Category Archives: Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

Why ‘Orthodox England’ and Why the Church Outside Russia?

Q: Why is the ‘Orthodox England’ site called that? Since you were born with British nationality and must have a British passport, why is it not called ‘Orthodox Britain’? And why are you, a Russophile, in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and not directly under the Patriarchal Church in Moscow?

A: Here there are actually four different questions. Let me answer each of them in turn.

  1. Initially, ‘Orthodox England’ was a quarterly journal, first published on 1 September 1997, after some 25 years of wonderings. The actual website was launched over three years later in the first year of the new 21st century. Although the journal continued for twenty years, appearing every quarter without fail until 2017 when the website took over altogether, today it is the website which is much better known.

When the journal was launched in 1997, interest in the Orthodox Church and Faith among the native peoples of these Islands, as indeed ever since the first real interest appeared in the 1960s, was still often, though not always, coloured by two small groups. Unfortunately, these groups were encouraged by some of the local Orthodox episcopate. Hampered by the inferiority complex of the immigrant and refugee, they wanted to be more Establishment than the Establishment and forgot the people.

On the one hand, there was a conservative faction, sometimes quite wealthy, who at times imitated false ideas of Russianness or Greekness. In extreme cases, some of them even dressed like Russian peasants with huge beards (the last Russian peasants had stopped doing that 100 years ago and real Russians were naturally astonished at such eccentric behaviour, as were we). They spoke English, scattered with mispronounced and misunderstood Russian words. Or else there were those who bought second homes in Greece and mixed in a few words of Greek with upper-class accents and thought they were Greek Orthodox. I saw all this and wondered at the strangeness of it all.

I think such people mainly saw Orthodoxy as oriental exotica, perhaps useful to bolster souls that had been hurt and wanted to be different. Some, bored with financially secure and humdrum lives, gave an impression of Orthodoxy as though it were not actually Christianity, but some escapist and esoteric cult. They certainly did not want the riff-raff joining them, but wanted tiny, exclusive, private chapels. Some were in love with an idea and were looking for an intellectual plaything, a cult with a ‘mystical’ guru or ‘starets’, an ashram and a mantra for those with more money and philosophical books than common sense. And they soon found the pseudo-mystical Russians to exploit their romantic fantasies and take their money. This was certainly easier than living a Church Christian way of life, that is, loving the Cross of the Orthodox way of life.

On the other hand, there was a liberal faction, also sometimes quite wealthy, who appeared to want a kind of Anglican Orthodoxy, the ‘Byzantine Liturgy’ (whatever that is) with a Protestant mentality and hymns and, obviously, the Roman Catholic (so-called ‘new’) calendar. Some of these basically wanted to remain Anglican, but to have more exclusivity than wishy-washy, ‘make it up as you go’, ‘believe whatever you want’, State-invented Anglicanism could ever provide. This could be called ‘Anglican vicar syndrome’, and at times it seemed indeed to be about a misogynistic rejection of lady vicars, without love for the real Church and Her sufferings.

A very strange reason for joining the Orthodox Church. Such were often especially devoted either to Constantinople Orthodoxy (much more acceptable to the British Establishment, which had already vetted Prince Philip and loved that freemasonry), or else to the curious liberal and aristocratic deviations from Russian Orthodoxy within the Church of Constantinople (which was already then controlled by the CIA and before that had been controlled by MI6). Such people had little time for real, down-to-earth and martyred Russian Orthodoxy. Today the few such people still like this still tend to be Russophobes and also Liberal Democrat Remoaners.

As for us plebs, we were harshly persecuted and slandered by both the above conservative and liberal factions. And factions they were, as can be seen by their ever-continuing factionalism, with tiny schisms and continual infighting, all about nothing really. These splits of the ‘three men and a dog’ type were about divisive backbiting. This was brought as baggage into their fringes of the Church from the infighting of Protestantism, which mentality they did not exchange for Christianity.

Unlike them, I wanted to make clear that Orthodoxy and England can and must go together. If Christ had come for everyone, then it meant that He had come for us too. Orthodoxy and England need not be separate and disincarnate. Just as Christ has a Divine and a human nature in One Person, so there is Orthodox Russia, Orthodox Romania, Orthodox Greece, and so too there can be Orthodox England (as also Orthodox Ireland, Orthodox Scotland and Orthodox Wales), something really English and also Orthodox (and not half-Orthodox, Anglican and Non-Orthodox). For no Church can be founded on the basis of the psychological factionalism of the bruised ego, but only on the basis of the theological Tradition of the Holy Spirit.

  1. As regards Britain, it does not exist – it is a purely political construct. True, the Romans had governed ‘Britain’, but that was before the English arrived. The Normans wanted to recreate pagan Roman Britain, but they failed to reconstruct what had by then already become a myth. After all, the vast majority of the population were by then English, the best of whose elite the Normans exiled and the rest of whose population they decimated. Similarly, in order to subdue the Celtic ‘Welsh’, who had arrived here over 500 years before even the Romans and joined the original inhabitants, the Normans had to massacre and oppress them too with their giant castles.

