Category Archives: Sects and Cults

The Church: A Warm Sun or a Black Hole?

About five years ago I chanced to meet a group of three converts from the Baptist denomination to the Antiochian jurisdiction. Their first question to me was: ‘It is true that Non-Orthodox will burn in hell, isn’t it?’ To which I replied: ‘Ask God if He hates people as much as you do’.

The sad fact is, especially in these crazy days of rebaptism and ‘corrective baptism’, that there are those for whom the Church is like a black hole. It sucks in people and they disappear into the darkness. Apparently, there are people who like this. Such people do not belong to the Church, but to sociopathic or even psychopathic sects. Narcissism or sadism, whatever the problem may be, they have yet to get to the letter A of the Church alphabet and understand that the Church is not a washing-line on which to peg out their personal psychological problems. The Church is the place of Theology, that is to say, of the knowledge of the Word of God and His Love for us, not of the psychopathology of neophytes, even if by error they have been made priests and bishops.

For us, the Church is not a black hole, but the Warm Sun. From it comes Light and Warmth, for the Sun is an image of the Holy Trinity: The Sun is the Father, the Light (of the world) is Christ-God, and the Warmth is the Holy Spirit. The Sun sucks in no-one, but it radiates, for as it says, the rain falls on the good and the bad alike, and so also the sun shines on the good and the bad alike. This is why we totally reject the psychopathological idea of rebaptism. Those who have been baptised with water in the Name of the Holy Trinity, although outside the Orthodox Church, but have since come into contact with the grace of the Holy Spirit radiating out from the Church, the Body of Christ, have no need for the rite of baptism in the Name of the Holy Trinity to be repeated.

The same is true of the other sacrament forms of Roman Catholicism (Classic Protestantism only has one potential sacrament – baptism). They are all sacramental forms, potential sacraments. It is the Light and the Warmth of the Sun that renders them real. If you do not believe this, then please return to the sect from which you came. Or else please go and see a psychiatrist.


What Went Wrong With ROCOR?

In 1974 I asked the then Fr Kallistos (Ware) what the situation in ROCOR was. He told me that he had met the future St John of Shanghai (+ 1966) in the 1950s and had seriously thought about transferring to ROCOR in the 1960s. However, the well-respected priest at the ROCOR Cathedral in London, Fr George Sheremetiev (+ 1971), who had been the confessor of the Tsar’s sister, Xenia Aleksandrovna (+ 20 April 1960), had dissuaded him.

Fr George had told him that the new censoriousness coming from the then CIA-financed ROCOR in the USA was poisoning ROCOR in England and he had better not join it. As an elderly priest, he would stay, for him the old ROCOR was still alive, but it was not a jurisdiction for the young. Consequently, Fr Kallistos remained a priest of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, though also remained priest and confessor at the ROCOR Convent in London until 1976, when the poison from the USA reached a new crescendo. In any case, Fr Kallistos’ witness dissuaded me from joining ROCOR in 1974.

Leaving England for Paris in 1979, there I encountered the old ROCOR, still uncontaminated by the US ROCOR, unlike in England. The ROCOR Western European Diocese, living in the spirit of its former Archbishop, St John of Shanghai, had as its ruling hierarch St John’s successor, Archbishop Antony of Geneva. The Dean for France was Archpriest Alexander Trubnikov, who was priest at the parish of the Resurrection in Meudon in the Paris suburbs. He had a great influence on me, an inspiration, and I knew his matushka and children very well.

Fr Alexander had been born in 1908 in Tsarskoe Selo, where the Tsar and his Family and servants lived, into the noble family of a hereditary Russian imperial officer. During World War I, his father was posted as a military attaché to France. After graduating from a French high school, the future Fr. Alexander had to take on various jobs to make ends meet. At the same time he completed military classes organised by White Russian émigrés in France.

The majority of White Russians went indiscriminately to any Russian church. St John of Shanghai and Western Europe, his vicar Bishop Nathaniel of Brussels, Archbishop Anthony of Geneva and all of us considered that both those in the Paris Jurisdiction, then under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and ROCOR were our common flock in France and Benelux and ignored the minority of freemasons in the Paris Jurisdiction. Thus, we freely concelebrated with it. Fr Alexander was the rector of the Parish of the Resurrection in Meudon from 1954 until 1984, where he inspired several young men to become priests and rebuilt the Meudon chapel, courageously mortgaging his own home to do so. Besides his role as rector, Fr. Alexander served as chaplain to the Russian scouting organisation, the Vitiazi, which educated children from all jurisdictions.

Fr Alexander was also actively involved in inter-Orthodox and inter-Christian relations for many years, publishing books and a newsletter in French that shared news of the Orthodox world. This publishing activity brought Fr. Alexander to participate in the Second Vatican Council in Rome, where he met the then Pope. He wrote books, published his newsletter and attended the Vatican Council, hoping to represent the point of view of the free Russian Orthodox Church to all who would listen, not least to the Roman Catholics who were, and still are, undergoing a crisis, as they threw out the baby, but kept the bathwater. A priest and a diplomat, Fr Alexander reposed 35 years ago in November 1988. Eternal Memory!

After the repose of Archbishop Antony of Geneva five years later, in 1993, the last barrier fell. Thus, the censoriousness began to appear in the Western European Diocese from the USA, but now via Germany. All the clergy at the funeral were profoundly shocked when we found ourselves forbidden from celebrating. Thus, the new order of categorical phariseeism and judgementalism was already remarked at Archbishop Antony’s funeral. We patiently withstood it to defeat it in 2007, at last bringing ROCOR into canonical communion with Moscow. However, a decade later the censoriousness returned and took revenge; communion with Moscow had for them just been a delaying tactic to give their schismatic spirit outward legitimacy.

The new order of the new pharisees was founded on cupidity, jealousy, narcissistic egoism and the love of power of those who manipulate and use others as instruments for their own benefit, before discarding them. Those of the new order corrupted and destroyed everything they touched. Therefore, we did not allow them to touch, out of respect for St John of Shanghai, Archbishop Antony of Geneva, Fr George Sheremetiev, Fr Alexander Trubnikov and all those of the old and traditional ROCOR. You could accept their sectarian and schismatic censoriousness or else resist it. It all depended on whether you were a careerist or someone of principle and integrity. One day it will all be over. Our victory is inevitable because those who occupy the spiritual and moral high ground always win, even though patience will be required in waiting for Moscow to reject the Americanised and schismatic CIA-shaped ROCOR sect.

American ROCOR took over fifty years to spread its tentacles and take over completely. Once the American proxy war in the Ukraine is over, the unprincipled American ROCOR, which has lost so much by sitting on the fence in that conflict, will divide into two camps. On the one hand, there will be the pro-Russian non-schismatics and, on the other hand, the anti-Russian schismatics, the right-wing crazies and persecutors, penetrated by the CIA, heirs to the pro-Hitler Russians of the 1930s and 1940s. This will be the end of ROCOR, as the healthy part will be absorbed into the Moscow Patriarchate or into other Local Churches who obey the canons.

When it is all over, all of us together, from all the Local Churches, will at last be able to build the new Local Church of Western Europe in a US-free Europe, a Sovereign and Confederal Europe, co-operating with all the Local Churches, including a decentralised Moscow, and stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Only then will Europeans be able to recover their lost Motherland of the Church and their lost fatherlands of their own freed countries. At last, with a mother and a father, they will be able to become true brothers and sisters, fleeing the towering pride that created sectarianism and schism, which is what went wrong with ROCOR.

America, the Ukraine, Russia, the Church: Temptation, Tragedy, Challenge and Opportunity


The world is now becoming a post-globalist world. The Globalists (Americans) have been defeated by the Sovereignists. Despite the attempts by the US elite, the power behind the throne, to keep the embarrassingly senile Biden in power until after the next elections, the Ukraine is collapsing (and Gaza genocided by American bombs) and so Biden too will Biden. First in Russia, then in Hungary, then in Slovakia, now in the Netherlands, the Sovereignists are in power. They are increasingly strong in Germany, Italy and France. Union is off the cards. Confederation is the order of the day, as the real New World Order. Sovereignty is beyond the artificial and absurd divisions of left and right, inventions of the Western oligarchies (the mythical ‘democracies’) in order to divide and rule. Sovereignty is what both Russia and China have, though the Globalists falsely call them ‘autocracies’. The Western world has yet to recover its sovereignty. It still can, if it takes the opportunity to return to the Holy Trinity, the model of unity in diversity, what politicians today call multipolarity.

