtered each year for decades). On the other hand, there is its self-imposed, massive Muslim immigration of cheap labour, which will result in a generation’s time in large parts of Western Europe being peopled by a 25% Muslim population. Since renouncing the fullness of Christ’s Church 1,000 years ago, Europe has fallen prey to a host of self-imposed isms, from Catholicism to Protestantism, from Secularism to Communism, from Fascism to Capitalism, from Atheism to Globalism. Obsessed by its barbaric pagan past, whether Roman or Germanic, it renounced the Holy Spirit. It has forgotten the glory of its saints, its holiness, which blossomed in Europe for the first millennium and then dried up.

The Repentance of Europe

Only by appealing to the glory of these, its own saints, and repenting and returning to the Church and Faith in which they gained their holiness, the grace of the Holy Spirit, can Europe be saved. Western Europe must renounce its self-isolation that it so fatefully chose in 1054 and tragically repeated in 1914. Otherwise it will disappear into the abyss of its suicidal isolation. In order to do this, it must make its peace with the remains of the Christian Empire in the Russian Lands. Western Europe has continually attempted to destroy this Empire, most notably in the four multinational invasions that it so aggressively and barbarically launched against it in the space of only 130 years between 1812 and 1941. In order to do this, it must repent for continually attempting to undermine its Faith and Sovereign Monarchy and commit genocide against its Peoples and those of other Orthodox Christian lands. This is going on right now, from Kosovo to the Ukraine.

Conclusion: The Salvation of Europe

The mystical meaning of a Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Europe is the opportunity for salvation, the return to the Church of God of the living souls of those Europeans still spiritually sensitive and not yet zombified by EU bread and US circuses. A Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Europe (ROME) (not just in Europe) is, in the words of its former Patriarch, the foundation of a future Local Church, which will be reborn, as soon as Europe is worthy of it. It can gather together not only the Orthodox of all nationalities who already live and pray in Western Europe now, but also can gather together all the saints of Europe, those who lived and prayed here in the distant past, and their descendants. All this is in order to prepare for the future. This will be a Europe cleansed of its atheism and of its spiritually impure institutions, polluted by their refusal to accept the Holy Spirit Who proceeds from the Father. This will be a Europe that can seek – and find – holiness, the Spirit of God.

 

 

 

The Metropolia of Western Europe Takes Shape

The nightmare is over.

Just over a generation ago the Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe was divided into two warring groups. One group, the MP, tiny, was influenced in part by scandalous spiritual and moral compromises and was under the control of militant atheists who ruled in Moscow. The other group, ROCOR, much larger but very elderly and clearly dying out, was in part influenced by a right-wing, nationalist movement, influenced by the Vlasovites of World War II. Some, refusing to take part in either politicized group, had already joined another politicized group, the ‘Paris Jurisdiction’, entirely outside the Russian Church, under the US-run and largely masonic Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Abandoned and without leadership, we had to ‘do the Church’ ourselves. We became independent-minded. We had no choice. In 1988 I wrote down some ideas for the future. It was thrown away into a rubbish bin by the Archbishop who had requested it. With radical changes within the last twelve months to the configuration of the three ROCOR dioceses in Western Europe and yesterday’s radical changes to the now six MP dioceses in Western Europe, we are seeing many of our hopes of exactly thirty years ago at last coming true, but in the form of one single Russian Orthodox and multi-diocesan Metropolia of Western Europe. Here is what we wrote then:

A VISION FOR THE ORTHODOX CHURCHES OF WESTERN EUROPE

The twentieth century in particular has seen decade after decade of immigration to Western Europe from the contemporary homelands of Orthodox Christianity, from Russia, the Balkans and the Near and Middle East. At the same time there has taken place the conversion of small numbers of Western Europeans to the Orthodox Christian Faith. As a result, there are now not insignificant groups of Orthodox Christians of diverse background in Western European countries.