It was only in the eighteenth century, on the basis of Protestant Tudor imperialism and piracy and afterwards of the appalling genocide of the Leninist monster Cromwell, that the idea of Britain was reborn. First, in 1707 corrupted and bribed Scots voted for union with (i.e. repression by) the slave-trading, ‘Rule Britannia’, John Bull merchants who had beheaded the King, seized control of Parliament and dubbed themselves ‘British’. Corrupted and bribed Irish followed into ‘union’ in 1801.

Today, many English people themselves want freedom from British (= Norman/Establishment/ London) oppression, let alone the Irish (true, they partly obtained it 100 years ago), the Scots and the Welsh. There is no such thing as Britain, let alone ‘British’ saints or ‘British Orthodoxy’, indeed there has never been a ‘British Church’. Like ‘Britishness’ itself, this is all an Establishment myth. The only fully Christian project on the cards today or tomorrow is to be part of the Russian Orthodox Church and its newly-founded Patriarchal Exarchate of Western Europe, at present under Metropolitan Antony.

There is no doubt that this is the foundational structure of the future Western European Orthodox Church, of which all full-hearted and politically free Orthodox will in due course become part. Together, whatever our present diocese, we can build this new Church on the firm rock of real Orthodoxy. We cannot build it on the shifting sand of some CIA-controlled political compromise with politically-appointed bishops and immensely provincial nationalism, including English nationalism. That puts a mere language and a mere culture above Christ. Nationalism is always at heart pagan, because it reveres part of Creation, not the Creator. Christ is spiritually and morally irrelevant to nationalism, as we saw with Hitler’s nationalism.

  1. I am no more Russophile than I am Greekophile, Romaniaophile, Moldovaophile (though I do have a soft spot for Moldovans!) or Anglophile. I am an Orthodoxophile, that is, a Christophile. And you?
  2. In the early sixties there began a period of spectacular injustices in the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), which opened with certain loveless bishops putting our saint, John of Shanghai and Western Europe, on trial in the USA. Such a thing was another act of the Pharisees and Pilate. It continued with the ordinations of bad men to the priesthood and the suspensions of good priests. This tried the long-suffering of us all. We sighed in resignation and put all our hope in God, not in men, and waited for better times. These aberrations were all due to a powerful minority in ROCOR who had lost their roots and wandered off into a US-financed nationalist darkness.

This was the dark night of the narrow and censorious ritualism of the political pharisees. They had quite cast aside compassionate love, the very chiefest idea of the founding First Hierarch of ROCOR, Metropolitan Antony of Kiev, and the only idea which bestows spiritual, moral and canonical authority and meaning on the Church organisation. Battling us and persecuting us, those elements received their first major defeat only in 2007, when at long last ROCOR managed to begin its long return to its historic and missionary destiny. That destiny was and is to remain faithful to the Orthodox Christianity of Holy Rus, but with one vital difference – to be local at the same time. This is possible (and necessary) precisely because we are ‘outside Russia’ and not in Moscow.

The Russian Orthodox Church, centred in Moscow, cannot found new Local Churches in Western Europe and the New World (North America, Latin America and Oceania) without us (and of course without others). Yes, they have administrative abilities, central infrastructure and, at least sometimes, the necessary missionary vision, but we have the local knowledge, the languages, the translations and the cultural references of the people. The people are with us. These are what is needed to gather the people together around Christ and establish new Local Churches which are to become part of the restored Orthodox Commonwealth.

Without us at the grassroots, all that exists is a hollow structure, diplomatic links with elites and, less attractively, the sad consequences of the errors of the Soviet past, from which I and many others have so much suffered. Once Moscow is fully freed of the bad habits dating back to Peter I, so disastrously multiplied by the Soviet period (centralisation, bureaucracy, temptations of power and money and false ‘spiritual fathers’), we will be able to found the new Local Churches which are our inevitable future. In the meantime, we have to continue to serve the people whom God sends us every day from everywhere.

I may not live to be a priest of the coming Western European Orthodox Church. I may not live to see an England liberated from the British myth and so obtain an English passport. I may not live to see the dream of an IONAn (Isles of the North Atlantic) Confederation of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with a Confederal Assembly on the Isle of Man, looking out on the four nations. Nevertheless, I still believe that my direct descendants will see at least much of this. We work for a much greater idea than a bishop or patriarch or jurisdiction, we work for our common future, for the One Eternal Idea and Reality, for the Kingdom of God.

A Centenary Icon for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

Introduction

Our Russian Orthodox Faith in the Holy Trinity has long been expressed by the words: ‘For the Faith, For the Tsar, For Rus’, which represent the actions of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit throughout the Russian Orthodox Lands all over the world. These words were expressed in recent history in the lives of the Three Saints of the Russian Emigration, the Three New Hierarchs, the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy.