The American Temptation

The American temptation was Empire building, not just in one region, but universally or ‘globally’, as it proclaimed. Let us leave the north to the ice and build ‘from sea to shining sea’, they said. So they stole half a Continent from the natives, whom they slaughtered, bought from a desperate Napoleon, grasped the south from Mexico, began a Civil War with 600,000 dead and invaded small islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific. This culminated in a four-year war and dropping its atom bombs on the big island of Japan in 1945 in order to dominate the Pacific. At the same time, they conquered and occupied the peninsula of Western Europe in 1944-5, which victory followed its expeditionary experiment of 1917-18. The 1945 double victory meant its victory over half the world. The USA was a Superpower. It still had to conquer the heartland of Eurasia, which it thought it had done in 1991, becoming the only Superpower. This was a delusion and it duly proclaimed it as ‘the end of history’. This proud triumphalism, a Non-Jewish Zionism, was failure, for the fall always follows pride – delusions are always countered by reality.

The American Empire depended on using expendable proxies, puppets whom it flattered and told that they were superior to their neighbours. These puppets were hired do the dirty work for the US. Through them it could divide and rule, sowing chaos and destruction, whether in Latin America, East Asia, West Asia or in ex-Soviet Eastern Europe. However, its agents, from Marcos to Somoza, from Hussein to Bin Laden, from Bolsinaro to Zelensky, would go off script, falling into delusion. The USA has always suffered from a ‘spoilt child syndrome’. The spoilt child always shouts: ‘If I cannot have it, then no-one will have it’. And so they destroy their once much-coveted puppets and toys. This I know from experience with an American. Internationally, it can be seen in Latin America, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Israel, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine, Western and Eastern Europe – now isolated from Russia. However, this spoilt-child syndrome only works in a unipolar world of exclusivism, not in a multipolar world. In the latter there is choice and people can escape US despotism, whose policy of containment fails.

The Ukrainian Tragedy

Now desperate the Kiev government wants to mobilise all Ukrainians between the ages of 17 and 70, Berlin-style, and, barbarically, women. The latter are already being killed on the front, where poorly trained and poorly equipped troops without air support, average age 43, are being forced to commit suicide against vastly superior Russian forces. Kiev dead already number between 500,000 and 600,000 and more and more are deserting. The needless death of these troops is a war crime. President Zelensky, like Hitler suicidally forbidding retreat despite military advice, is also isolated and unhinged in his bunker, having banned elections, delusional with his Messiah complex. His PR advisors have told the Western media that Russians have tried to assassinate him five times. Of course, this is nonsense. Zelensky, the brilliant and well-paid actor but utterly incompetent politician, is the greatest asset of the Russians. He may well be assassinated, only by US-backed Ukrainians, which assassination can then be blamed on Russia. The Ukraine has now lost 20%, of its territory, taken back by Russian forces after being ruled by the Ukraine for up to 100 years. But since Kiev refuses to negotiate, it will lose even more.

If the Ukrainians manage to continue losing, they could lose up to 50% of their territory or even more. Russian forces are waiting to fill the vacuum once the Kiev forces collapse and move forward to the River Dnieper and, if necessary, cross it. Whatever happens, Kiev will be forced to surrender unconditionally. There will be no negotiated settlement, as Kiev refused this constantly for eight years. The new, post-Zelensky government in the Ukraine will have to agree to and sign the Russian conditions. It is indeed time to end ‘the magical thinking about Russia’s defeat,’ by which headlines the Wall Street Journal means ending its own delusions and fantasies and those of the whole Collective West and their carefully censored media since 2014. As we have been predicting in over 116 published articles between March 2022 and October 2023, the West is being routed in the Ukraine. Kiev is the second Kabul and even worse in humiliation. As a result, the failed elites in the US and in Europe will fall. NATO and the EU are therefore finished; they were only ever post-1945 relics. Their time is up. Europe’s future is Eurasian and Confederal.

Indeed, the reign of the official Western media like the BBC, used by Western Establishments as propaganda mouthpieces, weapons of mass deception, are over. People are seeing through their lies. The US and the EU made a fatal mistake in forcing Russia into a close alliance with China through their aggression. It was delusional Western hubris that called Russia ‘a gas station with nukes’. Its booming economy has now overtaken the depressed German economy, cut off from cheap energy by US sabotage. As a result of the rout of the Collective West in the Ukraine, worldwide all recognise that there are three Superpowers: China, Russia and USA – and in that order. It is two against one. Queueing up not far behind them are India, the Muslim World, Africa and Latin America, with largely unpopulated Australia left as the natural resource reserve for the great East Asian Superpower – China. Europe discounted itself by allying itself with the US as vassals and client states. Now US failure and humiliation are shared by its lapdogs, Germany, France and especially the UK. France and the UK are to lose their places on the UN Security Council.

The Russian Challenge

Militarily, economically and diplomatically, this is a triumph for the Russian Federation, a Superpower and not ‘a regional power’, as the US President Obama contemptuously called it only a decade ago. Russia is in fact the leader of what used to be called ‘The Global South’, the 90% of the new multipolar world which is Non-Western. Through Russian-founded BRICS +, Russia is the toast of Asia, Africa and Latin America. They too want independence from the neo-colonial West, now that Russia has shown the way through its superiority. It is Russia, backed by China, which with BRICS troops will make peace in West Asia between Palestine and Israel and at last, inevitably, give the Palestinians justice and a homeland. The US is isolated at the UN and has failed because it was one-sided and supported the injustice of Israeli genocide. The US has failed both to divide Europe from Russia and failed to divide and colonise Russia, which was its aim in using Ukrainian soldiers as pawns to attack Russia and die for Washington. However, winning the war in the Ukraine and defeating American Europe is one thing. Russia must also win the peace.

In the Ukraine, this means no occupation of the real Ukraine, where real Ukrainians live, in the north-west and centre-west. It also means that all the Non-Ukrainian parts of the pre-2014 Ukraine, created by brutal Soviet dictators and whose brutality the Collective West has so fervently supported, where Russians, Poles, Romanians and Hungarians live, will at last be able to return to their homelands. They will leave the real Ukraine, about half the Soviet Ukraine. As post-Soviet Russia learned its lesson not to oppress Non-Russian peoples and has never had the slightest intention of occupying the real Ukraine, let alone other Eastern European countries (Zelensky’s Ukraine was in no way defending the West ‘against the Asiatic Muscovite hordes’; that was pure racist propaganda), the peoples of Europe are going to see the real Russia, instead of seeing it through the eyes of their US-selected elite of nonentities, who constantly lied to them. With people’s governments in Europe, a new agreement could be reached, with the abandonment of NATO and mutually beneficial security guarantees.

This means the repeal of the illegal anti-Russian sanctions and respect for the human rights of Russian minorities in all European countries, especially in the Ukraine, where the Orthodox Church has been banned. Tragedy remains. Apart from the unnecessary sacrifice of a whole generation of well over a million Ukrainian men, killed or crippled, Ukraine will need rebuilding – and repopulating. Eight million and more fled Zelensky’s tyranny and his hated SBU secret police and many were needlessly made to fear Russia because of Western propaganda. They emigrated, first to Russia, then to Poland, Germany and elsewhere in Western Europe. The death toll for Russia could well reach 40,000 dead. There were also the 14,000 Russian-speaking civilians massacred by the US-installed Kiev regime in the Donbass since 2014. Apart from this, there is the whole question of the once multinational Russian Church. In February 2022 its leadership took a Russian nationalist stance. This meant that Non-Russians and those Russians who did not agree with the Russian Military Operation in the Ukraine left that politicised Church, some with bitterness.

The Orthodox Christian Opportunity

Clergy and people outside Russia, in the Ukraine, in the Baltics, in Moldova, in Western Europe and one day in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Central Asia, will not return to the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Church will have to decentralise and form a family of new and autocephalous (independent) Local Churches for these peoples. This is the challenge and the only way forward. The Russian temptation was to try and dominate the rest of the Orthodox Church because their Church is by far the biggest and so the most powerful, three-quarters of the whole. God has humbled them and they will be reduced to half of the Orthodox world. Russians will have to return to their saints, to Sts Antony and Theodosius of Kiev, St Sergius of Radonezh, St Nil of Sora, St Paisy (Velichkovsky), St Seraphim of Sarov, the Saints of Optina, St John of Kronstadt, the New Martyrs and Confessors, St John of Shanghai. These are the actual spiritual and moral leaders of the Russian Church. Today the Russian Church is at last heading towards becoming a post-post-Soviet Church, that is, to a Church free of centralisation, nationalism, politics, sect and schism.

However, there was also the Greek nationalist temptation, no less historic in its catastrophic proportions. This temptation, which began as long ago as 1917, was to go the way of the world, that is of the USA. Now God has humbled the Greeks too, making them powerless in worldly terms, for they placed their hope ‘in princes and the sons of men’. Their only greatness is in the saints whom they themselves persecuted, St Nectarios, St Paisios and St Porphyrios, to name but a few. The situation reminds us of the following. Some forty years ago St Paisios the Athonite told a then young man, whom I know well, the following. The young man had been scandalised by the conduct of certain bishops. Fr Paisios told him: ‘When you walk along a path on Athos and come across animal excrement, what do you do? You kick it aside into the bushes so that other passers-by will not tread in it and then you wipe your shoes’. This is what we do today. We shall defeat both sectarianism and modernism, for they all end up in the same way, in the bushes, in sect and schism.