These facts raise many questions. What might be the future in the twenty-first Century of those groups? Will they remain attached to foreign homelands and the linguistic, political and regional divisions of those lands? Will number of converts and their non-convert descendants be content to remain in the dioceses of culturally and linguistically foreign Churches? What will happen to immigrant groups within a generation of the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the generation of gerontocrats who ran the Communist Empire have died out and are replaced by young Western-style technocrats? What will happen as the old State Church mentalities of Eastern Europe are offloaded with the new globalized mentalities of the Internet generation?

Nobody can answer such questions with any degree of assurance, but we could perhaps at least express some idea of what might be desirable, but to do that we must start off from reality. Firstly, let no mistake be made, there are large numbers of immigrants who do not wish for any change to the present situation. In other words they are happy to live in Western Europe in a mental and ecclesiastical extension of their homelands. The fact that as a result there are, contrary to the canons, several Orthodox bishops, admittedly of different nationalities, on the same territory, is of no significance to them. Indeed official Church hierarchies have actually encouraged this uncanonical development by giving their bishops titles of disappeared sees in foreign countries.

For example, in this country the Greek Archbishop has taken the title of a village in Turkey and the Russian Patriarchal Metropolitan that of a ruined town on the Black Sea coast, rather than take the title ‘of London’. In other words, the sense of ethnic identity and loyalty of many remains strong. (And it must be said that that is not always a bad thing). However, it does mean that the numbers of those who consciously wish to see local and self-governing Orthodox Churches develop in Western Europe are still relatively small. Secondly, we must recognize that Western Europe itself is by no means homogeneous. There runs through it a North-South fault-line which by and large separates the Germanic and Protestant North from the Latin and Roman Catholic South.

Mentalities are not the same to either side of that line. For instance, the North is more liberal, but paradoxically more rigid, the South more flexible but paradoxically less open to Orthodoxy. In addition to this, despite the influx of Greeks and Cypriots, the North of Western Europe has been culturally affected more by the settlement of Russian Orthodox refugees, the South more by the settlement of the Greeks. As a result of these factors, there have been more converts in the North of Western Europe than in the South. Despite the ineffectual intellectualizing of some Russians, the attraction of converts in the North has been overwhelmingly to the various parts of the Russian Church or even to Russian practices, even if under the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Peoples here are more attracted to the more European mentalities of Russian Orthodoxy than the Mediterranean and Oriental ways of Greek Orthodoxy.

In the South of Western Europe, however, a different situation has developed. Here most immigrants have come from Greece. Nevertheless, in their political pact with the Vatican, the Patriarchate of Constantinople responsible for these immigrants agreed not to witness to Orthodox Christianity in those predominantly Roman Catholic countries of south-western Europe. Thus those who wished to become Orthodox in these areas were forced to become Orthodox in Greek Old Calendarist groups, outside the control of both Constantinople and the Vatican. This situation was then further complicated by the realization of those convert groups that they had become members of sects. Thus, one after another, most of these groups, whether in Portugal and Spain, or in Catalonia and south-western France, or in Italy, have left Old Calendarism and joined Slav Churches, respectively the Polish, Serbian and Russian Churches.

From this ethnic, political and jurisdictional chaos, how can any semblance of order evolve? It would seem to the present writer that a starting point for those who wish to belong to future Orthodox Churches of Western Europe would be the following: to group themselves into Deaneries whose shape would correspond to the linguistic, geographical, historical, cultural and national realities of Western Europe. (This presumes, of course, that such Orthodox, whatever their background, convert or immigrant, are sufficiently numerous to be able to persuade canonical Orthodox bishops to agree to the establishment of such Deaneries).

In such a scenario, the territory of Western Europe could first be divided into two Dioceses comprising its two racial and cultural components – Germanic North and Latin South. These two Dioceses could be structured into a pattern of Deaneries as follows:

1) The Diocese of North-Western Europe. This part of Western Europe can be subdivided into three separate cultural areas:

a) A Deanery of the Isles. This would cover the whole of the British Isles, with a Metropolitan base presumably in a historic centre such as York, the Imperial City of Constantine.

b) A Deanery of Germania. This would cover Germany, Austria, Holland, Luxembourg and much of Alsace, Switzerland and Belgium, with a Metropolitan See in some historic Patristic centre such as Trier, the City of St. Athanasius the Great.

c) A Deanery of Scandinavia. This would cover Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, with a base perhaps in Roskilde, where the Orthodox Faith entered into Scandinavian territorial consciousness.

