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About Ionan Orthodoxy: An Interview with Archbishop George of London

12 May 2041

Q: What is the territory of your Archdiocese?

AG: As you know, our Archdiocese is part of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe under Metropolitan John. This stretches from Ireland to Austria and Iceland to Sicily and includes the Latin, Germanic, Celtic and Basque peoples of Western Europe. Our Archdiocese includes the four now sovereign nations of England, Ireland (which was finally reunited five years ago, if you remember), Scotland and Wales. At present we have four bishops, myself, Bishop Patrick in Dublin, Bishop Andrew in Edinburgh and Bishop David in Cardiff. For our Local Synods we always use our premises on the Isle of Man, the only place from which all our four nations are visible.

Q: Why did you take the name Ionan for your Archdiocese?

AG: Originally, the name ‘Diocese of the Isles’ was suggested for the Archdiocese, but this was considered too vague, since there are isles all over the world. Then the name ‘Isles of the North Atlantic’ was suggested, so forming the acronym I.O.N.A. This conveniently refers to the Ionan Orthodox monasticism of St Columba, which originated in Egypt and came to Ireland via Gaul. Since St Columba’s monastery on Iona spread to England via Lindisfarne and from there Orthodoxy went south, converting much of England, and authentic monasticism had always been the one thing missing here, we felt that this was a good name.

Q: How did ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ come into being?

AG: As you know even into the early 21st century there were two forms of Orthodoxy in Western countries. The first was that which looked back to the ethnic homeland, which meant that in each Western European country there was a multitude of dioceses, called jurisdictions, each living in a sort of divisive ethnic ghetto and using mainly a language other than English. This was all right for first-generation immigrants, but it did not work for second and subsequent generations, who were simply assimilated into the Non-Orthodox milieu. And after three generations, 75 years, abroad, the first generation always died out and so the Church with it. It happened to the Russians in England (arrived by 1920) who had died out by 1995 and to the Greek-Cypriots in England (arrived by 1960) who had died out by 2035.

Q: What was the second form of Orthodoxy in the West?

AG: Seeing the obvious short-sightedness and failure of the above form, there were second and third-generation Russian intellectuals who by reaction took the opposite stance. Their second form of Orthodoxy consisted of merging all Orthodox, whatever their background, into a melting pot. Their common point was the lowest common denominator, that is, the ethnic identity of the (Non-Orthodox) host country. Their policy was then to sell this as the new and substitute ethnic identity of a new Local Church. This second form only developed in full in North America, where immigrants had begun arriving much earlier than in Western Europe, at the end of the nineteenth century, and where people were far more cut off from the roots of Orthodoxy than in Europe. In Europe we did not want to repeat that mistake.

Q: What was that mistake?

AG: It was the attempt to create an ‘American Orthodoxy’. That was a mistake because it put a culture, Non-Orthodox at that, above the Church. This was not a theological movement, but merely a sociological movement of adaptation and conformism. For example, through the inferiority complex of immigrants, most Orthodox churches in the US adopted pews and many of them organs, one institution tried to use a guitar accompaniment to the Divine Liturgy and adapt the theme tune of the cowboy film ‘Shenandoah’ to it. In other places the Divine Liturgy would be stopped at Christmas in order to sing Protestant Christmas carols!

Someone at the time drew a cartoon of an ‘All-American Patriarch’, a clean-shaven man in a clerical collar with a foolish grin on his face and a glass of coca-cola in his hand, like an advert for toothpaste. Of course, this was only a carton, but it did sum up the situation. At that time when the USA still ruled the world, there were actually individuals in the US who arrogantly and blindly imagined that this second form of Orthodoxy there was the only true form of Orthodoxy, that it was at the centre of the world and that it was their duty to colonize the rest of the world with it! In reality, of course, it was a mere provincial backwater experiment, to be allowed to die out quietly because this experiment simply pandered to the weaknesses of the host country. It placed the Church of God below heretical culture. That was blasphemous, which is why it was racked with scandals.

Q: But did the same temptation not occur in Europe, even if it did not have time to develop to the same extent as in the USA?

AG: Yes, of course, it occurred; human nature is the same everywhere, it was just that it took on different forms according to the local heterodox culture. The same thing has happened among unChurched, semi-Orthodox people in Greece, Romania and Russia. It is simply the heresy of phyletism. And make no mistake, it is a heresy because you can lose your soul in it – that is what a heresy is.