The End of a World


Catastrophic predictions and apocalyptic undertones are here. Even the name of a place in the Holy Land, Armageddon, is on some people’s lips. The US elite is threatening to invade Chinese Taiwan ‘in order to protect it from China’. In the US-backed ‘democratic’ Ukraine, that ‘bastion of Western ‘Civilisation’’ the most corrupt country in the world, which is now banning Christianity, 20,000 untrained and poorly-equipped Ukrainian conscripts are dying every month for the sake of dependence on the US, thousands more are shot in the back by the Ukrainian secret police for retreating, or else are deserting or surrendering. The Ukrainian birthrate has plummeted to 0.7 per woman and the population is now under 20 million, whereas just over thirty years ago it was 52 million.

Then there is the Holy Land, where Israeli colonists, 100% backed by US and Western European financial, and therefore political and media elites, but not by their peoples, are planning to genocide two million native Palestinians. Men, women and children are being murdered or dismembered by US bombs, dropped by US aircraft with Israeli insignia. The whole once disunited and warring Muslim world, from Morocco to Pakistan, from Iran to Turkey, from Saudi Arabia to Egypt, from Yemen to Syria, is united against the Israeli military machine and its Western sponsors. Mass demonstrations in support of the genocided Palestinians, largely unreported by Western State media, are taking place all over the world, including in Western countries. The US is isolated, faced down by the Global Majority, from Brazil to South Africa. Heads of countries even refuse to speak to the senile President Biden. It has sent aircraft carriers, but China has sent warships, as Russia also. Iran is threatening isolated Israel and its corrupt political leaders with destruction, if Israel invades Gaza. In Syria, part of which is illegally occupied by the US Army, which is pumping out stolen oil, Russian forces, present at the invitation of the Syrian government, are threatened by the US. They will react.

The problem is ‘Gentile Zionism’. This is the Non-Jewish, Western fantasy that all political decisions taken by Western countries are infallibly correct and that the superior Western ‘liberal’ world, as ‘an exceptional civilisation’ with ‘a manifest destiny’, must rule the planet as the unique model for all. All Non-Westerners are as nothing, just folklore to look at in a Disneyland zoo. The Global Majority, seven billion out of eight billion, do not agree with this Nazism and is at this moment preparing to intervene in the Holy Land to bring about a ceasefire. There has only ever been one way out of this, ‘the two-state solution’: one homeland for Jews and one homeland for Palestinians, as was agreed by Resolution 181 of the UN in 1947, but which has ever since been vetoed by the US.


The largest nominal religion in the world, though still covering only a minority of the world, is Christianity. Two forms of it used to predominate in the Western world. The first, Roman Catholicism, invented a thousand years ago, has been undermined by unending scandals involving papal and episcopal corruption, clerical pedophilia and crime, misogyny and racism. Few Roman Catholic laypeople actually believe in or observe its controversial ideology. The second form, Protestantism, invented 500 years ago after dissatisfaction with Roman Catholicism, has nearly completely dissolved into the anti-Christian Secularism which both spawned. Protestant leaders widely predict that their own religion will die out by 2050. Who believes in the Western form of Protestantism any more? Most Protestant churches in the Western world are empty and many have been sold or are for sale.

As for the Non-Western, Orthodox Church, some of its main leaders are only politicians and not pastors, whose only concern seems to be power and money. Thus, the Greek Patriarch, out of communion with the Russian Church, set up an uncanonical Church in the Ukraine for a $25 million bribe from the US and his Patriarchate has been undermined by incessant sexual and financial scandals. Meanwhile, the Russian Patriarch, out of communion with the Greek Patriarch, thanks St Seraphim of Sarov for nuclear weapons! (1). His once multinational and united Church, undermined by centralisation and Russian nationalism, is utterly divided. It suffers from constant moral and financial scandals with bishops, divisions or schisms everywhere outside Russia, in Estonia, the Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Moldova (2). Tomorrow divisions may well begin in Belarus and Kazakhstan. Moreover, the Russian Church’s small, sectarian American branch has been in schism from its even smaller French branch for nearly three years. Nothing has been done about this schism except to encourage it, despite the appeals of its clergy to its now wealthy bishops to return from schism, the consequent collapse of the American branch in one country and the open persecution of theologically-educated and conscientious Orthodox. One of the American bishops scandalously and openly rebaptises, not just Non-Orthodox, but even other Orthodox (!). This is a sect, not part of the Church. Yet, apparently, the leaders of the Russian Church find this arrogant Americanisation and ‘One True Church’ sectarianisation normal.

We have seen it all before. Those who have not seen it all before can read about it in the history books. Although all may become a lot worse, we do not believe the apocalyptic hype. In the Holy Land the Global Majority (miscalled by some the ‘Global South’), Russia, China, India, Africa, Latin America, can still make peace between the two warring sides in the Holy Land. If US dollars were to be withdrawn from troubled places, Taiwan would peacefully return to China, the Ukraine would peacefully return to Russia, and the south and west of Israel would peacefully return to Palestine. There are solutions.

As for Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, these were only ever temporary, politically-shaped Western deviations of Christianity, with some very strange traits. Having served their time, they can now disappear and be replaced, perhaps even by historic Christianity and the historic Church. Their roots from the first millennium are still present. As for the Orthodox Church, we have also seen all the polarised divisions and sectarianism before (3). Leaders come and go. The head of the Church is Christ, not men. When men refuse to deal with the problems they have created, Christ will step in. All racism, schisms and sects can be overcome and dissolved by new, Christ-appointed leaders. We do not believe that this is the end of the world. However, it is the end of a world. We are surely present at the remaking of the world, at its reconfiguration, not at its end.



  1. In French:
  2. Summarised in Romanian in:

The full version of the still unanswered letter from 5 September, which is in fact an urgent appeal for autocephaly, with its clear emphasis on continuing Russian racism towards Moldovans, is available in Romanian-style Russian (Metr Vladimir’s native language is Romanian) on Facebook. If the Russian Patriarch ignores the appeal, the whole Moldovan Church may well join the Romanian Church. The absurd and uncanonical ‘defrockings’ of Moldovan (and other) priests who have already joined the Romanian Church will be rescinded – as they always are when they are purely political.

  1. For example, there was the scandal of the rebaptism of Orthodox by the selfsame Americanised branch of Russian Orthodoxy of neophytes in Guildford, England in 1976. The remnants of that Guildford group of pseudo-Orthodox are still rebaptising Orthodox today. Just another story of primitive neophytism, openly encouraged by its bishops, of whom some are themselves neophytes, despite the canons against the consecration of neophyte bishops. But the heretical rebaptism of Orthodox is itself only a repeat of the age-old phariseeism of the sectarian heresy of Donatism from the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries. There is nothing new under the sun. What is disgraceful that the leadership of the once theologically respectable Russian Church countenances such a heresy in its midst and the persecution and slandering of those who oppose it. Those who start receiving Non-Orthodox Christians by baptism end up receiving Orthodox by baptism too!

The History of the Schism of the New ROCOR from the Church


The schism of the new ROCOR from the Orthodox Church has its origin in the mentality of certain US ROCOR converts, of woman-hating ‘incels’ and ‘orthobros’. This mentality first raised its head in US ROCOR under the influence of the neo-puritanical, Bostonite old calendarists as long ago as the 1960s. In other words, the ‘orthobros’ mentality today is ultimately the fruit of Gregory Grabbe’s old calendarist ‘We are the True Church’ fanaticism. (Boston’s twenty-year long reign ended in 1986 in unanswered charges by ROCOR of homosexuality and the extreme right-wing Gregory Grabbe, who had been secretary of the New York Synod for several decades, ended in 1995 in old age outside the Church, still calling himself ‘Bishop Gregory Grabbe’, having consecrated the pedophile Bishop Valentin (Rusantsov) in Suzdal in Russia, who was later imprisoned, and banning ROCOR members from attending his own funeral).

Let me say now that there is no personal animosity at all to those family-deprived ‘orthobros’ who are suffering, often from the temptations of sexual deviancy, and need Christ. They are deeply unhappy and lonely, not to say, disturbed individuals. However, the ideology that many of them have developed, once they have been given power over the Church and Orthodox families, is filled with hatred. Our Faith is not an ideology, for it is filled with Love. Hatred, especially towards normal families in the Church, is the unfailing warning sign of the sect. That is why they are so dangerous. That is why they must be prayed for. We still hope for the salvation of all, turning the other cheek. We publicise this simply because it is our duty to defend Church truth against sectarianism and its inevitable consequence which is, as we have seen with our own eyes, schism. And schism from the Church means precisely separation from Love, that is, schism is the path to hatred

The ROCOR schism that began in December 2020 in Cardiff, Wales. It was initiated by a very new ROCOR priest who had belonged to an old calendarist sect for some twenty years beforehand and who had previously been refused admission to the Church. His reception as a priest (without ordination) had therefore been very controversial. He objected to an even newer former Roman Catholic priest in the same city, who had been accepted into the Russian Orthodox Church in the usual way (see below).