2) The Diocese of South-Western Europe This part of Western Europe can also be subdivided into three separate cultural areas:

a) A Deanery of Gallia. This would comprise France (including Brittany, Occitania, Provence and French-speaking Alsace), and also French-speaking Belgium and Switzerland, with a base perhaps in the historic Orthodox Patristic Metropolitan See of Lyons.

b) A Deanery of Iberia. This would comprise Spain (including all the Basque Country on both sides of the Franco-Spanish border, Catalonia and Galicia) and Portugal, with a base in a historic Apostolic centre, for example, Santiago de Compostela.

c) A Deanery of Italia. This would comprise Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and Italian-speaking Switzerland, with its centre in the Apostolic Orthodox See of Rome.

If ever this vision came to pass, these two Dioceses of Western Europe, North and South, could become Archdioceses and their six Deaneries, Dioceses. Eventually the six Dioceses would then themselves become Archdioceses with their own internal regional dioceses. In turn these six Archdioceses would then become self-governing regional Orthodox Churches. Thus Western Europe would become home to no fewer than six regional Orthodox Churches. These Churches would not be Churches in a place (implying that they were foreign churches imposed on the places without being acculturated), rather they would be Churches of a place:

The Church of the Isles.

The Church of Germania.

The Church of Scandinavia.

The Church of Gallia.

The Church of Iberia.

The Church of Italia.

Such a division of Western Europe into regional Churches could avoid the monolithic temptations of a sole centre which led in history to the pride of the Roman See and its falling away from the Orthodox Faith. At the same time, however, the existence of regional Churches would also avoid the balkanized nationalism to be found in ‘local’ national Churches. Thus a ‘Church of the Isles’ could not fall victim to, say, English or Irish nationalism, for both nationalities, together with the Scottish and the Welsh, would be ‘conjoined’ in one ‘confederal’ regional Orthodox Church. This is why Metropolitan centres should not be in secular capitals but in historic Orthodox centres, spiritual capitals – York, Trier, Roskilde, Lyons, Santiago and Rome. This would avoid the danger implied in such terms as ‘Russian Orthodox’ (centred in the secular capital of Moscow) and ‘Greek Orthodox’ (centred in the secular capital of Athens), when what is really meant is ‘The Church of Russia’ and ‘The Church of the Hellenes’.

Perhaps some, on reading this, will grow excited, while others will condemn it as fantasy. It has to be said that the first are wrong, because the spirit of Orthodox Christianity is one of sobriety and not excitement. And it must be said that the others may be right. For it we are honest, we are still a century or more away from any of this. And if the present situation of human degeneration is anything to go by, the world and Western Europe with it, may not even last until the twenty-second century. And however it may be, we personally will not last until the twenty-second century.

Some may agree that indeed we will not be here to see this Vision made reality, but that we are working for our children and our children’s children. To those, however, I would say this: let us first of all simply work for our own salvation – for if we do not save ourselves, how can we possibly say that we are working for our children and our children’s children? If we cannot save ourselves, how will others be saved around us? First things first – for all the rest will only come to pass if it is God’s Will. For this after all is the essence of Vision – to see what is God’s Will and do it.

Translated from the consultative paper ‘L’Eglise Orthodoxe de L’Europe Occidentale – Vision ou Rêve’ by Deacon Andrew Phillips, Paris, April 1988.

The Future Metropolia Receives New and Young Strength

At the latest Synod Meeting in Moscow today:

Archbishop  Elisei  of Sourozh has been appointed Archbishop of the Hague and the Netherlands. Bishop Matvei of Bogorodsk (formerly Fr Gennady Andreev from Manchester) has been appointed Bishop of Sourozh.

Bishop Tikhon of Podolsk has been appointed Bishop for Berlin and Germany, replacing the elderly Archbishop Theophan who died earlier this year. He does not take the title ‘of Berlin and Germany’ because that for the moment still belongs to Archbishop Mark.