For example, in France a whole jurisdiction catered for a kind of ‘philosophical and aesthetic Orthodoxy’, ‘l’Orthodoxie a la francaise’, as one might say. This theory of Orthodoxy, or theorizing about Orthodoxy, did not present the Church as the Christian way of life, but as a complex and highly intellectual philosophy, full of long words and isms, which no-one really understood. Of course, it could have been expressed in very simple language, which everyone knew already. But as long as it sounded theoretically and philosophically fine, ‘cosmique’ as they used to say, all was fine, but of course, it was not fine and that jurisdiction died out, as it was built on sand, not on the Rock of the Faith. This theorizing was about the god of the philosophers in the language of philosophers, not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the language of the fishermen of Galilee. You simply cannot build a Local Church based on Non-Orthodox culture! That is common sense, but you could not say that out loud to those who were taken up by such delusions.

Q: What about in other countries in Europe?

AG: It happened everywhere, not just in France. For example, in Germany the first liturgical book to be translated was the Typikon. In other words, Orthodoxy there was confused with the Non-Orthodox German mindset and produced an Orthodoxy of rules, a stubborn, black and white system, without any flexibility, any understanding of the human component, which is what it is all about. They lost their way by confusing the means (the services) with the ends (the salvation of the soul). For instance, I remember one German priest refusing to give a woman communion because she was dressed in trousers. Well, she was of course wrong, but a few decades ago there was a fashion for women to dress in trousers (fortunately, long since over now). That was bad, but what right did the German priest have to excommunicate that woman? Suppose she had died in the night after she had been refused communion? That sin would have been on the conscience of that priest.

Q: And in England?

AG: It was the same thing again. The national weakness here was not theorizing or creating a book of rules, but it was to adapt Orthodoxy to the British Establishment, to create a compromised ‘Establishment Orthodoxy’, a ‘British Orthodoxy’. This State-controlled and State-worshipping Orthodoxy, that of converts from Anglicanism, was of course just a repeat of the Anglicanism that had long ago been invented by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. There were even two whole but tiny jurisdictions dedicated to this State-approved pietism. It was all salt that had lost its savour. Some such people used the treacherous, half-Norman Edward the Confessor as the mascot of their ‘Establishment Orthodoxy’. Of course, it all came to nothing and has died out now, largely a fantasy of the late-twentieth century and the curious personalities who reigned supreme in the bad old days then. It was very oppressive because, as they were emperors in new clothes, you were not allowed to contradict them!

All these examples show the danger of compromising the Faith with local culture. And all those who did so have now died out, as withered branches. And that is the answer to your question, how did ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ come into being. It came into being as the only living alternative to the two false alternatives – the ghetto or worldly compromise.

Q: So what do you base ‘Ionan Orthodoxy’ on?

AG: Simply, we put the Church and the Faith first. If we put the Kingdom of God, Orthodoxy, first, then all will fall into place, including the language that we use in services, which today is for about 90% in English, regardless of the ethnic origin of the parishioners, regardless of how well or how badly they speak another language. We are united by Orthodox Christianity, not by ethnic origins, and we are carried forward by the faithfulness to the Church and Her Tradition of the younger generations, who are all primarily English-speakers.

Q: You now have over 350 parishes in the British Isles and Ireland, all established quite solidly and with their own clergy and premises. Every city and town over 50,000 and the area around it is covered. This is quite unlike even 25 years ago, when the Russian Church, a small minority at that time, had mostly tiny communities with services once a month, borrowed premises and a suffered from a huge shortage of priests to go out and do vital missionary work in the area surrounding their churches. What about the other jurisdictions, which collectively still have over 50 parishes outside the Archdiocese?

AG: We live with them as good neighbours. People are free to join us and free to remain outside us. As you know, the parishes outside our jurisdiction are composed mainly of elderly people who settled here from various countries 50 years ago or more and they use very little English in their services. Virtually all the young people come to us. Time will show which way things will go. Live and let live.

Q: What is the future? Do you think of autocephaly?

AG: The Western European Metropolia, with just over 2,000 parishes now, is united, with six archdioceses, Iona, Scandinavia, Germania, Gallia, Italia and Hispania. True, the Metropolia has autonomy, but at the present time there is no desire at all for autocephaly. True, 2,000 parishes is more than in some other Local Churches, like the 700 parishes of the Hungarian Orthodox Church which recently became autocephalous, but a lot fewer than in others. Take China for example. That is still also an autonomous part of the Russian Church, even though it now has over 25,000 parishes. And the Russian Church Herself did not become autonomous for centuries, only after the Empire had fallen in New Rome. At present, I cannot see any reason to become autocephalous. That situation may of course change, especially in China, but not yet. It all takes time.