Amazingly, instead of rebuking the former old calendarist priest for his ignorance and non-acceptance of Orthodox Tradition and ordering him to concelebrate with his brother-priest of the same jurisdiction, the local ROCOR bishop (himself a convert from Lutheranism who had been received by chrismation into the OCA some twenty years before) backed him and then his ROCOR colleagues backed the whole old calendarist mentality and schism. It was all part of the new ROCOR policy of expelling older, experienced, traditional ROCOR priests and laypeople and replacing them with crazy converts. Birds of a feather flock together….

Thus began an international schism and scandal. Some of course say that this Welsh incident was just a long-awaited trigger and any pretext would have done for those who were already possessed by a sectarian mentality and wanted revenge for the unity of 2007. Too proud to repent for the initial error of backing an old calendarist, ROCOR then launched itself into a vicious spiral of sectarianism and schism. This took it very, very far from the Church, the Tradition and the Love of Christ, Who wills all to salvation.

A Little History

In London the well-respected and unmercenary Fr George Sheremetiev (+ 1971), the spiritual father of the Tsar-Martyr’s sister, the late Xenia Alexandrovna, warned of this mentality in the 1960s. He persuaded the future and now late Metr Kallistos (Ware) to join the Greek Church, and not ROCOR, in order to avoid that new pharisaical censoriousness, as the then Fr Kallistos himself related to me in 1974. Also from London, the late scholar Fr Ambrose Pogodin, who went to the USA, later joined the OCA for exactly the same reason. Western European ROCOR always had a different mentality. This is Old Europe, next to the roots of the Faith, where we keep the Tradition and the canons.

The rebaptism of Non-Orthodox was never accepted by Western European ROCOR, which was faithful to the mainstream Russian Orthodox spiritual tradition of Metr Antony Khrapovitsky. He had consecrated St John of Shanghai and Western Europe (he spent 13 years here, the same period as in China). Naturally, St John did not rebaptise Non-Orthodox, apart from in two known exceptional cases. St John was succeeded by the ever-memorable Archbp Antony of Geneva, who ordained me and many others and who said that the reception of Non-Orthodox by baptism is simply ‘not necessary’. This was always our policy. And in the case of Roman Catholics, reception by confession and communion was always our policy also.

Non-rebaptism had also naturally been the practice of US ROCOR until the 1960s, as ROCOR then had, like the Moscow Patriarchate, kept faith with the pre-Revolutionary Russian Tradition. Look for example at how super-correct ‘Orthodox’ rebaptisers persecuted Fr Seraphim Rose, another disciple of St John of Shanghai. The latter was suspended and put on trial by the political US ROCOR bishops, which stress basically led to his early death three years later.

In 2007, led by the ever-memorable Carpatho-Russian Metr Lavr, we at last thought we had rid ROCOR of this schismatic and sectarian mentality by entering into canonical communion with Moscow. I was there as a speaker at the Fourth ROCOR Council in San Francisco in 2006, in Moscow in 2007 and again in 2012 for the fifth anniversary. Before 2007 those ROCOR bishops responsible had already abandoned their uncanonical old calendarist connections in the Balkans, which had been promoted by a tiny number of ROCOR bishops in the 1990s and rejected and ignored by everyone else. These included the link with the sect of the late Metropolitan Vlasie in Romania, who had preached purity, but before he died had fallen with a nun.

The New Sectarianism

However, in 2017 the mini-Synod took its revenge for the unity of 2007 and seized power after our beloved Metr Hilarion (Eternal Memory!) fell ill. Among other things, they wanted to ‘bring Western European ROCOR into line’ with the US, ‘to drain the swamp’, as they claimed. In fact they did exactly the opposite and brought the US swamp here, destroying the old ROCOR. Their first move was in 2018 when they ‘retired’ the local ROCOR Archbishop of Geneva and the pillars of the parish who had been there for generations, causing huge scandal there, and replacing him with a young and highly inexperienced American convert. The latter had been received into the OCA from Lutheranism by chrismation some 18 years before.

It was the start of a Stalinist purge and micromanagement. Then they insisted that we, who were Russian Orthodox before they were even born, speak American and use novel US liturgical customs! They are typical of the US converts who want to be ‘more Orthodox than the Orthodox’. Their whole reasoning is obsessed with Protestant-style ‘salvation’ and ‘baptism’, with the conservative Lutheran ‘promise’ of hellfire for any who disagree with them. What wonderful Christians!

All here are profoundly shocked by what has happened. Most pretend to ignore it, as ROCOR is so tiny. However, the Greeks here write of the scandal-ridden ROCOR: ‘Once a sect, always a sect’, they say. The MP Sourozh Diocese told us two years ago that American ROCOR needs a ‘psychiatric ambulance’ (It sounds better with a Russian accent). They actually laughed at the antics of these pretend Russian Orthodox and their Disneyfication of the Faith. To get an understanding, see the Polish psychiatrist Dr Andrew Lobaczewski in his book Political Ponerology, where he speaks of a pathological type known as “Schizoidia” or “schizoidal psychopathy“.

ROCOR ignored the advice of Patriarch Kyrill to simply write us letters of leave, as we had politely requested from the start, as we were willing to accept all their humiliations and had done so, but we were not willing to enter into a schism, as we had clearly explained four months before we left. Therefore, seeing the reckless stubbornness of ROCOR, Moscow arranged with their friend, Patriarch Daniel of Romania, for us to be taken into the Romanian Church (Patriarch Daniel’s main canonical adviser and professor of canon law is the brother-in-law of our Romanian priest), until the war in the Ukraine is over. The process of our reception took just four hours.

Moscow had arranged all beforehand. Only after the conflict in the Ukraine will Moscow at last have the opportunity to deal with the ROCOR schism. This means dealing with the crazy and uncanonical elements who seized power from Metr Hilarion and then created a schism with the MP’s Archdiocese of Western Europe, where we have had close family and friends for over 50 years.

If Moscow then offered us and all our churches to join Sourozh, as we had originally wanted in May 2021, I am not sure what we would do. The Romanians have been fantastic to us, real Christians, letting us remain Russian Orthodox, visiting us, concelebrating regularly and making us a real part of the Romanian Metropolia. Of course, we had always been good to them. They are paying us back. Why ever should we want to ask the Romanian Church for letters of leave? They do not try and destroy us and close our churches and they are not jealous, in love with money, are not spectacularly rude and do not bully and threaten. In a word, Romanian Orthodox are Christians.

Our minimum requirement would be for the schismatics to be removed, though frankly they should at least be suspended for creating a schism, which even ‘the blood of the martyrs cannot overcome’ and persecuting those who obey the canons. Then all 16 of us clergy who left ROCOR and did not return would have to receive some sort of compensation. This would be a bit like the slandered Fr Alexander (Belya) and all those with him (we have seen the papers where he was clearly elected by a majority of the Synod), the angelic Fr Christopher Stade, Abbot Tikhon (Gayfudinov), Metr Hilarion’s former private secretary, and Fr Edouard Chervinsky, priest at the Synod building. They all left in disgust at the new clique, which usurped power from the dementia-suffering Metr Hilarion. Their behaviour has been not just uncanonical, but shamelessly unChristian.

The New Rebaptism Book and the Reception of Non-Orthodox

The new American book on rebaptism was written in the convert style by an insecure convert priest in Greece, who had already been rejected by the US Assembly of Orthodox Bishops. I say insecure because none of this is an issue for secure Orthodox, in Greece, Russia, Romania, or anywhere else. It is, however, a perennial theme amongst those from a Protestant background, but who have not yet fully converted. Fr Peter Heers, if he is the author, has no known bishop (he is then on paper a Protestant), until he can prove otherwise. There is nothing new in this book, it repeats the vast debates around this subject to be found in Orthodox literature in the 70s and 80s (St Vladimir’s Quarterly, Eastern Churches Review, Sobornost, Orthodox Word etc, as well as in other languages for example in Le Messager of the Western European Diocese of ROCOR).

This new book appears to recount various practices from history, taking quotes of saints and elders out of context (as Protestants are wont to do) is certainly not sound traditional pastoral practice, but is inclined to the booklore of pharisees. The fact that at certain times and in certain places the reception of Roman Catholics by baptism has been practised is a well-known fact. It has always happened whenever Roman Catholicism was aggressive towards Orthodoxy and seems to have begun, unsurprisingly, with the sack of New Rome in 1204. However, it has not been the practice whenever Roman Catholics have treated Orthodox well and even respected us, in other words, whenever they have behaved like Christians towards us.