St Jonah

‘For the Faith’ was expressed by St Jonah of Hankou (+ 1925), the first saint of the Emigration. Fleeing as a refugee with other White Russians to China and absolutely faithful to the fullness of Russian Orthodoxy, within a very short time of becoming a bishop at a very young age in Manchuria, he established an orphanage, a school and a dining hall for the poor. Thus he combined the love of the Liturgy with practical love for our neighbour, as the Gospel calls us to do, for ‘Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you’ (Matt. 6.33). This is indeed the essence of the Orthodox Christian Faith. St Jonah expressed faithfulness in the face of the betrayal of the Faith by others.

St Seraphim

‘For the Faith and for the Tsar’ was expressed a generation later by St Seraphim of Boguchar (+ 1950). He fearlessly expressed the historic values of Russian Orthodoxy in his writings and was a Defender of Orthodoxy against the heresies of the renovationist Paris School in the 1930s and against ecumenism, notably at the Moscow Council of 1948. In his study ‘The Russian Ideology’, he asked: What is the role of the Tsar? He answered that the Tsar is the incarnation of our Faith in social, political and economic affairs. All this has become very relevant today, in the wake of the events that have followed the 2016 meeting in Crete organized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. St Seraphim lived for decades outside Russia, but never made any compromise with the Orthodox Faith at any time, including in the last few years of his life. He expressed bravery in the face of the cowardice of others before the political pressures of the powerbrokers of this world.

St John

All of these values, ‘For the Faith and for the Tsar and for Rus’ were expressed by St John of Shanghai and San Francisco (+ 1966) two decades after St Seraphim. The first ‘universal saint’, as St John has been called, he defended the Orthodox Faith and the Tsar from their enemies. He lived all over the planet, celebrating the Liturgy and preaching in many languages, extending the understanding and practice of ‘Rus’ worldwide far beyond East Slavdom, which itself stretches from Carpatho-Russia to the shores of the Pacific. Thus, outside those lands we speak of American Rus, Argentinian Rus, Australian Rus, Canadian Rus, English Rus, French Rus, German Rus, Irish Rus, Italian Rus, Peruvian Rus, Swiss Rus and so on. Wherever, worldwide, there is the uncorrupted Christian Faith of the people of the Russian Orthodox world, there is Rus. St John expressed the truth which sets us free from the deceit of those who do not love Christ and His Holy Church.

The Three Saints and the Six Continents

The Russian Emigration expressed the truths ‘For the Faith, for the Tsar, for Rus’ with a more refined purity and much more extended significance than ever before. The three values of faithfulness, bravery and truthfulness were above all expressed by the Three New Hierarchs, after apostates expressed the opposite of ‘For the Faith, for the Tsar and For Rus’ in their ‘treachery, cowardice and deceit’ which caused the 1917 Revolution and brought persecution to the faithful. And these Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy completed their lives on three different continents: St Jonah in China in Asia; St Seraphim in Bulgaria in Europe and St John in San Francisco in North America. It is this, the global reality of Rus, which the Church inside Russia is now learning from us in our outposts here.

It is for this reason that we now have their Icon in our Church in Colchester, showing the Three Saints full length against the blue and green background of the planet – St John walking and blessing North and South America (where his parents went to live), St Seraphim walking and blessing Europe and Africa (where some of his spiritual children went to live), and St Jonah walking and blessing Asia and Oceania (where some of his spiritual children went to live). All of them walk beneath the Protecting Veil of the Directress of the Church here, the Kursk-Root Mother of God, the Icon of the Sign, She Who Shows the Way.

Thus, in this global age, we see all six inhabited Continents of the planet beneath the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God, blessed by the Three New Hierarchs, the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy, the Three Saints of the Emigration, St Jonah, St Seraphim and St John. Their feasts, on 20 October, 26 February and 2 July respectively are spread almost equally, every four months, throughout the Church year, and each represents a new generation of Church life. Together they represent the essential identity, unique service, planetary mission and future of our whole Russian Orthodox Church, come forth from the past of Imperial Russia, now living in the present and worldwide.

Conclusion

All three saints are part of the historic contribution of the twentieth century to the common worldwide mission of our reunited Russian Orthodox Church now and in the future. We know that our Russian Orthodoxy – like all Traditional Orthodoxy – is being persecuted by the alien and secular mentality which has infiltrated parts of the Orthodox world. What better symbol of our common struggle for the Faith than this Icon of the Three Saints, all the fruit of Imperial Russia, all the fruit of the One Russian Church, and all of them our offering to the whole world for our common future?

