Q: Why is the Church Outside Russia in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate? It is a Soviet organization and you are, or at least were, free.
A: A Soviet organization? But there were Patriarchs in Moscow long before the Soviet Union ever existed. I do not understand you. If it is a Soviet organization (even though the Soviet Union ceased to exist 25 years ago), why is the whole Orthodox Church in communion with the Church Inside Russia (or the Moscow Patriarchate as you prefer to call it), including the Church Outside Russia? Simply because it is the now politically-free Church Inside Russia with some 160 million faithful and over 350 bishops, three quarters of the whole Orthodox Church. It has over 800 monasteries and convents, holy elders and no doubt saints. Where are the elders in the tiny but dynamic Church Outside Russia today? The question really is why are you not in communion with the Church Inside Russia? If you are not, then you are outside the Church. So you must belong to some brainwashing, politicized sect, subsidized by the CIA, or else to some esoteric, self-justifying sect or cult which thinks it is above the Church. Only such a sect would call the Russian Church ‘Soviet’.
Q: Yes, but your Patriarch Kyrill actually has a KGB code-name.
A: Well, first of all, the KGB no longer exists, so he had, not has, a KGB code-name would be correct. Secondly, everyone of importance had a KGB code-name, for example, the then Metropolitan Kyrill, but also Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Are you suggesting therefore that Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were KGB agents?! To have a code-name is totally different from working as a spy. You seem very confused between the two. Western spy agencies also give their victims code-names. That does not mean that their victims are spies and murder people, they are victims.
Q: O.K., but you cannot deny that Patriarch Kyrill and Vladimir Putin were once Soviet citizens.
A: And so were hundreds of thousands of saints, New Martyrs and Confessors. You venerate canonized Soviet citizens and you are complaining that they are Soviet citizens!
On a political level, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and a dozen or so Soviet-era defectors were also Soviet citizens. They then went to work for the CIA and MI6 and no doubt were given code-names by those organizations. Some of them, like the late, London-based Litvinenko, worked as an MI6 spy.
As for people who were once Soviet citizens, that was automatic because of the country they were born in. Is it a sin to be born in a country? I cannot understand your logic. The apostles were born in the pagan Roman Empire which persecuted them and the Apostle Paul was actually a Roman citizen. Was that their fault? Was that a sin? Was it their sin that one of the twelve disciples was Judas Iscariot?
Of course, it is true that anyone born and brought up during the Soviet era, and that finished 25 years ago, was marked by that period. Thus, I see a great difference between ex-Soviet citizens under about 50 and those over about 50 and of course both Patriarch Kyrill and Vladimir Putin (the latter of whom is nothing to do with the Church hierarchy, though he is a baptized layman and churchgoer) are over 50. Those under about 25 are hardly marked at all by the Soviet era and on the other hand those over about 75 even tend to be pro-Stalin (and also unbaptized).
Q: What are the temptations of those who like them were born during the Soviet era, but have since been baptized Orthodox?
A: The main temptation is nationalism. There are even a few, mainly elderly Orthodox, now baptized, who admire Stalin for that reason. This is very similar to elderly Anglicans who admire Churchill. Yes, both were victorious war-leaders, but millions died under both, for example, Churchill organized the bloodbath at Gallipoli, gassed the Kurds, made strategic mistakes during World War II and he must also in part bear responsibility for the millions who died in the Bengal famine during that War. Similarly, in the US there are elderly people who admire President Truman, he who massacred 300,000 Japanese civilians, men, women and children, with atomic bombs and also threatened Patriarch Maximos of Constantinople with death. Such admiration is just misplaced and irrational nationalist nostalgia, the result of brainwashing by wartime propaganda.
Here we come to your question about Patriarch Kyrill and President Putin. Both are of course marked or coloured by the Soviet period and are generally admired by nationalists. What critics like yourself fail to understand is that they are simply part of a process – President Putin and the Patriarch are only stages on the way, not the terminus, which is what we are looking at. The next Patriarch, perhaps someone like Metr Benjamin of Vladivostok, will be very different, free of any Soviet colouring at all. In the same way, a possible successor to President Putin has appeared (not Medvedev). The Russian Federation is not long for the world in its present form. All of this is a temporary arrangement to carry us through to where we want to be.