The demand for reception by baptism renounces the living Tradition, the Tradition of the Saints, of all the Local Churches, of the Moscow Patriarchate, of the pre-Revolutionary Church (the Tsaritsa St Alexandra was received by St John of Kronstadt by chrismation). Personally, I will always follow the practice of non-schismatic Orthodox bishops in this. Those who do not accept this practice risk putting themselves outside the Church, especially when they refuse to concelebrate with whole jurisdictions because they have received a priest from Roman Catholicism by confession and communion. What was good enough for St Seraphim of Sarov. St John of Kronstadt, the martyred Tsarina Alexandra and for 100% of non-schismatic, canonical Orthodox bishops today is certainly good enough for me.

Any who demand the rebaptism of someone who has already for years been in the Orthodox Church and taking communion also renounce the Creed: ‘I believe in One Baptism….’.

See youtube for how the Moscow Patriarchate today, as ever, receives Roman Catholic priests into the Church:

Outside of this book, which I have not had time to read, I would say the following about the whole invented issue of ‘corrective rebaptism’ – a totally unPatristic term, namely:

If you do not accept the above practice of the ROC, that Roman Catholic clergy are accepted into the Russian Church by confession and concelebration and you cut off communion with those who do accept this, then you are simply not Russian Orthodox, indeed you are simply not members of the Orthodox Church. You belong to a sect. You are schismatic. To cut off communion with others because of their traditional practices in this matter is a schism. That is the sin. And that is what has happened.

Of course, we all practise threefold baptism by immersion in the Name of the Holy Trinity (I do this at least twice a week on average), but watch the above video with one who had already been baptised in the Name of the Holy Trinity being received in the usual way into the Russian Church today. What we do not do is fall into schism and say that others are not Orthodox because they have been received in the way shown in the youtube video above, and not according to the strict teaching. That is anti-canonical – see Canon XV of the First and Second Council under St Photius the Great.

The Orthodox teaching on Non-Orthodox ‘sacraments’ is crystal clear and I will repeat it here for newcomers to the Church, who know nothing of the extensive literature about it written in the 19th and 20th centuries, for the umpteenth time:

There are no sacraments outside the Orthodox Church. However, there are sacramental forms or rites, which actually have the same names as ours and are outwardly very similar to Orthodox emergency baptisms. The spiritual presence that is missing in those forms or rites is obtained when a Non-Orthodox comes into the presence of the Church, the source of the Holy Spirit. The ritual form is then filled with the missing grace.

The problem with any novel doctrine of rebaptism is that:

Its claims about the need to rebaptise Non-Orthodox are old-fashioned, done to death over the last 150 years. This issue was debated to death by Palmer and Khomyakov in the 19th century and thousands of pages were again written about it in the 1970s, especially after the uncanonical, indeed blasphemous, 1976 Guildford ROCOR rebaptisms by Grabbeites of those who had been Orthodox for some years. (This is still done by old calendarists, linked to the Guildford group in England). It came up yet again in the 1986 Boston schism and the Fontrier schism in Paris. Both ex-ROCOR groups went to the old calendarists. As Archbishop Antony of Geneva of ROCOR said to all of us at the time: ‘You receive by economy (chrismation). However, if someone insists on being baptised into the Church, you can do so, though it is not necessary’. When in the 1990s one Polish ROCOR nun at the Lesna Convent, Sister Varvara, learned of the new American ROCOR practice of obligatorily receiving Roman Catholics by baptism, she was horrified. As were we all – and still are.

In 1979 the now local saint, St Sophrony the Athonite, explained to us (and to me) the Orthodox teaching that there is no need to rebaptise. This followed the rebaptism of a Catholic priest by Abbot Aemilianos in 1978. Fr Sophrony had sent the Catholic priest, Fr Placide, to Athos to be received, but was horrified and very upset when Fr Aemilianos, behind his back, received Fr Placide by baptism. It did cause a quite unnecessary scandal at the time.  Whatever was missing in the heterodox sacramental form is made up for, and activated by, contact with the grace inherent in, and which radiates from, the Church of God – the Orthodox Church.

The rest is the Protestant-style fundamentalist literalism and ritualism of converts with their psychological fragility and insecurity. In other words, none of the rebaptism hysteria is to do with theology, only psychology and often an unhealthy psychology, even pathology (see above). Young men who come to our parishes for the first time, as they do, having spent hundreds of hours on the internet and are therefore ‘experts’, and at once demand that they be rebaptised, that they must dress in black, grow long beards and hair and change their names from ‘John’ and be called Moses or Seraphim, Silouan or Vladimir do not need a priest. They need a psychiatrist. Either they accept us Orthodox as we are, or else they go elsewhere. We do not have any in our parishes.

This is what Patriarch Alexei II meant some twenty-five years ago, when he spoke of the insecurity of certain small groups of introverted Russian emigrants, who lived in narrow, self-protecting and parochial ghettoes, frightened because ‘others are not like us’, ‘the others are not real Russians like us’ etc.

These claims about the need for rebaptism reject all the ROCOR bishops and priests of the past, those who taught us the Tradition. They were not upstart converts from a US Protestant background, but came from a millennium of Orthodox Tradition.

Rebaptism is obligatory claims mean that all the saints of the Old Testament and many post-New Testament martyrs of the calendar baptised in their blood, and not by triple immersion in water, are not even Orthodox, let alone saints.

Rebaptism is obligatory claims mean that the hundreds of thousands of Uniats received into the Russian Church in Belarus, the Ukraine and Carpatho-Russia in the 19th and 20th centuries by confession and communion (the third rite) never joined the Orthodox Church!

Rebaptism is obligatory claims mean that hundreds of Orthodox priests, received by chrismation as laypeople, are not priests and their sacraments are not valid!

These claims mean that some 100 million Russian Orthodox (some 35,000 of them now priests, at least one hundred are now bishops) are not baptised! Until 10-15 years ago most baptisees there had to stand kneeling forward with two hands in a bowl of water and had water poured over their heads. Quite simply, there were hardly any baptistries.

These claims deny the validity of baptisms by numbers of Serbian and Greek Diaspora (and not only in the Diaspora and not only Serbian and Greek) priests, who baptise by pouring water over the head.

These claims deny the validity of Orthodox emergency baptisms of babies and adults, done in hospital conditions.

The fact is that if you only practise akrivia (the strict teaching), you will wander as far from the truth as those who only practise ikonomia (dispensation). Pastors use both according to need. Intellectuals and theoreticians fall for one or the other, lapsing to the right side or to the left side. Pastors are practical and, by definition, pastoral.


Once the war that the US began in 2014 in the Ukraine is over, because this is of course a war between Moscow and Washington, for whose military-industrial complex 500,000 Ukrainian soldiers have already died, these matters will be sorted out. The events in the Ukraine and those ensuing in the Baltics, Moldova and Western Europe have distracted Moscow from the events here.

Eventually, the sectarians will refuse to repent and will no doubt found yet another wealthy (through internet influencing and podcasts) American sect, ROCOR – Russian Old Calendarists Outside Russia. However, Orthodoxy does not exist in podcasts and on the internet, it exists only in buildings, services and sacraments, in our incarnate Christian way of life. But sects do not want to know about that.

Those Orthodox who still remain in ROCOR, and these include some of their bitterly divided bishops – I am told by one source that the division is indeed bitter – will become part of the MP, or whatever it will come to be called after the conflict in the Ukraine is over. This is the future. Moscow will pick up the sane pieces, once the insane pieces have expelled themselves into their sects in a repeat of the 1986 Boston schism and the multiple schism between 2001 and 2007.  I have not the slightest doubt about it and have not doubted it since 2007. The post-2007 crisis of identity of ROCOR, with all its absurdities and now schism from the Moscow Patriarchate, would have been overcome by ROCOR in Europe, Latin America and Australia merging with the MP, or in North America with its local American branch, the OCA. It will happen anyway.

Then ROCOR would simply have merged with the MP and so become its missionary arm outside Russia. Providentially, it would then have helped the MP from sinking into disastrous Russian nationalism and Soviet-style centralism and injustices, like defrocking priests with differing political opinions about the Ukraine. And at the same time, through its engagement with the masses, and not with ghettos, ROCOR would have helped the imploding Western world to refind Christ.

Sadly, the new ROCOR, renouncing the old and traditional ROCOR with its pre-Revolutionary heritage, took the other sectarian, way. It sovietised itself and at the same time turned to the right-wing ghetto instead of to the mainstream. In the end, however, the forces of moderation and sanity will prevail. Light always wins against darkness in the end.




The End of the Two Russian Emigre Church Groups


The two Russian émigré Church groupings that took shape in the 1920s in order to be independent of the by then Soviet-controlled Moscow Patriarchate were only ever meant to be temporary formations. Time and time again the leaders of both proclaimed that they would return to the Mother-Church inside Russia as soon as the Soviet Union had fallen. As we know, even though the USSR fell in 1991, it took many years after this before they eventually did reunite, in 2007 and 2018, but both for the same reason – that they could not canonically survive and function normally, if cut off from the far larger Mother-Church, centred in Moscow.

