Category Archives: Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

More Historic Developments in the ROCOR Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland

At the Clergy Meeting and first ever meeting of the Diocesan Council of the ROCOR Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland, presided over by the Diocesan Administrator, Bishop Irenei, on Saturday 2 September, it was resolved to hold a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St Alban every year. Also, in another historic event, all parishes were blessed by Vladyka to keep the third Sunday after Pentecost as the Sunday of All Saints of the British Isles and Ireland, using the service composed by Archpriest Andrew Phillips fifteen years ago.

It was notable that the Clergy Meeting was for the first time ever attended by representatives from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as from England. Both meetings were informed that the finally magnificently frescoed London church (with images of the local saints) will be consecrated on Friday 21st September 2018 and that the church in Colchester will at last be consecrated, probably in 2019, on its eleventh anniversary. There were also lengthy discussions about new missions, among several other places, including in Kent and Cambridgeshire, the need to found a monastery, about publications, websites and the involvement of the young people of the Diocese and the need to nurture their faith, as with the new Searchlight youth magazine.

The Diocese now has thirteen priests, a number never exceeded even in the 1950s. Moreover, they are multinational in background and ROCOR seems to becoming the only multi-ethnic Orthodox Diocese in these lands. Bishop Irenei’s visit to the reborn Diocese is the fourth episcopal visit this year, and not the last. Other candidates for ordination are coming forward, encouraged by Bishop Irenei who will not reject worthy candidates. One parish which had only had two episcopal visits in nineteen years has now had four episcopal visits in eight months.

It is remarkable what an episcopal presence can do, just as we had always thought, and all look forward to Bishop Irenei’s permanent return to this country in the near future. All are grateful to him and especially to the Most Reverened Metropolitan Hilarion and the Very Reverend Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco, without whom none of this would ever have been possible. It has taken a great deal of effort over the last nine years to arrange all this after a long and dark period in our 300-year history.

4 July 1997- 4 July 2017: Twenty Years of Mission: On Restoring the Heritage of St John of Shanghai in the British Isles and Ireland

Exactly twenty years ago, on the eve of the feast day of St John of Shanghai in 1997, an Orthodox Christian mission began to England from the east coast town of Felixstowe, the town of St Felix. This was much like the original Orthodox Christian mission of 631 to exactly the same place but led by the future St Felix. Indeed, this new mission was also an Orthodox Christian mission and it came from the Russian Orthodox Archdiocese of Western Europe, centred in Geneva, precisely next to the native Burgundy of St Felix. This was therefore not a mission created around Parisian personalities with dreamy philosophies and dubious cults, nor one of sectarian and Calvinist phariseeism.

On the contrary, this mission owes itself to Archbishop Antony of Geneva (1910-1993), who was named after the theologian Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev, ordained by Metr Anastasy, and was a disciple of St John of Shanghai and so another authentic Russian Orthodox Archbishop of Western Europe (1). He was briefly bishop in England in 1985. It was in order to restore the heritage of his spiritual father, St John, who had left England in 1962, that we returned, for, to all intents and purposes, his heritage had been lost and forgotten in the British Isles, crucified by spiritual impurities from both the left side and the right side.

Today, as a result of this mission, we are looking not only at real parish bases in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, two of them our property, with four priests, but also at hopes of penetrating further inland, with missions to the north, south and west, to Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Kent and Sussex, and setting up a monastery. It seems, if God so wills, that the mission that could lead to a new Local Orthodox Church here, is indeed to be led from New York by the largely English-speaking ROCOR, to which Archbishop Antony belonged. Its local representative is Bishop Irenei (Steenberg), whose patron saint is the very saint whose icon was long ago painted in the Russian Orthodox church in Lyons – by Archbishop Antony.

Thus, today, whereas our Isles of the North Atlantic (IONA) appear to have a separate destiny from the Continent, it seems that God’s will for the imminent Russian Orthodox Metropolia of Continental Western Europe, the foundation of a new Local Church there, is not for it to be centred under the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in Geneva, as it was in the past under the ever-memorable Archbishop Antony of Geneva. It is rather for this work to be continued directly from Moscow via the new Cathedral and seminary in Paris. May God’s Will be done!

Note: (From his Biography)

1. As a priest in the 1950s Archbishop Antony had served in different churches in the Western European diocese, including in Lyons. Here he had painted the iconostasis of the Lyons church, including an icon of St Irenei of Lyons. As a hierarch, at the Third All-Diaspora Council in 1974 he spoke forcefully for Church unity and against ROCOR self-isolation. He advocated preserving the purity of Orthodoxy against atheism and new calendarist modernism, all the while using the free voice of the Church Outside Russia to understand and not condemn the enslaved, cherishing unity with the universal Church of Christ, avoiding old calendarist divisiveness, intent on seeking out and exaggerating errors.