Q: What about renovationism, which still exists in Russia?
A: It is true that the vestiges of renovationism still exist there, for example, with the sect of Fr Kochetkov, who was so warmly invited by the now defrocked Bp Basil Osborne to take over the then Sourozh Diocese before he joined the Rue Daru group. Fr Kochetkov, who was beloved by the late modernist Rue Daru philosophers Olivier Clement and Nikita Struve, who so hated the Russian Church that they refused to belong to Her, has 2,000 followers. His sect is protected by a very elderly Soviet-era bishop, but, frankly, all this is dying out. It has no future. It is a phenomenon of Bolshevization, we are patiently working for Debolshevization. That will need time. Since we do not ask perfection of Western societies, but continue to live here despite their horrific apostasy and baby-killing, why should we demand instant Debolshevization in ex-Soviet societies? We live in the Church, not in society on the fringes of or outside the Church. As Christians the only perfection we are entitled to demand is of ourselves, not of others.
Q: But there are still strong vestiges of the Soviet mentality.
A: Yes, on the fringes, of course. These vestiges are still strong in remoter, provincial areas like Central Asia, the Baltics and, above all, in the Western-supported Ukraine, with its Fascist elements, who simply changed from being pro-Bolshevik to pro-Fascist overnight. The mentality of corrupt dictatorships is the same, whatever name you give them, Communist or Capitalist.
Q: What about nominalism? Most Orthodox in Russia, though baptized, simply do not go to church.
A: Of course, this is true – just as only a maximum of 10% of Russians before the Revolution and in the emigration went to Church. If you do not believe me for lack of living experience with the old emigration before they died out in the 1990s, read the report by St John of Shanghai on the state of the Russian emigration given at the Second All-Diaspora Council in 1938.
Having said that, you must also understand that Orthodox nominalism, however regrettable, is not the same nominalism as in the West. In the Roman Catholic-Protestant world, church-going, made an ‘obligation’ under threat of hellfire by the Roman Catholics and non-church-going made into an experience of guilt by the Protestants, is seen as the only sign of belonging to the Church. For Orthodox, Christianity is all about the way we live, not necessarily about church-going. For example, we do not have ‘Bible study’, a thoroughly Protestant concept, we live the Bible. Anyone who has experienced the friendliness and hospitality of Orthodox countries will know this. In Orthodox countries you have the Christian spirit of mutual support and love of the Truth, whereas Western countries are marked by materialist and calculating self-interest and the cult of self-admiration, the ‘I’ culture of consumerism. Orthodox, including non-Churchgoers, are horrified by Western people who proudly proclaim that they ‘do not believe in God’, just as they are horrified by the Western treatment of people in their slums and in their colonies in the ‘Third World’. To us it is all simply unnatural and inhuman. You cannot treat human-beings like that.
We Orthodox go to church when we need to, when we feel ill, when we need ‘the medicine of immortality’. It is not a guilt trip, as for heterodox. So do not be like the Protestant Pharisees and judge Orthodox by whether we are at church or not, it is our way of life that makes us Orthodox or not. For example last Sunday, we here only had some 200 at church, and yet there are 600 in the parish, and if I count all those Orthodox who come through the doors in any 12-month period, that figure would probably come to 2,000. This is what I mean by 10% maximum attending church, 200 out of 2,000.
Q: You said that some sects are CIA-financed. What proof do you have of that?
A: Well, first of all, these sects openly acknowledge it and are proud of the CIA as ‘patriotic Americans’. Secondly, there is the case inside the Church Outside Russia. It is a fact that as early as the 1960s a senior individual in the Church Outside Russia was given $38,000 by the CIA, as was revealed at the time. The receiver of the money, who died outside the Church in the 1990s and banned anyone from the Church Outside Russia attending his funeral, had a son, who sold off $6 million worth of Church property in Jerusalem. It was a huge scandal. The CIA always makes use of such ‘useful idiots’, those whom it can buy out. Other Western spy agencies did the same, Russian Parisians like Melnikov and Tiesenhausen openly worked for the French spy agency, in London émigré Russians worked for MI5 and MI6 and in Ottawa Russian émigrés worked for the Canadian spy agency. However, the Church goes on despite such politicking on the fringes.