Unity Against Extremes

We in Western Europe, frightened especially of strange political and sectarian trends coming from the US since the 1960s, very much wanted to see both Russian émigré groupings reintegrate the Russian Church and canonical norms. And we also wanted to give them back their real missionary purpose. This was the purpose defined by, among others, St John of Shanghai and Western Europe, that of witnessing to and spreading Orthodoxy worldwide, helping to form new Local Churches, while still remaining faithful to the Orthodox Tradition. In other words, both groups had to avoid two temptations or extremes. The first was that of being a closed inward-looking, exclusivist and so sectarian ghetto, which would inevitably die out, as do all ghettoes and sects. The second was that of assimilating completely or else basically becoming an Eastern-rite Protestantism or Eastern-rite Catholicism, or in any case being absorbed by the local dominant culture and also dying out.

The small Paris group, where we have family and close friends, and which reunited with the Mother-Church only in 2018, lost over 40% of its strength in so doing, for the secularising, assimilationist party mostly left it. That was in fact a cleansing. It meant that the group could go on with its mission to help build up a Local Church in parts of Western Europe, but faithfully following the Russian Tradition, while remaining independent of Russian internal politics. In other words, it wished to become a European OCA (Orthodox Church in America). With three bishops at present, it hopes to consecrate another three bishops. However, it remains a Paris-centric Church and its presence in the British Isles, as in many other parts of Western Europe, is very small and very weak. Nevertheless, it has made and will continue to make an important contribution to a future Local Church in Western Europe, into which it will eventually merge.


The larger, though still small New York-based group, with twelve bishops, took another line. Unable to be an ethnic ghetto because of assimilation and the loss of Russian, it chose to become an ideological ghetto. In 2021 it duly cut itself off from the Paris group in a schism, even though both were supposed to be united in One Church. The New York group had seen most of its original Russian emigres and their descendants die out or be assimilated into secular culture despite – or perhaps because of – CIA funding. Thus, it had become almost wholly reliant either on parishioners from the former Soviet Union or else on poorly integrated and puritanical converts seeking their ideal of an exclusivist fundamentalist ‘One True Church’ sect. They knew nothing of the real Russia and real Russian Orthodoxy, but only a Disneyfied, made in the USA, fantasy version. It was this second and highly politicised convert ethos that came to dominate the New York group.

In order to assert its control elsewhere and ensure its power fantasy of ‘another century of existence’, New York decided to ‘retire’ the old school of bishops and clergy. It would send out cultish new bishops to intimidate and close down opponents and financially exploit the peripheries of its group in Australia and Western Europe. Ass imperialists they would force those peripheries into the unipolar, ultra-conservative, New York convert mould, even ‘correcting’ their language for Americanese! This would mean their group becoming ever smaller and narrower and more isolated, creating schisms with other Orthodox, cutting itself off from mainstream Orthodox, from the majority. Parishes in insular Australia were already largely Americanised, but Western European parishes, with their tradition handed down from St John of Shanghai and Western Europe, were not. Geographically next door to Russia, Russian Orthodox in Western Europe know the real Russia and Russian Orthodox culture. They could have nothing to do with the fantasy version, cultivated on the American island far away.

Western Europe

Thus, Western European dioceses would have to be repressed and basically destroyed to fit the new and loveless, unipolar ideology of the US imperialist mould with its power-seeking and money-making ethos. The American crazy convert mentality of ‘money, money, money’, podcasts for ‘incels’ and ‘orthobros’, with punishing homosexuals or misogynists a la Andrew Tate, was alien to Orthodox in Europe. Harsh and jealous right-wing Americans and Americanised extremists, with their politicking, Vlasovite, CIA-funded Possevs, Radio Liberties and Voices of America, would never be acceptable to genuine Russian Orthodoxy in Western Europe. Thus, the New York group with its aggressive Americanisation and bullying schismatic sectarianism signed its own death-warrant in Europe. A censorious and sectarian Russian old calendarism had no attraction for normal Orthodox Christians, whether for the converted, or for Russians. Isolationism and hate-filled sectarianism repelled.

Therefore, most ex-Soviet parishioners did not feel at home in the New York group in Western Europe and would have preferred to attend Patriarchal churches, linked with their homeland, had they been available. Talking to the Orthodox bishops with whom I had studied at seminary or whom I had known when they were young priests, the reaction to the Americanisation or ‘convertisation’ of the old European ROCOR was universally the same: amazement and sadness at the destruction of a genuine spiritual, ascetic and liturgical heritage and its slandering by know-nothing neophytes without monastic experience. However, looking at the schismatic and sectarian mentality responsible, the whole thing then began to appear laughable. The reaction confirmed just how bad the New York group’s reputation had become in recent years. ‘Oh, that uncanonical sect’, was the typical dismissive reaction among clergy of other Local Churches.

The Coming Collapse

Once the divisive conflict in the Ukraine is over and the Patriarchal Russian Church returns to its freedom and so destiny, the fate of the New York group will be decided. In Western Europe, it has no future. It is out of communion with the mainstream. Its remnants will flee its uncanonical extremism and be absorbed into the dioceses of canonical Local Churches, especially of Moscow, which will by then be free to receive them. That is, once Moscow has freed itself from the effects of the divisive and all-absorbing conflict in the Ukraine, when it can begin decentralisation through a sweeping programme of autocephalisation and autonomisation, eliminating oligarchic corruption and the gay mafia.

Thus, outside Western Europe and Africa, in Australia there will surely develop a separate Metropolia (especially if Australia and New Zealand come out of their US-imposed political control and isolationism and join the BRICS political and economic bloc), as also will Latin America. In Northern America (the USA and Canada) the New York group will slowly integrate the future Local Church, founded by the great St Tikhon, whose life-giving presence is still in the OCA, which will be redefined. Surely it will be joined by the 40 or so Moscow parishes, still for the moment outside it, and perhaps be renamed.


After the conflict in the Ukraine is over, now providentially to be hastened by Prigozhin’s treacherous mutiny, and with the removal of certain divisive traitors in the Church, the unity of the at present very divided Orthodox Family must be restored. This will have to be through an authentic Orthodox Council unifying the totality of the Local Churches, in which Catholicity and Conciliarity alone reside. Worldwide, this will mean radical changes to both leading Patriarchates, Constantinople and Moscow. Only the reaffirmation of the Catholicity of the whole Orthodox Church can deliver us from a narrow, centralised, political and ethnic model of Church life. This has already happened so many times in our two thousand-year history. Only a real Council can lead to canonical Orthodox unity everywhere, not least in the Diaspora of Western Europe, the Americas and Oceania.


Arguing With Culty Fundamentalists

We reproduce the below, as it is a clear common sense outline of the danger posed by so-called ‘Orthodox’ convert cults, which all come from the USA. These are now so prevalent in marginal, schismatic groups. Locally, we are now getting more people who have seen through one such group in London and are coming to us, refugees from that schism and cult.


Written by Fr. Lawrence FARLEY (Orthodox Church in America) on 07/05/2023

There are stupider things to do than arguing with a culty fundamentalist.  As the late great Jim Croce reminded us, you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, and you don’t pull the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger.  Arguing with a culty fundamentalist is, I admit, not as stupid as any of these things, but it is pretty stupid nonetheless, for it is a waste of precious time and utterly futile.

By “culty fundamentalist” I mean someone from a group which divides the entire world into a very small “us” and a very large “them”.  This “them” usually constitutes the entire world outside the boundaries of the group.  The group has very strict and well-defined boundaries, and they are very clear that they are the only people in the world who are truly saved, who know what’s really going on, and who know and have experienced God’s grace.  Outside the boundaries of the group there is nothing but darkness, danger, and damnation.

Obviously not all fundamentalists are culty fundamentalists as defined above.  The culty ones are characterized by their unshakable conviction that they alone possess salvation and that therefore leaving their group would be spiritually and eternally catastrophic.  All groups which make truth claims (groups like the Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, and the Baptists) are of course sad when their members leave them, believing their departure to be a mistake.  But these groups do not claim that those departing are thereby damning their souls or leaving the light for the darkness.  Culty fundamentalists do, and that is why they so greatly lament the departure of their members and describe that departure in apocalyptic terms.

I include in these groups organizations like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (schismatic Mormons), and some Old Calendarist jurisdictions.

These groups are characterized by a fear of the modern world with all its complexity, nuance, and ambiguity.  That is why they regard this world not only as fallen and in the grip of deception (the historical Church has always believed that), but also as sufficiently dangerous as to warrant as much separation from them as possible.  Though such groups may not always retreat to a well-defined geographical space (such as a ranch or compound), it is still well-isolated from outside influence.  The invisible drawbridge is always pulled up to protect the group from outside contamination which real inter-action with society would inevitably bring.

I remember arguing with adherents from one such group when I was much younger.  They approached me by knocking on my door when I was home, asking if they could come in and share their message.  Being much younger than I am now, I imagined that I could provide a voice of reason and sow a seed of doubt in their mind about their delusion and maybe even rescue them.  Alas, no dice, and those hours are ones I can never get back.