Parish of St John of Shanghai, Colchester, Essex

Feast of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia

25 January/7 February 2021

 

Convergence through Purification: The Future of Post-Soviet and Post-Émigré Russian Orthodoxy

Introduction

Following the 2007 reconciliation of 90% of the Russian Orthodox world outside Russia and the much larger Russian Orthodox world inside Russia, some wondered how the two parts would converge. After all, the two parts had distinctive identities, and little wonder, given the ninety years of mutual separation. That separation had been forced on the faithful by the 1917 overthrow of the old, Faith-based, Imperial Orthodox Civilisation by power-seeking Westernised aristocrats and money-loving bourgeois. The main part of the Church inside the Soviet Union had been cruelly persecuted and its organisation taken hostage by the atheist State for three generations of captivity. As for the much smaller part in exile, it had suffered from those who had little interest in the Gospel of Christ, of Orthodox Civilisation, but much interest in the Gospel of Mammon, of the unprincipled Capitalist West.

The Two Sides of the Past

Both parts shared in ideologies which at times were totally irrational, and dominated by reflexes which were certainly not theological, but emotional, folkloric, psychological and even, in some cases, pathological.

On the one hand, the post-Soviet part could display immense nationalism – to the incredible point of admiring its persecutor, Stalin – and had a centralised and bureaucratic State mentality, reflected in the indifferent attitudes of some careerist paid clergy who perhaps did not even believe in God. Certainly these showed little visible signs of faith. This went hand in hand with the attitudes of secularist Westernisers who admired the power and wealth of the Vatican (another State-Church, or rather Church-State). Among the post-Soviet people, deprived of Church education for 75 years, could be found an incredible range of absurd extremes and phariseeism, superstitions based on extraordinary ignorance, resulting in misunderstandings and false problems, which had long ago been solved by Orthodox living in the Western world, from whom they refused to learn, blinkered by their nationalism.

On the other hand, the émigré part could also display immense nationalism, only an anti-Soviet nationalism, with a cultural nostalgia for a disappeared past and phariseeism. It refused to understand mass Orthodoxy, rejecting it, isolating itself in the cosy, inward-looking clubbiness of tiny ghettos. It would refuse any non-Russians, making absurd demands of them. To quote many real examples, there were those who preferred to see their church close rather than see non-Russians there. ‘After us, the deluge’. Others said: Let the church close, we will be dead soon and no-one will need it’. One elderly priest told his parishioners that there was no point in his baptising their children, as soon he would be dead and no-one would replace him. Indeed, he soon died and no-one did replace him. I also heard 35 years ago: ‘I would sooner see our church close than hear a word that is not Russian inside it’.

In the Here and Now

Today we live in a world which is both post-Soviet and post-émigré. Both died out and are buried. Those aged under thirty scarcely understand what the words Soviet and émigré mean. They live in the real world.

In the real Orthodox world we see small, provincial, Balkanised churches, in other words, mere nationalist clubs. In the words of members of the Patriarchate of Constantinople (including priests): ‘You cannot join us, you are not dark enough to be Orthodox’ (= Greek). Or: ‘Romanians only’. Or, in one Ukrainian church: ‘If you are not Ukrainian, go away’. Or in one Serbian church: ‘If you are not Serb, you may come in, but you may not kiss the icon of St Sava, as you are not Serb’. Or, as one Georgian priest told me: ‘God only speaks Georgian’. And an elderly Russian woman, sunk in her dark and unrebuked ignorance, told me that ‘God only understands Slavonic’. Such churches have no spiritual relevance and will, as they deserve, die out as most of them already have. Their disappearance is no loss, as their museum existence has no spiritual significance or justification.

The only Local Orthodox Church which is large enough and has the spiritual and intellectual breadth to overcome such petty and divisive nationalism, the curse of the small Local Churches, is the Russian Church. Three-quarters of the whole Church of God, the multinational Russian Church alone has the potential to overcome such provincial narrowness. Its imperial past, its double-headed eagle looking and uniting east and west, is the point around which both groups, inside Russia and outside Russia, and other Local Churches, can converge. For the Soviet period is just as much in the past as is that of the Russian emigration. We do not live in history books, we read them. We live, and are saved, in the here and now. Today, as never before, the Church faces a global challenge and it can only meet this by showing Her catholicity, Her unity in diversity, Her unity of faith at all times and in all places.

Conclusion

In order to overcome the nationalism, provincialism and parochial narrowness of many and to be relevant in today’s global world, the Russian Orthodox Church has to show Her multinationalism. In order to overcome Her former division, She has to show that She is above all provincial variations. The convergence of all requires the courage of purification. And there is no greater example of this than the courage and purification of the one figure who unites us unanimously, the Emperor and Saint, Tsar Nicholas II. He was of international origin, his mother Danish, he spoke five languages and intended to build a church in every European capital and translate the service books into the European languages. And his Tsarina was an Anglo-German convert. They, their five children and their servants, are saints. We need no greater example of multinational Churchliness for our future.