He called all Russian Orthodox to unity through love and to help Russia. He was commended for taking this royal path by the future St Paisios the Athonite. Archbishop Anthony was also noted for his pan-Orthodox vision and welcome to converts, asking one of his Russian priests to compose a service to All the Saints of the Swiss Lands. Despite his limited linguistic abilities, he ordained clergy of many origins and established multinational missions. His episcopacy was noted for the peace and love within his diocese, which stretched from Portugal to Austria and from the Netherlands to the south of Italy, and for the brotherly feeling among the clergy.

On the Importance of ROCOR inside Russia

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

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

“НГ-РЕЛИГИИ”, 7 июня 2017 г.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Протоиерей Всеволод Чаплин

Award for Metropolitan Hilarion

MOSCOW: June 9, 2017

Greeting of His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and All Russia to the Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Outside Russia

To His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia,
To the Eminent Archpastors, Members of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia:

Beloved in the Lord Vladyka Metropolitan Hilarion, Eminent Archpastors:
I send my sincere greetings to you all, hierarchs of the Russian diaspora, who have gathered in Munich to convene a Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

It is significant that your gathering is held on the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion, an event of great historic breadth, which put an end to the long division of the Russian nation incurred by the tragic troubles in our Fatherland 100 years ago.

I am happy that many of you were able to participate in the great consecration of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ and the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in Sretensky Monastery, which took place on the feast day of the Ascension of the Lord. It was on this very feastday in 2007 that, on the ambo of Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, His Holiness Patriarch Alexey II of Moscow and All Russia and His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus of Eastern America and New York inscribed their signatures on the historic Act, opening for us the possibility of praising and glorifying the Most-Holy Name of God “with one mouth and one heart,” and of partaking from one Chalice of Christ. Our joint services in this newly-built church became our common grace-filled prayer to the Lord, Who by His Omnipotent hand led us to the desired unity. Today, ten years later, we bear witness to the good fruits of this unity, fully sensing ourselves members of a single ecclesiastical organism.

Expressing my gratitude to you for your selfless witness to Orthodox Christianity, I call upon you to continue with the same fervor to “edify the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).

To mark the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion, and in recognition of the your zealous labors in strengthening the spiritual unity we have recovered, I deem it worthy to bestow upon the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, the right to wear two panagias within the spiritual territory entrusted to him.

I invoke Divine blessings upon the efforts of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

+ KYRILL, PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA

100 Years On: The End of Anglican Orthodoxy and Reality

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

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

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

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

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

May 2017: The Third Episcopal Visit to our New Diocese

The reborn Diocese of the British Isles and Ireland of the Church Outside Russia has received its third episcopal visit in four months, this time one made by Bishop Irenei of Sacramento, accompanied by the Myrrh-Giving Hawaiian Iveron Icon. The backlog of outstanding pastoral problems dating back many years has been further shortened and two more priests ordained, as requested fifteen months ago. However, the list of candidates for ordination is lengthening, with six more in the Colchester parish alone. With us local Orthodox having been visited by a bishop twice in the previous twenty years for a few short hours only, we have now been visited by a bishop twice in four months and for days each time.

Each recent visit to the Diocese has been much, much longer than any in the previous thirty years. Thus, on Saturday 13 May there took place the first ever Diocesan pilgrimage to St Albans. This was attended by about 200 faithful, a great many of whom took communion in front of the very fragrant Icon. There followed a service of intercession to St Alban in front of his holy relics. Then Vladyka was taken to Colchester where he was shown the main church, dedicated to our former Archbishop St John of Shanghai (+ 1966), which is the largest Russian Orthodox church in the British Isles and Ireland. He also visited the second (winter) church, dedicated to All the Saints of these Isles. There followed the Vigil Service in the main church.

On the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, at the Divine Liturgy took place a long-awaited tonsure and priestly ordination, the first ever to take place in the Colchester parish. Communion was, as usual, out of two chalices, all four priests in this multinational parish, English, New Zealand, Romanian and Bulgarian, three of whom have come in the last year, two of whom have been ordained in the last two months, concelebrating with Vladyka. The Icon streamed myrrh and an accompanying monk commented that he had never seen so much myrrh given out by the Icon, literally dripping with it, which is a great consolation after so many years. After this, all ate in the Church Hall and then we visited a retired and ill priest who lives to the east of Colchester.

On Monday 15 May Vladyka visited the site of St Botolph’s seventh-century monastery in picturesque and remote Iken, whose thatched church particularly impressed him. Having read the canon to the saint, we then went on to Dunwich and its museum, where we ate. Then we headed for Burgh Castle, behind whose high Roman walls once probably stood St Fursey’s monastery. Vladyka then made his way to St Alexander Nevsky parish church in Norwich for a service of intercession to the Mother of God at 5.00 with all of the flock who were able to get away from work. Then there was tea in the parish kitchen, after which Vladyka went on to the private chapel at Mettingham in the north of Suffolk for another service.