That was not because (I fancy) there was anything wrong with my argumentation.  It was because I was from the wrong tribe and so everything I said was of course wrong.  They were hardly listening to my words, much less trying to understand them.  What I said was of no consequence because I was not one of them.  Before they had even knocked on my door, they had neatly divided the entire world into Us (who of course had all the truth), and Them (who of course were deceived, pathetic, and had nothing valuable or true to say).  If they could not refute my arguments, contradict my history, or fault my logic, that all just proved how clever the Devil (i.e. me) really was.  They didn’t worry that my arguments were better.  They knew that whatever arguments I could muster, I must be wrong because I belonged to Them.  I never had any credibility.  I scarcely had a name.  I was simply another lost soul unaware of its pathetic plight.  I was the Enemy, Babylon the Great.  In other words, I was a part of The Wrong Tribe.

In the world of the culty fundamentalist, theology is entirely a tribal activity.  Their tribe is right, and other tribes are wrong because they are other tribes.  If someone from their tribe said the same things as I did, it would be immediately received as wise because it originated from their (i.e. the correct) tribe.

This means, of course, that real scholarship is never found among such culty groups.  Real scholarship involves humility and the willingness to learn from everyone and anyone.  Thus (for example) if the late Fr. Robert Taft provided good liturgical scholarship regarding the Byzantine Liturgy (which he did) it did not matter at all that he was a Roman Catholic Jesuit and not an Orthodox.  Truth is truth, and real scholars are willing to learn from anyone who seems to know what they are talking about.  Labels—that is, tribes—are irrelevant.  All that matters is competence.

We see this in non-theological matters quite easily.  I cared less than nothing that the doctor doing cataract surgery on my one good eye was not a good Orthodox.  All that mattered was that he was a good eye surgeon.  It is the same for matters of scholarship.  Real scholars are tribally-blind:  they will learn from any source as long as it is a good source.  For culty fundamentalists, tribe is everything, and so they remain suspicious of any information or learning that does not originate from their tribe.

That of course makes the world in which they live a very small and lonely one.  And (allow me to say) usually a stupid one as well, since they have rejected almost all scholarship that originates from another tribe or challenges their own.  If you doubt this, peruse any copy of an Awake! magazine.

Why do apparently intelligent people embrace culty fundamentalism?  Generalizations are always tricky, but I suggest that the attraction of culty fundamentalism is that it provides a safe haven in a confusing and dangerous world.

The spiritual edifices that such groups build are erected upon a foundation of fear:  they believe that if you are wrong in your choices, God is waiting to smite and damn them, and He will only restrain Himself if you belong to the “correct” group.  Once you join that group, you have the assurance of safety—but only if you remain within the group.  If you remain within the group, you have nothing to fear, including the necessity of living in a confusing world and grappling with nuance and grey areas—an arena in which you might make a wrong choice and thus incite divine wrath.

One can see immediately why arguing with such people is futile and a waste of time:  you are asking them to risk their eternal salvation, to emerge from their psychological bomb shelter and forfeit their assurance of safety.  For them, that assurance is paramount, and they will not risk losing it just because your arguments seem to be better than theirs.  The world of gray areas and nuance in which you live is just too scary for them.

What then to do with our culty fundamentalist neighbour?  For of course whatever his exasperating flaws, he is still our neighbour, and we are commanded to love him.  I suggest three things.

First (and most obvious) of all, pray for them.  If they have closed their hearts and minds, only God can open them.

Secondly, resist the temptation to imagine that if only you are learned or persuasive enough, you can bring them to sanity and sense.  It almost certainly will not happen.  Your learning and persuasiveness count for nothing so long as you remain in the wrong tribe.  Remember the words of Solomon about how we should leave a fool because we will not find knowledge in his presence (Proverbs 14:7)—or at least remember Christ’s words about Pharisees and blind guides—our Lord told us to leave them alone (Matthew 15:14).  In other words, don’t waste time in long arguments with them.

Finally, deal with their challenges and errors plainly and directly, giving an alternative vision and version to their distorted and narrow one.  If their arguments are left entirely unanswered, it may give tender and vulnerable souls the mistaken impression that the culty fundamentalist assertions are true.  This last task is mostly the job of the Church’s teachers and representatives.

As long as the world remains a dark place, the temptation will abide to sweep away the uncertainty, nuance, and grey areas with a culty fundamentalist vision.  The Church is not a cult, and so while it boldly and clearly proclaims the truth, it also knows how to discern nuance and grey areas as well and to live with it.  That is because the Church, being the body of Christ, is not afraid.  The spiritual edifice the Church erects is built on the assurance that God loves us.

Source: No Other Foundation



On the Ten Steps in the Formation of Sects: A Warning from the Russian Orthodox Emigration


The growth of a sectarian mentality can be observed when any once healthy faith community declines and degenerates into a sect through spiritual decadence. Here we deal specifically with that decline in the Russian Orthodox emigration.


After 1917 the Russian Orthodox Church fell captive to the persecutions of militant atheism. With the Centre captive, divisions took place in the Russian Church everywhere outside Russia. As ever, as a result of those divisions, the spirit of sectarianism appeared. All my adult life I have fought against that sectarianism in the Russian Orthodox Church in the emigration. Our struggle was to help create unity within the Church and unity with it, once it was free, so that then we could move towards the even greater project of creating new Local Churches. Therefore, from close observation of unhealthy psychology and pathologies over the last nearly fifty years, I have been able to identify ten steps in the formation of sects. This identification comes from observing the process of what specifically has happened to multiple fractions of the Russian Orthodox Church in the emigration, especially since 1986, when it had clearly started dying out.

As a result, a whole series of tiny but almost routine schisms began from it. These fractions have above all appeared as a result of the inherently sectarian and puritanical Protestant culture of North America or contact with it. (It is no coincidence that the first of those schisms took place in Puritan Boston in New England). The apostasy in North America of mainstream Non-Orthodox religion, mainly Protestantism, but also highly Protestantised Roman Catholicism, seems to have been the cause. The strict and rigid Protestant moralism of the American Puritan past has in the last sixty years broken down into today’s total amoralism. As a result, insecure and unstable individuals searching for certainties outside that amoralism have come to the Russian Orthodox Church, However, this was already riven and destabilised by divisions stemming from attitudes to the Church inside Russia. These divisions had grown deeper inasmuch as links with the Mother-Church had been lost.