 

 

Hot News: The Cold War Is Over!

The Church Has Only One Enemy: Ourselves.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Towards the Fifth Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

Foreword

At the present time, in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) are thinking about the significance of this our centenary year. Many will be thinking about the past, the last hundred years, and its important events. However, I would rather focus on the future, though it is also perfectly true that we cannot think of our future if we do not first understand our past. Here is a small offering.

Introduction: Four Councils

Church Councils are called whenever major decisions have to be taken, whenever there are controversies, for which solutions are urgently needed. Thus, a period without Councils can in some respects be seen as a calm and positive period, a period without divisive controversies. For we do not hold Councils just for the sake of them. This is as true of the Seven Universal (Oecumenical) Councils as it is of Local Councils. Thus, in the one hundred year history of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), which was founded effectively by a Russian and an American citizen, St Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow, by his decree No 362 of 20 November 1920, four ‘All-Diaspora’ ROCOR Councils of clergy and laity have so far taken place. These were in 1921, 1938, 1974 and 2006. Although not occurring exactly every generation, they have in effect marked generational change, turning-points in our history.

The Four Councils

  1. The First Council – Foundation and Organisation – 1921

The First Council was called by Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev, who was the most senior Russian bishop forced into exile. It took place in 1921 in Sremsky Karlovtsy, in what later became Yugoslavia, with the blessing of the Serbian Orthodox Church. This was in the foundational period of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and this Council was devoted to organizing administrative and canonical structures for the Church. In this way, the thirty-four Russian bishops forced into exile worldwide were able to establish a united Church structure of metropolia, dioceses and parishes for their flocks, composed almost uniquely of Russian Orthodox refugees.

  1. The Second Council – Consolidation and Pastoral Care – 1938

The Second Council was held in 1938, also in Sremsky Karlovtsy. This Council, led by the second primate of ROCOR, Metropolitan Anastasy (Gribanovsky), consolidated the organization of the Church for the second generation. It considered the spiritual rebirth needed by the émigré flock and the new generation, the struggles against sectarianism, political schisms, the persecutions of the Church inside Russia and the missionary sense of the Russian Diaspora. Here, ROCOR continued to assert that ‘the part of the Russian Church which is outside Russia is an indissoluble, spiritually united branch of the Russian Church. She does not separate Herself from the Mother Church and is not autocephalous’.

  1. The Third Council – Resistance and Canonisation – 1974

The Third Council was held in 1974 at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, under the third primate of ROCOR, Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky). Facing the challenges met by the third generation, this Council examined Church life in the ever more difficult conditions of the Western world where most had been born or were settled for ever. It also called for unity among the parts of the Russian Diaspora that were in schism from the Church Outside Russia. It noted the dangers of ecumenism and modernism in Church life and the need to resist these disintegrating movements. It also drew attention to the continuing persecution of the Church inside Russia, thus paving the way for the heroic and history-changing canonisation of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in 1981.

  1. The Fourth Council – Reconciliation and Mission – 2006

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and so the end of persecution, the situation of the Church inside Russia changed radically. ROCOR now had to re-examine attitudes to the once Soviet-enslaved Church and hierarchy there. Following the long-awaited canonization of the New Martyrs and Confessors in Moscow in 2000, which confirmed the ROCOR canonisation of 1981, and other acts showing new freedom and at last the beginning of the multi-generational process of de-Sovietisation, in 2003 the ROCOR Council of Bishops entered into dialogue with the Patriarchal administration. Very important questions had arisen, relating to normalizing relations with the Church inside Russia and to ROCOR’s temporary self-governance, which in its fourth generation needed to become permanent. Also examined were issues regarding ROCOR’s future identity, purpose and mission as an integral yet also spiritually independent part of the Western world, with only very few of the faithful, many of them born in the ex-Soviet Union, ever intending to return to their impoverished native lands.

The Fifth Council?

In 2020, our centenary year, no-one is as yet talking about the need for a Fifth Council. Indeed, such a Council could easily be a generation away, in 2045, or even after. However, whatever may happen, it is clear that there are temptations to avoid in the second century of our existence. These temptations come about because, whatever our origins and native languages, we, the fifth generation, and our children, grandchildren and all our descendants in the 21st and perhaps 22nd centuries, are here to stay. We are clearly outside both disappeared (Imperial) Russia and the disappeared Soviet Union. We are not abroad. We are not a Diaspora.

Indeed, most of us are not Russian, but Ukrainian, Moldovan, Latvian, Kazakh, American, English, Australian, but most hold the passports of Anglosphere countries. Though there are faithful in Germany as well as in Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Venezuela and other countries, most members of our Church now belong to the English-speaking world, whether to the USA, which is our centre and almost unique source of bishops, or Canada, Australia, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand or countries in some way dependent on the Anglosphere (Costa Rica, Haiti, Jamaica etc). In this, our real situation, what are the two temptations to avoid, temptations which in one way or another will certainly be discussed at any future Fifth Council?