Bishop Antony of Zvenigorod has been appointed Bishop of Vienna and Budapest, replacing Bishop Tikhon of Podolsk, and Bishop Antony also returns to his post as Bishop for Italy.

Meanwhile, Bishop Nestor remains in charge of France, Spain and Portugal and Archbishop Simon becomes Bishop of Belgium, having been relieved of the Netherlands.

The average age of all these bishops is about 45. A new generation is in charge. Thanks be to God.

 

 

The Sins of the Fathers: On the Coming Russian Orthodox Church Administrative Unity in Western Europe

 

The Russian Orthodox Church exists in two separate administrations in Western Europe. Although both have the same Patriarch in Moscow, one is directly dependent on Moscow, the other only indirectly on him, as it is primarily dependent on a Metropolitan in New York. The Moscow group numbers some 210 parishes in several dioceses, the New York group some 70 parishes in three dioceses, one third of that under Moscow, though in some local regions it is still a majority. On the other hand Moscow has more or less complete control in Austria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

As we slowly move towards future administrative unity in a single Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Europe (ROME), all over Western Europe a choice will have to be made: Which administration do parishes wish to belong to? In other words, ultimately, which group is to be absorbed by the other? And will that absorption take place all over Western Europe, or only in some areas? This is not a simple matter because this implies that each administration is going to have to answer for the very saddening errors of the past.  And there were many of these and their consequences have been postponed for a generation and more.

These include political and moral compromises, which, even if forgiven, are not forgotten, incompetence in failing to build up infrastructure, obtaining and building churches and encouraging and training local clergy, refusal to look after local people and locally-born children and grandchildren and general lack of pastoral and missionary effort. Refusal to take responsibility and ask for forgiveness with repentance will be dismissed. Childish phrases like ‘We’re right because we’re bigger than you…’, or ‘We were here first’, or ‘We’ve got more money than you’, do not wash with people made distrustful by past sins and errors.

The people, and ultimately the clergy with them, will not choose a cold manager or bureaucrat, but the pastoral bishop who shows genuine love for them and does not neglect, ignore and insult them. However, the lack of love of the past is about to receive its just rewards. The people will choose genuine communities. Parishes where people know one another and to which people feel a sense of belonging will win the day. People will not choose parishes which they pass through like railway stations, which are money-making machines, or are centres of cold and formal ritualism in foreign and unknown languages.

There is a moment of danger here, for Western Europe is already littered with the wreckage of small ex-Russian Orthodox communities, alienated by the heavy-handedness of both administrations. These include the tiny marginal communities of the ‘Paris Jurisdiction’ on the one hand, which on paper are canonical, as well as the tiny fringe communities of various ‘Pure’ or ’True’ sectarian jurisdictions, which even on paper are not canonical. For those who suffered under both administrations and never received an apology, we leave the choice to Divine guidance. The chickens come home to roost; the sins of the fathers have a price.

In 2003 the Paris Jurisdiction, then under Archbishop Sergiy, was negotiating its return to the Russian Orthodox Church. It would have become the local element in hopes for a future Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe, the foundation of a new Local Orthodox Church. It was not to be. Archbishop Sergiy died, and his successors took a virulent anti-Russian line. Now it is on the way to becoming a deanery of the Greek Orthodox Church in Paris. However, together with the 70 parishes established in Western Europe for up to 100 years, Moscow can still establish a joint Metropolia. This can heal both past injustices and avoid future injustices.

Hope in Europe

The gaffe-prone anti-diplomat, British Foreign Secretary Johnson, is in Moscow to apologize for some of his idiotic insults and lies to the Russian government. The UK needs to buy Russian gas. Cold War propaganda is no longer needed. In the UK itself, it has been announced that the UK government is at last to return to us our sovereign passports, stolen from us without consultation 30 years ago.

Meanwhile, the EU-supported Fascist government in Madrid has lost its elections in Catalonia, which has courageously reaffirmed its desire to become independent again. Some of its citizens are fighting for freedom for the eastern Ukraine from the illegal Fascist junta in Kiev. That US-installed junta is now collapsing in self-created bankruptcy, as millions flee that impoverished country.