The Ten Steps

  1. Ignorance and a corresponding lack of any historical sense provides a fertile ground for the development of sectarianism. Ignorance to the point of obscurantism has been encouraged, educatedness being a common reproach in the Russian Orthodox emigration, where after the first generation illiteracy in Russian was common. Knowledge of the language was generally limited to kitchen Russian. For instance, we used to joke in the 1980s that for the mainly elderly members of the then Russian Church in the emigration in Western Europe there were only two besetting sins – youth and education. Both were despised and most churches were childless. They were dying out, turning into rather depressing museums of cultural nostalgia.
  2. The development of parochialism through isolationism, not frequenting and even despising other Orthodox parishes, deepens this ignorance. Indeed, the refusal to frequent others and even the censorious and judgemental condemnation of others for doing so is approved of. Contact with others is seen as disloyalty to the growing sectarian mentality. For example, home-schooling becomes common at this stage. Now begins the suspicion and condemnation of even the slightest contact with ‘impure’ Non-Orthodox, then of fellowship with Orthodox from other (also ‘impure’) Local Churches, and finally with Russian Orthodox from other (also ‘impure’) dioceses. They say of them: ‘They are not like us’. This tribalism means for them: ‘They are our enemies because they are different from us’.
  3. The next step is the exaggeration of the differences with others. ‘They don’t do things like we do’. ‘Our way is the only correct way’. Thus begins the judgementalism and censoriousness of the pharisees. Here we clearly see the priggish self-righteousness that comes from pride, from a superiority complex. ‘The others are sinful’, they say in condemnation, and their hearts swell with vain self-admiration. This exaggeration includes a great emphasis on tiny ritual differences. ‘Only we do that properly’. Generalisations are made on the basis of the behaviour of only one or a few others. ‘We can have nothing to do with any of them because so and so is one of them and he said or did that’. Thus: ‘The whole of the Moscow Patriarchate is corrupt because their bishop X said that. Thus, tens of millions of others were instantly condemned on the basis of the words of a bishop held hostage and speaking in a specific context. Here is the self-justification that stems from and then, in a spiral, creates, pride. Here begins the ‘we are the One True Church’ syndrome and ideology.
  4. It is at this point that cultish leaders, gurus, may appear. Sometimes they appear almost all by themselves, especially if inexperienced and uninstructed neophytes, who are out of touch with reality, are given positions of authority. At other times such gurus may be created by neophytes, who from instability and insecurity desperately want a ‘spiritual father’, even though they have no idea what that is. Their insecurity demands ‘a leader’. Through flattering the weak, they can manufacture such gurus. The gurus soon become increasingly tyrannical, confusing authority with authoritarianism and capricious despotism, and claim papal infallibility.
  5. Now inward-lookingness, introversion, reaches a degree which leads to a de facto lack of communion with others and the formation of a ghetto, headed by a ruling clique of ideologues, who are to be blindly obeyed. Indeed, they insist on blind obedience. Initially, the lack of communion will be selective and informal. In other words, communion will be retained with a select few elsewhere, a few contacts kept for form’s sake. They will claim these contacts as ‘theirs’. This is self-justification: ‘Look, we’re not a sect because we are in communion with so and so’. This stage does not last very long.
  6. From here adepts, led by the ruling clique, will start making more and more extreme accusations that others are ‘not Orthodox’ or ‘mentally ill’ etc. They slander and demonise in self-justification. Such is the pride of narcissistic self-love that gnaws away at their souls. They are pure and all others are impure. Thus, one of them said to me: ‘We are a glass of clean water. They are a glass of dirty water. Surely you do not expect us to mix the two glasses together by entering into communion with them?’ He was so blinded that he could not even see his own phariseeism and so ignorant that he could not even see the dirt in his own water.
  7. Now begins cloning. The cult adepts start dressing in the same way and adopting the same hairstyles or, for men, beardstyles, as those in the ruling clique. Any diversity is definitely forbidden at this stage of manipulation, indoctrination and brainwashing. Uniforms become the norm, the personality is repressed and depressed. Those who refuse to conform are coldly shut out. All the adepts look alike and relationships become almost incestuous, in the sense that there is no mixing with others, with ‘the impure’, outside the cult.
  8. This is now the stage when the group cuts off completely i.e. it finally becomes a sect, having cut off from others, that is, having performed a first schism. The word ‘sect’ means precisely ‘cutting’, as in the word ‘secateurs’. The sect now becomes ever more extreme and excommunicates (!) and ‘defrocks (!) others, even those in completely different dioceses (!), commonly declaring that the others have ‘no grace’. Indeed, the question of who has grace and who does not have ‘grace’ assumes great importance because the sect adepts have to justify their self-isolation and infallibility as the only ones who ‘have grace’. This is a kind of papism. ‘Either you are with us, or else you are against us’. All is black and white and those who oppose the sect are promised ‘hell’, for they will ‘not save their souls’ as they are ‘uncanonical’. Their god is the god of hatred. (We know what his real name is). So the sect becomes not only evil and nasty, but also absurd and makes itself into a laughing-stock. (The devil always mocks his own). Here we witness aggressiveness, harsh bullying, persecuting attempts to humiliate, intimidate and punish. These are all founded on the sect’s essential lack of love, because sects are never founded on Love, but on unhealthy and prideful psychology, which always requires heartless, ruthless and persecuting ideologies.
  9. Now the sect becomes ever smaller, as any last ‘impure’ are witch-hunted and cast out. From this point on, the already small sect grows no further and contracts. However, though the sect is tiny, it will have a large internet, that is, virtual, presence, as virtuality makes up for reality. Indeed, it can be noticed that large groups generally have a weak internet presence. This is because they are too busy with reality to bother. Sects are also desperate to obtain money and property. They need finance. This is because they are already by definition small (they have cut themselves off from the mainstream) and are limited to temporary rented premises and decorated garden sheds for their tabernacles. Expansion is only possibly through stealing the property or income of others.
  10. Soon infighting within the sect starts and further splits about extremely petty or abstract matters sooner or later follow. Introversion is such that such matters become vital dogmas. All is dogmatised. This infighting becomes ever more bitter and unloving and creates ever more tiny and more irrelevant splinter groups. These disputes often lead to expensive court cases about scarce resources, both resulting from and leading to moral and financial scandals.


Over the last two generations I have often seen all of the above among fringe groups, both on the left and on the right. Whether secularist liberalism or secularist conservatism, it makes no difference, both are secularism, that is, they are the abandonment of the Tradition of the Holy Spirit and Love. Such abandonment of the Holy Spirit always leads to the fringes or margins and from there on to the exit from the Church altogether. All this seems to have developed as a result of the instability of the 1960s, and the search for gurus, cults and the exotic, especially then in the USA, but not only. Such gurus prey particularly on the weak, the young, the ignorant and neophytes, as gurus manipulate the zeal and ignorance (‘zeal not according to knowledge’, as the Apostle writes) of converts.

In countries like Russia the Orthodox faith is not at all exotic and is a mass phenomenon. Mass phenomena prevent or greatly limit sectarian nonsense, unless politics or nationalism intervene, as for example in the Ukraine today. However, in the emigration it is possible for sects to be formed, unchallenged by the masses because the masses are not present. Today, the delusions thirsted for by the lonely, such as incels, mean that gurus have an ever greater field to recruit from, using their podcasts and zooms to build their largely virtual sects. Gurus always end up outside the Church, but so, sadly, do their followers, who eventually see through the gurus’ nonsense and become disillusioned and embittered. The straitjackets that the gurus try to impose are always shaken off, sooner by the aware and the strong, later by the naïve and the weak, and they always come to naught.


Sects always dissolve, sect-leaders are always defeated and those who should have supervised and controlled their activities are shamed and die out as they too become spiritually irrelevant. This is the spiritual law. May they hear it and repent before it is too late. They cannot get away with it, for our God is not mocked.



The Psychopathology of the Sect

The Puritans left England for America because they belonged to an exclusive and intolerant sect. They simply could not get on with others. Sadly, they are at the root of both religious and secular North American culture. This explains why North America is today the source of most of the world’s sects.

In order to enter a sect, you must give up something very important: freedom. Anyone who breaks out of a sect, breaks out of the communicational, political, ideological and cultural circuit constituted by the individual sectarians and retrieves his freedom. You can only reach the conclusion that a sect is a kind of secret society. And its closedness or sectarianism increases as the threats to its reign over the souls of the weak, the naïve or neophytes increase.

For all sects start from a notion of ‘exclusivity’ associated with a certain ‘exceptionalism’ or esotericness. This justifies different treatments and understandings which defy all logic. Sects are always irrational. Sects are the foundation of a ‘unique’ culture, Divinely chosen to lead the world. Sects have a Divine, ‘extra-terrestrial’ origin.

It is in this exceptionalism that individualism is rooted. It is opposed to a more collective and cooperative vision of humanity, the Catholicity of the Church. It is in this exceptionalism that the logic of competition is founded – the theory is that the best wins (meritocracy) – as opposed to the logic that founded all human societies – cooperation, the ability to work together.

All sects have their own esoteric jargon and introversion or self-absorption, which originate in the closed circuit in which they operate. The greater the inability to establish bridges and contacts with others, the greater the radicalism of the sect. This embodies a contradiction which sects cannot escape: the more they want to drag normal people into them, the more normal people flee them.

If the vast majority of Orthodox do not fit into the narrow minds of the sect and its followers, then it is they who have to mould themselves to its ideas. This is why sects are always so small – though they may have a huge internet or virtual presence. When reality stubbornly insists on not validating the irrational presumptions of the sect, the sect chooses to wage war against reality, identifying the agents of reality and electing them as its enemies. The result is predictable: either you are with me, or else you are against me! The sectarianism of the sect leaves no room for compromise, co-operation or any kind of mutual understanding.

If you analyse the cultish sect leaders who constitute the sect superstructure and their deeply ideological stance, you will see the irrationality of the sect: it is a cult which is in accelerated divorce from the real world. The constitution of the elite of the sect represents its aristocratisation. It is a return to the time of feudalism, whose lords dress in exclusive bling.

As in all sects, it is the ‘dogmas’ of the duty ‘theologians’ which define from the outset the lines to be strictly obeyed. They produce the centrifugal force that binds the ignorant, weak and naïve periphery to the centre, trying to create a dependency on themselves, at least until they grow up and see through the nonsense and realise that they have been ‘had’. The repetition of their dogmas until exhaustion has a ritualistic function. It aims to keep even the most peripheral neophytes as faithful to the centre as possible, literally like a prayer or litany.

Sects have problems in dealing with the reality that increasingly eludes it. Since reality does not conform to its pretensions, any sect has the option of hysteria, demagogy, hypocrisy and slander. In essence, sects wage war against reality. For example, those who leave sects always do so as the result of the ‘uncontrolled madness or illness of one man’. Of course, this is something that does not play, either in appearance or in substance. It results from the inability, proper to deluded sect ‘logic’, to analyse objectively, to see reality.

Typical of sect ‘logic’ is the claim that its actions are all justified, acceptable and benign; whereas the ‘enemies’’ actions are always ‘evil’. The cultish, supremacist, closed world behind the schizophrenia, paranoia and narcissism of the sect attacks all those who do not uncritically and blindly follow it. The sect is in perfect contradiction with the real and varied world. As was said 2,000 years ago: ‘The truth sets us free’. The idea that ‘in war the truth is the first casualty’ is also just another dogma invented by sects, so that they can lie without being held accountable for it.