  1. The Temptation of being a Church, but not Local

The first temptation to avoid is that of ceding to any form of political pressure from Russia, direct or indirect, and so becoming a mere mouthpiece for some form of post-Soviet nationalism. This was the error of parts of the old ROCOR, which died out because they looked back only to a disappeared past, a past that was irrelevant to the generations born here. Any forms of nationalism and cultural nostalgia, Russian, Soviet, post-Soviet or other, are not the way to go. They are an indulgence that rapidly becomes spiritually perilous. That is the way to the ghetto which will inevitably die out, like all ghettoes, the way to the old people’s home and the cemetery.

  1. The Temptation of being Local, but not a Church

The second temptation to avoid is that of ceding to local Western pressure, direct pressure by persecution from local Western States or indirect pressure by assimilation, and becoming, like so many ‘ethnic’ and flag-waving ‘jurisdictions’ of so many nationalities, just another mouthpiece for US/Western nationalism and secularism. Then we would be just another secularist organization, integrated not into Western society but into Western secularism, an organisation with a mere religious and ethnic façade, that has lost its identity, except for titles, folkloric food recipes and folk dancing and costumes. Salt that has lost its savour. Such organisations are always absorbed and disappear into history.

Conclusion

In order to avoid both temptations we must at one and the same time be faithful to the (Imperial) Russian Orthodox Tradition which we have gratefully received from the past of ROCOR and continue to receive, but also be local in the present, for the sake of the future. We must be transcendent, but also immanent, be godly, but also incarnate locally, be divine, but also human. We must be pastoral and so stop losing generation after generation of young people through their assimilation. We have to look back to our inheritance, but also to be incarnate in our present for the sake of our future. In short, we have to be a real Church, but also really Local.

 

On 35 years of Service at the Altar in France, Portugal and England

46 years ago, in 1974, after six years of waiting, I was at last able to move to a town which had a Russian Orthodox church: at that time there were only two permanent Russian Orthodox churches and four chapels in the whole of England. Later I worked in Greece and studied at seminary in Paris. Exactly 39 years ago I was tonsured reader by Metropolitan Antony Bloom at the Ennismore Gardens Cathedral in Knightsbridge. In the last 35 years since being ordained deacon at St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris on 27 January 1985, God has allowed me to serve His Church in many countries in Western Europe, in France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Portugal, by the grace of God setting up the first ever Russian Orthodox church in Lisbon and then some the first ever churches and communities in Eastern England.

Thus, this church began in tiny temporary premises in Felixstowe, which then moved to my native town of Colchester, as soon as I had raised the funds to buy the first suitable property which appeared, here in Colchester. I then did the same in Norwich, raising the funds to buy, convert and equip premises. I have also served and serve in Bury St Edmunds and Wisbech and made missionary travels all over Eastern England, including to Kent and Yorkshire. Others have been brought back into our Church in the East of England from suspension and schism, notably a reader and two priests, and I have also obtained three new priests for our Diocese, Fr Ion here, Fr Spasimir for Norwich, Fr Yaroslav for London and, God willing, very soon a fourth for our church here. After 22 years of struggle, I was honoured when the Synod awarded me the gold cross for this tenacity in the face of every discouragement. I thank God for everything, as He has done all these things using us all as His instruments. Glory to God for all things!

Archpriest Andrew Phillips

The Baptism of the Lord, 19 January 2020

 

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

Предисловие:Советский Союз и Русь

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

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

Империя в географическом смысле и в духовном

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

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

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

Настоящий третий Рим?

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

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

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

Заключение

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

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

 

Протоиерей Андрей Филлипс,

Храм свт Иоанна Шанхайского,

Колчестер, Англия

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Introduction: The Soviet Union and Rus

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

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

A Geographical Empire and a Spiritual Empire

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

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

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

A Real Third Rome?

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

 

 

An Icon for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

Our Russian Orthodox Faith in the Holy Trinity has long been expressed by the words: ‘For the Faith, For the Tsar, For Rus’, which represent the actions of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit throughout Rus. These words were expressed in recent history in the lives of the three ROCOR Saints, the Three New Hierarchs, the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy, the Three Saints of the Russian Emigration:

‘For the Faith’ was expressed by St Jonah of Hankou (+ 1925), the first ROCOR saint. Fleeing as a refugee with other White Russians to China and absolutely faithful to the fullness of Russian Orthodoxy, within a very short time of becoming a bishop at a very young age in Manchuria, he established an orphanage, a school and a dining hall for the poor. Thus he combined the love of the Liturgy with practical love for our neighbour, as the Gospel calls us to do, for ‘seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you’ (Matt. 6.33). This is indeed the essence of the Orthodox Christian Faith. St Jonah expressed faithfulness in the face of the betrayal of the Faith by others.