Q: Are you saying that autocephaly granted prematurely can be dangerous?

AG: Definitely. And especially in Western Europe.

Q: Why?

AG: Because Western Europe has for over a millennium veered between extremes which we do not want to repeat.

Q: Which extremes?

AG: The first is that of despotic centralism. This was the extreme of the pagan Roman Empire, which Charlemagne foolishly tried to revive and fortunately failed to, but it was indeed revived after 1050, causing Western Europe’s schism from the Church, and that lasted until the anti-Latin nationalist outburst of the Germanic Reformation. After that, despotic centralism was tried again by warmongers like Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler, and then by the EU Fourth Reich – and we all know how that ended.

Each time there was a reaction to this despotism – nationalism, and that led to terrible fratricidal wars in Europe, like the so-called ‘Wars of Religion’ in the 16th century, just as centralism created the World Wars. We do not want those extremes, we must follow the golden mean of unity in diversity, which is what we have in Ionan Orthodoxy and in the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe in general. Europe has to be a Confederation of Nations, not a Union, a United States of Europe, but not a series of warring, nationalist states either.

In the same way, the Tsardom of Rus, as it is now called, successfully overcame provincial Ukrainian nationalism a generation ago and reunited huge territories, one sixth of the world. However, it only did this by rejecting the old centralism of the Soviet Union, which had done so much damage to its credibility. Once it had done that, again on the basis of unity in diversity, all of Eastern Europe joined in a free and mutually beneficial economic confederation with it, throwing off the shackles of the old European Union, which was in fact just a repeat of the Soviet Union.

Q: Will you drop the word ‘Russian’ from the name of the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe? Most of your faithful are either not Russian or else do not speak it.

AG: In the bad old days of Western nationalism, for example in North America in the Cold War, they detested the word ‘Russian’ and dropped it. Now we are more enlightened and we all understand that ‘Russian’ does not mean nationalism and means uncompromised, unsecularized Orthodoxy. We exist because we have been helped to exist by the Russian Orthodox Church, the only multinational, Imperial Orthodox Church. I think we should keep it. Do you remember the old Roman Catholic Church, as it used to be called? Well, there were hardly any Romans in it!

Q: Why has the Western European Metropolia been so successful?

AG: Without doubt because of the sacrifices made to underpin it in the twentieth century and since. The Church is built on blood, sweat and tears. We should remember with gratitude the prayers and work of those who went before us. For example, I can remember decades ago, how people wanted more English in the services. So, one bishop said yes, do the service in English. What happened? The people who had been clamouring for more English could not even put a decent choir together to sing just the Liturgy! Some of them said that the singing was so bad that they preferred the Liturgy in a foreign language, in which it was properly sung. In other words, you have to make sacrifices in order to achieve anything. We owe a great deal to those who sang properly in English, showing others that the Liturgy in English could be just as beautiful as in Slavonic. Actions speak louder than words.

Yes, mistakes were made in the past, but we learned from those mistakes. Take for example our English translations which stretch back to the turn of the 20th century, nearly 150 years ago, those made in the USA with the blessing of the holy Patriarch Tikhon by an Episcopalian Isabel Hapgood and by Orlov in England. Those were foundation stones. Yes, those translations have been improved and on the way we have seen archaic translations in a Latinate, Victorian style like those of Hapgood or even with 16th century spelling, we have seen those made into street English as well as into soulless, jarring academic English, all sorts, but today we have definitive translations, avoiding all those extremes. It is easy to criticize, but the fact is that without those tireless efforts of the past, however mistaken they sometimes were, we would not be where we are now.

Let us first of all thank our recent fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters in Christ who went before us, who built our Church, our parishes and our souls. Our Metropolia, in effect, the Church of the Old and the New Europe, would not exist without them. But let us also thank the saints of the first millennium. Through venerating them, we have earned their prayers and because of their prayers we are here today. We are built not on dead souls, but on spiritually alive souls, whether of the distant past or of the recent past. Always on spiritually alive souls: Remember that.