Similarly, there are many Western journalists who receive CIA money to write anti-Russian articles. This is obvious to any reader of the Murdoch-owned ‘The Times’ in England, but this goes on in all Western-owned media in the US and Europe, including Western rags like ‘The Moscow Echo’ in Russia. Such journalists write the propaganda that they are paid to write by Western spy agencies. Some people will do anything for money because they put money above the Truth, as it is written, you cannot serve God and money.
Q: What does Debolshevization mean in concrete terms?
A: To answer this question, we must understand what the Bolshevik regime tried to do. It had a threefold, anti-Trinitarian programme. Firstly, it wanted to destroy all Traditional Religion and above all, but not only, the Orthodox Church. Secondly, it wanted to destroy all National Identity. Thus, in its anti-Christian cosmopolitanism it banned the word ‘Russian’, used ‘Soviet’ and made the Soviet Union out of many different national identities. Thirdly, it wanted to destroy Family Life, virtually banning sacramental marriage, encouraging abortion and divorce, taking away children and putting them into crèches, schools and camps, all the while brainwashing them with Bolshevik ideology. Therefore, Debolshevization means exactly the opposite of all this, that is, a threefold restoration, that of Traditional Religion, National Identity and Family Life.
In all this the Soviet Union failed. However, Bolshevization still exists because it defines exactly what is happening in the neocon and Bolshevik West today. Firstly, today we see the destruction of all Traditional Religion, substituting for it some wishy-washy, spiritually emptied, anti-traditional, New Age humanism and secularism. That is modern Western religion. This spirit of apostasy dominates Protestantism, Roman Catholicism (since the 1960s) and the modernist, new calendarist, Westernized fringes of the Orthodox Church, for instance, among many Greek Americans and some Romanians. Secondly, today we see the destruction of the Sovereign Nation-State under the slogan Globalization (formerly this was called what it is – Americanization, but now the codeword Globalization is used), using mass immigration and social injustices to help it. Thirdly, today we see the destruction of Family Life, killing sacramental marriage with the cohabitation of ‘partners’, encouraging abortion and divorce, taking away children and putting them into crèches, schools and camps, all the while brainwashing them with secularist ideology, sex education, gender ideology and internet pornography from the State-controlled media.
The Bolshevik regime is dead in Russia, but it is very much alive under the politically correct dictatorship of neocon ‘liberalism’ in the Western world, the very liberalism that is so Russophobic. Why is it Russophobic? Because it is in fact Christianophobic. Liberalism is utterly intolerant of real Christianity, that is, of Orthodoxy, it only allows a castrated, secularized substitute which is powerless to save. Just when the Soviet Union died, the European Union was born as part of the whole Western Union. Next door to the EU headquarters in Brussels, what do you find? The headquarters of NATO. It is all part of the same Western Union.
Although forced collectivization failed under the Bolsheviks, voluntary collectivization through the illusion of consumerist individualism seems to have succeeded. Look around you: everywhere you see ‘individuals’ in the same US uniform of jeans, T-shirts, tennis shoes, I-phones, tablets, pokemon fads, tattoos, obesity-making, adulterated food and TV series (bread and circuses). This is the same brainwashing and zombifying secularist poison that makes people unable to think for themselves or to have any sort of spiritual life or values. All who work for Traditional Religion, National Identity and Family Life are mocked, scorned and persecuted in today’s West. The Soviet Union is dead in Russia, but Bolshevization is alive and prospering in the West. The only question is whether it will triumph altogether and completely wipe out the Western world, or whether the Western world will before it is too late take heed of Christian Civilization and values, alive in Russia, and repent.
Do not worry about Debolshevizing old people in Russia, our task is far more ambitious – Debolshevizing the Western world. That is why, for example, some Western people have actually gone to the Donbass to fight for the Ukraine against the Kiev puppet regime – in order to defend the sovereignty of Europe against the anti-Christian, Neo-Bolshevik world.