‘For the Faith and for the Tsar’ was expressed a generation later by St Seraphim of Boguchar (+ 1950). (1) He fearlessly expressed the historic values of Russian Orthodoxy in his writings and was a Defender of Orthodoxy against the heresies of the renovationist Paris School in the 1930s and against ecumenism, notably at the Moscow Council of 1948. He asked: What is the role of the Tsar? In his study ‘The Russian Ideology’, he answered that the Tsar is the incarnation of our Faith in social, political and economic affairs. This has become very relevant today, in the wake of the events that have followed the 2016 meeting in Crete organized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. St Seraphim expressed bravery in the face of the cowardice of others before the political pressures of the powerbrokers of this world.

All of these values, ‘For the Faith and for the Tsar and for Rus’ were expressed by St John of Shanghai and San Francisco (+ 1966). The first ‘universal saint’, as he has been called, he defended the Orthodox Faith and the Tsar from their enemies. He lived all over the planet, celebrating the Liturgy and preaching in many languages, extending the understanding and practice of ‘Rus’ worldwide far beyond East Slavdom, which itself stretches from Carpatho-Russia to the shores of the Pacific. Thus, in our Church we talk about American Rus, Argentinian Rus, Australian Rus, Canadian Rus, English Rus, French Rus, German Rus, Irish Rus, Italian Rus, Peruvian Rus, Swiss Rus and so on. Wherever, worldwide, there is the uncorrupted Christian Faith of the Russian Orthodox world, there is Rus. St John expressed the truth which sets us free from the deceit of those who do not love Christ and His Holy Church.

The Russian Emigration has expressed the truths ‘For the Faith, for the Tsar, for Rus’ with a more refined purity and much more extended significance than ever before. The values of faithfulness, bravery and truthfulness were above all expressed by the Three New Hierarchs after the ‘treachery, cowardice and deceit’ which caused the 1917 Revolution. And these Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy completed their lives on three different continents: St Jonah in China in Asia; St Seraphim in Bulgaria in Europe and St John in San Francisco in North America. It is this, the global reality of Rus, which the Church inside Russia is now learning about from us.

It is for this reason that we propose an Icon showing the Three Saints full length against the blue and green background of the planet – St John walking and blessing North and South America (where his parents went to live), St Seraphim walking and blessing Europe and Africa (where some of his spiritual children went to live), and St Jonah walking and blessing Asia and Oceania (where some of his spiritual children went to live), all beneath the Protecting Veil of the Directress of the Russian Emigration, the Kursk-Root Mother of God, the Icon of the Sign, She Who Shows the Way.

Thus, in this global age, we see all six inhabited Continents of the planet beneath the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God, blessed by the Three New Hierarchs, the Three New Pillars of Orthodoxy, the Three Saints of the Russian Emigration, St John, St Seraphim and St Jonah. Their feasts, on 20 October, 26 February and 2 July are spread almost equally, every four months, throughout the Church year and each represents a new generation of Church life. Together they represent the essential identity, unique service, planetary mission and future of our Church, come forth from the past of Imperial Russia: a mission which today is supported and supplemented by the free Patriarchal Church, of which we are a self-governing part.

 

Note 1:

Some might assert that our part of the Russian Church has only two saints, St Jonah and St John, since St Seraphim reposed as a member of the Moscow Patriarchate and was not canonized by the Church Outside Russia. However, unlike Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky), who spent fifteen years serving as a priest in the then captive Moscow Patriarchate in Communist China but only in 1962 was able to leave, St Seraphim, who reposed in 1950, had no choice in the matter, being unable to leave Communist Bulgaria. But like Metr Philaret, St Seraphim lived outside Russia and never made any compromise with the Orthodox Faith at any time in his life. His refusal to compromise is all the more important given that today most of our flock and many of our clergy were born and grew up in the former Soviet Union.

In today’s situation of the Patriarchal Church, free of the atheist yoke, St Seraphim can be seen as part of the contribution of the Church Outside Russia to the common glory of the Russian Orthodox world and its worldwide mission. And when we consider that our Russian Orthodoxy – and all Traditional Orthodoxy – is effectively being persecuted by an alien and secular mentality which has crept into parts of the Greek Orthodox world and which St Seraphim already opposed in his lifetime, his relevance is all the more important. As we know, a copy of this Icon is to be presented to His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill. What better symbol for our Patriarch of our common struggle than an Icon of St Seraphim together with St Jonah and St John, all the fruit of Imperial Russia, all the fruit of our part of the Russian Church and all our offering to the whole Russian Church and to the whole world for the future.