A Victory for Confederation over Unionism

Although against the views of the younger generation, the older generation in Scotland has, unlike most of Ireland over 90 years ago, not chosen full independence, it has chosen home rule. This is in itself is revolutionary. It means that Scotland has rejected the 1707 form of Union, which was successful at the time only because of massive bribery by the British elite. This means that Northern Ireland, Wales and above all England will also receive home rule, whether the politicians grant it willingly or not. Unlike most of Ireland, independence for the peoples of the British Isles is to be gradual and non-violent. It means that the Unionist ‘United’ Kingdom, centralized in London, is no more; the Isles must now seek Confederation.

The Scottish referendum is a defeat for Unionism and the centralized State, as in the Ukraine, where a centralized State, a Leninist-Stalinist conglomerate, so keenly supported by so-called ‘democratic’, self-interested Western politicians, is massacring its own peoples. The results are a clear warning to Unionists in the EU and the USA and a clear warning to elitist Establishments everywhere. Elections to such Establishments are rarely popular and are characterized by very low turnouts. However, when the question put to the electorate actually concerns them, the effect on it is electrifying. Although total freedom for Scotland has not been achieved, the result is a turning-point in UK political life, whose configuration will never be the same again.

Firstly, the Labour Party has suffered massive defections to the Scottish National Party. Having allied itself with the Establishment, the Labour Party will probably never be elected again to government, either in Scotland or in England. Secondly, however, the Conservative Party, almost identical in views to the Labour Party, may also be unelectable – as it was already in 2010. Just as the Labour Party compromised its principles under the Tory Blair, so the Conservative Party has also compromised its principles under the Liberal Cameron. Thus the Labour Party is unelectable in Scotland because of the Scottish National Party, but the Conservative Party is unelectable in England because of the English National Party, although that still calls itself UKIP.

Since the three Westminster Establishment parties have all been reduced to rumps of careerists and opportunists, puppets of Washington and Brussels (Berlin), then the field is now free for new parties to speak up for the undertrodden and disenfranchized peoples of theses Isles. The field is now open to any party, of left or right, which can listen to the people and show a love of freedom and justice – everything that the old parties, captives of banksters, arms merchants, privatized and virtually unregulated monopolies and retail lobbies, have not done. Only through Confederation can the ‘United Kingdom’ survive for another generation, after which its dissolution will probably occur in the next referendum. It is a question of time.

Freedom for Scotland?

The Westminster elite scurries for votes in Scotland. Having appealed to sentimentalism and then bribery, it next resorted to the terror tactics of economic intimidation and bullying, so well-known to the public schoolboys who run both the politics and the commerce of the British Establishment. The US President, at whose voice Westminster wags its tail, and the Australian Premier have threatened Scotland, as also the German Chancellor, who considers Scottish freedom as treacherous to the EU.

That at least is true, for freedom is always treacherous to tyranny, whether to tyranny in London or in Brussels. Whether the Scottish National leaders will be far-sighted enough to keep post-Calvinist Scotland free from the post-Catholic EU and become a permanent part of Non-EU Europe, together with equally post-Calvinist Switzerland and post-Lutheran Norway and Iceland, remains to be seen.

It is by no means certain that Scotland will choose freedom on Thursday 18 September 2014 and in any case we can doubt the fairness of the referendum; there will always be some who can ‘modify’ the result, if the result is not ‘the right one’, as we saw in the election of President Bush and as in countless EU referenda. Nevertheless, the genie is out of the bottle. If Scotland can be allowed to choose freedom, as Crimea was allowed to choose freedom – and overwhelmingly chose it – whatever the result in Scotland, others in the EU will also want to be allowed choice. At least the EU is not like the Ukraine, where, if you want freedom, you are massacred.

Most of Ireland freed itself from the Westminster tyranny at the cost of blood nearly 100 years ago. Now it is the turn of Scotland, once long ago converted to the Faith by an Irishman, St Columba, and other Irish (‘Scoti’) missionaries, who gave their name to Scotland. Sooner or later Scotland will free itself. One day Northern Ireland will choose freedom from the centralized union that is the UK, and Wales will follow. Then only England will still be bound by the Empire-making Norman elite that governs it – already there is talk of an English Parliament. Freedom is now only a question of time.

St Andrew’s Work

Introduction

A spectre haunts Europe. It is the spectre of freedom. From north-west Europe to south-east Europe, professional politicians of the Establishment elites are quaking: they may lose their jobs and with them all their opportunistic careerism and self-seeking will have been for nothing.