During his ten-day visit Vladyka was able to visit other parishes, in London, Birkenhead, Cheltenham and Oxford, as well as the parish in Cardiff in Wales. It is our great hope that he will return in August to visit others, especially the parishes in Ireland, perhaps accompanied again by the extraordinary and previously little-known miraculous Iviron Icon from Hawaii. As we desperately need a monastery in our diocese, we hope that he could help found one for our English monks. However, our greatest and long-held hope is that he will come and live here permanently, uniting Russian Orthodox of all nationalities in these islands.

A Prophetic Anniversary

В Москве прошла конференция к 10-летию воссоединения Русской Церкви

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

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

Christ is Risen!

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction

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

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

Seven Local Churches and Ten Groups

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

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

Four Choices

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

1. The Paris Deanery (also called the Exarchate)

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

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

2. The Antiochian (Arab) Diocese

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hopes for the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) Diocese in the British Isles and Ireland

55 years ago, in 1962, St John of Shanghai left London and our local ROCOR diocese with these prophetic words: ‘I entrust you to the care of St Alban, your Protomartyr’. This was indeed the case, for St John was succeeded by two elderly and ill bishops who spoke little English, and then for thirty years the Diocese had no resident bishop. With just occasional visits to the small London parish, the result was that the Diocese nearly died out. Everything changed in March 2016, when the parishes of the Diocese, in profound crisis, one by one asked for direct pastoral care from His Grace Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) and a young and dynamic assistant bishop in the USA, who at once saw the enormous frustrated potential and were in favour of venerating St Alban and all the local saints. This was effectively a ROCOR Brexit. (Moreover, with pressure from ROCOR in England, in March 2017 St Alban was at long last officially included in the Russian Orthodox calendar by the Synod in Moscow).

With a stream of new clergy and two more priests to come shortly, with, for the first time in its history, representatives in Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Cornwall, the Anglo-Celtic Orthodox Diocese of the Isles is at last moving forward. This is to be affirmed on 13 May with the first Diocesan pilgrimage to St Alban in St Albans, just as St John wanted 55 years ago. With support from new bishops, the once exhausted clergy and people of the Diocese are now looking to the future. In the Eastern half of England, with four priests (none of them Russian), two of them looking after the new parishes in Norwich and Bury St Edmunds and two in Colchester, and perhaps another priest and deacon to come, we can now at last look to catering for the vast and still unmet pastoral challenges in the region. Massive immigration from Orthodox Eastern Europe over the last twelve years has created a huge pastoral crisis, which official Orthodox representatives have failed to deal with.

True, the untrained, former Anglican clerics of the Antiochian jurisdiction, which has no ethnic constituency or liturgical or other tradition, has picked up mainly modernistic and unChurched immigrants who do not confess, but has not for the most part been able to Church them. The Balkan jurisdictions have shown little interest in pastoral care for their own economic refugees. The Russian jurisdictions also. One, until recently obsessed with the centralizing, inward-looking cult of a dead man and false ethnic problems, which together created a very harmful schism, is almost infrastructure-less as a result of a total lack of vision. The other, also once London-centred, long paralysed by a dead and inward-looking nationalistic cult of the past and unwilling to implement the missionary activity that would have taken place if it had not become nationalistic, has also lacked any sense of reality and hope for the future. A lack of vision always means a lack of mission. ‘Let the dead bury the dead’.

Cut free of the deadwood of the past, all is now possible, at least for ROCOR. What are our next targets after the new parishes of St John of Shanghai in Colchester (Essex), St Alexander Nevsky in Norwich (Norfolk) and St Edmund in Bury St Edmunds (Suffolk)? It is to set up five more viable communities, faithful to the uncompromised Orthodox Tradition of the Russian Church, but fully open to the native languages and peoples in the eastern half of England in:

1. Cambridgeshire – Ely / March/ Wisbech, dedicated to St Audrey.
2. Kent – Canterbury, dedicated to Christ the Saviour.
3. Yorkshire – York, dedicated to Sts Constantine and Helen.
4. South London – Croydon, dedicated to St John of Kronstadt.
5. North London – St Albans, dedicated to St Alban.

Outside the East, we also see possibilities.

6. Scotland, where there is a great need to incorporate the rich and pure Gaelic Orthodox Tradition of Mary, Columba and Brigid into the Church.

7. Cornwall, the peninsula of ancient Celtic saints, born out of the Egyptian monastic tradition of Orthodoxy, dedicated to St Antony the Great.

These seven targets are very modest: ultimately, beyond them there are many, many other places that need looking after, from Sussex to the Midlands and the North-East. Our ultimate aim is to own one permanent church and one trained priest, that is, to have liturgical centres, in each county of each of the four countries in the Isles, with at least four in London. At least continuing with these seven targets after the first three would start to reverse the disastrous decades of backward-looking and inward-looking indifference, abandonment and neglect. At least this would be a beginning. The long backlog of candidates for the clergy, who have been patiently waiting for years, are now being ordained. But there is far, very far, to go, after the four wasted decades in the battle for survival against all the odds. It has been the wait and weight of a lifetime.