 

The Western Captivity is Ending: The Restoration of Orthodoxy is Gathering Strength

Introduction: Miracles

In 2007 the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and the Church inside Russia were miraculously reconciled before me, as I stood confessing ex-Soviet generals and others in the miraculously rebuilt Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Then, as a priest from the Rue Daru Archdiocese concelebrated, I did not think that it would take that Archdiocese another twelve tumultuous years to return to its Russian Mother Church. However, this miracle too has come about – in 2019 – and its Archbishop Jean has now become Metropolitan Jean. Who cannot be moved to see his photo, with that of the distinguished Protopresbyter Anatoly Rakovich and others, at last reunited with the Russian Church? Here are joy and triumph come from the grace of God.

True, his Metropolia is tiny, with only some sixty, mainly small, parishes, largely in France, but also in Belgium, the Netherlands and England. Nevertheless, it is both historic and important, as it includes many who have worked tirelessly for the Orthodox evangelization of mainly French-speaking countries in Western Europe, translating, presenting the Faith and celebrating the Liturgy. This unity became possible only after 2000, once the New Martyrs and Confessors had been canonized in Moscow. This meant that the Church inside Russia and its representatives abroad would now progressively be unshackled from enslavement to the State and from renovationism by their veneration for the New Martyrs and Confessors, who witnessed to Christ against both.

The Past

Thus, the century from 1917 on until today of colossal Orthodox decadence is coming to an end. Marked successively by the forced introduction of the Roman Catholic (‘new’) calendar, the spread of ecumenism, the shortening of the Liturgy, the dismantling of iconostases, the installation of chairs and pews in churches, the establishment of a largely homosexual and anti-monastic episcopate who persecute married clergy and monks alike, the contempt for the canons and the services and the absurd ideology of Eastern Papism, all led by Constantinople, controlled and manipulated  by Anglo-American geopolitics, and aped by others equally weak in faith, the decadence is ending. We thank God for this grace, for it comes from Him, not from men.

We naturally welcome this historic event with a joy beyond words. We helped in the fight against the double-bladed sword of renovationism and sectarianism everywhere, despite phenomenal injustices and persecution. Only our native Eastern English stubbornness helped; others, including a ROCOR Archbishop, told me that they would have given up long ago and walked away from the disgraceful and scandalous. The fight was harsh, the combat was rude. The Centre in Moscow, held captive by Communism and betrayed by renovationist internal enemies both inside and outside Russia, was occupied, the barbarians were inside the City. There was no alternative for those faithful to Russian Orthodoxy but to join one of the two Non-Moscow émigré groups.

The first group was the Church Outside Russia, ROCOR, worldwide and embracing over 85% of the Russian emigration. In the late 1940s, its Synod moved from Europe and has since been based in New York. Sadly, from the 1960s on it was to spend a long period darkened by the accession to power in it of those promoting Cold War sectarianism, phariseeism, ritualism, nationalism and CIA-funded politicking. In 2007 the sectarians left for the only place they could go – to various old calendarist sects. ROCOR now appears to be turning into the Russian Orthodox Church of the English-speaking world. Now dominated by the new immigration, the old largely having died out, the sectarian mentality has today been consigned to the dustbin of history.

The second group was Rue Daru, geographically limited to a few countries in Western Europe and embracing less than 15% of the Russian emigration. It has always been based in Paris. Founded by anti-Tsar, revolutionary, Saint Petersburg aristocrats, liberals, intellectuals and freemasons who soon broke away from ROCOR, it was from the start contaminated by a Western captivity to Protestant, pseudo-intellectual renovationism and fanatical Russophobia. This it later spread to the ex-Uniat Metropolia in the USA, which, today called the OCA, is only now freeing itself of its captivity after over fifty years. Now dominated by the new immigration, the old largely having died out, the renovationist mentality has today been consigned to the dustbin of history.

Conclusion: The Future

Today Metropolian Jean stands with authority, the aggressive enemies of Orthodoxy like the Fraternite, Struve, Behr and others who so persecuted and mocked us, gone. The obstacles they presented fell with their deaths and despite a few neo-renovationists, 1960s rebels against their émigré parents, agents of Western spy services, those married to or paid by Roman Catholics or arrived from Moscow in the 1990s with a political axe to grind, or naïve converts, nothing now stands in the way of restoring Orthodoxy and abandoning the hopelessly old-fashioned half-Catholic/half-Protestant ‘Euro-Orthodox’ mentality. This means restoring the Russian Tradition, abandoning the Catholic calendar and other liturgical and canonical eccentricities.

The remains of émigré Russian Orthodoxy, ROCOR in Western Germany, Switzerland and Great Britain, Rue Daru in France, and Moscow everywhere, are now in the One Russian Church. The Church has been cleansed; parasitic, secularist-minded elements have fallen away. The bad old days are over. Persecution by racists and renovationists is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. We have now moved a step closer to establishing a United Russian Orthodox Exarchate in Western Europe, faithful to the Tradition, venerating the local saints in the local languages, the foundation of the restored future Orthodox Church of Western Europe, our combat against the traitors and their injustices, and our dream of nearly fifty years, done. This is a miracle of God.