Scotland

Perhaps on orders from a worried Washington, today three English public schoolboys (in fact one a Polish Jew who attended an elite State school, but his manner is still that of an English public schoolboy) have hurried to Scotland in panic. They fear freedom and the people who may vote for freedom. Washington is worried about a new country that, initially at least, will be free of both its political and economic arm, the EU, and of its military arm, NATO. No doubt the CIA, through its poodles in England, is listening in on nationalist conversations, in the hope that it can discredit Scottish leaders. Certainly, the sight of three English public schoolboys in Scotland will bring in a great many votes for the Scottish National cause.

Together with them, all European Establishments are worried. If Scotland does opt for freedom, Wales, Northern Ireland and then at last England will also free themselves, but France, Spain and Italy, at the very least, are also directly concerned, for they too have minorities, from Brittany to Catalonia, from Lombardy to Corsica. All artificial unions are doomed to collapse, whether the Soviet Union, the British Union (UK), the European Union or the American Union (USA). The implications of freedom for Scotland are enormous; little wonder that the Westminster Establishment has scurried to Scotland. However, the more intelligent among them must realize that, whether their last-minute delaying-tactic bribes work or not, Scotland’s departure from the Union imposed on it over 300 years ago is sooner or later inevitable. The game is up.

If a yes for freedom vote is recorded, the UK will no longer exist and the British flag will seem an anachronism. But if the UK no longer exists, then we shall all be free of the EU. The absurdly-named United Kingdom Independence Party, UKIP, will have to call itself what it is, the Independence Party. As for the three other political parties in England, they can then at last coalesce into one and rename themselves the single party for EU-appointed careerists and opportunists – which is what they have long been. As for a place on the UN Security Council, perhaps that absurdly biased organization can at last be restructured and places given to the countries that really matter and represent the real world: China, India, USA, Russia, Germany, Brazil and South Africa.

The Ukraine

Kiev’s rag bag ‘army’, composed for 50% of western Uniats and schismatics, and then of Nazis, criminals and US, UK and Polish mercenaries, supported by US and Mossad advisors and rockets, has failed to impose its tyranny on the eastern Ukraine. Having shot down a Boeing airliner, Kiev’s army and air force have been totally discredited. Over 3,000, mainly civilians, are dead, killed by the CIA puppet, the corrupt arms-dealing oligarch Poroshenko, now a war criminal. Even the cream of US PR men could not get him more than 25% of the vote, similar to that obtained by various other US puppets in Latin American banana republics and South Vietnam over the last 65 years. Even the EU, largely responsible for the original fiasco, is realizing that the Ukraine is just another artificial union, a conglomerate formed by the Russophobic Communist Party some 90 years ago, and now ardently defended by the West (which also founded Communism in Russia).

Novorossiya, New Russia, the southern and eastern half of the ‘Ukraine’ (in fact western Russia), the object of these terrifying Western-organized atrocities in 2014, is heading for freedom as part of the Russian Federation. So too are many in central and northern Malorossiya, though in Kiev neo-Nazi bands are still terrorizing the population who seek refuge in the Russian Federation. Carpatho-Russia, miscalled by Kiev ‘Zakarpat’e’, also wants freedom; if it does not join the Russian Federation, perhaps it will return to Slovakia or even Hungary, leaving Ukrainian persecution behind it. This leaves only Galicia, or eastern Poland, where all the troublemaking Uniats and schismatics are. It seems that President Putin would be happy for it to return to Poland, since most Galicians have nothing in common with Orthodox culture.

Moreover, Uniat persecution of the Church in the Ukraine has at last brought realism to the last few remaining ecumenist fantasists and naifs in Russia and also to those in Romania. In neighbouring Moldova the Church has taken a firm stand against the EU and its Satanism, despite the bribed pro-EU politicians there. What an example to Romania. And the EU is not having its way in Serbia and Montenegro either. Despite the presence of CIA-funded Protestant sects in the Ukraine, Moldova and Romania, the people have resisted. It may be that by the end of 2014, we shall see great political changes in Europe, both north-west and south-east.

Conclusion

Both Scotland and the Ukraine, not to mention Romania, are close to St Andrew. Let us pray to the first-called apostle that, come his feast in the secular month of December, we shall have good news in all the countries where he is venerated. Freedom is in the air and sooner or later we shall have it.