The Fourth Reich EU, discredited by its loss of the UK, is now threatening Poland for its desire for sovereignty, even wanting to expel it for its love of freedom. However, the whole of the old Hapsburg Empire and even more, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Lands, Slovakia and Poland, is in revolt against the unelected dictocrats of Brussels. How long before the ever-arrogant EU finally collapses?

Meanwhile, the Russian Church moves ahead in its hopes to establish a United Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe, the foundation of a new Local Church for Western Europe. The old heterodox religious organizations of the second millennium are rapidly dying out. The old structures are falling and failing. Everywhere it is time to move forward. Christ beckons.

The Council of Moscow has Buried the Pseudo-Council of Crete

 

From 29 November to 4 December 2017 the Council of Moscow, attended by nearly 400 patriarchs and bishops, more than at certain Universal Councils and representing nearly 95% of the Orthodox Church, buried the Pseudo-Council of Crete, attended by about 150 bishops representing 20% of the Orthodox Church. Clearly, this Council was a triumph for Universal Orthodoxy.

The triumph was more or less ignored by the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Church of Greece, under strict orders from the State Department in Washington, which they are too weak to stand up to. At the Council all the attempts of Constantinople’s 2016 Pseudo-Council of Crete to undermine the Orthodox teaching on the Church were rejected by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev).

The meeting of the heads of the Local Churches with President Putin gave the Council a Universal and Pan-Orthodox character, unlike Crete. The pilgrimage of the President and Patriarch Kyrill to the New Jerusalem Monastery just before the Council added to the effect of Russia as the leading Church in the world, the centre of Universal Christendom. The globalist project of Babylon-Washington is looking ever weaker, as all gathered in Moscow the Third Rome.

 

 

 

 

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…

Woe unto you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites!…All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them who are sent to thee, how often I wanted to gather thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you did not want it!

Matthew 23, 29, 36 and 37

Just as he had promised before he was elected, President Trump has now recognized occupied Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State. His Modern Orthodox Jewish son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, and now Jewish daughter, Ivanka, are pleased. The rest of the world is in consternation and in the Arab world violence can be expected. Let us not forget that in Jerusalem in November 2016 the revived Sanhedrin sent President Trump and President Putin a petition about the restoration of the Third Temple. The Sanhedrin press spokesman, Rabbi Gideon Weiss, said at the time that the election of Mr Trump had made the dream of restoring the Temple a reality. He added that ‘the American and Russian leaders could lead the peoples of ‘the global world’ to peace by building the Temple’.

Meanwhile, in the centre of ‘the Christian world’, a Council of nearly 400 Orthodox patriarchs and bishops in the main ‘Temple’ of Moscow, attended by all the Local Orthodox Churches except for Constantinople and Greece who refused to attend (more Local Churches than attended the so-called ‘Council of Crete’ in 2016), has just concluded. The Council was addressed by President Putin, the first time in over 300 years that a Patriarchal Council has been addressed by a Russian leader. The President then met the leaders of the Local Churches, like a new Constantine, the first Christian Emperor. President Putin appears as the protector of the whole Orthodox world, and has just won back Syria through defeating terrorism there and co-operating closely with the regional powers, Turkey and Iran.

After the Moscow Council, which commemorated the centenary of the restoration of the Russian Patriarchate, so much worked for by Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky), and so gathered the Orthodox children together, Patriarch Theophil (the name means ‘friend of God’) of Jerusalem is today visiting the city of Ekaterinburg. Today is St Catherine’s day and the name of the city means ‘Catherine’s fortress’. It is also of course the place of martyrdom of the last Christian Emperor, Nicholas II. Meanwhile, in Moscow, the prominent ‘friend of God’ and pious Orthodox layman, Konstantin Malofeev, has stated that just as 100 years ago those who sought the restoration of the Patriarchate to resist the coming atheist onslaught were victorious, so we too ‘must convince contemporary Russian society that if Russia is to remain a sovereign country, the restoration of Tsardom is just as indispensible’.

He that has ears to hear, let him hear.